left Quote

Erskine of Linlathen
(1788 –1870)

In my drives I generally go out towards the west, and of course return with my face towards the east.  During the winter I was attracted and interested by the frequent recurrence of the same natural phenomenon.  The moon rose a little before the sun set, and had just the appearance of a thin bit of fleecy cloud, like a great many others, for in the hazy atmosphere its outline was not at all distinct.  I was not looking out for the moon, and so it was often a good while before I identified it as the moon.  I saw it simply as a bit of cloud floating about along with many others of a like tissue ad even a like form.  At last it gradually distinguished itself from the rest by having always the same shape and the same place.  It got occasionally covered over or merged in the other fleecy things; but still it never failed to reassert its own individuality.   It was evidently a permanent thing among changeable things – an objective thing amongst subjective things, shall I say?  For I felt that these clouds were exhalations from myself (I being the earth), suggestions of my own mind, continually liable to change through the modifications which they suffered from other thoughts; they were all decidedly subjective.  At the same time they bore witness not infrequently to the existence of an objective, just as the clouds bear witness to the existence of the sun by the glory which they receive from him.  But I wanted and needed to have the consciousness of the actual presence of the great Objective in me, - not thoughts about God, but God, or at least something which I was sure did not depend upon myself, but would always assert its own distinct independent reality, and which could not possibly be my own imagination, having this personal power and life in it, unmistakably. 

right quotation

In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.