To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow;
All are written to me and I must get what the writing means. —Walt Whitman.
In passing through life we encounter in our fellow-men all the dangers of the forest and jungle.
In all men there linger some of the distinctive characteristics of the brute creation, and in some they absolutely govern. We sometimes meet in human form wolves and tigers as rapacious as any in the forests, serpents as poisonous and foxes as cunning as any of the specimens that are caged in the menageries. Instruction in natural history is almost a necessary part of our education. We must learn to distinguish, classify, and control all these wild animal forces in ourselves and others. Else we shall easily fall a prey to them.
They disclose themselves to the practiced eye and become obedient to spiritual intelligence.
All these things are subject unto man.
We need not deceive ourselves, however, as to the point of evolution humanity has reached.
Mankind is capable of deeper baseness and higher nobility than we dream. We scarcely begin to know ourselves. We are nearer both 'to the good and evil within us than we understand. We often surprise ourselves at the sudden revelation of our possibilities in both directions.
The creeping things live upon the earth and burrow into it.
The fish lives in its native element of water, yet feeds upon the lower element of matter in solution.
The bird lives in the air, yet walks upon the earth, floats upon the water, and takes its food from both.
Man partially controls all elements.
Not yet absolutely, for want of knowledge.
He possesses the combined powers of all orders of creation,—beast, bird, and fish.
He can walk the earth and swim the water. Why does he not unfold the power to propel and poise himself in the air? It surely must be latent in him, and the day of its perception and development should not be far away.
The theory of evolution is accepted today by most intelligent minds. It is the best working hypothesis that has yet been suggested to account for development of form in nature.
No scientist claims for it a complete demonstration.
The theory of reincarnation is rapidly meeting with acceptance by advanced minds as the most reasonable hypothesis in the world of spiritual development. Like evolution, it is incomplete in proof. It can, however, furnish abundant evidence of being practical and helpful. Using it as we use the x in algebra, it seems to assist the solution of many of life's problems.
It is a cheerful and optimistic theory. It recognizes no failure. It regards no limits of time. It assures every soul of an infinite opportunity for working out its problems and obtaining its desires.
It affirms everything. It denies nothing except annihilation and eternal fixity. It perceives an absolute equity in life. It regards an earthly existence as only a single day at school.
The day may be rainy, the schoolhouse cold, and the playground wet and disagreeable.
The scholar may feel ill or dull and everything seem to go wrong.
But there will be another morning, when the sun will shine, and all the tasks be pleasantly accomplished, and the pupil happy with his comrades in the playground.
There will be an intermission, and when the summer holiday is over, what healthy boy does not come back to another term eager for fresh achievements and full of lusty gladness for the opportunities his school life offers him?
When the school term has begun again the pupil takes his rank upon his record of the past. The uncompleted task awaits him. He must open the book where he closed it last, and though the slate be newly washed, the old problem that he failed to solve must now again be put upon it. The pleasure and success of the new year depend to great extent upon the thoroughness of the old work.
Has it been well done? The scholar then is ready for higher classes and different occupations, "fresh fields and pastures new." Was it sacrificed to indolence and self-indulgence? Then the entrance examination must determine his new grade, his studies, his associates, and all the disadvantages of neglected work must now be met and overcome.
His deficiencies cannot be concealed or the consequences evaded. If he is ever to graduate with honors, it will be only after faithful effort.
There is reason to believe that after the spirit has parted with the mortal body it discovers itself to be the vibratory center of all thought-currents related to it,—a spiritual audiphone, upon which vibrates all the thought-life of the past and all the critical and loving reflections awakened in the minds of enemies and friends.
Thus the spiritual nerve-centers are both audiphone and phonograph of accurate and inexorable record.
This appears to be the spirit primer of the new life upon which it has entered and the review of the lessons of the schoolroom from which it has so lately passed. In its newly acquired sensitiveness its vibratory field is greatly enlarged.
The keyboard of its instrument is lengthened and includes new octaves.
Counterpoint, thoroughbass, and harmony must be more thoroughly acquired. The spiritual ear becomes alive to the discords and imperfections of the past before it can attune itself to heavenly choirs.
Our thought-vibrations will certainly carry us just where we belong, as unerringly as water finds its level, or atmospheres, their proper strata.
If we are not satisfied with our conditions we must change our thought.
The same law governs in our sleep as in our waking hours.
We are no strangers to the world of spirit.
Doubtless after death we will recognize much that is familiar. No life is wholly objective and material or subjective and spiritual.
We alternate between the two conditions. Our being is rounded like the planet. As the earth turns first toward the sun and then away from it, bringing successively every part of its surface through the alternations of day and night, so do our lives revolve through all the range of the objective and subjective states until such time as we can retain spiritual consciousness upon both planes and thus identify and control them altogether.
"This is the victory that overcometh the world."
There is no problem of life that can come to us without bringing its own factors of solution, for life is organic mathematics. It is a universal principle, which never fails in any particular application.
It is easily within our power to live amid the noisiest activities and yet possess repose, to dwell in all the tumult of a business or a social life without disturbance to ourselves, because our ears have been attuned to higher harmonies which penetrate and rise superior to every discord,— as Roentgen rays illuminate the solids with their wonderful vibrations.
"The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
When one has spent a hot day in climbing to the top of a Swiss peak to see a sunrise the next morning, he may find that the fogs hang so heavily about the summit that the beautiful landscape is shut out. A few days' patient waiting may reward him, for the clouds will lift. But perhaps he will go down again into the valleys, disappointed in his purpose.
We are sometimes surprised when we have attained some height of spiritual knowledge to find we cannot see the landscape we had hoped for.
The fogs of selfishness have not yet lifted. They linger long about the mountain top and till they go we cannot see abroad. But confident and patient expectation will reveal at last more glorious visions than we dreamed.
When we have turned our eyes away from self the glories of the universal life appear to us.
Let us not go back into the valleys but camp on the heights and wait for sunrise.
Whatever we may experience in the circumference of outward conditions, there is always blue sky at the center of our being, where our ego dwells with good and we are "at home with the soul."