"Nature never did betray The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege Through all the years of this, our life, to leap From joy to joy; for she can so inform The mind that is within us, so impress With quietness and beauty, and so feed With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all The dreary intercourse of daily life, Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold Is full of blessings."
I have been pondering this passage from one of Orisen Swett Marden's writings:
"Fortunate is the person who has been educated to the perception of beauty; he possesses a heritage of which no reverses can rob him. Yet it is a heritage possible to all who will take the trouble to begin early in life to cultivate the finer qualities of the soul, the eye and the heart.
"'I am a lover of untainted and immortal beauty,' exclaims Emerson. 'Oh, world, what pictures and what harmony are thine!"
"A great scientists tells us that there is no natural object in the universe, which, if seen as the Master sees it, coupled with all its infinite meaning, its utility and purpose, is not beautiful. Just as the most disgusting object, if put under a magnifying glass of sufficient power, would reveal beauties undreamed of, so even the most unlovely environment, the most cruel conditions, will, when viewed through the glass of a trained and disciplines mind, show something of the beautiful and the hopeful.
"A life that has been rightly trained will extract sweetness from everything; it will see beauty everywhere."
The cultivation of the finer qualities of the soul, the eye and the heart is the work of WEH.
I'm now to the chapter on the trial in Farrar's Life of Christ. He talked about how sceptics (his spelling) use the discrepancies between the four gospels to raise doubt and I thought his response applies to our study of history.
He talks of "histories honest and faithful up to the full knowledge of the writers, but each, if taken alone, confessedly fragmentary and obviously incomplete.
"After repeated study, I declare, quite fearlessly, that though the slight variations are numerous--though the lesser particulars cannot in every instance be rigidly and minutely accurate--though no one of the narratives taken singly would give us an adequate impression--...it is perfectly possible to discover how one Evangelist supplements the details furnished by another, and perfectly possible to understand the true sequence of the incidents by combining into one whole the separate indications which they furnish."
My conclusion: Read widely and do not allow yourself ever to let one book of history be the final word. Truth will eventually emerge even though 'facts' seem contradictory. There is a danger in the single story.
This principle of learning is even woven into the Bible in the most important story ever told.