[Universalist Leader.]

The parable is a symbol of the soul's experience. The life is more than the raiment. Under the clothes of ancient literary costumes we shall find the beating heart of ancient humanity. The garment changes, the setting is modified, the language may be obsolete, but the great hope or the great fear or the great longing which awakened the genius of the ancient story-teller touches us close. If the author of Job intended to put into dramatic or story form his own great problem of disinterested service of God under the repeated blows of tragic fate, he succeeded so well that the story he wrote is as modern as yesterday's tragedy or tomorrow's uncertainty. Many who listened to Jesus had eyes to see and saw not, and ears to hear and heard not. They were too dull of sight and understanding to appreciate this great artist of the soul who drew for them those wonderful word-pictures which were so true to eternal life. And if we turn away from the parables of Jesus, or from the stories told by unknown authors back there in Genesis or Exodus, we shall be as dull of eyes and ears, and as slow of understanding, as those we criticize for their failure to appreciate the beauty and significance of the parables which Jesus spoke. Let us turn back, then, and read once more those ancient poems and stories and parables under the light of the great truth that even God Himself speaks to us only in parables. So, wherever we go in the world, we find that we must study Him in birds and flowers and trees and stars, each one of which is a picture or a parable of some divine truth.

[Hon. William Jennings Bryan before students of University of Pennsylvania.]

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August 19, 1911

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