Orwell’s essays act as a beacon for honesty and truth

There is no doubt that in early Christianity this stage of evolution was definitely recognised as before every individual Christian. The anxiety expressed by S. Paul that Christ might be born in his converts bears sufficient testimony to this fact, leaving aside other passages that might be quoted; even if this verse stood alone it would suffice to show that in the Christian ideal the Christ-stage was regarded as an inner condition, the final period of evolution for every believer. And it is well that Christians should recognise this, and not regard the life of the disciple, ending in the Perfect Man, as an exotic, planted in western soil, but native only in far eastern lands. This ideal is part of all true and spiritual Christianity, and the birth of the Christ in each Christian soul is the object of Christian teaching. The very object of religion is to bring about this birth, and if it could be that this mystic teaching could slip out of Christianity that faith could no longer raise to divinity those who practise it.

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The contact of the Hebrews with Chaldean thought added dignity and grandeur to their idea of God, and their post-Babylonian writings show a nobler view of the divine Being. The God of the prophets, as of the later Isaiah and of Micah, is a grandiose and inspiring conception, a Power that makes for righteousness. This remodeled thought about God was softened into the ideal of a perfect man of superhuman greatness, the Father and Lover of men, in the later rabbinical teachings and in the Jewish-Christian scriptures. The limitations were removed while the ideal humanity was left, power remained without cruelty and justice without severity. But in Christian theology such as we find in Tertullian, and less nakedly in other Fathers of the Church, the savagery of the earlier Hebrews reappears, and the gracious lineaments of “the Father” vanish under the fierce mask of Jahveh, again the vengeful God whelming his foes under fire-floods. None the less the nobler conception remained as an encouragement and inspiration, gradually becoming focused in the person of the Son, the Divine Man, supreme in tenderness and compassion. From the troublous times of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, enough emerged to satisfy the heart but not enough to content the intellect; the conception of God was left vague, hazy, and somewhat terrifying, while the object presented for adoration, on which all love was lavished, was the Son, self-sacrificed, redeeming, surrendering power to pity - a figure that drew all hearts, that satisfied all aspirations, the Man divine enough for worship, the God human enough for love.


The Truth about Romanticism: Pragmatism and Idealism …

the development of the importance of the conflicts of idealism and truth.

transcending) experience" and "immanent in experience." Since "realism" is contrasted with "idealism," those two terms are ontological and mean "independent of my existence" and "dependent on my existence." Berkeley was for Kant the characteristic "idealist," and undoubtedly an empiricist, while Descartes was a "realist," believing commonsensically that objects exist independent of us, but who also thought that we could only know their essences through "clear and distinct" innate ideas, not experience.


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But that is not all; there is a higher stage of the spiritual life than that. It is much to feel yourself a co-worker with the Divine in the world, much to make your work great by knitting it to the universal work throughout this mighty system of worlds and universes; much, too, as Emerson said, to hitch your wagon on to a star, instead of some miserable post by the wayside. But even that is not the only thing within your power, even that is not the most splendid to which you can attain. For there is one thing greater even than duty, and that is when all action is done as sacrifice. Now, what does that mean? There would be no world, no you, no I, if there had not been a primary sacrifice by which a fragment of the Divine thought sheathed itself in matter, limited itself in order that you and I might become self-consciously Divine. There is a profound truth in that great Christian teaching of a Lamb slain - when? On Calvary? No, “from the foundation of the world”. That is the great truth of sacrifice. No Divine sacrifice, no universe. No Divine self-limitations, none of the worlds which fill the realms of space. It is all a sacrifice, the sacrifice of love that limits itself that others may gain self-conscious being and rejoice in the perfection of their own ultimate Divinity. And inasmuch as the life of the world is based on sacrifice, all true life is also sacrificial; and when every action is done as sacrifice then the man becomes the perfect, spiritual man. Now that is hard. The first stage is not so difficult. We may give away largely; we may make our lives useful; but how difficult it is - our lives being made useful, and wrapped up in some useful work - to be able to see that work shivered into pieces, and look on its ruins with calm content. That is one of the things that is meant by sacrifice - that you may throw the whole of your life into some good work, the whole of your energy into some great scheme, you may toil and build and plan and shape, and you may nourish your own begotten scheme as a mother may cherish the child of her womb, and presently it falls to pieces round you. It fails, it does not succeed; it breaks, it does not grow; it dies, it does not live. Can you be content with such a result? Years of labour, years of thought, years of sacrifice, and see everything crumble into dust, and nothing remain? If not, then you are working for self, and not as part of the Divine activity; and, however gilded over with love of others your scheme may have been, it was your work and not God’s work, and therefore you have suffered in the breaking. For if it were really His and not yours; if it were a sacrifice and not your own possession, you would know that all that is good in it must inevitably go into the forces of good in the world, and that if He did not want the form you builded you would rather it were broken, and the life that cannot die go into other forms which fit better with the Divine plan, and work into the great scheme of evolution.