It is imperative that we change our thoughts where we can affect outward conditions. And we will find that it will require an heroic struggle and an intense effort to eliminate from the mind those emotions which now negatively sway us and bias our judgment and fix our environment in a discordant order.
It is a struggle to keep the mind free from the perverse and pernicious ideas which arise in the human mind. It will require the most vigilant exercise of will power, the most persistent concentration of higher forces and the conservation of all the divine energies, not at periodical moments in the day, but every second of the time. Our thoughts must be constant with the higher if we would expect an harmonious state of being. The very moment the mind forgets its mark of the high calling, that instant the mark is lowered to an undesirable state of consciousness. It plunges into the vortex of sin and death, for where the divine law does not obtain, the law of sin and death must. There is no alternative. At every moment of the time our minds are either in the citadel of spiritual glory, or in the domain and province of the negative law of imperfection. The most vigilant watchfulness is essential to prevent the decline of our thoughts, until we have by habitual training of the mind gained that spiritual impetus which keeps the mind in constant ascendency in the good, better, best, of all things. There will come a time when the trend of the mind will be spiritward by involuntary action, but until that time comes it will require the most vigilant attention to our thoughts in order not to decline in thought, for the tendency of the thoughts will be into carnal things until we get the impetus spiritward, and gravitate naturally into the plane of true being man should occupy.
Until our minds have gained a preponderance of spiritual thought, we shall be bound to fall and to fail again and again and become swayed by evil, even in our struggle to keep the mind aloof from the contaminating issues of the carnal mind, but it is not ours to be discouraged. Even though we fall by the wayside, stripped by the robbing human thoughts and wounded with our ignorance, yet the Good Samaritan of higher being will bend to our assistance. We must struggle and strive against the perversity of the human mind, and if we persevere we shall gain that spiritual impetus and divine momentum which will forever end our apostasy.
Now, deeds are what count the greatest in our favor; deeds of kindness, acts of mercy, judgments of peace, thoughts of purity. Every man must "give an account of the deeds done in the body," and you will account for them in your own body, and in your own surroundings, for the things you do make the conditions in which you live, move, and have your being.
The dogma that people die and go to hell for the evil they do is true, only in a different sense than is taught from the pulpit of today. Every time we do wrong we go to hell, and die to the higher conditions which we ought to demonstrate. Thousands of the world's people are in hell this moment, and they have died to their higher selfhood, and are suffering the torments of the damned in homes of poverty, beds of sickness, prisons of despair. We do not have to go to some other place in this universe to find hell. It is here, the same as the kingdom of heaven is within you.
We must work by deeds, and not by creeds. "Faith without works is dead." We must be kind and generous and pure in speech, refraining to speak evil or lightly of anyone, determined to do no injury to anyone, loving all impartially, holding up this great universe by the God-might within us until the mind shall become illuminated with the effulgent and hallowed light of divine wisdom.
And, mark you! Whatever our deeds, however philanthropic our acts, unless there is true charity back of every one of them they count for nothing. Even what you do counts for nothing unless there is pure, unalloyed charity back of each act.
Love, pure love, that seeketh not its own, that considers not the return favor to itself, must be back of every deed we perform, or our acts are a mere masquerade.
Scores of people are moved to acts of kindness because they expect return favors. Such acts are simply bait upon the line of our selfishness that we throw out to catch something of more value. Such acts count for nothing.
All our acts must be commissions of love, for love's sake, and not because we anticipate return favors.
We must strive to reach the plane of the perfect, and to see all persons from the divine standpoint, from the basis of the spiritual, and we shall then behold them as without spot or blemish, but so long as we reckon the world from the standpoint of the carnal mind, we shall behold discord, disease, and death as the trinity of our ignorance. If we cannot talk upon the best side of life, let us learn to seal our lips and to bridle our tongues. We call the good into vibratory action by talking and by thinking on the side of the good, but we bring conflict and chaos into life so long as we talk and think upon the side of evil. We must become every whit whole in a spiritual sense of life and being, if we would see the kingdom of God come on earth, as it is in heaven.