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The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

PREFACE vii

I. THE CHARACTERS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE 1

II. HISTORY AND THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT 38

III. PSYCHOLOGY AND THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT: (I) THE ANALYSIS OF MIND 74

IV. PSYCHOLOGY AND THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT: (II) CONTEMPLATION AND SUGGESTION 112

V. INSTITUTIONAL RELIGION AND THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT 153

VI. THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT IN THE INDIVIDUAL 191

VII. THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT AND EDUCATION 228

VIII. THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT AND THE SOCIAL ORDER 266

PRINCIPAL WORKS USED AND CITED 300

INDEX 307

THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT

AND

THE LIFE OF TO-DAY

Initio tu, Domine, terram fundasti; et opera manuum tuarum sunt caeli. Ipsi peribunt, tu autem permanes; et omnes sicut vestimentum veterascent. Et sicut opertorium mutabis eos, et mutabuntur; Tu autem idem ipse es, et anni tui non deficient. Filii servorum tuorum habitabunt; et semen eorum in seculum dirigetur.

--Psalm cii: 25-28

CHAPTER I

THE CHARACTERS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE

This book has been called "The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day" in order to emphasize as much as possible the practical, here-and-now nature of its subject; and specially to combat the idea that the spiritual life--or the mystic life, as its more intense manifestations are sometimes called--is to be regarded as primarily a matter of history. It is not. It is a matter of biology. Though we cannot disregard history in our study of it, that history will only be valuable to us in so far as we keep tight hold on its direct connection with the present, its immediate bearing on our own lives: and this we shall do only in so far as we realize the unity of all the higher experiences of the race. In fact, were I called upon to choose a motto which should express the central notion of these chapters, that motto would be--"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." This declaration I would interpret in the widest possible sense; as suggesting the underlying harmony and single inspiration of all man's various and apparently conflicting expressions of his instinct for fullness of life. For we shall not be able to make order, in any hopeful sense, of the tangle of material which is before us, until we have subdued it to this ruling thought: seen one transcendent Object towards which all our twisting pathways run, and one impulsion pressing us towards it.

As psychology is now teaching us to find, at all levels of our craving, dreaming, or thinking, the diverse expressions of one psychic energy; so that type of philosophy which comes nearest to the religion of the Spirit, invites us to find at all levels of life the workings and strivings of one Power: "a Reality which both underlies and crowns all our other, lesser strivings."[1] Variously manifested in partial achievements of order and goodness, in diversities of beauty, and in our graded apprehensions of truth, this Spirit is yet most fully known to us in the transcendent values of holiness and love. The more deeply it is loved by man, the nearer he draws to its heart: and the greater his love, the more fully does he experience its transforming and energizing power. The words of Plotinus are still true for every one of us, and are unaffected by the presence or absence of creed:


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