Classic & Contemporary Excerpts from October 06, 1997

1997This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

I am the light of the world, the founder of the Christian religionsaid. What a stupendous phrase! And how particularly marvelous today, whenone is conscious of so much darkness in the world! Let your light shinebefore men, he exhorted us. You know, sometimes … someone asks mewhat I most want, what I should most like to do in the little that remainsof my life, and I always nowadays truthfully answer—and it is truthful—"Ishould like my light to shine, even if only very fitfully, like a match struckin a dark, cavernous night and then flickering out."

—Malcolm Muggeridge in
Jesus Rediscovered

What in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of
God to men.

—John Milton in
Paradise Lost

"Today makes yesterday mean" [Emily Dickinson]. … The perspectives ofthe present invariably color the meanings we ascribe to the past. … Inimposing Today's meanings on Yesterday, we run the risk of distorting it—whetherwillfully, to suit our own purposes, or unintentionally, by unwarrantedassumptions and because of meager information. In this way we lose trackof what might be considered the obverse of Emily Dickinson's remark: thatYesterday has meanings of its own that are prior to and necessarily independentof Today's.

—Douglas L. Wilson in the
Atlantic Monthly (Nov. 1992)

TECHNOLOGY BREEDS IMPATIENCE A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenienceabove almost all else, and ours does. Among the consequences is impatiencewith anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality,and law do that, ...

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