Not by any process that is merely outside of our own personality can we be saved from our ills. Outside processes are indeed necessary. No salvation would be genuine that did not make itself visible and palpable. Salvation must come forth to the outermost plane, and in the long run reveal itself conspicuously to every sense. But every outside process is the effect, sign, and record of a process that is interior.
If some pleasant exterior event—some windfall—something not achieved by, but merely happening to, us—were to bring about a change in our circumstances, were to lift us out of the environment we had been chafing against into the very environment we should have chosen;—if the particular limitations were removed which had most annoyed us, and which we had regarded as hindering us most from doing what would make us happier, and if we found ourselves thus in just such a home and such a situation and such material and personal surroundings as we had wished for;—and if while all this good fortune had come to us, we started operating in our new surroundings no wiser and better than before—with just the same degree of intelligence and of virtue unfolded in us, and no more, with (say) the same self-absorption and sense of interests separate from our neighbor's and of a life apart from the universal life, with the same sense of destructibility and vulnerability and of dependence upon things outside us;—we should quickly stumble into just such another hole as what we had momentarily been lifted out of we should either wreck and dissipate our new environment, or we should find it impossible to find satisfaction therein. Our so called good luck would prove itself utterly futile and disappointing.
On the other hand, imagine someone situated in circumstances meanwhile dark and threatening, but obtaining interior deliverance, an emancipation from all belief in evil as a power prevailing against him; imagine someone who has been in hell as to his thought and feeling, and likewise in a up hell of external environment to match his hell within, but who now gets inwardly set all free, in whom the fire of hatred and resentment is extinguished, in whom the unhappy desire of being great by getting on the top of his fellows has been crowded out by aspiration, love, and the passion for self-giving service;—imagine, in such a one, the fear of want cast out, the dread of the devil vanished, the horror of great darkness clean gone that fills the mind when one thinks of oneself as in the grip of an evil power, and come, instead, the light of an infinite hope and expectation, the conviction that all the forces of the universe are held for the purpose of goodness. That inward blessedness is a call sent forth from that person, vibrating musically through the all-including, all-connecting spiritual medium,—a call which summons and rallies all blessed spirits to his aid, that reaches whatever is deepest and loftiest and truest in every fellow-creature incarnate and discarnate, and stirs it to co-operation. That inward blessedness is an attraction, which reaches out, which reaches into the deepest depths and highest heights of nature, and which draws the building material, both the priceless and living stones and the things of lower grade, for the structure that shall hereafter symbolize that interior blessedness—for the palace, the temple, the kingdom, the love-order which shall be a meet habitation and environment of whatever soul has discovered itself one with God.
According to Jesus' teaching, the new order, the entirely peaceful, harmonious, blessed era—however it may be prepared for by countless stages of cosmic evolution, through the unconscious and involuntary working together of many agencies—is not going to be otherwise ushered on to the scene in this world than by the thought and consequent activity of blessed people. These—inwardly developed up to the discovery and realization that the Kingdom of God is within them, that the riches of Love and Power is within them—will then unfold that Kingdom and riches into institutions and sweet fraternal relations and interactions, and into all things wholesome, beautiful, and delightful.
The weltering chaos in the dim ages of long ago as far back as the imagination of science can look, and the slow emergence of a habitable globe; the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest, on sea and land, through innumerable ascending degrees of life, right up to man, the creation's self-conscious crown; the ages of savagery, the slow dawn of civilization and then the rapid advance of science;—all these have been stages in the evolution of the Kingdom of God, stages towards making explicit, in form and matter, what was implicit in Spirit from eternity. But the further and higher stages-—though wrought, indeed, by the same one Power, by the same one Cause, as the earlier ones—are to be wrought through the clearing and expanding consciousness and will of mankind. An increasing number of men and women knowing themselves to be, as regards their developing personalities, diverse and distinct expressions of one Spirit and one Life, but, as regards their inner Principle and Reality, their real Self identical all with that one Spirit and Life-asserting boldly "I and the Father are one,"—will progressively demonstrate the truth that they transcend personality, and that they are one in God, by bringing forth, as the unmistakable Symbolism of this truth, harmony among people, mutual fellowship, solidarity, cooperative interaction throughout all human society as of members in one body.