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Quotes by Harry Emerson Fosdick

"For religion is something more than all the creeds that have endeavoured to express its thought. Religion is something more than all the organizations that have tried to incarnate its purposes. Religion is the human spirit, by the grace of God, seeking and finding an interpretation of experience that puts sense and worth, dignity, elevation, joy, and hope into life."

"To exist is one thing; to live is another. Existence is comprised of the bare facts of life alone--the universe in which we live, our heritage and birth, our desires and their satisfactions, growth, age and death. All the facts that science can display before us comprise existence. But life is something more. Life is existence clothed in spiritual meanings; existence seen with a worthy purpose at the heart of it and hope ahead, existence informed by the spirit's insights and understandings, transfigured and glorified by the spirit's faiths and hopes. It follows, therefore, that while existence is given us to start with, life is a spiritual achievement. A man must take the facts of his existence whether he wants to or not, but he makes his life by the activity of his soul."

"He [Jesus] has become to us in this, our inner need, what the luminous phrase of the Book of Job describes, "An interpreter, one among a thousand." And in spite of all our immediate expectancy, born out of our scientific control of life, mankind never needed that service more than now."

"Man's deepest need is spiritual power, and spiritual power comes out of the soul's deep fellowships with the living God."

"For the supreme moral asset in any man's life is not his aggressiveness nor his pugnacity, but his capacity to be inspired--to be inspired by great books, great music, by love and friendship; to be inspired by great faiths, great hopes, great ideals; to be inspired supremely by the Spirit of God. For so we are lifted until the things we tried to see and could not we now can see because of the altitude at which we stand, and the things we tried to do and could not we now can do because of the fellowship in which we live. "

"Spiritual transformation is infinitely various because it is so infinitely vital; but behind all the special forms of experience stands the colossal fact that men can be transformed by the Spirit of God."

"We do not passively submit to God's will; we actively assert it."

"God's righteousness is interpreted, not in terms of justice only, but of compassionate, sacrificial love; his Fatherhood embraces not only all mankind but each individual, lifting him out of obscurity in the mass into infinite worthfulness and hope. And more than this development of idea, the New Testament gives us a new picture of God in the personality of Jesus, and we see the light of the knowledge of God's glory in his face."

"Religion is the most intimate, inward, incommunicable fellowship of the human soul. "

"You never know God at all until you know him for yourself. The only God you ever will know is the God you do know for yourself."

"Christianity in the beginning was an intensely personal experience."

"For Christianity is not a creed, nor an organization, nor a ritual. These are important but they are secondary. They are the leaves, not the roots; they are the wires, not the message. Christianity itself is a life."

"Take the personality of Jesus out of Christian history and what you have left is chaos."

"Creation has never said its last word on any subject or landed its last hammer blow on any task. "

"The centuries are sick with a god made in man's image, and all the time the real God has been saying, 'Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself.'"

"Let a man once begin with God as the universal spiritual Presence and then go on to see the divine quality of that Presence revealed in Christ, and there is no limit to the deepening and heightening of his estimation of God's character, except the limits of his own moral imagination."

"The achievement of a worthy idea of God involves, therefore, the ability to discover God in all life, outside the Church as well as within, and in people who do not believe in him nor recognize him as well as in those who do."

"We are tempted to look for God's activity chiefly, if not altogether, inside the organization that avows him. But that cannot be true. He comes in like the sun through every chink and crevice where he can find a way of entrance. He does not wait to be welcomed. He does not insist on being consciously recognized before he enters a man's life. Rather, through any door or window left unwittingly ajar where he may steal in, even though unobserved, to lift and liberate a life, there the God of the New Testament will come--'the light which lighteth every man coming into the world.'"

" There is a flame in the center of your heart which you cannot put out. If there were no God it would be easier to disbelieve in him than it is. You cannot get rid of him because the best in you is God in you. "

"In a world which out of lowly beginnings has climbed so far and seems intended to go on to heights unimagined, God is our hope and in his name we will set up our banners."

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