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´╗┐Title: What All The World's A-Seeking - The Vital Law of True Life, True Greatness Power and Happiness
Author: Trine, Ralph Waldo, 1866-1958
Language: English
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WHAT ALL THE WORLD'S A-SEEKING

Or, The Vital Law of True Life, True Greatness Power and Happiness

by

RALPH WALDO TRINE

New York
Dodge Publishing Company
220 East Twenty-Third Street



PREFACE.


There are two reasons the author has for putting forth this little
volume: he feels that the time is, as it always has been, ripe for it;
and second, his soul has ever longed to express itself upon this endless
theme. It therefore comes from the heart--the basis of his belief that
it will reach the heart.

R.W.T.
Boston, Massachusetts



PREFACE TO REVISED EDITION.


It is impossible for one in a single volume, or perhaps in a number of
volumes, to reach the exact needs of every reader.

It is always a source of gratitude, as well as of inspiration for better
and more earnest work in the future, for one to know that the truths
that have been and that are so valuable and so vital to him he has
succeeded in presenting in a manner such that they prove likewise of
value to others. The author is most grateful for the good, kind words
that have come so generously from so many hundreds of readers of this
simple little volume from all parts of the world. He is also grateful to
that large company of people who have been so good as to put the book
into the hands of so many others.

And as the days have passed, he has not been unmindful of the fact that
he might make it, when the time came, of still greater value to many.
In addition to a general revision of the book, some four or five
questions that seemed to be most frequently asked he has endeavored to
point answer to in an added part of some thirty pages, under the general
title, "Character-building Thought Power." The volume enters therefore
upon its fifteenth thousand better able, possibly, to come a little more
directly in touch with the every-day needs of those who will be
sufficiently interested to read it.

R.W.T.
Sunnybrae Farm
Croton-on-the-Hudson
New York



CONTENTS.


PART I.   THE PRINCIPLE

PART II.  THE APPLICATION

PART III. THE UNFOLDMENT

PART IV.  THE AWAKENING

PART V.   THE INCOMING

PART VI.  CHARACTER-BUILDING THOUGHT POWER



WHAT ALL THE WORLD'S A-SEEKING.



PART I.

THE PRINCIPLE


    Would you find that wonderful life supernal,
      That life so abounding, so rich, and so free?
    Seek then the laws of the Spirit Eternal,
      With them bring your life into harmony.


How can I make life yield its fullest and best? How can I know the true
secret of power? How can I attain to a true and lasting greatness? How
can I fill the whole of life with a happiness, a peace, a joy, a
satisfaction that is ever rich and abiding, that ever increases, never
diminishes, that imparts to it a sparkle that never loses its lustre,
that ever fascinates, never wearies?

No questions, perhaps, in this form or in that have been asked oftener
than these. Millions in the past have asked them. Millions are asking
them to-day. They will be asked by millions yet unborn. Is there an
answer, a true and safe one for the millions who are eagerly and
longingly seeking for it in all parts of the world to-day, and for the
millions yet unborn who will as eagerly strive to find it as the years
come and go? Are you interested, my dear reader, in the answer? The fact
that you have read even thus far in this little volume whose title has
led you to take it up, indicates that you are,--that you are but one of
the innumerable company already mentioned.

It is but another way of asking that great question that has come
through all the ages--What is the _summum bonum_ in life? and there have
been countless numbers who gladly would have given all they possessed to
have had the true and satisfactory answer. Can we then find this answer,
true and satisfactory to ourselves, surely the brief time spent together
must be counted as the most precious and valuable of life itself. _There
is an answer_: follow closely, and that our findings may be the more
conclusive, take issue with me at every step if you choose, but tell me
finally if it is not true and satisfactory.

There is one great, one simple principle, which, if firmly laid hold of,
and if made the great central principle in one's life, around which all
others properly arrange and subordinate themselves, will make that life
a grand success, truly great and genuinely happy, loved and blessed by
all in just the degree in which it is laid hold upon,--a principle
which, if universally made thus, would wonderfully change this old world
in which we live,--ay, that would transform it almost in a night, and it
is for its coming that the world has long been waiting; that in place of
the gloom and despair in almost countless numbers of lives would bring
light and hope and contentment, and no longer would it be said as so
truly to-day, that "man's inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands
mourn"; that would bring to the life of the fashionable society woman,
now spending her days and her nights in seeking for nothing but her own
pleasure, such a flood of true and genuine pleasure and happiness and
satisfaction as would make the poor, weak something she calls by this
name so pale before it, that she would quickly see that she hasn't known
what true pleasure is, and that what she has been mistaking for the
real, the genuine, is but as a baser metal compared to the purest of
gold, as a bit of cut glass compared to the rarest of diamonds, and that
would make this same woman who scarcely deigns to notice the poor woman
who washes her front steps, but who, were the facts known, may be
living a much grander life, and consequently of much more value to the
world than she herself, see that this poor woman is after all her
sister, because child of the same Father; and that would make the humble
life of this same poor woman beautiful and happy and sweet in its
humility; that would give us a nation of statesmen in place of, with now
and then an exception, a nation of politicians, each one bent upon his
own personal aggrandizement at the expense of the general good; that
would go far, ay, very far toward solving our great and hard-pressing
social problems with which we are already face to face; that, in short,
would make each man a prince among men, and each woman a queen among
women.

I have seen the supreme happiness in lives where this principle has been
caught and laid hold of, some, lives that seemed not to have much in
them before, but which under its wonderful influences have been so
transformed and so beautified, that have been made so sweet and so
strong, so useful and so precious, that each day seems to them all too
short, the same time that before, when they could scarcely see what was
in life to make it worth the living, dragged wearily along. So there
are countless numbers of people in the world with lives that seem not to
have much in them, among the wealthy classes and among the poorer, who
might under the influence of this great, this simple principle, make
them so precious, so rich, and so happy that time would seem only too
short, and they would wonder why they have been so long running on the
wrong track, for it is true that much the larger portion of the world
to-day is on the wrong track in the pursuit of happiness; but almost all
are there, let it be said, not through choice, but by reason of not
knowing the right, the true one.

The fact that really great, true, and happy lives have been lived in the
past and are being lived to-day gives us our starting-point. Time and
again I have examined such lives in a most careful endeavor to find what
has made them so, and have found that in _each and every_ individual
case this that we have now come to has been the great central principle
upon which they have been built. I have also found that in numbers of
lives where it has not been, but where almost every effort apart from it
has been made to make them great, true, and happy, they have not been
so; and also that no life built upon it in sufficient degree, other
things being equal, has failed in being thus.

Let us then to the answer, examine it closely, see if it will stand
every test, if it is the true one, and if so, rejoice that we have found
it, lay hold of it, build upon it, tell others of it. The last four
words have already entered us at the open door. The idea has prevailed
in the past, and this idea has dominated the world, that _self_ is the
great concern,--that if one would find success, greatness, happiness, he
must give all attention to self, and to self alone. This has been the
great mistake, this the fatal error, this the _direct_ opposite of the
right, the true as set forth in the great immutable law that--_we find
our own lives in losing them in the service of others_, in longer
form--the more of our lives we give to others, the fuller and the
richer, the greater and the grander, the more beautiful and the more
happy our own lives become. It is as that great and sweet soul who when
with us lived at Concord said,--that generous giving or losing of your
life which saves it.

This is an expression of one of the greatest truths, of one of the
greatest principles of practical ethics the world has thus far seen. In
a single word, it is _service_,--not self but the other self. We shall
soon see, however, that our love, our service, our helpfulness to
others, invariably comes back to us, intensified sometimes a hundred or
a thousand or a thousand thousand fold, and this by a great, immutable
law.

The Master Teacher, he who so many years ago in that far-away Eastern
land, now in the hill country, now in the lake country, as the people
gathered round him, taught them those great, high-born, and tender
truths of human life and destiny, the Christ Jesus, said identically
this when he said and so continually repeated,--"He that is greatest
among you shall be your servant"; and his whole life was but an
embodiment of this principle or truth, with the result that the greatest
name in the world to-day is his,--the name of him who as his life-work,
healed the sick; clothed the naked; bound up the broken-hearted;
sustained the weak, the faltering; befriended and aided the poor, the
needy; condemned the proud, the vain, the selfish; and through it all
taught the people to love justice and mercy and service, to live in
their higher, their diviner selves,--in brief, to _live_ his life, the
Christ-life, and who has helped in making it possible for this greatest
principle of practical ethics the world has thus far seen to be
enunciated, to be laid hold of, to be lived by to-day. "He that is
greatest among you shall be your servant," or, he who would be truly
great and recognized as such must find it in the capacity of a servant.

And what, let us ask, is a servant? One who renders service. To himself?
Never. To others? Alway. Freed of its associations and looked at in the
light of its right and true meaning, than the word "servant" there is no
greater in the language; and in this right use of the term, as we shall
soon see, every life that has been really true, great, and happy has
been that of a servant, and apart from this no such life _ever has been
or ever can be lived_.

O you who are seeking for power, for place, for happiness, for
contentment in the ordinary way, tarry for a moment, see that you are on
the wrong track, grasp this great eternal truth, lay hold of it, and you
will see that your advance along this very line will be manifold times
more rapid. Are you seeking, then, to make for yourself a name? Unless
you grasp this mighty truth and make your life accordingly, as the great
clock of time ticks on and all things come to their proper level
according to their merits, as all invariably, inevitably do, you will
indeed be somewhat surprised to find how low, how very low your level
is. Your name and your memory will be forgotten long ere the minute-hand
has passed even a single time across the great dial; while your
fellow-man who has grasped this simple but this great and all-necessary
truth, and who accordingly is forgetting himself in the service of
others, who is making his life a part of a hundred or a thousand or a
million lives, thus illimitably intensifying or multiplying his own,
instead of living as you in what otherwise would be his own little,
diminutive self, will find himself ascending higher and higher until he
stands as one among the few, and will find a peace, a happiness, a
satisfaction so rich and so beautiful, compared to which yours will be
but a poor miserable something, and whose name and memory when his life
here is finished, will live in the minds and hearts of his fellow-men
and of mankind fixed and eternal as the stars.

A corollary of the great principle already enunciated might be
formulated thus: _there is no such thing as finding true happiness by
searching for it directly_. It must come, if it come at all, indirectly,
or by the service, the love, and the happiness we give to others. So,
_there is no such thing as finding true greatness by searching for it
directly_. It always, without a single exception has come indirectly in
this same way, and it is not at all probable that this great eternal law
is going to be changed to suit any particular case or cases. Then
recognize it, put your life into harmony with it, and reap the rewards
of its observance, or fail to recognize it and pay the penalty
accordingly; for the law itself will remain unchanged.

The men and women whose names we honor and celebrate are invariably
those with lives founded primarily upon this great law. Note if you
will, every _truly_ great life in the world's history, among those
living and among the so-called dead, and tell me if in _every_ case that
life is not a life spent in the service of others, either directly, or
indirectly as when we say--he served his country. Whenever one seeks for
reputation, for fame, for honor, for happiness directly and for his own
sake, then that which is true and genuine never comes, at least to any
degree worthy the name. It may seem to for a time, but a great law says
that such an one gets so far and no farther. Sooner or later, generally
sooner, there comes an end.

Human nature seems to run in this way, seems to be governed by a great
paradoxical law which says, that whenever a man self-centred, thinking
of, living for and in himself, is very desirous for place, for
preferment, for honor, the very fact of his being thus is of itself a
sufficient indicator that he is too small to have them, and mankind
refuses to accord them. While the one who forgets self, and who, losing
sight of these things, makes it his chief aim in life to help, to aid,
and to serve others, by this very fact makes it known that he is large
enough, is great enough to have them, and his fellow-men instinctively
bestow them upon him. This is a great law which many would profit by to
recognize. That it is true is attested by the fact that the praise of
mankind instinctively and universally goes out to a hero; but who ever
heard of a hero who became such by doing something for himself? Always
something he has done for others. By the fact that monuments and statues
are gratefully erected to the memory of those who have helped and served
their fellow-men, not to those who have lived to themselves alone.

I have seen many monuments and statues erected to the memories of
philanthropists, but I never yet have seen one erected to a miser; many
to generous-hearted, noble-hearted men, but never yet to one whose whole
life was that of a sharp bargain-driver, and who clung with a sort of
semi-idiotic grasp to all that came thus into his temporary possession.
I have seen many erected to statesmen,--statesmen,--but never one to
mere politicians; many to true orators, but never to mere demagogues;
many to soldiers and leaders, but never to men who were not willing,
when necessary, to risk all in the service of their country. No, you
will find that the world's monuments and statues have been erected and
its praises and honors have gone out to those who were large and great
enough to forget themselves in the service of others, who have been
servants, true servants of mankind, who have been true to the great law
that we find our own lives in losing them in the service of others. Not
honor for themselves, but service for others. But notice the strange,
wonderful, beautiful transformation as it returns upon itself,--_honor
for themselves, because of service to others_.

It would be a matter of exceeding great interest to verify the truth of
what has just been said by looking at a number of those who are regarded
as the world's great sons and daughters,--those to whom its honors, its
praises, its homage go out,--to see why it is, upon what their lives
have been founded that they have become so great and are so honored. Of
all this glorious company that would come up, we must be contented to
look at but one or two.

There comes to my mind the name and figure of him the celebration of
whose birthday I predict will soon be made a national holiday,--he than
whom there is no greater, whose praises are sung and whose name and
memory are honored and blessed by millions in all parts of the world
to-day, and will be by millions yet unborn, our beloved and sainted
Lincoln. And then I ask, Why is this? Why is this? One sentence of his
tells us what to look to for the answer. During that famous series of
public debates in Illinois with Stephen A. Douglas in 1858, speaking at
Freeport, Mr. Douglas at one place said, "I care not whether slavery in
the Territories be voted up or whether it be voted down, it makes not a
particle of difference with me." Mr. Lincoln, speaking from the fulness
of his great and royal heart, in reply said, with emotion, "I am sorry
to perceive that my friend Judge Douglas is so constituted that he does
not feel the lash the least bit when it is laid upon another man's
back." Thoughts upon self? Not for a moment. Upon others? Always. He at
once recognized in those black men four million brothers for whom he had
a service to perform.

It would seem almost grotesque to use the word _self-ish_ in connection
with this great name. He very early, and when still in a very humble and
lowly station in life, either consciously or unconsciously grasped this
great truth, and in making the great underlying principle of his life to
serve, to help his fellow-men, he adopted just that course that has made
him one of the greatest of the sons of men, our royal-hearted elder
brother. He never spent time in asking what he could do to attain to
greatness, to popularity, to power, what to perpetuate his name and
memory. He simply asked how he could help, how he could be of service to
his fellow-men, and continually did all his hands found to do.

He simply put his life into harmony with this great principle; and in so
doing he adopted the best means,--the _only_ means to secure that which
countless numbers seek and strive for directly, and every time so
woefully fail in finding.

There comes to my mind in this same connection another princely soul,
one who loved all the world, one whom all the world loves and delights
to honor. There comes to mind also a little incident that will furnish
an insight into the reason of it all. On an afternoon not long ago, Mrs.
Henry Ward Beecher was telling me of some of the characteristics of
Brooklyn's great preacher. While she was yet speaking of some of those
along the very lines we are considering, an old gentleman, a neighbor,
came into the room bearing in his hands something he had brought from
Mr. Beecher's grave. It was the day next following Decoration Day. His
story was this: As the great procession was moving into the cemetery
with its bands of rich music, with its carriages laden with sweet and
fragrant flowers, with its waving flags, beautiful in the sunlight, a
poor and humble-looking woman with two companions, by her apparent
nervousness attracted the attention of the gate-keeper. He kept her in
view for a little while, and presently saw her as she gave something she
had partially concealed to one of her companions, who, leaving the
procession, went over to the grave of Mr. Beecher, and tenderly laid it
there. Reverently she stood for a moment or two, and then, retracing
her steps, joined her two companions, who with bowed heads were waiting
by the wayside.

It was this that the old gentleman had brought,--a gold frame, and in it
a poem cut from a volume, a singularly beautiful poem through which was
breathed the spirit of love and service and self-devotion to the good
and the needs of others. At one or two places where it fitted, the pen
had been drawn across a word and Mr. Beecher's name inserted, which
served to give it a still more real, vivid, and tender meaning. At the
bottom this only was written, "From a poor Hebrew woman to the immortal
friend of the Hebrews." There was no name, but this was sufficient to
tell the whole story. Some poor, humble woman, but one out of a mighty
number whom he had at some time befriended or helped or cheered, whose
burden he had helped to carry, and soon perhaps had forgotten all about
it. When we remember that this was his life, is it at all necessary to
seek farther why all the world delights to honor this, another
royal-hearted elder brother? and, as we think of this simple, beautiful,
and touching incident, how true and living becomes the thought in the
old, old lines!--

    "Cast thy bread upon the waters, waft it on with praying breath,
    In some distant, doubtful moment it may save a soul from death.
    When you sleep in solemn silence, 'neath the morn and evening dew,
    Stranger hands which you have strengthened may strew lilies over you."

Our good friend, Henry Drummond, in one of his most beautiful and
valuable little works says--and how admirably and how truly!--that "love
is the greatest thing in the world." Have you this greatest thing? Yes.
How, then, does it manifest itself? In kindliness, in helpfulness, in
service, to those around you? If so, well and good, you have it. If not,
then I suspect that what you have been calling love is something else;
and you have indeed been greatly fooled. In fact, I am sure it is; for
if it does not manifest itself in this way, it cannot be true love, for
this is the one grand and never-failing test. Love is the statics,
helpfulness and service the dynamics, the former necessary to the
latter, but the latter the more powerful, as action is always more
powerful than potentiality; and, were it not for the dynamics, the
statics might as well not be. Helpfulness, kindliness, service, is but
the expression of love. It is love in action; and unless love thus
manifests itself in action, it is an indication that it is of that weak
and sickly nature that needs exercise, growth, and development, that it
may grow and become strong, healthy, vigorous, and true, instead of
remaining a little, weak, indefinite, sentimental something or nothing.

It was but yesterday that I heard one of the world's greatest thinkers
and speakers, one of our keenest observers of human affairs, state as
his opinion that selfishness is the root of all evil. Now, if it is
possible for any one thing to be the root of all evil, then I think
there is a world of truth in the statement. But, leaving out of account
for the present purpose whether it is true or not, it certainly is true
that he who can't get beyond self robs his life of its chief charms, and
more, defeats the very ends he has in view. It is a well-known law in
the natural world about us that whatever hasn't use, that whatever
serves no purpose, shrivels up. So it is a law of our own being that he
who makes himself of no use, of no service to the great body of mankind,
who is concerned only with his own small self, finds that self, small as
it is, growing smaller and smaller, and those finer and better and
grander qualities of his nature, those that give the chief charm and
happiness to life, shrivelling up. Such an one lives, keeps constant
company with his own diminutive and stunted self; while he who,
forgetting self, makes the object of his life service, helpfulness, and
kindliness to others, finds his whole nature growing and expanding,
himself becoming large-hearted, magnanimous, kind, loving, sympathetic,
joyous, and happy, his life becoming rich and beautiful. For instead of
his own little life alone he has entered into and has part in a hundred,
a thousand, ay, in countless numbers of other lives; and every success,
every joy, every happiness coming to each of these comes as such to him,
for he has a part in each and all. And thus it is that one becomes a
prince among men, a queen among women.

Why, one of the very fundamental principles of life is, so much love, so
much love in return; so much love, so much growth; so much love, so much
power; so much love, so much life,--strong, healthy, rich, exulting, and
abounding life. The world is beginning to realize the fact that love,
instead of being a mere indefinite something, is a vital and living
force, the same as electricity is a force, though perhaps of a different
nature. The same great fact we are learning in regard to thought,--that
thoughts are things, that _thoughts are forces, the most vital and
powerful in the universe_, that they have form and substance and power,
the quality of the power determined as it is by the quality of the life
in whose organism the thoughts are engendered; and so, when a thought is
given birth, it does not end there, but takes form, and as a force it
goes out and has its effect upon other minds and lives, the effect being
determined by its intensity and the quality of the prevailing emotions,
and also by the emotions dominating the person at the time the thoughts
are engendered and given form.

Science, while demonstrating the great facts it is to-day demonstrating
in connection with the mind in its relations to and effects upon the
body, is also finding from its very laboratory experiments that each
particular kind of thought and emotion has its own peculiar qualities,
and hence its own peculiar effects or influences; and these it is
classifying with scientific accuracy. A very general classification in
just a word would be--those of a higher and those of a lower nature.

Some of the chief ones among those of the lower nature are anger,
hatred, jealousy, malice, rage. Their effect, especially when violent,
is to emit a poisonous substance into the system, or rather, to set up a
corroding influence which transforms the healthy and life-giving
secretions of the body into the poisonous and the destructive. When one,
for example, is dominated, even if for but a moment by a passion of
anger or rage, there is set up in the system what might be justly termed
a bodily thunder-storm, which has the effect of souring or corroding the
normal and healthy secretions of the body and making them so that
instead of life-giving they become poisonous. This, if indulged in to
any extent, sooner or later induces the form of disease that this
particular state of mind and emotion or passion gives birth to; and it
in turn becomes chronic.

We shall ultimately find, as we are beginning to so rapidly to-day, that
practically all disease has its origin in perverted mental states or
emotions; that anger, hatred, fear, worry, jealousy, lust, as well as
all milder forms of perverted mental states and emotions, has each its
own peculiar poisoning effects and induces each its own peculiar form of
disease, for all life is from within out.

Then some of the chief ones belonging to the other class--mental states
and emotions of the higher nature--are love, sympathy, benevolence,
kindliness, and good cheer. These are the natural and the normal; and
their effect, when habitually entertained, is to stimulate a vital,
healthy, bounding, purifying, and life-giving action, the exact opposite
of the others; and these very forces, set into a bounding activity, will
in time counteract and heal the disease-giving effects of their
opposites. Their effects upon the countenance and features in inducing
the highest beauty that can dwell there are also marked and
all-powerful. So much, then, in regard to the effects of one's thought
forces upon the self. A word more in regard to their effects upon
others.

Our prevailing thought forces determine the mental atmosphere we create
around us, and all who come within its influence are affected in one way
or another, according to the quality of that atmosphere; and, though
they may not always get the exact thoughts, they nevertheless get the
effects of the emotions dominating the originator of the thoughts, and
hence the creator of this particular mental atmosphere, and the more
sensitively organized the person the more sensitive he or she is to
this atmosphere, even at times to getting the exact and very thoughts.
So even in this the prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled,--there is
nothing hid that shall not be revealed.

If the thought forces sent out by any particular life are those of
hatred or jealousy or malice or fault-finding or criticism or scorn,
these same thought forces are aroused and sent back from others, so that
one is affected not only by reason of the unpleasantness of having such
thoughts from others, but they also in turn affect one's own mental
states, and through these his own bodily conditions, so that, so far as
even the welfare of self is concerned, the indulgence in thoughts and
emotions of this nature are most expensive, most detrimental, most
destructive.

If, on the other hand, the thought forces sent out be those of love, of
sympathy, of kindliness, of cheer and good will, these same forces are
aroused and sent back, so that their pleasant, ennobling, warming, and
life-giving effects one feels and is influenced by; and so again, so far
even as the welfare of self is concerned, there is nothing more
desirable, more valuable and life-giving. There comes from others, then,
exactly what one sends to and hence calls forth from them.

_And would we have all the world love us, we must first then love all
the world_,--merely a great scientific fact. Why is it that all people
instinctively dislike and shun the little, the mean, the self-centred,
the selfish, while all the world instinctively, irresistibly, loves and
longs for the company of the great-hearted, the tender-hearted, the
loving, the magnanimous, the sympathetic, the brave? The mere
answer--because--will not satisfy. There is a deep, scientific reason
for it, either this or it is not true.

Much has been said, much written, in regard to what some have been
pleased to call personal magnetism, but which, as is so commonly true in
cases of this kind, is even to-day but little understood. But to my mind
personal magnetism in its true sense, and as distinguished from what may
be termed a purely animal magnetism, is nothing more nor less than the
thought forces sent out by a great-hearted, tender-hearted, magnanimous,
loving, sympathetic man or woman; for, let me ask, have you ever known
of any great personal magnetism in the case of the little, the mean, the
vindictive, the self-centred? Never, I venture to say, but always in the
case of the other.

Why, there is nothing that can stand before this wonderful transmuting
power of love. So far even as the enemy is concerned, I may not be to
blame if I have an enemy; but I am to blame if I keep him as such,
especially after I know of this wonderful transmuting power. Have I then
an enemy, I will refuse, absolutely refuse, to recognize him as such;
and instead of entertaining the thoughts of him that he entertains of
me, instead of sending him like thought forces, I will send him only
thoughts of love, of sympathy, of brotherly kindness, and magnanimity.
But a short time it will be until he feels these, and is influenced by
them. Then in addition I will watch my opportunity, and whenever I can,
I will even go out of my way to do him some little kindnesses. Before
these forces he cannot stand, and by and by I shall find that he who
to-day is my bitterest enemy is my warmest friend and it may be my
staunchest supporter. No, the wise man is he who by that wonderful
alchemy of love transmutes the enemy into the friend,--transmutes the
bitterest enemy into the warmest friend and supporter. Certainly this is
what the Master meant when he said: "Love your enemies, do good to them
that hate you and despitefully use you: thou shalt thereby be heaping
coals of fire upon their heads." Ay, thou shalt melt them: before this
force they cannot stand. Thou shalt melt them, and transmute them into
friends.

    "You never can tell what your thoughts will do
      In bringing you hate or love;
    For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
      Are swifter than carrier doves.
    They follow the law of the universe,--
      Each thing must create its kind;
    And they speed o'er the track to bring you back
      Whatever went out from your mind."

Yes, science to-day, at the close of this nineteenth century, in the
laboratory is discovering and scientifically demonstrating the great,
immutable laws upon which the inspired and illuminated ones of all ages
have based all their teachings, those who by ordering their lives
according to the higher laws of their being get in a moment of time,
through the direct touch of inspiration, what it takes the physical
investigator a whole lifetime or a series of investigators a series of
lifetimes to discover and demonstrate.



PART II.

THE APPLICATION


    Are you seeking for greatness, O brother of mine,
      As the full, fleeting seasons and years glide away?
    If seeking directly and for self alone,
      The true and abiding you never can stay.
    But all self forgetting, know well the law,
      It's the hero, and not the self-seeker, who's crowned.
    Then go lose your life in the service of others,
      And, lo! with rare greatness and glory 'twill abound.

Is it your ambition to become great in any particular field, to attain
to fame and honor, and thereby to happiness and contentment? Is it your
ambition, for example, to become a great _orator_, to move great masses
of men, to receive their praise, their plaudits? Then remember that
there never has been, there never will, in brief, there never can be a
truly great orator without a great _purpose_, a great cause behind him.
You may study in all the best schools in the country, the best
universities and the best schools of oratory. You may study until you
exhaust all these, and then seek the best in other lands. You may study
thus until your hair is beginning to change its color, but this of
itself will _never_ make you a great orator. You may become a demagogue,
and, if self-centred, you inevitably will; for this is exactly what a
demagogue is,--a great demagogue, if you please, than which it is hard
for one to call to mind a more contemptible animal, and the greater the
more contemptible. But without laying hold of and building upon this
great principle you never can become a great orator.

Call to mind the greatest in the world's history, from Demosthenes--Men
of Athens, march against Philip, your country and your fellow-men will
be in early bondage unless you give them your best service now--down to
our own Phillips and Gough,--Wendell Phillips against the traffic in
human blood, John B. Gough against a slavery among his fellow-men more
hard and galling and abject than the one just spoken of; for by it the
body merely is in bondage, the mind and soul are free, while in this,
body, soul, and mind are enslaved. So you can easily discover the great
_purpose_, the great cause for _service_, behind each and every one.

The man who can't get beyond himself, his own aggrandizement and
interests, must of necessity be small, petty, personal, and at once
marks his own limitations; while he whose life is a life of service and
self-devotion has no limits, for he thus puts himself at once on the
side of the _Universal_, and this more than all else combined gives a
tremendous power in oratory. Such a one can mount as on the wings of an
eagle, and Nature herself seems to come forth and give a great soul of
this kind means and material whereby to accomplish his purposes, whereby
the great universal truths go direct to the minds and hearts of his
hearers to mould them, to move them; for the orator is he who moulds the
minds and hearts of his hearers in the great moulds of universal and
eternal truth, and then moves them along a definite line of action, not
he who merely speaks pieces to them.

How thoroughly Webster recognized this great principle is admirably
shown in that brief but powerful description of eloquence of his; let us
pause to listen to a sentence or two: "True eloquence indeed does not
consist in speech.... Words and phrases may be marshalled in every way,
but they cannot compass it.... Affected passion, intense expression, the
pomp of declamation, all may aspire to it; they cannot reach it.... The
graces taught in the schools, the costly ornaments and studied
contrivances of speech, shock and disgust men when their own lives and
the fate of their wives and their children and their country hang on the
decision of the hour. Then words have lost their power, rhetoric is
vain, and all elaborate oratory contemptible. Even genius itself then
feels rebuked and subdued, as in the presence of higher qualities. Then
patriotism is eloquent, then self-devotion is eloquent. The clear
conception, outrunning the deductions of logic, the high purpose, the
firm resolve, the dauntless spirit speaking on the tongue, beaming from
the eye, informing every feature and urging the whole man onward, right
onward to his object,--this, this is eloquence." And note some of the
chief words he has used,--_self-devotion, patriotism, high purpose_. The
self-centred man can never know these, and much less can he make use of
them.

True, things that one may learn, as the freeing of the bodily agents,
the developing of the voice, and so on, that all may become the _true
reporters of the soul_, instead of limiting or binding it down, as is so
frequently the case in public speakers,--these are all valuable, ay, are
very important and very necessary, unless one is content to live below
his highest possibilities, and he is wise who recognizes this tact; but
these in themselves are but as trifles when compared to those greater,
more powerful, and all-essential qualities.

Is it your ambition to become a great _states man?_ Note the very first
thing, then, the word itself,--_states-man_, a man who gives his life to
the service of the State. And do you not recognize the fact that, when
one says--a man who gives his life to the service of the State, it is
but another way of saying--a man who gives his life to the service of
his fellow-men; for what, after all, is any country, any State, in the
true sense of the term, but the aggregate, the great body of its
individual citizenship. And he who lives for and unto himself, who puts
the interests of his own small self before the interests of the
thousands, can never become a states-man; for a statesman must be a
larger man than this.

Call to your mind the greatest of the world, among those living and
among the so-called dead, and you will quickly see that the life of each
and every one has been built upon this great principle, and that all
have been great and are held as such in just the degree in which it has
been. Two of the greatest among Americans, both passed away, would
to-day and even more as time goes on, be counted still greater, had they
been a little larger in one aspect of their natures,--large enough to
have recognized to its fullest extent the eternal truth and importance
of this great principle, and had they given the time to the service of
their fellow-men that was spent in desiring the Presidency and in all
too plainly making it known. Having gained it could have made them no
greater, and having so plainly shown their eager and childish desire for
it has made them less great. Of the many thousands of men who have been
in our American Congress since its beginning, and of the very, very
small number comparatively that you are able to call to mind, possibly
not over fifty, which would be about one out of every six hundred or
more, you will find that you are able to call to mind each one of this
very small number on account of his standing for some measure or
principle that would to the highest degree increase the human welfare,
thus truly fulfilling the great office of a _statesman_.

The one great trouble with our country to-day is that we have but few
statesmen. We have a great swarm, a great hoard of politicians; but it
is only now and then that we find a man who is large enough truly to
deserve the name--statesman. The large majority in public life to-day
are there not for the purpose of serving the best interests of those
whom they are supposed to represent, but they are there purely for self,
purely for self-aggrandizement in this form or in that, as the case may
be.

Especially do we find this true in our municipalities. In some, the
government instead of being in the hands of those who would make it such
in truth, those who would make it serve the interests it is designed to
serve, it is in the hands of those who are there purely for self, little
whelps, those who will resort to any means to secure their ends, at
times even to honorable means, should they seem to serve best the
particular purpose in hand. We have but to look around us to see that
this is true. The miserable, filthy, and deplorable condition of affairs
the Lexow Committee in its investigations not so long ago laid bare to
public gaze had its root in what? In the fact that the offices in that
great municipality have been and are filled by men who are there to
serve in the highest degree the public welfare or by men who are there
purely for self-aggrandizement? But let us pass on. This degraded
condition of affairs exists not only in this great city, but there are
scarcely any that are free from it entirely. Matters are not always to
continue thus, however. The American people will learn by and by what
they ought fully to realize to-day--that the moment the honest people,
the citizens, in distinction from the barnacles, mass themselves and
stay massed, the notorious, filthy political rings cannot stand before
them for a period of even twenty-four hours. _The right, the good, the
true, is all-powerful, and will inevitably conquer sooner or later when
brought to the front._ Such is the history of civilization.

Let our public offices--municipal, state, and federal--be filled with
men who are in love with the human kind, large men, men whose lives are
founded upon this great law of service, and we will then have them
filled with statesmen. Never let this glorious word be disgraced,
degraded, by applying it to the little, self-centred whelps who are
unable to get beyond the politician stage. Then enter public life; but
enter it as a man, not as a barnacle: enter it as a statesman, not as a
politician.

       *       *       *       *       *

Is it your ambition to become a great _preacher_, or better yet, with
the same meaning, a great _teacher?_ Then remember that the greatest of
the world have been those who have given themselves in thorough
self-devotion and service to their fellow-men, who have given themselves
so thoroughly to all they have come in contact with that there has been
no room for self. They have not been seekers after fame, or men who have
thought so much of their own particular dogmatic ways of thinking as to
spend the greater part of their time in discussing dogma, creed,
theology, in order, as is so generally true in cases of this kind, to
prove that the _ego_ you see before you is right in his particular ways
of thinking, and that his chief ambition is to have this fact clearly
understood,--an abomination, I verily believe, in the sight of God
himself, whose children in the mean time are starving, are dying for the
bread of life, and an abomination I am sure, in the sight of the great
majority of mankind. Let us be thankful, however, for mankind is finding
less use for such year by year, and the time will soon come when they
will scarcely be tolerated at all.

It is to a very great extent on account of men of this kind, especially
in the early history, that the true spirit of religion, of Christianity,
has been lost sight of in the mere form. The basket in which it has
been deemed necessary to carry it has been held as of greater import
than the rare and divinely beautiful fruit itself. The true spirit, that
that quickeneth and giveth life and power, has had its place taken by
the mere letter, that that alone blighteth and killeth. Instead of
running after these finely spun, man-made theories, this stuff,--for
stuff is the word,--this that we outgrow once every few years in our
march onward and upward, and then stand and laugh as we look back to
think that such ideas have ever been held, instead of this, thinking
that thus you will gain power, act the part of the wise man, and go each
day into the _silence_, there commune with the Infinite, there dwell for
a season with the Infinite Spirit of all life, of all power; for you can
get _true power_ in no other way.

Instead of running about here and there to have your cup filled at these
little stagnant pools, dried up as they generally are by the continual
rays of a constantly shining egoistic sun, go direct to the great
fountain-head, and there drink of the water of life that is poured out
freely to every one if he will but go there for it. One can't, however,
send and have it brought by another.

Go, then, into the _silence_, even if it be but for a short period,--a
period of not more than a quarter or a half-hour a day,--and there come
into contact with the Great Source of all life, of all power. _Send out
your earnest desires for whatsoever you will; and whatsoever you will,
if continually watered by expectation, will sooner or later come to
you_. All knowledge, all truth, all power, all wisdom, all things
whatsoever, are yours, if you will but go in this way for them. It has
been tried times without number, and has never yet once failed where the
motives have been high, where the knowledge of the results beforehand
has been sufficiently great. Within a fortnight you can know the truth
of this for yourself if you will but go in the right way.

All the truly great teachers in the world's history have gotten their
powers in this way. You remember the great soul who left us not long
ago, he who ministered so faithfully at Trinity, the great preacher of
such wonderful powers, the one so truly inspired. It was but an evening
or two since, when in conversation with a member of his congregation, we
were talking in regard to Phillips Brooks. She was telling of his
beautiful and powerful spirit and said that they were all continually
conscious of the fact that he had a power they hadn't, but that all
longed for; that he seemed to have a great secret of power they hadn't,
but that they often tried to find. She continued, and in the very next
sentence went on to tell of a fact,--one that I knew full well,--the
fact that during a certain period of each day he took himself alone into
a little, silent room, he fastened the door behind him, and during this
period under no circumstances could he be seen by any one. The dear lady
knew these two things, she knew and was influenced by his great soul
power, she also knew of his going thus into the silence each day; but,
bless her heart, it had never once occurred to her to put the two
together.

It is in this way that great soul power is grown; and the men of this
great power are the men who move the world, the men who do the great
work in the world along all lines, and against whom no man, no power,
can stand. Call to mind a number of the world's greatest preachers, or,
using again the better term, teachers, and bear in mind I do not mean
creed, dogma, form, but religious teachers,--and the one class differs
from the other even as the night from the day,--and you will find two
great facts in the life of each and all,--great soul power, grown
chiefly by much time spent in the silence, and the fact that the life of
each has been built upon this one great and all-powerful principle of
love, service, and helpfulness for all mankind.

Is it your ambition to become a great _writer?_ Very good. But remember
that unless you have something to give to the world, something you feel
mankind must have, something that will aid them in their march upward
and onward, unless you have some service of this kind to render, then
you had better be wise, and not take up the pen; for, if your object in
writing is merely fame or money, the number of your readers may be
exceedingly small, possibly a few score or even a few dozen may be a
large estimate.

What an author writes is, after all, the sum total of his life, his
habits, his characteristics, his experiences, his purposes. _He never
can write more than he himself is_. He can never pass beyond his
limitations; and unless he have a purpose higher than writing merely for
fame or self-aggrandizement, he thereby marks his own limitations, and
what he seeks will never come. While he who writes for the world,
because he feels he has something that it needs and that will be a help
to mankind, if it _is_ something it needs, other things being equal,
that which the other man seeks for directly, and so never finds, will
come to him in all its fulness. This is the way it comes, and this way
only. _Mankind cares nothing for you until you have shown that you care
for mankind._

Note this statement from the letter of a now well-known writer, one
whose very first book met with instant success, and that has been
followed by others all similarly received. She says, "I never thought of
writing until two years and a half ago, when, in order to disburden my
mind of certain thoughts that clamored for utterance, I produced," etc.
In the light of this we cannot wonder at the remarkable success of her
very first and all succeeding books. She had something she felt the
world needed and must have; and, with no thought of self, of fame, or of
money, she gave it. The world agreed with her; and, as she was large
enough to seek for neither, it has given her both.

Note this also: "I write for the love of writing, not for money or
reputation. The former I have without exertion, the latter is not worth
a pin's point in the general economy of the vast universe. Work done for
the love of working brings its own reward far more quickly and surely
than work done for mere payment." This is but the formulated statement
of what all the world's greatest writers and authors have said or would
say,--at least so far as I have come in contact with their opinions in
regard to it.

So, unless you are large enough to forget self for the good, for the
service of mankind, thus putting yourself on the side of the universal
and making it possible for you to give something that will in turn of
itself bring fame, you had better be wise, and not lift the pen at all;
for what you write will not be taken up, or, if it is, will soon be let
fall again.

One of our most charming and most noted American authors says in regard
to her writing, "I press my soul upon the white paper"; and let me tell
you the reason it in turn makes its impression upon so many thousands of
other souls is because hers is so large, so tender, so sympathetic, so
loving, that others cannot resist the impression, living as she does not
for self, but for the service of others, her own life thus having a part
in countless numbers of other lives.

It is only that that comes from the heart that can reach the heart.
Take from their shelves the most noted, the greatest works in any
library, and you will find that their authors have made them what they
are not by a study of the rules and principles of rhetoric, for this of
itself never has made and never can make a great writer. They are what
they are because the author's very soul has been fired by some great
truth or fact that the world has needed, that has been a help to
mankind. Large souls they have been, souls in love with all the human
kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Is it your ambition to become a great _actor?_ Then remember that if you
make it the object of your life to play to influence the hearts, the
lives, and so the destinies of men, this same great law of nature that
operates in the case of the orator will come to your assistance, will
aid you in your growth and development, and will enable you to attain to
heights you could never attain to or even dream of, in case you play for
the little _ego_ you otherwise would stand for. In the latter case you
may succeed in making a third or a fourth rate actor, possibly a second
rate; but you can never become one of the world's greatest, and the
chances are you may succeed in making not even a livelihood, and thus
have your wonderment satisfied why so many who try fail.

In the other case, other things being equal, the height you may attain
to is unbounded, depending upon the degree you are able to forget
yourself in influencing the minds and the souls, and thus the lives and
the destinies of men.

       *       *       *       *       *

Is it your ambition to become a great _singer?_ Then remember that if
your thought is only of self, you may never sing at all, unless, indeed,
you enjoy singing to yourself,--this, or you will be continually anxious
as to the size of your audience. If, on the other hand, you choose this
field of work because here you can be of the greatest service to
mankind, if your ambition is to sing to the hearts and the lives of men,
then this same great law of nature will come to assist you in your
growth and development and efforts, and other things being equal,
instead of singing to yourself or being anxious as to the size of your
audience, you will seldom find time for the first, and your anxiety will
be as to whether the place has an audience-chamber large enough to
accommodate even a small portion of the people who will seek
admittance. You remember Jenny Lind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Is it your ambition to become a _fashionable society woman_, this and
nothing more, intent only upon your own pleasure and satisfaction? Then
stop and meditate, if only for a moment; for if this is the case, you
never will, ay, you never can find the true and the genuine, for you
fail to recognize the great law that there is no such thing as finding
true happiness by searching for it _directly_, and the farther on you go
the more flimsy and shallow and unsatisfying that imitation you are
willing to accept for the genuine will become. You will thereby rob life
of its chief charms, defeat the very purpose you have in view. And,
while you are at this moment meditating, oh grasp the truth of the great
law that you will find your own life only in losing it in the service of
others,--that the more of your life you so give, the fuller and the
richer, the greater and the grander, the more beautiful and the more
happy your own life will become.

And with your abundant means and opportunities build your life upon this
great law of service, and experience the pleasure of growing into that
full, rich, ever increasing and satisfying life that will result, and
that will make you better known, more honored and blessed, than the life
of any mere society woman can be, or any life, for that matter; for you
are thus living a life the highest this world can know. And you will
thus hasten the day when, standing and looking back and seeing the
emptiness and the littleness of the other life as compared with this,
you will bless the time that your better judgment prevailed and saved
you from it. Or, if you chance to be in it already, delay not, but
commence now to build upon this true foundation.

Instead of discharging your footman, as did a woman of whom I chance to
know, because he finally refused to stand in the rain by the side of her
carriage, with his arms folded just so, standing immovable like a mummy
(I had almost said like a fool), daring to look neither to one side nor
the other, but all the time in the direction of her so-called ladyship,
while she spent an hour or two in doing fifteen or twenty minutes'
shopping in her desire to make it known that this is Mrs. Q.'s carriage,
and this is the footman that goes with it,--instead of doing this, give
him an umbrella if necessary, and take him to aid you as you go on your
errands of mercy and cheer and service and loving kindness to the
innumerable ones all about you who so stand in need of them.

Is there any comparison between the appellation "Lady Bountiful" and "a
proud, selfish, pleasure-seeking woman"? And, much more, do you think
there is any comparison whatever between the real pleasure and happiness
and satisfaction in the lives of the two?

       *       *       *       *       *

Is it the ambition of your life to _accumulate great wealth_, and thus
to acquire a great name, and along with it happiness and satisfaction?
Then remember that whether these will come to you will depend _entirely_
upon the use and disposition you make of your wealth. If you regard it
as a _private trust_ to be used for the highest good of mankind, then
well and good, these will come to you. If your object, however, is to
pile it up, to hoard it, then neither will come; and you will find it a
life as unsatisfactory as one can live.

There is, there can be, no greatness in things, in material things, of
themselves. The greatness is determined entirely by the use and
disposition made of them. The greatest greatness and the only _true_
greatness in the world is unselfish love and service and self-devotion
to one's fellow-men.

Look at the matter carefully, and tell me candidly if there can be
anything more foolish than a man's spending all the days of his life
piling up and hoarding money, too mean and too stingy to use any but
what is absolutely necessary, accumulating many times more than he can
possibly ever use, always eager for more, growing still more eager and
grasping the nearer he comes to life's end, then lying down, dying, and
leaving it. It seems to me about as sensible for a man to have as the
great aim and ambition of life the piling up of an immense pile of old
iron in the middle of a large field, and sitting on it day after day
because he is so wedded to it that it has become a part of his life and
lest a fragment disappear, denying himself and those around him many of
the things that go to make life valuable and pleasant, and finally dying
there, himself, the soul, so dwarfed and so stunted that he has really a
hard time to make his way out of the miserable old body. There is not
such a great difference, if you will think of it carefully,--one a pile
of old iron, the other a pile of gold or silver, but all belonging to
the same general class.

It is a great law of our being that we become like those things we
contemplate. If we contemplate those that are true and noble and
elevating, we grow in the likeness of these. If we contemplate merely
material things, as gold or silver or copper or iron, our souls, our
natures, and even our faces become like them, hard and flinty, robbed of
their finer and better and grander qualities. Call to mind the person or
picture of the miser, and you will quickly see that this is true. Merely
nature's great law. He thought he was going to be a master: he finds
himself the slave. Instead of possessing his wealth, his wealth
possesses him. How often have I seen persons of nearly or quite this
kind! Some can be found almost anywhere. You can call to mind a few,
perhaps many.

During the past two or three years two well-known millionaires in the
United States, millionaires many times over, have died. The one started
into life with the idea of acquiring a great name by accumulating great
wealth. These two things he had in mind,--self and great wealth. And, as
he went on, he gradually became so that he could see nothing but these.
The greed for gain soon made him more and more the slave; and he,
knowing nothing other than obedience to his master, piled and
accumulated and hoarded, and after spending all his days thus, he then
lay down and died, taking not so much as one poor little penny with him,
only a soul dwarfed compared to what it otherwise might have been. For
it might have been the soul of a royal master instead of that of an
abject slave.

The papers noted his death with seldom even a single word of praise. It
was regretted by few, and he was mourned by still fewer. And even at his
death he was spoken of by thousands in words far from complimentary, all
uniting in saying what he might have been and done, what a tremendous
power for good, how he might have been loved and honored during his
life, and at death mourned and blessed by the entire nation, the entire
world. A pitiable sight, indeed, to see a human mind, a human soul, thus
voluntarily enslave itself for a few temporary pieces of metal.

The other started into life with the principle that a man's success is
to be measured by his _direct usefulness_ to his fellow-men, to the
world in which he lives, and by this alone; that private wealth is
merely a _private trust_ to be used for the highest good of mankind.
Under the benign influences of this mighty principle of service, we see
him great, influential, wealthy; his whole nature expanding, himself
growing large-hearted, generous, magnanimous, serving his State, his
country, his fellow-men, writing his name on the hearts of all he comes
in contact with, so that his name is never thought of by them without
feelings of gratitude and praise.

Then as the chief service to his fellow-men, next to his own personal
influence and example, he uses his vast fortune, this vast private
trust, for the founding and endowing of a great institution of learning,
using his splendid business capacities in its organization, having
uppermost in mind in its building that young men and young women may
there have every advantage at the least possible expense to fit
themselves in turn for the greatest _direct usefulness_ to their
fellow-men while they live in the world.

In the midst of these activities the news comes of his death. Many
hearts now are sad. The true, large-hearted, sympathizing friend, the
servant of rich and poor alike, has gone away. Countless numbers whom he
has befriended, encouraged, helped, and served, bless his name, and give
thanks that such a life has been lived. His own great State rises up as
his pall-bearers, while the entire nation acts as honorary pall-bearers.
Who can estimate the influence of a life such as this? But it cannot be
estimated; for it will flow from the ones personally influenced to
others, and through them to others throughout eternity. He alone who in
His righteous balance weighs each human act can estimate it. And his
final munificent gift to mankind will make his name remembered and
honored and blessed long after the accumulations of mere plutocrats are
scattered and mankind forgets that they have ever lived.

Then have as your object the accumulation of great wealth if you choose;
but bear in mind that, unless you are able to get beyond self, it will
make you not great, but small, and you will rob life of the finer and
better things in it. If, on the other hand, you are guided by the
principle that private wealth is but a _private trust_, and that _direct
usefulness_ or service to mankind is the only real measure of true
greatness, and bring your life into harmony with it, then you will
become and will be counted great; and with it will come that rich joy
and happiness and satisfaction that always accompanies a life of true
service, and therefore the best and truest life.

One can never afford to forget that personality, life, and character,
that there may be the greatest service, are the chief things, and wealth
merely the _incident_. Nor can one afford to be among those who are too
mean, too small, or too stingy to invest in anything that will grow and
increase these.



PART III.

THE UNFOLDMENT


    If you'd have a rare growth and unfoldment supreme,
       And make life one long joy and contentment complete,
    Then with kindliness, love, and good will let it teem,
       And with service for all make it fully replete.

    If you'd have all the world and all heaven to love you,
       And that love with its power would you fully convince,
    Then love all the world; and men royal and true,
       Will make cry as you pass--"God bless him, the prince!"


One beautiful feature of this principle of love and service is that this
phase of one's personality, or nature, can be grown. I have heard it
asked, If one hasn't it to any marked degree naturally, what is to be
done? In reply let it be said, Forget self, get out of it for a little
while, and, as it comes in your way, do something for some one, some
kind service, some loving favor, it makes no difference how _small_ it
may appear. But a kind look or word to one weary with care, from whose
life all worth living for seems to have gone out; a helping hand or
little lift to one almost discouraged,--it may be that this is just the
critical moment, a helping hand just now may change a life or a destiny.
Show yourself a friend to one who thinks he or she is friendless.

Oh, there are a thousand opportunities each day right where you
are,--not the great things far away, but the little things right at
hand. With a heart full of love do something: experience the rich
returns that will come to you, and it will be unnecessary to urge a
repetition or a continuance. The next time it will be easier and more
natural, and the next. You know of that wonderful reflex-nerve system
you have in your body,--that which says that whenever you do a certain
thing in a certain way, it is easier to do the same thing the next time,
and the next, and the next, until presently it is done with scarcely any
effort on your part at all, it has become your second nature. And thus
we have what? Habit. This is the way that all habit is, the way that all
habit must be formed. And have you ever fully realized that _life is,
after all, merely a series of habits_, and that it lies entirely within
one's own power to determine just what that series shall be?

I have seen this great principle made the foundation principle in an
institution of learning. It is made not a theory merely as I have seen
it here and there, but a vital, living truth. And I wish I had time to
tell of its wonderful and beautiful influences upon the life and work of
that institution, and upon the lives and the work of those who go out
from it. A joy indeed to be there. One can't enter within its walls even
for a few moments without feeling its benign influences. One can't go
out without taking them with him. I have seen purposes and lives almost
or quite transformed; and life so rich, so beautiful, and so valuable
opened up, such as the persons never dreamed could be, by being but a
single year under these beautiful and life-giving influences.

I have also seen it made the foundation principle of a great summer
congress, one that has already done an unprecedented work, one that has
a far greater work yet before it, and chiefly by reason of this
all-powerful foundation upon which it is built,--conceived and put into
operation as it was by a rare and highly illumined soul, one thoroughly
filled with the love of service for all the human kind. There are no
thoughts of money returns, for everything it has to give is as free as
the beautiful atmosphere that pervades it. The result is that there is
drawn together, by way of its magnificent corps of lectures as well as
those in attendance, a company of people of the rarest type, so that
everywhere there is a manifestation of that spirit of love, helpfulness,
and kindliness, that permeates the entire atmosphere with a deep feeling
of peace, that makes every moment of life a joy.

So enchanting does this spirit make the place that very frequently the
single day of some who have come for this length of time has lengthened
itself into a week, and the week in turn into a month; and the single
week of others has frequently lengthened itself, first into a month,
then into the entire summer. There is nothing at all strange in this
fact, however; for wherever one finds sweet humanity, he there finds a
spot where all people love to dwell.

Making this the fundamental principle of one's life, around which all
others properly arrange and subordinate themselves, is not, as a casual
observer might think, and as he sometimes suggests, an argument against
one's own growth and development, against the highest possible
unfoldment of his entire personality and powers. Rather, on the other
hand, is it one of the greatest reasons, one of the greatest arguments,
in its favor; for, the stronger the personality and the greater the
powers, the greater the influence in the service of mankind. If, then,
life be thus founded, can there possibly be any greater incentive to
that self-development that brings one up to his highest possibilities? A
development merely for self alone can never have behind it an incentive,
a power so great; _and after all, there is nothing in the world so
great, so effective in the service of mankind, as a strong, noble, and
beautiful manhood or womanhood_. It is this that in the ultimate
determines the influence of every man upon his fellow-men. _Life,
character, is the greatest power in the world, and character it is that
gives the power; for in all true power, along whatever line it may be,
it is after all, living the life that tells_. This is a great law that
but few who would have great power and influence seem to recognize, or,
at least, that but few seem to act upon.

Are you a writer? You can never write more than you yourself are. Would
you write more? Then broaden, deepen, enrich the life. Are you a
minister? You can never raise men higher than you have raised yourself.
Your words will have exactly the sound of the life whence they come.
Hollow the life? Hollow-sounding and empty will be the words, weak,
ineffective, false. Would you have them go with greater power, and thus
be more effective? Live the life, the power will come. Are you an
orator? The power and effectiveness of your words in influencing and
moving masses of men depends entirely upon the altitude from which they
are spoken. Would you have them more effective, each one filled with a
living power? Then elevate the life, the power will come. Are you in the
walks of private life? Then, wherever you move, there goes from you,
even if there be no word spoken, a silent but effective influence of an
elevating or a degrading nature. Is the life high, beautiful? Then the
influences are inspiring, life-giving. Is it low, devoid of beauty? The
influences then, are disease laden, death-dealing. The tones of your
voice, the attitude of your body, the character of your face, all are
determined by the life you live, all in turn influence for better or for
worse all who come within your radius. And if, as one of earth's great
souls has said, the only way truly to help a man is to make him better,
then the tremendous power of merely the life itself.

Why, I know personally a young man of splendid qualities and gifts, who
was rapidly on the way of ruin, as the term goes, gradually losing
control of himself day after day, self-respect almost gone,--already the
thought of taking his own life had entered his mind,--who was so
inspired with the mere presence and bearing of a royal-hearted young
man, one who had complete mastery of himself, and therefore a young man
of power, that the very sight of him as he went to and fro in his daily
work was a power that called his better self to the front again,
awakened the God nature within him, so that he again set his face in the
direction of the right, the true, the manly; and to-day there is no
grander, stronger, more beautiful soul in all the wide country than he.
Yes, there is a powerful influence that resolves itself into a service
for all in each individual strong, pure, and noble life.

And have the wonderful possibilities of what may be termed an inner or
soul development ever come strongly to your notice? Perhaps not, for as
yet only a few have begun to recognize under this name a certain great
power that has always existed,--a power that has never as yet been fully
understood, and so has been called by this term and by that. It is
possible so to develop this soul power that, as we stand merely and talk
with a person, there goes out from us a silent influence that the person
cannot see or hear, but that he feels, and the influences of which he
cannot escape; that, as we merely go into a room in which several
persons are sitting, there goes out from us a power, a silent influence
that all will feel and will be influenced by, even though not a word be
spoken. This has been the power of every man, of every woman, of great
and lasting influence in the world's history.

It is just beginning to come to us through a few highly illumined souls
that this power can be grown, that it rests upon great natural law that
the Author of our being has instituted within us and about us. It is
during the next few years that we are to see many wonderful developments
along this line; for in this, as in many others, the light is just
beginning to break. A few, who are far up on the heights of human
development, are just beginning to catch the first few faint flushes of
the dawn. Then live to your highest. This of itself will make you of
great service to mankind, but without this you never can be. Naught is
the difference how hard you may try; and know, even so far as your own
highest interests are concerned, that the true joy of existence comes
from living to one's highest.

This life, and this alone, will bring that which I believe to be one of
the greatest characteristics of a truly great man,--humility; and when
one says humility, he necessarily implies simplicity; for the two always
go hand in hand. The one is born of the other. The proud, the vain, the
haughty, those striving for effect, are never counted among the world's
greatest personages. The very fact of one's striving for effect of
itself indicates that there is not enough in him to make him really
great; while he who really is so needs never concern himself about it,
nor does he ever. I can think of no better way for one to attain to
humility and simplicity than for him to have his mind off of self in the
service of others. Vanity, that most dangerous quality, and especially
for young people, is the outcome of one's always regarding self.

Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher once said that, when they lived in the part of
Brooklyn known as the Heights, they could always tell when Mr. Beecher
was coming in the evening from the voices and the joyous laughter of the
children. All the street urchins, as well as the more well-to-do
children in the vicinity, knew him, and would often wait for his coming.
When they saw him in the distance, they would run and gather around him,
get hold of his hands, into those large overcoat pockets for the nuts
and the good things he so often filled them with before starting for
home, knowing as he did full well what was coming, tug at him to keep
him with them as long as they could, he all the time laughing or running
as if to get away, never too great--ay, rather let us say, great
enough--to join with them in their sports.

That mysterious dignity of a man less great, therefore with less of
humility and simplicity, with mind always intent upon self and his own
standing, would have told him that possibly this might not be just the
"proper thing" to do. But even the children, street urchins as well as
those well-to-do, found in this great loving soul a friend. Recall
similar incidents in the almost daily life of Lincoln and in the lives
of all truly great men. All have that beautiful and ever-powerful
characteristic, that simple, childlike nature.

Another most beautiful and valuable feature of this life is its effect
upon one's own growth and development. There is a law which says that
one can't do a kind act or a loving service for another without its
bringing rich returns to his own life and growth. This is an invariable
law. Can I then, do a kind act or a loving service for a brother or a
sister,--and all indeed are such because children of the same
Father,--why, I should be glad--ay, doubly glad of the opportunity. If I
do it thus out of love, forgetful of self, for aught I know it may do me
more good than the one I do it for, in its influence upon the growing of
that rich, beautiful, and happy life it is mine to grow; though the joy
and satisfaction resulting from it, the highest, the sweetest, the
keenest this life can know, are of themselves abundant rewards.

In addition to all this it scarcely ever fails that those who are thus
aided by some loving service may be in a position somehow, some-when,
somewhere, either directly or indirectly, and at a time when it may be
most needed or most highly appreciated, to do in turn a kind service for
him who, with never a thought of any possible return, has dealt kindly
with them. So

    "Cast your bread upon the waters, far and wide your treasures strew,
    Scatter it with willing fingers, shout for joy to see it go!
    You may think it lost forever; but, as sure as God is true,
    In this life and in the other it will yet return to you."

Have you sorrows or trials that seem very heavy to bear? Then let me
tell you that one of the best ways in the world to lighten and sweeten
them is to lose yourself in the service of others, in helping to bear
and lighten those of a fellow-being whose, perchance, are much more
grievous than your own. It is a great law of your being which says you
can do this. Try it, and experience the truth for yourself, and know
that, when turned in this way, sorrow is the most beautiful soul-refiner
of which the world knows, and hence not to be shunned, but to be
welcomed and rightly turned.

There comes to my mind a poor widow woman whose life would seem to have
nothing in it to make it happy, but, on the other hand, cheerless and
tiresome, and whose work would have been very hard, had it not been for
a little crippled child she dearly loved and cared for, and who was all
the more precious to her on account of its helplessness. Losing herself
and forgetting her own hard lot in the care of the little cripple, her
whole life was made cheerful and happy, and her work not hard, but easy,
because lightened by love and service for another. And this is but one
of innumerable cases of this kind.

So you may turn your sorrows, you may lighten your burdens, by helping
bear the burdens, if not of a crippled child, then of a brother or a
sister who in another sense may be crippled, or who may become so but
for your timely service. You can find them all about you: never pass one
by.

By building upon this principle, the poor may thus live as grandly and
as happily as the rich, those in humble and lowly walks of life as
grandly and as happily as those in what seem to be more exalted
stations. Recognizing the truth, as we certainly must by this time, that
one is _truly_ great only in so far as this is made the fundamental
principle of his life, it becomes evident that that longing for
greatness for its and for one's own sake falls away, and none but a
diseased mind cares for it; for no sooner is it grasped than, as a
bubble, it bursts, because it is not the true, the permanent, but the
false, the transient. On the other hand, he who forgetting self and this
kind of greatness, falsely so called, in the service of his fellow-men,
by this very fact puts himself on the right track, the only track for
the true, the genuine; and in what degree it will come to him depends
entirely upon his adherence to the law.

And do you know the influence of this life in the moulding of the
features, that it gives the highest beauty that can dwell there, the
beauty that comes from within,--the _soul beauty_, so often found in the
paintings of the old masters. _True beauty must come, must be grown,
from, within_. That outward veneering, which is so prevalent, can never
be even a poor imitation of this type of the true, the genuine. To
appreciate fully the truth of this, it is but necessary to look for a
moment at that beautiful picture by Sant, the "Soul's Awakening," a face
that grows more beautiful each time one looks at it, and that one never
tires of looking at, and compare with it the fractional parts of
apothecary shops we see now and then--or so often, to speak more
truly--on the streets. A face of this higher type carries with it a
benediction wherever it goes.

A beautiful little incident came to my notice not long ago. It was a
very hot and dusty day. The passengers on the train were weary and
tired. The time seemed long and the journey cheerless. A lady with a
face that carries a benediction to all who see her entered the car with
a little girl, also of that type of beauty that comes from within, and
with a voice musical, sweet, and sparkling, such as also comes from this
source.

The child, when they were seated, had no sooner spoken a few words
before she began to enlist the attention of her fellow-passengers. She
began playing peek-a-boo with a staid and dignified old gentleman in the
seat behind her. He at first looked at her over his spectacles, then
lowered his paper a little, then a little more, and a little more.
Finally, he dropped it altogether, and, apparently forgetting himself
and his surroundings, became oblivious to everything in the fascinating
pleasure he was having with the little girl. The other passengers soon
found themselves following his example. All papers and books were
dropped. The younger folks gave way to joyous laughter, and all seemed
to vie with each other in having the honor of receiving a word or a
smile from the little one.

The dust, the heat, the tired, cheerless feelings were all forgotten;
and when these two left the car, the little girl waving them good-by,
instinctively, as one person, all the passengers waved it to her in
return, and two otherwise dignified gentlemen, leaving their seats,
passed over to the other side, and looked out of the window to see her
as long as they could. Something as an electrical spark seemed to have
passed through the car. All were light-hearted and happy now; and the
conditions in the car, compared to what they were before these two
entered, would rival the work of the stereopticon, so far as
completeness of change is concerned. You have seen such faces and have
heard such voices. They result from a life the kind we are considering.
They are but its outward manifestations, spontaneous as the water from
the earth as it bursts forth a natural fountain.

We must not fail also to notice the effect of this life upon one's
manners and bearing. True politeness comes from a life founded upon this
great principle, and from this alone. This gives the true
gentleman,--_gentle-man_,--a man gentle, kind, loving, courteous from
nature. Such a one can't have anything but true politeness, can't be
anything but a gentle-man; for one can't truly be anything but himself.
So the one always intent upon and thinking of self cannot be the true
gentleman, notwithstanding the artful contrivances and studied efforts
to appear so, but which so generally reveal his own shallowness and
artificiality, and disgust all with whom he comes in contact.

I sometimes meet a person who, when introduced, will go through a series
of stiff, cold, and angular movements, the knee at such a bend, the foot
at such an angle, the back with such a bend or hump,--much less pleasant
to see than that of a camel or a dromedary, for with these it is
natural,--so that I have found myself almost thinking, Poor fellow, I
wonder what the trouble is, whether he will get over it all right. It is
so very evident that he all the time has his mind upon himself,
wondering whether or not he is getting everything just right. What a
relief to turn from such a one to one who, instead of thinking always of
self, has continually in mind the ease and comfort and pleasure he can
give to others, who, in other words, is the true _gentle-man_, and with
whom true politeness is natural; for one's every act is born of his
thoughts.

It is said that there was no truer gentleman in all Scotland than Robert
Burns. And yet he was a farmer all his life, and had never been away
from his native little rural village into a city until near the close of
his life, when, taking the manuscripts that for some time had been
accumulating in the drawer of his writing-table up to Edinburgh, he
captivated the hearts of all in the capital. Without studied
contrivances, he was the true gentleman, and true politeness was his,
because his life was founded upon the principle that continually brought
from his pen lines such as:--

    "It's coming yet, for a' that,
    That man to man, the warld o'er,
    Shall brothers be for a' that!"

And under the influence of this principle, he was a gentleman by nature,
and one of nature's noblemen, without ever thinking whether he was or
not, as he who is truly such never needs to and never does.

And then recall the large-hearted Ben Franklin, when sent to the French
court. In his plain gray clothes, unassuming and entirely forgetful of
himself, how he captured the hearts of all, of even the giddy society
ladies, and how he became and remained while there the centre of
attraction in that gay capital! His politeness, his manners, all the
result of that great, kind, loving, and helpful nature which made
others feel that it was they he was devoting himself to and not himself.

This little extract from a letter written by Franklin to George
Whitefield will show how he regarded the great principle we are
considering: "As to the kindness you mention, I wish it could have been
of more service to you. But, if it had, the only thanks I should desire
is that you would always be equally ready to serve any other person that
may need your assistance; and so let good offices go around, for mankind
are all of a family. For my own part, when I am employed in serving
others, I do not look upon myself as conferring favors, but as paying
debts. In my travels, and since my settlement, I have received much
kindness from men to whom I shall never have any opportunity of making
any direct return, and numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely
above being benefited by our services. These kindnesses from men I can,
therefore, only return on their fellow-men; and I can only show my
gratitude for these mercies from God by a readiness to help his other
children and my brethren."

No, true gentlemanliness and politeness always comes from within, and is
born of a life of love, kindliness, and service. This is the universal
language, known and understood everywhere, even when our words are not.
There is, you know, a beautiful old proverb which says, "He who is kind
and courteous to strangers thereby shows himself a citizen of the
world." And there is nothing so remembered, and that so endears one to
all mankind, as this universal language. Even dumb animals understand it
and are affected by it. How quickly the dog, for example, knows and
makes it known when he is spoken to and treated kindly or the reverse!
And here shall not a word be spoken in connection with that great body
of our fellow-creatures whom, because we do not understand their
language, we are accustomed to call dumb? The attitude we have assumed
toward these fellow-creatures, and the treatment they have been
subjected to in the past, is something almost appalling.

There are a number of reasons why this has been true. Has not one been
on account of a belief in a future life for man, but not for the animal?
A few years ago a gentleman left by will some fifty thousand dollars for
the work of Henry Bergh's New York Society. His relatives contested the
will on the ground of insanity,--on the ground of insanity because he
believed in a future life for animals. The judge, in giving his decision
sustaining the will, stated that after a very careful investigation, he
found that fully half the world shared the same belief. Agassiz
thoroughly believed it. An English writer has recently compiled a list
of over one hundred and seventy English authors who have so thoroughly
believed it as to write upon the subject. The same belief has been
shared by many of the greatest thinkers in all parts of the world, and
it is a belief that is constantly gaining ground.

Another and perhaps the chief cause has been on account of a supposed
inferior degree of intelligence on the part of animals, which in another
form would mean, that they are less able to care for and protect
themselves. Should this, however, be a reason why they should be
neglected and cruelly treated? Nay, on the other hand, should this not
be the greatest reason why we should all the more zealously care for,
protect, and kindly treat them?

You or I may have a brother or a sister who is not normally endowed as
to brain power, who, perchance, may be idiotic or insane, or who,
through sickness or mishap, is weakminded; but do we make this an
excuse for neglecting, cruelly treating, or failing to love such a one?
On the contrary, the very fact that he or she is not so able to plan
for, care for, and protect him or her self, is all the greater reason
for all the more careful exercise of these functions on our part. But,
certainly, there are many animals around us with far more intelligence,
at least manifested intelligence, than this brother or sister. The
parallel holds, but the absurd falsity of the position we assume is most
apparent. No truer nobility of character can anywhere manifest itself
than is shown in one's attitude toward and treatment of those weaker or
the so-called inferior, and so with less power to care for and protect
themselves. Moreover, I think we shall find that we are many times
mistaken in regard to our beliefs in connection with the inferior
intelligence of at least many animals. If, instead of using them simply
to serve our own selfish ends without a just recompense, without a
thought further than as to what we can get out of them, and then many
times casting them off when broken or of no further service, and many
times looking down upon, neglecting, or even abusing them,--if, instead
of this, we would deal equitably with them, love them, train and
educate them the same as we do our children, we would be somewhat
surprised at the remarkable degree of intelligence the "dumb brutes"
possess, and also the remarkable degree of training they are capable of.
What, however, can be expected of them when we take the attitude we at
present hold toward them?

Page after page might readily be filled with most interesting as well as
inspiring portrayals of their superior intelligence, their remarkable
capabilities under kind and judicious training, their _faithfulness_ and
_devotion_. The efforts of such noble and devoted workers as Henry Bergh
in New York, of George T. Angell in Massachusetts, and many others in
various parts of the country, have already brought about a great change
in our attitude toward and relations with this great body of our
fellow-creatures, and have made all the world more thoughtful,
considerate, and kind. This, however, is just the beginning of a work
that is assuming greater and ever greater proportions.

The work of the American Humane Education Society[A] is probably
surpassed in its vitality and far-reaching results by the work of no
other society in the world to-day. Its chief object is the humane
education of the American people; and through one phase of its work
alone--its Bands of Mercy, over twenty-five thousand of which have
already been formed, giving regular, systematic humane training and
instruction to between one and two million children, and these
continually increasing in numbers--a most vital work is being done, such
as no man can estimate.

The humane sentiment inculcated in one's relations with the animal
world, and its resultant feelings of sympathy, tenderness, love, and
care, will inevitably manifest itself in one's relations with his
fellows; and I for one, would rejoice to see this work carried into
every school throughout the length and breadth of the land. In many
cases this one phase of the child's training would be of far more vital
value and import as he grows to manhood than all the rest of the
schooling combined, and it would form a most vital entering wedge in the
solution of our social situation.

And why should we not speak to and kindly greet an animal as we pass it,
as instinctively as we do a human fellow-being? Though it may not get
our words, it will invariably get the attitude and the motive that
prompts them, and will be affected accordingly. This it will do every
time. Animals in general are marvellously sensitive to the mental
conditions, the thought forces, and emotions of people. Some are
peculiarly sensitive, and can detect them far more quickly and
unerringly than many people can.

It ought to help us greatly in our relations with them ever fully to
realize that they with us are parts of the one Universal Life, simply
different forms of the manifestation of the One Life, having their part
to play in the economy of the great universe the same as we have ours,
having their destiny to work out the same as we have ours, and just as
important, just as valuable, in the sight of the All in All as we
ourselves.

"I saw deep in the eyes of the animals the human soul look out upon me.

"I saw where it was born deep down under feathers and fur, or condemned
for a while to roam four-footed among the brambles. I caught the
clinging mute glance of the prisoner, and swore I would be faithful.

"Thee my brother and sister I see, and mistake not. Do not be afraid.
Dwelling thus for a while, fulfilling thy appointed time, thou, too,
shall come to thyself at last.

"Thy half-warm horns and long tongue lapping round my wrist do not
conceal thy humanity any more than the learned talk of the pedant
conceals his,--for all thou art dumb, we have words and plenty between
us.

"Come nigh, little bird, with your half-stretched quivering
wings,--within you I behold choirs of angels, and the Lord himself in
vista."[B]

But a small thing, apparently, is a kind look, word, or service of some
kind; but, oh! who can tell where it may end? It costs the giver
comparatively nothing; but who can tell the priceless value to him who
receives it? The cup of loving service, be it merely a cup of cold
water, may grow and swell into a boundless river, refreshing and
carrying life and hope in turn to numberless others, and these to
others, and so have no end. This may be just the critical moment in some
life. Given now, it may save or change a life or a destiny. So don't
withhold the bread that's in your keeping, but

     "Scatter it with willing fingers, shout for joy to see it go."

There is no greater thing in life that you can do, and nothing that
will bring you such rich and precious returns.

The question is sometimes asked, How can one feel a deep and genuine
love, a love sufficient to manifest itself in service for all?--there
are some so mean, so small, with so many peculiar, objectionable, or
even obnoxious characteristics. True, very true, apparently at least;
but another great law of life is that _we find in men and women exactly
those qualities, those characteristics, we look for, or that are nearest
akin to the predominant qualities or characteristics of our own
natures_. If we look for the peculiar, the little, the objectionable,
these we shall find; but back of all this, all that is most apparent on
the exterior, in the depths of each and every human soul, is the good,
the true, the brave, the loving, the divine, the God-like, that that
never changes, the very God Himself that at some time or another will
show forth His full likeness.

And still another law of life is that others usually manifest to us that
which our own natures, or, in other words, our own thoughts and
emotions, call forth. The same person, for example, will come to two
different people in an entirely different way, because the larger,
better, purer, and more universal nature of the one calls forth the
best, the noblest, the truest in him; while the smaller, critical,
personal nature of the other calls forth the opposite. The wise man is
therefore careful in regard to what he has to say concerning this or
that one; for, generally speaking, it is a sad commentary upon one's
self if he find only the disagreeable, the objectionable. _One lives
always in the atmosphere of his own creation_.

Again, it is sometimes said, But such a one has such and such habits or
has done so and so, has committed such and such an error or such and
such a crime. But who, let it be asked, constituted me a judge of my
fellow-man? Do I not recognize the fact that the moment I judge my
fellow-man, by that very act I judge myself? One of two things, I either
judge myself or hypocritically profess that never once in my entire life
have I committed a sin, an error of any kind, never have I stumbled,
never fallen, and by that very profession I pronounce myself at once
either a fool or a knave, or both.

Again, it is said, But even for the sake of helping, of doing some
service, I could not for my own sake, for character's, for reputation's
sake, I could not afford even to be seen with such a one. What would
people, what would my friends, think and say? True, apparently at least,
but, if my life, my character, has such a foundation, a foundation so
weak, so uncertain, so tottering, as to be affected by anything of this
kind, I had better then look well to it, and quietly, quickly, but
securely, begin to rebuild it; and, when I am sure that it is upon the
true, deep, substantial foundation, the only additional thing then
necessary is for me to reach that glorious stage of development which
quickly gets one out of the personal into the universal, or rather that
indicates that he is already out of the one and into the other, when he
can say: They think. What do they think? Let them think. They say. What
do they say? Let them say.

And, then, the supreme charity one should have, when he realizes the
fact that _the great bulk of the sin and error in the world is committed
not through choice, but through ignorance_. Not that the person does not
know many times that this or that course of action is wrong, that it is
wrong to commit this error or sin or crime; but the ignorance comes in
his belief that in this course of conduct he is deriving pleasure and
happiness, and his ignorance of the fact that through a different course
of conduct he would derive a pleasure, a happiness, much keener, higher,
more satisfying and enduring.

Never should we forget that we are all the same in motive,--pleasure and
happiness: we differ only in method; and this difference in method is
solely by reason of some souls being at any particular time more fully
evolved, and thus having a greater knowledge of the great, immutable
laws under which we live, and by putting the life into more and ever
more complete harmony with these higher laws and forces, and in this way
bringing about the highest, the keenest, the most abiding pleasure and
happiness instead of seeking it on the lower planes.

While all are the same in essence, all a part of the One Infinite,
Eternal, all with the same latent possibilities, all reaching ultimately
the same place, it nevertheless is true that at any particular time some
are more fully awakened, evolved, unfolded. One should also be careful,
if life is continuous, eternal, how he judges any particular life merely
from these threescore years and ten; for the very fact of life, in
whatever form, means continual activity, growth, advancement,
unfoldment, attainment, and, if there is the one, there must of
necessity be the other. So in regard to this one or that one, no fears
need be entertained.

By the door of my woodland cabin stood during the summer a magnificent
tube-rose stock. The day was when it was just putting into bloom; and
then I counted buds--latent flowers--to the number of over a score. Some
eight or ten one morning were in full bloom. The ones nearer the top did
not bloom forth until some two and three weeks later, and for some it
took quite a month to reach the fully perfected stage. These certainly
were not so beautiful, so satisfying, as those already in the perfect
bloom, those that had already reached their highest perfection. But
should they on this account be despised? Wait, wait and give the element
of time an opportunity of doing its work; and you may find that by and
by, when these have reached their highest perfection, they may even far
transcend in beauty and in fragrance those at present so beautiful, so
fragrant, so satisfying, those that we so much admire.

Here we recognize the element of time. How foolish, how childish, how
puerile, to fail or even refuse to do the same when it comes to the
human soul, with all its God-like possibilities! And, again, how
foolish, because some of the blooms on the rose stock had not reached
their perfection as soon as others, to have pronounced them of no value,
unworthy, and to have refused them the dews, the warm rains, the
life-giving sunshine, the very agencies that hastened their perfected
growth! Yet this puerile, unbalanced attitude is that taken by untold
numbers in the world to-day toward many human souls on account of their
less mature unfoldment at any given time.

Why, the very fact that a fellow-man and a brother has this or that
fault, error, undesirable or objectionable characteristic, is of itself
the very reason he needs all the more of charity, of love, of kindly
help and aid, than is needed by the one more fully developed, and hence
more free from these. All the more reason is there why the best in him
should be recognized and ever called to the front.

The wise man is he who, when he desires to rid a room of darkness or
gloom, does not attempt to drive it out directly, but who throws open
the doors and the windows, that the room may be flooded with the golden
sunlight; for in its presence darkness and gloom cannot remain. So the
way to help a fellow-man and a brother to the higher and better life is
not by ever prating upon and holding up to view his errors, his faults,
his shortcomings, any more than in the case of children, but by
recognizing and ever calling forth the higher, the nobler, the divine,
the God-like, _by opening the doors and the windows of his own soul_,
and thus bringing about a spiritual perception, that he may the more
carefully listen to the inner voice, that he may the more carefully
follow "the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
For in the exact proportion that the interior perception comes will the
outer life and conduct accord with it,--so far, and no farther.

Where in all the world's history is to be found a more beautiful or
valuable incident than this? A group of men, self-centred,
self-assertive, have found a poor woman who, in her blindness and
weakness, has committed an error, the same one that they, in all
probability, have committed not once, but many times; _for the rule is
that they are first to condemn who are-most at fault themselves_. They
bring her to the Master, they tell him that she has committed a
sin,--ay, more, that she has been taken in the very act,--and ask what
shall be done with her, informing him that, in accordance with the olden
laws, such a one should be stoned.

But, quicker than thought, that great incarnation of spiritual power and
insight reads their motives; and, after allowing them to give full
expression to their accusations, he turns, and calmly says, "He among
you that is _without sin_, let _him_ cast the first stone." So saying,
he stoops down, as if he is writing in the sand. The accusers, feeling
the keen and just rebuke, in the mean time sneak out, until not one
remains. The Master, after all have gone, turns to the woman, his
sister, and kindly and gently says, "And where are thine accusers? doth
no man condemn thee?" "No man, Lord." "_And neither do I condemn thee:
go thou, and sin no more_." Oh, the beauty, the soul pathos! Oh, the
royal-hearted brother! Oh, the invaluable lesson to us all!

I have no doubt that this gentle, loving admonition, this calling of the
higher and the better to the front, set into operation in her interior
nature forces that hastened her progress from the purely animal, the
unsatisfying, the diminishing, to the higher spiritual, the satisfying,
the ever-increasing, or, even more, that made it instantaneous, but that
in either case brought about the new birth,--the new birth that comes
with the awakening of the soul out of its purely physical sense-life to
the higher spiritual perception and knowledge of itself, and thus the
birth of the higher out of the lower, as at some time or another comes
to each and every human soul.

And still another fact that should make us most charitable toward and
slow to judge, or rather refuse to judge, a fellow-man and a
brother,--the fact that we cannot know the intense strugglings and
fightings he or she may be subjected to, though accompanied, it is true,
by numerous stumblings and fallings, though the latter we see, while the
former we fail to recognize. Did we, however, know the truth of the
matter, it may be that in the case of ourselves, who are so quick to
judge, had we the same temptations and fightings, the battle would not
be half so nobly, so manfully fought, and our stumblings and fallings
might be many times the number of his or of hers. Had we infinite
knowledge and wisdom, our judgments would be correct; though, had we
infinite knowledge and wisdom, we would be spared the task, though
perhaps pleasure would seem to be the truer word to use, of our own
self-imposed judgments.

Even so, then, if I cannot give myself in thorough love and service and
self-devotion to each and all of the Father's other children, to every
brother, no matter what the rank, station, or apparent condition, it
shows that at least one of several things is radically wrong with self;
and it also indicates that I shall never know the full and supreme joy
of existence until I am able to and until I regard each case in the
light of a rare and golden opportunity, in which I take a supreme
delight.

Although what has just been said is true, at the same time there are
occasions when it must be taken with wise discretion; and, although
there are things it may be right for me to do for the sake of helping
another life, at the same time there are things it may be unwise for me
to do. I have sympathy for a friend who is lying in the gutter; but it
would be very unwise for me to get myself into the same condition, and
go and lie with him, thinking that only thus I could show my fullest
sympathy, and be of greatest help to him. On the contrary, it is only as
I stand on the higher ground that I am able to reach forth the hand
that will truly lift him up. The moment I sink myself to the same level,
my power to help ceases.

Just as unwise, to use a familiar example, far more unwise, would it be
for me, were I a woman, to think of marrying a man who is a drunkard or
a libertine, thinking that because I may love him I shall be able to
reform him. In the first place, I should find that the desired results
could not be accomplished in this way, or rather, no results that could
not be accomplished, and far more readily accomplished otherwise, and at
far less expense. In the second place, I could not afford to subject
myself to the demands, the influences, of one such, and so either sink
myself to his level or, if not, then be compelled to use the greater
part of my time, thought, and energy in demonstrating over existing
conditions, and keeping myself true to the higher life, the same time
that might be used in helping the lives of many others. If I sink myself
to his level, I do not help, but aid all the more in dragging him down,
or, if I do not sink to his level, then in the degree that I approach it
do I lose my power over and influence with that life. Especially would
it be unwise on my part if on his part there is no real desire for a
different course, and no manifest endeavor to attain to it. Many times
it seems necessary for such a one to wallow in the deepest of the mire,
until, to use a commonplace phrase, he has his fill. He will then be
ready to come out, will then be open to influence. I in the mean time,
instead of entering into the mire with him, instead of subjecting my
life to his influences, will stand up on the higher ground, and will
ever point him upward, will ever reach forth a hand to help him upward,
and will thus subject _him_ to the higher influences; and, by preserving
myself in this attitude, I can do the same for many other lives. In it
all there will be no bitterness, no condemnation, no casting off, but
the highest charity, sympathy and love; and it is only by this method
that I can manifest the highest, only by this method that I can the most
truly aid, for only as I am lifted up can I draw others unto me.

In this matter of service, as in all other matters, that supreme
regulator of human life and conduct--good common sense--must always be
used. There are some natures, for example, whom the more we would do
for, the more we would have to do for, who, in other words, would become
dependent, losing their sense of self-dependence. For such the highest
service one can render is as judiciously and as indirectly as possible
to lead them to the sense of self-reliance. Then there are others whose
natures are such that, the more they are helped, the more they expect,
the more they demand, even as their right, who, in other words, are
parasites or vultures of the human kind. In this case, again, the
greatest service that can be rendered may be a refusal of service, a
refusal of aid in the ordinary or rather expected forms, and a still
greater service in the form of teaching them that great principle of
justice, of compensation, that runs through all the universe,--that for
every service there must be in some form or another an adequate service
in return, that the law of compensation in one form or another is
absolute, and, in fact, the greatest forms of service we can render any
one are, generally speaking, along the lines of teaching him the great
laws of his own being, the great laws of his true possibilities and
powers and so the great laws of self-help.

And, again, it is possible for one whose heart goes out in love and
service for all, and who, by virtue of lacking that long range of vision
or by virtue of not having a grasp of things in their entirety or
wholeness, may have his time, his energies so dissipated in what seems
to be the highest service that he is continually kept from his own
highest unfoldment, powers, and possessions, the very things that in
their completeness would make him a thousand-fold more effective and
powerful in his own life, and hence in the life of real service and
influence. And, in a case of this kind, many times the mark of the most
absolute unselfishness is a strong and marked selfishness, which will
prove however to be a selfishness only in the seeming.

_The self should never be lost sight of. It is the one thing of supreme
importance, the greatest factor even in the life of the greatest
service_. Being always and necessarily precedes doing: having always and
necessarily precedes giving. But this law also holds: that when there is
the being, it is all the more increased by the doing; when there is the
having, it is all the more increased by the giving. _Keeping to one's
self dwarfs and stultifies. Hoarding brings loss: using brings even
greater gain_. In brief, the more we are, the more we can do; the more
we have, the more we can give.

The most truly successful, the most powerful and valuable life, then,
is the life that is first founded upon this great, immutable law of love
and service, and that then becomes supremely self-centred,--supremely
self-centred that it may become all the more supremely unself-centred;
in other words, the life that looks v/ell to self, that there may be the
ever greater self, in order that there may be the ever greater service.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote A: Headquarters at Boston, Mass.]

[Footnote B: Toward Democracy.]



PART IV.

THE AWAKENING


    If you'd live a religion that's noble,
      That's God-like and true,
    A religion the grandest that men
      Or that angels can,
    Then live, live the truth
      Of the brother who taught you,
    It's love to God, service and love
      To the fellow-man.


Social problems are to be among the greatest problems of the generation
just moving on to the stage of action. They, above all others, will
claim the attention of mankind, as they are already claiming it across
the waters even as at home. The attitude of the two classes toward each
other, or the separation of the classes, will be by far the chief
problem of them all. Already it is imperatively demanding a solution.
Gradually, as the years have passed, this separation has been going on,
but never so rapidly as of late. Each has come to regard the other as an
enemy, with no interests in common, but rather that what is for the
interests of the one must necessarily be to the detriment of the other.

The great masses of the people, the working classes, those who as much,
if not more than many others ought to be there, are not in our churches
to-day. They already feel that they are not wanted there, and that the
Church even is getting to be their enemy. There must be a reason for
this, for it is impossible to have an effect without its preceding
cause. It is indeed time to waken up to these facts and conditions; for
they must be _squarely_ met. A solution is imperatively demanded, and
the sooner it comes, the better; for, if allowed to continue thus, all
will come back to be paid for, intensified a thousand-fold,--ay, to be
paid for even by many innocent ones.

Let this great principle of service, helpfulness, love, and
self-devotion to the interests of one's fellow-men be made the
fundamental principle of all lives, and see how simplified these great
and all-important questions will become. Indeed, they will almost solve
themselves. It is the man all for self, so small and so short sighted
that he can't get beyond his own selfish interests, that has done more
to bring about this state of affairs than all other causes combined. Let
the cause be removed, and then note the results.

For many years it has been a teaching even of political economy that an
employer buys his help just as he buys his raw material or any other
commodity; and this done, he is in no way responsible for the welfare of
those he employs. In fact, the time isn't so far distant when the
employed were herded together as animals, and were treated very much as
such. But, thanks be to God, a better and a brighter day is dawning.
Even the employer is beginning to see that practical ethics, or true
Christianity, and business cannot and must not be divorced; that the man
he employs, instead of being a mere animal whose services he buys, is,
after all his fellow-man and his brother, and demands a treatment as
such, and that when he fails to recognize this truth, a righteous God
steps in, demanding a penalty for its violation.

He is recognizing the fact that whatsoever is for the well-being of the
one he employs, that whatever privileges he is enabled to enjoy that
will tend to grow and develop his physical, his mental, and his moral
life, that will give him an agreeable home and pleasant family
relations, that whatever influences tend to elevate him and to make his
life more happy, are a direct gain, even from a financial standpoint for
himself, by its increasing for him the efficiency of the man's labor.
It is already recognized as a fact that the employer who interests
himself in these things, other things being equal, is the most
successful. Thus the old and the false are breaking away before the
right and the true, as all inevitably must sooner or later; and the
divinity and the power of the workingman is being ever more fully
recognized.

In the very remote history of the race there was one who, violating a
great law, having wronged a brother, asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Knowing that he was, he nevertheless deceitfully put the question in
this way in his desire, if possible, to avoid the responsibility. Many
employers in their selfishness and greed for gain have asked this same
question in this same way. They have thought they could thus defeat the
sure and eternal laws of a Just Ruler, but have thereby deceived
themselves the more. These more than any others have to a great degree
brought about the present state of affairs in the industrial and social
world.

Just as soon as the employer recognizes the falsity of these old
teachings and practices, and the fact that he cannot buy his employee's
services the same as he buys his raw material, with no further
responsibility, but that the two are on vastly different planes, that
his employee is his fellow-man and his brother, and that he is his
brother's keeper, and will be held responsible as such, that it is to
his own highest interests, as well as to the highest interests of those
he employs and to society in general, to recognize this; and just as
soon as he who is employed fully appreciates his opportunities and makes
the highest use of all, and in turn takes an active, personal interest
in all that pertains to his employer's welfare,--just that soon will a
solution of this great question come forth, and no sooner.

It is not so much a question of legislation as of education and right
doing, thus a dealing with the _individual_, and so a prevention and a
cure, not merely a suppression and a regulation, which is always sure to
fail; for, in a case of right or wrong no question is ever settled
finally until it is settled rightly.

The individual, dealing with the individual is necessarily at the bottom
of all true social progress. There can't be anything worthy the name
without it. The truth will at once be recognized by all _that the good
of the whole defends upon the good of each, and the good of each makes
the good of the whole_. Attend, then, to the individual, and the whole
will take care of itself. Let each individual work in harmony with every
other, and harmony will pervade the whole. The old theory of
competition--that in order to have great advancement, great progress, we
must have great competition to induce it--is as false as it is savage
and detrimental in its nature. We are just reaching that point where the
larger men and women are beginning to see its falsity. They are
recognizing the fact that, _not competition, but co-operation,
reciprocity, is the great, the true power_,--to climb, not by attempting
to drag, to keep down one's fellows, but by aiding them, and being in
turn aided by them, thus combining, and so multiplying the power of all
instead of wasting a large part one against the other.

And grant that a portion do succeed in rising, while the other portion
remain in the lower condition, it is of but little value so far as their
own peace and welfare are concerned; for they can never be what they
would be, were all up together. Each is but a part, a member, of the
great civil body; and no member, let alone the entire body, can be
perfectly well, perfectly at ease, when any other part is in dis-ease.
No one part of the community, no one part of the nation, can stand
alone: all are dependent, interdependent. This is the uniform teaching
of history from the remotest times in the past right through to the
present. A most admirable illustration of this fact--if indeed the word
"admirable" can be used in connection with a matter so deplorable--was
the unparalleled labor trouble we had in our great Western city but a
few summers ago. The wise man is he who learns from experiences of this
terrific nature.

No, not until this all-powerful principle is fully recognized, and is
built upon so thoroughly that the brotherhood principle, the principle
of oneness can enter in, and each one recognizes the fact that his own
interests and welfare depend upon the interests, the welfare of each,
and therefore of all, that each is but a part of the one great whole,
and each one stands shoulder to shoulder in the advance forward, can we
hope for any true solution of the great social problems before us, for
any permanent elevation of the standard in our national social life and
welfare.

This same principle is the solution, and the only true solution, of the
charities question, as indeed the whole world during the last few years
or so, and during this time only, is beginning to realize. And the
splendid and efficient work of the organized charities in all our large
cities, as of the Elberfeld system in Germany, is attesting the truth of
this. Almost numberless methods have been tried during the past, but all
have most successfully failed; and many have greatly increased the
wretched condition of matters, and of those it was designed to help.
During this length of time only have these all-important questions been
dealt with in a true, scientific, Christ-like, common-sense way. It has
been found even here that nothing can take the place of the personal and
friendly influences of a life built upon this principle of service.

The question of aiding the poor and needy has passed through three
distinct phases of development in the world's history. In early times it
was, "Each one for himself, and the devil take the hindmost." From the
time of the Christ, and up to the last few years it has been, "Help
others." Now it is, "_Help others to help themselves_." The wealthy
society lady going down Fifth Avenue in New York, or Michigan Avenue in
Chicago, or Charles Street in Baltimore, or Commonwealth Avenue in
Boston, who flings a coin to one asking alms, is _not_ the one who is
doing a true act of charity; but, on the other hand, she may be doing
the one she thus gives to and to society in general much more harm than
good, as is many times the case. It is but a cheap, a very cheap way of
buying ease for her sympathetic nature or her sense of duty. Never let
the word "charity," which always includes the elements of interested
service, true helpfulness, kindliness, and love, be debased by making it
a synonym of mere giving, which may mean the flinging of a quarter in
scorn or for show.

Recognizing the great truth that the best and only way to help another
is to help him to help himself, and that the neglected classes need not
so much alms as friends, the Organized Charities with their several
branches in different parts of the city have their staffs of "friendly
visitors," almost all voluntary, and from some of the best homes in the
land. Then when a case of need comes to the notice of the society, one
of these goes to the person or family as a _friend_ to investigate, to
find what circumstances have brought about these conditions, and, if
found worthy of aid, present needs are supplied, an effort is made to
secure work, and every effort is made to put them on their feet again,
that self-respect may be regained, that hope may enter in; for there is
scarcely anything that tends to make one lose his self-respect so
quickly and so completely as to be compelled, or of his own accord, to
ask for alms.

It is thus many times that a new life is entered upon, brightness and
hope taking the place of darkness and despair. This is not the only call
the friendly visitor makes; but he or she becomes a _true friend_, and
makes regular visits as such. If by this method the one seeking charity
is found to be an impostor, as is frequently the case, proper means of
exposure are resorted to, that his or her progress in this course may be
stopped. The organizations are thus doing a most valuable work, and one
that will become more and more valuable as they are enabled to become
better organized, the greatest need to-day being more with the true
spirit to act as visiting friends.

It is this same great principle that has given birth to our college and
university settlements and our neighborhood guilds which are so rapidly
increasing, and which are destined to do a great and efficient work.
Here a small colony of young women, many from our best homes, and the
ablest graduates of our best colleges, and young men, many of them the
ablest graduates of our best universities, take up their abode in the
poorest parts of our large cities, to try by their personal influence
and personal contact to raise the surrounding life to a higher plane. It
is in these ways that the poor and the unfortunate are dealt with
directly. Thus the classes mingle. Thus that sentimentalism which may do
and which has done harm to these great problems, and by which the people
it is designed to help may be hindered rather than helped, is done away
with. Thus true aid and service are rendered, and the needy are really
helped.

The one whose life is built upon this principle will not take up work of
this kind as a "fad," or because it is "fashionable," but because it is
right, true, Christ-like. The truly great and noble never fear thus to
mingle with those poorer and less fortunate. It is only those who would
like to be counted as great, but who are too small to be so recognized,
and who, therefore, always thinking of self, put forth every effort to
appear so. There is no surer test than this.

Very truly has it been said that "the greatest thing a man can do for
God is to be kind to some of His other children." All children of the
same Father, therefore all brothers, sisters. Man is next to God. Man is
God incarnate. Humanity, therefore, cannot be very far from being next
to godliness. Many people there are who are greatly concerned about
serving God, as they term it. Their idea is to build great edifices with
costly ornaments to Him. A great deal of their time is spent in singing
songs and hallelujahs to Him, just as if _He_ needed or wanted these for
Himself, forgetting that He is far above being benefited by anything
that we can say or do, forgetting that He doesn't want these, when for
lack of them some of His children are starving for bread to eat or are
dying for the bread of life.

Can you conceive of a God who is worthy of love and service,--and I
speak most reverently,--who under such conditions would take a
satisfaction in these things? I confess I am not able to. I can conceive
of no way in which I can serve God only as I serve Him through my own
life and through the lives of my fellow-men. This, certainly, is the
only kind of service He needs or wants, or that is acceptable to Him.
At one place we read, "He that says he loves God and loves not his
fellow-men, is a liar; and the truth is not in him."

Even in religion I think we shall find that there is nothing greater or
more important than this great principle of service, helpfulness,
kindliness, and love. Is not Christianity, you ask, greater or more
important? Why, bless you, is this any other than Christianity, is
Christianity any other than this,--at least, if we take what the Master
Teacher himself has said? For what, let us ask, is a Christian,--the
real, not merely in name? A follower of Christ, one who does as he did,
one who lives as he lived. And, again, who was Christ? He that healed
the sick, clothed the naked, bound up the broken-hearted, sustained and
encouraged the weak, the faltering, befriended and aided the poor, the
needy, condemned the proud and the selfish, taught the people to live
nobly, truly, grandly, to live in their higher, diviner selves, that the
greatest among them should be their servant, and that his followers were
those who lived as he lived. He spent all his time in the service of
humanity. He gave his whole life in this way. He it was who went about
doing good.

Is it your desire then, to be numbered among his followers, to bear
that blessed name, the name "Christian"? Then sit at his feet, and learn
of him, love him, do as he did, as he taught you to do, live as he
lived, as he taught you to live, and you are a Christian, and not unless
you do. True Christianity can be found in no other way.

Naught is the difference what one may call himself; for many call
themselves by this name to whom Christ says it will one day be said, "I
never knew you: depart from me, ye cursed." Naught is the difference
what creeds one may subscribe to, what rites and ceremonies he may
observe, how loud and how numerous his professions may be. All of these
are but as a vain mockery, unless he _is_ a Christian; and to be a
Christian is, as we have found, to be a follower of Christ, to do as he
did, to live as he lived. Then live the Christ life. Live so as to
become at one with God, and dwell continually in this blessed
at-one-ment. The trouble all along has been that so many have mistaken
the mere person of the Christ, the mere physical Jesus, for his life,
his spirit, his teachings, and have succeeded in getting no farther than
this as yet, except in cases here and there.

Now and then a rare soul rises up, one with great power, great
inspiration, and we wonder at his great power, his great inspiration,
why it is. When we look deeply enough, however, we will find that one
great fact will answer the question every time. It is living the life
that brings the power. He is living the Christ life, not merely standing
afar off and looking at it, admiring it, and saying, Yes, I believe, I
believe, and ending it there. In other words, he has found the kingdom
of heaven. He has found that it is not a place, but a condition; and the
song continually arising from his heart is, There is joy, only joy.

The Master, you remember, said: "Seek ye not for the kingdom of heaven
in tabernacles or in houses made with hands. Know ye not that the
kingdom of heaven is within you?" He told in plain words where and how
to find it. He then told how to find _all other_ things, when he said,
"Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these other things shall
be added unto you." Now, do you wonder at his power, his inspiration,
his abundance of all things? The trouble with so many is that they act
as if they do not believe what the Master said. They do not take him at
his word. They say one thing: they do another. Their acts give the lie
to their words. Instead of taking him at his word, and living as if they
had faith in him, they prefer to follow a series of old, outgrown,
man-made theories, traditions, forms, ceremonies, and seem to be
satisfied with the results. No, _to be a Christian is to live the Christ
life_, the life of him who went about doing good, the life of him who
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.

We will find that this mighty principle of love and service is the
greatest to live by in this life, and also one of the gates whereby all
who would must enter the kingdom of heaven.

Again we have the Master's words. In his own and only description of the
last judgment, after speaking of the Son of Man coming in all his glory
and all the holy angels with him, of his sitting on the throne of his
glory with all nations gathered before him, of the separation of this
gathered multitude into two parts, the one on his right, the other on
his left, he says: "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand,
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from
the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me
meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took
me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in
prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him,
saying, Lord, when saw we _thee_ an hungered, and fed _thee_? or
thirsty, and gave _thee_ drink? When saw we _thee_ a stranger, and took
_thee_ in? or naked, and clothed _thee_? Or when saw we _thee_ sick, or
in prison, and came unto _thee_? And the King shall answer, and say unto
them, Verily I say unto you, _Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me_.

"Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye
cursed. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty,
and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; sick,
and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they answer him,
saying, Lord, when saw we _thee_ an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger,
or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then
shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, _Inasmuch as ye did
it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me_."

After spending the greater portion of his life in many distant climes
in a fruitless endeavor to find the Cup of the Holy Grail,[C] thinking
that thereby he was doing the greatest service he could for God, Sir
Launfal at last returns an old man, gray-haired and bent. He finds that
his castle is occupied by others, and that he himself is an outcast. His
cloak is torn; and instead of the charger in gilded trappings he was
mounted upon when as a young man, he started out with great hopes and
ambitions, he is afoot and leaning on a staff. While sitting there and
meditating, he is met by the same poor and needy leper he passed the
morning he started, the one who in his need asked for aid, and to whom
he had flung a coin in scorn, as he hurried on in his eager desire to be
in the Master's service. But matters are changed now, and he is a wiser
man. Again the poor leper says:--

    "'For Christ's sweet sake, I beg an alms';--
    The happy camels may reach the spring,
    But Sir Launfal sees only the grewsome thing,
    The leper, lank as the rain-blanched bone,
    That cowers beside him, a thing as lone
    And white as the ice-isles of Northern seas
    In the desolate horror of his disease.

    "And Sir Launfal said: 'I behold in thee
    An image of Him who died on the tree;
    Thou also hast had thy crown of thorns,--
    Thou also hast had the world's buffets and scorns,--
    And to thy life were not denied
    The wounds in the hands and feet and side:
    Mild Mary's Son, acknowledge me;
    Behold, _through him_, I give to thee!'

    "Then the soul of the leper stood up in his eyes
      And looked at Sir Launfal, and straightway be
    Remembered in what a haughtier guise
      He had flung an alms to leprosie,
    When he girt his young life up in gilded mail
    And set forth in search of the Holy Grail.
    The heart within him was ashes and dust;
    He parted in twain his single crust,
    He broke the ice on the streamlet's brink,
    And gave the leper to eat and drink,
    'Twas a mouldy crust of coarse brown bread,
      'Twas water out of a wooden bowl,--
    Yet with fine wheaten bread was the leper fed,
      And 'twas red wine he drank with his thirsty soul.

    "As Sir Launfal mused with a downcast face,
    A light shone round about the place;
    The leper no longer crouched at his side,
    But stood before him glorified,
    Shining and tall and fair and straight
    As the pillar that stood by the Beautiful Gate,--
    Himself the Gate whereby men can
    Enter the temple of God in Man.

    "And the voice that was calmer than silence said,
    'Lo, it is I, be not afraid!
    In many climes, without avail,
    Thou hast spent thy life for the Holy Grail;
    Behold, it is here,--this cup which thou
    Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now;
    This crust is my body broken for thee,
    This water His blood that died on the tree;
    The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
    In whatso we share with another's need;
    Not what we give, but what we _share_,--
    For the gift without the giver is bare;
    Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,--
    Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.'"

The fear is sometimes entertained, and the question is sometimes asked,
May not adherence to this principle of helpfulness and service become
mere sentimentalism? or still more, may it not be the means of lessening
another's sense of self-dependence, and thus may it not at times do more
harm than good? In reply let it be said: If the love which impels it be
a selfish love, or a weak sentimental ism, or an effort at show, or
devoid of good common sense, yes, many times. But if it be a strong,
genuine, unselfish love, then no, never. For, if my love for my
fellow-man be the true love, I can never do anything that will be to his
or any one's else detriment,--nothing that will not redound to his
highest ultimate welfare. Should he, for example come and ask of me a
particular favor, and were it clear to me that granting it would not be
for his highest good ultimately, then love at once resolves itself into
duty, and compels me to forbear. A true, genuine, unselfish love for
one's fellow-man will never prompt, and much less permit, anything that
will not result in his highest ultimate good. Adherence, therefore, to
this great principle in its truest sense, instead of being a weak
sentimentalism, is, we shall find, of all practical things the _most
intensely practical_.

And a word here in regard to the test of true love and service, in
distinction from its semblance for show or for vain glory. The test of
the true is this: that it goes about and does its good work, it never
says anything about it, but lets others do the saying. It not only says
nothing about it, but more, it has no desire to have it known; and, the
truer it is, the greater the desire to have it unknown save to God and
its own true self. In other words, it is not sicklied o'er with a
semi-insane desire for notoriety or vainglory, and hence never weakens
itself nor harasses any one else by lengthy recitals of its good deeds.
It is not the _professional_ good-doing. It is simply living its natural
life, open-minded, open-hearted, doing each day what its hands find to
do, and in this finding its own true life and joy. And in this way it
unintentionally but irresistibly draws to itself a praise the rarest and
divinest I know of,--the praise I heard given but a day or two ago to
one who is living simply his own natural life without any conscious
effort at anything else, the praise contained in the words: And, oh, it
is beautiful, the great amount of good he does and of which the world
never hears.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote C: "According to the mythology of the Romancers, the Sangreal,
or Holy Grail, was the cup out of which Jesus partook of the Last Supper
with his disciples. It was brought into England by Joseph of Arimathea,
and remained there, an object of pilgrimage and adoration, for many
years in the keeping of his lineal descendants. It was incumbent upon
those who had charge of it to be chaste in thought, word, and deed; but,
one of the keepers having broken this condition, the Holy Grail
disappeared. From that time it was a favorite enterprise of the Knights
of Sir Arthur's court to go in search of it."--_James Russell Lowell_.]



PART V.

THE INCOMING


    O dull, gray grub, unsightly and noisome, unable to roam,
      Days pass, God's at work, the slow chemistry's going on,
             Behold! Behold!
    O brilliant, buoyant life, full winged, all the heaven's thy home!
    O poor, mean man, stumbling and falling, e'en shamed by a clod.
      Years pass, God's at work, spiritual awakening has come,
            Behold! Behold!
    O regal, royal soul, then image, now the likeness of God.


The Master Teacher, he who appeals most strongly and comes nearest to us
of this western civilization, has told us that the whole and the highest
duty of man is comprised in two great, two simple precepts--- love to
God and love to the fellow-man. The latter we have already fully
considered. We have found that in its real and true meaning it is not a
mere indefinite or sentimental abstraction, but that it is a vital,
living force; and in its manifestation it is life, it is action, it is
service. Let us now for a moment to the other,--love to God, which in
great measure however let it be said, has been considered in dealing
with love to the fellow-man. Let us see, however, what it in its true
and full nature reveals.

The question naturally arising at the outset is, Who, what is God? I
think no truer, sublimer definition has ever been given in the world's
history, in any language, in any clime, than that given by the Master
himself when standing by the side of Jacob's well, to the Samaritan
woman he said, God is Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him
in spirit and in truth. God is Spirit, the Infinite Spirit, the Infinite
Life back of all these physical manifestations we see in this changing
world about us, and of which all, including we ourselves, is the body or
outer form; the one Infinite Spirit which fills all the universe with
Himself, so that all is He, since He is all. All is He in the sense of
being a part of Him; for, if He is all, there can be nothing that is
outside of, that is not a part of Him, so that each one is a part of
this Eternal God who is not separate from us, and, if not separate from
us, then not afar off, for in Him we live and move and have our being,
_He is the life of our life_, our very life itself. The life of God is
in us, we are in the life of God; but that life transcends us so that it
includes all else,--every person, every animal, every grass-blade, every
flower, every particle of earth, every particle of everything, animate
and inanimate. So that God is _All_; and, if all, then each individual,
you and I, must be a vital part of that all, since there can be nothing
separate from it; and, if a part, then the same in nature, in
characteristics,--the same as a tumbler of water taken from the ocean
is, in nature, in qualities, in characteristics, identical with that
ocean, its source. God, then, is the Infinite Spirit of which each one
is a part in the form of an individualized spirit. God is Spirit,
creating, manifesting, ruling through the agency of great spiritual laws
and forces that surround us on every side, that run through all the
universe, and that unite all; for in one sense, there is nothing in all
this great universe but law. And, oh, the stupendous grandeur of it all!
These same great spiritual laws and forces operate within us. They are
the laws of our being. By them every act of each individual life is
governed.

Now one of the great facts borne ever more and more into the inner
consciousness of man is that sublime and transcendent fact that we have
just noticed,--that man is one with, that he is part of, the Infinite
God, this Infinite Spirit that is the life of all, this Infinite Whole;
that he is not a mere physical, material being,--for the physical is but
the material which the real inner self, the real life or spirit uses to
manifest through,--but that he _is_ this spirit, this spirit, using,
living in this physical, material house or body to get the contact, the
experience with the material world around him while in this form of
life, but spirit nevertheless, and spirit now as much as he ever will or
ever can be, except so far of course, as he recognizes more and more his
true, his higher self, and so consciously evolves, step by step, into
the higher and ever higher realization of the real nature, the real
self, the God-self. As I heard it said by one of the world's great
thinkers and writers but a few days ago: Men talk of having a soul. I
have no soul. I am a soul: I have a body. We are told moreover in the
word, that man is created in the image of God. God is Spirit. What then
must man be, if that which tells us is true?

Now one of the great errors all along in the past has been that we have
mistaken the mere body, the mere house in which we live while in this
form of life for a period,--that which comes from the earth and which,
in a greater or less time, returns to the earth,--this we have mistaken
for the real self. Either we have lost sight of or we have failed to
recognize the true identity. The result is that we are at life from the
wrong side, from the side of the external, while all true life is from
within out.

We have taken our lives out of a conscious harmony with the higher laws
of our being, with the result that we are going against the great
current of the Divine Order of things. Is it any wonder, then, that we
find the strugglings, the inharmonies, the sufferings, the fears, the
forebodings, the fallings by the wayside, the "strange, inscrutable
dispensations of Providence" that we behold on every side? The moment we
bring our lives into harmony with the higher laws of our being, and, as
a result, into harmony with the current of the Divine Order of things,
we shall find that all these will have taken wings; for the cause will
have been removed. And as we look down the long vista of such a life, we
shall find that each thing fits into all others with a wonderful, a
sublime, a perfect, a divine harmony.

This, it will seem to some,--and to many, no doubt,--is claiming a great
deal. No more, however, than the Master Teacher warranted us in claiming
when he said, and repeated it so often, Seek ye first the kingdom of
heaven, and all these other things shall be added unto you; and he left
us not in the dark as to exactly what he meant by the kingdom of heaven,
for again he said: Say not, Lo here, nor lo there. Know ye not that the
kingdom of heaven is within you? _Within you._ The interior spiritual
kingdom, the kingdom of the higher self, which is the kingdom of God;
the kingdom of harmony,--harmony with the higher laws of your being.

The Master said what he said not for the sake merely of using a phrase
of rhetoric, nor even to hear himself talk; for this he never did. But
that great incarnation of spiritual insight and power knew of the great
spiritual laws and forces under which we live, and also that supreme
fact of the universe, that _man is a spiritual being, born to have
dominion_, and that, by recognizing the true self and by bringing it
into complete and perfect harmony with the higher spiritual laws and
forces under which he lives, he can touch these laws and forces so that
they will respond at every call and bring him whatsoever he wills,--one
of the most stupendous scientific facts of the universe. When he has
found and entered into the kingdom, then applies to him the truth of the
great precept, Take ye no thought for the morrow; for the things of the
morrow will take care of themselves.

Yes, we are at life from the wrong side. We have been giving all time
and attention to the mere physical, the material, the external, the mere
outward means of expression and the things that pertain thereto, thus
missing the real life; and this we have called living, and seem, indeed,
to be satisfied with the results. No wonder the cry has gone out again
and again from many a human soul, Is life worth the living? But from one
who has once commenced to _live_, this cry never has, nor can it ever
come; for, _when the kingdom is once found, life then ceases to be a
plodding, and becomes an exultation, an ecstasy, a joy_. Yes, you will
find that all the evil, all the error, all the disease, all the
suffering, all the fears, all the forebodings of life, are on the side
of the physical, the material, the transient; while all the peace, all
the joy, all the happiness, all the growth, all the life, all the rich,
exulting, abounding life, is on the side of the spiritual, the
ever-increasing, the eternal,--that that never changes, that has no end.
Instead of crying out against the destiny of fate, let us cry out
against the destiny of self, or rather against the destiny of the
mistaken self; for everything that comes to us comes through causes
which we ourselves or those before us have set into operation. Nothing
comes by chance, for _in all the wide universe there is absolutely no
such thing as chance_. We bring whatever comes. Are we not satisfied
with the effects, the results? The thing then to do, is to change the
causes; for we have everything in our own hands the moment we awake to a
recognition of the true self.

We make our own heaven or our own hell, and the only heaven or hell that
will ever be ours is that of our own making. The order of the universe
is one thing: we take our lives out of harmony with and so pervert the
laws under which we live, and make it another. The order is the all
good. We pervert the laws, and what we call evil is the result,--simply
the result of the violation of law; and we then wonder that a just and
loving God could permit such and such things. We wonder at what we term
the "strange, inscrutable dispensations of Providence," when all is of
our own making. We can be our own best friends or we can be our own
worst enemies; and the only real enemy one can ever have is the self,
the very self.

It is a well-known fact in the scientific world that the great work in
the process of evolution is the gradual advancing from the lower to the
higher, from the coarser to the finer, or, in other words, from the
coarser material to the finer spiritual; and this higher
spiritualization of life is the great work before us all. All pass
ultimately over the same road in general, some more rapidly, some more
slowly. The ultimate destiny of all is the higher life, the finding of
the higher self; and to this we are either led or we are pushed,--led,
by recognizing and coming into harmony with the higher laws of our
being, or pushed, through their violation, and hence through experience,
through suffering, and at times through bitter suffering, until through
this very agency we learn the laws and come into harmony with them, so
that we thus see the economy, the blessedness of even error, shame, and
suffering itself, in that, if we are not wise enough to go voluntarily
and of our own accord, it all the more quickly brings us to our true,
our higher selves.

Moreover, whatever is evolved must as surely first be involved. We
cannot conceive even of an evolution without first an involution; and,
if this is true, we cannot conclude otherwise than that all that will
ever be brought forth through the process of evolution is already
within, all the God possibilities of the human soul are now, at this
very moment, latent within. This being true, the process of evolution
need not, as is many times supposed, take aeons or even ages for its
accomplishment; for the process is wonderfully accelerated when we have
grasped and when we have commenced to actualize the reality of that
mighty precept, Know thyself.

It is possible, through an intelligent understanding of the laws of the
higher life, to advance in the spiritual awakening and unfoldment even
in a single year more than one otherwise would through a whole lifetime,
or more in a single day or even hour than in an entire year or series of
years otherwise.

This higher spiritualization of life is certainly what the Master had in
mind when he said, It is as hard for a rich man to enter into the
kingdom of heaven as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle. For, if a man give all his days and his nights merely to the
accumulation of outer material possessions, what time has he for the
growing, the unfolding, of the interior, the spiritual, what time for
finding that wonderful kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, the Christ
within?

This certainly is also the significance of the temptation in the
wilderness. The temptations were all, you will recall, in connection
with the material, the physical, and the things that pertain thereto. Do
so and so, said the physical: follow after me, and I will give you bread
in abundance, I will give you great fame and notoriety, I will give you
vast material possessions. All, you see, a calling away from the real,
the interior, the spiritual, the eternal. Dominion over all the kingdoms
of the _world_ was promised. But what, what is dominion overall the
world, with heaven left out?

All, however, was triumphed over. The physical was put into subjection
by the spiritual, the victory was gained once for all and forever; and
he became the supreme and royal Master, and by this complete and
glorious mastery of self he gained the mastery over all else besides,
even to material things and conditions.

And by this higher spiritual chemicalization of life thus set into
operation the very thought forces of his mind became charged with a
living, mighty, and omnipotent power, so as to effect a mastery over all
exterior conditions: hence the numerous things called miracles by those
who witnessed and who had not entered into a knowledge of the higher
laws that can triumph over and master the lower, but which are just as
real and as natural on their plane as the lower, and even more real and
more natural, because higher and therefore more enduring. But this
complete mastery over self during this period of temptation was just the
beginning of the path that led from glory unto glory, the path that for
you and for me will lead from glory unto glory the same as for him.

It was this new divine and spiritual chemistry of life thus set into
operation that transformed the man Jesus, that royal-hearted elder
brother, into the Christ Jesus, and forever blessed be his name; for he
thus became our Saviour,--he became our Saviour by virtue of pointing
out to us the way. This overcoming by the calling of the higher
spiritual forces into operation is certainly what he meant when he said,
I have overcome the world, and what he would have us understand when he
says, Overcome the world, even as I have overcome it.

And in the same sense we are all the saviors one of another, or may
become so. A sudden emergency arises, and I stand faltering and weak
with fear. My friend beside me is strong and fearless. He sees the
emergency. He summons up all the latent powers within him, and springs
forth to meet it. This sublime example arouses me, calls my latent
powers into activity, when but for him I might not have known them
there. I follow his example. I now know my powers, and know them forever
after. Thus, in this, my friend has become my savior.

I am weak in some point of character,--vacillating, yielding, stumbling,
falling, continually eating the bitter fruit of it all. My friend is
strong, he has gained thorough self-mastery. The majesty and beauty of
power are upon his brow. I see his example, I love his life, I am
influenced by his power. My soul longs and cries out for the same. A
supreme effort of will--that imperial master that will take one anywhere
when rightly directed--arises within me, it is born at last, and it
calls all the soul's latent powers into activity; and instead of
stumbling I stand firm, instead of giving over in weakness I stand firm
and master, I enter into the joys of full self-mastery, and through this
into the mastery of all things besides. And thus my friend has again
become my savior.

With the new power I have acquired through the example and influence of
my savior-friend, I, in turn, stand before a friend who is struggling,
who is stumbling and in despair. He sees, he feels, the power of my
strength. He longs for, his soul cries out for the same. _His_ interior
forces are called into activity, he now knows his powers; and instead of
the slave, he becomes the master, and thus I, in turn, have become his
savior. Oh, the wonderful sense of sublimity, the mighty feelings of
responsibility, the deep sense of power and peace the recognition of
this fact should bring to each and all.

God works through the instrumentality of human agency. Then forever away
with that old, shrivelling, weakening, dying, and devilish idea that we
are poor worms of the dust! We may or we may not be: it all depends upon
the self. The moment we believe we are we become such; and as long as we
hold to the belief we will be held to this identity, and will act and
live as such. The moment, however, we recognize our divinity, our
higher, our God-selves, and the fact that we are the saviors of our
fellow-men, we become saviors, and stand and move in the midst of a
majesty and beauty and power that of itself proclaims us as such.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a prevalent idea to the effect that overcoming in this sense
necessarily implies more or less of a giving up,--that it means
something possibly on the order of asceticism. On the contrary, the
highest, truest, keenest pleasures the human soul can know, it finds
only after the higher is entered upon and has commenced its work of
mastery; and, instead of there being a giving up of any kind, there is a
great law which says that the lower always and of its own accord falls
away before the higher. And the time soon comes when, as one stands and
looks back, he wonders that this or that that he at one time called
pleasure ever satisfied him; for what then satisfied him, compared to
what now is his hourly peace, satisfaction, and joy, was but as poor
brass compared to the finest, purest, and rarest of gold.

From what has been said let it not be inferred that the body, the
physical, material life is to be despised or looked down upon. This,
rather let it be said, is one of the crying errors of the times, and
prolific of a _vast_ amount of error, suffering, and shame. On the
contrary, it should be thought all the more highly of: it should be
loved and developed to its highest perfections, beauties, and powers.
God gave us the body not in vain. It is just as holy and beautiful as
the spirit itself. It is merely the outward material manifestation of
the individualized spirit; and we by our hourly thoughts and emotions
are building it, are determining its conditions, its structure, and
appearance. And, if there are any conditions we are not satisfied with,
we by an understanding of the laws, have it in our power to make it over
and change these conditions. Flamarion, the eminent French scientist,
member of the Royal Academy of Science, and recognized as one of the
most eminent scientists living, tells us that the entire human structure
can be made over within a period of less than one year, some eleven
months being the length of time required for the more compact and more
set portions to respond; while some portions respond much more readily
within a period of from two to three months, and some even within a
month.

Every part, every organ, every function of the body is just as clean,
just as beautiful, just as sweet, and just as holy as every other part;
and it is only by virtue of man's perverted ways of looking at some that
they become otherwise, and the moment they so become, abuses, ill uses,
suffering, and shame creep in.

_Not repression, but elevation._ Would that this could be repeated a
thousand times over! Not repression, but elevation. Every part, every
organ, every function of the body is given for _use_, but not for misuse
or abuse; and the moment the latter takes place in connection with any
function it loses its higher powers of use, and there goes with this the
higher powers of true enjoyment. It is thus that we get that large class
known as abnormals, resorting to the methods they resort to for
enjoyment, but which, in its true sense, they always fail in finding,
because law will admit of no violations; and, if violated, it takes away
the very powers of enjoyment, it takes away the very things that through
its violation they thought they had secured, or it turns them into ashes
in their very hands. God, nature, law, the higher self, is not mocked.

Not repression, but elevation,--repression only in the sense of
mastery; but this means--nay, this is--elevation. In other words, we
should be the master, and not the body. We should dictate to the body,
and should never, even for an instant, allow it to dictate to us.

Oh, the thousands, the hundreds of thousands of men and women who are
everywhere being driven hither and thither, led into this and into that
which their own better selves would not enter into, simply because they
have allowed the body to assume the mastery; while they have taken the
place of the weakling, the slave, and all on account of their own
weakness,--weakness through ignorance, ignorance of the tremendous
forces and powers within, the forces and powers of the mind and spirit.

It would be a right royal plan for those who are thus enslaved by the
body,--and we all are more or less, each in his own particular way, and
not one is absolutely free,--it would be a good plan to hold
immediately, at this very hour, a conversation with the body somewhat
after this fashion: Body, we have for some time been dwelling together.
Life for neither has been in the highest degree satisfactory. The cause
is now apparent to me. The mastery I have voluntarily handed over to
you. You have not assumed it of your own accord; but I have given it
over to you little by little, and just in the degree that you have
appropriated it. Neither one is to blame. It has been by virtue of
ignorance. But henceforth we will reverse positions. You shall become
the servant, and I the master. From this time forth you shall no longer
dictate to me, but I will dictate to you.

I, one with Infinite intelligence, wisdom, and power, longing for a
fuller and ever fuller realization of this oneness, will assume control,
and will call upon you to help in the fuller and ever fuller external
manifestation of this realization. We will thus regain the ground both
of us have lost. We will thus be truly married instead of farcically so.
And thus we will help each the other to a realization of the highest,
most satisfying and most enduring pleasures and joys, possibilities and
powers, loves and realizations, that human life can know; and so, hand
in hand, we will help each the other to the higher and ever-increasing
life instead of degrading each the other to the lower and
ever-decreasing. I will become the imperial master, and you the royal
companion; and thus we will go forth to an ever larger life of love and
service, and so of true enjoyment.

This conversation, if entered into in the spirit, accompanied by an
earnest, sincere desire for its fulfilment, re-enforced by the thought
forces, and continually attended by that absolute magnet of power, firm
expectation, will, if all are firmly and persistently held to, bring the
full realization of one's fondest desires with a certainty as absolute
as that effect follows cause. The higher self will invariably master
when it truly and firmly asserts itself. Much the same attitude can be
assumed in connection with the body in disease or in suffering with the
same results. Forces can be set into operation which will literally
change and make over the diseased, the abnormal portions, and in time
transform them into the healthy, the strong, the normal,--this when we
once understand and vitally grasp the laws of these mighty forces, and
are brought to the full recognition of the absolute control of mind, of
spirit, over matter, and all, again let it be said, in accordance with
natural spiritual law.

_No, a knowledge of the spiritual realities of life prohibits
asceticism, repression, the same as it prohibits license and perverted
use. To err on the one side is just as contrary to the ideal life as to
err on the other._ All things are for a purpose, all should be used and
enjoyed; but all should be rightly used, that they may be fully enjoyed.

It is the threefold life and development that is wanted,--physical,
mental, spiritual. This gives the rounded life, and he or she who fails
in any one comes short of the perfect whole. The physical has its uses
just the same and is just as important as the others. The great secret
of the highly successful life is, however, to infuse the mental and the
physical with the spiritual; in other words, to spiritualize all, and so
raise all to the highest possibilities and powers.

It is the all-round, fully developed we want,--not the ethereal,
pale-blooded man and woman, but the man and woman of flesh and blood,
for action and service here and now,--the man and woman strong and
powerful, with all the faculties and functions fully unfolded and used,
all in a royal and bounding condition, but all rightly subordinated. The
man and the woman of this kind, with the imperial hand of mastery upon
all,--standing, moving thus like a king, nay, like a very God,--such is
the man and such is the woman of power. Such is the ideal life: anything
else is one-sided, and falls short of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most powerful agent in character-building is this awakening to the
true self, to the fact that man is a spiritual being,--nay, more, that
I, this very eternal I, am a spiritual being, right here and now, at
this very moment, with the God-powers which can be quickly called forth.
With this awakening, life in all its manifold relations becomes
wonderfully simplified. And as to the powers, the full realization of
the fact that man is a spiritual being and a living as such brings, they
are absolutely without limit, increasing in direct proportion as the
higher self, the God-self, assumes the mastery, and so as this higher
spiritualization of life goes on.

With this awakening and realization one is brought at once _en rapport_
with the universe. He feels the power and the thrill of the life
universal. He goes out from his own little garden spot, and mingles with
the great universe; and the little perplexities, trials, and
difficulties of life that to-day so vex and annoy him, fall away of
their own accord by reason of their very insignificance. The intuitions
become keener and ever more keen and unerring in their guidance. There
comes more and more the power of reading men, so that no harm can come
from this source. There comes more and more the power of seeing into the
future, so that more and more true becomes the old adage,--that coming
events cast their shadows before. Health in time takes the place of
disease; for all disease and its consequent suffering is merely the
result of the violation of law, either consciously or unconsciously,
either intentionally or unintentionally. There comes also a spiritual
power which, as it is sent out, is adequate for the healing of others
the same as in the days of old. The body becomes less gross and heavy,
finer in its texture and form, so that it serves far better and responds
far more readily to the higher impulses of the soul. Matter itself in
time responds to the action of these higher forces; and many things that
we are accustomed by reason of our limited vision to call miraculous or
supernatural become the normal, the natural, the every-day.

For what, let us ask, is a miracle? Nothing more nor less than this: a
highly illumined soul, one who has brought his life into thorough
harmony with the higher spiritual laws and forces of his being, and
therefore with those of the universe, thus making it possible for the
highest things to come to him, has brought to him a law a little higher
than the ordinary mind knows of as yet. This he touches, he operates. It
responds. The people see the result, and cry out, Miracle! miracle! when
it is just as natural, just as fully in accordance with the law on this
higher plane, as is the common, the every-day on the ordinary. And let
it be remembered that the miraculous, the supernatural of to-day
becomes, as in the process of evolution we leave the lower for the
higher, the commonplace, the natural, the every-day of to-morrow; and,
truly, miracles are being performed in the world to-day just as much as
they ever have been.

And why should we not to-day have the powers of the foremost in the days
of old? The great universe in which we live is just the same, the great
laws under which we live are identically the same, God the same and
working in His world now just as then. The only difference we shall find
is in ourselves, in that we have taken our lives out of harmony with the
higher laws of our being, and consequently have lost the higher powers
through not using them. Mighty men we are told they were, mighty men
who walked with God,--and in the last clause lies the secret of the
first,--- men who lived in the spirit, men who followed after the real
life instead of giving all time and attention to the mere external, men
who lived in the higher stories of their being, and not continually in
the basements.

With here and there an exception we reverse the process. We live in the
valleys, so to speak, often disease-infected valleys, when we might
mount up to the mountain-tops, and there dwell continually in the warm
and mellow sunlight of God's, or if you please, of nature's great,
unchangeable laws, and find ourselves rising ever higher and higher, and
revelations coming new every day.

The Master never claimed for himself anything that he did not claim for
all mankind; but, quite to the contrary, he said and continually
repeated, Not only shall ye do these things, but greater than these
shall ye do; for I have pointed out to you the way,--meaning, though
strange as it evidently seems to many, _exactly_ what he said.

Of the vital power of thought and the interior forces in moulding
conditions, and more, of the supremacy of thought over all conditions,
the world has scarcely the faintest grasp, not to say even idea, as yet.
The fact that thoughts are forces, and that through them _we have
creative power_, is one of the most vital facts of the universe, the
most vital fact of man's being. And through this instrumentality we have
in our grasp and as our rightful heritage, the power of making life and
all its manifold conditions exactly what we will.

Through our thought-forces we have creative power, not in a figurative
sense, but in reality. Everything in the material universe about us had
its origin first in spirit, in thought, and from this it took its form.
The very world in which we live, with all its manifold wonders and
sublime manifestations, is the result of the energies of the divine
intelligence or mind,--God, or whatever term it comes convenient for
each one to use. And God said, Let there be, and there was,--the
material world, at least the material manifestation of it, literally
spoken into existence, the spoken word, however, but the outward
manifestation of the interior forces of the Supreme Intelligence.

Every castle the world has ever seen was first an ideal in the
architect's mind. Every statue was first an ideal in the sculptor's
mind. Every piece of mechanism the world has ever known was first
formed in the mind of the inventor. Here it was given birth to. These
same mind-forces then dictated to and sent the energy into the hand that
drew the model, and then again dictated to and sent the energy into the
hands whereby the first instrument was clothed in the material form of
metal or of wood. The lower negative always gives way to the higher when
made positive. Mind is positive: matter is negative.

Each individual life is a part of, and hence is one with, the Infinite
Life; and the highest intelligence and power belongs to each in just the
degree that he recognizes his oneness and lays claim to and uses it. The
power of the word is not merely an idle phrase or form of expression. It
is a real mental, spiritual, scientific fact, and can become vital and
powerful in your hands and in mine in just the degree that we understand
the omnipotence of the thought forces and raise all to the higher
planes.

The blind, the lame, the diseased, stood before the Christ, who said,
Receive thy sight, rise up and walk, or, be thou healed; and o! _it was
so_. The spoken word, however, was but the outward expression and
manifestation of his interior thought-forces, the power and potency of
which he so thoroughly knew. But the laws governing them are the same
to-day as they were then, and it lies in our power to use them the same
as it lay in his.

Each individual life, after it has reached a certain age or degree of
intelligence, lives in the midst of the surroundings or environments of
its own creation; and this by reason of that wonderful power, _the
drawing power of mind_, which is continually operating in every life,
whether it is conscious of it or not.

We are all living, so to speak, in a vast ocean of thought. The very
atmosphere about us is charged with the thought-forces that are being
continually sent out. When the thought-forces leave the brain, they go
out upon the atmosphere, the subtle conducting ether, much the same as
sound-waves go out. It is by virtue of this law that thought
transference is possible, and has become an established scientific fact,
by virtue of which a person can so direct his thought-forces that a
person at a distance, and in a receptive attitude, can get the thought
much the same as sound, for example, is conducted through the agency of
a connecting medium.

Even though the thoughts as they leave a particular person, are not
consciously directed, they go out; and all may be influenced by them in
a greater or less degree, each one in proportion as he or she is more or
less sensitively organized, or in proportion as he or she is negative,
and so open to forces and influences from without. The law operating
here is one with that great law of the universe,--that like attracts
like, so that one continually attracts to himself forces and influences
most akin to those of his own life. And his own life is determined by
the thoughts and emotions he habitually entertains, for each is building
his world from within. As within, so without; cause, effect.

A stalk of wheat and a stock of corn are growing side by side, within an
inch of each other. The soil is the same for both; but the wheat
converts the food it takes from the soil into wheat, the likeness of
itself, while the corn converts the food it takes from the same soil
into corn, the likeness of itself. What that which each has taken from
the soil is converted into is determined by the soul, the interior life,
the interior forces of each. This same grain taken as food by two
persons will be converted into the body of a criminal in the one case,
and into the body of a saint in the other, each after its kind; and its
kind is determined by the inner life of each. And what again determines
the inner life of each? The thoughts and emotions that are habitually
entertained and that inevitably, sooner or later, manifest themselves in
outer material form. Thought is the great builder in human life: it is
the determining factor. Continually think thoughts that are good, and
your life will show forth in goodness, and your body in health and
beauty. Continually think evil thoughts, and your life will show forth
in evil, and your body in weakness and repulsiveness. Think thoughts of
love, and you will love and will be loved. Think thoughts of hatred, and
you will hate and will be hated. Each follows its kind.

It is by virtue of this law that each person creates his own
"atmosphere"; and this atmosphere is determined by the character of the
thoughts he habitually entertains. It is, in fact, simply his thought
atmosphere--the atmosphere which other people detect and are influenced
by.

In this way each person creates the atmosphere of his own room; a
family, the atmosphere of the house in which they live, so that the
moment you enter the door you feel influences kindred to the thoughts
and hence to the lives of those who dwell there. You get a feeling of
peace and harmony or a feeling of disquietude and inharmony. You get a
welcome, want-to-stay feeling or a cold, want-to-get-away feeling,
according to their thought attitude toward you, even though but few
words be spoken. So the characteristic mental states of a congregation
of people who assemble there determine the atmosphere of any given
assembly-place, church, or cathedral. Its inhabitants so make, so
determine the atmosphere of a particular village or city. The
sympathetic thoughts sent out by a vast amphitheatre of people, as they
cheer a contestant, carry him to goals he never could reach by his own
efforts alone. The same is true in regard to an orator and his audience.

Napoleon's army is in the East. The plague is beginning to make inroads
into its ranks. Long lines of men are lying on cots and on the ground in
an open space adjoining the army. Fear has taken a vital hold of all,
and the men are continually being stricken. Look yonder, contrary to the
earnest entreaties of his officers, who tell him that such exposure will
mean sure death, Napoleon with a calm and dauntless look upon his face,
with a firm and defiant step, is coming through these plague-stricken
ranks. He is going up to, talking with, touching the men; and, as they
see him, there goes up a mighty shout,--The Emperor! the Emperor! and
from that hour the plague in its inroads is stopped. A marvellous
example of the power of a man who, by his own dauntless courage,
absolute fearlessness, and power of mind, could send out such forces
that they in turn awakened kindred forces in the minds of thousands of
others, which in turn dominate their very bodies, so that the plague,
and even death itself, is driven from the field. One of the grandest
examples of a man of the most mighty and tremendous mind and will power,
and at the same time an example of one of the grandest failures, taking
life in its totality, the world has ever seen.

Again, as has been said, the great law operating in connection with the
thought-forces is one with that great law of the universe,--that like
attracts like. We can, by virtue of our ignorance of the powers of the
mind forces and the prevailing mental states,--we can take the passive,
the negative, fearing, drifting attitude, and thus continually attract
to us like influences and conditions from both the seen and the unseen
side of life. Or, by a knowledge of the power and potency of these
forces, we can take the positive, the active attitude, that of mastery,
and so attract the higher and more valuable influences, exactly as we
will to.

We are all much more influenced by the thought-forces and mental states
of those around us and of the world at large than we have even the
slightest conception of. If not self-hypnotized into certain beliefs and
practices, we are, so to speak, semi-hypnotized through the influence of
the thoughts of others, even though unconsciously both on their part and
on ours. We are so influenced and enslaved in just the degree that we
fail to recognize the power and omnipotence of our own forces, and so
become slaves to custom, conventionality, the opinions of others, and so
in like proportion lose our own individuality and powers. He who in his
own mind takes the attitude of the slave, by the power of his own
thoughts and the forces he thus attracts to him, becomes the slave. He
who in his own mind takes the attitude of the master, by the same power
of his own thoughts and the forces he thus attracts to him, becomes the
master. Each is building his world from within, and, if outside forces
play, it is because he allows them to play; and he has it in his own
power to determine whether these shall be positive, uplifting,
ennobling, strengthening, success-giving, or negative, degrading,
weakening, failure-bringing.

Nothing is more subtle than thought, nothing more powerful, nothing more
irresistible in its operations, when rightly applied and held to with a
faith and fidelity that is unswerving,--a faith and fidelity that never
knows the neutralizing effects of doubt and fear. If one have
aspirations and a sincere desire for a higher and better condition, so
far as advantages, facilities, associates, or any surroundings or
environments are concerned, and if he continually send out his highest
thought-forces for the realization of these desires, and continually
water these forces with firm expectation as to their fulfilment, he will
sooner or later find himself in the realization of these desires, and
all in accordance with natural laws and forces.

Fear brings its own fulfilment the same as hope. The same law operates,
and if, as our good and valued friend, Job, said when the darkest days
were setting in upon him,--that which I feared has come upon me,--was
true, how much more surely could he have brought about the opposite
conditions, those he would have desired, had he have had even the
slightest realization of his own powers, and had he acted the part of
the master instead of that of the servant, had he have dictated terms
instead of being dictated to, and thus suffering the consequences.

If one finds himself in any particular condition, in the midst of any
surroundings or environments that are not desirable, that have
nothing--at least for any length of time--that is of value to him, for
his highest life and unfoldment, he has the remedy entirely within his
own grasp the moment he realizes the power and supremacy of the forces
of the mind and spirit; and, unless he intelligently use these forces,
he drifts. Unless through them he becomes master and dictates, he
becomes the slave and is dictated to, and so is driven hither and
thither.

Earnest, sincere desire, sincere aspiration for higher and better
conditions or means to realize them, the thought-forces actively sent
out for their realization, these continually watered by firm expectation
without allowing the contrary, neutralizing force of fear ever to enter
in,--this, accompanied by rightly directed work and activity, will
bring about the fullest realization of one's highest desires and
aspirations with a certainty as absolute as that effect follows cause.
Each and every one of us can thus make for himself ever higher and
higher conditions, can attract ever and ever higher influences, can
realize an ever higher and higher ideal in life. These are the forces
that are within us, simply waiting to be recognized and used,--the
forces that we should infuse into and mould every-day life with. The
moment we vitally recognize them, they become our servants and wait upon
our bidding.

Are you, for example, a young man or a young woman desiring a college, a
university education, or have you certain literary or artistic instincts
your soul longs the more fully to realize and actualize, and seems there
no way open for you to realize the fulfilment of your desires? But the
power is in your hands the moment you recognize it there. Begin at once
to set the right forces into operation. Put forth your ideal, which will
begin to clothe itself in material form, send out your thought-forces
for its realization, continually hold and add to them, always strongly
but always calmly, never allow the element of fear, which will keep the
realization just so much farther away, to enter in; but, on the
contrary, continually water with firm expectation all the forces thus
set into operation. Do not then sit and idly fold the hands, expecting
to see all things drop into the lap,--God feeds the sparrow, but he does
not throw the food into its nest,--but take hold of the first thing that
offers itself for you to do,--work in the fields, at the desk, saw wood,
wash dishes, tend behind the counter, or whatever it may be,--be
faithful to the thing in hand, always expecting something better, and
know that this in hand is the thing that will open to you the next
higher, and this the next and the next; and so realize that each thing
thus taken hold of is but the agency that takes you each time a step
nearer the realization of your fondest ideals. You then hold the key;
and bolts that otherwise would remain immovable, by this mighty force,
will be thrown before you.

We are born to be neither slaves nor beggars, but to dominion and to
plenty. This is our rightful heritage, if we will but recognize and lay
claim to it. Many a man and many a woman is to-day longing for
conditions better and higher than he or she is in, who might be using
the same time now spent in vain, indefinite, spasmodic longings, in
putting into operation forces which, accompanied by the right personal
activity, would speedily bring the fullest realization of his or her
fondest dreams. The great universe is filled with an abundance of all
things, filled to overflowing. All there is, is in her, waiting only for
the touch of the right forces to cast them forth. She is no respecter of
persons outside of the fact that she always responds to the demands of
the man or the woman who knows and uses the forces and powers he or she
is endowed with. And to the demands of such she always opens her
treasure-house, for the supply is always equal to the demand. All things
are in the hands of him who knows they are there.

Of all known forms of energy, thought is the most subtle, the most
irresistible force. It has always been operating; but, so far as the
great masses of the people are concerned, it has been operating blindly,
or, rather, they have been blind to its mighty power, except in the
cases of a few here and there. And these, as a consequence, have been
our prophets, our seers, our sages, our saviors, our men of great and
mighty power. We are just beginning to grasp the tremendous truth that
there is a _science of thought_, and that the laws governing it can be
known and scientifically applied. The man who understands and who
appropriates this fact has literally all things under his control.
Heredity and its attendant circumstances and influences? you ask. Most
surely. The barriers which heredity builds, the same as those
environment erects, when the awakened interior forces are considered,
are as mud walls standing within the range of a Krupp gun: shattered and
crumbled they are when the tremendous force is applied.

Thought needs direction to be effective, and upon this effective results
depend as much as upon the force itself. This brings us to the will.
Will is not as is so often thought, a force in itself; will is the
directing power. Thought is the force. Will gives direction. Thought
scattered gives the weak, the uncertain, the vacillating, the aspiring,
but the never-doing, the I-would-like-to, but the get-no-where, the
attain-to-nothing man or woman. Thought steadily directed by the will,
gives the strong, the firm, the never-yielding, the never-know-defeat
man or woman, the man or woman who uses the very difficulties and
hindrances that would dishearten the ordinary person, as stones with
which he paves a way over which he triumphantly walks, who, by the very
force he carries with him, so neutralizes and transmutes the very
obstacles that would bar his way that they fall before him, and in turn
aid him on his way; the man or woman who, like the eagle, uses the very
contrary wind that would thwart his flight, that would turn him and
carry him in the opposite direction, as the very agency upon which he
mounts and mounts and mounts, until actually lost to the human eye, and
which, in addition to thus aiding him, brings to him an ever fuller
realization of his own powers, or in other words, an ever greater power.

It is this that gives the man or the woman who in storm or in sunny
weather, rides over every obstacle, throws before him every barrier,
and, as Browning has said, finally "arrives." Take, for example, the
successful business man,--for it is all one, the law is the same in all
cases,--the man who started with nothing except his own interior
equipments. He has made up his mind to _one_ thing,--success. This is
his ideal. He thinks success, he sees success. He refuses to see
anything else. He expects success: he thus attracts it to him, his
thought-forces continually attract to him every agency that makes for
success. He has set up the current, so that every wind that blows
brings him success. He doesn't expect failure, and so he doesn't invite
it. He has no time, no energies, to waste in fears or forebodings. He is
dauntless, untiring, in his efforts. Let disaster come to-day, and
to-morrow--ay, even yet to-day--he is getting his bearings, he is
setting forces anew into operation; and these very forces are of more
value to him than the half million dollars of his neighbor who has
suffered from the same disaster. We speak of a man's failing in
business, little thinking that the real failure came long before, and
that the final crash is but the culmination, the outward visible
manifestation, of the real failure that occurred within possibly long
ago. _A man carries his success or his failure with him: it is not
dependent upon outside conditions._

Will is the steady directing power: it is concentration. It is the pilot
which, after the vessel is started by the mighty force within, puts it
on its right course and keeps it true to that course, the pilot under
whose control the rudder is which brings the great ocean liner, even
through storms and gales, to an exact spot in the Liverpool port within
a few minutes of its scheduled time, and at times even upon the very
minute. Will is the sun-glass which so concentrates and so focuses the
sun's rays that they quickly burn a hole through the paper that is held
before it. The same rays, not thus concentrated, not thus focused, would
fall upon the paper for days without any effect whatever. Will is the
means for the directing, the concentrating, the focusing, of the
thought-forces. Thought under wise direction,--this it is that does the
work, that brings results, that makes the successful career. One object
in mind which we never lose sight of; an ideal steadily held before the
mind, never lost sight of, never lowered, never swerved from,--this,
with persistence, determines all. Nothing can resist the power of
thought, when thus directed by will.

May not this power, then, be used for base as well as for good purposes,
for selfish as well as for unselfish ends? The same with this
modification,--the more highly thought is spiritualized, the more subtle
and powerful it becomes; and the more highly spiritualized the life, the
farther is it removed from base, ignoble, selfish ends. But, even if it
can be thus used, let him who would so use it be careful, let him never
forget that that mighty, searching, omnipotent law of the right, of
truth, of justice, that runs through all the universe and that can
never be annulled or even for a moment set aside, will drive him to the
wall, will crush him with a terrific force if he so use it.

Let him never forget that whatever he may get for self at the expense of
some one else, through deception, through misrepresentation, through the
exercise of the lower functions and powers, will by a law equally
subtle, equally powerful, be turned into ashes in his very hands. The
honey he thinks he has secured will be turned into bitterness as he
attempts to eat it; the beautiful fruit he thinks is his will be as
wormwood as he tries to enjoy it; the rose he has plucked will vanish,
and he will find himself clutching a handful of thorns, which will
penetrate to the very quick and which will flow the very life-blood from
his hands. For through the violation of a higher, an immutable law,
though he may get this or that, the power of true enjoyment will be
taken away, and what he gets will become as a thorn in his side: either
this or it will sooner or later escape from his hands. God's
triumphal-car moves in a direction and at a rate that is certain and
absolute, and he who would oppose it or go contrary to it must fall and
be crushed beneath its wheels; and for him this crushing is necessary,
in order that it may bring him the more quickly to a knowledge of the
higher laws, to a realization of the higher self.

This brings to our notice two orders of will, which we may term, for
convenience' sake, the human and the divine. The human will is the one
just noticed, the sense will, the will of the lower self, that which
seeks its own ends regardless of its connection with the greater whole.
The divine will is the will of the higher self, the god-self, that that
never makes an error, that never leads into difficulties. How attain to
its realization? How call it into a dominating activity? Through an
awakening to and a living in the higher, the god-self, thus making it
one with God's will, one with the will of infinite intelligence,
infinite love, infinite wisdom, infinite power; and when this is done,
no mistakes can be made, any more than limits can be set.

It is thus that the Infinite Power works through and for us--true
inspiration--while our part is simply to see that our connection with
this power is consciously and perfectly kept. And, when we come to a
knowledge of the true nature, a knowledge of the true self, when we come
to a conscious realization of the fact that we are one with, a part of,
this spirit of infinite life, infinite love, infinite wisdom, infinite
power, and infinite plenty, do we not see that we lack for nothing, that
all things _are_ ours? It is then ours to speak the word: desire induces
and gives place to realization. If you are intelligence, if you are
power, if you are that all-seeing, all-knowing, all-doing, all-loving,
all-having, that eternal self, that eternal one without beginning and
without end, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, then all things
_are_ yours, and you lack for nothing; and, when you come consciously to
know and to live this truth, then the whole of life for you is summed up
in the one word _realization_. The striving, the pulling, the running
hither and thither to accomplish this or that, that takes place on all
planes of life below this highest plane, gives place to this
_realization_; and you and your desire become one.

And what does this mean? Simply this: that you have found and have
literally entered into the kingdom of heaven, and heaven means harmony,
so that you have entered into the kingdom of harmony,--harmony or
oneness with the Infinite Life, the Infinite God. And do we not, then,
clearly see the rational and scientific basis for the injunction--seek
ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these other things shall be
added unto you? Than this there is nothing in all the wide universe more
scientific, nothing more practical; and in the light of this can we not
also see how readily follows the injunction--Take ye no thought for the
things of the morrow, for the things of the morrow will take care of
themselves? This realization gives you that care-less attitude, free
from care. The Infinite Power does the work for you, and you are
relieved of the responsibility. Your responsibility lies in keeping
yourself in a faithful and a never-failing connection with this Infinite
Source. Why, I know a few lives that have come into such a conscious
oneness with the Infinite Life, and who so continually live in its
realization, that all things that have just been said are _absolutely_
true in their cases. The solution of all things they thus put into the
law, so that, when the time comes, the difficulty is solved, the course
is clear, the way is opened, or the means are at hand. When one knows
whereof he speaks, of this he can speak with authority.

When this realization comes, fear goes, hope attends, faith
dominates,--the faith of to-day which gives place to the realization of
to-morrow. We then have nothing to do with the past, nothing to do with
the future; for the whole of life is determined by the ever-present
to-day. As my life to-day has been determined by the way I lived my
yesterday, so my to-morrow is being determined by the way I live my
to-day. Let me then live in this _eternal now_, and realize that I am at
this very moment living the eternal life as much as I ever shall or can
live it. I will then waste no time with the past, except perhaps
occasionally to give thanks that its then seeming trials, sorrows,
errors, and stumblings have brought me all the sooner into harmony with
the laws of the higher life. Let me waste no time with the future, no
time in idle dreaming, neither in fears nor forebodings, thus inviting
and opening the door for the entrance of their actualizations; but
rather let me, by the thoughts and so by the deeds of to-day, make the
future exactly what I will.

Every act is preceded and given birth to by a thought, the act repeated
forms the habit, the habit determines the character, and character
determines the life, the destiny,--a most significant, a most tremendous
truth: thought on the one hand, life, destiny, on the other. And how
simplified, when we realize that it is merely the thought of the present
hour, and the next when it comes, and the next, and the next! so life,
destiny, on the one hand, the thoughts of the present hour, on the
other. This is the secret of character-building. How wonderfully simple,
though what vigilance it demands!

What, shall we ask, is the place, what the value, of prayer? Prayer, as
every act of devotion, brings us into an ever greater conscious harmony
with the Infinite, the one pearl of great price; for it is this harmony
which brings all other things. Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, and
thus is its own answer, as the sincere desire made active and
accompanied by faith sooner or later gives place to realization; _for
faith is an invisible and invincible magnet, and attracts to itself
whatever it fervently desires and calmly and persistently expects_. This
is absolute, and the results will be absolute in exact proportion as
this operation of the thought forces, as this faith is absolute, and
relative in exact proportion as it is relative. The Master said, What
things soever ye desire, when ye pray, _believe_ that ye receive them
and ye shall have them. Can any law be more clearly enunciated, can
anything be more definite and more absolute than this? According to thy
faith be it unto thee. Do we at times fail in obtaining the results we
desire? The fault, the failure, lies not in the law but in ourselves.
Regarded in its right and true light, than prayer there is nothing more
scientific, nothing more valuable, nothing more effective.

This conscious realization of oneness with the Infinite Life is of all
things the one thing to be desired; for, when this oneness is realized
and lived in, all other things follow in its train, there are no desires
that shall not be realized, for God has planted in the human breast no
desire without its corresponding means of realization. No harm can come
nigh, nothing can touch us, there will be nothing to fear; for we shall
thus attract only the good. And whatever changes time may bring,
understanding the law, we shall always expect something better, and thus
set into operation the forces that will attract that something,
realizing that many times angels go out that arch-angels may enter in;
and this is always true in the case of the life of this higher
realization. And why should we have any fear whatever,--fear even for
the nation, as is many times expressed? God is behind His world, in
love and with infinite care and watchfulness working out his great and
almighty plans; and whatever plans men may devise, He will when the time
is ripe either frustrate and shatter, or aid and push through to their
most perfect culmination,--frustrate and shatter if contrary to, aid and
actualize if in harmony with His.

It will readily be seen what a power the life that is fully awake, that
fully grasps and uses the great forces of its own interior self, can be
in the service of mankind. One with these forces highly spiritualized
will not have to go here and there to do the greatest service for
mankind. Such a one can sit in his cabin, in his tent, in his own home,
or, as he goes here and there, he can continually send out influences of
the most potent and powerful nature,--influences that will have their
effect, that will do their work, and that will reach to the uttermost
parts of the world. Than this there can be no more valuable, more vital
service, nor one of a higher nature.

These facts, the facts relating to the powers that come with the higher
awakening, have been dealt with somewhat fully, to show that the matters
along the lines of man's interior, intuitive, spiritual, thought, soul
life, instead of being, as they are so many times regarded, merely
indefinite, sentimental, or impractical, are, on the contrary,
powerfully, omnipotently real, and are of all practical things in the
world the most practical, and, in the truest and deepest sense, the only
truly practical things there are. And pre-eminently is this true when we
look with a long range of vision, past the mere to-day, to the final
outcome, to the time when that transition we are accustomed to call
death takes place, and all accumulations and possessions material are
left behind, and the soul takes with it only the unfoldment and growth
of the real life; and unless it has this, when all else must be left
behind, it goes out poor indeed. And a most wonderful and beautiful fact
of it all is this: that all growth, all advancement, all attainment made
along the lines of the spiritual, the soul, the real life, is so much
made forever, and can never be lost. Hence the great fact in the
admonition, Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth
doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for
yourselves treasures in heaven,--the interior, spiritual kingdom,--where
neither moth doth corrupt nor where thieves break through and steal.

What then, again let us ask, is love to God? It is far more, we have
found, than a mere sentimental abstraction. It is this awakening to the
higher, the god-self, a coming into the conscious realization of the
fact that your life is one with, is a part of, the Infinite Life, the
full realization of the fact that you are a spiritual being here and
now, at this very moment, and a living as such. It is being true to the
light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and so a
finding of the Christ within; a realization of the fact that God is the
life of your life, and so not afar off; a realization of a oneness so
perfect that you are able to say, as did His other son, "I and my Father
are one"--the ultimate destiny of each human soul, each of the Father's
children, for all, no matter what differences man may see, are equal in
His sight; and He created not one in vain. So love to God in its true
expression is not a mere sentimentality, a mere abstraction: it is life,
it is growth, it is spiritual awakening and unfoldment, it is
realization. Again, it is life: it is the more abundant life.

Then recognize this fact, and so fill your life with an intense, a
passionate love for God. Then take this life, so rich, so abundant, and
so powerful, and lose it in the love and service of your fellow-men, the
Father's other children. Fill it with an intense, a passionate love for
service; and when this shall have been done, your life is in complete
harmony with all the law and the prophets, in complete harmony with the
two great and determining facts of human life and destiny,--love to God
and love to one's fellow-men,--the two eternal principles upon which the
great universal religion, which is slowly and gradually evolving out an
almost endless variety and form, is to rest. Do this, and feel once for
all the power and the thrill of the life universal. Do this, and find
yourself coming into the full realization of such splendors and beauties
as all the royal courts of this world combined have never been able even
to dream of.

When the step from the personal to the impersonal, from the personal,
the individual, to the universal, is once made, the great solution of
life has come; and by this same step one enters at once into the realm
of all power. When this is done, and one fully realizes the fact that
the greatest life is the life spent in the service of all mankind, and
then when he vitally grasps that great eternal principle of right, of
truth, of justice, that runs through all the universe, and which, though
temporarily it may seem to be perverted, always and with never an
exception eventually prevails, and that with an omnipotent power,--he
then holds the key to all situations.

A king of this nature goes about his work absolutely regardless of what
men may say or hear or think or do; for he himself has absolutely
nothing to gain or nothing to lose, and nothing of this nature can come
near him or touch him, for he is standing not in the personal, but in
the universal. He is then in God's work, and the very God-powers are
his, and it seems as if the very angels of heaven come to minister unto
him and to move things his way; and this is true, very true, for he
himself is simply moving God's way, and when this is so, the certainty
of the outcome is absolute.

How often did the Master say, "I seek not to do mine own will, but the
will of the Father who sent me"! Here is the world's great example of
the life out of the personal and in the universal, hence his great
power. The same has been true of all the saviors, the prophets, the
seers, the sages, and the leaders in the world's history, of all of
truly great and lasting power.

He who would then come into the secret of power must come from the
personal into the universal, and with this comes not only great power,
but also freedom from the vexations and perplexities that rise from the
misconstruing of motives, the opinions of others; for such a one cares
nothing as to what men may say, or hear, or think, or do, so long as he
is true to the great principles of right and truth before him. And, if
we will search carefully, we shall find that practically all the
perplexities and difficulties of life have their origin on the side of
the personal.

Much is said to young men to-day about success in life,--success
generally though, as the world calls success. It is well, however,
always to bear in mind the fact that there is a success which is a
miserable, a deplorable failure; while, on the other hand, there is a
failure which is a grand, a noble, a God-like success. And one crying
need of the age is that young men be taught the true dignity, nobility,
and power of such a failure,--such a failure in the eyes of the world
to-day, but such a success in the eyes of God and the coming ages. When
this is done, there will be among us more prophets, more saviors, more
men of grand and noble stature, who with a firm and steady hand will
hold the lighted torch of true advancement high up among the people; and
they will be those whom the people will gladly follow, for they will be
those who will speak and move with authority, true sons of God, true
brothers of men. A man may make his millions and his life be a failure
still.

       *       *       *       *       *

The promise was given that our conversation should not be extended; and
unless we conclude it now, the promise will not be kept. Our aim at the
outset, you will remember, was to find answer to the question--How can I
make life yield its fullest and best? how can I know the true secret of
power? how can I attain to true greatness? how can I fill the whole of
life with a happiness, a peace, a joy, a satisfaction, that is ever rich
and abiding, that ever increases, never diminishes?

Two great laws come forward: the one, that we find our own lives in
losing them in the service of others,--love to the fellow-man; the
other, that all life is one with, is part of, the Infinite Life, that we
are not material, but spiritual beings,--spiritual beings here and now,
and a living as such, which brings us in turn to a realization of the
higher, the god-self, thus bringing us into the realm of all peace, all
power, and all plenty,--this is love to God.

And I wonder now if we have found the answer true and satisfactory. We
have sat at the feet of the Master Teacher, and he has told us that we
have. We have found that through them, and through them alone, _true_
greatness, power, and success can come; that through them comes the
richest joy, the greatest peace and satisfaction this world can know. We
have also found that, if one's desire is to make life narrow, pinched,
and of little value, to rob it of its chief charms, the only requirement
necessary is to become self-centred, to live continually with the
little, stunted self, which will inevitably grow more and more
diminutive and shrivelled as time passes, instead of reaching out and
having a part in the great life of humanity, thus illimitably
intensifying and multiplying his own. For each act of humble service is
that divine touching of the ground which enables one to get the spring
whereby he leaps to ever greater heights. We have found that a
recognition of these two laws enables one to grow and develop the
fullest and richest life here, and that they are the two gates whereby
all who would must enter the kingdom of heaven.

Around this great and sweet-incensed altar of love, service, and
self-devotion to God and the fellow-man, can and do all mankind bow and
worship. To it can all religions and creeds subscribe: it is the
universal religion.

Then become at one with God, as did His other son, through the awakening
to the real self and by living continually in this the higher, the
god-self. Become at one with humanity, as did His other son, by bringing
your life into harmony with this great, immutable law of love and
service and self-devotion, and so feel once for all the power and the
thrill of the life universal.

Yours will then be a life the greatest, the grandest, the most joyous
this world can know; for you will indeed be living the Christ-life, the
life that is beyond compare, the life to which all the world stretches
out its eager palms, and innumerable companies will rise up and call you
blessed, and give thanks that such a life is the rich heritage of the
world. The song continually arising from your lips will then be, There
is joy, only joy; for we are all one with the Infinite Life, all parts
of the one great whole, and the Spirit of Infinite Goodness and Love is
ever ruling over all.



PART VI.

CHARACTER-BUILDING THOUGHT POWER


     _A thought,--good or evil,--an act, in time a habit,--so runs
     life's law: what you live in your thought-world, that, sooner or
     later, you will find objectified in your life._


Unconsciously we are forming habits every moment of our lives. Some are
habits of a desirable nature; some are those of a most undesirable
nature. Some, though not so bad in themselves, are exceedingly bad in
their cumulative effects, and cause us at times much loss, much pain and
anguish, while their opposites would, on the contrary, bring us much
peace and joy, as well as a continually increasing power.

Have we it within our power to determine at all times what types of
habits shall take form in our lives? In other words, is habit-forming,
character-building, a matter of mere chance, or have we it within our
own control? We have, entirely and absolutely. "I will be what I will to
be," can be said and should be said by every human soul.

After this has been bravely and determinedly said, and not only said,
but fully inwardly realized, something yet remains. Something remains
to be said regarding the great law underlying habit-forming,
character-building; for there is a simple, natural, and thoroughly
scientific method that all should know. A method whereby old,
undesirable, earth-binding habits can be broken, and new, desirable,
heaven-lifting habits can be acquired,--a method whereby life in part or
in its totality can be changed, provided one is sufficiently in earnest
to know, and, knowing it, to apply the law.

Thought is the force underlying all. And what do we mean by this? Simply
this: Your every act--every conscious act--is preceded by a thought.
Your dominating thoughts determine your dominating actions. The acts
repeated crystallize themselves into the habit. The aggregate of your
habits is your character. Whatever, then, you would have your acts, you
must look well to the character of the thought you entertain. Whatever
act you would not do,--habit you would not acquire,--you must look well
to it that you do not entertain the type of thought that will give birth
to this act, this habit.

It is a simple psychological law that any type of thought, if
entertained for a sufficient length of time, will, by and by, reach the
motor tracks of the brain, and finally burst forth into action. Murder
can be and many times is committed in this way, the same as all
undesirable things are done. On the other hand, the greatest powers are
grown, the most God-like characteristics are engendered, the most heroic
acts are performed in the same way.

The thing clearly to understand is this: That the thought is always
parent to the act. Now, we have it entirely in our own hands to
determine exactly what thoughts we entertain. In the realm of our own
minds we have absolute control, or we should have, and if at any time we
have not, then there is a method by which we can gain control, and in
the realm of the mind become thorough masters. In order to get to the
very foundation of the matter, let us look to this for a moment. For if
thought is always parent to our acts, habits, character, life, then it
is first necessary that we know fully how to control our thoughts.

Here let us refer to that law of the mind which is the same as is the
law in connection with the reflex nerve system of the body, the law
which says that whenever one does a certain thing in a certain way it is
easier to do the same thing in the same way the next time, and still
easier the next, and the next, and the next, until in time it comes to
pass that no effort is required, or no effort worth speaking of; but on
the contrary, to do the opposite would require the effort. The mind
carries with it the power that perpetuates its own type of thought, the
same as the body carries with it through the reflex nerve system the
power which perpetuates and makes continually easier its own particular
acts. Thus a simple effort to control one's thoughts, a simple setting
about it, even if at first failure is the result, and even if for a time
failure seems to be about the only result, will in time, sooner or
later, bring him to the point of easy, full, and complete control.

Each one, then, can grow the power of determining, controlling his
thought, the power of determining what types of thought he shall and
what types he shall not entertain. For let us never part in mind with
this fact, that every earnest _effort_ along any line makes the end
aimed at just a little easier for each succeeding effort, even if, as
has been said, apparent failure is the result of the earlier efforts.
This is a case where even failure is success, for the failure is not in
the effort, and every earnest effort adds an increment of power that
will eventually accomplish the end aimed at. We _can_, then, gain the
full and complete power of determining what character, what type of
thoughts we entertain.

Shall we now give attention to some two or three concrete cases? Here
is a man, the cashier of a large mercantile establishment, or cashier of
a bank. In his morning paper he reads of a man who has become suddenly
rich, has made a fortune of half a million or a million dollars in a few
hours through speculation on the stock market. Perhaps he has seen an
account of another man who has done practically the same thing lately.
He is not quite wise enough, however, to comprehend the fact that when
he reads of one or two cases of this kind he could find, were he to look
into the matter carefully, one or two hundred cases of men who have lost
all they had in the same way. He thinks, however, that he will be one of
the fortunate ones. He does not fully realize that there are no short
cuts to wealth honestly made. He takes a part of his savings, and as is
true in practically all cases of this kind, he loses all that he has put
in. Thinking now that he sees why he lost, and that had he more money he
would be able to get back what he has lost, and perhaps make a handsome
sum in addition, and make it quickly, the thought comes to him to use
some of the funds he has charge of. In nine cases out of ten, if not in
ten cases in every ten, the results that inevitably follow this are
known sufficiently well to make it unnecessary to follow him farther.
Where is the man's safety in the light of what we have been considering?
Simply this: the moment the thought of using for his own purpose funds
belonging to others enters his mind, if he is wise he will _instantly_
put the thought from his mind. If he is a fool he will entertain it. In
the degree in which he entertains it, it will grow upon him; it will
become the absorbing thought in his mind; it will finally become master
of his will power, and through rapidly succeeding steps, dishonor,
shame, degradation, penitentiary, remorse will be his. It is easy for
him to put the thought from his mind when it first enters; but as he
entertains it, it grows into such proportions that it becomes more and
more difficult for him to put it from his mind; and by and by it becomes
practically _impossible_ for him to do it. The light of the match, which
but a little effort of the breath would have extinguished at first, has
imparted a flame that is raging through the entire building, and now it
is almost, if not quite impossible to conquer it.

Shall we notice another concrete case? a trite case, perhaps, but one in
which we can see how habit is formed, and also how the same habit can be
unformed. Here is a young man, he may be the son of poor parents, or he
may be the son of rich parents; one in the ordinary ranks of life, or
one of high social standing, whatever that means. He is good-hearted,
one of good impulses, generally speaking,--a good fellow. He is out with
some companions, companions of the same general type. They are out for a
pleasant evening, out for a good time. They are apt at times to be
thoughtless, even careless. The suggestion is made by one of the
company, not that they get drunk, no, not at all; but merely that they
go and have something to drink together. The young man whom we first
mentioned, wanting to be genial, scarcely listens to the suggestion that
comes to his inner consciousness--that it will be better for him not to
fall in with the others in this. He does not stop long enough to realize
the fact that the greatest strength and nobility of character lies
always in taking a firm stand on the side of the right, and allow
himself to be influenced by nothing that will weaken this stand. He
goes, therefore, with his companions to the drinking place. With the
same or with other companions this is repeated now and then; and each
time it is repeated his power of saying "No" is gradually decreasing. In
this way he has grown a little liking for intoxicants, and takes them
perhaps now and then by himself. He does not dream, or in the slightest
degree realize, what way he is tending, until there comes a day when he
wakens to the consciousness of the fact that he hasn't the power nor
even the impulse to resist the taste which has gradually grown into a
minor form of craving for intoxicants. Thinking, however, that he will
be able to stop when he is really in danger of getting into the drink
habit, he goes thoughtlessly and carelessly on. We will pass over the
various intervening steps and come to the time when we find him a
confirmed drunkard. It is simply the same old story told a thousand or
even a million times over.

He finally awakens to his true condition; and through the shame, the
anguish, the degradation, and the want that comes upon him he longs for
a return of the days when he was a free man. But hope has almost gone
from his life. It would have been easier for him never to have begun,
and easier for him to have stopped before he reached his present
condition, but even in his present condition, be it the lowest and the
most helpless and hopeless that can be imagined, he has the power to get
out of it and be a free man once again. Let us see. The desire for drink
comes upon him again. If he entertain the thought, the desire, he is
lost again. His only hope, his only means of escape is this: the moment,
aye, _the very instant_ the thought comes to him, if he will put it out
of his mind he will thereby put out the little flame of the match. If he
entertain the thought the little flame will communicate itself until
almost before he is aware of it a consuming fire is raging, and then
effort is almost useless. The thought must be banished from the mind the
instant it enters; dalliance with it means failure and defeat, or a
fight that will be indescribably fiercer than it would be if the thought
is ejected at the beginning.

And here we must say a word regarding a certain great law that we may
call the "law of indirectness." A thought can be put out of the mind
easier and more successfully, not by dwelling upon it, not by attempting
to put it out _directly_, but by throwing the mind on to some other
object, by putting some other object of thought into the mind. This may
be, for example, the ideal of full and perfect self-mastery, or it may
be something of a nature entirely distinct from the thought which
presents itself, something to which the mind goes easily and naturally.
This will in time become the absorbing thought in the mind, and the
danger is past. This same course of action repeated, will gradually
grow the power of putting more readily out of mind the thought of drink
as it presents itself, and will gradually grow the power of putting into
the mind those objects of thought one most desires. The result will be
that as time passes the thought of drink will present itself less and
less, and when it does present itself it can be put out of the mind more
easily each succeeding time, until the time comes when it can be put out
without difficulty, and eventually the time will come when the thought
will enter the mind no more at all.

Still another case. You may be more or less of an irritable
nature--naturally, perhaps, provoked easily to anger. Some one says
something or does something that you dislike, and your first impulse is
to show resentment and possibly to give way to anger. In the degree that
you allow this resentment to display itself, that you allow yourself to
give way to anger, in that degree will it become easier to do the same
thing when any cause, even a very slight cause, presents itself. It
will, moreover, become continually harder for you to refrain from it,
until resentment, anger, and possibly even hatred and revenge become
characteristics of your nature, robbing it of its sunniness, its charm,
and its brightness for all with whom you come in contact. If, however,
the instant the impulse to resentment and anger arises, you check it
_then and there_, and throw the mind on to some other object of thought,
the power will gradually grow itself of doing this same thing more
readily, more easily, as succeeding like causes present themselves,
until by and by the time will come when there will be scarcely anything
that can irritate you, and nothing that can impel you to anger; until by
and by a matchless brightness and charm of nature and disposition will
become habitually yours, a brightness and charm you would scarcely think
possible to-day. And so we might take up case after case, characteristic
after characteristic, habit after habit. The habit of fault-finding and
its opposite are grown in identically the same way; the characteristic
of jealousy and its opposite; the characteristic of fear and its
opposite. In this same way we grow either love or hatred; in this way we
come to take a gloomy, pessimistic view of life, which objectifies
itself in a nature, a disposition of this type, or we grow that sunny,
hopeful, cheerful, buoyant nature that brings with it so much joy and
beauty and power for ourselves, as well as so much hope and inspiration
and joy for all the world.

There is nothing more true in connection with human life than that we
grow into the likeness of those things we contemplate. Literally and
scientifically and necessarily true is it that, "as a man thinketh in
his heart, so _is_ he." The "is" part is his character. His character is
the sum total of his habits. His habits have been formed by his
conscious acts; but every conscious act is, as we have found, preceded
by a thought. And so we have it--thought on the one hand, character,
life, destiny on the other. And simple it becomes when we bear in mind
that it is simply the thought of the present moment, and the next moment
when it is upon us, and then the next, and so on through all time.

One can in this way attain to whatever ideals he would attain to. Two
steps are necessary: first, as the days pass, to form one's ideals; and
second, to follow them continually whatever may arise, wherever they may
lead him. Always remember that the great and strong character is the one
who is ever ready to sacrifice the present pleasure for the future good.
He who will thus follow his highest ideals as they present themselves to
him day after day, year after year, will find that as Dante, following
his beloved from world to world, finally found her at the gates of
Paradise, so he will find himself eventually at the same gates. Life is
not, we may say, for mere passing pleasure, but for the highest
unfoldment that one can attain to, the noblest character that one can
grow, and for the greatest service that one can render to all mankind.
In this, however, we will find the highest pleasure, for in this the
only real pleasure lies. He who would find it by any short cuts, or by
entering upon any other paths, will inevitably find that his last state
is always worse than his first; and if he proceed upon paths other than
these he will find that he will never find real and lasting pleasure at
all. The question is not, What are the conditions in our lives? but, How
do we meet the conditions that we find there? And whatever the
conditions are, it is unwise and profitless to look upon them, even if
they are conditions that we would have otherwise, in the attitude of
complaint, for complaint will bring depression, and depression will
weaken and possibly even kill the spirit that would engender the power
that would enable us to bring into our lives an entirely new set of
conditions.

In order to be concrete, even at the risk of being personal, I will say
that in my own experience there have come at various times into my life
circumstances and conditions that I gladly would have run from at the
time--conditions that caused at the time humiliation and shame and
anguish of spirit. But invariably, as sufficient time has passed, I have
been able to look back and see clearly the part which every experience
of the type just mentioned had to play in my life. I have seen the
lessons it was essential for me to learn; and the result is that now I
would not drop a single one of these experiences from my life,
humiliating and hard to bear as they were at the time; no, not for the
world. And here is also a lesson I have learned: whatever conditions are
in my life to-day that are not the easiest and most agreeable, and
whatever conditions of this type all coming time may bring, I will take
them just as they come, without complaint, without depression, and meet
them in the wisest possible way; knowing that they are the best possible
conditions that could be in my life at the time, or otherwise they would
not be there; realizing the fact that, although I may not at the time
see why they are in my life, although I may not see just what part they
have to play, the time will come, and when it comes I will see it all,
and thank God for every condition just as it came.

Each one is so apt to think that his own conditions, his own trials or
troubles or sorrows, or his own struggles, as the case may be, are
greater than those of the great mass of mankind, or possibly greater
than those of anyone else in the world. He forgets that each one has his
own peculiar trials or troubles or borrows to bear, or struggles in
habits to overcome, and that his is but the common lot of all the human
race. We are apt to make the mistake in this--in that we see and feel
keenly our own trials, or adverse conditions, or characteristics to be
overcome, while those of others we do not see so clearly, and hence we
are apt to think that they are not at all equal to our own. Each has his
own problems to work out. Each must work out his own problems. Each must
grow the insight that will enable him to see what the causes are that
have brought the unfavorable conditions into his life; each must grow
the strength that will enable him to face these conditions, and to set
into operation forces that will bring about a different set of
conditions. We may be of aid to one another by way of suggestion, by way
of bringing to one another a knowledge of certain higher laws and
forces,--laws and forces that will make it easier to do that which we
would do. The doing, however, must be done by each one for himself.

And so the way to get out of any conditions we have gotten into, either
knowingly or inadvertently, either intentionally or unintentionally, is
to take time to look the conditions squarely in the face, and to find
the law whereby they have come about. And when we have discovered the
law, the thing to do is not to rebel against it, not to resist it, but
to go with it by working in harmony with it. If we work in harmony with
it, it will work for our highest good, and will take us wheresoever we
desire. If we oppose it, if we resist it, if we fail to work in harmony
with it, it will eventually break us to pieces. The law is immutable in
its workings. Go with it, and it brings all things our way; resist it,
and it brings suffering, pain, loss, and desolation.

But a few days ago I was talking with a lady, a most estimable lady
living on a little New England farm of some five or six acres. Her
husband died a few years ago, a good-hearted, industrious man, but one
who spent practically all of his earnings in drink. When he died the
little farm was unpaid for, and the wife found herself without any
visible means of support, with a family of several to care for. Instead
of being discouraged with what many would have called her hard lot,
instead of rebelling against the circumstances in which she found
herself, she faced the matter bravely, firmly believing that there were
ways by which she could manage, though she could not see them clearly at
the time. She took up her burden where she found it, and went bravely
forward. For several years she has been taking care of summer boarders
who come to that part of the country, getting up regularly, she told me,
at from half-past three to four o'clock in the morning, and working
until ten o'clock each night. In the winter-time, when this means of
revenue is cut off, she has gone out to do nursing in the country round
about. In this way the little farm is now almost paid for; her children
have been kept in school, and they are now able to aid her to a greater
or less extent. Through it all she has entertained no fears nor
forebodings; she has shown no rebellion of any kind. She has not kicked
against the circumstances which brought about the conditions in which
she found herself, but she has put herself into harmony with the law
that would bring her into another set of conditions. And through it all,
she told me, she had been continually grateful that she has been able to
work, and that whatever her own circumstances have been, she has never
yet failed to find some one whose circumstances were still a little
worse than hers, and for whom it was not possible for her to render some
little service.

Most heartily she appreciates the fact, and most grateful is she for it,
that the little home is now almost paid for, and soon no more of her
earnings will have to go out in that channel. The dear little home, she
said, would be all the more precious to her by virtue of the fact that
it was finally hers through her own efforts. The strength and nobility
of character that have come to her during these years, the sweetness of
disposition, the sympathy and care for others, her faith in the final
triumph of all that is honest and true and pure and good, are qualities
that thousands and hundreds of thousands of women, yes, of both men and
women, who are apparently in better circumstances in life can justly
envy. And should the little farm home be taken away to-morrow, she has
gained something that a farm of a thousand acres could not buy. By going
about her work in the way she has gone about it the burden of it all has
been lightened, and her work has been made truly enjoyable.

Let us take a moment to see how these same conditions would have been
met by a person of less wisdom, one not so far-sighted as this dear,
good woman has been. For a time possibly her spirit would have been
crushed. Fears and forebodings of all kinds would probably have taken
hold of her, and she would have felt that nothing that she could do
would be of any avail. Or, she might have rebelled against the agencies,
against the law which brought about the conditions in which she found
herself, and she might have become embittered against the world, and
gradually also against the various people with whom she came in contact.
Or again, she might have thought that her efforts would be unable to
meet the circumstances, and that it was the duty of some one to lift her
out of her difficulties. In this way no progress at all would have been
made towards the accomplishment of the desired results, and continually
she would have felt more keenly the circumstances in which she found
herself, because there was nothing else to occupy her mind. In this way
the little farm would not have become hers, she would not have been able
to do anything for others, and her nature would have become embittered
against everything and everybody.

True it is, then, not, What are the conditions in one's life? but, How
does he meet the conditions that he finds there? This will determine
all. And if at any time we are apt to think that our own lot is about
the hardest there is, and if we are able at any time to persuade
ourselves that we can find no one whose lot is just a little harder than
ours, let us then study for a little while the character Pompilia, in
Browning's poem,[D] and after studying it, thank God that the conditions
in our life are so favorable; and then set about with a trusting and
intrepid spirit to actualize the conditions that we most desire.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thought is at the bottom of all progress or retrogression, of all
success or failure, of all that is desirable or undesirable in human
life. The type of thought we entertain both creates and draws conditions
that crystallize about it, conditions exactly the same in nature as is
the thought that gives them form. Thoughts are forces, and each creates
of its kind, whether we realize it or not. The great law of the drawing
power of the mind, which says that like creates like, and that like
attracts like, is continually working in every human life, for it is one
of the great immutable laws of the universe. For one to take time to see
clearly the things he would attain to, and then to hold that ideal
steadily and continually before his mind, never allowing faith--his
positive thought-forces--to give way to or to be neutralized by doubts
and fears, and then to set about doing each day what his hands find to
do, never complaining, but spending the time that he would otherwise
spend in complaint in focusing his thought-forces upon the ideal that
his mind has built, will sooner or later bring about the full
materialization of that for which he sets out.

There are those who, when they begin to grasp the fact that there is
what we may term a "science of thought," who, when they begin to realize
that through the instrumentality of our interior, spiritual
thought-forces we have the power of gradually moulding the every-day
conditions of life as we would have them, in their early enthusiasm are
not able to see results as quickly as they expect, and are apt to think,
therefore, that after all there is not very much in that which has but
newly come to their knowledge. They must remember, however, that in
endeavoring to overcome an old or to grow a new habit, everything cannot
be done _all at once_.

In the degree that we attempt to use the thought-forces do we
continually become able to use them more effectively. Progress is slow
at first, more rapid as we proceed. Power grows by using, or, in other
words, using brings a continually increasing power. This is governed by
law the same as are all things in our lives, and all things in the
universe about us. Every act and advancement made by the musician is in
full accordance with law. No one commencing the study of music can, for
example, sit down to the piano and play the piece of a master at the
first effort. He must not conclude, however, nor does he conclude, that
the piece of the master _cannot be_ played by him, or, for that matter,
by any one. He begins to practise the piece. The law of the mind that we
have already noticed comes to his aid, whereby his mind follows the
music more readily, more rapidly, and more surely each succeeding time,
and there also comes into operation and to his aid the law underlying
the action of the reflex nerve system of the body, which we have also
noticed, whereby his fingers coordinate their movements with the
movements of his mind, more readily, more rapidly, and more accurately
each succeeding time; until by and by the time comes when that which he
stumbles through at first, that in which there is no harmony, nothing
but discord, finally reveals itself as the music of the master, the
music that thrills and moves masses of men and women. So it is in the
use of the thought-forces. It is the reiteration, the constant
reiteration of the thought that grows the power of continually stronger
thought-focusing, and that finally brings manifestation.

       *       *       *       *       *

All life is from within out. This is something that cannot be reiterated
too often. The springs of life are all from within. This being true, it
would be well for us to give more time to the inner life than we are
accustomed to give to it, especially in this Western world.

There is nothing that will bring us such abundant returns as to take a
little time in the quiet each day of our lives. We need this to get the
kinks out of our minds and hence out of our lives. We need this to form
better the higher ideals of life. We need this in order to see clearly
in mind the things upon which we would concentrate and focus the
thought-forces. We need this in order to make continually anew and to
keep our conscious connection with the Infinite. We need this in order
that the rush and hurry of our every-day life does not keep us away from
the conscious realization of the fact that the spirit of Infinite life
and power that is back of all, working in and through all, the life of
all, is the life of our life, and the source of our power; and that
outside of this we have no life and we have no power. To realize this
fact fully, and to live in it consciously at all times, is to find the
kingdom of God, which is essentially an inner kingdom, and can never be
anything else. The kingdom of heaven is to be found only within, and
this is done once for all, and in a manner in which it cannot otherwise
be done, when we come into the conscious, living realization of the fact
that in our real selves we are essentially one with the Divine life, and
open ourselves continually so that this Divine life can speak to and
manifest through us. In this way we come into the condition where we are
continually walking with God. In this way the consciousness of God
becomes a living reality in our lives; and in the degree in which it
becomes a reality does it bring us into the realization of continually
increasing wisdom, insight, and power. _This consciousness of God in the
soul of man is the essence, indeed the sum and substance of all
religion._ This identifies religion with every act and every moment of
every-day life. That which does not identify itself with every moment of
every day and with every act of life is religion in name only and not in
reality. This consciousness of God in the soul of man is the one thing
uniformly taught by all the prophets, by all the inspired ones, by all
the seers and mystics in the world's history, whatever the time,
wherever the country, whatever the religion, whatever minor differences
we may find in their lives and teachings. In regard to this they all
agree; indeed, this is the essence of their teaching, as it has also
been the secret of their power and the secret of their lasting
influence.

It is the attitude of the child that is necessary before we can enter
into the kingdom of heaven. As it was said, "Except ye become as little
children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." For we then
realize that of ourselves we can do nothing, but that it is only as we
realize that it is the Divine life and power working within us, and it
is only as we open ourselves that it may work through us, that we are or
can do anything. It is thus that the simple life, which is essentially
the life of the greatest enjoyment and the greatest attainment, is
entered upon.

In the Orient the people as a class take far more time in the quiet, in
the silence, than we take. Some of them carry this possibly to as great
an extreme as we carry the opposite, with the result that they do not
actualize and objectify in the outer life the things they dream in the
inner life. We give so much time to the activities of the outer life
that we do not take sufficient time in the quiet to form in the inner,
spiritual thought-life the ideals and the conditions that we would have
actualized and manifested in the outer life. The result is that we take
life in a kind of haphazard way, taking it as it comes, thinking not
very much about it until, perhaps, pushed by some bitter experiences,
instead of moulding it, through the agency of the inner forces, exactly
as we would have it. We need to strike the happy balance between the
custom in this respect of the Eastern and Western worlds, and go to the
extreme of neither the one nor the other. This alone will give the ideal
life; and it is the ideal life only that is the thoroughly satisfactory
life. In the Orient there are many who are day after day sitting in the
quiet, meditating, contemplating, idealizing, with their eyes focused on
their stomach in spiritual revery, while through lack of outer
activities, in their stomachs they are actually starving. In this
Western world, men and women, in the rush and activity of our accustomed
life, are running hither and thither, with no centre, no foundation upon
which to stand, nothing to which they can anchor their lives, because
they do not take sufficient time to come into the realization of what
the centre, of what the reality of their lives is.

If the Oriental would do his contemplating, and then get up and do his
work, he would be in a better condition; he would be living a more
normal and satisfactory life. If we in the Occident would take more time
from the rush and activity of life for contemplation, for meditation,
for idealization, for becoming acquainted with our real selves, and then
go about our work manifesting the powers of our real selves, we would be
far better off, because we would be living a more natural, a more normal
life. To find one's centre, to become centred in the Infinite, is the
first great essential of every satisfactory life; and then to go out,
thinking, speaking, working, loving, living, from this centre.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the highest character-building, such as we have been considering,
there are those who feel they are handicapped by what we term
_heredity_. In a sense they are right; in another sense they are totally
wrong. It is along the same lines as the thought which many before us
had inculcated in them through the couplet in the New England Primer:
"In Adam's fall, we sinned all." Now, in the first place, it is rather
hard to understand the justice of this if it is true. In the second
place, it is rather hard to understand why it is true. And in the third
place there is no truth in it at all. We are now dealing with the real,
essential self, and, however old Adam is, God is eternal. This means
you; it means me; it means every human soul. When we fully realize this
fact we see that heredity is a reed that is easily broken. The life of
every one is in his own hands and he can make it in character, in
attainment, in power, in divine self-realization, and hence in
influence, exactly what he wills to make it. All things that he most
fondly dreams of are his, or may become so if he is truly in earnest;
and as he rises more and more to his ideal, and grows in the strength
and influence of his character, he becomes an example and an inspiration
to all with whom he comes in contact; so that through him the weak and
faltering are encouraged and strengthened; so that those of low ideals
and of a low type of life instinctively and inevitably have their ideals
raised, and the ideals of no one can be raised without its showing forth
in his outer life. As he advances in his grasp upon and understanding of
the power and potency of the thought-forces, he finds that many times
through the process of mental suggestion he can be of tremendous aid to
one who is weak and struggling, by sending to him now and then, and by
continually holding him in the highest thought, in the thought of the
highest strength, wisdom, and love.

The one who takes sufficient time in the quiet mentally to form his
ideals, sufficient time to make and to keep continually his conscious
connection with the Infinite, with the Divine life and forces, is the
one who is best adapted to the strenuous life. He it is who can go out
and deal with sagacity and power with whatever issues may arise in the
affairs of every-day life. He it is who is building not for the years,
but for the centuries; not for time, but for the eternities. And he can
go out knowing not whither he goes, knowing that the Divine life within
him will never fail him, but will lead him on until he beholds the
Father face to face.

He is building for the centuries because only that which is the
highest, the truest, the noblest, and best will abide the test of the
centuries. He is building for eternity because when the transition
we call death takes place, life, character, self-mastery, divine
self-realization,--the only things that the soul when stripped of
everything else takes with it,--he has in abundance. In life, or when
the time of the transition to another form of life comes, he is never
afraid, never fearful, because he knows and realizes that behind him,
within him, beyond him, is the Infinite wisdom and love; and in this he
is eternally centred, and from it he can never be separated. With
Whittier he sings:

    "I know not where His islands lift
      Their fronded palms in air;
    I only know I cannot drift
      Beyond His love and care."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote D: "The Ring and the Book," by Robert Browning.]





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