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I AM THE LIFE.

I AM THE LIFE.

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Published by glennpease
BY FENTON JOHN ANTHONY HORT D.D.

The better heathenisms at their height were
religions of life. This was the source of their great-
est power. The chief causes of their fall proceeded
from the inevitable limitations of that life which
alone they were able to express and uphold. It was
divided into many separate and exclusive lives. It
was a fluctuating and transitory life, dependent solely
on the human emotions which it should have sus-
tained, and therefore itself subject to the same
encroachments from without and from below which
struck them sick and killed them.
BY FENTON JOHN ANTHONY HORT D.D.

The better heathenisms at their height were
religions of life. This was the source of their great-
est power. The chief causes of their fall proceeded
from the inevitable limitations of that life which
alone they were able to express and uphold. It was
divided into many separate and exclusive lives. It
was a fluctuating and transitory life, dependent solely
on the human emotions which it should have sus-
tained, and therefore itself subject to the same
encroachments from without and from below which
struck them sick and killed them.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 23, 2014
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03/23/2014

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I AM THE LIFE. BY FENTON JOHN ANTHONY HORT D.D.The better heathenisms at their height were religions of life. This was the source of their great-est power. The chief causes of their fall proceeded from the inevitable limitations of that life which alone they were able to express and uphold. It was divided into many separate and exclusive lives. It was a fluctuating and transitory life, dependent solely on the human emotions which it should have sus-tained, and therefore itself subject to the same encroachments from without and from below which struck them sick and killed them. It was a life confined within the sphere of emotion, and therefore incapable of progress. It was divided from know-ledge, and therefore knowledge was able to bear a part in destroying it. Its chief influence over action was by way of restraint. It was a life which sought satisfaction within the confines of the present, and so could often dispense with hope, though it could not annihilate fear. But these limitations do not set 96 THE LIFE
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aside the fact that Hfe itself was once the glory of heathenism. In time the heathen world for the most part ceased to possess life, or to care for it. The sense of life had always been accompanied by pleasure and now, for nearly all, it was only pleasure that remained behind in the vacant place of life. Death, which it had once been possible to hide or forget in the strength of life, refused to be hidden or forgotten any longer. The presence of the threatening spectre might at last be felt as a zest to pleasure ; but as against the remnants of the antecedent life it was omnipotent. Nor was life abandoned only by the thoughtless. The depression or abnegation of life became the refuge of the wise and the good. Life, they knew, made men vulnerable in proportion to its variety and intensity. Whether their desire was to ward off misery and maintain serenity, or to avoid wickedness and cherish virtue, in either case it was prudent not to feel overmuch, for so opportunity would be offered to the enemy. The individual soul and body together, or the individual soul fortified against its body as the nearest camp of the enemy, could maintain independence only by a lowering of
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life, a tempering of life with death. Knowledge had grown, or seemed to grow, after life had begun to sink : but as life sank more and more, knowledge at length failed also. The cause of failure lay not merely in the intrinsic difficulty of the THE LIFE 97 problems attempted, or the inadequacy of the means then within reach for solving them, but in the drying up of the impulse to seek truth, and even of the capa-city for recognising it. For no sense that knowledge is wanted for practical necessities, much more no rest-lessness of neutral curiosity, can give resolution or consistent clearness to enquiry, if the stream of life itself be languid. Enquiry is but a figure of speech for men enquiring: and men cannot long enquire to any purpose concerning any great subject when they have sunk to welcoming death within themselves as an ally and friend. Israel also had a full share of the natural and spontaneous life of antiquity. It lasted long, and
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