Blessedness for man is assured in the yearning of the soul for a higher and yet higher state of consciousness. It suffices not to have been brought up to hold certain forms of belief; because the breath of life—the soul's own native air—can never be confined by the terms of man-made creeds. We may repeat the words correctly and profess a faith accurately that will come up to the required standard; and yet our comprehension of the meaning may be totally different from that of our neighbor who does the same. One man sees clearly a truth that to another is dark, because in the first case the mental attitude is in harmony, and the psychic vision lightens with answering glory through the medium of the intellect; while in the other it is out of tune, no connection with the understanding is established, and there is no response. But where ignorance prevails, there also is the vague terror of darkness—an ill-defined unrest, a feeling of e misery; and this is experienced when we lose sight of the simple realities of Truth by forsaking the counsels of the Highest within and running after the deceptive allurements of self-gratification.
Yet still does everlasting Love encircle us. Poverty would not gall, nor pain nor anguish rack our being, could we conceive of nothing higher nor better than these states; but the very fact that they appear to be such terrible realities indicates the presence within of a soul that yearns to win back its heritage in God, and bring all outward conditions into line with its glorious aim. There can be no deception here; suffer we must, until the last vestige of the little self is purged away—until the darkness of ignorance gives place to the eternal light of knowledge, and we return to ineffable peace in the Kingdom of Heaven. To assert the power of the spirit and to practice self-denial, is the only strong, noble, reasonable course; but to indulge self and by our actions deny the living God is so obviously foolish and so infallibly productive of suffering, that the marvel is we are such a long time learning the fact.
Therefore, the practical question for ourselves is, "Shall we still live in the silly pretences of outward appearances, follow illusion, and prolong our misery; or shall our life be manifested from the center of our being, giving effect to the aspirations of the soul, and realizing heavenly bliss?" There can be no compromise. We may attain to a knowledge of the laws that govern physical health, material prosperity and power, and attune our mental attitude to act harmoniously with the same; but in the acquisition of these, self-denial is imperative, determining the degree of attainment and enjoyment. They are but steps, however, to the higher plane of consciousness in which the One Great Law is perceived. The soul knows beyond all doubt the instability and insufficiency of temporal things, and is not satisfied; but passing by effect that changes form, leads us onward and upward to the Changeless Cause.