The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 03/Discourse 07

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My Friends:—This morning I ask your attention to SOME THOUGHTS ON THE DELIGHTS OF PIETY.

We are all connected with the world of matter, with the world of man, and with the world of God. In each of these spheres we have duties to do, rights to enjoy, which are consequent on the duties done. Our existence first, and next our welfare, depends on doing the duties and enjoying the rights. Thereof we may do much, and enjoy much, or do little and enjoy no more. The quantity of our threefold happiness will depend on the amount of duties done, and of the rights enjoyed; but the quality of the happiness is also largely within our control; and we may derive our habitual delight from any one of these three sources—the material, the human, and the divine; or we may draw from all of these. We may content ourselves with the lowest quality of human delights, or we may reach up and get the highest and dearest quality thereof.

Religion, in its wide sense, includes a man's relation to all three—to the world of matter, the world of man, and the world of God; it regulates a man's duties and rights, and consequent enjoyments, in all these three spheres of human consciousness—for religion, in the large sense of that word, is the service of God with every limb of the body, with every faculty of the spirit, with every power we possess over matter or over man.

But there is a purely subjective and internal part of religion, which is the heart of the whole of it, and whence its streams of life are sent forth! I mean piety. At first, piety includes directly only man's relation to the world of God, and controls and regulates the duties thereof, the rights therein, and the enjoyment therefrom. But the roots of all other human relations, of all the rest of religion, strike down into this, and are not only steadied and supported, but they are nourished thereby. So all of religion, in its concretest form, comes ultimately out of this internal element which I call piety.

By piety, I mean the normal action of the strictly religious faculty—the soul—considered as purely internal and subjective. It is our consciousness of God, our feeling of the world of God, and of all which belongs thereto.

This piety is a feeling which, at first, seems to be simple, and not capable of being analyzed and decomposed into other elements. But when you look at the matter a moment, you see it must be attended by the idea of God, and, as a condition of complete and perfect piety, that idea must be the true idea—of God considered the Infinite Power, Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Justice, Infinite Holiness, and Infinite Love—for if you think, as many do, that God is not perfect, but is an ugly devil, it is plain that your feeling towards God, and your internal experience of God, must be exactly the opposite of what it will be if you consider Him as infinitely perfect in power, wisdom, justice, affection, and holiness. In the state of complete and perfect piety, the spirit of man embraces into one unity of consciousness several elements, namely, first, an idea of God, a conception of Him as Infinite; next, the feeling of perfect love for God, of perfect trust in Him, and of tranquillity and rest with God; and, as a third thing, the complete will to serve God by a way that corresponds to His nature, and to your nature likewise. Then, as a consequent result of these three things, there comes this—a supreme delight and rejoicing in God!

It seems to me that these things make up a complete and I perfect piety, normal and total. So it includes a great thought—the idea of Infinite God ; a great feeling — abso lute love and trust in God; and a great will—the resolution to serve Him by the means which He has provided. These things are separated by reflection, and may be analytically examined; for purposes of philosophy and understanding, it is necessary to do this; but for purposes of pure piety and religion it is not necessary; but we conceive of this as one simple thing not decomposable. This composite consciousness we call piety, and define it commonly by its chief and largest element which enters thereinto, the love of God—for the feeling of God implies the idea of Him as lovely, and leads unavoidably to the resolution to serve Him by the means that He has provided.

Now, this piety is distinguished from three abnormal forms of action of the religious faculty.

It is distinguished, first, from superstition; that is, the action of man's religious faculty combined with the false idea of God, namely, that He is not lovely and beautiful, but fearful and ugly. Accordingly the superstitious man thinks that God must be feared first of all; and the internal worship of God is accordingly, with that man, fear, and nothing but fear. Then he thinks that outwardly God must be served by some mode of action that, is deformed and ugly, and violates the native instincts of man; that He must be served by mutilation, in old times of the body, and, in our times, of the spirit—now of the intellect, then of the conscience, then of the affections, on of the religious faculty itself. This is a very common idea of God and a very common idea of religion. God it thought to be ugly, and religion of course is ugly Superstition is fear before God, and when I speak of piety and its delights, I do not speak of superstition and any delight connected with that.

Then, next, piety is distinguished from fanaticism. That is the action of the religious faculty attended by the idea that God is not only fearful and ugly, but that he is malignant also, and hates certain men. Accordingly, the notion follows that God is to be served by cruelty to other men, by depriving them of rights which we value ourselves and do not wish to be deprived of. Fanaticism is hate before God, as superstition is fear before him. Fanaticism is a far greater evil than superstition, but in our day it is far less common. Examples of fanaticism you find in the Spanish Catholics, who built the Inquisition, to persecute alike Catholic and Protestant, Mahometan and Jew; in the Protestants, who drove the fathers of New England and Pennsylvania from England and Holland to this the American wilderness; examples of it do you find in the Puritan fathers themselves, who persecuted Quakers and Baptists, and put them to death. Nay, Quakers themselves, though sinning less than other Christians, have yet sometimes been guilty of this offence.

This form of piety is, thirdly, distinguished from mysticism. Mysticism is the action of the religious element, attended by the idea that man is nothing, and that God designs to crush him down, not into non-resistance, but into mere passivity; that the religious action is all God asks for, and that is to be purely internal. So, according to the mystic, God is to be served not with all the faculties He has given, but only with this religious faculty, acting to produce emotions of reverence, trust, love, and the rest. Mysticism is sloth before God, as superstition is fear, and fanaticism is hate before God. It exists still in some of the churches, which cultivate only emotions of reverence, of trust, of love, and the like, but never let the love of God come out of the heart in the shape of the love of man.

In superstition and fanaticism there is not a great idea, but a mean and false one ; not a great sentiment of love to God, but a mean one of fear before Him, and of hate towards men. But both of these do excite a great will, and accordingly superstitious men, and still more fanatical men, have always been distinguished for an immensity of will. In mysticism there may be a great idea and a great sentiment; there cannot be a great will. Complete and perfect piety unites all three,—the great thought—of the infinity of God; the great feeling—of absolute love for Him; and the great will—the resolution to serve Him.

I have thought it necessary at the outset to make this distinction between true piety and superstition, fanaticism, and mysticism, for two reasons. First, the religious faculties in action are as liable to mistake and error as the hand or the foot, or any faculty that we possess; and we should therefore guard against mistakes which have al ready been made, and into which ourselves are liable to fall. Then, secondly, I make this distinction and dwell upon it because each of these three things is often set up as piety itself, and a man is told he can have no real piety in one church without superstition; in another without fanaticism; and in a third, without mysticism.

Now real piety is the safeguard of all other forms of happiness; it is the greatest of human joys. Our delight in the world of God far transcends all our delight in the world of matter or in the world of man. If I am sure of God, sure of His infinite power, wisdom, justice, love, and holiness, then I am sure of everything else. I know that He has planned all things wisely, and will finally bring out all things well. Then I have a foundation on which I can build other things, and build securely. Then the universe—the world of matter and the world of man—looks permanent; I can rely on it. But without this certainty of God, I am not sure of anything; uncertainty hedges me in on every side. Now I doubt, then I fear, next I despair; for if all things depend on chance, as the atheist says—the blind action of blind forces—then there is no security that anything is planned wisely or will turn out well; and if they depend on an imperfect God, changeable, wilful, capricious, as the popular theology teaches, then there is the same lack of certainty, and I am not sure that God planned wisely or provides well. If they depend on an ugly and malignant God, as so many persons still teach, and some believe,—why, there is no hope; there is fear—yes, despair! In my nature there is a great demand for happiness, for immortality, for heaven. Logically, according to the light of nature, that demand, which comes of my constitution, implies the promise to pay ; but if I am not sure of God, then I have only the promise to pay in my nature, but there is no endorser on the note; there is no security lodged as collateral for payment, and I cannot trust the promissor. This misfortune is a very deep one, and it is felt also in all the popular churches that are about us.

Thus my consciousness of God colours all the other facts of consciousness; my world of matter and my world of man take their complexion from my world of God. This is not theory alone, it is plain fact; you see examples of it everywhere. My consciousness of God comes into every relation that I have in life—to my business, to my pleasure, to my affection. Go into rigid Calvinistic churches; look at the faces of men, listen to their prayers, read their hymns, see what passages are selected from the Bible; then go with these men to their homes, and see how their children are brought up in fear, in trembling, and with dread of God,—counting religion as something unnatural,—and see how a mistake in the idea of God comes out and colours all the man's life. Then, to go to the opposite extreme, take the atheistic party which has risen up in our times, read their books, and see them declare that the idea of immortality is the greatest curse left for mankind,—not the common idea, but any idea of immortality,—hear them proclaim that the great function of the philosopher is to re-establish the flesh in its domineering over the spirit of man, and you see how their absence of the idea of God colours their consciousness and penetrates into every relation.

But if I know the infinite God, then I know that He is perfect cause and perfect providence, and that He makes and administers the world of matter from perfect motives, of perfect material, for a perfect purpose, and as a perfect means thereto, and that the perfect motive is love, the desire to bless everything that he makes; then I am sure that the end is foreseen and provided for, that all the action of the universe, whether right or wrong, of the great universe as a whole, and of you and me, the little atoms which compose it, of each nation, community, family, and individual—I am sure that all this has been foreseen and provided for, and so administered by the Infinite God that there shall be no absolute evil befalling the greatest genius or the humblest idiot; that no mote which peoples the sun's beams, that no mortal man, whether he be Judas the betrayer or Jesus the crucified, shall fail of never-ending bliss at last. Discipline there is, and must be, but only as means to the noblest and most joyous end. This I say I am sure of, for it follows logically from the very idea of the infinite perfect God. Nay, the religious instinct anticipates induction, and declares this with the spontaneous womanly logic of human nature itself.

Now to any man who thinks, this is a matter of the very utmost importance; to one who does not think, it is of no consequence at all. But if a man thinks, earnest and deep, this conclusion is the most vital. When I am satisfied on this point, then I can enjoy the world of matter and the world of man, and I can apply the human means which are in my power to the human end which I wish to bring to pass. I have then no doubt of the final result, no fear of that; I am concerned about to-day and tomorrow, about my doing my duty and my brother doing his; I am not at all concerned about eternity, and about God doing God's duty.

I confess I wonder that every man who lives does not have this confidence and enjoy it; it seems so natural, and is so instinctive also, and it squares so completely with the very highest science which man attains to ; and then as you think about it, why, the infinite perfection of God springs into your eye at once, — so that I wonder that any man who thinks at all does not come to this conclusion, that God is infinitely perfect, perfect Cause and perfect Providence, and made all and superintends all from a perfect motive, for a perfect purpose, and as a perfect means, and will ultimately bless everything that He has created. And yet, natural as this is, instinctively as we get at it, philosophical as it certainly is, there is no sect of Christians or un-Christians which has laid this down as its great corner-stone. There is not, as I have said before, a single sect of men in this whole globe of land which declares consistently the infinite perfection of God ; even the Unitarians, in their "creed" recently promulgated, though they say they believe the absolute perfection of God, yet do not understand what it means, and do not venture to say that no man shall be everlastingly damned; they wish it may be so, they dare not think it surely is so. That of course implies that they wish what God is not good enough to wish; and of course implies that they are better in their wishes than God in His wishes, and accordingly, that they are nearer to infinite perfection than God himself. And yet the Unitarians have less of this than any other sect in Christendom. You go into any other church,—I will except in a large measure the Universalist church,—and you are frightened with the ghastly image of God which is gibbeted before you in horror.

But, in addition to this sense of permanent security, the piety I speak of famishes the highest, the deepest, and the most intimate delight which mortal man knows or can know here on the earth. I am very far from denying the value of other forms of delight, even of those which come wholly from the world of matter. Every sense has its function, and that function is attended with pleasure, with joy. All these natural and normal delights ought to be enjoyed by every man; it is a sullenness toward God not to rejoice and thus appreciate his beautiful world when we I can. St Bernard walked all day, six or seven hundred years ago, by the shores of the Lake of Geneva, with one of the most glorious prospects in the whole world before I him—mountain, lake, river, clouds, gardens, everything to bless the eye—and that monk never saw a thing all day long. He was thinking about the Trinity, and when he reached home some one spoke to him of the beauty he must have seen; and the austere, sour-hearted monk said he had seen nothing. He thought it was a merit, and his chroniclers record it in his praise. It always seemed to me rather impious in the stout-hearted man, a proud fling at God, which Voltaire would have' been ashamed of. Mr Beecher, with more wholesome piety, says in his poetic way, "The sweet-brier is country cousin to the rose." There is a touch of religious recognition in all his love of nature, which to me seems more truly pious than the proud flights and profound thoughts in the seven hundred and forty-four letters of St Bernard, and all his sharp and acute, and rather glorious sermons too. To me it always seemed irreverent in that great man that he boasted that he only eat his dinner, but never tasted it, as if his mouth were a mill and no more; it was certainly a fling at the good God, though the saint meant it otherwise. That great soul which made an ox's crib at Bethlehem holy ground, and the central point of many a pilgrimage, never flouted at God's world in that sort. He saw a lesson in the flight of the raven; in the savourless salt there was a sermon; there is a beatitude in the dry grass of the baking-kettle of a poor woman in the company going up to Jerusalem to bear him preach; and the great eyes which saw God so clearly dwelt with pleasure on the lilies of the valley, and said, "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not"

God made the world of matter exceeding beautiful, and meant it should be rejoiced in by these senses of ours: at these five doors what a world of loveliness comes in and brushes against the sides with its garment, and leaves the sign of God's presence on our doorposts and lintels. Think you God made the world so fair, every flower a sister to a star, and did not mean men's eyes to see, and men's hearts to take a sacrament thereat ? Our daily bread is a delight which begins in babyhood, and only ends when the Infinite Mother folds us to her arms and gives us the bread which does not perish in the using. The humblest senses have their pleasure. The fly feeding on a berry crushed by accident on a bush, lets one a good way into the mystery of God's providence. The sights in nature, the sounds thereof,—they are all means of delight. I am sometimes astonished to see how full of happiness a single day may be made, and that at the very cheapest rate, by the sights which come to the eye, and the sounds to the ear, at no cost but opening and listening. These are sacraments by which man communes with God. It is surely churlish to turn, away from the table which He spreads before every man. It is a painful sight and a sad thought to remember how many men there are in this Christian land of ours, and still more in others* who are debarred from this pleasure. We think it a sad thing, and surely it is, that every man should not have a Bible in his house, and power to read it; and great-hearted Christians make large sacrifices to put the words of Esaias, and Amos, and Paul, and Jesus into the hands of every man. But should we not also be ashamed that the greater, diviner Scriptures of God are not in every Christian's understanding, before his eye, and in his consciousness! That also is a reproach.

Then come those higher delights from the use of the senses and the mind better cultivated; from the beauty of nature and art, and common life. I cannot now dwell at length on our delight in the world of men, only recall to your memory what every man experiences,—the joy of affection, of love in all its forms, connubial, parental, filial, related, friendly, and all that. It seems to me that ascetic preachers often undervalue this. And I remember to have heard a man, of a good deal of power too, declare that a man's love for his garden, his house, his ox, his horse, his wife, and his children, was all nonsense, and absurdity; nay, "a sin" in the eyes of God, and just as he loved these things the more, he loved God the less; and if he loved Him supremely, he would care for nothing but God I do not value at a low rate the happiness which comes from the union of the world of matter with the world of man, from our industry, its process and its results. I wish every earnest man knew what satisfaction there is in putting your human nature upon material nature, and making it take your image—now a form of use, then a form of beauty. I do not think we make account enough of this, or set sufficient store by this source of delight. To put human nature upon material nature, in the shape of a grand statue or a grand picture—everybody thinks that if a great delight; but so it is to put Zml nature upon material nature in the form of a shoe, or a shirt, or a carriage, or a house, or a stocking, or a loaf of bread, or a nail, a farm, a garden, or a steam engine, or anything you will; there is the same triumph of mind over matter in the one case as in the other, and when we get a little wiser we shall see what a real joy is in this, and at one end of society there will be no idleness and shirking, and at the other no drudgery and being crushed by excess of toil. God made man to live with matter, and made them both so that there should be good neighbourhood between the two, and man should get delight from the contact. God made men so that they might live with each other, and get deeper, dearer, and truer delight from that intimacy. Do not think, I say, that I undervalue either of these forms of well-being. Let a man have all that he can get of both, and communicate in both kinds through this sacrament, with thankfulness of heart. But I must say that I think the delight which comes from the world of God, the joys of piety as a normal consciousness and experience of God, a great way surpass all these other delights have just named. Yes, compared with the others, this is what womanhood is compared with girlhood or babyhood. I say this from my own experience; but it is not my experience alone,—every deep-hearted saint who rejoiced in the world of matter and the world of man, and then took fast hold on the world of God, tells us the same thing. What brave words have come to us from Jesus of Nazareth, from Paul of Tarsus, from Thomas & Kempis, and William Law, and Isaac Watts, and that great stout-hearted man whose foot was so deep in the world of matter, whose hands went so largely into the world of men, and whose soul took hold so strongly on the world of God—Martin Luther: what brave words these have left us of their experience in the world of God. Nay, how full of the deepest and richest experience* of this kind were the lives of the saints of the Quaker church! What joy had Fox, and Nayler, and Penn, and Woolman, and Scott, and all those pious souls—women and men, who learned to lie low in the hand of God, and rejoice in their consciousness of Him and the visitations of the Eternal Love!

What exquisite delights they are which make up our experience and enjoyment of God. The aspect of beauty, in every form, is always a joy—in the shape and colour of a blade of grass, a nut, a fly's wing, a pearl found in a mussel of a New Hampshire brook. What higher delight is there in the beauty of the human form! Beauty is made up of these four things—completeness as a whole, perfection of the parts, fitness of each part for its function, and correspondence with the faculties of man. These four things make up the statics and dynamics of beauty. Now, looked at with the intellectual and aesthetic part of human consciousness, God is absolute beauty. He is the beauty of being, self-existence; the beauty of power, almightiness; of intellect, all-knowingness; of conscience, all-righteousness; of affection, all-lovingness; of the soul, all-holiness; in a word, He is the absolute, the altogether beautiful. As men take delight in mere sensuous loveliness of beautiful things, a rose, a lily, a dewdrop, a sunset, a statue or a star, or man's or woman's handsome face, all heedless of their use; so a contemplative man may take rapturous joy in the absolute beauty of God—infinitely attractive to every spiritual faculty of man—having that fourfold loveli ness, completeness as a whole, perfection of parts, fitness of function, and adaptation to oar human nature.

But this beauty of God is a source of delight to few men; it cannot be relished without a great development of the religious faculty, and also a profound culture of the intellectual and aesthetic faculties ; and besides, is somewhat too abstruse and transcendental in its nature for the busy world of men, who want something they can grasp with a thicker and hotter hand. I mention it, and dwell upon it, because it lies so much out of the way of common preaching, and because also it is real and lies within the reach of every man who can cultivate his understanding and his religious faculty. But I pass briefly over this, because to many men it seems as moonshine when compared with the clear daylight of other forms of religious joy.

Then there is this feeling of security and trust in God. I feel God not as a King, power alone, but as a Father yea, as a Mother; and I know that God loves me with tenderest affection, that He loves every human soul with all of His infinite power, wisdom, justice, love, and holiness. Now it is a delight to be beloved by any one; the affection which a cat, or dog, or horse, or ox feels for a man is a delight to that man; to know that some human being holds you in esteem, in affection, watches for you and watches over you, and takes delight in your well-being-why, what a joy that is! Everybody knows it. I speak not now of the active affection which loves back again, but of the passivity of spirit which only joys in being loved by other men. Yet in receiving such love from mortal man there is often this hindrance—the man often wishes it to be exclusive to him alone; for he thinks his friend has so little affection that he wants it all, and would break other men's pitchers which are let down to the finite, private well of his friend's affection; so there is a strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and of Lot, a quarrel which troubles the well, and breaks the pitchers, and muddies the water itself. But as the affection of the Infinite God is boundless, not to be exhausted, as from the very nature of God He must have infinite love, so no man need be jealous of Him and fearful we shall not get our share, because publicans and sinners enter into the joy of their Lord. When the elder brother comes near the house of the Infinite God, he hears the music and dancing, and is not wroth, but falls on his brother's neck and kisses him, and finds himself in the finding of the lost, and lives anew in the living of the dead.

I know the delight of being loved, for I have sunned myself in the affection of father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and relative; and if anybody knows the beauty and blessedness of friendship, I think that I do, for I have sounded its depths and tasted its joy. But the love that I have received from mortal men, from father and mother, wife, and relative, and friend—it is but little, nay, it is nothing, compared to the still and calm delight which I feel from consciousness of being loved by the Infinite God. My mortal friends love me, perhaps, through their weakness; they are not good enough to love a better man; God loves me for His strength, for His infinity. They are exclusive, perhaps loving others the less from loving me the more; but God includes all, the heathen, the Hebrew, the Mahometan, the atheist, and the Christian; nay, Cain, Iscariot, the kidnapper, are all folded in the arms of the Infinite Mother, who will not suffer absolute evil to come to the least or the worst of these, but so tempers the mechanism of humanity that all shall come to the table of blessedness at last! Death itself is no limit. God's love is eternal also, providing retribution for all I do; but pain is medicine. What is not delight is discipline, the avenue to nobler joy.

Feeling a consciousness of this Divine love for me, knowing that it is joined with infinite power, wisdom, justice, and holiness, that it is perfect Cause to plan and perfect Providence to administer—why, all the sorrows and sufferings of life, how easily they are borne! I writhe in mortal agony, but my Father's arms are round me—the agony is still. I am not recognized by the world, my little merit is not acknowledged, not appreciated, it is so small; but God recognizes and appreciates it, and smiles down on the little good I do, and it is not lost. Nobody feels for me or with me; but the great God sympathizes with me. I have His infinite power and His infinite love heeding me every moment. I am tormented by the loss of friends—father, mother, wife, child; my dearest of the nearest are gone; but the Infinite Mother folds me to heir bosom, and her tenderness wipes the tears from my eyes; fall asleep in the Infinite arms, remembering that no harm has happened to those who are taken, and there is a place in store for the one that is left. I know that no evils are absolute and lasting; nay, before the creation of the world, all the errors, the mistakes, and the sins which you, or I, or the human race, would commit, were foreseen by the Infinite Father, were provided for long before they came to pass, and shall, all of them, be rounded off at last into a whole of infinite bliss, infinite love towards each child that He has created, towards Cain, towards Iscariot, the kidnapper, and the victims of a world of cruelty and wrong.

I can look on the world's suffering and sorrow, on the wars and slavery, the poverty, drunkenness, and crime, the dreadful want which pines in cities, the vice we pile up in jails to perish in malignant rot, the more vicious vice which builds those jails; I can look on all the sad heartbreak of mankind, and I know it will be all overruled by the Creator in His machinery of the world so that infinite good shall come at last. Of all the world's suffering and transgression, none came by superhuman chance, and so is a world accident; none by superhuman malignity, and is a world curse. The history of man is the calculated consequence of the faculties God put in man, known before-hand to the Infinite Cause, provided by the Infinite Providence, and made to serve His purpose of eternal love. Then there comes the rising up of all my spirit in one great act of gratitude, reverence, and trust, one great feeling of love to God, and this fills me with unbounded delight. Passive to receive God's love, I am active to return it with love again. I just now spoke of the delight of being loved by mortal men! and then of the intimate joy of conscious love received from God! But as our highest joy is of action, and not merely of receiving, as it is more blessed to give affection than to receive even that, so the joy which a man feels from his conscious love of the Infinite God far surpasses even the delight which he has from being loved by the Father.

My affection for my earthly friends is checked by the limitations of their character: thus far and no farther is the rule:

"For the fondest, the fairest, the truest that met,
Man still found the need to forgive and forget"

But as God is infinitely perfect, absolutely loveable, so there is no limit without to my power of loving Him, and my affection grows with the love of God which it feeds upon, and becomes greater, wider, deeper, nicer in its refinement, and brings a greater and greater accession of delight.

Then I have in God the sense of security, of permanent welfare which it brings; this imparts a steadiness to the action of all the faculties; it gives energy, vigour, quickness to the intellect, strengthens the will, sharpens the conscience, widens the heart, blesses with its own beatitude every faculty that I possess. My delight in God increases each special joy in the things of matter or in the persons of men; I love the world the more, because I know it is God's world, even as a dry leaf given by a lover is dearer than all pearls from whoso loves us not! I love my proper business better, by fire-side and street-side, in market and in shop, because I know that it is the way of serving God, bringing about His divine end by my human means. I love my brothers and sisters, my father and mother, wife and child, far more, because my heart is filled with reverence and love to God.

In the sunshine of life, every human joy is made more joyous by this delight in God. When these fail, when health is gone, when my eye is dim, when my estate slips through my hands, and my good name becomes a dishonour, when death takes the nearest and dearest of my friends, then my consciousness of God comes out, a great light in my darkness, and a very present help in my time of trouble. In wet weather in the spring, every hill abounds with water, the brooks run over in their affluence, and all the hill-sides and plains are green; but, when week after week there is no dew nor rain, and month after month the heavens impart no germinative moisture to the ground, the little streams dry up, the surface springs are choked with heat and dust, then we go to the well, that is bored into the primeval rock, embosomed in the mountain, and drink cool sweet water that never fails.

This delight is for yon and me, and every one of us; and when we have this pure abstract enjoyment, which comes of piety in our soul, then the love of God will run over into morality, into love of men in every form! and, in addition to these dear delights of piety, we shall have the joys of philanthropy, of justice, of wisdom, and of all human consciousness in its thousand forms!