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Interior Force—Its Practical Evolution

Having settled the question for ourselves practically that we have, each one of us, a destiny to fulfill and a fate to master, the difficulties of daily life will not necessarily vanish from our paths immediately we have intellectually accepted those vital propositions, but we shall certainly find ourselves confronted daily, yes, hourly, with many trying problems, the solution of which is essential to our progress. From one point of view life must always be a battle and the world a scene of conflict, though from another and much higher standpoint we can well understand the touching sublimity of the words of the Ideal Teacher, "Come unto me and I will give you rest." Rest is not a condition of inactivity, though it is unquestionably a state of inward repose. Two very different kinds of peace are vividly contrasted in the gospel—the false peace of stagnant acquiescence in error, and the true peace which is so heroic that it only follows crucifixion of all that was once regarded as essential to human happiness.

The ideal life is never one of rigid asceticism, any more than it is one of voluptuous self-indulgence; it is an equilibrium of forces, a vital harmony, a constant symphony, in the performances of which all capabilities in all phases of expression are called into vital but never into hysterical activity. Life can be deep, high, and truly intense, yet never unduly excited, and it is to this "golden mean" of thoroughly practical attainment that all true heroes have aspired, and it is this rarely reached eminence that true saints have actually attained.

We sometimes sing the praises of ancient and modern heroes in fantastic tones, for we speak of certain highly accomplished and singularly eminent men and women as though they were altogether sui generis. Such adoration of truly noble sisters and brothers of ours is a great mistake, because it adds nothing to their luster, while it deprives us of the inspiration of their practical examples. It does everybody good to remember that even the greatest have had weaknesses and failings which they have never, perhaps, entirely conquered. It is the great preponderance of nobility that we admire, and it is this that Longfellow clearly had in mind when he wrote those glorious words, "Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime." The New Testament letter writers, while extolling the prophets of old without stint or measure, assure all to whom they were writing that their everyday friends and students are of the like nature with Elijah and all the greatest of the olden seers. Paul's personal history would be apt to offend if we missed its spirit, which is that of noble assurance that all whom he addresses, though they fight as he has fought, can conquer even as he has overcome. Thomas a Kempis, one of the greatest, and also one of the most popular, of fervid Christian writers, has called his masterpiece of literary beauty a Treatise on the Imitation of the Christ. Had such a word as worship, homage, or admiration been employed, the book would have fallen far short of the treatise which for many a century has been a source of much strength and comfort to Catholic and Protestant and to orthodox and heterodox alike.

All really great lives are exemplary, even though there must be in them a transcendental element. Those two singularly great leaders of thought in England—Martineau and Ruskin—who have so recently joined the unseen majority, have left their highest impress upon society, not because of their remoteness, but by reason of their intimate nearness to the life of the great people. Martineau, though a scholar of the first rank and a philosopher of unusual penetration, came very near the social side of his friends' characters, and loved to turn from the seclusion of the study and the arena of pulpit and platform to the home side of terrestrial existence. Ruskin, as everyone knows, though an artist from the soul, was a man whose chief desire was to lift everyday existence out of the rut of the commonplace, and adorn the modest home of the day-laborer with at least something of the beauty of a gallery of art. In Sheffield and other great manufacturing centers, Ruskin is beloved and honored largely on account of the intensely practical aim of his genius and his living touch with actual secular human needs.

The secular and spiritual are indivisible, and concerning these twain it must be said, "What God hath joined together let no man put asunder." Idealism is useful only when it causes us to take an optimistic view of even the most sordid surroundings, but by optimism is never properly intended a laissez faire sort of speculative idealism, which lazily declares that because evil is a nonentity, therefore everything on earth is exactly as it ought to be at this moment, regardless of all discord and all phases of misery. True optimism is a bracing tonic for the whole human system; it makes the brain active with intense determination, and sets all hands to work to bring possible cosmos out of actual existing chaos. We must steer equally clear of two equally dangerous extremes if we are to set before the people not only a beautiful, but also a practical, philosophy. If there is, as we must maintain, a destiny to be fulfilled through the mastery of the fate we conquer, the note of active service is instantly struck when we perceive this as a verity.

Music is inborn, so is poetic genius, so is a talent for painting, or for mathematics, and for all united; but talents can be buried, and, though interment cannot destroy them, it certainly renders them unmanifest. We are scholars, apprentices, tyros, and we must remember that, in the compounding of prescriptions written in heaven, the apothecary on earth has a formula to go by and must take all precaution against neglect of due heed of proportion while at work in his laboratory. Our sum totals are endless in variety. It ought not to be a difficulty, in view of all these homologous experiences, for us to learn to consider our lives in some such practical light as that in which we consider a building gradually fashioned of earth's materials to correspond to some wonderful architectural design which an inspired poet has seen in spiritual vision. Our souls are architects; our intellects are builders, always engaged in the work of construction; our bodies and our surroundings are the buildings erected according to the patterns supplied by the unseen though not unapprehended architects.

We do well to note two more great examples of unity in and variety in nature. Uniformity enters not into celestial design, for unity loves to be expressed in measureless diversity. "See thou make all things according to the pattern which God shows to Moses in the Mount," is an everlasting commandment. There is but one design for the divine temple, which is a human body, as Paul perceived when writing his unsurpassed letters to the Corinthians. All human bodies are of one type, of one general outline, but so diverse are these structural organisms that though we need but one anatomy and one physiology,—and on a still higher plane but one anthropology, which must include a pure psychology,—nothing can be more striking than the numberless differences, which are in no sense dissonances, which we see exhibited on every hand and at every turn. We speak of five great divisions of mankind, and we enumerate them; but who shall attempt to count the diversities in every one of these five great types, which, if they could all be counted, would aggregate a total in the course of a little while almost beyond our computation. Diversities of gifts and operations indeed there are, but there is but one essential informing Spirit which is the rock of ages out of which we all alike are hewn. So long as the social organism is looked upon as a mere machine, and a cold, mechanical, materialistic theory of evolution is doled out by professors to their classes, humanity seeking bread will righteously murmur at the substituted stone; but when once the Academicians of the new age perceive how to explain the need and beauty of the many sections of Maximus Homo, a modus vivendi will be quickly established, enabling all men and women everywhere to so live together as to rejoice in their harmonious differences, as singers and instrumental musicians alike rejoice to sing different parts in an anthem and play on different instruments during the progress of an oratio. Drop fictitious distinctions, quote Tennyson's immortal line, "'Tis only noble to be good," but on no account let us shut our eyes to the actual conditions existing in the world around us. A vital truth is contained, however, in such a counsel as—Open your eyes to the vision of a higher life; then, like Stephen the Christian protomartyr, because you see heaven open unto you, you will no longer suffer pain on earth. Modern aspects of psychology do not differ as radically as many suppose from ancient aspects. Once let the idea of super-consciousness, or the activity of the higher self, grow clear to modern thinkers, and the lives of the most illustrious among old-time saints and heroes will shine luminous in the morning light of modern scientific demonstration. The stones were hurled at the beatified Stephen, and they hit him and mangled his flesh, but his consciousness was above the action of the missiles, therefore he knew not the anguish he would have otherwise experienced.

Even hypnotism to a certain extent, and the higher phases of suggestive healing to a large extent, go far to prove how thoroughly possible it is to so lift feeling from a lower to a higher plane, that not unconsciousness, but exalted consciousness, proves the effectual antidote to otherwise unendurable agony. Just as the two sides of the cloud are equally present, but one can only have the experience of seeing the dark side if he remains below the cloud, though he must see its bright side if he goes through it and thereby rises above it, so, when an obstacle is faced, not shunned, conquered, not evaded, the new attitude toward the old situation constitutes the change in us which transforms old into new, and transmutes the base into the glorious.

Nothing can be vainer than to try to obey great counsels and live up to noble precepts while we are viewing them only from their lowest and darkest side. All great teachings are replete with paradoxes, though illumined sages are never really contradictory although they often appear to be so. "Love your enemies" is one of the most fiercely contested precepts in the whole range of gospel maxims; but, far from being impossible, it is quite easy when once the right viewpoint is attained. Take a very common illustration. Two nations are at war, as Spain and the United States were in the early part of 1899, but that memorable year had only reached its May when a Peace Jubilee was held in Washington, and in front of the presidential residence fervent patriotic orators were loudly rejoicing because of a cessation of hostilities between the two countries and the consequent return of a Spanish minister to Washington. Spaniards and Americans were enemies one month but neighbors the next. The people who live next door to you may appear to you as enemies, and the very barking of their dogs may often have made you furious; you cannot love them so long as you regard them as foes; but if you turn your present attitude toward them completely round, and agree to think of them simply as neighbors, you can love your neighbors as yourself. By this process the enemy has ceased to exist and a neighbor has taken his place.

As with people, so with elements and all material surroundings—when you have learned to agree with an adversary you no longer have any antagonist to face. The distinctively military expression, "Put on the whole armor of God," and others like it, should suggest to us a protective encasement in virtuous aura, far more than a belligerent equipment with which to fight against a foe. The interior energy which all of us possess, whether we have grown to acknowledge it or not, is wasted and dissipated at the surface whenever one regards it as a weapon rather than as a power to be utilized in constructive action. Will-power must no longer be thought of as a weapon wherewith to destroy, but as a tremendous dynamic force which makes work delightful, and by virtue of its drawing ability attracts to its possessor and cultivator an ever-increasing supply of health and happiness, while it surrounds him with an atmosphere so impregnable that inharmonious conditions generally are bound to retire or melt into harmony at his approach.

This is one of the greatest thoughts needed for the evolution of ability. Nothing can be more depressing than to take a view of life which causes one to feel that there is no real purpose being fulfilled in one's individual existence. We cannot feel satisfied if we have only a vague belief that a superintending Providence overrules all events in a strictly sovereign manner without, in the case of our own lives, our own most intimate cooperation. It need not be difficult to account for the recent large drift of public thought away from certain misconceptions of theology, but though there are many unsatisfactory views of religion which we may profitably abandon, the soul can find no sort of rest in mere agnosticism. Though it is never desirable to use a negative when an affirmative terminology is possible, there is justification even for the word unknowable in a strictly narrow sense. We cannot reasonably assert that any truth is absolutely unknowable; but it may be fair to the avowed agnostic to take into consideration that he limits his utterances entirely to three planes of human consciousness,—the physical, mental, and moral, taking no account whatever of the interior spiritual. We may speak ever so glibly concerning experience being our only educator. Granting that it is, we are by no means justified in seeking to explain scientifically some only out of the manifold and extremely diverse experiences of which we are all at times intensely conscious. A prophetic dream, a psychic vision, a clear intuition,—all these are just as real and quite as actual to those who experience them, as any intellectual discoveries or material cognizances can ever be to the simple intellectualist or materialist. And it is to the testimony of the highest and deepest in humanity that Plato, Emerson, Martineau, and all great philosophers of ancient and modern date have constantly appealed.

Negative philosophy denies what it has not yet grasped; affirmative philosophy denies nothing but mathematical absurdities. Surely the age is ripe for a new and higher statement of those strange metaphysical doctrines which Berkeley and other truly noble minds seem to set forth in phraseology beyond the comprehension of the common people. To tell people that matter is only a mental concept, and that the whole visible universe is contained in mind, may provoke a profound university discussion; but it does not take vital hold of the people everywhere, or enable them to actively triumph over the many objective difficulties by which they are continually beset. We find the facts of sickness, crime, poverty, and much else that is extremely trying to our faith and patience displayed on every hand; and, though, if we profess trust in Deity, we attempt in some vague way to be resigned or reconciled to what may be a mysterious part of the working out of a divine plan, we find that resignation to evils does not conquer them, while submission to fate has never yet constituted a man a hero.

There are clearly three positions open to us, viz.: First, the view of the pessimist, with which all are sadly familiar, and which prompts either to suicide or to grim endurance of a harsh inevitable. Second, the theory of the good-natured, easy-going, but inefficient optimist, who smiles at everything and grins complacently in the face of his less happily constituted neighbors. Third, the conviction of the practical scientific optimist, who is not a fatalist, but one who sees the part to be played by men themselves in the evolution of a social state in which perfect equity will result outwardly as a result of complete inward harmony. It is scarcely possible to reiterate too frequently the simile of the letters in the alphabet and the notes in the musical scale. Great examples are set by masters of harmony and of pure literary style, yet the very greatest among them had only the same commonplace letters to combine and notes to strike that the most illiterate and inefficient are feebly grappling with. One of the most interesting episodes in the career of Mendelssohn is the fact of his having invariably tried his compositions upon an old harpsichord before submitting them for trial by an orchestra; for, argued he, if a work of mine shall sound well when rendered on so poor an instrument, I need have no fear of submitting it to the test of a well-trained hand.

The cynic is not, and never can be, an influential factor in human progress; nor can the critic who seeks out the weakest passages in a book or the few defects in a musical composition, to parade them before the world as samples of a writer's or composer's style, be other than an ignis fatuus. Blind, indiscriminating laudation is not honest impartial review; but far more good is generally done by dwelling most on what is best in any work submitted for consideration, than by calling chief attention to the petty discords which mar the perfect symmetry of the whole.

In our daily contact with one another nothing so impoverishes us and disfigures life as the habit of incessant fault-finding. This it is which dulls the eye, blanches the cheek, sallows the complexion, ruins digestion, banishes sleep, and soon makes of its possessor a wretched victim of chronic neurotic disorder. To go to a concert to pick out the poorest numbers, or to a theatre to discover precisely what defects there may be in an actor's rendering of a familiar part, exasperates the nerves and sends the critic home to suffer from dyspepsia and insomnia; and when this habit is carried out in detail in the home, it sends men to clubs or anywhere to escape their own firesides, and robs women of all those gracious qualities which make the names of mother, wife, and sister the purest and holiest in our vocabulary.

In dealing with naughty children, we must learn that their naughtiness is often nothing worse than exuberance of spirits on the one hand, or natural protest against undue restraint or against some vain attempt to force them into quite unnatural grooves on the other. The involved destiny of the child is often asserting itself in a seemingly disagreeable way, and the part of the wise educator must ever be to train but not coerce. The same bright view of some of our own peccadilloes may often be safely taken, for we all struggle with attempts to rise higher and become nobler, while the real cause of the tempest within remains a mystery to us. Can we not safely steer clear of foolish optimism and still more foolish pessimism, by simply regarding ourselves and all things and people about us as in a state of continual evolution? We must not confound potential perfection with actual perfectibility, but by keeping ever before us the perfect possibility and the perfect goal, we shall never become despondent and never be crushed by difficulties, however gigantic they may seem to us before we have gone through them and have risen above them.

It is not possible to give explicit directions for an American substitute for Hindu Yoga practice, as the general needs of the Anglo-Saxon race are not the same outwardly as those of their dark-skinned Oriental brethren; but the great words, concentration and meditation, are just as forceful and full of meaning in the West as in the East. To concentrate on one's beloved goal, to see before the mental eye the prize as though it were already won, while we are all the while intensely conscious of moving perpetually nearer to its externalization, is so to place ourselves in relation with all that helps us on our way, that one by one obstacles vanish, and what seemed once too hard for human strength to accomplish appears now plain and even simple. The greatest need of all is to keep the goal in sight, and not let interest flag or inward vision waver.

It seems to many little short of fantastic to speak of being educated during sleep, and of absorbing instruction from contact with spiritual spheres while physically engaged in the most prosaic duties of everyday life, but it is only unfamiliarity with these deeper ways of learning which makes the intuitive and psychometric manners of imbibing knowledge appear unreasonable. A good lesson for all to practice is to take some special aspiration into the silence, and there realize its fulfillment with all the intensity of your interior visualistic ability. See yourself in the very place in which you most desire to be engaged, in the very work you would love best to accomplish. A little persistent industry in this exercise will soon relieve the intellect of worry, and gradually open up the understanding to perceive how to accomplish the otherwise unaccomplishable. There is no substitute for work in all the universe, therefore let none imagine that a state of inoperative dreamy contemplation is one to be recommended. Outward work must follow inward contemplation. True meditation does not absolve us from the need of making effort, but it is a means for revealing to us what efforts we need to make and how to make them.

As we proceed along this salutary way our sleep will grow luminous, and whether we experience dreams and visions, or otherwise, we shall surely awaken from slumber with cleared perceptions and with a definite plan of action stretched before us.

It is the time we waste in doing the same thing two or three times over which makes a work which might be Calm short appear extremely lengthy. The experiences of Israel in the Wilderness symbolize the experiences of all who, though wishing to go forward, are still casting lingering looks behind. A forty days' journey is lengthened into a forty years' wandering, because one nostril is sniffing the Egyptian baked meats while the other is inhaling the odor of the fruits of Canaan. Let us once for all resolve on unity of purpose, resoluteness of aim, and determination to vanquish all distractions, and soon we shall have victories in place of sore defeats to chronicle.

The principal cause for defeat in all spiritual as in all material endeavors is certainly a lack of that calm, noble persistency without which even the most powerful sporadic efforts must prove ultimately fruitless. When it is easiest to make conquests, the conquests we make are of least avail, for whatever requires only a small degree of effort infused into it, may be compared to a flimsy structure which, because easily raised, is of no great solidity when completed.

Character building is a great expression, and one, moreover, which exactly describes the work of self-development. No one can possibly build another's character, as that is essentially an individual work; but one can assuredly be a very great help to another in showing the way, and blazing the road along which he has himself travelled somewhat farther than the pupil who looks to him as an experienced preceptor. The prophetical idea of the service one can render to another is brought out with amazing force in the story of Naaman's visit to Elisha. The Assyrian captive represents all who are in the belief that external remedies can truly avail, and who can understand the action of spiritual force only as it is displayed before them through some romantic earthly medium. The prophet of Israel dare not resort to outward pomp and imposing ceremony to make a convert, so he allows his wealthy and distinguished visitor to return home in anger, though surely not in despair, for the very novelty and seeming impudence of Elisha's recommendation that the Assyrian nobleman bathe seven times in the despised Jordan carries hope with it, as he has never bathed in any stream in Palestine. Abana and Pharpar of Damascus are useless, but Jordan may prove successful, which in our day means, as it meant of old, that, if we are to change our physical and circumstantial conditions radically, we must do the very thing we have never done before, and leave off doing the things we have long considered beneficial. The New Testament characters who were healed of most grievous ailments after twelve and even thirty-eight years of misery, are glowing examples of the operation of a law which is immutable, but as beneficent in its action with us when we are on the triumphant side of it, as it appears malefic toward us while we are on its lower and darker side.

We can never make progress by grumbling or by fighting what really needs surmounting. If our circumstances should prove as trying as those of the phenomenal Belgian artist, Charles Francois Fehr, though deprived of hands, we might learn to make such good use of feet, that instead of being crushed by the loss of two important members we might rise, as he rose, to remarkable eminence by working in so extraordinary a manner as not only to win for ourselves renown, but prove to others everywhere that when one door is closed against us we have it in us to immediately begin to open another. It is said of Fehr that, though without arms, he copied by means of his feet some hundreds of the finest masterpieces, first in Antwerp, where he began his career, and then in America. Probably if we were all to do what this marvelous man has done, at least in some measure, and as particular occasions demand, we should find, in far more senses than one, that when hands fail us, feet are only awaiting our applied energy to render adequate substitute service.

The chief feature of real greatness in Sandow's system of physical training is that when a lad he was, muscularly speaking, only an average German boy. But by the time he was twenty-one he had become, by dint of his own diligent self-training, an almost perfect specimen of physical manhood. We need a similar system of gymnastic exercise applied to the bringing out of those deeper and higher faculties which we term psychical and spiritual. Too much prayer is simply supplicatory, and though it may be earnest and devout in measure, it lacks that sublime trust in the certainty of divine response which is needed to make it that prayer of faith which can alone heal the grievously sick and remove obstacles which tower like mountains.

The inroads of scientific research are doing much to shift the ground of old theology, but they are supplying us with new standpoints from which to consider one of the greatest engines for the elevation of our race. We may attribute the answers to prayer as verified by such notable examples as Muller's orphanages and Barnardo's homes for the destitute, to a variety of secondary causes. We need not seek to explain divine intervention or interposition, we may much better concern ourselves with a view of benign results which perfectly accord with the thought of universal law's immutability. The gospel statement is that asking, seeking, and knocking are the three necessary elements in effective prayer, and so explicitly does the Great Teacher insist upon divine impartiality that he distinctly declares that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and everyone who knocks finds a portal open unto him.

Our chief difficulty when dealing with the operation of any metaphysical force is the practical impossibility of explaining its action in accordance with any theory based upon merely sensuous observation of palpable phenomena. Things are really "not what they seem" because they are immeasurably greater than they seem, and the greatest force of all is never traceable by the eye of flesh, but is to be discerned only by the eye of spirit, Now, seeing that the imponderables are always more forceful than any physically measurable force, we have no just cause for incredulity when brought face to face with the illimitable dynamic energy of thought.

Not only are thoughts "things" on their own plane, but they are clearly the prototypes of all things which appear finally on the plane of sense. When we leave the bustle of the outer world and give ourselves up for awhile to restful meditation upon an ideal, we are opening the flood-gates of our inward being and inviting a tide of heavenly knowledge to enter in. The sanctuary which all need is not necessarily a place with fixed geographical location, for we may often find ourselves unable to enter materially into an inner chamber and close a wooden door between us and the outside world. One of the best times for cultivating inward peace and power is when we are surrounded by sights and noises of the most aggressive varieties, for it is then that we do really win a victory if we succeed in shutting them out simply because it is our deliberate will to enter an imperturbable retreat. There never can be a lasting victory won over outside conditions so long as we have yet failed altogether to control our world within. Power flows from within to without, as all things grow from hidden centers to observable circumferences.

Distractions need not continue to disturb us; the sights and sounds which we would fain get away from are among the temptations that we need to resist; and when we have gained some practical insight into the philosophy of some most wonderful words in the Epistle of James, we shall quickly rectify our judgment concerning those incessant frictionizing events which appear altogether adverse until we have learned to "count it all joy" to be thrown into the vortex of them, because we have grown to perceive that they are the developers of patience whose perfect work must be accomplished in us that we become perfect and entire, lacking nothing. The adversary that cannot be thrust out of the path can be converted into a friend, and when this conversion has taken place we have gained an ally which we never could have had if the adversary had not first confronted us.

We have only to peruse current sociological literature to see that there is a certain drift back to paganism on the one hand and forward to a new civilization on the other. Lethel chambers for the "unfit," and all such ancient-modern propositions, are the natural vent of pessimism, and agree perfectly with a desponding view of at least a part of human nature. The letter only of the law is seen, and the letter only killeth, but the inner spirit giveth life. We can readily understand, if we study spirit versus letter, how perfectly law-abiding we can be and yet abolish capital punishment and substitute humane for barbaric measures in every instance. The proper object of legislation is to promote virtue and banish crime; this cannot be effectively done by measures already in vogue, therefore it is being seriously proposed in several influential quarters that an entirely new set of measures be adopted. The eminent Italian criminologist Lambroso says that the moral infirmities which lead up to crime can be scientifically conquered, and on this matter the illustrious Professor Elmer Gates of America has spoken with the authority born of a long series of successful laboratory experiments, all of a psychical character. We need to be perfectly law-abiding, and there are ten great divisions of the Decalogue, the tenth being the most sadly neglected of all. "Thou shall not covet anything that is thy neighbor's" is a metaphysical precept which many thoroughly respectable people never attempt to heed, and they excuse their non-observance of this commandment on the ground that no one knows their thoughts, and further, that they cannot help their thoughts. These are the weak points in the dike and the vulnerable spots in the armor. People feel your thoughts even when they may not know them, and if you cannot control your thoughts neither can you control your words and actions, which are but ultimate manifestations or expressions of your thoughts.

To control thought is our greatest work after we have satisfied ourselves that we are honestly possessed of good-will. If you do not immediately succeed in overcoming the erroneous habits of many years, be not discouraged, and do not dwell upon your failures even in private meditation. Keep the right sort of a diary, one that will be free from the mournful entries which take much from the otherwise inspiring character of Amiel and Marie Bashkirtseff. An inspiring and ennobling diary must contain only such entries as record, at the lowest, partial victories. Blank pages can be left for days, if such there be, on which no conquest has been won; but whatever is recorded should be exclusively of a nature to inspire the reader, no matter whose eye may fall upon the page. If you are feeling only a little stronger, happier, and wiser than you felt a while ago, record that measure of attainment, dwell on it, make much of it, and it will spur you on to nobler and larger victories in the very near future. The highest counsel is sometimes found even in a sportsman's guide, and when the author of a book on the management of horses tells the rider, whenever he comes to a specially difficult fence or ditch, to see the horse safely over in his mind's eye before he encourages the animal to take the literal leap, that author has furnished food for meditation and laid down a faithful rule of conduct which we shall all do well to apply to every difficulty which may confront us.

In the coming harmony between Eastern and Western philosophies we are sure to find the nexus in that encouraging yet sober doctrine of the truest metaphysicians, who sum up all their teaching in some such sentences as follows: Smile on everything that enters your life, being determined to see in it the means to loftier attainment than would have been possible without it. Take always the attitude toward trials of any sort, that they need to be surmounted by us, but it is never a part of divine order that we should fall under them and be crushed by them. Never grudge your neighbor aught of his possessions, but set steadily to work so to liberate the inner force which is the spirit of every one of us, that we can, through enlightened action, draw to us whatever we may need out of the boundless treasury of infinite and eternal opulence.

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