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In Newness of Life

With those elect,
Who seem not to compete or strive,
But with the foremost still arrive,
Prevailing still:
Spirits with whom the stars connive
To work their will.
—From "In Laleham Churchyard" by William Watson

There are few phrases that bear within them more inherent buoyancy and exhilaration than that, 'to rise in newness of life.' It is a thought to live by. It comes to one in the morning on first waking, and instantly he is conscious of a new tide of exhilaration. It is like a ladder on which his spirit climbs and all beautiful things seem possible. There is infinite significance in the injunction of Saint Paul to be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of spirit; and again, when he asserts that to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, the thought is the most practical and simple. Because we live by our convictions and our enthusiasms, our visions and our ideals. Those are the properties, so to speak, of that spiritual world which the spirit inhabits, even though it is held to earth by dwelling in its physical body. That which we habitually see, as in vision; those conditions in which we picture ourselves in half unconscious imaginings, are those which shall be realized in outward fact. And so, when on the clear mirror surface of a perfectly untried day we see ourselves rising in newness of life, transformed by the renewing of spirit, we grasp thus the key to achievement and happiness and blessedness.

The initial point is to bring the mind into an attitude of love. Hatred, discord of any kind, forms an impassable barrier between the spirit and the joy and exaltation of the spiritual atmosphere. Hatred is Hades; and for one to keep that attitude is to shut himself in prison, and exile himself wholly from all that is life. Hatred is mental paralysis, and it forms one of those circles of hell that Dante saw. Love, on the contrary, is magnetic. It offers the open vision. It is not only receptive, but it attracts all germs of noble action and of fortunate combinations. It is not passive, but active; not negative, but positive.

Every morning one holds in his own hands this marvelous power to rise in newness of life and to shape conditions. The law by which this may be done is as definite and as inevitable as is the law of gravitation. It is now time for the Newton of the spiritual world to arise and announce these principles by which the soul may formulate its conditions. All the trouble, the defeat, the disaster, the gloom, and the conflict of the world are simply due to the fact that man has never asserted his birthright. He is not only 'the heir of all the ages,' but he is the heir to all spiritual treasure and power. Yet, instead of looking to heaven, he looks down to earth; instead of asserting his power to create conditions, he allows himself to be entangled with material conditions, chaotic and meaningless, and involved in trouble, disaster, and defeat. It is as if one should sit down in the midst of skeins of silk, and allow the filaments to overflow in knots and tangles all around him, and then direct his time and energies to the minute untying of knots, instead of arising and shaking them all off at one movement. 'All power is given to Me in heaven and earth,' said Jesus. And He promises that the very works He has done man shall do also, 'and greater works than these.' Are we to take these assurances as a mere dead letter—treat them as rhetorical figures, rather than read in them the living truth? Why, these assurances not only offer a privilege—they confer on man a responsibility. It is his business to arise and assert his spiritual birthright—to insist on his own power over conditions. All fulfillment of duty lies in this.

The condition of this assertive success is love. This is the quality which produces that magnetic atmosphere in which creative exercise is possible. In this atmosphere alone shall he rise to newness of life.

It is my most earnest purpose to convince the reader of the literal truth, the absolute practicality, of these assertions. As a bit of decorative verbal embroidery, they would not be worth the paper on which they are written; but as the most important truth in the life of this century—an age in which man is beginning to realize the powers that have largely lain dormant in the soul—to that truth the most earnest consideration may be urged. Psychic power has been mistakenly regarded as being, at best, for purposes of mere phenomena and wonder-working. This is the least of its significance. Its true place is as the practical working force of daily life. No one has any moral right to live in a haphazard way, at the mere mercy of circumstances. It is as wild as it would be for a rational being to put out to sea in a rowboat. It is a part of the accomplishment of true achievement to give a margin of time out of every twenty-four hours to the clear shaping—the psychic stamping, so to speak—of the day. The hours lie before one like plastic clay, ready to take the design of his spiritual impress.

We live in a world where visible and tangible things exist, to which, on the immaterial side, there are spiritual correspondences. One of these things is money. The higher order of people are apt to say there are better things than money; that there is the wealth of aspiration, of noble purpose, of generous and liberal sympathies, of good health and right feeling. And this is deeply true; and if one were to choose from financial riches on the one side, and spiritual riches on the other, he who would choose the former rather than the latter would be a madman rather than a rational human being. All the same, however, there is no truth in a sort of vague, traditional feeling that material poverty is necessarily synonymous with spiritual wealth, or that material wealth is synonymous with spiritual poverty. That this not unfrequently is true does not in the least argue that it is necessarily so, or that it is an ideal state of affairs. Still, when wealth is gained by a man giving himself over, body and soul, to material accumulation; when it is gained by grinding down the wages of employees, by the oppression and selfishness of all competitive industry, why, then, to amass financial wealth is at the fearful price of spiritual development.

The new trend of advanced spiritual thought, which proclaims that poverty is a disease, has right premises. 'For the earth is full of the riches of the Lord.' 'And the father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him.' 'And whatsoever ye ask, believing, ye shall receive.' We need merely to believe really what we say we believe. We read and repeat all these passages as meaningless forms; but they are vivid and vital and magnetic with the most infinite significance. That marvelous current of progress which runs through everything in time, and which we call the divine will, would work its undreamed-of potency in each individual life if the individual could bring himself into a condition whereby he might receive.

Now, it will be readily seen that all the immaterial world is absolutely dependent on conditions. Human love or friendship cannot give its gifts where they are unwelcome or unheeded. Your friend may long to pour out to you the treasures of his love, his care, his tenderness, his service; but unless you respond to them, he cannot give them. A gift presupposes two persons always—not only one to give, but one, also, to receive.

In the same way, to receive aid from the spiritual side of life, where all infinite treasure and potency exist, one must achieve the right conditions. These are more common than is altogether realized; but they exist, as yet, only in isolated instances, in fragments of experience, and are related as either something of very curious coincidence or else of divine aid, and he who has experienced it, or he who narrates it, hardly knows which name to apply. History is full of these instances as occurring in the lives of notable people in sudden and unforeseen emergencies. And there are, perhaps, few persons who have not experienced something of the kind in their own lives. One was told me recently by an artist in Boston. This young lady passed last summer on the North Shore. At one time she was very much in need of some money, and she could not see any way in which she could, on the visible and material side of life, expect it. But she was not dismayed. 'My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,' she repeated to herself, half-unconsciously, as she walked one beautiful morning on the beach. As Omar Khayyam puts it, she 'sent her soul into the invisible.' She needed the money; it was right she should have it; and she believed that out of the unspeakable fullness of infinite riches it would be, in some way, given to her. And it was. Three checks from three friends came to her at once; yet not to one of these had she made the slightest appeal, or even reference to her need of the moment. Was this mere coincidence? I, for one, do not believe that it was. I believe the lady touched the key that thus responded; and I believe that there is, right here, a law, as yet undiscovered and unformulated, but as definite and inevitable as that which holds the stars in their courses. And, beyond this, I believe more—that humanity is now on the verge of the discovery and the development of this law. I could fill pages with these fragmentary instances, personally related to me by those who have experienced them; and biography is also full of them—and he who runs may read. It is just as much the part of common sense, of social economics, to endeavor now to formulate this law, and adjust life to it, as it is to conduct all our operations in harmony with the law of gravitation. It is the same part of mental sanity. The time has come for people to live as those

Spirits with whom the stars connive
To work their will.

Man, made in the image of the divine, shares to some possible degree the creative power—the power to shape conditions, to control circumstances, to range himself with the creative forces. It is ignoble to sit down and repine, or even to endure passively limitations which energy and faith would easily surmount.

Humanity needs to draw on its resources of Christian faith. They have been stored up in accumulating quantity for eighteen hundred years; but religion is not a decorative attribute to be contemplated at stated periods, but is, instead, the motor of life. Religion is not merely theology, any more than courtesy and civility are love. Theology presents the intellectual theories and principles of religion, as love presents those principles of civility and courtesy which result in the harmony of agreeable living. Ecclesiasticism has done a certain work in formulating religious tendencies. Prescribed forms and appointed hours are undoubted aids to devotion; but when the heart lifts itself up to the Lord by an irresistible impulse, formal restraints fall off of their own dead weight. Certainly, the Christianity which does not manifest itself in consideration, courtesy, and generosity is not worth the name; but beyond these is more—the infinite potency of faith. Nor is faith an abstract quality. It is as positive a force as is steam or electricity. It is infinite and resistless in its action. As the spiritual motor, it is as much more potent than any material motor, as spirit is more potent than matter. There is no destitution, no poverty in the universe. 'The earth is full of the riches of the Lord.' These riches are held in solution, as it were, in the spiritual atmosphere, and they can be crystallized and precipitated by complying with the conditions of the spiritual law by means of which their distribution is governed. Every genuine demand on this has the same direct force that a message sent by telegraph might have on the ordinary plane of life. There need be no more hesitancy in accepting this assertion than there need be in accepting the truth of the law of gravitation. Psychic power is the true creative power, and the one that humanity is now to learn how to use intelligently; as, within the past half-century, it has learned to use the lightning intelligently.

In that marvelous occult book, The Perfect Way, its author, Dr. Anna Kingsford, says:

'The enemy of spiritual vision is always materialism. It is, therefore, by the dematerialization of himself that man obtains the seeing eye and hearing ear in respect of divine things. Dematerialization consists not in the separation of the soul from the body, but in the purification of both soul and body from engrossment by the things of sense. It is but another example of the doctrine of correspondence.'

Man is, primarily, a divine being, and only secondarily a human being. It is the spiritual world, and among spiritual forces, in which he should dwell.

What would be thought of an accomplished woman, with exquisite tastes and extended culture, who, instead of dwelling with high thoughts, and living in her drawing-room, her library, her music-room—instead of occupying her time with friends and literature and art—should instead choose to spend it in the basement of her house, cooking, laundering, scrubbing, and all the while fretful and complaining and distressed and depressed because of her hard and gloomy life?

The comparison applies to all humanity. Let one live not in the basement, but in the upper stories. Let him assert his own power and tastes, and his inalienable birthright to be a partaker in the divine inheritance. Let him arise in newness of life.

If he will learn the law of psychic force, he need not longer 'compete or strive.'

He will learn how, with the foremost, to arrive at the desired achievement. He will acquire the art of allowing the past, with whatever errors, sins, faults, follies, or ignorances entangled, to slip out of sight, and he will turn his face to the future. He will look towards the morning. Every day he will arise in newness of life, and enter more nearly into that magnetic atmosphere where all achievement is easy, because accomplished through the creative powers; where all happiness and exaltation of life shall lie, and where the days will thrill and pulsate with joy, as if lived in an Enchanted Land.

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Lilian Whiting

  • Born on October 3rd, 1859 in Niagara Falls, New York and died in 1942
  • Author and journalist
  • Edited The Boston Traveler and The Boston Budget
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