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The fierce words of Jesus addressed to the Pharisees of His day stretch across the bands of time. Today they are directed not only to fallen televangelists but to each of us. We miss Jesus’ point entirely when we use His words as weapons against others. They are to be taken personally by each of us. This is the form and shape of Christian Pharisaism in our time. Hypocrisy is not hte prerogative of people in high places. The most impoverished among us is capable of it. Hypocrisy is the natural expression of what is meanest in us all.
The blindness of bigotry, the madness of ambition, and the miscalculations of diplomacy seek their victims principally amongst the innocent and the unoffending. The cottage is sure to suffer for every error of the court, the cabinet, or the camp. When error sits in the seat of power and of authority, and is generated in high places, it may be compared to that torrent which originates indeed in the mountain, but commits its devastation in the vale.
One great blemish in the popular mind of America and the prolific parent of an innumerable brood of evils, is Universal Distrust . . . you no sooner set up an idol firmly, than you are sure to pull it down and dash it into fragments: and this because directly you reward a benefactor, or a public servant, you distrust him, merely because he is rewarded . . . . Any man who attains a high place among you, from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that moment.
Much-Afraid, don’t ever allow yourself to begin trying to picture what it will be like. Believe me, when you get to the place which you dread you will find that they are as different as possible from what you have imagined, just as was the case when you were actually ascending the precipice. I must warn you that I see your enemies lurking among the trees ahead, and if you ever let Craven Fear begin painting a picture on the screen of your imagination, you will walk with fear and trembling and agony, where no fear is.
I’m also a sucker for a view. Take me to a high place where I can see the landscape or the stars or the whole city, and I’m putty, I’m melting in your arms. Then I think having a romantic night, getting a little dressed up, but don’t kill yourself trying to force the romance. A bunch of little subtle changes that will make the day more special will amount to a big awesome day in your memory. I like little breadcrumbs along the way. Draw it out!
From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America. From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America. From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick – come home, America.
Instead of leading to the high places of happiness, from which the world would seem to lie below one, so that one could look down with a sense of exaltation and advantage, and judge and choose and pity, it led rather downward and earthward, into realms of restriction and depression, where the sound of other lives, easier and freer, was heard as from above, and served to deepen the feeling of failure.
A high place of honor, although doubtless one to be obtained only after enduring the pangs of a prolonged crucifixion, awaits that philosophical biologist, or that philosopher sufficiently acquainted with scientific biology, who subjects the modern doctrine of evolution to a thoroughly critical analysis, with a view to detect and to estimate its metaphysical assumptions.