—Henry Ward Beecher
—Sir J. Stephen
Is Thine, so let the way
That leads to it be also Thine.
Jesus said on one occasion that "the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," and his use of the title, son of man, instead of Son of God, is of deep significance. This whole question of a kingdom and kingship is a much deeper and more vital one than has been supposed. In the claim put forth by Jesus that the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins he did not refer to one particular individual, who, because of his having lived in bodily form on the earth, could arbitrarily cleanse the record of other earth-dwellers; but he was declaring the grand truth that the soul—the real man—could so dominate the physical and mental man, so rule the earthly part in love, that the sin of selfishness would be blotted out.
Let us endeavor to think of heaven and earth as co-existing in man. Man is a unit, the mental and physical part being an expression, even though a very partial one, of the soul which dwells within. It is this outer realm of mind and body in which the son of man is destined to reign completely, and the would-be king must have attained power over his own outer self, his own mind and body must have been renewed by the free action of the spirit within, before he can hope to extend his sway throughout the great earth-body. God's kingdom can come only as man sets about administering in love his affairs of thought and action.
Many people make the mistake of regarding the spiritual side of life as being all there is to religion; but if God's kingdom is ever to be realized on this earth of ours we must put the proper valuation on the material side of life, for religion must be practical or nothing. Our effort should be to see things in their true relation. The spirit must find a channel of expression; inner reality must become actualized in the outward conditions of earth; the God-man must be adequately expressed by the earth-man of mind and body.
Now the test of life is its power to create, to produce. If there are no works the spirit dwelling within is practically dead; it is choked and dormant, and the outer kingdom is in a state of anarchy, there being no ruling one to order and control. Unity, health, and harmony in the mind and body of man are conditioned on the conscious ruling of the son of man. One thing that hinders us from realizing our destiny of power is the personal will. We want to create in some particular way; we are prone to choose our path and are not willing to let the spirit, the impersonal will, guide us in the way.
Everything that comes about naturally, without effort on our part, everything that comes as a result of an inward pressure, an intuition, is the leading that we should follow. When in seeking a larger field of usefulness we turn from the natural leading, then we grieve away or choke the spirit, driving it in upon itself, thus for the time being forbidding it any natural outlet. It is this willfulness on our part that so often obstructs the coming of the kingdom; it is because we are not willing to obey the inner one that we fail to rule in the outer realms.
It is only when the spirit is finding free expression in our activities that we are satisfied with our work—not satisfied in the sense of regarding it as perfect, but as being confident that it is that which God would have us do.
When the Son of God and the son of man—the impersonal love and the personal will—are consciously one, then there comes a sense of joy and freedom in our work and we are not in bondage to fear or doubt, but rule over our kingdom in gentleness and power.
When we see something to be done, it is often very hard for us to be patient in regard to its accomplishment. In our haste we attack the problem before we are prepared for the work, and then when we fail to bring it to a successful conclusion, we lose patience and wonder what is the matter. If we could only realize it, our impatience, our self-will, has been largely responsible for the failure. We were not ready for the work; our energies were dissipated, and so we did not bring sufficient force to the task in hand. It is this gathering of force which tries the patience, and yet on it depends the success of any work we undertake. The eye must be single, the heart and mind fixed, the energy concentrated, if we are to accomplish any good work in this world.
We are so prone to measure a work by its magnitude; yet it is often the little service, the private or seemingly unimportant work, that brings the great results. Again, it often proves to be the case that a small number of people will achieve greater victory than a large army of half-hearted recruits. In the case of Gideon's conquest of the Midianites it was a small picked army that won the victory; and so, in many other matters, it is the quality, not the quantity, of service that counts.
To have one main object in view, to bend all our energies to its accomplishment, and yet to work in a spirit of patience, is most difficult and yet most necessary if we would win the victory.
If we see clearly what we wish to do, then everything else will contribute toward that end. Even things that may seem like side issues can be made to play a part in the final accomplishment, if we only keep the eye single. Every little break that occurs because of some other work that calls for our attention, may, if our eye be single to the one great work, serve in some way to further the cause, if in no other way than by developing new power in us.
It is the height of foolishness to think that there can be spiritual development without a corresponding expression. Living faith will always result in living works. The feeling of peace, joy, faith, existing apart from works, is of no avail, for faith begins to decline, to die out, when there is no outlet for it in works. If we refuse to give outward expression to our faith, doubt will enter the mind, a deadness will creep over us, and joy depart.
If we allow doubt of our own ability to enter the mind, if we doubt the sincerity or ability of the people with whom we have to deal, if we doubt the principle with which we are working, then we become weak and powerless; and we all know that it is only a step from weakness to disease.
Let us, then, cultivate faith, let us open the eyes of our hearts to love, let us see the heavenly vision, and let it shine through us upon the earth; for so only can man come into his kingdom, so only can he realize his destiny of power and beauty. We cannot overestimate the necessity of faith. There is no evidence in history that the doubting man ever left anything behind as an evidence of his having lived, except his doubts.
Many people mistake faith for credulity or a mere blind acceptance of another's opinion; but it is a very different matter. Faith is spiritual sight, or, better still, it is a vital touch. It is a living contact with the great Heart of love, and such a condition will always eventuate in works of love. To be in touch with the Creator is to be endued with His power, and we know He who builded the mountains can also remove them. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, if we are genuinely in touch with creative power, we can actually change the face of the earth; we can remove mountains, we can make man's kingdom—chaotic, diseased, imperfect though it may now appear—to become God's kingdom of peace, power, and beauty.
It is our false concept of the separation between man and God that has so sadly hindered us in attaining our kingdom. We limit the power of God when we say that man can only control his mind and body, that there is a limit to his dominion, for the Power that formed the world and created the elements can also reform and recreate. The life in man is God-life, and it is as infinite in power as God Himself. The same Power that creates can also control and direct. Jesus commanded, and the waves obeyed him.
When we come to see that life is one, that there really is no separation between the physical, mental, and spiritual planes of being, and that the God-life cannot be divided and measured off into separate parts, then will we begin at least to inherit the kingdom which has always been awaiting our rule. We come at last to realize that it is one Power that flows in and through all, one Intelligence that controls all things, one Life that animates.
We err when we look upon the energy which throbs through us as being separate from the universal force. It is the carnal mind that regards man as a separate and powerless being; and sin, disease, and death will not be overcome until all men attain unto the Christ mind—that of conscious oneness with the Father.
Whenever this thought of complete dominion in the outer world is touched upon, people are apt to say, "Oh, yes, that is to be ultimately, but it is a long way off!" It is because we take this attitude in regard to it that it remains in the future. The world needs more than anything else seers who realize that power, limitless power, is ours here and now. Now is the accepted time if we will only heartily accept it as such.
We hesitate to go forward because we feel our inadequacy; yet strength and wisdom, power and fullness, can only come as we use what we have here and now. Man's province is to transform the whole outer kingdom so that order and beauty, health and wholeness, will reign everywhere, and this will be accomplished only as we use the degree of power we now possess.
The question for us is: Do we will to do the will of God? If we will to be well, to be whole, if we determine earnestly that the spirit within shall find free expression in mind, body, and outward acts, then will we surely come into our inheritance of power.
When we arrive at a true consciousness of the law of evolution then will we become creators with the Father. When we see that it is the desire to adjust one's self to one's environment that has called forth new forms of life, evolved new organs, and endued with new power, then will we go forward in good heart, trusting the One who has stirred us into activity to guide us in the Way of Life. So shall man come into his kingdom and so shall heaven be realized on earth.
More Articles by This Author Charles Brodie Patterson
- Canadian New Thought author
- Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917