The Miraculous As The Act Of God
FROM the first of the three outstanding features which, as pointed out near the beginning of last chapter, characterize the conception of the miraculous which is implicit in the essential message of Jesus, it is time now to turn to the second. This is, that although both those familiar events which are explicable in terms of the supposedly closed system of man's ordinary experience, and those extraordinary events which imply an unexplored wider system, may rightly be called the work of God, yet in the latter we may recognize the act of God in a more eminent sense. No very elaborate argument should be necessary to commend this view to those who are ready to accept the position implied in the concessive clause. If it be admitted that " natural " events are the work of God, it should not be difficult to show that " supernatural " events are so in a fuller sense. On the other hand, if it be denied that " natural" events can, in any true sense, be described as the work of God, the argument required to refute the denial would be long and laborious indeed ; for it would have to include the reasoned exposition of a monistic type of theism. Such an undertaking it would be quite out of place to attempt in a work engaged, like the present, with a specifically limited problem. Accordingly the author must crave liberty here to take for granted the religious and philosophical position that a Divine Heavenly Father is the ultimate meaning of everything that is real ; that every phenomenal fact contains or expresses, as it were, as much of God as it can hold ; and that the only question is whether the " supernatural," in the sense already defined, can be a more adequate expression of God than the natural," and not whether either of them can be an expression of God at all. Nevertheless it may be well to postpone direct consideration of this question for a little, in order to prepare the way by dealing with a difficulty which is not infrequently felt.
Many Christians, while willing to concede that natural events may legitimately be called the work of God, have an uncomfortable feeling that they are so only in a remote and far-fetched sense in a sense so indirect, indeed, that if they had to regard the "supernatural" work of God as differing from the "natural " in degree alone, this would seem to them equivalent to denying the possibility of any effectual immediate presence of God in the world of events whatever. One main source of this feeling appears to lie in the common but erroneous assumption that anything which takes place because the order of things requires it whether that order be the seemingly closed system of commonplace experience or the unexplored wider system revealed in miracle has to be thought of not as the present act of God, but as only the execution of a plan decreed by God in the immeasurably distant past. This mistaken idea is to many a source of real hindrance to the freedom of their practice of prayer, and is certain also to reduce the spiritual value of the conception of the supernatural as here expounded. Hence it may at this point be of real service to discuss, in as brief and popular a manner as the case admits of, the relation in which our human minds should conceive the will of God as standing to events in time.
We may begin by taking note of the language of religious intuition. On the one hand, the Bible speaks of God as One who inhabiteth eternity, One who changeth not, One who seeth the end from the beginning, One for whom one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. But, on the other hand, we find the Bible equally accustomed to conceive of God as One who perfectly sympathizes with man, and who must accordingly be able to understand an experience that is in time ; as One who marks the fall of each sparrow, and who is therefore able to follow events as they happen one after another ; and again as One to whom men may rightly and freely make petitions because He is glad to grant any reasonable request in other words, as One in whose way of ordering events our prayers may at any time make a difference. Now, when we put together these testimonies of religious intuition, we are bound to recognize that they do not really convey that implication of absolute changelessness which some of them suggest when considered in isolation. What they seem to be rooted in is simply an instinctive certainty that God is free from those limitations which, in human experience, a life in time appears to necessitate. Their implication is that, even if change enters into the texture of the Divine experience, at any rate it brings with it no fickleness ; that even if God has to wait, like man, for His purposes to come to gradual fruition, He is never impatient ; that even if, for Him as well as for us, the world-process presents itself as reaching back into a past and forward into a future, at any rate He is never caught unprepared nor troubled by forgetfulness, so that His action is never rendered unwise. On the whole, then, religious intuition appears to point to the view that God's life is not timeless in the strictest sense of the term, but is timeless only in the sense that its temporality is of a different type from ours ; that eternity is to be conceived as a kind of time that imposes none of the limitations with which we are so familiar.
The only way in which the human mind might approximate to some helpful conception of a time-experience qualitatively different from its own is the method of analogy. It is not here my purpose, however, to enter on a search for suitable analogies, by considering what types of human experience are least infected with the hampering limitations connected with temporality.50 The practical aim of the present discussion will be better served by conceding frankly that the religious consciousness requires to employ some translation of the eternity of God into terms of time as we know it, and by confining the argument chiefly to an endeavour to show how ill-chosen are two natural but religiously harmful ways of effecting this translation.
One of these follows the simple expedient of using the language of time with a negative attached ; God's eternity is regarded as absolute timelessness, the complete negation of temporality. Now, the idea of a completely timeless existence begins, upon consideration, to look suspiciously like nonsense. For anything which exists in time there are but two alternatives : either it must be changing or it must be lasting unchanged. Change and lastingness are thus the two possible phases of temporal existence, and in fact it is only relatively that they can be distinguished. In order that a being may be completely timeless, it therefore seems necessary that it should neither change nor last unchanged ; and to make this simultaneous denial regarding any real existence is very like using words without meaning. Truth is timeless. It does not change : but neither does it last unchanged, except when some mind is thinking it ; and then it is the thinking that lasts and not the truth which is being thought. Truth is timeless because it does not exist at all ; it only has validity, not existence. Whatever exists must either last or change. To speak of God as timeless is consequently a most misleading way of expressing His eternity in the language of time, since it reduces His reality to the level of a mere abstract principle.
Another religiously disadvantageous method of trying to construe the eternal consciousness of God in terms of time, is to think of it as exhibiting one of the possible phases of time without the other as lasting but not changing. Against this expedient of thought, if carried out in any thorough manner, it is easy to urge what appears to be a fatal objection. For it would seem that even if consciousness be possible without the element of change, at any rate a Deity who possessed such a consciousness could not be our sympathetic Heavenly Father. In order to be Himself entirely untouched by change, He must have no acquaintance with our changing world ; for to perceive change, and to have a changing perception, appear to be one and the same thing. And even if this objection were to be disallowed, on the score that it argues too confidently from the psychological conditions of merely human cognition, the expedient under criticism still lies open to the charge that, at the best, it offers what is, for our human minds, a .very misleading translation of the eternity of God. For to us the changeless is apt to seem the dead and impotent. It is when we are experiencing changes of an unwelcome kind that we admiringly picture, by contrast with these, the changelessness of God. It is the experience, in ourselves or others, of fickle trans-formations that inclines us to attribute to the Divine experience no modifications whatever. On the other hand, we can hardly avoid despising as tedious and dull an experience really without changes of any sort ; persistence without development we can only conceive as lifelessness.
It is scarcely worth while, however, to spend our critical ammunition upon the expedient under review in this its most complete or logically thorough form. When God is spoken of as merely lasting, or entirely without change, it is not usually meant that He does not, by experiencing the changing, have a changing experience. The meaning is only that, while His experience may change, this makes no difference to His knowledge or to His will. He knows every detail in advance, long before He experiences it knows and has known it for ever. He wills every detail in advance, long before it comes to pass ; for, however varied be the sequence of stages through which the Divine purpose attains its fulfilment, God's mental picture or programme of this sequence is superior to change, and is lastingly willed by Him as a fully conceived design, unchangingly the same in every smallest particular.
When the attempt is made to conceive in this manner the eternal nature of the Divine life, by crediting it with a changing content of experience but excluding from God's thought and will any element of responsive self-adjustment, serious difficulties come to light at once. Since the supposed Divine purpose is a fixed plan, God's continuous willing of it has, from the point of view of our human interests, the same implications as a single fiat issued away back in the immeasurable past, a mere act of preordination. We are thus led to think of our human life as a kind of puppet-show, of which God is at once the contriver and the spectator. Now, if the puppets were unconscious, such a view of the relation between Creator and created might seem to credit the former with nothing worse than a rather inane kind of amusement, derogatory to His dignity. But when we remember that, so far from being unconscious, the puppets are endowed with a type of consciousness which makes them imagine themselves under no slavery to past decrees, but free by labour, endurance and uprightness on the one hand, or by sloth, cowardice and wrong-doing on the other, to determine the issue for good or ill, then a Deity who could enjoy being the contriver and spectator of such a puppet-show begins to look like an unfeeling monster, not a Heavenly Father. All the amusement of looking on is for Him ; all the labour and agony is for us. Surely, if God's programme for the world is a fixed one, long decided on, it could have been brought to pass by more completely mechanical means ! So, to have endowed the puppets with a moral consciousness appears a piece of gratuitous cruelty."
In order to avoid this consequence of the view of God's changelessness which we are examining, the device has been ventured of denying complete freedom of preordination while retaining fore-knowledge in its entirety. God has bestowed on men, it is suggested, real freedom of choice, and has thus made Himself dependent on their volitions in time in respect of the detailed manner in which He wills to accomplish His eternal purpose. Nevertheless, since He foreknows, or has always been aware of, what they will choose to do, His changeless plan has always stood in such an adjustment to these foreseen choices as to be certain of achieving its object in spite of them when it cannot achieve it directly through them.
In this modified form the conception under discussion does indeed escape the difficulty previously noted ; it does not suggest that God is a monster of cruelty. Yet it lies open to an objection of an almost equally fatal kind. For it seems difficult to ascribe real Divinity to such a being as this hypothesis represents to us a Being who has to watch, without being able to prevent it, the coming to pass of a foreknown human act of will which He morally abhors, and from the necessity of counteracting which He would fain have been relieved. Would such a Being really be free from finitude ? Would He not be subject to even more fretting limitations than ourselves? In such a position we human spectators would be free from the galling certainty that the abhorred act of choice was actually going to be perpetrated by the human agent in question. Until the crisis of his decision arrived, our feelings would be tempered by hope for the best. But the God of this hypothesis could have no such soothing hope. He would require to watch a moral tragedy which He knew to be certain and could not prevent.
Complete futility thus seems to attend upon every application of the expedient under consideration the expedient of trying to construe the eternal quality of the Divine consciousness by denying or minimizing in it the time-feature of change while retaining the time-feature of lastingness. In its most thorough application it yields the conception of a lifeless Deity ; in its other and less thorough applications it yields us either a God who is not Fatherly or a Father who is not God-like. Nor is it moral and religious consequences alone that call for the rejection of this expedient. On purely intellectual grounds it is equally inadmissible. For it is not even theoretically legitimate to regard the volitional life of God, in the manner required by this expedient, as consisting in the constant presence to His mind, and the constant acceptance by His will, of an unchanging representation of the whole time-process, simultaneously complete in every detail. Such a representation would necessarily distort time into a kind of space ; it would inevitably be static, while the actual time-process is fluent and dynamic. Now it has been shown by Bergson 52 that any attempt to arrive at an instantaneous or static way of expressing the time-process, in its whole content or volume, necessarily fails to seize and express what is utterly vital to the quality of that process, namely, its rate of change. How quickly or how slowly the total course of things slips by makes all the difference in the world to our happiness or misery ; but this all-important factor would have to be thought of as something purely contingent, and not within God's power to determine, if His hold upon the current of change were exerted by continuously reaffirming a decision that was changelessly complete from the beginning. Now since, in respect of any all-inclusive developmental process, preordination is thus inherently or necessarily an incomplete determination, it follows that the idea of preordination fails precisely in the very point which used to commend it to its theological advocates ; it fails to do justice to the complete sovereignty of God over the course of time.
Evidently, then, there is no escape from the conclusion that the eternal cannot usefully be translated into temporal terms simply by excluding one of time's constituent phases while retaining the other. Lastingness in which there is no element of change is as absurdly impossible as change in which there is no element of the lasting. If we are to speak wisely about the eternity of the Divine will, we must retain the dual quality of time. We must recognize that it is not by mere changelessness but, somehow, by means of change that God is eternally the same. We must remind ourselves that it is the meagreness of our capacity for contemporaneous intuition and instant self-adjustment that makes us mortals fall back upon prevision, and upon plans formed in advance, as a rough device for escaping unwisdom in conduct. What we call foresight is really nothing more than knowledge of the imelessly valid ; it is knowledge of permanent tendencies which, since they are not dependent on time, have as much bearing on the future as on the present or past. So-called foresight is, therefore, inevitably a thin, abstract or schematic kind of knowledge. If God enjoys a contemporaneous intuition that is perfectly penetrating, what need has He of such human make-shift aids to rational decision ? Without foreseeing or pre-ordaining (in the only sense we can give to these terms) the will of God enjoys all that we attain, and more than we attain, by foresight and by plans sketched in advance ; and to this it adds all that we attain, and more than we attain, by our contemporaneous insight and resolve." God lives and acts along with us in the immediate present. He is preserved from the finitude which location in time imposes on us by being more on the spot, not less on the spot, than we are. Our feeble faculties get so little below the surface of the stream of time that we need, as it were, to soar up into the air for a bird's-eye view of its future channel ere we can wisely adjust our course. And then, incautiously, we construct a Deity in the likeness of our own finitude. In order that He may be able to make the maximum use of our makeshift device for apprehending the drift of time, we suppose Him to steer the barque of His purpose, as it were by wireless, from a position at an infinite height above. It were a much truer figure since we must use figures to think of Him as Himself aboard that barque of His purpose, in the very same reach of time's river where we are steering ours, but as preserved from errors of navigation by faculties sensitive to the message of every tremor of the flowing waters, down to their most hidden depths.
We may now retrace our steps and pick up, with heightened confidence, the interrupted thread of our general argument. In the pre-ceding chapter it had been shown that not in spite of, but because of, the all-embracing sweep of the intricate orderliness of fact there is a permanent likelihood of contraventions of what current thought has inevitably taken to be the order of nature ; and further, that, on broad religious grounds, it is reasonable to believe that faith may provide the occasion for contraventions on a wider scale and of a redemptively purposive character. To take such a view of miracles, however, is to regard them as, in a legitimate sense, simply preternatural occurrences. But in the very first chapter of this book attention was drawn to the fact that, in order to be miraculous or supernatural in the religious sense of the term, an occurrence requires to be more than preternatural. It requires to be also self-evidently the act of God. Accordingly our argument proceeded, at the beginning of the present chapter, to raise the question whether the supernatural, in the sense of the preternatural, could be also supernatural in the sense of being more truly the act of God than the natural. But to propound such a question is to state the issue badly unless it be cordially admitted that natural events themselves may be appropriately described as the work of God ; and there are many Christians who feel that such a description has little point, because they regard natural events as having their source in God only in a very indirect and remote manner. Our argument therefore turned aside in order to show that, if there be such remoteness, in any case it is not remoteness in time. God's way of ordering events is utterly misrepresented if it is conceived as a decreeing of them long before they happen. God's eternal willing of current fact is not a timeless willing ; and though it is certainly not in our kind of time, it is best figured as the present activity of a Will which is even more on the spot than our will. God's will accompanies ours in the immediate "now " of present fact, though this immediate " now " has for Him none of the fretting limitations by which we are beset.
At this point, however, the suspicion may naturally suggest itself that this conclusion, although adduced in the service of our purpose, really goes too far for our purpose. It seems to make all fact, without exception, directly the expression of the Divine will. And if so, how can the supernatural be the act of God in a more eminent sense than the natural? Our reply to this objection will bring to the fore all that remains to be said by way of completing our philosophical defence of the Christian conception of the supernatural.
God is actively present with us here and now ; every event helps to utter a Divine will which is by us more truly to be conceived as contemporaneous with this its expression than as a fiat at an infinite remove in the past : such is the conclusion we have reached. But do all events serve equally to utter this present Divine will which they help to express? As we apprehend them, they certainly do not.
In the first place, our apprehension is very fragmentary or piecemeal. "All things work together for good " to those who, since they love God, are able to appreciate and lay hold of what is truly good. But it is their "togetherness," their total conjoint meaning and influence, that is good ; in themselves many of them are bad. A painful tragedy or a wicked deed certainly does not, in its immediate and independent significance, express a will of love and goodness. Of such events in their singleness we can only say that they are "permitted" by God and not that, in any sense, they are " wrought " by Him They can begin to reveal or express to us a Divine will only when we learn to apprehend them in a broader light as, for example, when we recognize in them the actualization of possibilities which it seems right for the world-order to contain. And ordinarily we do not perceive such events in the illumination of their larger setting. They hold our attention in their repellent self-containedness ; and, so apprehended, they do not render self-evident God's active presence with us here and now.54
It is not merely the fragmentariness of our apprehension of the course of things, however, that renders the world of daily fact, as we under-stand it, very unequally worthy of being called the work of God. Even when we labour hardest to perceive the interconnectedness of events, they seldom make evident to us an active Divine will ; they seem to us, instead, nothing more than what we call them, the working of a natural order. This result is due to the abstract or schematic character of our way of construing the unity of experience.
As was pointed out in the preceding chapter, our scientific understanding of an event necessarily falls short of the uniquely individual manner in which the Divine consciousness must be supposed to apprehend and will it. Our human science can construe the event only as a case of certain general laws ; and when we proceed to speak of the event, which we have construed in this way, as the work of God, we are speaking as though, in His cosmic self-manifestation, God proceeded according to rules which He has laid down for the orderly control of His conduct. Now, control according to rule is an impersonal kind of control. No possible number of rules can ever be adequate to the complexity of fact. Meticulous enforcement of rules always leads to hard cases ; and when these arise, the person who enforces the rules always pleads that it is not himself personally, but the system which he obeys, that is responsible for the hardship. The plea is a valid one ; conduct according to rule is indeed something impersonal, a kind of conduct incompletely individuated. A merely scientific understanding of events, there-fore, cannot apprehend them as, in any living sense, the work of a personal God, but only as His impersonal application of a system of abstract laws.
If we are to be in earnest with the idea of a personal Divine will in nature, we must concede that the order which science spells out there is only a rough mechanical approximation to the living orderliness of the Divine government. God decides events not according to rule, but, as it were, on the individual merits of the situations out of which they spring. A perfect orderliness is the orderliness of a system which is so integrally differentiated that each event is the one unique possible way of expressing, then and there, the genius of the whole system a genius which is incapable of adequate definition in general terms and can be adequately expressed only in these its concrete embodiments. In a system of perfect orderliness each individual member of the system seems to exist for its own sake alone, and appears to be thus self-explanatory precisely because, in a complete unique way of its own, it expresses the genius of the entire self-sufficient system to which it belongs.
Now, by the way of science, which rests upon generalization, we never get near apprehending so living an orderliness in the world of daily fact. But in another way we sometimes do. Now and again there occur events, the perfectly unique appropriateness of which to the peculiar needs of some individual human situation seems to leap to the eye. This recognition of a unique appropriateness is matter of intuition ; it is neither helped nor hindered by the degree in which we are able to discern in the event an exemplification of general laws. No matter how many be the laws to which such an event conforms, we realize intuitively that it was not for the sake of such conformity, but for its own sake, or to render its own uniquely individual service, that the event took place. Even in the case of occurrences like these our apprehension of an absolutely unique appropriateness doubtless falls short of the full truth ; had the event been different in some minor detail, we might still have felt in it an equally peculiar fittingness. Even here, therefore, our intuition falls short of quite adequately apprehending the perfect orderliness of the Divine will. Nevertheless, in these cases, intuition approaches much closer to this apprehension than the mind can get along the path of science.
In speaking thus, I am taking no account of mere errors of judgment in particular instances. Our intuitive or individual type of apprehension may go astray as easily as our scientific or generalized apprehension may, and probably it errs more frequently and more seriously than the latter. It is in the quality, not the inerrancy, of its grasp that it is superior. It apprehends events in an individual manner, less unlike the manner in which God apprehends them when He wills them. And therefore to describe the events which we apprehend in this manner as the work of God, has far more truth than to apply the same description to events as science construes them.
Religion has its own name for events which we seem able to understand in this intuitive or individual manner. It calls them "special providences." General Providence " is a name for the broad purposiveness or teleology which we discern in the course of things at large. It emphasizes the degree in which this broad purposiveness renders it self-evident to us that, in its ultimate significance, the universe is no impersonal system, but the manifestation of a Personal will. By a " special providence," on the other hand, we mean an event or disposition of events which, in its own immediate sigificance, shows itself so brimful of worthy purpose as to appear self-evidently the work of a Divine will of a Divine will, moreover, which is dealing with the situation on its individual merits and not on mere general principles. A perfect mind, which apprehended in its real significance all that transpires, would see " special providence " everywhere ; but it is not so with our minds. And if by " events " we mean " occurrences as we perceive and understand them," we may say that " special providences " are acts of God in a much more direct or obvious sense than other events in them the ever-present, ever-active will of God comes out into the open, as it were, instead of screening itself from our living apprehension behind a system of general laws.
Now the miraculous or supernatural, in the religious sense of the term, is a particular kind of " special providence." " Special providences," it has been said above, are events or dispositions of events, the unique appropriateness of which to the peculiar needs of some individual human situation leaps to the eye at once. And it was added that, since our apprehension of this appropriateness is by way of intuition, it is independent of the degree in which we are able to discern in the event, or the disposition of events, an exemplification of general laws. Now a miracle is a " special providence " in which we not only fail to discern an exemplification of general laws, but perceive the very opposite ; it is a " special providence " in which we perceive a contravention of what our best knowledge has hitherto taken to be laws of the cosmic or universal order. We de-scribe as miraculous, or religiously supernatural, whatever impresses us as at once a " special providence " and a preternatural phenomenon.
In itself the preternatural affords occasion only for surprise and perplexity and not for a worthy kind of religious awe. It demonstrates nothing more than that nature is richer and more mysterious than we had supposed. Again, a "special providence" which is merely such, and not also, at the same time, a preternatural occurrence, comes short in one respect of making perceptibly self-evident the activity of a personal Deity. For, since it is entirely in harmony with known general laws, what prevents us from interpreting it as simply an instance of their general working, and from treating its intimate appropriateness to the individual human situation as a pure coincidence or accident, is merely a rational instinct of our minds. In order that this rational instinct may receive backing from sense-perception it is necessary that the occurrence, besides having a unique individuality of appropriateness, shall be perceptibly contrary to seemingly established general laws. When the preternatural, on the one hand, and the uniquely fitting or appropriate, on the other, are thus combined in one and the same occurrence, the mysteriousness which the preternatural renders perceptible becomes personal, and the personal agency to which the appropriateness of the occurrence points becomes perceptibly mysterious. Thus miracles, or preternatural " special providences," render perceptually obvious both the personality and the infinitude of the Divine will. I am far from denying that real infinitude is individuality rather than transcendence of any possible measure, but it is only under the guise of transcendence of all measure that infinitude can make itself perceptible in the objectivity of space and time. Consequently, for minds conditioned like ours by space and time, it is a real help to perception of the infinite God that He should at times express Himself in what is for us the preternatural, that is to say, should express Himself in ways transcending our current measure of the possibilities of the cosmic order. " Special providences " render self-evident for us the grace and wisdom of God ; miracles, or preternatural " special providences," render self-evident His infinitude as well. Events which we apprehend as miraculous or supernatural are, therefore, acts of God in a sense that is altogether pre-eminent.
Is it necessary to add anything by way of bringing out the practical appositeness of these somewhat abstractly expressed conclusions ? Any one who has had vital experience of the life of prayer, and of answers to truly serious and child-like petitions, should easily realize the relevancy of what has here been said about "special providences." He will remember how certain he has felt that something which occurred was really an answer to his prayer, really an act of God ; and he will also remember how difficult he has felt it to give any one else adequate grounds for believing that his certainty was justified. The certainty was an intuition, born of the uniquely individual appropriateness with which what happened fitted into the context of his own peculiar needs and of the idiosyncrasies of his spiritual attitude. And the incommunicableness of this certainty was due to the impossibility of conveying to any other mind an understanding of those needs and idiosyncrasies intimate enough to make it evident how uniquely appropriate was the event, and how unthinkable is the idea that so perfectly individual an adaptation could be the outcome of merely general laws.
Again, is not our abstract statement about the supernatural entirely apposite to the miracles of Jesus ? Regarded in detachment from the concrete human setting, any one of them is a mere preternatural occurrence, and with the advance of scientific knowledge may conceivably become susceptible of classification under general laws and so may earn the name of " natural." What makes it impossible for us to interpret them, at the time and place of their occurrence, as other than supernatural, is (1) that for the knowledge of that day they were preternatural, and were achieved by a humble faith, instead of by a self-reliant application either of scientific formule or of established rules of art ; and (2) that they were events so uniquely adjusted to the needs which they relieved, and to the spiritual attitude of the miracle-worker, as to render any explanation by the convergent operation of merely general laws obviously inadequate. In the supernatural the active will of God, which in its motive is always benevolent and in its real inwardness is always both universal and individual, becomes obviously beneficent, perceptually transcendent, and transparently individual.
There is an interesting analogy between the Divine self-manifestation here under discussion and the beautiful ; for to the responsive spirit God makes Himself perceptually evident in the beautiful, if not as will, at least as a presence. Both in the supernatural and in the beautiful that universal fitness of things which faith postulates becomes individualized and self-evident. Perhaps one may say that a " special providence " is what corresponds, in the realm of events, to the beautiful in nature, and that a miracle is what corresponds, in the realm of events, to the sublime in nature. In the sublime and in miracle, and to a lesser degree in natural beauty and in " special providences," God makes Himself object of in-tuition, of an immediate spiritual perception which, like sense-perception, varies in form and reach with the aptitude of the beholder. " Blessed are the pure in heart " ; for it is they who, most frequently and most penetratingly, " shall see God."
( Originally Published 1922 )
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