It is characteristic of our age to endeavour to replace virtues by technology. That is to say, wherever possible we strive to use methods of physical or social engineering to achieve goals which our ancestors thought attainable only by the training of character. Thus we try so far as possible to make contraception take the place of chastity, and anesthetics to take the place of fortitude; we replace resignation by insurance policies and munificence by the Welfare state. It would be idle romanticism to deny that such techniques and institutions are often less painful and more efficient methods of achieving the goods and preventing the evils which unaided virtue once sought to achieve and avoid. But it would be an equal and opposite folly to hope that the take-over of virtue by technology may one day be complete.
Is it any weakness, pray, to be wrought on by exquisite music? to feel its wondrous harmonies searching the subtlest windings of your soul, the delicate fibres of life where no memory can penetrate, and binding together your whole being, past and present, in one ;unspeakable vibration; melting you in one moment with all the tenderness, all the love, that has been scattered through the toilsome years, concentrating in one emotion of heroic courage or resignation all the hard-learned lessons of self-renouncing sympathy, blending your present joy with past sorrow, and your present sorrow with all your past joy?
How different the peace of god from that of the world! It calms the passions, preserves the purity of conscience, is inseparable from righteousness, unites us to God and strengthens us against temptations. The peace of the soul consists in an absolute resignation to the will of God.
A firm persuasion of the superintendence of Providence over all our concerns is absolutely necessary to our happiness. Without it, we cannot be said to believe in the Scripture, or practice anything like resignation to his will. If I am convinced that no affliction can befall me without the permission of God, I am convinced likewise that he sees and knows that I am afflicted: believing this, I must in the same degree believe that if I pray to him for deliverance, he hears me: I must needs know, likewise, with equal assurance, that if he hears, he will also deliver me, if that will upon the whole be most conducive to my happiness: and if he does not deliver me, I may be well assured that he has none but the most benevolent intention in declining it.
He who unreservedly accepts whatever God may give him in this world – humiliation, trouble, and trial from within or from without – has made a great step towards self-victory; he will not dread praise or censure, he will not be sensitive; or if he finds himself wincing, he will deal so cavalierly with his sensitiveness that it will soon die away. Such full resignation and unfeigned acquiescence is true liberty, and hence arises perfect simplicity.
The wise in all ages… have tried to learn one thing only, and that was resignation to the Will of God. By doing this, they have reached a stage at which they could see from God’s point of view.
There is no succession in the knowledge of God. The variety of successions and changes in the world make not succession, or new objects, in the Divine mind; for all things are present to him from eternity in regard of his knowledge, though they are not actually present in the world in regard of their existence. He doth not know one thing now, and another anon; he sees all things at once; “Known unto God are all things from the beginning of the world”; but in their true order of succession, as they lie in the eternal council of God, to be brought forth in time. Though there be a succession and order of things as they are wrought, there is yet no succession in God in regard of his knowledge of them.
Beginning | Belief | Change | Credit | Day | Doubt | God | Judgment | Knowledge | Man | Men | Opinion | Reason | Resignation | Thought | Title | Understanding | Wills | Wisdom | World | God | Think | Thought |
I am against war, against violence, against violent revolution, for peaceful settlement of differences, for nonviolent but nevertheless radical changes. Change is needed, and violence will not really change anything: At most it will only transfer power from one set of bull-headed authorities to another.