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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Elevating Power of Religion
By Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814)
From ‘The Characteristics of the Present Age’

RELIGION elevates him who is devoted to her service above time as such, above the transient and the perishable, and puts him in immediate possession of eternity. On the one original Divine life his eye reposes; there his love is rooted; whatever meets his view and seems to be beyond this one original life, is not beyond it but within it, and is merely a temporary form of its development according to an absolute law which likewise lies within itself; he sees all things only in and through this one original life, and in this life he sees the whole infinite universe of being. His view is thus always the view of the eternal, and what he sees, he sees as eternal and in the eternal: nothing can truly be which is not, even on that very account, eternal. Every fear of perishing in death, and every effort to discover an artificial proof of the immortality of the soul, lies far beneath him. In every moment of his existence he has immediate possession of the eternal life with all its blessedness; and he needs no argument or inference to prove the truth of that which he possesses in ever-present feeling and consciousness. There is no more striking proof that the knowledge of the true religion has hitherto been very rare among men, and that in particular it is a stranger in the prevailing systems, than this: that they universally place eternal blessedness beyond the grave, and never for a moment imagine that whoever will, may here and at once be blessed.  1

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