The Past

There is probably no phase of human experience over which so much pathos has been expended as that represented by the expression "the past." From the "dear, dead days" of the sentimental novelist to the wail in Tennyson's "Princess," "O Death in life, the days that are no more," poetry and prose alike teem with allusions to the past as to something inexpressibly precious and irretrievably lost. To most of us, indeed, at some time or other, the memory of past days has been coupled with a sense of loss. It may be the recollection of a particularly happy visit or vacation which cannot be repeated, or of a prized companionship which can no longer be enjoyed, or it may be some sense of material or physical well-being which, seemingly, has ceased to be; or again, in many a lonely heart there is that empty niche from which a beloved presence is gone, and which we feel can never be filled again.

In Ecclesiastes we read "God requireth that which is past." Unfortunately, these words are often quoted apart from their immediate context and as though synonymous with the warning that man will be held accountable, at the end of these human experiences which we miscall "life," for all his deeds "in the flesh." But there is another sense in which God, good, "requireth that which is past," a sense which is very clearly discernible when we read the whole sentence, of which the above quoted words are merely the concluding phrase. "That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past." As our understanding of the allness of divine Love grows clearer, the light of Truth bursts upon us with a glory as of the resurrection morning, and we realize, with joyous thankfulness, that what we deem "past" is as much the divine Mind's as the so-called present, as surely and everlastingly within the encircling arms of infinite good and therefore as surely and as abidingly ours as it ever was. There can be no loss in infinite, eternal good, which "giveth us richly all things to enjoy"—giveth, not gave and then took away, not will give in some dim future, but giveth now, in rich and overflowing abundance.

"Take ye away the stone"
November 12, 1921

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