We spend our years, not only as a tale that is told, but also in fractions. The brevity and swiftness of life have much to do with this, yet these are not entirely to blame. We are apt to remain in the valley of particulars too long and that way neglect the heights of universals. Keats on first looking into Chapman’s Homer felt like a watcher of the skies standing on a peak in Darien. And Shelley once said that if he were to die tomorrow, he would have lived longer than his father. The intensity of our lives and right perspective have much to do with seeing life steadily and whole.

In our world of specialization and the scientific outlook there is a real tendency to be content with the fractional. There may be a basic humility about this, but there may also be a creeping pride which narrows the field of interest and mistakes a trail for a highway.

It is the maturing Christian’s blessed, fundamental prejudice that he is far on the way to grasping the complete life. He is closer to seeing life steadily and whole than Matthew Arnold who gave us the telling phrase. His experience is greater than that of Keats when that young poet walked into the mind of Homer. The comprehensive intensity of his life is more full of adventure and discovery than that of Shelley, the passionate rebel, who felt so much and left out more.

But we are speaking of the maturing Christian. There are others who have the one thing needed, whose destination is heaven, but who have no sharpened senses toward the infinite boundaries of the pilgrimage that begins here and lasts forever.

The Christian stands in that enviable position where everything can be evaluated sub specie aeternitatis. His can be that cosmic wanderlust which is of the very essence ...

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