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Faith

A wise man will not seek to begin any "new religion" or to attack any old one. If possible, he will pass by even accreted errors. The best service to men is to remind them of the primal truths, the truths that knock daily at their doors unheeded, and to re-assert the full meanings of words that have become narrowed by the theologies.

Thus the very word "Truth," commonly with "the" before it, is used technically to mean certain portions of history and dogma. Truth is greater. It is all that is true, whether in current theologies or outside them.

Truth includes—is greater than—the truest "creed." All the great teachers of men have merely sought to bring men back to fact—often to obvious forgotten fact.

Consider, again, what "Faith" is.

The lilies toil not. In no loom is woven their garment of delight. Dowered with gentle strength to lift their veil of earth and beauty in array to gladden human hearts, their glory is no fabric of hands, no mechanic device. They are not elaborated. They appear. Whence is their grace and power? It is an elder secret. They are children of the Primal Mind, whose operations are not akin to anxiety or toil. They are of the things that toil or worry would only mar. The poet's verses are written for him by a Muse (strange as the tradition seems to a mechanic age). He has no trouble to write. If he trouble, he produces something which is not poetry. What is this Primal Mind? At all events it is. Notice how deep sleep heals, by sinking the superficial thought-complex, the hindering waking-thoughts, and allowing the deeper intelligent Mind, below consciousness, to do its willing work. A sleeping mother, whom no other ordinary sound would easily disturb, will wake at the least cry of her babe. Why? What hand points the swallows their way oversea? If we study instinct in creatures, or intuition in man, we shall discover new worlds of power. We shall find life beyond the survey of the senses. Why do the Greek and Elizabethan dramatists put Destiny in their dramas? They copied Life. The ancient writers saw Destiny, kind or ruthless, as a power apart from men, isolated and regnant over men. The genius of our Shakespeare shows rather how men may create their own destinies—for good, by attending to the intuitive voice within them; for ill, by blundering on in the courses of guilty passion or of innocent but superficial logic. For Shakespeare exalts a person to a personality, and event and fortune of life, as well as word, would seem to follow the soul.

Faith, then, is Faith in this Unseen. But Faith may consist sometimes in letting things alone, and sometimes in the most vigorous work. Voltaire in Candide ridicules the optimists who professed to find this " the best of all possible worlds." The ridicule is course, but not undeserved. There is such a thing as folding the hands and expecting Destiny to drop apples into our laps, because we think hopefully and of orchards. It is as foolish merely to think when we ought to be acting as it is to act when we ought to be thinking, or to think when we ought to be sleeping. This is not "the best of all possible worlds"—unless we make it so. The sanest persons will admit the disparity between ideal and actual without abating either one jot of hope or one jot of truth.

The actual may be bad. The potential, above it, is full of hope and power. Many modern social arrangements reverse justice and Wisdom. But justice and Wisdom exist. It is a feeble optimism that dwells only on the remnant of good in things evil, and not on the infinite Source of Goodness. That sort of optimism is hardly preferable to the despair that regards only the evil of things evil. The fuller Faith will lead to action.

Life is too short to waste
In critic peep and cynic bark,
Quarrel and reprimand;
'Twill soon be dark;
Up! mind thine own aim!
Emerson

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