Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Our human nature and human life have their depths, and not in anything are less understood than in the depths which belong to them. Their superficial aspects are forever hiding from us their deeper realities. What calls itself knowledge of men–acquaintances with their ordinary thoughts, passions, motives, and ways, with their various humors, caprices, follies, and weaknesses–is knowledge of man, of the inner and real man which the outer man as often conceals as reveals.
We speak at times of a “shallow man.” But is there any such man anywhere? There are only too many men everywhere who are living on the surface of their nature, keenly alive in their earth-born wants and to the capacities of human existence for work and pleasure, men whose days are largely for the record of mean ambitions and striving. But to judge by appearances is nearly always misleading. The acutest judges of character are often at fault, and none go more frequently and lamentably astray in their reckoning than those who boast most confidently of their knowledge of men. In the so-called shallow man we may perceive, if we look intently and sympathetically enough, what is not shallow, and find, especially in those revealing hours when the tragic forces of existence sweep into his life, some suggestion of the latest power which needs the fiery storm to throw it up to the surface.
We are only passing judgment on ourselves, upon our way of thought, imagination, and insight, when we proclaim our fellow man to be lacking in these elements to which the great and deep things of life make their appeal.