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[The Christian World]

Behind all enthusiasm of the sterling kind there must be contemplation through which conviction of an ideal's supreme worthiness and importance is attained; and we are landed upon the paradox that in order to become truly enthusiastic we must first of all become truly quiet, so that a right sense of moral values may arise within us and the authority residing in the supreme ideals may seize upon our souls. Men drop into the poorer and less lasting enthusiasm because they are too lightly and too swiftly enthusiastic; they have not dwelt for a solemn hour in the calm regionse of eternity, seeing the great forms of right and truth slowly take shape before them and stretch forth commanding hands to capture them; they have not become sufficiently still to grow passionate afterward under authoritative spells, nor given self away with such abandon as would insure that self would be returned to them energized and inspired by a not-self greater than they.

Nor is the transiency of such enthusiasm as many experience any matter for surprise. Not being part of right's eternal activity, it will be easily daunted when difficulties appear; it will not possess or seek for an adequate equipment. For all its parade of seriousness, it is precisely lack of seriousness that creates and accounts for it; and of moral quality it has none at all. It is too excited to be really passionate or to have passion's strength. So we end on the paradoxical note again,—it is out of calm contemplation that true and enduring enthusiasm is born, because only to calm contemplation of them do the eternal ideals reveal themselves for what they are; and the real enthusiast is he who has passed into their solemn presence and there bidden his tumultuous heart be still.

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June 27, 1914

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