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Creed and Dogma

It has been well said that:—"Truth is as a sphere of crystal, so many many sided every way, with all its microscopic angles polished down and blent, that none can feel the corners, none perceive the bevels, a globe of million facets, like an insect's eye." Accepting that as a truism; what is the value of creed or dogma?

Man, if he will, may grow wise by experience. "If he will" is said advisedly, because so many reject its obvious teaching when pet opinions or beliefs are threatened.

A wise man has grown so by rejecting, retaining, and attaining. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" is a dictum none can afford to forswear.

The more one learns from this unrivaled teacher the more one attains to the smoothness of the sphere of crystal—the more are microscopic angles polished and blent. There will be more toleration, large-heartedness, and geniality. Differences will be readily allowed. Questions will have more than one answer to be equitably heard and weighed. Views of the horizon will be diverse, because of diversity of views. The result of such a state is the recognition of the fact that truth in varying quantity exists in all creeds—that it is an open question which has the most of it. Some claim to have the whole, but such is not the claim of broad-minded men. One sees God here, another there. This place is hallowed ground to one, that to another. Six others in six different ways will strive to emulate the Good Samaritan. As differs natural sight, so the spiritual. To be denied visions, does not warrant the questioning of their presentment to others. The world over, the ages through, the tendency of each particular teaching is towards some uniform good. As the standpoint, so the view, and upon that depends the essentiality or non-essentiality of rites and ceremonies. The heart determines the issue.

All means to the Higher Life are used by all men. A portion we can well excuse, or partly commend, because believing that without them their devotees would be poorer. Better one ray of the light of reason, than utter darkness.

"O Luminant of Truth shine out
Across Life's sea's tempestuous way,
That e'en one soul, sore toss'd with doubt,
May find its rest through one small ray."

In each and every creed wise and true men are found, and often the creed is embraced because embracing such. Creeds are but the attempts of finite mind to portray the mind of the Infinite. Of whatever good creeds may be, it is nullified when dogma displaces creed. While creed remains simply creed it is credible; when bigotry makes it dogma it is incredible. Dogma will divorce men from efforts to come nearer the Divine. "Live thy creed, be what thou seemest," is the call to all who would attain to the Higher Life. Be certain your creed is your handmaid. Never let it be Master and become dogmatic. Light is the expression of the power of a luminant, as Life lived is the expression of the degree of the purity of the heart.

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John C. Chambers

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