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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody


Mark xii.30.

In the great law of love to God and love to man which Jesus repeats as the law of his own teaching, there is one phrase that seems not wholly clear. You can love God with your heart and your soul; you can even increase your strength by love; but how can you love with the mind? Is it not the very quality of a trained mind to be unmoved by love or hate, dispassionate and unemotional? Is not this the scientific spirit, this attitude of criticism, with no prejudice or affection to color its results?

Of course one must answer that there is much truth which can be discovered by a loveless mind. Yet there is, on the other hand, much truth which cannot be discerned without love. There are many secrets of literature, of art, of music, and of the higher traits of character as well, into which you cannot enter unless you give your mind to these things with sympathy and affection and responsiveness; loving them, as Jesus says, with the mind. One {175} of our preachers has lately called attention to the new word in literature which illustrates this attitude of the mind. When people wrote in earlier days of other people and their works they wrote biographies or criticisms or studies, but now we have what are called |appreciations;| the attempt, that is to say, to enter into a character and appreciate its traits or its art, and to love it with the mind. Perhaps that is what this ancient law asks of you in your relation to God, to come not as a critic, but as a lover, to the rational appreciation of the ways of God. Here is the noblest capacity with which human life is endowed. It is a great thing to love God with the heart and soul, to let the emotions of gratitude to Him or of joy in his world run free; but to rise into sympathetic interpretation of his laws, to think God's thoughts after Him, and to be moved by the high emotions which are stirred by exalted ideas, -- to love God, that is to say, with the mind, -- that, I suppose, is the highest function of human life, and the quality which most endows a man with insight and power.

Rev. Leighton Parks, D. D., in a sermon at the Diocesan Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Boston, May, 1895.

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