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The Soul’s Dominion

"When we can drain the ocean into mill-ponds, and bottle up the force of gravity, to be sold by retail, in gas-jars; then may we hope to comprehend the infinitudes of man's soul under formulas of profit and loss."
—Carlyle

Has the soul of man dominion over the body, or does the body absolutely rule the soul ? Is the soul of man captive to the body, or is it free? Is it inferior to the body, or superior?

These are the questions that sometime must arise in every mind, and that not only arise, but must be answered. Why do these questions come thus universally? Because man is a complex being. Born of the Spirit of God, set here in physical form, as he awakens to self-consciousness and asks himself who and what he is, he finds that he is of a nature varied and manifold, with spirit at the center and the physical life surrounding it, as the husks of corn surround the ripening seed. This complexity of nature in man is familiar to us all. We talk naturally of spirit and soul, mind and body. We group all these together and speak of them as one. We say, I do this or that, I go, I think, I feel. Or, we separate them and speak of our conditions upon one plane or another as, our mental weariness, our soul's longing, or our bodily health.

The teaching of Spiritual Science is leading us to comprehend these different phases of our make-up, and to regulate them. We are learning that as they are separate in their nature, and in the office they fulfill, we can take advantage of that principle of separateness, and use it for the improvement of our conditions, when, through lack of adjustment of the life within to the life without, we find ourselves "suffering," as we say, from one cause or another.

The world outside to which our physical life unites us, is so great and varied and so powerful in its effect that it has seemed to dominate man. But Spiritual Science now comes to teach that this outside world has, in reality, no such power as man has believed; that the obedience he has rendered to external conditions is a mistake, due only to a false idea of his own power in life, and that he should no longer bow as at the shrine of a god of his own making.

On the answer to the questions that man asks in regard to these laws of his being, depends life or death; for he who attributes dominion and power to the body will reap the inevitable result — corruption, sickness, disease, death. Nay, more than this, he is not only reaping it, but he will continue to reap it so long as he bows down and worships the false god.

He who acknowledges the supremacy of spirit, has already attained to life and immortality, and to him the dissolution of the body has no terrors f or he knows that if this earthly tabernacle were dissolved he has a “building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

The dividing line between matter and spirit is closely drawn. What has the material to offer for your allegiance to its standard? “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes” — eternal oblivion — sickness and sorrow while on this plane, and nothing in the hereafter.

Is this a correct summing up? Is it true that this is all the material has to offer? I assert without fear of contradiction that it is, and he who believes in the body as being superior to the soul has nothing further to look forward to; for, like the flower of the field that withers and passes away, so will the earthy body of man. If this is the end well may we exclaim with Tennyson:

”My own dim life should teach me this,
That life shall live forever more,
Else earth is darkness at the core
And dust and ashes all that is.''

However, a thorough-going materialist is more to be respected than one who talks of the supremacy of spirit and then relies on material means to keep well. The supremacy of spirit is good for everything but his body. Sin, or transgression of the laws of God, may be the cause of his physical suffering; a pill or a poisonous potion will get the better of the law. It makes no difference to him that eminent medical doctors have said: "There is nothing curative in a drug and every dose taken into the system tends to diminish the vitality of the one taking the drug." He knows better. The drugs cause him to rise superior to the law, and the medical doctors' opinions are valueless. And this is a belief in the supremacy of spirit! I say that I can respect a thorough-going materialist, who believes that he came from Mother Earth and that he returns to her again. He is consistent when he looks to the material for aid in his hour of sickness and pain. He is looking to the only thing that he believes in, and he is living according to his light and understanding. The healing that comes through a knowledge of spiritual truth is a good thing when there is not much the matter but when you are really ill, then you need something more. God's truth will not help you in desperate cases! You must fill your body with poisonous drugs. Is this acknowledging the supremacy of the spirit? Rather is it not looking downward to the lower and outer world to find means of control and help for the higher?

The external world has its great use and service but now, in order to see more clearly the supremacy of the spirit, let us ask: Who is the source of all life and health and strength? Most persons would answer, God. Is God to be relied on and trusted only when we are well? Does He forsake us when we are sick? Where do the assumed followers of Jesus of Nazareth stand today — they who claim to be holding aloft his standard? Are they building on his foundation?

Nineteen hundred years ago Jesus declared: “It is the spirit that quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing." Was he mistaken, and has science taught us better since then? What is the spirit going to quicken if not the whole man — soul and body? The religion of Jesus is one of glad tidings, of great joy, in that it offers salvation in the present. “Yes,” says the assumed follower of Jesus, “it does offer salvation and we believe it.“ But the student of life asks: "What does a salvation amount to that fails to include the redemption of the body? What are we saved from?" “Saved from our sins," says the nineteenth century follower of Jesus. But is not sickness a result of sin? Yes, perhaps so. Then how are we saved if we still continue to be sick and diseased? We often receive the answer that God is chastening us because He loves us.

Among the first things that Jesus did after gathering his disciples around him, was to heal the sick and almost his last injunction to them was to go into all the world and preach the gospel and heal the sick. Ask the nineteenth century follower if this be true and he will answer, "Yes; but those were the days of miracles.'' Spiritual Science replies to this, however, that, in the light of man's greater knowledge, in the sense that any man could transcend the laws of God, set them aside, and make them of none effect, there have been no miracles, not even in the work of Jesus, the Christ. Anything that has been done on this earth, has been done by its own law and therefore can be done again. “Believe me,” Balzac’s Seraphita says, "miracles are within us, not without. Thus did the natural facts come to pass which the peoples of old thought supernatural. Would not God have been unfair to manifest His power to some generations and withhold its manifestation from others? The rod of brass belongs to one and all."

Knowledge of life is the one thing requisite. Knowledge of spiritual power as possessed by all men, will enable us to heal the sick by spiritual means, and the work will be done not against the Law of God, but in the strictest accord with it.

There is a spirit in man that worketh for righteousness there is a spirit in man that maketh for health, strength, and all that goes to make him grand, noble, and true. Deny it away if you will, making it through your slavish worship of the body of none effect, but you reap the penalty of so doing in sickness and sorrow. You cannot run counter to the laws of your being without getting the wrong results. As we sow, we reap.

These, then, are the points that we should understand and reflect upon. The relation of the soul to the body is revealed by a study of self. By one's own life, and not by others' teachings, we perceive the distinction that exists between the outer world and the inner and through experience we comprehend that these two worlds, though separated, are still most intimately related, and that the connection between these two is unchanging in its law of action.

This law teaches that the law of man works from within outward, from the spirit through soul and mind to the physical body. It is, therefore, not miraculous it is only natural that the spirit acting by its own law, can control — heal — the form that holds it.

For centuries man has held an incomplete and imperfect thought in regard to this relation of soul and body. When that thought is changed, when man learns to look without less and within more, his mind will act in order with the laws of being, and knowledge will be positive. There is need to put aside theories and be one thing or the other.

In the communication to one of the seven churches referred to in the book of Revelation it says:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot I would that thou wert cold or hot.
So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
”I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich."

Spiritual Scientists who theoretically accept the science of life to be true, yet, when any physical ailment appears, as a result of the violation of law, resort to materia medica, are in a similar condition to the churches referred to — neither hot nor cold and their riches are more seeming than real. How can we expect people to accept our teachings if we talk one course and follow another? What impression can we hope to make on the minds of others if we talk Spiritual Science when we are well and take medicine when we are sick? If the Science is good for little things it is good for great things. If it is not beneficial in great things, then it is of no value in little things.

The soul of man either rules the body or is ruled by it. If it is ruled by the body and the body dies — returns to the earth again — then the soul dies too. But, if the soul rules the body, being greater than it, when the earthy form ceases to be, its soul's progress will remain uninterrupted, the body having only been the clothing that gave expression to the soul while on this plane of existence.

''For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are after the spirit, the things of the spirit.”
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

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Charles Brodie Patterson

  • Canadian New Thought author
  • Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917

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