The Anguish of the Light
George H. Morrison
This is a very remarkable conclusion to a verse that suggests the blessings of the light: it is one of those suggestive anticlimaxes that are so familiar to students of the Scriptures. No blessing is nobler than illumination. It tells of the benediction of the light. It speaks of a life that has arisen from darkness, and moved into the glorious shining of the sun. And yet, when we expect to hear of summer's gladness, and to catch the sound of music in blue heaven, we hear of battle, with its blood and misery, and the cry and agony of wounded men. After illumination a great joy? We should have looked for some conclusion such as that. After illumination a great sense of liberty, and a peace that the world cannot take away? Scripture does not deny these blessed consequences, but in its splendid fidelity to all experience it says that after illumination may come battle. It is on that aspect of things I want to dwell tonight.
Think first, then, of the illumination of the intellect, and of all that follows on the light of knowledge. That is not always liberty and power: it is sometimes a conflict which is very terrible. When Eve in the virgin paradise of God ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, her eyes were opened, and she was illuminated with the light that never was on sea or land; and yet that light did not bring peace to Eve, nor gladness, nor any rest of heart, but only the sorrow of a weary struggle. The more we know, the more we want to know. The more we know, the more we cannot know. And doubts are born, and speculations rise, and much that once seemed certain grows unstable. Until at last, wearied and in perplexity, not through the power of darkness but of light, a man begins to realize how grim is the struggle that succeeds illumination.
We see that on the larger field of history in such a movement as the revival of learning. There came a time when Europe was illuminated with th ...
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