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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXXII THE CENTRAL SOLITUDE

John xvi.32.

In one of Frederick Robertson's sermons he speaks of the conduct of life as like the conduct of atoms, which have a certain attraction for each other, but at a certain point of approach are repelled and do not touch. There is in every large life a certain central solitude of this kind into which no other soul can enter. Some persons fear this solitude, some rejoice in it, but the use of it is the test of a man's life. A very near friend of Dr. Brooks's once heard of a man who said that he knew Dr. Brooks intimately; and this friend said: |No man ought to say that. Not one of us knew Dr. Brooks intimately. There was a central Holy of Holies in his life, into which none of us ever entered.| So it was. And this preservation of an inner privacy for the deeper experiences of life is what proves a soul to be peaceful and strong. Guard your soul's individual life. In the midst of the social world keep a place for the {181} nurture of the isolated life, for the reading and for the thoughts which deal with the interior relations of the single soul to the immanent God.

|Thyself amid the silence clear,
The world far off and dim,
His presence close, the bright ones near,
Thyself alone with Him.|

That is what makes a man strong under the tests of life. He is not a parasitic plant deriving its life from some other life; he is rooted deep in the soil of the Eternal. As was said of John Henry Newman, such a man is never less alone than when alone. |He is not alone, because the Father is with him.|

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