Nor is it a question of morals or morality.

I must venture here on delicate ground and say what I should hesitate to say were the contrary not so strongly underscored. I mean that God, from what we understand to be His nature, could not accord us His protection by weighing the good and the evil in our conduct, and giving or withholding help according to our worthiness. The Universe is too great to be measured and doled in that way. Nothing but our own pinchbeck ideas could ascribe to Him this pettiness. As it is the kind of sliding scale we ourselves adopt, we limit the Divine Generosity by our own limitations.

Not so was the understanding of Jesus Christ. That we should be kind to the so-called evil as we are to the so-called good was a point on which He dwelt in the Sermon on the Mount. To discriminate between them, when it comes to the possibility of conferring benefits is in His opinion small. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I command you all, Love your enemies, and pray for your persecutors; that so you may become true sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the wicked as well as on the good, and sends rain upon those who do right and those who do wrong.”

In other words, we are not to feel ourselves turned out of our “habitation” in God by a sense of our moral lapses. Moral lapses are to be regretted, of course; but they do not vitiate our status as the Sons of God. It is possible that no one believes they do; but much of the loose statement currently among those who lay emphasis on morals would give that impression. There is a whole vernacular in vogue in which souls are “lost” or “saved” according to the degree to which they conform or do not conform to other people’s views as to what they ought to do. Much of our pietism is to the effect that God is at the bestowal not merely of a sect, but of some section of a sect, and cannot be found through any other source.


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