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The Pain of Thinking

The Pain of Thinking

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
By Peter Ainslie

Text. — While I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with
my tongue. — Psalm 39:3.
By Peter Ainslie

Text. — While I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with
my tongue. — Psalm 39:3.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Mar 13, 2014
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03/13/2014

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THE PAIN OF THINKING By Peter Ainslie Text. — While I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. — Psalm 39:3. HEKE is a text of wondrous beauty — so picturesque that artists have found in it a subject for a picture; so musical that poets have been moved by it to put into verse what they felt; so profound that philosophers have observed in it new paths for their thinking, and yet so commonplace that any one can say that it is his own experience, for who of us has not sat alone, considering thoughtfully his disappoint-ments, afflictions or grievances? The longer we reflected in the loneliness of our meditations, either the flame of an abiding love was fed by the living presence of God and we were sub-missive, or the fire of discontent was fed with the fuel of re-sentment and we were ill-tempered. From our musing came our speech, whether that speech was good or bad. Out of these ordinary experiences we find the common law of thinking. We think deeply, the passion to know, or to do, or to be, burns in us and our tongues give utterance to our thoughts. In the presence of the burning bush, Moses said: "I will turn aside now and see . . . why the bush is not burnt." That is to say, I will think this out. Jesus said:
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"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." We are to think ourselves into freedom, knowledge of the truth being the mental route by which the soul attains freedom from every entanglement of the past, as well as from unholy en-vironments of the present. It is a difficult highway. To think is one of the painful experiences of life. At the conclusion of one of his lectures in Paris, Mr. Bergson met a beautiful woman who said: "Oh, my dear Mr. Bergson, how you have made me think!" Bowing for forgiveness he answered: "Pardon, 339 340 THE NEW LIVING PULPIT madame, pardon." Painful as it may be, nevertheless thinking is one of the necessities of right living, attended with heroic energy and requiring faith, hope and love. All around us in the living things that God has made is a testimony that challenges us to think. In general terms we call the science of life biology. By science I mean knowledge that is gained by exact observation and correct thinking, being tested and systematized. At the threshold of all inquiry lies necessarily the question as to the nature and character of
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knowledge, for knowledge alone is not a sufficient witness, if by knowledge is meant simply an array of facts. We would not speak of pure knowledge any more than we would speak of pure gold, meaning that there was only gold in the metal. No coin is pure gold. If it were it would not wear. Alloy is in it to harden it, making it serviceable. So of knowledge. Faith is the yeast in the raw material of knowledge and so these two elements — knowledge and faith — become the wit-ness bearers in the pain of thinking. I must know God, whom to know is eternal life. I must believe, for without faith it is impossible for me to please him. I take you with me into the forest, where stand great oaks and elms. There lies on the ground an acorn with its distinct pathway leading into an oak. The marvel is that sometimes the acorn does not produce an elm. Instead, it travels along the one hundred thousandth tree path into an oak, as the egg of the butterfly travels along the two hundred and fifty thousandth insect route into a butterfly — never to any-thing else. Neither in the acorn nor the egg are all the parts of its final product there in miniature, but along the way is the formation and differentiation of the structures and organs not previously existent as such. It is so with our thinking. One thinks in one period of his life and then an entirely new idea springs forth in another period. After some time these ideas are found to be linked together, as the oak to the acorn
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