Signs of the Times

[Rev. Joseph Fort Newton, S.T.D., in The Universalist Leader]

Always man has felt that he was led by an eternal power, whose mighty hand he can neither resist nor escape, something which he has called fate, force, luck, chance, destiny, God. But he has been long in coming to the faith that this power, residing in and presiding over all things, is benevolent and kind. In every age a few daring souls have held this faith, but only in recent times have large numbers of men come to see that the human career is guided by a gracious hand; that the good is eternal and the evil self-consuming; that truth is mightier than error, and that in the end unrighteousness is cast down. All high faith is hard to hold, but to one looking back over the past it does not seem a matter of doubt that this is the one sure fact rising out of the mists.

When all is said, then, the real question is as to the character of Him by whose great hand we are led. God is the final reality: beyond Him human thought cannot go; short of Him it cannot rest. Thought about Him is thought in its longest reach. Experience of Him is the deepest need and desire of humanity, and its highest joy. It follows that a change in our conception of God means a profound change in our whole way of thinking and feeling about life. Such a change has passed and is passing over the world, surpassing all the more superficial yet astonishing changes of our time. It is the newer thought of God that He rules the world, not from without as a potter shapes his clay, but from within, the universe being simply the form in which the supreme reason and will are made visible. Gone is the old idea of a self-going universe and an absentee God who made occasional inroads into the world to reveal Himself. The commonest event, even the fall of a leaf, is as supernatural in its causation as any miracle would be, since in both alike the presence of God is manifest. So that the fact of God in nature does not mean that He is here and there working wonders, but that the whole cosmic order depends constantly upon His will and power. Thus we come at last to a living will which worketh hitherto and worketh evermore.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

April 5, 1919

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.