FIFTH TALK 77 though quite good in their way we call "lower" things in contradistinction to " higher " and spiritual , things—at once puts a man on-a high level. Now of course it does not. You have another form of the same delusion which is very common with regard to asceticism. A great many people follow what they call asceticism as an end in itself, and they think that to avoid all the ordinary pleasures of life, to make oneself uncomfortable in various ways, is highly meritorious. Now it is not in the very least meritori- ous, and we have to fight against that idea, because it is a relic of the Puritan idea which at one time dominated England and a good deal of Europe. Puritanism held that, to be good, you must be as uncomfortable as possible. Whenever you were in any sort of way happy, you were surely infringing some of the divine laws ; you were not in the least meant to be happy down here; your body was a vile thing which had to be repressed in all sorts of ways, and, if at any time it delighted in any thing you were doing, you might be certain that thing was wrong. That is all nonsense, but it does come from a perversion of the truth; and the truth is that those things which most people in the world enjoy and regard as great pleasures cease to be thought of as pleasures by the man who, rising to a higher level, has altogether higher pleasures within his reach, which far more than take their place.