Society and Solitude
George H. Morrison
Genesis 2:18; Daniel 10:8
In the early ages of the church-ages that teemed with fantastic speculation-there was a sect of mystics who spoke much of angels, and gave them a place that dominated everything. By them the gulf was bridged between God and man; by them creation and the law were mediated; and all these angels in their unceasing agencies were regarded not as single but in pairs. Now that was a dream of oriental mystics, but I think we can see the facts that gave it birth. For human life, when you begin to brood on it, is it not strangely paired in its experiences? I have always understood such men as Swedenborg, who found in marriage the key to every mystery, when I remember how in human life God has set one thing over against the other. We do not live through an unbroken day; we live through the pairing of the night and day. We do not live through an unbroken peace, but through the marriage of battle and of peace. And so no human life is perfected if it be passed entirely in society; it needs for its perfecting, as Swedenborg1 would say, the marriage of society and solitude. A life that has never known the sweets of solitude has always something lacking in its music. There is silence needed as well as human speech for the waking of all that is within us. Yet on the other hand no fate could be more dreadful than that of the sailor marooned on the Pacific, never to hear again another's voice-never to touch again another's hand. It is not good for man to be alone, yet when I was alone I saw the vision. God has so made us that for our fullest life we need society and solitude. And it is on that I want to dwell this evening, showing you the respective gains of these estates, and remembering that whom God has joined together man must not put asunder.
In the first place, then, I would say this, that in society we find our duty, while in solitude we find our dream.
Now I am not going to discuss with you what duty ...
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