We were idly lying on the swelling ocean, one dark night, off the Indian shore. Leaning over the ship's side, I gazed into the black night and meditated on the mystery of God. But for an occasional movement in the water, caused by a native boat, all was silent. Presently, the dense cloud which hid the face of the moon moved, so that its fringe alone dimmed the moon's light. Soon, a solitary ray shot down and quivered on the breast of the ocean, contrasting vividly with the blackness on each side. The circle of light was as a speck in a world of darkness.
Suddenly, out from the blackness, came a native boat. First, its bow entered the circle of light, and then the whole boat was in view, though but for one short minute. Silently it came, and as silently went. I leaned back from the ship's side and was very conscious of God's Spirit, and of the vastness of Eternity. How like our life is that little boat! From eternity, to eternity. We will not say "from the unknown," for when the Great Day breaks we know that all will be clear, and we should work faithfully in the present and wait patiently for that Day-break.
Truth and knowledge become ours gradually, and according to unalterable laws. Neither Jesus, nor Buddha, nor indeed any human agency but our own goodness can bring us into the presence of God whilst we remain sinful. Jesus tells us that it is only through purity that we see God, and so, unless we turn from evil inclinations we are incapable of receiving grace, which is power. We must make ourselves receptive to the least ray of Divine Light, follow its leading in our everyday life, and then, when the Light breaks upon us in all its brightness and fullness, we shall be prepared to receive it.
If we would reach the pure atmosphere of Truth, where all is in perfect harmony with our highest love and worship, we must follow the leading of the spirit. If we refuse to do this, we become listless, without any ideal or aim in life, a burden to ourselves and probably to others. We should endeavor to take high and wide views of life, loving and reverent views, and so soar above all our littleness and selfish sorrows toward the Throne of Life, where all is Joy and Peace.
True Life is joy and Peace, and it was not intended that we should miss it. God's Peace is eternal, and we find that Peace when our lives have become pure and gentle.
Some speak of being "launched into Eternity," but into that we are already launched, and it cannot be too strongly impressed upon us that in the present we are shaping our future. There is a prevalent idea that our actions and thoughts, though of some present consequence, will be of no account in, say, fifty years time; but when if we become conscious of Truth and Eternity we then know that character lasts, and that whatever we are now enacting is slowly influencing our future. Were Eternity so viewed the world would be much happier.
We are all affected by one another, and the only logical attitude we can assume is that of love. If we realize the eternal nature of Truth, we cannot but love all men. The grand message of Jesus is Love, and the grand message of Eternity is Love. An act, trivial may be, is forgotten, yet how often the trivial acts return after being buried in forgetfulness, and in the fuller light we see the effect of what previously seemed so trivial. We cannot afford to do anything by halves, think any bad thought, or do any questionable deed, however trivial.
When we consider Eternity in the light of reason we fail to see injustice anywhere. This all fades in the light of Love. Let us probe deep into the meaning of our life, and reason without prejudice upon the future. Are we living in hatred? What a terrible outlook! Are we striving after purity? Then, as Jesus assures us, we shall see God. Are we loving? Then truly, we shall Love.
In the light of reason, then, Eternity holds forth glorious prospects. How many loves will be made manifest; how many lives enlarged, and how many ideals achieved! We believe, too, that as the scroll of Eternity unrolls we shall be given greater opportunities to serve, and by serving others, we shall ourselves approach nearer and nearer to Truth.