"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." — John xiii:17.
When first a new revelation breaks in upon the mind there is a natural tendency to proclaim the evangel from the housetops, or cry it at the corners of the streets and publish it to all the world. A little later, and we find to our astonishment that our good "news" is as old as the everlasting hills. We discover it deeply imbedded in all the religions and philosophies ever taught among men, and we are naturally embarrassed as to what use we shall make of our newly acquired treasure.
Now every revelation that dawns upon the mind and kindles the enthusiasm is capable of being applied to life and conduct, and indeed this is its main utility so far as we are concerned. The divine revealing is not a gorgeous cloak to wrap about our shoulders in which we may parade in the public view and gain the applause of men; it is more properly a hoe with which to clear the garden of the heart from its unsightly weeds and poison growths. Many there are, however, who take the easy path, and prefer to exhibit themselves before the public as exponents of a high philosophy, rather than to wield the sharp hoe of correction amongst the jungle of weeds that disfigure their characters. Hence it is not uncommon to meet a glib professor who can expatiate on "the identity of all souls with the Over Soul," or "the fundamental unity of consciousness," but who nevertheless defames the character of a rival behind his back and cannot bear to hear another praised.
Every day we behold intellectual "knowers" who do not "know" enough to stop eating pie when they have had sufficient. "There's something rotten in the State of Denmark," but that decay can never be arrested by more philosophers, or more books or more eloquent addresses, but only by superb examples, the lives of men and women who apply to their daily conduct the principles they profess with their lips. Consider the effect of sending out from Point Loma a band of Heralds of the Coming Dawn, a company of brothers, united, self-reliant, passion-proof, firm-based upon a common philosophy and whose hearts are all aflame with a boundless love for the Great Orphan Humanity. They should be men who would not cringe nor apologize, men with no private ends to serve, men whose bodies, cleansed from ancestral taint, stand erect and ready to obey the least motion of the "Living Power made free" in each glorious temple building.
"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few," yet we need not on that account sit down and call upon the lord of the harvest to send forth more laborers. We should ourselves arise, gird up our loins, throw aside every weight and move into the standing corn sickle in hand. We will leave it to believers in a Deity outside of themselves, to call upon him to save the world he has created, be it ours to clear the road-way for the God who sits enshrined within our hearts and speed him on his swift career, as he goes forth conquering and to conquer.
With this thought in mind no one need ever lament that he cannot write or speak in public. The slightest effort at self-control, the least attempt to make brotherhood a living power in our lives, is worth more to the world than many books and many speeches. The influence of an earnest, strenuous life is felt across the continents, it radiates unseen through space, and though we may never visit our comrade or even exchange a letter, yet the thought of him quietly doing his daily duty at the world's end, is a constant inspiration, and a powerful stimulus to renew our lapsed endeavors.
Most men feel from time to time that they ought to do as well as know; but doing is associated in their minds with painful strain and irksomeness, and they forget the beatitude, — "Happy are ye if ye do them."
The higher life has been so often described as a "Vale of Tears" and a pathway of thorns, that the people have taken the mystic's partial statement as if it were the whole truth. It cannot be of course denied that when a man turns his back upon a life of self-indulgence, he is pestered and beset by a swarm of clamorous little demons, bad habits, evil desires of the mind's begetting, who expect that their father shall continue to supply them with their appropriate indulgence, and thus to nourish and sustain his progeny. When he no longer proposes to support this noisy brood, and ceases to feed them by thought or physical indulgence, they slowly fade away, but not without vehement remonstrance on their part, and their parent must perforce feel some reflected pain as his offspring pine away and die. Yet the suffering is but transitory, a temporary inconvenience like the annual housecleaning, which at the cost of a little temporary hardship, gives rise to renewed comfort and cleanliness.
What is meant is just this, that a life lived for the good of all is so natural and in such complete accord with Nature's plan, that a man so living cannot fail to share in the gladness of that abundant tide of life that ever flows from Mother Nature's generous heart.
"Life is Joy." Not indeed the stagnant, dribbling streamlet, that trickles down the narrow ditch of the personality, but the great Ocean currents, flowing full and free in which he floats who has entered the larger sphere of the World's Life. "If ye know!" Of course we do. Examine your own heart and you will find that you have a deep assurance of the truth that Brotherhood is Nature's law, and that only as we make this truth a living power in our lives, can we find lasting peace and satisfaction.
Enough is known of right ethics to last us for centuries in advance, the thing required is to apply them. There is no novelty in the idea of Universal Brotherhood; the novelty, however, is becoming manifest of a community of people who are determined to put into practice the beautiful theories that lie in such abundance embedded in books and passed from mouth to mouth in conversation. Castles in the air of gorgeous beauty have been hovering over the sad world for many a weary century, and to us belongs the privilege of making these atmospheric battlements to solidify them in brick, and wood, and marble, bringing them down as actualities on to the solid earth as dwellings and towers of refuge for the waiting peoples.
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