The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion. We cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honour or dishonour, to the last generation. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, our last best hope of Earth.
Now, we are agreed, I and my destinies. The total world, Above, below, whate'er is seen or known, And all that men, and all that gods enact, Hopes, fears, imaginations, purposes; With joy, and pain, and every pulse that beats In the great body of the universe, I give to the eternal sisterhood, To make my peace withal! And cast this husk, This hated, mangled, and dishonour'd carcase Into the balance; so have I redeem'd My proper birthright, even the changeless mind, The imperishable essence uncontroll'd.
God cannot be represented by an image. We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. We wrong God, and put an affront upon him, if we think so. God honoured man in making his soul after his own likeness; but man dishonours God if he makes him after the likeness of his body. The Godhead is spiritual, infinite, immaterial, incomprehensible, and therefore it is a very false and unjust conception which an image gives us of God.
Those who try to make room for sex as mere casual enjoyment pay the penalty: they become shallow. At any rate the talk that reflects and commends this attitude is always shallow. They dishonour their own bodies; holding cheap what is naturally connected with the origination of human life.
One must be oneself very little of a philosopher not to feel that the finest privilege of our reason consists in not believing in anything by the impulsion of a blind and mechanical instinct, and that it is to dishonour reason to put it in bonds as the Chaldeans did. Man is born to think for himself.
Men of warm imaginations and towering thoughts are apt to overlook the goods of fortune which are near them, for something that glitters in the sight at a distance; to neglect solid and substantial happiness for what is showy and superficial; and to contemn that good which lies within their reach, for that which they are not capable of attaining. Hope calculates its schemes for a long and durable life; presses forward to imaginary points of bliss; grasps at impossibilities; and consequently very often ensnares men into beggary, ruin, and dishonour.