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The Search for God

The Search for God

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Published by glennpease

" My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : when shall I
come and appear before God?" PSALM XLII. 2.

" My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : when shall I
come and appear before God?" PSALM XLII. 2.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 04, 2014
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THE SEARCH FOR GOD BY THE REV. J. R. P. SCLATER " My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : when shall I come and appear before God?" PSALM XLII. 2. " OF all points of faith the being of God is, to my own apprehension, encompassed with most diffi culty, and yet borne in upon our minds with most power." So spake one of those whom Browning would call a musician, one of those who know, but not by painful reason to wit, John Henry ewman. When such words come from a man to whom God was the supreme reality of consciousness, they are of great significance. Anyone who comes much in contact with minds that hover on the brink of religious profession will, I think, admit that it is with the great fact, or rather, with the expression of the great fact, of the Over-Reason, whom we call God, that difficulty is sometimes most felt. It is curious that minds are often willing to take a vague Christian attitude to Jesus, who are not willing to assent to the Christian conception of His, and our, Father. The moral (16) THE SEAECH FOE GOD 17 lordship of Jesus Christ is freely granted, and a general sense of debt to Him is admitted ; but when it comes to statement concerning the Author of our minds, the attitude taken is practically that living
here means nescience simply . Such a state of affairs is not necessarily unhealthy from the Christian point of view. We are not going to quarrel with anything that tends to emphasize the supreme importance of attitude towards Christ. And the hesitancy in making statements about God may well be regarded as in part desirable, and for the rest explicable. For such an attitude appears to be most fre quent in those that have a scientific turn of mind. It scarcely needs to be remarked that science has nothing to do with religion. It stands in relation to religion, as, let us say, a knowledge of anatomy does to friendship ; and that is not a very close re lation. At the same time, scientific inquiry induces a certain habit of mind, which, being aware of im mensities and yet not specially speculative, seems to emphasize the theological difficulty, without giving any particular capacity for the theological method. It is not in the least wonderful that such a mind should hesitate to make positive statement concern ing the being of God. And, I must say, we have been to blame in confirming that hesitation. Christian people have spoken as if the anthropomorphic terms, 2 18 THE SEAECH FOR GOD in which we express our understanding, contained the whole truth, and was binding upon all minds of whatsoever sort they may be. We must not be surprised if such an attitude on our part has tended
to make those, for whom faith is hard, believe that Christians lack alike sympathy with, and compre hension of, the great problem of the statement of God. I. In the first place, we have to observe that an attitude of vagueness in giving expression to the truth of the ature of God, is not only in entire accord with the practice of those who have most surely believed in Him, but is in accord with the devotional writers in Scripture. I remembered God and was troubled expresses some attitudes of mind even in the devout. The Jews, we know, avoided at all costs the pronouncing of the Ineffable ame. Perhaps, at the back of that omission, there was something of the same feeling of reverent mystery as there certainly was at the back of Tennyson s state ment, I dare hardly name His name . And if that is not sufficient, we have the plain state ment, which is certainly not irrelevant to this matter, that no man cometh to the Father ; but by Me . I suppose that we shall admit that Tennyson believed in God. Well, listen to the manner of his address to Him : THE SEAECH FOE GOD 19 Hallowed be Thy name Halleluiah ! Infinite Ideality ! Immeasurable Eeality ! Infinite Personality!

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