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CHAPTER I. FETICHISM. THE CHINESE. THE EGYPTIANS. 1. FETICHISM. The lowest stage of religious development is fetichism, as it is found among the savage tribes of the polar regions, and in Africa, America, and Australia. In this stage, man's needs are as yet very limited and exclusively confined to the material world. Still too little developed intellectually to worship the divine in nature and her powers, he thinks he sees the divinity which... more...

As knowledge increases, the attitude of science towards the things of the invisible world is undergoing considerable modification. Its attention is no longer directed solely to the earth with all its variety of objects, or to the physical worlds around it; but it finds itself compelled to glance further afield, and to construct hypotheses as to the nature of the matter and force which lie in the regions beyond the ken of its instruments. Ether is... more...

I PROLOGUE [Controverted Questions, 1892] Le plus grand service qu'on puisse rendre à la science est d'y faire place nette avant d'y rien construire.—CUVIER. Most of the Essays comprised in the present volume have been written during the last six or seven years, without premeditated purpose or intentional connection, in reply to attacks upon doctrines which I hold to be well founded; or in refutation of allegations respecting... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY. To summon a dead religion from its forgotten grave and to make it tell its story, would require an enchanter's wand. Other old faiths, of Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, are known to us. But in their case liturgies, myths, theogonies, theologies, and the accessories of cult, remain to yield their report of the outward form of human belief and aspiration. How scanty, on the other hand, are the records of Celtic religion!... more...

Introduction Here is a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God, eager to grasp at least the outskirts of His ways, the abyss of His love for sinners, and the height of His unapproachable majesty—and it was written by a busy pastor in Chicago! Who could imagine David writing the twenty-third Psalm on South Halsted Street, or a medieval mystic finding inspiration in a small study on the second floor of a frame house... more...


FOREWORD The reader who is willing to give the following pages a careful reading, and a courteous hearing, is entitled to know the basis of study, observation or experience from which the suggestions, inferences and conclusions proceed, in order that he may fairly estimate their value. At the age of seventy-two, my egotism is at least softened by the discovery of the many things I do not know; and my dogmatism, so far as it ever existed, is... more...

I. INTRODUCTORY These lectures will not be concerned with history as a record of wars and political changes; they will have little to tell of battles, murders, and sudden deaths. Instead, we shall try to discover and throw light on the cyclic movements of the Human Spirit. Back of all phenomena, or the outward show of things, there is always a noumenon in the unseen. Behind the phenomena of human history, the noumenon is the Human Spirit, moving... more...

This little book, written during the last months of peace, goes to press in the first weeks of the great war. Many will feel that in such a time of conflict and horror, when only the most ignorant, disloyal, or apathetic can hope for quietness of mind, a book which deals with that which is called the "contemplative" attitude to existence is wholly out of place. So obvious, indeed, is this point of view, that I had at first thought of postponing... more...

PREFACE. The following essay was written several years ago; but I have hitherto refrained from publishing it, lest, after having done so, I should find that more mature thought had modified the conclusions which the essay sets forth. Judging, however, that it is now more than ever improbable that I shall myself be able to detect any errors in my reasoning, I feel that it is time to present the latter to the contemplation of other minds;... more...

Behold, God is mine, and all things are mine! What will I more, and what more happy thing can I desire? O delightsome and sweet world! that is, to him that loveth the Word, not the world, neither the things that are in the world.(1) My God, my all! To him that understandeth, that word sufficeth, and to repeat it often is pleasing to him that loveth it. When Thou art present all things are pleasant; when Thou art absent, all things are wearisome.... more...