Google
Web www.n2information.com

Select a Topic

Addiction
Adsense
Adwords
Affiliate
Article
Auction
Auto_insurance
Baby
Bankruptcy
Bathroom
Blog
Business
Children
Cooking
Credit
Dating
Decorating
Depression
Diabetes
Diet
Dog
Dog_training
Domain
Dvd_reviews
Ebay
Email_marketing
Fishing
Foot
Furniture
Garden
Golf
Guitar
Hair
Health
History
Home
Home_business
Home_mortgage
Home_refinance
Home_schooling
How_to
Insurance
Internet_marketing
Investing
Ipod
Job
Kitchen
Learning
Legal
Make_money
Marketing
Marriage
Massage
Maternity
Menopause
Mortgage
Party_planning
Photography
Real_estate
Refinance
Remodeling
Retirement
Rss
Sales
Save
Shopping
Speaking
Stocks
Success
Sudoku
Tips
Travel
Voip
Wealth
Website
Wedding
Work_at_home
Writing

Dore Lectures on Mental Science, by Thomas Troward
THE DORE LECTURES ON MENTAL SCIENCE
by Thomas Troward
ENTERING INTO THE SPIRIT OF IT
INDIVIDUALITY
THE NEW THOUGHT AND THE NEW ORDER
THE LIPS OF THE SPIRIT
ALPHA AND OMEGA
THE CREATIVE POWER OF THOUGHT
THE GREAT AFFIRMATIVE
CHRIST THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW
THE STORY OF EDEN
THE WORSHIP OF ISHI
THE SHEPHERD AND THE STONE
SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS
FOREWORD.
The addresses contained in this volume were delivered by me at
the Dore Gallery, Bond Street, London, on the Sundays of the first three months of the present year, and are now published at the kind request of many of my hearers, hence their title of "The Dore Lectures." A number of separate discourses on a variety of subjects necessarily labors under the disadvantage of want of
continuity, and also under that of a liability to the frequent
repetition of similar ideas and expressions, and the reader will,
I trust, pardon these defects as inherent in the circumstances of
the work. At the same time it will be found that, although not
specially so designed, there is a certain progressive development
of thought through the dozen lectures which compose this volume,
the reason for which is that they all aim at expressing the same
fundamental idea, namely that, though the laws of the universe
can never be broken, they can be made to work under special
conditions which will produce results that could not be produced
under the conditions spontaneously provided by nature. This is a
simple scientific principle and it shows us the place which is
occupied by the personal factor, that, namely, of an intelligence
which sees beyond the present limited manifestation of the Law
into its real essence, and which thus constitutes the
instru-mentality by which the infinite possibilities of the Law
can be evoked into forms of power, usefulness, and beauty.
The more perfect, therefore, the working of the personal factor,
the greater will be the results developed from the Universal Law;
and hence our lines of study should be two-fold--on the one hand
the theoretical study of the action of Universal Law, and on the
other the practical fitting of ourselves to make use of it; and
if the present volume should assist any reader in this two-fold
quest, it will have answered its purpose.
The different subjects have necessarily been treated very
briefly, and the addresses can only be considered as suggestions
for lines of thought which the reader will be able to work out
for himself, and he must therefore not expect that careful
elabora-tion of detail which I would gladly have bestowed had I
been writing on one of these subjects exclusively. This little
book must be taken only for what it is, the record of somewhat
fragmentary talks with a very indulgent audience, to whom I
gratefully dedicate the volume.



JUNE 5, 1909.
T.T.
THE DORE LECTURES
ENTERING INTO THE SPIRIT OF IT.
We all know the meaning of this phrase in our everyday life. The
Spirit is that which gives life and movement to anything, in fact
it is that which causes it to exist at all. The thought of the
author, the impression of the painter, the feeling of the
musician, is that without which their works could never have come
into being, and so it is only as we enter into the IDEA which
gives rise to the work, that we can derive all the enjoyment and
benefit from it which it is able to bestow. If we cannot enter
into the Spirit of it, the book, the picture, the music, are
meaningless to us: to appreciate them we must share the mental
attitude of their creator. This is a universal principle; if we
do not enter into the Spirit of a thing, it is dead so far as we are concerned; but if we do enter into it we reproduce in
ourselves the same quality of life which called that thing into
existence.
Now if this is a general principle, why can we not carry it to a
higher range of things? Why not to the highest point of all? May
we not enter into the originating Spirit of Life itself, and so
reproduce it in ourselves as a perennial spring of livingness?
This, surely, is a question worthy of our careful consideration.
The spirit of a thing is that which is the source of its inherent
movement, and therefore the question before us is, what is the
nature of the primal moving power, which is at the back of the
endless array of life which we see around us, our own life
included? Science gives us ample ground for saying that it is not
material, for science has now, at least theoretically, reduced
all material things to a primary ether, universally distributed,
whose innumerable particles are in absolute equilibrium; whence
it follows on mathematical grounds alone that the initial
movement which began to concentrate the world and all material
substances out of the particles of the dispersed ether, could not
have originated in the particles themselves. Thus by a necessary
deduction from the conclusions of physical science, we are
compelled to realize the presence of some immaterial power
capable of separating off certain specific areas for the display
of cosmic activity, and then building up a material universe with
all its inhabitants by an orderly sequence of evolution, in which
each stage lays the foundation for the development of the stage,
which is to follow--in a word we find ourselves brought face to
face with a power which exhibits on a stupendous scale, the
faculties of selection and adaptation of means to ends, and thus
distributes energy and life in accordance with a recognizable
scheme of cosmic progression. It is therefore not only Life, but
also Intelligence, and Life guided by Intelligence becomes
Volition. It is this primary originating power which we mean when
we speak of "The Spirit," and it is into this Spirit of the whole
universe that we must enter if we would reproduce it as a spring
of Original Life in ourselves.
Now in the case of the productions of artistic genius we know
that we must enter into the movement of the creative mind of the
artist, before we can realize the principle which gives rise to
his work. We must learn to partake of the feeling, to find
expression for which is the motive of his creative activity. May
we not apply the same principle to the Greater Creative Mind with
which we are seeking to deal? There is something in the work of
the artist which is akin to that of original creation. His work,
literary, musical, or graphic is original creation on a miniature
scale, and in this it differs from that of the engineer, which is
constructive, or that of the scientist which is analytical; for
the artist in a sense creates something out of nothing, and
therefore starts from the stand-point of simple feeling, and not
from that of a pre-existing necessity. This, by the hypothesis of
the case, is true also of the Parent Mind, for at the stage where
the initial movement of creation takes place, there are no
existing conditions to compel action in one direction more than
another. Consequently the direction taken by the creative impulse
is not dictated by outward circumstances, and the primary
movement must therefore be entirely due to the action of the
Original Mind upon itself; it is the reaching out of this Mind
for realization of all that it feels itself to be.
The creative process thus in the first instance is purely a
matter of feeling--exactly what we speak of as "motif" in a work
of art.
Now it is this original feeling that we need to enter into,
because it is the fons et origo of the whole chain of causation
which subsequently follows. What then can this original feeling
of the Spirit be? Since the Spirit is Life-in-itself, its feeling
can only be for the fuller expression of Life--any other sort of
feeling would be self-destructive and is therefore inconceivable.
Then the full expression of Life implies Happiness, and Happiness
implies Harmony, and Harmony implies Order, and Order implies
Proportion, and Proportion implies Beauty; so that in recognizing
the inherent tendency of the Spirit towards the production of
Life, we can recognize a similar inherent tendency to the
production of these other qualities also; and since the desire to
bestow the greater fulness of joyous life can only be described
as Love, we can sum up the whole of the feeling which is the
original moving impulse in the Spirit as Love and Beauty--the
Spirit finding expression through forms of beauty in centers of
life, in harmonious reciprocal relation to itself. This is a
generalized statement of the broad principle by which Spirit
expands from the innermost to the outermost, in accordance with a
Law of tendency inherent in itself.
It sees itself, as it were, reflected in various centers of life
and energy, each with its appropriate form; but in the first
instance these reflections can have no existence except within
the originating Mind. They have their first beginning as mental
images, so that in addition to the powers of Intelligence and
Selection, we must also realize that of Imagination as belonging
to the Divine Mind; and we must picture these powers as working
from the initial motive of Love and Beauty.
Now this is the Spirit that we need to enter into, and the method
of doing so is a perfectly logical one. It is the same method by
which all scientific advance is made. It consists in first
observing how a certain law works under the conditions
spontaneously provided by nature, next in carefully considering
what principle this spontaneous working indicates, and lastly
deducing from this how the same principle would act under
specially selected conditions, not spontaneously provided by
nature.
The progress of shipbuilding affords a good example of what I
mean. Formerly wood was employed instead of iron, because wood
floats in water and iron sinks; yet now the navies of the world
are built of iron; careful thought showed the law of floatation
to be that anything could float which, bulk for bulk, is lighter
than the mass of liquid displaced by it; and so we now make iron
float by the very same law by which it sinks, because by the
introduction of the PERSONAL factor, we provide conditions which
do not occur spontaneously--according to the esoteric maxim that
"Nature unaided fails." Now we want to apply the same process of
specializing a generic Law to the first of all Laws, that of the
generic life-giving tendency of Spirit itself. Without the
element of INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY the Spirit can only work
cosmically by a GENERIC Law; but this law admits of far higher
specialization, and this specialization can only be attained
through the introduction of the personal factor. But to introduce
this factor the individual must be fully aware of the PRINCIPLE
which underlies the spontaneous or cosmic action of the law.
Where, then, will he find this principle of Life? Certainly not
by contemplating Death. In order to get a principle to work in
the way we require it to, we must observe its action when it is
working spon" taneously in this particular direction. We must ask
why it goes in the right direction as far as it does--and having
learnt this we shall then be able to make it go further. The law
of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of
things, but by contemplating the floating of things which floated
naturally, and then intelligently asking why they did so.
The knowledge of a principle is to be gained by the study of its
affirmative action; when we understand THAT we are in a position
to correct the negative conditions which tend to prevent that
action.
Now Death is the absence of Life, and disease is the absence of
health, so to enter into the Spirit of Life we require to
contemplate it, where it is to be found, and not where it is not-
-we are met with the old question, "Why seek ye the living among
the dead?" This is why we start our studies by considering the
cosmic creation, for it is there that we find the Life Spirit
working through untold ages, not merely as deathless energy, but
with a perpetual advance into higher degrees of Life. If we could
only so enter into the Spirit as to make it personally IN
OURSELVES what it evidently is in ITSELF, the magnum opus would
be accomplished. This means realizing our life as drawn direct
from the Originating Spirit; and if we now understand that the
Thought or Imagination of the Spirit is the great reality of
Being, and that all material facts are only correspondences, then
it logically follows that what we have to do is to maintain our
individual place in the Thought of the Parent Mind.
We have seen that the action of the Originating Mind must needs
be GENERIC, that is according to types which include multitudes
of individuals. This type is the reflection of the Creative Mind
at the level of that particular GENIUS; and at the human level it
is Man, not as associated with particular circumstances, but as
existing in the absolute ideal.
In proportion then as we learn to dissociate our conception of
ourselves from particular circumstances, and to rest upon our
ABSOLUTE nature, as reflections of the Divine ideal, we, in our
turn, reflect back into the Divine Imagination its original
conception of itself as expressed in generic or typical Man, and
so by a natural law of cause and effect, the individual who
realizes this mental attitude enters permanently into the Spirit
of Life, and it becomes a perennial fountain of Life springing up
spontaneously within him.
He then finds himself to be as the Bible says, "the image and
likeness of God." He has reached the level at which he affords a
new starting point for the creative process, and the Spirit,
finding a personal center in him, begins its work de nova, having
thus solved the great problem of how to enable the Universal to
act directly upon the plane of the Particular.
It is in this sense, as affording the requisite center for a new
departure of the creative Spirit, that man is said to be a
"microcosm," or universe in miniature; and this is also what is
meant by the esoteric doctrine of the Octave, of which I may be
able to speak more fully on some other occasion.
If the principles here stated are carefully considered, they will
be found to throw light on much that would otherwise be obscure,
and they will also afford the key to the succeeding essays.
The reader is therefore asked to think them out carefully for
himself, and to note their connection with the subject of the
next article.
INDIVIDUALITY.
Individuality is the necessary complement of the Universal
Spirit, which was the subject of our consideration last Sunday.
The whole problem of life consists in finding the true relation
of the individual to the Universal Originating Spirit; and the
first step towards ascertaining this is to realize what the
Universal Spirit must be in itself. We have already done this to
some extent, and the conclusions we have arrived at are:--
That the essence of the Spirit is Life, Love, and Beauty.
That its Motive, or primary moving impulse, is to express the
Life, Love and Beauty which it feels itself to be.
That the Universal cannot act on the plane of the Particular
except by becoming the particular, that is by expression through
the individual.
If these three axioms are clearly grasped, we have got a solid
foundation from which to start our consideration of the subject
for to-day.
The first question that naturally presents itself is,
If these things be so, why does not every individual express the
life, love, and beauty of the Universal Spirit? The answer to
this question is to be found in the Law of Consciousness. We
cannot be conscious of anything except by realizing a certain
relation between it and ourselves. It must affect us in some way,
otherwise we are not conscious of its existence; and according to
the way in which it affects us we recognize ourselves as standing
related to it. It is this self recognition on our own part
carried out to the sum total of all our relations, whether
spiritual, intellectual, or physical, that constitutes our
realization of life. On this principle, then, for the REALIZATION
of its own Livingness, the production of centers of life, through
its relation to which this conscious realization can be attained,
becomes a necessity for the Originating Mind. Then it follows
that this realization can only be complete where the individual
has perfect liberty to withhold it; for otherwise no true
realization could have taken place. For instance, let us consider
the working of Love. Love must be spontaneous, or it has no
existence at all. We cannot imagine such a thing as mechanically
induced love. But anything which is formed so as to automatically
produce an effect without any volition of its own, is nothing but
a piece of mechanism. Hence if the Originating Mind is to realize
the reality of Love, it can Only be by relation to some being
which has the power to withhold love. The same applies to the
realization of all the other modes of livingness; so that it is
only in proportion, as the individual life is an independent
center of action, with the option of acting either positively or
negatively, that any real life has been produced at all. The
further the created thing is from being a merely mechanical
arrangement, the higher is the grade of creation. The solar
system is a perfect work of mechanical creation, but to
constitute centers which can reciprocate the highest nature of
the Divine Mind, requires not a mechanism, however perfect, but a
mental center which is, in itself, an independent source of
action. Hence by the requirements of the case man should be
capable of placing himself either in a positive or a negative
relation to the Parent Mind, from which he originates; otherwise
he would be nothing more than a clockwork figure.
In this necessity of the case, then, we find the reason why the
life, love, and beauty of the Spirit are not visibly reproduced
in every human being. They ARE reproduced in the world of nature,
so far as a mechanical and automatic action can represent them,
but their perfect reproduction can only take place on the basis
of a liberty akin to that of the Originating Spirit itself, which
therefore implies the liberty of negation as well as of
affirmation.
Why, then, does the individual make a negative choice? Because he
does not understand the law of his own individuality, and
believes it to be a law of limitation, instead of a Law of
Liberty. He does not expect to find the starting point of the
Creative Process reproduced within himself, and so he looks to
the mechanical side of things for the basis of his reasoning
about life. Consequently his reasoning lands him in the
conclusion that life is limited, because he has assumed
limitation in his premises, and so-logically cannot escape from
it in his conclusion. Then he thinks that this is the law and so
ridicules the idea of transcending it. He points to the sequence
of cause and effect, by which death, disease, and disaster, hold
their sway over the individual, and says that sequence is law.
And he is perfectly right so far as he goes--it is a law; but not
THE Law. When we have only reached this stage of comprehension,
we have yet to learn that a higher law can include a lower one so
completely as entirely to swallow it up.
The fallacy involved in this negative argument, is the assumption
that the law of limitation is essential in all grades of being.
It is the fallacy of the old shipbuilders as to the impossibility
of building iron ships. What is required is to get at the
PRINCIPLE which is at the back of the Law in its affirmative
working, and specialize it under higher conditions than are
spontaneously presented by nature, and this can only be done by
the introduction of the personal element, that is to say an
individual intelligence capable of comprehending the principle.
The question, then, is, what is the principle by which we came
into being? and this is only a personal application of the
general question, How did anything come into being? Now, as I
pointed out in the preceding article, the ultimate deduction from
physical science is that the originating movement takes place in
the Universal Mind, and is analogous to that of our own
imagination; and as we have just seen, the perfect ideal can only
be that of a being capable of reciprocating ALL the qualities of
the Originating Mind. Consequently man, in his inmost nature, is
the product of the Divine Mind imaging forth an image of itself
on the plane of the relative as the complementary to its own
sphere of the absolute.
If we will therefore go to the INMOST principle in ourselves,
which philosophy and Scripture alike declare to be made in the
image and likeness of God, instead of to the outer vehicles which
it externalizes as instruments through which to function on the
various planes of being, we shall find that we have reached a
principle in ourselves which stands in loco dei towards all our
vehicles and also towards our environment. It is above them all,
and creates them, however unaware we may be of the fact, and
relatively to them it occupies the place of first cause. The
recognition of this is the discovery of our own relation to the
whole world of the relative. On the other hand this must not lead
us into the mistake of supposing that there is nothing higher,
for, as we have already seen, this inmost principle or ego is
itself the effect of an antecedent cause, for it proceeds from
the imaging process in the Divine Mind.
We thus find ourselves holding an intermediate position between
true First Cause, on the one hand, and the world of secondary
causes on the other, and in order to understand the nature of
this position, we must fall back on the axiom that the Universal
can only work on the plane of the Particular through the
individual. Then we see that the function of the individual is to
DIFFERENTIATE the undistributed flow of the Universal into
suitable directions for starting different trains of secondary
causation.
Man's place in the cosmic order is that of a distributor of the
Divine power, subject, however, to the inherent Law of the power
which he distributes. We see one instance of this in ordinary
science, in the fact that we never create force; all we can do is
to distribute it. The very word Man means distributor or
measurer, as in common with all words derived from the Sanderit
root MN., it implies the idea of measurement, just as in the
words moon, month, mens, mind, and "man," the Indian weight of 80
1bs.; and it is for this reason that man is spoken of in
Scripture as a "steward," or dispenser of the Divine gifts. As
our minds become open to the full meaning of this position, the
immense possibilities and also the responsibility contained in it
will become apparent.
It means that the individual is the creative center of his own
world. Our past experience affords no evidence against this, but
on the contrary, is evidence for it. Our true nature is always
present, only we have hitherto taken the lower and mechanical
side of things for our starting point, and so have created
limitation instead of expansion. And even with the knowledge of
the Creative Law which we have now attained, we shall continue to
do this, if we seek our starting point in the things which are
below us and not in the only thing which is above us, namely the
Divine Mind, because it is only there that we can find
illimitable Creative Power. Life is BEING, it is the experience
of states of consciousness, and there is an unfailing
correspondence between these inner states and our outward
conditions. Now we see from the Original Creation that the state
of consciousness must be the cause, and the corresponding
conditions the effect, because at the starting of the creation no
conditions existed, and the working of the Creative Mind upon
itself can only have been a state of consciousness. This, then,
is clearly the Creative Order--from states to conditions. But we
invert this order, and seek to create from conditions to states.
We say, If I had such and such conditions they would produce the
state of feeling which I desire; and in so saying we run the risk
of making a mistake as to the correspondence, for it may turn out
that the particular conditions which we fixed on are not such as
would produce the desired state. Or, again, though they might
produce it in a certain degree, other conditions might produce it
in a still greater degree, while at the same time opening the way
to the attainment of still higher states and still better
conditions. Therefore our wisest plan is to follow the pattern of
the Parent Mind and make mental self recognition our starting
point, knowing that by the inherent Law of Spirit the correlated
conditions will come by a natural process of growth. Then the
great self recognition is that of our relation to the Supreme
Mind. That is the generating center and we are distributing
centers; just as electricity is generated at the central station
and delivered in different forms of power by reason of passing
through appropriate centers of distribution, so that in one place
it lights a room, in another conveys a message, and in a third
drives a tram car. In like manner the power of the Universal Mind
takes particular forms through the particular mind of the
individual. It does not interfere with the lines of his
individuality, but works along them, thus making him, not less,
but more himself. It is thus, not a compelling power, but an
expanding and illuminating one; so that the more the individual
recognizes the reciprocal action between it and himself, the more
full of life he must become.
Then also we need not be troubled about future conditions because
we know that the All originating Power is working through us and
for us, and that according to the Law proved by the whole
existing creation, it produces all the conditions required for
the expression of the Life, Love and Beauty which it is, so that
we can fully trust it to open the way as we go along. The Great
Teacher's words, "Take no thought for the morrow"--and note that
the correct translation is "Take no anxious thought"-- are the
practical application of the soundest philosophy. This does not,
of course, mean that we are not to exert ourselves. We must do
our share in the work, and not expect God to do FOR us what He
can only do THROUGH us. We are to use our common sense and
natural faculties in working upon the conditions now present. We
must make use of them, AS FAR AS THEY GO, but we must not try and
go further than the present things require; we must not try to
force things, but allow them to grow naturally, knowing that they
are doing so under the guidance of the All-Creating Wisdom.
Following this method we shall grow more and more into the habit
of looking to mental attitude as the Key to our progress in Life,
knowing that everything else must come out of that; and we shall
further discover that our mental attitude is eventually
determined by the way in which we regard the Divine Mind. Then
the final result will be that we shall see the Divine Mind to be
nothing else than Life, Love and Beauty--Beauty being identical
with Wisdom or the perfect adjustment of parts to whole--and we
shall see ourselves to be distributing centers of these primary
energies and so in our turn subordinate centers of creative
power. And as we advance in this knowledge we shall find that we
transcend one law of limitation after another by finding the
higher law, of which the lower is but a partial expression, until
we shall see clearly before us, as our ultimate goal, nothing
less than the Perfect Law of Liberty--not liberty without Law
which is anarchy, but Liberty according to Law. In this way we
shall find that the Apostle spoke the literal truth, when he
said, that we shall become like Him when we see Him AS HE IS,
because the whole process by which our individuality is produced
is one of reflection of the image existing in the Divine Mind.
When we thus learn the Law of our own being we shall be able to
specialize it in ways of which we have hitherto but little
conception, but as in the case of all natural laws the
specialization cannot take place until the fundamental principle
of the generic law has been fully realized. For these reasons the
student should endeavor to realize more and more perfectly, both
in theory and practice, the law of the relation between the
Universal and the Individual Minds. It is that of RECIPROCAL
action. If this fact of reciprocity is grasped, it will be found
to explain both why the individual falls short of expressing the
fulness of Life, which the Spirit is, and why he can attain to
the fulness of that expression; just as the same law explains why
iron sinks in water, and how it can be made to float. It is the
individualizing of the Universal Spirit, by recognizing its
reciprocity to ourselves, that is the secret of the perpetuation
and growth of our own individuality.
THE NEW THOUGHT AND THE NEW ORDER.
In the two preceding lectures I have endeavored to reach some
conception of what the All originating Spirit is in itself, and
of the relation of the individual to it. So far as we can form
any conception of these things at all we see that they are
universal principles applicable to all nature, and, at the human
level, applicable to all men: they are general laws the
recognition of which is an essential preliminary to any further
advance, because progress is made, not by setting aside the
inherent law of things, which is impossible, but by specializing
it through presenting conditions which will enable the same
principle to act in a less limited manner. Having therefore got a
general idea of these two ultimates, the universal and the
individual, and of their relation to one another, let us now
consider the process of specialization. In what does the
specialization of a natural law consist? It consists in making
that law or principle produce an effect which it could not
produce under the simply generic conditions spontaneously
provided by nature. This selection of suitable conditions is the
work of Intelligence, it is a process of consciously arranging
things in a new order, so as to produce a new result. The
principle is never new, for principles are eternal and universal;
but the knowledge that the same principle will produce new
results when working under new conditions is the key to the
unfoldment of infinite possibilities. What we have therefore to
consider is the working of Intelligence in providing specific
conditions for the operation of universal principles, so as to
bring about new results which will transcend our past
experiences. The process does not consist in the introduction of
new elements, but in making new combinations of elements which
are always present; just as our ancestors had no conception of
carriages that could go without horses, and yet by a suitable
combination of elements which were always in existence, such
vehicles are common objects in our streets today. How, then, is
the power of Intelligence to be brought to bear upon the generic
law of the relation between the Individual and the Universal so
as to specialize it into the production of greater results than
those which we have hitherto obtained?
All the practical attainments of science, which place the
civilized world of to-day in advance of the times of King Alfred
or Charlemagne, have been gained by a uniform method, and that a
very simple one. It is by always inquiring what is the
affirmative factor in any existing combination, and asking
ourselves why, in that particular combination, it does not act
beyond certain limits. What makes the thing a success, so far as
it goes, and what prevents it going further? Then, by carefully
considering the nature of the affirmative factor, we see what
sort of conditions to provide to enable it to express itself more
fully. This is the scientific method; it has proved itself true
in respect of material things, and there is no reason why it
should not be equally reliable in respect of spiritual things
also.
Taking this as our method, we ask, What is the affirmative factor
in the whole creation, and in ourselves as included in the
creation, and, as we found in the first lecture, this factor is
Spirit--that invisible power which concentrates the primordial
ether into forms, and endows those forms with various modes of
motion, from the simply mechanical motion of the planet up to the
volitional motion in man. And, since this is so, the primary
affirmative factor can only be the Feeling and the Thought of the
Universal Spirit.* Now, by the hypothesis of the case, the
Universal Spirit must be the Pure Essence of Life, and therefore
its feeling and thought can only be towards the continually
increasing expression of the livingness which it is; and
accordingly the specialization, of which we are in search, must
be along the line of affording it a center from which it may more
perfectly realize this feeling and express this thought: in other
words the way to specialize the generic principle of Spirit is by
providing new mental conditions in consonance with its own
original nature.
* See my "Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science."
The scientific method of inquiry therefore brings us to the
conclusion that the required conditions for translating the
racial or generic operation of the Spirit into a specialized
individual operation is a new way of THINKING mode of thought
concurring with, and not in opposition to, the essential forward
movement of the Creative Spirit itself. This implies an entire
reversal of our old conceptions. Hitherto we have taken forms and
conditions as the starting point of our thought and inferred that
they are the causes of mental states; now we have learnt that the
true order of the creative process is exactly the reverse, and
that thought and feeling are the causes, and forms and conditions
the effects. When we have learnt this lesson we have grasped the
foundation principle on which individual specialization of the
generic law of the creative process becomes a practical
possibility.
New Thought, then, is not the name of a particular sect, but is
the essential factor by which our own future development is to be
carried on; and its essence consists in seeing the relation of
things in a New Order. Hitherto we have inverted the true order
of cause and effect; now, by carefully considering the real
nature of the Principle of Causation in itself--causa causans as
distinguished from cause causata--we return to the true order and
adopt a new method of thinking in accordance with it.
In themselves this order and this method of thinking are not new.
They are older than the foundation of the world, for they are
those of the Creative Spirit itself; and all through the ages
this teaching has been handed down under various forms, the true
meaning of which has been perceived only by a few in each
generation. But as the light breaks in upon any individual it is
a new light to him, and so to each one in succession it becomes
the New Thought. And when anyone reaches it, he finds himself in
a New Order. He continues indeed to be included in the universal
order of the cosmos, but in a perfectly different way to what he
had previously supposed; for, from his new standpoint, he finds
that he is included, not so much as a part of the general effect,
but as a part of the general cause; and when he perceives this he
then sees that the method of his further advance must be by
letting the General Cause flow more and more freely into his own
specific center, and he therefore seeks to provide thought
conditions which will enable him to do so.
Then, still employing the scientific method of following up the
affirmative factor, he realizes that this universal causative
power, by whatever name he may call it, manifests as Supreme
Intelligence in the adaptation of means to ends. It does so in
the mechanism of the planet, in the production of supply for the
support of physical life, and in the maintenance of the race as a
whole. True, the investigator is met at every turn with
individual failure; but his answer to this is that there is no
cosmic failure, and that the apparent individual failure is
itself a part of the cosmic process, and will diminish in
proportion as the individual attains to the recognition of the
Moving Principle of that process, and provides the necessary
conditions to enable it to take a new starting point in his own
individuality. Now, one of these conditions is to recognize it as
Intelligence, and to remember that when working through our own
mentality it in no way changes its essential nature, just as
electricity loses none of its essential qualities in passing
through the special apparatus which enables it to manifest as
light.
When we see this, our line of thought will run something as
follows:--"My mind is a center of Divine operation. The Divine
operation is always for expansion and fuller expression, and this
means the production of something beyond what has gone before,
something entirely new, not included in past experience, though
proceeding out of it by an orderly sequence of growth. Therefore,
since the Divine cannot change its inherent nature, it must
operate in the same manner in me; consequently in my own special
world, of which I am the center, it will move forward to produce
new conditions, always in advance of any that have gone before."
This is a legitimate line of argument, from the premises
established in the recognition of the relation between the
individual and the Universal Mind; and it results in our looking
to the Divine Mind, not only as creative, but also as directive--
that is as determining the actual forms which the conditions for
its manifestation will take in our own particular world, as well
as supplying the energy for their production. We miss the point
of the relation between the individual and the universal, if we
do not see that the Originating Spirit is a FORMING power. It is
the forming power throughout nature, and if we would specialize
it we must learn to trust its formative quality when operating
from its new starting point in ourselves.
But the question naturally arises, If this is so, what part is
taken by the individual? Our part is to provide a concrete center
round which the Divine energies can play. In the generic order of
being we exercise upon it a force of attraction in accordance
with the innate pattern of our particular individuality; and as
we begin to realize the Law of this relation, we, in our turn,
are attracted towards the Divine along the lines of least
resistance, that is on those lines which are most natural to our
special bent of mind. In this way we throw out certain
aspirations with the result that we intensify our attraction of
the Divine forces in a certain specific manner, and they then
begin to act both through us and around us in accordance with our
aspirations. This is the rationale of the reciprocal action be
tween the Universal Mind and the individual mind, and this shows
us that our desires should not be directed so much to the
acquisition of particular THINGS as to the reproduction in
ourselves of particular phases of the Spirit's activity; and
this, being in its very nature creative, is bound to externalize
as corresponding things and circumstances. Then, when these
external facts appear in the circle of our objective life, we
must work upon them from the objective stand-point. This is where
many fall short of completed work. They realize the subjective or
creative process, but do not see that it must be followed by an
objective or constructive process, and consequently they are
unpractical dreamers and never reach the stage of completed work.
The creative process brings the materials and conditions for the
work to our hands; then we must make use of them with diligence
and commonsense God will provide the food, but He will not cook
the dinner.
This, then, is the part taken by the individual, and it is thus
that he becomes a distributing center of the Divine energy,
neither on the one hand trying to lead it like a blind force, nor
on the other being himself under a blind unreasoning impulsion
from it. He receives guidance because he seeks guidance; and he
both seeks and receives according to a Law which he is able to
recognize; so that he no more sacrifices his liberty or dwarfs
his powers, than does an engineer who submits to the generic laws
of electricity, in order to apply them to some specific purpose.
The more intimate his knowledge of this Law of Reciprocity
becomes, the more he finds that it leads on to Liberty, on the
same principle by which we find in physical science that nature
obeys us precisely in the same degree to which we first obey
nature. As the esoteric maxim has it "What is a truth on one
plane is a truth on all." But the key to this enfranchisement of
body, mind, and circumstances is in that new thought which
becomes creative of new conditions, because it realizes the true
order of the creative process. Therefore it is that, if we would
bring a new order of Life, Light, and Liberty into our lives we
must commence by bringing a new order into our thought, and find
in ourselves the starting point of a new creative series, not by
the force of personal will, but by union with the Divine Spirit,
which in the expression of its inherent Love and Beauty, makes
all things new.
THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT.
The three preceding lectures have touched upon certain
fundamental truths in a definite order first the nature of the
Originating Spirit itself, next the generic relation of the
individual to this All embracing Spirit, and lastly the way to
specialize this relation so as to obtain greater results from it
than spontaneously arise by its merely generic action, and we
have found that this can only be done through a new order of
thought. This sequence is logical because it implies a Power, an
Individual who understands the Power, and a Method of applying
the power deduced from understanding its nature. These are
general principles without realizing which it is impossible to
proceed further, but assuming that the reader has grasped their
significance, we may now go on to consider their application in
greater detail.
Now this application must be a personal one, for it is only
through the individual that the higher specialization of the
power can take place, but at the same time this must not lead us
to suppose that the individual, himself, brings the creative
force into being. To suppose this is inversion; and we cannot
impress upon ourselves too deeply that the relation of the
individual to the Divine Spirit is that of a distributor, and not
that of the original creator. If this is steadily borne in mind
the way will become clear, otherwise we shall be led into
confusion.
What, then, is the Power which we are to distribute? It is the
Originating Spirit itself. We are sure that it is this because
the new order of thought always begins at the beginning of any
series which it contemplates bringing into manifestation, and it
is based upon the fact that the origin of everything is Spirit.
It is in this that its creative power resides; hence the person
who is in the true new order of thought assumes as an axiomatic
fact that what he has to distribute, or differentiate into
manifestation is nothing else than the Originating Spirit. This
being the case, it is evident that the PURPOSE of the
distribution must be the more perfect expression of the
Originating Spirit as that which it is in itself, and what it is
in itself is emphatically Life. What is seeking for expression,
then, is the perfect Livingness of the Spirit; and this
expression is to be found, through ourselves, by means of our
renewed mode of thought. Let us see, then, how our new order of
thought, with regard to the Principle of Life, is likely to
operate In our old order of thought we have always associated
Life with the physical body--life has been for us the supreme
physical fact. Now, however, we know that Life is much more than
this; but, as the greater includes the less, it includes physical
life as one mode of its manifestation. The true order does not
require us to deny the reality of physical life or to call it an
illusion; on the contrary it sees in physical life the completion
of a great creative series, but it assigns it the proper place in
that series, which is what the old mode of thought did not.
When we realize the truth about the Creative Process, we see that
the originating life is not physical: its livingness consists in
thought and feeling. By this inner movement it throws out
vehicles through which to function, and these become living forms
because of the inner principle which is sustaining them; so that
the Life with which we are primarily concerned in the new order
is the life of thought and feeling in ourselves as the vehicle,
or distributing medium, of the Life of the Spirit.
Then, if we have grasped the idea of the Spirit as the great
FORMING Power, as stated in the last lecture, we shall seek in it
the fountain-head of Form as well as of Power: and as a logical
deduction from this we shall look to it to give form to our
thoughts and feelings. If the principle is once recognized the
sequence is obvious. The form taken by our outward conditions,
whether of body or circumstance, depends on the form taken by our
thoughts and feelings, and our thoughts and feelings will take
form from that source from which we allow them to receive
suggestion. Accordingly if we allow them to accept their
fundamental suggestions from the relative and limited, they will
assume a corresponding form and transmit them to our external
environment, thus repeating the old order of limitation in a
ceaselessly recurring round. Now our object is to get out of this
circle of limitation, and the only way to do so is to get our
thoughts and feelings molded into new forms continually
advancing to greater and greater perfection. To meet this
requirement, therefore, there must be a forming power greater
than that of our own unaided conceptions, and this is to be found
in our realization of the Spirit as the Supreme Beauty, or
Wisdom, molding our thoughts and feelings into shapes
harmoniously adjusted to the fullest expression, in and through
us, of the Livingness which Spirit is in itself.
Now this is nothing more than transferring to the innermost plane
of origination, a principle with which all readers who are "in
the thought" may be presumed to be quite familiar--the principle
of Receptiveness. We all know what is meant by a receptive mental
attitude when applied to healing or telepathy; and does it not
logically follow that the same principle may be applied to the
receiving of life itself from the Supreme Source? What is wanted,
therefore, is to place ourselves in a receptive mental attitude
towards the Universal Spirit with the intention of receiving its
forming influence into our mental substance. It is always the
presence of a definite intention that distinguishes the
intelligent receptive attitude of mind from a merely sponge like
absorbency, which sucks in any and every influence that may
happen to be floating round: for we must not shut our eyes to the
fact that there are various influences in the mental atmosphere
by which we are surrounded, and some of them of the most
undesirable kind. Clear and definite intention is therefore as
necessary in our receptive attitude as in our active and creative
one; and if our intention is to have our own thoughts and
feelings molded into such forms as to express those of the
Spirit, then we establish that relation to the Spirit which, by
the conditions of the case, must necessarily lead us to the
conception of new ideals vitalized by a power which will enable
us to bring them into concrete manifestation. It is in this way
that we become differentiating centers of the Divine Thought
giving it expression in form in the world of space and time, and
thus is solved the great problem of enabling the Universal to act
upon the plane of the particular without being hampered by those
limitations which the merely generic law of manifestation imposes
upon it. It is just here that subconscious mind performs the
function of a "bridge" between the finite and the infinite as
noted in my "Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science" (page 31), and
it is for this reason that a recognition of its susceptibility to
impression is so important.
By establishing, then, a personal relation to the life of the
Spirit, the sphere of the individual becomes enlarged. The reason
is that he allows a greater intelligence than his own to take the
initiative; and since he knows that this Intelligence is also the
very Principle of Life itself, he cannot have any fear that it
will act in any way to the diminution of his individual life, for
that would be to stultify its own operation--it would be
self-destructive action which is a contradiction in terms to the
conception of Creative Spirit. Knowing, then, that by its
inherent nature this Intelligence can only work to the expansion
of the individual life, we can rest upon it with the utmost
confidence and trust it to take an initiative which will lead to
far greater results than any we could forecast from the
stand-point of our own knowledge. So long as we insist on
dictating the particular form which the action of the Spirit is
to take, we limit it, and so close against ourselves avenues of
expansion which might otherwise have been open to us; and if we
ask ourselves why we do this we shall find that in the last
resort it is because we do not believe in the Spirit as a FORMING
power. We have, indeed, advanced to the conception of it as
executive power, which will work to a prescribed pattern, but we
have yet to grasp the conception of it as versed in the art of
design, and capable of elaborating schemes of construction, which
will not only be complete in themselves, but also in perfect
harmony with one another. When we advance to the conception of
the Spirit as containing in itself the ideal of Form as well as
of Power, we shall cease from the effort of trying to force
things into a particular shape, whether on the inner or the outer
plane, and shall be content to trust the inherent harmoniousness
or Beauty of the Spirit to produce combinations far in advance of
anything that we could have conceived ourselves. This does not
mean that we shall reduce ourselves to a condition of apathy, in
which all desire, expectation and enthusiasm have been quenched,
for these are the mainspring of our mental machinery; but on the
contrary their action will be quickened by the knowledge that
there is working at the back of them a Formative Principle so
infallible that it cannot miss its mark; so that however good and
beautiful the existing forms may be, we may always rest in the
happy expectation of something still better to come. And it will
come by a natural law of growth, because the Spirit is in itself
the Principle of Increase. They will grow out of present
conditions for the simple reason that if you are to reach some
further point it can only be by starting from where you are now.
Therefore it is written, "Despise not the day of small things."
There is only one proviso attached to this forward movement of
the Spirit in the world of our own surroundings, and that is that
we shall co-operate with it; and this co-operation consists in
making the best use of existing conditions in cheerful reliance
on the Spirit of Increase to express itself through us, and for
us, because we are in harmony with it. This mental attitude will
be found of immense value in setting us free from worry and
anxiety, and as a consequence our work will be done in a much
more efficient manner. We shall do the present work FOR ITS OWN
sake, knowing that herein is the principle of unfoldment; and
doing it simply for its own sake we shall bring to bear upon it a
power of concentration which cannot fail of good results--and
this quite naturally and without any toilsome effort. We shall
then find that the secret of co-operation is to have faith in
ourselves because we first have faith in God; and we shall
discover that this Divine self-confidence is something very
different from a boastful egotism which assumes a personal
superiority over others. It is simply the assurance of a man who
knows that he is working in accordance with a law of nature. He
does not claim as a personal achievement what the Law does FOR
him: but on the other hand he does not trouble himself about
outcries against his presumptuous audacity raised by persons who
are ignorant of the Law which he is employing. He is therefore
neither boastful nor timorous, but simply works on in cheerful
expectancy because he knows that his reliance is upon a Law which
cannot be broken.
In this way, then, we must realize the Life of the Spirit as
being also the Law of the Spirit. The two are identical, and
cannot deny themselves. Our recognition of them gives them a new
starting point through our own mentality, but they still continue
to be the same in their nature, and unless limited or inverted by
our mental affirmation of limited or inverted conditions, they
are bound to work out into fuller and continually fuller
expression of the Life, Love, and Beauty which the Spirit is in
itself. Our path, therefore, is plain; it is simply to
contemplate the Life, Love, and Beauty of the Originating Spirit
and affirm that we are already giving expression to it in our
thoughts and in our actions however insignificant they may at
present appear. This path may be very narrow and humble in its
beginning, but it ever grows wider and mounts higher, for it is
the continually expanding expression of the Life of the Spirit
which is infinite and knows no limits.
ALPHA AND OMEGA.
Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. What does this mean? It
means the entire series of causation from the first originating
movement to the final and completed result. We may take this on
any scale from the creation of a cosmos to the creation of a
lady's robe. Everything has its origin in an idea, a thought; and
it has its completion in the manifestation of that thought in
form. Many intermediate stages are necessary, but the Alpha and
Omega of the series are the thought and the thing. This shows us
that in essence the thing already existed in the thought. Omega
is already potential in Alpha, just as in the Pythagorean system
all numbers are said to proceed from unity and to be resolvable
back again into it. Now it is this general principle of the
already existence of the thing in the thought that we have to lay
hold of, and as we find it true in an architect's design of the
house that is to be, so we find it true in the great work of the
Architect of the Universe. When we see this we have realized a
general principle, which we find at work everywhere. That is the
meaning of a general principle: it can be applied to any sort of
subject; and the use of studying general principles is to give
them particular application to anything we may have to deal with.
Now what we have to deal with most of all is ourselves, and so we
come to the consideration of Alpha and Omega in the human being.
In the vision of St. John, the speaker of the words, "I am Alpha
and Omega, the First and the Last," is described as "Like unto a
son of man"--that is, however transcendent the appearance in the
vision, it is essentially human, and thus suggests to us the
presence of the universal principle at the human level. But the
figure in the apocalyptic vision is not that of man as we
ordinarily know him. It is that of Omega as it subsists enshrined
in Alpha: it is the ideal of humanity as it subsists in the
Divine Mind which was manifested in objective form to the eyes of
the seer, and therefore presented the Alpha and Omega of that
idea in all the majesty of Divine glory.
But if we grasp the truth that the thing is already existent in
the thought, do we not see that this transcendent Omega must be
already existent in the Divine ideal of every one of us? If on
the plane of the absolute time is not, then does it not follow
that this glorified humanity is a present fact in the Divine
Mind? And if this is so, then this fact is eternally true
regarding every human being. But if it is true that the thing
exists in the thought, it is equally true that the thought finds
form in the thing; and since things exist under the relative
conditions of time and space, they are necessarily subject to a
law of Growth, so that while the subsistence of the thing in the
thought is perfect ab initio, the expression of the thought in
the thing is a matter of gradual development. This is a point
which we must never lose sight of in our studies; and we must
never lose sight of the perfection of the thing in the thought
because we do not yet see the perfection of the thought in the
thing. Therefore we must remember that man, as we know him now,
has by no means reached the ultimate of his evolution. We are
only yet in the making, but we have now reached a point where we
can facilitate the evolutionary process by conscious co-operation
with the Creative Spirit. Our share in this work commences with
the recognition of the Divine ideal of man, and thus finding the
pattern by which we are to be guided. For since the person to be
created after this pattern is our self, it follows that, by
whatever processes the Divine ideal transforms itself into
concrete reality, the place where those processes are to work
must be within ourselves; in other words, the creative action of
the Spirit takes place through the laws of our own mentality. If
it is a true maxim that the thing must take form in the thought
before the thought can take form in the thing, then it is plain
that the Divine Ideal can only be externalized in our objective
life in proportion as it is first formed in our thought; and it
takes form in our thought only to the extent to which we
apprehend its existence in the Divine Mind. By the nature of the
relation between the individual mind and the Universal Mind it is
strictly a case of reflection; and in proportion as the mirror of
our own mind blurs or clearly reflects the image of the Divine
ideal, so will it give rise to a correspondingly feeble or
vigorous reproduction of it in our external life.
This being the rationale of the matter, why should we limit our
conception of the Divine ideal of ourselves? Why should we say,
"I am too mean a creature ever to reflect so glorious an image"--
or "God never intended such a limitless ideal to be reproduced in
human beings." In saying such things we expose our ignorance of
the whole Law of the Creative Process. We shut our eyes to the
fact that the Omega of completion already subsists in the Alpha
of conception, and that the Alpha of conception would be nothing
but a lying illusion if it was not capable of expression in the
Omega of completion. The creative process in us is that we become
the individual reflection of what we realize God to be relatively
to ourselves, and therefore if we realize the Divine Spirit as
the INFINITE potential of all that can constitute a perfected
human being, this conception must, by the Law of the Creative
Process, gradually build up a corresponding image in our mind,
which in turn will act upon our external conditions.
This, by the laws of mind, is the nature of the process and it
shows us what St. Paul means when he speaks of Christ being
formed in us (Gal. iv. 19) and what in another place he calls
being renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us
(Col. iii. 10). It is a thoroughly logical sequence of cause and
effect, and what we require is to see more clearly the Law of
this sequence and use it intelligently--that is why St. Paul says
it is being "renewed in knowledge": it is a New Knowledge, the
recognition of principles which we had not previously
apprehended. Now the fact which, in our past experience, we have
not grasped is that the human mind forms a new point of departure
for the work of the Creative Spirit; and in proportion as we see
this more and more clearly, the more we shall find ourselves
entering into a new order of life in which we become less and
less subject to the old limitations. This is not a reward
arbitrarily bestowed upon us for holding dogmatically to certain
mere verbal statements, but it is the natural result of
understanding the supreme law of our own being. On its own plane
it is as purely scientific as the law of chemical reaction; only
here we are not dealing with the interaction of secondary causes
but with the Self originating action of Spirit. Hence a new force
has to be taken into account which does not occur in physical
science, the power of Feeling. Thought creates form, but it is
feeling that gives vitality to thought. Thought without feeling
may be constructive as in some great engineering work, but it can
never be creative as in the work of the artist or musician; and
that which originates within itself a new order of causation is,
so far as all pre-existing forms are concerned, a creation ex
nihilo, and is therefore Thought expressive of Feeling. It is
this indissoluble union of Thought and Feeling that distinguishes
creative thought from merely analytical thought and places it in
a different category; and therefore if we are to afford a new
starting point for carrying on the work of creation it must be by
assimilating the feeling of the Originating Spirit as part and
parcel of its thought--it is that entering into the Mind of the
Spirit of which I spoke in the first address.
Now the images in the Mind of the Spirit must necessarily be
GENERIC. The reason for this is that by its very nature the
Principle of Life must be prolific, that is, tending to
Multiplicity, and therefore the original Thought image must be
fundamental to whole races, and not exclusive to particular
individuals. Consequently the images in the Mind of the Spirit
must be absolute types of the true essentials of the perfect
development of the race, just what Plato meant by archetypal
ideas. This is the perfect subsistence of the thing in the
thought. Therefore it is that our evolution as centers of
CREATIVE activity, the exponents of new laws, and through them of
new conditions, depends on our realizing in the Divine Mind the
archetype of mental perfection, at once as thought and feeling.
But when we find all this in the Divine Mind, do we not meet with
an infinite and glorious Personality? There is nothing lacking of
all that we can understand by Personality, excepting outward
form; and since the very essence of telepathy is that it
dispenses with the physical presence, we find ourselves in a
position of interior communion with a Personality at once Divine
and Human. This is that Personality of the Spirit which St. John
saw in the apocalyptic vision, and which by the very conditions
of the case is the Alpha and Omega of Humanity.
But, as I have said, it is simply GENERIC in itself, and it
becomes active and specific only by a purely personal relation to
the individual. But once more we must realize that nothing can
take place except according to Law, and therefore this specific
relation is nothing arbitrary, but arises out of the generic Law
applied under specific conditions. And since what makes a law
generic is precisely the fact that it does not supply the
specific conditions, it follows that the conditions for the
specializing of the Law must be provided by the individual. Then
it is that his recognition of the originating creative movement,
as arising from combined Thought and Feeling, becomes a practical
working asset. He realizes that there is a Heart and Mind of the
Spirit reciprocal to his own heart and mind, that he is not
dealing with a filmy abstraction, nor yet with a mere
mathematical sequence, but with something that is pulsating with
a Life as warm and vivid and full of interest as his own--nay,
more so, for it is the Infinite of all that he himself is. And
his recognition goes even further than this, for since this
specialization can only take place through the individual
himself, it logically follows that the Life, which he thus
specializes, become HIS OWN life. Quoad the individual it does
not know itself apart from him. But this self recognition through
the individual cannot in any way change the inherent nature of
the Creative Spirit, and therefore to the extent to which the
individual perceives its identification with himself, he places
himself under its guidance, and so he becomes one of those who
are "led by the Spirit." Thus he begins to find the Alpha and
Omega of the Divine ideal reproduced in himself--in a very small
degree at present, but containing the principle of perpetual
growth into an infinite expansion of which we can as yet form no
conception.
St. John sums up the whole of this position in his memorable
words:--"Beloved now are we the Sons of God, and it doth not yet
appear what we SHALL be; but we know that when He shall appear
(i.e., become clear to us) we shall be like Him; for (i.e., the
reason of all this) we shall see Him as He is" (I. John iii. 2).
THE CREATIVE POWER OF THOUGHT.
One of the great axioms in the new order of ideas, of which I
have spoken, is that our Thought possesses creative power, and
since the whole superstructure depends on this foundation, it is
well to examine it carefully. Now the starting point is to see
that Thought, or purely mental action, is the only possible
source from which the existing creation could ever have come into
manifestation at all, and it is on this account that in the
preceding addresses I have laid stress on the origin of the
cosmos. It is therefore not necessary to go over this ground
again, and we will start this morning's inquiry on the assumption
that every manifestation is in essence the expression of a Divine
Thought. This being so, our own mind is the expression of a
Divine Thought. The Divine Thought has produced something which
itself is capable of thinking; but the question is whether its
thinking has the same creative quality as that of the Parent
Mind.
Now by the very hypothesis of the case the whole Creative Process
consists in the continual pressing so forward of the Universal
Spirit for expression through the individual and particular, and
Spirit in its different modes is therefore the Life and Substance
of the universe. Hence it follows that if there is to be an
expression of thinking power it can only be by expressing the
same thinking power which subsists latent in the Originating
Spirit. If it were less than this it would only be some sort of
mechanism and would not be thinking power, so that to be thinking
power at all it must be identical in kind with that of the
Originating Spirit. It is for this reason that man is said to be
created in the image and likeness of God; and if we realize that
it is impossible for him to be otherwise, we shall find a firm
foundation from which to draw many important deductions.
But if our thought possesses this creative power, why are we
hampered by adverse conditions? The answer is, because hitherto
we have used our power invertedly. We have taken the starting
point of our thought from external facts and consequently created
a repetition of facts of a similar nature, and so long as we do
this we must needs go on perpetuating the old circle of
limitation. And, owing to the sensitiveness of the subconscious
mind to suggestion--(See Edinburgh Lectures, chapter V.)--we are
subject to a very powerful negative influence from those who are
unacquainted with affirmative principles, and thus race beliefs
and the thought currents of our more immediate environment tend
to consolidate our own inverted thinking. It is therefore not
surprising that the creative power of our thought, thus used in a
wrong direction, has produced the limitations of which we
complain. The remedy, then, is by reversing our method of
thinking, and instead of taking external facts as our starting
point, taking the inherent nature of mental power as our starting
point. We have already gained two great steps in this direction,
first by seeing that the whole manifested cosmos could have had
its origin nowhere but in mental power, and secondly by realizing
that our own mental power must be the same in kind with that of
the Originating Mind.
Now we can go a step further and see how this power in ourselves
can be perpetuated and intensified. By the nature of the creative
process your mind is itself a thought of the Parent Mind; so, as
long as this thought of the Universal Mind subsists, you will
subsist, for you are it. But so long as you think this thought it
continues to subsist, and necessarily remains present in the
Divine Mind, thus fulfilling the logical conditions required for
the perpetuation of the individual life. A poor analogy of the
process may be found in a self influencing dynamo where the
magnetism generates the current and the current intensifies the
magnetism with the result of producing a still stronger current
until the limit of saturation is reached; only in the substantive
infinitude of the Universal Mind and the potential infinitude of
the Individual Mind there is no limit of saturation. Or we may
compare the interaction of the two minds to two mirrors, a great
and a small one, opposite each other, with the word "Life"
engraved on the large one. Then, by the law of reflection, the
word "Life" will also appear on the image of the smaller mirror
reflected in the greater. Of course these are only very imperfect
analogies; but if you car once grasp the idea of your own
individuality as a thought in the Divine Mind which is able to
perpetuate itself by thinking of itself as the thought which it
is, you have got at the root of the whole matter, and by the same
process you will not only perpetuate your life but will also
expand it.
When we realize this on the one hand, and on the other that all
external conditions, including the body, are produced by thought,
we find ourselves standing between two infinites, the infinite of
Mind and the infinite of Substance--from both of which we can
draw what we will, and mold specific conditions out of the
Universal Substance by the Creative Power which we draw in from
the Universal Mind. But we must recollect that this is not by the
force of personal will upon the substance, which is an error that
will land us in all sorts of inversion, but by realizing our mind
as a channel through which the Universal Mind operates upon
substances in a particular way, according to the mode of thought
which we are seeking to embody. If, then, our thought is
habitually concentrated upon principles rather than on particular
things, realizing that principles are nothing else than the
Divine Mind in operation, we shall find that they will
necessarily germinate to produce their own expression in
corresponding facts, thus verifying the words of the Great
Teacher, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness
and all these things shall be added unto you."
But we must never lose sight of the reason for the creative power
of our thought, that it is because our mind is itself a thought
of the Divine Mind, and that consequently our increase in
livingness and creative power must be in exact proportion to our
perception of our relation to the Parent Mind. In such
considerations as these is to be found the philosophical basis of
the Bible doctrine of "Sonship," with its culmination in the
conception of the Christ. These are not mere fancies but the
expression of strictly scientific principles, in their
application to the deepest problems of the individual life; and
their basis is that each one's world, whether in or out of the
flesh, must necessarily be created by his own consciousness, and,
in its turn, his mode of consciousness will necessarily take its
color front his conception of his relation to the Divine Mind--
to the exclusion of light and color, if he realizes no Divine
Mind, and to their building up into forms of beauty in proportion
as he realizes his identity of being with that All Originating
Spirit which is Light, Love, and Beauty in itself. Thus the great
creative work of Thought in each of us is to make us consciously
"sons and daughters of the Almighty," realizing that by our
divine origin we can never be really separated from the Parent
Mind which is continually seeking expression through us, and that
any apparent separation is due to our own misconception of the
true nature of the inherent relation between the Universal and
the Individual. This is the lesson which the Great Teacher has so
luminously out before us in the parable of the Prodigal Son.
THE GREAT AFFIRMATIVE.
The Great Affirmative appears in two modes, the cosmic and the
individual. In its essence it is the same in both, but in each it
works from a different standpoint. It is always the principle of
Being that which is, as distinguished from that which is not;
but to grasp the true significance of this saying we must
understand what is meant by "that which is not." It is something
more than mere non-existence, for obviously we should not trouble
ourselves about what is non-existent. It is that which bath is
and is not at the same time, and the thing that answers to this
description is "Conditions." The little affirmative is that which
affirms particular conditions as all that it can grasp, while the
great affirmative grasps a wider conception, the conception of
that which gives rise to conditions. Cosmically it is that power
of Spirit which sends forth the whole creation as its expression
of itself, and it is for this reason that I have drawn attention
in the preceding lectures to the idea of the creation ex nihilo
of the whole visible universe. As Eastern and Western Scriptures
alike tell us it is the breathing-forth of Original Spirit; and
if you have followed what I have said regarding the reproduction
of this Spirit in the individual that by the very nature of the
creative process the human mind must be of the same quality with
the Divine Mind--then we find that a second mode of the
Originating Spirit becomes possible, namely that of operation
through the individual mind. But whether acting cosmically or
personally it is always the same Spirit and therefore cannot lose
its inherent character which is-that of the Power which creates
ex nihilo. It is the direct contradiction of the maxim "ex nihilo
nihil fit"--nothing can be made out of nothing; and it is the
recognition of the presence in ourselves of this power, which can
make something out of nothing, that is the key to our further
progress. As the logical outcome of the cosmic creative process,
the evolutionary work reaches a point where the Originating Power
creates an image of itself; and thus affords a fresh point of
departure from which it can work specifically, just as in the
cosmic process it works generically. From this new standpoint it
does not in any way contradict the laws of the cosmic order, but
proceeds to specialize them, and thus to bring out results
through the individual which could not be otherwise attained.
Now the Spirit does this by the same method as in the Original
Creation, namely by creating em nihilo; for otherwise it would be
bound by the limitations necessarily inherent in the cosmic form
of things, and so no fresh creative starting point would have
been attained. This is why the Bible lays such stress on the
principle of Mono genesis, or creation from a single power instead
of from a pair or syzegy; and it is on this account that we are
told that this One-ness of God is the foundation of all the
commandments, and that the "Son of God" is declared to be
"mono genes" or one begotten, for that is the correct translation
of the Greek word. The immense importance of this principle of
creation from a single power will become apparent as we realize
more fully the results proceeding from the assumption of the
opposite principle, or the dualism of the creative power; but as
the discussion of this great subject would require a volume to
itself, I must, at present, content myself with saying that this
insistence of the Bible upon the singleness of the Creative Power
is based upon a knowledge which goes to the very root of esoteric
principles, and is therefore not to be set aside in favor of
dualistic systems, though superficially the latter may appear
more consonant to reason.
If, then, it is possible to put the Great Affirmation into words
it is that God is ONE and that this ONE finds center in
ourselves; and if the full meaning of this statement is realized,
the logical result will be found to be a new creation both in and
from ourselves. We shall realize in ourselves the working of a
new principle whose distinguishing feature is its simplicity. It
is ONE-ness and is not troubled about any second. Hence what it
contemplates is not how its action will be modified by that of
some second principle, something which will compel it to work in
a particular manner and so limit it; but what it contemplates is
its own Unity. Then it perceives that its Unity consists in a
greater and a lesser movement, just as the rotation of the earth
on its axis does not interfere with its rotation round the sun
but are both motions of the same unit, and are definitely related
to each other. In like manner we find that the Spirit is moving
simultaneously in the macrocosm of the universe and in the
microcosm of the individual, and the two movements harmonize
because they are that of the same Spirit, and the latter is
included in the former and pre-supposes it. The Great
Affirmation, therefore, is the perception that the "I AM" is ONE,
always harmonious with itself, and including all things in this
harmony for the simple reason that there is no second creative
power; and when the individual realizes that this always single
power is the root of his own being, and therefore has center in
himself and finds expression through him, he learns to trust its
singleness and the consequent harmony of its action in him with
what it is doing AROUND him. Then he sees that the affirmation "I
and my Father are ONE" is a necessary deduction from a correct
apprehension of the fundamental principles of being; and then, on
the principle that the less must be included in the greater, he
desires that harmonious unity of action be maintained by the
adaptation of his own particular movement to the larger movement
of the Spirit working as the Creative Principle through the great
whole. In this way we become centers through which the creative
forces find specialization by the development of that personal
factor on which the specific application of general laws must
always depend. A specific sort of individuality is formed,
capable of being the link between the great Spiritual Power of
the universal and the manifestation of the relative in time and
space because it consciously partakes of both; and because the
individual of this class recognizes the singleness of the Spirit
as the starting point of all things, he endeavors to withdraw
his mind from all arguments derived from external conditions,
whether past or present, and to fix it upon the forward movement
of the Spirit which he knows to be always identical both in the
universe and in himself. He ceases the attempt to dictate to the
Spirit, because he does not see in it a mere blind force, but
reveres it as the Supreme Intelligence: and on the other hand he
does not grovel before it in doubt and fear, because he knows it
is one with himself and is realizing itself through him, and
therefore cannot have any purpose antagonistic to his own
individual welfare. Realizing this he deliberately places his
thoughts under the guidance of the Divine Spirit, knowing that
his outward acts and conditions must thereby be brought into
harmony with the great forward movement of the Spirit, not only
at the stage he has now reached, but at all future stages. He
does not at all deny the power of his own thought as the creative
agent in his own personal world,--on the contrary it is precisely
on the knowledge of this fact that his perception of the true
adjustment between the principles of Life is based; but for this
very reason he is the more solicitous to be led by that Wisdom
which can see what he cannot see, so that his personal control
over the conditions of his own life may be employed to its
continual increase and development.
In this way our affirmation of the "I am" ceases to be the
petulant assertion of our limited personality and becomes the
affirmation that the Great I AM affirms its own I AM-ness both in
us and through us, and thus our use of the words becomes in very
truth the Great Affirmative, or that which is the root of all
being as distinguished from that which has no being in itself but
is merely externalized by being as the vehicle for its
expression. We shall realize our true place as subordinate
creative centers, perfectly independent of existing conditions
because the creative process is that of mono genesis and requires
no other factor than the Spirit for its exercise, but at the same
time subordinate to the Divine Spirit in the greatness of its
inherent forward movement because there is only ONE Spirit and it
cannot from one center antagonize what it is doing from another.
Thus the Great Affirmation makes us children of the Great King,
at once living in obedience to that Power which is above us, and
exercising this same power over all that world of secondary
causation which is below us.
Thus in our measure and station each one of us will receive the
mission of the I AM.
CHRIST THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I
am not come to destroy but to fulfill." (Matt. v. 17.)
"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that
believeth." (Rom. x. 4.)
If these words are the utterance of a mere sectarian superstition
they are worthless; but if they are the statement of a great
principle, then it is worth our while to inquire what that
principle is. The fulfilling of anything is the bringing into
complete realization of all that it potentially contains, and so
the filling of any law to its fulness means bringing out all the
possibilities which are hidden in it. This is precisely the
method which has brought forth all the advances of material
civilization. The laws of nature are the same now that they were
in the days of our rugged Anglo-Saxon ancestors, but they brought
out only an infinitesimal fraction of the possibilities which
those laws contain: now we have brought out a good deal more, but
we have by no means exhausted them, and so we continue to
advance, not by contradicting natural laws, but by more fully
realizing their capacity. Why should we not, then, apply the same
method to ourselves and see whether there are no potentialities
hidden away in the law of our own being which we have not as yet
by any means brought to their fulfillment? We talk of a good time
coming and of the ameliorating of the race; but do we reflect
that the race is composed of individuals and that therefore real
advance is to be made only by individual improvement, and not by
Act of Parliament? and if so, then the individual with whom to
begin is our self.
The complete manifestation of the Law of Individuality is the end
or purpose of the Bible teaching concerning Christ. It is a
teaching based upon Law, spiritual and mental, fully recognizing
that no effect can be produced except by the operation of an
adequate cause, and Christ is set before us both as explaining
the causes and exhibiting the full measure of the effects. All
this is according to Law; and the importance of its being
according to Law is that Law is universal, and the potentialities
of the Law are therefore inherent in everyone there is no special
law for anybody, but anybody can specialize the law by using it
with a fuller understanding of how much can be got out of it; and
the purpose of the Scripture teaching regarding Christ is to help
us to do this.
The preceding lectures have led us step by step to see that the
Originating Spirit, which first brought the world into existence,
is also the root of our own individuality, and is therefore
always ready, by its inherent nature, to continue the creative
process from this individual stand-point as soon as the necessary
conditions are provided, and these conditions are
thought conditions. Then by realizing the relation of Christ to
the Originating Mind, the Parent Spirit or "Father," we receive a
STANDARD of thought which is bound to act creatively bringing out
all the potentialities of our hidden being. Now the relation of
Christ to the "Father" is that of the Archetypal Idea in the
All creating Mind of which I have previously spoken, and so we
arrive at the conception of the Christ idea as a universal
principle, and as being an idea therefore capable of reproduction
in the individual Mind, thus explaining St. Paul's meaning when
he speaks of Christ being formed in us. It is here that the
principle of mono genesis comes in, that principle which I have
endeavored to describe in the earlier part of the present series
as originating the whole manifested creation by an internal
action of the Spirit upon itself; and it is the entire absence of
control by any second power that renders the realization in
external actuality of a purely mental ideal possible. For this
reason systematic spiritual study commences with the
contemplation of the existing cosmos, and we then transfer the
conception of the mono genetic power of the Spirit from the cosmos
to the individual and realize that the same Spirit is able to do
the same thing in ourselves. This is the New Thought which in
time will fulfill itself in the New Order, and we thus provide new
thought conditions which enable the Spirit to carry on its
creative work from a new stand-point, that of our own
individuality. This attainment by the Spirit of a new
starting point is what is meant by the esoteric doctrine of the
Octave. The Octave is the starting point of a new series
reduplicating the starting point of the previous series at a
different level, just as does the octave note in music. We find
this principle constantly referred to in Scripture the
completion of a prior series in the number Seven, and the
starting of a new series by the number Eight, which takes the
same place in the second series that the number One did in the
first. The second series comes out of the first by natural growth
and could not come into existence without it, hence the First or
Originating number of the second series is the Eighth if we
regard the second series as the prolongation of the first. Seven
is the numerical correspondence of complete manifestation because
it is the combination of three and four, which respectively
represent the complete working of the spiritual and material
factors--involution and evolution--and thus together constitute
the finished whole. Students of the Tarot will here realize the
process by which the Yod of Yod becomes the Yod of He. It is for
this reason that the primary or cosmic creation terminates in the
rest of the Seventh Day, for it can proceed no further until a
fresh starting point is found; But when this fresh starting point
is found in Man realizing his relation to the "Father," we start
a new series and strike the Creative Octave and therefore the
Resurrection takes place, not on the Sabbath or Seventh Day, but
on the Eighth day which then becomes the First day of the new
creak five week. The principle of the Resurrection is the
realization by man of his individualization of the Spirit and his
recognition of the fact that, since the Spirit is always the same
Spirit, it becomes the Alpha of a new creation from his own
center of being.
Now all this is necessarily an interior process taking place on
the mental plane; but if we realize that the creative process is
always primarily one of involution, or formation in the spiritual
world, we shall grasp something of the meaning of Christ as "The
Son of God"--the concentration of the Universal Spirit into a
Personality on the spiritual plane correlatively to the
individuality of each one who affords the necessary
thought conditions. To all who apprehend it there is then
discovered in the Universal Spirit the presence of a Divine
Individuality reciprocal to that of the individual man, the
recognition of which is the practical solution of all
metaphysical problems regarding the emanation of the individual
soul from the Universal Spirit and the relations arising
therefrom; for it takes these matters out of the region of
intellectual speculation, which is never creative but only
analytical, and transfers it to the region of feeling and
spiritual sensation which is the abode of the creative forces.
This personal recognition of the Divine then affords us a new
basis of Affirmation, and we need no longer trouble to go further
back in order to analyze it, because we know experimentally that
it is there; so now we find the starting point of the new
creation ready-made for us according to the archetypal pattern in
the Divine Mind itself and therefore perfectly correctly formed.
When once this truth is clearly apprehended, whether we reach it
by an intellectual process or by simple intuition, we can make it
our starting point and claim to have our thought permeated by the
creative power of the Spirit on this basis.
But vast as is the conception thus reached we must remember that
it is still a starting point. It, indeed, transcends our previous
range of ideas and so presents a culmination of the cosmic
creative series which passes beyond that series and thus brings
us to number Eight or the Octave; but on this very account it is
the number One of a new creative series which is personal to the
individual.
Then, because the Spirit is always the same, we may look for a
repetition of the creative process at a higher level, and, as we
all know, that process consists first of the involution of Spirit
into Substance, and consequently of the subsequent evolution of
Substance into forms continually increasing in fitness as
vehicles for Spirit: so now we may look for a repetition of this
universal process from its new starting point in the individual
mind and expect a corresponding externalization in accordance
with our familiar axiom that thoughts are things.
Now it is as such an external manifestation of the Divine ideal
that the Christ of the Gospels is set before us. I do not wish to
dogmatize, but I will only say that the more clearly we realize
the nature of the creative process on the spiritual side the more
the current objections to the Gospel narrative lose their force;
and it appears to me that to deny that narrative as a point-blank
impossibility is to make a similar affirmation with regard to the
power of the Spirit in ourselves. You cannot affirm a principle
and deny it in the same breath; and if we affirm the
externalizing power of the Spirit in our own case, I do not see
how we can logically lay down a limit for its action and say that
under highly specialized conditions it could not produce highly
specialized effects. It is for this reason that St. John puts the
question of Christ manifest in the flesh as the criterion of the
whole matter (I. John iv., 2). If the Spirit can create at all
then you cannot logically limit the extent or method of its
working; and since the basis of our expectation of individual
expansion is the limitless creative power of the Spirit, to
reject the Christ of the Gospels as an impossibility is to cut
away the ground from under our own feet. It is one thing to say
"I do not understand why the Spirit should have worked in that
way"--that is merely an honest statement of our present stage of
knowledge, or we may even go the length of saying that we do not
feel convinced that it did work in that way--that is a true
confession of our intellectual difficulty--but certainly those
who are professedly relying on the power of the Spirit to produce
external results cannot say that it does not possess that power,
or possesses it only in a limited degree: the position is
logically self-destructive. What we should do therefore, is to
suspend judgment and follow the light as far as we can see it,
and bye-and-bye it will become clearer to us. There are, it
appears to me, occult heights in the doctrine of Christ designed
by the Supreme Wisdom to counteract corresponding occult depths
in the Mystery of Darkness. I do not think it is at all
necessary, or even possible, for us to scale these heights or
fathom those depths, with our present infantile intelligence, but
if we realize how completely the law of our being receives its
fulfillment in Christ as far as we know that law, may we not well
conceive that there are yet deeper phases of that law the
existence of which we can only faintly surmise by intuition?
Occasionally just the fringe of the veil is lifted for some of
us, but that momentary glance is enough to show us that there are
powers and mysteries beyond our present conception. But even
there Law reigns supreme, and therefore taking Christ as our
basis and starting point, we start with the Law already
fulfilled, whether in those things which are familiar to us or in
those realms which are beyond our thought, and so we need have nc
fear of evil. Our starting point is that of a divinely ordained
security from which we may quietly grow into that higher
evolution which is the fulfillment of the law of our own being.
THE STORY OF EDEN.
The whole Bible and the whole history of the world, past, present
and future, are contained in embryo in the story of Eden, for
they are nothing else than the continuous unfolding of certain
great principles which are there allegorically stated. That this
is by no means a new notion is shown by the following quotation
from Origen:--"Who is there so foolish and without common-sense
as to believe that God planted trees in the Garden of Eden like a
husband man; and planted therein the tree of life perceptible to
the eyes and to the senses, which gave life to the eater; and
another tree which gave to the eater a knowledge of good and
evil? I believe that everybody must regard these as figures under
which a recondite sense is concealed." Let us, then, follow up
the suggestion of this early Father of the Church, and inquire
what may be the "recondite sense" concealed under this figure of
the two trees. On the face of the story there are two roots, one
of Life and the other of Death, two fundamental principles
bringing about diametrically opposite results. The distinctive
mark of the latter is that it is the knowledge of good and evil,
that is to say, the recognition of two antagonistic principles,
and so requiring a knowledge of the relations between them to
enable us to continually make the needful adjustments to keep
ourselves going. Now, in appearance this is exceedingly specious.
It looks so entirely reasonable that we do not see its ultimate
destructiveness; and so we are told that Eve ate the fruit
because she "saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes." But
careful consideration will show us in what the destructive nature
of this principle consists. It is based on the fallacy that good
is limited by evil, and that you cannot receive any good except
through eliminating the corresponding evil by realizing it and
beating it back. In this view life becomes a continual combat
against every imaginable form of evil, and after we have racked
our brains to devise precautions against all possible evil
happenings, there remains the chance, and much more than the
chance, that we have by no means exhausted the category of
negative possibilities, and that others may arise which no amount
of foresight on our part could have imagined. The more we see
into this position the more intolerable it becomes, because from
this stand-point we can never attain any certain basis of action,
and the forces of possible evil multiply as we contemplate them.
To set forth to out-wit all evil by our own knowledge of its
nature is to attempt a task the hopelessness of which becomes
apparent when we see it in its true light.
The mistake is in supposing that Life can be generated in
ourselves by an intellectual process; but, as we have seen in the
preceding lectures, Life is the primary movement of the Spirit,
whether in the cosmos or in the individual. In its proper order
intellectual knowledge is exceedingly important and useful, but
its place in the order of the whole is not that of the
Originator. It is not Life in itself, but is a function of life;
it is an effect and not the cause. The reason why this is so is
because intellectual study is always the study of the various
laws which arise from the different RELATIONS of things to one
another; and it therefore presupposes that these things together
with their laws are already in existence. Consequently it does
not start from the truly creative stand-point, that of creating
something entirely new, creation ex nihilo as distinguished from
CONSTRUCTION, or the laying together of existing materials, which
is what the word literally means. To recognize evil as a force to
be reckoned with is therefore to give up the creative stand-point
altogether. It is to quit the plane of First Cause and descend
into the realm of secondary causation and lose ourselves amid the
confusion of a multiplicity of relative causes and effects
without grasping any unifying principle behind them.
Now the only thing that can release us from the inextricable
confusion of an infinite multiplicity is the realization of an
underlying unity, and at the back of all things we find the
presence of one Great Affirmative principle without which nothing
could have existence. This, then, is the Root of Life; and if we
credit it with being able, not only to supply the power, but also
the form for its manifestation we shall see that we need not go
beyond this SINGLE Power for the production of anything. It is
Spirit producing Substance out of its own essence, and the
Substance taking Form in accordance with the movement of the
Spirit. What we have to realize is, not only that this is the way
in which the cosmos is brought into existence, but also that,
because the Spirit finds a new center in ourselves, the same
process is repeated in our own mentality, and therefore we are
continually creating ex nihilo whether we know it or not.
Consequently, if we look upon evil as a force to be reckoned
with, and therefore requiring to be studied, we are in effect
creating it; while on the other hand if we realize that there is
only ONE force to be considered, and that absolutely good, we are
by the law of the creative process bringing that good into
manifestation. No doubt for this affirmative use of our creative
power it is necessary that we start from the basic conception of
a SINGLE originating power which is absolutely good and
life-giving; but if there were a self originating power which was
destructive then no creation could ever have come into existence
at all, for the positive and negative self originating powers
would cancel each other and the result would be zero. The fact,
therefore, of our own existence is a sufficient proof of the
singleness and goodness of the Originating Power, and from this
starting point there is no second power to be taken into
consideration, and consequently we do not have to study the evil
that may arise out of existing or future circumstances, but
require to keep our minds fixed only upon the good which we
intend to create. There is a very simple reason for this. It is
that every new creation necessarily carries its own law with it
and by that law produces new conditions of its own. A balloon
affords a familiar illustration of my meaning. The balloon with
its freight weighs several hundredweight, yet the introduction of
a new factor, the gas, brings with it a law of its own which
entirely alters the conditions, and the force of gravity is so
completely overcome that the whole mass rises into the air. The
Law itself is never altered, but we have previously known it only
under limiting conditions. These conditions, however, are no part
of the Law itself; and a clearer realization of the Law shows us
that it contains in itself the power of transcending them. The
law which every new creation carries with it is therefore not a
contradiction of the old law but its specialization into a higher
mode of action.
Now the ultimate Law is that of production ex nihilo by the
movement of the Spirit within itself, and all subordinate laws
are merely the measurements of the relations which spontaneously
arise between different things when they are brought into
manifestation, arid therefore, if an entirely new thing is
created it must necessarily establish entirely new relations and
so produce entirely new laws. This is the reason why, if we take
the action of pure unmanifested Spirit as our starting point, we
may confidently trust it to produce manifestations of law which,
though perfectly new from the stand-point of our past experience,
are quite as natural in their own way as any that have gone
before. It is on this account that in these addresses I lay so
much stress on the fact that Spirit creates ex nihilo, that is,
out of no pre-existing forms, but simply by its own movement
within itself. If, then, this idea is clearly grasped, it
logically follows from it that the Root of Life is not to be
found in the comparison of good and evil, but in the simple
affirmation of the Spirit as the All-creating power of Good. And
since, as we have already seen, this same all-creating Spirit
finds a center and fresh starting-point of operation in our own
minds, we can trust it to follow the Law of its own being there
as much as in the creation of the cosmos.
Only we must not forget that it is working through our own minds.
It thinks through our mind, and our mind must be made a suitable
channel for this mode of its operation by conforming itself to
the broad generic lines of the Spirit's thinking. The reason for
this is one which I have sought to impress throughout these
lectures, namely, that the specialization of a law is never the
denial of it, but on the contrary the fuller recognition of its
basic principles; and if this is the case in ordinary physical
science it must be equally so when we come to specialize the
great Law of Life itself. The Spirit can never change its
essential nature as the essence of Life, Love, and Beauty; and if
we adopt these characteristics, which constitute the Law of the
Spirit, as the basis of our own thinking, and reject all that is
contrary to them, then we afford the broad generic conditions for
the specialized thinking of the Spirit through our own minds: and
the thinking of the Spirit is that INVOLUTION, or passing of
spirit into form, which is the whole being of the creative
process.
The mind which is all the time being thus formed is our own. It
is not a case of control by an external individuality, but the
fuller expression of the Universal through an organized mentality
which has all along been a less perfect expression of the
Universal; and therefore the process is one of growth. We are not
losing our individuality, but are coming into fuller possession
of ourselves by the conscious recognition of our personal share
in the great work of creation. We begin in some slight measure to
understand what the Bible means when it speaks of our-being
"partakers of the Divine nature" (II. Peter i. 4) and we realize
the significance of the "unity of the Spirit" (Ephesians iv. 3).
Doubtless this will imply changes in our old mode of thinking;
but these changes are not forced upon us, they are brought about
naturally by the new stand-point from which we now see things.
Almost imperceptibly to ourselves we grow into a New Order of
Thought which proceeds, not from a knowledge of good and evil,
but from the Principle of Life itself. That is what makes the
difference between our old thought and our new thought. Our old
thought was based upon a comparison of limited facts: our new
thought is based upon a comprehension of principles. The
difference is like that between the mathematics of the infant,
who cannot count beyond the number of apples or marbles put
before him, and that of the senior wrangler who is not dependent
upon visible objects for his calculations, but plunges boldly
into the unknown because he knows that he is working by
indubitable principles. In like manner when we realize the
infallible Principle of the Creative Law we no longer find we
need to see everything cut and dried beforehand, for if so, we
could never get beyond the range of our old experiences; but we
can move steadily forward because we know the certainty of the
creative principle by which we are working, or rather, which is
working through us, and that our life, in all its minutes"
details, is its harmonious expression. Thus the Spirit thinks
through our thought only its thought is greater than ours. It is
the paradox of the less containing the greater. Our thought will
not be objectless or unintelligible to ourselves. It will be
quite clear as far as it goes. We shall know exactly what we want
to do and why we want to do it, and so will act in a reasonable
and intelligent manner. But what we do not know is the greater
thought that is all the time giving rise to our smaller thought,
and which will open out from it as our lesser thought progresses
into form. Then we gradually see the greater thought which
prompted our smaller one and we find ourselves working along its
lines, guided by the invisible hand of the Creative Spirit into
continually increasing degrees of livingness to which we need
assign no limits, for it is the expansion of the Infinite within
ourselves.
This, as it appears to me, is the hidden meaning of the two trees
in Eden, the Garden of the Soul. It is the distinction between a
knowledge which is merely that of comparisons between different
sorts of conditions, and a knowledge which is that of the Life
which gives rise to and therefore controls conditions. Only we
must remember that the control of conditions is not to be
attained by violent self-assertion which is only recognizing them
as substantive entities to be battled with, but by conscious
unity with that All-creating Spirit which works silently, but
surely, on its own lines of Life, Love, and Beauty.
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of
Hosts."
THE WORSHIP OF ISHI.
In Hosea ii. 16 we find this remarkable statement:--"And it shall
be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call Me Ishi, and
shalt no more call Me Baali"; and with this we may couple the
statement in Isaiah lxii. 4:--"Thou shalt be called Hephzibah,
and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy
land shall be married."
In both these passages we find a change of name; and since a name
stands for something which corresponds to it, and in truth only
amounts to a succinct description, the fact indicated in these
texts is a change of condition answering to the change of name.
Now the change from Baali to Ishi indicates an important
alteration in the relation between the Divine Being and the
worshipper; but since the Divine Being cannot change, the altered
relation must result from a change in the stand-point of the
worshipper: and this can only come from a new mode of looking at
the Divine, that is, from a new order of thought regarding it.
Baali means Lord, and Ishi means husband, and so the change in
relation is that of a female slave who is liberated and married
to her former master. We could not have a more perfect analogy.
Relatively to the Universal Spirit the individual soul is
esoterically feminine, as I have pointed out in "Bible Mystery
and Bible Meaning," because its function is that of the receptive
and formative. This is necessarily inherent in the nature of the
creative process. But the individual's development as the
specializing medium of the Universal Spirit will depend entirely
upon his own conception of his relation to it. So long as he only
regards it as an arbitrary power, a sort of slave owner, he will
find himself in the position of a slave driven by an inscrutable
force, he knows not whither or for what purpose. He may worship
such a God, but his worship is only the worship of fear and
ignorance, and there is no personal interest in the matter except
to escape some dreaded punishment. Such a worshipper would gladly
escape from his divinity, and his worship, when analyzed, will be
found to be little else than disguised hatred. This is the
natural result of a worship based upon UNEXPLAINED traditions
instead of intelligible principles, and is the very opposite of
that worship in Spirit and in truth which Jesus speaks of as the
true worship.
But when the light begins to break in upon us, all this becomes
changed. We see that a system of terrorism cannot give expression
to the Divine Spirit, and we realize the truth of St. Paul's
words, "He hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind." As the true nature of the
relation between the individual mind and the Universal Mind
becomes clearer, we find it to be one of mutual action and
re-action, a perfect reciprocity which cannot be better
symbolized than by the relation between an affectionate husband
and wife. Everything is done from love and nothing from
compulsion, there is perfect confidence on both sides, and both
are equally indispensable to each other. It is simply the
carrying out of the fundamental maxim that the Universal cannot
act on the plane of the Particular except through the Particular;
only this philosophical axiom develops into a warm living
intercourse.
Now this is the position of the soul which is indicated by the
name Hephzibah. In common with all other words derived from the
Semitic root "hafz" it implies the idea of guarding, just as in
the East a hasfiz is one who guards the letter of the Koran by
having the whole book by heart, and in many similar expressions.
Hephzibah may therefore be translated as "a guarded one," thus
recalling the New Testament description of those who are "guarded
into salvation." It is precisely this conception of being guarded
by a superior power that distinguishes the worship of Ishi from
that of Baali. A special relation has been established between
the Divine Spirit and the individual soul, one of absolute
confidence and personal intercourse. This does not require any
departure from the general law of the universe, but is due to
that specializing of the law through the presentation of special
conditions personal to the individual, of which I have spoken
before. But all the time there has been no change in the
Universal Spirit, the only change has been in the mental attitude
of the individual--he has come into a new thought, a clearer
perception of God. He has faced the questions, What is God? Where
is God? How does God work? and he has found the answer in the
apostolic statement that God is "over all, through all, and in
all," and he realizes that "God" is the root of his (the
individual's) own being, ever present IN him, ever working
THROUGH him, and universally present around him.
This realization of the true relation between the Originating
Spirit and the individual mind is what is esoterically spoken of
as the Mystical Marriage in which the two have ceased to be
separate and have become one. As a matter of fact they always
were one, but since we can apprehend things only from the
stand-point of our own consciousness, it is our recognition of
the fact that makes it a practical reality for ourselves. But an
intelligent recognition will never make a confusion of the two
parts of which the whole consists, and will never lead the
individual to suppose that he is handling a blind force or that a
blind force is handling him. He will neither dethrone God, nor
lose himself by absorption in deity, but he will recognize the
reciprocity of the Divine and the human as the natural and
logical outcome of the essential conditions of the creative
process.
And what is the Whole which is thus created? It is our conscious
PERSONALITY; and therefore whatever we draw from the Universal
Spirit acquires in us the quality of personality. It is that
process of differentiation of the universal into the particular
of which I have so often spoken, which, by a rude analogy, we may
compare to the differentiation of the universal electric fluid
into specific sorts of power by its passage through suitable
apparatus. It is for this reason that relatively to ourselves the
Universal Spirit must necessarily assume a personal aspect, and
that the aspect which it will assume will be in exact
correspondence with our own conception of it. This is in
accordance with mental and spiritual laws inherent in our own
being, and it is on this account that the Bible seeks to build up
our conception of God on such lines as will set us free from all
fear of evil, and thus leave us at liberty to use the creative
power of our thought affirmatively from the stand-point of a calm
and untroubled mind. This stand-point can only be reached by
passing beyond the range of the happenings of the moment, and
this can only be done by the discovery of our immediate relation
to the undifferentiated source of all good. I lay stress on these
words "immediate" and "undifferentiated" because in them is
contained the secret of the whole position. If we could not draw
immediately from the Universal Spirit our receiving would be
subject to the limitations of the channel through which it
reached us; and if the force which we receive were not
undifferentiated in itself it could not take appropriate form in
our own minds and become to each of us just what we require it to
be. It is this power of the human soul to differentiate
limitlessly from the Infinite that we are apt to overlook, but as
we come to realize that the soul is itself a reflection and image
of the Infinite Spirit--and a clear recognition of the cosmic
creative process shows that it cannot be anything else--we find
that it must possess this power, and that-in fact it is our
possession of this power which is the whole raison d'etre of the
creative process: if the human soul did not possess an unlimited
power of differentiation from the Infinite, then the Infinite
would not be reflected in it, and consequently the Infinite
Spirit would find no outlet for its CONSCIOUS recognition of
itself as the Life, Love, and Beauty which it is. We can never
too deeply ponder the old esoteric definition of Spirit as "the
Power which knows itself": the secret of all things, past,
present, and future is contained in these few words. The self
-recognition or self contemplation of Spirit is the primary
movement out of which all creation proceeds, and the attainment
in the individual of a fresh center for self recognition is what
the Spirit GAINS in the process--this GAIN accruing to the Spirit
is what is referred to in the parables where the lord is
represented as receiving increase from his servants.
When the individual perceives this relation between himself and
Infinite Spirit, he finds that he has been raised from a position
of slavery to one of reciprocity. The Spirit cannot do without
him any more than he can do without the Spirit: the two are as
necessary to each other as the two poles of an electric battery.
The Spirit is the unlimited essence of Love, Wisdom, and Power,
all three in one undifferentiated and waiting to be
differentiated by APPROPRIATION, that is, by the individual
CLAIMING to be the channel of their differentiation. It only
requires the claim to be made with the recognition that by the
Law of Being it is bound to be answered, and the right feeling,
the right seeing, and the right working for the particular matter
we have in hand will flow in quite naturally. Our old enemies,
doubt and fear, may seek to bring us back under bondage to Baali,
but our new stand-point for the recognition of the
All-originating Spirit as being absolutely unified with ourselves
must always be kept resolutely in mind; for, short of this, we
are not working on the creative level--we are creating, indeed,
for we can never divest ourselves of our creative power, but we
are creating in the image of the old limiting and destructive
conditions, and this is merely perpetuating the cosmic Law of
Averages, which is just what the individual has to rise superior
to. The creative level is where new laws begin to manifest
themselves in a new order of conditions, something transcending
our past experiences and thus bringing about a real advance; for
it is no advance only to go on in the same old round even if we
kept at it for centuries: it is the steady go-ahead nature of the
Spirit that has made the world of to-day an improvement upon the
world of the pterodactyl and the icthiosaurus, and we must look
for the same forward movement of the Spirit from its new
starting-point in ourselves.
Now it is this special, personal, and individual relation of the
Spirit to ourselves which is typified by the names Ishi and
Hephzibah. From this stand-point we may say that as the
individual wakes up to the oneness with the Spirit, the Spirit
wakes up to the same thing. It becomes conscious of itself
through the consciousness of the individual, and thus is solved
the paradox of individual self recognition by the Universal
Spirit, without which no new-creative power could be exercised
and all things would continue to proceed in the old merely cosmic
order. It is of course true that in the merely generic order the
Spirit must be present in every form of Life, as the Master
pointed out when He said that not a sparrow falls to the ground
without "the Father." But as the sparrows He alluded to had been
shot and were on sale at a price which shows that this was the
fate of a good many of them, we see here precisely that stage of
manifestation where the Spirit has not woke up to individual
self-recognition, and remains at the lower level of
self-recognition, that of the generic or race-spirit. The
Master's comment, "Ye are of more value than many sparrows"
points out this difference: in us the generic creation has
reached the level which affords the conditions for the waking up
of the Spirit to self recognition in the Individual.
And we must bear in mind that all this is perfectly natural.
There is no posing or straining after effect about it. If YOU
have to pump up the Life, who is going to put the Life into you
to pump it? Therefore it is spontaneous or nothing. That is why
the Bible speaks of it as the free gift of God. It cannot be
anything else. You cannot originate the originating force; it
must originate you: but what you can do is to distribute it.
Therefore immediately you experience any sense of friction be
sure there is something wrong somewhere; and since God can never
change, you may be sure that the friction is being caused by some
error in your own thinking--you are limiting the Spirit in some
way: set to work to find out what it is. It is always LIMITING
the Spirit that does this. You are tying it down to conditions
somewhere, saying it is bound by reason of some existing forms.
The remedy is to go back to the original starting point of the
Cosmic Creation and ask, Where were the pre-existing forms that
dictated to the Spirit then? Then because the Spirit never
changes it is STILL THE SAME, and is just as independent of
existing conditions now as it was in the beginning; and so we
must pass over all existing conditions, however apparently
adverse, and go straight to the Spirit as the originator of new
forms and new conditions. This is real New Thought, for it does
not trouble about the old things, but is going straight ahead
from where we are now. When we do this, just trusting the Spirit,
and not laying down the particular details of its action--just
telling it what we want without dictating HOW we are to get it--
we shall find that things will open out more and more clearly day
by day both on the inner and the outer plane. Remember that the
Spirit is alive and working here and now, for if ever the Spirit
is to get from the past into the future it must be by passing
through the present; therefore what you have to do is to acquire
the habit of living direct -from the Spirit here and now. You
will soon find that this is a matter of personal intercourse,
perfectly natural and not requiring any abnormal conditions for
its production. You just treat the Spirit as you would any other
kind-hearted sensible person, remembering that it is always
there--"closer than hands and feet," as Tennyson says--and you
will gradually begin to appreciate its reciprocity as a very
practical fact indeed.
This is the relation of Hephzibah to Ishi, and is that worship in
Spirit and in truth which needs neither the temple in Jerusalem
nor yet in Samaria for its acceptance, for the whole world is the
temple of the Spirit and you yourself its sanctuary. Bear this in
mind, and remember that nothing is too great or too small, too
interior or too external, for the Spirit's recognition and
operation, for the Spirit is itself both the Life and the
Substance of all things and it is also Self recognition from the
stand-point of your own individuality; and therefore, because the
Self recognition of Spirit is the Life of the creative process,
you will, by simply trusting the Spirit to work according to its
own nature, pass more and more completely into that New Order
which proceeds from the thought of Him who says, "Behold I make
all things new."
THE SHEPHERD AND THE STONE.
The metaphor of the Shepherd and the Sheep is of constant
occurrence throughout the Bible and naturally suggests the idea
of the guiding, guarding, and feeding both of the individual
sheep and of the whole flock and it is not difficult to see the
spiritual correspondence of these things in a general sort of
way. But we find that the Bible combines the metaphor of the
Shepherd with another metaphor that of "the Stone," and at first
sight the two seem rather incongruous.
"From thence is the Shepherd the Stone of Israel," says the Old
Testament (Genesis xlix. 24), and Jesus calls himself both "The
Good Shepherd" and "The Stone which the builders rejected." The
Shepherd and the Stone are thus identified and we must therefore
seek the interpretation in some conception which combines the
two. A shepherd suggests Personal care for the welfare of the
sheep, and an intelligence greater than theirs. A stone suggests
the idea of Building, and consequently of measurement, adaptation
of parts to whole, and progressive construction according to
plan. Combining these two conceptions we get the idea of the
building of an edifice whose stones are persons, each taking
their more or less conscious part in the construction--thus a
building, not constructed from without, but self forming by a
principle of growth from within under the guidance of a Supreme
Wisdom permeating the whole and conducting it stage by stage to
ultimate completeness. This points to a Divine Order in human
affairs with which we may more or less consciously co-operate:
both to our personal advantage and also to the furtherance of the
great scheme of human evolution as a whole; the ultimate purpose
being to establish in ALL men that principle of "The Octave" to
which I have already alluded; and in proportion as some
adumbration of this principle is realized by individuals and by
groups of individuals they specialize the law of
race development, even though they may not be aware of the fact,
and so come under a SPECIALIZED working of the fundamental Law,
which thus differentiates them from other individuals and
nationalities, as by a peculiar guidance, producing higher
developments which the merely generic operation of the Law could
not.
Now if we keep steadily in mind that, though the purpose, or Law
of Tendency, or the Originating Spirit must always be universal
in its nature, it must necessarily be individual in its
operation, we shall see that this universal purpose can only be
accomplished through the instrumentality of specific means. This
results from the fundamental proposition that the Universal can
only work on the plane of the Particular by becoming the
individual and particular; and when we grasp the conception that
the merely generic operation of the Creative Law has now brought
the human race as far as it can, that is to say it has completely
evolved the merely natural GENUS home, it follows that if any
further development is to take place it can only be by the
co-operation of the individual himself. Now it is the spread of
this individual co-operation that the forward movement of the
Spirit is leading us to, and it is the gradual extension of this
universal principle that is alluded to in the prophecy of Daniel
regarding the Stone cut out without hands that spreads until it
fills the whole earth (Daniel ii. 34 and 44). According to the
interpretation given by Daniel, this Stone is the emblem of a
spiritual Kingdom, and the identity of the Stone and the Shepherd
indicates that the Kingdom of the Stone must be also the Kingdom
of the Shepherd; and the Master, who identified himself with both
the Stone and the Shepherd, emphatically declared that this
Kingdom was, in its essence, an interior Kingdom--"the Kingdom of
Heaven is within you." We must look for its foundation therefore,
in a spiritual principle or mental law inherent in the
constitution of all men but waiting to be brought into fuller
development by more accurate compliance with its essential
requirements; which is precisely the method by which science has
evoked powers from the laws of nature which were undreamt of in
former ages; and in like manner the recognition of our true
relation to the Universal Spirit, which is the source of all
individual being, must lead to an advance both for the race and
for the individual such as we can at present scarcely form the
faintest idea of, but which we dimly apprehend through the
intuition and speak of as the New Order. The approach of this New
Order is everywhere making itself vaguely felt; it is, as the
French say, in the air, and the very vagueness and mystery
attending it is causing a feeling of unrest as to what form it
may assume. But to the student of Spiritual Law this should not
be the case. He knows that the Form is always the expression of
the Spirit, and therefore, since he is in touch with the forward
movement of the Spirit, he knows that he himself will always be
harmoniously included in any form of development which the Great
Forward Movement may take. This is the practical and personal
benefit arising from the realization of the Principle which is
symbolized under the two-fold metaphor of the Shepherd and the
Stone. and in all those new developments which are perhaps even
now within measurable distance, we can rest on the knowledge that
we are under the care of a kind Shepherd, and under the formation
of a wise Master Builder.
But the principle of the Shepherd and the Stone is not something
hitherto unheard of which is only to conne into existence in the
future. If there were no manifestations of this principle in the
past, we might question whether there were any such principle at
all; but a careful study of the subject will show us that it has
been at work all through the ages, sometimes in modes more
immediately bearing the aspect of the Shepherd, and sometimes in
modes more immediately bearing the aspect of the Stone, though
the one always implies the other, for they are the same thing
seen from different points of view. The subject is one of immense
interest, but covering such a wide range of study that all I can
do here is to point out that such a field of investigation exists
and is worth exploration; and the exploration brings its reward
with it, not only by putting us in possession of the key to the
history of the past, but by showing us that it is the key to the
history of the future also, and furthermore by making evident on
a large scale the working of the same principle of Spiritual Law
by cooperation with which we may facilitate the process of our
own individual evolution. It thus adds a vivid interest to life,
giving us something worth looking forward to and introducing us
to a personal future which is not limited by the proverbial
three-score years and ten.
Now, we have seen that the first stage in the Creative Process is
always that of Feeling--a reaching-out by the Spirit in a
particular direction, and therefore we may look for something of
the same kind in the development of the great principle which we
are now considering. And we find this first vague movement of
this great principle in the intuitions of a particular race which
appears from time immemorial to have combined the two
characteristics of nomad wandering with their flocks and herds
and the symbolization of their religious beliefs in monuments of
stone. The monuments themselves have taken different forms in
different countries and ages, but the identity of their symbolism
becomes clear under careful investigation. Together with this
symbolism we always find the nomad character of the builders and
that they are invested with an aura of mystery and romance such
as we find nowhere else, though we always find it surrounding
these builders, even in countries so far apart as India and
Ireland. Then, as we pass beyond the merely monumental stage, we
find threads of historical evidence connecting the different
branches of this race, increasing in their complexity and
strengthening in their cumulative force as we go on, until at
last we are brought to the history of the age in which we live;
and finally most remarkable affinities of language put the
finishing touch to the mass of proofs which can be gathered along
all these different lines. In this magic circle countries so
remote from one another as Ireland and Greece, Egypt and India,
Palestine and Persia, are brought into close contiguity--a
similar tradition, and even a similar nomenclature, unite the
mysterious builders of the Great Pyramid with the equally
mysterious builders of the Round Towers of Ireland--and the Great
Pyramid itself, perhaps antedating the call of Abraham,
re-appears as the official seal of the United States; while
tradition traces the crowning stone in Westminster Abbey back to
the time of Solomon's temple and even earlier. For the most part
the erewhile wanderers are now settled in their destined homes,
but the Anglo-Saxon race--the People of the Corner-Stone--are
still the pioneers among the nations, and there is something
esoteric in the old joke that when the North Pole is reached a
Scotchman will be found there. And not least in the chain of
evidence is the link afforded by a tribe who are wanderers still,
the Gipsies with their duplicate of the Pyramid in the pack of
cards--a volume which has been called "The Devil's Picture Book"
by those who know it only in its misuse and inversion, but which
when interpreted in the light of the knowledge we are now
gaining, affords a signal instance of that divine policy by which
as St. Paul says, God employs the foolish things of this world to
confute the wise; while a truer apprehension of the Gipsies
themselves indicates their unmistakable connection with that race
who through all its wanderings has ever been the guardian of the
Stone.
In these few paragraphs I have only been able to point out very
briefly the broad lines of inquiry into a subject of national
importance to the British and American peoples, and which
interests us personally, not only as members of these nations,
but as affording proof on the largest scale of the same
specialization of universal laws which each of us has to effect
individually for our self. But whether the process be individual
or national it is always the same, and is the translation to the
very highest plane--that of the All originating Life itself--of
the old maxim that "Nature will obey us exactly in proportion as
we first obey Nature"; it is the old parable of the lord who,
finding his servants girt and awaiting him, then girds himself
and serves them (Luke xii. 35 to 37). The nation or the
individual who thus realizes the true principle of the Shepherd
and the Stone, comes under a special Divine guidance and
protection, not by a favoritism incompatible with the conception
of universal Law, but by the very operation of the Law itself.
They have come into touch with its higher possibilities, and to
recur to an analogy which I have already employed, they learn to
make their iron float by the very same law by which it sinks; and
so they become the flock of the Great Shepherd and the building
of the Great Architect, and each one, however insignificant his
or her sphere may appear, becomes a sharer in the great work, and
by a logical consequence begins to grow on new lines of
development for the simple reason that a new principle
necessarily produces new modes of manifestation. If the reader
will think over these things he will see that the promises
contained in the Bible whether national or personal, are nothing
else than statements of the universal law of Cause and Effect
applied to the inmost principles of our being, and that therefore
it is not mere rhapsody, but the figurative expression of a great
truth when the Psalmist says `"The Lord is my Shepherd," and
"Thou art my God and the Rock of my salvation."
SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS.
What does this saying of the Master's mean? Certainly not a mere
arrogant assumption in favor of His own nationality--such an
idea is negatived, not only by the universality of all His other
teaching, but also by the very instruction in which these words
occur, for He declared that the Jewish temple was equally with
the Samaritan of no account in the matter. He said that the true
worship was purely spiritual and entirely independent of places
and ceremonies, while at the same time He emphasized the Jewish
expectation of a Messiah, so that in this teaching we are met by
the paradox of a universal principle combined with what at first
sight appears like a tribal tradition quite incompatible with any
recognition of the universal reign of law. How to reconcile these
apparent opposites, therefore, seems to be the problem which He
here sets before us. Its solution is to be found in that
principle which I have endeavored to elucidate throughout these
lectures, the specializing of universal law. Opinions may differ
as to whether the Bible narrative of the birth of Christ is to be
taken literally or symbolically, but as to the spiritual
principle involved there can, I think, be no difference of
opinion. It is that of the specialization by the individual of
the generic relation of the soul to the Infinite Spirit from
which it proceeds. The relation itself is universal and results
from the very nature of the creative process, but the law of the
universal relation admits of particular specialization exactly in
the same way as all other natural laws--it is simply applying to
the supreme Law of Life the same method by which we have learnt
to make iron float, that is to say by a fuller recognition of
what the Law is in itself. Whatever other meanings we may apply
to the name Messiah, it undoubtedly stands for the absolutely
perfect manifestation in the individual of all the infinite
possibilities of the Principle of Life.
Now it was because this grand ideal is the basis on which the
Hebrew nationality was founded that Jesus made this statement.
This foundation had been lamentably misconceived by the Jewish
people; but nevertheless, however imperfectly, they still held by
it, and from them this ideal has spread throughout the Christian
world. Here also it continues to be lamentably misconceived,
nevertheless it is still retained, and only needs to be
recognized in its true light as a universal principle, instead of
an unintelligible dogma, to become the salvation of the world.
Hence, as affording the medium through which this supreme ideal
has been preserved and spread, it is true that "Salvation is of
the Jews."
Their fundamental idea was right but their apprehension of it was
wrong--that is why the Master at the same time sweeps away the
national worship of the temple and preserves the national idea of
the Messiah; and this is equally true of the Christian world at
the present day. If salvation is anything real it must have its
cause in some law, and if there is a law it must be founded upon
some universal principle: therefore it is this principle which we
must seek if we would understand this teaching of the Master's.
Now whether we take the Bible story of the birth of Christ
literally or symbolically, it teaches one great lesson. It
teaches that the All originating Spirit is the true Parent of the
individual both in soul and body. This is nothing else than
realizing from the stand-point of the individual what we cannot
help realizing in regard to the original creation of the cosmos--
it is the realization that the All originating Spirit is at once
the Life and the Substance in each individual here and now, just
as it must have been in the origin of all things. Human parentage
counts for nothing--it is only the channel through which
Universal Spirit has acted for the concentration of an individual
center; but the ultimate cause of that center, both in life and
substance, continues at every moment to be the One same
Originating Spirit.
This recognition cuts away the root of all the power of the
negative, and so in principle it delivers us from all evil, for
the root of evil is the denial of the power of the Spirit to
produce good. When we realize that the Spirit is finding its own
individualization in us in its two-fold essence as Life and
Substance, then we see that it must be both able and willing to
create for us all good. The only limit is that which we ourselves
impose by denying its operation, and when we realize the inherent
creativeness of Spirit we find that there is no reason why we
should stop short at any point and say that it can go no further.
Our error is in looking on the life of the body as separate from
the life of the Spirit, and this error is met by the
consideration that, in its ultimate nature, Substance must
emanate from Spirit and is nothing else than the record of
Spirit's conception of itself as finding expression in space and
time. And when this becomes clear it follows that Substance need
not be taken into calculation at all. The material form stands in
the same relation to Spirit that the image projected on the
screen stands to the slide in the lantern. If we wish to change
the exhibited subject we do not manipulate the reflection on the
screen, but we alter the slide; and in like manner, when we come
to realize the true nature of the creative process, we learn that
the exterior things are to be changed by a change of the interior
spiritual attitude. Our spiritual attitude will always be
determined by our conception of our relation to God or Infinite
Spirit; and so when we begin to see that this relation is one of
absolute reciprocity--that it is the self recognition of Infinite
Spirit from our own center of consciousness--then we find that
the whole Secret of Life consists in simple reliance upon the
Allcreating Spirit as consciously identifying itself with us. It
has, so to say, awakened to a new mode of self recognition
peculiar to ourselves, in which we individually form the center
of its creative energy. To realize this is to specialize the
Principle of Life. The logic of it is simple. We have found that
the originating movement of Spirit from which all creation
proceeds can only be Self contemplation. Then, since the Original
Spirit cannot change its nature its self contemplation through
our own minds must be as creative in, for, and through us as it
ever was in the beginning; and consequently we find the original
creative process repeated in ourselves and directed by the
conscious thought of our own minds.
In all this there is no place for the consideration of outward
conditions, whether of body or circumstances; for they are only
effects and not the cause; and therefore when we reach this
stand-point we cease to take them into our calculations. Instead
we employ the method of self contemplation knowing that this is
the creative method, and so we contemplate ourselves as allied
to the infinite Love and Wisdom of the Divine Spirit which will
take form through our conscious thought, and so act creatively
as a Special Providence entirely devoted to guarding, guiding,
providing for, and illuminating us. The whole thing is perfectly
natural when seen from a clear recognition of what the creative
working of Spirit must be in itself; and when it is realized in
this perfectly natural manner all strain and effort to compel
its action ceases--we are at one with the All-creating Power
which has now found a new center in ourselves from which to
continue its creative work to more perfect manifestation than
could be attained through the unspecialized generic conditions
of the merely cosmic order.
Now this is what Messiah stands for, and therefore it is written
that "to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to as
many as believe on His Name." This "belief" is the recognition of
a universal principle and personal reliance upon it as a law
which cannot be broken; for it is the Law of the whole creative
process specialized in our own individuality. Then, too, however
great may be the mystery, the removal and cleansing away of all
sin follows as an essential part of this realization of new life;
and it is in this sense that we may read all that the Bible tells
us on this aspect of the subject. The PRINCIPLE of it is Love;
for when we are reunited to the Parent Spirit in mutual
confidence and love, what room is there on either side for any
remembrance of our past failures?
This, then is what Messiah stands for to the individual; but if
we can conceive a nation based upon such a recognition of its
special relation to the Directing Power of the Universe, such a
people must of necessity become the leader of the nations, and
those who oppose it must fail by a self-destructive principle
inherent in the very nature of the position they take up. The
leadership resulting from such a national self recognition, will
not be based upon conquest and compulsion, but will come
naturally. Other nations will inquire the reason for the
phenomenal success and prosperity of the favored people, and
finding this reason in a universal Law, they will begin to apply
the same law in the same manner, and thus the same results will
spread from country to country until at last the whole earth will
be full of the glory of the Lord. And such a nation, and rather
company of nations, exists. To trace its present development from
its ancient beginnings is far beyond the scope of this volume,
and still more to speculate upon its further growth; but to my
readers on both sides of the Atlantic I may say that this people
is the Anglo-Saxon race throughout the world. I write these lines
upon the historic Hill of Tara; this will convey a hint to many
of my readers. At some future time I may enlarge upon this
subject; but at present my aim is merely to suggest some lines of
thought arising from the Master's saying that "Salvation is of
the Jews."
End of Project Gutenberg Etext of The Dore' Lectures on Mental Science

Brad Jensen's Home page | Writings by Troward | Unity Home page