There are moments in the lives of all of us when we catch glimpses of a life - our life - that is infinitely beyond the life we are now living. We realise that we are living below our possibilities. We long for the realisation of the life that we feel should be.
Instinctively we perceive that there are within us powers and forces that we are making but inadequate use of, and others that we are scarcely using at all. Practical metaphysics, a more simplified and concrete psychology, well-known laws of mental and spiritual science, confirm us in this conclusion.
Our own William James, he who so splendidly related psychology, philosophy, and even religion, to life in a supreme degree, honoured his calling and did a tremendous service for all mankind, when he so clearly developed the fact that we have within us powers and forces that we are making all too little use of - that we have within us great reservoirs of power that we have as yet scarcely tapped.
The men and the women who are awake to these inner helps - these directing, moulding, and sustaining powers and forces that belong to the realm of mind and spirit - are never to be found among those who ask: Is life worth the living? For them life has been multiplied two, ten, a hundred fold.
It is not ordinarily because we are not interested in these things, for instinctively we feel them of value; and furthermore our observations and experiences confirm us in this thought. The pressing cares of the everyday life - in the great bulk of cases, the bread and butter problem of life, which is after all the problem of ninety-nine out of every hundred - all seem to conspire to keep us from giving the time and attention to them that we feel we should give them. But we lose thereby tremendous helps to the daily living.
Through the body and its avenues of sense, we are intimately related to the physical universe about us. Through the soul and spirit we are related to the Infinite Power that is the animating, the sustaining force - the Life Force - of all objective material forms. It is through the medium of the mind that we are able consciously to relate the two. Through it we are able to realise the laws that underlie the workings of the spirit; and to open ourselves that they may become the dominating forces of our lives.
There is a divine current that will bear us with peace and safety on its bosom if we are wise and diligent enough to find it and go with it. Battling against the current is always hard and uncertain. Going with the current lightens the labours of the journey. Instead of being continually uncertain and even exhausted in the mere efforts of getting through, we have time for the enjoyments along the way, as well as the ability to call a word of cheer or to lend a hand to the neighbour, also on the way.
The natural, normal life is by a law divine under the guidance of the spirit. It is only when we fail to seek and to follow this guidance, or when we deliberately take ourselves from under its influence, that uncertainties arise, legitimate longings go unfulfilled, and that violated laws bring their penalties.
It is well that we remember always that violated law carries with it its own penalty. The Supreme Intelligence - God, if you please - does not punish. He works through the channel of great immutable systems of law.
It is ours to find these laws. That is what mind, intelligence, is for. Knowing them we can then obey them and reap the beneficent results that are always a part of their fulfilment; knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, we can fail to observe them, we can violate them, and suffer the results, or even be broken by them.
Life is not so complex if we do not so continually persist in making it so. Supreme Intelligence, creative Power works only through law. Science and religion are but different approaches to our understanding of the law. When both are real, they supplement one another and their findings are identical.
The old Hebrew prophets, through the channel of the spirit, perceived and enunciated some wonderful laws of the natural and normal life- that are now being confirmed by well-established laws of mental and spiritual science- and that are now producing these identical results in the lives of great numbers among us today, when they said: " And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left."
And again: " The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you." " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee." " The Lord in the midst of thee is mighty." " He that dwell-eth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." " Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee." " Commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass." Now these formulations all mean something of a very definite nature, or, they mean nothing at all. If they are actual expressions of fact, they are governed by certain definite and immutable laws.
These men gave us, however, no knowledge of the laws underlying the workings of these inner forces and powers; they perhaps had no such knowledge themselves. They were intuitive perceptions of truth on their part. The scientific spirit of this, our age, was entirely unknown to them. The growth of the race in the meantime, the development of the scientific spirit in the pursuit and the finding of truth, makes us infinitely beyond them in some things, while in others they were far ahead of us. But this fact remains, and this is the important fact: If these things were actual facts in the lives of these early Hebrew prophets, they are then actual facts in our lives right now, today; or, if not actual facts, then they are facts that still lie in the realm of the potential, only waiting to be brought into the realm of the actual.
These were not unusual men in the sense that the Infinite Power, God, if you please, could or did speak to them alone. They are types, they are examples of how any man or any woman, through desire and through will, can open himself or herself to the leadings of Divine Wisdom, and have actualised in his or her life an ever-growing sense of Divine Power. For truly " God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." His laws are unchanging as well as immutable.
None of these men taught, then, how to recognise the Divine Voice within, nor how to become continually growing embodiments of the Divine Power. They gave us perhaps, though, all they were able to give. Then came Jesus, the successor of this long line of illustrious Hebrew prophets, with a greater aptitude for the things of the spirit- the supreme embodiment of Divine realisation and revelation. With a greater knowledge of truth than they, he did greater things than they.
He not only did these works, but he showed how he did them. He not only revealed the Way, but so earnestly and so diligently he implored his hearers to follow the Way. He makes known the secret of his insight and his power: " The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Again, " I can of my own self do nothing." And he then speaks of his purpose, his aim: "I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly." A little later he adds: " The works that I do ye shall do also." Now again, these things mean something of a very definite nature, or they mean nothing at all.
The works done, the results achieved by Jesus' own immediate disciples and followers, and in turn their followers, as well as in the early church for close to two hundred years after his time, all attest the truth of his teaching and demonstrate unmistakably the results that follow.
Down through the intervening centuries, the teachings, the lives and the works of various seers, sages, and mystics, within the church and out of the church, have likewise attested the truth of his teachings. The bulk of the Christian world, however, since the third century, has been so concerned with various theories and teachings concerning Jesus, that it has missed almost completely the real vital and vitalising teachings of Jesus.
We have not been taught primarily to follow his injunctions, and to apply the truths that he revealed to the problems of our everyday living. Within the last two score of years or a little more, however, there has been a great going back directly to the teachings of Jesus, and a determination to prove their truth and to make effective their assurances. Also various laws in the realm of Mental and Spiritual Science have become clearly established and clearly formulated, that confirm all his fundamental teachings.
There are now definite and well-defined laws in relation to thought as a force, and the methods as to how it determines our material and bodily conditions. There are now certain well-defined laws pertaining to the subconscious mind, its ceaseless building activities, how it always takes its direction from the active, thinking mind, and how through this channel we may connect ourselves with reservoirs of power, so to speak, in an intelligent and effective manner.
There are now well-understood laws underlying mental suggestion, whereby it can be made a tremendous source of power in our own lives, and can likewise be made an effective agency in arousing the motive powers of another for his or her healing, habit-forming, character-building. There are likewise well-established facts not only as to the value, but the absolute need of periods of meditation and quiet, alone with the Source of our being, stilling the outer bodily senses, and fulfilling the conditions whereby the Voice of the Spirit can speak to us and through us, and the power of the Spirit can manifest in and through us.
A nation is great only as its people are great. Its people are great in the degree that they strike the balance between the life of the mind and the spirit- all the finer forces and emotions of life- and their outer business organisation and activities. When the latter become excessive, when they grow at the expense of the former, then the inevitable decay sets in, that spells the doom of that nation, and its time is tolled off in exactly the same manner, and under the same law, as has that of all the other nations before it that sought to reverse the Divine order of life.
The human soul and its welfare is the highest business that any state can give its attention to. To recognise or to fail to recognise the value of the human soul in other nations, determines its real greatness and grandeur, or its self-complacent but essential vacuity. It is possible for a nation, through subtle delusions, to get such an attack of the big head that it bends over backwards, and it is liable, in this exposed position, to get a thrust in its vitals.
To be carried too far along the road of efficiency, big business, expansion, world power, domination, at the expense of the great spiritual verities, the fundamental humanities of national life, that make for the real life and welfare of its people, and that give also its true and just relations with other nations and their people, is both dangerous and in the end suicidal - it can end in nothing but loss and eventual disaster. A silent revolution of thought is taking place in the minds of the people of all nations at this time, and will continue for some years to come. A stock-taking period in which tremendous revaluations are under way, is on. It is becoming clear-cut and decisive.