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The Pronouncements of Personality

The Pronouncements of Personality

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Published by glennpease



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Published by: glennpease on Dec 09, 2013
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THE PRONOUNCEMENTS OF PERSONALITY EDITED BY NATHANIEL MICKLEM, M.A.(1) GOD IN OUR BEST THE hoardings of a city are sometimes billed with a strange name, and then, when its strange ness has duly impressed us, we are informed that it is the name of a patent medicine that will indubitably cure a multitude of diseases, the perusal of whose symptoms suggests our necessity, and so we buy and try, with such result as befits the wisdom of our procedure. And most people assume that our knowledge of God grows similarly, first a name for which we have to find a meaning, that having found a meaning we may cultivate an experience. The assumption has truth enough to make it respectable, and false hood enough to make it always harmful and often fatal. It is a true account of the growth of a false notion of God and therefore describes accurately a great deal of modern religious nurture. The belief so produced is belief in a
preposterous and disintegrating god, but happily 10 PRONOUNCEMENTS OF PERSONALITY it often results in unbelief, though even ?o, the loss is great, for the development into conscious life of a more wholesome belief is prevented. Now whatever we may think of God, we do not think of Him as one of a species but as a Being essentially unique, and we may therefore conclude that unless there is possible for us in life an experience of Him apart from all naming and recognition of Him, then we can never give His name any meaning at all, and no knowledge or experience of Him will be possible to us. His name will be to us as the names of colours or notes to those who have never seen or heard. The first task of the religious thinker is, there fore, to see whether there are any such ex periences in life, and, if so, what they are and
what they mean. And we may assume that if anywhere in life we have experience of God and are at all capable of recognizing His presence, the experiences in which we do so will be our highest, so that our search sends us to examine the creation and enjoyment of the beautiful, loyalty to truth and right, love and service. An artist, we reckon, dishonours his art when he makes it chiefly an instrument of gain or fame. To be true to it and worthy of it he must follow it for its own sake. But if, in the passion of his pursuit, he sacrifices personal interest, how does he differ from the gambler? Not at all, unless beauty has a significance in the universe apart from the intensity of the passion it arouses in certain men. There is her* GOD IN OUR BEST 11 for the individual an interest greater and worthier

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