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he continued. "The men bring indigestible
luncheons to the furnace in their dinner-
pails ; they get dyspepsia — and are dis-
contented, for how can a dyspeptic be con-
tented ? And their discontent incites to
strikes, in the futile notion that so they can
better their condition." Three successive
summers I cruised about with a companion
among the islands of Penobscot Bay. We
slept on board and cooked our meals. We
could catch fresh fish from the deck of our



boat, and could make our own coffee and
cocoa; and we could get at any farm-house
milk or fresh eggs. But not once in those
three summers could we get good bread ex-
cept in the bakeries at the larger towns. The
bread in the farmers' houses and the fisher-
men's cottages was invariably sour and soggy
and indigestible. Once a fisherman rowed
out to us to ask the gift of a loaf of bread. He
was a great sufferer from dyspepsia. He had
tried all sorts of cures, and had thrown away
money on a quack advertising doctor. What
he needed was a wholesome diet. "None
of our women about here," he said pathet-
ically, "know how to make good bread."
And our experience confirmed his. It so
happened that I spent that night on shore.
And I came on board the next morning
hungry, after what would have been a wholly
uneatable and indigestible breakfast but for
the blueberries and milk which accompanied
it. How much better the town and city girls
are equipped for this fundamental part of
home-keeping than their country sisters I do



not know. But from the alacrity with which
they take to hotels and boarding-houses I
suspect they are at least distrustful of their

I am not demanding that we should all be
physiological chemists and should be always
studying the question how much of proteid
and how much of phosphate our body needs.
But we should know how to make food that
is both palatable and digestible; we should
know what kinds of food help and what harm
the body; and we should learn by our own
experience our own individual needs. I once
invited Henry Ward Beecher to dinner at a
restaurant, and offered beef as a part of the
dinner. He declined. "Beef makes blood,'*
he said; "you need it; I don't. I have too
much blood already." To know our own
needs and to provide intelligently for them is
to obey the laws of the appetites. To realize
that the life is more than meat, and the body
than raiment; to eat to live, not to live to eat;
to make reason, not temporary pleasure, select
our viands for us; to recognize, habitually,



the truth that the body is the instrument of
the spirit and is to be made its useful and
obedient instrument, and to select our food
and drink and our time and our methods of
eating and drinking so as to make the body
the best possible servant of the spirit which
dwells within it, which ministers to others
through it, and which should control it — this
is to eat and drink to the glory of God.






Love is strong as death;
Jealousy is cruel as the grave ;

^OLOMON'S SONG Is a love drama.^
There are three chief characters, — Solo-
mon, the Shulamite Maiden, the Peasant
Lover. A chorus of women acts the part of
a Greek chorus. The scene opens with a
royal encampment in Galilee. The Shulamite
Maiden has been brought to the camp to be
added to the royal harem. The King and
the chorus of court ladies receive her with
flatteries. But her heart turns to her Peasant

' It does not come within the province of this volume to
enter into doubtful questions of BibHcal criticism. There
are two modern interpretations of this book: one the dra-
matic, here adopted; the other the lyrical, that it is a col-
lection of love songs, but with dramatic unity. For the
latter see R. G. Moulton's "Modern Reader's Bible, Biblical
Idylls"; for the former see W. E. GrifRs's "The Lily among
Thorns." See also my "Life and Literature of the Ancient
Hebrews," chapter Ix, and note there.

95 •


Lover, and to the royal flatteries she turns a
deaf ear. The company go up to Jerusalem,
taking the captive maiden with them. The
King hopes that absence from her lover in
new scenes, and the glories of the city and
the palace, will win her away from her rural
home. But she will have none of them.
Waking, she sings of her brothers, her vine-
yard, her lover. Sleeping, she dreams of
him. Neither the flatteries of the King nor
his ardent passion has any effect upon her.
And the simple story ends with her return to
Galilee, where she appears leaning upon the
arm of her Peasant Lover, and greeted by
the song of the village maidens as the lovers
come back to the rural home beneath the
apple tree, where she was given birth by her
mother, and given a second birth by her
lover. And the simple drama, whose motif
is the spontaneity of love, "Stir not up nor
awaken love until it please," ends with the
verse :

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm :
For love is strong as death;



Jealousy is cruel as the grave :

The flashes thereof are flashes of fire,

A very flame of the Lord.

Many waters cannot quench love.

Neither can the floods drown it :

K a man would give aU the substance of

his house for love,
He would utterly be contemned.

Solomon's Song is to most readers of the
Bible a closed book. The age needs to reopen
and reread it. For it is a simple and graphic
portrayal of the conflict between love and am-
bition in a woman's life, with love triumphant.
And in this age, when ambition in all its forms
is calling so loudly to woman to come out from
her home — social ambition offering her wealth
or European titles, business ambition offering
her the zest of competition with men in the
struggle of life, political ambition demanding
that she take up the duties and burdens and
proffering her the shadowy rewards of gov-
ernment — a literature that reminds her that
love is the best life has to offer, and that if a
man would give all the substance of his house
in lieu of love, he should be utterly contemned

H 97


by the true woman, is not too archaic to be
read and pondered with profit.

There is a theory of life known as the doc-
trine of "total depravity." This is not in-
tended to mean that every man is as bad as
he can be, which would imply that there are
no grades in wickedness; it is intended to
mean that all the faculties and powers of man
are naturally evil and become good only as
by a divine influence the man is re-created.
So defined, I absolutely and totally dissent
from the doctrine. On the contrary, I believe
that every faculty and power of man is natu-
rally good ; evil only as it is evilly directed.
Depravity is not natural ; it is unnatural,
contra-natural. Acquisitiveness is the spur to
useful industry ; approbativeness is the mother
of sympathy; self-esteem is necessary to self-
protection ; without combativeness there would
be no heroism, without destructiveness no
great reforms. On the other hand, the nobler
faculties misdirected incite to evil : reverence
to superstition, faith to credulity, hope to illu-
sion, ill-governed love to sentimentality.



Of all the forces which combine to make up
man's complex nature, perhaps the passions
are the strongest — the most cruel, and the
most beneficent. They are coals of fire which
hath a most vehement flame, and, like fire,
are a good servant and a bad master. They
may cheer the home with a welcoming radi-
ance, or they may consume it and leave it
a heap of ashes. Unsanctified by spiritual
love, the passions have been used to minister
tea horrible greed; they have reduced women
to an unspeakably cruel slavery; they have
committed most foul and unnatural mur-
ders; they have wrecked homes, embittered
lives, sundered fair friendships, incited to
bestial treachery, betrayed kings to their own
undoing and the undoing of their country,
and have degraded body and soul and sent
both together to the lowest hell even while
yet on earth. Guided by a sound intelli-
gence, controlled by a strong will, and spiritu-
alized by pure unselfishness, the passions form
the sweetest, the strongest, and the most
sacred love on earth, save only the loye w^ch ^ ^



unites mother and child, and of that love
they are the creator. So sanctified and di-
rected, they make the holy family possible,
which in turn makes the State and the Church ;
they make the souls of the lovers immune
from the perils of prosperity and make sweet
the cup of adversity; they give courage in
danger, patience in disaster, moderation in
victory, and a joy in life which no pen of poet
or eloquence of orator has ever been able
adequately to portray. This passionate love
is unique — unlike the love of parent for
child, or friend for friend. It has no analogue
in any other motive power, any other emotion.
Inspired by this love, the careless youth be-
comes a caretaker for her whom he loves,
and blazes his way through the unknown
forest, made by her companionship heroic in
meeting danger, persistent in overcoming
obstacle, patient in routine, and by love re-
deeming toil from drudgery. Do I idealize.^
No ! I could not if I would. For there is
no danger which, in the actual history of the
world, this love has not bravely met, no bur-



den which it has not gladly borne, no tragedy
which it has not calmly confronted. The
passion of love is the master passion of the
human race, and, at its best, is the purest and
divinest of human passions.

"This," says Paul, "is a great mystery."
Mystery it is, and mystery we must leave it.
But it ought not to come to our children a
wholly uninterpreted mystery. Every mother
ought, however reluctant her tongue, to inter-
pret the mystery to her daughter, every father
to his son. For, if guided aright, this passion
of love leads up to a heaven on earth; un-
guided and uncontrolled it leads to a hell.
Creator of life, it is also a prolific producer
of disease. Supreme among the virtues, it
sometimes becomes the most degrading of
vices. The Church, the Press, the School,
can teach little on this subject. This duty
belongs to the home and the parent, and can-
not be safely shifted off upon substitutes. To
teach our children what is the mystery of love
and life, to train our boys in that chivalric
reverence for woman which should be her



wholly adequate protection, to train our girls
in that womanly self-respect which should be
their self-protection when chivalry fails and
genteel boorishness takes its place; not to
essay the generally impossible and always
perilous task of keeping boys and girls apart,
but in lieu thereof to habituate them to grow
up together in a natural and mutually respect-
ing fellowship which may gradually ripen into
love without the danger that comes from a
sudden onrush of uncontrolled passion too
strong to be resisted — this is perhaps the
most important, as it certainly is the most
delicate and difficult, task of the parent. To
neglect it, however difficult, is a criminal
breach of trust; to perform it, a sacred duty.





Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

r I iHERE is a disease known as locomotor
ataxia. The limbs refuse to obey the
will, and the arms and legs move, so to
speak, according to their own uncontrolled
fancy. There is a locomotor ataxia of the
mind. He who is afflicted with this disease
— sometimes called wandering thoughts —
cannot control his thinking. His mental pro-
cesses act, or seem to act, independently of
his will. The lack of mental self-control,
when carried to an extreme, becomes a form
of insanity. The possession of mental self-
control in its highest degree amounts to genius.
A friend of mine recently told me this story



of his experience with Theodore Roosevelt.
He called at the White House to read to the
President, at his request, a paper for the
President's consideration. Mr. Roosevelt was
reading a scientific book, told my friend to go
ahead with his reading, and at the same time
continued to read his book. My friend natu-
rally concluded that his document was get-
ting no attention, until, from questions inter-
spersed from time to time, and remarks upon
the document when the reading was over, he
was forced to the conclusion that it was not
the document but the book which had been
practically ignored. But later, at luncheon,
the President talked with a scientific guest of
the scientific treatise in a way which showed
conclusively that he had read it understand-
ingly. My friend remarked humorously that
Mr. Roosevelt did not give ordinary mortals
a square deal ; that psychologists tell us we
use only one lobe of our brain, and it was
evident that Mr. Roosevelt used both — one
for the document, the other for the book.
The story is here told because it furnishes an



unusual illustration of the power of the will
over the mental processes.

The first end of education is, or ought to
be, to train the mind to habits of lawful think-
ing — that is, to thinking in obedience to
laws recognized by the mind and enforced by
the will. Lack of intellectual power is very
often lack of will power. To attend is "to
direct the mind." The first art the student
has to acquire is the art of bringing the mind
under the direction of the will, and so making
it do the work which the student assigns to it.

This psychological law Paul recognizes
in the phrase "Casting down imaginations
and every high thing that exalteth itself
against the knowledge of God, and bringing
into activity every thought to the obedience
of Christ."

To many persons the imagination appears
to be, by its very nature, a lawless faculty;
like a bird intended to flit hither and thither
as it fancies, not to be directed or controlled
in its flight. To many, an obedient imagi-
nation would seem like a contradiction in



terms. Not so does it seem to the student of
literature. He recognizes that there are intel-
lectual laws of the imagination, and that he
only is a true poet who either understands
those law^s and obeys them consciously, or
intuitively feels their obligation and obeys
them unconsciously. A lawless imagination
never produced great literature.

But these laws are moral as well as intel-
lectual. He who indulges in imaginary re-
venge is revengeful ; he who indulges in im-
aginary lust is lustful: "As a man thinketh
in his heart, so is he." This is the inherent
and ineradicable sin of vicious literature.
The boy w^ho feeds his imagination on tales
of romantic burglars and freebooters is edu-
cating his imagination to a lawless life as
surely as the boy who in a thieves' school is
trained to pick the pocket of a comrade with-
out being detected is educating his fingers
in the skill of thievery. The youth who reads
salacious books or goes to salacious plays is
storing his imagination with pictures which
will be later exhibited to him when he least



wishes to look upon them. He is making
his artistic nature a lawless nature. The
imagination is like the tendrils of a vine :
trained on a trellis, it lifts the vine up into the
air and the sunlight; allowed to grovel on
the ground, it fastens the vine to the earth,
where worms crawl, bugs devour, and feet
trample upon it.

Imagination and faith exercise the same
function : imagination can hardly be said to
give substance to things hoped for, but it is
the evidence of things unseen. The power
to see the unseen may be used in either one
of three ways : it may conjure up sensual and
brutal images ; it may conjure up mere pleas-
ing pictures ; it may conjure up ideals superior
to the life by which we are surrounded. In
the first use it degrades; in the second it
pleases; in the third it elevates. The first
use promotes vice; the second may produce
innocent pleasure; the third brings inspira-
tion. Christ apparently used the imagination
only for the purpose of instruction and in-
spiration. We are not therefore to conclude



that his followers may not use it for the pur-
poses of recreation, for these two uses are not
inconsistent. But they may not use it to
make or to look at attractive pictures of vice,
for such use despoils it of its power to in-
struct and inspire.

We do not, perhaps, sufficiently recognize
the fact that Jesus was a master in the crea-
tion of imaginative literature. His teaching
was largely in illustration. And in his illus-
trations he took the common experiences of
life to direct the mind to higher and unusual
experiences. The material picture was made
to direct the attention to the spiritual reality.
Thus the sower sowing his seed was made to
teach a lesson concerning the processes of
education and the difficulties encountered
by the teacher. A social feast was made to
direct the thoughts toward the Kingdom of
God. A care-free bird was made to teach
the anxious how to be rid of needless anxieties.
A father's love for a wayward son was made
to interpret the love of the heavenly Father
for his children. Thus, to those who accept



Jesus as an example of what life should be at
its highest, the literature which the Great
Teacher has left serves as a model of what
is the highest use of the imagination : to body
forth in understandable object-lessons the
supernatural truths of the invisible and spirit-
ual world. To sum up the message of this
chapter in two sentences :

We must make our thinking obedient to
the laws of thought, and our imaginations
obedient to the laws of the imagination.

The highest use to which we can put the
imagination is to make material things the
symbol of spiritual experiences.





The lamp of the body is the eye : if therefore thine eye be
single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye
be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If there-
fore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that
darkness !

Xj^VERY man has some capacity to dis-
"^ tinguish between the beautiful and the
ugly — we call it taste ; a capacity to dis-
tinguish between the expedient and the inex-
pedient — we call it judgment; a capacity
to distinguish between right and wrong —
we call it conscience. Neither of these facul-
ties is infallible. He may admire what is
not admirable, colors that shout and colors
that swear at one another; his taste is bad.
He may distinguish poorly between the ex-
pedient and the inexpedient, may judge that
to be true which is only agreeable, and a course
of conduct to be wise merely because he de-
sires to pursue it; his judgment is bad. He



may think that to be right which is wrong,
and that to be wrong which is right; he may
call evil good and good evil, put darkness
for light and light for darkness, put bitter for
sweet and sweet for bitter; his conscience
plays him false. Similarly, he may be club-
footed or short-sighted, but still he has feet
and eyes.

Every normal person possesses three ca-
pacities — taste, judgment, conscience — as
every normal person has feet and eyes. But
the one faculty is no more the voice of God
than the other. The conscience is one of
the lights to lighten the pilgrim on his way.
It is the most important of the three, because
moral distinctions are more important than
distinctions in taste or distinctions in policy.
But as one may be color-blind, so one may
be morally blind. If so, if the light that
is in thee be darkness, how great is
that darkness ! Charles Cuthbert Hall has
graphically portrayed in few words the con-
trast between a diseased and a healthy
conscience :



The diseases of conscience are more terrible than leprosy.
It may become deaf to the Divine witness; blind to the dis-
tinctions of right and wrong; corrupt and abominable in its
perverted relation to desire; deceitful and cruel in its sanc-
tionings of conduct; paralyzed through deliberate misuse;
seared as with a hot iron. Health of conscience is more
beautiful than bodily perfection. It is the virihty of the
soul : alert, well-balanced, clear-eyed, rejoicing not in iniquity,
but rejoicing in the truth; sane in judgment, ruling desire
with the hand of right reason ; courageous in goodness;
happy in the felicity of correspondence with the eternal

No man, therefore, may say. Whatsoever
seems to me right is right to me, any more than
he can say, Whatsoever seems to me true is
true to me, or. Whatsoever seems to me beau-
tiful is beautiful to me. A crude chromo is
not made equal to a Rembrandt or a Titian,
because the uneducated taste cannot see the
difference. Folly is not made wise, because
the fool cannot distinguish between them.
Neither is right made wrong or wrong right,
because the light that is in the obtuse soul
is darkness. It is not enough to follow
one's conscience; it is also necessary to
educate it.

» C. C. Hall, "Christ and the Eastern Soul," p. 87.


There are four rules to be observed, or
four methods to be pursued, to keep the light
that is within us from becoming darkness,
to make and keep it luminous and illumi-

1 As there are standards of art by which
we may educate our taste, so there are stand-
ards of right and wrong by which we may
educate our conscience. That standard may
be found in wise words of wise men; but
better is it to be found in the great lives of
truly great men.

"Worship of a Hero," says Carlyle, "is
transcendent admiration of a Great Man.
I say great men are still admirable; I say
there is at bottom nothing else admirable !
No nobler policy than this of admiration for
one higher than himself dwells in the breast
of man." Every healthy boy finds in history
some hero to idealize, admire, or imitate:
a Lincoln, a Grant, a Lee, a Jefferson, a
Washington ; or, looking abroad, a Glad-
stone, a Cromwell, a William of Orange.
Blessed is the child who finds the hero in



his own father or mother. He first idealizes,
then reveres, then imitates his hero, measures
himself by the object of his hero-worship,
brings his conscience up to the standard of
a life higher than his own. Cynicism dark-
ens the conscience; the cynic begins by dis-
believing in the goodness of men, and ends
by disbelieving in goodness altogether. The
spirit of universal suspicion tends to personal
degeneration. He who allows himself to be-
lieve that all men are liars easily comes to be-
lieve that sincerity is a fiction of the preachers
and the poets. He adjusts his conscience to
his lowered ideals of humanity.

Most human heroes lose something of the
heroic as we learn more fully their character
and their lives. Some heroic elements may
appear grander; but other elements not so
grand are revealed. The reader of Gideon
Welles's Diary discovers that professional
politicians in Abraham Lincoln's time were
not greatly different from professional poli-
ticians in our own time : they were some good,
some bad, some mixed. The reader of John



Fiske's "American Revolution" discovers
that the fathers were not all that our Fourth
of July orators had painted them. But there
is one hero in human history who, the more
his life and character are studied, the more
heroic he appears. For the life of Jesus of
Nazareth furnishes a standard which the
world understands to-day and reveres to-day
as it never did before. "Hero-worship,"
again says Carlyle, "heartfelt, prostrate ad-
miration, submissive, burning, boundless, for
the noblest godlike Form of Man — is not
that the germ of Christianity itself.^ The
greatest of all Heroes is One — whom we
do not name here." To make this hero our
standard, to measure our ideal by his prac-
tice, to bring our conscience up to his life,
is the first step in securing that the light within
us be not darkness, that the whole soul be
made full of light. One need not wait to
solve either one's theological or one's his-
toric doubts before accepting this standard.
"Religion," says John Stuart Mill, "cannot
be said to have made a bad choice in pitch-



ing on this man as the ideal representative

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Online LibraryLyman AbbottThe temple → online text (page 4 of 6)