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Religion And Health Part 3

Sometimes the stories of these old-fashioned, prayerful women of our time will be told properly. They hid themselves from publicity as sedulously as most people seek it. I think it one of the most precious privileges of life to have known a score of such women, East and West.

Some of them actually seemed to achieve the impossible and even ventured to get up from sick beds to do what they felt they must do, yet they pushed through successfully. Not infrequently they had to stand all sorts of hardships. Over and over again I have heard the story of pioneer work in the midst of privations that would surely seem must break down health; yet many of these women lived to be well beyond seventy and sometimes even beyond eighty years of age. They were strengthened, consoled, held up in trial by prayer, and it enabled them to tap layers of energy in their physical beings which they themselves scarcely knew they possessed and concerning which other people were {51} so dubious that they felt sure the workers would die young of exhausted vitality. Many wondered why some of them did not suffer from nervous prostration. Men and women of prayer seldom suffer from nervous prostration in the ordinary sense of the word, and what is called that in them is very often the manifestation of some organic ailment which has not been recognized.

As to the power of prayer to enable people to stand suffering and pain, that is discussed in the chapters on these special subjects.

Raising the mind and heart to God will do more to make even the extremity of pain bearable than anything else in the world. I have known a man under an engine, almost literally cooking to death from the steam that was escaping near him, in poignant agony, take on a quiet, peaceful look after a priest had crawled under the engine to give him the last rites of the Church; and though his groans would still escape from him involuntarily, it was mainly words of prayer that came and he was evidently in a very different state of mind from that which governed him but a few moments before when only the physical side of his case was occupying his mind. Many a soldier during the war found that when a dread came over him, and he feared that his courage might leave him, especially when men were falling thick and fast all around, a little prayer would lift him up and give him new courage; and when he was so tired that it seemed as though he could not go on any farther it would enable him to tap a new level of energy and get his second wind, as it were, and "carry on."

There are a great many people nowadays, and unfortunately they are ever so much more frequent among the educated classes than among those who have not had the benefit of an education, who seem to think that prayer {52} is a confession of weakness. When a man or a woman has recourse to prayer they would be inclined to say that it is because he or she has not the strength of character and personality that enables them to stand up under the trials of life and to face difficulties valiantly and hopefully. Impressions like this have been rather fostered among the modern intellectual classes who, it must be recalled, are not always intelligent.

We saw in the first chapter that while there is a very prevalent impression that somehow science is opposed to religion and that scientists find it utterly impossible to accept religious beliefs seriously and indeed can only pity those who continue to cherish such outworn superstitions, practically all the greatest scientists of modern times have been deep believers.

What is true with regard to scientists and belief in religion is true also with regard to the strongest characters of the world and prayer.

The greatest moral force of the war, the man who stood as Horace long ago said the perfect man, _totus teres atque rotundus_, should stand, unmoved, even though the world is falling in pieces around him, was Cardinal Mercier. When they asked him at the luncheon given to him in New York by some two thousand of our most prominent commercial representatives how he, a bishop, "brought up in the peace and quiet of a university, should stand unmoved in the presence of the greatest military power on earth and insist on the rights of his country and his people", his very simple reply was, "As a bishop, there was nothing else that it occurred to me for the moment to do."

Some of Cardinal Mercier's favorite maxims show how deeply he feels whence comes his strength. He said, for instance, that "the ideal of life is a clear sense of {53} duty." His favorite quotation is from St. Theresa, that well-known expression, "whenever conscience commands anything, there is only one thing to fear and that is fear." His maxim for daily life was "The whole duty of man consists in doing God's will to-day. I care to have no vain regrets with regard to the past and no idle dreams as to the future, but I shall be quite satisfied if God gives me His grace to accomplish His Holy Will to-day." It is easy to see from these that the Cardinal feels his utter dependence on a Higher Power and the necessity for keeping as closely in touch with that Higher Power by prayer as possible. There is no doubt at all about his supreme strength of character and his placid, yet unbending resolution to accomplish what he sees as duty. There is no doubt, also, that he feels that he draws his strength to accomplish whatever he can from prayer. His daily recourse to it, far from being a sign of weakness in any sense, simply represents the man's own feeling of his inadequacy to accomplish what his conscience dictates unless he is strengthened from on High.

Perhaps it is to be expected that a churchman would find his strength in prayer, but it must not be forgotten that the greatest military leader of this war, who because of the immense armies that he had to lead must be considered one of the greatest military geniuses of all time, confesses also that the source of whatever power he had came from prayer. Over and over again during the time while he was the commander-in-chief of the Allied armies. Marshal Foch was discovered at prayer in some quiet chapel, manifestly absorbed in communion with God. When congratulated on what he had accomplished, he said at once, "Do not thank me, but thank the Author of all good to whom the victory is due." He {54} was often known to ask for prayers and when on the morning of the first battle of the Marne he met the chaplain of one of his regiments, he said to him, "Pray for us, father; we advance from here or die here to-day."

There is a story that comes from his own headquarters that when sometimes he was thought to be asleep he was found at prayer. When his first decision as commander-in-chief of the Allied armies had to be made, and he had to determine whether Amiens should be surrendered to the enemy and a defense made on lines behind that city, both Haig, in immediate command of the British forces, as well as Petain, the French commander, are said to have advised retirement. Foch listened patiently to their reasons and then asked for twenty minutes by himself before making his decision, declaring that he would give it in that time. He spent those minutes walking up and down the garden in the slight rain that was falling, very much in the concentrated manner that he was known to assume when praying. At the end of twenty minutes he declared that Amiens was to be held at all cost,--and it was. This was the first great step in the breaking of the enemy morale. When three months later, on the 18th of July--after the Germans had tried for three days to come through his lines and had practically succeeded and then, lacking in men and munitions had to stop--Marshal Foch launched his counter-offensive which represented the beginning of the end of the war, it was easy to understand the strain through which he had just passed and the immensity of the responsibility of the decision that he had to make. After the orders for the counter-offensive had been sent out he said, "Now I must rest." As can readily be imagined he had slept {55} but little on any of the three preceding nights. Half an hour after he retired there came a dispatch which the high staff decided must be communicated to the general-in-chief. They hesitated for some time to wake him, but there was nothing else for it. His adjutant found him on his knees.

The practice of prayer, then, instead of being an index of weakness of character, is on the contrary a note that is found exemplified in a great many men who are distinguished for their strength of character.

It is the strong man above all who knows his own weakness and realizes how incapable he is of doing very great things of himself. It is the conceited man who is confident that he can accomplish anything that he wants out of his own strength and often fails. Great generals almost as a rule have been men who turned aside from the immense calls made upon them by their military responsibilities to gain consolation and strength from the Most High. It is surprising often to find how devoutly they turn to the Higher Power in their trials. Field Marshal Lord Wolseley carried a copy of Thomas a Kempis' "Imitation of Christ"

with him always and read in it every day. When they found Chinese Gordon dead at Khartum there was a little copy of Newman's "Dream of Gerontius" in which he had been reading and making some annotations during the days before the end. For him, too, the "Imitation of Christ" was favorite reading, as it was for Stanley the explorer and many another thoroughly practical, intensely brave and strong man whom the world has come to appreciate for his strength of character.

In our time there has been noted an extreme lack of delicacy and a diminution of that reticence which {56} characterized human beings at their best. There has been a pouring out of the story of their woes and ills by men and women seeking sympathy which not only does them no good but which tends to break down their own character. It was Nietzsche who said, in one of these striking aphorisms of his, "Sympathy only makes us feel bad and the person for whom we sympathize feel worse than before." In an older time when there was more faith and the practice of prayer was commoner, the habit of prayer replaced this pouring out of the heart to others. People let God know about it and in that way brought themselves into the mental attitude that somehow, somewhere, all was well, for God's in His world and all is right with it. This proved an antidote to that sympathy-seeking self-pity which is not only so fatal to character development, but which actually makes the trials and sufferings of life harder to bear than they would otherwise be and will sometimes lift the little discomforts that are almost inevitably associated with living up to a plane of superconsciousness on which they seem to be torments. Prayer is often its own reward, though any one who practices it in reality knows that there are other and much higher effects than this psychological influence which can of itself, however, neutralize many of the lesser disturbances of life that may be so readily exaggerated.

To many people in our time prayer seems a useless exercise except in so far as the state of mind which it engenders reacts upon the individual to console and strengthen him in trials and to hearten him for difficulties that lie ahead. Even if it had no other effect than this, prayer would still be a very valuable factor for health in the midst of the difficulties and above all the {57} dreads of humanity which are so likely to disturb the proper functioning of organic life.

If this were all that it meant, however, prayer would not be a religious but a psychotherapeutic exercise. As a matter of belief, however, prayer is much more than this and, to the mind of the believer at least, leads to help from on High that may prove of immense consequence in the development of individual life. Many people feel that it would be idle to think that prayer can alter the ordinary course of natural events and that these are rigidly connected with the causal elements which lead up to them and cannot be modified, once the chain of causes has been set to work.

It is curiously interesting to realize that not a few of those who urge this inevitability of causation are just those who refuse to acknowledge the principle of causation as necessarily leading to the demonstration that there must be a first cause. As suggested by Sir Bertram Windle, president of University College, Cork, in his volume "The Church in Science" which has recently been awarded one of the Bridgewater prizes in England, it is not difficult to realize "that the world is by no means so rigidly predetermined as many enthusiastic votaries of science would have us believe"; he adds:

"There is room for free play; chance has a real objective significance, viz., the intercrossing of independent causal chains, and is not a mere cloak for ignorance. Not alone is a large part of natural occurrences within our own control, but there is opportunity for God's special direction of events without any contravention of the laws of science. We cannot see far ahead; for aught we know, a small change of present plans may result in far-reaching future consequences. And many present {58} realities were once frail possibilities hanging on slender causal threads; did not England's present mineral wealth and insular position originate in some chance-formed heterogeneity in a nebula? All these life-histories of countries and individuals stand spread out to God's eternal gaze. At each stage He sees the possibilities foreclosed or initiated; He influences development by the primal distribution in the past and by direction and inspiration in the present."

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CHAPTER III

SACRIFICE

The essence of religion is sacrifice. St. Paul summed it up in his own inimitable fashion when he said, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." The supreme exercise of religious feeling is the readiness to make sacrifices because one feels that it is the will of the Deity that they should be made. The "Century Dictionary's" definition of sacrifice, "the giving up of some prized or desirable thing in behalf of a higher object", represents the state of mind that one must have if one is desirous of practicing religion sincerely. The tendency to make sacrifices seems almost to be ingrained in humanity and to be a sort of instinct. It is one of these precious manifestations of nature so difficult to understand and yet representing some great basic principle of humanity. The feeling of satisfaction that comes with it represents that compensation for the exercise of a natural function which so often accompanies natural processes and is sometimes supposed to be a feature only of the physical yet is so invariably found also in the moral order.

From the very earliest times men have made sacrifices in the spirit of religion. Now that the story of the cave man is known not by inference but by actual discovery {60} of his remains in the caves of western France and northern Spain, we find that he was an artist who invented oil colors, grinding the oxides of manganese and of iron in mortars and mixing them with the rendered fat of animals and painting some of the most vivid pictures of animals that have ever been made on the walls of his cave in order to make his home beautiful. Instead of being just a little better than the beasts, he was an artist, and an artist is at all times the flower of our civilization, ahead of and not behind the rest of the race. In the tombs of the cave men finely made tools have been found buried with the bodies, demonstrating the belief in a hereafter and the readiness of those who were left behind to make sacrifices for their dead. For these tools had been produced at the cost of no little labor, and in the values of the time were precious. In order that their dead friend might be happy in another world they were quite willing to make these sacrifices and to devote other efforts to securing happiness for him. They devoted a good deal of care to the disposal of the body and even buried red coloring matter with the remains so that their dead friend might not look too pale in the next world and perhaps be the subject of remark, because of that. We rouge our corpses in our time again, but with the idea of making them presentable for this world.

This state of mind which prompts man to make a sacrifice is, almost needless to say, extremely valuable for health and for happiness, because it makes people ready to offer up their feelings in case of disappointment and even to be ready to accept trials that may come to them--and life is sure to have them--as representing opportunities for the making of sacrifices. If one has set one's heart on something and has devoted great efforts to getting it {61} and then finds that owing to circumstances it cannot be secured, nothing is so effective as the deep religious feeling of sacrifice to aid in keeping the disappointment from affecting health and strength.

We need it at the present time sadly, and its eclipse through decadence of religion has been a great misfortune. Modern life has been very much disturbed by the fact that insanity and suicides are both on the increase to an almost alarming extent and that, sad to say, the average age at which they occur is steadily becoming earlier.

Suicide happens at ever younger years just in proportion, it would seem, to the spread of popular education and the lessening of the influence of religion, while at the same time the necessity for restraint for insanity and of internments in asylums is also coming at a younger age. People used to go through with some of the very hard things of life before they were ready to give up struggling or broke down in mind, but now some of the minor trials of early life--a petty setback in school examinations or disappointment in a youthful love affair--may bring about a very serious breakdown in physical or mental health and may even lead to suicide.

We need ever so much more training in the discipline of sacrifice even from very earliest youth, but almost needless to say this can come practically only from religion, and religious influences are waning for a great many people. All young folks must be trained to give things up voluntarily so that when disappointment comes they are ready for it. They must be taught to stand some of the disagreeable things in life so that they may have the will power to endure even the hardest ones, if they should be called upon to do so. Such discipline, instead of being cruel, is really kind, for constituted as life is and with {62} hardships and trials inevitable to the great majority of people, it is all-important that we should be prepared for them. It is the role of religion particularly to do this. It can accomplish it without producing unfortunate reactions, but on the contrary with personal satisfaction to the individual who has to be trained in endurance because of the feeling that the sacrifices have a worth beyond that of the merely material.

Whole-hearted sacrifice will lift a character up to heights of heroism that are supremely admirable and make life exemplary, though the failure to take the opportunities for sacrifice may lead to crushing of the spirit entirely. Almost inevitably this brings about disturbance of health as well as deterioration of character. The loss of children by death, particularly when there are but one or two children in a family, as is so frequent in modern times, often brings on a state of mental perturbation in which the health of mind and body, especially of women, may suffer severely. Religion, with its development of the spirit of sacrifice, whenever it is taken seriously, is the best possible sheet anchor in such cases, and the gradual diminution of religious feelings and abandonment of religious practice during the present generation have greatly multiplied the tendency to such severe breakdowns.

A distinguished scientist. Professor Whittaker, the Royal Astronomer of Ireland, dwelt on the scientific aspect of sacrifice for high purpose in a way that is illuminating and serves to make our generation understand better the enduring nature of sacrifice in creation and the place that it has in the up-building of what is best in life.

"Surrender to the will of God generally means the giving up of some of the delights of the world. Like the {63} coral island built up on the accumulations of its own past life, the perfected kingdom is to be reached only by the sacrifice of countless generations of its own up-builders. But--and this is the greatest of all evidence of the divine life within humanity--in all ages men have left the pleasures of their former life to obey the inward call. The long procession that leads to the distant goal is reunited afresh in every generation: and to-day millions have found the joy of a life centered round the words of the Master, 'Repent', 'Follow Me.'"

A distinguished mathematician who is at the same time a very well-known physical scientist declared not long since that the formula for happiness may be expressed as follows:

h = g/w

In this, h stands for the amount of individual happiness and is equal to what the individual has got, g, divided by w, what he wants. If a man has a great deal but wants ever so much more, his fraction of happiness may be comparatively small. If he has got even a little but does not want much more, his fraction of happiness may approach an integer. If he has got anything in the world and does not want anything more, according to the terms of the formula, he is infinitely happy, for one divided by zero equals infinity (1/0=infinity). What is important for men for their happiness then is not so much to try to increase the numerator by adding to or even multiplying their possessions, but to decrease the denominator by lessening their wants and by decreasing the number of things without which they feel that they cannot be happy.

{64}

Almost needless to say the one element above all in life which enables men to reduce their wants and to live in satisfaction with few things is religion. A great many men in the history of the race have for religious motives assumed the obligations of voluntary poverty and have greatly increased satisfaction in life and have found happiness thereby. The multiplication of material wants which after a time become needs that actually cannot be dispensed with without a feeling of serious deprivation leads to such preoccupation with mere bodily concerns that no time is left to live the life of the spirit and really to enjoy the things of the mind and the heart and the soul with the supreme satisfaction which their experience gives to us. The old pagan poet, Horace, suggested long ago that he hated the apparatus of luxury because it took away so much of the simple enjoyment of life and consumed so much time in idle concerns. Nothing is so helpful in enabling men to simplify life as religious motives. They learn to make the sacrifice of certain inclinations and feelings that would tempt them to rival other men and to be satisfied with a little for the sake of the lessened allurements to luxury that are thus secured for themselves and their children. Health comes as a by-product of this simplification of life as it is not likely to come under any other circumstances.

To all men there comes, sooner or later in life, the realization that the getting of things cannot bring happiness. Oscar Wilde said in one of his well-known caustic epigrams, "There are two tragedies in life; the one is not getting what you want and the other is getting it; and of the two the latter is the worse." Quite apart from the pessimism and the exaggeration of the apothegm which constitutes only part of the humor, there is a great deal of {65} truth in the expression, as all men learn eventually. What Faust said to Mephistopheles was that "if ever a time shall come when I shall be willing to say to the passing moment 'stay you with me, for I shall be satisfied with you forever' then you may have my soul." All that the devil had to do was to make him happy, but that is impossible, for "man never is, but to be blessed." There is no lasting satisfaction in getting, for men increase their desires with everything they get.

Men come to realize, if they gather wisdom with the years, that the fruit of striving and the quest after anything in the world, be it riches or knowledge or honor or power, is of itself but dust and ashes in the mouth once the goal has been reached, for it is the quest and not the attainment, the hunt and not the capture that counts in life, and the only thing that can possibly give any genuine satisfaction to man is the cultivation of the spirit of sacrifice. Sacrifices made for a higher power give life a meaning that it would otherwise have lost.

For those who have reached the years beyond middle life, the blessedness of giving rather than receiving, of making sacrifices rather than seeking satisfaction, means the renewal of life's hopes and aspirations.

It is making a virtue of necessity to cultivate the spirit of sacrifice, but then it was a great philosopher who said that "the only virtue worth while talking about is the virtue that is made out of necessity." Most of the things in life that are really worth while we have to do whether we want to or not, and it is the spirit in which they are done that lifts them out of the rut of common-place, sordid, everyday actions into the realm of spiritual significance, because they are done for a great purpose. Each act of sacrifice may thus be made an act of worship {66} of the Deity and have almost an infinite value. This makes even the minor acts of life produce a satisfaction not otherwise possible and gives a new significance to life when the novelty of living has worn off and when the _taedium vitae_, the tiredness with life that comes to every one after a while, if mere human motives prevail, steals over us.

There is a passage in the Scriptures, the truth of which a good many people seem to doubt in the modern time, though the experience of centuries has confirmed it. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Those who have experienced the delightful satisfaction of giving whole-heartedly, even when they did not have much to give, realize the truth of this. By comparison, the poor are the great givers among men, giving ever so much more in proportion to their means than do the rich, almost without exception, and it is to them particularly that these divine words have come home. They are ready to make all sorts of personal sacrifices to help those around them, almost as a rule, and they know the blessedness of giving. If the rich gave to others in anything like the proportion to what the poor so commonly do, there would be no suffering from poverty.

The sacrifices which they make bring with them a satisfaction that is eminently conducive to health. There is nothing like the sleep that comes with the consciousness of good accomplished for others, and the poor enjoy that just in proportion to the sacrifice that their doing of good has entailed. Giving up has often meant much for others, but it usually means more for oneself. The consciousness of having relieved the necessities of others is probably the best appetizer and somnifacient that we have. We talk of "sleeping the sleep of the just", and {67} the just man is above all the one who thinks of others. Feelings of depression and melancholy, when not actually the consequence of organic disease or hereditary impairment of mentality, are probably better relieved by the consciousness of doing good to others than in any other way. This is particularly true when the doing of good entails some special sacrifice on the doer of it. Nervousness, in the broad general sense of that word, is at bottom very often a manifestation of selfishness, that is, oversolicitude about oneself and one's affairs, and nothing so serves to neutralize it as personal sacrifices made for others.

Sacrifice, moreover, is the fundamental element in most of the practices of religion. It represents the underlying factor of charity and fasting and mortification, for personal sacrifices have to be made of time and money and often of inclination and immediate personal satisfaction in order to accomplish these. As they are treated in separate chapters, they need only be mentioned here as representing component elements in that readiness to make sacrifices for the sake of others and oneself which Providence seems to demand.

Nothing requires so much sacrifice from men and women, even to the giving up of life itself, as war, and yet when whole-heartedly entered into, it becomes a magnificent discipline of humanity, affording satisfactions that are supreme and leaving memories that are the most precious for the race. Above all, men learn in time of war that there are things in life that are worth more than life itself, and there is no knowledge in the world that is so precious for mankind as this.

How much war's sacrifices may mean for the development of character Professor William James has {68} emphasized in his essay on the "Moral Equivalent of War." He confesses the paradox, but he says:

"Ask all our millions, north and south, whether they would vote now (were such a thing possible) to have our war for the Union expunged from history, and the record of a peaceful transition to the present time substituted for that of its marches and battles, and probably hardly a handful of eccentrics would say yes. Those ancestors, those efforts, those memories and legends, are the most ideal part of what we now own together, a sacred spiritual possession worth more than all the blood poured out. Yet ask those same people whether they would be willing in cold blood to start another civil war now to gain another similar possession, and not one man or woman would vote for the proposition."

It must not be forgotten that strengthening of character, war's invariable effect on the man of moral aims, always diminishes the dreads of life. They mean ever so much not only for the development of the psychoneuroses and the whole domain of neurotic symptoms so common in our time, but also for the exaggeration of the symptoms of real physical disease which makes patients so uncomfortable, or full of complaints, and has led to so many useless operations in our generation.

Professor James even ventured to suggest that "the dread hammer (of war) is the welder of men into cohesive states, and nowhere but in such states can human nature adequately develop its capacity. The only alternative is degeneration." He adds that "the martial type of character can be bred without war", but only under very special circumstances and where men have been willing to give themselves up to a great cause. "Priests and medical men are in a fashion educated to it, {69} and we should all feel some degree of it imperative if we were conscious of our work as an obligatory service to the State. We should be owned, as soldiers are by the army, and our pride would arise accordingly. We could be poor then without humiliation, as army officers now are."

Mr. H. G. Wells, in one of his paradoxical moods, has dwelt on how far the sacrifices needed for military life have lifted the life of the soldier above that of the civilian, in so far as its social value is concerned. "When the contemporary man steps from the street of clamorous insincere advertisement, push, adulteration, underselling and intermittent employment into the barrack-year, he steps on to a higher social plane, into an atmosphere of service and cooperation and of infinitely more honorable emulations. Here at least men are not flung out of employment to degenerate because there is no immediate work for them to do. They are fed and drilled and trained for better services. Here at least a man is supposed to win promotion by self-forgetfulness and not by self-seeking."

The war spirit with its necessary sacrifices serves to lift men above the dreads that wear away other lives and makes it very clear what the spirit of whole-hearted sacrifice can accomplish in keeping life from being disturbed by fear thoughts of many kinds. It might possibly be thought that the supreme call made upon nature's power to overcome such dreads, when combined with the extreme physical efforts that war often calls for and the draft upon nature's resources that the healing of wounds demands, would surely shorten the lives of military men, and that soldiers and officers, but above all these latter, would have on the average much less expectancy of life than the rest of mankind.

Apart from actual fatal {70} wounds, this is not true, however, but on the contrary men who have suffered severely from wounds, who have been placed under heavy burdens of responsibility and have gone through trials that would seem calculated to exhaust nature's powers, have lived far beyond the average length of life and even long beyond the vast majority of men. Lord Roberts, wounded over and over again, once shot almost to pieces, getting his Victoria Cross for bravery of the highest type, lived, still active, well past eighty and died from pneumonia behind the lines in the Great War quite as any man of the generation after his might have done. Sir Evelyn Wood is another typical instance of this living well beyond eighty in the enjoyment of health and strength and power to be of use to his country.

The spirit of sacrifice for a great patriotic purpose is like the spirit of sacrifice from religious motives which blesses while it furnishes the highest satisfactions that can come to a man. If men and women could be brought to exercise from religious motives in time of peace as much of the spirit of sacrifice as they do for war and patriotism, the world would be a very wonderful place in which to live. As it is, there are a great many who do so and whose lives have become veritable blessings for others and yet sources of supreme satisfaction to themselves. Their thoroughgoing faith and trust are examples to others that make life not only ever so much easier in the midst of hardships, but that give a new depth to the belief in immortality, because these others whose lives are so admirable have such a supreme faith in it that they direct all their actions to its reflection. As Professor Osler said in delivering the Ingersoll lecture on immortality at Harvard, a great many of us believe {71} because there are around us persons, often those whom we love dearly, whose lives and faith mean so much to us that their confidence in immortality is imparted to us.

Religion is above all the motive of sacrifice that makes life more efficient and is productive of the healthy mind in the healthy body.

It has quite equaled war in this regard, and the lives of missionaries, when lived under the most difficult circumstances, have often lasted long beyond even the Psalmist's limit of three-score years and ten. I have in mind as I write a dear old missionary who is still with us who spent twenty years with the Nez Perces Indians in the distant West, sharing all the hardships of the tribe and yet accomplishing very little in the matter of winning them to Christianity until at the end of that long time his leg was broken by a fall. The manly, uncomplaining courage with which he bore the accident won the hearts of the warriors, and they were ready to become Christians and to follow whole-heartedly the principles of religion which could make a white man so completely a man in every sense of the word as they had found their missionary. His health in the midst of all this had been excellent, and he is now in Alaska, past eighty, standing the climate and the trials of that country.

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