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The greatest thing ever known - what is it? Surely the answer must be one that is absolutely universal, both in its nature and in the possibilities of its application.
It must be one that can be accepted wholly and unreservedly, not only by a single individual, but by bodies of individuals, be they the originators of any particular school of ethics, the followers of any particular system of philosophy, or even the adherents of any great system of religion. It must be one so true in itself that it can be accepted by all men alike the world over. And again, it must be an answer that is true for no particular period of time, but equally true for all time - an answer that was true not only for yesterday, that is true for today, that may be true for tomorrow, but one equally true for yesterday, today, and forever.
In laying our foundation, therefore, it must be laid upon something as true and as certain as life itself, and as eternal as everlasting life. What is as true and as certain as life itself? Life, only life. And what do we mean by this answer? Let us give it for a moment our most careful consideration, for upon what we find here depends and rests all that is to follow.
Let us start, then, with that in regard to which all can agree; something taken not from mere tradition, from mere hearsay, but something that comes to us from no source other than our own interior consciousness, our own reason and insight.
In other words, let us make our approach, not from the theological standpoint, but from that which is far more certain and satisfactory - the philosophical. Then and then only will we allow pure reason to be our guide, and then, by having as the earnest desire of both mind and heart, truth, truth for its own sake, and then for the sake of its influence upon everyday life, we will thus allow pure reason to be illumined by the "light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
In the degree that we open ourselves to and are true to this are we on sure and safe ground, for thus are we going directly to the source and the only source of all true revelation. In the degree, on the other hand, that we close ourselves or become untrue to this are we on uncertain and dangerous ground, and liable to find ourselves hopelessly floundering in the quagmire of theological traditions and speculations and doubts, of which the world has already seen so much. Pure reason, therefore, shall be our guide - pure reason illumined by the inner light.