Page:Psychology and preaching.djvu/110

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92 PSYCHOLOGY AND PREACHING

numerous and various stimuli acting continually upon or within the organism translate themselves into feelings of many shades and intensities ; and connected with these feel ings are motives which afford more frequent and regular impulsions to action. The result is more constancy of rational activity in the sphere of life in which these feel ings manifest themselves. We may expect, therefore, that in the sphere of religion culture will contribute to steadi ness, continuity, orderliness of religious life, without reduc ing it to the mere routine of formalism. Indeed it will not subtract from, but rather enhance its total emotional rich ness. Other things being equal, the higher the culture the fewer and shorter will be the periods of spiritual dulness or stupor; the more uninterrupted will be the movement toward the realization of spiritual ideals. By the man of lower mental grade this undemonstrative continuity in the processes of the religious life may be misinterpreted as a lack of feeling, for the thoughtless are in the habit of measuring the feeling, the purely conscious side of emotion, solely by the quantity of the external motor exhibition. But we have seen the error involved in this standard of judg ment. Spiritual frost does not settle upon the higher alti tudes as frequently as upon the lowlands of life, reversing the order of physical nature. Upon the mountain tops of human development there is more of warmth, as well as of purity of air, than in the coves and valleys.

It is easy for us to see from this point of view how intimately the development of religion in general is bound up with the progress of a broad, high and rounded culture. To be sure, there are types of culture which obstruct the development of religious life. Such types are one-sided and develop certain mental functions while they leave others neglected or atrophied, or even positively repress them. It is probably true, indeed, that any partial or fractional cul ture, even that which singles out the distinctively religious functions for exclusive emphasis, will result in an abnormal and, therefore, undesirable religious development. It is the

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