Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The source

The prophets discovered the holy dimension of living by which our right to live and to survive is measured. However, the holy dimension was not a mechanical magnitude, measurable by the yardstick of deed and reward, of crime and punishment, by a cold law of justice. They did not proclaim a universal moral mechanism but a spiritual order in which justice was the course but not the source. To them justice was not a static principle but a surge sweeping from the inwardness of God, in which the deeds of man find, as it were, approval or disapproval, joy or sorrow. There was a surge of divine pathos, which came to the souls of the prophets like a fierce passion, startling, shaking, burning, and led them forth to the perilous defiance of people’s self—assurance and contentment. Beneath all songs and sermons they held conference with God’s concern for the people, with the well out of which the tides of anger raged.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 182–83

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