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Spiritual Growth

Nor love thy life, nor hate but whilst thou livest, Live well, how long or short, permit to heaven.
—Milton

If it were possible for the soul of man to rise superior, for a brief interval, to its material environment, and to discern the liberty and freedom that exist in the spiritual realm, never again could it come into bondage to fleeting, transient form never again would it do homage to empty symbols. But it would snap the bonds of its earthy nature, and come into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. It would pass from under the sway of the law of sin and death and attain to its spiritual birthright. It would be in the world and yet not of the world.

More than ever is the world starving for spiritual food. Empty husks will not satisfy the cravings of the seeker after truth. There was a time in the world's history when the people were content if they gained admittance to the outer temple. That time has passed, and men are realizing that it is only as they enter the Holy of Holies that their wants can be supplied, and that no one must bar the entrance or put obstructions in their way nor is it reserved for anyone to act as a mediator between the soul of man and the Spirit of God acting in that soul; because the Spirit of God, Itself, beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

When we allow the mind to dwell on spiritual realities, we are then beginning to relate ourselves to the spiritual forces of the universe, and we become possessed of powers that we have never even dreamed of in the past. We feel a continual growth going on within our very being — a quickened action of both mind and body a force that we feel to be active within and also without our own organism. In order to attain to a fuller realization of the powers latent within us, we must transform the mind and come into accord with Universal Law; for thus we derive the greatest benefit.

There is ever a warfare existing between the lower and the higher parts of our being until the higher has attained the complete ascendency. Deep within the soul of man is a spark of the Divine Principle, and thus he becomes the living temple of God. It is the Holy of Holies wherein the Lord God delights to dwell. And God speaks to man from within, saying, “Come now, let Me show you the way of life let Me guide and direct you into the way of all truth. Your sins are red as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow. I will wash you I will make you clean and your sins shall be remembered against you no more forever."

Who has not heard the still, small Voice? It is the Voice of God. Do we hear it? Today it is saying, ''Now is the acceptable time!" — "Do today thy nearest duty," wrote Goethe. — Are we trying through our false reasoning to still that Voice, or are we listening to the message it brings of pardon, and peace, and goodwill? — the message from God to man?

God is never angry with His children, but is ever calling them to come. “Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Saved from what? From the anger and vengeance of God whom we have forsaken? No! saved from our own wicked and foolish desires. And we listen the Voice within is saying, "Come now, and let us reason together. I will teach you wisdom; I will guide your feet into the way of all truth. My precepts will I write in your heart and I will put My Law ever before you. From the shadows and the darkness that surround you, out into the light will I bring you — into the noon-day sunshiny."

In the enlightened soul there is no room for a knowledge of both good and evil. “All is of God that is." Thus we see, no matter what our past life has been, no matter how dense has been the darkness or ignorance that has surrounded us, just as soon as we listen to the Voice of God calling to us, saying, " Come now," and obey that call, the weight of sin that has been such a grievous burden to bear will be cast from us. Never again will we be brought into bondage to the carnal desires, for to the soul all things have become new. The old life has faded away the soul is forever done with the unreal. The shadows have vanished and are seen no more. Truly, the soul, freed from the bondage of the lower, must feel all that is contained in the; following quotation from Isaiah: " Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily and thy righteousness shall go before thee the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward."

Yes, the glory of the Lord shall shine through the illumined soul so that other souls may see and take knowledge that its illumination is from on High; thus, it becomes instrumental in leading others to light.

Everything we do in this life — in fact, every thought we think — pictures itself in the mind. When we are thinking, acting, and living in harmony with the source of our being, then all our thoughts express themselves on the body to perfect it and make it beautiful and whole the body will be free from pain and disease, for the body is but the creation of the mind. But when our thoughts dwell on the things of error and darkness, the. picturing, or imaging, faculty of the mind, being just as active then as when our thoughts are of good, we produce in the mind pictures that frighten and terrify us, although they are of our own creation, and have no existence save in the carnal mind. Waking or sleeping, these pictures continually haunt us. In this condition we are lost we are dead. The body will always record our different states of mind. Therefore, no one can attach blame to another, or lay the cause of their bodily troubles to God all these evils are brought about by imaging the evil in mind. God is Love. Can sin, sickness, or disease proceed from the Divine Mind of love and truth? No that is impossible. To think or give utterance to such a thought would be irreverent. Neither is it just to attribute our sufferings to another. We could not be affected by another if we were not, to some degree, on the same plane of thought with him. All the burdens we have to bear are of our own making. If we were living the life of truth, the yoke would be easy and the burden light. The great Master said: "Come unto me follow in my footsteps all ye that are weary and heavy ladened, and ye shall find rest for your souls." No other way is given to men whereby they may be saved. The way Jesus of Nazareth showed us is the only way it consists in the giving up of mere personal desire and living the truth — or permitting the truth to live in us, as a spring of living water, welling up into everlasting life. The pictures of evil and darkness are dispelled by the spirit of truth that alone can enlighten the soul. Salvation is a gift free to all, but certain things are required of all who would be saved. Right desire, love of the good, faith and trust in God, are all necessary before we are ready to receive the gift that God offers so freely to all. All desire salvation but all do not know that what they must be saved from is themselves for we are dominated by our unreal creations, distorted visions, and false imaginations.

Let us now consider how we are ruled by the personal self. Someone does us an injury; he may speak falsely concerning us — perhaps wrong us in a business transaction or even do us bodily harm. Then we let our lower nature — the personal self — take control, and with what result? We get angry we think and say hard things, and possibly end by hating the one who has wronged us. Thus, we have created mental pictures that will abide with us, and they will surely bring disease and pain to the body. Day by day, we add to the pictures of darkness in the mind until, at last, our burdens seem more than we can bear. But the command comes to each and every one of us to come out from under the bondage of mental darkness and error without taking thought of the seeming difficulties that may lie in our way. They are only difficulties as we make them such. They are like the mist of early morning which is dispelled by the rising sun. All that God has created, or ever will create, can be naught but good. The only way for us is to turn to God from whence cometh our salvation.

There are many people to-day who are worrying and mourning over the mistakes and sins of the past. This is altogether wrong. It is not what God requires of any of us. The sins of the past should be buried in the past with them we have nothing further to do, save as they may teach us a lesson concerning the things of the present. If we have asked God's forgiveness once for any wrong deed done in the past, that is all that is required of us. If we have wronged a fellow-man, and have not only asked his forgiveness, but have done, also, all that lies within our power to repair the wrong, what more can we do ? Are we to go on asking his pardon indefinitely? One would hardly be so foolish. Then why take this wrong course with God? Why go on, time after time, asking His forgiveness for something left undone in the past? Let once suffice, resting assured that God is more willing to forgive than we are to ask forgiveness. If we would only put our fullest trust in the Infinite, we would have nothing to fear, knowing that whatever God doeth is for our best good, and we would go through the world doing good to all, loving all, and in return, God would bless us abundantly. Ever would we be guided aright; ever would our ways be ways of pleasantness, and our paths, paths of peace. Each and every one of us knows these things to be true. We all know that only as we let go of our weak and selfish will, can the Divine Will flow into our being, bringing with it unspeakable peace, and that Love of God which passeth understanding — that Perfect Love that radiates as does the sun, so that all feel its benign influence.

People are too apt to confound love with emotion and sentiment. But true love partakes of neither. Only that which is unchanging is love. Love from a sense of duty is not love at all. The strongest manifestation of God to man is His Love. Love of our fellow-men leads to the love of God; love of God becomes worship. "The love principle is stronger than the force principle." Love is the very highest endowment of the mind. Through the bringing of the mind into subjection to God's laws, will the Christ arise from the dead and take possession of our inmost soul. The spirit of truth will become a vital energy, acting upon us from within and without. No longer shall we look out on the world with a vision circumscribed by thoughts of self; but as the spiritual vision becomes perfected, we shall be able to discern the unity that exists in all. Is not this the resurrection? — the passing from death unto life ? — the son of righteousness arising with healing in his wings? Until we know, and, in knowing, realize the truth of these things, it will be impossible to establish God's Kingdom on earth. But what else is there worth trying for? Man's greatest reward must come through his conscious recognition of the truth, and his becoming at one with God.

It is my firm belief that all mankind receive knowledge of truth to the degree that their minds are capable of perceiving that all nations receive as their needs demand that God does not give to one and withhold from another, but giveth to all bountifully. Therefore, I am in no way prejudiced against any of the world's great religions, or the persons who teach these religions. I do not doubt but that these religions were inspired of God. A study of esoteric Buddhism and Theosophy shows plainly that they contain great, living truths. Yet, nevertheless, year by year, I become more firmly convinced that the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, are in advance of those of any other teacher that true Christianity has more vital force in it than any other religion. Remember, I am not speaking of the letter of Christianity, but the spirit of it. So &r as forms and symbols are concerned there is very little to choose between Christianity and any other religion. The illumined soul attaches no value to these things. The unenlightened may, and undoubtedly do, derive comfort and consolation through a worship of forms. However, I can see no good reason for doing as many have done and are doing: namely, giving up the Christ religion to turn to Buddhism, Theosophy, or Mohammedanism. There seems to be a fascination in these religions for some, owing to the mysterious or occult in them, perhaps. More especially is this true of Theosophy and Buddhism. I believe the teachings of Jesus to be more explicit than any other teachings regarding our duty to God and our fellow-men. Jesus points out more truly than any other, the Way, the Truth, and the Life his teachings bring immortality and life to view in a way that no other religion has ever done. I do not advise one not to study other religious systems far from it. Such a study would be productive in broadening the mental vision and causing one to see the good in all.

We all greatly desire peace of mind and body all would gladly attain to the Kingdom of God. Jesus, the Christ, points out the way so clearly none need fail of finding it. His instructions are to hunger and thirst after righteousness; to be merciful to be pure in heart to be peacemakers to resist not evil to give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away" to "take no thought of your life, what ye shall eat, what ye shall drink, nor yet for your bodies what ye shall put on;" and to "do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you."

These are some of the essential things that are expected of all seeking to enter the Kingdom. But where is this Kingdom of God? It is within. ''Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." It is the one God that worketh in you all. “God worketh in you to will and to do." We must enter our closet, and having closed the door, we must pray to our Father in secret, and our Father, who seeth in secret, will reward us openly. The closet is the soul, or inner consciousness, and we should close the door of the mind to all external things. The heart should go out with an intense desire for all that is good, all that is pure and holy. Having the desire for purity and goodness in mind, we shall act it out in daily life.

Jesus says that after seeking the Kingdom, all needful things will be added unto us. Our needs never extend beyond the present time if we have implicit trust in the Great Father of all, our every need will be supplied. Riches and worldly honors are not what we most need in this age; these things are but temporal. Perfect love is what we need most, for: “perfect love casteth out fear." When we analyze all the discord, distress, inharmony, sickness, sin, and disease, we find one thing — fear — at the foundation of them all. The great remedy for fear is love. Faith and Love are twin-sisters. Perfect faith casts out every doubt, for then we shall know that God will fulfill His promises. It will not be necessary to take thought for the morrow we shall not be endeavoring to peer into the dim, misty future. No longer shall we spend our energies in planning and scheming to obtain riches our riches will be of a kind that neither moth nor rust will corrupt, and that thieves cannot steal. All our needs will be supplied, and we shall not be robbing our brother man in supplying them.

If we had a faith born of knowledge, we would know that all this worrying about the future is only driving away the things we want so much. “Anxiety is the poison of life; the parent of many sins and of more miseries. Why, then, allow it when we know that all the future is guided by a Father's Hand?" If we have perfect faith, whatsoever we need, we can have we are told to ask, and we shall receive, and God is not slack concerning His promises.

The mind, directed in the right channel, will not only attract all that the body needs to sustain it, but will also bring perfect physical health. Mind is cause; body only effect. The less attention we pay to the body, and the more attention we give to our spiritual condition, the better the body will be; for the body only shadows forth the imaging part of the mind.

”By their fruits ye shall know them." Many persons, while admitting the cures brought about through the instrumentality of Christian, Mental, or Spiritual Science, say that it is the work of the devil. Was not Jesus accused of casting out devils because he was the prince of devils? But what held good then will hold good to-day. Jesus said: ''If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." Do not be disturbed by the opinions of others, no matter how adverse they may be do not let them cause you to falter or turn back in your search after spiritual truth. You are seeking the Pearl of Great Price, which, when once found, never can be lost again, and its possession will bring you joy and peace.

“Think not alone to do right and fulfill
Life's due perfection by the simple worth
Of lawful actions call'd by justice forth,
And thus condone a world confused with ill!
But fix the high condition of thy will
To be right, that its good's spontaneous birth
May spread like flowers springing from the earth
On which the natural dews of heaven distill!"

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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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