« PreviousContinue »
THE LAW OF GENIUS
(HE measure of history is a man, and the
object and design of universal history is a
trained humanity. In the evolution of Biblical history there are indicated five distinct steps in the development of the race: (1) A trained Personality-Abraham. (2) A trained Family-Jacob and his sons. (3) A trained Nation
- Judah and Israel. (4) A trained Church-the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (5) The prophecy of a trained Civilization. “I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
A city in Scriptural metaphor is the incarnation of citizenship and the divine symbol of a civilization. And in this prophecy of the world's crowning civilization, the highest ideal enthroned is a perfect womanhood," as a bride adorned for her husband.” A woman is the finest specimen of a man. A Christian woman is the bright consummate flower of a Christian civilization. Every civilization in history may be judged by its standard of womanhood.
Life is a university; The world is the schoolhouse; Experience is the teacher,
Human nature is the textbook; Thought is the atmosphere, Character is the reward.
In the great university of life, humanity always begins with a fact. Science is said to be “that which is known and capable of proof.” That which is known and capable of proof is a fact. Whether in the dark ages of superstition or in our own bright age of science, humanity ever and always begins with a fact.
First facts. Firm facts. Fixed facts. Faithful facts. Fundamental facts. Infallible facts. Facts about the earth, earthy. Facts about the heavens, heavenly. Facts about Man, creation's crowning fact. Facts about God-Creator --Father FactMaster Fact—the one fact which explains all facts.
The lawyer says: "Be exact; state clearly the facts.” The doctor says: "Be frank; tell all the facts." The editor says: "Be brief ; pen simply the facts.” The preachers say: "Be courageous, and face the facts.” The politician says: "Believe me, these are the facts "--and you don't know whether to believe him or not. The merchant says: "Quick, get at the facts." The judge says: “The facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts."
The greatest struggle going on in the philosophical realm to-day is the discussion concerning old facts and new theories. Old rocks and new geology. Old stars and new astronomy. Old flowers and new botany. Old life and new biology. Old Scriptures and new interpretations. Old religion and new theology. Old truths and new applications. This is the perpetual battle, ever in progress, between the old and the new.
Humanity always begins with a fact and ends with an idea. Nothing in history is more interesting than to watch the progress of the race in travelling from the Fact to the Idea. More wonderful than the flowering of the century plant is the expansion of a fact into an idea after one thousand years of human cogitation and experiment. How fascinating to watch the development of an idea. Between the ox cart and the automobile--a thousand years.
Between the rowboat and the ocean steamer-a thousand years. Between the stage-coach and the railroad train-a thousand years. Between the bow and arrow and the revolver-a thousand years. Between the country store and the department store—a thousand years. Between the cave and the cathedral -five thousand years.
“ Slowly moves the Rock of Ages,
Slowly grows the forest king.
Every great and glorious thing." That man, however, who begins with a fact and ends with an idea within the span of his own life is an original thinker. How many original thinkers have been lost to history! Those were suggestive questions asked by Dr. John Lord in his “ Beacon Lights of History,"
Who invented the mariner's compass? Who stretched the strings across the first violin? Who built the first blacksmith's forge? Who constructed the first arch in architecture? Who invented glass for windows? Who turned the sod with the first plow? Who shot the first weaver's shuttle across the loom? Who contrived the first keel for a ship? Who planned the first chimney? Who built the cathedrals of the middle ages ?
While we cannot always trace the evolution of an idea in the course of history, we can always mark the enthronement of an ideal. Wherever you find the enthronement of an ideal—there you find a mountain peak in history. These mountain peaks are sometimes spoken of as "the golden age." Israel had its golden age of prophecy; Greece, its golden age of culture; Rome, its golden age of power; Italy, its golden age of art; England, its golden age of literature; France, its golden age of democracy, when upon every national edifice there was inscribed three words: “Liberty-EqualityFraternity."
Sometimes these mountain peaks strikingly synchronize with the centuries. As one writer, following certain splendid outlines of events, remarks : “The fourteenth century witnessed a revival of learning; the sixteenth century, a revival of religion ; the seventeenth century, a revival of liberty ; the eighteenth century, a revival of art.” But be it a golden age or a passing century which marks the progess of the race, wherever you find a mountain peak in human history, there you find the enthronement of an ideal and there you may discover enthroned a
splendid personality. The greatest power in the world is the one-man-power.
If you would master any period of history, seek to discover the master man—the master mind-the master spirit. As Carlyle remarked : “Find your man and all else will follow." Sometimes these men appear as in a great galaxy-Columbus and a new world! Galileo and a new sky! Guttenburg and a new Bible! Luther and a new doctrine ! Shakespeare and a new literaturel Michael Angelo and new art! Erasmus and new culturel Calvin and a new statement of theology.
The divine plan seems to be to furnish a splendid specimen in the realm of personality and then wait for humanity to reproduce the type. One Luthermany Protestants. One Wesley—many Methodists. One Emerson-many philosophers. One Shakespeare-many poets. One Raphael-many painters. One Sankey-many singers. One architect-many builders. One Christ and millions of Christians.
Every nation which has made for itself a place in history has produced its own type of personality. Israel produced great prophets ; Germany, great thinkers ; France, great writers; Italy, great artists ; Scotland, great theologians; Wales, great preachers; England, great statesmen; Ireland, great orators; the United States, great merchants and captains of industry. Please God, the Dominion of Canada, standing, in its historical development, midway between the homeland of the British Empire and the rushing of life of yonder American Republic,