"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," is a very true saying. Not by giving to the if poor, by works of charity and righteousness the outward make up of a good man or woman—shall we be judged—and saved—and are ever being judged now, but by the thought which prompted the action; for this thought-life is the spiritual power which moulds first the spirit form and then the material, the body, into the harmonious expression of itself. Every secret thought is continually at work molding our forms. St. Paul said: "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and have not charity (love) it profiteth me nothing." The motive power, the thought-life, must be pure. Again he says: "Though I give my body to be burned and have not charity it profiteth me nothing," or whatever profession of religion we may make on any other foundation than love. The widow's mite was blest to her because it was given in love. And a spiritual blessing follows all that is done from a pure motive. Give grudgingly, and that spirit force follows the gift. Give generously, with a heart full of pure sympathy and love, and a blessing follows equally the giver and the gift.
Speeds to the earth's remotest spot,
And leaves its blessing, or its woes,
Like tracts behind it, as it goes.
"And after you have quite forgot,
Or all outgrown some vanished thought,
Back to your mind to make its home
A dove or raven it will come.
They who have the power to discern can see at a glance what our spiritual, our innermost, life is, whether we are living by the spirit, which is of God, or whether the body and the senses have dominion over us, even though the body to a certain extent is a mask to the spirit, the real self.
For so many generations we have been taught to look to some outward means of salvation, that now it has become difficult to realize that it is the Christ within, the living by the spirit, which is our salvation. And we may so cultivate this spiritual power that it will permeate our whole being, and radiate from us as a blessing and help to all with whom we associate. On the other hand, by the cultivation of materialistic thought we may for ever keep the spirit dormant.
And this living by the spirit, which is the Christ-life, will teach us to realize the unity of all life, and our oneness with God. To do an evil to another then becomes an evil to a brother or a sister: to withhold a good that is in our power to give is denying a brother or sister. We cannot make all equal, for even in private families where love reigns there are inequalities. But by striving ever to live by the spirit, and always to be receptive to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit, we shall be guided as to what is right to do under all circumstances.
To live by the spirit we must keep our thought-life fixed on God, the ever Present, whose we are, for our life is from Him, and He is ever striving to manifest Himself through us. And this means fuller life, freedom, and joy. But we must not expect these blessings to be ours on the instant of adopting a right thought-life, any more than we should expect a plant to flower as soon as the seed was sown. Neither must we expect life to be without trials and sorrows; but it makes all the difference in life between being in a rudderless boat at sea and a well appointed and equipped vessel.
lf we live for the outward things of life we live for the material and finite, and so become slaves to our worldly possessions and circumstances. But living by the spirit gives us communion with God, the giver of every good gift, and no good thing will He withhold from them that love Him.
His little nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.