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who is able to understand and admire it." We might enlarge upon this to declare that when God raises up a prophet to utter things from Beyond, there are some ears that will hear and some hearts that will thrill.
Somewhat of an analogy exists between this response of spirituality and æsthetic taste. As there is in every one a certain taste to detect the beautiful and more or less latent; so is there in all an instinctive feeling for the higher kinds of truth, more or less uncultivated. The reason that all men do not feel the entire force of a great dogma of righteousness, on first presentation, is that the inner sense referred to, like æsthetic taste, is in general rude and untrained.
The tenderness and exalted sentiment of a great poein are not apparent to a child's mind, nor to any but those who have refined their natures into sympathy with the poet's enthusiasm; and the more one studies a masterpiece of poetic art, the more of touching and original thought is discovered. The study of art expands the inner response to the beautiful.
Go for the first time into a gallery of ancient paintings. You pass rapidly along, your eye glancing over the dingy surfaces of great squares of canvas. A comical beggar-boy by Murillo, a Flora by Titian or a group of Nymphs by Giordano arrests attention. The grosser beau
ties of art are perceived at once, but the great themes are passed by unnoticed. You look into your guide-book for the more famous pieces, and lo, a double-starred Raphael! Strange you had passed it by! How old it is! how faded! how homely! Only a St. Cæcilia, in peasant garb and with uplifted seraphic face, and earnest men to right and left. Few lines, few colors and no slightest trace of either manly or womanly charm of sense! Yet somehow you like the picture, the face of the maid is so pure, sweet and spiritual, and her devotion so genuine; and on the scarred and wrinkled visages of the men there appears a manhood so Christly. You sit down to study this work. It grows upon you. You go away and come again. You gaze and ponder and by and by you wonder. The picture begins to fascinate you. You find yourself worshipping with St. Cæcilia; you feel the thrill of her rapture; you resent the careless tread of tourists passing by; you scarce dare breathe, lest her adoration be marred. Great thoughts now come into the mind, new feelings stir in the heart. You have communed with Raphael, you have begun to do homage to the true greatness of art. And at last you reluctantly bid farewell to the gallery, wondering that you could ever have preferred Floras and Nymphs and have passed by undetected so
superb a creation of genius. Henceforth you will study paintings with a new sense.
Now something like this occurs in listening to the revelations of prophetic natures. If we will ponder we may understand. The sense grows with use.
Doubtless this sense has its limits. Many spiritual truths from Beyond might be revealed, which it could not test. It is adapted to apprehend and feel only such dogmas as have been or are likely to be revealed to mankind.
And these not intricately. It is never absolutely unerring, and hence can have no excuse for being dogmatic. It is a general recognition and not a scientific analysis. Across the ages it detects in Christ the Divine: it hears, hearkens, bends the knee, bows the head, believes, adores and obeys.
Probably every earnest disciple of Jesus has been conscious of a growth like this, in years of study on the Bible and of reflection on Christian doctrine. No one can listen to Christ's words, in a teachable spirit, without being deeply moved and irresistibly urged on toward conviction. Probably no one has ever gone to Our Saviour, with the honest intention of giving Him a fair hearing, who has not been carried on from point to point, until the grandest stretches of divine thought have opened before
him. It is not strange that Jesus was so bold in His famous assertion: "If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself!"
This is the formidable argument in favor of Christianity. The words of Christ, with His character as illustration, guarantee His authority. His fulfilment of prediction is of intense interest, and His miraculous deeds of mercy very significant; but the beauty, fitness, goodness and inner conclusiveness of the truth uttered and lived mainly carry conviction.
On that last night, in which He was betrayed, He said to His disciples: "These things I have spoken unto you in proverbs; but the time cometh when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father." He could only have meant to promise the coming of the Spirit of Truth to quicken spirituality and to work discernment.
And he to-day who would "know of the doc trine" has no authoritative Church to interpret for him, and no sufficient creed to define, but only the great sayings themselves, a docile heart and the Spirit of Truth.
THE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST.
"For now we see through a mirror, darkly."-PAUL.
THE mysterious in Christian doctrine was recognized by Jesus, not only in His method of instruction through parables, as fully set forth in a preceding chapter, but by direct allusion. On one occasion He said to His disciples: "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven." This was the more significant, that the word "mysteries" had in the growth of ideas and of language come to represent a great religious institution of ancient times.
Among the Ancients, unwonted knowledge was a very dangerous possession; and exalted religious ideas, such as there were,-preserved themselves from the laugh of the fool and from the curse of the bigot by donning the garb of Obscurity. Philosophers taught one thing to the multitude and quite another to their disciples; and priests catered to the superstitions of the people in public, and in private cherished