Beauty and Truth

Many are willing to worship beauty who have no desire for truth. Beauty for beauty's sake has too often been the aim of many of the worl'd great artists and poets, and too often has their work been acclaimed by an unseeing multitude, yet beauty and truth are one; only the true is beautiful, just as all that is really beautiful is true. That which seems to be beautiful but has no truth behind it, is but an outward deceptive appearance, and can be accepted only by those who have a false estimate of the nature of beauty. To understand that truth is beauty puts beauty on a sure foundation, for it is then seen to be indestructible, eternal. An understanding of the "beauty of holiness" enables us to recognize the spurious forms that have no real value, substance, or permanency; and it bids us desire a divine model after which we can shape our work, for we have learned that whatever we would do that is to be beautiful, to help and to bless mankind, and to endure, must be true.

No matter how beautifully an artist paints, how wonderfully he blends his colors and mingles light and shade, or how skilfully he limns his forms, if his work does not express a true ideal, it is null and void. It has not in it the power to accomplish anything for the elevation of mankind. The poet may bring to his command the most exquisite language, the most melodious rhythm, but if it is only to embellish an idea that is not sound at its core, however finished and beautiful men admit the work to be, it leaves them no higher or better for it. The test of all beauty, and of all we think or say or do, should be this question: "Does it heal?" If it does not help to lift some load of sin, of fear, of sorrow or disease, it is devoid of beauty, truth, and spiritual power, and has proved itself nothing but an empty form.

We have only to think of some of the great masterpieces of literature, and ask ourselves if they have done anything to heal us, and then to think of the simple words of Jesus that healed, and are still healing, thousands, to understand what true beauty means. There is no beauty in any literature of the world like the beauty of the truth which Jesus expressed, and at his words we know that men were freed from life-long sin, were raised from beds of pain, and were glad to forsake all and follow Christ. Jesus has been styled a master poet; even those who do not recognize his Messiahship have been forced to admire the beauty of his language, the perfection and power of parable and argument employed. Jesus himself said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away," for he knew that the word he spoke was the word of God, and that "word is truth."

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Healing of Lack
December 26, 1914

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