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The Service of the Soul

The Service of the Soul

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" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . with all thy soul."
St. Matt. xxii. 37.

" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . with all thy soul."
St. Matt. xxii. 37.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Mar 20, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE SERVICE OF THE SOUL BY J: R. ILLINGWORTH, M.A." Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . with all thy soul." St. Matt. xxii. 37. In discussing the action of our several faculties, we are obliged to separate them in thought more completely than they ever are separated in fact. In real life the will and the mind and the emotions intertwine and intermingle, and tinge and colour one another in a way that defies analysis. And the reason of this is, that they are only the different modes in which our one central personality acts. Be-hind them all and their various workings there is that unity which makes us what we are, and which is called by various names — our per-sonality, our soul, our spirit, our self. It is usually called in religious language the soul, in philosophy, the spirit; but both words are
V THE SERVICE OF THE SOUL 73 Biblical. " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . with all thy soul." " God is a Spirit : and they that worship Him must wor-ship Him in spirit." This principle is in fact the source, and centre, and necessary condition of our religious life. But before thinking of its operation we must be clear about its nature. For its very existence has been controverted. Men have attempted to resolve the "self" within us into a mere series of impressions, with no separate identity of its own. But any one who has ever been sufficiently in-fluenced by this ingenious tour de force to think the question worth examining, knows that the desperate expedients to which Hume and his followers have been driven, reduce their position at last to an absurdity. The simple fact that we can remember and com-pare the impressions of to-day and yesterday, and still feel keen remorse for our deeds of long ago, is evidence of a something permanent within us, which time and its passing im-
pressions cannot change. It is, indeed, this permanent persistence that has made the doubt 74 THE SERVICE OF THE SOUL v seem plausible, for we are apt to overlook what is always present, as, for instance, a continuous sound. But the moment we turn our attention inward, we are immediately conscious, and every language in every age bears witness to the fact, that we possess a persistent person-ality or self, mysteriously mingling with and yet no less strangely independent of our bodily organism, and which we therefore call spiritual. We cannot define it, except by negative terms, any more than we can define God except by negatives, as Infinite or Incomprehensible ; but this does not affect our certitude of its reality. We cannot define it, because in truth we can never place ourselves outside it, for it is our very self. For convenience we call it im-material, but in doing so we must remember

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