We see on every side and ourselves also
men and women who try to fill an emptiness,
a wanting that they feel within themselves,
by every sort of means except the only one which can ever be a permanent success.
Women devote themselves to lovers, husbands, children, fashion, society, and pets;
men devoted to business, ambition, gambling, partying, drink, games, and arts.
Are any of these persons truly happy, truly satisfied in all their being?
Descending into old age surrounded by the dust of disillusionment.
Lonely and soon forgotten by the hungry pleasure seeking crowd,
such persons pass from this world,
and the most their friends can say is that they have gone to a better place.
But have they?
For the mere fact of shedding the flesh does not bring us any nearer to God.
To think that the mere act of dying improves our character
is a delusion of the Enemy …
It is living here which fits us and carries us to heaven;
and we have no great distance to travel either,
for heaven is a state of consciousness,
becoming united and connected with heaven to whatever such degrees the flesh is able to bear,
though these degrees fall infinitely short of those required by the soul:
hence the fearful hungering and longing of the soul to depart from the flesh.
The remedy for all this lies here;
let no one think he can afford to wait to find this remedy after he leaves this world,
What can be more beautiful, more happy, than to find this remedy,
to find the only Being who loves us as much as we love ourselves!
The gentle , tender , gracious , all−sufficing Christ ;
that almighty ever giving Christ who yearns over and longs for us
what madness is it that prevents us seeking Him ?
All of us would seem to have two personalities:
we are the repentant and the unrepentant
and daily change from one to the other.
But true repentance cannot come before love:
if we repent before we love,
it is no more than a repentance of the mind,
which says to itself,
“I must stand well with God because of my future well−being.”
When love comes first we get the repentance of the heart,
which works this way in us
we love Jesus a little, and a little more , and we love Him more and more,
and because of this love increasing to real warmth
we suddenly perceive the frightful offenses we have committed against His love,
and instantly the heart melts and breaks
and we are shaken to our depths that we have ever grieved our Holy Lover.
This is true repentance—no anxious fears for our own future,
but love grieving and agonized for its offenses.
Such repentance as this pierces to the deepest recesses of the heart and mind,
and leaves upon them a deep indelible mark,
changing all the aims of our life, and is the beginning of all joys in Christ Jesus.
Let us aim therefore … not first at repentance, but first at love.
A little love to Jesus given many times a day
as we walk or wait or work,
if only at first said by the lips with desire for more warmth,
after a while we shall find ourselves giving it from the heart;
then the Divine Seed has begun to grow because we have watered it.
If the natural man were asked, “What is life? what is it to live?” he would reply,
“It is to eat, drink, laugh, love, and have pleasure or pain:
to hear, see, touch, taste and smell,
and to be conscious that I am doing all these things.”
Yet this consciousness is but a tiny speck of consciousness,
and some mysterious voice within the hidden inner man tells him that this is so.
But how do we uncover and further this consciousness?
This is the secret of the soul.
To pass from one form of consciousness to another
this is to increase life fifty, a hundred, a thousand times
in accordance to the degrees of consciousness we can attain.
These degrees would seem to be irrevocably limited .
We yet perceive this,
that although the consciousness is projected to an infinite distance,
or that infinite distance within itself,
it yet remains aware of the existence of the body, though very dimly.”
This is not by means of drawing the soul out of the body,
but by a withdrawal of the condition of insulation from Divine Life
within this insulation (covering) all creatures have their normal existence,
living in a condition which may be termed a state of total Unawareness.
By Will of God … this condition of insulation is removed,
the soul enters Connection and becomes instantly and vividly aware of Spiritual Life
and of that which … Is – I am –
an infinite distance from herself,
the soul is at one and the same time in paradise or heaven, and upon the earth:
space is eaten up.
Without seeing or hearing,
the soul partakes in a tremendous and unspeakable manner of the joys of God,
which, all unfelt by us as “natural” man,
pass unceasingly throughout the universe.
These experiences give an immense and unshakable knowledge to the soul
and the creature of the immense reality of the Unseen Life,
and are doubtless sent us to effect this knowledge.
Why, then, is not every man given this knowledge …. ?
Because the creature must qualify before being allowed to receive it,
and too many hold back from the tests.
By these experiences we learn some little portion
of the mystery which lies between the pettiness of that which we now are
and the great glories that we shall come to;
and in this awful heavenly mystery in which are fires that have no flame,
and melody which has no sound,
the soul is drawn to Everlasting Love.
But we cannot endure the bliss of it,
and the soul prays to be covered on account of the creature
But the limitations of the flesh are not to be despised
nor regard it not as an aim or end (as if we satisfy its lusts that shall be our paradise),
but regard it as a means.
Christ willed the flesh and the world to be a rapid means of our return to God.
Subdue the flesh without despising it … in humility and thankfulness.
Suffer its trials and penalties …
not in dejection, rebellion, or hopelessness, but as a means to an end.
“For everyone shall be salted with fire,” says Scripture;
and can anything whatever be well forged or made
without it being first melted and cleaned?
So, then, for each his own Gethsemane.
So for Christ … so for Judas, who, not being able to endure,
went out and hanged himself.
Let our care, then, be to choose that Gethsemane
which shall open to us the gates of heaven and not hell.
In our raw state we fear the Will of God, thinking it a path of thorns;
but as Christ molds and teaches us …
we grow to know the Will of God as a great Balm:
to long to conform to it,
joyfully to join it,
to sink into it as into an immense security where we are safe from all ills;
and at last, no matter what temporary trials we endure,
so great does our love and confidence grow
by Grace of God upholding our tiny efforts
that, like Job, we cry to Him with absolute sincerity and confidence,
“Though Thou slay me, yet will I trust Thee”;
having learned it is not His Will to slay
but to restore and purify and make glad.
Incessant work is the lot of the awakened and returning soul,
and justly so,
for because of what folly and ingratitude did she ever leave God?
A multiplicity of choices lie before her,
and her great concern is which amongst all these possible decisions
will prove the shortest path to God.
These choices and decisions must be brought down
to the smallest details of everyday life.
At first on awakening the soul would like nothing better
than to forsake and cast away material things altogether,
and is inclined to despise the body.
But Jesus teaches her that this is not pleasing:
it is His Will that she should continually lend assistance
to the creature in its weaknesses and uncertainties,
not disdaining it but helping it.
It is the soul which maintains contact with the Divine Guide, The Holy Spirit ,
and then in turn should guide the creature.
As the Divine Guide condescends to the soul, never despising her,
so must the soul condescend to the creature:
acknowledging and understanding that nothing is too small or humble
for the soul to attend to and lead the creature to do in a beautiful and gentle manner
By these means , Divine will is carried out,
and no act or fact of life
can be considered too insignificant for the soul to attend to
for the development of this aim.
The more we become familiar with spiritual life
the more we observe the regularity of certain laws in it .
The more we find analogies between these new and unmapped laws
and the laws and forces already known to us in the visible world.
Rightly expounded by some scientific mind,
these could bring the world of human thought and aspirations
straight into the arms of God.
Science is the friend and not the enemy of religion.
Science will light up and illuminate the dark gaps.
This world is a house fully wired for lighting: the wiring is perfect,
the bulbs alone are incomplete;
they give no light:
it is the task of the soul to perfect these human bulbs.
The life of conscious connection with God is true living
as far as we may know it in the flesh,
an enormous increase over the petty normal life of the world or,
more rightly, the petty and lacking life of the world.
For in this life of God−consciousness is an immense sanity and poise,
a balance between soul and body , and heart and mind
never achieved in the “normal” or “natural” life.
Therefore the God−conscious life is not to be named an abnormal life ,
but the complete, full, and only truly normal life:
a life in which both soul and creature have found their centre,
and the whole being in all its parts is brought to evenness,
to harmony, to peace and a greatly magnified intelligence.
Continue on to Chapter 5