The Hidden Power by Thomas Troward


This is a recording of, The Hidden Power,
by Thomas Troward This book is available, on the public domain,
as well as, here, on Youtube and other websites. This is, The Hidden Power, by Thomas Troward Chapter 1- THE HIDDEN POWER To realise fully how much of our present daily
life consists in symbols is to find the answer to the old, old
question, What is Truth? and in the degree in which we begin to recognise this we begin
to approach Truth. The realisation of Truth consists in the ability
to translate symbols, whether natural or conventional, into their
equivalents; and the root of all the errors of mankind consists in the inability to do
this, and in maintaining that the symbol has nothing behind it. The
great duty incumbent on all who have attained to this knowledge is
to impress upon their fellow men that there is an inner side to things, and that until
this inner side is known, the things themselves are not known. There is an inner and an outer side to everything;
and the quality of the superficial mind which causes it to fail
in the attainment of Truth is its willingness to rest content with the outside only. So
long as this is the case it is impossible for a man to grasp the import of
his own relation to the universal, and it is this relation which
constitutes all that is signified by the word “Truth.” So long as a man fixes his attention
only on the superficial it is impossible for him to make any progress
in knowledge. He is denying that principle of “Growth” which is
the root of all life, whether spiritual intellectual, or material, for he does not stop to reflect
that all which he sees as the outer side of things can result
only from some germinal principle hidden deep in the centre of their
being. Expansion from the centre by growth according
to a necessary order of sequence, this is the Law of Life of
which the whole universe is the outcome, alike in the one great solidarity of cosmic being,
as in the separate individualities of its minutest organisms.
This great principle is the key to the whole riddle of Life, upon
whatever plane we contemplate it; and without this key the door from the outer to the inner
side of things can never be opened. it is therefore the duty
of all to whom this door has, at least in some measure, been opened,
to endeavour to acquaint others with the fact that there is an inner side to things, and
that life becomes truer and fuller in proportion as we penetrate to
it and make our estimates of all things according to what becomes
visible from this interior point of view. In the widest sense everything is a symbol
of that which constitutes its inner being, and all Nature is a gallery
of arcana revealing great truths to those who can decipher them. But there is a more
precise sense in which our current life is based upon symbols in
regard to the most important subjects that can occupy our thoughts:
the symbols by which we strive to represent the nature and being of God, and the manner
in which the life of man is related to the Divine life. The whole
character of a man’s life results from what he really believes on
this subject: not his formal statement of belief in a particular creed, but what he
realises as the stage which his mind has actually attained in regard to it. Has a man’s mind only reached the point at
which he thinks it is impossible to know anything about God, or to
make any use of the knowledge if he had it? Then his whole interior world is in the condition
of confusion, which must necessarily exist where no spirit
of order has yet begun to move upon the chaos in which are,
indeed, the elements of being, but all disordered and neutralising one another. Has he advanced
a step further, and realised that there is a ruling and an
ordering power, but beyond this is ignorant of its nature? Then the
unknown stands to him for the terrific, and, amid a tumult of fears and distresses that
deprive him of all strength to advance, he spends his life in
the endeavour to propitiate this power as something naturally adverse
to him, instead of knowing that it is the very centre of his own life and being. and so on through every degree, from the lowest
depths of ignorance to the greatest heights of intelligence, a
man’s life must always be the exact reflection of that particular stage which he has reached
in the perception of the divine nature and of his own relation
to it; and as we approach the full perception of Truth, so the
life-principle within us expands, the old bonds and limitations which had no existence
in reality fall off from us, and we enter into regions of light, liberty,
and power, of which we had previously no conception. it is
impossible, therefore, to overestimate the importance of being able to realise the symbol
for a symbol, and being able to penetrate to the inner substance
which it represents. Life itself is to be realised only by the
conscious experience of its livingness in ourselves, and it is the endeavour to translate
these experiences into terms which shall suggest a corresponding
idea to others that gives rise to all symbolism. The nearer those we address have approached
to the actual experience, the more transparent the symbol
becomes; and the further they are from such experience the thicker is the veil; and our
whole progress consists in the fuller and fuller translation of the
symbols into clearer and clearer statements of that for which they
stand. But the first step, without which all succeeding ones must remain impossible, is
to convince people that symbols are symbols, and not the very Truth
itself!and the difficulty consists in this, that if the symbolism is
in any degree adequate it must, in some measure, represent the form of Truth, just as the modelling
of a drapery suggests the form of the figure beneath.
They have a certain consciousness that somehow they are in
the presence of Truth; and this leads people to resent any removal of those folds of drapery
which have hitherto conveyed this idea to their minds. There is sufficient indication of the inner
Truth in the outward form to afford an excuse for the timorous, and
those who have not sufficient mental energy to think for themselves, to cry out that finality
has already been attained, and that any further search into
the matter must end in the destruction of Truth. But in raising such an
outcry they betray their ignorance of the very nature of Truth, which is that it can
never be destroyed: the very fact that Truth is Truth makes this impossible!and
again they exhibit their ignorance of the first principle of
Life–namely, the Law of Growth, which throughout the universe perpetually pushes forward into
more and more vivid forms of expression, having expansion
everywhere and finality nowhere. Such ignorant objections need not, therefore,
alarm us; and we should endeavour to show those who make
them that what they fear is the only natural order of the Divine Life, which is “over all,
and through all, and in all.” But we must do this gently, and not
by forcibly thrusting upon them the object of their terror, and so
repelling them from all study of the subject. We should endeavour gradually to lead them
to see that there is something interior to what they have hitherto
held to be ultimate Truth, and to realise that the sensation of
emptiness and dissatisfaction, which from time to time will persist in making itself
felt in their hearts, is nothing else than the pressing forward of
the spirit within to declare that inner side of things which alone can
satisfactorily account for what we observe on the exterior, and without the knowledge
of which we can never perceive the true nature of our inheritance
in the Universal Life which is the Life Everlasting. Chapter 2 What, then, is this central principle which
is at the root of all things? it is Life. But not life as we recognise it
in particular forms of manifestation; it is something more interior and concentrated than
that. it is that “unity of the spirit” which is unity, simply because
it has not yet passed into diversity. Perhaps this is not an easy
idea to grasp, but it is the root of all scientific conception of spirit; for without it there
is no common principle to which we can refer the innumerable forms
of manifestation that spirit assumes. it is the conception of Life as the sum-total
of all its undistributed powers, being as yet none of these in
particular, but all of them in potentiality. This is, no doubt, a highly abstract idea,
but it is essentially that of the centre from which growth takes place by
expansion in every direction. This is that last residuum which
defies all our powers of analysis. This is truly “the unknowable,” not in the sense of
the unthinkable but of the unanalysable. it is the subject of perception,
not of knowledge, if by knowledge we mean that faculty which
estimates the relations between things, because here we have passed beyond any questions of
relations, and are face to face with the absolute. This innermost of all is absolute Spirit.
it is Life as yet not differentiated into any specific mode; it is the
universal Life which pervades all things and is at the heart of all appearances. To come into the knowledge of this is to come
into the secret of power, and to enter into the secret place of
Living Spirit. Is it illogical first to call this the unknowable, and then to speak of
coming into the knowledge of it? Perhaps so; but no less a writer than
St. Paul has set the example; for does he not speak of the final
result of all searchings into the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the
inner side of things as being, to attain the knowledge of that Love
which passeth knowledge. If he is thus boldly illogical in phrase,
though not in fact, may we not also speak of knowing “the unknowable”? We may, for this
knowledge is the root of all other knowledge. The presence of this undifferentiated universal
life-power is the final axiomatic fact to which all our analysis
must ultimately conduct us. On whatever plane we make our analysis it must always abut upon
pure essence, pure energy, pure being; that which knows
itself and recognises itself, but which cannot dissect itself because
it is not built up of parts, but is ultimately integral: it is pure Unity. But analysis which
does not lead to synthesis is merely destructive: it is the
child wantonly pulling the flower to pieces and throwing away the
fragments; not the botanist, also pulling the flower to pieces, but building up in his
mind from those carefully studied fragments a vast synthesis of the
constructive power of Nature, embracing the laws of the formation of
all flower-forms. The value of analysis is to lead us to the original starting-point
of that which we analyse, and so to teach us the laws by which its final
form springs from this centre. Knowing the law of its construction, we turn
our analysis into a synthesis, and we thus gain a power of
building up which must always be beyond the reach of those who regard “the unknowable”
as one with “not-being.” This idea of the unknowable is the root of
all materialism; and yet no scientific man, however materialistic his
proclivities, treats the unanalysable residuum thus when he meets it in the experiments of
his laboratory. On the contrary, he makes this final unanalysable
fact the basis of his synthesis. He finds that in the last resort it is
energy of some kind, whether as heat or as motion; but he does not throw up his scientific
pursuits because he cannot analyse it further. He adopts the precisely
opposite course, and realises that the conservation of energy,
its indestructibility, and the impossibility of adding to or detracting from the sum-total
of energy in the world, is the one solid and unchanging fact on which
alone the edifice of physical science can be built up. He bases
all his knowledge upon his knowledge of “the unknowable.” and rightly so, for if he could
analyse this energy into yet further factors, then the same problem
of “the unknowable” would meet him still. All our progress
consists in continually pushing the unknowable, in the sense of the unanalysable residuum,
a step further back; but that there should be no ultimate
unanalysable residuum anywhere is an inconceivable idea. In thus realising the undifferentiated unity
of Living Spirit as the central fact of any system, whether the
system of the entire universe or of a single organism, we are therefore following a strictly
scientific method. We pursue our analysis until it necessarily
leads us to this final fact, and then we accept this fact as the basis
of our synthesis. The Science of Spirit is thus not one whit less scientific than the
Science of Matter; and, moreover, it starts from the same initial
fact, the fact of a living energy which defies definition or explanation,
wherever we find it; but it differs from the science of matter in that it contemplates
this energy under an aspect of responsive intelligence which does not
fall within the scope of physical science, as such. The Science of
Spirit and the Science of Matter are not opposed. They are complementaries, and neither is fully
comprehensible without some knowledge of the other; and, being really but two portions
of one whole, they insensibly shade off into each other in a
border-land where no arbitrary line can be drawn between them.
Science studied in a truly scientific spirit, following out its own deductions unflinchingly
to their legitimate conclusions, will always reveal the twofold
aspect of things, the inner and the outer; and it is only a truncated
and maimed science that refuses to recognise both. The study of the material world is not Materialism,
if it be allowed to progress to its legitimate issue. Materialism is that limited view of the universe
which will not admit the existence of anything but mechanical
effects of mechanical causes, and a system which recognises no higher power than the
physical forces of nature must logically result in having no
higher ultimate appeal than to physical force or to fraud as its
alternative. I speak, of course, of the tendency of the system, not of the morality of individuals,
who are often very far in advance of the systems they profess.
But as we would avoid the propagation of a mode of thought
whose effects history shows only too plainly, whether in the italy of the Borgias, or the
France of the First Revolution, or the Commune of the Franco-Prussian
War, we should set ourselves to study that inner and
spiritual aspect of things which is the basis of a system whose logical results are truth
and love instead of perfidy and violence. Some of us, doubtless, have often wondered
why the Heavenly Jerusalem is described in the Book of
Revelations as a cube; “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” This
is because the cube is the figure of perfect stability, and thus
represents Truth, which can never be overthrown. Turn it on what side
you will, it still remains the perfect cube, always standing upright; you cannot upset
it. This figure, then, represents the manifestation in concrete solidity
of that central life-giving energy, which is not itself any one
plane but generates all planes, the planes of the above and of the below and of all four
sides. But it is at the same time a city, a place of habitation; and
this is because that which is “the within” is Living Spirit, which
has its dwelling there. As one plane of the cube implies all the other
planes and also “the within,” so any plane of manifestation
implies the others and also that “within” which generates them all. Now, if we would
make any progress in the spiritual side of science–and every department
of science has its spiritual side–we must always keep our
minds fixed upon this “innermost within” which contains the potential of all outward manifestation,
the “fourth dimension” which generates the cube;
and our common forms of speech show how intuitively we do
this. We speak of the spirit in which an act is done, of entering into the spirit of a
game, of the spirit of the time, and so on. Everywhere our intuition
points out the spirit as the true essence of things; and it is only when
we commence arguing about them from without, instead of from within, that our true perception
of their nature is lost. The scientific study of spirit consists in
following up intelligently and according to definite method the same
principle that now only flashes upon us at intervals fitfully and vaguely. When we once
realise that this universal and unlimited power of spirit is
at the root of all things and of ourselves also, then we have obtained
the key to the whole position; and, however far we may carry our studies in spiritual
science, we shall nowhere find anything else but particular
developments of this one universal principle. “The Kingdom of
Heaven is within you.” Chapter 3 I have laid stress on the fact that the “innermost
within” of all things is living Spirit, and that the Science of
Spirit is distinguished from the Science of Matter in that it contemplates Energy under
an aspect of responsive intelligence which does not fall within the
scope of physical science, as such. These are the two great points to
lay hold of if we would retain a clear idea of Spiritual Science, and not be misled by
arguments drawn from the physical side of Science only–the livingness
of the originating principle which is at the heart of all things,
and its intelligent and responsive nature. its livingness is patent to our observation,
at any rate from the point where we recognise it in the vegetable kingdom;
but its intelligence and responsiveness are not, perhaps, at
once so obvious. Nevertheless, a little thought will soon lead us to recognise this also. No one can deny that there is an intelligent
order throughout all nature, for it requires the highest intelligence
of our most highly-trained minds to follow the steps of this universal intelligence which
is always in advance of them. The more deeply we investigate the
world we live in, the more clear it must become to us that all our
science is the translation into words or numerical symbols of that order which already exists.
If the clear statement of this existing order is the highest
that the human intellect can reach, this surely argues a corresponding intelligence in the power which
gives rise to this great sequence of order and interrelation, so as
to constitute one harmonious whole. Now, unless we fall back on the idea of a workman working
upon material external to himself–in which case
we have to explain the phenomenon of the workman–the only
conception we can form of this power is that it is the Living Spirit inherent in the heart
of every atom, giving it outward form and definition, and becoming
in it those intrinsic polarities which constitute its characteristic
nature. There is no random work here. Every attraction
and repulsion acts with its proper force collecting the atoms
into molecules, the molecules into tissues, the tissues into organs, and the organs into
individuals. At each stage of the progress we get the sum of the
intelligent forces which operate in the constituent parts, plus a
higher degree of intelligence which we may regard as the collective intelligence superior
to that of the mere sum-total of the parts, something which belongs
to the individual as a whole, and not to the parts as such.
These are facts which can be amply proved from physical science; and they also supply
a great law in spiritual science, which is that in any collective body
the intelligence of the whole is superior to that of the sum of the
parts. Spirit is at the root of all things, and thoughtful
observation shows that its operation is guided by unfailing
intelligence which adapts means to ends, and harmonises the entire universe of manifested
being in those wonderful ways which physical science renders
clearer every day; and this intelligence must be in the
generating spirit itself, because there is no other source from which it could proceed.
On these grounds, therefore, we may distinctly affirm that Spirit
is intelligent, and that whatever it does is done by the intelligent
adaptation of means to ends. But Spirit is also responsive!and here we
have to fall back upon the law above stated, that the mere sum of
the intelligence of Spirit in lower degrees of manifestation is not equal to the intelligence
of the complex whole, as a whole. This is a radical law which
we cannot impress upon our minds too deeply. The degree of
spiritual intelligence is marked by the wholeness of the organism through which it finds expression;
and therefore the more highly organised being
has a degree of spirit which is superior to, and consequently
capable of exercising control over, all lower or less fully-integrated degrees of spirit;
and this being so, we can now begin to see why the spirit that is the
“innermost within” of all things is responsive as well as intelligent. Being intelligent, it knows, and spirit being
ultimately all there is, that which it knows is itself. Hence it is that
power which recognises itself; and accordingly the lower powers of it recognise its higher
powers, and by the law of attraction they are bound to respond
to the higher degrees of themselves. On this general principle,
therefore, spirit, under whatever exterior revealed, is necessarily intelligent and responsive.
But intelligence and responsiveness imply personality; and
we may therefore now advance a step further and argue that all
spirit contains the elements of personality, even though, in any particular instance, it
may not yet be expressed as that individual personality which we find
in ourselves. In short, spirit is always personal in its
nature, even when it has not yet attained to that degree of synthesis
which is sufficient to render it personal in manifestation. In ourselves the synthesis
has proceeded far enough to reach that degree, and therefore we recognise
ourselves as the manifestation of personality. The human
kingdom is the kingdom of the manifestation of that personality, which is of the essence
of spiritual substance on every plane!or, to put the whole argument
in a simpler form, we may say that our own personality must
necessarily have had its origin in that which is personal, on the principle that you cannot
get more out of a bag than it contains. In ourselves, therefore, we find that more
perfect synthesis of the spirit into manifested personality which is
wanting in the lower kingdoms of nature, and, accordingly, since spirit is necessarily that
which knows itself and must, therefore, recognise its own degrees
in its various modes, the spirit in all degrees below that of
human personality is bound to respond to itself in that superior degree which constitutes
human individuality; and this is the basis of the power of human
thought to externalise itself in infinite forms of its own ordering. But if the subordination of the lower degrees
of spirit to the higher is one of the fundamental laws which lie at
the bottom of the creative power of thought, there is another equally fundamental law which
places a salutary restraint upon the abuse of that power. it
is the law that we can command the powers of the universal for our
own purposes only in proportion as we first realise and obey their generic character.
We can employ water for any purpose which does not require it to run
up-hill, and we can utilise electricity for any purpose that does
not require it to pass from a lower to a higher potential. So with that universal power which we call
the Spirit. it has an inherent generic character with which we must
comply if we would employ it for our specific purposes, and this character is summed up
in the one word “goodness.” The Spirit is Life, hence its
generic tendency must always be lifeward or to the increase of the
livingness of every individual!and since it is universal it can have no particular interests
to serve, and therefore its action must always be equally
for the benefit of all. This is the generic character of spirit; and just
as water, or electricity, or any other of the physical forces of the universe, will
not work contrary to their generic character, so Spirit will not work
contrary to its generic character. The inference is obvious. If we would use
Spirit we must follow the law of the Spirit which is “Goodness.”
This is the only limitation. If our originating intention is good, we may employ the spiritual
power for what purpose we will!and how is “goodness” to be
defined? Simply by the child’s definition that what is bad is not
good, and that what is good is not bad; we all know the difference between bad and good
instinctively. If we will conform to this principle of obedience
to the generic law of the Spirit, all that remains is for us to study
the law of the proportion which exists between the more and less fully integrated modes of
Spirit, and then bring our knowledge to bear with determination. Chapter 4 The law of spirit, to which our investigation
has now led us, is of the very widest scope. We have followed it
up from the conception of the intelligence of spirit, subsisting in the initial atoms,
to the aggregation of this intelligence as the conscious identity of
the individual. But there is no reason why this law should cease to
operate at this point, or at any point short of the whole. The test of the soundness of
any principle is that it can operate as effectively on a large scale as
on a small one, that though the nature of its field is determined by the
nature of the principle itself, the extent of its field is unlimited. If, therefore,
we continue to follow up the law we have been considering, it leads us to the
conception of a unit of intelligence as far superior to that of the
individual man as the unity of his individual intelligence is superior to that of the intelligence
of any single atom of his body; and thus we may conceive
of a collective individuality representing the spiritual character
of any aggregate of men, the inhabitants of a city, a district, a country, or of the entire
world. Nor need the process stop here. On the same
principle there would be a superior collective individuality for
the humanity of the entire solar system, and finally we reach the conception of a supreme
intelligence bringing together in itself the collective individualities
of all the systems in the universe. This is by no means a merely
fanciful notion. We find it as the law by which our own conscious individuality is constituted;
and we find the analogous principle working universally on
the physical plane. it is known to physical science as the “law of
inverse squares,” by which the forces of reciprocal attraction or repulsion, as the case may be,
are not merely equivalent to the sum of the forces emitted
by the two bodies concerned, but are equivalent to these two forces
multiplied together and divided by the square of the distance between them, so that the
resultant power continually rises in a rapidly-increasing
ratio as the two reciprocally exciting bodies approach one another. Since this law is so universal throughout
physical nature, the doctrine of continuity affords every ground for
supposing that its analogue holds good in respect of spiritual nature. We must never
lose sight of the old-world saying that “a truth on one plane
is a truth on all.” If a principle exists at all it exists universally. We
must not allow ourselves to be misled by appearances; we must remember that the perceptible results
of the working of any principle consist of two factors–the
principle itself or the active factor, and the subject-matter
on which it acts or the passive factor; and that while the former is invariable, the latter
is variable, and that the operation of the same invariable upon different
variables must necessarily produce a variety of results. This at
once becomes evident if we state it mathematically; for example, a, b or c, multiplied by x give
respectively the results ax, bx, cx, which differ materially
from one another, though the factor x always remains the same. This law of the generation of power by attraction
applies on the spiritual as well as on the physical plane, and
acts with the same mathematical precision on both; and thus the human individuality
consists, not in the mere aggregation of its parts, whether spiritual
or corporeal, but in the unity of power resulting from the intimate
association into which those parts enter with one another, which unity, according to this
law of the generation of power by attraction, is infinitely superior,
both in intelligence and power, to any less fully integrated mode
of spirit. Thus a natural principle, common alike to physical and spiritual law, fully
accounts for all claims that have ever been made for the creative
power of our thought over all things that come within the circle of
our own particular life. Thus it is that each man is the centre of his own universe, and
has the power, by directing his own thought, to control all
things therein. But, as I have said above, there is no reason
why this principle should not be recognised as expanding from
the individual until it embraces the entire universe. Each man, as the centre of his own
world, is himself centred in a higher system in which he is
only one of innumerable similar atoms, and this system again in a
higher until we reach the supreme centre of all things; intelligence and power increase
from centre to centre in a ratio rising with inconceivable rapidity,
according to the law we are now investigating, until they culminate
in illimitable intelligence and power commensurate with All-Being. Now we have seen that the relation of man
to the lower modes of spirit is that of superiority and command,
but what is his relation to these higher modes? In any harmoniously constituted system the
relation of the part to the whole never interferes with the free
operation of the part in the performance of its own functions; but,
on the contrary, it is precisely by means of this relation that each part is maintained
in a position to discharge all functions for which it is fitted. Thus,
then, the subordination of the individual man to the supreme mind, so
far from curtailing his liberty, is the very condition which makes liberty possible, or
even life itself. The generic movement of the whole necessarily
carries the part along with it; and so long as the part allows itself
thus to be carried onwards there will be no hindrance to its free working in any direction
for which it is fitted by its own individuality. This truth was set
forth in the old Hindu religion as the Car of Jaggarnath–an ideal
car only, which later ages degraded into a terribly material symbol. “Jaggarnath” means
“Lord of the Universe,” and thus signifies the Universal
Mind. This, by the law of Being, must always move forward
regardless of any attempts of individuals to restrain it. Those who mount upon its car
move onward with it to endlessly advancing evolution, while those
who seek to oppose it must be crushed beneath its wheels, for it is
no respecter of persons. If, therefore, we would employ the universal
law of spirit to control our own little individual worlds, we must
also recognise it in respect to the supreme centre round which we ourselves revolve. But
not in the old way of supposing that this centre is a capricious
Individuality external to ourselves, which can be propitiated or
cajoled into giving the good which he is not good enough to give of his own proper motion.
So long as we retain this infantile idea we have not come
into the liberty which results from the knowledge of the certainty
of Law. Supreme Mind is Supreme Law, and can be calculated upon with the same accuracy
as when manifested in any of the particular laws of
the physical world; and the result of studying, understanding and
obeying this Supreme Law is that we thereby acquire the power to use it. Nor need we fear
it with the old fear which comes from ignorance, for we can rely
with confidence upon the proposition that the whole can have
no interest adverse to the parts of which it is composed; and conversely that the part
can have no interest adverse to the whole. Our ignorance of our relation to the whole
may make us appear to have separate interests, but a truer
knowledge must always show such an idea to be mistaken. for this reason, therefore, the
same responsiveness of spirit which manifests itself as obedience
to our wishes, when we look to those degrees of spirit which are
lower than her own individuality, must manifest itself as a necessary inflowing of intelligence
and power when we look to the infinity of spirit, of
which our individuality is a singular expression, because in so
looking upwards we are looking for the higher degrees of ourself. The increased vitality of the parts means
the increased vitality of the whole, and since it is impossible to
conceive of spirit otherwise than as a continually expanding principle of Life, the demand for
such increased vitality must, by the inherent nature of spirit,
be met by a corresponding supply of continually growing
intelligence and power. Thus, by a natural law, the demand creates the supply, and this
supply may be freely applied to any and every subject-matter that
commends itself to us. There is no limit to the supply of this
energy other than what we ourselves put to it by our thought; nor is there any limit
to the purposes we may make it serve other than the one grand Law
of order, which says that good things used for wrong purposes
become evil. The consideration of the intelligent and responsive nature of spirit shows that
there can be no limitations but these. The one is a limitation
inherent in spirit itself, and the other is a limitation which has no
root except in our own ignorance. it is true that to maintain our healthy action
within the circle of our own individual world we must continually
move forward with the movement of the larger whole of which we form a part. But this does
not imply any restriction of our liberty to make the fullest
use of our lives in accordance with those universal principles of
life upon which they are founded; for there is not one law for the part and another for
the whole, but the same law of Being permeates both alike. In proportion,
therefore, as we realise the true law of our own individuality
we shall find that it is one with the law of progress for the race. The collective individuality
of mankind is only the reproduction on a larger scale of
the personal individuality; and whatever action truly develops the
inherent powers of the individual must necessarily be in line with that forward march of the
universal mind which is the evolution of humanity as a whole. Selfishness is a narrow view of our own nature
which loses sight of our place in relation to the whole, not
perceiving that it is from this very relation that our life is drawn. it is ignorance of
our own possibilities and consequent limitation of our own powers. If,
therefore, the evidence of harmonious correlation throughout the
physical world leads irresistibly to the inference of intelligent spirit as the innermost within
of all things, we must recognise ourselves also as individual
manifestations of the same spirit which expresses itself throughout
the universe as that power of intelligent responsiveness which is Love. Thus we find ourselves to be a necessary and
integral part of the Infinite Harmony of All-Being; not merely
recognising this great truth as a vague intuition, but as the logical and unavoidable result
of the universal Life-principle which permeates all Nature.
We find our intuition was true because we have discovered the law
which gave rise to it; and now intuition and investigation both unite in telling us of
our own individual place in the great scheme of things. Even the most
advanced among us have, as yet, little more than the faintest
adumbration of what this place is. it is the place of power. Towards those higher modes
of spirit which we speak of as “the universal,” the law of man’s
inmost nature makes him as a lens, drawing into the focus of his
own individuality all that he will of light and power in streams of inexhaustible supply;
and towards the lower modes of spirit, which form for each one the
sphere of his own particular world, man thus becomes the
directive centre of energy and order. Can we conceive of any position containing
greater possibilities than these? The circle of this vital influence
may expand as the individual grows into the wider contemplation of his unity with Infinite
Being; but any more comprehensive law of relationship it
would be impossible to formulate. Emerson has rightly said that a
little algebra will often do far more towards clearing our ideas than a large amount of
poetic simile. Algebraically it is a self-evident proposition
that any difference between various powers of x disappears when
they are compared with x multiplied into itself to infinity, because there can be no ratio
between any determinate power, however high, and the infinite;
and thus the relation between the individual and All-Being
must always remain the same. But this in no way interferes with the law
of growth, by which the individual rises to higher and higher powers
of his own individuality. The unchangeableness of the relation between all determinate powers
of x and infinity does not affect the relations of
the different powers of x between themselves; but rather the fact that
the multiplication of x into itself to infinity is mentally conceivable is the very proof
that there is no limit to the extent to which it is possible to raise
x in its determinate powers. I trust unmathematical readers will pardon
my using this method of statement for the benefit of others to
whom it will carry conviction. A relation once clearly grasped in its mathematical aspect
becomes thenceforth one of the unalterable truths of the universe,
no longer a thing to be argued about, but an axiom which may be
assumed as the foundation on which to build up the edifice of further knowledge. But,
laying aside mathematical formulæ, we may say that because
the Infinite is infinite there can be no limit to the extent to
which the vital principle of growth may draw upon it, and therefore there is no limit to
the expansion of the individual’s powers. Because we are what we
are, we may become what we will. The Kabbalists tell us of “the lost word,”
the word of power which mankind has lost. To him who discovers
this word all things are possible. Is this mirific word really lost? Yes, and No. it
is the open secret of the universe, and the Bible gives us the key to
it. it tells us, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy
heart.” it is the most familiar of all words, the word which in our heart we realise as
the centre of our conscious being, and which is in our mouth
a hundred times a day. it is the word “I am.” Because I am what I
am, I may be what I will to be. My individuality is one of the modes in which the Infinite
expresses itself, and therefore I am myself that very power which
I find to be the innermost within of all things. To me, thus realising the great unity of all
Spirit, the infinite is not the indefinite, for I see it to be the infinite
of Myself. it is the very same I am that I am; and this not by any act of uncertain favour,
but by the law of polarity which is the basis of all Nature.
The law of polarity is that law according to which everything attains
completion by manifesting itself in the opposite direction to that from which it started. it
is the simple law by which there can be no inside without an outside,
nor one end of a stick without an opposite end. Life is motion, and all motion is the appearance
of energy at another point, and, where any work has been
done, under another form than that in which it originated; but wherever it reappears,
and in whatever new form, the vivifying energy is still the same.
This is nothing else than the scientific doctrine of the conservation
of energy, and it is upon this well-recognised principle that our perception of ourselves
as integral portions of the great universal power is based. We do well to pay heed to the sayings of the
great teachers who have taught that all power is in the “I am,”
and to accept this teaching by faith in their bare authority rather than not accept it at
all; but the more excellent way is to know why they taught thus, and to
realise for ourselves this first great law which all the
master-minds have realised throughout the ages. it is indeed true that the “lost word”
is the one most familiar to us, ever in our hearts and on our lips.
We have lost, not the word, but the realisation of its power!and as
the infinite depths of meaning which the words I am carry with them open out to us, we begin
to realise the stupendous truth that we are ourselves the
very power which we seek. it is the polarisation of Spirit from the
universal into the particular, carrying with it all its inherent powers, just
as the smallest flame has all the qualities of fire. The I am in the individual is none
other than the I am in the universal. it is the same Power working in
the smaller sphere of which the individual is the centre. This is the
great truth which the ancients set forth under the figure of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm,
the lesser I am reproducing the precise image of the greater,
and of which the Bible tells us when it speaks of man as the
image of God. Now the immense practical importance of this
principle is that it affords the key to the great law that “as a man thinks so he is.” We are often asked why
this should be, and the answer may be stated as follows: We
know by personal experience that we realise our own livingness in two ways, by our power
to act and our susceptibility to feel; and when we consider
Spirit in the absolute we can only conceive of it as these two
modes of livingness carried to infinity. This, therefore, means infinite susceptibility.
There can be no question as to the degree of sensitiveness, for Spirit
is sensitiveness, and is thus infinitely plastic to the slightest touch
that is brought to bear upon it; and hence every thought we formulate sends its vibrating
currents out into the infinite of Spirit, producing there currents
of like quality but of far vaster power. But Spirit in the Infinite is the Creative
Power of the universe, and the impact of our thought upon it thus sets
in motion a veritable creative force!and if this law holds good of one thought it holds
good of all, and hence we are continually creating for ourselves
a world of surroundings which accurately reproduces the complexion
of our own thoughts. Persistent thoughts will naturally produce a greater external effect
than casual ones not centred upon any particular object. Scattered
thoughts which recognise no principle of unity will fail to
reproduce any principle of unity. The thought that we are weak and have no power over circumstances
results in inability to control circumstances, and
the thought of power produces power. At every moment we are dealing with an infinitely
sensitive medium which stirs creative energies that give
form to the slightest of our thought-vibrations. This power is inherent in us because of our
spiritual nature, and we cannot divest ourselves of it. it is
our truly tremendous heritage because it is a power which, if not
intelligently brought into lines of orderly activity, will spend its uncontrolled forces
in devastating energy. If it is not used to build up, it will destroy!and
there is nothing exceptional in this: it is merely the reappearance
on the plane of the universal and undifferentiated of the same principle that pervades all the
forces of Nature. Which of these is not destructive unless drawn
off into some definite direction? Accumulated steam,
accumulated electricity, accumulated water, will at length burst forth, carrying destruction
all around; but, drawn off through suitable channels, they
become sources of constructive power, inexhaustible as Nature
itself. and here let me pause to draw attention to
this idea of accumulation. The greater the accumulation of energy,
the greater the danger if it be not directed into a proper order, and the greater the power
if it be. fortunately for mankind the physical forces, such as electricity,
do not usually subsist in a highly concentrated form.
Occasionally circumstances concur to produce such concentration, but as a rule the elements
of power are more or less equally dispersed. Similarly,
for the mass of mankind, this spiritual power has not yet reached a
very high degree of concentration. Every mind, it is true, must be in some measure a centre
of concentration, for otherwise it would have no conscious individuality;
but the power of the individualised mind rapidly rises
as it recognises its unity with the Infinite life, and its thought-currents, whether well
or ill directed, then assume a proportionately great significance. Hence the ill effects of wrongly directed
thought are in some degree mitigated in the great mass of mankind,
and many causes are in operation to give a right direction to their thoughts, though
the thinkers themselves are ignorant of what thought-power is. To give
a right direction to the thoughts of ignorant thinkers is the purpose
of much religious teaching, which these uninstructed ones must accept by faith in bare authority
because they are unable to realise its true import. But
notwithstanding the aids thus afforded to mankind, the general stream
of unregulated thought cannot but have an adverse tendency, and hence the great object
to which the instructed mind directs its power is to free
itself from the entanglements of disordered thought, and to help
others to do the same. To escape from this entanglement is to attain perfect Liberty,
which is perfect Power. Chapter 5 The entanglement from which we need to escape
has its origin in the very same principle which gives rise to
liberty and power. it is the same principle applied under inverted conditions!and here
I would draw particular attention to the law that any sequence followed
out in an inverted order must produce an inverted result, for
this goes a long way to explain many of the problems of life. The physical world affords
endless examples of the working of “inversion.” In the dynamo
the sequence commences with mechanical force which is
ultimately transformed into the subtler power of electricity; but invert this order, commence
by generating electricity, and it becomes converted into
mechanical force, as in the motor. In the one order the rotation of a
wheel produces electricity, and in the opposite order electricity produces the rotation of
a wheel!or to exhibit the same principle in the simplest arithmetical
form, if 10÷2=5 then 10÷5=2. “Inversion” is a factor of the
greatest magnitude and has to be reckoned with; but I must content myself here with
only indicating the general principle that the same power is capable
of producing diametrically opposite effects if it be applied
under opposite conditions, a truth which the so-called “magicians” of the middle ages expressed
by two triangles placed inversely to one another.
We are apt to fall into the mistake of supposing that results of
opposite character require powers of opposite character to produce them, and our conceptions
of things in general become much simplified when we recognise
that this is not the case, but that the same power will
produce opposite results as it starts from opposite poles. accordingly the inverted application of the
same principle which gives rise to liberty and power constitutes
the entanglement from which we need to be delivered before power and liberty can be
attained, and this principle is expressed in the law that “as
a man thinks so he is.” This is the basic law of the human mind. it is
Descarte’s “cogito, ergo sum.” If we trace consciousness to its seat we find that it
is purely subjective. Our external senses would cease to exist were
it not for the subjective consciousness which perceives what they
communicate to it. The idea conveyed to the subjective consciousness
may be false, but until some truer idea is more forcibly
impressed in its stead it remains a substantial reality to the mind which gives it objective
existence. I have seen a man speak to the stump of a tree which
in the moonlight looked like a person standing in a garden, and
repeatedly ask its name and what it wanted; and so far as the speaker’s conception was
concerned the garden contained a living man who refused to answer.
Thus every mind lives in a world to which its own perceptions
give objective reality. its perceptions may be erroneous, but they nevertheless constitute
the very reality of life for the mind that gives form to them. No other
life than the life we lead in our own mind is possible; and
hence the advance of the whole race depends on substituting the ideas of good, of liberty,
and of order for their opposites!and this can be done only
by giving some sufficient reason for accepting the new idea in
place of the old. for each one of us our beliefs constitute our facts, and these beliefs can
be changed only by discovering some ground for a different belief. This is briefly the rationale of the maxim
that “as a man thinks so he is”; and from the working of this
principle all the issues of life proceed. Now man’s first perception of the law of cause
and effect in relation to his own conduct is that the result always
partakes of the quality of the cause; and since his argument is drawn
from external observation only, he regards external acts as the only causes he can effectively
set in operation. Hence when he attains sufficient moral enlightenment
to realise that many of his acts have been such as to
merit retribution he fears retribution as their proper result. Then by reason of the
law that “thoughts are things,” the evils which he fears take form
and plunge him into adverse circumstances, which again prompt
him into further wrong acts, and from these come a fresh crop of fears which in their
turn become externalised into fresh evils, and thus arises a circulus
from which there is no escape so long as the man recognises nothing
but his external acts as a causative power in the world of his surroundings. This is the Law of works, the Circle of Karma,
the Wheel of Fate, from which there appears to be no escape,
because the complete fulfilment of the law of our moral nature to-day is only sufficient
for to-day and leaves no surplus to compensate the failure of yesterday.
This is the necessary law of things as they appear from
external observation only; and, so long as this conception remains, the law of each man’s
subjective consciousness makes it a reality for him.
What is needed, therefore, is to establish the conception that external
acts are NOT the only causative power, but that there is another law of causation, namely,
that of pure Thought. This is the Law of Faith, the Law
of Liberty; for it introduces us to a power which is able to
inaugurate a new sequence of causation not related to any past actions. But this change of mental attitude cannot
be brought about till we have laid hold of some fact which is
sufficient to afford a reason for the change. We require some solid ground for our belief
in this higher law. Ultimately we find this ground in the great
Truth of the eternal relation between spirit in the universal and in
the particular. When we realise that substantially there is nothing else but spirit, and that
we ourselves are reproductions in individuality of the Intelligence
and Love which rule the universe, we have reached the firm
standing ground where we find that we can send forth our Thought to produce any effect
we will. We have passed beyond the idea of two opposites requiring
reconciliation, into that of a duality in which there is no
other opposition than that of the inner and the outer of the same unity, the polarity
which is inherent in all Being, and we then realise that in virtue
of this unity our Thought is possessed of illimitable creative power,
and that it is free to range where it will, and is by no means bound down to accept as
inevitable the consequences which, if unchecked by renovated
thought, would flow from our past actions. In its own independent creative power the
mind has found the way out of the fatal circle in which its previous
ignorance of the highest law had imprisoned it. The Unity of the Spirit is found to result
in perfect Liberty; the old sequence of Karma has been cut off, and
a new and higher order has been introduced. In the old order the
line of thought received its quality from the quality of the actions, and since they
always fell short of perfection, the development of a higher thought-power
from this root was impossible. This is the order in
which everything is seen from without. it is an inverted order. But in the true order
everything is seen from within. it is the thought which determines the quality
of the action, and not vice versa, and since thought is free, it is
at liberty to direct itself to the highest principles, which thus spontaneously reproduce
themselves in the outward acts, so that both thoughts and actions
are brought into harmony with the great eternal laws and
become one in purpose with the Universal Mind. The man realises that he is no longer bound
by the consequences of his former deeds, done in
the time of his ignorance, in fact, that he never was bound by them
except so far as he himself gave them this power by false conceptions of the truth; and
thus recognising himself for what he really is–the expression
of the Infinite Spirit in individual personality–he finds that he is
free, that he is a “partaker of Divine nature,” not losing his identity, but becoming more
and more fully himself with an ever-expanding perfection,
following out a line of evolution whose possibilities are
inexhaustible. But there is not in all men this knowledge.
for the most part they still look upon God as an individual Being
external to themselves, and what the more instructed man sees to be unity of mind and
identity of nature appear to the less advanced to be an external
reconciliation between opposing personalities. Hence the whole
range of conceptions which may be described as the Messianic Idea. This idea is not, as
some seem to suppose, a misconception of the truth of Being.
On the contrary, when rightly understood it will be found to
imply the very widest grasp of that truth; and it is from the platform of this supreme
knowledge alone that an idea so comprehensive in its adaptation to
every class of mind could have been evolved. it is the translation of
the relations arising from the deepest laws of Being into terms which can be realised
even by the most unlearned; a translation arranged with such
consummate skill that, as the mind grows in spirituality, every
stage of advance is met by a corresponding unfolding of the Divine meaning; while yet
even the crudest apprehension of the idea implied is sufficient
to afford the required basis for an entire renovation of the man’s
thoughts concerning himself, giving him a standing ground from which to think of himself
as no longer bound by the law of retribution for past offences,
but as free to follow out the new law of Liberty as a child of God. The man’s conception of the modus operandi
of this emancipation may take the form of the grossest
anthropomorphism or the most childish notions as to the satisfaction of the Divine justice
by vicarious substitution, but the working result will
be the same. He has got what satisfies him as a ground for thinking of
himself in a perfectly new light; and since the states of our subjective consciousness
constitute the realities of our life, to afford him a convincing ground
for thinking himself free, is to make him free. With increasing light he may find that his
first explanation of the modus operandi was inadequate; but when he reaches this stage, further investigation
will show him that the great truth of his liberty rests upon a firmer
foundation than the conventional interpretation of traditional dogmas, and that it has its
roots in the great law of Nature, which are never doubtful, and which
can never be overturned!and it is precisely because their
whole action has its root in the unchangeable laws of Mind that there exists a perpetual
necessity for presenting to men something which they can
lay hold of as a sufficient ground for that change of mental
attitude, by which alone they can be rescued from the fatal circle which is figured under
the symbol of the Old Serpent. The hope and adumbration of such a new principle
has formed the substance of all religions in all ages,
however misapprehended by the ignorant worshippers; and, whatever our individual opinions may
be as to the historical facts of Christianity, we shall
find that the great figure of liberated and perfected humanity which
forms its centre fulfils this desire of all nations in that it sets forth their great
ideal of Divine power intervening to rescue man by becoming one
with him. This is the conception presented to us, whether we
apprehend it in the most literally material sense, or as the ideal presentation of the
deepest philosophic study of mental laws, or in whatever variety of
ways we may combine these two extremes. The ultimate idea
impressed upon the mind must always be the same: it is that there is a Divine warrant
for knowing ourselves to be the children of God and “partakers of
the Divine nature”; and when we thus realise that there is solid
ground for believing ourselves free, by force of this very belief we become free. The proper outcome of the study of the laws
of spirit which constitute the inner side of things is not the
gratification of a mere idle curiosity, nor the acquisition of abnormal powers, but the
attainment of our spiritual liberty, without which no further
progress is possible. When we have reached this goal the old things
have passed away and all things have become new. The mystical seven days of the old creation
have been fulfilled, and the first day of the new week
dawns upon us with its resurrection to a new life, expressing on the
highest plane that great doctrine of the “octave” which the science of the ancient temples traced
through Nature, and which the science of the present
day endorses, though ignorant of its supreme significance. When we have thus been made free by recognising
our oneness with Infinite Being, we have reached the
termination of the old series of sequences and have gained the starting-point of the
new. The old limitations are found never to have had any existence
save in our own misapprehension of the truth, and one by one they
fall off as we advance into clearer light. We find that the Life-Spirit we seek is in
ourselves; and, having this for our centre, our relation to all else becomes
part of a wondrous living order in which every part works in
sympathy with the whole, and the whole in sympathy with every part, a harmony wide as
infinitude, and in which there are no limitations save those
imposed by the Law of Love. I have endeavoured in this short series of
articles to sketch briefly the principal points of relation between
Spirit in ourselves and in our surroundings. This subject has employed the intelligence
of mankind from grey antiquity to the present day, and no one thinker
can ever hope to grasp it in all its amplitude. But there are
certain broad principles which we must all grasp, however we may specialise our studies
in detail, and these I have sought to indicate, with what degree
of success the reader must form his own opinion. Let him, however,
lay firm hold of this one fundamental truth, and the evolution of further truth from it
is only a question of time–that there is only One Spirit, however
many the modes of its manifestations, and that “the Unity of the
Spirit is the Bond of Peace.” Chapter 6 THE PERVERSION OF TRUTH There is a very general recognition, which
is growing day by day more and more widespread, that there is a
sort of hidden power somewhere which it is within our ability, somehow or other, to use.
The ideas on this subject are exceedingly vague with the generality
of people, but still they are assuming a more and more
definite form, and that which they appear to be taking with the generality of the public
is the recognition of the power of suggestion. I suppose none of
us doubts that there is such a thing as the power of suggestion and
that it can produce very great results indeed, and that it is par excellence a hidden power;
it works behind the scenes, it works through what we know as the
subconscious mind, and consequently its activity is not
immediately recognisable, or the source from which it comes. Now there is in some aspects,
its usefulness, its benefit, but in other aspects there is a source
of danger, because a power of this kind is obviously one which
can be used either well or ill; in itself it is perfectly neutral, it all depends on
the purpose for which it is used, and the character of the agent who employs
it. This recognition of the power of suggestion
is in many instances taking a most undesirable form, and I
commend to your notice, in support of this observation, numerous advertisements in certain
classes of magazines–many of you must have seen many
specimens of that kind–offering for a certain sum of money to
put you in the way of getting personal influence, mental power, power of suggestion, as the
advertisements very unblushingly put it, for any purpose
that you may desire. Some of them even go into further particulars,
telling you the particular sort of purposes for which you can employ this, all of them
certainly being such uses as no one should ever attempt to make of it. therefore, this recognition of the power of
suggestion, say even as a mere money-making power, to leave
alone other misapplications of it, is a feature which is taking hold, so to say, of certain
sections of the public who do not realise a higher platform in these
things. it is deplorable that it should be so, but it is in the nature
of things unavoidable. You have a power which can be used affirmatively, and which can be
used negatively, which can be used for higher purposes, and
can be used for lower purposes, and consequently you will find
numbers of people who, as soon as they get hold of it, will at once think only of the
lower purposes, not of the higher. In support of what I say–although this is
by no means, I suppose, intended as a low application, probably it is
intended as a high application, but I cannot say I agree with it–but to show you that
I am talking from actual facts I will read you a note which I have
made from the Daily Mail, of the 20th January, that I daresay some
of you may have seen. it is an article headed “Killing by Prayer,” and the article goes
on to say that a certain circular has been sent round to the different
hospitals and other places where the study of vivisection goes
forward to this effect. In this circular, signed with the letters “M. C.” the writer
says that he accidentally heard of a person who was in the habit of praying
from time to time for the death of one of our leading vivisectors
and that always the man indicated died. That is what M. C. heard by chance during conversation
at a hotel dinner. Then thinking over this, M. C. goes
on to say that he (or she) tried praying that the man most likely to
cause suffering to innocent subjects by his experiments might be removed, and the consequence
was that about a fortnight later one of our most distinguished
medical scientists died. I do not know who the scientist in question
was; I daresay some of you may be aware of the name. However,
that is what the Daily Mail tells us, and it also states that the Anti-Vivisection Societies
were unanimous in condemning this circular, and very properly
so. Now you see the sender of that circular, whoever he was,
obviously thought he was doing a very good piece of work. I myself am by no means any
friend of vivisection. I do not think any one can have
a real knowledge of the truth and remain in touch with it, but I
certainly agreed with the Anti-Vivisection Societies in condemning such a circular as
that. You see there is the assumption that prayer, or mental power, can
be used to remove a person from the stage of life, and M. C.
claims that he did it in the case of this particular scientist. That brings back another parallel, almost,
I might say, an historical parallel, to our mind; that of Dr. Anna
Kingsford, taking place perhaps some forty years ago, who claimed–of course she was
a very strong anti-vivisectionist–that by thought-power
she caused the death of Claude Bernard, the great vivisection
scientist of France. Certainly at the time that she put out her forces he did die, but
on the other hand, it has been remarked that it was from that very date
that her own break-up commenced, and never ceased till she
herself passed into the other world. So you see these actions are likely to revert to
the sender, even if they are successful. Now in these two cases the ultimate object
was not a low one, it was one which was supposed to be for the
benefit of humanity and of the dumb creation. But that does not justify the means. The maxim,
“The end justifies the means,” is the greatest perversion
of truth, and still more so if this hidden power, the power of
suggestion, is used to injure any one for a more personal motive than in these cases
which I have cited. The lower the motive, the lower the action becomes,
and to suppose that because mental means are employed they
make any difference in the nature of the act is a very great mistake. it has been sometimes my painful duty to sentence
people to death for murder, and therefore I claim that I
have a very fair knowledge of what differentiates murder from those cases in which life is taken
which do not amount to murder; and speaking from the judicial
experience of a great many years, and the trial of a large
number of cases which have involved the question whether the death penalty should be passed
or not, I have no hesitation in saying that to kill by mental
means is just as much murder as to kill by poison or the dagger.
Speaking judicially, I should have not the least hesitation in hanging any one who committed
murder by means of mental suggestion. Psychological
crime, remember, is crime just the same; possibly it is more
deeply dyed crime, because of the greater knowledge which must go along with it. I say
that the psychological criminal is worse than the ordinary criminal. One of the teachings of the Master is on this
very point. I refer you to the miracle of the fig tree. You know
that he exhibited his power of killing not a person, not even an animal, but a tree!and
when the disciples said to him, see how this tree which you cursed
has withered away, he replied, Well, you can do exactly the same
thing, and goes on to say, nothing shall be impossible to you. therefore if you can kill
fig trees, you can kill people, but, “forgive, if you have aught against
any,” that your heavenly Father may forgive you. He says in effect: now you have seen that
this hidden power can be used to the destruction of life, at your peril
use it otherwise than as a Divine power. Use it with prayer to God and with forgiveness
of all against whom you have any sort of grudge or ill-feeling,
and if its use is always prefaced in this way, according to the
Master’s directions, then nobody can use it to injure another either in mind, body or
estate. Perhaps some of you may be inclined to smile
if I use the word “sorcery,” but at the present day, under one
name or another, scientific or semi-scientific, it is nothing but the old-world sorcery which
is trying to find its way among us as the hidden power. Sorcery
is the inverted use of spiritual power. That is the definition of it,
and I speak upon authority. I refer you to the Bible where you will find sorcery takes
a prominent place among the list of those things which exclude
from the heavenly Jerusalem; the heavenly Jerusalem not being a
town or a city in this place or that place, but the perfected state of man. therefore,
use sorcery, and you cannot reach that heavenly state. it is on this account that we find in Revelations
that wonderful description of two symbolical women; they
represent two modes of the individual soul. Of course they go further, they indicate national
things, race evolution and so on. Why? Because all national
movements, all race evolutions, have their root in the
development of the individual. A nation or a race is only a collection of individuals,
and therefore if a principle once spreads from one individual
to another, it spreads to the nation, it spreads to the race. So,
therefore, these two symbolical women represent primarily two modes of soul, two modes of
thought. You know perfectly well the description of the
two women. One, the woman clothed with the sun, standing with
the moon under her feet, and with a diadem of stars about her head; the other seated
upon an earthly throne, holding a golden cup, and the cup is full
of abominations. Those are the two women, and we know that one of
them is called in the Scripture, Babylon, and we know which one that is. One of the
marks of this woman–mind you that means the class of individuality–is
the mark of sorcery, the mark of the inverted use of
spiritual and mental powers. But what is the end of it? The end is that
this Babylon becomes the habitation of devils, the hold–or, as the
original Greek has it, the prison of evil, an unclean spirit, the cage of every unclean
bird. That is the development which takes place in each individual
who sets out to misuse this mental power. The misuse may have a very small beginning, it may be such
as is taught in a certain school, which I am told exists in London,
where shop assistants are trained in the use of magnetic power, in order to decoy or compel
unknowing purchasers into buying what they do not want.
I am told there is such a school; I cannot quote you my
authority. That is a trifling matter. I go into a shop and spend two or three shillings
in buying something which, when I get home, I find absolutely
useless, and I say, “How in the name of fortune did I come to buy
this rubbish?” Well, I must have been hypnotised into it. it does not make much difference
to me, but it makes a great deal of difference to the young man
or young woman who has hypnotised me, because it is the first
step on the downward path. it may be only a matter of sixpence, but it leads on step
by step, and unless that path is retraced, the final end is that of
Babylon. therefore it is that St. John says, “I heard a voice from
Heaven saying, ‘Come forth, my people, out of her'”–and that is out of Babylon–“come
forth, my people, out of her”–that is out of this inverted mode
of using spiritual power–“come forth, my people, out of her, that ye
have no fellowship with her sins and that ye shall receive not of her plague.” therefore,
against this inverted use of the hidden power I warn every one from
the first day when he begins to realise that there is such a thing
as mental or spiritual power which can be exercised upon other persons. Are we then on this account to go continually
in terror of suffering from malicious magnetism, fearing that
some enemy here, or some enemy there, is turning on this hidden power against us? If so, we
should go in trepidation continually. No, I do not think
there is the least reason for us to go in fear in this way. To begin
with there are comparatively few who know the law of suggestion sufficiently well to
use it either affirmatively or negatively, and of those
who do know it sufficiently to make use of it, I am convinced that the
majority would wish only to use it in all kindness, and for the benefit of the person
concerned. That, I am confident, is the attitude of nine-tenths,
or I might perhaps say ninety-nine hundredths, of the students of this
subject. They wish to do well, and look upon their use of mental power as an additional
means of doing good. But after all, human nature is human nature,
and there remains a small minority who are both able and willing
to use this hidden power injuriously for their own purposes. Now how are we to deal with this minority?
The answer is simple. Just see them in their true light, see them
for what they really are, that is to say, persons who are ignorant of the real spiritual
power. They think they have it, and they have not. That is what it
is. See them in their true light and their power will fall away from
them. The real and ultimate power is that of the affirmative; the negative is destructive,
the affirmative is constructive. So this negative use of the
hidden power is to be destroyed by the use of the affirmative, the
constructive power. The affirmative destroys the negative always in one way, and that is
not by attacking it, not by running at it like a bull in a china
shop; but by building up life. it is always a building power–it is
building, building, building life and more life, and when that life comes in, the negative
of necessity goes out. The ultimate affirmative position is that
of conscious union with the source of life. Realise this, and you need
not trouble yourself about any action of the negative whatever. Seek conscious union with
the ultimate, the first cause, that which is the starting point
of all things, whether in the universe or in yourself as the
individual. That starting point is always present; it is the same yesterday, to-day
and forever, and you are the world and the universe in miniature, and it
is always there working in you if you will recognise it. Remember
the reciprocity between yourself and this truly hidden power. The power of suggestion
is a hidden power, but the power which creates all things is the
hidden power which is at the back of all things. Now realise that it is
in yourselves and you need trouble about the negative no longer. This is the Bible teaching
regarding Christ; and that teaching is to bring about this conscious
personal union with the Divine All-creating Spirit as a
present living power to be used day by day. The Bible tells us there is such a thing as
the mystery of iniquity, that is to say, the mystery of the spiritual
power used invertedly, used from the diabolical standpoint; and when the Bible speaks of the
mystery of iniquity, it means what it says. it tells
us there are powers and principalities in the invisible world which are
using precisely these same methods on an enormous scale; because, remember one thing, there
is never any departure in any part of the Universe from
the universal rule of law; what is law upon earth is law in Heaven,
law in Hell, law in the invisible and law in the visible; that never alters. What is
done by any spiritual power, whether it is a spiritual power of evil or
of good, is done through the mental constitution which you have. No
power alters the law of your own mind, but a power which knows the law of your mind can
use it. therefore, it is so essential that you should
know the law of your own mind and realise its continual
amenability to suggestion. That being so, the great thing is to get a standard for fundamental,
unchangeable, and sufficient suggestion to which you can
always turn, and which is automatically impressed upon your
subconscious mind so deeply that no counter-suggestion can ever take its place; and that is the mystery
of Christ, the Son of God. That is why we are
told of the mystery of Christ, the mystery of godliness in
opposition to the mystery of iniquity; it is because both the mystery of the Divine
and the mystery of the diabolical are seeking to work through you,
and they can only work through you by the law of your own
mental constitution, that is to say, by the law of subconscious mind acting and re-acting
upon your conscious mind and upon your body, and so upon your
circumstances. The mystery of Christ is no mere ecclesiastical
fiction. People have distorted it, and made it not clear, by
trying to explain what at that time and in those days was not properly known, by trying
to explain what they did not know; because what is commonly now
known regarding the laws of mind was unknown then. But now
this light has come we begin to see that the Bible teaching regarding Christ has a great
and a deep meaning, and it is for these reasons St. Paul said
to the Corinthians: “Little children of whom I travail again in birth,
until Christ be formed in you.” That is why he speaks of “Christ in you the hope of glory,”
that is to say, the Christ conception, the realisation of the
Christ principle as exhibited in the Christ person, brings you in touch
with the personal element in the Universal Spirit, the divine creative, first moving
Spirit of the Universe. Then you see that realising this as your fundamental
fact, it is continually impressed upon your subconscious
mind, even when you are not thinking of it, because that is the action of the subconscious
mind to take in and reason and argue in its own deductive way
upon things of which you are not at the moment consciously
thinking. therefore it is that the realisation of that great promise of redemption, which
is the backbone of the Bible from the first chapter of Genesis to
the last chapter of Revelations, is according to a scientific law. it is
not a hocus-pocus business, it is not a thing which has been arranged this way and might
just as well have been arranged in some other; it is not so
because some arbitrary Authority has commanded it, and the
Authority might just as well have commanded it some other way. No, it is so because the more you examine
it, the more you will find that it is absolutely scientific; it is based
upon the natural constitution of the human mind!and it is therefore that “Christ,” as
set forth in the Bible–whether in the Old Testament symbology,
or in the New Testament personality–“is the fulfilling of the
law,” in the sense of specialising in the highest degree that which is common to all
humanity. As we realise this more and more, and specialise it more
and more, so we shall rise to higher and higher intercourse and
more and more consciousness of reciprocal identity, reciprocal life with the Universal
Power, which will raise us above any possibility of being touched
by any sort of malicious suggestion. If anybody should be, then, so ill-willed
towards us and so lamentably ignorant of spiritual truth himself as to
seek to exercise the power of malicious suggestion against us, I pity the person who tries to
do it. He will get nothing out of it, because he is firing peas
out of a pea-shooter against an iron-clad war vessel. That is what it
amounts to; but for himself it amounts to something more. it is a true saying that “Curses
return home to roost.” I think if we study these things,
and consider that there is a reason for them, we need not be in the least
alarmed about negative suggestion, or malicious magnetism, of being brought under the power
of other minds, of being got over in some way, of being done
out of our property, of being injured in our health, or being hurt
in our circumstances, and so on. Of course if you lay yourself open to that
kind of thing, you will get it. “Knock, and it shall be opened unto
you.” That is why the Scripture says, “He that breaketh through a hedge, a serpent shall
bite him.” That is the serpent that some of us know something about,
that is our old enemy Nahash. Some of you, at any rate, are
sufficiently trained in the inner sciences to know the serpent Nahash. Break down the
hedge, that is to say, the conscious control of your own mind, and above
all the hedge of the Divine love and wisdom with which God
himself will surround you in the personality of His Son, break down this hedge and of course
Nahash comes in. But if you keep your hedge–and remember
the old Hebrew tradition always spoke of the Divine Law as
“the hedge”–if you keep your hedge unbroken, nothing can come in except by the door. Christ
said, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall
be saved.” I have spoken of the two great mysteries,
the mystery of godliness and the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of
Christ and the mystery of anti-Christ. Now, it is not necessary, mind you, that you should
understand these mysteries in full in order to get into your
right position. If it were necessary that we should fully understand
these mysteries, either to get away from the one or to get into the other, I think all
of us would have an uncommonly bad chance. I certainly should.
I can touch only the fringe of these things, but we can realise the
principle of the affirmative and the principle of the negative which underlies them both;
one is the mystery of light, the other is the mystery of darkness. I do not say do not study these mysteries;
they are exactly what we ought to study, but do not think that you
remain in a state of danger until you have completely fathomed the mystery. Not a bit
of it. You can quite get on the right side without understanding the
whole thing, exactly as you travel on a railway without
understanding the mechanism of the engine which takes you along. So then we have these two mysteries, that
of light and that of darkness, and therefore what we have to do is to
exercise our will to receive the mystery of light, and then that will make for itself
a centre in our own hearts and beings, and you will become conscious
of that centre. Whether you understand it or not, you will become
conscious of it–and then from that centre, that centre of light in yourself, you can
start everything in your life, whether spiritual or temporal. You do not
have to go further back; you do not have to analyse the why and the
wherefore of these things in order to get your starting point. it may interest you afterwards,
it may strengthen you afterwards to do so, but for a practical
starting point you must realise the Divine presence in yourself,
which is the son of God manifested in you, that is the Divine principle of personality
speaking within yourself. So then, having realised this as your centre,
you carry the all-originating affirmative power with you, all
through everything that you do and everything that you are; day and night it will be there,
it will protect you, it will guide you, it will help you!and when
you want to do so you can consciously apply to it and it will give
you assistance, and because you take this as your starting point, it will manifest itself
in all your conditions; because, remember, it is a very simple law
of logic that whatever you start with will manifest itself all down
the sequence which comes from it. If you start with the colour red you can make all sorts
of modifications and bring out orange, purple and brown, but the
red basis will show itself all down the scale of colour, and so if
you start with a basis of blue, blue will show itself all down the scale of various
colours. therefore, if you start with the affirmative
basis, the one starting point of the Divine spirit, not taking it lower
down the stream, but going to the fountain head, that affirmative principle of life will
flow all through, showing its own quality to the very tips of
your fingers and beyond that out into all your circumstances. So
that the divine presence will be continuously with you, not as a consequence of your joining
this Church or that, following this idea, or that teacher,
but because you know the truth for yourselves, and you have realised
it as an actual living experience in your own mind and in your own heart; and therefore
it is that this personal recognition of the Divine love and wisdom
and power is what St. Paul calls “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Each one who recognises this, is one who answers
the Biblical description of a true Israelite indeed. That
word “Israelite” in the Bible is a very deeply symbolical word, and carries an immense amount
of meaning with it. So get this recognition as the real
working fact that each one of you is an Israelite indeed, and if so,
then make yourselves perfectly happy with the everlasting statement, which is as true
now as it was on the day on which it was uttered: “There is no divination
or enchantment against Israel.” 1909. Chapter 7 THE “I am” We often do not sufficiently recognise the
truth of Walt Whitman’s pithy saying, “I am not all contained
between my hat and my boots,” and forget the two-fold nature of the “I am,” that it is
at once both the manifested and the unmanifested, the universal
and the individual. By losing sight of this truth we surround
ourselves with limitations; we see only part of the self, and then we are surprised that
the part fails to do the work of the whole. Factors crop up on which
we had not reckoned, and we wonder where they come from,
and do not understand that they necessarily arise from that great unity in which we are
all included. it is the grand intelligence and livingness
of Universal Spirit continually pressing forward to manifestation of
itself in a glorious humanity. This must be effected by each individual’s
recognition of his power to co-operate with the Supreme Principle
through an intelligent conception of its purpose and of the natural laws by which that purpose
is accomplished–a recognition which can proceed
only from the realisation that he himself is none other than
the same Universal Principle in particular manifestation. When he sees this he sees that Walt Whitman’s
saying is true, and that his source of intelligence, power, and
purpose is in that Universal Self, which is his as well as another’s just because it is
universal, and which is therefore as completely and entirely identified
with himself as though there were no other expression of it in
the world. The understanding which alone gives value
to knowledge is the understanding that, when we employ the
formula “I am, therefore I can, therefore I will,” the “I am” with which the series
starts is a being who, so to speak, has his head in heaven and his feet
upon the earth, a perfect unity, and with a range of ideas far
transcending the little ideas which are limited by the requirements of a day or an hour. On
the other hand, the requirements of the day and the hour are real
while they last, and since the manifested life can be lived only in
the moment that now is, whether it be to-day or ten thousand years hence, our need is to
harmonise the life of expression with the life of purpose, and by
realising in ourselves the source of the highest purposes to realise
also the life of the fullest expression. This is the meaning of prayer. Prayer is not
a foolish seeking to change the mind of Supreme Wisdom, but it is
an intelligent seeking to embody that wisdom in our thoughts so as more and more perfectly
to express it in expressing ourselves. Thus, as we gradually
grow into the habit of finding this inspiring Presence within
ourselves, and of realising its forward movement as the ultimate determining factor in all
true healthful mental action, it will become second nature to us
to have all our plans, down to the apparently most trivial, so floating
upon the undercurrent of this Universal Intelligence that a great harmony will come into our lives,
every discordant manifestation will disappear, and
we shall find ourselves more and more controlling all things into
the forms that we desire. Why? Because we have attained to commanding
the Spirit and making it obey us? Certainly not, for “if the
blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch”; but because we are companions
of the Spirit, and by a continuous and growing intimacy have changed,
not “the mind of the Spirit,” but our own, and have learned to
think from a higher standpoint, where we see that the old-world saying “know thyself” includes
the knowledge of all that we mean when we speak
of God. Chapter 8 I am IS ONE This may seem a very elementary proposition,
but it is one of which we are too apt to lose sight. What does it
mean? it means everything; but we are most concerned with what it means in regard to
ourselves, and to each of us personally it means this. it means that
there are not two Spirits, one which is myself and one which is
another. it means that there is not some great unknown power external to myself which may
be actuated by perfectly different motives to my own, and
which will, therefore, oppose me with its irresistible force and pass
over me, leaving me crushed and broken like the devotee over whom the car of Jaggarnath
has rolled. it means that there is only one mind, one motive,
one power–not two opposing each other–and that my
conscious mind in all its movements is only the one mind expressing itself as (not merely
through) my own particular individuality. There are not two I amS, but one I am. Whatever,
therefore, I can conceive the Great Universal Life Principle
to be, that I am. Let us try fully to realise what this means. Can you conceive the Great
originating and Sustaining Life Principle of the whole universe
as poor, weak, sordid, miserable, jealous, angry, anxious,
uncertain, or in any other way limited? We know that this is impossible. Then because
the I am is one it is equally untrue of ourselves. Learn first to
distinguish the true self that you are from the mental and physical
processes which it throws forth as the instruments of its expression, and then learn that this
self controls these instruments, and not vice versa. As we advance
in this knowledge we know ourselves to be unlimited, and
that, in the miniature world, whose centre we are, we ourselves are the very same overflowing
of joyous livingness that the Great Life Spirit is in
the Great All. The I am is One. Chapter 9 AFFIRMATIVE POWER thoroughly to realise the true nature of affirmative
power is to possess the key to the great secret. We feel its
presence in all the innumerable forms of life by which we are surrounded and we feel it
as the life in ourselves; and at last some day the truth
bursts upon us like a revelation that we can wield this power, this life,
by the process of Thought!and as soon as we see this, the importance of regulating our
thinking begins to dawn upon us. We ask ourselves what this thought
process is, and we then find that it is thinking affirmative
force into forms which are the product of our own thought. We mentally conceive the
form and then think life into it. This must always be the nature of the creative
process on whatever scale, whether on the grand scale of the
Universal Cosmic Mind or on the miniature scale of the individual mind; the difference
is only in degree and not in kind. We may picture the mental machinery
by which this is done in the way that best satisfies our
intellect–and the satisfying of the intellect on this point is a potent factor in giving
us that confidence in our mental action without which we can effect
nothing–but the actual externalisation is the result of something
more powerful than a merely intellectual apprehension. it is the result of that inner mental state
which, for want of a better word, we may call our emotional
conception of ourselves. it is the “self” which we feel
ourselves to be which takes forms of our own creating. for this reason our thought must
be so grounded upon knowledge that we shall feel the truth of
it, and thus be able to produce in ourselves that mental attitude of
feeling which corresponds to the condition which we desire to externalise. We cannot think into manifestation a different
sort of life to that which we realise in ourselves. As Horace
says, “Nemo dat quod non habet,” we cannot give what we have not got!and, on the other
hand, we can never cease creating forms of some sort by our mental
activity, thinking life into them. This point must be very
carefully noted. We cannot sit still producing nothing: the mental machinery will keep on
turning out work of some sort, and it rests with us to determine
of what sort it shall be. In our entire ignorance or imperfect
realisation of this we create negative forms and think life into them. We create forms
of death, sickness, sorrow, trouble, and limitation of all sorts,
and then think life into these forms; with the result that, however
non-existent in themselves, to us they become realities and throw their shadow across the
path which would otherwise be bright with the many-coloured
beauties of innumerable flowers and the glory of the sunshine. This need not be. it is giving to the negative
an affirmative force which does not belong to it. Consider what is
meant by the negative. it is the absence of something. it is not-being, and is the absence
of all that constitutes being. Left to itself, it remains in its own
nothingness, and it only assumes form and activity when we give
these to it by our thought. Here, then, is the great reason for practising
control over our thought. it is the one and only instrument we
have to work with, but it is an instrument which works with the greatest certainty, for
limitation if we think limitation, for enlargement if we think enlargement.
Our thought as feeling is the magnet which draws to us
those conditions which accurately correspond to itself. This is the meaning of the saying
that “thoughts are things.” But, you say, how can I think differently
from the circumstances? Certainly you are not required to
say that the circumstances at the present moment are what they are not; to say so would
be untrue; but what is wanted is not to think from the standpoint
of circumstances at all. Think from that interior standpoint where
there are no circumstances, and from whence you can dictate what circumstances shall be,
and then leave the circumstances to take care of themselves. Do not think of this, that, or the other particular
circumstances of health, peace, etc. but of health, peace, and
prosperity themselves. Here is an advertisement from Pearson’s Weekly:–“Think money. Big
moneymakers think money.” This is a perfectly sound statement
of the power of thought, although it is only an
advertisement; but we may make an advance beyond thinking “money.” We can think “Life”
in all its fulness, together with that perfect harmony of conditions
which includes all that we need of money and a thousand
other good things besides, for some of which money stands as the symbol of exchangeable
value, while others cannot be estimated by so material a standard. therefore think Life, illumination, harmony,
prosperity, happiness–think the things rather than this or that
condition of them!and then by the sure operation of the Universal Law these things will form
themselves into the shapes best suited to your particular
case, and will enter your life as active, living forces, which will never
depart from you because you know them to be part and parcel of your own being. Chapter 10 SUBMISSION There are two kinds of submission: submission
to superior force and submission to superior truth. The one is
weakness and the other is strength. it is an exceedingly important part of our training
to learn to distinguish between these two, and the more so because
the wrong kind is extolled by nearly all schools of popular
religious teaching at the present day as constituting the highest degree of human attainment. By
some this is pressed so far as to make it an instrument
of actual oppression, and with all it is a source of weakness and a
bar to progress. We are forbidden to question what are called the wise dispensations of
Providence and are told that pain and sorrow are to be accepted
because they are the will of God; and there is much eloquent
speaking and writing concerning the beauty of quiet resignation, all of which appeals
to a certain class of gentle minds who have not yet learnt that
gentleness does not consist in the absence of power but in the kindly
and beneficent use of it. Minds cast in this mould are peculiarly apt
to be misled. They perceive a certain beauty in the picture of
weakness leaning upon strength, but they attribute its soothing influence to the wrong element
of the combination. A thoughtful analysis would show
them that their feelings consisted of pity for the weak figure
and admiration for the strong one, and that the suggestiveness of the whole arose from
its satisfying the artistic sense of balance which requires a
compensation of this sort. But which of the two figures in the picture
would they themselves prefer to be? Surely not the weak one needing help, but the strong
one giving it. By itself the weak figure only stirs our pity
and not our admiration. its form may be beautiful, but its very beauty
only serves to enhance the sense of something wanting–and the something wanting is strength.
The attraction which the doctrine of passive resignation
possesses for certain minds is based upon an appeal to sentiment, which is accepted without any suspicion that
the sentiment appealed to is a false one. Now the healthful influence of the movement
known as “The Higher Thought” consists precisely in this–that
it sets itself rigorously to combat this debilitating doctrine of submission. it can see as well
as others the beauty of weakness leaning upon strength;
but it sees that the real source of the beauty lies in the strong
element of the combination. The true beauty consists in the power to confer strength,
and this power is not to be acquired by submission, but by the exactly
opposite method of continually asserting our determination not
to submit. Of course, if we take it for granted that
all the sorrow, sickness, pain, trouble, and other adversity in the world
is the expression of the will of God, then doubtless we must resign ourselves to the
inevitable with all the submission we can command, and comfort ourselves
with the vague hope that somehow in some far-off future
we shall find that “Good is the final goal of ill,” though even this vague hope is a protest against
the very submission we are endeavouring to exercise. But to
make the assumption that the evil of life is the will of God is to assume what a careful
and intelligent study of the laws of the universe, both mental and
physical, will show us is not the truth; and if we turn to that Book
which contains the fullest delineation of these universal laws, we shall find nothing
taught more clearly than that submission to the evils of life is not
submission to the will of God. We are told that Christ was manifested
for this end, that he should destroy him that hath the power of death–that is, the devil.
Now death is the very culmination of the Negative. it is the entire
absence of all that makes Life, and whatever goes to diminish the
living quality of Life reproduces, in its degree, the distinctive quality of this supreme
exhibition of the Negative. Everything that tends to detract
from the fulness of life has in it this deathful quality. In that completely renovated life, which is
figured under the emblem of the New Jerusalem, we are told that
sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and that the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick. Nothing
that obscures life, or restricts it, can proceed from the same
source as the Power which gives light to them that sit in darkness,
and deliverance to them that are bound. Negation can never be Affirmation; and the error we
have always to guard against is that of attributing positive
power to the Negative. If we once grasp the truth that God is life,
and that life in every mode of expression can never be anything else than Affirmative,
then it must become clear to us that nothing which is of the opposite
tendency can be according to the will of God. for God (the
good) to will any of the “evil” that is in the world would be for Life to act with the
purpose of diminishing itself, which is a contradiction in terms
to the very idea of Life. God is Life, and Life is, by its very nature,
Affirmative. The submission we have hitherto made has been to our own weakness, ignorance,
and fear, and not to the supreme good. But is no such thing as submission, then,
required of us under any circumstances? Are we always to have our
own way in everything? Assuredly the whole secret of our progress to liberty is involved
in acquiring the habit of submission; but it is submission
to superior Truth, and not to superior force. it sometimes happens
that, when we attain a higher Truth, we find that its reception requires us to re-arrange
the truths which we possessed before: not, indeed, to lay any
of them aside, for Truth once recognised cannot be again put out of
sight, but to recognise a different relative proportion between them from that which we
had seen previously. Then there comes a submitting of what has
hitherto been our highest truth to one which we recognise as still
higher, a process not always easy of attainment, but which must be gone through if our spiritual
development is not to be arrested. The lesser degree of
life must be swallowed up in the greater; and for this purpose it is
necessary for us to learn that the smaller degree was only a partial and limited aspect
of that which is more universal, stronger, and of a larger build
every way. Now, in going through the processes of spiritual
growth, there is ample scope for that training in
self-knowledge and self-control which is commonly understood by the word “submission.” But the
character of the act is materially altered. it is no
longer a half-despairing resignation to a superior force external to
ourselves, which we can only vaguely hope is acting kindly and wisely, but it is an
intelligent recognition of the true nature of our own interior forces
and of the laws by which a robust spiritual constitution is to be
developed; and the submission is no longer to limitations which drain life of its livingness,
and against which we instinctively rebel, but to the law of
our own evolution which manifests itself in continually increasing
degrees of life and strength. The submission which we recognise is the price
that has to be paid for increase in any direction. Even in the
Money Market we must invest before we can realise profits. it is a universal rule that
Nature obeys us exactly in proportion as we first obey Nature; and
this is as true in regard to spiritual science as to physical. The only
question is whether we will yield an ignorant submission to the principle of Death, or a
joyous and intelligent obedience to the principle of Life. If we have clearly grasped the fact of our
identity with Universal Spirit, we shall find that, in the right
direction, there is really no such thing as submission. Submission is to the power of
another–a man cannot be said to submit to himself. When the “I am”
in us recognises a greater degree of I am-ness (if I may coin the
word) than it has hitherto attained, then, by the very force of this recognition, it
becomes what it sees, and therefore naturally puts off from itself whatever
would limit its expression of its own completeness. But this is a natural process of growth, and
not an unnatural act of submission; it is not the pouring-out of
ourselves in weakness, but the gathering of ourselves together in increasing strength.
There is no weakness in Spirit, it is all strength; and we must therefore
always be watchful against the insidious approaches of the
Negative which would invert the true position. The Negative always points to some external
source of strength. its formula is “I am NOT.” it always
seeks to fix a gulf between us and the Infinite Sufficiency. it
would always have us believe that that sufficiency is not our own, but that by an act of uncertain
favour we may have occasional spoonfuls of it doled
out to us. Christ’s teaching is different. We do not need to come
with our pitcher to the well to draw water, like the woman of Samaria, but we have in
ourselves an inexhaustible supply of the living water springing
up into everlasting life. Let us then inscribe “No Surrender” in bold
characters upon our banner, and advance undaunted to claim our
rightful heritage of liberty and life. Chapter 11 COMPLETENESS A point on which students of mental science
often fail to lay sufficient stress is the completeness of man–not
a completeness to be attained hereafter, but here and now. We have been so accustomed to
have the imperfection of man drummed into us in books,
sermons, and hymns, and above all in a mistaken interpretation of the Bible, that at first
the idea of his completeness altogether staggers us. Yet until we see
this we must remain shut out from the highest and best that mental science has to offer,
from a thorough understanding of its philosophy, and from
its greatest practical achievements. To do any work successfully you must believe
yourself to be a whole man in respect of it. The completed
work is the outward image of a corresponding completeness in yourself!and if this is true
in respect of one work it is true of all; the difference in
the importance of the work does not matter; we cannot successfully
attempt any work until, for some reason or other, we believe ourselves able to accomplish
it; in other words, until we believe that none of the conditions
for its completion is wanting in us, and that we are therefore
complete in respect of it. Our recognition of our completeness is thus the measure of
what we are able to do, and hence the great importance of knowing
the fact of our own completeness. But, it may be asked, do we not see imperfection
all around? Is there not sorrow, sickness, and trouble? Yes;
but why? Just for the very reason that we do not realise our completeness. If we realised
that in its fulness these things would not be; and in the degree
in which we come to realise it we shall find them steadily
diminish. Now if we really grasp the two fundamental truths that Spirit is Life pure and simple,
and that external things are the result of interior
forces, then it ought not to be difficult to see why we should be
complete; for to suppose otherwise is to suppose the reactive power of the universe to be either
unable or unwilling to produce the complete expression
of its own intention in the creation of man. That it should be unable to do so would be
to depose it from its place as the creative principle, and that it
should be unwilling to fulfil its own intention is a contradiction in terms; so that on either
supposition we come to a reductio ad absurdum. In forming
man the creative principle therefore must have produced a perfect
work, and our conception of ourselves as imperfect can only be the result of our own ignorance
of what we really are; and our advance, therefore, does
not consist in having something new added to us, but in learning
to bring into action powers which already exist in us, but which we have never tried
to use, and therefore have not developed, simply because we have always
taken it for granted that we are by nature defective in some of
the most important faculties necessary to fit us to our environment. If we wish to attain to these great powers,
the question is, where are we to seek them? and the answer is in
ourselves. That is the great secret. We are not to go outside ourselves to look for power.
As soon as we do so we find, not power, but weakness. To seek
strength from any outside source is to make affirmation of our
weakness, and all know what the natural result of such an affirmation must be. We are complete in ourselves; and the reason
why we fail to realise this is that we do not understand how far
the “self” of ourselves extends. We know that the whole of anything consists of all its
parts and not only of some of them; yet this is just what we do
not seem to know about ourselves. We say rightly that every person
is a concentration of the Universal Spirit into individual consciousness; but if so,
then each individual consciousness must find the Universal Spirit
to be the infinite expression of itself. it is this part of the “Self”
that we so often leave out in our estimate of what we are; and consequently we look upon
ourselves as crawling pygmies when we might think of ourselves
as archangels. We try to work with the mere shadows of
ourselves instead of with the glorious substance, and then wonder at our failures. If we only
understood that our “better half” is the whole infinite of
Spirit–that which creates and sustains the universe–then we should
know how complete our completeness is. As we approach this conception, our completeness
becomes a reality to us, and we find that we need not go
outside ourselves for anything. We have only to draw on that part of ourselves which is
infinite to carry out any intention we may form in our individual
consciousness; for there is no barrier between the two parts,
otherwise they would not be a whole. Each belongs perfectly to the other, and the two
are one. There is no antagonism between them, for the Infinite
Life can have no interest against its individualisation of itself. If
there is any feeling of tension it proceeds from our not fully realising this conception
of our own wholeness; we are placing a barrier somewhere, when in
truth there is none; and the tension will continue until we find
out where and how we are setting up this barrier and remove it. This feeling of tension is the feeling that
we are not using our Whole Being. We are trying to make half do the
work of the whole; but we cannot rid ourselves of our wholeness, and therefore the whole
protests against our attempts to set one half against the other.
But when we realise that our concentration out of the Infinite also
implies our expansion into it, we shall see that our whole “self” includes both the concentration
and the expansion; and seeing this first intellectually
we shall gradually learn to use our knowledge practically and
bring our whole man to bear upon whatever we take in hand. We shall find that there
is in us a constant action and reaction between the infinite and the
individual, like the circulation of the blood from the heart to the
extremities and back again, a constant pulsation of vital energy quite natural and free from
all strain and exertion. This is the great secret of the livingness
of Life, and it is called by many names and set forth under many
symbols in various religions and philosophies, each of which has its value in proportion
as it brings us nearer the realisation of this perfect wholeness.
But the thing itself is Life, and therefore can only be suggested, but
not described, by any words or symbols; it is a matter of personal experience which no
one can convey to another. All we can do is to point out the
direction in which this experience is to be sought, and to tell others
the intellectual arguments which have helped us to find it; but the experience itself is
the operation of definite vital functions of the inner being, and no
one but ourselves can do our living for us. But, so far as it is possible to express these
things in words, what must be the result of realising that the “self”
in us includes the Infinite as well as the Individual? All the resources of the Infinite
must be at our disposal; we may draw on them as we will, and there
is no limit save that imposed by the Law of Kindness, a
self-imposed limitation, which, because of being self-imposed, is not bondage but only
another expression of our liberty. Thus we are free and all limitations
are removed. We are also no longer ignorant, for since
the “self” in us includes the Infinite we can draw thence all needed
knowledge, and though we may not always be able to formulate this knowledge in the mentality,
we shall feel its guidance, and eventually the mentality
will learn to put this also into form of words; and thus by
combining thought and experience, theory and practice, we shall by degrees come more and
more into the knowledge of the Law of our Being, and find
that there is no place in it for fear, because it is the law of
perfect liberty!and knowing what our whole self really is, we shall walk erect as free
men and women radiating Light and Life all round, so that
our very presence will carry a vivifying influence with it, because
we realise ourselves to be an Affirmative Whole, and not a mere negative disintegration
of parts. We know that our whole self includes that
Greater Man which is back of and causes the phenomenal man, and
this Greater Man is the true human principle in us. it is, therefore, universal in its
sympathies, but at the same time not less individually ourself; and thus
the true man in us, being at once both universal and individual, can
be trusted as a sure guide. it is that “Thinker” which is behind the conscious mentality, and
which, if we will accept it as our centre, and realise that
it is not a separate entity but ourself, will be found equal to every
occasion, and will lead us out of a condition of servitude into “the glorious liberty of
the sons of God.” Chapter 12 THE PRINCIPLE OF GUIDANCE If I were asked which of all the spiritual
principles ranked first, I should feel inclined to say the Principle of
Guidance; not in the sense of being more essential than the others, for every portion is equally
essential to the completeness of a perfect whole, but in the
sense of being first in order of sequence and giving value to all our
other powers by placing them in their due relation to one another. “Giving value to
our other powers,” I say, because this also is one of our powers. it
is that which, judged from the standpoint of personal
self-consciousness, is above us; but which, realised from the point of view of the unity
of all Spirit, is part and parcel of ourselves, because it is that Infinite
Mind which is of necessity identified with all its manifestations. Looking to this Infinite Mind as a Superior
Intelligence from which we may receive guidance does not
therefore imply looking to an external source. On the contrary, it is looking to the innermost
spring of our own being, with a confidence in its action which
enables us to proceed to the execution of our plans with a
firmness and assurance that are in themselves the very guarantee of our success. The action of the spiritual principles in
us follows the order which we impose upon them by our thought;
therefore the order of realisation will reproduce the order of desire; and if we neglect this
first principle of right order and guidance, we shall find ourselves
beginning to put forth other great powers, which are at
present latent within us, without knowing how to find suitable employment for them–which
would be a very perilous condition, for without having before
us objects worthy of the powers to which we awake, we should waste them on petty purposes dictated only
by the narrow range of our unilluminated intellect. therefore the
ancient wisdom says, “With all thy getting, get understanding.” The awakening to consciousness of our mysterious
interior powers will sooner or later take place, and will
result in our using them whether we understand the law of their development or not, just
as we already use our physical faculties whether we understand their
laws or not. The interior powers are natural powers as much as
the exterior ones. We can direct their use by a knowledge of their laws; and it is therefore
of the highest importance to have some sound principle of
guidance in the use of these higher faculties as they begin to
manifest themselves. If, therefore, we would safely and profitably
enter upon the possession of the great inheritance of power that is
opening out before us, we must before all things seek to realise in ourselves that Superior
Intelligence which will become an unfailing principle of guidance
if we will only recognise it as such. Everything depends on our
recognition. Thoughts are things, and therefore as we will our thoughts to be so we will the
thing to be. If, then, we will to use the Infinite Spirit as
a spirit of guidance, we shall find that the fact is as we have willed it;
and in doing this we are still making use of our own supreme principle!and this is the
true “understanding” which, by placing all the other powers in
their correct order, creates one grand unity of power directed to
clearly defined and worthy aims, in place of the dispersion of our powers, by which
they only neutralise each other and effect nothing. This is that Spirit of Truth which shall guide
us into all Truth. it is the sincere Desire of us reaching out after
Truth. Truth first and Power afterwards is the reasonable order, which we cannot invert
without injury to ourselves and others; but if we follow this
order we shall always find scope for our powers in developing into
present realities the continually growing glory of our vision of the ideal. The ideal is the true real, but it must be
brought into manifestation before it can be shown to be so, and it is in
this that the practical nature of our mental studies consists. it is the practical mystic
who is the man of power; the man who, realising the mystical powers
within, fits his outward action to this knowledge, and so shows his
faith by his works; and assuredly the first step is to make use of that power of infallible
guidance which he can call to his aid simply by desiring to be led
by it. Chapter 13 DESIRE AS THE MOTIVE POWER There are certain oriental schools of thought,
together with various Western offshoots from them, which are
entirely founded on the principle of annihilating all desire. Reach that point at which you
have no wish for anything and you will find yourself free,
is the sum and substance of their teaching; and in support of this they
put forward a great deal of very specious argument, which is all the more likely to
entangle the unwary, because it contains a recognition of many
of the profoundest truths of Nature. But we must bear in mind that it
is possible to have a very deep knowledge of psychological facts, and at the same time
vitiate the results of our knowledge by an entirely wrong assumption
in regard to the law which binds these facts together in the
universal system; and the injurious results of misapprehension upon such a vital question
are so radical and far-reaching that we cannot too forcibly urge
the necessity of clearly understanding the true nature of the point
at issue. Stripped of all accessories and embellishments, the question resolves itself
into this: Which shall we choose for our portion, Life or Death? There
can be no accommodation between the two; and whichever we
select as our guiding principle must produce results of a kind proper to itself. The whole of this momentous question turns
on the place that we assign to desire in our system of thought. Is
it the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden of the Soul? or is it the Upas Tree creating
a wilderness of death all around? This is the issue on which we
have to form a judgment, and this judgment must colour all our
conception of life and determine the entire range of our possibilities. Let us, then,
try to picture to ourselves the ideal proposed by the systems to which
I have alluded–a man who has succeeded in entirely annihilating
all desire. To him all things must be alike. The good and the evil must be as one, for
nothing has any longer the power to raise any desire in him; he has
no longer any feeling which shall prompt him to say, “This is
good, therefore I choose it; that is evil, therefore I reject it”; for all choice implies
the perception of something more desirable in what is chosen than in what
is rejected, and consequently the existence of that feeling of
desire which has been entirely eliminated from the ideal we are contemplating. Then, if the perception of all that makes
one thing preferable to another has been obliterated, there can be no
motive for any sort of action whatever. Endue a being who has thus extinguished his faculty
of desire with the power to create a universe, and he has no
motive for employing it. Endue him with all knowledge, and it will
be useless to him; for, since desire has no place in him, he is without any purpose for
which to turn his knowledge to account!and with Love we cannot
endue him, for that is desire in its supreme degree. But if all
this be excluded, what is left of the man? Nothing, except the mere outward form. If
he has actually obtained this ideal, he has practically ceased to be.
Nothing can by any means interest him, for there is nothing to
attract or repel in one thing more than in another. He must be dead alike to all feeling
and to all motive of action, for both feeling and action imply
the preference for one condition rather than another; and where
desire is utterly extinguished, no such preference can exist. No doubt some one may object that it is only
evil desires which are thus to be suppressed; but a perusal of the
writings of the schools of thought in question will show that this is not the case. The foundation
of the whole system is that all desire must be obliterated,
the desire for the good just as much as the desire for the evil. The
good is as much “illusion” as the evil, and until we have reached absolute indifference
to both we have not attained freedom. When we have utterly crushed
out all desire we are free!and the practical results of such a
philosophy are shown in the case of Indian devotees, who, in pursuance of their resolve
to crush out all desire, both for good and evil alike, become nothing
more than outward images of men, from which all power of
perception and of action have long since fled. The mergence in the universal, at which they
thus aim, becomes nothing more than a self-induced hypnotism,
which, if maintained for a sufficient length of time, saps away every power of mental and
bodily activity, leaving nothing but the outside husk of an
attenuated human form–the hopeless wreck of what was once a
living man. This is the logical result of a system which assumes for its starting-point
that desire is evil in itself, that every desire is per se a form
of bondage, independently of the nature of its object. The majority of
the followers of this philosophy may lack sufficient resolution to carry it out rigorously
to its practical conclusions; but whether their ideal is to
be realised in this world or in some other, the utter extinction of
desire means nothing else than absolute apathy, without feeling and without action. How entirely false such an idea is–not only
from the standpoint of our daily life, but also from that of the
most transcendental conception of the Universal Principle–is evidenced by the mere fact that
anything exists at all. If the highest ideal is that of utter
apathy, then the Creative Power of the universe must be extremely
low-minded; and all that we have hitherto been accustomed to look upon as the marvellous
order and beauty of creation, is nothing but a display of vulgarity
and ignorance of sound philosophy. But the fact that creation exists proves that
the Universal Mind thinks differently, and we have only to look
around to see that the true ideal is the exercise of creative power. Hence, so far from desire
being a thing to be annihilated, it is the very root of every
conceivable mode of Life. Without it Life could not be. Every form of
expression implies the selection of all that goes to make up that form, and the passing-by
of whatever is not required for that purpose; hence a desire
for that which is selected in preference to what is laid aside!and this
selective desire is none other than the universal Law of Attraction. Whether this law acts as the chemical affinity
of apparently unconscious atoms, or in the instinctive, if
unreasoned, attractions of the vegetable and animal worlds, it is still the principle of
selective affinity; and it continues to be the same when it passes on
into the higher kingdoms which are ruled by reason and conscious purpose. The modes of activity in each of
these kingdoms are dictated by the nature of the kingdom; but the
activity itself always results from the preference of a certain subject for a certain object,
to the exclusion of all others; and all action consists in the reciprocal
movement of the two towards each other in obedience to the
law of their affinity. When this takes place in the kingdom of conscious
individuality, the affinities exhibit themselves as mental
action; but the principle of selection prevails without exception throughout the universe.
In the conscious mind this attraction towards its affinity
becomes desire; the desire to create some condition of things better
than that now existing. Our want of knowledge may cause us to make mistakes as to what this
better thing really is, and so in seeking to carry out
our desire we may give it a wrong direction; but the fault is not in the
desire itself, but in our mistaken notion of what it is that it requires for its satisfaction.
Hence unrest and dissatisfaction until its true affinity is
found; but, as soon as this is discovered, the law of attraction at once
asserts itself and produces that better condition, the dream of which first gave direction to
our thoughts. Thus it is eternally true that desire is the
cause of all feeling and all action; in other words, of all Life. The
whole livingness of Life consists in receiving or in radiating forth the vibrations produced
by the law of attraction; and in the kingdom of mind these
vibrations necessarily become conscious out-reachings of the
mind in the direction in which it feels attraction; that is to say, they become desires. Desire
is therefore the mind seeking to manifest itself in some form
which as yet exists only in its thought. it is the principle of
creation, whether the thing created be a world or a wooden spoon; both have their origin
in the desire to bring something into existence which does not yet
exist. Whatever may be the scale on which we exercise our
creative ability, the motive power must always be desire. Desire is the force behind all things; it
is the moving principle of the universe and the innermost centre of all
Life. Hence, to take the negation of desire for our primal principle is to endeavour to
stamp out Life itself; but what we have to do is to acquire the requisite
knowledge by which to guide our desires to their true objects of
satisfaction. To do this is the whole end of knowledge; and any knowledge applied otherwise
is only a partial knowledge, which, having failed in its purpose,
is nothing but ignorance. Desire is thus the sum-total of the
livingness of Life, for it is that in which all movement originates, whether on the physical
level or the spiritual. In a word, desire is the creative
power, and must be carefully guarded, trained, and directed
accordingly; but thus to seek to develop it to the highest perfection is the very opposite
of trying to kill it outright. and desire has fulfilment for its correlative.
The desire and its fulfilment are bound together as cause and
effect; and when we realise the law of their sequence, we shall be more than ever impressed
with the supreme importance of Desire as the great centre of
Life. Chapter 14 TOUCHING LIGHTLY What is our point of support? Is it in ourselves
or outside us? Are we self-poised, or does our balance depend
on something external? according to the actual belief in which our answer to these questions
is embodied so will our lives be. In everything there are
two parts, the essential and the incidental–that which is the nucleus
and raison d’être of the whole thing, and that which gathers round this nucleus and
takes form from it. The true knowledge always consists in distinguishing
these two from each other, and error always consists in
misplacing them. In all our affairs there are two factors,
ourselves and the matter to be dealt with; and since for us the nature of
anything is always determined by our thought of it, it is entirely a question of our belief
which of these two factors shall be the essential and which the
accessory. Whichever we regard as the essential, the other at once
becomes the incidental. The incidental can never be absent. for any sort of action to
take place there must be some conditions under which the activity passes
out into visible results; but the same sort of activity may
occur under a variety of different conditions, and may thus produce very different visible
results. So in every matter we shall always find an essential or
energising factor, and an incidental factor which derives its quality
from the nature of the energy. We can therefore never escape from having
to select our essential and our incidental factor, and whichever we
select as the essential, we thereby place the other in the position of the incidental.
If, then, we make the mistake of reversing the true position and
suppose that the energising force comes from the merely accessory
circumstances, we make them our point of support and lean upon them, and stand or fall with
them accordingly; and so we come into a condition
of weakness and obsequious waiting on all sorts of external
influences, which is the very reverse of that strength, wisdom, and opulence which are the
only meaning of Liberty. But if we would ask ourselves the common-sense
question Where can the centre of a man’s Life be except in
himself? we shall see that in all which pertains to us the energising centre must be in ourselves.
We can never get away from ourselves as the centre of our
own universe, and the sooner we clearly understand this the
better. There is really no energy in our universe but what emanates from ourselves in the first
instance, and the power which appears to reside in our surroundings
is derived entirely from our own mind. If once we realise this, and consider that
the Life which flows into us from the Universal Life-Principle is at
every moment new Life entirely undifferentiated to any particular purpose besides that of
supporting our own individuality, and that it is therefore ours
to externalise in any form we will, then we find that this
manifestation of the eternal Life-Principle in ourselves is the standpoint from which
we can control our surroundings. We must lean firmly on the central
point of our own being and not on anything else. Our
mistake is in taking our surroundings too much “au grand serieux.” We should touch things
more lightly. As soon as we feel that their weight impedes
our free handling of them they are mastering us, and not we them. Light handling does not mean weak handling.
On the contrary, lightness of touch is incompatible with a weak
grasp of the instrument, which implies that the weight of the tool is excessive relatively
to the force that seeks to guide it. A light, even playful handling,
therefore implies a firm grasp and perfect control over the
instrument. it is only in the hands of a Grinling Gibbons that the carving tool can create miracles
of aerial lightness from the solid wood. The light yet
firm touch tells not of weakness, but of power held in reserve;
and if we realise our own out-and-out spiritual nature we know that behind any measure of
power we may put forth there is the whole reserve of the infinite
to back us up. As we come to know this we begin to handle
things lightly, playing with them as a juggler does with his
flying knives, which cannot make the slightest movement other than he has assigned to them,
for we begin to see that our control over things is part of
the necessary order of the universe. The disorder we have met with
in the past has resulted precisely from our never having attempted consciously to introduce
this element of our personal control as part of the system. Of course, I speak of the whole man, and not
merely of that part of him which Walt Whitman says is
contained between his hat and his boots. The whole man is an infinitude, and the visible
portion of him is the instrument through which he looks out upon
and enjoys all that belongs to him, his own kingdom of the
infinite!and when he learns that this is the meaning of his conscious individuality, he
sees how it is that he is infinite, and finds that he is one with Infinite
Mind, which is the innermost core of the universe. Having thus
reached the true centre of his own being, he can never give this central place to anything
else, but will realise that relatively to this all other things are
in the position of the incidental and accessory, and growing, daily in
this knowledge he will learn so to handle all things lightly, yet firmly, that grief,
fear, and error will have less and less space in his world, until at last
sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and everlasting joy shall take their
place. We may have taken only a few steps on the way as yet, but they are in the right
direction, and what we have to do now is to go on. Chapter 15 PRESENT TRUTH If Thought power is good for anything it is
good for everything. If it can produce one thing it can produce all
things. for what is to hinder it? Nothing can stop us from thinking. We can think what
we please, and if to think is to form, then we can form what we
please. The whole question, therefore, resolves itself into this: Is it
true that to think is to form? If so, do we not see that our limitations are formed in
precisely the same way as our expansions? We think that conditions outside
our thought have power over us, and so we think power into
them. So the great question of life is whether there is any other creative power than Thought.
If so, where is it, and what is it? Both philosophy and religion lead us to the
truth that “in the beginning” there was no other creative power
than Spirit, and the only mode of activity we can possibly attribute to Spirit is Thought,
and so we find Thought as the root of all things!and if this
was the case “in the beginning” it must be so still; for if all things
originate in Thought, all things must be modes of Thought, and so it is impossible for Spirit
ever to hand over its creations to some power which is not itself–that
is to say, which is not Thought-power; and consequently
all the forms and circumstances that surround us are manifestations of the creative power
of Thought. But it may be objected that this is God’s
Thought; and that the creative power is in God and not Man. But this
goes away from the self-evident axiomatic truth that “in the beginning” nothing could
have had any origin except Thought. it is quite true that nothing
has any origin except in the Divine Mind, and Man himself is
therefore a mode of the Divine Thought. Again, Man is self-conscious; therefore Man is the
Divine Thought evolved into individual consciousness, and
when he becomes sufficiently enlightened to realise this as his
origin, then he sees that he is a reproduction in individuality of the same spirit which
produces all things, and that his own thought in individuality has
exactly the same quality as the Divine Thought in universality, just
as fire is equally igneous whether burning round a large centre of combustion or a small
one, and thus we are logically brought to the conclusion that our
thought must have creative power. But people say, “We have not found it so.
We are surrounded by all sorts of circumstances that we do not
desire.” Yes, you fear them, and in so doing you think them; and in this way you are constantly
exercising this Divine prerogative of creation by Thought,
only through ignorance you use it in a wrong direction. therefore
the Book of Divine Instructions so constantly repeats “Fear not; doubt not,” because we
can never divest our Thought of its inherent creative quality,
and the only question is whether we shall use it ignorantly to our
injury or understandingly to our benefit. The Master summed up his teaching in the aphorism
that knowledge of the Truth would make us free. Here is
no announcement of anything we have to do, or of anything that has to be done for us,
in order to gain our liberty, neither is it a statement of anything
future. Truth is what is. He did not say, you must wait till
something becomes true which is not true now. He said: “Know what is Truth now, and you
will find that the Truth concerning yourself is Liberty.” If
the knowledge of Truth makes us free it can only be because in truth
we are free already, only we do not know it. Our liberty consists in our reproducing on
the scale of the individual the same creative power of Thought
which first brought the world into existence, “so that the things which are seen were not
made of things which do appear.” Let us, then, confidently claim
our birthright as “sons and daughters of the Almighty,” and by
habitually thinking the good, the beautiful, and the true, surround ourselves with conditions
corresponding to our thoughts, and by our teaching and example
help others to do the same. Chapter 16 YOURSELF I want to talk to you about the livingness
there is in being yourself. it has at least the merit of simplicity, for it
must surely be easier to be oneself than to be something or somebody else. Yet that is
what so many are constantly trying to do; the self that is
their own is not good enough for them, and so they are always trying to
go one better than what God has made them, with endless strain and struggle as the consequence.
Of course, they are right to put before them an ideal
infinitely grander than anything they have yet attained–the only
possible way of progress is by following an ideal that is always a stage ahead of us–but
the mistake is in not seeing that its attainment is a matter of
growth, and that growth must be the expansion of something that
already exists in us, and therefore implies our being what we are and where we are as
its starting point. This growth is a continuous process, and we cannot
do next month’s growth without first doing this month’s; but
we are always wanting to jump into some ideal of the future, not seeing that we can reach
it only by steadily going on from where we are now. These considerations should make us more confident
and more comfortable. We are employing a force which
is much greater than we believe ourselves to be, yet it is not separate from us and
needing to be persuaded or compelled, or inveigled into doing what we
want; it is the substratum of our own being which is continually
passing up into manifestation on the visible plane and becoming that personal self to which
we often limit our attention without considering whence it proceeds.
But in truth the outer self is the surface growth of that
individuality which lies concealed far down in the deeps below, and which is none other
than the Spirit-of-Life which underlies all forms of
manifestation. Endeavour to realise what this Spirit must
be in itself–that is to say, apart from any of the conditions that arise
from the various relations which necessarily establish themselves between its various forms
of individualisation. In its homogeneous self
what else can it be but pure life–Essence-of-Life, if you like so to
call it? Then realise that as Essence-of-Life it exists in the innermost of every one of
its forms of manifestation in as perfect simplicity as any we can attribute
to it in our most abstract conceptions. In this light we see it to
be the eternally self-generating power which, to express itself, flows into form. This universal Essence-of-Life is a continual
becoming (into form), and since we are a part of Nature we do
not need to go further than ourselves to find the life-giving energy at work with all its
powers. Hence all we have to do is to allow it to rise to the surface.
We do not have to make it rise any more than the engineer who
sinks the bore-pipe for an artesian well has to make the water rise in it; the water does
that by its own energy, springing as a fountain a hundred feet into
the air. Just so we shall find a fountain of Essence-of-Life ready to
spring up in ourselves, inexhaustible and continually increasing in its flow, as One
taught long ago to a woman at a wayside well. This up-springing of Life-Essence is not another’s–it
is our own. it does not require deep studies, hard
labours, weary journeyings to attain it; it is not the monopoly of this teacher or that
writer, whose lectures we must attend or whose books we must read to
get it. it is the innermost of ourselves, and a little common-sense
thought as to how anything comes to be anything will soon convince us that the great inexhaustible
life must be the very root and substance of us, permeating
every fibre of our being. Surely to be this vast infinitude of living
power must be enough to satisfy all our desires, and yet this
wonderful ideal is nothing else but what we already are in principio–it is all there
in ourselves now, only awaiting our recognition for its manifestation.
it is not the Essence-of-Life which has to grow, for that is
eternally perfect in itself; but it is our recognition of it that has to grow, and this
growth cannot be forced. it must come by a natural process, the first
necessity of which is to abstain from all straining after being
something which at the present time we cannot naturally be. The Law of our Evolution has
put us in possession of certain powers and opportunities,
and our further development depends on our doing just what
these powers and opportunities make it possible for us to do, here and now. If we do what we are able to do to-day, it
will open the way for us to do something better to-morrow, and in
this manner the growing process will proceed healthily and happily in a rapidly increasing
ratio. This is so much easier than striving to compel things
to be what they are not, and it is also so much more fruitful in good
results. it is not sitting still doing nothing, and there is plenty of room for the exercise
of all our mental faculties, but these faculties are themselves
the outcome of the Essence-of-Life, and are not the creating
power, but only that which gives direction to it Now it is this moving power at the back
of the various faculties that is the true innermost self;
and if we realise the identity between the innermost and the outermost,
we shall see that we therefore have at our present disposal all that is necessary for
our unlimited development in the future. Thus our livingness consists simply in being
ourselves, only more so; and in recognising this we get rid of a
great burden of unnecessary straining and striving, and the place of the old sturm und
drang will be taken, not by inertia, but by a joyous activity which
knows that it always has the requisite power to manifest itself in
forms of good and beauty. What matters it whither this leads us? If we are following
the line of the beautiful and good, then we shall produce the beautiful
and good, and thus bring increasing joy into the world,
whatever particular form it may assume. We limit ourselves when we try to fix accurately
beforehand the particular form of good that we shall
produce. We should aim not so much at having or making some particular thing as at expressing
all that we are. The expressing will grow out of realising
the treasures that are ours already, and contemplating the
beauty, the affirmative side, of all that we are now, apart from the negative conceptions
and detractions which veil this positive good from us. When we do
this we shall be astonished to see what possibilities reside in
ourselves as we are and with our present surroundings, all unlovely as we may deem them: and commencing
to work at once upon whatever we find of affirmative in these, and withdrawing our thought from
what we have hitherto seen of negative in them, the
right road will open up before us, leading us in wonderful ways to
the development of powers that we never suspected, and the enjoyment of happiness that we never
anticipated. We have never been out of our right path,
only we have been walking in it backwards instead of forwards, and
now that we have begun to follow the path in the right direction, we find that it is
none other than the way of peace, the path of joy, and the road to eternal
life. These things we may attain by simply living naturally with
ourselves. it is because we are trying to be or do something which is not natural to
us that we experience weariness and labour, where we should find
all our activities joyously concentrated on objects which lead to
their own accomplishment by the force of the love that we have for them. But when we make
the grand discovery of how to live naturally, we shall
find it to be all, and more than all, that we had ever desired, and
our daily life will become a perpetual joy to ourselves, and we shall radiate light and
life wherever we go. Chapter 17 RELIGIOUS OPINIONS That great and wise writer, George Eliot,
expressed her matured views on the subject of religious opinions in
these words: “I have too profound a conviction of the efficacy that lies in all sincere faith,
and the spiritual blight that comes with no faith, to have any
negative propagandism left in me.” This had not always been her
attitude, for in her youth she had had a good deal of negative propagandism in her; but
the experience of a lifetime led her to form this estimate of
the value of sincere faith, independently of the particular form of
thought which leads to it. Tennyson also came to the same conclusion,
and gives kindly warning:- “O thou who after toil and storm May’st seem
to have reached a purer air, Whose faith has centred
everywhere, Nor cares to fix itself to form. Leave thou thy sister when she prays Her early
heaven, her happy views, Nor thou with shadowed hint confuse
A life that leads melodious days.” and thus these two great minds have left us
a lesson of wisdom which we shall do well to profit by. Let us see
how it applies more particularly to our own case. The true presentment of the Higher Thought
contains no “negative propagandism.” it is everywhere ranged on
the side of the Affirmative, and its great object is to extirpate the canker which gnaws
at the root of every life that endeavours to centre itself upon the
Negative. its purpose is constructive and not destructive. But we
often find people labouring under a very erroneous impression as to the nature and scope of the
movement, and thus not only themselves deterred from
investigating it, but also deterring others from doing so.
Sometimes this results from the subject having been presented to them unwisely–in a way
needlessly repugnant to the particular form of religious
ideas to which they are accustomed; but more often it results
from their prejudging the whole matter, and making up their minds that the movement is
opposed to their ideas of religion, without being at the pains
to inquire what its principles really are. In either case a few words
on the attitude of the New Thought towards the current forms of religious opinion may
not be out of place. The first consideration in every concern is,
What is the object aimed at? The end determines the means to be
employed, and if the nature of the end be clearly kept in view, then no objectless complications
will be introduced into the means. All this seems
too obvious to be stated, but it is just the failure to realise this
simple truth that has given rise to the whole body of odium theologicum, with all the persecutions
and massacres and martyrdoms which disgrace the
pages of history, making so many of them a record of nothing
but ferocity and stupidity. Let us hope for a better record in the future; and if we are
to get it, it will be by the adoption of the simple principle here stated. In our own country alone the varieties of
churches and sects form a lengthy catalogue, but in every one of
them the purpose is the same–to establish the individual in a satisfactory relation
to the Divine Power. The very fact of any religious profession at all
implies the recognition of God as the Source of life and of all that
goes to make life; and therefore the purpose in every case is to draw increasing degrees
of life, whether here or hereafter, from the Only Source from which
alone it is to be obtained, and therefore to establish such a
relation with this Source as may enable the worshipper to draw from it all the life he
wants. Hence the necessary preliminary to drawing consciously
at all is the confidence that such a relation actually has been
established; and such a confidence as this is exactly all that is meant by Faith. The position of the man who has not this confidence
is either that no such Source exists, or else that he is
without means of access to it; and in either case he feels himself left to fight for his
own hand against the entire universe without the consciousness
of any Superior Power to back him up. He is thrown entirely upon
his own resources, not knowing of the interior spring from which they may be unceasingly
replenished. He is like a plant cut off at the stem and stuck
in the ground without any root, and consequently that spiritual blight
of which George Eliot speaks creeps over him, producing weakness, perplexity, and fear,
with all their baleful consequences, where there should be that strength,
order, and confidence which are the very foundation of all
building-up for whatever purpose, whether of personal prosperity or of usefulness to
others. From the point of view of those who are acquainted
with the laws of spiritual life, such a man is cut off from
the root of his own Being. Beyond and far interior to that outer self which each of
us knows as the intellectual man working with the physical brain as instrument,
we have roots penetrating deep into that Infinite of which,
in our ordinary waking state, we are only dimly conscious; and it is through this root
of our own individuality, spreading far down into the hidden depths
of Being, that we draw out of the unseen that unceasing stream of
Life which afterwards, by our thought-power, we differentiate into all those outward forms
of which we have need. Hence the unceasing necessity for every
one to realise the great truth that his whole individuality has its
foundation in such a root, and that the ground in which this root is embedded is that Universal
Being for which there is no name save that of the One
all-embracing I am. The supreme necessity, therefore, for each
of us is to realise this fundamental fact of our own nature, for it is
only in proportion as we do so that we truly live; and, therefore, whatever helps us to
this realisation should be carefully guarded. In so far as any form of
religion contributes to this end in the case of any particular
individual, for him it is true religion. it may be imperfect, but it is true so far as
it goes; and what is wanted is not to destroy the foundation of a man’s faith
because it is narrow, but to expand it!and this expanding will be
done by the man himself, for it is a growth from within and not a construction from without. Our attitude towards the religious beliefs
of others should, therefore, not be that of iconoclasts, breaking down
ruthlessly whatever from our point of view we see to be merely traditionary idols (in
Bacon’s sense of the word), but rather the opposite method of fixing
upon that in another’s creed which we find to be positive and
affirmative, and gradually leading him to perceive in what its affirmativeness consists;
and then, when once he has got the clue to the element of strength
which exists in his accustomed form of belief, the perception of the
contrast between that and the non-essential accretions will grow up in his mind spontaneously,
thus gradually bringing him out into a wider and freer atmosphere.
In going through such a process as this, he will never
have had his thoughts directed into any channel to suggest separation from his spiritual root
and ground; but he will learn that the rooting and grounding
in the Divine, which he had trusted in at first, were indeed true,
but in a sense far fuller, grander, and larger every way than his early infantile conception
of them. The question is not how far can another’s
religious opinions stand the test of a remorseless logic, but how far
do they enable him to realise his unity with Divine Spirit? That is the living proof of
the value of his opinion to himself, and no change in his opinions
can be for the better that does not lead him to a greater recognition
of the livingness of Divine Spirit in himself. for any change of opinion to indicate a forward
movement, it must proceed from our realising in some measure
the true nature of the life that is already developed in us.
When we see why we are what we are now, then we can look ahead and see what the same life
principle that has brought us up to the present point is
capable of doing in the future. We may not see very far ahead, but we
shall see where the next step is to be placed, and that is sufficient to enable us to move
on. What we have to do, therefore, is to help
others to grow from the root they are already living by, and not to dig
their roots up and leave them to wither. We need not be afraid of making ourselves all
things to all men, in the sense of fixing upon the affirmative elements
in each one’s creed as the starting-point of our work, for the
affirmative and life-giving is always true, and Truth is always one and consistent with
itself; and therefore we need never fear being inconsistent so long
as we adhere to this method. it is worse than useless to waste time
in dissecting the negative accretions of other people’s beliefs. In doing so we run great
risks of rooting up the wheat along with the tares, and we shall certainly
succeed in brushing people up the wrong way; moreover, by
looking out exclusively for the life-giving and affirmative elements, we shall reap benefit
to ourselves. We shall not only keep our temper, but we shall
often find large reserves of affirmative power where at first we
had apprehended nothing but worthless accumulations, and thus we shall become gainers both in largeness
of mind and in stores of valuable material. Of course we must be rigidly unyielding as
regards the essence of Truth–that must never be sacrificed–but as
representatives, in however small a sphere, of the New Thought, we should make it our
aim to show others, not that their religion is wrong, but that
all they may find of life-givingness in it is life-giving because it is part
of the One Truth which is always the same under whatever form expressed. As half a loaf
is better than no bread, so ignorant worship is better than
no worship, and ignorant faith is better than no faith. Our work is not
to destroy this faith and this worship, but to lead them on into a clearer light. for this reason we may assure all inquirers
that the abandonment of their customary form of worship is no
necessity of the New Thought; but, on the contrary, that the principles of the movement,
correctly understood, will show them far more meaning in that worship
than they have ever yet realised. Truth is one; and when
once the truth which underlies the outward form is clearly understood, the maintenance
or abandonment of the latter will be found to be a matter of personal
feeling as to what form, or absence of form, best enables the
particular individual to realise the Truth itself. Chapter 18 A LESSON FROM BROWNING Perhaps you know a little poem of Browning’s
called “An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experiences
of Karshish, the Arab Physician.” The somewhat weird conception is that the Arab physician,
travelling in Palestine soon after the date when the Gospel
narrative closes, meets with Lazarus whom Jesus raised from
the dead, and in this letter to a medical friend describes the strange effect which
his vision of the other life has produced upon the resuscitated man. The poem
should be studied as a whole; but for the present a few lines
selected here and there must do duty to indicate the character of the change which has passed
upon Lazarus. After comparing him to a beggar who, having
suddenly received boundless wealth, is unable to regulate its
use to his requirements, Karshish continues:- “So here–we call the treasure knowledge,
say, Increased beyond the fleshly faculty– Heaven opened to a soul
while yet on earth, Earth forced on a soul’s use while seeing heaven: The man is witless
of the size, the sum, The value in proportion of all things.” In fact he has become almost exclusively conscious
of “The spiritual life around the earthly life:
The law of that is known to him as this, His heart and brain move
there, his feet stay here,” and the result is a loss of mental balance
entirely unfitting him for the affairs of ordinary life. Now there can be no doubt that Browning had
a far more serious intention in writing this poem than just to
record a fantastic notion that flitted through his brain. If we read between the lines, it
must be clear from the general tenor of his writings that, however
he may have acquired it, Browning had a very deep acquaintance
with the inner region of spiritual causes which give rise to all that we see of outward
phenomenal manifestation. There are continual allusions
in his works to the life behind the veil, and it is to this suggestion
of some mystery underlying his words that we owe the many attempts to fathom his meaning
expressed through Browning Societies and the like–attempts
which fail or succeed according as they are made from “the
without” or from “the within.” No one was better qualified than the poet to realise
the immense benefits of the inner knowledge, and for the same reason he
is also qualified to warn us of the dangers on the way to its
acquisition; for nowhere is it more true that “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” and it is one of the greatest of these dangers
that he points out in this poem. Under the figure of Lazarus he describes the
man who has practically grasped the reality of the inner side of
things, for whom the veil has been removed, and who knows that the external and visible
takes its rise from the internal and spiritual. But the description
is that of one whose eyes have been so dazzled by the light that
he has lost the power of accommodating his vision to the world of sense. He now commits
the same error from the side of “the within” that he formerly
committed from the side of “the without,” the error of supposing
that there is no vital reality in the aspect of things on which his thoughts are not immediately
centered. This is want of mental balance, whether it shows itself
by refusing reality to the inward or the outward. To be so
absorbed in speculative ideas as to be unable to give them practical application in daily
life, is to allow our highest thoughts to evaporate in dreams. There is a world of philosophy in the simple
statement that there can be no inside without an outside, and no
outside without an inside; and the great secret in life is in learning to see things in their
wholeness, and to realise the inside and the outside simultaneously.
Each of them without the other is a mere abstraction, having
no real existence, which we contemplate separately only for the purpose of reviewing the logical
steps by which they are connected together as cause
and effect. Nature does not separate them, for they are
inseparable; and the law of nature is the law of life. it is related of Pythagoras that,
after he had led his scholars to the dizziest heights of the inner
knowledge, he never failed to impress upon them the converse
lesson of tracing out the steps by which these inner principles translate themselves into
the familiar conditions of the outward things by which we are surrounded.
The process of analysis is merely an expedient for
discovering what springs in the realm of causes we are to touch in order to produce certain
effects in the realm of manifestation. But this is not sufficient.
We must also learn to calculate how those particular effects, when
produced, will stand related to the world of already existing effects among which we
propose to launch them, how they will modify these and be modified
by these in turn; and this calculation of effects is as necessary as
the knowledge of causes. We cannot impress upon ourselves too strongly
that reality consists of both an inside and an outside, a
generating principle and a generated condition, and that anything short of the reality of
wholeness is illusion on one side or the other. Nothing could have
been further from Browning’s intention than to deter seekers after
truth from studying the principles of Being, for without the knowledge of them truth must
always remain wrapped in mystery; but the lesson he would
impress on us is that of guarding vigilantly the mental
equilibrium which alone will enable us to develop those boundless powers whose infinite
unfolding is the fulness of Life!and we must remember above
all that the soul of life is Love, and that Love shows itself by
service, and service proceeds from sympathy, which is the capacity for seeing things from
the point of view of those whom we would help, while at the same
time seeing them also in their true relations; and therefore, if
we would realise that Love which is the inmost vitalising principle even of the most interior
powers, it must be kept alive by maintaining our hold upon
the exterior life as being equally real with the inward principles of
which it is the manifestation. Chapter 19 THE SPIRit OF OPULENCE it is quite a mistake to suppose that we must
restrict and stint ourselves in order to develop greater power or
usefulness. This is to form the conception of the Divine Power as so limited that the
best use we can make of it is by a policy of self-starvation, whether
material or mental. Of course, if we believe that some form of
self-starvation is necessary to our producing good work, then so long as we entertain this
belief the fact actually is so for us. “Whatsoever is not
of faith”–that is, not in accordance with our honest belief–“is sin”;
and by acting contrary to what we really believe we bring in a suggestion of opposition to
the Divine Spirit, which must necessarily paralyse our efforts,
and surround us with a murky atmosphere of distrust and want of
joy. But all this exists in, and is produced by,
our belief; and when we come to examine the grounds of this belief
we shall find that it rests upon an entire misapprehension of the nature of our own power.
If we clearly realise that the creative power in ourselves is unlimited,
then there is no reason for limiting the extent to which we
may enjoy what we can create by means of it. Where we are drawing from the infinite we
need never be afraid of taking more than our share. That is not
where the danger lies. The danger is in not sufficiently realising our
own richness, and in looking upon the externalised products of our creative power as being the
true riches instead of the creative power of spirit itself. If we avoid this error, there is no need to
limit ourselves in taking what we will from the infinite storehouse:
“All things are yours.” and the way to avoid this error is by realising that the true wealth
is in identifying ourselves with the spirit of opulence. We
must be opulent in our thought. Do not “think money,” as such, for it is only one means of opulence; but think opulence,
that is, largely, generously, liberally, and you will find that
the means of realising this thought will flow to you from all quarters, whether as money
or as a hundred other things not to be reckoned in cash. We must not make ourselves dependent on any
particular form of wealth, or insist on its coming to us through
some particular channel–that is at once to impose a limitation, and to shut out other
forms of wealth and to close other channels; but we must enter into
the spirit of it. Now the spirit is Life, and throughout the universe
Life ultimately consists in circulation, whether within the physical body of the individual
or on the scale of the entire solar system; and circulation means
a continual flowing around, and the spirit of opulence is no
exception to this universal law of all life. When once this principle becomes clear to
us we shall see that our attention should be directed rather to the
giving than the receiving. We must look upon ourselves, not as misers’ chests to be kept
locked for our own benefit, but as centres of distribution; and
the better we fulfil our function as such centres the greater will be
the corresponding inflow. If we choke the outlet the current must slacken, and a full
and free flow can be obtained only by keeping it open. The spirit
of opulence–the opulent mode of thought, that is–consists in
cultivating the feeling that we possess all sorts of riches which we can bestow upon others,
and which we can bestow liberally because by this very action
we open the way for still greater supplies to flow in. But you say,
“I am short of money, I hardly know how to pay for necessaries. What have I to give?” The answer is that we must always start from
the point where we are; and if your wealth at the present
moment is not abundant on the material plane, you need not trouble to start on that plane.
There are other sorts of wealth, still more valuable, on the spiritual
and intellectual planes, which you can give; and you can start
from this point and practise the spirit of opulence, even though your balance at the
bank may be nil!and then the universal law of attraction will begin
to assert itself. You will not only begin to experience an inflow on
the spiritual and intellectual planes, but it will extend itself to the material plane
also. If you have realised the spirit of opulence
you cannot help drawing to yourself material good, as well as that
higher wealth which is not to be measured by a money standard; and because you truly
understand the spirit of opulence you will neither affect to despise
this form of good, nor will you attribute to it a value that does
not belong to it; but you will co-ordinate it with your other more interior forms of
wealth so as to make it the material instrument in smoothing the way for
their more perfect expression. Used thus, with understanding of
the relation which it bears to spiritual and intellectual wealth, material wealth becomes
one with them, and is no more to be shunned and feared than it is
to be sought for its own sake. it is not money, but the love of money, that
is the root of evil; and the spirit of opulence is precisely the
attitude of mind which is furthest removed from the love of money for its own sake. it
does not believe in money. What it does believe in is the generous
feeling which is the intuitive recognition of the great law of
circulation, which does not in any undertaking make its first question, How much am I going
to get by it? but, How much am I going to do by it? and making
this the first question, the getting will flow in with a generous
profusion, and with a spontaneousness and rightness of direction that are absent when
our first thought is of receiving only. We are not called upon to give what we have
not yet got and to run into debt; but we are to give liberally of
what we have, with the knowledge that by so doing we are setting the law of circulation
to work, and as this law brings us greater and greater inflows
of every kind of good, so our out-giving will increase, not by
depriving ourselves of any expansion of our own life that we may desire, but by finding
that every expansion makes us the more powerful instruments for
expanding the life of others. “Live and let live” is the motto of
the true opulence. Chapter 20 BEAUTY Do we sufficiently direct our thoughts to
the subject of Beauty? I think not. We are too apt to regard Beauty as
a merely superficial thing, and do not realise all that it implies. This was not the case
with the great thinkers of the ancient world–see the place which no
less a one than Plato gives to Beauty as the expression of all that is
highest and greatest in the system of the universe. These great men of old were no superficial
thinkers, and, therefore, would never have elevated to the
supreme place that which is only superficial. therefore, we shall
do well to ask what it is that these great minds found in the idea of Beauty which made
it thus appeal to them as the most perfect outward expression of
all that lies deepest in the fundamental laws of Being. it is because,
rightly apprehended, Beauty represents the supremest living quality of Thought. it is
the glorious overflowing of fulness of Love which indicates the presence
of infinite reserves of Power behind it. it is the joyous
profusion that shows the possession of inexhaustible stores of wealth which can afford to be thus
lavish and yet remain as exhaustless as before. Read
aright, Beauty is the index to the whole nature of Being. Beauty is the externalisation of Harmony,
and Harmony is the co-ordinated working of all the powers of
Being, both in the individual and in the relation of the individual to the Infinite from which
it springs; and therefore this Harmony conducts us at once
into the presence of the innermost undifferentiated Life. Thus
Beauty is in most immediate touch with the very arcanum of Life; it is the brightness
of glory spreading itself over the sanctuary of the Divine Spirit. for
if, viewed from without, Beauty is the province of the artist and
the poet, and lays hold of our emotions and appeals directly to the innermost feelings
of our heart, calling up the response of that within us which recognises
itself in the harmony perceived without, this is only because it
speeds across the bridge of Reason with such quick feet that we pass from the outmost to
the inmost and back again in the twinkling of an eye; but the
bridge is still there and, retracing our steps more leisurely, we shall
find that, viewed from within, Beauty is no less the province of the calm reasoner and
analyst. What the poet and the artist seize upon intuitionally, he
elaborates gradually, but the result is the same in both cases; for no
intuition is true which does not admit of being expanded into a rational sequence of
intelligible factors, and no argument is true which does not admit of being
condensed into that rapid suggestion which is intuition. Thus the impassioned artist and the calm thinker
both find that the only true Beauty proceeds naturally from
the actual construction of that which it expresses. it is not something added on as an afterthought,
but something pre-existing in the original idea,
something to which that idea naturally leads up, and which
presupposes that idea as affording it any raison d’être. The test of Beauty is, What
does it express? Is it merely a veneer, a coat of paint laid on from without?
Then it is indeed nothing but a whited sepulchre, a covering to
hide the vacuity or deformity which needs to be removed. But is it the true and natural
outcome of what is beneath the surface? Then it is the index
to superabounding Life and Love and Intelligence, which is not
content with mere utilitarianism hasting to escape at the earliest possible point from
the labour of construction, as though from an enforced and
unwelcome task, but rejoicing over its work and unwilling to
quit it until it has expressed this rejoicing in every fittest touch of form and colour
and exquisite proportion that the material will admit of, and this
without departing by a hairbreadth from the original purpose of the
design. Wherever, therefore, we find Beauty, we may
infer an enormous reserve of Power behind it; in fact, we may
look upon it as the visible expression of the great truth that Life-Power is infinite!and
when the inner meaning of Beauty is thus revealed to us,
and we learn to know it as the very fulness and overflowing of
Power, we shall find that we have gained a new standard for the guidance of our own lives.
We must begin to use this wonderful process which we have learnt
from Nature. Having learnt how Nature works–how God
works–we must begin to work in like manner, and never consider any work complete until
we have carried it to some final outcome of Beauty, whether material,
intellectual, or spiritual. Is my intention good? That is the
initial question, for the intention determines the nature of the essence in everything. What
is the most beautiful form in which I can express the good I intend?
That is the ultimate question; for the true Beauty which our
work expresses is the measure of the Power, Intelligence, Love–in a word, of the quantity
and quality of our own life which we have put into it. True Beauty,
mind you–that which is beautiful because it most perfectly expresses the original idea, not a mere ornamentation
occupying our thoughts as a thing apart from the use
intended. Nothing is of so small account but it has
its fullest power of expression in some form of Beauty peculiarly its
own. Beauty is the law of perfect Thought, be the subject of our Thought some scheme
affecting the welfare of millions, or a word spoken to a little
child. True Beauty and true Power are the correlatives one of the other.
Kindly expression originates in kindly thought; and kindly expression is the essence of Beauty,
which, seeking to express itself ever more and more
perfectly, becomes that fine touch of sympathy which is artistic
skill, whether applied in working upon material substances or upon the emotions of the heart.
But, remember, first Use, then Beauty, and neither complete
without the other. Use without Beauty is ungracious giving, and
Beauty without Use is humbug; never forgetting, however, that there is a region of the mind
where the use is found in the beauty, where Beauty itself serves
the direct purpose of raising us to see a higher ideal which will
thenceforward permeate our lives, giving a more living quality to all we think and say
and do. Seen thus the Beautiful is the true expression
of the Good. From whichever end of the scale we look we shall
find that they accurately measure each other. They are the same thing in the outermost and
the innermost respectively. But in our search for a higher
Beauty than we have yet found we must beware of missing the
Beauty that already exists. Perfect harmony with its environment, and perfect expression
of its own inward nature are what constitute Beauty; and our
ignorance of the nature of the thing or its environment may shut
our eyes to the Beauty it already has. it takes the genius of a Millet to paint, or
a Whitman in words, to show us the beauty of those ordinary work-a-day
figures with which our world is for the most part peopled, whose
originals we pass by as having no form or comeliness. Assuredly the mission of every
thinking man and woman is to help build up forms of greater
beauty, spiritual, intellectual, material, everywhere; but if we
would make something grander than Watteau gardens or Dresden china shepherdesses, we
must enter the great realistic school of Nature and learn
to recognise the beauty that already surrounds us, although it may
have a little dirt on the surface. Then, when we have learnt the great principles of Beauty
from the All-Spirit which is it, we shall know how to develop
the Beauty on its own proper lines without perpetuating the dirt;
and we shall know that all Beauty is the expression of Living Power, and that we can measure our
power by the degree of beauty into which we can transform
it, rendering our lives, “By loveliness of perfect deeds, more strong
than all poetic thought.” Chapter 21 SEPARATION and UNitY “The prince of this world cometh, and hath
nothing in Me” (John xiv, 30). In these words the Grand Master of
Divine Science gives us the key to the Great Knowledge. Comparison with other passages
shows that the terms here rendered “prince” and “world” can
equally be rendered “principle” and “age.” Jesus is here
speaking of a principle of the present age so entirely opposed to that principle of which
he himself was the visible expression, as to have no part in
him. it is the utter contradiction of everything that Jesus came to teach
and to exemplify. The account Jesus gave of himself was that he came “to bear witness
to the Truth,” and in order that men “might have life, and that
they might have it more abundantly”; consequently the principle to
which he refers must be the exact opposite of Truth and Life–that is, it must be the
principle of Falsehood and Death. What, then, is this false and destructive
principle which rules the present age? If we consider the gist of the
entire discourse of which these are the concluding words, we shall find that the central idea
which Jesus has been most strenuously endeavouring to impress
upon his disciples at their last meeting before the crucifixion,
is that of the absolute identity and out-and-out oneness of “the Father” and “the Son,” the
principle of the perfect unity of God and Man. If this, then,
was the great Truth which he was thus earnestly solicitous to
impress upon his disciples’ minds when his bodily presence was so shortly to be removed
from them–the Truth of Unity–may we not reasonably infer
the opposing falsehood to be the assertion of separateness, the
assertion that God and man are not one? The idea of separateness is precisely the principle
on which the world has proceeded from that day to this–the assumption
that God and man are not one in being, and that the
matter is of a different essence from spirit. In other words, the principle that finds favour
with the intellectuality of the present age is that
of duality–the idea of two powers and two substances opposite in
kind, and, therefore, repugnant to each other, permeating all things, and so leaving no wholeness
anywhere. The entire object of the Bible is to combat
the idea, of two opposing forces in the world. The good news is
said to be that of “reconciliation” (2 Cor. v. 18), where also we are told that “all things
are from God,” hence leaving no room for any other power or any
other substance; and the great falsehood, which it is the purpose
of the Good News to expose, is everywhere in the Bible proclaimed to be the suggestion
of duality, which is some other mode of Life, that is not the One
Life, but something separate from it–an idea which it is
impossible to state distinctly without involving a contradiction in terms. Everywhere the Bible
exposes the fiction of the duality of separation as the
great lie, but nowhere in so emphatic and concentrated a manner as
in that wonderful passage of Revelations where it is figured in the mysterious Number of
the Beast. “He that hath understanding let him count the number
of the Beast ! and his number is six hundred and sixty and six”
(Rev. xiii, 18, R.V.). Let me point out the great principle expressed in this mysterious
number. it has other more particular applications, but this one
general principle underlies them all. it is an established maxim that every unity
contains in itself a trinity, just as the individual man consists of
body, soul, and spirit. If we would perfectly understand anything, we must be able to comprehend
it in its threefold nature; therefore in symbolic numeration
the multiplying of the unit by three implies the
completeness of that for which the unit stands; and, again, the threefold repetition of a
number represents its extension to infinity. Now mark what results
if we apply these representative methods of numerical expression
to the principles of Oneness and of separateness respectively. Oneness is Unity, and 1 × 3
=3, which, intensified to its highest expression, is
written as 333. Now apply the same method to the idea of separateness.
Separateness consists of one and another one, each of which, according to the universal
law, contains a trinity. In this view of duality the totality of things
is two, and 2 × 3=6, and, intensifying this to its highest
expression, we get 666, which is the Number of the Beast. Why of the Beast? Because separateness from
God, or the duality of opposition, which is also a duality of
polarity, which is Dual-Unity, recognises something as having essential being, which
is not the One Spirit; and such a conception can be verbally rendered
only by some word that in common acceptance represents
something, not only lower than the divine, but lower than the human also. it is because
the conception of oneself as a being apart from God, if carried
out to its legitimate consequences, must ultimately land all who
hold it in a condition of things where open ferocity or secret cunning, the tiger nature
or the serpent nature, can be the only possible rule of action. Thus it is that the principle of the present
age can have no part in that principle of Perfect Wholeness which
the Great Master embodied in His teaching and in Himself. The two ideas are absolutely
incompatible, and whichever we adopt as our leading principle,
it must be to the entire exclusion of the other; we cannot serve
God and Mammon. There is no such thing as partial wholeness. Either we are still in
the principle of Separateness, and our eyes are not yet open
to the real nature of the Kingdom of Heaven; or else we have
grasped the principle of Unity without any exception anywhere, and the One Being includes
all, the body and the soul alike, the visible form and the invisible
substance and life of all equally; nothing can be left out, and
we stand complete here and now, lacking no faculty, but requiring only to become conscious
of our own powers, and to learn to have confidence in
them through “having them exercised by reason of use.” The following communication from “A foreign
Reader,” commenting on the Number of the Beast, as treated
by Judge Troward in “Separation and Unity,” is taken from EXPRESSION for 1902, in which
it was first published. Following is Judge Troward’s reply
to this letter. Dear Mr. editor.–A correspondent in the current
number of Expression points out the reference in the Book
of Revelation to the number 666 as the mark of the Beast, because the trinity of mind,
soul, and body, if considered as unity, may be expressed by the
figures 333, and therefore duality is 333 × 2=666. I think the inverse of the proposition is
still more startling, and I should like to point it out. Instead of
multiplying let us try dividing. First of all take unity as the unit one and divide
by three (representing of course the same formula, viz. mind, soul and
body). Expressed by a common fraction it is merely 1/3, which
is an incomplete mathematical figure. But take the decimal formula of one divided by
three, and we arrive at .3 circulating, i. e. .3333 on to infinity.
In other words, the result of the proposition by mathematics is that
you divide this formula of spirit, soul, and body into unity, and it remains true to itself
ad infinitum. Now we come to consider it as a duality in
the same way. Expressed as a vulgar fraction it is 2/3; but as a
decimal fraction it is .6666 ad infinitum. I think this is worth noting. Yours very faithfully, A foreign Reader. Brussels, Aug. 14, 1902. * * * * * Dear editor.–I return with many thanks the
very interesting letter received with yours, and I am very glad that
my article should have been instrumental in drawing forth this further light on the subject. This, moreover, affords an excellent illustration
of one great principle of Unity, which is that the Unity repeats
itself in every one of its parts, so that each part taken separately is an exact reproduction
(in principles) of the greater Unity of which it is a portion. therefore,
if you take the individual man as your unit (which is what I
did), and proceed by multiplication, you get the results which were pointed out in my article!and
conversely, if you take the Great Unity of All-Being as
your unit, and proceed by division, you arrive at the result shown
by your foreign correspondent. The principle is a purely mathematical one, and is extremely
interesting in the present application as showing the existence
of a system of concealed mathematics running through the whole
Bible. This bears out what I said in my article that there were other applications of the
principle in question, though this one did not at the time occur
to me. I am much indebted to your correspondent for
the further proof thus given of the correctness of my
interpretation of the Number of the Beast. Both our interpretations support each other,
for they are merely different ways of stating the same thing,
and they have this advantage over those generally given, that they do
not refer to any particular form of evil, but express a general principle applicable
to all alike. Yours sincerely, T. London, Aug. 30, 1902. it may perhaps emphasize my point if I remind
my readers that it was the conflict between the principles of
Unity and separation that led to the crucifixion of Jesus. We must distinguish between the
charge which really led to his death, and the merely technical
charge on which he was sentenced by the Roman Governor. The
latter–the charge of opposition to the royal authority of Cæsar–has its significance;
but it is clear from the Bible record that this was merely formal,
the true cause of conviction being contained in the statement that of
the chief priests: “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself
the Son of God.” The antagonism of the two principles of Unity
and separation had first been openly manifested on the
occasion when Jesus made the memorable declaration, “I and my Father are one.” The Jews took up
stones to stone him. Then said Jesus unto them, “Many
good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of
those works do ye stone Me?” The Jews replied, “for a good work we stone thee not; but for
blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself
God.” Jesus said, “Is it not written in your law, I said ye are
gods? If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the Scriptures cannot
be broken), say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified,
and sent into the world, thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the
Son of God?” Here we have the first open passage of arms between the two opposing principles
which led to the scene of Calvary as the final testimony
of Jesus to the principle of Unity. He died because he maintained
the Truth; that he was one with the Father. That was the substantive charge on which he
was executed. “Art thou the son of the Blessed?” he was asked
by the priestly tribunal; and the answer came clear and
unequivocal, “I am.” Then said the Council, “He hath spoken blasphemy, what further need
have we of witnesses?” and they all condemned him to
be worthy of death. Jesus did not enter into a palpably useless
argument with judges whose minds were so rooted in the idea of
dualism as to be impervious to any other conception; but with a mixed multitude, who were not officially
committed to a system, the case was different. Among them there might be some still open
to conviction, and the appeal was, therefore, made to a passage
in the Psalms with which they were all familiar, pointing out that
the very persons to whom the Divine word was addressed were styled “gods” by the Divine
Speaker Himself. The incontrovertibleness of the fact was emphasised
by the stress laid upon it as “Scripture which cannot be
broken;” and the meaning to be assigned to the statement was rendered clear by the argument
which Jesus deduced from it. He says in effect, “You would
stone me as a blasphemer for saying of myself what your own
Scriptures say concerning each of you.” The claim of unity with “the Father,” he urges,
was no unique one, but one which the Scripture, rightly understood,
entitled every one of his hearers to make for himself. and so we find throughout that Jesus nowhere
makes any claim for himself which he does not also make for
those who accept his teaching. Does he say to the Jews, “Ye are of this world; I am not
of this world?” Equally he says of his disciples, “They are
not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Does he say, “I am
the light of the world?” Equally, he says, “Ye are the light of the world.” Does he say,
“I and my Father are one?” Equally he prays that they all might
be one, even as we are one. Is he styled “the Son of God?” Then St.
John writes, “To them gave he power to become sons of God, even to as many as believe on
his name;” and by belief on the name we may surely understand
belief in the principle of which the name is the verbal
representation. The essential unity of God and man is thus
the one fact which permeates the whole teaching of Jesus. He
himself stood forth as its living expression. He appealed to his miracles as the proofs
of it: “it is the Father that doeth the works.” it formed the substance
of his final discourse with his disciples in the night that he was
betrayed. it is the Truth, to bear witness to which, he told Pilate, was the purpose
of his life. In support of this Truth he died, and by the living power of
this Truth he rose again. The whole object of his mission was to
teach men to realise their unity with God and the consequences that must necessarily
follow from it; to draw them away from that notion of dualism which
puts an impassable barrier between God and man, and thus
renders any true conception of the Principle of Life impossible; and to draw them into
the clear perception of the innermost nature of Life, as consisting
in the inherent identity of each individual with that Infinite
all-pervading Spirit of Life which he called “the Father.” “The branch cannot bear fruit except it abide
in the vine;” the power of bearing fruit, of producing and of
giving forth, depends entirely on the fact that the individual is, and always continues
to be, as much an organic part of Universal Spirit as the fruit-bearing
branch is an organic part of the parent stem. Lose this idea, and
regard God as a merely external Creator who may indeed command us, or even sometimes be
moved by our cries and entreaties, and we have lost the
root of Livingness and with it all possibility of growth or of liberty.
This is dualism, which cuts us off from our Source of Life; and so long as we take this
false conception for the true law of Being, we shall find ourselves
hampered by limitations and insoluble problems of every description: We have lost the Key of Life
and are consequently unable to open the door. But in proportion as we abide in the vine,
that is, consciously realise our perpetual unity with originating
Spirit, and impress upon ourselves that this unity is neither bestowed as the reward of
merit, nor as an act of favour–which would be to deny the Unity,
for the bestowal would at once imply dualism–but dwell on the
truth that it is the innermost and supreme principle of our own nature; in proportion
as we consciously realise this, we shall rise to greater and greater
certainty of knowledge, resulting in more and more perfect
externalisation, whose increasing splendour can know no limits; for it is the continual
outflowing of the exhaustless Spirit of Life in that manifestation
of itself which is our own individuality. The notion of dualism is the veil which prevents
men seeing this, and causes them to wander blindfolded
among the mazes of endless perplexity; but, as St. Paul truly says, when this veil is
taken away we shall find ourselves changed from glory to glory as by
the Lord the Spirit. “His name shall be called Immanuel,” that is
“God in us,” not a separate being from ourselves. Let us remember that Jesus was condemned by
the principle of separation because he himself was the externalisation
of the principle of Unity, and that, in adhering to the
principle of Unity we are adhering to the only possible root of Life, and are maintaining
the Truth for which Jesus died. Chapter 22 EXTERNALISATION Who would not be happy in himself and his
conditions? That is what we all desire–more fulness of life, a
greater and brighter vitality in ourselves, and less restriction in our surroundings!and
we are told that the talisman by which this can be accomplished
is Thought. We are told, Change your modes of thought, and the
changed conditions will follow. But many seekers feel that this is very much like telling us
to catch birds by putting salt on their tails. If we can put
the salt on the bird’s tail, we can also lay our hand on the bird. If we
can change our thinking, we can thereby change our circumstances. But how are we to bring about this change
of cause which will in its turn produce this changed effect? This is
the practical question that perplexes many earnest seekers. They can see their way clearly
enough through the whole sequence of cause and effect resulting
in the externalisation of the desired results, if only the one initial
difficulty could be got over. The difficulty is a real one, and until it is overcome it
vitiates all the teaching and reduces it to a mere paper theory. therefore
it is to this point that the attention of students should be
particularly directed. They feel the need of some solid basis from which the change
of thought can be effected, and until they find this the theory of Divine
Science, however perfect in itself, will remain for them nothing
more than a mere theory, producing no practical results. The necessary scientific basis exists, however,
and is extremely simple and reasonable, if we will take the
pains to think it out carefully for ourselves. Unless we are prepared to support the thesis
that the Power which created the universe is inherently evil, or
that the universe is the work of two opposite and equal powers, one
evil and the other good–both of which propositions are demonstrably false–we have no alternative
but to say that the originating Source of all must be
inherently good. it cannot be partly good and partly evil, for that
would be to set it against itself and make it self-destructive; therefore it must be
good altogether. But once grant this initial proposition and we cut
away the root of all evil. for how can evil proceed from an
All-originating Source which is good altogether, and in which, therefore, no germ for the development
of evil is to be found? Good cannot be the origin
of evil; and since nothing can proceed except from the one
originating Mind, which is only good, the true nature of all things must be that which
they have received from their Source–namely, good. Hence it follows that evil is not the true
nature of anything, and that evil must have its rise in something
external to the true nature of things!and since evil is not in the true nature of the
things themselves, nor yet in the Universal Mind which is the originating
Principle, there remains only one place for it to spring from, and
that is our own personal thought. First we suppose evil to be as inherent in the nature
of things as good–a supposition which we could not make if we
stopped to consider the necessary nature of the originating
Principle. Then, on this entirely gratuitous supposition, we proceed to build up a fabric
of fears, which, of course, follow logically from it; and so we
nourish and give substance to the Negative, or that which has no
substantial existence except such as we attribute to it, until we come to regard it as having
Affirmative power of its own, and so set up a false idea of
Being–the product of our own minds–to dispute the claims of true
Being to the sovereignty of the universe. Once assume the existence of two rival powers–one
good and the other evil–in the direction of the universe,
and any sense of harmony becomes impossible; the whole course of Nature is thrown out of
gear, and, whether for ourselves or for the world at
large, there remains no ground of certainty anywhere!and this is
precisely the condition in which the majority of people live. They are surrounded by infinite
uncertainty about everything, and are consequently a prey to
continual fears and anxieties; and the only way of escape from this
state of things is to go to the root of the matter, and realise that the whole fabric
of evil originates in our own inverted conception of the nature of Being. But if we once realise that the true conception
of Being necessarily excludes the very idea of evil, we shall see
that, in giving way to thoughts and fears of evil, we are giving substance to that which
has no real substance in itself, and are attributing to the Negative
an Affirmative force which it does not possess–in fact, we are
creating the very thing we fear!and the remedy for this is always to recur to the original
nature of Being as altogether Good, and then to speak to ourselves
thus: “My thought must continually externalise something, for
that is its inherent quality, which nothing can ever alter. Shall I, then, externalise
God or the opposite of God? Which do I wish to see manifested in my life–Good
or its opposite? Shall I manifest what I know to be the
reality or the reverse?” Then comes the steady resolve always to manifest God, or Good, because
that is the only true reality in all things; and this
resolve is with power because it is founded upon the solid rock of
Truth. We must refuse to know evil; we must refuse
to admit that there is any such thing to be known. it is the
converse of this which is symbolised in the story of the Fall. “In the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die” was never spoken of the knowledge
of Good, for Good never brought death into the world. it is
eating the fruit of the tree of a so-called knowledge which admits a second branch, the
knowledge of evil, that is the source of death. Admit that evil has
a substantive entity, which renders it a subject of knowledge, and
you thereby create it, with all its consequences of sorrow, sickness and death. But “be sure
that the Lord He is God”–that is, that the one and Only Ruling
Principle of the universe, whether within us or around us, is Good
and Good only–and evil with all its train sinks back into its original nothingness,
and we find that the Truth has made us free. We are free to externalise
what we will, whether in ourselves or our surroundings, for we
have found the solid basis on which to make the needed change of mental attitude in the
fact that the Good is the only reality of Being. Chapter 23 ENTERING INTO THE SPIRit OF it “Entering into the spirit of it.” What a common
expression! and yet how much it really means, how
absolutely everything! We enter into the spirit of an undertaking, into the spirit of a movement,
into the spirit of an author, even into the spirit of a game;
and it makes all the difference both to us and to that into which we
enter. A game without any spirit is a poor affair; and association in which there is
no spirit falls to pieces; and a spiritless undertaking is sure to be a failure.
On the other hand, the book which is meaningless to the
unsympathising reader is full of life and suggestion to the one who enters into the
spirit of the writer; the man who enters into the spirit of the music finds
a spring of refreshment in some fine recital which is entirely
missed by the cold critic who comes only to judge according to the standard of a rigid
rule; and so on in every case that we can think of. If we do not enter
the spirit of a thing, it has no invigorating effect upon us, and we
regard it as dull, insipid and worthless. This is our everyday experience, and these
are the words in which we express it!and the words are well chosen.
They show our intuitive recognition of the spirit as the fundamental
reality in everything, however small or however great. Let us be right as to the spirit of
a thing, and everything else will successfully follow. By entering into the spirit of anything we
establish a mutual vivifying action and reaction between it and
ourselves; we vivify it with our own vitality, and it vivifies us with a living interest
which we call its spirit; and therefore the more fully we enter into
the spirit of all with which we are concerned, the more thoroughly
do we become alive. The more completely we do this the more we shall find that we are
penetrating into the great secret of Life. it may seem a truism,
but the great secret of Life is its Livingness, and it is just more of
this quality of Livingness that we want to get hold of; it is that good thing of which
we can never have too much. But every fact implies also its negative,
and we never properly understand a thing until we not only know
what it is, but also clearly understand what it is not. To a complete understanding the
knowledge of the negative is as necessary as the knowledge
of the affirmative; for the perfect knowledge consists in realising
the relation between the two, and the perfect power grows out of this knowledge by enabling
us to balance the affirmative and negative against each other
in any proportion that we will, thus giving flexibility to what
would otherwise be too rigid, and form to what would otherwise be too fluid; and so,
by uniting these two extremes, to produce any result we may desire.
it is the old Hermetic saying, “Coagula et solve”–“Solidify the
fluid and dissolve the solid”; and therefore, if we would discover the secret of “entering
into the spirit of it,” we must get some idea of the negative, which
is the “not-spirit.” In various ages this negative phase has been
expressed in different forms of words suitable to the spirit of the
time; and so, clothing this idea in the attire of the present day, I will sum up the opposite
of Spirit in the word “Mechanism.” Before all things this is a mechanical
age, and it is astonishing how great a part of what we call
our social advance has its root in the mechanical arts. Reduce the mechanical arts to what they
were in the days of the Plantagenets and the greater part
of our boasted civilisation would recede through the centuries
along with them. We may not be conscious of all this, but the mechanical tendency of the
age has a firm grip upon society at large. We habitually look
at the mechanical side of things by preference to any other.
Everything is done mechanically, from the carving on a piece of furniture to the arrangement
of the social system. it is the mechanism that must be considered
first, and the spirit has to be fitted to the mechanical
exigencies. We enter into the mechanism of it instead of into the Spirit of it, and so
limit the Spirit and refuse to let it have its own way; and then, as a
consequence, we get entirely mechanical action, and complete our
circle of ignorance by supposing that this is the only sort of action there is. Yet this is not a necessary state of things
even in regard to “physical science,” for the men who have made the
greatest advances in that direction are those who have most clearly seen the subordination
of the mechanical to the spiritual. The man who can recognise
a natural law only as it operates through certain forms of
mechanism with which he is familiar will never rise to the construction of the higher forms
of mechanism which might be built up upon that law, for
he fails to see that it is the law which determines the mechanism
and not vice versa. This man will make no advance in science, either theoretical or
applied, and the world will never owe any debt of gratitude to him. But
the man who recognises that the mechanism for the application of
any principle grows out of the true apprehension of the principle studies the principle first,
knowing that when that is properly grasped it will necessarily
suggest all that is wanted for bringing it into practical use. and if this is true in regard to so-called
physical science, it is a fortiori true as regards the Science of Spirit.
There is a mechanical attitude of mind which judges everything by the limitations of past
experiences, allowing nothing for the fact that those experiences
were for the most part the results of our ignorance of spiritual law. But if we realise the true
law of Being we shall rise above these mechanical conceptions. We
shall not deny the reality of the body or of the physical world as facts, knowing that
they also are Spirit, but we shall learn to deny their power as causes.
We shall learn to distinguish between the causa causta and the
causa causans, the secondary or apparent physical cause and the primary or spiritual cause,
without which the secondary cause could not exist; and so we
shall get a new standpoint of clear knowledge and certain power
by stepping over the threshold of the mechanical and entering into the spirit of it. What we have to do is to maintain our even
balance between the two extremes, denying neither Spirit nor the
mechanism which is its form and through which it works. The one is as necessary to a perfect
whole as the other, for there must be an outside as well
as an inside; only we must remember that the creative principle is
always inside, and that the outside only exhibits what the inside creates. Hence, whatever external
effect we would produce, we must first enter into the
spirit of it and work upon the spiritual principle, whether in
ourselves or others; and by so doing our insight will become greatly enlarged, for from without
we can see only one small portion of the circumference,
while from the centre we can see the whole of it. If we fully
grasp the truth that Spirit is Creator, we can dispense with painful investigations into
the mechanical side of all our problems. If we are constructing from
without, then we have to calculate anxiously the strength of our
materials and the force of every thrust and strain to which they may be subjected, and
very possibly after all we may find that we have made a mistake somewhere
in our elaborate calculations. But if we realise the
power of creating from within, we shall find all these calculations correctly made for
us; for the same Spirit which is Creator is also that which the Bible
calls “the Wonderful Numberer.” Construction from without is
based upon analysis, and no analysis is complete without accurate quantitative knowledge; but
creation is the very opposite of analysis, and carries its
own mathematics with it. To enter into the spirit of anything, then,
is to make yourself one in thought with the creative principle that is
at the centre of it; and therefore why not go to the centre of all things at once, and
enter into the Spirit of Life? Do you ask where to find it? In yourself;
and in proportion as you find it there, you will find it everywhere
else. Look at Life as the one thing that is, whether in you or around you; try to realise
the livingness of it, and then seek to enter into the Spirit of it by
affirming it to be the whole of what you are. Affirm this continually
in your thoughts, and by degrees the affirmation will grow into a real living force within
you, so that it will become a second nature to you, and you will
find it impossible and unnatural to think in any other way; and
the nearer you approach this point the greater you will find your control over both body
and circumstances, until at last you shall so enter into the
Spirit of it–into the Spirit of the Divine creative power which is the root
of all things–that, in the words of Jesus, “nothing shall be impossible to you,” because
you have so entered into the Spirit of it that you discover yourself
to be one with it. Then all the old limitations will have passed
away, and you will be living in an entirely new world of Life, Liberty and Love, of which
you yourself are the radiating centre. You will realise the truth
that your Thought is a limitless creative power, and that you
yourself are behind your Thought, controlling and directing it with Knowledge for any purpose
which Love motives and Wisdom plans. Thus you will cease
from your labours, your struggles and anxieties, and enter
into that new order where perfect rest is one with ceaseless activity. Chapter 24 THE BIBLE and THE NEW THOUGHT The Son A deeply interesting subject to the student
of the New Thought movement is to trace how exactly its teaching
is endorsed by the teaching of the Bible. There is no such thing as new thought in the
sense of new Truth, for what is truth now must have been truth always;
but there is such a thing as a new presentment of the old
Truth, and it is in this that the newness of the present movement consists. But the
same Truth has been repeatedly stated in earlier ages under various
forms and in various measures of completeness, and nowhere
more completely than in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. None of the older
forms of statement is more familiarly known to our readers than
that contained in the Bible, and no other is entwined around our
hearts with the same sacred and tender associations: therefore, I have no hesitation in saying
that the existence of a marked correspondence between its teaching
and that of the New Thought cannot but be a source of
strength and encouragement to any of us who have been accustomed in the past to look to
the old and hallowed Book as a storehouse of Divine wisdom.
We shall find that the clearer light will make the rough
places smooth and the dim places luminous, and that of the treasures of knowledge hidden
in the ancient volume the half has not been told us. The Bible lays emphatic stress upon “the glorious
liberty of the sons of God,” thus uniting in a single phrase
the twofold idea of filial dependence and personal liberty. A careful study of the subject
will show us that there is no opposition between these two ideas,
but that they are necessary correlatives to each other, and that
whether stated after the more concentrated method of the Bible, or after the more detailed
method of the New Thought, the true teaching proclaims, not
our independence of God, but our independence in God. Such an enquiry naturally centres in an especial
manner around the sayings of Jesus; for whatever may be our
opinions as to the nature of the authority with which he spoke, we must all agree that
a peculiar weight attaches to those utterances which have come
down to us as the ipsissima verba from which the entire New
Testament has been developed; and if an identity of conception in the New Thought movement
can be traced here at the fountain-head, we may expect to
find it in the lower streams also. The Key to the Master’s teaching is to be
found in his discourse with the Woman of Samaria, and it is
contained in the statement that “the Father” is Spirit, that is, Spirit in the absolute
and unqualified sense of the word, as appears from the original Greek,
and not “A Spirit” as it is rendered in the Authorised Version: and
then as the natural correlative to “the Father” we find another term employed, “the Son.”
The relation between these two forms the great subject of Jesus’
teaching, and, therefore, it is most important to have some definite
idea of what he meant by these terms if we would understand what it was that he really
taught. Now if “the Father” be Spirit, “the Son” must
be Spirit also; for a son must necessarily be of the same nature
as his father. But since “the Father” is Spirit, Absolute and Universal, it is evident that
“the Son” cannot be Spirit, Absolute and Universal, because there
cannot be two Universal Spirits, for then neither would be
universal. We may, therefore, logically infer that because “the Father” is Universal Spirit,
“the Son” is Spirit not universal; and the only definition of
Spirit not-universal is Spirit individualised and particular. The
Scripture tells us that “the Spirit is Life,” and taking this as the definition of “Spirit,”
we find that “the Father” is Absolute, originating, Undifferentiated
Life, and “the Son” is the same Life differentiated into particular
forms. Hence, in the widest sense of the expression, “the Son” stands for the whole creation, visible
or invisible, and in this sense it is the mere
differentiation of the universal Life into a multiplicity of particular
modes. But if we have any adequate idea of the intelligent and responsive nature of Spirit[2]–if
we realise that because it is Pure Being it must be Infinite
Intelligence and Infinite Responsiveness–then we shall see that its
reproduction in the particular admits of innumerable degrees, from mere expression as outward form
up to the very fullest expression of the infinite intelligence
and responsiveness that Spirit is. [Footnote 2: Intelligence and Responsiveness
is the Generic Nature of Spirit in every Mode, and it is the
concentration of this into centres of consciousness that makes personality, i. e. self-conscious
individuality. This varies immensely in degree, from its
first adumbration in the animal to its intense development in the
Great Masters of Spiritual Science. therefore it is called “The Power that Knows itself”–it
is the power of Self-recognition that makes personality, and
as we grow to see that our personality is not all contained
between our hat and our boots, as Walt Whitman says, but expands away into the Infinite,
which we then find to be the Infinite of ourselves, the same
I am that I am, so our personality expands and we become conscious of ever-increasing degrees of Life-in-ourselves.] The teachings of Jesus were addressed to the
hearts and intelligences of men, and therefore the grade of
sonship of which he spoke has reference to the expression of Infinite Being in the human
heart and intellect. But this, again, may be conceived of in infinite
degrees; in some men there is the bare potentiality of sonship
entirely undeveloped as yet, in others the beginnings of its development, in others a
fuller development, and so on, until we can suppose some supreme instance
in which the absolutely perfect reproduction of the
universal has been attained. Each of these stages constitutes a fuller and fuller expression
of sonship, until the supreme development reaches a point at which
it can be described only as the perfect image of “the Father”;
and this is the logical result of a process of steady growth from an inward principle
of Life which constitutes the identity of each individual. it is thus a necessary inference from Jesus’
own explanation of “the Father” as Spirit or Infinite Being that “the
Son” is the Scriptural phrase for the reproduction of Infinite Being in the individual, contemplated
in that stage at which the individual does in some
measure begin to recognise his identity with his originating source,
or, at any rate, where he has capacity for such a recognition, even though the actual
recognition may not yet have taken place. it is very remarkable that,
thus defining “the Son” on the direct statement of Jesus himself,
we arrive exactly at the definition of Spirit as “that power which knows itself.” In the
capacity for thus recognising its identity of nature with “the
Father” is it that the potential fact of sonship consists, for the
prodigal son was still a son even before he began to realise his relation to his “Father”
in actual fact. it is the dawning of this recognition that constitutes
the spiritual “babe,” or infant son; and by degrees this
consciousness grows till he attains the full estate of spiritual manhood. This recognition
by the individual of his own identity with Universal Spirit is
precisely what forms the basis of the New Thought; and thus at the
outset the two systems radiate from a common centre. But I suppose the feature of the New Thought
which is the greatest stumbling-block to those who view the
movement from the outside is the claim it makes for Thought-power as an active factor
in the affairs of daily life. As a mere set of speculative opinions
people might be willing to pigeon-hole it along with the
philosophic systems of Kant or Hegel; but it is the practical element in it which causes
the difficulty. it is not only a system of Thought based upon a conception
of the Unity of Being, but it claims to follow out this
conception to its legitimate consequences in the production of visible and tangible
external results by the mere exercise of Thought-power. A ridiculous claim,
a claim not to be tolerated by common sense, a trespassing
upon the Divine prerogative, a claim of unparalleled audacity: thus the casual objector. But this
claim is not without its parallel, for the same claim was
put forward on the same ground by the Great Teacher Himself as
the proper result of “the Son’s” recognition of his relation to “the Father.” “Ask what
ye will, and it shall be done unto you”; “Whatsoever you shall ask
in prayer, believing, you shall receive, and nothing shall be
impossible unto you”; “All things are possible to him that believeth.” These statements are
absolutely without any note of limitation save that imposed by
the seeker’s want of faith in his own power to move the Infinite.
This is as clear a declaration of the efficacy of mental power to produce outward and tangible
results as any now made by the New Thought, and it is made
on precisely the same ground, namely, the readiness of “the
Father” or Spirit in the Universal to respond to the movement of Spirit in the individual. In the Bible this movement of individualised
Spirit is called “prayer,” and it is synonymous with Thought,
formulated with the intention of producing this response. “Prayer is the heart’s sincere desire, Uttered
or unexpressed,” and we must not let ourselves be misled by
the association of particular forms with particular words, but
should follow the sound advice of Oliver Wendell Holmes, and submit such words to a process
of depolarisation, which brings out their real
meaning. Whether we call our act “prayer” or
“thought-concentration,” we mean the same thing; it is the claim of the man to move
the Infinite by the action of his own mind. it may be objected, however, that this definition
omits an important element of prayer, the question, namely,
whether God will hear it. But this is the very element that Jesus most rigorously excludes
from his description of the mental act. Prayer, according to the
popular notion, is a most uncertain matter. Whether we shall be
heard or not depends entirely upon another will, regarding whose action we are completely
ignorant, and therefore, according to this notion, the very
essence of prayer consists of utter uncertainty. Jesus’ conception
of prayer was the very opposite. He bids us believe that we have already in fact received
what we ask for, and makes this the condition of receiving; in
other words, he makes the essential factor in the mental action to
consist in Absolute Certainty as to the corresponding response in the Infinite, which is exactly
the condition that the New Thought lays down for the successful
operation of Thought-power. it may, however, be objected that if men have
thus an indiscriminate power of projecting their thought to the
accomplishment of anything they desire, they can do so for evil as easily as for good.
But Jesus fully recognised this possibility, and worked the
only destructive miracle recorded of him for the express purpose
of emphasising the danger. The reason given by the compilers of the Gospel for the destruction
of the fig-tree is clearly inadequate, for we certainly cannot
suppose Jesus so unreasonable as to curse a tree for not bearing
fruit out of season. But the record itself shows a very different purpose. Jesus answered
the disciples’ astonished questioning by telling them that
it was in their own power, not only to do what was done to the
fig-tree, but to produce effects upon a far grander scale; and he concludes the conversation
by laying down the duty of a heart-searching forgiveness as a
necessary preliminary to prayer. Why was this precept so
particularly impressed in this particular connection? Obviously because the demonstration
he had just given of the valency of thought-power in the hands
of instructed persons laid bare the fact that this power can be used
destructively as well as beneficially, and that, therefore, a thorough heart-searching
for the eradication of any lurking ill-feeling became an imperative preliminary
to its safe use; otherwise there was danger of noxious
thought-currents being set in motion to the injury of others. The miracle of the fig-tree
was an object-lesson to exhibit the need for the careful handling
of that limitless power which Jesus assured his disciples existed as
fully in them as in himself. I do not here attempt to go into this subject in detail,
but enough has, I think, been shown to convince us that Jesus made exactly
the same claim for the power of Thought as that made by the
New Thought movement at the present day. it is a great claim, and it is, therefore, encouraging
to find such an authority committed to the same assertion. The general principle on which this claim
is based by the exponents of the New Thought is the identity of
Spirit in the individual with spirit in the universal, and we shall find that this, also,
is the basis of Jesus’ teaching on the subject. He says that “the
Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do these
things doeth the Son in like manner.” it must now be sufficiently clear that “the Son” is
a generic appellation, not restricted to a particular individual,
but applicable to all; and this statement explains the manner of “the
Son’s” working in relation to “the Father.” The point this sentence particularly emphasises
is that it is what he sees the Father doing that the Son does also.
His doing corresponds to his seeing. If the seeing expands, the
doing expands along with it. But we are all sufficiently familiar with this principle
in other matters. What differentiates an Edison or a Marconi from
the apprentice who knows only how to fit up an electric bell by
rule of thumb? it is their capacity for seeing the universal principles of electricity and
bringing them into particular application. The great painter
is the one who sees the universal principles of form and colour where
the smaller man sees only a particular combination; and so with the great surgeon, the great chemist,
the great lawyer–in every line it is the power of insight
that distinguishes the great man from the little one; it is the
capacity for making wide generalisations and perceiving far-reaching laws that raises the
exceptional mind above the ordinary level. The greater working
always results from the greater seeing into the abstract
principles from which any art or science is generated; and this same law carried up to
the universal principles of Life is the law by which “the Son’s” working
is proportioned to his seeing the method of “the Father’s”
work. Thus the source of “the Son’s” power lies in the contemplation of “the Father,”
the endeavour, that is, to realise the true nature of Being, whether
in the abstract or in its generic forms of manifestation.[3] This is
Bacon’s maxim, “work as God works”; and similarly the New Thought consists before all things
in the realisation of the laws of Being. [Footnote 3: Everything depends on this principle
of Reciprocity. By contemplation we come to realize the
true nature of “Spirit” or “the father.” We learn to disengage the variable factors of
particular Modes from the invariable factors which are the essential
qualities of Spirit underlying all Modes. Then when we realize these
essential qualities we see that we can apply them under any mode that we will: in other
words we supply the variable factor of the combination by the
action of our Thought, as Desire or Will, and thus combine it with
the invariable factor or “constant” of the essential law of spirit, thus producing what
result we will. This is just what we do in respect to physical nature–e.
g. the electrician supplies the variable factor of the particular
Mode of application, and the constant laws of Electricity respond to the nature of the
invitation given to them. This Responsiveness is inherent in Spirit;
otherwise Spirit would have no means of expansion into
manifestation. Responsiveness is the principle of Spirit’s Self-expression. We do not have
to create responsive action on the part of electricity. We can
safely take this Responsiveness for granted as pure natural law. Our
desire first works on the Arupa level and thence concentrates itself through the various
Rupa levels till it reaches complete external manifestation.] and the result of the seeing is that “the
Son” does the same things as “the Father” “in like manner.” The Son’s
action is the reproduction of the universal principles in application to specific instances.
The principles remain unaltered and work always in the same manner,
and the office of “the Son” is to determine the particular field
of their operation with regard to the specific object which he has in view; and therefore,
so far as that object is concerned, the action of “the Son” becomes
the action of “the Father” also. Again, there is no concealment on the part
of “the Father.” He has no secrets, for “the Father loveth the Son,
and showeth him all things that himself doeth.” There is perfect reciprocity between Spirit
in the Universal and in Individualisation, resulting from the
identity of Being; and “the Son’s” recognition of Love as the active
principle of this Unity gives him an intuitive insight into all those inner workings of the
Universal Life which we call the arcana of Nature. Love has a divine
gift of insight which cannot be attained by intellect alone, and
the old saying, “Love will find out the way,” has greater depths of meaning than appear
on the surface. Thus there is not only a seeing, but also a showing;
and the three terms–“looking, seeing, showing”–combine to
form a power of “working” to which it is impossible to assign any limit. Here, again, the teaching of Jesus is in exact
correspondence with that of the New Thought, which tells us that
limitations exist only where we ourselves put them, and that to view ourselves as beings
of limitless knowledge, power, and love is to become such
in outward manifestation of visible fact. Any objection,
therefore, to the New Thought teaching regarding the possibilities latent in Man apply with
equal force to the teachings of Jesus. His teaching clearly was
that the perfect individuality of Man is a Dual-Unity, the
polarisation of the Infinite in the Manifest; and it requires only the recognition of this
truth for the manifested element in this binary system to demonstrate
its identity with the corresponding element which is not
externally visible. He said that He and his Father were One, that those who had seen him
had seen the Father, that the words which he spoke were the Father’s,
and that it was the Father who did the works. Nothing could
be more explicit. Absolute unity of the manifested individuality with the originating Infinite
Spirit is asserted or implied in every utterance attributed to
Jesus, whether spoken of himself or of others. He recognises only
one radical difference, the difference between those who know this truth and those who do
not know it. The distinction between the disciple and the master
is one only of degree, which will be effaced by the expansive
power of growth; “the disciple, when he is perfected, shall be as his Master.” All that hinders the individual from exercising
the full power of the Infinite for any purpose whatever is his
lack of faith, his inability to realise to the full the stupendous truth that he himself
is the very power which he seeks. This was the teaching of Jesus as it
is that of the New Thought; and this truth of the Divine Sonship of
Man once taken as the great foundation, a magnificent edifice of possibilities which
“eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart
of man to conceive,” grows up logically upon it–a glorious
heritage which each one may legitimately claim in right of his common humanity. Chapter 25 The Great Affirmation I take it for granted that my readers are
well acquainted with the part assigned to the principle of Affirmation
in the scheme of the New Thought. This is often a stumbling-block to beginners; and
I feel sure that even those who are not beginners will welcome every
aid to a deeper apprehension of this great central truth. I,
therefore, purpose to examine the Bible teaching on this important subject. The professed object of the Bible is to establish
and extend “the Kingdom of God” throughout the world, and
this can be done only by repeating the process from one individual to another, until the
whole mass is leavened. it is thus an individual process;
and, as we have seen in the last chapter, God is Spirit and Spirit is
Life, and, therefore, the expansion of “the Kingdom of God” means the expansion of the
principle of Life in each individual. Now Life, to be life at all,
must be Affirmative. it is Life in virtue of what it is, and not in
virtue of what it is not. The quantity of life in any particular case may be very small;
but, however small the amount, the quality is always the same: it
is the quality of Being, the quality of Livingness, and not its
absence, that makes it what it is. The distinctive character of Life, therefore, is that it is
Positive and not Negative; and every degree of negativeness,
that is, every limitation, is ultimately traceable to deficiency of
Life-power. Limitations surround us because we believe
in our inability to do what we desire. Whenever we say “I cannot”
we are brought up sharp by a limitation, and we cease to exercise our thought-power in
that direction because we believe ourselves stopped by a blank wall
of impossibility; and whenever this occurs we are subjected to
bondage. The ideal of perfect Liberty is the converse of all this, and follows a sequence
which does not thus lead us into a cul-de-sac. This sequence consists
of the three affirmations: I am–therefore I can–therefore I
will; and this last affirmation results in the projection of our powers, whether interior
or external, to the accomplishment of the desired object. But
this last affirmation has its root in the first; and it is because we
recognise the Affirmative nature of the Life that is in us, or rather of the Life which
we are, that the power to will or to act positively has any existence;
and, therefore, the extent of our power to will and to act positively
and with effect, is exactly measured by our perception of the depth and livingness of
our own Being. Hence the more fully we learn to affirm that, the
greater power we are able to exercise. Now the ideal of perfect Liberty is the entire
absence of all limitation, and to have no limitation in Being is to
be co-extensive with All-Being. We are all grammarians enough to know that the use of
a predicate is to lead the mind to contemplate the subject as represented
by that predicate; in other words, it limits our conception
for the time being to that particular aspect of the subject. Hence every predicate, however
extensive, implies some limitation of the subject. But the ideal
subject, the absolutely free self, is, by the very hypothesis,
without limitation; and, therefore, no predicate can be attached to it. it stands as a declaration
of its own Being without any statement of what that Being consists
in, and therefore it says of itself, not “I am this or that,” but
simply I am. No predicate can be added, because the only commensurate predicate would be the
enumeration of Infinity. therefore, both logically and
grammatically, the only possible statement of a fully liberated being
is made in the words I am. I need hardly remind my readers of the frequency
with which Jesus employed these emphatic words. In many
cases the translators have added the word “He,” but they have been careful, by putting
it in italics, to show that it is not in the original. As grammarians
and theologians they thought something more was wanted to
complete the sense, and they supplied it accordingly; but if we would get at the very words as the
Master himself spoke them, we must strike out this
interpolation!and as soon as we have done so there flashes into
light the identity of his statement with that made to Moses at the burning bush, where the
full significance of the words is so obvious that the translators
were compelled to leave the place of the predicate in that seeming
emptiness which comes from filling all things. Seen thus, a marvellous light shines forth
from the instruction of the Great Teacher: for in whatever sense we
may regard him as a Great Exception to the weak and limited aspect of humanity with which
we are only too familiar, we must all agree that his mission
was not to render mankind hopeless by declaring the path of
advance barred against them, but “to give light to them that sit in darkness,” and liberty
to them that are bound, by proclaiming the unlimited possibilities
that are in man waiting only to be called forth by knowledge
of the Truth!and if we suppose any personal reference in his words, it can, therefore,
be only as the Great Example of what man has it in him to become,
and not as the example of something which man can never
hope to be; an Exception, truly, to mankind as we see them now, but the Exception that
proves the rule, and sets the standard of what each one may become
as he attains to the measure of the stature of the fulness of
Christ. Let us, therefore, by striking out this interpolation,
restore the Master’s words as they stand in the original:
“Except ye believe that I am, ye shall die in your sins.” This is an epitome of his teaching. “The last enemy that shall be overcome is
death,” and the “sting,” or fatal power, of death is “sin.” Remove
that, and death has no longer any dominion over us; its power is at an end!and “the strength
of sin is the Law”: sin is every contradiction of the law
of Being; and the law of Being is infinitude; for Being is Life, and
Life in its innermost essence is the limitless I am. Dying in our sins is thus not a punishment
for doubting a particular theological dogma, but it is the
unavoidable natural consequence of not realising, not believing in,
the I am. So long as we fail to realise its full infinitude in ourselves, we cut ourselves
off from our conscious unity with the Infinite Life-Spirit which
permeates all things. Without this principle we have no alternative but
to die–and this because of our sin, that is, because of our failure to conform to the
true Law of our Being, which is Life, and not Death. We affirm Death
and Negation concerning ourselves, and therefore Death and
Negation are externalised, and thus we pay the penalty of not believing in the central
Law of our own Life, which is the Law of all Life. The Bible is
the Book of Principles, and therefore by “dying” is meant the
acceptance of the principle of the Negative which culminates in Death as the sum-total
of all limitations, and which introduces at every step those restrictions
which are of the nature of Death, because their tendency is to
curtail the outflowing fulness of Life. This, then, is the very essence of the teaching
of Jesus, that unbelief in the limitless power of
Life-in-ourselves–in each of us–is the one cause of Death and of all those evils which,
in greater or lesser measure, reproduce the restrictive influences
which deprive Life of its fulness and joy. If we would escape
Death and enter into Life, we must each believe in the I am in ourselves!and the ground for
this belief? Simply that nothing else is conceivable. If
our life is not a portion of the life of Universal Spirit, whence
comes it? We are because that is. No other explanation is possible. The unqualified affirmation
of our own livingness is not an audacious self-assertion:
it is the only logical outcome of the fact that there is any life
anywhere, and that we are here to think about it. In the sense of Universal Being, there
can be only One I am, and the understanding use of the words by
the individual is the assertion of this fact. The forms of
manifestation are infinite, but the Life which is manifested is One, and thus every thinker
who recognises the truth regarding himself finds in the I am
both himself and the totality of all things; and thus he comes to know
that in utilising the interior nature of the things and persons about him, he is, in effect,
employing the powers of his own life. Sometimes the veil which Jesus drew over this
great truth was very transparent. To the Samaritan woman he
spoke of it as a spring of Life forever welling up in the innermost recesses of man’s being;
and again, to the multitude assembled at the Temple, he spoke
of it as a river of Life forever gushing from the secret sources of
the spirit within us. Life, to be ours at all, must be ourselves. An energy which only
passed through us, without being us, might produce a sort of
galvanic activity, but it would not be Life. Life can never be a
separate entity from the individuality which manifests it; and therefore, even if we conceive
the life-principle in a man so intensified as to pulsate with
what might seem to us an absolutely divine vitality, it would still be
no other than the man himself. Thus Jesus directs us to no external source of life,
but ever teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, and that what
is wanted is to remove those barriers of ignorance and ill-will
which prevent us from realising that the great I am, which is the innermost Spirit of Life
throughout the universe, is the same I am that I am, whoever
I may be. On another memorable occasion Jesus declared
again that the I am is the enduring principle of Life. it is this
that is the Resurrection and the Life; not, as Martha supposed, a new principle to be
infused from without at some future time, but an inherent core of
vitality awaiting only its own recognition of itself to triumph over
death and the grave!and yet, again hear the Master’s answer to the inquiring Thomas. How
many of us, like him, desire to know the way! To hear of wonderful
powers latent in man and requiring only development is
beautiful and hopeful, if we could only find out the way to develop them; but who will
show us the way? The answer comes with no uncertain note. The I
am includes everything. it is at once “the Way, the Truth, and the
Life”: not the Life only, or the Truth only, but also the Way by which to reach them. Can
words be plainer? it is by continually affirming and relying on
the I am in ourselves as identical with the I am that is the One and
Only Life, whether manifested or unmanifested, in all places of the universe, that we shall
find the way to the attainment of all Truth and of all Life. Here
we have the predicate which we are seeking to complete our
affirmation regarding ourselves. I am–what? the Three things which include all things:
Truth, which is all Knowledge and Wisdom; Life, which is all Power
and Love; and the unfailing Way which will lead us step by
step, if we follow it, to heights too sublime and environment too wide for our present juvenile
imaginings to picture. As the New Testament centres around Jesus,
so the old Testament centres around Moses, and he also declares
the Great Affirmation to be the same.[4] for him God has no name, but that intensely living
universal Life which is all in all, and no name is sufficient
to be its equivalent. The emphatic words I am are the only
possible statement of the One-Power which exhibits itself as all worlds and all living
beings. it is the Great I am which forever unfolds itself in all the
infinite evolutionary forces of the cosmic scheme, and which, in
marvellous onward march, develops itself into higher and higher conscious intelligence in
the successive races of mankind, unrolling the scroll of history
as it moves on from age to age, working out with unerring precision
the steady forward movement of the whole towards that ultimate perfection in which the work
of God will be completed. But stupendous as is the scale
on which this Providential Power reveals itself to Moses and the
Prophets, it is still nothing else than the very same Power which Jesus bids us realise
in ourselves. [Footnote 4: The Old Testament and the New
treat the I am from its opposite poles. The Old Testament treats
it from the relation of the Whole to the Part, while the New Testament treats it from the
relation of the Part to the Whole. This is important as explaining
the relation between the Old and New Testaments. (a) “My word shall not return unto me void
but shall accomplish that whereunto I send it.”
(b) The Principle here indicated is that of the Alternation and Equation between Absorption
and Radiation–a taking-in before, and a giving-out.
(c) “order”–Whatever betrays this is “Disorder.” (d) “Conscious”–it is the degree of consciousness
that always marks the transition from a lower to a higher
Power of Life. The Life of All Seven Principles must always be present in us, otherwise we
should not exist at all; therefore it is the degree in which we
learn to consciously function in each of them that marks our advance
into higher kingdoms within ourselves, and frequently outside ourselves also.
(e) The Central Radiating Point of our Individuality is One with All-Being.
(f) Equilibrium–Note the difference between the Living Equilibrium of Alternate Rhythmic
Pulsation (the whole Pulsation Doctrine) and the dead equilibrium
of merely running down to a dead level. The former
implies the Doctrine of the Return, the Upward Arc compensating the Downward Arc–The deadness
of the latter results from the absence of any such
compensation. The Upward Arc results from the contemplation of
the Highest Ideal. (g) Spirit cannot leave any portion of its
Nature behind it. it must always have all the qualities of Spirit in it, even though the lower parts of the individuality
are not yet conscious of it. (h) The Great Affirmation is The Guide to
the whole Subject.] The theatre of its operations may be expanded
to the magnificent proportions of a world-history, or contracted
to the sphere of a single individuality: the difference is only one of scale; but the Life-principle
is always the same. it is always the principle of confident
Affirmation in the calm knowledge that all things are but
manifestations of itself, and that, therefore, all must move together in one mighty unity
which admits of no discordant elements. This “unity of the spirit”
once clearly grasped, to say I am is to send the vibrations of our
thought-currents throughout the universe to do our bidding when and where we will; and,
conversely, it is to draw in the vitalising influences of Infinite
Spirit as from a boundless ocean of Life, which can never be
exhausted and from which no power can hold us back!and all this is so because it is the
supreme law of Nature. it is not the introduction of a new
order, but simply the allowing of the original and only possible
order to flow on to its legitimate fulfilment. A Divine order, truly, but nowhere shall we
find anything that is not Divine; and it is to the realisation of
this Divine and Living order that it is the purpose of the Bible to lead
us. But we shall never realise it around us until we first realise it within us. We can
see God outside only by the light of God inside; and this light increases
in proportion as we become conscious of the Divine nature of
the innermost I am which is the centre of our own individuality. therefore, it is that Jesus tells us that
the I am is “the door.” it is that central point of our individual Being
which opens into the whole illimitable Life of the Infinite. If we would understand the
old-world precept, “know thyself,” we must concentrate our thought
more and more closely upon our own interior Life until we
touch its central radiating point, and there we shall find that the door into the Infinite
is indeed opened to us, and that we can pass from the innermost of
our own Being into the innermost of All-Being. This is why Jesus
spoke of “the door” as that through which we should pass in and out and find pasture.
Pasture, the feeding of every faculty with its proper food, is to
be found both on the within and the without. The livingness of Life
consists in both concentration and externalisation: it is not the dead equilibrium of inertia,
but the living equilibrium of a vital and rhythmic pulsation.
Involution and evolution must forever alternate, and the door of
communication between them is the I am which is the living power in both. Thus it is that
the Great Affirmation is the Secret of Life, and that
to say I am with a true understanding of all that it implies is to place
ourselves in touch with all the powers of the Infinite. This is the Universal and Eternal Affirmation
to which no predicate is attached; and all particular affirmations
will be found to be only special differentiations of this all-embracing one. I will this or
that particular thing because I know that I can bring it into externalisation,
and I know that I can because I know that I am, and so
we always come back to the great central Affirmation of All-Being. Search the Scriptures and you
will find that from first to last they teach only this:
that every human soul is an individualisation of that Universal
Being, or All-Spirit, which we call God, and that Spirit can never be shorn of its powers,
but like Fire, which is its symbol, must always be fully and perfectly
itself, which is Life in all its unlimited fulness. In assigning to Affirmation, therefore, the
importance which it does, the New Thought movement is at one
with the teaching of Jesus and Moses and of the entire Bible!and the reason is clear.
There is only one Truth, and therefore careful seeking can bring men
only to the same Truth, whether they be Bible-writers or any
other. The Bible derives its authority from the inherent truth of the things it tells
of, and not vice versa; and if these things be true at all, they would be
equally true even though no Bible had ever been written. But, taking
the Great Affirmation as our guide, we shall find that the system taught by the Bible is
scientific and logical throughout, and therefore any other system
which is scientifically true will be found to correspond with it in
substance, however it may differ from it in form; and thus, in their statements regarding
the power of Affirmation, the exponents of the New Thought
broach no new-fangled absurdity, but only reiterate a great
truth which has been before the world, though very imperfectly recognised, for thousands
of years. Chapter 26 The Father If, as we have seen, “the Son” is the differentiating
principle of Spirit, giving rise to innumerable individualities, “the Father” is the unifying
principle by which these innumerable individualities are bound
together into one common life, and the necessity for recognising this great basis of the universal
harmony forms the foundation of Jesus’ teaching on
the subject of Worship. “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh,
when neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. Ye
worship that which ye know not; we worship that which we know; for
salvation is from the Jews. But the hour cometh and now is
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Revised Version).
In these few words the Great Teacher sums up the whole subject.
He lays particular stress on the kind of worship that he means. it
is, before all things, founded upon knowledge. “We worship that which we know,” and it is
this knowledge that gives the worship a healthful and life-giving
quality. it is not the ignorant worship of wonderment and fear, a mere abasement of ourselves
before some vast, vague, unknown power, which may injure
us if we do not find out how to propitiate it; but it is a definite
act performed with a definite purpose, which means that it is the employment of one of
our natural faculties upon its proper object in an intelligent manner.
The ignorant Samaritan worship is better than no worship at
all, for at least it realises the existence of some centre around which a man’s life should
revolve, something to prevent the aimless dispersion of His powers
for want of a centripetal force to bind them together; and even
the crudest notion of prayer, as a mere attempt to induce God to change his mind, is at least
a first step towards the truth that full supply for all
our needs may be drawn from the Infinite. Still, such worship as this
is hampered with perplexities, and can give only a feeble answer to the atheistical sneer
which asks, “What is man, that God should be mindful of him, a
momentary atom among unnumbered worlds?” Now the teaching of Jesus throws all these
perplexities aside with the single word “knowledge.” There is only
one true way of doing anything, and that is knowing exactly what it is we want to do,
and knowing exactly why we want to do it. All other doing is blundering.
We may blunder into the right thing sometimes, but we
cannot make this our principle of life to all eternity; and if we have to give up the
blunder method eventually, why not give it up now, and begin at once
to profit by acting according to intelligible principle? The
knowledge that “the Son,” as individualised Spirit, has his correlative in “the Father,”
as Universal Spirit, affords the clue we need. In whatever way we may attempt to explain
it, the fact remains that volition is the fundamental characteristic
of Spirit. We may speak of conscious, or subconscious or super-conscious action; but in whatever
way we may picture to ourselves the condition of
the agent as contemplating his own action, a general purposeful
lifeward tendency becomes abundantly evident on any enlarged view of Nature, whether seen
from without or from within, and we may call this by the general
name of volition. But the error we have to avoid is that of
supposing volition to take the same form in Universal Spirit as in individualised Spirit.
The very terms “universal” and “individual” forbid this.
for the universal, as such, to exercise specific volition, concentrating
itself upon the details of a specific case, would be for it to pass into individualisation,
and to cease to be the Absolute and Infinite; it would be no longer
“the Father,” but “the Son.” it is therefore exactly by not
exercising specific volition that “the Father” continues to be “the Father,” or the Great
Unifying Principle. But the volitional quality is not on this account
absent from Spirit in the Universal; for otherwise whence would
that quality appear in ourselves? it is present; but according to the nature of the plane on
which it is acting. The Universal is not the Specific, and everything
on the plane of the Universal must partake of the nature of
that plane. Hence volition in “the Father” is not specific; and that which is not specific
and individual must be generic. Generic volition, therefore, is that
mode of volition which belongs to the Universal, and generic
volition is tendency. This is the solution of the enigma, and this solution is given,
not obscurely, in Jesus’ statement that “the Father” seeks those true
worshippers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. for what do we mean by tendency? From the
root of tendere, to stretch; it signifies a pushing out in a certain
definite direction, the tension of some force seeking to expand itself. What force? The
Universal Life-Principle, for “the Spirit is Life.”
In the language of modern science this “seeking” on the part of “the
Father” is the expansive pressure of the Universal Life-Principle seeking the line of least resistance,
along which to flow into the fullest manifestation
of individualised Life. it is a tendency which will take manifested
form according to the degree in which it meets with reception. St. John says, “This is the boldness that
we have towards him, that if we ask anything according to His will,
He heareth us; and if we know that He heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have
the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John v. 14). Now
according to the popular notion of “the will of God,” this passage
entirely loses its value, because it makes everything depend on our asking “according
to His will,” and if we start with the idea of an individual act of
the Divine volition in each separate case, nothing short of a special
revelation continually repeated could inform us what the Divine will in each particular
instance was. Viewed in this light, this passage is a mere jeering
at our incapacity. But when once we realise that “the will of God” is
an invariable law of tendency, we have a clear standard by which to test whether we may rightly
expect to get what we desire. We can study this law of tendency
as we would any other law, and it is this study that is the
essence of true worship. The word “worship” means to count worthy;
to count worthy, that is, of observation. The proverb says that
“imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” more truly we may say that it is the sincerest
worship. Hence the true worship is the study of the Universal
Life-Principle “the Father,” in its nature and in its modes of action;
and when we have thus realised “the Law of God,” the law that is inherent in the nature
of Infinite Being, we shall know that by conforming our own particular
action to this generic law, we shall find that this law will in
every instance work out the results that we desire. This is nothing more or less miraculous
than what occurs in every case of applied science. He only is
the true chemist or engineer who, by first learning how to obey the
generic tendency of natural laws, is able to command them to the fulfilment of his individual
purposes; no other method will succeed. Similarly with
the student of the divine mystery of Life. He must first learn the
great laws of its generic tendency, and then he will be in a position to apply that tendency
to the working of any specific effect he will. Common sense tells us what the law of this
tendency must be. The Master taught that a house divided against
itself cannot stand; and for the Life-Principle to do anything restrictive of the fullest
expansion of life, would be for it to act to its own destruction. The
test, therefore, in every case, whether our intention falls within the
scope of the great law, is this: Does it operate for the expansion or for the restriction of
life? and according to the answer we can say positively whether or
not our purpose is according to “the will of God.” therefore so
long as we work within the scope of this generic “will of the Father” we need have no fear
of the Divine Providence, as an agency, acting adversely
to us. We may dismiss this bugbear, for we ourselves are
manifestations of the very power which we call “the Father.” The I am is one; and so
long as we preserve this unity by conforming to the generic nature
of the I am in the universal, it will certainly never destroy the unity
by entering upon a specific course of action on its own account. Here, then, we find the secret of power. it
is contained in the true worship of “the Father,” which is the
constant recognition of the lifegivingness of originating Spirit, and of the fact that
we, as individuals, still continue to be portions of that Spirit; and
that therefore the law of our nature is to be perpetually drawing life
from the inexhaustible stores of the Infinite–not bottles of water-of-life mixed with other
ingredients and labelled for this or that particular purpose,
but the full flow of the pure stream itself, which we are free to use
for any purpose we desire. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” it
is thus that the worship of “the Father” becomes the central principle
of the individual life, not as curtailing our liberty, but as affording
the only possible basis for it. As a planetary system would be impossible without a central
controlling sun, so harmonious life is impossible without the
recognition of Infinite Spirit as that Power, whose generic tendency
serves to control each individual being into its proper orbit. This is the teaching of
the Bible, and it is also the teaching of the New Thought, which says that
life with all its limitless possibilities is a continual outflow from
the Infinite which we may turn in any direction that we desire. But, it may be asked, what happens if we go
counter to this generic law of Spirit? This is an important
question, and I must leave the answer for further consideration. Conclusion I concluded my last chapter with the momentous
question, What happens if we go counter to the generic law
of Spirit? What happens if we go counter to any natural law? Obviously, the law goes counter
to us. We can use the laws of Nature, but we cannot alter
them. By opposing any natural law we place ourselves in an
inverted position with regard to it, and therefore, viewed from this false standpoint, it appears
as though the law itself were working against us with definite
purpose. But the inversion proceeds entirely from ourselves,
and not from any change in the action of the law. The law of Spirit, like all other natural
laws, is in itself impersonal; but we carry into it, so to speak,
the reflection of our own personality, though we cannot alter its
generic character; and therefore, if we oppose its generic tendency towards the universal
good, we shall find in it the reflection of our own opposition
and waywardness. The law of Spirit proceeds unalterably on
its course, and what is spoken of in popular phraseology as the
Divine wrath is nothing else than the reflex action which naturally follows when we put
ourselves in opposition to this law. The evil that results
is not a personal intervention of the Universal Spirit, which would
imply its entering into specific manifestation, but it is the natural outcome of the causes
that we ourselves have set in motion. But the effect to ourselves
will be precisely the same as if they were brought about by the
volition of an adverse personality, though we may not realise that in truth the personal
element is our own. and if we are at all aware of the wonderfully
complex nature of man, and the various interweavings of
principles which unite the material body at one end of the scale to the purely spiritual
Ego at the other, we shall have some faint idea of on how vast
a field these adverse influences may operate, not being restricted to
the plane of outward manifestation, but acting equally on those inner planes which give rise
to the outer and are of a more enduring nature. Thus the philosophic study of Spirit, so far
from affording any excuse for laxity of conduct, adds an emphatic
definiteness to the Bible exhortation to flee from the wrath of God. But, on the other hand,
it delivers us from groundless terrors, the fear lest our repentance
should not be accepted, the fear lest we should be rejected for
our inability to subscribe to some traditional dogma, the fear of utter uncertainty regarding
the future–fears which make life bitter and the prospect of
death appalling to those who are in bondage to them. The
knowledge that we are dealing with a power which is no respecter of persons, and in which
is no variableness, which is, in fact, an unalterable Law, at
once delivers us from all these terrors. The very unchangeableness of Law makes it
certain that no amount of past opposition to it, whether from
ignorance or wilfulness, will prevent it from working in accordance with its own beneficent
and life-giving character as soon as we quit our inverted
position and place ourselves in our true relation towards it. The laws
of Nature do not harbour revenge; and once we adapt our methods to their character, they
will work for us without taking any retrospective notice of
our past errors. The law of Spirit may be more complex than that of
electricity, because, as expressed in us, it is the law of conscious individuality;
but it is none the less a purely natural law, and follows the universal rule,
and therefore we may dismiss from our minds, as a baseless
figment, the fear of any Divine power treasuring up anger against us on account of bygones,
if we are sincerely seeking to do what is right now.
The new causes which we put in motion now will produce their
proper effect as surely as the old causes did; and thus by inaugurating a new sequence
of good we shall cut off the old sequence of evil. Only, of course,
we cannot expect to bring about the new sequence while continuing
to repeat the old causes, for the fruit must necessarily reproduce the nature of the seed.
Thus we are the masters of the situation, and, whether in
this world or the next, it rests with ourselves either to perpetuate the
evil or to wipe it out and put the good in its place!and it may be noticed in passing
that the great central Christian doctrine is based upon the most
perfect knowledge of this law, and is the practical application to a profound problem of the deepest psychological
science. But this is a large subject, and cannot be suitably
dealt with here. Much has been written and said on the origin
of evil, and a volume might be filled with the detailed study of
the subject; but for all practical purposes it may be summed up in the one word limitation.
for what is the ultimate cause of all strife, whether public
or private, but the notion that the supply of good is limited? With
the bulk of mankind this is a fixed idea, and they therefore argue that because there
is only a certain limited quantity of good, the share in their possession
can be increased only by correspondingly diminishing some
one else’s share. Any one entertaining the same idea, naturally resents the attempt to
deprive him of any portion of this limited quantity; and hence
arises the whole crop of envy, hatred, fraud, and violence, whether
between individuals, classes, or nations. If people only realised the truth that “good”
is not a certain limited quantity, but a stream continuously flowing
from the exhaustless Infinite, and ready to take any direction we
choose to give it, and that each one is able by the action of his own thought to draw from
it indefinitely, the substitution of this new and true idea for
the old and false one of limitation would at one stroke remove all
strife and struggle from the world; every man would find a helper instead of a competitor
in every other, and the very laws of Nature, which now so often
seem to war against us, would be found a ceaseless source of
profit and delight. “They could not enter into rest because of
unbelief,” “they limited the Holy One of Israel”: in these words the
Bible, like the New Thought, traces all the sorrow of the world–that terrible Weltschmerz
which expresses itself with such direful influence through
the pessimistic literature of the day–to the one root of a false belief,
the belief in man’s limitation. Only substitute for it the true belief, and the evil would
be at an end. Now the ground of this true belief is that clear apprehension
of “the Father” which, as I have shown, forms the basis of
Jesus’ teaching. If, from one point of view, the Intelligent Universal Life-Principle is
a Power to be obeyed, in the same sense in which we have to obey all
the laws of Nature, from the opposite point of view, it is a power
to be used. We must never lose sight of the fact that obedience to any natural law in
its generic tendency necessarily carries with it a corresponding
power of using that law in specific application. This is the old
proverb that knowledge is power. it is the old paradox with which Jesus posed the ignorant
scribes as to how David’s Lord could also be his Son. The word
“David” means “Beloved” and to be beloved implies that
reciprocal sympathy which is intuitive knowledge. Hence David, the Beloved, is the man who has
realised his true relation as a Son to his Father and who
is “in tune with the Infinite.” On the other hand, this “Infinite” is
his “Lord” because it is the complex of all those unchangeable Laws from which it is impossible
to swerve without suffering consequent loss of power;
and on the other, this knowledge of the innermost principles of
All-Being puts him in possession of unlimited powers which he can apply to any specific
purpose that he will; and thus he stands towards them in the position
of a father who has authority to command the services of his
son. Thus David’s “Lord,” becomes by a natural transition his “Son.” and it is precisely in this that the principle
of “Sonship” consists. it is the raising of man from the condition of
bondage as a servant by reason of limitation to the status of a son by the entire removal
of all limitations. To believe and act on this principle is to “believe
on the Son of God,” and a practical belief in our own sonship
thus sets us free from all evil and from all fear of evil–it brings us out of the kingdom
of death into the kingdom of Life. Like everything else, it
has to grow, but the good seed of liberating Truth once planted in the
heart is sure to germinate, and the more we endeavour to foster its growth by seeking
to grasp with our understanding the reason of these things and
to realise our knowledge in practice, the more rapidly we shall
find our lives increase in livingness–a joy to ourselves, a brightness to our homes, and
a blessing expanding to all around in ever-widening circles. Enough has now been said to show the identity
of principle between the teaching of the Bible and that of the
New Thought. Treated in detail, the subject would extend to many volumes explanatory of
the Old and New Testaments, and if that great work were ever
carried out I have no hesitation in saying that the agreement
would be found to extend to the minutest particulars. But the hints contained in the foregoing papers
will, I hope, suffice to show that there is nothing
antagonistic between the two systems, or, rather, to show that they are one–the statement of the One Truth which
always has been and always will be!and if what I have now
endeavoured to put before my readers should lead any of them to follow up the subject
more fully for themselves, I can promise them an inexhaustible
store of wonder, delight, and strength in the study of the Old
Book in the light of the New Thought. Chapter 27 JACHIN and BOAZ “and he reared up the pillars before the temple,
one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the
name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.” (II Chron.
iii, 17.) Very likely some of us have wondered what
was the meaning of these two mysterious pillars set up by
Solomon in front of his temple, and why they were called by these strange names; and then
we have dropped the subject as one of those inexplicable things
handed down in the Bible from old time which, we suppose,
can have no practical interest for us at the present day. Nevertheless, these strange names
are not without a purpose. They contain the key to the entire
Bible and to the whole order of Nature, and as emblems of the two
great principles that are the pillars of the universe, they fitly stood at the threshold
of that temple which was designed to symbolise all the mysteries of
Being. In all the languages of the Semitic stock
the letters J and Y are interchangeable, as we see in the modern
Arabic “Yakub” for “Jacob” and the old Hebrew “Yaveh” for “Jehovah.” This gives us the form
“Yachin,” which at once reveals the enigma. The word
Yak signifies “one”; and the termination “hi,” or “him,” is an
intensitive which may be rendered in English by “only.” Thus the word “Jachin” resolves
itself into the words “one only,” the all-embracing Unity. The meaning of Boaz is clearly seen in the
book of Ruth. There Boaz appears as the kinsman exercising the
right of pre-emption so familiar to those versed in oriental law–a right which has
for its purpose the maintenance of the Family as the social unit.
according to this widely-spread custom, the purchaser, who is
not a member of the family, buys the property subject to the right of kinsmen within certain
degrees to purchase it back, and so bring it once more
into the family to which it originally belonged. Whatever may be
our personal opinions regarding the vexed questions of dogmatic theology, we can all
agree as to the general principle indicated in the role acted by Boaz.
He brings back the alienated estate into the family–that is to say,
he “redeems” it in the legal sense of the word. As a matter of law his power to do this
results from his membership in the family; but his motive for
doing it is love, his affection for Ruth. Without pushing the
analogy too far we may say, then, that Boaz represents the principle of redemption in
the widest sense of reclaiming an estate by right of relationship,
while the innermost moving power in its recovery is Love. This is what Boaz stands for in the beautiful
story of Ruth, and there is no reason why we should not let the
same name stand for the same thing when we seek the meaning of the mysterious pillar.
Thus the two pillars typify Unity and the redeeming power of Love,
with the significant suggestion that the redemption results
from the Unity. They correspond with the two “bonds,” or uniting principles spoken of by
St. Paul, “the Unity of the Spirit which is the Bond of Peace,”
and “Love, which is the Bond of Perfectness.” The former is Unity of Being; the latter,
Unity of Intention: and the principle of this Dual-Unity is well
illustrated by the story of Boaz. The whole story proceeds on the idea of the Family as
the social unit, the root-conception of all oriental law, and if
we consider the Family in this light, we shall see how exactly it
embodies the two-fold idea of Jachin and Boaz, unity of Being and unity of Thought. The Family
forms a unit because all the members proceed from a common
progenitor, and are thus all of one blood; but, although this
gives them a natural unity of Being of which they cannot divest themselves, it is not enough
in itself to make them a united family, as unfortunately experience
too often shows. Something more is wanted, and that
something is Love. There must be a personal union brought about by sympathetic Thought
to complete the natural union resulting from birth. The inherent
unity must be expressed by the Individual volition of each
member, and thus the Family becomes the ideally perfect social unit; a truth to which St.
Paul alludes when he calls God the Father from Whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named. Thus Boaz stands for the
principle which brings back to the original Unity that which has been for a time separated
from it. There has never been any separation of actual Being–the
family right always subsisted in the property even while in the
hands of strangers, otherwise it could never have been brought back; but it requires the
Love principle to put this right into effective operation. When this begins to work in the knowledge
of its right to do so, then there is the return of the individual to the
Unity, and the recognition of himself as the particular expression of the Universal in
virtue of his own nature. These two pillars, therefore, stand for the
two great spiritual principles that are the basis of all Life: Jachin
typifying the Unity resulting from Being, and Boaz typifying the Unity resulting from
Love. In this Dual-Unity we find the key to all conceivable
involution or evolution of Spirit; and it is therefore not without
reason that the record of these two ancient pillars has been preserved in our Scriptures!and
finally we may take this as an index to the character of
our Scriptures generally. They contain infinite meanings; and often
those passages which appear on the surface to be most meaningless will be found to possess
the deepest significance. The Book, which we often read
so superficially, hides beneath its sometimes seemingly trivial
words the secrets of other things. The twin pillars Jachin and Boaz bear witness to this
truth. “The Two Pillars of the Universe are Personality
and Mathematics, represented by Boaz and Jachin respectively. This is the broadest simplification
to which it is possible to reduce things. Balance consists in
preserving the Equilibrium or Alternating Current between these two Principles. Personality
is the Absolute Factor. Mathematics are the Relative Factor,
for they merely Measure different Rates or Scales. They are
absolute in this respect. A particular scale having been selected all its sequences will
follow by an inexorable Law of order and Proportion; but the selection
of the scale and the change from one scale to another rests
entirely with Personality. What Personality can not do is to make one Scale produce the
results of another, but it can set aside one scale and substitute
another for it. Hence Personality contains in itself the Universal Scale,
or can either accommodate itself to lower rates of motion already established, or can
raise them to its own rate of motion. Hence Personality is the grand
Ultimate Fact in all things. “Different personalities should be regarded
as different degrees of consciousness. They are different degrees
of emergence of The Power that knows itself.”] Chapter 28 HEPHZIBAH “Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken; neither
shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt
be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land
shall be married” (Isaiah lxii, 4). The name Hephzibah–or,
as it might be written, Hafzbah–conveys a very distinct idea to any
one who has lived in the East, and calls up a string of familiar words all containing
the same root hafz, which signifies “guarding” or “taking care of,”
such as hafiz, a protector, muhafiz, a custodian, as in the word
muhafiz daftar, a head record-keeper; or again, hifazat, custody, as bahifazat polis, in custody
of the police; or again, daim-ul-hafz, imprisonment for life,
and other similar expressions. All words from this root suggest the idea
of “guarding,” and therefore the name Haphzibah at once speaks its
own meaning. it is “one who is guarded,” a “protected one.” and answering to this there
must be some power which guards, and the name of this power is
given in Hosea ii, 16, where it is called “Ishi.” “and it shall be at
that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and thou shalt call me no more
Baali.” “Baali” means “Lord,” “Ishi” means “husband,” and between
the two there is a whole world of distinction. To call the Great Power “Baali” is to live
in one world, and to call it “Ishi” is to live in another. The world that
is ruled over by Baali is a world of “miserable worms of the dust” and such crawling creatures;
but the world that is warmed and lightened by “Ishi” is
one in which men and women walk upright, conscious of their own
divine nature, instead of dodging about to escape being crushed under the feet of Moloch
as he strides through his dominions. If the name Baali did not suggest
a wrong idea there would be no need to change it for another,
and the change of name therefore indicates the opening of the mind to a larger and sounder
conception of the true nature of the Ruling Principle of the
universe. it is no imperious autocrat, the very apotheosis of
self-glorification, ill-natured and spiteful if its childish vanity be not gratified by
hearing its own praises formally proclaimed, often from lips opened
only by fear; nor is it an almighty extortioner desiring to deprive
us of what we value most, either to satisfy its greed or to demonstrate its sovereignty.
This is the image which men make of God and then bow terrified before
it, offering a worship which is the worship of Baal, and
making life blank because all the livingness has been wiped out of it. Ishi is the embodiment of the very opposite
conception, a wise and affectionate husband, instead of a
taskmaster exploiting his slaves. In its true aspect the relation of husband and wife is
entirely devoid of any question of relative superiority or inferiority.
As well ask whether the front wheel or the back wheel of your
bicycle is the more important. The two make a single whole, in which the functions of
both parts are reciprocal and equally necessary; yet for
this very reason these functions cannot be identical. In a well-ordered home, where husband and
wife are united by mutual love and respect, we see that the man’s
function is to enter into the larger world and to provide the wife with all that is needed
for the maintenance and comfort of the home, while the function
of the woman is to be the distributor of what her husband
provides, in doing which she follows her own discretion; and a sensible man, knowing that
he can trust a sensible wife, does not want to poke his finger
into every pie. Thus all things run harmoniously–the woman
relieved of responsibilities which are not naturally hers, and the man relieved of responsibilities
which are not naturally his. But let any perplexity or danger
arise, and the woman knows that from her husband she will
receive all the guidance and protection that the occasion may require, he being the wise
and strong man that we have supposed him, and having this assurance
she is able to pursue the avocations of her own sphere
undisturbed by any fears or anxieties. it is this relation of protection and guidance
that is implied by the word Hephzibah. it is the name of those
who realise their identity with the all-ordering Divine Spirit. He who realises this unity
with the Spirit finds himself both guided and guarded!and here we
touch the fringe of a deep natural mystery, which formed the
basis of all that was most valuable in the higher mysteries of the ancients, and the
substance of which we must realise if we are to make any progress in
the future, whatever form we may adopt to convey the idea to
ourselves or others. it is the relation of the individual mind to the Universal Mind,
the combination of unity with independence which, though quite clear
when we know it by personal experience, is almost inexpressible
in words, but which is frequently represented in the Bible under the figure of the marriage
relations. it is a basic principle, and in various modes
pervades all Nature, and has been symbolised in every religion the
world has known; and in proportion as the individual realises this relation he will
find that he is able to use the Universal Mind, while at the same time he
is guided and guarded by it. for think what it would be to wield the
power of the Universal Mind without having its guidance. it would be the old story of
Phaeton trying to drive the chariot of the Sun, which ended in his
own destruction; and limitless power without corresponding
guidance would be the most terrible curse that any one could bring upon his head. The relation between the individual mind and
the Universal Mind, as portrayed in the reciprocally connected
names of Hephzibah and Ishi, must never be lost sight of; for the Great Guiding Mind,
immeasurably as it transcends our intellectual consciousness,
is not another than ourselves. it is The One Self which is the
foundation of all the individual selves, and which is, therefore, in all its limitlessness,
as entirely one with each individual as though no other being existed.
therefore we do not have to go out of ourselves to find it,
for it is the expansion to infinity of all that we truly are, having, indeed, no place
for those negative forms of evil with which we people a world of illusion,
for it is the very Light itself, and in it all illusion is dispelled;
but it is the expansion to infinity of all in us that is Affirmative, all that is really
living. therefore, in looking for its guiding and
guarding we are relying upon no borrowed power from without, held
at the caprice and option of another, but upon the supreme fact of our own nature, which
we can use in what direction we will with perfect freedom, knowing
no limitation save the obligation not to do violence to our
own purest and highest feelings!and this relation is entirely natural. We must steer the happy
mean between imploring and ignoring. A natural law does
not need to be entreated before it will work; and, on the other
hand, we cannot make use of it while ignoring its existence. What we have to do, therefore, is to take
the working of the law for granted, and make use of it accordingly;
and since that is the law of Mind, and Mind is Personality, this Power, which is at once
ourselves and above ourselves, may be treated as a Person and
may be spoken with, and its replies received by the inner ear of the
heart. Any scheme of philosophy that does not result in this personal intercourse with
the Divine Mind falls short of the mark. it may be right so far
as it goes, but it does not go far enough, and fails to connect us with
our vital centre. Names are of small importance so long as the intercourse is real. The Supreme
Mind with which we converse is only to be met in the
profoundest depths of our own being, and, as Tennyson says, is
more perfectly ourselves than our own hands and feet. it is our natural Base; and realising
this we shall find ourselves to be in very truth “guarded ones,”
guided by the Spirit in all things, nothing too great and nothing
too trivial to come within the great Law of our being. There is another aspect of the Spirit in which
it is seen as a Power to be used; and the full flow of life is in the
constant alternation between this aspect and the one we have been considering, but always
we are linked with the Universal Mind as the flower lives by
reason of its root. The connection itself is intrinsic, and can never be
severed; but it must be consciously realised before it can be consciously used. All our
development consists in the increasing consciousness of this connection,
which enables us to apply the higher power to whatever
purpose we may have in hand, not merely in the hope that it may respond, but with the
certain knowledge that by the law of its own nature it is bound to
do so, and likewise with the knowledge that by the same law it is
bound also to guide us to the selection of right objects and right methods. Experience will teach us to detect the warning
movement of the inner Guide. A deepseated sense of
dissatisfaction, an indescribable feeling that somehow everything is not right, are
the indications to which we do well to pay heed; for we are “guarded ones,”
and these interior monitions are the working of that innermost
principle of our own being which is the immediate outflowing of the Great Universal Life into
individuality. But, paying heed to this, we shall find ourselves
guarded, not as prisoners, but as a loved and honoured wife,
whose freedom is assured by a protection which will allow no harm to assail her; we shall
find that the Law of our nature is Liberty, and that nothing but
our own want of understanding can shut us out from it. Chapter 29 MIND and Hand I have before me a curious piece of ancient
Egyptian symbolism. it represents the sun sending down to the
earth innumerable rays, with the peculiarity that each ray terminates in a hand. This method
of representing the sun is so unusual that it suggests the
presence in the designer’s mind of some idea rather different from
those generally associated with the sun as a spiritual emblem; and, if I interpret the
symbol rightly, it sets forth the truth, not only of the Divine Being as
the Great Source of all Life and of all Illumination, but also the
correlative truth of our individual relation to that centre. Each ray is terminated by
a hand, and a hand is the emblem of active working; and I think it would
be difficult to give a better symbolical representation of
innumerable individualities, each working separately, yet all deriving their activity
from a common source. The hand is at work upon the earth, and the
sun, from which it is a ray, is shining in the heavens; but the
connecting line shows whence all the strength and skill of the hand are derived. If we look at the microcosm of our own person
we find this principle exactly reproduced. Our hand is the
instrument by which all our work is done–literary, artistic, mechanical, or household–but we
know that all this work is really the work of the mind,
the will-power at the centre of our system, which first determines
what is to be done, and then sets the hand to work to do it; and in the doing of it the
mind and hand become one, so that the hand is none other than the
mind working. Now, transferring this analogy to the microcosm,
we see that we each stand in the same relation to the Universal Mind that our hand does to
our individual mind–at least, that is our normal relation;
and we shall never put forth our full strength except from this
standpoint. We rightly realise our will as the centre
of our individuality, but we should do better to picture our
individuality as an ellipse rather than a circle, a figure having two “conjugate foci,”
two equilibriated centres of revolution rather than a single one, one
of which is the will-power or faculty of doing, and the other the
consciousness or perception of being. If we realise only one of these two centres we shall
lose both mental and moral balance. If we lose sight of that centre
which is our personal will, we shall become flabby visionaries
without any backbone; and if, in our anxiety to develop backbone, we lost sight of the
other centre, we shall find that we have lost that which corresponds
to the lungs and heart in the physical body, and that our
backbone, however perfectly developed, is rapidly drying up for want of those functions
which minister vitality to the whole system, and is only
fit to be hung up in a museum to show what a rigid, lifeless thing the
strongest vertebral column becomes when separated from the organisation by which alone it can
receive nourishment. We must realise the one focus
of our individuality as clearly as the other, and bring both into
equal balance, if we would develop all our powers and rise to that perfection of Life
which has no limits to its glorious possibilities. Keeping the ancient Egyptian symbol before
used, and considering ourselves as the hand, we find that we
derive all our power from an infinite centre; and because it is infinite we need never fear
that we shall fail to draw to ourselves all that we require for
our work, whether it be the intelligence to lay hold of the proper tool,
or the strength to use it!and, moreover, we learn from the symbol that this central power
is generic. This is a most important truth. it is the centre from
which all the hands proceed, and is as fully open to any one hand as
to any other. Each hand is doing its separate work, and the whole of the central energy
is at its disposal for its own specific purpose. The work of the central
energy, as such, is to supply vitality to the hands, and it is they
that differentiate this universal power into all the varied forms of application which
their different aptitudes and opportunities suggest. We, as the hands,
live and work because the Central Mind lives and works in us.
We are one with it, and it is one with us; and so long as we keep this primal truth before
us, we realise ourselves as beings of unlimited goodness
and intelligence and power, and we work in the fulness of strength
and confidence accordingly; but if we lose sight of this truth, we shall find that the
strongest will must get exhausted at last in the unequal struggle
of the individual against the universe. for if we do not recognise the Central Mind
as the source of our vitality, we are literally “fighting for our own
hand,” and all the other hands are against us, for we have lost the principle of connection
with them. This is what must infallibly happen if we rely on
nothing but our individual will-power. But if we realise that the will
is the power by which we give out, and that every giving out implies a corresponding taking
in, then we shall find in the boundless ocean of central living
Spirit the source from which we can go on taking in ad infinitum,
and which thus enables us to give out to any extent we please. But for wise and effective
giving out a strong and enlightened will is an absolute necessity,
and therefore we do well to cultivate the will, or the active side
of our nature. But we must equally cultivate the receptive side also; and when we do this
rightly by seeing in the Infinite Mind the one source of supply,
our will-power becomes intensified by the knowledge that the
whole power of the Infinite is present to back it up; and with this continual sense
of Infinite Power behind us we can go calmly and steadily to the accomplishment
of any purpose, however difficult, without straining or
effort, knowing that it shall be achieved, not by the hand only, but by the invincible
Mind that works through it. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My
Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Chapter 30 THE CENTRAL CONTROL In contemplating the relations between body,
soul, and spirit, between Universal Mind and individual mind,
the methodised study of which constitutes Mental Science, we must never forget that
these relations indicate, not the separateness, but the unity of these
principles. We must learn not to attribute one part of our action to
one part of our being, and another to another. Neither the action nor the functions are split
up into separate parts. The action is a whole, and the being
that does it is a whole, and in the healthy organism the reciprocal
movements of the principles are so harmonious as never to suggest any feeling than that
of a perfectly whole and undivided self. If there is any other
feeling we may be sure that there is abnormal action somewhere, and
we should set ourselves to discover and remove the cause of it. The reason for this is that
in any perfect organism there cannot be more than one centre
of control. A rivalry of controlling principles would
be the destruction of the organic wholeness; for either the elements
would separate and group themselves round one or other of the centres, according to
their respective affinities, and thus form two distinctive individualities,
or else they would be reduced to a condition of merely chaotic
confusion; in either case the original organism would cease to exist. Seen in this light,
therefore, it is a self-evident truth that, if we are to retain
our individuality; in other words, if we are to continue to exist, it can
be only by retaining our hold upon the central controlling principle in ourselves; and if
this be the charter of our being, it follows that all our future
development depends on our recognising and accepting this central
controlling principle. To this end, therefore, all our endeavours should be directed; for
otherwise all our studies in Mental Science will only lead us
into a confused labyrinth of principles and counter-principles,
which will be considerably worse than the state of ignorant simplicity from which we
started. This central controlling principle is the
Will, and we must never lose sight of the fact that all the other
principles about which we have learnt in our studies exist only as its instruments. The
Will is the true self, of which they are all functions, and all our
progress consists of our increased recognition of the fact. it is the Will
that says “I am”; and therefore, however exalted, or even in their higher developments apparently
miraculous, our powers may be, they are all subject to
the central controlling power of the Will. When the enlightened
Will shall have learnt to identify itself perfectly with the limitless powers of knowledge,
judgment, and creative thought which are at its disposal,
then the individual will have attained to perfect wholeness, and all
limitations will have passed away for ever. and nothing short of this consciousness of
Perfect Wholeness can satisfy us. Everything that falls short of it is
in that degree an embodiment of the principle of Death, that great enemy against which the
principle of Life must continue to wage unceasing war, in whatever
form or measure it may show itself, until “death is
swallowed up in victory.” There can be no compromise. Either we are affirming Life,
as a principle, or we are denying it, no matter on how great or how
small a scale; and the criterion by which to determine our attitude is
our realisation of our own Wholeness. Death is the principle of disintegration; and whenever
we admit the power of any portion of our organism, whether
spiritual or bodily, to induce any condition independently of
the intention of the Will, we admit that the force of disintegration is superior to the
controlling centre in ourselves, and we conceive of ourselves as
held in bondage by an adversary, from which bondage the only
way of release is by the attainment of a truer way of thinking. and the reason is that, either through ignorance
or carelessness, we have surrendered our position of control
over the system as a whole, and have lost the element of Purpose, around which the consciousness
of individuality must always centre. Every state
of our consciousness, whether active or passive, should be the
result of a distinct purpose adopted by our own free will; for the passive states should
be quite as much under the control of the Will as the active. it
is the lack of purpose that deprives us of power. The higher and more
clearly defined our purpose, the greater stimulus we have for realising our control over all
our faculties for its attainment; and since the grandest of all
purposes is the strengthening and ennobling of Life, in proportion as
we make this our aim we shall find ourselves in union with the Supreme Universal Mind,
acting each in our individual sphere for the furtherance of the
same purpose which animates the ruling principle of the Great
Whole, and, as a consequence, shall find that its intelligence and powers are at our disposal. But in all this there must be no strain. The
true exercise of the Will is not an exercise of unnatural force. it is
simply the leading of our powers into their natural channels by intelligently recognising
the direction in which those channels go. However various in detail,
they have one clearly defined common tendency towards the
increasing of Life–whether in ourselves or in others–and if we keep this steadily in
view, all our powers, whether interior or exterior, will be found
to work so harmoniously together that there will be no sense of
independent action on the part of any one of them. The distinctions drawn for purposes
of study will be laid aside, and the Self in us will be found to
be the realisation of a grand ideal being, at once individual and
universal, consciously free in its individual wholeness and in its joyous participation
in the Life of the Universal Whole. Chapter 31 WHAT IS HIGHER THOUGHT? Resolution passed October, 1902, by the Kensington
Higher Thought Centre. “That the Centre stands for the definite teaching
of absolute Oneness of Creator and Creation–Cause and
Effect–and that nothing which may contradict or be in opposition to the above principles
be admitted to the ‘Higher Thought’ Centre Platform. “By Oneness of Cause and Effect is meant,
that Effect (man) does consist only of what Cause is; but a part
(individual personality) is not therefore co-extensive with the whole.” This Resolution is of the greatest importance.
Once admit that there is any Power outside yourself, however
beneficent you may conceive it to be, and you have sown the seed which must sooner or
later bear the fruit of “Fear” which is the entire ruin of Life, Love
and Liberty. There is no via media. Say we are only reflections,
however accurate, of The Life, and in the admission we have given away our Birthright.
However small or plausible may be the germ of thought which
admits that we are anything less in principle than The Life itself,
it must spring up to the ultimate ruin of the Life-Principle itself. We are it itself.
The difference is only that between the generic and the specific of the
same thing. We must contend earnestly, both within ourselves and
outwardly, for the one great foundation and never, now on to all eternity, admit for a
single instant any thought which is opposed to this, the Basic
Truth of Being. The leading ideas connected with Higher Thought
are (I) That Man controls circumstances, instead of being
controlled by them, and (II) as a consequence of the foregoing, that whatever teaches us
to rely on power borrowed from a source outside ourselves is
not Higher Thought; and that whatever explains to us the Infinite
source of our own inherent power and the consequent limitless nature of that power is Higher Thought.
This avoids the use of terms which may only puzzle
those not accustomed to abstract phraseology, and is
substantially the same as the resolution of October, 1902. Chapter 32 FRAGMENTS 1. God is Love. Man, having the understanding
of God, speaks the word of Power. 2. Man gives utterance to God.
3. The Father is Equilibrium. The Son is Concentration of the same Spirit. The Spirit is Projection.
The Tri-une Relation–always consists of these Three:
(I) The Potential–(II) The Ideal–(III) The Concrete.
(I) The Potential is Life in its most highly abstract mode not yet brought into form even
as Thought. Not particularised in any way.
(II) The Ideal is the particularising of the Potential into a certain formulated Thought.
(III) The Concrete is the Manifestation of the formulated Thought in Visible form.
What everybody wants is to become more alive–as Jesus said, “I am come that they might have
Life and might have it more abundantly”–and it is
only on the basis of realising ourselves as a perfect unity
throughout, not made up of opposing parts, and that unity Spirit, that we can realise
in ourselves the Livingness which Spirit is, and which we as
Spirit ought to be. Chapter 33 HENCE PERFECT DEMONSTRATION. “The Truth shall make you Free” Life : Love
:=The Truth Liberty : The Ultimate Truth will always be found to
consist of these three, and anything that is contrary to them is
contrary to Fundamental Truth. Chapter 34-WORSHIP Worship consists in the recognition of the
Personal Nature of Holy Spirit, and in the Continual Alternation
(Pulsation) between the two positions of “I am the Person that Thou art,” and “Thou art
the Person that I am.” The Two Personalities are One. This is THE END of, The Hidden Power, by Thomas
Troward Thanks for listening. Please subscribe, if
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11 thoughts on “The Hidden Power by Thomas Troward

  1. Thank you for posting this material. The computer voice sounds quite human. What Text to Speech program and whate voice did you use for this audiobook?

  2. Thank you very, very much. I never read and heard such a deep, profound describing of the mechanics of life and the universe (God) in such precise and well explained words. From no enlightened Guru or teacher in this world. No one speaks so clear in the endevour showing man his true power and showing the way to ultimate freedom. Listening to his words I can sense his deeply enlightened consciousness and his access to deeper realms of the existence. I wish I had heard this 30 years ago. Great, great wisdom!!!

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