Of the Two Wills
We have in us two wills. The Will to live, and the Will to love God and to find Him.
The first will we see being used continually and without ceasing,
not only by every man, woman, and child, but by every beast of the field and the whole of creation.
The Will to live is the will by which all alike seek the best for themselves,
here gaining for themselves all that they can of comfort and well−being
out of the circumstances and opportunities of life.
This is our natural Will.
But it is not the will which gains for us Eternal Life,
nor does it even gain for us peace and happiness during this life.
It is this Will to live , which in Christ’s Process ,
we are taught to break and bruise till it finally dies,
and the Will to love, and gladly and joyously to please God
is the only Will by which we live.
Our great difficulty is that we try at one and the same time to hang to God with the soul
and to the world with our heart.
What is required is not that we go and live in rags in a desert place,
but that in the exact circumstances of life in which we find ourselves
we learn in everything to place God first.
He requires of us a certain subtle and inward fidelity—a fidelity of the heart, the will, the mind.
The natural state of heart and mind in which we all normally find ourselves
is to have temporary vague longings for something which, though indefinable,
we yet know to be better and more satisfying than anything we can find in the world.
This is the soul, trying to overrule the frivolity of the heart and mind and to re−find God.
Our difficulties are not made of great things, but of the infinitely small things of our own .
Though we can often do great things, acts of surprising heroism,
we are held in chains—at once elastic and iron—of small capricious vanities,
so that in one and the same hour
we may have wonderful, far−reaching aspirations towards the Sublime, and God;
and yet there comes a sense of fashion, a pleasant companion, and behold God is forgotten!
The mighty and marvellous Maker of the Universe, Lord of everything,
is placed upon one side for a piece of chiffon, or a flattering word from a passing lover.
So be it. He uses no force. We are still in the Garden of Free−Will.
And when the Garden closes down for us, what then?
Will chiffon help us? Will the smiles of a long−since faithless lover be our strength?
Now is the time to decide;
but our decision is made …in the world,… and by means … of the world … and not apart from it,
and in the exact circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Another difficulty we have, and which forms an insuperable barrier to finding God,
is the ever−recurring—we may almost say the continual—secret undercurrent of criticism
and hardness towards God over what we imagine to be His Will.
We need to seek God with that which is most like Him,
with a will which most nearly resembles His own.
To be in a state of hardness or criticism, not only for God but for any creature,
in even the smallest degree is to be giving allegiance to, and unifying ourselves with,
that Will which is opposite to, furthest away from, and opposed to God.
He Himself is Ineffable Tenderness.
Having once re−found God, the soul frequently cries to Him in an anguish of pained wonder,
“How could I ever have left Thee? How could I ever have been faithless to Thine Unutterable Perfections?”
This to the soul remains the mystery of mysteries.
Was it because of some imperfection left in her of design by God
in order that He might enjoy His power to bring her back to Him?
If this were so, then every single soul must beredeemed—and not for love’s sake,
but for His Honor, His own Holy Name, His Perfection.
If the soul left Him because of a deliberate choice, a preference for imperfection,
a poisonous curiosity of foreign loves,
then love alone is the cause and necessity of our redemption,
and so it feels to be,
for in experience we find that love is the beginning and the middle
and the end of all His dealings with us.
What is our part and what is our righteousness in all this Process of the Saviour?
This—that we obey, and that we renounce our own will, accepting and abiding by the Will of God:
and this self−lending,
this sacrifice of self−will is counted to us for sufficient righteousness to merit heavenly life.
But from first to last we remain conscious that we have no righteousness of our own,
that we are very small and full of weaknesses, and remain unable to think or say,
“This is my righteousness, I am righteous,”
any more than a man standing bathed in, or receiving the sunlight can say or think, “I am the sun.”
Is all this, then, as much as to say that we can sit down and do nothing;
but, leaving all to Christ, we merely believe,
and because of this believing our redemption is accomplished?
No, for we have an active part to play,
a part that God never dispenses with—
the active keeping of the will … in an active state of practical obedience,
humble uncomplaining endurance through every kind of test.
What will these perhaps too much dreaded tests be that He will put us through?
He will make use of the difficulties, opportunities, temptations,
and events of everyday life in the world
(which difficulties we have to pass through whether we become regenerated or not)
down to the smallest act,
the most secret thought,
the most hidden intention and desire.
But through it all it is the Great Physician Himself who cures,
and we are no more able to perform these changes of regeneration in heart and mind
than we are able to perform a critical operation on our own body.
So He takes our vanities and, one by one, strews them among the winds, and we raise no protest;
takes our prides and breaks them in pieces, and we submit;
takes our self−gratifications and reduces them to dust,
and we stand stripped but patient;
takes the natural lusts of the creature and transfigures them to Holy Love.
And in all this pain of transition, what is the Divine Anaesthetic that He gives us?
Having submitted to all that Christ esteems necessary for our regeneration, what does He set us to?
Glad, happy service to all who may need it.
He has wonderful ways of making us acquainted with His, and it pleases Him to make us
the means of answering the prayers of His poor for help,
to their great wonder and joy and to the increase of their faith in Him.
Also He uses us as a human spark, to ignite the fires of another man’s heart:
when He uses us in this way, it will seem to one like the opening of a window—
to another a magnetism.
One will see it as a light flashed on dark places,
another receives it as the finding of a track where before was no track.
But however many times we may be used in this way,
the working remains a mystery to us.
What is our reward while still in this world for our patient obedience’s and renunciations?
This—that all becomes well with us
the moment the process is brought to the stage
where the aim of our life ceases to be the enjoyment of worldly life
and becomes fixed upon the Invisible and upon God:
and all this by and because of love, for it is love alone which can make us genuinely glad
to give up our own will and which can keep us from sinning.
We commence by qualifying through our human love,
meager and fluctuating as it is, for God’s gift of holy love—of divine reciprocity,
and with the presentation of this divine gift
immediately we find ourselves in possession of a new set of desires,
which for the first time in our experience of living prove themselves
completely satisfying in fruition.
God does not leave us in an arid waste, because He would have us to be holy,
and nowhere are there such ardent desires as in heaven;
but He transposes and transfigures the carnal desires into the spiritual
by means of this gift of divine reciprocity
which is at once access to and union with Himself.
Now, and only now do we find the sting pulled out of every adverse happening
and every woe of life, and out of death also.
And the whole process is to be gone through
just right where and how we find ourselves—in our own home or in the home of another,
married or single, rich or poor,—with these three watchwords,
But it is not sufficient to have once achieved this union with God:
to rest in happiness the soul must continually achieve it.
It follows then that our need is not an isolated event but a life,
a life lived with God,
and in experience we find that this alone can satisfy us.
A life in which we receive hourly the breath of His tenderness and pity,
His infinite solace to a pardoned soul.
Interchange of Thought without Sound
Many persons know what it is to have the experience with another person
of a simultaneous exactitude of thought—speaking aloud the same words in the same instant.
Others experience in themselves the power to exchange thought
and to know the mind of another without the medium of sound,
though not without the medium of word−forms,
this last being a capacity possessed only by the soul in communion with the Divine.
We name these experiences thought−waves,
and yet we understand very little about them; but beyond this mind−telepathy
there is a telepathy of the soul about which we understand nothing whatever.
This is the divine telepathy, with words or without word−forms,
by which Christ instructs His followers.
The telepathy of the mind is the indicator to the existence of a telepathy of the soul;
for the mind indicates to us that which should be sought and known by the soul,
and without we come to divine things first in a creaturely way (being creatures)
or we shall never come to them at all.
The mind desires and indicates, the soul achieves.
This telepathy with Christ is the means by which the soul learns in a direct manner
the will and the teaching , and the mind of Christ, and it is by this means
she gains such wisdom as is God’s will , that she shall have.
The soul seeks this telepathy during the second stage, vaguely,
not knowing or understanding the mode of it,
receiving it rarely and with great difficulty.
In the third stage she obtains it in abundance, at times briefly, at others at great length.
That God has his dwelling−place at an incalculably great distance from ourselves
is a true knowledge of the soul:
but a further knowledge reveals to us that this calamity is mitigated,
and for short periods even annulled,
by provision of His within the soul to annihilate this distance,
and be the means of bringing the soul into such immediate contact with Himself
as she is able to endure.
But the Joy−Energy of God being insupportable to the very nature of flesh,
in His tender love and pity He provides us, through the Person of His Son,
with degrees of union of such sweet gentleness
that we may continually enjoy them through every hour of life;
and through His Son He comes out to meet the prodigal “while yet afar off.”
This is strongly observable, that as the process of Christ proceeds and grows in us,
though our joys in God are individual, yet they become also clothed in a garment of the universal,
so that the soul, when she enters the fires of worship and of blessing and of conversing with God—
without any forethought, but by a cause or need now become a part of herself,—
enters these states and gives to Him no longer as I, but as We—
which is to say,
as All Souls.