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Self-Conquest

Every New Idea, or supposed New Idea, is a light which attracts the moths.

The "New Thought" is no exception.

About it flutter hysterical women, unbalanced men: the erratic and the irresponsible.

The possibilities of performing miracles, of healing the sick, hypnotizing the well, transforming poverty into wealth, and changing age to youth, are the rays of light which flicker through the darkness and draw them into the circle of radiance.

The self-indulgent fat woman subscribes to New Thought literature, pays for a course of lectures, and goes forth into the ranks of the unbelievers, proclaiming her power to become a sylph, and to cause others to become sylphs.

The extravagant and inconsiderate rush forth after having heard a discourse upon the power of mind over matter, and declare that they possess the secret of accumulating a fortune by occult means.

The lovers of the marvelous believe that they will become great healers in a brief space of time.

Not one of these moth converts realizes that the very first step to take in the direction of "New Thought" is self-conquest.

The gourmand does not know that self-indulgence and a gross appetite are incompatible with mental or spiritual growth, and will be insurmountable obstacles in her path toward symmetry.

The spendthrift does not take into consideration the fact that good sense, thrift and industry, must aid his mental assertion of wealth, and the miracle lover does not understand that something greater and more difficult is required than a mere wish to heal before healing powers can be obtained.

That the physical body and material conditions can be dominated by the divine spirit in man, is an incontrovertible fact.

But first, last and always, the lesser self must be subjugated, and the weak and unworthy qualities overcome.

The woman who desires to reduce her flesh cannot do so by reading occult literature, or joining mystic circles, or attending lectures, unless she permeates herself so thoroughly with spiritual truths that she no longer craves six courses at dinner, and three meals a day, and unless she overcomes her dislike for exercise.

The man who wishes to control circumstances must love better things than money before he can succeed. He must love, and respect, and believe in his Creator, and trust the Divine Man within himself, and he must illustrate this love and trust by his daily conduct, and in his home circle, and in his business relations.

Once in a century, perhaps, is a man born with great powers already developed to heal the sick, or to do other seeming miracles. Such beings are old souls, who have obtained diplomas in former lives; but the majority of us are still in school, and we cannot become "seniors" until we pass through the lower grades.

We must change ourselves before we can change material conditions: we must heal our own thoughts and make them sane and normal, before we can heal bodily disease in others.

It is not an immediate process. I have heard an old lady declare that she "got religion" in the twinkling of an eye, and she believed all people would be damned and burn in hell fire, who did not pass through this sudden illumination.

It is possible that the religion which can worship a God cruel enough to burn his children in fire, can only be obtained in the twinkling of an eye; but the reverent, wholesome, and beautiful religion of "New Thought" must be grown into little by little, through patience, faith, and practice.

All that it claims to do it can do, but not instantaneously, not rapidly. We must first make ourselves over; after absolute control of our minds has been obtained, then, and only then, may we hope to influence circumstances and health.

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Author and poet
  • Born November 5th, 1850 in Johnstown, Wisconsin and died October 30th, 1919
  • Famous line in poetry: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone."

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