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a few of his works. Who hath seen Him, that he may declare him? And who shall magnify him as he is? We may say many things, yet we shall not attain; and the sum of our words is, He is all. When therefore ye glorify the Lord, exalt him as much as ye can; for even yet will he exceed : and when ye exalt him, put forth your full strength, be not weary; for ye will never

attain.”

“Be not weary; for ye will never attain!" If we are able to grasp the idea of an Infinite which does not exclude the finite from itself, but embraces it—and of a finite that does not limit the Infinite, but realises it, then we see that the experience of the finite may be a direct revelation of the Infinite, which is not “degraded” by predicates derived from that experience. It is true that any such predicate falls far short of the Reality, and in this sense “ the Ultimate Cause is in every respect greater than can be conceived." But this does not mean that it is “unknowable," as the late Principal Caird of Glasgow has eloquently and forcibly shown. “It is

1 Ecclesiasticus xliii. 27 ff.

because we conceive of the Unknown not as 'a mystery absolutely and for ever beyond our comprehension,' but as containing more of what is admirable to us than we can grasp,-because our intelligence is confronted by an object which is immeasurably above it in its own line, that there is awakened within us a sense of our own littleness in contrast with its greatness. In the presence even of finite excellence — of human genius and learning—we may be conscious of feelings of deep humility and silent respectful admiration; and this, too, may be reverence for the unknown. But that which makes this reverence a possible and wholesome feeling is that it is reverence not for a mere blank inscrutability, but for what I can think of as an intelligence essentially the same as my own, though far exceeding mine in its range and power. ... In like manner, the grandeur which surrounds the thought of the Absolute, the Infinite Reality beyond the finite, can only arise from this, not that it is something utterly inconceivable and unthinkable, but that it is the realisation of our highest ideal of spiritual excellence. The homage rendered to it is that which is felt for a being 'in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,' all the inexhaustible wealth of that boundless realm of truth in which thought finds ever increasing stimulus to aspiration, ever growing food for wonder or delight.”

There remains a question which may already have occurred to the reader. If our highest and truest conceptions of the Absolute can only be fragmentary representations of the real truth, how is this related to the view that the Absolute is organically united to the finite—the union being so intimate as to be sometimes a matter of direct experience? The one principle explains the other. The value of this experience depends entirely on the way in which it is interpreted; and the interpretation itself has as many different degrees of truth as there are in the conceptions of God. The mode of conception which we have been defending may be expressed thus : God is the Truth in all that is true, the Beauty in all that is beautiful, the Goodness' in all that is good. This is not a formula

which can be simply accepted or simply · rejected : it is one whose significance is suggested as a fruitful subject for reflection. Its necessary consequence is that the apprehension of God is always at bottom a direct experience.

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CHAPTER VIII.

ROBERT BROWNIN G.

SUMMARY.

If Religion is an experience (of the absolute worth and reality of our Ideals) together with the intellectual interpretation of that experience, then the worth of Religion depends on the range and depth of the experience as well as on the thoroughness of its intellectual interpretation. The great lesson of Browning's poetry is the value of Work (effort, energy of spirit) in deepening experience and so affording new data for knowledge. His appeal is to the completest possible human experience tested and interpreted by Work; and he goes forth to survey human nature in all its degrees of greatness and vileness. His general conclusion is that “this world's no blot for us, nor blank; it means intensely, and means good” (Fra Lippo Lippi); "earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure(R. Ben Ezra); "all's love yet all's law” (Saul). Some personal characteristics account for his peculiarities of style.

His central problem is the reconciliation of universal Power and Law with Love (Reverie). His faith is that they are at bottom one (see The Pope, 1362-1383). The strenuous mood of mind will find that experience verifies

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