unto the wayfaring pilgrim, J. W.Worthy:
Dear Brother Worthy,
As I understand Pastor Herder's interpretation of The Council of Nicea, God (as very God) is become man (as very man). --Well, certainly all Christians agree with that. My German brother also observes how the Holy Ghost's penetration of all existence enables communion with otherwise distant lives. I am confident you letter writers agree most emphatically with that.
You certainly do constitute a formidable community. Famous poets like Petrarch, Auden, Hofmannsthal, even Woody Guthrie, carry on just such correspondence with their sainted predecessors. Who knows how many others are doing the same? Who does not feel, when distant stars gaze benevolently down through the night, how the vastness of time is filled with the Holy Spirit! Nature, as our learned Brother Isaac Newton assures us, abhors a vacuum, and his famous actio in distans is not across empty space.
We all commune constantly with the past. Brother Herder singles out letters as our important intermediary, but all artifacts perform a similar function. You call attention to the example of music; also the other fine arts, as well as the trades offer wonderful vehicles to the human spirit. Spirit, ah that is the true medium for communality of feeling in the human breast. I wonder that Brother Herder does not recognize in this unity of humankind the ultimate integrity of the universe. Of course the harmony of mankind has to imply the final refutation of Herder's own notorious relativism. With every recitation of the Nicene Creed the good pastor himself affirms the absolute Truth, which transcends human comprehension.
Let us take an example easily understood by every boy and girl (I believe marriage was the topic which opened our present discussion, was it not?) The bridal exchange is a metamorphosis of the soul which out over eight millennia still bonds your Dustbowl to the Fertile Crescent of so long, long ago. --Ah ah, professor, do not come to me with your relativistic scholarship, and tell me it is just some primitive fertility play. Oh, I concede of course that art must take on form and be transmitted by individuals, that goes without saying. But we are here speaking about the human heart where the Song of Songs arises, and of the heart to which it sings; the heart of a boy and girl whose poetry transforms every object they behold. The hitherto lost world so alien to us, everywhere becomes an intimately familiar metaphor for love. A bundle of myrrh, a door latch. The poem lives on. Generations upon generations of wise old men in their councils deliberate, they confer, and consign a place in Holy Scripture to a carnal love song.
This long line of old graybeards are not deceived, nor do they wish to deceive us, when they find the Church in the girl, and in her hot lover see the heavenly bridegroom Jesus our Redeemer. What else is meant by the Nicene Creed, by the Holy Trinity comprising Father above, crucified Son on earth, and the Holy Spirit throughout Creation? The same truth which we read from the Song of Songs about love of the flesh applies just as well to all else in the world, including Saint Paul's "things written aforetime" (which so much interest you, Brother Worthy) but the Song of Songs more than any other symbol touches an intimacy familiar to each of us. Including the Senior Pastor and Superintendent in Weimar, his good wife and their six children.
May their love be as constant as the Song of Songs, so wishes your good friend
Please return to Professor Worthy's Page, Home
or view the correspondence with John Wesley.