Wednesday, 24 August 2016
The soul determines its own line of future action, inasmuch as it decides what condition of life it shall exist in by the direction of its aspirations. One who is always aspiring to be better than he is will inevitably become so on the principle that prayer or willpower is the operative influence which shapes our future careers. So, on the other hand, one who is content through life to remain what he is will never rise into any other position until new thoughts and aspirations are quickened into being by contact with life in the next world.
When we turn our attention to any task with a determination to master it, we are tolerably certain to do so; hence we see how important it is in early life to impress the cultivation of the will. Inasmuch as willpower is the all-pervading force in the universe, so is it also the lever by which all events in daily life are brought about and destiny or Providence does not shape our future career but our own will. Willpower is superior to the power of what we call chance, destiny or providence. There is no such thing as chance in the universe; everything happens according to natural law and, consequently, if any particular phenomenon is under the control of will, it is equally under natural law.
Spirits can only see a step further beyond us on earth but there are many steps further still, which they cannot take. In the same way that spirits influence us in ways that we think indicative of Divine providence, so are they also influenced by higher spirits, who, in turn, are under the control of still higher beings and thus ever upward to the great Author of all things. Spirits are not more able to understand all things than we are. They may be able to penetrate a little further into the mysteries of nature but not much. They can tell us what they know or rather what they think we can understand but there is much that they are themselves taught by others. Christ told his disciples there were many things to tell them but they were not ready yet. He could have told them much but it would have been more unintelligible to his hearers than even the little he did tell them. Christ refrained from disclosing things, which to him must have been as familiar as household words, simply because they were not suitable to the times in which he lived.
We are ourselves so densely ignorant about the nature of the spirit world that we do not seem to understand whether spirits have any bodies or not and never realise the fact that there is a spirit world round about us quite as solid and substantial (to those who inhabit it) as our world and peopled, moreover, by persons who lead the same kind of lives as ourselves.
One is much more likely to succeed if his willpower is awakened and brought into play than if he is merely told to do his duty and hope for the best because hoping is not willing and though it may be indicative of a firm faith in the existence of Divine justice and foresight, yet it fails to rouse the energies so well as the earnest longing which is supported by a determination to succeed in spite of obstacles.
Monday, 22 August 2016
The soul is the arbiter of our destiny—we have the shaping of our future in our own hands. The soul is the gift of the Almighty. The term soul is used as expressing the spirit that dwells in the spirit body. It is not the spirit body merely that constitutes spiritual being. There is no such thing as destiny in the sense that any fixed rule of conduct is laid down for anyone. Some think they are destined always to be unlucky; whilst others wonder at their friends' luck, which seems likewise a mark of destiny. We ignore one important element in the way our affairs are shaped—the interference of spirits who ally themselves with those on earth. It is common for us to be under the delusion that we are the creatures of destiny—that the finger of Providence may be traced in our daily affairs. If a man falls in the street, it is just his luck and if, instead of falling, he gets a rise in the world, he thinks it is his luck again. His friends who are less profane think it is the will of Providence but these are convertible terms; what one person calls luck, another calls Providence. God's laws are omnipotent and pervade the whole universe; consequently, if a sparrow or a man falls, he does so in accordance with some law of nature—the law of gravity—which, of course, is only another convertible term for the laws of God. God does not interfere with his own laws. He does not require special providences to produce special events. They occur in accordance with laws that are common to all ages and all times and if a miracle could be performed eighteen centuries ago, so also by the same laws could it be performed nowadays, if the conditions under which it took place were the same in both cases. If spirits can and do interfere in our affairs, not by controlling matter but by controlling our spirits through our minds—such being the media by which alone they can reach our matter—there is, therefore, no difficulty in explaining why or how an event may happen amongst us, which, at first glance, seems such an extraordinary coincidence as to be little less than a providential interference. Matter is usually controlled by spirit, whether it be the Spirit of God breathing through nature's laws or the Spirit of God in man. If we take up a chair, it is matter controlled by the spirit within us, for, of course, the matter of our body is merely the agent of the spirit within. Hence, if we hear of matter in the form of clothes, money and food being sent to someone in answer to his prayers, we have a case simply of matter controlled by spirits in the same sense that we have it when we move the chair. The modus operandi is as follows—the person praying simply calls to his aid spirits—that is, men and women—who sympathise with his work; in short, he may be said to advertise for them. The difference between him and others who solicit our charitable contributions is that he advertises in the spiritual world and other men advertise in the natural world. In reality, it is nothing of the kind; it is an earnest appeal by spirit power to those whose necessities—as spirits seeking their own development—require that they should lend help of this kind. Hence we see it is a mutual benefit, not a one-sided one. It is more blessed to give than to receive is a saying whose meaning few understand as well as spirits do.
Many define conscience as the capacity to determine between right and wrong. This is, to some extent, a true definition but we must remember that that capacity is so overclouded and warped by circumstances that we are more or less insane in regard to right and wrong. We are all more or less distorted in our mental vision. Conscience is, nevertheless, at work beneath all the madness or error that overclouds our moral vision. Deep down in the recesses of the soul the voice of conscience is ever crying for deliverance from the weight of sin and wretchedness that presses upon it. Sooner or later it asserts its right to be heard.