The Primal Interest of Religion
The primal interest of religion is with the individual, through the inspiring power of personality. It is forever the “fifty righteous in the city” that saves the city. Let all secular movements go on, to relieve the stress of circumstances; the real source of energy is found in personal character, in the actual excellence and virtue that radiate from high and pure lives. No more vague and senseless notion ever possessed an honest but ignorant mind than the notion that the machinery of things will do the world’s noblest work. All excellence, all renovating powers are fully vested in persons, and there can be nothing in a nation or a state, or a city, however exalted its aims, or however perfectly organized, which is not in the persons composing the city, the state, or the nation. An ultimate standard of worth is an ideal of personal worth. All our inspirations, all our visions of eternal beauty are visions, remembered glances of persons, or some ineffable glory of that Infinite Person, all good. To speak of any progress or improvement or development of a nation, or society, or humankind, except as relative to some greater worth of persons, is to use words without meaning.
— Horatio Stebbins (died April 8, 1902)
|Horatio Stebbins (1821-1902)|