What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows! Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.
It will be hard for you not to ask why this must be. God knows why, and that may be as good to us as though we knew a thousand reasons. I pray God to hold you quiet and patient and uncomplaining, and help you bear the weight of this seemingly unintelligible sorrow. I hope you will remember that this is the only world in which a Christian can suffer, and suffer patiently and meekly. We cannot suffer by and by. God helps us to glorify Him now, when we can.
It has been jestingly said that the works of John Paul Richter are almost unintelligible to any but the Germans, and even to some of them. A worthy German, just before Richter's death, edited a complete edition of his works, in which one particular passage fairly puzzled him. Determined to have it explained at the source, he went to John Paul himself. The author's reply was very characteristic: "My good friend, when I wrote that passage, God and I knew what it meant; it is possible that God knows it still; but as for me, I have totally forgotten. "
On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarrelling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.
The title of Christian is a reproach to us, if we estrange ourselves from Him after whom we are denominated. The name of Jesus is not to be to us like the Allah of the Mahometans, a talisman or an amulet to be worn on the arm, as an external badge merely and symbol of our profession, and to preserve us from evil by some mysterious and unintelligible potency; but is to be engraved deeply on the heart, there written by the finger of God himself in everlasting characters.