Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/364

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was thought to be the essential thing for the attainment of the great idea.

A brief examination of a few of the definitions just given will make this clear. When one of a pre-eminently scientific cast of mind comes, in self-reflection, to the moment of religious awakening, he at once desires to know more of self and environment, that he may act with greater certainty in determining his destiny. He feels destiny depends primarily on knowledge, and to him religion most naturally seems what it does to Herbert Spencer, "an a priori theory of the universe." To those who feel, activity based on knowledge is the all-important thing. Prof. Palmer's definition better expresses the essential element—"the connecting link between the science of ethics and the science of theology"—the former giving a knowledge of one's relation to his fellows, the latter of his relation to the gods, religion being the dynamic called forth by this twofold knowledge of personal duty. There are others, again, decidedly social in their make-up. Their chief delight is in pleasant mingling with their fellows. These, on becoming conscious that they are the molders of their own destiny, feel at once that their "salvation" depends largely on a "good-will to mankind," with the acts that result therefrom. All such can truly say, with Arnold, that their religious life is "ethics touched by emotion." There is another class in the social organism of a clinging, dependent disposition, always followers and never leaders in life. These generally become so overwhelmed at the thought of their own responsibility that they lose all confidence in their own ability to choose out their own way, and at once throw themselves helpless on "the powers that be." Fate, or God, or universe, or anything, they would sooner rely upon than their own judgment. To these religion is what Müller found it, "a feeling of dependence on some one or something hot ourselves." Extreme cases are better described by Schleiermacher—"absolute dependence on something which determines us, but which we can in no sense determine" (affect).

In marked contrast to the cases already named there are those whose lives are a perfect quintessence of egoism and selfishness. To these religion is always a "mere covetousness, which manifests itself in prayers, sacrifices, and faith." All such make Feuerbach's creed theirs too, "Mann ist was er isst." A higher type of religion than has been thus far named is that which feels "there is a divinity within us that shapes our ends," and that we are all "sons of the Highest." Such care not for self alone, but ever desire to become more and more altruistic. They study the microcosm only to more fully understand its functional place in the macrocosm. These, upon the religious awakening, have the egoistic thoughts thrust aside like the drift-wood by the sea, feeling that