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God. We know that many persons of high intellectual gifts and critical
minds look upon it as an axiomatic certainty that they possess this power,
although it is impossible for them to establish any satisfactory criterion to
distinguish between what may really be borne in upon them from without
and what arises from within, but which, through a sham of the
imagination, appears to be external. A confident sense of communion with
God must necessarily rejoice and strengthen the heart, and divert it from
petty cares; and it is equally certain that similar benefits are not excluded
from those who on conscientious grounds are sceptical as to the reality of
a power of communion. These can dwell on the undoubted fact, that there
exists a solidarity between themselves and what surrounds them, through
the endless reactions of physical laws, among which the hereditary
influences are to be included. They know that they are descended from an
endless past, that they have a brotherhood with all that is, and have each
his own share of responsibility in the parentage of an endless future. The
effort to familiarize the imagination with this great idea has much in
common with the effort of communing with a God, and its reaction on the
mind of the thinker is in many important respects the same. It may not
equally rejoice the heart, but it is quite as powerful in ennobling the
resolves, and it is found to give serenity during the trials of life and in the
shadow of approaching death. Previous page Top Next page