To refuse allegiance to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is the real sin, the only sin that cannot be forgiven. Violation of all moral and natural law may be forgiven. It will bring its penalty, for the violation of law carries in itself its own penalty, its own punishment - it is a part of law; but cease the violation and the penalty ceases. The violation registers its ill effects in the illness, the sickness, of body and spirit. If the violation has been long continued, these effects may remain for some time; but the instant the violation ceases the repair will begin, and things will go the other way.
Learn from this experience, however, that there can be no deliberate violation of, or blaspheming against any moral or natural law. But deliberately to refuse obedience to the inner guide, the Holy Spirit, constitutes a defiance that eventually puts out the lamp of life, and that can result only in confusion and darkness. It severs the ordained relationship, the connecting, the binding cord, between the soul - the self - and its Source. Stagnation, degeneracy, and eventual death is merely the natural sequence.
With this Divine self-realisation the Spirit assumes control and mastery, and you are saved from the follies of error, and from the consequences of error. Repent ye - turn from your trespasses and sins, from your lower conceptions of life, of pleasure and of pain, and walk in this way. The lower propensities and desires will lose their hold and will in time fall away. You will be at first surprised, and then dumfounded, at what you formerly took for pleasure. True pleasure and satisfaction go hand in hand, - nor are there any bad after results.
All genuine pleasures should lead to more perfect health, a greater accretion of power, a continually expanding sense of life and service. When God is uppermost in the heart, when the Divine rule under the direction of the Holy Spirit becomes the ruling power in the life of the individual, then the body and its senses are subordinated to this rule; the passions become functions to be used; license and perverted use give way to moderation and wise use; and there are then no penalties that outraged law exacts; satiety gives place to satisfaction. It was Edward Carpenter who said: "In order to enjoy life one must be a master of life - for to be a slave to its inconsistencies can only mean torment; and in order to enjoy the senses one must be master of them. To dominate the actual world you must, like Archimedes, base your fulcrum somewhere beyond."
It is not the use, but the abuse of anything good in itself that brings satiety, disease, suffering, dissatisfaction. Nor is asceticism a true road of life. All things are for use; but all must be wisely, in most cases, moderately used, for true enjoyment. All functions and powers are for use; but all must be brought under the domination of the Spirit - the God-illumined spirit. This is the road that leads to heaven here and heaven hereafter - and we can rest assured that we will never find a heaven hereafter that we do not make while here. Through everything runs this teaching of the Master.
How wonderfully and how masterfully and simply he sets forth his whole teaching of sin and the sinner and his relation to the Father in that marvellous parable, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. To bring it clearly to mind again it runs:
"A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey to a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose and came to his father.
"But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell upon his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him, and he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found."
It does away forever in all thinking minds with any participation of Jesus in that perverted and perverting doctrine that man is by nature essentially depraved, degraded, fallen, in the sense as was given to the world long, long after his time in the doctrine of the Fall of Man, and the need of redemption through some external source outside of himself, in distinction from the truth that he revealed that was to make men free - the truth of their Divine nature, and this love of man by the Heavenly Father, and the love of the Heavenly Father by His children.
To connect Jesus with any such thought or teaching would be to take the heart out of his supreme revelation. For his whole conception of God the Father, given in all his utterances, was that of a Heavenly Father of love, of care, longing to exercise His protecting care and to give good gifts to His children - and this because it is the essential nature of God to be fatherly. His Fatherhood is not, therefore, accidental, not dependent upon any conditions or circumstances; it is essential.
If it is the nature of a father to give good gifts to his children, so in a still greater degree is it the nature of the Heavenly Father to give good gifts to those who ask Him. As His words are recorded by Matthew: " Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? " So in the parable as presented by Jesus, the father's love was such that as soon as it was made known to him that his son who had been lost to him had returned, he went out to meet him; he granted him full pardon - and there were no conditions.