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THE LIFE INDEED



To reach the ultimate, angels' law,
Indulging every instinct of the soul
There where law, life, joy, impulse are one thing !

Browning, A Death in the Desert



THE LIFE INDEED

A REVIEW, IN TERMS OF COMMON

THINKING, OF THE SCRIPTURE

HISTORY ISSUING IN

IMMORTALITY



BY

JOHN FRANKLIN GENUNG

LATE PROFESSOR OF LITERARY AND BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION
IN AMHERST COLLEGE




BOSTON

MARSHALL JONES COMPANY

1921



iPUBilC LIBRARY

A»TOR. LENOX AMD
ItICDEN FOUNDATION-



COPYRIGHT • 192 I -BY
MARSHALL JONES COMPANY



THE PLIMPTON P R E S S • N O R W O D • M A S S • U • S • A



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

John Franklin Genung, by John Mason Tyler . . vii

I. On the Larger Scale i

I. THE scale hitherto PREVAILING ... 8
II. ENLARGEMENT DEMANDED BY EVOLUTIONARY

SCIENCE ig

III. ENLARGEMENT AS MEASURED BY SCRIPTURE

CONCEPTIONS 28

II. The Twilight Stratum 37

I. the empire OF LAW AND FATE .... 43

II. THE ADVENT OF THE SPIRIT 54

III. EARLY SPIRITUAL REACTIONS 60

IV. THE BURDEN AND THE CRAVING .... 66

III. Nearing THE Fulness of the Time ... 71

I. the END OF THE COSMIC TETHER .... 77

II. ON THE FRONTIER OF ADULT LIFE. ... 83

III. THE SOUL OF PROPHECY 89

IV. The Law of the Spirit of Life .... 103
I. the second birth 115

II. the outward current 132

III. the evidence of things not seen . . . 154

V. The Supreme Historic Venture .... 177

I. from the exceeding high mountain . . 196

II. thus it BECOMETH us 221

III. TO this end was I born 235

IV. the decease accomplished at JERUSALEM. 249

V



vi CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

VI. Naturalizing the Accomplished Fact . . 267

I. EYE-WITNESSES OF HIS MAJESTY .... 274

IL SINAI VERSUS SION 280

III. THE MIND OF SAINT JOHN 285

IV. THE MIND OF SAINT PAUL 3OO

VII. Inventory of Vital Values 315

I. THE UNVEILED MYSTERY 32O

II. THOUGH OUR OUTWARD MAN PERISH . . 332

III. WHY STAND YE GAZING UP INTO HEAVEN.? . 350



JOHN FR.\XKLIX GEXUXG
John M. Tyler

ABOUT the middle of the seventeenth century John
Guenon, a Huguenot born near La Rochelle, arrived
in Xew York and became one of the first settlers at
Flushing. L. L He married ^largreta Sneden. a native of Am-
sterdam. X'ot far from 1700 another Huguenot, having the
name of Petell, was admitted to citizenship at Boston. His
daughter married Andrew X'ichols. a Scotchman from the
north of Ireland. Their daughter became the wife of Daniel
Dye, a soldier in the Revolution, and probably of Dutch de-
scent. The Dyes were characterized by kindliness, sense of
humor, and love of music: Daniel Dye's wife certainly ought
to have inherited an abundance of firmness of character.

The name Guenon had by this time been corrupted or
changed, as was usually the case with the fine old French
names, into Genung or Ganong. Abram Genung married
Martha Dye, and their son. John Franklin, was born at Wil-
seyville in southern X'ew York. January 27. 1850. Martha
Dye had several brothers who were ministers. Abram Genung
was partly a farmer, but evidently by preference a carpenter-
builder. For this was still the time when the builder was also
carpenter and architect and could whittle out a tall-spired
X'ew England church or a fine old colonial farmhouse, vrorthy
of the name of mansion. He had vision and a keen sense for
proportion and values.

The child John and his twin brother grew up on the farm
at Wilse\'\'ille. Here was the early en\'ironment and educa-
tion which, even more than school or college, m.ade the farmers'
sons of that generation leaders in all communities. Every
ploughing probably brought up a new stratum of stones to be



viii THE LIFE INDEED

picked up by the boys. The farm was a hive of all sorts of
industry. Here the boy had abundant physical, industrial,
and manual training: to name only a few of his daily exercises,
nature study and care of animals were unavoidable; he had
his share in the responsibilities of the family, and it was no
small one; he learned firmness and self-reliance, skill and in-
genuity through emergencies. The stranger, though a friend,
dares not invade and describe the family life, the moral and
spiritual atmosphere, of that Huguenot, Dutch, Scotch-Irish
household. We know what it must have been; John had time
and opportunity to think for himself. Church and "little red
schoolhouse" did the rest.

In 1864 his parents "moved to Owego for the sake of better
school advantages," — as Professor Genung says in the "Vita"
at the end of his doctor's thesis. Here he attended an acad-
emy, a great institution in those days, usually led and governed
by a man of some learning and more power and vitality. He
made such use of his time and opportunities that after four
years he was admitted to the junior class of Union College.
It was a day of comparatively small things and advantages in
all our colleges. Their material equipment was very meagre,
the recitation rooms were bare and ugly, the library was practi-
cally a sealed book to most students. The professors were
pioneers none too well prepared for their special work; but
there were among them strong men well aware of their own
limitations and resolved that students standing on their
shoulders should gain a wider and clearer view of the glories
of the promised land of learning.

Among these was one of whom Professor Genung spoke
often with especial love and reverence. Professor Tayler
Lewis was a deep and broad scholar. In spite of hindrances
and difficulties he had gained a thorough knowledge of Latin
and Greek, Hebrew and Arabic, and was a profound student
of the Bible. He was soaked through and through with ori-
ental literature, thought and spirit. In 1855, when the theory
of evolution had been forgotten, not to be revived until the
publication of Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species" almost fifteen



JOHN FRANKLIN GENUNG ix

years later, Professor Lewis published his ''Six Days of Crea-
tion/' in which he showed that the generally or universally
accepted crude conception of immediate creation of species
was unscholarly and unbiblical and against the whole spirit of
oriental thought. He was vigorously denounced by a few
theologians and scientists, but was generally disregarded and
neglected, the usual fate of a pioneer thinker too far in ad-
vance of his age. He replied vigorously in a second book, for
he was a "mighty man of valor," and the subject dropped.
Professor Lewis showed the hungry young Genung the "beauty
that was Greece" and the little known glory and depth of
oriental thought, and taught him how to study the Bible and
literature. All this was but a small part of what the old hero,
laying off the harness, did for his young pupil and disciple.
He might well have said with Nestor: "My teaching made
thee great."

Mr. Genung completed a course in theology, and was pastor
of a church from 1875 to 1878. But during his pastorate his
desire to study and to prepare for teaching grew continually
stronger. In October, 1878, he entered the University of Leip-
zig, where he remained for three years, excepting six months'
stay in London. He devoted himself to English literature.
Biblical study was not neglected, but does not seem to have
stood first in his thought and interest. He was laying founda-
tions. His doctor's thesis was a careful and thorough study
of Tennyson's "In Memoriam." He returned to Amherst Col-
lege, taught rhetoric, and wrote a text-book on the subject
which has been used throughout the country.

What attracted him most was not so much the beauty of
form or style or even of content as the truthful expression of
life. His work on "In Memoriam" is a study, not of versifi-
cation and poetry, but of a soul in pain and struggle. This
was the expression of the Huguenot, Dutch, and Scotch strains
in his richly blended blood. He loved beauty of expression,
but it was largely the beauty of exact, definite truthfulness.
The first draft of any manuscript never satisfied him; it must
be written again and rewritten. Every word and sentence must



X THE LIFE INDEED

be true to his thought and message, though the rewriting some-
times worked injury to his style. With his ancestry he could
not do otherwise than "hold his rudder true."

From the same source came his steady, firm self-determina-
tion and his dour pertinacity. He was a prodigious worker,
doing a day's task before most of us had left our beds, and still
having time for a walk before breakfast. His sturdy body
seemed incapable of weariness. He appeared never to have ex-
perienced hurry, worry, or fret. His college duties and exer-
cises were never neglected; every lecture and recitation was
most carefully prepared. Every theme handed to him was read
with painstaking, and usually with pain, and the supposed
value was scrupulously entered in a large book. But almost
every year there appeared a new study, of close thought and
rare finish, the product of a brain which seemed to grow and
flourish and work while other men slept.

In the presence of meanness or falsehood he could be a blaze
of indignation. But his humanity and humanitarianism were
too large to allow him to devote overmuch anxiety to class-
room discipline. If certain "lewd fellows of the baser sort"
in the rear seats were conspicuously inattentive, listless, and
heedless, he quietly kept on "casting pearls." Once in an un-
usually vigorous written protest he characterized some pupils
as personae non gratae, but I believe that they remained
through the course. One of them is to-day one of his most
ardent, though not most learned admirers. Like some of the
rest of us, he was sometimes or often imposed upon, but it
had its compensations.

Soon the vitality and heart of the man began to draw him
from the books of modern writers to the wisdom literature
of the Bible, the grand drama of Job, the shrewd results of
ages of experience crystallized in Proverbs, and the ripe ob-
servation and thought of Ecclesiastes; to the far vision of the
Prophets and the companionship of the Apostles and their
Master. This was his real lifework, a labor of love, completed
by him when the second volume of his "Guide Book to the
Biblical Literature" appeared a few months before his death.



JOHN FRANKLIN GENUNG xi

He had no great enthusiasm for academic textual criticism,
for wild guesses, or for negative results. His sane common
sense and feeling of values had taught him that to sift merely
the chaff out of a grand literature was hardly worth while. He
was searching for wisdom and life, and he either found it, or,
if not, he did not publish a tome to inform others how little
he had discovered or appreciated in a great treasure house.
Scholars and plain people enjoyed him. His research was
patient, broad and deep, original and individual, like that of
the teacher whose mantle had fallen on his shoulders. He
was never afraid to stand alone.

He followed the gleam with intent and single eye, and when
pursuing a line of truth he had little interest in any other sub-
ject. If you asked him about Jeremiah, you might sometimes
be surprised to receive in answer a flood of information about
the early Perizzites; and you could not win him over to your
interests. At that time his mind was occupied by Perizzites.
He thought hard and to good purpose.

He had plenty of avocations. He was editor of The Amherst
Graduates' Quarterly from its start. He loved music and was
always a member of two or more orchestras. On this subject
he was ready to talk gladly. He was chairman of the Town
Planning Board, and could always find time to map a new
street or design a bridge or a building. Here too he showed
the same sanity and accuracy of thought that characterized
his scholarship. He was the minister's right-hand man in the
church. When the Jones Memorial Library was founded, he
was eager to help. Some of the choicest sets of literature in
his private library will form by his expressed wish the nucleus
of a literary corner in its reading room. He had as many
neighbors as the Good Samaritan. He once said to a friend:
"When I die, I hope some one will say: 'Is John Genung dead?
It's too bad.' " His hope was fulfilled a thousand fold.

After his death there was found among his papers the
manuscript of a new book entitled "The Life Indeed." Here
he brought together the results of all his explorations in
modern and ancient literature, in science as well as in the



xii THE LIFE INDEED

Bible, in one volume. It is his last message, crystallized out
of study, thought, and the experience of trial, struggle, and
success — out of a broad and deep life. It is an altogether
fitting last word. Life and life indeed was his specialty.

There are some men whose size you do not appreciate until
you stand close to them and measure them by yourself. Then
you recognize their stature and breadth of shoulders and know
that you are looking at a big man. We all had this feeling
when we met our friend and caught a glimpse of the size and
symmetry of his soul and heart. The Greeks would have
spoken of his sound mind and inward strength. There was
nothing of Zarathustra's "reversed cripple" about John Ge-
nung. Says Professor Huxley: "That man, I think, has had a
liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his
body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and
pleasure all the work that, as a mechanism, it is capable of;
whose intellect is a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts
of equal strength and in smooth working order; ready, like a
steam-engine, to be turned to any kind of work, and spin the
gossamers as well as forge the anchors of the mind; whose
mind is stored with the great and fundamental truths of Na-
ture and of the laws of her operations; one who, no stunted
ascetic, is full of life and fire, but whose passions are trained
to come to heel by a vigorous will, the servant of a tender con-
science ; who has learned to love all beauty, whether of Nature
or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as himself."
Genung pressed towards the goal of a liberal education.

After all, is it true that salvation is nothing more nor less
than wholeness, the attainment of perfect health; that health,
haleness, wholeness, and holiness are all one in root-meaning?
Did we all rightly as well as instinctively draw close to Genung
because "virtue went out of him?" Is health more infectious
or contagious than disease? And we cannot help noticing that
such men of sound sense and good taste as Genung and Dr.
Hitchcock always had a surprising predilection and hearty
liking for sinners — such apparently was also the mind of the
Master. And sinners loved them. Such abounding, overflow-



JOHN FRANKLIN GENUNG xiii

ing, health-giving lives are the irrefutable argument for im-
mortality. The "narrow stream of death" is altogether too
shallow to overwhelm a great soul. Try as hard as we will,
it is impossible to imagine them as dead. They heard the
sunset gun, rested a little on their arms, but at sunrise were
again marching on refreshed and renewed to the service and
victories of a brighter day.



I

ON THE LARGER SCALE

BY WHAT MEASUREMENT ALONE AN ETERNAL OUTLOOK
OF LIFE IS ATTAINABLE

I. The Scale Hitherto Prevailing
II. Enlargement Demanded by Evolutionary Science
III. Enlargement as Measured by Scripture Conceptions



THE LIFE INDEED

I

ON THE LARGER SCALE

TO believe in immortality is one thing," says Robert
Louis Stevenson, ''but it is first needful to believe
in life." These words, more far-reaching than
their simplicity betokens, contain the key to the study on
which we are now entering. To believe in immortality, —
late as our day of the world is, and full of knowledge, men
are still trying as desperately and dimly as ever to do this.
But they are so constituted that belief cannot come by trying
to believe; cannot be made out of whole cloth, cannot be
made at all. It is a thing wholly beyond the power of
councils or sages or churches or creeds to engender. It
must, like knowledge, like science, be built on valid grounds
and verifiable data; must in the end be not only desirable
but reasonable.

Where then shall the grounds and data of a belief in
immortality come from? There has been no lack of strenuous
search. Nature and mind, the secrets of matter and the
underworld of human consciousness, have been ransacked
for them; thus far it would seem, if we may judge by the
still prevailing doubt, to little conclusive purpose. The great
majority of open-eyed inquirers are still confessing, ''We
have but faith, we cannot know"; as if this were about equiv-
alent to giving up the case. But somehow the case does not
consent to be put out of court. It still has secondary rights
to be heard, if not the main one. There yet remains the
question how much it means to have faith, as so many have,
even against the apparent grounds of faith; and more stimu-
lating still, the question, If we cannot know this, this direct

3



4 THE LIFE INDEED

fact of immortality, what can we know? And I think it will
turn out that there is more knowledge available, and knowl-
edge of greater value, than we have been aware of. The
century's austere spirit of doubt, like a lion in the way, has
scared us; so that we were too timid to recognize, calmly
and wisely, the data that are in plain sight before us.

The proposition to which this study is committed is, that
whatever the ultimate source of these grounds and data of
immortality, they can be found nowhere except in Hfe itself,
in the normal and rounded life of manhood, what I here call
the Life Indeed. Even if they come by what is termed
revelation, they must needs come not by portent and miracle,
not by some unmotived irruption from without, but by the
way of our common human existence. They must come in
response to an appetency and an assimilative power already
there, already native to manhood, rather than by something
extra-human superinduced. This is but another way of saying
what Emerson said years ago, that immortality will come to
such as are fit for it, and that he who would be a great
soul in future must be a great soul now. But this does not
close the case; it only opens the more vital question, What
is it then to be a great soul, to be fit for immortality?
Is it in man at all, as we can compass his life's worth and
wealth, to be a candidate for so high a destiny? This throws
us back from the grave and its sequel to the arena of char-
acter and action; it calls on us to raise manhood life to its
highest power; in other words, it stipulates, as I said to begin
with, that before we reach the point where we can believe
in immortality we learn to believe in life.

If our study were to depend on voluminous reading, there
is no dearth of material. The subject, in various stages and
aspects, is just now beyond most others, as we say, in the air.
For the latest views, kept supposedly up to date, one need
only instance the Ingersoll Lectureship; so I need not ask
here what Professor Ostwald thinks about it, and Professor
Osier, and Professor James, and Professor Royce, and Pro-
fessor Wheeler, and John Fiske, and Doctor Gordon. Nor



ON THE LARGER SCALE 5

would I here do less than pay them all the tribute of heartiest
honor, as men able and authoritative, who have enriched our
theme from many sides. It is forever too late, with their
v*^eighty contributions in mind, to re-echo that cheap sneer
of Omar Khayyam:

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument

About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door where in I went.

And yet — can we say that any of them have really, as the
old phrase is, touched the spot? As these little books have
come out year by year, each from its point of view so frankly
admitting that we know but in part, I have caught myself
wondering when, if at all, the Ingersoll Lectureship was going
to raise the question, What does the Bible say about it? For
it seems to me that the Bible, rightly weighed and digested,
more nearly touches the spot than any other book or science
or philosophy that has been or can be written; that all that
is true in these others gets its light from the Bible way of
looking at things; and that the gaps and holes in these
others are filled and rounded out there. I am not saying
this of the Bible, however, according to our conventional way
of regarding it; though I raise no objection to this. We
have got so used to reading it in a Sunday frame of mind,
or only as fitting it mentally to some theological system, that
we were well nigh color blind to its natural and cosmic
significance. In spite of the analysis and criticism that we
have laid out upon it, we are still reading it according to
a long stereotyped formula. And so doing we are getting
even as Bible scholars behind the age. With minds wonder-
fully enlarged and quickened in other lines, we are still letting
our Bible thoughts jog along in the same old pious and petty
harness. We are as yet very imperfectly aware how pro-
foundly the Bible history and thoughts are changed, as we turn
upon them conceptions which have advanced, so to say, from
Ptolemaic to Copernican.

Here is where the Bible view that I wish now to present



6 THE LIFE INDEED

comes in. I want to see how it squares with our common-
day conceptions and terms; with the ideas that are potent
to-day to move us: how it identifies itself with what nature
and human nature are revealing to us otherwise. The Bible
has been ignored hitherto, I apprehend, in the interest of
science; which supposedly could not mix with revelation and
must therefore be its foe. Well, my contention is that this is
a false position. I maintain that the Bible itself is in the
interest of science, and only so; that on the subject we have
in hand, saying now nothing of its other involvements, it is
the one truly scientific treatment we have. We may call it,
in the most exacting and authentic sense, the world's sufficing
text-book of immortality.

Note then that this text-book of ours bears one plain mark
of the scientific attitude: it takes its stand on the ground not
of theories and metaphysical speculations, but of actual fact.
Its method is historical. It records, with clear indication of
the time and the causes and the agency, the fact that life and
immortality were brought to light in this world. That great
event took place comparatively late in its chronicled account.
We can look back from it therefore over a period wherein pre-
sumably life and immortality were not yet in light but in
gloom, or perhaps in a gradually brightening twilight. Look-
ing back, then, as we have such warrant, we find it even so.
We come upon a long stretch of time in which no word about
a life beyond this life is spoken, and in which the idea of im-
mortality, even if it exists, has no motive power at all. Then
later we hear the wisest and piousest man in the world asking
doubtfully, "If a man die, shall he live again?" Later still
we hear another wise man, puzzled with the knotty problems
of being, almost indignantly maintaining that we can know
nothing about it. And yet in spite of this depth of agnosticism
there comes later the announceent that life and immortality
are revealed, that they lie clear and illuminate before us.
Here evidently is the record of a great revolution in knowledge
and insight, amounting to all the difference between darkness
and light. The Bible history is a history which sounds a dim



ON THE LARGER SCALE 7

and perilous way through men's progressive thoughts and
ideals, and issues in immortality.

Note one or two things further. Our text-book does not
say that in those earlier times, and for those earlier people,
immortality did not yet exist. It raises no question of when
it began to be a fact, but simply of when it began to be seen,
when it came to light. Note again, that when immortality
first came to light, then first life itself came to light; the two
came into the field of vision together. It would seem then
that in those primal ages of gloom and twilight men did not
know fully how to live. Like the animals, in some degree,
they were nourishing a blind life within the brain, hardly
aware what it all meant. Here then is a momentous history to
trace: the long slow development whereby manhood was get-
ting its eyes open to see a destiny which had always existed;
the passing from blindness, perhaps through dimness and fit-
ful glimmers, to full eyesight, from midnight to the light of



Online LibraryJohn Franklin GenungThe life indeed; a review, in terms of common thinking, of the Scripture history issuing in immortality → online text (page 1 of 33)