Exclusiveness is too much our Caucasian habit of mind. It is linked to our instinct for ownership. Because through Jesus Christ, we have a clearer view of a greater segment of the Universe, if I may so express myself, than the Buddhist can have through Buddha or the Mahometan through Mahomet, our tendency is to think that we know the whole of the Universal and have it to give away. Any other view of the Universe to us is false as to merit not merely condemnation but extirpation. Extirpation has been the watchword with which Caucasian Christianity has gone about the world. We have taken toward other views of truth, but no such sympathetic stand as St. Paul to that which he found in Greece, and which is worth recalling:

“Men of Athens, I perceive that you are in every respect remarkably religious. For as I passed along and observed the things you worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. The Being, therefore, whom you, without knowing it, revere, Him I now proclaim to you. God who made the universe and everything in it—He being Lord of heaven and earth —does not dwell in sanctuaries built by men. Nor is He administered to by human hands as though He needed anything— but He Himself gives to all men life and breath and all things. He caused to spring from one forefather people of every race, for them to live on the whole surface of the earth, and marked for them an appointed span of life, and the boundaries of their homes; that they might seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him. Yes, though He is not far from any one of us. For it is in closest union with Him that we live and move and have our being; as in fact some of the poets in repute among yourselves have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.”

To the conquest of fear, this splendid universalism is another essential. God being “not far from any one of us” cannot be far from me. He who gives to all men life and breath and all things will not possibly deny me the things I require most urgently. Our whole civilization may go to pieces; the job by which I earn a living may cease to be a job; the money I have invested may become of no more value than Russian bonds; the children whom I hoped I had provided for, may have to face life empty-handed; all my accustomed landmarks may be removed, and my social moorings swept away; nevertheless, the Universe cannot fail me. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom nor fruit be in the vines; though the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields yield no meat; though the flocks be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in God, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” It is safe to say that this confidence on the part of Habakkuk was not due to mere grim forcing of the will. It was the fruit of experience, of knowledge, of demonstration. In spite of the dangers national and personal, he saw threatening, his certainty of God must have been spontaneous.

Anyone, in any country, in any epoch, and of any creed or no creed, who has shared this experience shares also this assurance. To the Christian, it comes easiest; but that it does not come easy even to the Christian is a matter of common observation. It can only come easily when some demonstration has been made for oneself, after which there is no more disputing it.


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