There is a notable twofold characteristic of this our age- we might almost say: of this our generation. It is on the one hand a tremendously far-reaching interest in the deeper spiritual realities of life, in the things of the mind and the Spirit. On the other hand, there is a materialism that is apparent to all, likewise far-reaching. We are witnessing the two moving along, apparently at least, side by side.
There are those who believe that out of the latter the former is arising, that we are witnessing another great step forward on the part of the human race- a new era or age, so to speak. There are many things that would indicate this to be a fact. The fact that the material alone does not satisfy, and that from the very constitution of the human mind and soul, it cannot satisfy, may be a fundamental reason for this.
It may be also that as we are apprehending, to a degree never equalled in the world's history, the finer forces in nature, and are using them in a very practical and useful way in the affairs and the activities of the daily life, we are also and perhaps in a more pronounced degree, realising, understanding, and using the finer, the higher insights and forces, and therefore powers, of mind, of spirit, and of body.
I think there is a twofold reason for this widespread and rapidly increasing interest. A new psychology, or perhaps it were better to say, some new and more fully established laws of psychology, pertaining to the realm of the subconscious mind, its nature, and its peculiar activities and powers, has brought us another agency in life of tremendous significance and of far-reaching practical use.
Another reason is that the revelation and the religion of Jesus the Christ is witnessing a new birth, as it were. We are finding at last an entirely new content in his teachings, as well as in his life. We are dropping our interest in those phases of a Christianity that he probably never taught, and that we have many reasons now to believe he never even thought- things that were added long years after his time.
We are conscious, however, as never before, that that wonderful revelation, those wonderful teachings, and above all that wonderful life, have a content that can, that does, inspire, lift up, and make more effective, more powerful, more successful, and more happy, the life of every man and every woman who will accept, who will appropriate, who will live his teachings.
Look at it, however we will, this it is that accounts for the vast number of earnest, thoughtful, forward looking men and women who are passing over, and in many cases are passing from, traditional Christianity, and who either of their own initiative, or under other leadership, are going back to those simple, direct, God-impelling teachings of the Great Master. They are finding salvation in his teachings and his example, where they never could find it in various phases of the traditional teachings about him.
It is interesting to realise, and it seems almost strange that this new finding in psychology, and that this new and vital content in Christianity, have come about at almost identically the same time. Yet it is not strange, for the one but serves to demonstrate in a concrete and understandable manner the fundamental and essential principles of the other. Many of the Master's teachings of the inner life, teachings of " the Kingdom," given so far ahead of his time that the people in general, and in many instances even his disciples, were incapable of fully comprehending and understanding them, are now being confirmed and further elucidated by clearly defined laws of psychology.
Speculation and belief are giving way to a greater knowledge of law. The supernatural recedes into the background as we delve deeper into the supernormal. The unusual loses its miraculous element as we gain knowledge of the law whereby the thing is done. We are realising that no miracle has ever been performed in the world's history that was not through the understanding and the use of Law.
Jesus did unusual things; but he did them because of his unusual understanding of the law through which they could be done. He would not have us believe otherwise. To do so would be a distinct contradiction of the whole tenor of his teachings and his injunctions. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free, was his own admonition. It was the great and passionate longing of his master heart that the people to whom he came, grasp the interior meanings of his teachings. How many times he felt the necessity of rebuking even his disciples for dragging his teachings down through their material interpretations. As some of the very truths that he taught are now corroborated and more fully understood, and in some cases amplified by well-established laws of psychology, mystery recedes into the background.
We are reconstructing a more natural, a more sane, a more common-sense portrait of the Master. " It is the spirit that quick-eneth," said he; "the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." Shall we recall again in this connection: " I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly"? When, therefore, we take him at his word, and listen intently to his words, and not so much to the words of others about him; when we place our emphasis upon the fundamental spiritual truths that he revealed and that he pleaded so earnestly to be taken in the simple, direct way in which he taught them, we are finding that the religion of the Christ means a clearer and healthier understanding of life and its problems through a greater knowledge of the elemental forces and laws of life.
Ignorance enchains and enslaves. Truth- which is but another way of saying a clear and definite knowledge of Law, the elemental laws of soul, of mind, and body, and of the universe about us- brings freedom. Jesus revealed essentially a spiritual philosophy of life. His whole revelation pertained to the essential divinity of the human soul and the great gains that would follow the realisation of this fact. His whole teaching revolved continually around his own expression, used again and again, the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, and which he so distinctly stated was an inner state or consciousness or realisation. Something not to be found outside of oneself but to be found only within.
We make a great error to regard man as merely a duality- mind and body. Man is a trinity,- soul, mind, and body, each with its own functions,- and it is the right co-ordinating of these that makes the truly efficient and eventually the perfect life. Anything less is always one-sided and we may say, continually out of gear. It is essential to a correct understanding, and therefore for any adequate use of the potential powers and forces of the inner life, to realise this.
It is the physical body that relates us to the physical universe about us, that in which we find ourselves in this present form of existence. But the body, wondrous as it is in its functions and its mechanism, is not the life. It has no life and no power in itself. It is of the earth, earthy. Every particle of it has come from the earth through the food we eat in combination with the air we breathe and the water we drink, and every part of it in time will go back to the earth. It is the house we inhabit while here.