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to that question. I can answer only for myself. One even morable day I sailed through the Straitsmessina to find Mt. Ætna without a cloud, and under the full blaze of the Sicilian sunshine. The mountain rose, as our ship retreated, into ever grander forms. In the afternoon we had our last look at this wonder; the last look was, in many respects, the best. The soft haze through which the mountain rose, the color that began to rest upon it, the loom of the great white mass as it watched from afar the receding steamer, the interest that invested it, after eight hours of beholding, flung back from feeling and imagination, made the final experience the most significant, the most impressive. So it is normally, I believe, with the Eternal things of the spirit. Youth is the morning atmosphere, manhood is high noon, the last decade of working power is the afternoon drawing toward evening. When health is sound, the intellect clear, the opportunity fortunate, the spirit sincere and free, the report concerning the Infinite wonder is the most significant, as it has surely the deepest human value, when the long, laborious hours are well nigh done. Once more, in what may be called late afternoon, I have reviewed the absorbing Mystery, and this book is the simple record of what I have to report.
There are few things more interesting in the
history of the unshackled intellect than the changes in emphasis, mood, pers mive, that time inevitably brings. The vision mouth is greatened while the sense of mystery is deepened; points of light hitherto unseen come into view, the general plan of faith abides, but it abides as the witness to realities that are framed in by the Inscrutable. Since man is finite, and the universe in which he lives is infinite, this conclusion of thought is reasonable, it is inevitable.
A sobered, purified, residual faith is the issue of the discipline of time upon the free mind, a faith that many waters cannot quench, nor floods drown. Something has been found that is imperishable, and when this is simply told by one who has reflected much and long, and who while he may reasonably hope for a few, cannot count upon many years more of service, the young will listen, and those not young will join them. Such I have found to be the case.
One might reasonably generalize this experience of the free mind under the illumination of the years; one might contend that there is in preparation the residual, the eventual faith of all the serious and enlightened centuries. The residual, the eventual faith of a serious and enlightened individual is an interesting, although never more than a provisional version of the racial faith. The tendency of the world of faith gains reflec
tion in individual minds, now and then at least; it is this reflection that gives point and solemnity to Goethtassung:
“Heard are the voices,
Heard are the sages,
This residual or eventual faith is not less but more than the crude compound of our immaturity, which issued not so much from independent reflection and insight as from an over-burdened theological memory. This faith that issues from experience is residual as respects such crude compounds; it is original and expansive as respects the history of a candid and devout mind; it is eventual, as that which the order of the world gives and justifies, in the vital processes of a religiously loyal soul; it is prophetic, a mere outline of light and fire under the deep shadow of retreating night, of the new and vaster day. The unchanging order of the Universe works changes in every open mind; and as one reviews these changes, and revisits the Unchanging, a touch of pathos, a sense of wonder and mystery, surely is not inconsistent with a confident and happy outlook. Essentially, this is the thought that moves one so deeply, that seems so true to life in “Yarrow Revisited,”
"And if, as Yarrow, through the woods
GEORGE A. GORDON. OLD SOUTH PARSONAGE
May 6, 1916.