The little party gods have had their day. The arbitrary gods, creatures of human caprice and ignorance, are falling into disrepute. Men have quarreled over and defended them until they have grown weary of the strife, and now, everywhere, they are relinquishing and breaking up these helpless idols of their long worship.
The god of revenge, hatred and jealousy, who gloats over the downfall of his enemies; the partial god who gratifies all our narrow and selfish desires; the god who saves only the creatures of his particular and special creed; the god of exclusiveness and favoritism; such were the gods (miscalled by us God) of our soul’s infancy, gods base and foolish as ourselves, the fabrications of our selfish self. And we relinquished our petty gods with bitter tears and misgivings, and broke our idols with bleeding hands. But in so doing we did not lose sight of God; nay, we drew nearer to the great, silent Heart of Love. Destroying the idols of self, we began to comprehend somewhat of the Power which cannot be destroyed, and entered into a wider knowledge of the God of Love, of Peace, of Joy; the God in whom revenge and partiality cannot exist; the God of Light, from whose presence the darkness of fear and doubt and selfishness cannot choose but flee.
We have reached one of those epochs in the world’s progress which witnesses the passing of the false gods; the gods of human selfishness and human illusion. The new-old revelation of one universal impersonal Truth has again dawned upon the world, and its searching light has carried consternation to the perishable gods who take shelter under the shadow of self.
Men have lost faith in a god who can be cajoled, who rules arbitrarily and capriciously, subverting the whole order of things to gratify the wishes of his worshipers, and are turning, with a new light in their eyes and a new joy in their hearts, to the God of Law.
And to Him they turn, not for personal happiness and gratification, but for knowledge, for understanding, for wisdom, for liberation from the bondage of self. And thus turning, they do not seek in vain, nor are they sent away empty and discomfited. They find within themselves the reign of Law, that every thought, every impulse, every act and word brings about a result in exact accordance with its own nature; that thoughts of love bring about beautiful and blissful conditions, that hateful thoughts bring about distorted and painful conditions, that thoughts and acts, good and evil, are weighed in the faultless balance of the supreme Law, and receive their equal measure of blessedness on the one hand and misery on the other. And thus finding, they enter a new Path, the Path of obedience to the Law. Entering that Path, they no longer accuse, no longer doubt, no longer fret and despond, for they know now that God is right, the universal laws are right, the cosmos is right, and that they themselves are wrong, if wrong there is, and that their salvation depends upon themselves, upon their own efforts, upon their personal acceptance of that which is good, and deliberate rejection of that which is evil. No longer merely hearers, they become doers of the Word, and they acquire knowledge, they receive understanding, they grow in wisdom, and they enter into the glorious life of liberation from the bondage of self
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, enlightening the eyes." Imperfection lies in man’s ignorance, in man’s blind folly. Perfection, which is knowledge of the Perfect Law, is ready for all who earnestly seek it; it belongs to the order of things; it is yours and mine now if we will only put self-seeking on one side, and adopt the life of self-obliteration.
The knowledge of Truth, with its unspeakable joy, its calmness and quiet strength, is not for those who persist in clinging to their "rights," defending their "interests" and fighting for their "opinions"; whose works are imbued with the personal “I," and who build upon the shifting sands of selfishness and egotism. It is for those who renounce these causes of strife, these sources of pain and sorrow; and they are, indeed, children of Truth, disciples of the Master, worshipers of the Most High. And the children of Truth are in the world today; they are thinking, acting, writing, speaking; yea, even prophets are amongst us, and their influence is pervading the whole earth. An undercurrent of holy joy is gathering force in the world, so that men and women are moved with new aspirations and hopes, and even those who neither hear nor see, feel within themselves strange yearnings after a better and a fuller life.
The Law reigns, and it reigns in men’s hearts and lives; and they have come to understand the reign of Law who have sought out the Tabernacle of the true God by the fair pathway of unselfishness.
God does not alter for man, for this would mean that the perfect must become imperfect; man must alter for God, and this implies that the imperfect must become perfect. The Law cannot be broken for man, otherwise confusion would ensue; man must obey the Law: this is in accordance with harmony, order, justice. There is no more painful bondage than to be at the mercy of one’s inclinations; no greater liberty than utmost obedience to the Law of Being. And the Law is that the heart shall be purified, the mind regenerated, and the whole being brought in subjection to Love till self is dead and Love is all in all, for the reign of Law is the reign of Love and Love waits for all, rejecting none. Love may be claimed and entered into now, for it is the heritage of all.
Ah, beautiful truth! To know that now man may accept his divine heritage, and enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Oh, pitiful error! To know that man rejects it because of love of self! Obedience to the Law means the destruction of self and sin, and the realization of unclouded joy and undying peace. Clinging to one’s selfish inclinations means the drawing about one’s soul clouds of pain and sorrow which darken light of Truth; the shutting out of oneself from all real blessedness; for "whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap."
Verily the Law reigneth, and reigneth for ever, and justice and Love are its eternal ministers.
This chapter is selected from the book, Above Life's Turmoil.
depend upon it there’s another way to it, and a better one;
and it is our own fault, and not God’s, that we do not find it.
More Articles by This Author James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.