I have just learned that Marion Montgomery passed away last week. I actually know very little about the man; he was a poet and a literary critic, and a professor (I believe) at the University of Georgia. I take note of his death, with sadness, because years ago I read something by him that impressed me greatly, something that, in one way or another, has never been far from my mind for very long. It was a convocation address, and it convinced me, first, that I would do well to labour to become a person capable of writing such an address, and, second, that I should seek out more of his writing, for here was a man worth learning from.
Sadly, I haven’t done very well on either front in the intervening years. Nonetheless I shall miss him. Fare forward, traveller!
The address to which I refer can be read online:
Meanwhile we stand and sway, always in danger of the winds of the world, but the more endangered — because we are persons and not trees. We are tempted to presume beyond knowledge or understanding. At the most dangerous point, we presume to a comprehension absolute: a comprehension of whatever our gift of intellect rests upon at the moment. What we easily forget is that understanding accommodates us to an uncertainty, to an accepting of limits to our omniscience. By limit we are prevented — except as a self–induced and self–defeating illusion — from an absolute comprehension of any thing, including even ourselves. For comprehension is a property reserved to the nature of the Creator God, as are omnipotence and omniscience.