More Than Notion

A Note on the Title

True religion ought always to be accompanied by deep feeling. It must be so because of its spiritual character. No one laid more emphasis on the spirituality of religion than its founder. In order to enforce the vital necessity of spiritual experience the Lord Jesus frequently resorted to the use of paradox as when He said, 'He that findeth his life shall lose it but whosoever loseth his life for my sake shall find it'. It was, therefore, natural that the spiritual-minded believers at Pulverbach should turn to the hymns of Joseph Hart. For this minister had passed through deep waters himself and his hymns, though often quaint, are unique in their use of the paradoxical method. We can do no better to illustrate the point than by printing the lines from which our title was taken.

"Vain is all our best devotion,
If on false foundations built;
True religion's more than notion,
Something must be known and felt.'

'Tis to credit contradictions;
Talk with him one never sees;
Cry and groan beneath afflictions,
Yet to dread the thoughts of ease.

'Tis to feel the fight against us,
Yet the victory hope to gain;
To believe that Christ has cleansed us,
Though the leprosy remain.

'To be steadfast in believing,
Yet to tremble, fear, and quake;
Every moment be receiving
Strength, and yet be always weak.

To be fighting, fleeing, turning;
Ever sinking, yet to swim;
To converse with Jesus, mourning
For ourselves or else for him.'"