Through the Gate of Good
Christ and Conduct
The Vine and the Branches
—Jesus as the Christ (John 15:5)
—Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 11:28)
The Christ is the Spirit of Love which is the abiding and indwelling Reality in man. Yet though its perfected Temple is the human form, and it can only visibly and consciously manifest itself in and through the human personality, it is impersonal in its nature, is a universal and eternal Principle, and is at once the source and the substance of Life.
In this Principle of Love, all Knowledge, Intelligence, and Wisdom are contained, and until a man realizes it as the one vital Reality of his being, he does not fully comprehend the Christ. Such glorious realization is the crown of evolution, the supreme aim of existence. Its attainment is complete salvation, emancipation from all error, ignorance, and sin.
This Principle is in all men, but is not manifested by all; and it is not known and manifested by men because they continue to cling to those personal elements which obscure its presence and power. Every personal element in human nature is changeable and perishable, and to cling to them is to embrace negations, shadows, death. In the material world, an object cannot be perceived until all intervening obstacles are removed; and in the spiritual region an abiding Principle cannot be apprehended until every impermanent element is relinquished. Before a man can know Love as the abiding Reality within him, he must utterly abandon all those human tendencies which frustrate its perfect manifestation. By so doing he becomes one with Love—becomes Love itself; he then discovers that he is, and always has been, divine and one with God.
Jesus, by his complete victory over the personality, realized and manifested his oneness with the Supreme Spirit; and, subordinating his entire nature and life to impersonal Love, he became, literally, an embodiment of the Christ. He is therefore truly called the Christ.
When Jesus said, "Without Me ye can do nothing," he spoke not of his perishable form, but of the Universal Spirit of Love of which his conduct was a perfect manifestation; and this utterance of his is the statement of a simple truth; for the works of man are vain and worthless when they are done for personal ends, and he himself remains a perishable being, immersed in darkness and fearing death, so long as he lives in his personal gratifications. The animal in man can never respond to and know the divine; only the divine can respond to the divine. The spirit of hatred in man can never vibrate in unison with the Spirit of Love; Love only can apprehend Love, and become linked with it. Man is divine; man is of the substance of Love; this he may realize if he will relinquish the impure, personal elements which he has hitherto been blindly following, and will fly to the impersonal Realities of the Christ Spirit; and these Realities are Purity, Humility, Compassion, Wisdom, Love.
Every precept of Jesus demands the unconditional sacrifice of some selfish, personal element before it can be carried out. Man cannot know the Real whilst he clings to the unreal; he cannot do the work of Truth whilst he clings to error. Whilst a man cherishes lust, hatred, pride, vanity, self-indulgence, covetousness, he can do nothing, for the works of all these sinful elements are unreal and perishable. Only when he takes refuge in the Spirit of Love within, and becomes patient, gentle, pure, pitiful, and i forgiving, does he work the works of Righteousness, and bear the fruits of Life. The vine is not a vine without its branches, and even then it is not complete until those branches bear fruit. Love is not complete until it is lived by man; until it is fully understood by him and manifested in his conduct. A man can only consciously ally himself to the Vine of Love by deserting all strife, and hatred, and condemnation, and impurity, and pride, and self-seeking, and by thinking only loving thoughts and doing loving deeds. By so doing, he awakens within him the divine nature which he has heretofore been crucifying and denying. Every time a man gives way to anger, impatience, greed, pride, vanity, or any form of personal selfishness, he denies the Christ, he shuts himself out from Love. And thus only is Christ denied, and not by refusing to adopt a formulated creed. Christ is only known to him who by constant striving has converted himself from a sinful to a pure being, who by noble, moral effort has succeeded in relinquishing that perishable self which is the source of all suffering and sorrow and unrest, and has become rational, gentle, peaceful, loving, and pure.
Man's only refuge from sin is sinless Love, flying to and dwelling in which, and abandoning all else as evanescent, unreal, and worthless, daily practicing love towards all in heart and mind and deed, harboring no injurious or impure thoughts, he discovers the imperishable Principles of his being, enters fully into the knowledge of his oneness with eternal Life, and receives the never-ending Rest.
(To be concluded)
Chapters from this series of articles were later published as a complete book.
More from 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.