The enjoyment of this life demands that, right here and now, we should begin to know and understand how we are to establish our individual relationship to the invisible, the real world—the world of causes, the world of law—so as to bring to us a sufficient knowledge of the hidden mysteries of the future life to give us some certain grounds for faith in the unseen. This can only be accomplished by the development of our own occult powers, or by learning of the psychic experiences of others which serve to point the way to what we may come to know for ourselves.
It is all one, here, hereafter, anywhere. Caught in the web of life, there is no escape from its demands upon the individual soul. Somewhere along the way it has to decide its own fate. Upward and onward, or down into the purlieus of the crude beginnings of things. It is free to make its choice. It can pursue the hard and toilsome path of earning its right to eternal happiness, or it can flop around through all the hells of life unrelated to God, and resistant to the Christ.
It is the fear of death, of physical dissolution, that is to be individually conquered. This can only come as a result of a perception of spiritual law, and the unfoldment of the spiritual nature.
The fear of death, of what may lie beyond, has been nature's safeguard against a universal stampede out of this life when the miseries of existence on this earthly plane become too dreadful to be borne; when the tortures of the soul in the tortured body drives out all reason and all philosophy, and the consciousness senses only the demand for surcease of agony. But when the "golden bowl" is broken—the silver cord of human life is severed—by suicide—nothing has been gained by a changed environment. There are the same responsibilities and soul needs, and the miseries and unsatisfied desires of their minds are exactly the same. Nothing has been gained, but much has been lost. Brave, staunch souls one by one obey the call to march over the "border land" into nature's invisible realms; they cannot help themselves, no one can. On they go, an endless caravan into the land of revelations, the place of reviews, where the utterly selfish are fetched up with a "round turn," and made to realize that a real godliness is the only thing that can "pass muster," that mere beliefs do not count, and only character tells. How swiftly, how inevitably their places are filled; nothing stops; prince or peasant, it is all one; the will of the gods—the guardians of this planet, is being fulfilled. Life here is just one link in the endless, unbreakable chain of individual existence.
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Most fortunate is the soul that is started out to make the journey of life without being handicapped by some narrowing religious superstition or an intellectual bias that limits the mind, preventing all unfoldment of originality.
TEST OF CHARACTER.
Sooner or later everyone who has character enough to make any sort of a test worth while, has to have a regular bout with his "evil genius." Christ said: "The devil hath desired thee that he may sift thee as wheat." The form which the test takes depends entirely upon the organization of the individual. But it is in every case the same thing. The thorough arousal of the latent powers of the nature, and the suffering which ensues from the results of its unbalanced actions, constitute the discipline of this life. We can no more escape it, or subvert the action of this law of evolution than we can put a stop to any of the upheavals of nature. The volcano and the earthquake are but the expressions of power in the globe which we inhabit to throw off her old, and ascend through violent agitation to higher conditions. There is a natural correspondence in the experience of her inhabitants and that of our old, old mother!
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Back of protoplasm, back of organic human form is the soul—a thought of God, a spark of divine, eternal life; imperishable, immutable as God himself.
All animals, the human creature included, are born blind and this physical condition of man absolutely typifies his life-long state, owing either to his environment, his heredity, or his false education. The great mass of humanity come into the world unmarked by any specially-developed individuality. These are the legitimate prey of priests and teachers who have their place, or use in the evolution of the lower grades of life on this planet.
The smaller number of advanced souls that are "cast upon the shoals of time," the evolved thinkers, the philosophers have by far the more trying, and difficult life; for the highly individualized man or woman cannot belong to any set school of ethics; there are no fixed landmarks, religious or otherwise. Blinded by inherited prejudices, if not by destructive tendencies, with ideals for which there is no seeming avenue in this commonplace, workaday world; the life of such an one is ever a grope toward the light of truth.
Lacking the sagacity, the primal instinct of self-protection in common with the nature children of the wilds, he plunges forward on his unlit way, and has many a fall into the bogs and morasses of life until he finally sees that only from the higher, the spiritual side of existence can come to humanity redemption from the errors, wrong thinking and action that is the cause of all sin and sorrow of the world. Blessed, indeed, are those to whom this understanding comes in time to harmonize conflicting beliefs and tendencies, and to be the means of rounding out the life, and perfecting that most potent and powerful of all things, a noble human character.
MAN THE FINAL EARTH PRODUCT.
In man Nature has reached her highest evolution. His life and being are the topmost rung of the ladder, but she has not finished with him. It is universally believed that physical death severs everlastingly her dominion over him, and thus ends all her service to him. This is by no means true. Man is her offspring, her child, and to her he returns again and again, drawing from her complex, multitudinous, many-chambered heart such forces as shall bring to him the experiences he requires to further unfold his nature and bring forth all his possibilities.
Not man alone but the planet itself is in the mills of the gods. The seeds, the germs of life that were expressed in such ways in the beginnings of life on this world, still exist in a greatly modified degree and the misunderstood phases of nature's ministry are the results of the out-working of these primitive elements still inhering in the world-stuff of which human bodies are made.
Nature wields her powers of fire and flood and devastating epidemics mercilessly; she constantly rids herself of her superfluous offspring, and forces them to a new environment in her invisible realms, through which they pass, gaining more or less by the experience and from which each must emerge, and continue to evolve and grow according to the law of his own being.
Fear of the unknown has given birth to all the superstitions that have afflicted the minds of ignorant and unthinking people. Few people escape some form of superstition. For instance, the silly sayings, anent the moon, "Fair Priestess of the Night." It is unlucky to see it in its newness—so and so—when the real fact is, it is a merciful Providence that permits us to see it in any of its phases, over the left shoulder or over the right, or through the glass, or in any way at all. There is nothing more "lucky" or glorious than to have good eyesight of one's own, with which to behold this and all the other beauties of nature. The man who chanced to be passing under a ladder just at the moment when a workman half-way up let fall a bucket of paint which struck and deluged him, had some reason for thinking it "unlucky" to go under instead of around such an impediment to travel. But not once in a lifetime would such a thing happen to any one, and it is impossible to imagine what going under ladders or meeting loads of barrels, or funerals, or opening umbrellas in the house, instead of outside of it, or any of the hundreds of silly, puerile, fool superstitions that have sprung from no one knows where, and that have no scientific meaning, and no earthly bearing upon the realities of any life have "to do with the case." These are all the offsprings of minds tinctured by fear of they know not what, and which are peddled around and handed down religiously from one generation to another, to keep alive a sensationalism whose tendency is to blind those who accept them to the great living fact of God's providence which is and has ever been ruling the lives of his earthly children.
While self-abnegation is a valued experience in the spiritual discipline which goes to the formation of a perfect character, the reaction where the ego posits itself upon the law of justice to self, is in reality the beginning of salvation to the individual. But preachment from any source cannot avail with any soul deeply immersed in work for others. There is too much in array against it. The established heredity concerning the first duty of woman is of itself alone a formidable influence to be overcome; then either the real needs, or the selfishness of others, present obstacles beyond the power of loving, sensitive souls to resist. The change must come from the consciousness of the individual of her own needs along these lines, which alone can arouse one to sufficient will, and purpose to be true to one's self if the heavens fall. This is first, and above all other considerations.
A crude and inartistic symbolism is revolting to a spiritually-unfolded consciousness. True mystic symbolisms must observe accurately the finer law of correspondences or they fail to appeal to such as these, and become to the occult a mild form of blasphemy.
No phase of human character—of mental or spiritual philosophy—has engrossed so much attention or received such a variety of treatment as has human love. Nearly everyone who thinks at all, has been brought, at some stage of experience, to an attempt at analyzing the emotional, sentimental nature, asking: "What is Love?"
In contradistinction to that which repels, and disintegrates, it is attraction. Love is God, it draws elements together, and holds them in proper spheres. It centralizes and builds up. It is controlled by fixed laws; it is only "blind" to those who have not investigated its nature, and office unshrinkingly, with an eye to a complete understanding of its true function. Devoted humanitarians have shown us how to feed, exercise, and rest the physical system, in order to produce health. Ministers of the Gospel have taught souls the way of life ever-lasting. Professors of the various sciences and arts, useful and ornamental, have instructed the intellects of men, and now and then a woman; but with all these, the affections—the crowning—rather the integral element of all life and being, have had few, or no exponents who have ever attempted to treat them from any basis which can be called philosophical, or which could ever serve as a guide to one uninitiated in their occult phases.
The ordinary expression of this part of the nature, is a vampyrism which is constantly on the alert to see what, and how much it can gobble up for its own delectation. This is the lowest grade. It begins with the selfism of the individual, its manifestations are named lust. It seeks expression through the sensuous nature, but extends to the spirit and will.
O Love! What crimes are committed in thy name! What laying waste of true and tender hearts, what defacing of sweet bodies, fashioned and set up as temples of the spirit!
This vampyrism extends through every department of the affectional nature. It exists not only among men and women recognized as lovers, married or otherwise, but parents are ghouls to their children, and friends devour each other without stint. Attraction is that law which draws together two opposite elements or forces, positive and negative, or male and female. As the nature and attributes of a human being are multiform, so are the attractions, or loves, numerous. Ignorance of the laws which ought to control and adjust these loves, is the prime cause of all the misery and crime with which the earth is flooded. Two people of the opposite sex are attracted through the intellect on this plane, and realizing the limit of the law which draws them together, they could be admiring friends forever; but ignorant of their needs outside of this, they attempt to force a conjugal relationship which too often ends in dislike. Every grade of lust and love finds representation in the so-called marriage relation, as it stands today. Intellects and spirits without any bodies—worth mentioning—and gross mortal remains unvitalized by souls. The former class ignore the claims of the physical, and gather their robes together sanctimoniously indicating: "Avaunt, lest my purity be contaminated"; while the latter laugh their spiritual pride and fastidiousness to scorn. The war goes on between good and evil, whereas there is really no just ground for difference. All that is needed for the attainment of harmony and peace is a wise adjustment of these forces in individuals and in society.
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The growth of all true character must be slow and gradual. It is not enough that the soul perceives the beauty of a grand, moral life, it must also learn to live it humbly, earnestly and truly.
"IDEALS OF LOVE."
"Greater love hath no man than that he shall give his life for another," whether the scene be set upon the mimic stage, or on the broad theatre of the world. Heroic rescues, desperate efforts to save endangered lives, care of the battle-wounded or fatally diseased meet, from great and small, brutal and cultivated, deserved recognition, even to the extent of making the individual actors—so favored by the gods—famous, throughout the world.
The patient service of men and women to their families, of children to their parents, or of friends who rejoice in serving, that goes on all around us conforms so entirely with our established ideals of what is right and becoming, that it is unnoticed and wins no applause, but oftener only calls out from the recipient demands for further sacrifice.
In all such related service the real blessing comes to those who give far more than to those who receive. The operation of this law hallows all the relationships of this life, and must finally yield to the unselfish giver undreamed of compensations. Not here, perhaps, but in that sphere of being where love is indeed the fulfilling of the law, shall the patient givers, those who have served at love's altars, find themselves closely allied to the immortal ones, "who do his pleasure."
Love, garlanded, and adorned with all that wealth can bestow, enthroned in seats of honor, and social recognition is accepted as our ideal of what love should claim, and win from life; but I have looked into the faces of humble, patient toilers, and there I have seen that the sustaining influence with them was love, and have marvelled greatly over the compelling power of their ideals of love.
Remembering that foundations of love upon this earthly planet were, of necessity, laid in the selfish instincts of the race—a race as yet so undeveloped in all that "makes for righteousness"—we need not despair of the final outcome, and realization of its high behest to the children of men; for no expression of love, however mean in view of our own exalted ideals, but is, in reality, an effort towards something higher and better. The obdurate and selfish are unfolded, and taught by its painful misunderstandings, and awful tragedies.
Those poor souls who expect everything from this life, whose ideals are bounded by their own selfishness, who have never discovered that God is Love, and that only through love, purified, exalted and idealized can any of his earthly children ever reach to any conscious relationship with our Father in Heaven, and who, failing to realize even their low ideals, pass on from one experience to another vainly searching for the realization of what their dimly perceived intuitions of love constantly assure them should be theirs—for even such as these there must be a final redemption; for, like one of old, they have "loved much," and the sins of a vast ignorance are at last condoned by God's all pervading, untiring, illimitable law of love.
O ye! who labor for humanity's uplifting; O weary workers in the homely ways of the unskilled in every relationship of life, unrecognized by your fellows be ye of good cheer! As the circling waves of a calm lake spread wider, and more widely from a center disturbed by some heavy substance, so shall your least word, or thought of pure, unselfish love, from your overburdened lives, reach out and diffuse an influence throughout the universe of God, and become a part of the life immortal!
Love, and love alone creates the desire for immortality, lifts up and renews the oft fainting faith, the faltering, changeful hope, and perpetuates the expectations of the restoration of beloved companions, the reunion of families, and friends. It inspires the spirit, and seals the brokenhearted to the service of "ideal love." It leads the human soul onward, and upward, until it triumphs, at last, over this life's defeats and losses, and its manifold despairs.
Undeterred by the alarms of war, the wails of the diseased and famine-cursed, and the violent protests of the oppressed, and misery-steeped unfortunates of this plane of being, the "Prince of Peace" is calling together his scattered forces. The beacon lights shine along the high places where dwell the exalted, and powerful ones of earth, and glimmer faintly from the lowlands, where the dire enemies of mankind—ignorance and superstition—are, at last, learning that God, the true God, loves, and cannot hate.
The "ground-swell" of the "ideal love" cannot be resisted, nor overborne by any competing power in the universe, and with ever-increasing force and power to conquer all of earth's conditions of unrest, and dissatisfaction, born of false ideals, it will sweep resistlessly on, until it is merged in God. The recognition of the homogeneity of the race, and the "Fatherhood of God," shall bring the longed for fulfillment of the ancient prophecy of "Peace on Earth, and good will to Man."
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The priests endowed the gods with vices which they knew to be popular among their rich and powerful patrons.
THE NEEDS OF WOMAN.
Women need any and all disciplines which teach them self-justice. There are many noble and good women who allow their whole lives to be picked away from them by demands upon their time and strength which come to them under the guise of duties. Viewed from a higher standpoint, they are not duties, in that they conflict with the great underlying principle of self-justice. This is the pivotal idea of a true religion; for it is impossible to be true, to be just to others save as we are so to ourselves, and while no character can be perfected, except through the fiery ordeal of an entire self-abnegation, there is a higher, and a holier life in store for those who have the strength, and the courage to plant their feet upon this God-given and eternal law of justice to self.
It is comparatively easy to gird one's self for the conflict which is apparent, nearly all women souls are equal to that heroism; but it is in the daily round of the household, in relation to the church, and to society, or to the professions where women need to watch most jealously the weakness of self-sacrifice. Women have had the beauty of "unselfishness," and "amiability" dinned into their ears for so long that there is no depth of degradation, or of abnegation of true womanhood to which they will not descend for the sake of being so considered by those whose interest it is to keep them where they virtually endorse the vices of others by their own lack of self-justice. While we must grope along until we understand the wickedness of this, and until we outgrow that weakness, let us be ready for, and equal to the hour which shall give us the laurels of the victor. And why not laurels? Has it not been uttered by the mouth of inspired prophecy that the "last shall be first," and that "the stone rejected by the builders shall yet be the head of the corner?" It rests with us, individually, to represent that truthfulness, and faithful adherence to the justice due to womanhood which shall yet crown her with rejoicing.
To this end women must begin to gather in those pearls of unselfish devotion and self-abnegation which they have been so recklessly casting under the feet of ignorance and beastliness.
It is blessed for lovely and loving woman to bestow bountifully from the richness of her nature. But every grace has its complement, and the complement of this, for the present, is the greater blessing of conserving herself until she knows her power as an individual, and thoroughly comprehends what is due to her dignity and worth.
MAN VERSUS WOMAN.
Man, living entirely in his physical nature, goes on and on in the gratification of the senses until he becomes satiated, and "blase," and there is nothing satisfactory left for him upon the sensuous plane. Then he either crystallizes into a hard, selfish being, or plunges still deeper into the slough of sensuality from which Divine Love alone can rescue him. This power is most often manifested by woman, the natural law-giver and redeemer. For ages man has projected his selfish human will into all the affairs of life, thus setting aside the higher law. In the love relations he has specially dominated woman, reversing the divine order of nature, and thus killing out all possible inspiration, and consequent happiness. Everywhere he has set up his own lustful desires as the rule and right of life in his relationship to woman, destroying the spiritual sacrament of marriage; and by his selfishness and greed of power, he has reduced her to a condition of prostitution. He outrages the helpless ones who have confided their honor, and their lives to his keeping, and the law—the vile, cursed, man-made law—upholds him in this slaughter of all that should make his heaven of trusting love. The wails of the wronged ones—specially those who suffer in the marriage relation—go up incessantly to God, and the woe of the children who, through these conditions, have inherited only animal love and instinct is enough to drown the "music of the spheres."
Parenthood being one phase of unfoldment, each individual must at some period of incarnation exercise this important function. To the uses of reproduction, the animal love with its blustering activities of expression, is, rightly understood, adjusted. But above and beyond this is the spiritual union which brings forth children of the mind, the fruitage of the soul, manifest in noble thoughts and brave deeds. Every expression of love, however crude and animal, is an impulsion of the flesh-enveloped soul toward the source of all love, and however distasteful one may seem, to such as have evolved a spiritual consciousness, and the demand for soul satisfaction, it cannot be ignored.
Through the pain of satiety, of disease, or suspended activity of the love nature, the ego at last senses its need of God. It comes to know that nothing less than divine love can ever satisfy this demand of the heart. The constant tendency of the inspired human being is to extremes. The "golden mean" is the "high water mark" of real cultivation. We have on one side the suppression of the ascetic, and at the other end of the line the abandonment of the debauchee—both sinful and false because extreme, both casting a reproach upon the laws of God as outworked in, and through nature. The ascetic, seeing the harmful results to the soul attending the usual unlimited, and undisciplined expression of nature which man accords to his supposed necessities, draws the line by cutting off all surplus of physical supplies and, stifling the cries of passion, retires into a cave or cell, and into himself, thus totally ignoring all the necessary activities attending the development of this planet and of the human race. He may thus reach a high altitude of purely spiritual perception; but it is, after all, a sublimated selfishness. His example is of no benefit to the world's workers. He is not of those who think and feel, and who are in the way of divulging esoteric knowledges to the quest of the vast army of earnest seekers after light upon these underlying laws of human life.
For the control by man of the love, and the life of woman there is a cut-and-dried sentiment and an enforced law concerning the segregated exercise of a natural function. By her acceptance, or rejection of this onesided "morale," is woman judged pure or impure, blessed or cursed, as the case may be. If this rule could be enforced equally upon both sexes, if there were not two distinct sets of moral laws, one for man, and quite another for woman, there would be no such injustice. As it is, there is but one way left open for woman. She must develop the power and will to be a law unto herself, regardless of the suspicion, and brutality of man, and with this also indifference to the foolness and the weak protest of her fellow slaves—women. These are "long, long thoughts." Ages must elapse ere the males of our kind will have evoluted up to a status where they will see that through justice to woman alone can they secure to themselves any degree of worthy, or lasting happiness, or satisfaction.
NATURAL CRUELTY OF THE UNDEVELOPED.
The most unaccountable phase of the minds of the leaders of religions has been their persistent effort to make their fellow beings wretched and miserable instead of glad and happy. We expect savagery from the Comanchee Indians and other primitive tribes and races; but from self-styled Christians the history of their cruelties is astounding. It is pure devil worship—that is what it is—if they but knew it.
One of the beautiful plans of theologians and priests for scaring half-witted people into their individual folds has been telling them that they were in danger of committing the most dreadful of all sins, the "sin against the Holy Ghost." The utterly "unpardonable sin" of all sins. This blasphemous, fiendish proposition has frightened numbers of half-baked folks, and they have pestered their small modicum of brains over this mysterious say-so of priests and parsons even to the point of committing suicide, or of landing themselves in lunatic asylums.
THE WORST SIN.
The much speculated over "sin against the Holy Ghost," the so-called "unpardonable sin" is the sin that men and women commit against themselves; for the most holy of all ghosts, or spirits, is that portion of God—the universal Spirit—embodied in their own separate personalities, and it is only "unpardonable" in that it sets the soul back from its possible and intended progress toward its ultimate perfection.
The objections to the acceptance of a belief in the law of reincarnation are based upon the imperfect teaching, and the consequent inadequate understanding of the laws controlling such experiences.
Some of the reasons for disbelief are utterly illogical. For instance, one view is this: "I never want to come back to this earth after I once leave it." The fact is, that there could be no return to today's recognized conditions of life. If one were to return to this planet and become reembodied, he would find himself in some other country, and under such entirely changed conditions that he would be totally unconscious of being on the same world where he had formerly lived. Then, again, the law of vibration is so immanent in material things, the changes are so constantly undermining conditions and setting up quite others that if one were to return in one hundred or even in fifty years, it could not be the same, and that person could not be in any way subject to the same conditions, or to the same experiences.
Furthermore, it is nature's wise and provident law that there is hardly ever any memory of any previous life here. Still, after the soul has passed through many lives and has accumulated great knowledge, a vast consciousness which can not be laid aside, there come to individual souls faint gleams of memories of past experiences which, if heeded or understood, might become helpful and instructive, if not altogether consoling.
There has never been a time when the needs of humanity have so reached the great spiritual overlords of this planet as at present. Or, that those needs have been so responded to by the return to earth of wise, and godlike spirits as now. Many of these have sought to approach humanity through personal reembodiment in the flesh. It would be well for the world if, instead of cramming the brains of children with effete ideas and superstitions, the messages of these wise ones could be listened to and heeded.
A thorough understanding of the laws of reembodiment, so far as we can know them, entirely refutes the belief and the feeling of the injustice of the Creator towards any human being. The law of evolution carries the soul along from one expression of life to another giving to each individual the opportunity to accumulate such knowledge, and to grow such character as shall finally bring it to a state of perfection. The discrepancies in human life are largely external. The millionaire, envied by less fortunate beings, may be far below the poor, struggling laborer in point of real unfoldment of soul. And again, people so favored in this material experience of life may be forced by the very nature of existence to return into humble conditions to learn the real lessons of life here.
We are not the arbiters of our own destiny, and the sooner we conceive the idea of non-resistence to fate, realize that our lives are guided by unerring law, and simply set ourselves to trying to understand the meanings of our experiences, and to trying to wring from each one all that it is intended to teach us, seeking to learn from it all that we possibly can in order that we may not be forced to be taught the lessons over again, the better for our growth and happiness.
This earth, our birth place, our kindergarten school, and the university from which we must each graduate, having once received us, can never let go its hold upon one of its children until this final result is attained. Over and over again, the lives of all who belong to this planet pass into the invisible realms of Nature to rest from the sordid and wearisome experiences of material life, and again return to seek out further growth and understanding, until the final culmination is reached. The soul is hurried on through its experiences of departing and returning, until earth has no further lesson, no further service to perform. Then, indeed, it may graduate and ascend to its place among the gods.
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Newly-embodied souls might be considered as raw material flung out upon the sea of life to be ground and polished by experience, and grown into a semblance of perfection befitting the "children of God."
PROCESSES OF REINCARNATION.
Spirit has no consciousness on the material plane, except through the vibratory action of the human brain, the mortal mind. The individual ego gathers up from each incarnation—if it is true to itself—some knowledge, some wisdom, and stores it away in the spirit brain. Its experiences cover every opportunity to understand, from lowest to highest, all that any single one in the whole human family has ever known. This is the justice of the great Creator. The king today has been in some previous life an oppressed laborer, and if he could for a moment lay aside his egotistical pride of power and place, he might remember and know how 'tis himself. Men and women of thought, of great character have returned from each separate incarnation, for rest from the destroyed physical, loaded like the honey bee with the results of labor and effort.
When the practised soul familiarizes itself with the newly-born, fleshly tabernacle it is to inhabit and use for a long or a short time, it broods over the unconscious being, and at the first indication of intelligence, pours into the human brain-cells its own spiritual life, and what thus comes in is there to stay. The growth of the child, the development of the individual, depends mostly upon the capacity of the brain to receive and adjust this knowledge and inspiration to its use upon the earth plane upon which it is to live, the place, the environment in which it is to learn its next needed lessons.
The soul, the ego, thus placed, is bound and shackled by its human heredity. This is inevitable, it has no choice as to its lineaments or figure. It in a sense bears the "sins of the world"; it can in no way separate itself, really, from the whole human family.
When the experiences of the dual nature, the body and soul, from any cause, bring the body, or the brain into conditions where it can no longer respond to the uses of the spirit, then occurs what is called death—physical dissolution. But this change is simply the unclothing of the spirit from its earthly conditions, setting it free to return again to its home, there to review what it has gained, and added to its previous stock of knowledge. The individual soul in each incarnation forms for itself ties more or less real and lasting—with the mother, the fleshly vehicle, through whose mysterious service it enters upon its earthly life; with the male parent whose service to humanity may, or may not be godly or godlike, though natural and necessary; with family relations; and with friends, public and private. Nearly every person who passes through this unveiling comes to the grave-side with trains of friends to whom he is attached, and whom he will not forget, and he will stay on and on in his heaven till every claim upon his love, or service is fully satisfied. No more severing of ties; no more broken hearts, or disappointed hopes. No injustice, full fruition in heaven.
This adjustment measured by earthly reckoning may take long reaches of time, but finally, the soul, stirred by the eternal law of progress, of unfoldment, repeats its former experience, drinks of the cup of forgetfulness, and returns again to learn in the great university of unfolding life on this planet. A vast multitude, it is coming and going, unceasingly moving on. No two alike; each in its place pressing forward to the station which the totality of its experiences through many lives entitles it. There is but one law, but one method that abides. It is the spiritual law of evolution; everyone is held by it; all who seem exempt today from its influence upon their lives, have already passed the crucial tests, or are traveling forward to meet them.
Sooner or later every human soul must inevitably take its turn, until it passes up through the whole gamut of earthly experience. Whatever character anyone achieves belongs to the individual eternally. It is the reward of patient service, of consecrated effort for the truth. Great souls are what they are, in the places they now occupy by virtue of their many incarnations. Through the great variety of experiences gained, they have come to know. They have earned the right to be what they are. There are usurpers in all the ways of life, ignorance and hypocracy masquerading as the real thing, but they do not last. Pretenders are soon unmasked and taken at their true value.
Sometimes the spirit is strong enough to ignore its present surroundings and rise above all the obstacles connected with its material heredity. It depends upon the unfoldment of the spirit whether it shall espouse the cause of progress and truth, or yield to the pressure of its environment and shrink back into a lower grade, and lose the opportunity for further growth.
EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
Nearly all so-called civilized people set to work to cram the minds of their children, at the first indication of any degree of intelligence, with a religious bias such as they themselves have inherited or have been taught. Then the intellect must be shaped, forced and driven into accepted moulds, and the human being is considered ready to be turned out into the world to fight the battle which everyone, in one way or another, must fight all along the way of human life—to begin to test the value of the ideas and principles with which the soul has been furnished to meet all the exigencies incident to the pilgrimage from birth to the final exit from this state of being. It has taken uncounted ages to produce the perfected types of physical humanity we see on earth today. Here Nature calls a halt, saying: "As the handmaid, the co-worker with your Creator, I have brought you along to the point where you look and seem almost as gods. There is in each of you a divine ego—a thought of your Creator—a sure guide to perfection. To reach this goal must be now your constant endeavor. There is a spiritual body, the outgrowth of the physical."
Thousands of children, too young to choose for themselves, are being fettered in spirit by the chains of old, effete superstitions; their intellects are being stultified by the absorption of narrowing creeds and vulgarizing ideas of God and his universe. There are numbers of Spiritualists and "liberal" men and women who expose the tender minds of their children to these same influences for society's sake, knowing though they do, from hard experience, what an effort it costs to free the mind of such serious bias, and re-educate it aright.
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The noblest teaching is that which puts us en rapport with our own inner, unspoken and unrecognized perceptions. No truth, however manifested, can adjust itself to our soul's needs, save as it finds in us a response through that preparation which comes from a certain degree of previous knowledge.
Egotism is the perception, and recognition by individuals of the rights and the possibilities of their real selves, their ego. Without it human beings would not stand up on their hind legs, they would crawl. It is at the same time a necessity and a danger. It has never been settled which is cause and which effect, whether insanity creates the awful manifestations of egotism or the unbalanced egotism induces insanity. "Keep us sane" is the wisest of all prayers, the greatest demand one can make upon his consciousness.
People pass into the spirit world in the full bloom of their egotism; hordes of them return to tell their friends things they know absolutely nothing about, and the folks on this side believe all they say, and so fool ignorance is passed along and stays in the minds of those who listen to the "messages" of egotism and ignorance. There are "dead loads" of people who think this is all there is of Spiritualism. While it is blessed that friends can return, and comfort the mourning ones by their assurances of remembrance and love, this should never be the final result sought for. Those who have lived but a limited time in the spirit world—the world of causes, of law—cannot teach people here the knowledge that can satisfy their souls. But there are educated souls, who have once lived honored and useful lives here, who are only too glad to respond to the needs of inquiring humanity, teaching them the ways of wisdom, and lifting them out of ignorance and darkness into the light.
Surely we are trying to solve the biggest problems before the class. The people who are our profoundest teachers, through whom come our largest experiences and knowledge are often most unconscious of their influence on other minds; and this is lawful, for the moment a human soul begins to wriggle either from anxiety or egotism, the divine "chemical affinities" are disturbed.
Long before we get up to God, our nearer relative, "Mother Nature," is most gracious in her methods of unfoldment, standing ever ready to whisper in the devoted, or willing ear, her "open sesame" to the manifold workings of her secret laws. It is ever the same old exhortation: "Seek and ye shall find," "Knock and it shall be opened to you," and the most wonderful of all is, the amount of unexpected testimony, and endorsement which she will contrive to bring to bear to prove to you the truth of what she asserts through your own individual experience.
"Elective affinities" hold their own royally. You shall think and feel deeply, and the first friend you meet shall tell you—quite spontaneously—of his ponderings which tally with your own, never suspecting that they are held to you by a subtle, and beautiful chemistry, the response of soul to soul.
There is but one integral law. All others are but its radiations. The natural tendency of the human mind is ever toward being satisfied with its present limitations, instead of which we ought to constantly exercise our will and aspiration to fling off the mists of prejudice which so easily envelop the soul, and strive ever to enlarge our horizon, and push on to higher and better things.
Such men as J. Knox in Scotland and J. Edwards in this country must have had chronic indigestion or cancers in their insides, or they could not have revelled so in hell, and "eternal damnation" as they did. What unreckoned miseries would surely have been spared their listeners if they, and thousands of their sort, could have developed a modicum of Christian feeling and a little kindness toward their hypnotized hearers!
Not only from their immediate, personal teachings came awful fears of what must be the fate of all who were under the judgment as set forth by the unbalanced minds of such as these; but the long ineradicable chain of influences that haunt, and torture the minds of good folks, even to this day. The utter lack of wisdom and knowledge of God's laws and providence, in the realm of theological teachings, is undoubtedly the cause of much of the diablerie of the world today.
If all the priests and parsons who have ever infested this earth with their blasphemous theology were to unite their fiendish forces in a concentrated effort to doom one human soul—one spirit—to be burned forever in the endless hell fires which they have so long exulted in holding up over poor, wretched, ignorant peoples, they could not do it! They have had a glorious time persecuting, torturing, burning and slaying human bodies, driving millions of innocent inhabitants off the planet, who had just as much right to this—their home—as had, or can ever have any set of bloodthirsty ruffians, claiming their commissions from God Almighty! How thoughtless, expecting the religionists to put aside this, their most cherished dogma, of "eternal punishment in hell fires!" What would they have left to scare folks with, and make them hand over their dollars, and what, O what! vent could they have for their own natural, pure cussedness?
Great is the god Commonplace, and his prophets of the accredited order of the "Common, ornary Kusses" are legion. They are of both sexes and of every race, age and condition. Consent to render homage to their Deity by confessing by word and deed that every man is as good as another and better too, and they will continue to smile openly; but, in secret, they will prey upon you. Their capable emissaries go around with measuring line and shears, alert to discover, and ready to reduce to the proper dimensions anyone who shall dare to outgrow their prescribed proportions. You can never know when you are safe from their incursions.
The dignified old man who sits next you at your hotel table seeming to be entirely preoccupied by the discussion of his dinner, may only be biding his time, waiting an excuse to deliver you over to their insatiable maw, to be dealt with according to the rules of their society. Or, perhaps the lady who in the first flush of your acquaintance quite dazzles you with her fluent chat upon multitudinous topics, suddenly, upon finding you unguardedly expressing opinions not approved by the high priests of mediocrity, lets fall her mask, and shows herself to your astonished gaze a secret emissary, a determined servant of their most ancient and established order. "Thus far," so far as we can accompany you, "shalt thou go and no farther" at your peril. Woe to the soul that yields a ready obedience to the master's voice, that is ever calling to all who can hear: "Come up higher." The sash with which he would gird up his loins, "the latchet" with which he tightens his sandals that he may run more swiftly the race set before him, the staff upon which he would lean shall all be turned by these demon worshippers into scourges. He shall be "beaten with many stripes," for so it hath been ordained from long time, until the pain of his wounded heart and hurt brain shall deaden his sensibilities so that he can no more hear the voice nor see the helping hand.
Defy, resist, and the limp, sprawling, accommodating God becomes a sinuous, hydracrested, overpowering dragon, stopping at nothing to "put you where you belong"—his favorite battle cry—himself judge, jury and executioner. This he has not the power to do unless he can prove to you that you "belong" where he seeks to place you, for his veins are full of mud. He is of the "earth earthy," and in the rarified atmosphere of noble ambition and great achievements, he is utterly blind and of no account. Take heart, then, O aspiring soul! "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Render unto every true principle that which is its due; but beware how you worship or lean upon teachers, leaders who, beneath their proudly-worn garb, and insignia of leadership, may be all the time wearing the robes of the high priests of the god Commonplace.
"'Pears like" the affairs of life on this planet are dreadfully "higgledy-piggledy"; but in reality, there is a divine purpose, a use in it all. It is the soul's kindergarten. It is interesting to observe the curious and round-about ways Nature takes to insure the greatest good to the greatest number of her needy children. Long before the first nitro-glycerine "go-devil" was sent down, down, to the uttermost depths, to shatter the oil-bearing rock, and set free the wonderful deposit that was destined to mark a new era in the affairs of men, rang out the Biblical mandate: "Let there be light," and in due time the whole world was illuminated.
The sorcerers, who have abstracted vast wealth from this earth product have fancied it was for their special benefit and use, that nature had garnered up her stores to be thus liberated, and chemicalized into a thousand forms, by their sagacious work. Not so! Quite indeed, not so!
Came—at last—the kerosene lamp. How marvelous the light of its clear flame, after "tallow dips" and "pine knots"! How the little lamp of the first experiment grew, and grew into gorgeous centers of sun-like radiance, shining everywhere, illuminating hitherto darkened, impenetrable places, carrying the torch of civilization round the entire world. Alike in slum and palace, in homes of poverty, and set to shine in the gilded resorts of the noble and wealthy; blessing the student, and the vast army of enforced workers; lighting the paths of men, and the ways of the multitude; making vice and crime more difficult, by dispersing the darkness from hidden purlieus. Through primeval depths and mountain fastnesses, wherever the footsteps of men have wandered, the magic lamp has pioneered the way.
All war is horrible. Through what agonies of loss, and orgies of death, and tortures of the weak driven to the wall by unscrupulous men the war against material darkness on this planet has been carried on is utterly unimaginable and impossible ever to be known. The end has been reached, the great needs of humanity at large have been and are being served, and while superior sources of light have largely taken the place of the oil lamp, it still shines calmly on in the homes of the poor, and will, for ages yet to come.
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"As a man thinketh, so is he." This may be only measurably true, in consequence of the stress of circumstances; but sooner or later, the thought moulds the individual beyond the power of disguising the real character.
It was all in order for Yahweh, the guardian spirit of the Hebrew race, to "hetchel" the Jews—and from all accounts they needed it—but the most anomalous phase of this whole affair consists in the fact that after having set forth to the world that the church, and all were to come under the rule of the "new dispensation," and represent the teachings of the Master, they should turn back to the old, old history of the Jews, and incorporate bodily into the so-called Christian religion, and into the political life and jurisprudence of nations, the restrictions, the penalties, and, in a word, the Hebraic law in its entirety. Law, as it is applied in America, is a process lacking in equity and justice. It is circumvented by $-s for the benefit of the rich, a menace to the poor man, binding on the needy burdens that kill, or lead to despair. Jesus Christ did not make law; he only indicated the presence of the higher law—the scientific law—that must rule all life on this planet ere justice to all can ever prevail.
The gospel of Jesus—the Nazarene—was the first that ever brought hope or promise of any possible good to the outcast, and the children of poverty.
Communism is the beginning, and not the culminating state of societies and peoples. All efforts on this line fail, because they are based upon the false and impossible premise of the absolute equality of all men. There never has been, there never can be any such adjustment of the forces of nature on this planet; because no two souls are alike and there can only be equality in alikeness. Spirits come here in groups. They start simultaneously on their pilgrimage across the "sands of time"; but at the very outset there are obstacles and handicaps innumerable. At once there is heredity. There is no equality in heredity. It is good, bad or indifferent as the case may be. But the great divergence is in the soul itself; it grovels or aspires, and unfolds its powers according to the laws of its own individual being, and all men, and women should not be held accountable or judged alike. It is not just. Communism would seek to suppress all individuality and reduce everyone to the "dead level" of the commonplace, under the mistaken idea of universal equality. Gifted persons daring to lift up their heads above the common ruck of mankind, are at once shoved back into the narrow groove the heads of the cult have decided to be the proper rut for human beings to run in.
In this view, persons of ignoble and narrow natures may sit in judgment upon people of genius and refinement, and may force back the most aspiring seer into expressionless life by the utter lack of any comprehension by their dull, selfish fancy. Ye gods! How they exult in doing it! This trick is played upon sensitive, modest, gifted people everywhere. Fools set the pace and rule, and those who know the least of the responsibilities of living are the first to rush forward and grab them up. Envy and jealousy have it all their own way, and so it is the world around; everyone is forced to pay a fearful price for his superiority.
At different times poets and writers, good people of distinction and philanthropy, weary of the "storm and stress" of life and of invasions and intolerable "bumptiousness" of the vulgar and indiscriminating, have tried to secure a place and surroundings where high thinking and simple living might order their days and secure to them companionship fit for the gods; but the noblest and best of humanity are not permitted to go off by themselves in such ways and have a little heaven on earth all to themselves. This cannot be. They must stand apart each in their place, out in the world—"in the open"—that they may each one stand as a beacon light, object lesson, leader, and thus assist in "leavening the whole lump" of ignorant and unregenerate humanity.
Happiness is the final achievement of the human soul. Perfect happiness can only come as the result of absolute at-one-ment with God, the divine will, and in this conforming there is no loss of personality, or of individuality; it only rounds out the soul into its godlike completeness. It is unimaginable that there should come loss of any attribute of the soul on its way up to the rendez-vous with its Parent, God. Rather, that its powers should increase in every possible direction with use, in conformity with divine law. This is the only true happiness.
The ideals of happiness cherished by men take in an immensely wide range, and bring into action all the peculiar attributes of the composite natures of man. The brutal instinct cries out: "Kill! kill!" Bloodsheding is its ravishing delight. When it arrives at a point where it may not destroy its fellows, the whole created animal kingdom—including woman—is its prey. Wars and rumors of wars will never cease on this planet until humanity at large develops out of this grade which expects to find happiness in the exercise of its very lowest, primitive instincts.
Further along in the line of the evolution of the soul, ideals of happiness pursued by man are simply futile and childish; the awakening to a realization of this is a commonplace, world-wide experience, and only repeated embodiments can purge the soul, educate the minds of men, and turn their attention to the only true and lasting ideals of happiness.
Physical pain beyond a certain point ceases to be pain and becomes an ecstasy. The same beneficent law controls mental and spiritual agonies. They each have their limit. To the keenest of sorrows, the deepest of griefs our Maker has spoken: "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." Nurse them as we may, draw them as deeply as we can into our soul's recesses, and make them, in our morbid states, idols to cherish, they yet lose their power to hold our souls in subjection.
Both physically and mentally, the nerves of feeling refuse to respond. They have their limitation, and time holds for every heart-breaking experience a consolation. If it were not so, this world would be turned into a vast, howling lunatic asylum. Unseen and unrecognized by stricken hearts, "The Angels of His, who do His pleasure" stand ever ready to pour healing balm upon all our wounds, and to teach the great, eternal truth that afflictions are the real educators of the soul.
FOES IN THE HOUSEHOLD.
"A man's foes shall be they of his own household." This saying referred to the religious differences which the great prophet saw would arise in consequence of his peculiar teachings. There are no ill feelings between people so rancorous and lasting as those which spring from such causes, and as hate is but love inverted, the nearer and dearer the relationships, the more bitter is the feeling likely to be engendered. Proverbially, family feuds are the most deadly and difficult to eradicate.
The friend, the relative who knows you best, who has seen you in your hours of weakness when you have been entirely "off guard," is the one who can most injure you should anything occur to sever your hearts. There is no help for this save in that growth of charity and forbearance one toward another which teaches us to seek not our own, but to try to help each other in the great struggle of life.
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Who are the "pure in heart?" Those who aspire to the good, and sacrifice self to attain it. What is virtue? That which is best for the individual; not on either the animal or the spiritual plane alone; but in every lawful expression of the nature; the epitomization, and spiritualization of all past "karma" from the sod up to God.
THE INNER LIFE.
How unreal seems the existence of the inner life! How vain our intent to catch its meaning, and portray its deepest lessons, and yet, it is the reality. It forms the center around which all external life revolves, from which all outward being receives its vitality and assurance of existence. The passive soul heeds not the ever-recurring changes which its very continued life indicates, and will, when unveiled by the transforming hand of death, wonder at its wealth of life. The conscious being, ever alert, notes the changes and the indications of ever-progressing life with delight, and awe, and a profound recognition of the law of its being which sets the star of its existence higher and higher in the heavens, and lures it on for its own perfection even unto the perfect day. To such a soul there is little peace, or rest by the way; but it may finally learn a godlike heroism and patience which will enable it to trace its steps, and see in all its life's experiences a sequence which is divine and beneficent.
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Power is silent; power does not fume and bluster. It holds firmly and steadily on its way, and wins by force of its resistless and relentless sway.
ROOT OF EVILS.
The most unaccountable phase of philanthropic effort put forth by good people for the help of humanity is their utter failure to apply their remedial suggestions, or helpful agencies to the real roots, or causes, of great matters needing attention. Everything is approached and dealt with entirely from the external. Either from ignorance or fear of the probable results to be met with upon close inspection, the beginnings, the real causes of evil doings are let alone to grow until they become unbearable. Then comes the "hue and cry" joined in by all who seek to have wrongs righted.
Such has been, and is the "white slave evil." Ignorance is the cause of all evil; but the special cause of this great, terrible, devastating wrong starts with the utter lack of the education of children by their parents, especially of the necessary instruction of girls regarding their own natural functions, and their relationship to men. The most vitally important knowledge that can ever be theirs is left entirely out of their home education, and the natural curiosity of the young left to the foolish ignorance of their young mates, or of designing underlings.
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Woman is the magnet that draws souls to this life.
BEST IN CHANCE.
There is no method so surely successful in barring the progress of the soul as that of permitting a prejudice for one phase, or presentation of occult law to so blind the perceptions of the mind as to cause it to entirely disregard all such views as are not already set forth, and accepted.
It is as the old story of the two who fought over the shield with a gold side and a silver side; because, as neither could see both sides at once, each considered the statement of the other a willful falsehood. Let us try, at least, to bear in mind that our relationship to this universe has been of long enough duration to permit of the evolution, and establishment of many series of laws which do not, as would seem at the first glance, conflict, or force us to a disbelief in our own well-accredited experiences. The whole united universe is moving forward upon evolutionary lines, and what was, and is true in the beliefs of the East, must be today supplemented by the further knowledge revealed by the seers of the West. The extreme likeness which exists between the different religions of the world is everywhere apparent, and the devachan of the Theosophists corresponds to the expected rest in the tomb, until Gabriel sounds his horn on resurrection day of the orthodox Christian.
The only way the priests knew to prevent the knowledge of their ignorance coming to their followers was to draw a veil over the future of the invisible soul, and promise a long, long rest to the weary and heavy-laden ones, to whom this, alone, seemed compensation for their earthly cares.
People are just as tired today as they have ever been in the history of the world, but they are growing, through their superior knowledge of occult things, to see how to separate spirit and soul from matter, and to render unto each its just due in its proper sphere. In laying aside the physical body, and perceiving that the new life opening up before the spirit offers the truest possible rest to the enfranchised soul, through congenial activities, and obeying its behest finding a real heavenly experience through their recognition, and obedience to the undeviating law of uses.
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We do want God in the Constitution; but not the God of any creed or ism, but of the great moral principles, the ethical philosophy taught by Jesus, the Christ.
There is such a thing as being miserly of thoughts and ideas as well as of lucre. One is as foolish as the other. Circulation is necessary to health and comfortable living. Cast off the leading strings of other minds. Out of the abundance of thine own heart speak thine own truest, highest thoughts. Think not thy supply will fail, or that by withholding thou shalt increase thy store. It is not possible to make a corner in this realm, or to take out a mortgage on God's gifts. Freely ye have received, freely give and thy "measure shall be pressed down and running over."
If the absolute homogeneity of the race were once understood and established in the minds of men, it would put an end to the varying modes and methods of thought which now only tend to separate their minds and hearts. To know, to feel the unity of soul with souls, and of the minds of men with the Infinite would forever wipe out the discord and inharmony which now prevail everywhere. Not my erring, and human will, but thy Will of Wisdom and Love be done on earth as it is in heaven, must be, finally, the attitude of every aspiring soul.
Too long the Christian world has accepted the legendary Hebraic God, in the place of our real "Father who art in heaven." The teachings of Jesus—the testimony he gave of the love of God, if taken to the heart—must dispose forever of the perception of God as a Being of cruelty and revenge, and given over to low attributes. The Creator of the universe—"without whom was nothing made"—manifests to us through the action of eternal and unchangeable law. This is demonstrated to us by and through his vice-gerents, the angels of his who do his pleasure. Down, down from the supernal regions, from the supernal plane of being, comes the Divine Mandate which is made known to the human soul through the instrumentality that can penetrate the surroundings, and best make manifest the inspiration, the warning, or the perception of the undeviating law which holds all human experience and its sure results in its care and keeping. And those who dwell upon the threshold of the door which opens upon the life eternal are those who have loved and who still do love the children of earth—fathers, mothers, children, friends who have walked the earth by our sides, and whom no starry crowns, and no glorious heaven could tempt away from the work of blessing and comforting the sorrowing souls still left on earth to mourn the loss of their loving companionship, and sympathy. And this is God's "Special Providence" made manifest in our lives whenever and wherever we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
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Once the soul really looks forth and sees, there can be, after that, no more sleeping. All is effort, weighing, balancing, deciding, groping painfully along, or running swiftly the race, bracing against fearful odds, or bravely out-riding the storm. Taking it all as it comes, it is increasing action, motion, change.
Confucius, long considered the oldest and wisest of all the ancient teachers, when he was consulted upon an abtruse point of ethics, said in effect: "Ask the ancients. I do not know." The results of modern research are constantly undermining the first-recorded ideas concerning the age, and the degree of scientific and religious culture of the race, and we may well feel like turning from the authenticated historical records with which we are familiar to ask of the old, old world the occult meanings of the messages graven on pillar and on chiselled stone. The records which have survived the storm and stress of the ages bringing down to us unexpected knowledge of the lives, the achievements, and the histories of far-off, long-buried, hidden and lost peoples, communities, and even distinct personalities, were carefully planned and exactly executed by those who, already perceiving the mutability of all human life, and all its affairs, who—in a word—realizing that "the fashion of this world passeth away," sought to immortalize and perpetuate forever an absolute history of their own, and kindred races, by the uprearing of vast, imperishable monuments and temples, and abodes of men. The pyramids, majestic rock-hewn places of worship, and subterranean crypts are but the fingerposts of destiny. The voice of the weird spirit of "Memnon" who sits enthroned within the awful wastes of the desert sands, moans on and on, ever the same awe-inspiring warning. "Listen, listen, vain, evanescent, puerile chrysalis, man! Such as thou art, so were these most ancient of days over the history of whose toilsome, groping lives we keep forever jealous watch and ward. As they are today, so shall ye become. A little space, a few cycles of time, and all that lives and stalks abroad in the full plentitude of energy and ambition shall become resolved into the unfathomable the unreadable mysteries of the ages."
Not after such fashion shall we of this age of widespread enlightenment write our history on the annals of the planet's life, and evolution. All that has gone before this time—the closing in of the vast cycle—has been, in a way, fragmentary, comet-like; the whole race of mankind has marched around the globe again and again. The leaders—the head—were the favored few, priests and kings, warriors and nobles; the vast tail, the untaught, the unawakened, the ignorant, servile masses, the grovelling slaves, but a remove from the beasts of burden.
The spur of necessity, the development of ambition, and avarice, and the unfolding of the ego in man forced him along upon unknown paths, kept him separate from his kind, and built up the distinct races, in order that the individuality of each might become distinctly marked and recognized, that each, in his own special environment, might become the highest possible expression of what climate, soil and other influences, incident to the natural heredity could evolve in the lives and beings of given races of men. It is as though Nature had disported herself in bringing to life an infinite variety and diversity among her perfected children. But men, here and there, have always shown the golden cord of kinship to astonish and bewilder the unwary and unthinking.
The virtue and honor of a race are considered mere superstition and a perpetuation of injustice and wrong, or are accepted as a lesson in charity and brotherhood. Thus is ever growing and becoming established the entire homogeneity of the race. We have girded the earth, and established our fiery rule in the depths of the seas; the time for the fulfilling of a prophecy far reaching in its results is even now at hand. "That which is spoken in the closets, shall be shouted from the housetops." Far and wide it is whispered in secret places, lest it be known of selfish greed or ambitious tyranny, and this it is that the human heart conceives, and human lips proclaim: "Liberty! liberty!! liberty!!!" Room for noble thought, freedom for grand and acceptable work in the cause of human enlightenment, and the soul's redemption. The whole vast aura of the earth, the illimitable ether trembles and thrills with the majesty of the word. High above the thunder-roll of human discontent and awful pain, blazes the lightning of thought, and the undying aspiration of the soul. And thus shall we tell our story—thus record the history of the now oncoming race. Not in material emblems only, consecrated to the forces of nature; but in the spiritual records which tell of the freeing of humanity from the tyranny of effete religions, and the upbuilding of a new composite race, fear free, and worshipful only of recognized universal truth.
Setting aside all our hereditary beliefs, all our theological teachings let us try to consider the true teachings of Jesus as differentiated from the instructions given by Moses for the guidance of the Jews. Moses never told his people to love and forgive their enemies. Jesus made a strong point of this, even bidding his disciples to forgive injuries to the seventieth time. Moses impressed upon his people the excellence of revenge, always demanding "an eye for an eye," a life for a life. Jesus said all that sort of compensation rested forever with God, that He alone, who saw and knew the hearts of men, could deal justly with them. The old Jewish law stoned to death the immoral woman—not the man—O no! certainly not! Jesus said to a flagrant woman brought before him by a rabble of men: "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone." What divine sarcasm, and how they are said to have slunk away under his perception of them!
How is it now with the Christian religion in the so-called Christian nations? Where on the face of the earth is there a community or a people that is governed and controlled by the real teachings of the Christ?
All our jurisprudence is based upon the laws given to the Jews by their leader and lawgiver. We take the lives of those people who are guilty of breaking certain laws of ours based upon the laws of Moses, and while we do not stone the life out of those women—not men—whom we prove guilty of breaking the seventh commandment, we do build up against them walls of conventionality, and of uncharity harder than the rocks once used for the killing of their bodies.
Consider this beautiful law now in operation in the state of New York. If a poor, starving, homeless, hopeless human being, maddened by the bitter woes of life, seeks surcease of pain by throwing off his own individual life, by committing suicide, the law insists that such a one shall be not only forced back to a continuance of a horrible existence here, but that each and every one of such sinners shall be punished by imprisonment and fine. If that isn't serving the devil, what in the name of common sense is it? Where are the good Samaritans among the pretended followers of the loving Christ? What sort of a reckoning will such lawmakers have to meet, and what penalties undergo under the applied judgment of the Great Teacher and exemplars? "Woe to him through whom offences come," he said, and again: "Because ye did not give aid and comfort to the least of these, I will not call you of my flock." Could anything be more brutally unmerciful than such a law as this in its dealings with the most helpless, forlorn, and seemingly Godforsaken of all earth's children—the voluntary suicide?
How the demons must gloat over the lost souls who formed and enforced such a fiendish law! Why this everlasting "harking back" to Moses, while posing as followers of teachings utterly at variance with his? Let us admit that we are Jews and stop persecuting them because they are not Christians, or let us try to know what Christ Jesus really meant us to understand by his ethics of love and good will to men.
Many people have lost all their faith in the immortality of the soul, because Moses did not preach it. It is quite possible that even the worshipped Moses did not know everything that men may yet come to know about this, and anent a world of other things. Neither did the troglodytes, nor the cliff dwellers know of electricity or the X-ray! But Jesus knew of the life—the eternal, unquenchable life—of the soul beyond this mortal existence, and he knew and taught the way and the life that leads to that higher life. All through his teachings run this under-current of belief in the value of the individual soul, and instructions as to the highest and best way to evolve it from its lowest estate up to the Infinite.
Fancy what a revolution would come to the whole so-called Christian world if the ethics of Jesus, so plainly set down in his legacy to the children of men, were understood and lived! What wrong and injustice would be done away with, what works of mercy would be wrought!
From the earliest soul consciousness to this very hour the mystery of human life has been, and is the subject of greatest interest. What is the origin of man? What is he here for? What is the everlasting purpose of him? And what, O what is his destiny, here or hereafter?
The woeful story told in the Bible of the origin and the "Fall of man," entailing untold miseries and uncomprehended anguish upon the whole human race, has never been believed in by thinking minds. Especially all that "rot" about God's repenting Himself of having made man in his own image, and then setting Himself up in his only Son—a sacrifice to Himself—for the sins of the folks He had just made and set agoing, and told to subdue and master the planet He had made for them to live on; but this yarn caught the fancy of infantile and puerile minds, and also of the designing priests and theologians who have never, to this day, tired of "baring the backs" of humanity to this "devil's rod," increasing, and multiplying the tortures of the minds of such as could be made to accept such stuff by fears which could never be comprehended or justified even in the minds of such children.
Our Heavenly Father has never set "metes and bounds" to the souls of his earth children; there is no hidden mystery that cannot be fathomed by them; there is no knowledge withheld from the earnest seeker after truth. But first of all, the mind must be clarified and set free from the blasphemous superstitions engendered by the crude beliefs taught by theologians. The developed mind, and reason must arouse to rage and resistance in view of the wreck and ruin of untold millions of lives, the result of false teachings.
People have a way of saying of those they admire greatly: "She has the face of an angel," or "She is a perfect beauty," "Beauty beyond compare," et al, according to their ideas of what constitutes absolute beauty; but the human countenances that have in them no faintest suggestion of the kingdom below us are very rare. If one looks attentively at the faces of the crowd as it surges along the most attractive street, there may be seen on review surprising resemblances. A man looking like an elephant, another like a toad, bull dogs and wolves galore, beneficent faces of old people, calm and patient, resembling work-worn horses, always folk of both sexes who suggest sheep,—now and again a cantankerous billy goat. You may be sure that the vast numbers of reptiles are not left out of the human representation, and the birds, too. The "eagle eye," and the carnivorous beak require no introduction to the menagerie, they belong there. But the felines have it, the cats, little and big, monopolize the show. Men regard a recognized resemblance to the king of beasts—the lion—a compliment to their natural powers and rightful rulership, while women have to put up with being considered cats, and many of them prove by their cattish doings their resemblance to their animal ancestry. There are babies everywhere about. It is disheartening to peer into their tiny faces and see in so many of their eyes no "speculation," no suggestion of intelligence. They remind you of the eyes of a fish.
Human beings have through them strains suggestive of the animal kingdom. It seems quite right to expect each one to act like the creature he resembles, when under the stress of violent emotion.
At the creation of the race there was thrown around it such safeguards as should tend to its continuance. These were, of course, implanted in the crude mentality of undeveloped man. Underlying all the rest and the most important to its perpetuation was fear. The ignorant child has no fear of consequences attendant upon any action; experience teaches him to know what they are, and how to protect himself from them. This was the first lesson of primitive man, and when, through the exercise of his inventive faculties, he had mastered his visible foes, the animal monsters surrounding him and threatening his life, and he found himself confronted by the action of terrible forces which he could not grasp or see, he, by analogy, endowed them with personality, and such attributes as he knew himself to be possessed of, adding thereto powers and possibilities which were limited only by his own imagination. This was the very beginning of the working of the mental in him, and while it was most grotesque and unreasoning, it yet drew a sharp line between the mere animal and the animal man, and his whole life being spent in conflict with his foes, he naturally carried forward his growing perceptions of the existence of supernatural powers which were influencing his life upon the same basis, i. e., of an unending warfare, wherein he must always be the one attacked and vanquished. Fear of the animal world developed into a shivering terror of the invisible, and so deep and lasting was this first impression of the spiritual world upon his crude faculties, that it was made an universal heredity among all races and peoples. It exists everywhere today, even among those who profess to be living in the light of a higher revelation of God's purpose in the life of man.
ADAPTIVENESS OF MAN.
The most surprising and extraordinary quality of mind manifested by man is his ready power of adaptation to whatever may become a part of his earthly experiences. It, alone, assures his continual progress upon all lines of growth connected not only with his earthly but also his immortal career. Great inventions, unexpected discoveries, and astounding revelations may stagger him for a moment; but the facility with which he finally absorbs all the hitherto unknown outworkings of science and natural law, and assimilates them to his inner sense of the fitness of things, changing all his relationship to his material life, and forcing himself to a readjustment not only of his mental perceptions, but also of his external existence gives proof sufficient of his being not only favored of the gods, but also of his near kinship with them. The marvels of mechanics, the divinely beautiful representations of art, and the exalted inspirations of literature were never so sought after, or so appreciated by large portions of the race as at the present time. The peasant's cot today is made comfortable and beautified by accessories which within our historical knowledge could not be commanded by kings and princes possessed of great riches.
The spiritual origin of the splendid architecture of the great "white city" and later of the southern expositions is perfectly apparent to the eye of the mystic and the seer, and these vast, concentrated exhibits of the world's work are object lessons of which the influence can never be outlived even by the careless and unobserving. Today the great leaders of men, led by inspiring thoughts which would have appalled their forefathers, perfect schemes for overcoming the obstacles inhering in the vast forces of nature, and harness them into subservience to the growing needs of the race.
What devil-worshippers those old chaps were! To him they ascribed all power over things animate and inanimate, and the effrontery of the man who should have even mentioned the possibility of talking over a wire, thousands of miles, or of utilizing the forces of Niagara, or of hundreds of inventions now in use in the most commonplace surroundings would have been met with condign punishment. Our inventors would be in dungeons instead of their comfortable laboratories, and our great engineers would long ago have lost their heads. What a time we have had getting the devil out of our mechanical life! Now he can only rule in the immaterial world, in the crude imaginations of the ignorant and superstitious.
The Infinite Mind is in all things, everywhere what we are not. Where we are full of impatience, He is calm and unmoved; wherein we grope blindly, He, seeing the end from the beginning, is well content with his own handiwork, and with the final outcome of the souls of his earthly children. Many of the imperfections and individual shortcomings of people are laid aside in the dark crucible of physical death and the grave. Such of these tendencies as are carried over into the next plane of being, persisting in the spirit, are there dealt with as disease or ignorance, the results of malformation or bad environment. God is love, not hate, and "rejoiceth not in the death of the wicked," nor in the punishment of the wrongly educated; for a large portion of the sin and seeming iniquity of humanity is the result of heredity and of a misunderstanding of the laws of God expressed through nature. Undoubtedly there have been good men and true among those who sought to interpret God's law aright and formulate a code for the guidance and discipline of humanity in accordance with justice and equity. But their premises were all wrong. They took for their foundation the old Jewish history wherein the God of the Hebrews was always represented as a jealous being, rejoicing in revenge and rapine, and in all that the enlightened world can conceive of as characterizing a devil. So the modern world has been committed to a devil worship. Nowhere is the ethical teaching of Jesus recognized in our laws. It is the old Hebraic attitude toward life and God.
Physical death is the fulfilling of a natural law everywhere prevailing; a change, which the mutability of all material creations renders necessary, and salutary, and, when received without the prejudices engendered by education, pleasing. Religion has nothing to do with it, and more than that it ought to influence every act of life. No more has religion anything to do with the intercourse of disembodied spirits with those in the form. That also is wholly controlled by laws inherent in the nature of things, and will, when the ridiculous hue and cry raised by sensualistic minds has somewhat abated, resolve itself into a fixed fact having no more direct bearing upon human affairs than any other form of social intercourse. It has taught no new code of morals; it has not overthrown, so much as it has revealed the true state of things. It has revived the spiritual teachings of him by whom the world—called from him Christian—professes to be guided and controlled.
Fanaticism is the law of some minds, and it will display itself in whatever arena they are engaged. In politics the man they vote for is almost a god. In mechanics, they have invented a machine which shall ensure "perpetual motion;" in chemistry, the elixir of life, or a cure for all the ills of human life; in morals, the kingdom of heaven is speedily coming through the intervention of their dead friends.
The truest religion is that which adheres most faithfully to nature's laws; for strive we ever so hard, we must return to them. They are God's will made manifest, and the mind most free from prejudice engendered by false education is the one which secures to itself the most harmony, making possible that removal of "mountains" so often quoted—meaning the inevitable obstacles of spiritual life.
Christ said: "The kingdom of heaven is within you" and he might have added that of hell also. Here is the beginning, if not the ending of all growth and reform. There seems to be a universal tendency or wish to escape from one's self, and most so-called reforms begin at the surface—the ultimate—rather than at the centre. This should be an education to children, teaching them that their temptations are to be dreaded only as they are responded to by something within, and that loses all power with them as they gain self-knowledge and self-control.
The demand for a knowledge of the truth, God's truth, is as old as the world, the world of intellect and knowledge, the world we know about, and of which we have a more of [Transcriber's note: or?] less true history. This cry of earnest and thoughtful men and women for truth, "nothing but the truth" has rung adown the ages from the pagan, and the nature worshipper through all the countless phases of belief to our modern presentations of inspired faith. Everyone who dares to think must realize how this longing of humanity has been met and exploited in times past by ignorant and self-seeking people, and suffering humanity has been imposed upon by superstitions and false teachings which have left it in sorrowful dissatisfaction, or lost in the mazes of doubt and unbelief.
The fool hath said in his heart "there is no God." Life is too short and too full of interest in other directions for us to turn aside to combat fools of any sort. If we admit into our inner consciousness the absolute recognition of the existence of a supremely loving and wise God whose attributes are more marvelously great and grand than it can ever enter into the heart of man, or the mind of the highest archangel to conceive, we shall have taken the first step toward so positing ourselves toward him, as we perceive him embodied in his works, as to begin to see some faint indications of the divine purpose concerning the souls of men created in his image. All that we know of his laws and his intentions toward us, as indicated by our experiences here and now, embodied as we are in matter, supplies the whole of the data from which we infer truth, the truth as it is in God.
We find, first of all, that we are set here a homogenous race, for as the means of communication between widely separated branches of the family become established and easy, our horizons expand, racial prejudice and antagonisms vanish, new interests and fresh sympathies arise, and we are thus brought to recognize the fact of our common origin.
What a dull and deadly uninteresting place this planet would be without the differentiation of the races! What if the whole united world were Irish or German, Russian, or even loudly pervading, assumptive American! What an awful element of boredom would be added to our existence; and yet there are people so blind to this most wonderful expression of God's Providence, that they limit their sympathetic regards to a chosen few, and virtually cast all other peoples into outer darkness. This applies especially to religious prejudices and beliefs. Let's see about this: your antecedents were, so far as you know, Scotch and English, but by some providential intervention you are now American. You are expected to scorn and despise all other clans and races, and to condone all the faults and crimes of these which have been so honored by you, and this is called patriotism, and makes you feel virtuous and popular, and it is necessary and right—politically considered—but not from the standpoint of the occult, the spiritual side of existence. There is a wise intention and purpose in the blending of the races in their intermarriages, it is for the breaking down of prejudices as old as the race itself, that have ever kept the peoples of the earth apart.