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Dr. Emil G. Hirsch of Chicago delivered a sermon last night in Appleton Chapel on "The Need of Man for Religion and the Spiritual Life." Dr. Hirsch said, in part, that the ancient Hebrewa were deeply stirred by the phenomena of nature which they saw about them. The constant struggle for existence made them feel keenly the blessings sent through the rain and the growing crops, and they were not slow to grasp the close analogy between the physical and the spiritual. They realized fully that just as real hunger is essential to a right appreciation of God's bounty, so a longing for spiritual truth must exist, if we wish to attain the highest things of this world.
We can see that the analogy is a true one, but we have nevertheless lost sight of its application in modern times. The past century has been remarkable for research and achievements in every branch of science and art. At present, however, the trend of thought is turning, and the prospects were never brighter for a restoration of religion to its true place.
The most important fact to be noticed in this new religious interest is that the spiritual life rises from ourselves, from our own thoughts and acts, and that it does not come from without. Indeed, the original and crude forms of religion all proceed from a natural instinct of self preservation. Our aim should be to harmonize our lives with God's, as far as this is possible, and this is what great prophets have always done.
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