“The object of a New Year”

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

— The Daily News.

Published in: on January 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

“The artistic temperament”

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, all of the posts in April will make reference to Shakespeare in one way or another.

The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs. It is a disease which arises from men not having sufficient power of expression to utter and get rid of the element of art in their being. It is healthful to every sane man to utter the art within him; it is essential to every sane man to get rid of the art within him at all costs. Artists of a large and wholesome vitality get rid of their art easily, as they breathe easily, or perspire easily. But in artists of less force, the thing becomes a pressure and produces a definite pain, which is called the artistic temperament. Thus, very great artists are able to be ordinary men, men like Shakespeare.

The Daily News, 1 April 1905.

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  

“The guilty secret”

Faith has not faded like a fable; faith is concealed like a sin. Religion is not now the mask; religion is the guilty secret.

— The Daily News, 9 June 1906.

Published in: on September 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Every star is like a sudden rocket”

Mysticism in its noblest sense, mysticism as it existed in St John, and Plato, and Paracelsus, and Sir Thomas Browne, is not an exceptionally dark and secret thing, but an exceptionally luminous and open thing. It is in reality too clear for most of us to comprehend, and too obvious for most of us to see. Such an utterance as the utterance that “God is Love” does in reality overwhelm us like an immeasurable landscape on a clear day, like the light of an intolerable summer sun. We may call it a dark saying; but we have an inward knowledge all the time that it is we who are dark…

It is remarkable to notice even in daily life how constant is this impression of the essential rationality of mysticism. If we went up up to a man in the street who happened to be standing opposite a lamppost and addressed him playfully with the words, “Whence did this strange object spring? How did this lean Cyclops with the eye of fire start out of unbegotten night?” it may be generally inferred, with every possible allowance for the temperament of the individual, that he would not regard our remarks as particularly cogent and practical. And yet our surprise at the lamppost would be entirely rational; his habit of taking lampposts for granted would be merely a superstition. The power that makes men accept material phenomena of this universe, its cities, civilizations, and solar systems, is merely a vulgar prejudice, like the prejudice that made them accept cock-fights or the Inquisition. It is the mystic to whom every star is like a sudden rocket, every flower an earthquake of the dust, who is the clear-minded man.

Mysticism, or the sense of the mystery of things, is simply the most gigantic form of common-sense.

— The Daily News, 30 August 1901.

Published in: on July 9, 2014 at 11:04 am  Comments (4)