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Title: The Conquest of Fear
Author: King, Basil, 1859-1928
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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by Henry C. Link, Ph.D.


There are many books which give some help to many people. There are
books which give a set of rules, or even one master rule, by which to
meet the problems of life. This is not such a book. It suggests no
simple recipe for the conquest of fear. Instead, it presents, what all
too few of us to-day possess, a philosophy of life.

Moreover, in contrast to the dominant thinking of our age, which is
materialistic, King's philosophy is spiritual and religious. Indeed, the
ideas in this book are so profoundly different from the commonly
accepted ideas of our times that they will come as a shock to many
readers. One purpose of this introduction is to prepare the reader for
such a shock.

I have said that the dominant thinking of our age is materialistic, and
by that I mean also physical. Let me illustrate this broad statement
with reference to the subject of fears alone. The conquest of fear has
gone on year after year chiefly through physical means. Physical pain
has always been one of the great sources of fear. Now ether and other
anaesthetics have eliminated the chief pains of major operations. Older
people can still remember their fear of the dentist, when killing a
nerve or pulling a tooth caused excruciating pain. Now local
anaesthetics even in minor troubles have made dentistry almost painless.
We have not conquered these fears of pain--rather their cause has
been removed.

Twilight sleep, the artificial sleep to alleviate the pains of
childbirth, is the perfect expression of the scientific and
materialistic elimination of fear. By a chemical blackout of the mind, a
dimming of the conscious self, the person is enabled to escape the
necessity of facing and conquering fear through his own resources.

I am not condemning the physical alleviation of pain or the progress of
physical science. I am only describing a trend, and that is the growing
emphasis on the elimination of fears by science rather than on their
conquest by the individual.

Illness has always been a great source of fear, and still is. The dread
of cancer is one of the terrifying fears of our time and fortunes are
spent in cancer research and education. THE CONQUEST OF FEAR was written
as a result of the author's threatened total blindness. He faced a fact
for which there seemed no physical remedy--hence his great need for a
spiritual conquest of this great fear.

And yet, year by year, physical science has been eliminating or
reducing the dangers of sickness. Vaccines for the prevention of the
dread disease, small-pox, are now a matter of course. Vaccines and
specifics against the deadly tetanus, against typhoid fever, diphtheria,
syphilis, and other fearful diseases have become commonplace. The fear
of pneumonia has been almost eliminated through the discoveries of the
miraculous sulpha drugs. Science has done wonders toward the elimination
of such fears. A man need hardly conquer the fear of any particular
sickness--there is left for his conquest chiefly the fear of dying.

In addition to physical disease, our civilization has now developed
mental ailments of all kinds. These include a large category of fears
called phobias--claustrophobia, agoraphobia, photophobia, altaphobia,
phonophobia, etc.

Three fields or professions, other than religion and philosophy, have
sought to deal with these fears, the psychiatric, the psychoanalytic,
and the psychological. The medical psychiatric profession has naturally
emphasized physical remedies beginning with sedatives and bromides to
induce artificial relaxation and ending up with lobectomy or the
complete cutting off of the frontal lobes of the brain, the centers of
man's highest thought processes. Between these two extremes are the
shock treatments in which an injection of insulin or metrazol into the
blood stream causes the person to fall into a sort of epileptic fit
during which he loses consciousness. Through a series of such shock
treatments some of the higher nerve centers or nerve pathways are
destroyed. By this process a person's fears may also be eliminated and
he may be permanently or temporarily cured. In short, the person does
not conquer the fears in his mind; the psychiatrist or neurologist, by
physically destroying a part of the person's brain, destroys also
the fears.

How strongly this physical approach has taken hold of people was made
plain to me through an article of mine on how to conquer fears. The
emphasis in this article was on how people could overcome their fears
and worries through their own efforts. To illustrate the opposite
extreme, I mentioned the brain operations and shock treatments by which
psychiatry now often deals with fears. Among the many people who wrote
to me as a result of this article, _the majority inquired where they
could obtain such an operation_! To such extremes have many people gone
in their desire to eliminate fear by physical means rather than conquer
it through their own spiritual powers.

The psychoanalyst deals with a person's phobias through what seems like
an intellectual or rational process. According to psychoanalysis,
phobias or fears are due to some buried or subconscious complex. By
daily or frequent talks with a psychoanalyst for a period of six months
or a year, a person's subconscious disturbance _may_ be brought to
light, and if so, the fear is supposed automatically to disappear. Even
if true, this process is a highly materialistic one, at least in the
sense that only people who can spend thousands of dollars can afford
such treatments.

The psychologist, as well as some psychiatrists who have studied normal
psychology, regard many fears as normal experiences which the individual
can cope with largely through his own resources and with very little
help in the way of visits or treatment. The trouble arises in the case
of those people who have no personal resources to draw on. Their lives
are so lacking in spiritual power, or so full of intellectual scepticism
and distrust, that they cannot help themselves. They have no religious
convictions or certainties by which to obtain leverage in their
struggles. They have no firm philosophy of life on which they or those
who would help them can lay hold. They are putty in the hands of the
fears and forces that beset them from without.

The psychologist and the psychiatrist both find it difficult to do much
to help such a person. And yet, this is the kind of person our
civilization and education tends increasingly to produce. By the
physical elimination of the causes of fear we have gradually undermined
man's inner resources for the conquest of fear.

This materialistic trend has received a new impetus from the fields of
political science, economics, and sociology. A dozen years ago economic
disaster threatened to stampede the nation. Millions who had lost their
jobs began to fear penury and want. Millions who still had jobs feared
that they would lose them. Other millions began to fear the loss of
their money and possessions. Rich and poor, becoming afraid that the
country was going to pieces, rushed to the banks to withdraw their
savings and brought on the nation-wide bank closings. Those were days
when everyone knew paralyzing fears.

History will record the fact that these fears were met, not by conquest,
not by drawing on the moral resources and inner fortitude of the
American citizen, but by a collection of wholesale materialistic
schemes. These schemes included such devices as inflating the dollar,
raising prices, expanding the government debt, paying farmers not to
produce crops, government housing projects, and many others. The fears
of unemployment and poverty in old age were to be eliminated wholesale
through a planned economy, a new social order. By an elaborate system of
book-keeping called Social Security, a whole nation was to win freedom
from want and freedom from fear.

But while we were building our smug little house of Social Security, the
whole world was crashing around us. Instead of achieving local security
we find ourselves now in the midst of world-wide insecurity. Far from
having eliminated the economic causes of fear, we now find these causes
multiplied many times. To the fear of losing our money is now added the
fear of losing our sons. To the fear of losing our jobs is added the
fear of losing our lives. To the fear of depression and inflation is
added the fear of losing the very freedoms for which the war is
being fought.

At last we see, or are on the point of seeing, that materialism breeds
worse fears than it cures; that economics and sociology create more
social problems than they solve; that science makes it possible to
destroy wealth and lives much faster than it can build them. It took
years of science to achieve the airplane and to eliminate people's fear
of flying. Now, suddenly, the airplane has become the greatest source of
destruction and of fear on the globe. Cities which were decades in the
building are blasted out of being in a night. Millions of people must
regulate their lives in fear of these dread visitors.

This is the background against which the conquest of fear presents its
philosophy of courage and of hope. It is a philosophy diametrically
opposed to the dominant beliefs and practices of our materialistic age.
One hesitates to use the words spiritual and moral because they have
become catch words. Nevertheless, King's philosophy is a spiritual and a
moral one, and the reader will gain from it a clearer concept of what
these words really mean.

When I remember my reactions to the first portion of this book, I can
readily picture the impatience and even scorn of many intellectuals and
pseudo-intellectuals. Because of its emphasis on the religious nature of
the universe and on the spiritual power of the individual, it may seem
to them naïve. Because of its consistent condemnation of Mammon, of
materialism and the economic-sociological interpretation of life, it may
seem to them old-fashioned. Actually, the book is highly sophisticated
and is more novel to-day than the day it was written because since that
time we have strayed twenty years further from the truth.

One day I was having luncheon with a man who, during the course of the
conversation, remarked: "I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your
latest book,--" As almost any writer would, I pricked up my ears

"Yes," he went on, "I got a great deal out of your recent book, but the
book which helped me more than any I have ever read is a book called THE
CONQUEST OF FEAR, by Basil King. Do you happen to know it?"

"Know it!" I exclaimed. "I not only know it, I am just on the point of
writing an introduction to a new edition of the book. Would you mind
telling me how it helped you?"

He thereupon related how, at a certain period of his life, he had left
an excellent position to take a new one which seemed more promising. It
soon developed that the difficulties of this position were such as to
make his success seem almost hopeless. He became obsessed with the idea
that the people with whom he had to deal were "out to get him." His
fears of the job and of his associates grew to the point where a nervous
breakdown seemed inevitable.

One day his daughter told him that she needed a book in her school work
which he remembered having packed in a box that had been stored in the
attic and not yet opened. When he opened the box, the first book which
he picked up was THE CONQUEST OF FEAR. It was evidently one of those
books which had somehow come into the possession of his family, but
which he had never read.

This time, however, he sat down in the attic and began to read it.
During the course of the next year or so he read it carefully not once
but four or five times. "It marked the turning point in my life," he
told me. "It enabled me to conquer the fears which were threatening to
ruin me at the time, and it gave me a philosophy which has stood me in
good stead ever since."

A philosophy which marked the turning point in his life and which has
stood him in good stead ever since! THE CONQUEST OF FEAR offers
such a philosophy not only to individuals suffering from fears peculiar
to them, but to a world of individuals suffering, or about to suffer,
from the collapse of world-wide materialism. In this day of chaos and
uncertainty, here is the modern version of the parable of the man who
built his house upon a rock instead of on the sand: "and the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that
house; and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock."

H. C. L.




When I say that during most of my conscious life I have been a prey to
fears I take it for granted that I am expressing the case of the
majority of people. I cannot remember the time when a dread of one kind
or another was not in the air. In childhood it was the fear of going to
bed, of that mysterious time when regular life was still going on
downstairs, while I was buried alive under sheets and blankets. Later it
was the fear of school, the first contact of the tender little soul with
life's crudeness. Later still there was the experience which all of us
know of waking in the morning with a feeling of dismay at what we have
to do on getting up; the obvious duties in which perhaps we have grown
stale; the things we have neglected; those in which we have made
mistakes; those as to which we have wilfully done wrong; those which
weary or bore or annoy or discourage us. Sometimes there are more
serious things still: bereavements, or frightfully adverse conditions,
or hardships we never expected brought on us by someone else.

It is unnecessary to catalogue these situations, since we all at times
in our lives have to face them daily. Fear dogs one of us in one way and
another in another, but everyone in some way.

Look at the people you run up against in the course of a few hours.
Everyone is living or working in fear. The mother is afraid for her
children. The father is afraid for his business. The clerk is afraid for
his job. The worker is afraid of his boss or his competitor. There is
hardly a man who is not afraid that some other man will do him a bad
turn. There is hardly a woman who is not afraid that things she craves
may be denied her, or that what she loves may be snatched away. There is
not a home or an office or a factory or a school or a church in which
some hang-dog apprehension is not eating at the hearts of the men,
women, and children who go in and out. I am ready to guess that all the
miseries wrought by sin and sickness put together would not equal those
we bring on ourselves by the means which perhaps we do least to
counteract. We are not sick all the time; we are not sinning all the
time; but all the time all of us--or practically all of us--are afraid
of someone or something. If, therefore, one has the feeblest
contribution to make to the defeat of such a foe it becomes difficult to
withhold it.


But even with a view to conquering fear I should not presume to offer to
others ideas worked out purely for myself had I not been so invited. I
do not affirm that I have conquered fear, but only that in self-defence
I have been obliged to do something in that direction. I take it for
granted that what goes in that direction will go all the way if pursued
with perseverance and good will. Having thus made some simple
experiments--chiefly mental--with what to me are effective results, I
can hardly refuse to tell what they have been when others are so good as
to ask me.

And in making this attempt I must write from my own experience. No other
method would be worth while. The mere exposition of a thesis would have
little or no value. It is a case in which nothing can be helpful to
others which has not been demonstrated for oneself, even though the
demonstration be but partial.

In writing from my own experience I must ask the reader's pardon if I
seem egoistic or autobiographical. Without taking oneself too smugly or
too seriously one finds it the only way of reproducing the thing that
has happened in one's own life and which one actually knows.

And when I speak above of ideas worked out purely for myself I do not,
of course, mean that these ideas are original with me. All I have done
has been to put ideas through the mill of my own mind, co-ordinating
them to suit my own needs. The ideas themselves come from many sources.
Some of these sources are, so deep in the past that I could no longer
trace them; some are so recent that I know the day and hour when they
revealed themselves, like brooks in the way. It would be possible to say
to the reader, "I owe this to such and such a teaching, and that to such
and such a man," only that references of the kind would be tedious. I
fall back on what Emerson says: "Thought is the property of him who can
entertain it; and of him who can adequately place it. A certain
awkwardness marks the use of borrowed thoughts; but, as soon as we have
learned what to do with them, they become our own. Thus all originality
is relative." The thoughts that I shall express are my own to the extent
that I have lived them--or tried to live them--though the wind that
bloweth where it listeth may have brought them to my mind.

Nor do I think for a moment that what I have found helpful to me must of
necessity be helpful to everyone. It may be helpful to someone. That is
the limit of my hope. It is simple fact that no one can greatly help
anyone else. The utmost we can do is to throw out an idea here and there
which another may seize, and by which he may help himself. Borrowed help
has the awkwardness which Emerson attributes to borrowed thoughts. It is
only when a concept has lain for a time in a man's being, germinated
there, and sprung into active life, that it is of much use to him; but
by that time it has become his own. The kingdom of heaven must begin
within oneself or we shall probably not find it anywhere.

These pages will contain, then, no recipe for the conquest of fear; they
will offer, with much misgiving and diffidence, no more than the record
of what one individual has done toward conquering it. This record is
presented merely for what it is worth. It may be worth nothing. On the
other hand, someone may find it worth something, and in that case all
that the writer hopes for will be attained.


As a matter of fact, in my own case the reaction against fear was from
the beginning more or less instinctive. With the first exercise of the
reasoning faculty I tried to argue against the emotion. I remember that
as a little boy I was afraid of a certain dog that barked at me when I
went to a certain house to which I was sent perhaps two or three times a
week. The house had a driveway, and from the minute of passing the
entrance my knees trembled under me. But even then, I recall, it seemed
to me that this terror was an incongruous thing in life, that it had no
rightful place there, and that, if the world was what my elders told me
it was, there must be in it a law of peace and harmony which as yet I
hadn't arrived at. I cannot say that when the dog barked this reasoning
did more than nerve me to drag my quaking limbs up to the doorstep,
whence my enemy, a Skye terrier, invariably took flight.

During a somewhat stormy childhood and boyhood, in which there was a
good deal of emotional stress, I never got beyond this point. Specific
troubles were not few, and by the time I reached early manhood a habit
of looking for them had been established. "What's it going to be now?"
became a formula of anticipation before every new event. New events
presented themselves most frequently as menaces. Hopes rarely loomed up
without accompanying probabilities of disappointment. One adopted the
plan of "expecting disappointment" as a means of cheating the "jinx." I
am not painting my early life as any darker than most lives. It was, I
fancy, as bright as the average life of youth.


But, contrary to what is generally held, I venture to think that youth
is not a specially happy period. Because young people rarely voice
their troubles we are likely to think them serene and unafraid. That has
not been my experience either with them or of them. While it is true
that cares of a certain type increase with age the knowledge of how to
deal with them increases, or ought to increase, in the same progression.
With no practical experience to support them the young are up against
the unknown and problematical--occupation, marriage, sexual urge, life
in general--around which clings that terror of the dark which frightened
them in childhood. Home training, school training, college training,
religious training, social influences of every kind, throw the emphasis
on dangers rather than on securities, so that the young life emerges
into a haunted world. Some are reckless of these dangers, some grow
hardened to them, some enjoy the tussle with them, some turn their minds
away from them, while others, chiefly the imaginative or the
intellectual, shrink from them with the discomfort which, as years go
on, becomes worry, anxiety, foreboding, or any other of the many
forms of care.


My own life followed what I assume to be the usual course, though in
saying this I am anxious not to give an exaggerated impression. It was
the usual course, not an unusual one. "There's always something" came to
be a common mental phrase, and the something was, as a rule, not
cheering. Neither, as a rule, was it terrible. It was just
_something_--a sense of the carking hanging over life, and now and then
turning to a real mischance or a heartache.

It strikes me as strange, on looking back, that so little attempt was
made to combat fear by religion. In fact, as far as I know, little
attempt was made to combat fear in any way. One's attention was not
called to it otherwise than as a wholly inevitable state. You were born
subject to fear as you were born subject to death, and that was an
end of it.

Brought up in an atmosphere in which religion was our main
preoccupation, I cannot recall ever hearing it appealed to as a
counteragent to this most persistent enemy of man. In dealing with your
daily dreads you simply counted God out. Either He had nothing to do
with them or He brought them upon you. In any case His intervention on
your behalf was not supposed to be in this world, and to look for
rewards from Him here and now was considered a form of impiety. You were
to be willing to serve God for naught; after which unexpected favours
might be accorded you, but you were to hope for nothing as a right. I do
not say that this is what I was taught; it was what I understood; but to
the best of my memory it was the general understanding round about me.
In my fight against fear, in as far as I made one, God was for many
years of no help to me, or of no help of which I was aware. I shall
return to the point later in telling how I came to "discover God" for
myself, but not quite the same God, or not quite the same concept of
God, which my youthful mind had supposed to be the only one.


At the same time it was to a small detail in my religious training--or
to be more exact in the explanation of the Bible given me as a boy--that
I harked back when it became plain to me that either I must conquer fear
or fear must conquer me. Having fallen into my mind like a seed, it lay
for well on to thirty years with no sign of germination, till that
"need," of which I shall have more to say presently, called it
into life.

Let me state in a few words how the need made itself pressing.

It was, as life goes, a tolerably dark hour. I was on the borderland
between young manhood and early middle age. For some years I had been
losing my sight, on top of which came one of those troubles with the
thyroid gland which medical science still finds obscure. For reasons
which I need not go into I was spending an autumn at Versailles in
France, unoccupied and alone.

If you know Versailles you know that it combines all that civilisation
has to offer of beauty, magnificence, and mournfulness. A day's visit
from Paris will give you an inkling of this, but only an inkling. To get
it all you must live there, to be interpenetrated by its glory of decay.
It is always the autumn of the spirit at Versailles, even in summer,
even in spring; but in the autumn of the year the autumnal emotion of
the soul is poignant beyond expression. Sad gardens stretch into sad
parks; sad parks into storied and haunting forests. Long avenues lead to
forgotten châteaux mellowing into ruin. Ghostly white statues astonish
you far in the depths of woods where the wild things are now the most
frequent visitors. A Temple of Love--pillared, Corinthian, lovely--lost
in a glade to which lovers have probably not come in a hundred
years--will remind you that there were once happy people where now the
friendliest sound is that of the wood-chopper's axe or the horn of some
far-away hunt. All the old tales of passion, ambition, feud, hatred,
violence, lust, and intrigue are softened here to an aching sense of
pity. At night you will hear the castle clock, which is said never once
to have failed to strike the hour since Louis the Fourteenth put it in
its place, tolling away your life as it has tolled away epochs.

Amid these surroundings a man ill, lonely, threatened with blindness,
can easily feel what I may call the spiritual challenge of the ages. He
must either be strong and rule; or he must be weak and go down. He must
get the dominion over circumstance, or circumstance must get the
dominion over him. To be merely knocked about by fate and submit to it,
even in the case of seemingly inevitable physical infirmity, began to
strike me as unworthy of a man.

It is one thing, however, to feel the impulse to get up and do
something, and another to see what you can get up and do. For a time the
spectre of fear had me in its power. The physical facts couldn't be
denied, and beyond the physical facts I could discern nothing. It was
conceivable that one might react against a mental condition; but to
react against a mysterious malady coupled with possibly approaching
blindness was hardly to be thought of. When one added one's incapacity
to work and earn a living, with all that that implies, it seemed as if
it would take the faith that moves mountains to throw off the weight
oppressing me. It is true that to move mountains you only need faith as
a grain of mustard seed, but as far as one can judge not many of us have
that much.

It was then that my mind went back all of a sudden to the kernel planted
so many years before, in my island home, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. If
I become prolix over this it is only that I want to show how often it
happens to parents, teachers, and others who deal with children, to
throw out a thought which after lying dormant for years will become a
factor in the life. Had it not been for the few words spoken then I
should not, as far as I can see, now have such mastery over self as I
have since attained--not very much--but I should not be writing
these lines.


My boyhood was placed in the times when Darwin's "Origin of Species" and
"Descent of Man" had thrown the scientific and religious worlds into
convulsion. The struggle between the old ideas and the new calls for no
more than a reference here; but the teacher to whom I owe most was one
who, while valuing the old, saw only an enrichment in the new,
explaining the Bible in that spirit. So it happened that he spoke one
day of the extraordinary ingenuity of the life-principle, which somehow
came to the earth, in adapting itself to perpetually new conditions.

Nothing defeated it. For millions of years it was threatened by climatic
changes, by the lack of food, by the ferocity of fellow-creatures. Heat,
cold, flood, drought, earthquake, and volcanic eruption were forever
against it. Struggling from stage to stage upward from the slime a new
danger was always to it a new incentive to finding a new resource.

Pursued through the water it sought the land. Pursued on the land it
sought the air. Pursued in the air it developed fleetness of wing, and
in fleetness of wing a capacity for soaring, circling, balancing,
dipping, and swinging on itself of which the grace must not blind us to
the marvellous power of invention.

In other words, the impulses leading to the origin of species proclaim a
resourcefulness on the part of what we call life which we have every
reason to think inexhaustible. Whatever the Fount of Being from which
the life-principle first came into the waters of our earth there is no
question but that with it came a conquest-principle as well. Had it been
possible to exterminate the life-principle it would never have gone
further than the age which saw the extinction of the great reptiles. The
great reptiles went, but the life-principle stayed on, with the ability
to assume, within our limited observation, all the forms between the
bacillus and the elephant, while as to what lies beyond our observation
the possibilities are infinite.

Long before it works up to man we see this amazing force stemming an
uncountable number of attacks, and meeting ruinous conditions with
daring contrivances. For one kind of danger it develops a shell, for
another a sting, for another a poison, for another a protective
colouration. To breathe in the sea it puts forth gills, and makes lungs
for itself when stranded on the land. In glacial cold it finds the means
of growing fur; when heat and cold assail it by turns it packs itself
with feathers; when climates become temperate it produces hair. For the
creature which keeps to the water it webs the foot; for that which takes
to the trees it makes the toes prehensile; for the one which learns to
stand erect and run along the ground it flattens the sole, making it
steady and supporting. To resist, to survive, to win through, is the end
to which the life-principle sets itself with such singleness of aim as
to unfold a wealth of potentiality astounding to us in looking backward.


This was the idea which came back to me that autumn at Versailles, and
from which in the course of time I drew my conclusions.

Briefly, those conclusions were to the effect that as individuals we
need difficulties to overcome, and that fear is a stimulus to overcoming
them. Otherwise expressed, fear loses much of its fearfulness when we
see it as the summons to putting forth new energies. Unless we were
conscious of the energies such a call would not reach us. The creatures
preceding man could have felt no misgiving, since they lacked the
imagination essential to a dread. Such fear as they were equal to must
have seized them in paroxysms of terror when calamities threatened to
overwhelm them. If they made good their escape no trace of the fear
remained behind, the brain having little or no power of retention. We
may take it for granted that the pterodactyl and the trachodon had none
of the foreboding based on experience which destroys the peace of man.

Fear, as we understand it, was in itself a signal of advance. It could
only have begun with the exercise of reason. Arrived at the rudiments of
memory the creature must have been able to perceive, however dimly, that
the thing which had happened might happen again. Adding the first
stirrings of imagination he must have constructed possible events in
which the danger would come from the same causes as before. With the
faculties to remember, to reason, and to imagine all at work we reach
the first stages of man.

Man was born into fear in that he was born into a world of which most of
the energies were set against him. He was a lone thing fighting his own
battle. The instinct for association which made the mammals different
from other animals didn't help him much, since association did not bring
mutual help as a matter of course, and never has done so. A man could
count on no one but himself. Not only were prodigious natural forces
always menacing him with destruction; not only was the beast his enemy
and he the enemy of the beast; but his hand was against his fellow-man
and his fellow-man's hand against him. This mutual hostility followed
men in their first groupings into communities, and only to a degree have
we lived it down in the twentieth century.

Perhaps this conviction that a man's strength lay in standing
single-handed against circumstance was the first small discovery I made
in my own fight with fear. Looking back on the developments which had
brought man into the world I saw a marvellous power of getting round
difficulties when you couldn't cut through them. Just as a river which
cannot flow over a rock can glide about its feet and turn it into a
picturesque promontory, so I recognised in myself an inborn human
faculty for "sidestepping" that which blocked my way, when I couldn't
break it down.

I left Versailles with just that much to the good--a perception that the
ages had bequeathed me a store of abilities which I was allowing to lie
latent. Moving into Paris, to more cheerful surroundings, I took up
again the writing of the book I had abandoned more than a year
previously. After long seclusion I began to see a few people, finding
them responsive and welcoming. My object in stating these unimportant
details is merely to show that in proportion as I ceased to show fear
the life-principle hastened to my aid. Little by little I came to the
belief that the world about me was a system of co-operative
friendliness, and that it was my part to use it in that way.


To use it in that way was not easy. I was so accustomed to the thought
of Nature as a complex of self-seeking cruelties, the strong preying on
the weak, and the weak defenceless, that the mere idea of its containing
a ruling co-operative principle seemed at times far-fetched. To the
common opinion of the day, my own included, the conception of a
universe that would come to a man's aid the minute a man came to his own
was too much like a fairy tale. It may indeed be a fairy tale. All I
know is that in my own case it is the way in which it seems to have
worked. I think I have caught a glimpse of a constructive use for that
which I had previously thought of as only destructive and terrible.

This is what I mean. The life-principle having, through unknown millions
of years, developed the conquest-principle by meeting difficulties and
overcoming them, the difficulties had a value. To man, especially, the
menace of Nature, the ferocity of the beast, and the enmity of his
fellow-man furnished the incentive to his upward climb. Had all been
easy he would have stayed where he was. He would never have called
mental powers to his physical aid, nor appealed to spiritual faculties
when the mental fell short of his requirements. Spurred on by a
necessity which grew more urgent in proportion as the life-principle
widened its scope, the conquest-principle became an impulse which would
brook no denying. Man grew by it; but the fact remains that he would not
have grown had there been nothing for him to struggle with.

To me it seems basic to the getting rid of fear to know that our trials,
of whatever nature, are not motiveless. In our present stage of
development we could hardly do without them. So often looking like mere
ugly excrescences on life they are in reality the branches by which we
catch on and climb. They are not obstacles to happiness for the reason
that the only satisfying happiness we are equal to as yet is that of
wrestling with the difficult and overcoming it. Every call of duty has
its place in this ideal; every irksome job, every wearisome
responsibility. The fact that we are not always aware of it in no way
annuls the other fact that it is so. Boredom, monotony, drudgery,
bereavement, loneliness, all the clamour of unsatisfied ambitions and
aching sensibilities, have their share in this divine yearning of the
spirit to grasp what as yet is beyond its reach. All of that hacking of
the man to fit the job rather than the shaping of the job to fit the
man, which is, I imagine, the source of most of the discontent on earth,
has its place here, as well as the hundreds of things we shouldn't do if
we were not compelled to. Whatever summons us to conflict summons us to
life, and life, as we learn from a glance at the past, never shirks the

It never shirks the challenge, and, what is more, it never fails to find
the expedient by which the new demand is to be satisfied. To the
conquest of fear that plank must be foundational. As far as we can learn
there never was an emergency yet which the life-principle was not
equipped to meet. When all existing methods had been used up it invented
new ones; when seemingly at the end of its new resources it was only
beginning to go on again.


The deduction I make is this, that a law which was operative on such a
scale before man had come into the world at all must be still more
effective now that we can help to carry it out. The life-principle is
not less ingenious than it ever was, while the conquest-principle must
have widely expanded. It is an axiom in all progress that the more we
conquer the more easily we conquer. We form a habit of conquering as
insistent as any other habit. Victory becomes, to some degree, a state
of mind. Knowing ourselves superior to the anxieties, troubles, and
worries which obsess us, we _are_ superior. It is a question of attitude
in confronting them. It is more mental than it is material. To be in
harmony with the life-principle and the conquest-principle is to be in
harmony with power; and to be in harmony with power is to be strong as a
matter of course.

The individual is thus at liberty to say: "The force which never failed
before is not likely to fail in my case. The fertility of resource which
circumvented every kind of obstacle to make me what I am--a vertebrate,
breathing, walking, thinking entity, capable of some creative
expression of my own--will probably not fall short now that I have
immediate use for it. Of what I get from the past, prehistoric and
historic, perhaps the most subtle distillation is the fact that so far
is the life-principle from balking at need, need is essential to its
activity. Where there is no need it seems to be quiescent; where there
is something to be met, contended with, and overcome, it is furiously
'on the job.' That life-principle is my principle. It is the seed from
which I spring. It is my blood, my breath, my brain. I cannot cut myself
off from it; it cannot cut itself off from me. Having formed the
mastodon to meet one set of needs and the butterfly to meet another, it
will form, something to meet mine, even if something altogether new. The
new--or what seems new to me--is apparently the medium in which it is
most at home. It repeats itself never--not in two rosebuds, not in two
snowflakes. Who am I that I should be overlooked by it, or miss being
made the expression of its infinite energies?"


What this reasoning did for me from the start was to give me a new
attitude toward the multifold activity we call life. I saw it as
containing a principle that would work with me if I could work with it.
My working with it was the main point, since _it_ was working with me
always. Exactly what that principle was I could not at the time have
said; I merely recognised it as being there.

The method of working with it was simple in idea, however difficult in
practice. It was a question of my own orientation. I had to get mentally
into harmony with the people and conditions I found about me. I was not
to distrust them; still less was I to run away from them. I was to make
a parable of my childish experience with the Skye terrier, assuming that
life was organised to do me good. I remembered how many times the Bible
begins some bit of pleading or injunction with the words, "Fear not."
Other similar appeals came back to me. "Say to them that are of a
fearful heart, Be strong I fear not."[1] "Quit yourselves like men; be
strong."[2] "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be unto thee! Be
strong, yea, be Strong."[3] When, at some occasional test, dismay or
self-pity took hold of me I formed a habit of saying to myself, in our
expressive American idiom: "This is your special stunt. It's up to you
to do this thing just as if you had all the facilities. Go at it boldly,
and you'll find unexpected forces closing round you and Coming to
your aid."

[1] The Book of Isaiah.

[2] First Book of Samuel.

[3] Book of Daniel.

Which is just what I did find. To an amazing degree people were
friendly, while conditions became easier. Fear diminished because I had
fewer things to be afraid of. Having fewer things to be afraid of my
mind was clearer for work. Work becoming not only more of a resource but
more remunerative as well, all life grew brighter. Fear was not
overcome; I had only made a more or less hesitating stand against it;
but even from doing that I got positive results.




It is obvious that one could not dwell much on the power of the
life-principle without coming sooner or later to the thought of God. As
already hinted, I did not come to it at once because my conception of
God made Him of so little use to me.

And yet, in popular phraseology, I had "served" God all my life. That
is, brought up in an atmosphere in which the Church was a divinely
instituted system for utilising God, I served the system, without
getting much beyond the surface plane of what were technically known as
"services." When trial came such services offered me an anodyne, but
not a cure.


The first suggestion, that my concept of God might not be sufficient to
my needs came out of a conversation in New York. It was with a lady whom
I met but that once, within a year or two after my experience at
Versailles. I have forgotten how we chanced on the subject, but I
remember that she asked me these questions:

"When you think of God _how_ do you think of Him? How do you picture
Him? What does He seem like?"

Trying to reply I recognised a certain naivete, a certain childishness,
in my words even as I uttered them. In my thoughts I saw God as three
supernal men, seated on three supernal thrones, enshrined in some vague
celestial portion of space which I denominated Heaven. Between Him and
me there was an incalculable distance which He could bridge but I could
not. Always He had me at the disadvantage that He saw what I did, heard
what I said, read what I thought, punishing me for everything amiss,
while I could reach Him only by the uncertain telephony of what I
understood as prayer. Even then my telephone worked imperfectly. Either
the help I implored wasn't good for me, or my voice couldn't soar to
His throne.

The lady smiled, but said nothing. The smile was significant. It made me
feel that a God who was no more than what I had described could hardly
be the Universal Father, and set me to thinking on my own account.


I wish it were possible to speak of God without the implication of
dealing with religion. By this I mean that I am anxious to keep religion
out of this whole subject of the conquest of fear. The minute you touch
on religion, as commonly understood, you reach the sectarian. The minute
you reach the sectarian you start enmities. The minute you start
enmities you get mental discords. And the minute you get mental
discords no stand against fear is possible.

But I mean a little more than this. Man, as at present developed, has
shown that he hardly knows what to do with religion, or where to put it
in his life. This is especially true of the Caucasian, the least
spiritually intelligent of all the great types of our race.
Fundamentally the white man is hostile to religion. He attacks it as a
bull a red cloak, goring it, stamping on it, tearing it to shreds. With
the Caucasian as he is this fury is instinctive. Recognising religion as
the foe of the materialistic ideal he has made his own he does his best
to render it ineffective.

Of this we need no better illustration than the state of what we
conventionally know as Christendom. Christendom as we see it is a purely
Caucasian phase of man's struggle upward, with Caucasian merits and
Caucasian defects. Nowhere is its defectiveness more visible than in
what the Caucasian has made of the teaching of Jesus Christ. It was
probably a misfortune for the world that almost from the beginning that
teaching passed into Caucasian guardianship. I see in the New Testament
no indication on the part of Our Lord and the Apostles of wishing to
separate themselves from Semitic co-operation. The former taught daily
in the Temple; the latter, as they went about the world, made the
synagogue the base of all their missions. The responsibility for the
breach is not under discussion here. It is enough to note that it took
place, and that Caucasian materialism was thus deprived of a
counteragent in Hebrew spiritual wisdom. Had this corrective maintained
its place it is possible that religion might now be a pervasive element
in the Caucasian's life instead of being pigeon-holed.


The Caucasian pigeon-holes God. Otherwise expressed, he keeps God in a
specially labelled compartment of life, to be brought out for occasional
use, and put back when the need is over. It is difficult to mention God
to a Caucasian reader without inducing an artificial frame of mind. As
there are people who put on for strangers and guests an affected,
unnatural politeness different from their usual breezy spontaneity, so
the Caucasian assumes at the thought of God a mental habit which can
only be described as sanctimonious. God is not natural to the Caucasian;
the Caucasian is not natural with God. The mere concept takes him into
regions in which he feels uneasy. He may call his uneasiness reserve or
reverence, or by some other dignified name; but at bottom it is neither
more nor less than uneasiness. To minimise this distress he relegates
God to special days, to special hours, to services and ceremonials. He
can thus wear and bear his uncomfortable cloak of gravity for special
times, after which he can be himself again. To appeal to God otherwise
than according to the tacitly accepted protocol is to the average
Caucasian either annoying or in bad form.

I should like, then, to dissociate the thought of God from the
artificial, sanctimonious, preternaturally solemn connotations which
the Name is certain to bring up. I want to speak of Him with the same
kind of ease as of the life-principle. I repeat, that I never found Him
of much use in allaying fear till I released Him from the Caucasian
pigeon-hole to see Him, as it were, in the open. Once in the open I got
rid, to some degree, of the Caucasian limitations of thinking along the
lines of sect, just as in the infinitude of the air you can forget for a
minute houses with rooms and walls. The discovery--that is, discovery
for myself--that God is Universal, which is not so obvious as it sounds,
was, I think, the first great step I made in finding that within that
Universal fear should be impossible.


About the same time I chanced on a passage written by Joseph Joubert, an
eighteenth-century French Catholic, not so well known to the modern
reader as he ought to be, which impressed me deeply.

"L'âme ne peut se mouvoir, s'éveiller, ouvrir les yeux, sans santir
Dieu. On sent Dieu avec l'âme comme on sent l'air avec le corps.
Oseraije le dire? On connaît Dieu facilement pourvu qu'on ne se
contraigne pas à le definir--The soul cannot move, wake, or open the
eyes without perceiving God. We perceive God through the soul as we feel
air on the body. Dare I say it? We can know God easily so long as we do
not feel it necessary to define Him."

I began to see that, like most Caucasian Christians, I had been laying
too much stress on the definition. The Trinity had, so to speak, come
between me and the Godhead. I had, unconsciously, attached more
importance to God's being Three than to His being God. Seeing Him as
Three I instinctively saw Him as Three Persons. Seeing Him as Three
Persons I did not reflect that the word Person as applied to God must be
used in a sense wholly different from that in which we employ it with
regard to men. To get into what I call the open I had to bring myself to
understand that we cannot enclose the Infinite in a shape, or three
shapes, resembling in any way the being with digestive organs, arms, and
legs, which worked its way up from slime.

That is, in order to "dwell in the secret place of the Most High,"[4]
where one is immune from fear, I was obliged to give up the habit of
embodying God in any form. I had to confess that what is meant by the
Three Persons in One God I did not know. Furthermore, I saw no necessity
for thinking that I knew, since such knowledge must transcend all scope
of the human mind. The formula, if you must have a formula, is one
thing; but the turning it into a statute of limitations and applying it
to the Illimitable is another.

[4] The Book of Psalms.

To make my position clearer, and to avoid the subject of religion, let
me add that, inferring from the Bible that there is a Father, a Son, and
a Holy Ghost, I did not feel it imperative on my part to go beyond this
use of terms. Merely to abstain from definition was like a load taken
off my mind. How the Son was begotten of the Father, or the Holy Ghost
proceeded from them both, or what eternal mysteries were symbolised in
this purely human phraseology, were, it seemed to me, matters with which
I need not concern myself, seeing that they passed all my comprehension.
Not the Trinity should come first to powers so limited as mine--but God.

It dawned on me, too, that God need not necessarily be to me what He is
to others, nor to others what He is to me. Of the Infinite the finite
mind can only catch a finite glimpse. I see what I can see; another sees
what he can see. The visions may be different, and yet each vision may
be true. Just as two painters painting the same landscape will give
dissimilar views of it, so two minds contemplating God will take of Him
only what each is fitted to receive. Water poured into differently
coloured glasses will take on the colour of the cup which it fills, even
though it be the self-same water in them all. If I find God for myself I
shall probably not behold in Him exactly what anyone else in the whole
world or in all time has ever beheld in Him before.

I saw, too, that from a certain point of view the stand of the agnostic
is a right one. We cannot know God in the sense of knowing His being or
His "Personality," any more than we can know the essence of the
life-principle. Just as we know the life-principle only from what it
does, so we know God only from such manifestations of Himself as reach
our observation. Everything else is inference. Because we see something
of His goodness we infer that He is good; because we experience
something of His love we infer that He is loving; because we behold
something of His power we infer that He is almighty. It is first of all
a matter of drawing our conclusions, and then of making those
conclusions the food of the inner spiritual man whose life is
independent of the mortal heart and brain. But a sense in which God is
"unknowable" to us has to be admitted.

I make this statement now in order not to be misunderstood when later I
may say that God must be this or that. Though I shall do so for the
sake of brevity it will always be in the sense that, if God is what we
have inferred from His manifestations, He must be this or that. In other
words, having to some degree worked my own way out of fear I must tell
how I came to feel that I know the Unknowable, doing it with the inexact
phraseology which is all I find to hand.


Reaching the conclusions noted above I was relieved of the pressure of
traditions and instructions. Traditions and instructions helped me in
that they built the ship in which I was to put to sea. The discoveries
had to be my own. The God of whom I had heard at my mother's knee, as
the phrase goes, had always been shadowy to me; the God who was served
by "services" had always seemed remote. A God who should be "_my_ God,"
as the psalmists say so often, must, I felt, be found by me myself,
through living, searching, suffering, and struggling onward a step or
two at a time. "That's pretty near free-thinking, isn't it?" a
clergyman, to whom I tried to explain myself, once said to me. "No," I
replied; "but it _is_ pretty near thinking _free_."

To think freely about God became a first necessity; to think simply a
second one. The Universal Father had been almost lost to me behind veil
after veil of complexities. The approaches to Him seemed to have been
made so roundabout, requiring so many intermediaries. Long before I had
dared to think of what I may call emancipation, the "scheme of
salvation," as it was termed, had struck me as an excessively
complicated system of machinery, considering the millions upon millions
who had need of it. In theory you were told, according to St. Paul, to
"come boldly before the throne of the heavenly grace," but in practice
you were expected to do it timidly.

You were expected to do it timidly because the pigeon-holed Caucasian
God was represented--unconsciously perhaps--as difficult, ungenial,
easily offended. He measured your blindness and weakness by the
standard of His own knowledge and almightiness. A puritan God, extremely
preoccupied with morals as some people saw them, He was lenient,
apparently, to the narrow-minded, the bitter of tongue, and the
intolerant in heart. He was not generous. He was merciful only when you
paid for His mercy in advance. To a not inconsiderable degree He was the
hard Caucasian business man, of whom He was the reflection, only
glorified and crowned.

It will be evident, of course, that I am not speaking of "the Father" of
the New Testament, nor of the official teaching of any church or
theology. To the rank and file of Caucasians "the Father" of the New
Testament is very little known, while the official teaching of churches
and theologies is so hard to explain that not much of it gets over to
the masses of those willing to subscribe to it. I refer only to the
impression on the mind of the man in the street; and to the man in the
street God, as he understands Him, is neither a very friendly nor a very
comprehensible element in life. Instead of mitigating fear He adds to
it, not in the Biblical sense of "fearing God," but in that of sheer
animal distrust.


While turning these things over in my mind I got some help from two of
the words most currently in Christian use. I had long known that the
English equivalents of the Latin equivalents of the terms the New
Testament writers used gave but a distorted idea of the original sense;
but I had let that knowledge lie fallow.

The first of these words was Repentance. In these syllables there is
almost no hint of the idea which fell from the evangelistic pen, while
the word has been soaked in emotional and sentimental associations it
was never intended to be mixed with. The _Metanoia_; which painted a
sober, reflective turning of the mind, had been so overcharged with the
dramatic that sober, reflective people could hardly use the expression
any more. Repentance had come to have so strong a gloss of the
hysterical as to be almost discredited by men of common sense. It was a
relief, therefore, to remember that it implied no more than a turning to
God by a process of thought; and that a process of thought would
find Him.

The other word was Salvation. Here again our term of Latin derivation
gives no more than the faintest impression of the beauty beyond beauty
in that which the sacred writer used. _Soteria_--a Safe Return! That is
all. Nothing complicated; nothing high-strung; nothing casuistical. Only
a--Safe Return! Yet all human experience can be read into the little
phrase, with all human liberty to wander--and come back. True, one son
may never leave the Father's home, so that all that it contains is his;
but there is no restraint on the other son from getting his knowledge as
he will, even to the extent of becoming a prodigal. The essential is in
the Safe Return, the _Soteria_, when the harlots and the husks have been
tried and found wanting.

I do not exaggerate when I say that the simplicity of these conceptions
was so refreshing as almost to give me a new life. One could say to God,
with the psalmist, "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me
from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of
deliverance"--and mean it. One could conceive of it as possible to turn
toward Him--and reach, the objective. The way was open; the access was
free; the progress as rapid as thought could make it. One could think of
oneself as _knowing God_, and be aware of no forcing of the note.

"We can know God easily so long as we do not feel it necessary to define
Him." Once having grasped this truth I began to see how natural knowing
God became. The difficulty of the forced, of the artificial, of the mere
assent to what other people say, of which the Caucasian to his credit is
always impatient, seemed by degrees to melt away from me. No longer
defining God I no longer tried to know Him in senses obviously
impossible. I ceased trying to _imagine_ Him. Seeing Him as infinite,
eternal, changeless, formless because transcending form, and
indescribable because transcending words and thoughts, I could give
myself up to finding Him in the ways in which He would naturally be
revealed to me.


These, of course, were in His qualities and His works.

Let me speak of the latter first.

I think light was the medium through which I at once felt myself to be
seeing God. By this I mean nothing pantheistic--not that the light was
God--but God's first and most evident great sign. Then there was the
restful darkness. There were the moon and the stars, "the hosts of
heaven," as the Hebrews aptly called them, becoming more and more
amazing as an expression of God the more we learn how to read them. Then
there were the elements, the purifying wind, the fruitful rain, the
exhilaration of snow-storms, the action and reaction from heat and cold.
Then there was beauty: first, the beauty of the earth, of mountains, of
seas, and all waters, of meadows, grainfields, orchards, gardens, and
all growing things; then, the beauty of sound, from the soughing of the
wind in the pines to the song of the hermit-thrush. There was the beauty
wrought by man, music, painting, literature, and all art. There were the
myriad forms of life. There were kindness and friendship and family
affection and fun--but the time would fail me! God being the summing up
of all good things, since all good things proceed from Him, must be seen
by me in all good things it I am to see Him at all.

I had heard from childhood of a world in which God was seen, and of
another world, this world, in which He was not seen. I came to the
conclusion that there was no such fantastic, unnatural division in what
we call creation--that there was only one world--the world in which God
is seen. "The soul cannot move, wake, or open the eyes without
perceiving God." It is a question of physical vision, with spiritual


Seeing God breaking through all that I had previously thought of as
barriers, it was easy to begin to think of Him as Universal. I say begin
to think, because God's Infinitude had been only a word to me hitherto,
not a quality realised and felt. I do not presume to say that to any
adequate degree I feel and realise it now; but the habit of looking on
every good thing as a sign of His activity cannot but bring Him close
to me.

That is my chief point with regard to the Infinite--that it must be
_here_. As I used to think of infinity I saw it stretching to boundless
reaches away from me; but only from the point of view of present Good
being present God did the value of the Infinite come to lie in its
nearness rather than in its power of filling unimaginable space. On my
part it was inverse mental action, seeking God where I was capable of
finding Him, and not in regions I could never range.

But having grasped the fact that the Universal, wherever else it was,
must be with me the purely abstract became a living influence. I felt
this the more when to the concept of Infinitude I added that of
Intelligence. I use the much-worked word intelligence because there is
no other; but when one thinks for a second of what must be the
understanding of an Infinite Mind, intelligence as a descriptive term
becomes absurdly inadequate.

This was the next fact which, if I may so express myself, I made my
own--that not only the Universal is ever with me, but that it is ever
with me with ever-active concern. There was a time when it was hard for
me to believe that a Mind busied with the immensities of the universe
could come down to such trivial affairs as mine. Important as I might be
to myself I could hardly be otherwise than lost amid the billions of
forms of life which had come into existence through the ages. To the
Three in One, on the Great White Throne, in the far-away Heaven, I must
be a negligible thing, except when I forced myself on the divine
attention. Even then it was hardly conceivable that, with whole solar
systems to regulate, I could claim more than a passing glance from the
all-seeing eye.

But to an Infinite Mind bathing me round and round I must be as much the
object of regard as any solar system. To such a Mind nothing is small,
no one thing farther from its scope than another. God could have no
_difficulty_ in attending to me, seeing that from the nature of His
mental activity, to put it in that way, He could not lose sight of me
nor let me go. When an object is immersed in water it gives no extra
trouble to the water to close round it. It can't help doing it. The
object may be as small as a grain of dust or as big as a warship; to the
water it is all the same. Immersed in the Infinite Mind, closed round by
it, it was giving God no extra trouble to think of me, of my work, my
desires, the objects with which I was living, since by the nature of His
Being He could do nothing else.

Having established it with myself that Universal Presence was also
Universal Thought I had made another step toward the elimination of
fear. I took still another when I added the truth of Universal Love.

I need hardly say that this progression was not of necessity in a
strictly consecutive order, nor did it come by a process of reasoning
out from point to point. I was simply the man in the street dealing with
great ideas of which he had heard ever since he had been able to hear
anything, but trying at last to see what they meant to him. My position
might have been described in the words used by William James in one of
his _Letters_ to indicate his own. "The Divine, for my _active_ life, is
limited to abstract concepts, which, as ideals, interest and determine
me, but do so but faintly, in comparison with what a feeling of God
might effect, if I had one. It is largely a question of intensity, but
differences of intensity may make the whole centre of one's energy
shift." I did have a "feeling of God" however vague; but I had more of
the feeling of a Church. I could dimly discern the Way, without going
on to the Truth and the Life which give the Way its value. It will be
evident then that if my "discoveries" along these lines were discoveries
in the obvious, it was in that obvious to which we mortals so often
remain blind.

During many years the expression, the love of God, was to me like a
winter sunshine, bright without yielding warmth. I liked the words; I
knew they expressed a truth; but between me and the truth there was the
same kind of distance which I felt to lie between myself and God. "It is
largely a question of intensity," to repeat what has just been quoted
from William James, "but differences of intensity may make the whole
centre of one's energy shift." My conception of the love of God lacked
just that quality--intensity.

It came, to some degree, with the realisation that the Universal Thought
must be with _me_. A non-loving Universal Thought was too monstrous a
concept to entertain. The God who "broke through" my many
misunderstandings with so much good and beauty could have only one
predominating motive. The coming of my spiritual being to this planet
might be a mystery wrapped in darkness, and yet I could not but believe
that the Universal Father was behind that coming and that I was His son.
I could rest my case there. The love of God, after having long been like
a doctrinal tenet for which one had to strive, became reasonable,
natural, something to be understood. Finding that love in so many places
in which I had seen mere physical phenomena, and in so many lovely
things I had never placed to its credit, I began to feel that life could
be infused and transformed by it, in proportion as my own perception
grew. So, little by little, the centre of energy shifted, as one came to
understand what the Sons of Korah meant when they sang, "God is our
refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore _will we
not fear_ though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be
carried into, the midst of the sea."[5] With Universal Thought
concentrated in love upon oneself fear must be forced backward.

[5] The Book of Psalms.

And especially when you add to that the concept of Almighty Power. This
fourth and last of the great attributes is the one with which I, as an
individual, have found it most difficult to clothe the Infinite. I mean
that it is the one for which it is hardest for me to develop what
William James calls "a feeling," an inner realisation. I lay no stress
upon this. It is a question of growth. The Presence, the Thought, the
Love have become to me what I may be permitted to call tremulously
vivid. In proportion as they are vivid I get the "feeling" of
Almightiness exercised on my behalf; in proportion as they are tremulous
the Almightiness may remain in my consciousness, but it seems exercised
on my behalf but slightly.

In other words, the Infinitude of Thought and Love are, to some extent,
apprehended by my inner self, while the Infinitude of Power is as yet to
me rather an intellectual abstraction. What my inner self may be I am
not prepared to say, but I know that it is there, as everyone else
knows that it is in him. "Strengthened with might by the Spirit in the
inner man,"[6] is what St. Paul says, and I suppose most of us recognise
the fact that our inner self is stronger or weaker in proportion as it
is more nourished or less nourished by our sense of the Being of God. It
is largely a question of intensity. If I interpret William James aright
he means by "a feeling" an intellectual concept after it has passed
beyond the preliminary keeping of the brain, and become the possession
of that inner man which is the vital self. To this vital self the sense
of Almighty Power really used for me is still, to a great degree,
outside my range.

[6] Epistle to the Ephesians.

I make the confession not because it is of interest, but because it
illustrates a main deduction which I should now like to draw. It is to
the effect that God is with us _to be utilised_. His Power, His Love,
His Thought, His Presence, must be at our disposal, like other great
forces, such as sunshine and wind and rain. We can use them or not, as
we please. That we could use them to their full potentiality is, of
course, not to be thought of; but we can use them in proportion to our
ability. If I, the individual, still lack many things; if I am still a
prey to lingering fears; it is probably because I have not yet rooted
out a stubborn disbelief in His Power. If I succeed in this I shall
doubtless be able to seize more of His bounty. It is not a question of
His giving, but of my capacity to take.

The contrary, I venture to think, is the point of view of most of us. We
consider God somewhat as we do a wealthy man whom we know to be a miser,
forming the shrewd surmise that we shall not get much out of him. The
God who fails to protect us from fear fails, I believe, because we see
Him first of all as a niggard God. He is a niggard not merely with
regard to money but all the good things for which He has given us a
desire, with no intention of allowing that desire to be gratified. Once
more, He is the hard Caucasian business man, whom His subordinates serve
because they don't see what else to do, but whom they rarely love.

We shall not, in my judgment, overcome fear till we see Him as He surely
must be, generous beyond all our conceptions of generosity. Years,
experience, many trials, and some knowledge of the world, have convinced
me that we have no lawful or harmless cravings for which, _as far as God
is concerned_, there is not abundant satisfaction. I am convinced that
absolute confidence in God's overflowing liberality of every sort is
essential to the conquest of fear. If we don't profit by that liberality
the fault is not His but our own. I am tempted to think that the belief
of so many generations of nominal Christians in a God whose power was
chiefly shown in repressions, denials, and capricious disappointments is
responsible, in so small measure, for our present world-distress.

In my own case it was a matter of re-education. To find God for myself I
had to be willing to let some of my old cherished ideas go. They may
have been true of God as He reveals Himself to others; they are not true
of Him as He makes Himself known to me. The Way that leads _me_ to the
Truth and the Life is undoubtedly the Way I must follow.

Doing that I have found so much, mentally, emotionally, materially,
which I never had before, that I cannot but look for more as my
absorbing power increases. The process is akin to that of the
unshrivelling of the inner man, as a bud will unfold when the sunshine
becomes strong enough. The transformation must be in thought. There must
be first the _Metanoia_, the change of mind, the new set of concepts;
and then the _Soteria_, the Safe Return, to the high, sane ideal of a
co-operative Universe, with a loving, lavish Universal Heart behind it.

"To the chief Musician for the Sons of Korah:

"'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, and though the
mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.... Come, behold the
works of the Lord.... He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the
earth; he breaketh the bow, he cutteth the spear in sunder, he burneth
the chariot in the fire.... _Be still then, and know that I am

[7] Book of Psalms.




It will be clear from what I have said already that I see no fundamental
conquest of fear that is not based in God. There may be knacks by which
fear can be nipped and expedients by which it may be outwitted, but its
extermination can be brought about, it seems to me, only in one way.
According to our capacity and our individual needs we must know God; and
knowing God is not as difficult as the Caucasian mind is apt to think.
It stands to reason that if knowing God, in the senses in which it is
possible to know Him, is so essential to mankind it could not be
difficult. The making it difficult is part of the dust the Caucasian
throws in his own eyes.

We know God through His Self-Expression, and His Self-Expression is
round about us in every form. Except through His Self-Expression there
is no way of our knowing Him. No speculation or theory will teach us to
know Him. It must be His own revelation of Himself, or nothing.


Such little knowledge of Him as has come to me came much more freely
when I began to look for that revelation not alone in solemn mysteries,
or through the mediumship of prophets, apostles, and ancient scriptures,
but in the sights and sounds and happenings of every day. Here I must
ask not to be misunderstood. The solemn mysteries have their place, but
it is one of climax. The mediumship of prophets, apostles, and ancient
scriptures is of unreckonable value, after I have done something for
myself. By this I do not mean that all cannot work together
simultaneously, but rather that it is useless for the soul to strike
only at the more advanced, having ignored the elementary.

As I write I look out on a street full of the touches of spring. The
rain-washed grass is of bright new green. The elms are in tenderest
leaf, the hawthorn bursting into flower. Here and there a yellow clump
of forsythia is like a spot of sunshine. Tulips are opening their
variegated cups, and daffodils line the walls. Dogs are capering about,
a collie, a setter, a Boston terrier. Birds are carrying straws or bits
of string to weave into their nests--or singing--or flying--or perching
on boughs. Children are playing--boys on bicycles eagerly racing
nowhere--little girls with arms round each others' waists, prattling
after their kind. Overhead is a sky of that peculiar blue for which the
Chinese have a word which means "the blue of the sky after rain," a hue
which only these masters in colour have, to my knowledge,
specially observed.

How can I help seeing so much beauty and sweetness as the manifestation
of God? How could He show Himself to me more smilingly? How can I talk
of not seeing God when I see _this_? True, it may be no more than the
tip of the fringe of the hem of the robe in which His Being is arrayed;
but at least it must be that. True, also, that beautiful as these things
appear to physical eyes they must be still more beautiful to spiritual
eyes--the eyes of those who have passed on, for instance--to say nothing
of the delight which God must have in them Himself. But even with my
imperfect mortal vision they are rapturously good, a veritable glimpse
of the Divine.

This is what I mean by the elementary--the common, primary thing, the
thing I look at every day and hardly ever accredit to its source. I am
not speaking pantheistically here, any more than when I spoke of light.
These things are not God, or part of God. They are expressions of God.
If I speak of seeing God in them I mean that in them, as well as in many
other simple things, we see Him as nearly as is possible to such
comprehension as ours. "No human eye," writes St. John, "has ever seen
God: the only Son, who is in the Father's bosom--He has made Him
known."[8] He made Him known in His own Person; but He appealed also to
the everyday sights and sounds, the lily of the field, the blowing wind,
the sparrow falling, the children at their mothers' knees, for the
evidence to declare Him. As expressions of Him they may be
misinterpreted by the error in my physical senses, or distorted by my
limitations of spiritual perception; but even then they bring Him near
to me in the kind of radiance which I can catch.

[8] Most of the quotations from the New Testament are taken from a
recent translation, "The New Testament in Modern Speech," by R.F.
Weymouth and E. Hampden-Cook.


In order to banish fear I think it necessary to train the thought to
seeing God as expressing Himself in all the good and pleasant and
enjoyable things that come to us. This means forming a habit. It means
saying to oneself daily, hourly, "This is God," "That is God," of
incidents, persons, and things we have rarely thought of in that
relation. To do this is not as easy as it would be if our race-mind
worked that way; but unfortunately it does not. In general we take our
good things for granted, complaining that they are not better. The
things we lack are more vivid to us, as a rule, than those we have
acquired. Having hung, as it were, a cloud about ourselves we disregard
the uncountable ways in which God persists in shining through, in spite
of our efforts to shut Him out.

To try to enumerate the uncountable would be folly. You cannot reckon
the good which comes to every one of us through such channels as family,
home, friendship, income, business, amusements, studies, holidays,
journeys, sports, books, pictures, music, and the other hardly noticed
pleasures of any single day. We are used to them. To ascribe them
specially to God would seem to us far-fetched. That is, theoretically we
may ascribe them to God, but practically we dissociate Him from them.
Few of us, I think, ever pause to remember that through them He is
making Himself known to us before doing it in any other way.

And yet, it seems to me, this is the beginning of our recognition of the
Divine. I have little hesitation in saying that this is what parents
should teach children before they teach them to lisp prayers. The
prayers have hardly any meaning to the baby-mind, and not much more than
a sentimental influence on the later life, if they have as much as that.
But any child, from the very budding of the intelligence, could grasp
the idea of a great, loving Super-Father, who was making Himself visible
through gifts and care. If he prayed to Him later he would know to whom
he was praying. As it is, the later prayers are neglected, or definitely
given up, oftener than not, because this is precisely what the child
does _not_ know. He does not know it because he was never taught it; and
he was never taught it because his parents have probably not been aware
of it themselves.


I myself was never taught it. Notwithstanding all for which I am truly
grateful, I regret most deeply that so many years of my life went by
before I was led to the fact. I am willing to believe that the lack of
understanding was my own fault, but a lack of understanding there was. I
got the impression that God, so far from making Himself known to me, was
hiding away from me, and that I must have faith to believe in One of
whom I had no more than hearsay evidence. If I could do this violence to
such measure of reason as I possessed I could count on a reward in some
other world than this, though on little or nothing here.

Faith I saw as of the nature of a _tour de force_. You took it as you
took a leap. It was spiritually acrobatic. You didn't understand but you
_believed_. The less you understood the more credit your belief became
to you. The more hidden and difficult and mysterious and unintelligible
God made Himself the greater your merit in having faith in spite of
everything. I am far from saying that this is the common understanding
of Christians, or from holding others responsible for my misconceptions.
I speak of these misconceptions only because they were mine, and it was
I who had to work away from them.

For this reason, too, I speak of my reaching the idea of a God who had
been visibly smiling at me all my life while I had never seen Him, as a
"discovery." To me it _was_ a discovery; and it came at a moment when I
sorely needed something of the kind.


It was perhaps three or four years after the turning-point at
Versailles. The intervening time had been one of what I may call
spiritual ups and downs. It had not all been straight progress by any
means. I had got hold of what for me was a great idea, round which other
great ideas grouped themselves; but I grasped them waveringly or
intermittently. Nevertheless, during seasons in Boston, Nice, Cannes,
Munich, London, and Berlin, life on the whole went hopefully. The malady
I have already mentioned tended to grow better rather than worse; the
advancing blindness became definitely arrested. I worked easily,
happily, successfully. Returning to the New England city which had
become my adopted home, I bought a house and settled down to American
life once more.

I mention these facts only because they help me to make myself clearer.
For all at once my affairs, like the chariots of Pharaoh in crossing the
Red Sea, began to drive heavily. Trust in an all-conquering
life-principle which had meant much to me for a time no longer seemed
effective. Difficulties massed themselves. Business misunderstandings
sprang up. Friendships on which I had counted suddenly grew cold. Worse
than all, the working impulse gave out. There were two whole years in
which I slaved at producing little more than what had to be thrown away.
My active life had apparently come to another deadening full stop.

I reached the decision that there was but one thing to do--give up the
pretence at working, sell the house to which I had grown attached, and
resume once more the life of aimless, but at that time inexpensive,
European wandering. There came a day when I actually offered my
house for sale.

And yet that day proved to be another turning-point. On the very morning
when I had put my house in the market the chain of small events which we
commonly call accidents brought me into touch with a man I had never
seen before. During a first meeting, as well as in several that
followed, he made certain matters clear to me which changed my course
not only then but ever since. These explanations came under three
distinct headings, to each of which I should like to give a
little space.


Of these the one I put first is probably familiar to most of my readers,
but to me, I confess, it was new.

God among His other functions must be a tireless activity working
towards an end. Everything He calls into being works toward that end, I
myself with the rest. I am not a purposeless bit of jetsam flung out on
the ocean of time to be tossed about helplessly. God couldn't so will an
existence. It would not be in keeping with His economy to have any
entity wasted. As Our Lord puts it, the sparrow cannot fall without Him;
without Him the lilies are not decked; the knowledge possessed by His
infinite intelligence is so minute that the very hairs of the head are
numbered. My life, my work, myself--all are as much a necessary part of
His design as the thread the weaver weaves into the pattern in a carpet.

In other words, I am not a free agent. I am His agent. Not only am I
responsible to him, but He is responsible for me. His responsibility for
me will be seen as soon as I give up being responsible for myself.

It was upon this last point that I seized with most avidity. I was tired
of trying to steer a course for myself, with no compass to go by. I was
tired of incessantly travelling along roads which seemed to lead to
nothing but blind-ends. To change the figure to one I used not
infrequently at that time, my life seemed pitchforked, first in one way
and then in another, no way bringing me anywhere. It had no even tenor.
It was a series of seismic pulls and jerks.

But in the light of what my new friend told me I saw I had been too
busily engaged in directing my life for myself. I was like a child who
hopes to make a smoothly working machine go still more smoothly by
prodding it. I couldn't leave it alone. It had not occurred to me that
the course of that life was God's own business, and that if I could
follow the psalmist's advice and "commit my way unto him he would bring
it to pass." It had seemed to me that nothing would be brought to pass
unless I worried and fretted over it myself, whereas the same wise old
psalmist says, in words which our generation would do well to lay to
heart, _"fret not thyself_ else shall thou be moved to do evil."

"Trust in the Lord and do good," he goes on; "so shalt thou dwell in
the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the
Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

This was nothing new; it was only new to me. To feel that I could give
up being responsible for results and devote myself to my work was in
itself a relief. If I tried to "trust in the Lord and do good"--by which
I suppose is meant doing my duty to the best of my small ability--He
would look after the rest. My position was somewhat that of a trusted
subordinate given a free hand, but having over him a supreme authority
taking charge of all consequences. I was not working on what our modern
idiom neatly summarises as "my own." _I was His agent_.

Thus it might be said to be to His interest to see that as His agent I
was sheltered, clothed, fed, and in every way kept in such condition as
to be up to the highest standard of His work. This provision would
naturally include those dependent on me, and without whose well-being I
could not have peace of mind. I need worry about them no more than about
myself. They, too, were His agents. In certain conditions He might
provide for them through me, or in certain conditions He might provide
for me through them; but in all conditions He would provide for all
of us.


The second point was this: those with whom I had had misunderstandings
were equally His agents. They might not be more aware of the fact than
I; but this in no way disqualified them as His trusted subordinates
given a free hand. Their work with me and mine with them, whatever its
nature, wrought one of the infinite number of blends going to make up
the vast complexity of His design.

It was, therefore, out of the range of possibility that under Him there
could be opposition or contradiction between one of His agents and
another. It would be inconsistent with His being that one man's
advantage should be brought about at another man's cost. Where that was
apparently the case it was due to both sides taking the authority into
their own hands, and neither sufficiently recognising Him. If His
trusted subordinates in being given a free hand played Him false, they
naturally played each other false, and played false to themselves first
of all. Where one was afraid of another and strove to outwit him there
was treachery against the supreme command.

Again there was nothing new in this; but to me it was a new point of
view with regard to those with whom and for whom I worked. For the first
time I saw their true relation to me, as mine to them, and something of
the principle of brotherhood. Up to this time brotherhood had been a
charming, sentimental word to me, and not much more. Children of one
Father, yes; but discordant children, with no restraint that I could see
on their natural cut-throat enmities.

But here was a truth which made all other men my necessary helpmates,
and me the necessary helpmate of all other men. I couldn't do without
them; they couldn't do without me. Hostility between us was as out of
place as between men pulling together on the rope which is to save all
their lives. If peril could bring about unity God could bring it about
even more effectively. God was the great positive, the solvent in which
irritation and unfriendliness must necessarily melt away.


The third point, involving my obvious first step, was to put suspicion
out of my own mind. I was to see myself as God's Self-Expression working
with others who were also His Self-Expression to the same extent as I.
It was in the fact of our uniting together to produce His
Self-Expression that I was to look for my security. No one could
effectively work against me while I was consciously trying to work with
God. Moreover, it was probable that no one was working against me, or
had any intention of working against me, but that my own point of view
being wrong I had put the harmonious action of my life out of order.
Suspicion always being likely to see what it suspects the chances were
many that I was creating the very thing I suffered from.

This does not mean that in our effort to reproduce harmonious action we
should shut our eyes to what is evidently wrong, or blandly ignore what
is plainly being done to our disadvantage. Of course not! One uses all
the common-sense methods of getting justice for oneself and protecting
one's own interests. But it does mean that when I can no longer protect
my own interests, when my affairs depend upon others far more than on
myself--a condition in which we all occasionally find ourselves--I am
not to _fret myself_, not to churn my spirit into nameless fears. I am
not a free agent. Those with whom I am associated are not free agents.
God is the one supreme command. He expresses Himself through me; He
expresses Himself through them; we all. I as well as they, they as well
as I, are partakers of His Sonship; and the Son--His Expression--is
always "in the Father's bosom," [9] in His love and care.

[9] St. John


Having grasped this idea the new orientation was not difficult. There
was in it too much solace to allow of its being difficult. If I state
the results it is once more not because I consider them important to
anyone but myself, but only because they became the starting-point of a
new advance in the conquest of fear.

Within forty-eight hours, with no action on my part except the
_Metanoia_, the change in my point of view, all misunderstandings had
been cleared away. The other side had taken the entire initiative, I
making no advance whatever toward them. A telegram expressing their
hearty good will was followed by an interview, after which I was at work
again. I have not only worked easily ever since but with such fecundity
that one plan is always formed before I have its predecessor off my
hands. This says nothing of the quality of my work, which, humble as it
may be, is simply the best I know how to do. I refer only to its
abundance. I have found that in "working together with God," I am less
involved in conflicts of wills than I was before, and that the words of
Amos are literally fulfilled to me, "that the plowman shall overtake the
reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed." I say it
without knocking on wood, and with no fear lest my "good luck" will be
withdrawn, that from that time to this I have had plenty of work which I
have accomplished happily, and have never lacked a market for my
modest wares.


From all of which I have drawn one main inference--the imperative
urgency of Trust.

I had hitherto thought of trust as a gritting of the teeth and a
stiffening of the nerves to believe and endure, no matter what
compulsion one put upon oneself. Gradually, in the light of the
experience sketched above, I came to see it as simply the knowledge that
the supreme command rules everything to everyone's advantage. The more
we can rest mentally, keep ourselves at peace, _be still and know that
it is God_,[10] the single and sole Director, the more our interests will
be safe. This, I take it, is the kind of trust for which the great
pioneers of truth plead so persistently in both the Old and New

[10] The Book of Psalms.

Trust, then, is not a force we wrest from ourselves against reason,
against the grain. To be trust at all it must be loving and spontaneous.
It cannot be loving and spontaneous unless there is a natural impulse
behind it. And there can be no natural impulse behind it unless we have
something in our own experience which corroborates the mere hearsay
testimony that there is a Power worth trusting to. Job's "Though He slay
me yet will I trust in Him," could only have been wrung from a heart
which had proved the Divine Good Will a thousand times and knew what it
was doing. Some experience of our own we _must_ have. It is an absolute
necessity. Desperate hope in another man's God may do something for us,
but it cannot do much. A small thing which I have proved for myself is a
better foundation for trust than a Bible learnt parrot-like by rote and
not put to the practical test. Once I have found out for myself that to
rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him is the surest way to
security and peace I have the more willing confidence in doing it.




To the mind of to-day trust would be easier were it not for the terror
lest God's plans involve us in fearful things from which we shrink. We
have heard so much of the trials He sends; of the gifts of Tantalus He
keeps forever in our sight but just beyond our reach; of the blessings
He actually bestows upon us only to snatch them away when we have come
to love them most--we have heard so much of this that we are often
afraid of His will as the greatest among the evils of which we stand
in dread.

In many cases this is the root of our fear. We cannot trust without
misgiving to the love of God. What is there then that we can trust to?
We can't trust to ourselves; still less can we trust to our fellow-men.
Those whom we love and in whom we have confidence being as weak as
ourselves, if not weaker than we, establish our spirits not at all. If,
therefore, we mentally poison the well of Universal Good-intent at its
very source what have we to depend on?

I have already referred to the God of repressions and denials, and now
must speak a little more freely of this travesty on "the Father," as
expressed to us in Jesus Christ. Of all the obstacles to the rooting out
of fear the lingering belief in such a distortion of Divine Love is to
my mind the most deeply based.

I often think it a proof of the vital truth in the message of Jesus
Christ that it persists in holding the heart in spite of the ugly thing
which, from so many points of view, the Caucasian has managed to make of
it. Nowhere is the cruelty of Caucasian misinterpretation more evident
than in the meanings given to the glorious phrase, "the Will of God." I
do not exaggerate when I say that in most Caucasian minds the Will of
God is a bitter, ruthless force, to which we can only drug ourselves
into submission. It is always ready to thwart us, to stab us in the
back, or to strike us where our affections are tenderest. We hold our
blessings only on the tenure of its caprice. Our pleasures are but the
stolen moments we can snatch from its inattention.

As an example I quote some stanzas from a hymn frequently sung where
English-speaking people worship, and more or less expressive of the
whole Caucasian attitude toward "God's Will."

My God, my Father, while I stray
Far from my home on life's rough way,
Oh, teach me from my heart to say,
    Thy Will be done.

Though dark my path and sad my lot,
Let me be still, and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
    Thy Will be done.

What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends beloved no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
    Thy Will be done.

If thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize, it ne'er was mine;
I only yield thee what is thine;
    Thy Will be done.

These lines, typical of a whole class of sentimental hymnology, are
important only in as far as they are widely known and express a more or
less standardised point of view. The implication they contain is that
all deprivation is brought upon us by the Will of God, and that our
wisest course is to beat ourselves down before that which we cannot
modify. Beneath the car of this Juggernaut we must flout our judgments
and crush our affections. As He knows so well where to hit us we must
stifle our moans when He does so. As He knows so well what will ring our
hearts we must be content to let Him give so that He can the more
poignantly take away. The highest exercise of our own free will is to
"be still and murmur not"--to admit that we need the chastisement--to
crouch beneath the blows which we tell ourselves are delivered in love,
even though it is hard to see where the love comes in.


I know nothing more tragic than those efforts on the part of
heart-broken people, coming within the experience of all of us, to make
themselves feel that this terrible "Will of God" must be right, no
matter how much it seems wrong.

A young man with a wife and family to support is struck down by a
lingering illness which makes him a burden. All his Job's comforters
tell him that God has brought the affliction upon him, and that to bow
to the "Inscrutable Will" must be his first act of piety.

A young mother is rejoicing in her baby when its little life is suddenly
snuffed out. She must school herself to say, quite irrespective of the
spirit of renunciation which inspires the words, "The Lord gave and the
Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord."

A woman is left a widow to earn a living for herself, and bring up her
children fatherless. She must assume that the Lord had some good purpose
in leaving her thus bereft and must drill herself into waiting on a
Will so impossible to comprehend.

Storms sink ships, drowning passengers and crew; lightning sets fire to
houses and strikes human beings dead; earthquakes swallow up whole
districts destroying industry and human life; tidal waves sweep inland
carrying away towns; and our legal phraseology can think of no better
explanation of such calamity than to ascribe it to "the act of God."

It is needless to multiply these instances. Our own knowledge supplies
them by the score. Our personal lives are full of them. God's Will,
God's Love, God's Mercy, become strangely ironic forces, grim beyond any
open enmity. They remind us of the "love," the "pity," the "mercy," in
which the orthodox sent the heretic to the hangman or the stake,
destroying the body to save the soul.

It is a far cry from this appalling vision of "the Father" to the
psalmist's "Delight thou in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires
of thine heart." How could anyone delight in the Caucasian God, as the
majority of Caucasians conceive of Him? As a matter of fact, how many
Caucasians themselves, however devout, however orthodox, attempt to
delight, or pretend to delight, in the God to whom on occasions they bow
down? Delight is a strong word, and a lovely one; but used of the
Caucasian and his Deity it is not without its elements of humour.


Naturally enough! It is impossible for any human being to delight in a
God whose first impulse in "doing us good" is so often to ravage our
prosperity and affections. So long as we believe in Him fear will rule
our lives. It is because the Caucasian believes in Him that he lives in
fear and dies in fear. To attempt to eliminate fear and retain this
concept of God is vain.

Understanding this the average Caucasian has made little or no effort to
eliminate fear. He would rather live and die in fear than change this
concept of God. It is dear to him. He finds it useful. To its shoulders
he can shift the ills of which he is unwilling himself to accept the
responsibility. Where God is a puzzle life is a puzzle; and where life
is a puzzle the Caucasian gets his chance for making the materialistic
ideal the only one that seems practical. In a world which was to any
noticeable degree freed from the spectre of fear most of our existing
systems of government, religion, business, law, and national and
international politics, would have to be remodelled. There would be
little or no use for them. Built on fear and run by fear, fear is as
essential to their existence as coal to our industries. A society that
had escaped from fear would escape from their control.

In this present spring of 1921 we are having an exhibition of fear on a
scale so colossal that the heart of man is dazed by it. There is not a
government which is not afraid of some other government. There is not a
government which is not afraid of its own people. There is not a people
which is not afraid of its own government. There is not a country in
which one group is not afraid of some other group. All is rivalry,
enmity, suspicion, confusion, and distrust, "while men's hearts are
fainting for fear, and for anxious expectation of what is coming on the
world." All statesmen, all ministers, all ambassadors, all politicians,
all bankers, all business men, all professional men, all journalists,
all farmers, all laborers, all workers in the arts, all men and women of
all kinds--with the exception of one here and there who has reached the
understanding of the love which casteth out fear--live and work in fear,
and in mistrust of their colleagues. From the supreme councils of the
Allies down to the crooks and conspirators in dives and joints everyone
is afraid of being double-crossed. There is so much double-crossing
everywhere that we have been obliged to invent this name for the
operation. England is afraid of being double-crossed by Germany, France
by England, Italy by France, the United States by Europe, and Japan by
the United States, while within these general limitations minor
double-crossing interests seethe like bacteria in a drop of poisoned
blood. The nations are infected with fear because they elect to believe
in a God of fear, and the Caucasians more than others because they have
chosen to see a God of fear in Him who was put before them as a God
of Love.


I see no way out of all this except as one of us after another reaches
the _Metanoia_, the new point of view as regards God. Other ways have
been sought, and have been found no more than blind alleys. Much
reference is made nowadays to the disillusionment of those who hoped
that the war would lead to social and spiritual renovation; but any such
hope was doomed in advance, so long as the Caucasian concept of God was
unchanged. When you cannot trust God you cannot trust anything; and when
you cannot trust anything you get the condition of the world as it is
to-day. And that you _cannot_ trust a God whose "love" will paralyse the
hand by which you have to earn a living, or snatch your baby from your
breast--to say nothing of a thousand ingenious forms of torture
inflicted just because "He sees that it is best for you," after having
led you to see otherwise--that you cannot trust a God like that must be
more or less self-evident. If you are part of His Self-Expression He
cannot practise futilities through your experience and personality. He
must be kind with a common-sense kindness, loving with a common-sense
love. Whatever explanation of our sufferings and failures there may be
we must not shuffle them off on God. "Let us hold God to be true," St.
Paul writes, "though every man should prove false."[11] Let us hold that
God would not hurt us, however much we may wilfully hurt each other or

[11] Epistle to the Romans.


I should not lay so much emphasis on this if so much emphasis were not
laid on it in the other direction. God has so persistently, and for so
many generations, been held up to us as a God who tries and torments and
punishes that we can hardly see Him as anything else. Torture comes, in
the minds of many of us, to be not only His main function but His only
function. "I am all right," is the unspoken thought in many a heart, "so
long as I am not overtaken by the Will of God. When that calamity falls
on me my poor little human happiness will be wrecked like a skiff in a
cyclone." This is not an exaggeration. It is the secret mental attitude
of perhaps ninety percent of those Caucasians who believe in a God of
any kind. Their root-conviction is that if God would only let them alone
they would get along well enough; but as a terrible avenging spirit,
like the Fury or the Nemesis of the ancients, he is always tracking them
down. The aversion from God so noticeable in the mind of to-day is, I
venture to think, chiefly inspired by the instinct to get away from, or
to hide from, the pursuit of this Avenger.


And in a measure this impulse to flight can be understood. I can
understand that common-sense men should be cold toward the Caucasian
God, and that they should even renounce and denounce him. I will go so
far as to say that I can more easily understand the atheist than I can
many of my own friends who pathetically try to love and adore their
capricious un-Christlike Deity. To my certain knowledge many of them are
doing it against their own natural and better instincts, because they
dare not forsake the tradition in which they have been dyed. "I try to
love God and I can't," has been said to me many a time by conscientious
people who felt that the fault must lie in themselves. There was no
fault in themselves. If their God could have been loved they would have
loved him.


I come here to a point of no small importance to the conquest of fear,
the courage to release oneself from the tether of tradition. Few people
have it, in the sense of rejecting old theories because of having worked
out to new spiritual knowledge. When it comes to the eternal verities
many of us are cowardly; nearly all of us are timid. The immense
majority of us prefer a God at second or third hand. We will accept what
somebody else has learned, rather than incur the trouble or the
responsibility of learning anything for ourselves. We take our knowledge
of God as we take our doses of medicine, from a prescription which one
man has written down, and another has "put up," and still another
administers. By the time this traditional, handed-on knowledge of God
has reached ourselves it is diluted by all kinds of outside opinions and
personalities. It is not strange that when we have swallowed the dose it
does little to effect a cure. I do not deny that a second or third hand
knowledge of God may do something. I only deny that it can do much. To
support my denial I need only point to what the world has become in a
second and third hand Christendom. The illustration is enough.

It should be plain, I think, that no one will ever be released from fear
by clinging to the teachings which have inspired fear. We are fearless
in proportion as we grow independent enough to know for ourselves. I
cannot but stress this point to some extent, for the reason that I
myself suffered so long from inability to let the traditional go. It
seemed to me to have a sanctity just because it was traditional. The
fact that other people had accepted certain ideas had weight in making
me feel that I should accept them too. To go off on a line of my own
seemed dangerous. I might make mistakes. I might go far wrong. Safety
was spelled by hanging with the crowd.

It was the chance remark of an old acquaintance which dislodged me from
this position. In the lobby of a hotel we had met by chance, after not
having seen each other for a good many years. The conversation, having
touched on one theme and another, drifted to subjects akin to that which
I am now discussing. I ventured to disclose some of my own "seeking God,
if perhaps I could grope for Him and find Him."[12]

[12] Acts of the Apostles.

My friend straightened himself and squared his shoulders. "I stand
exactly where I did thirty years ago."

There was a pride in the statement with regard to which my first feeling
was a pang of envy. A rapid calculation told me that thirty years ago he
had been about twenty; and the superiority of a man who at twenty had
attained to so much spiritual insight that he had not needed to learn
anything more in the interim was evident. I was two or three days
turning this incident over in my mind before the exclamation came to me,
"How terrible!" To have lived through the thirty years of the richest
experience the ordinary man ever knows and still have remained on
precisely the same spot as to spiritual things struck me then as a
woeful confession.

I beg to say here that I am not talking of external and official
religious connections. I am trying to avoid the subject of external and
official religion altogether. I am speaking not of religion but of God.
To my mind the two have no more than the relation of the words of a song
and the music of its setting. You may use them together or you may
consider them apart. I am considering them apart, and confining myself
wholly to the words of the song. What is known as church-affiliation,
the music of the setting, I am not concerned with. My only topic is the
way in which the meaning of the words gets over to the average inner
man, and the effect upon him mentally.

I revert, therefore, to the statement that to make the kind of spiritual
progress which will overcome fear it will be often necessary to let go
the thing we have outlived. Often the thing we have outlived will be
something dear to us, because there was once a time when it served our
turn. But our turn to-day may need something different from the turn of
yesterday, and the refusal to follow new light simply because it is new
leads in the end to mental paralysis. I was once asked to sign a
petition to the mayor of a city praying that, on the ground of its
novelty, electric lighting might be excluded from the street in which I
lived. Exactly this same reluctance often keeps us from making changes
of another sort, even when we feel that the light which hitherto was
enough for us has been outgrown and outclassed.

The danger of the lone quest leading a man astray can be easily
exaggerated. It is not as if God were difficult to find. "The soul
cannot move, wake, or open the eyes, without perceiving God." "For this
commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee,
neither is it far off. It is not in heaven that thou shouldest say, Who
shall go up for us to heaven and bring it down unto us that we may hear
it and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea that thou shouldest say, Who
shall go over the sea for us and bring it unto us that we may hear it
and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy
heart."[13] No motion toward the Universal can miss the Universal. I
cannot escape from the Ever-Present; the Ever-Present cannot escape from
me. Intellectually I may make mistakes in deduction, but spiritually I
cannot but find God. The little I learn of God for myself is to me
worth more than all the second and third hand knowledge I can gather
from the saints.

[13] The Book of Deuteronomy.


It is the more necessary to dwell on this for the reason that whatever
_Metanoia_, or new orientation, is to be brought about must be on the
part of individuals. There is no hope for large numbers acting together,
or for any kind of group-impulse. Group-impulse among Caucasians is
nearly always frightened, conservative, reactionary, or derisive of the
forward step. There is hardly an exception to this in the whole history
of Caucasian ideas.

Otherwise it would be a pleasant dream to imagine what might now be
happening on the great international stage. Let us suppose that the
leaders of the so-called Christian countries were all convinced of the
three main lines of God's direction I have already tried to sketch. Let
us think of such men as Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Sforza, President
Harding, and the heads of government in Belgium, Russia, Germany, and
all other countries affected by the present war of moves and
counter-moves--let us think of them as agreed on the principles:

1. That each knows himself and his country as an agent in the hand of
God, directed surely toward a good end;

2. That each knows each of his colleagues and his country as equally an
agent in the hand of God, directed surely toward a similar good end;

3. That each knows that between God's agents there can be neither
conflicting interests nor clash of wills, and that suspicion and
counter-suspicion must be out of place, since under God's direction no
double-crossing is possible.

The picture is almost comic in its incongruity with what actually is.
The mere thought of these protagonists of the century working in harmony
to one great purpose, without distrust of each other's motives, and with
no necessity for anyone's dodging political foul play, summons the smile
of irony. Mutual trust was never so much a suggestion to laugh down.
The mere hint that it might be possible would make one a target for the
wit of the experienced.

In what we call the practical world of to-day there is no appeal from
the God of Fear but _to_ the God of Fear. The great mass of Caucasians
will not have it otherwise. And it requires no prophetic vision to
foresee the results of the efforts to bring about international harmony
while all are obeying the decrees of the Goddess of Discord. Nearly
three years after the signing of the armistice the world is in a more
hopeless situation than it was when at war. Up to the present each new
move only makes matters worse. There are those who believe that our
phase of civilisation is staggering into the abyss and that nothing, as
far as can now be descried, will save it from the deluge.


Possibly! Fear tends always to produce the thing it is afraid of. I
mention this dark outlook only for the reason that even if the
cataclysm were to come the individual can escape from it.

Cataclysms are not new in the history of our race. The rise and fall of
civilisations may be called mankind's lessons in "how not to do it." Of
these lessons there are no such records as those which we find in the
Old Testament; and in these records it is unfailingly pointed out that
whatever the calamity which overtakes the world at large the individual
has, if he chooses, a way of safety. The innocent are not overwhelmed
with the guilty, except when the innocent deliberately shut their eyes
to the opening toward the _Soteria_--the Safe Return. But that,
unhappily, the innocent do so shut their eyes is one of the commonest
facts in life.

Back in that twilight of history of which the later tale could be told
only by some symbol, some legendary hieroglyph, there was already an
"Ark" by which the faithful few could be saved from the "Flood." The
symbol became permanent. The Ark of the Covenant--the sign of a great
spiritual understanding--remained as a token to man that in God he had
a sure refuge. It was laid up in his Holy of Holies, a mystic,
consecrated pledge, till the ruthless Caucasian came and rifled it.

But no rifling could deprive mankind of its significance. That endures.
To bring it home to the desolate and oppressed was a large part of the
mission of psalmists and prophets. The Ark of the Covenant--of the Great
Understanding--meant as much to those who sought God in the ancient
world as the Cross does to Christendom. It meant that whatever the
collapse, national or general, through siege or sack or famine, those
who would escape could escape by the simple process of mentally taking
refuge in God. The Ark of God would bear them safely when all material
help failed.

Among the themes which run through the Old Testament this is of
paramount importance. It is impossible to do more than refer to the many
times the spiritually minded were implored to seek this protection. It
was needful to implore them since they found the assurance so difficult
to believe. No matter how often it was proved to them they still
doubted it. Saved by this method once they would reject it when it came
to danger the second time. Saved the second time they rejected it the
third. "Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on
thee, because he trusteth in thee," is the declaration of Jeremiah, who
perhaps more than any other was a prophet of disaster. Similar
statements are scattered through the Old Testament by the score, by the
hundred. It was a point on which leaders, seers, and teachers insisted
with a passionate insistence. They knew. They had tested the truth for
themselves. Disaster was a common feature in their history. During the
three thousand years and more which their experiences cover these
Israelites had seen more than one invasion sweep across their land, more
than one civilisation come and go. All that Belgium knew in the Great
War they knew time and time again. Between Egypt and Assyria, the France
and Germany of that special epoch, theirs was a kind of buffer state
over which every new anguish rolled. "Let it roll," was the cry of
their prophets. "The Lord will fight for you. Stand still and see what
he will do. His arm is not shortened neither his strength diminished. It
is of the Lord to save whether by many or by few. Trust in the Lord and
be doing good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be
fed. Oh, how great is thy goodness which thou hast wrought for them that
trust in thee before the sons of men. I said in my haste, I am cut off!
Nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplication when I cried
unto thee. Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye
that hope in the Lord."[14]

[14] Various Old Testament Sources.


In many ways this is the burden of the more ancient Scriptures--the
protection which surrounds those who know that protection is God. It was
a gospel that had to be preached with tears and beseechings from one
generation to another. No generation accepted it. The belief in
material power was always too dense. It is still too dense. In the Ark
of the Great Understanding the Caucasian has practically never seen more
than a symbol that has gone out of date. Lost materially in the Tiber
mud it was, for him, lost forever. But not so. Its significance remains
as vital to mankind as when, veiled and venerated, it stood between
the cherubim.

The time may be close at hand when we shall need this assurance as we
need nothing else. However optimistic we try to keep ourselves, no
thinking man or woman can be free, at this crisis in world-history, from
deep foreboding. For the memory to go back ten years is, even for us in
the New World, like returning to a Golden Age; while for the Old World
mere recollection must be poignant.

The possibility that all countries in both hemispheres may find
themselves in some such agony as that of the Russia of to-day is not too
extravagant to be entertained. This is not saying that they are likely
so to find themselves; it means only that in the world as it is the
safest is not very safe. My point is that whether catastrophe
overwhelms us or not, he who chooses not to fear can be free from fear.
There is a refuge for him, a defence, a safeguard which no material
attack can break down. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most
High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the
Lord, He is my refuge--my fortress--my God. In Him will I trust."[15]
There is this Ark for me, this Ark of the Great Understanding, and I can
retire into it. I can also have this further assurance: "Because thou
hast made the Lord which is my refuge--even the Most High--thy
habitation, there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague
come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee to
keep thee in all thy ways."[16]

[15] The Book of Psalms.

[16] The Book of Psalms.


This is the eternal agreement, but an agreement of which we find it
difficult to accept the terms. To the material alone we are in the habit
of ascribing power. Though we repeat a thousand times in the course of
a year, "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory," we do not
believe it. To few of us is it more than a sonorous phrase.

I remember the impression of this which one received at the great
thanksgiving for peace in St. Paul's Cathedral in London some twenty
years ago. The Boer War had ended in an English victory, and while the
thanksgiving was not precisely for this, it did express the relief of an
anxious nation that peace was again restored. It was what is generally
known as a most impressive service. All that a great spectacle can offer
to God it offered. King, queen, princes, princesses, ambassadors,
ministers, clergy, admirals, generals, and a vast assembly of citizens
filled the choir and nave with colour and life, while the music was of
that passionless beauty of which the English cathedral choirs guard
the secret.

But the detail I remember best was the way in which the repetition of
the Lord's Prayer rolled from the lips of the assembly like the sound
of the surging of the sea. It was the emotional effect of a strongly
emotional moment. One felt tense. It was hard to restrain tears. As far
as crowd-sympathy has any spiritual value it was there. The Caucasian
God was taken out of His pigeon-hole and publicly recognised.

Then He was put back.

I take this service merely as an instance of what happens in all the
so-called Christian capitals in moments of national stress. Outwardly it
happens less in the United States than it does elsewhere, for the reason
that this country has no one representative spiritual expression; but it
does happen here in diffused and general effect. As a Christian nation
we ascribe in common with other Christian nations the kingdom, the
power, and the glory to God--on occasions. We do it with the pious
gesture and the sonorous phrase. Then we forget it. The habit of
material trust is too strong for us. Kings, queens, presidents, princes,
prime ministers, congresses, parliaments, and all other representatives
of material strength, may repeat for formal use the conventional clause;
but there is always what we flippantly know as a "joker" in the
lip-recitation. "Kingdom, power, and glory," we can hear ourselves
saying in a heart-aside, "lie in money, guns, commerce, and police. God
is not sufficiently a force in the affairs of this world for us to give
Him more than the consideration of an act of courtesy."

Practically that is all we ever get from group-impulse--an act of
courtesy. I repeat and repeat again that whatever is done toward the
conquest of fear must be done by the individual. _I_ must do what I can
to conquer fear in myself, regardless of the attitude or opinions of men
in general.

To men in general the appeal to spiritual force to bring to naught
material force is little short of fanatical. It has never been otherwise
as yet; it will probably not be otherwise for long generations to come.
Meanwhile it is much for the individual to know that he can act on his
own initiative, and that when it comes to making God his refuge he can
go into that refuge alone. He needs no nation, or government, or
society, or companions before him or behind him. He needs neither leader
nor guide nor friend. In the fortress of God he is free to enter merely
as himself, and there know that he is safe amid a world in agony.


This is not theory; it is not doctrine; it is not opinion. It is what
the great pioneers of truth have first deduced from what they understood
to be the essential beneficence of God, and then proved by actual
demonstration. Anyone else can demonstrate it who chooses to make the
experiment. My own weakness is such that I have made the experiment but
partially; but partial experiment convinces me beyond all further
questioning that the witness of the great pioneers is true.


Nor is this conviction to be classed as idealism, or ecclesiasticism, or
mysticism, or anything else to which we can put a tag. It is not
sectarian; it is not peculiarly Christian. It is the general possession
of mankind. True, it is easier for the Christian than for any other to
enter on this heritage, since his spiritual descent is more directly
from the pioneers of truth who first discovered God to be His children's
safety; but the Universal is the Universal, the property of all.
Discovery gives no one an exclusive hold on it. Anyone with a
consciousness of Almighty, Ever-Present Intelligence must have some
degree of access to it, though his access may not be to the fullest or
the easiest. It is not possible that the Universal Father should be the
special property of the Christian or of anyone else. The Christian view
of the Father is undoubtedly the truest; but every view is true in
proportion to its grasp of truth. No one will deny that the Buddhist,
the Mahometan, the Confucianist, have their grasp of truth. Even the
primitive idolater has some faint gleam of it, distorted though it may
have become. Very well, then; the faintest gleam of such knowledge will
not go without its recompense.


Exclusiveness is too much our Caucasian habit of mind. It is linked with
our instinct for ownership. Because through Jesus Christ we have a
clearer view of a greater segment of the Universal, if I may so express
myself, than the Buddhist can have through Buddha or the Mahometan
through Mahomet, our tendency is to think that we know the whole of the
Universal, and have it to give away. Any other view of the Universal is
to us so false as to merit not merely condemnation but extirpation.
Extirpation has been the watchword with which Caucasian Christianity has
gone about the world. We have taken toward other views of truth no such
sympathetic stand as St. Paul to that which he found in Greece, and
which is worth recalling:

"Men of Athens, I perceive that you are in every respect remarkably
religious. For as I passed along and observed the things you worship, I
found also an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. The
Being, therefore, whom you, without knowing it, revere, Him I now
proclaim to you. God who made the universe and everything in it--He
being Lord of heaven and earth--does not dwell in sanctuaries built by
men. Nor is He administered to by human hands as though He needed
anything--but He Himself gives to all men life and breath and all
things. He caused to spring from one forefather people of every race,
for them to live on the whole surface of the earth, and marked for them
an appointed span of life, and the boundaries of their homes; that they
might seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him. Yes,
though He is not far from any one of us. For it is in closest union with
Him that we live and move and have our being; as in fact some of the
poets in repute among yourselves have said, 'For we are also His

[17] Acts of the Apostles.

To the conquest of fear this splendid universalism is another
essential. God being "not far from any one of us" cannot be far from me.
He who gives to all men life and breath and all things will not possibly
deny me the things I require most urgently. Our whole civilisation may
go to pieces; the job by which I earn a living may cease to be a job;
the money I have invested may become of no more value than Russian
bonds; the children whom I hoped I had provided for may have to face
life empty-handed; all my accustomed landmarks may be removed, and my
social moorings swept away; nevertheless, the Universal cannot fail me.
"Although the figtree shall not blossom nor fruit be in the vines;
though the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields yield no meat;
though the flocks be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the
stalls; yet I will rejoice in God, I will joy in the God of my
salvation." It is safe to say that this confidence on the part of
Habakkuk was not due to mere grim forcing of the will. It was the fruit
of experience, of knowledge, of demonstration. In spite of the dangers
national and personal he saw threatening, his certainty of God must
have been spontaneous.

Anyone, in any country, in any epoch, and of any creed or no creed, who
has shared this experience shares also this assurance. To the Christian
it comes easiest; but that it does not come easy even to the Christian
is a matter of common observation. It can only come easily when some
demonstration has been made for oneself, after which there is no more
disputing it.


Nor is it a question of morals or morality.

I must venture here on delicate ground and say what I should hesitate to
say were the contrary not so strongly underscored. I mean that God, from
what we understand to be His nature, could not accord us His protection
by weighing the good and the evil in our conduct, and giving or
withholding help according to our worthiness. The Universal is too great
to be measured and doled in that way. Nothing but our own pinchbeck
ideas could ascribe to Him this pettiness. As it is the kind of sliding
scale we ourselves adopt, we limit the Divine Generosity by our own

Not so was the understanding of Jesus Christ. That we should be kind to
the so-called evil as we are to the so-called good was a point on which
He dwelt in the Sermon on the Mount. To discriminate between them when
it comes to the possibility of conferring benefits is in His opinion
small. "You have heard that it was said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor,
and hate thine enemy.' But I command you all, Love your enemies, and
pray for your persecutors; that so you may become true sons of your
Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the wicked as well as
on the good, and sends rain upon those who do right and those who do

[18] St. Matthew.

In other words, we are not to feel ourselves turned out of our
"habitation" in God by a sense of our moral lapses. Moral lapses are to
be regretted, of course; but they do not vitiate our status as the Sons
of God. It is possible that no one believes they do; but much of the
loose statement current among those who lay emphasis on morals would
give that impression. There is a whole vernacular in vogue in which
souls are "lost" or "saved" according to the degree to which they
conform or do not conform to other people's views as to what they ought
to do. Much of our pietism is to the effect that God is at the bestowal
not merely of a sect, but of some section of a sect, and cannot be found
through any other source.


This brings me to the distinction between morals and righteousness,
which is one for the mind of to-day to keep as clearly as possible
before it. I have said that the refuge in God is not a question of
morals; but it is one of righteousness. Between righteousness and morals
the difference is important.

Morals stand for a code of observances; righteousness for a direction of
the life.

Morals represent just what the word implies, the customs of an age, a
country, or a phase in civilisation. They have no absolute standard. The
morals of one century are not those of another. The morals of one race
are not those of another even in the same century. In many respects the
morals of the Oriental differ radically from those of the Occidental,
age-long usage being behind each. It is as hard to convince either that
his are the inferior as it would be to make him think so of his
mother-tongue. I once asked a cultivated Chinaman, a graduate of one of
the great American universities and a Christian of the third generation,
in what main respect he thought China superior to the United States. "In
morals," he replied, promptly; but even as a Christian educated in
America his theory of morals was different from ours.

Among ourselves in the United States the essence of morals is by no
means a subject of unanimous agreement. You might say that a standard of
morals is entirely a matter of opinion. There are millions of people who
think it immoral to play cards, to go to the theatre, to dance, or to
drink wine. There are millions of other people who hold all these acts
to be consistent with the highest moral conduct.

Moreover, wherever the emphasis is thrown on morals as distinct from
righteousness there is a tendency to put the weight on two or three
points in which nations or individuals excel, and to ignore the rest.
For example, not to go outside ourselves, the American people may be
fairly said to exemplify two of the great virtues: On the whole they
are, first, sober; secondly, continent. As a result we accentuate morals
in these respects, but not in any others.

For instance, the current expression, "an immoral man," is almost
certain to apply only under the two headings cited above, and probably
only under one. All other morals and immoralities go by the board. We
should not class a dishonest man as an immoral man, nor an untruthful
man, nor a profane, or spiteful, or ungenial, or bad-tempered, man. Our
notion of morals hardly ever rises above the average custom of the
community in which we happen to live. Except in the rarest instances we
never pause to reflect as to whether the customs of that community are
or are not well founded. The consequence is that our cities, villages,
countrysides, and social groupings are filled with men and women moral
enough as far as the custom of the country goes, but quite noticeably

It is also a fact that where you find one or two virtues singled out for
observance and the rest obscured there you find, too, throngs of
outwardly "moral" people with corroded hearts. Villages, churches, and
all the quieter communities are notorious for this, the peculiarity
having formed for a hundred and fifty years the stock-in-trade of
novelists. Sobriety and continence being more or less in evidence the
assumption is that all the requirements have been fulfilled. The
community is "moral" notwithstanding the back-bitings, heart-burnings,
slanders, cheatings, envies, hatreds, and bitternesses that may permeate
it through and through. As I write, the cramped, venomous, unlovely life
of the American small town is the favourite theme of our authors and
readers of fiction. Since a number of the works now on the market have
met with national approval one must assume that the pictures they paint
are accurate. The conditions are appalling, but, according to the custom
of the country, they are "moral." The shadow of insobriety and
incontinence doesn't touch the characters who move across these pages,
and yet the level of the life is pictured as debased, and habits
as hideous.


With morals in this accepted American sense righteousness has little to
do. The two are different in origin. Morals imply the compulsion of men,
and are never more binding than the customs of men render them. They are
thus imposed from without, while righteousness springs from within. The
essence of righteousness lies in the turning of the individual
toward God.

I think it safe to say that righteousness is expressed more accurately
in attitude than in conduct. It is expressed in conduct, of course; but
conduct may fail while the attitude can remain constant. It is worthy of
remark that some of the great examples of righteousness cited in the
Bible were conspicuously sinners. That is to say, they were men of
strong human impulses against which they were not always sufficiently on
guard, but who turned towards God in spite of everything. In the long
line spanning the centuries between Noah and Abraham and Peter and
Paul--from the almost prehistoric out into the light of day--not one is
put before us except in his weakness as well as in his strength. Some of
them commit gross sins; but apparently even gross sins do not debar them
from their privileges in God's love. This principle was expressed in the
words of Samuel: "Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness; yet turn
not aside from following the Lord.... For the Lord will not forsake his
people for his great name's sake." That the Universal who has all the
blessings of creation to bestow should deprive me of anything just
because in my folly or weakness I have committed sins is not consistent
with "his great name's sake." It would not be causing His sun to rise on
the wicked as well as on the good nor sending rain on those who do right
and those who do wrong. I am too small for His immensity to crush with
its punishments, but not too small to be the object of His entire love.


I hope it is plain that I say this not to make little of doing wrong but
to put the love and fulness of God in the dominating place. I must make
it clear to myself that He does not shut me out of His heart because I
am guilty of sins. I may shut myself out of His heart, unless I direct
my mind rightly; but He is always there, unchanged, unchangeable, the
ever-loving, ever-welcoming Father. Whatever I have done I can return to
Him with the knowledge that He will take me back. Far from sure of
myself, I can always be sure of Him.

There are those who would warn me against saying this through fear lest
it should be interpreted as, "Don't be afraid to sin so long as you keep
mentally close to God." I prefer to run that risk. The dread figure of
"an angry God" has been so worked to terrorise men that large numbers of
us have been terrorised. But experience shows us every day that being
terrorised never produces the results at which it aims. It does not win
us; it drives us away.

Much of the alienation from God in the mind of to-day is due to
rebellion on the part of our sense of justice. We are sinners, of
course; but not such sinners as to merit the revenge which an outraged
deity is described as planning against us. That the All-loving and
All-mighty should smite us in our dearest aims or our sweetest
affections just because we have not conformed to the lop-sided morality
of men is revolting to our instincts. We are repulsed by the God of Fear
when we are drawn, comforted, strengthened, and changed by Him who is
never anything toward us but "the Father."

I have no hesitation, therefore, in throwing the emphasis in what I
have to say on the fact that He is "a place to hide me in"--the Ark of
the Great Understanding--always open to my approach--into which,
whatever I have done, I can go boldly.




Much of what I have written will seem inconsistent with the fact that in
the world as it is there are undeniable and inevitable hardships. True!
I do not escape them more than any other man, the relative relief from
fear saving me from only some of them.

I have not meant to say that even with one's refuge in God there is
nothing left to struggle with. My point is that whatever there may be to
struggle with there is nothing to be afraid of. Freedom from struggle
would profit us not at all. On the contrary, it would render us
nerveless, flabby, flaccid, and inert.

But fear, as a rule, being connected with our struggles, it is
important, I think, to be as clear as we can concerning the purport of
those struggles, and their source. We have already seen that fear is
diminished in proportion as we understand that our trials are not
motiveless, and perhaps this is the point at which to consider briefly
what the motives are.


Struggle we may define as the act of wrestling with trial, so as to come
out of it victoriously. It is a constant element in every human life.
Furthermore, I am inclined to think that, taking trial as an average,
the amount which enters into one life differs little from that which
enters into another.

There was a time when I did not think so. Some lives struck me as
singled out for trouble; others were left comparatively immune from it.
One would have said that destinies had been mapped with a strange
disregard for justice. Those who didn't deserve it suffered; those whom
suffering might have purified went scot free. Some were rich, others
were poor; some had high positions, others humble ones; some had the
respect of the world from the day they were born, others crept along
from birth to death in restriction and obscurity. The contrasts were so
cruel that they scorched the eyes of the soul.

This is true, of course; and I am not saying that in the testing to
which everyone is subjected all have an equal share of the opportunities
for triumphing. I am speaking for the moment only of the degree to which
the testing comes. As to that, I am inclined to feel that there is
little to choose between one life and another, since each of us seems to
be tried for all that he can bear.

One is impressed with that in one's reading of biography. Only the lives
of what we may call the favoured few get into print, and of those few it
is chiefly the external events that are given us. Glimpses of the inner
experience may be obtained from time to time, but they are rarely more
than glimpses. Of what the man or the woman has endured in the secret
fastnesses of the inner life practically nothing can be told. And yet
even with the little that finds its way into words how much there is of
desperate fighting. To this there is never an exception. The great
statesman, the great poet, the great priest, the great scientist, the
great explorer, the great painter, the great novelist--not one but
suffers as anyone suffers, and of not one would the reader, as a rule,
put himself in the place.

I bring up this fact because we so often feel that the other man has an
easier task than ourselves. The very thing I lack is that with which he
is blessed. I see him smiling and debonair at the minute when I am in a
ferment. While I hardly know how to make both ends meet he is building a
big house or buying a new motor-car. While I am burying hope or love he
is in the full enjoyment of all that makes for happiness and prosperity.

We are always prone to contrast our darker minutes with our friends'
brighter ones. We forget, or perhaps we never know, that they do the
same with us. At times we are as much the object of their envy as they
ever are of ours.

I say this not on the principle that misery loves company, but in order
to do away with the heathen suspicion lingering in many minds that God
singles _me_ out for trial, heaping benefits on others who deserve them
no more than I do.

God singles no one out for trial. When trials come they spring, as
nearly as I can observe, from one or all of the three following sources.
There are:

A. The trials which come from a world of matter;

B. The trials which come from a world of men;

C. The trials we bring on ourselves.


A. The minute we speak of matter we speak of a medium which the mind of
to-day is just beginning to understand. The mind of other days did not
understand it at all. Few phases of modern advance seem to me more
significant of a closer approach to the understanding of spiritual
things than that which has been made along these lines.

To all the generations before our own matter was a sheer and positive
density. Its hardness, solidity, and actuality could not be gainsaid.
Earth was earth; iron was iron; wood was wood. Blood was blood; flesh
was flesh; bone was bone. A man was a material being attached to a
material planet, as a sponge is attached to the bottom of the sea. All
that he touched and ate and wore and used was of the same material
Absolute. As to the spiritual there could be a question; as to the
material there could be none. The speculation of occasional
philosophers, that matter might not after all be more than a mental
phenomenon, was invariably hooted down. "I know that matter is matter by
standing on it," are in substance the words attributed to even so
spiritually-minded a man as the great Dr. Johnson. On this point, as
perhaps on some others, he may be taken as a spokesman for the Caucasian
portion of our race.

And now comes modern physical science reducing matter to a tenuousness
only one remove from the purely spiritual, if it is as much as that.
Gone is the mass of the mountains, the stoniness of rocks, the hard
solidity of iron. The human body, as someone puts it, is no more than a
few pails of water and a handful of ash. Ash and water are alike
dissipated into gases, and gases into elements more subtle still.
Keeping strictly to the material modern science has reached the confines
of materiality. Where it will lead us next no man knows.

But the inference is not unfair that the world of matter is to a
considerable degree, and perhaps altogether, a world of man's own
creation. That is to say, while God is doing one thing with it, the
human mind understands another. For the human point of view to develop
and develop and develop till it becomes identical with God's is perhaps
the whole purpose of existence.


To me personally it was no small help in overcoming fear when I saw the
purpose of existence as expressed in the single word, Growth. That, at
least, is a legitimate inference to draw from the history of life on
this planet. Assuming that the universe contains an intelligible design
of any sort, and that life on this planet is part of it, a vast
development going on eternally toward complete understanding of Infinite
Right and Happiness would give us some explanation of the mystery of our
being here. Beginning, for reasons at which we can only guess, far away
from that understanding, we are forever approaching it, with forever the
joy of something new to master or to learn. New perceptions, new
comprehensions, new insights gained, new victories, even little
victories, won, constitute, I think, our treasures laid up in that
heaven where neither moth nor wear-and-tear destroys, and where thieves
do not break in and steal. Where this treasure is, there, naturally
enough, our hearts will be also. Looking back over the ages since the
life-principle first glided into our planet waters--how it did so is as
yet part of our unsolved mystery--what we chiefly see is a great
surging of the living thing upward and upward toward that Highest
Universal to which we give the name of God.


That is a point which we do not sufficiently seize--that God is not
revealed to us by one avenue of truth alone, but by all the avenues of
truth working together. With our tendency to keep the Universal in a
special compartment of life we see Him as making Himself known through a
line of teachers culminating in a Church or a complex of churches; and
we rarely think of Him as making Himself known in any other way. To
change the figure, He trickles to us like a brook instead of bathing us
round and round like light or air.

But all good things must express the Universal; and all discovery of
truth, whether by religion, science, philosophy, or imaginative art,
must be discovery in God. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the
Mount are discoveries in God, but so are the advances in knowledge made
by Plato, Aristotle, Roger Bacon, and Thomas Edison. He shows Himself
through Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and St. Paul, but also through Homer,
Shakespeare, Michael Angelo, Beethoven, Darwin, George Eliot, William
James, and Henry Irving. I take the names at random as illustrating
different branches of endeavour, and if I use only great ones it is not
that the lesser are excluded. No one department of human effort is
specially His, or is His special expression. The Church cannot be so
more than the stage, or music more than philosophy. His Holy Spirit can
be no more outpoured on the bishop or the elder for his work than on the
inventor or the scientist for his work. I say so not to minimise the
outpouring on the bishop or the elder, but to magnify that on everyone
working for progress. This, I take it, is what St. John means when he
says, "God does not give the Spirit with limitations." He who always
gives all to all His children cannot give more.

When our Lord restores sight to a blind man, or Peter and John cause a
lame man to walk, we see manifestations of God; but we see equal
manifestations of God when one man gives us the telephone, another the
motor-car, and another wireless telegraphy. Whatever declares His power
declares Him; and whatever declares Him is a means by which we press
upward to the perception of His loving almightiness. The advance may be
irregular but it is advance; and all advance is advance toward Him.


That is to say, we are rising above a conception of life in which matter
is our master; and yet we are rising above it slowly. This is my chief
point here, because by understanding it we see why we still suffer from
material afflictions. We have overcome some of them, but only some of
them. It is a question of racial development. As we glance backward we
see how much of the way we have covered; as we look round on our
present conditions we see how much there is still to be achieved.

To diminish fear we should have it, I think, clearly before us that the
human race has done as yet only part of its work, and put us in
possession of only part of the resources which will one day belong to
us. If we could compare ourselves with our ancestors in the days, let us
say, of Christopher Columbus or William the Conqueror we should seem in
relation to them like children of a higher phase of creation. If we
could compare ourselves with our descendants of five hundred or a
thousand years hence we should probably be amazed at our present
futility and grossness. Our ancestors in the Middle Ages could do
certain great things, as we, too, can do certain great things; but in
general access to the Universal Storehouse which is God we have made
progress in ways unknown to them, as our children will make such
progress after us.

But we have made only the progress we have made. We have its advantages,
but there are advantages to which we have not yet attained. We might
liken ourselves to people who have reached the fourth or fifth step of a
stairway in which there are twenty or thirty. We have climbed to a
certain height, but we are far from having reached the plane to which we
are ascending.


It is worth noting this for the reason that we are so likely to think of
ourselves as the climax to which the ages have worked up, and after
which there is no beyond. We are the final word, or as the French
express it, the last cry, _le dernier cri_. All that can be felt we have
felt, all that can be known we have experienced. For the most part this
stand is taken by the intellectuals in all modern countries. In us of
to-day, of this very hour, the wave of Eternity has broken, throwing
nothing at our feet but froth. The literature of the past ten years is
soaked in the pessimism of those who regret that this should be all that
the travail of Time could produce for us.

In view of this moan from so many of the writers who have the public
ear, especially in Europe, it is the more important to keep before us
the fact that we are children of a race but partially developed at best.
Compared with what will one day be within human scope our actual reach
is only a little beyond impotence. I say this not merely at a venture,
but on the strength of what has happened in the past. We are not a
people which has accomplished much, but one on the way to
accomplishment. The achievements of which we can boast are relatively
like those of a child of five who boasts that he can count. Our whole
world-condition shows us to be racially incompetent, and able to produce
no more than incompetent leaders. That is our present high-water mark,
and with our high-water mark we must learn to be satisfied.

Escaping from matter we are still within the grasp of matter, and shall
probably so continue for generations to come. Our struggles must
therefore be largely with matter, till little by little we achieve its
domination. In proportion as the individual does so now he reaps the
reward of his victory; and in proportion as he reaps that reward fear is
overcome. Our primary fear being fear of matter, much is gained by
grasping the fact which modern science for the past ten or fifteen years
has been carefully putting before us--vainly as far as most of us are
concerned--that what we call matter is a force subject to the control of
mind, while the directing of mind rests wholly with ourselves. Since we
have controlled matter to make it in so many ways a hostile force, it
ought to be within our power to turn it in our favour.


Which is, I suppose, the trend we are following, even if we follow it
unconsciously. For the turning of the matter in our favour we have
fortunately some notable examples. Our race has produced one perfectly
normal man to whom all of us sub-normals can look as the type of what we
are one day to become.

I think it a pity that so much of our thought of Him makes Him an
exception to human possibilities. In speaking of Him as the Son of God
we fancy Him as being in another category from ourselves. We forget that
we, too, are sons of God--"heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ."[19] It
is true that He realised that Sonship to a degree which we do not; but
it is also true that we ourselves realise it to some degree. In the
detail of the mastery of matter to which we shall attain it is fair, I
think, to take Him as our standard.

[19] Epistle to the Romans.

Taking Him as our standard we shall work out, I venture to think, to the
following points of progress.

a. The control of matter in furnishing ourselves with food and drink, by
means more direct than at present employed, as He turned water into wine
and fed the multitudes with the loaves and fishes.

b. The control of matter by putting away from ourselves, by methods more
sure and less roundabout than those of to-day, sickness, blindness,
infirmity, and deformity.

c. The control of matter by regulating our atmospheric conditions as He
stilled the tempest.

d. The control of matter by restoring to this phase of existence those
who have passed out of it before their time, or who can ill be spared
from it, as He "raised" three young people from "the dead" and Peter and
Paul followed His example.

e. The control of matter in putting it off and on at will, as He in His
death and resurrection.

f. The control of matter in passing altogether out of it, as He in what
we call His Ascension into Heaven.


It will be observed that I take as historic records the statements of
the Bible. This I do in face of the efforts of many of the clergy in a
number of the churches to make me see in the Old Testament chiefly a
collection of myths, and in the New a series of compilations by
irresponsible hands, of doubtful date and authority, leaving, in the
case of our Lord, only a substratum which can be relied on as

As an instance of what I mean I quote the following: A few weeks ago I
happened to mention to the distinguished head of one of the most
important theological schools of one of the largest denominations in the
country, our Lord's turning the water into wine. "I've no idea that He
ever did anything of the kind," were the words with which he dismissed
the subject, which I did not take up again. I am not arguing here
against his point of view. I merely state that I do not share it, and
for these two main reasons:

First, because the so-called Higher Criticism on which it is based is a
purely evanescent phase of man's learning, likely to be rejected
to-morrow by those who accept it to-day, as has been the case with other
such phases;

Secondly, because I feel sure that, with the mastery of matter to which
we have already attained, the future development of our race will
justify these seeming "miracles," and make them as natural and
commonplace as telegraphy and telephony.

I speak only for myself when I say that the more I can feel round me the
atmosphere of omnipotence the less I am aware of fear. It is a matter of
course that the one should exclude the other. The sense of being myself,
in a measure, the inheritor of omnipotence, as an heir of God and a
co-heir with Christ, becomes, therefore, one to cultivate. This I can do
only in proportion as I see that my Standard and Example cultivated it
before me. In my capacity as a son of God I take as applying to myself
the words reported by St. John: "In most solemn truth I tell you that
the Son can do nothing of Himself--He can only do what He sees the
Father doing; for whatever He does, that the Son does in like manner."

While sayings like these, of which there are many in the New Testament,
apply doubtless, in the first place, to Him who best exemplifies the
Sonship of God, they must apply, in the second place, I suppose, to all
who exemplify that Sonship to any degree whatever. Man is the Son of
God; and it is worth noting that He who is specially termed the Son of
God is also specially termed the Son of Man. "Dear friends," St. John
writes, elsewhere, "we are now God's children, but what we are to be in
the future has not been fully revealed to us." I take it, therefore, as
no presumption on my part to emphasise in my daily thought my place as a
co-heir with Christ, feeling that not only is God's almightiness
exercised on my behalf, but that as much of it as I know how to use is
placed in my hands.


This last, of course, is very little. Even that little I use doubtfully,
timidly, tremblingly. That is the utmost reach to which present
race-development and personal development have brought me. With regard
to the opportunities all round me I am as if I stood beside an airship
in which I could fly if I knew how to work its engines, which I do not.
Other conveniences besides airships would be of no good at all to me if
someone more skilful than I didn't come to my aid. There is probably no
person living of whom the same is not true. Large portions of
omnipotence are placed within hands which are too busy grasping other
things to seize all that they could hold.

I remember the encouragement it was to me when I understood that to hold
anything at all was so much to the good as a starting-point. I had been
in the habit of dwelling on the much I had missed rather than on the
little I had apprehended. But the little I had apprehended was, after
all, my real possession, and one I could increase. It is like the few
dollars a man has in a savings bank. That at least is his,
notwithstanding the millions he might have possessed if he had only
known how to acquire them. There are many instances of a few dollars in
the savings bank becoming the seedling of millions before the span of a
man's life is passed.

To be glad of what we can do while knowing it is only a portion of what
will one day be done is to me a helpful point of view. "There may be
truth in all this," is the observation of a young lady who has scanned
what I have written, "and yet I don't believe that we shall ever conquer
fear." That, it seems to me, is to tie chains and iron weights about
one's feet when starting on a race. If we are to keep in the race at
all, to say nothing of winning it, the spirit must be free. One must add
the courage which springs from a partial knowledge of the truth to the
patience one gets from the understanding that as yet our knowledge of
the truth is but partial.


I often think that if the churches could come to this last admission it
would be a help to themselves and to all of us. As already hinted I am
anxious to keep away from the subject of churches through a natural
dread of bitterness; but this much I feel at liberty to say, saying it
as I do in deep respect for the bodies which have kept alive the glimmer
of Divine Light in a world which would have blown it out. In a
partially developed race the churches can have no more than a partially
developed grasp of truth. A partially developed grasp of truth is
much--it is pricelessly much--but it is not a knowledge of the whole
truth. Not being a knowledge of the whole truth it should be humble,
tolerant, and eager to expand.

The weakness of the ecclesiastical system strikes me as lying in the
assumption, or practical assumption, on the part of each sect that _it_
is the sole repository of truth, and of all the truth. There is no sect
which does not claim more than all mankind can claim. Moreover, there is
no sect which does not make its claims exclusively, asserting not only
that these claims are right, but that all other claims are wrong. To the
best of my knowledge, the sect has not yet risen which would make more
than shadowy concessions to any other sect.

True, it must not be forgotten that no sect bases its teaching on what
it has worked out for itself, but on the revelation made to it in Jesus
Christ. Every sect would admit that its own view of truth might have
been partial were it not for the fact that in Jesus Christ it has
everything. Where the theories of men might be inadequate His immense
knowledge comes in as supplementary.

This might be so had He Himself undertaken to give more than a partial
view of truth. But He says expressly that He does not. He gives what His
hearers might be assumed to be able to assimilate; but that is all. "I
have much more to say to you, but you are unable at present to bear the
burden of it."[20] It being an axiom in teaching to give the pupil only
what he can receive, this is the utmost that our Lord attempts.

[20] St. John.

He goes on, however, to add these words, which are significant: "But
when He has come--the Spirit of Truth--He will guide you into all the
truth."[21] No doubt that process is even now going on, and will continue
to go on in proportion as our race develops. We are being guided into
all the truth, through all kinds of channels, spiritual, literary,
scientific, philosophical. The naïve supposition that this promise was
kept on the Day of Pentecost, when a sudden access of knowledge
committed all truth to the apostles and through them to the Church
forevermore, is contradicted by the facts. The apostles had no such
knowledge and made no claims to its possession. The Church has never had
it, either. "All truth" covers much more ground than do questions of
ecclesiastical forms of government or of the nature of the sacraments.
"All truth" must go as far as the Universal goes, leaving nothing
outside its range. "All truth" must surely be such self-evident truth as
to admit of no further dissensions.

[21] St. John.

Taking truth as a circle, the symbol of perfection, we may assume that
our Lord disclosed a view of a very large arc in its circumference. But
of the arc which He disclosed no one group of His followers has as yet
perceived the whole. At the same time it is probable that each group has
perceived some arc of that arc, and an arc perceived by no other group.
"All truth" being too large for any one group to grasp, the Baptist sees
his segment, the Catholic his, the Methodist his, the Anglican his, the
Congregationalist his, until the vision of Christ is made up. I name
only the groups with which we are commonly most familiar, though we
might go through the hundreds of Christian sects and agree that each has
its angle from which it sees what is visible from no other. Though there
is likely to be error in all such perceptions a considerable portion of
truth must be there, or the sect in question would not survive. It is
safe to say that no sect comes into existence, thrives, and endures,
unless it is to supply that which has been missed elsewhere.


What place is there then for intersectarian or ecclesiastical arrogance?

The question is far from foreign to my subject. Fear is what arrogance
feeds upon; fear is what arrogance produces; and arrogance is the
special immorality of churches. To my mind the churches are almost
precluded from combating fear, for the reason that arrogance is to so
marked a degree their outstanding vice.

The Catholic is arrogant toward the Protestant; the Protestant is
arrogant toward the Catholic; the Anglican is arrogant to him whom he
calls a Dissenter in England, and merely "unchurches" in America; the
Unitarian is arrogant to those whom he thinks less intellectual than
himself; those who believe in the Trinity are arrogant toward the
Unitarian. All other Christian bodies have their own shades of
arrogance, entirely permitted by their codes, like scorn of the weak to
the knights of Arthur's court. An active, recognised, and mutual
arrogance all round is the reason why it is so rare to see any two or
three or half a dozen Christian sects work for any cause in harmony.
Arrogance begets fear as surely and prolifically as certain of the
rodents beget offspring.

Much has been written during the past fifty years on the beautiful theme
of the reunion of Christendom. Rarely does any great synod or
convention or council meet without some scheme or some aspiration toward
this end. Every now and then a programme is put forth, now by this body,
now by that, with yearning and good intentions. And in every such
programme the same grim humour is to be read behind the brotherly
invitation. "We can all unite--if others will think as we do." Is it any
wonder that nothing ever comes of these efforts? And yet, I am
persuaded, a day will dawn when something will.


"When he has come--the Spirit of Truth--he will guide you into all the
truth." That will be in the course of our race-development. As step is
added to step, as milestone is passed after milestone, as we see more
clearly what counts and what doesn't count, as we outgrow childishness,
as we come more nearly to what St. Paul calls "mature manhood, the
stature of full-grown men in Christ,"[22] we shall do many things that
now seem impossible. Among them I think we shall view intersectarian
arrogance as a mark of enfeebled intelligence. There will come an era of
ecclesiastical climbing down. We shall see more distinctly our own
segment of the arc which our Lord has revealed, and because of that we
shall know that another man sees what we have missed. The Methodist will
then acknowledge that he has much to learn from the Catholic; the
Catholic will know the same of the Baptist; the Anglican of the
Presbyterian; the Unitarian of the Anglican; and a co-operative universe
be reflected in a co-operative Church. Each will lose something of his
present cocksureness and exclusiveness. God will be seen as too big for
any sect, while all the sects together will sink out of sight in God.

[22] Epistle to the Ephesians.

In the meantime we are only working toward that end, but toward it we
are working. Every man who believes in a church is doing something to
bring that end about when he gives a kindly thought to any other church.
I say this the more sincerely owing to the fact that I myself am
naturally bigoted, and such kindly thought does not come to me easily.
There are sects I dislike so much that my eyes jump from the very
paragraphs in the newspapers which mention them. And yet when I curb
myself, when I force myself to read them, when I force myself to read
them sympathetically and with a good wish in my heart, my mental
atmosphere grows wider and I am in a stronger, surer, steadier, and more
fearless world.

Much criticism has been levelled at the Church within the past few
years; but it should be remembered that the Church no more than
government, no more than business, no more than education, can be ahead
of the only partially developed race of which she is one of the
expressions. She is not yet out of the world of matter, though she is
emerging. In proportion as her concepts, hopes, and aims remain material
she will be as incompetent as any other body with the same handicaps and
limitations. In proportion as she learns to "overthrow arrogant
reckonings and every stronghold that towers high in defiance of the
knowledge of God,"[23] she will become the leader of the world, and our
great deliverer from fear.

[23] Second Epistle to the Corinthians.


B. Of the trials brought upon us by a world of men perhaps our chief
resentment springs from their unreasonableness. They are not necessary;
they might be avoided; at their worst they could be tempered. For this
reason, too, they take us by surprise. Those who bring them on us seem
captious, thoughtless, cruel. When they could so easily offer us a
helping hand they obstruct us for the mere sport of doing so. People
toward whom we have never had an unkindly thought will often go out of
their way to do us a bad turn.

I shall not enlarge on this, since most of us are in a position to
enlarge on it for ourselves. There is scarcely an individual for whom
the way, hard enough at any time, has not been made harder by the barbed
wire entanglements which other people throw across his path. Almost
anything we plan we plan in the teeth of someone's opposition; almost
anything with which we try to associate ourselves is fraught with
discords and irritations that often inspire disgust. The worlds in which
co-operation is essential, from that of governmental politics to that of
offices and homes, are centres of animosities and suspicions, and
therefore breeding-grounds of fear.

I suppose most grown-up people can recall the wounded amazement with
which they first found themselves attacked by someone to whom they were
not conscious of ever having given cause. Some are sensitive to this
sort of thing; some grow callous to it; some are indifferent; and some
are said to enjoy it. In the main I think we are sensitive and remain
sensitive. I have been told by a relative of one of the three or four
greatest living writers of English that the unfavourable comment of a
child would affect him so that he would be depressed for hours.
Statesmen and politicians, I understand, suffer far more deeply in the
inner self than the outer self ever gives a sign of. The fact that our
own weakness or folly or recklessness or wrong-doing lays us open to a
blow is not much consolation when it falls.


For myself all this became more tolerable when I had fully grasped the
fact that we are still to a considerable degree a race of savages. From
savages one cannot expect too much, not even from oneself. We have
advanced beyond the stage at which one naturally attacked a stranger
simply because he was a stranger, but we have not advanced very far. The
instinct to do one another harm is still strong in us. We do one another
harm when it would be just as easy, perhaps easier, to do one another
good. Just as the Ashanti hiding in the bush will hurl his assegai at a
passer-by for no other reason than that he is passing, so our love of
doing harm will spit itself out on people just because we know
their names.

Personally I find myself often doing it. I could on the spur of the
moment write as many as twenty names of people of whom I am accustomed
to speak ill without really knowing much about them. I make it an excuse
that they are in the public eye, that I don't like their politics, or
their social opinions, or their literary output, or the things they do
on the stage. Anything will serve so long as it gives me the opportunity
to hurl my assegai as I see them pass. One does it instinctively,
viciously, because like other semi-savages one is undeveloped mentally,
and it is to be expected.

By expecting it from others half our resentment is forestalled. Knowing
that from a race such as ours we shall not get anything else we learn to
take it philosophically. If I hurl my assegai at another, another hurls
his assegai at me, and in a measure we are quits. Even if, trying to
rise above my inborn savagery, I withhold my assegai, it is no sign that
another will withhold his, and I may be wounded even in the effort to do
my best. Very well; that, too, is to be expected and must be
taken manfully.

The learning to take it manfully is what as individuals we get out of
it. For the most part we are soft at heart, soft, I mean, not in the
sense of being tender, but in that of being flabby.

On myself this was borne in less than a year ago. I had for some months
been working hard at a picture-play which when put before the public was
largely misunderstood. While some of the papers praised it others
criticised it severely, but whether they praised or blamed I was seen as
"teaching a lesson," a presumption from which I shrink. It is not that
there is any harm in teaching a lesson if a man is qualified, but I no
longer consider myself qualified. Sharing ideas is one thing, and the
highest pleasure of the reason; but the assumption that because you
suggest an idea you seek to convert is quite another thing. If I failed
to make it plain that in this present book I was merely offering ideas
for inspection, and in the hope of getting others in return, I should
put it in the fire.

My picture-play once handed over to the public I experienced an intense
reaction of depression. To figure through the country, wherever there
are screens, as "teaching a lesson" seemed more than I could bear. It
_was_ more than I could bear, till it flashed on me that I couldn't bear
it merely because I was inwardly flabby. I was not taking the experience
manfully. I was not standing up to it, nor getting from it that
toughening of the inner fibre which it had to yield. As usual in my
case, owing to an acquaintance with the Bible imparted to me in
childhood, a suggestion from the Bible was that which righted me again
toward cheerfulness. It came, as such things always do, without any
seeking, or other operation beyond that of the subconscious self.

_Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ._[24]

[24] St Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy.

It was exactly what I needed to do--to endure hardness--to take it--to
bear it--to be more of a man for it. Moreover, the idea was a new
suggestion. I had not understood before that to the conquest of fear the
hardening of the inner man is an auxiliary. My object had been to ward
off fear so that it shouldn't touch me; but to let it strike and rebound
because it could make no impact was an enlarging of the principle.
Viewing the experience as a strengthening process enabled me not only to
go through it but to do so with serenity.

This, I imagine, is the main thing we are to get out of the struggle
brought on us through living in a world of men such as men are to-day.
It is a pity they are not better, but being no better than they are we
can get that much from the fact--the inner hardening. When, justly or
unjustly, others attack or hurt or worry or anger or annoy me, the
knowledge that through the very trial I am toughening within, where so
often I am without moral muscle, can be a perceptible support.


C. Of the two main trials we bring on ourselves I suppose it would be
only right to put sickness first.

Under sickness I include everything that makes for age, decay, and the
conditions commonly classed as "breaking up." It is becoming more and
more recognised, I think, that physical collapse has generally behind it
a mental cause, or a long series of mental causes too subtle for

I shall not dwell on this, for the reason that during the past fifty
years so much has been written on the subject. A number of movements for
human betterment have kept the whole idea in the forefront of the public
mind. It is an idea only partially accepted as yet, arousing as much
opposition among the conservative as hope on the part of the
progressive. Since, however, science and religion are both, in their
different ways, working on it together, some principle which can no
longer be questioned is likely to be worked out within the next few

All I shall attempt to do now is to re-state what seems to me the
fact--stated by others with knowledge and authority--that God, rightly
understood, is the cure of disease and not the cause of it. There is
something repugnant in the thought of Universal Intelligence
propagating harmful bacteria, and selecting the crises at which we shall
succumb to their effects. The belief that God sends sickness upon us
amounts to neither less nor more than that. The bacilli which we try to
destroy He uses His almighty power to cultivate, so that even our
efforts to protect ourselves become defiances of His Will.

Surely the following incident, which gives our Lord's attitude toward
disease, affords a reasonable basis for our own.

"Once He was teaching on the Sabbath in one of the synagogues where a
woman was present who for eighteen years had been a confirmed invalid;
she was bent double, and was unable to lift herself to her full height.
But Jesus saw her, and calling to her, He said to her, 'Woman, you are
free from your weakness.' And He put His hands on her, and she
immediately stood upright and began to give glory to God. Then the
Warden of the Synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured her on the
Sabbath day, said to the crowd, 'There are six days in the week on
which people ought to work. On those days therefore come and get
yourselves cured, and not on the Sabbath day.' But the Lord's reply to
him was, 'Hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath day untie his
bullock or his ass from the stall and lead him to water? And this woman,
daughter of Abraham as she is, _whom Satan had bound_ for no less than
eighteen years, was she not to be loosed from this chain because it is
the Sabbath day?' When He had said this all His opponents were ashamed,
while the whole multitude was delighted at the many glorious things
continually done by Him."[25]

[25] St. Luke.

It was not God, in His opinion, who had afflicted this woman; it was
Satan, the personification of all evil. But in order that such
references should not be misunderstood He had said of Satan, only a
short time before, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."[26]

[26] St. Luke.

Heaven, I take it, is creation as its Creator sees it. "God saw
everything that he had made, and behold it was very good."[27] And from
this creation, with the rapidity of the quickest thing we know anything
about, a flash of lightning, our Lord saw the personification of evil
blotted out. What thought had formed thought could destroy. The spectre
which misunderstanding of God had raised in a life in which everything
was _very good_ became nothing at the instant when God was understood.

[27] The Book of Genesis.

The occasion of His speaking the words I have quoted is worth noting as
bearing on the subject.

A little earlier He had sent out seventy of His disciples to be the
heralds of the Kingdom. "Cure the sick in that town, and tell them the
Kingdom of God is now at your door."[28] By this time the seventy had
returned, exclaiming joyfully, "Master, even the demons submit to us
when we utter your name."[29] It was apparently the use of this word
_demons_ which called forth from Him that explanation, "I beheld Satan
as lightning fall from heaven." In other words, Satan is the creation of
wrong thought; the demons are the creations of wrong thought. Where the
Universal Good is all there can be no place for evil or evil spirits.
Banish the concept and you banish the thing. The action is as quick as
thought, and thought is as quick as lightning. "I have given you power,"
He goes on to add, "to tread serpents and scorpions underfoot, and to
trample on all the power of the Enemy; and in no case shall anything do
you harm."[30]

[28] St. Luke.

[29] St. Luke.

[30] St. Luke.

This was no special gift bestowed on them and only on them. God has
never, as far as we can see, dealt in special and temporary gifts. He
helps us to see those we possess already. What our Lord seems anxious to
make clear is the power over evil with which the human being is always
endowed. It is probably to be one of our great future discoveries that
in no case shall anything do us harm. As yet we scarcely believe it.
Only an individual here and there sees that freedom and domination must
belong to us. But, if I read the signs of the times aright, the rest of
us are slowly coming to the same conclusion. We are less scornful of
spiritual power than we were even a few years ago. The cocksure
scientific which in its time was not a whit less arrogant than the
cocksure ecclesiastical is giving place to a consciousness that man is
the master of many things of which he was once supposed to be the slave.
In proportion as the wiser among us are able to corroborate that which
we simpler ones feel by a sixth or seventh sense, a long step will be
taken toward the immunity from suffering which our Lord knew to be
ideally our inheritance.


Sickness, age, decay, with all the horrors with which we invest our exit
from this phase of existence, I take to be a misreading of God's
intentions. We shall learn to read better by and by, and have already
begun to do so. To this beginning I attribute the improvement which in
one way or another has taken place in our general health--an
improvement in which science and religion have worked together, often
without perceiving the association--and in the prolonging of youth which
in countries like the British Empire and the United States is, within
thirty or forty years, to be noted easily.

Misreading of God's intentions I might compare to that misreading of his
parent's intentions which goes on in the mind of every child of six or
seven. He sees the happenings in the household, but sees them in a light
of his own. Years afterwards, when their real significance comes to him,
he smiles at his childish distortions of the obvious.

In comparison with what St. Paul calls "mature manhood, the stature of
full-grown men in Christ," our present rating might be that of a child
of this age. It is no higher. Misreading is all that we are equal to,
but it is something to be able to misread. It is a step on the way to
reading correctly. Though our impulse to learn works feebly it works
restlessly; and a day will surely come when we shall be able to
interpret God aright.


Next to sickness I should place poverty as the second of the two great
trials we bring upon ourselves.

Under poverty I class all sense of restriction, limitation, and material
helplessness. As the subject will be taken up more in detail elsewhere I
wish for the minute to say no more than this: that, in an existence of
which Growth seems to be the purpose, God could not intend that any of
us should be without full power of expansion.

What we are worth to him we must be worth as individuals; and what we
are worth as individuals must depend on the peculiar combination of
qualities which goes to make up each one of us. _I_, poor creature that
I sometimes seem to others and always to myself, am so composed that God
never before had anything exactly like me in the whole round of His
creation. My value lies in a special blend of potentialities. Of the
billions and trillions of human beings who have passed across this
planet not one could ever have done what I can do, or have filled my
place toward God and His designs.

Among the billions and trillions I may seem trivial--to men. I may even
seem trivial to myself. To such numbers as these I can add so little
when I come, and take away so little from them when I go, that I am not
worth counting. Quite so--to all human reckoning. But my value is not my
value to men; it is not even my value to myself; it is my value to God.
He alone knows my use, and the peculiar beauty I bring to the ages in
making my contribution. It is no presumptuous thing to say that He could
no more spare me than any other father of a normal and loving family
could spare one of the children of his flesh and blood.

Now, my value to God is my first reckoning. We commonly make it the
last, if we ever make it at all; but it is the first and the ruling one.

What I am to my family, my country, myself, is all secondary. They
determine only the secondary results. The first results come from my
first relationship, and my first relationship is to God. As the child of
my parents, as a citizen of my country, as a denizen of this planet, my
place is a temporary one. As the son of God I am from everlasting to
everlasting, a splendid being with the universe as my home.

Now this, it seems to me, is my point of departure for the estimate of
my possible resources. I cannot expect less of the good things of the
universe than God would naturally bestow on His son. To expect less is
to get less, since it is to dwarf my own power of receiving. If I close
the opening through which abundance flows it cannot be strange if I shut
abundance out.

And that is precisely what we find throughout the human race, millions
upon millions of lives tightly shut against His generosity. The most
generous treatment for which the majority of us look is man's. The only
standard by which the majority of us appraise our work is man's. You
have a job; you get your twenty or thirty or fifty or a hundred dollars
a week for it; and by those dollars you judge your earning capacity and
allow it to be judged. You hardly ever pause to remember that there is
an estimate of earning capacity which measures industry and good will
and integrity and devotion, and puts them above all tricks of trade _and
rewards them_--rewards them, I mean, not merely in mystical blessings in
eons far off, possibly the highest blessings we shall ever know, but
rewards them in a way that will satisfy you now.

"He satisfieth the empty soul," writes the psalmist, in one of the
sublimest lyrics ever penned, "and filleth the hungry soul with

"Yes, of course," says the Caucasian. "When you have crushed out all
your present cravings and forgotten them, He will give you joys of which
now you have no conception."

But are not my present cravings those which count for me? and do they
not make up precisely that character which renders me unique? True, my
longings now may have to the longings I shall one day entertain only the
relation of your little boy's craving for an alphabetic picture-book to
the course in philosophy he will take when he is twenty-five; but so
long as the picture-book is the thing he can appreciate you give it to
him. Is not this common sense? And can we expect the Father of us all to
act in other than common-sense ways?

It is because we do so expect--because we do so almost universally--that
we have blocked the channels of His blessings. The world is crowded with
men and women working their fingers to the bone, and even so just
squeaking along betwixt life and death and dragging their children after
them. They are the great problem of mankind; they rend the heart with
pity. They rend the heart with pity all the more for the reason that
there is no sense in their poverty. There is no need of it. God never
willed it, and what God never willed can go out of life with the speed
of Satan out of Heaven. We have only to fulfil certain conditions,
certain conditions quite _easy_ to fulfil, to find the stores of the
Universal laid as a matter of course at the feet of the sons of God.

"Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts," are the striking words
of the prophet Malachi, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven
and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to
receive it.... And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a
delightsome land,"


But it is the old story: we do not believe it. It is too good to be
true, so we put it away from us. In a world where the material is so
pressing we use only material measures, and bow only to material force.

So be it! That is apparently as far as our race-development takes us. It
takes us into suffering, but not out of it. Individuals have come into
it and worked their way out again; but most of us can go no faster than
the crowd. In that case we must suffer. In a terrible crisis in his
history, and after many sins, David was able to write these words: "I
sought the Lord ... and He delivered me out of all my fears." It is the
royal avenue, and it is open to anyone. And yet if we do not take it, it
still does not follow that all is lost.

Of the world as it is the outstanding fact is the necessity for
struggle. Struggle may conceivably enter into every other world. There
is something in us which requires it, which craves for it. A static
heaven in which all is won and there is nothing forevermore but to enjoy
has never made much appeal to us. If eternal life means eternal growth
we shall always have something with which to strive, since growth means

While sorry, then, that we have not released ourselves to a greater
degree than we have, we may take heart of grace from what we have
achieved. We must simply struggle on. Struggle will continue to make and
shape us. Whether our problems spring from a world of matter, from a
world of men, or from ourselves, their solving brings us a fuller grasp
of truth. The progress may be slow but it is progress. Hardship by
hardship, task by task, failure by failure, conquest by conquest, we
pull ourselves up a little higher in the scale. Some day we shall see in
the Universal all that we have been looking for, and be delivered out of
all our fears.




Of all fears the most dogging and haunting are those connected with
money. Everyone knows them, even the rich. For many years I was their
victim, and will now try to tell how I got rid of them so effectively
that I may call it entirely.

Having a good many responsibilities I lived in terror of not being able
to keep pace with their demands. The dread was like a malign invisible
presence, never leaving me. With much in the way of travel, friendship,
and variety of experience, which I could have enjoyed, the evil thing
was forever at my side. "This is all very well," it would whisper in
moments of pleasure, "but it will be over in an hour or two, and then
you'll be alone with me as before."

I can recall minutes when the delight in landscape, or art, or social
intercourse, became alien to me, something to be thrust away. Once in
driving through rich, lush, storied Warwickshire on the way to
Stratford-on-Avon--once in a great Parisian restaurant where the
refinement, brilliancy, and luxury of the world seemed crushed into
epitome--once at a stupendous performance of _Götterdämmerung_ at
Munich--once while standing on the shores of a lovely New Hampshire lake
looking up at a mountain round which, as Emerson says, the Spirit of
Mystery hovers and broods--but these are only remembered high points of
a constant dread of not being able to meet my needs and undertakings.
There used to be an hour in the very early morning--"the coward hour
before the dawn," it is called by a poet-friend of my own--when I was in
the habit of waking, only to hear the sleepless thing saying, as my
senses struggled back into play, "My God, can you be sleeping
peacefully, with possible ruin just ahead of you?" After that further
sleep would become impossible for an hour or two, such wakings
occurring, in periods of stress, as often as two and three times a week.


It was the spiritually minded man whom I have already quoted as giving
me the three great points as to God's direction who first helped me to
see that, on the part of anyone working hard and trying on the whole to
do right, the fear of being left without means amounts in effect to
denial of God. Thinking this over for myself during the course of some
years, this fear has come to seem to me of the nature of blasphemy. It
is like the "Curse God and die," of the wife of Job. I shall not
hesitate to speak strongly on the subject, because so few are speaking
on it strongly--while the urgency is pressing.


I have already said that it does not seem reasonable that the Father
should put us into His universe to expand, and then deny us the power
of expanding. The power of expanding is not wrapped up in money, but in
the world as it is the independence of the one of the other is not very
great. "One of the hardest things I ever had to do," a mother said to
me, not long ago, "was to tell my little girl that her father and I
could not afford to send her to college." That is what I mean. To most
of us "expanding" and "affording" amount to the same thing.

True, there are natures which transcend the limitations of "affording,"
and by innate strength do what others resign themselves to not doing.
For instance, there are men and women who "put themselves" through
college, doing similar things which bring out the best in their
characters. These are the exceptions; and they are the exceptions
precisely for the reason that, whether they know it or not, they are
nearer than their fellows to the divine working principle. It is not
necessary for us to be conscious of that principle in order to get much
of its result, though consciousness enables us to get more of it. The
strong are strong because of harmony with God, at least to some extent.
They may misuse their strength, as we can misuse anything; but the mere
fact of possessing it shows a certain degree of touch with the
Universal. But I am speaking chiefly of the weak, of those who think
first of all in terms of restriction rather than in those of privilege
to come and go and be and do.

I repeat that though this privilege is not dependent on money, money
expresses it to the average mind.

And what is money after all? It is only a counter for what we call
goods. Goods is the word with which, according to our Anglo-Saxon genius
for the right phrase, we sum up the good things with which the Father
blesses His children. The root connection between good, goods, and God
is worth everyone's attention, A hundred dollars is simply a standard of
measurement for so much of God's good things. A thousand dollars
represents so much more; a million dollars so much more again. But it is
important to note that this is not God's standard of measurement; it is
man's, and adopted only for man's convenience.

As for God's standard of measurement it is inconceivable that the
Universal Father should give to one of His children far more of His
"goods" than he can use, while denying to another that which he is in
absolute need of. The Universal Father could surely not do otherwise
than bless all alike. With His command of resources He must bless all
alike, not by depriving anyone, but by enriching everyone. If everyone
does not enjoy plenty it must be because of the bringing in of some
principle of distribution which could never have been His.


The right and the wrong principles of distribution are indirectly placed
before us by our Lord in one of the most beautiful passages which ever
fell from human lips. Familiar as it is, I venture to quote it at
length, for the reason that the modern translation makes some of the
points clearer than they are in the King James version which most of us
know best.

"No man can be the bondservant of two masters; for either he will
dislike one and like the other, or he will attach himself to one and
think slightingly of the other. You cannot be the bondservants both of
God and of gold. For this reason I charge you not to be over-anxious
about your lives, inquiring what you are to eat or what you are to
drink, nor yet about your bodies, inquiring what clothes you are to put
on. Is not the life more precious than its food, and the body than its
clothing? Look at the birds which fly in the air; they do not sow or
reap or store up in barns, but your Heavenly Father feeds them; are you
not of much greater value than they? Which of you by being over-anxious
can add a single foot to his height? And why be anxious about clothing?
Learn a lesson of the wild lilies. Watch their growth. They neither toil
nor spin, and yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his
magnificence could array himself like one of these. And yet if God so
clothes the wild herbage which to-day flourishes and to-morrow is cast
into the oven, is it not much more certain that he will clothe you, you
men of little faith? Do not even begin to be anxious, therefore, saying,
'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
For all these are questions that Gentiles are always asking; but your
Heavenly Father knows that you need these things--all of them. But make
His Kingdom and righteousness your chief aim, and then these things
shall be given you in addition. Do not be over-anxious, therefore, about
to-morrow, for to-morrow will bring its own cares. Enough for each day
are its own troubles."

In this passage there are two points, each of which may merit a few
words as a means of eliminating fear.


The first point is the reference to what we are to make our "chief
aim"--the Kingdom of God and righteousness.

I feel sure we generally miss the force of these words through our
Caucasian sanctimoniousness. We can think of God's Kingdom and
righteousness only in the light of the pietistic. The minute they are
mentioned we strike what I have already called our artificial pose, our
funereal frame of mind. I am not flippant when I say that in the mind of
the Caucasian the first step toward seeking the Kingdom of God and
righteousness is in pulling a long face. We can hardly think of
righteousness except as dressed in our Sunday clothes, and looking and
feeling wobegone. To most of us the seeking of righteousness suggests at
once an increase in attending church services, or going to
prayer-meetings, or making missionary efforts--excellent practices in
themselves--according to the form of pietism we are most familiar with.
Those of us who have no form of pietism feel cut off from making the
attempt at all.

Oh, to be simple!--to be natural!--to be spontaneous!--to be free from
the concept of a God shut up within the four walls of a building and
whose chief interests are the sermon and the number of parishioners!
The Kingdom of God is the Universal Kingdom, including everyone and
everything--all interests, all commerce, all government, all invention,
all art, all amusement, all the staid pursuits of the old and all the
ardour of the young, all sport, all laughter, all that makes for
gladness. It is the Kingdom of the bird and the flower and the horse and
the motor-car and the motion-picture house and the office and the
theatre and the ballroom and the school and the college and everything
else that man has evolved for himself. He has evolved these things
wrongly because nine times out of ten he has seen them as outside God's
Kingdom, instead as being God's own undertakings because they are ours.
All that we have to do to seek His Kingdom is to do what we are doing
every day, with energy and fun, but to do it knowing we are His agents
and co-workers. As a matter of fact, most of us are, to some extent,
doing that already, getting food, shelter, clothing, and all other
necessary things as our reward. What we do not get is relief from fear,
because we do not understand that fear above all things is what He
would take away from us.


The second point is a curious one, and all the more emphatic for being
curious. Our Lord invents a false god. He names the false god of fear,
who was never named before. Mammon is the word which the modern
translator gives as gold. As Mammon it is translated in the Authorised
Version, whence we get the familiar phrase, "Ye cannot serve God
and Mammon."

But Mammon was never the name of an idol or other form of false deity.
The word, which is Syriac, means money. Our Lord, apparently, made it
the name of a false god in order to set before us, and make vivid to us,
a false principle.

That false principle is in the belief that the material essentials for
living and expanding are dependent on man's economic laws.

This is a point of vast importance to the individual who desires to
strike out beyond the crowd, not only getting what he needs, but
ridding himself of fear.

The law of supply and demand is the most practical which the human race
in its present stage has been able to evolve. That it is not an ideal
law is obvious. There are ways in which it works, and ways in which it
does not. When the Christians began to act for themselves they
established a community of goods, such as had obtained among the little
band who gathered round our Lord. Almost at once it was given up,
presumably as being too advanced for the existing world of men. I
suppose we might say the same of the various systems of Socialism and
Communism urged on us at the present day. However good they may be, we
are not ready to put them into practice. That, I judge--without
positively knowing--is the reason why certain great Christian bodies
oppose both. These bodies, I assume, are not hostile to equal
distribution in itself, but only to equal distribution before men are
developed to a stage at which it would be wise.

But my point is independent of all men's theories, and rests simply on
the fact that, whatever the law of man, God is not bound by it.

If we can believe the Old and New Testaments--which, of course, some of
us do not--He has shown on many, many occasions that He is far from
being bound by it. Time after time He comes to the individual's relief
according to His own law. We reject these occurrences as mythical on the
ground that the laws of supply and demand--and some other laws as law is
understood by us--do not support them; and yet it is in the power of the
individual to test the truth for himself.

That is one of the burdens of both Testaments. The individual is
implored to see the only real system for the distribution of "goods" as
God's. It is not expressed in that way, but that is what it comes to.
God owns and disposes of everything. He has not put us into His Universe
and left us to fend for ourselves. He follows us. He cares for us. Not
one is forgotten or overlooked by Him. It is personal watching and
brooding and defence. He is our Father, not merely for the purpose of
hearing us sing hymns, and forgiving our sins when we stop committing
them, but for all our aims and objects. Nothing that concerns us is so
small but that His Infinite Intelligence follows it; no need of ours is
so large but that His All-Ownership can meet it. "Do not two sparrows
sell for a half-penny?" is our Lord's illustration on this point, "yet
not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's leave. But
as for you," He reasons, in order that we may understand the
infinitesimal nature of God's care, "the very hairs on your heads are
all numbered. Away then with fear!"[31]

[31] St Matthew.


Away then with fear, because our first and over-ruling and
all-determining relationship is to Him.

In eliminating money-fears from my own life that was the fact which
helped me most. I had not only to seize it intellectually, but to get
what William James calls the "feeling" of it, the apprehension of it in
my subconsciousness. It was like acquiring a new instinct. The
_Metanoia_, the re-directing of my thought, was a thorough and
basic change.

It meant getting up in the morning with a new conception as to why I was
working and for whom. I had taken it for granted hitherto that I was
working for such and such a firm, for as much money as they would pay
me. As much money as they would pay me was the limit of my expectation.
Beyond the law of supply and demand I had no vision; and whenever the
demand fell short fear was the result.

The change in my base was in seeing that working for such and such a
firm, for as much money as they would pay me, was merely incidental. It
was secondary. It was not what determined my position. It was not what
determined my reward. It was a small way of looking at a situation which
was big. It was a small way of looking at a situation which was big,
merely to confine my objective to such selling and buying as goes on in
the planet called the Earth. I was working for the Master of the
Universe, who had all the resources of the universe with which to pay me
for what I was worth _to Him_.


It is this last fact, as I have hinted already, which fixes my true
value. To the firm for which I am working I am worth so many dollars and
cents, and if for any reason I am unable to do their work they will get
someone else who can. I am not essential to them in any way, however
essential they may be to me. It is my part to "keep my job," since if I
don't I may find it hard to get another. If I do get another it will be
on the same principle, of being paid what I can be made to work for, and
not a penny more.

But in working for the Master of the Universe I am working for One to
whom I am essential. My "job" could not be "swung" by anyone else, since
everyone else is essential to the swinging of his own. I am not "taken
on" to do what anyone else could do as well; I am positively needed for
this thing and for no other thing.

The nature of "this thing" for which I am needed may be seen in the
obvious duties of my situation--as regards my family, my employers, and
my surroundings, which sum up my responsibilities toward men in general.
No explanation of myself can be independent of men in general, since my
work is for them in its final aim. If I forget them I forget God, God
expressing Himself to me through men in general, as through my family
and my employers in particular.

Incidentally, then, I work for men, but essentially and consciously I
work for God, and look to God for my recompense.

Now God is the most generous of all paymasters. It is natural enough
that He should be so. He who delights in the grace of a bird or the
colour of a flower must delight in a man in proportion to a man's higher
place in the creative scale. As our Lord points out, that is no more
than common sense. And, delighting in us as He does, God could not
possibly stint us in what we earn from Him. Merely to suppose so is to
dishonour Him. A large part of His joy must be in our joy.

The simplest way in which I can express it is that in consciously trying
to work with God, not man, as our employer, things happen to us which,
to the best of our foresight, would not have happened otherwise. Often
they seem accidental, and possibly we ascribe them to accident till the
coincidences become too numerous to explain by coincidence and nothing
more. It constantly happens to myself, for instance, to find the whole
solution of some tangled financial problem hanging on the chance turning
of my steps to someone's office, and the chance turning of the
conversation to some specific observation. Chance is the explanation
which comes to me first, till I reflect on the finespun chain which
brought me to that particular spot and those particular words. Leading
is what I see then; and seeing it once I am more confident of being led
the next time. The next time, therefore, I am the less afraid, having
the definite experience to support me.

There are millions of men and women to whom life brings no more than the
monotony of a treadmill round, year in and year out, with a cramping of
mind, spirit, and ambition, who might have been free had they measured
themselves by God's standards and not by men's. It is simply the taking
of a point of view, and adjusting the life to it. In doing one's work
primarily for God, the fear of undue restriction is put, sooner or
later, out of the question. He pays me and He pays me well. He pays me
and He will not fail to pay me. He pays me not merely for the rule of
thumb task which is all that men recognise, but for everything else I
bring to my job in the way of industry, good intention, and
cheerfulness. If the Lord loveth a cheerful giver, as St Paul says, we
may depend upon it that He loveth a cheerful worker; and where we can
cleave the way to His love there we find His endless generosity.

In my own case this generosity has most frequently been shown in
opening doors for me where I saw nothing but blank walls. He has made
favourable things happen. It may be said that they would have happened
anyhow; but when they have happened on my looking to Him, and have not
happened when I did not look to Him, it is only fair to draw the
conclusion that He was behind the event.


It may also be urged that if there was really a God who delighted in us
He would make favourable things happen to us whether we looked to Him or
not. So He does. Every life, even among those who never think of Him, is
full of such occurrences. Every individual gets some measure of supply
for his necessities, and in many instances a liberal one. God's sun
rises on the wicked as well as on the good, and His rain falls on those
who do right and those who do wrong.

At the same time there is a force generated by working consciously with
Him which we have to go without when we disregard Him. It is not, I
suppose, that He refuses to co-operate with us, but that it is out of
our power to co-operate with Him. If His is the only right way to our
success and prosperity, and we are, to any extent, taking the wrong, it
stands to reason that to that extent we must fail.

It is doubtless for this reason that our Lord emphasises seeking His
righteousness as well as His Kingdom. His Kingdom might be roughly
defined as His power; righteousness as the right way of doing anything.
But you never obtain power by going the wrong way to work; whereas by
working in the right way you get your result. The conclusion is obvious.


It is often objected to the point of view I have been trying to express
that so much weight is thrown on material blessing. God gives spiritual
rewards, it is contended, not material ones. To expect the material from
Him is to make Him gross, and to become gross ourselves.

And yet those who put forth this objection are doing their utmost to
secure material comforts, and to make material provision for the future.
Are they doing it independently of God? Are they working in a medium
into which God cannot enter? Is it argued for a single minute that
"goods" are not God's good things, and that money is not their token?
True, the love of money is the root of all evil. Of course--when you
separate money from God, as Caucasians mostly do; not when you take
money as one of the material symbols for God's love toward his sons.

As a matter of fact, we dig a gulf between the material and the
spiritual which does not exist. We have seen that modern physical
science is showing us how near to spirit matter comes, while it is
highly probable that further research will diminish even the slight
existing difference between them. Matter may really be considered as our
sensuous misreading of the spiritual. That is to say, God sees one
thing; our senses see another. In the wild lily cited by our Lord our
senses see a thing exquisite in form and colour; and yet, relatively
speaking, it is no more than a distortion of what God beholds and
delights in. It is a commonplace fact that, even within the limitations
of the senses, our sense-faculties perceive few things, if anything,
quite accurately. Matter may therefore be considered as our wrong view
of what God sees rightly. Both for Him and for us the object is there;
but it is there with higher qualities than we can appreciate or

The situation is not unknown among ourselves. A picture by a great
master hangs on a wall. Two men look at it--the one with an expert
knowledge of painting, the other with none. The untrained eye will
translate into daubs of colour and meaningless forms what the skilled
understanding will perceive as a masterly setting forth of beauty. So
the good things--the "goods"--with which God blesses us, as well as the
money which is their symbol, may be taken as having to God a meaning
which they do not possess for us, but not as being outside the sphere
of His interest and control.


It is the tendency to puts "goods" and money outside the sphere of His
interest and control which has impelled us--and perhaps the Caucasian
especially--to have one God for the spiritual and another for the
material. We try to serve God and Mammon to an extent far beyond
anything we are generally aware of. It is not merely the individual who
is doing it; it is part of our collective, social, and national life.
Our civilisation is more or less based on the principle.

It is a mistake to suppose that a formal belief in One Almighty,
All-knowing, All-loving God has, to the immense majority of us, ever
been more than an ideal. It is a mistake to suppose that because the
false god is no longer erected before us in silver or stone he is no
longer served. The world has never outgrown idolatry, the so-called
Christian world no more than any other. "Dear children," are the words
with which St. John closes one of his epistles, "guard yourselves from
idols." He at least did not think that the idol had been forsaken
because the use of his name was given up.

We may define as a god any force to which we ascribe a supreme and
controlling power in our lives. It is of little consequence whether or
not we give it name and personality, so long as that force rules us. So
long, too, as it wields a power which the One God does not, so long as
we make the false god greater than the true, and more influential.

This is no mere figure of speech; it is fact. We have never guarded
ourselves from idols. We have never done more toward recognising the
Father than the putting Him in the pantheon with our other gods. Even
though we have inscribed the whole pantheon with His name, the other
gods have been in it.


I have said that our whole collective life is based on the principle of
one God for the soul and another for the body; and so it is. In what we
call our temporal life God gets only a formal recognition, while Mammon
is the referee. Beyond the controlling power of money we have no vision,
and we see no laws. The sphere of material productivity being one in
which, according to our foregone conclusion, God does not operate, we
have to make the controlling power of money our only practical standard.
It has its laws--chiefly the laws of supply and demand--within whose
working we human beings are caught like flies in spider-webs. Though we
struggle, and know we are struggling, we take it for granted that there
is nothing to do but struggle, and struggle vainly. We take it for
granted that we are born into a vast industrial spider-web, whence there
is no possibility of getting out, and in which we can only churn our
spirits rebelliously. In proportion as God is a God of love, Mammon is a
god of torture; but such is our supineness of spiritual energy that we
go on serving Mammon.


But I am writing only for the individual. I am trying to suggest to him
that however much his race, his nation, his society, may serve Mammon,
he is free to renounce the idol and escape the idol's laws. Escaping the
idol's laws he comes within the realm of God's laws; and coming within
the realm of God's laws he reaches the region of plenty.

He may be the poorest and most ill-paid labourer; but God will recognise
his industry not in proportion to its technical skill, but according to
the spiritual excellence which goes into it. Technical skill depends
largely on the right man finding the right job; but as our world is
organised at present the right man, more often than not, is put into the
wrong job and has to do his best with it. God sees and estimates that
best; and as surely as He makes His sun to rise and His rain to fall
will give it its just compensation.


Our industrial questions are primarily spiritual. That is why they can
never be settled on a purely economic basis, and why every attempt to
settle them on a purely economic basis leads to conditions more confused
than those from which we have emerged. The so-called purely economic
basis is the basis where only Mammon's laws are considered, and God's
are held to be impractical.

Quite so! But even then the individual is free. Working with God he is
always master of the situation as it affects _him_.

The problem of Capital and Labour, for example, has, in one form or
another, been before the world for thousands of years. The more acute it
becomes the further we are from a solution, and were never so far from a
solution as we are to-day. Poverty, again, is the canker at the heart of
both Church and State, and has been so in every stage of our
civilisation. In 1921 it is no more under control than it was in the
days of Charlemagne or Attila or Xerxes. Charitable efforts to relieve
it have proved as effective as tickling with a feather to cure disease.
Or again, high prices and low wages, high wages creating high prices,
resented conditions leading to strikes, strikes bringing confusion to
both wages and prices alike--these things perplex the most clear-sighted
among us, compelling us to wonder as to what new troubles we are heaping
up. Or again, taxes crippling incomes and gnawing at the heart of
industry vex us each year with a sense of the futility of all man's
efforts for the common good, and the uselessness of our energies. These
difficulties, with many kindred ones, are the working of the laws of
Mammon. The case is simple. We shall never be free from the difficulties
till we are free from the laws. The bondservants of Mammon will go on
from misery to misery, till the will which opposes God is broken down.
There is no other way. The colossal disintegration of the world now
taking place before our eyes may be the beginning of this end.


But I return to the point I have emphasised already, the only point to
this book. The individual can act on his own account. He does not have
to wait till the race as a whole gives up the service of Mammon, or even
the nation to which he belongs. He can set _himself_ free, and enjoy the
benefits of freedom.

There must be many to whom, as to myself, the kingdom of heaven will
really be at hand when they are delivered from the snares and
entanglements of man's economic systems. Caught in those systems,
imprisoned in them, more hopelessly enmeshed the more they struggle to
save themselves, the suggestion that a change in point of view will take
us out of them will seem to some of us too amazing to be true.

Nothing will prove it true but a man's own experience. Mine will
convince nobody; no other man's can convince me. Demonstration must be
personal before we can make anything our own. But the fact remains, as
sure as the surest thing we know anything about, that the law of Mammon
does not work, while the law of God does work, and will work for anyone
who calls it to his aid.

No one who has ever seen the early morning trains into any great city
vomiting forth their hundreds of thousands of men and women, trudging
more or less dispiritedly to uncongenial jobs, can have felt anything
but pity for so many lives squeezed into the smallest possible
limitations. Admitting cheerfulness, admitting a measure of content, and
a larger measure of acceptance of what can't be helped, there still
remains over these hordes the shadow of a cloud from which they know
they never will escape. Clerks, factory hands, tradesmen, working men
and women of every stamp and occupation, they bow to the fact that they
will always work hard at tasks which are rarely their own choice, that
they will always work for little money, that they will always be denied
their desires for expansion; that as it was with their fathers and
mothers before them, so it will be with them, and so it will be with
their children after them.

With the supineness of our race most of them force themselves to be
satisfied with what comes. But here and there is a rebel. Here and there
is a man or a woman who feels that joyless work, and small pay, and
little or nothing to look forward to, are cruel elements in life, not
fair, not just, on the part of God or man. But what can they do? They
are in man's economic machine. The machine turns round and they turn
with it. They can do nothing else but turn with it. They see no prospect
except of turning with it till they die.

It is out of such men and women that our modern world breeds
revolutionists, that exalted and yet dangerous band who seek redress
from the laws of Mammon by appealing _to_ the laws of Mammon, so making
confusion worse confounded.


A revolution indeed is needed; but a revolution in point of view.

Political revolution, for the sake of righting governmental abuses,
has been known to produce beneficent results.

Material revolution, the attack of the poor on the rich to take away
their possessions, has never achieved anything. Many a time it has been
tried, and many a time it has failed. Being part of the system of Mammon
it could do nothing else than fail. The evils which Mammon has wrought
Mammon will never remedy. There may be instances in history of economic
cures for economic ills; but I think they are few. In general such cures
are of the nature of our "settlements" of strikes. They settle to-day
what is again unsettled to-morrow, leaving the work to be done all over
again, and so on into a far future.

The revolution in point of view has these great advantages:

First, it contains within it the seeds of success, since it is
revolution toward God, the owner of the Earth and the fulness thereof;
Next, it takes place within the individual himself, doing no one
else any harm;

Lastly, it does not run counter to man's economic laws; it only uses and
transcends them. It directs and corrects them. Working along their lines
it stimulates their fruit. Letting the inner man out of the economic
trap it sets him in a world in which first, and last, and before
everything else, he is God's servant in God's pay. God's pay being sure,
and paid in the way we need it, we no longer have money-fear to be
afraid of. Money-fear being set aside we can the more easily give
ourselves to the knowledge that "the Kingdom of God does not consist of
eating and drinking, but of right conduct, peace, and joy, through the
Holy Spirit; and whoever in this way devotedly serves Christ, God takes
pleasure in him, and men commend him highly."[32]

[32] Epistle to the Romans.


And lest what I have said should seem fanciful or chimerical let me add
that I am not saying these things merely on my own responsibility. To
my certain knowledge there are hundreds of thousands--some millions--of
people throughout the world who at this very minute are living according
to this principle, and proving that it works in practical effect.

Neither am I speaking theoretically, as I have tried to make plain. To a
degree that convinces myself I have made the demonstration. Where my
life was like a dark and crooked lane in which I might easily be lost,
it has now become as an easy and open highway; where money-fear was the
very air I breathed, it is now no more than a nebulous shred on a far
horizon. Money-fear comes occasionally; but only as the memory of pain
to a wound which you know to be healed. It comes; but, like Satan out of
Heaven, I can cast it from me with a thought.




The fear of death was greatly diminished for me on grasping the
principle of everlasting Growth.

This principle we gather from whatever we know of life. Our observation
of life is, of course, limited to this planet; but as far as it goes it
shows us a persistent and perpetual system of development. We have only
to let our imaginations go back to the first feeble stirrings of life in
the ooze of the primeval seas, contrasting that with what it became in
Plato, Sophocles, St. Peter, St. Paul, Raphael, Shakespeare, and Darwin,
to see how high the climb upward has reached. Jesus of Nazareth I put on
a plane to which we have not yet attained, though in sight as the great


That the same law operates in the individual life is a matter of
everyone's experience. Such knowledge as each man has of himself is that
of a growing entity. Each year, each day, expands him a little further,
with increased fulness of character. At thirty he is more than he was at
twenty; at fifty more than he was at thirty; at eighty more than he was
at fifty. Nothing but a perverted mortal point of view stands in the way
of further expansion still.

The perverted mortal point of view is one of the impulses we have to
struggle with. The mortal tendency, which means the deadly tendency,
always seeks to kill whatever has the principle of life. This tendency
is in every one of us; but in some of us more than in others.

You can see it at work in the morbid mind, in the mind that is easily
depressed, and in the mind that easily closes.

Perhaps it is in this last that it becomes our most pernicious enemy.
The closing mind is found in all our ranks; the closed mind is the
deadwood of all our professions. It is not only deadwood; it is
death-in-life, the foe of the developing life-principle, the enemy of
the Holy Ghost.

That the dead mind should be found among people who have had few
intellectual advantages is not surprising. On them it is forced from
without, by sheer pressure of circumstance. Where it is most painful is
precisely where it does most harm, among the classes we call
professional. There, too, it seems commonest. Lawyers, doctors,
clergymen, teachers, writers, politicians, business men with dead minds
choke all the highways of life. To the extent that they have influence
they are obstacles to progress; but sooner or later the time comes when
they no longer have influence. Life shelves them on the plea that they
are old; but that is not the reason. They are shelved because they have
killed their minds, becoming living dead men.

As a matter of fact, one of the most valuable of our social and
national assets is the old man who has kept his mind open. Found all too
rarely, he is never shelved, for the reason that life cannot do without
him. Having the habit of expansion he continues to expand, keeping
abreast of youth and even a little in advance of it. The exception
rather than the rule, there is no reason why he should not be the
racial type.


He is not the racial type because so many of us begin to die almost as
soon as we have begun to live. Our very fear of the death-principle
admits it into our consciousness. Admitted into our consciousness it
starts its work of killing us. It wrinkles the face, it turns the hair
grey, it enfeebles the limbs, it stupefies the brain. One of its most
deadly weapons is fatigue, or the simulation of fatigue. The tired
business man, who rules American life, is oftener than not a dead
business man. If he looked ahead he would see what we idiomatically know
as his "finish." He is not only dying but he infuses death into
manners, literature, and art, since he so largely sets the standard
which becomes the rule.

War on the death-principle should be, it seems to me, one of the aims to
which the individual gives his strength; and once more he can do it on
his own account.

In the first place, he can watch himself, that he does not mentally
begin to grow old. To begin mentally to grow old is to begin mentally to
die. He must think of himself as an expanding being, not as a
contracting one. He must keep in sympathetic touch with the new, damning
the know-it-all frame of mind. He must keep in sympathetic touch with
youth, knowing that youth is the next generation in advance. The secrets
of one generation are not those of another; but if he who possesses the
earlier masters also the later he is that much the richer and wiser. The
gulf which separates parents and children is one which the parents must
cross. They can work onward, while the children cannot work backward. Up
to a certain point the older teach the younger; beyond a certain point
the younger teach the older. He who would go on living and not begin to
die must be willing to be taught, reaping the harvest of both youth
and age.

In the second place, he who would live must not kill anyone else. The
deadly tendency in ourselves is forever at work on those about us,
chiefly on those we love. We watch, tabulate, and recount their symptoms
of decay. Making notes of them for ourselves we discourse of them to
others. "He begins to look old," is a commonplace. The response will
probably emphasise the fact. By response to response we spin round a
friend the age-web which lengthens into the death-web. In our expressive
American vernacular we speak of "wishing" conditions on others, an
instinctive folk-recognition of the force of mentality. We do it in a
sinister sense more often than by way of helpfulness. We "wish" by
thinking, by talking, by creating an atmosphere, by forcing things into
the general consciousness. Old age and decay, bad enough in themselves,
we intensify by our habits of mind. Death, which in any case awaits our
friends, we woo to them by anticipations of demise. It is not
ill-intentioned. It comes out of a subconsciousness in which death and
not life is the base.


For most of us the fear of death is a subconscious rather than an active
fear. It becomes active for those who through illness, or in some other
way, see a sentence of death hanging over them; but during the greater
part of the life-span we are able to beat it off.

As to the life-span itself there is reason to suppose that it is meant
to be more regular than man allows it to become. There may easily be an
"appointed time" to which we do not suffer ourselves, or each other, to
attain. Those strange, inequalities by which one human being is left to
pass over the century mark, another is cut off just when he is most
needed, while a third does no more than touch this plane for an hour or
two, may be the results of our misreadings of God's Will, and not the
decrees of that Will itself.

We are here on ground which may be termed that of speculation; and yet
speculation is not quite the right word. I dare to think that we have
reached a stage of our development at which we are entitled to make with
regard to death certain inferences which were hardly possible before our
time. We may make them timidly, with all hesitation and reserve, aware
that we cannot propound them as facts; and yet we may make them. The
human mind is no longer where it was a hundred years ago, still less
where it was five hundred years ago. Though we make little progress we
make some. We are not always marking time on the same spot of ignorance
and helplessness. What is mystery for one age is not of necessity
mystery for another. Even when mysteries remain, they do not of
necessity remain without some hint of a dawn which may broaden into day.
Many of our most precious illuminations have come in just this way; a
faint light--which slowly, feebly, through centuries perhaps, waxes
till it becomes a radiance.


I talked some time ago to an orthodox Christian lady whose brother had
recently died, and who was speaking of death.

"The one mystery," she called it, "on which no single ray of light has
been vouchsafed in all the ages man has been on earth."

I did not agree with her, but knowing her to be an orthodox Christian
lady I did not venture to express my opinion.

But hers is the position which many, perhaps most, of us take. "No one
has ever come back," we say, "to tell us what his experience has been,"
and we drop the subject there. Not only do we drop the subject there,
but we resent it if everyone else does not drop the subject there. "God
has hidden it from us," we declare, "and what He has hidden from us it
is presumption for us to pry into." It is useless to urge the fact that
this way of reasoning would have kept us still in the Stone Age; we are
not to be reached by argument.

Let me say at once that I am not taking up the question of the psychic,
or entering into it at all. I shall keep myself to the two points of
view which have helped me, as an individual, to overcome, to some
degree, the fear of death, considering them in reverse order from that
in which I have mentioned them. Those two points of view are:

A. That, according to God's Will, we come into this phase of being for
an "appointed time" which we do not always reach;

B. That we pass out of this phase of being as we came into it, for


A. The question of an appointed time seems important chiefly to the
right understanding of God's love. Between us and the understanding of
that love bereavement is often a great obstacle. Oftener still it is a
great puzzle. I do not have to catalogue the conditions in which the
taking away of men, women, and children, sorely needed here if for no
other purpose than to love, has moved us to deep perplexity, or to
something like a doubt of God. We have probably all known cases where
such tragedy has driven sufferers to renounce God altogether, and to
curse Him. Some of us who have been smitten may have come near to doing
this ourselves, or may have done it.


I have already spoken of the Caucasian's habit of shuffling off on God
those ills for which he will not face the responsibility himself, and I
am inclined to think that this is one of them. In my own experience the
explanation of "God's Will" made to the mother of a little family left
fatherless, or to the parents of a dead baby, or to a young man with a
young wife in her coffin, has always been revolting. I have made it; I
have tried, on the faith of others, to think it must be so. I have long
since ceased to think it, and feel happier for not crediting the
Universal Father with any such futile tricks.

I should not go so far as to say that we human beings have misapplied
the laws of life in such a way as to kill those who are dear to us;
rather, I think, we have never learned those laws except in their merest
rudiments. We are not yet prepared to do more than bungle the good
things offered us on earth, and more or less misuse them. We misuse them
ourselves; we teach others to misuse them; we create systems of which
the pressure is so terrible that under it the weak can do nothing but
die. We give them no chance. We squeeze the life out of them. And then
we say piously, "The blessed Will of God!"

As an illustration of what I mean let me cite the two following cases
among people I have known:

A young lady belonging to a family of means was found to be suffering
from incipient tuberculosis. The doctors ordered her to Saranac. To
Saranac she went, with two nurses. Within eighteen months she was home
again, quite restored to health. This was as it should have been.

At the same time I knew a car-conductor, married some six or seven
years, and the father of three children. He, too, was found to be
suffering from incipient tuberculosis. He, too, was ordered to Saranac.
But having a wife and three children to support, Saranac was out of the
question. He went on conducting his car till his cough became
distressing, whereupon he was "fired." A minimum allowance from his
church kept the family from starvation, while the nearest approach to
Saranac that could be contrived was an arrangement by which he slept
with his head out the window. In course of time he died, and his widow
was exhorted to submit to the Will of God.


I cite the latter case as typical of millions and millions of deaths of
the kind at which we stand aghast at God's extraordinary rulings. Why is
it, we ask, that He snatches away those who are needed, leaving those
who might be spared? As to the latter part of the question I have
nothing to say; but when it comes to "snatching away" I feel it
important to "absolve God" of the blame for it.

In the instance I have quoted the blame for it is clear. Falling on no
one individual, it does fall on an organisation of life which gives all
the chances to some, denying them to others. So long as we feel unable
to improve on this organisation we shall have these inequalities. But
let us face honestly the consequences they bring. Let us not confuse all
the issues of life and death as we do, by saddling the good and
beautiful Will of God with the ills we make for ourselves.


All untimely bereavement is, of course, not of the nature of the above
illustration. And yet I venture to believe that in all untimely
bereavement some similar explanation could be found. For example, in the
intervals of writing these lines I have been reading a recent biography
of Madame de Maintenon. In it is a chapter describing the series of
catastrophes which fell on Louis the Fourteenth, and the French kingdom,
within little more than a twelvemonth. His son and heir, his grandson,
the second heir, his great-grandson, the third heir, the second heir's
wife, and still another grandson were all carried off by smallpox. In
the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, his wife, the aged monarch was
counselled to submit to the awful Will of God which saw fit thus to
smite him. What no one perceived was that by crowding round the bed of
each sufferer in turn the survivors courted contagion.

But, there again, it is not much more than a century since this fact
became known to anyone. Easily within living memory is the discovery
that disease is due to bacteria. Our whole system of sanitation is of
recent development, and obtains only among the English and the Americans
even now. In many parts of Europe and America, to say nothing of Asia
and Africa, people still live as in the Middle Ages, and infant
mortality is appalling. Those of us who pay most attention to sanitary
laws live unhealthily, diminishing our powers to resist attack. I
mention these facts, not as making a list of them, but to indicate the
many causes through which we bring bereavement on ourselves, when the
Will of God would naturally make for survival and happiness.

It must never be forgotten that in this phase of our existence we never
carry out that Will except to a remote degree. We only struggle towards
doing it. When great sorrows come it is because in the struggle we have
not been successful. Either we ourselves have failed; or the failure of
others affects us indirectly. While God's Will may be for our happiness,
we can attain to neither the happiness nor the Will--as yet.

Nevertheless, we would not have it otherwise. In our more thoughtless or
more agonised minutes we are likely to cry out for a life in which the
conditions ensuring our happiness could not so easily miscarry; but that
would mean a static life, and a static life, above all things, we will
not endure. As already seen, we ask for difficulties to conquer,
successes to achieve. To contend is our instinct, not to be passive
and enjoy.

Difficulties to conquer can only exist side by side with the possibility
of not conquering them. The victory which is merely a walk-over is
scarcely a victory. Achievement counts only when something has been
overcome. Even then the overcoming of one thing merely spurs us on to
overcome another. To rest on our laurels is doom. For a race which has
the infinite as its goal the word must be on and on. The static heaven
of bearing palms and playing harps and bliss, which the naïve
interpretation of our fathers drew from the imagery of the Apocalypse,
has long since made us rebellious. Something to strive for we demand,
even at the risk of bereavement.


It is at once the disadvantage and the glory of our own generation that
it is only on the fourth or fifth step of the stairway by which we are
climbing. But at least it is heir to the conquests which go to its stage
of advance. Untimely bereavement is less common to-day than it was a
few centuries ago; it is more common to-day than it will be a few
centuries hence. Such storms of affliction as in 1712 swept over the
house of Louis Quatorze occur less frequently now. But they still occur.
We have not got beyond them. They are only bound to occur less and less
frequently, till they become no more than matters of scarcely
credible record.

In the meanwhile it may be a comfort to others, as it is to me, to be
able to "absolve God" from the charge of capricious and intolerable
thwarting of our love. To me, at least, the blow is easier to bear when
I know that His beloved hand didn't strike it. I cannot understand being
tortured out of sheer love, while patience with what leaves me with my
whole life maimed is only the patience of the vanquished.

On the other hand, I can bear with my mistakes, I can bear with the
mistakes of others, I can bear with the failures which are the fruit of
our lack of race-development, so long as I know that God is on my side.
The affliction which would be too poignant as coming directly from Him
is half soothed already when I know that He is soothing it. I may have
lost what He gave; but far from snatching it from me He would have had
me keep it. Of all my comforts that assurance is the first.

In addition, I have the satisfaction--a meagre satisfaction you may call
it, but a satisfaction all the same--of knowing that by the ploughing
and harrowing of my heart a step is taken toward that future in which
hearts shall be less harrowed and ploughed. "It must never happen
again." That is what we keep saying with regard to the Great War. Well,
it may happen again. We have as yet no trustworthy pledge to the
contrary. But of this we may be sure, that it will not happen again very
often. It is less likely to happen again for the very reason that it has
happened. If the Great War does not prove to be the last war it is the
more probable that the next war will. I mean that we do learn our
lessons, though we learn them only as feeble-minded children learn
theirs. Agony by agony, something is gained, and my personal agony
counts with the rest. The fact may give me no more than the faintest
consolation, and possibly none at all; and still in the long, slow
stages of our upward climb my agony counts, whether its counting
consoles me or not.


The inference that we come into the life of this planet for an
"appointed time" we draw from what we see of God's system of order. All
other things do so, as far as we observe. The plant springs, to grow and
bloom, to bear fruit and seed, and so renew itself. Fish, bird, and
animal have their appointed round varying only in detail from that of
the plant. Man's appointed round would seem to vary only in detail from
that of the animal, except that he himself interferes with it.

To the best of my knowledge the plant, from the blade of grass to the
oak or the orchid, always fulfils its life-span, unless some act or
accident cripples or destroys it. I mean that we never see God bringing
the shoot above the soil just to nip it before it unfolds. We never see
Him bring the bud to the eve of blossoming just to wither it. Having
given it its mission He supplies it with rain, sun, and sustenance to
bring that mission to its end. True, the plant has enemies, like
everything else, enemies which it may not escape. But generally
speaking, it does escape them, and lives to finish its task.

So, too, with the more active living thing. It, too, has its enemies.
It, too, may not escape them. But assuming that it does, God allows it,
to the best of our observation, to work out its full development. The
only "bereavement" he brings to the lion, the thrush, or the elephant,
or any other creature capable of grief is, apparently, from those
hostile sources of which the hostility is more or less gratuitous. A man
shoots a lion, or the lion kills an antelope; but they do so through
misreading of God's Will, not through fulfilling it.

For the lower ranks of creation misread that Will in their way as much
as the higher in theirs. All ferocity must be misinterpretation of the
divine law of harmony and mutual help. Internecine destruction probably
has a meaning we can only guess at. Guessing at it we are at liberty to
surmise that what God sees as loving contention for excellence, each
gaining by the other's gain, we understand as bitter strife, and
consumption of the flesh and blood. The rivalry we can best appreciate
is that of brutality; the chief benefit the stronger creature seeks from
the weaker is in killing and eating him. Why this should be part of our
struggle I do not know; but part of our struggle it seems to be--from
the humblest organism up to man--the mistaking of God's Will before
learning to understand it.

And lest I should seem to assume too much, in saying this, let me add
that our progress out of this state of preying on each other has long
been foreseen by the pioneers of truth. The vision is at least as
ancient as Isaiah, when he descried from afar the accomplished rule of
the Son of David:

"With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity
for the meek of the earth.... And righteousness shall be the girdle of
his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and
the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child
shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones
shall lie down together.... And the sucking child shall play on the hole
of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; _for the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord_, as the waters cover
the seas."


If I am correct in thinking that our passage across the life of this
planet is meant to last for an "appointed time," I presume that that
time would be measured by experience rather than by years. There exists
what we vaguely call the round of life. We are born; we grow; we know
family interests; we learn; we work; we love; we marry; we beget
children; we train them to take our places; we pass beyond. There are
variations on this routine, some of us having more, some of us having
less; but in general it may be taken as typical. It is our mission, as
the plants and the lower living things have theirs.

It seems reasonable, then, to think that each baby born is meant by the
Father's Will to reap this experience before it proceeds to further
experience. It must be a stage in its growth or it would not come into
it. When it is balked of it something is amiss. The child who dies in
infancy has lost something. The lad or the girl whom our organised life
drives from this plane before reaching fruition has lost something. The
parent whom our conditions force onward before he has brought his task
to a stage at which he can peacefully lay it down has lost something. I
am not saying that God does not control resources by which that loss can
be abundantly made up, but only that the loss would seem to be there.
It is loss for the one who departs as well as for those who
remain behind.


That is what I gather from the instances in the Old and New Testament in
which those who had gone on before their time were called back again.
There are six of these instances in all: one in the Old Testament, and
five in the New. Of four of them we are expressly told that those
restored were young; of the other two nothing is said as to age, but one
at least was probably young, while the other was greatly needed.

The child called back by Elisha was still a little boy. The daughter of
Jairus was still a little girl. The son of the widow of Nain was a young
man, as was also Eutychus raised by St. Paul. Though we are not told the
age of Lazarus we judge that he was at most no more than in man's
maturity. Dorcas of Lydda may have been of any age, but, judging by the
circumstances, she had not completed her task.


My point is this, that if these things happened, they seem to bear out
my suggestion that our own inducement of premature death cuts us off
from fulfilling our appointed time and getting our appointed experience.
Only on some such ground can we believe that any would be permitted
to return.

Should this be so we would be in a position to assume that all who go
over ahead of time would be allowed to come back, if we had sufficient
spiritual power to recall them. But that power is of the rarest. Our
Lord, apparently, was in control of it only at times, and on at least
one occasion, that of the raising of Lazarus, its exercise was not what
we should call easy. But that He believed it to be at human command to
some extent is clear from the fact that its use became one of His four
basic principles. "Raise the dead," was the second of the commands with
which He sent out his first seventy disciples.


I dwell on the subject only because of its bearing on the love of God.
If it becomes plain to us that by the understanding of God's Will we
gain a richer experience, with less fear of being cut off before our
work is done, that Will makes a stronger appeal for being understood.
That we have not understood it earlier, that we have not particularly
cared to understand it, is due, I think, to our assumption of its
capriciousness. It has been so underscored as inscrutable--the word
generally applied to it--that the man in the street has felt mystified
by it from the start. Being mystified he has settled down to think as
little about it as he could.

But a great force striving with man to put common sense into his methods
is worth comprehending. It does not compel us to common-sense methods
for the reason that we value only that which we work out for ourselves.
We work nothing out but through suffering. We learn nothing, we take no
forward step, except as we are whipped to it by anguish. That is why
there is so much mourning in the world. God does not cause it; we bring
it on ourselves; but each time we bring it on ourselves we creep one
tiny step nearer that race-conclusion which is now coming to us about
war, and will one day come to us about death, that "It must never
happen again."


In other words, death will be abolished by race-unanimity not to submit
to it. We shall have travelled far in this direction when the average
mind begins to perceive that God did not send death into His creation,
but that we ourselves developed it. Having developed it ourselves we
must get rid of it ourselves, and already some of that work has been
done. "For seeing that death came through man," are the words of St.
Paul, "through man comes also the resurrection of the dead." When he
speaks of "Jesus Christ who hath abolished death," his words are
stronger still. "He has put an end to death and has brought Life and
Immortality to light by the Good News, of which I have been appointed a
preacher, apostle, and teacher."

This Life and Immortality are not to be relegated to other ages and
worlds; they are for us to work out now.

The degree to which we work them out depends on our own efforts. Death
will be our doom for many generations to come, because so few of us have
the energy to strive against it. Release can come only when the race at
large is willing to cast the evil thing off. One would suppose that we
would be willing now; but we are far from being willing. We shall go on
forcing our dear ones to die before their time, falling sick ourselves,
enduring agonies, and rotting in graves, till we have suffered to the
point at which we cry out that we have had enough. There will be a day
when in presence of the useless thing we shall say, with something
amounting to one accord, "It must stop." That day will be the beginning
of the end of the age-long curse to which we still submit ourselves. In
the language of St. Paul, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death,"
leaving us with the belief that, when we have progressed to the
overthrow of other forces opposed to us, we shall go on to the overthrow
of this one--and that it will be overthrown.


From one kind of fear this reasoning has almost entirely delivered
me--that of being taken away in the midst of my responsibilities, and
before my work is done. I am not so audacious as to say that it may not
happen; but only that, reasoning as I do, I am no longer a prey to
apprehensions on the point. They used to come to me, not like the
money-fear, an abiding visitant, but in spells of intense dread.

I suppose that most men with families, and much unfinished business,
know this dread, and have suffered from it. You think of the home you
have built up, and of what it would be without you. You think of your
wife, grappling with a kind of difficulty to which she is unaccustomed.
You think of your children who turn to you as their central point, and
who would be left without your guidance. You think of other duties you
have undertaken, and wonder who will carry them through. You seem to be
so essential to everyone and everything; and yet, you have been told, it
may be the Will of God to remove you from them, and either let your
plans collapse, or put their execution on the shoulders of someone else.

I am not so presumptuous as to say that for me this may not happen. I
only say that I do not think it will. I do not think so because,
according to my judgment, He having helped me to go as far as I have
gone, will help me to finish my task before giving me another one.

My task, I think, He must estimate as I do. That is, my duties to others
being not wholly of my choosing, but having come to me according to what
I may call His weighing and measuring, I take them to be the duties He
would have me perform. If so, He would naturally have me perform them
till I come to the place where I can reasonably lay them down.

Therefore, I dismiss the fear of untimely separation from my appointed
work. Such a separation may come; but if it does, it will probably come
by some such means as I have briefly tried to sketch; my own mistakes;
the mistakes of others; the effect of race-pressure. In any case, my
personal resistance, it seems to me, is made the stouter by feeling that
my tasks are His tasks, and so that so long as I am needful to their
accomplishment, I remain. If I go, it will be because He has the
succession of events so planned as to reduce collapse, failure, or
suffering to a minimum.


B. The thought that the minute after death will only be another little
step in Growth, to be followed by another and then another, as we are
used to growing here, greatly diminishes one's shrinking at the change.

It is entirely a modern thought. The past, even of a few centuries ago,
never entertained it. It is doubtful if it was mentally prepared to
entertain it, or evolve the idea.

This is not to depreciate our fathers' mental powers. Different
generations have different gifts. One age works along one line, another
along another. The past had a certain revelation of truth; but the
revelation of truth did not end with the past. Our ancestors received as
much as they could take. What, it seems, they were unable to take was
anything which made death less horrible. We may say, in fact, that they
didn't want it. They liked having death made horrible. Many people like
it still. The mitigation of that horror they condemn, resent, and often
ascribe to the devil.

And yet there is a tendency to see light through this gloom, and to seek
views of death more in the line of common sense than those which have
come down to us. It is not a strong tendency, but it exists. It exists
in the face of opposition on the part of those religious conservatives
who think conservatism and orthodoxy the same thing; and it runs the
gauntlet of the sneers and jeers of the materially minded who make
common cause with the old guard of the churches; but it exists. It
exists, and goes forward, becoming a factor in the thought-life of
our time.

It is not yet two hundred years since the plea was put forth on behalf
of mankind that, in the administration of divine justice, no one suffers
less than he deserves, but also that no one suffers more.

The hostility to this seemingly harmless teaching was of the most
intense. There is hostility to it still, but mild as compared with that
felt by our great-great-grandfathers. That no one should suffer less
than he deserves went without saying; but that no one should suffer more
was declared a black heresy. As there are those who declare it a black
heresy to-day, it may be worth while, in the interests of the conquest
of fear, to say a word as to the relation of God and punishment.


To my mind it is chiefly verbal.

It is permissible to say that there is no such thing as punishment;
there are only wrong results. It depends upon your way of putting it.
The wrong method produces wrong results in proportion as it is wrong.
Wrong results mean wrong conditions; and wrong conditions mean
suffering. You may call this the law of God, but it is the law of
anything. It is not positive law, it is negative. As a matter of fact,
God does not need to put forth a law on the point since everything
works that way.

What we call sin is simply a wrong method. It may be a wrong method
meant to produce wrong; or it may be a wrong method in the hope of
producing right. In any case it brings its consequence in pain.

That consequence may be corrected in this phase of our being, or it may
be carried over into the next. Carried over into the next the
individual, according to our ancestral teaching, comes under the
sentence in which our fathers delighted as "damnation." Not only did
damnation involve the most fiendish torture the Almighty could invent,
but the torture was inflicted, without an instant of relief, throughout
the eons of eternity.

I recall a sermon to which I listened as a boy of nine. It was on a
summer's evening, when the windows of the church were open. A moth
fluttered about a light. The church stood at the foot of a mountain. The
preacher was trying to explain to us the eternal duration of God's
punishment. "Think of that moth," he said, "carrying away one grain of
sand from that mountain, and going off for a million years, after which
it would return and take away another grain. And think of it keeping
this up, one grain every million years, till the whole mountain was
removed. Well, that would be only a moment as compared with the time you
would be in hell."

On the generations comforted and fortified by this sort of teaching I
have no comment to make; but we of another generation should surely not
be reproved for moving away from it. We move away from it in the
direction of common sense, since common sense must be an attribute of
the Universal Father as it is of the wiser among mankind.


I revert, then, to my statement that God's relation to punishment is
chiefly verbal. His "wrath against sin" is a way of "putting it." If you
can best express the suffering which springs from wrong methods as
"God's wrath" you are at liberty so to express yourself; but we should
not lose sight of the fact that the wrong methods produce the suffering,
and not an outburst of fury on the part of One who is put before us
as Love.

The fact that the Hebrew writers often used a vivid form of warning and
invective is not a reason why we should keep on doing it. The Hebrew
writer was a primitive speaking to primitives. Meaning what we mean, he
required a stronger, fiercer vocabulary than we ever need. In saying
this I am not dodging the issue; I am stating a fact which rules in all
historical interpretation. To make the phraseology of two thousand years
before Christ the literal expression of the thought of two thousand
years after Him is to be archaic beyond reason. Having grasped a
principle, we phrase it in the language of our time.

The language of our time makes, on the whole, for restraint, sobriety,
and exactitude of statement. Few of our habits modify themselves more
constantly and more rapidly than our forms of speech. Not only does each
generation find something special to itself, but each year and each
season. To me it seems that much of our misunderstanding of God springs
from the effort to fix on Him forevermore the peculiarities we infer
from the idiom of five thousand years ago. Only to a degree does that
idiom convey to us what is conveyed to those who heard it as a living
tongue; and of that degree much is lost when it percolates through
translation. To cling to words when all we need is to know principles,
clothing them in our own way, seems to me not only absurd in fact but
lamentable in result. I venture to think that more people have been
alienated from God by a pious but misapplied verbal use than were ever
estranged from Him by sin.


Our ancient Hebrew predecessors understood God in their own way. We
understand Him in the same way, but with the clarification wrought by
the intervening years of progress. In other words, they bequeath us a
treasure which we are free to enrich with our own discoveries.

Among our own discoveries is a clearer comprehension of pain as
resulting from wrong methods, and of God's detachment from pain. More
and more, punishment becomes a concept we reject. Even in our penal
institutions, which have been for so many centuries a barbarous token of
our incompetence, we begin to substitute for punishment something more
nearly akin to cure. If we find mere vengeance unworthy of ourselves we
must find it unworthy of the Universal Father. If we concede to the
criminal the right to a further chance we concede it to ourselves. If we
recognise the fact that the sinner on earth may redeem himself, working
from error towards righteousness, the same principle should rule in the
whole range of existence. There is nothing about the earth-life to make
it the only phase of effort and probation. Effort and probation are
probably conditions of eternity. They will be in our next experience as
they have been in this, leading us on from strength to strength.


One main difference between the mind of the past and the modern mind is
that the mind of the past tended to be static, while the mind of to-day
is more and more attuned to a dynamic universe. Civilisation before the
nineteenth century was accustomed to long periods with relatively little
change. Most people spent their entire lives in the same town or the
same countryside. In the class in which they were born they lived and
died, with little thought of getting out of it. This being so they
looked for the same static conditions after death as they saw before it.
A changeless heaven appalled them with no sense of monotony, nor did a
changeless hell do anything to shake their nerves. Their nerves were not
easily shaken. They were a phlegmatic race, placid, unimaginative,

Because we of to-day are more restless it does not follow that our views
should be truer. We only know they are truer because we are so much
nearer the truth than they had the opportunity to come. We prove that we
are nearer the truth by our greater command of the Father's resources.
If our whole horizon of truth were not broadened, we could not possess
this command.


Changing our static conception of life to that of a dynamic will to
unfold, we see the climax we commonly call death as only a new step in
unfoldment. Whatever I have been, the step must be one in advance. It
would not be in accord with creative energy that I should go backward.
The advance may entail suffering, since it is probable that it will give
me a heightened perception of the wrong in my methods; but there are
conditions in which suffering signifies advance.

And yet if I suffer it can only be with what I may call a curative
suffering. It will be suffering that comes from the recognition of
mistake; not the hopeless anguish of the damned. Having learned "how not
to do it," I perceive "how to do it"--and go on.

But the perception of "how to do it" is precisely what most of us have
been acquiring. I venture to think that few of us will come face to face
with death without being more or less prepared for it. Life is so
organised that, at its worst, all but the rare exceptions make progress
daily, through obedience to the laws of righteousness.

In saying this we must count as righteousness not merely the carrying
out of a rule of thumb laid down by man's so-called morality, or the
technical regulations prescribed by the churches for the use of their
adherents; we must include every response to every high call. We must
remember that all a man does in the way of effort to be a good son, a
good brother, a good husband, a good father, a good workman, a good
citizen, is of the nature of slowly creeping forward. Above every other
form of training of the self this endeavour determines a man's spiritual
standing, and his state of worthiness. He may know some failure in each
of these details; and yet the fact that in the main he is set--as I am
convinced the great majority are set--toward fulfilling his
responsibilities helps him to be ready when the time comes to put the
material away.

The great common sense of the nations brought us to this perception
during the years when the young men of the world were going down like
wheat before the reaping machine. For the most part, doubtless, they
were young men in whom the ladies who attend our churches would have
seen much to reprimand. The moral customs of their countries were
possibly held by them lightly. The two points which constitute pretty
nearly all of American morality they may have disregarded. And yet we
felt that their answer to the summons, which to them at least was a
summons to sacrifice, showed them as men who had largely worked out
their redemption. Whatever our traditions, we were sure that those who
were ready to do anything so great could go to the Father without fear.

But war calls for no more than a summing up and distillation of the
qualities we cultivate in peace. These men were ready because homes,
offices, banks, shops, factories, and farms had trained them to be
ready. So they are training all of us. Traditions help; the churches
help; but when it comes to the directing of the life toward
righteousness--the effort to do everything rightly--no one thing has
the monopoly.


Going to the Father without fear! All the joy of life seems to me to
hang on that little phrase. I used it just now of the young men who
passed over from the battlefield; but I used it there with limitations.
Going to the Father without fear is a privilege for every minute of the
day. More and more knowledge of the Father is the progress for which we
crave, since more knowledge of the Father means a fuller view of all
that makes up the spiritual universe. Into that knowledge we are
advancing every hour we live; into that knowledge we shall still be
advancing at the hour when we die. The Father will still be showing us
something new; the something new will still be showing us the Father.

It will be something new, as we can receive it. He who can receive
little will be given little; he who can receive much will be given much.
In growth all is adjusted to capacity; it is not meant to shock, force,
or frighten. The next step in growth being always an easy step, I can
feel sure of moving onwards easily--"from strength to strength," in the
words of one of the Songs for the Sons of Korah, "until unto the God of
gods appeareth everyone of them in Zion."[33]

[33] The Book of Psalms.




After all, the conquest of fear is largely a question of vitality. Those
who have most life are most fearless. The main question is as to the
source from which an increase of life is to be obtained.

An important psychological truth was involved when our Lord made the
declaration, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly." This, I think, was the first plain statement
ever made that life was a quantitative energy; that it is less or more
dynamic according to the measure in which the individual seizes it. But
once more the Caucasian has stultified the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth
by evaporating it to the tenuous wisp which he understands as
spiritual. Between the pale ghost of such spiritual life as he has
evoked from the Saviour's words and manly and womanly vigour in
full-blooded exercise he has seen no connection.


Few of us do see a connection between strength of spirit and strength of
limb; but it is there. I am not saying that a strong spirit cannot
coexist with a feeble frame; but the feeble frame is a mistake. It is
the result of apprehension and misapprehension, and bred of race-fear.
The strong spirit would have put forth a strong frame if we had given it
a chance. Abundant life must be _life_, healthy, active, and radiant. It
should show the life-principle no longer driven from sea to land, and
from land to air, or battling with a million foes, but vigorous and

This vigour and triumph we ought to work into our point of view, so
kneading it into our subconsciousness. Strong in proportion as our
subconsciousness is strong, fearless in proportion as our
subconsciousness is fearless, the going from strength to strength
becomes a matter of course to us. Urging us on in sheer joy of power,
abundance of life becomes still more abundant through the indwelling of
the life-principle. That mystic resistless force, which has fashioned
already so many forms, is forever at work fashioning a higher type
of man.

Each one of us is that higher type of man potentially. Though we can
forge but little ahead of our time and generation, it is much to know
that the Holy Ghost of Life is our animating breath, pushing us on to
the overcoming of all obstacles. For me as an individual it is a support
to feel that the principle which was never yet defeated is my principle,
and that whatever the task of to-day or to-morrow I have the ability to
perform it well. The hesitation that may seize me, or the questioning
which for an instant may shake my faith, is but a reminder that the
life-principle is not only with me, but more abundantly with me in
proportion to my need. My need is its call. The spasm of fear which
crosses my heart summons it to my aid. It not only never deserts me, but
it never delays, and is never at a loss for some new ingenuity to meet
new requirements. "From strength to strength" is its law, carrying me on
with the impetus of its own mounting toward God.


And the impetus of its own mounting toward God is not confined to what
we view as the great things of life. Between great and small it makes no
distinction. It is as eager on behalf of the man behind a counter as on
that of him who is governing a country. The woman who has on her
shoulders the social duties of an embassy, or the financial cares of a
great business, has it no more at her command than she who is nursing
her baby or reckoning her pennies to make both ends meet. It rushes to
the help of all. Wherever there is duty or responsibility it is begging
at the doors of our hearts to be let in, to share the work and ease
the burden.

As I get up each morning, it is there. As I plan my day while I dress
myself, it is there. As I think with misgiving of some letter I tremble
at receiving, or with distaste at some job I must tackle before night,
it is there.

It is there, not only with its help, but with its absolute knowledge of
the right way for me to act. The care that worries me may be so big as
to involve millions of other people's money, or it may be as small as
the typing of a letter; but the right way of fulfilling either task is
pleading to be allowed to enter my intelligence. My task is its task. My
success will be its success. My failure will react on it, since failure
sets back by that degree the whole procession of the ages. Whether I am
painting a great masterpiece or sewing on a button my success is
essential to the Holy Ghost of Life.


So I, the individual, try to confront each day with the knowledge that I
am infused with a guiding, animating principle which will not let me
drop behind, or lose my modest reward, so long as I trust to the force
which carries me along. By trusting to it I mean resting on it quietly,
without worrying, without being afraid that it will fail me. "Fret not
thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil."[34] By doing evil, I
presume is meant making a mistake, taking the wrong course. If, however
great the cause, I fret myself I disturb the right conditions. By
disturbing the right conditions I choke off the flow of the
life-principle through my energies.

[34] The Book of Psalms.


At a moment when the little buffer state between Egypt and Assyria was
afraid of being overrun by the one or the other it was frantically
casting about to decide with which it would throw in its lot. "With
neither," a great prophet thundered in the ears of the people. "In
calmly resting your safety lieth; in quiet trust shall be your

[35] The Book of Isaiah.

My small experience in the conquest of fear can be condensed into these
four words: Calmly resting! quiet trust! That amid the turmoil of the
time and the feverishness of our days it is always easy I do not
pretend. Still less do I pretend that I accomplish it. I have said, a
few lines above, that _I tried_. Trying is as far as I have gone; but
even trying is productive of wonderful results.


Least of all do I claim to have covered the whole ground, or to have
discussed to its fulness any one of the points which I have raised.
Whole regions of thought which bear on my subject--such as psychology,
philosophy, and religion as I understand the word--I have carefully
endeavoured to avoid. My object has been to keep as closely as possible
to the line of personal experience, which has a value only because it is
personal. Telling no more than what one man has endeavoured to work out,
what I have written seeks no converts. Though, for the sake of brevity,
it may at times seem to take a hortatory tone, it is a record and no
more. In it the reader will doubtless find much to correct, and
possibly to reject; and this must be as it happens. What I hope he will
neither correct nor reject is the sincerity of the longing to find God's
relations to the phenomena of life, and the extent to which the
phenomena of life reflect God.


In the end we come back to that, the eternal struggle whereby that which
is unlike God becomes more and more like Him. In watching the process,
and taking part in it, there is, when all is said and done, a sense of
glorious striving and success. With each generation some veil which hid
the Creator from the creature is torn forever aside. God, who is always
here, is seen a little more clearly by each generation as being; here.
God, who ever since His sun first rose and His rain first fell has been
making Himself known to us, is by each generation a little better
understood. God, whom we have tried to lock up in churches or banish to
Sundays and special holy days, is breaking through all our
prohibitions, growing more and more a force in our homes and our
schools, in our shops and our factories, in our offices and our banks,
in our embassies, congresses, parliaments, and seats of government. Into
His light we advance slowly, unwillingly, driven by our pain; but
we advance.

The further we advance the more we perceive of power. The more we
perceive of power the more we are freed from fear. The more we are freed
from fear the more exultantly we feel our abundance of life. The more
exultantly we feel our abundance of life the more we reject death in any
of its forms. And the more we reject death in any of its forms the more
we reflect that Holy Ghost of Life which urges us on from conquest to
conquest, from strength to strength, to the fulfilling of ourselves.

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