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The Scientific Belief in Character

The Scientific Belief in Character

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Published by glennpease
BY HOWARD AGNEW JOHNSTON



Our study now turns to man, the crown of the
earthly creation. It is our purpose to consider at
once that sphere of human life which is distinctive
of man. In his Data of Ethics, Mr. Spencer sug-
gests that we are accustomed to call anything a suc-
cess or a failure, according as it accomplishes that
which its form of construction shows what its maker
intended it to be or to do.
BY HOWARD AGNEW JOHNSTON



Our study now turns to man, the crown of the
earthly creation. It is our purpose to consider at
once that sphere of human life which is distinctive
of man. In his Data of Ethics, Mr. Spencer sug-
gests that we are accustomed to call anything a suc-
cess or a failure, according as it accomplishes that
which its form of construction shows what its maker
intended it to be or to do.

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Published by: glennpease on May 06, 2014
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THE SCIETIFIC BELIEF I CHARACTER BY HOWARD AGEW JOHSTO Our study now turns to man, the crown of the earthly creation. It is our purpose to consider at once that sphere of human life which is distinctive of man. In his Data of Ethics, Mr. Spencer sug- gests that we are accustomed to call anything a suc- cess or a failure, according as it accomplishes that which its form of construction shows what its maker intended it to be or to do. For instance, an um- brella shows by its form of construction that its maker intended it to keep off the rain. Tl , , Man's dis- lt may be used as a cane, or to orna- tlnotive ment the wall ; but if it will not keep off realm of # r ¦ character. the rain, it is a failure as an umbrella. Let us follow this suggestion. If we should see sev- eral machines with much in common, but each hav- ing a distinctive feature, one a rake, another a knife, etc., we would instantly say the maker intended each machine to accomplish its distinctive work in con- nection with its knife, or rake. Applying these tests to man, we rise immediately to the realm of the moral and spiritual life, and say it is evident from the constitution of the human being that the Maker intended man to realize his dis- 75
 
76 SCIETIFIC FAITH. tinctive development in this realm of the spiritual life in the making of character. All his powers of intellect, affections and will converge toward this realization in the manifest purpose of God. Prof. St George Mivart says man is further above the ape than the ape is above the blade of grass. John Fiske likewise declares that we must divide spiritual ^ e universe, putting man on one side ¦nperior- and all else on the other. These men *" point out that evolution henceforth has no need of further physical development, since all progress must now be through the psychical, and "organic evolution gives place to civilization for the perfecting of man." We touch the heart of the truth when we say no creature below man ever hungered after righteousness, while no man can ever be truly satisfied with anything else. What now must we say of the men who do not realize the plan and purpose of God for them ? Some manage to be a tailor's model, actually measuring manhood by millinery — a necktie! Some achieve splendid physical development They measure man- hood by muscle. This is their world, where the ani- mal is all. Some cultivate a pleasing address and attractive appearance. They measure manhood by manners. Some amass wealth, sufficient to fill their graves. They measure manhood by money. To them a man's bank account is really the index of what he is worth to the world. Some develop
 
ur/Jf 16 * 8 " masterful intellects, running the gamut THE SCIETIFIC BELIEF I CHARACTER. 77 of the world's thought They measure manhood, manhood by mind. This is the world of reality and satisfaction for them* Some rise still higher and insist upon honesty in business, kindness in dealing with their fellows, fidelity and considera- tion and generosity in the home life, a high moral standard. They measure manhood by morals. ow all these elements enter into a rounded man- hood and have relative values, but they are not all, nor enough. Though a man have all these, if he should fail to rise to the plane of realizing his spir- itual possibilities, knowing his relation to God, build- ing character as the exponent of the eternal life, though his name be written high on the scroll of fame ; yet across the record of his career it must be written — But he was a failure as an immortal soul. Some men measure manhood by the man Christ Jesus, and for such the fulness of the stature of the perfect man is in Him. tiOQ Q { Says Fiske: — "Toward the spiritual ^^S5S r perfection of humanity the stupendous momentum of the cosmic forces has all along been tending." It is Paul's thought when he says the destiny which God's plan has for man is that he "should be conformed to the image of His Son," and the Son is "the express image of the Father." We are again facing the fact that our greatest Specialist in character is the 1 only one in whom perfect man- hood is revealed to the human race. But as men measure themselves by Him, this fail-

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