A book by David Sinclair, "A New Creed", 1892.
"If I had found, read and understood this book in the 1980s (when I first learned of its existence) SVP would be much further advanced than it is." [Dale Pond] PS: The sequel to this book, Vera Vita the Philosophy of Sympathy, is superior to this one.
Dedicated by a NAMELESS AUTHOR To SUFFERING HUMANITY
It is but a short time since the serious researches of science took the place of the experimental magic of alchemy, and gave a fresh impulse to the hue and cry against the audacity of inquiring into hidden truth. As revelation upon revelation has unfolded the mysteries of nature, howling ignorance, with the cry of self-assumed wisdom, has bewailed the anticipated downfall of religion and the establishment of anarchy and atheism; but already the electric light of science, gathered from the truths it has itself discovered, has enabled us to penetrate the darknesses of dogmas and superstitions that surround human beliefs. Through science, religion has more firmly taken her exalted position among the nations. The geological inquiries into the formation of the crust of the earth were considered impious; and to hint at the Biblical day being anything but twenty-four hours, was to place oneself in diabolical antagonism with the Creator. Geology, in the face of opposition, has proved herself a great and useful science, yet has never injured the truth, and never attempted to do it.
Any innovation on established ideas has always been vehemently attacked, often wisely and honestly, but most frequently through impulsive ignorance that always dies a hard death. It is easier to stamp out a plague than a superstition. A rooted idea is as hard to get rid of as the belief that (under any circumstances whatever) there is no place like home.
The world has been transformed by modem research; but the mere transformation of it radically wrong condition may make things look more beautiful, and actually better, without showing to the best advantage. Earnest and able men have honestly devoted their lives to the amelioration of the condition of mankind, hoping for nothing further than that they might be counted as the friends of their fellow men, and, although much has been done, it is an indisputable fact that something is yet very far wrong.
Science and philosophy have together actually analyzed the universe; but the work of philosophy has generally been trammelled with some preconceived notions that science, in the strictness of her analytical course, will not admit, for it will accept nothing as true that cannot be demonstrated and proved to be true. This is no hardship to universal truth, but rather gives it a stamina and backbone instead of the preconceived ideas, superstitions and false premises, that, unhappily, have so frequently been its buttresses in the past. There is no reason why philosophical questions should not be as provable as those of science, yea, there is no reason why they should not be proved on scientific principles.
Fire, air and water were the three recognized elements in creation in the olden times; but science has discovered more; yet science does not maintain that all are discovered. Every new element, or rather new discovery of an old element, has been discussed by eminent men, yet, to my thinking, one element more universal than all others has not even been recognized. It is the most widely spread and most powerful element in all creation. It is a volatile and spiritual-like substance pervading the realms of soul and body, and is highly sensitive to every emotion and thought - a latent force in which lurks all the psychological secrets of nature. It is not confined to any particular part of creation, not an adjunct of nature only, but an element diffused through the whole universe - terrestrial and celestial, corporal and spiritual, animal, vegetable and material. There is no known element that can approach it for universality and importance; and its existence is as capable of proof as any scientific theory. This natural condition - the foundation of this treatise - is not so powerful and universal without an all-wise reason and use. (It is a bold and presumptuous thing to introduce language, therefore I shall not attempt to name the universal ether at this stage.) It is not sympathy; yet it is that element in which sympathy can alone live, and is as essential to our true being as water is to the fish, or air to birds and animals. It is an element existent everywhere, less substantial, but as real as air. As air is the medium of sound, light and heat, so this element is a medium of great subtilty, conveying even the unexpressed emotions of the mind, and transmitting instantaneously the pulsations of one soul to another. The vibrations of a nation's feelings are conveyed through it, national emotions are thrilled upon it like telegrams over the wire, and by it the prayers of silent worshipers are immediately placed at the throne of grace. It is in all beings as certainly as there is electricity in the air. It is the immediate environment of all, and beyond it none can get. Through it the lower animals give their confidences and affections to mankind, and by it the soul communes with God.
Like all other elements this one is circumscribed and governed by laws, the violation of which produces dire results. It may be much used, much abused, or much neglected, as it is certainly much misunderstood, where its existence is vaguely acknowledged; it cannot be destroyed, and no law of nature can be violated with impunity.
Calamities may come by striving honestly, though ignorantly, against some law of Nature. What may seem cruel hardships, may have ignorantly been invited by such conduct. Not to recognize the existence and uses of this element is to surround oneself with mystery on mystery of life which would otherwise be accepted as simple truths. The doubts and irresolutions that wreck so many lives could rarely originate if this element and its uses were acknowledged. The problems of the mystery of life and futurity would be solved as soon as created; the mind would be hampered with fewer perplexities; futurity would be less obscured with misgivings; anticipations of fears and joys would be more reasonable; friendships would be more real, and life more natural.
Men and women are rejoiced or haunted by visions - longings that they cannot account for, and which come to them through this unrecognized element of nature. Through it comes to man, without his understanding how, the knowledge of what is his true sphere in life. Through it come those gloomy messages of sadness and of sweet elation that cannot be accounted for. Men complain of the uncertainties and darkness of life, without blaming themselves for not understanding themselves and their environment. If they do not comprehend or recognize the elements of nature, their influences must remain mysteries to them. This element is connected with all the psychological problems of man's being. All his mental and moral conditions are influenced by it, and aIl his beliefs ought to be founded on it.
When the liberty of one, as representing the liberty of all, has been endangered, signals of distress have instantaneously been displayed by means of this invisible element round the whole circle of the world, if not to the beings most distant in space. Even matters of such comparative little moment as political agitation have made such commotions in it, as to absorb a nation's mind and heart with one thought - one beat of impassioned unity. The sorrows of a bereaved nation throb from heart to heart through it as a medium, and along it vibrate the joys of a country's ecstasies and the hilarious spirits of a national holiday. It is with this element as with the wind which 'bloweth where it listeth'. To understand it would ensure appreciation of it. It is everywhere, ever ready to be put in motion by the beat of the human heart, or the confidential touch of sympathy from any source. It can be lulled to calm or roused to storm, and is capable of conveying the softest sentiments of the cooing dove, the passions of a nation, or the sympathies of angels. By its agency the strong will of one can dominate the weak will of another, as in the process of mesmerism. The thought-reader employs it as the connecting link between himself and the mind of the stranger. Through it the long forgotten friend, of whom we "just happen" to think, is brought to our mind; and, lo! while we think, he personally appears; but his appearance at the particular moment is neither accident nor miracle, but natural.
It is not necessary to go far back into history to prove that through this element have been transmitted feelings that have stirred up nations into conditions of mutual enthusiasm like gigantic panics. Men who are not yet old have taken part in historical incidents, when people have said that "the air was full of agitation." They have taken part in movements without being able to account for their being influenced. How can messages in unknown tongues be understood or accounted for? Eagerly, honestly, and at terrible expenditure, the French people, with many changes of government, have endeavored to reach their ideal of national life, but are as far from it now as they were a hundred years ago, because, in common with the rest of humanity, they have started on a false basis of reasoning.
An ordinary war between two countries has embodied in it a question of honor, if not of life or death, so is of very great consequence to those two countries, but, however sanguinary the conflict may be, other nations are not more than interested spectators. If it be a civil war, the horrors are increased, and so may also the bitterness and enthusiasm, still other nations doggedly look on and maintain it is no business of theirs. How very different was the late civil war in North America. What was the cause of the difference? White men fought against black men with their white supporters. The enthusiasm in America was unparalleled, but not, primarily, because of any patriotism or national feeling. The enthusiasm spread over the whole civilized world, as enthusiasm never spread before. Almost every man in America was a soldier. From every country veteran soldiers, free to do as they chose, and civilians of every grade flocked to the standards, while every man, woman and child over the world virtually took sides. The whole world was moved. Why? Because the grand keynote, felt as understood by all, was struck, which reverberated this universal element of which we speak, as it had never been moved by any action of man before. Every heart was touched by its electric vibration, for it has connection with every heart. What was it to the world in general whether the blacks or whites won? Nothing at all. What would not concern the whole world could not stir into such commotion the whole universal element. The blacks were men, and the liberty of mankind, a question affecting all men, was at stake. Was it right that man should be a slave? That was the personal question that thrilled the universal element to stir up the universal sympathy.
The assassination of President Garfield was, historically speaking, no rare event, for kings, emperors and presidents in great number have so come by their end, yet never, in the annals of history, did the assassination of any individual so rouse the genuine sympathetic feelings of so many people. On examination, it will be found that this volatile and spiritual-like element of Nature had more direct lines of communication between him and the hearts of the masses of the human race than had ever previously been possessed by any hero who had suffered assassination. This element, in these innumerable lines of direct communication, was instantaneously agitated by his death. His lines of communication extended to the highest and the lowest, like innumerable, invisible telephone wires, for he had been born in humble circumstances, bred in the face of adversity, and by sheer ability and desert had surmounted social and other difficulties: he was a successful man, whom his nation honored in the highest possible way, and in the very presence of prospective glory he fell a martyr to his country. Such were a few of the conditions that established his open connection directly with all hearts that could only be sympathetically affected through the agency of this subtle force of this subtle force of Nature.
The news of the defeat of national arms would so agitate this mobile substance as to affect every heart, directly in communication with it, in proportion to the amount of its national or patriotic feeling. The disturbance would be less marked among neighboring countries which had strong sympathies with the humbled nation, but no personal share in the disaster. Like the waters of a smooth lake disturbed by a stone, the rings would increase in circumference, but decrease in magnitude of wave as they receded from the national centre of disturbance. A communication through a telephone is less liable to be broken in a direct line than when interfered with by many "switches"; so news of battle and disaster would most naturally go straight to the hearts of the people whose soldiers had fallen. Such news is neither conveyed nor received in the same way as intellectual intelligence, for the brain is the recipient of the latter, and the soul the recipient of the former, and every examination of the subject tends to prove that the medium of communication of the one is utterly different from that of the other. All psychological communications are made by the same means.
No cause in the law courts has ever become celebrated, unless it has in a great degree thus sympathetically been connected with human life. Millions of money, or even kingdoms, may be involved in a law trial, but the conducting medium will only have connection with very few people, whereas, if it be an affair of the heart, with some romance attached, it will concern all hearts; and if it be a question of liberty, or right and wrong, all men of honor will be interested in it, and so, as it were, will "switch" themselves on to the event. No one will maintain that such human interest is less a question of affinity of interest than one of intellect. The interest is great in proportion to the strength of the electric-like battery applied to the conducting element. Human interest in human events is not left to the chance communication of gossip, or to any erratic or uncertain medium, but is compelled by a law as inviolable as that of gravitation, to communicate itself to all humanity, and to all beings subject to sympathy. If human beings do not understand the law, or the element in which it operates, that is the fault, or misfortune, of the human beings, and not of the law or the element. Ignorance of the law of Nature will not save a man's finger from burning when put into the fire.
One of the chief characteristics of a genius is his capacity for hard work; but, before this ought to be considered, his fore-consciousness, which no failure can shake or cause him to despond, that he is destined for some more than ordinary work in life. This idea is constantly being communicated to him by images conveyed through this element now under discussion, by which he is upheld and impelled, for this invisible element connects him, as it does all, with the source of all life and all knowledge. So, too, there are people powerfully impressed with forebodings that mere lowness of spirits, or ill-health, can never account for. Impressions of a most vivid nature are frequently imprinted on the mind by some invisible power that the downcast one cannot account for, but the effect of which is very real. Can reasons be given by unbelievers that the reported experiences of spiritualists, etc., must be faIse?
No epidemic is so infectious as public opinion. Whether right or wrong, when it once masters with its disturbing influence this universal element, it binds the individual minds with one massive, human aspiration, whose progress neither science nor sentiment can stay. For the time being it is as much master of the element as the hurricane is master in the storm. Some contrary and simple power may be so subtle as to change the whole tenor of the first force, no matter what its magnitude. Such psychological forces are not resolved, or calculated, like material forces, for they are only recognized as eccentricities not amenable to any law. The sudden and apparently inexplicable changes that take place in public opinion are caused by counter-actions in this extraordinary element of Nature.
Certain bodies are set in commotion when in juxtaposition with a magnet. If the magnet be invisible, or its power be not understood, the commotion might seem an unsolvable freak of nature, and as such be no more noticed. It is a fact that man is constantly in mental commotion, for which he cannot account. His attention may be temporarily abstracted, but the agitation is going on all the same. Ideas and thoughts occur to him which have no traceable connection with his own real thoughts and actions. Some power, invisible like the magnet, stands behind him and effects his emotions. He is in direct communication with some latent force that he does not understand. The operator, as it were, may sometimes be recognized as the presence of either the living or the dead, the known or the unknown. Sometimes the communication made to him is emotional, sometimes retrospective, sometimes truthful prophecy, though oftenest it is merely ideal, which, if the latent force of the operator were understood, might be less visionary than real. Some people believe that in each person there is a thought body, the exact counter-part of the material one, which is capable of dissociating itself from the body and of going anywhere, regardless of time and space. Thoughts are transferred by means of this element, and by it one mind can communicate with another, as one's voice is borne by the telephone. This latent force in Nature is capable of doing more marvelous services to man than all the discovered uses of electricity, for the psychological secrets nestle within it.
Examples of the sympathetic unity of the universe might be given without number. Nations and individuals are alike joined together by this element that extends from the very source of all life to everything that has the capacity for being affected by sympathy, just as the law of gravitation that holds worlds in their places compels a feather to fall to the ground. If this element and its laws were understood, a truly socialistic life of the highest type would be far more nearly within the reach of man, than any of the unapproachable socialist systems now contemplated; but, unfortunately, misunderstanding or ignorance of this hidden force of Nature has led to misconception as to what real human life ought to be.
The Deity is a Person in whose image we are made: no person can be in two places at one time: much more impossible is it for a person to be diffused over space. The Deity - Our Father, being a person, cannot be everywhere, and is not therefore, in the ordinary sense of the word, omnipresent. Yet, by means of this Etheriform element (whose time and space as we understand them are annihilated), He is in constant communication and contact with every thing and being, and, by it, is ever cognizant of everything, and thus is justly said to be virtually everywhere. So, too, in this sense we, unavoidably existing in this element, live and move and have our being in Him. Through this medium He knows all, and by it we ought to know infinitely more than we do.
No Creed has ever been invented, discovered, or revealed, to which all men agree, because no Creed appeals to all from any one common ground of belief. A Creed, universally accepted, must be built on a foundation universally trusted. It has never been professed that a revelation has been made to all, and the favored few who have professed having received revelation can only have their revelation universally accepted as true by first persuading others of its truth by means of reasonable arguments. Two persons cannot argue without some one common belief as a starting-point. To fully understand, appreciate, and believe Christianity, one must first believe in the fall of man and the inheritance of sin and its consequences; but the heathen and those who do not know the story of the fall cannot believe it, simply because they do not know it, and so cannot be Christianized until they do know it. There is only one thing common to all religious Creeds, and that is Faith; but this Faith is so diversified, that it cannot by any means be accepted as a common starting-point of belief. Moreover, this is an age when Creeds of Faith are not accepted by men of science. They virtually say, "We accept nothing that is founded on Faith alone: All religion is founded on Faith, therefore we accept no religion." This little treatise accepts this simple syllogism as the honest outcome of an honest investigation for truth that fears no investigation, but rather invites the keenest scrutiny.
Some common ground of argument must be taken, and I venture to say that neither Heathendom nor Christianity, civilization nor cannibalism, education nor ignorance, science nor faith, will for a moment attempt to deny that (1) all men suffer; (2) all men worship; (3) all men believe "Union is strength."
These are the three axioms and only axioms of this Creed. They form the common ground of argument on which Scientists are asked to stand and fight their battle for, or see the destruction of their syllogism, "We accept nothing that is founded on Faith alone: All religion is founded on Faith, therefore we accept no religion."
All men suffer: Surely this is as clearly an axiom as the familiar mathematical one; things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another, and wants as little explaining. He that has not experienced unhappiness, cannot be sane. The miseries produced by physical ailments, or those that are the result of social degradation, or the direct results of violating physical or moral laws, are easily realizable and explicable; but sadness, depression and misfortune come to all, which, to our reason, are clearly undeserved and untraceable, but which, to our Faith, are accepted as the lot and inheritance of all. Sadness is universal. The common darkness of life, the gropings of the spiritually-minded, the deferred hopes that make the heart sick, the gloomy faces of those seemingly doomed to despair, the mental horrors of men and women disappointed in life, the cruel crimes of the dark places of the earth, the dens and hovels in which our fellow-creatures of misfortune dwell, of high-minded mortals, who are apparently the playthings of superior beings, the inexplicable miseries of poverty, and to all the dark uncertainty of life, with its ever unrealized hopes, are surely sufficient evidence of the universality of unhappiness.
On the midst of a rock, in the vast hollow of an immense mountain, sits Aeolus, his hand upon his regal sceptre, controlling the howling and growling winds, whose eerie moans reverberate through the multitudinous caves with ghostly echoes, searching in vain for an outlet by which to pour forth with devastating ruin upon vineyards, agricultural prosperity, and the handicraft of man. Such is the mythological cave and origin of the winds - the source of storms. Now-a-days we know better. That man was made to mourn is to me a mere mythology; I do not believe it. Sadness is not a condition of creation, but an accident of life; not an inheritance of the race, but an acquirement of the individual; not a necessity in man's existence, but a habit. To prove this statement is part of the work of this treatise.
All men worship. There is no people who do not pay divine honors to what they consider superior beings. In the highest civilization and the lowest savagery there are Gods and Idols. Even devils are worshiped, but they are adored as beings superior to the worshipers. It seems an accepted truth, that the greater the ignorance, the greater the number of gods, and no savage tribe has yet been discovered that has not had some kind of religious services. Some are monotheists, some are polytheists, some are atheists. The last name is misleading, for the most pronounced atheist always acknowledges some superiority to which he looks up. There is no such person as a non-worshiper, although the sect of many is very nominal indeed, especially among Christians.
All men believe "Union is Strength." From the very earliest times the necessity for society has been acknowledged. Men have fraternized, and grouped themselves into classes, clans and countries, and there is no people so utterly uncivilized as not to see the necessity for combination. Even cannibals have their acknowledged chiefs. There is no people who do not live under a government of some kind - either a monarchy or a republic.
There has been no attempt here to prove the truth of the axioms, and these few reminders are considered sufficient to impress the verbal veracity on the reader's mind that they are self-evident facts. It will next be shown that the truth of these three axioms has one and the same origin. They are the natural products of one condition - the simple fruits of one simple germ. The source of the universal sadness of life is the source that has made all men worshipers, and the source that has driven men to combination or polity of government. On the clear proof of this depends the substantiation of the foundation-stone of this human and humane creed.
I think I am not so conceited as to imagine everybody will think as I think, but I do think that there is much too much preventable sadness in this world - sadness that was never meant to be in it, and yet is accepted as a birthright. Its continued acceptance is caused by a belief in delusion, as this treatise is written to show. Up to the time of Galileo, the whole race held erroneous ideas of the rotundity and motions of the earth, and this is sufficient to prove that the whole world can stubbornly hold the same idea, and that a delusion all the time. In philosophy and politics many notions have been universally adhered to as inviolably true, which have been subsequently proved to be utterly false. There is scarcely a new discovery of the highest order which does not show the absurdity of some antiquated opinion. There are many scientific questions of the present day which divide honest thinkers into two opposite classes of believers and unbelievers, and who can say which is right until the problem is solved? Certainly one class is wrong. As possession is nine-tenths of the law, so the ages through which a delusion has been held seem to give it a right to its sovereignty; but it may be a usurper all the same, diffusing all the pains and penalties peculiar to itself as if it were a rightful ruler.
Science has long had its sway, and much good has it accomplished, although nothing to soothe the troubled breast continually battling against the all-important questions of human existence in a world of darkness. It has made many thinkers and experimenters, but in matters of humanity it has brought less than consolation. That is because it has had a single-handed run, and because it has not gone hand-in-hand with its sister Philosophy. It has overthrown many scientific fallacies, brought into servitude many laws of nature, showing how much the intellect of man can do, and how comparatively little it has yet grasped, but it has brought no peace to the ever-inquiring soul; that is never satisfied, though it is willing to experiment with every philosophy and every religion in search of satisfaction.
To some people there is a peculiar fascination about figures. They will believe nothing that is not clearly figured out, and, on the other hand, they will believe anything set down in figures, especially if it be some speculation favoring their own particular party. Let it be taken for granted that the three axioms of this creed are accepted as axioms, and let us examine the mathematical value of the first axiom: "All men suffer." If all men suffer, then every individual must suffer, and he who has no sad moments is esteemed as living an inhuman and unenviable life. Every man has an unfixed quantity of mental misery. He is supposed to be individually born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. It seems natural for some individuals to hug and nurse their little sadness until they miserably believe there is no sorrow like their sorrow. This is very selfish, as the following figures will show. Suppose a square mile to be divided into square feet, and on every square foot a living individual to be placed. On that one mile two-thirds of the living population of Great Britain and Ireland could be placed. Remember that every heart has its own sorrow. On ten such miles every person living under the British flag on any part of the globe could be placed. Remember again that there is a canker-worm at every breast. This is bringing the people pretty close together, and already makes the individual's sorrow look small and insignificant. But this is not all. The population of the world is one thousand four hundred millions; that is two hundred and eighty times the size of London. Allowing one square foot to each individual, it would take fifty square miles on which to place the present living population of the whole world. On the earth at this moment there are, mathematically speaking, fifty square miles of solid human misery for the number of the people is the number of living aching hearts. This barefaced fact is of the utmost importance in connection with questions of religion. The thought of this fact has made more infidels than any other question of religion or philosophy, but bird's-eye views do not mean thorough comprehension, and, in my opinion, minds that have been unhinged on this point have been weak, or such as have sought notoriety rather than truth. An honest and able inquirer need not fear to ask the question, "'Why does a God of mercy and love permit such misery?" Weak-kneed inquirers not only ask this question, but at once rush to the rash conclusion that God not only permits all this misery, but creates it.
Truth fears no investigation. It invites inquiry into this mathematical truth, and first declares, with common-sense correctness, that it is incompatible with supreme love, peace on earth and goodwill to all men, for the same being to be the creator and preserver of so much misery. Here we are only referring to human happiness. Let no one in investigating Truth, be so narrow-minded as to think that none but nominal Christians of all kinds, who are barely one-third of the population of the world, are capable of, or can attain to human happiness. Every heart, bears its sorrows, and every heart is capable of receiving joy. The heathen, three times more numerous than sinners who bear the name of Christian, who have never heard of Christianity, can scarcely be justly condemned for their unwillful ignorance. As well might we call Hottentots fools, because they cannot make steam engines. Misery is common to Christian and heathen, but, as it is hoped to be shown here, it is simply self-begotten, and is as tares sown by humanity itself where Heaven originally cast her seeds of wheat, and we shall best get at the root of the matter by showing that this universal unhappiness is the source of all religions and of all governments.
If all the madhouses in existence were searched, it would be impossible to produce a case of greater delusion and absurdity than that of a mortal who worships in love a Supreme Being whom he believes to be the author and maintainer of all the manifold miseries of this life. There are many who professedly do so, although why they do so is to them inexplicable. To reasonably believe the Deity to be the author of all the miseries existent in life, must instantly drive that believer to distraction. He must be afraid to open his eyes lest he should see Him, and he must be afraid to close his eyes lest he should lose sight of Him. Holding such a belief, no man could sleep for terror. He would be constantly haunted and more scared than the hunted beasts of the forest, and, under the circumstances, suicide would be the most justifiable and commendable action of a man's life. But the belief in God as the author of evil is a delusion - inherited and cultivated - but a delusion all the same, as this treatise is meant to show.
It is a mania of the race which has been instilled into it, whilst it has been, as it were, hypnotized. It is as if the race, under mesmeric influence, were dominated by the extreme false idea that man was made to mourn. It has grown to its immense dimensions from a very small beginning, and back to that beginning our analyses must get. It is not a question of science or intricate knowledge, but simply "man, know thyself."
Why do all men worship? The answer to this is exactly the same as the answer to the question, "Why does any man worship?" or to bring it still nearer home, "Why do I worship?" The source of worship - that is the human source - is the same in all mortals. Man worships because he has an inner consciousness of something wanting - an incompleteness in himself, and a craving for some outside and attainable influence to make his completion. Every individual thinking man knows that although he is certainly fearfully and wonderfully made, he comes far short of perfection. He knows that by creation and nature he is not altogether self-reliant, and yet he has the further knowledge that what he has not in himself is attainable in some other, and this knowledge affects his whole life, and every action of his life. Surely this incompleteness in man is recognized by every creature.
But why such incompleteness? Simply because it was the wise and noble will of the Creator, who has a right to make his creature as He sees fit, and the "why" we shall see immediately. His incompleteness is part of the intended mechanism of man. That is no delusion. The whole machinery of soul and body is not in man himself, and this is the first and fundamental principle of this creed. There is a connecting rod between the machinery in man and the motive power outside himself.
This idea ennobles man and glorifies God. Because we have persistently misunderstood our own mechanism, we have worked our machinery wrong with disastrous results, but that is far from proving that our Creator has left such a "fearful and wonderful" construction in such a deplorably unfinished condition, as our present terrible darkness compels us to believe we are in. All the fault is man's, the self-willed controller of his own personal machinery. Let us get at the evil.
It is as if the Creator had said, "I make you man, with soul, body, intellect and will, but I retain in Myself that motive power which alone can give perfection to your existence, and which you can have abundantly by asking in the right way. There is but one source from which you can obtain true and perfect life and light, and I am that source. I give you the knowledge that you have not that power in yourself, and that it is attainable in Me. Ask aright and you will obtain. Exercise your own willful judgment and lawful free will with which I endow you; and although you may prove the wonderful capabilities of your mechanism, you will not live that true life for which I have ordained you."
Man was made, and every man is born, with this knowledge, and who will say there is any injustice? He is made with capabilities of one life, and he chooses to live another. Is the Creator to be blamed?
There are three universal proofs that mankind recognizes the knowledge of incompleteness, which is innate in all, viz., All men suffer, all men worship, and all men believe "union is strength." Irrespective of what is called religion, human happiness is attainable in the highest degree by every human creature, and yet misery is the lot of all, simply because all have deluded themselves into seeking the motive power of true life from the wrong source, or by wrong methods.
If the Scriptures be accepted - and, indeed, it is immaterial - as authentic histories of our primeval progenitors, it will be seen that their communion with the Deity was direct; but as they increased, and took more interest in mundane affairs, their considerations of self and this world's wants became of greater concern. The more they became attached to the world through selfishness, the more they become detached from God, and the more hazy became their knowledge of their natural attachment to Him. But their knowledge of incompleteness in themselves was peculiar to themselves, and could not be separated from them. Had man remained in his primeval state, he would have had more true enjoyment of life, for, with the advance of what we call civilization, he sees more clearly his wonderful mechanism, but he also feels more distinctly and acutely the want of his essential motive power. The more he understands himself, without attaining the completion that can only be had from without, the intenser his darkness grows, and the more inexplicable his existence seems.
It is natural to think that with most men of free will their greatest attention would be given to the immediate necessities of life - such as eating and drinking - rather than to spiritual things, which could only be comprehended by faith. At first, satisfactory enjoyments would be realized from their growing mundane affections, and, as habit grew with them, the necessity for higher intercourse would be neglected, and the methods of obtaining it would be forgotten. Thus our primeval fathers would diverge from the source of that part of themselves which was essential to their highest and truest happiness. But the state of satisfaction could not be lasting; the reaction was bound to come; the cravings of nature would make themselves felt, and either satiation with the world, or the reawakened inner consciousness of incompleteness in themselves, would present to them a true sense of their condition. The feeling of helplessness in themselves would be a reality, so would also the knowledge of the existence of the requisite help, but so imbued would they be with mundane ideas, so engrossed with their physical experiences, that their spirit would not be in a fit condition to commune with the source of spirituality. The cataract would all the while have been steadily growing over their spiritual eyes, and, although they would not be blind, yet their sight would be dimmed, and so a haze would seem to be cast over the way to their essential motive existence. More and more would the path be hidden, but never could the innate knowledge that in a Supreme Being lay the sustentation that their true lives required be destroyed. Like very foolish virgins, they had not left in their lamps as much as would even light them back to the stores. So human did they become, that they had not sufficient spirituality left in them whereby to distinguish the connecting-rod between their own mortal mechanism and the source of their true life, and yet that there was a Supreme Being, who was that source, was in every man an inextinguishable knowledge. That different ideas of this Supreme Being should present themselves is not to be wondered at, and each, according to his light, or want of light, worshiped as he considered right, and as the race multiplied, and as the world became more and more the apparent proper sphere of man, some worshiped one supreme being, and some many. The desire to be near that source of perfect life, of which every man is naturally conscious, made all men worship. The knowledge of how to worship aright is not a lost knowledge, nor one of which any man is deprived, but is a knowledge innate to all, covered up or smothered by human prejudices, habits and delusions acquired and accumulated through ages, and given and accepted as heritages. But such an important subject shall be treated by itself hereafter.
Apart from the spiritual effect of making all men worshipers, this innate knowledge of incompleteness has had a great political effect on the whole human race - a purely mundane concern. If every man were perfectly satisfied with himself, he would never seek any external assistance or communion. An individual feels stronger with the sympathy of a friend in whom he can confide; the classes feel fortified by the knowledge that the individuals of their circles add items that strengthen their social barriers; the masses have confidence in the multitude of their combinations; and nations know that in their union lies the secret of their strength. In the higher stages of civilization, the necessity for union is more clearly seen, because the natural weakness is more keenly felt. The lowest savages huddle together to keep at bay their natural enemy, civilized man, from a sense of individual weakness. It may be said that man is naturally social; but the naturalness arises from the knowledge of self-insufficiency. He constantly proves that he has not in himself strength commensurate with his appearances and necessities. He is like a bully who persuades those under him that he is strong, and finds out he is by nature a coward when entirely left to his own resources. He is conscious of the want of strength in himself, and he knows that the required strength exists somewhere outside of himself, and so he seeks it in his fellow creatures, everyone of whom has the same consciousness as himself. The political result of this universally individual knowledge has been that men, conscious of their individual weakness, have combined in nations and governments - either monarchies or republics - seeking, by combination, a strength nonexistent in the individual. Thus all religions and all governments are founded on the same human desire for intercommunion with a higher power, proceeding from a knowledge of weakness or incompleteness born in everyone.
But there is a moral as well as a religious and political aspect to this question of man's complete mechanism not being contained in his human frame. Considering man as a mere creature of this earth and of time, it is the cause of all those miseries of mankind which we look upon as the heirlooms of the race. This same innate knowledge, by its misdirection, causes youth's poetic future to turn out a very prosy disappointment - like flowers of spring, that wither and fade almost while the child plucks them under the impression that they are everlasting. It makes high aspirations of honorable ambition produce nothing but sickness of heart; shakes faith in mankind; shows virtue and rectitude are not always the roads to happiness; shatters the castles of honest endeavor; wounds the affections of the yearning heart; falsifies the sympathy of friendship; buries holy aspirations in unrealized hope; multiplies misery; divides human hearts; takes away hope; and proves life a disappointment.
All this comes by misdirection of the knowledge; for it is not experience of life that begets this knowledge; yet experience in life gives undeniable proofs of the truth of the knowledge, which, like conscience, may be partly smothered, but can never be destroyed. It is easy for an ordinary man to decide whether any particular act be sinful or not; but when he has to decide between two actions that are clearly right, and his whole future career depends on his choice, his action is not only a very serious, but often a difficult one. Where is the man of understanding who has not made a thoughtful and, perhaps, prayerful decision, and yet been wrong? Who has not been disappointed in the result of his honest action? The path of the future no man has ever trod before, yet he often chooses it with every reasonable discrimination, and, to his surprise, finds himself in the wrong. Not only does disappointment of such a nature come once but many times; and he comes to the conclusion that nothing is certain in life but death, which he finds happens to all. He puts it down to the nature of things, and never for a moment considers that the actions of men are founded on a fallacy or misconception of the true completeness of his being. He argues on the same lines that others do, and concludes that what all men do must be right, whereas the truth is that what all men do is wrong. The fruits of this universal wrongdoing is that all men suffer.
Discontentment is not created in man, but the knowledge of the necessity of external help or assistance is; and, by seeking this assistance from himself or from any source but the true one, he is disappointed, and with continued disappointment comes sadness and grief. The origin of the discontent in him was intentionally to make him look to his Creator (of whom he is a part) for assistance; but, instead of doing that, he looks to his own reason, whence, he knows by experience, satisfaction cannot come, and so makes matters worse by reasoning with his incomplete reason. The more he thinks and puzzles from the same false premises, the more puzzled he becomes, and the darker grows the gloom, until sadness envelops him in her dark shades. He is the manufacturer of his own sadness, which grows - a parasite of human nature, which has no more natural right in the human breast than has the mistletoe on the oak, or the ivy on the wall. Once it gets its hold it will, like all parasites, tend to master and destroy where it at first furtively gets a mere footing.
We are free will agents, gifted with reason, endowed with the germs of many opposite qualities, whose workings and effects, we acknowledge, are puzzles to ourselves; but we are capable also of diagnosing many of the conditions of our mental faculties, so as to enlarge our intelligence, with most beneficial effects upon our daily lives. Why then should we not examine ourselves and find out, to our joy, that this sadness, so common to humanity, is neither the work of the gods, nor the fates, nor even a necessary adjunct of our poor human nature, but a most contemptible parasite which we are able to discard? It is a mental delusion fundamentally.
Let the reader think of the number of lives blighted by ordinary sadness; and, where his knowledge and experience will permit him to analyze, let him think how very small an actual origin that sadness had, and how easily the blight could have been averted by a little unyielding resistance. The nurturing of sadness is like warming at one's breast the half-frozen snake; it is wrong to have it there. If one meets an ill-natured dog and shows timidity or fear of it, it will certainly bark or snarl, perhaps bite; whereas, if a bold and fearless front be shown, it will slink past with its tail down. So it is with mental foes and sadness. The terror that the anticipation of them causes is sometimes something almost unbearable; but when they actually do come, it is amazing how small an influence they have. It is the same with sadness and joy: anticipation is always far greater than realization. The sadness of disappointment is a myth and mere imagination, until nourished into effective reality. Its cause is a mental delusion, and when the sufferer believes it to be a delusion, the suffering will cease. A man who believes himself to be the Prince of Wales, and there are many such, is justly confined in a place of safety as a maniac; but whenever he is persuaded of his delusion he is cured; so this sadness is a developed delusion, although, to the sufferer, the condition has all the effects of a sad reality. Let a man analyze any such sadness that comes over him - probe it to its very origin - and he will find at the root of the evil some little discontentment of mind - arising from the misdirection of his inborn knowledge - that should never have been there; and he will find that his fears of anticipated danger ought to have no more to do with him than with the dead Queen of Sheba. There are no such things as ghosts; but the belief in their existence is a really cruel terror to children. Increase of intelligence, with growing manhood, destroys the ghostly delusion; so, with more intelligence about ourselves, we shall find that this universal sadness is a self-manufactured delusion that grows upon us with a growth like that of the rolling snowball, which, being begun with little, is capable of being made into a snow giant or castle of despair. This is not a matter to be proved or approved by the mere testimony of others, but by one's own personal experience. Willing inquirers after truth must break down old prejudices and willingly admit the clear evidence of facts.
I must not seem to despise the physical causes of this sadness, although I shall maintain they are only secondary causes, although generally accepted as primary. Man has both a mind and a body, and sadness is generated, secondarily, by both. Man is an animal, and all animals are subject to sadness, but no animal can be so severely affected by sadness as man. The little physiological epigram, Omne animal ex ovo, contains a vast amount of truth, and shows the common origin of all hearts. Let the following be accepted as an abbreviated explanation of the use of the heart in connection with this question of sadness. All animals that have a heart have blood. The heart is not the seat of the soul, but the centre of vitality. Like little rivers, the blood courses from it to every living part of our mortal bodies. Any part of the body not receiving this moving liquid is dead. There is no stagnant blood in the living parts. Blood is life, and the blood must flow. Neither water nor blood can unaided flow upwards. Whether our bodies are upright or recumbent, the blood must flow, and it is compelled to flow by means of a force-pump. The engine that works that pump is the heart. One can hear and feel its throbs and pulsations. Day and night it works. With every beat a fresh supply of blood is driven to the extremities of the body. That is the work of the heart, and it never stops but once. This vital fluid which circulates through the arteries and veins of all animals is great in quantity, and requires a large food supply to make it, and if only used to go once through the body, would be a great waste of material, which only an enormous amount of eating would suffice to make up. But the same blood is used over and over again. Yet the blood in a healthy body must be pure. As it washes along the veins it carries in its current all the impurities of the body that are not perspired through the skin. If, then, it simply goes round and round, it will become more and more impure at every circulation; the body must grow more unhealthy with every pulsation; and muddy blood makes a muddy brain. But the body is not so half-finished as all that. The Creator left everything complete; and yet man's whole life is not wholly in man, but partly in his Creator. All the blood is filtered and washed before it comes back to the heart, and this is done by the action of the liver. In the condition in which the heart receives the blood from the liver, in that same condition it circulates it through the body, whether it is good blood or bad blood. The purer the blood is the healthier the body is, and in sano corpore sana mens. The unhealthy parts of the body are washed by the blood, i. e., the blood is defiled by the unhealthy parts, and if the liver do[es] not deliver perfectly pure blood to the heart, then the heart cannot circulate pure, healthy and health-giving blood, and bad health means bad spirits - sadness. Moreover, there is the gall or bile, a bitter, yellowish-green fluid, secreted in the glandular substance of the liver. If the liver, inadvertently or otherwise, squirts a little too much of this bile into the blood on its passage through, it affects the whole vital system, and sends that ill-humor, which is the very mother - humanly speaking - of sadness through every vein of tbe body. If the blood is surcharged with gall, a man would be miserable even in Paradise. His spirits would be depressed in tbe middle of a dance, and love and beauty would only tend to make him sick at heart. He could not help his sadness, but that does not mean that God created him to be sad. He had no right to allow himself to come into that plight. There is nothing wrong with his fate, but with his liver. Let him put his liver right, and all the ghosts and ghouls of Sadness will give place to the bright sunshine of a happy and unclouded life; for assuredly the powers of Heaven are not bloodthirsty, feelingless elements that dote on the misery of man, as if he were a thing and not a creature. So much for Sadness in connection with the physiological construction of man. It will be seen that, when the mental and physical elements are combined, the power of Sadness over tbe individual is gigantic; yet these elements are not innate, but generated by conditions of mind and body which are preventable. This common Sadness is not an inheritance, necessarily, of human nature, but an extraneous growth, which, like the hair and nails of the body, has no genuine life in itself, and can he as easily cut away. As the shell of the oyster grows, but is no actual part of the living bivalve, so is this Sadness a mere accidental adjunct of our environment. It can either be cut down or cherished. As wrath is nursed to keep it warm, so this mental phoenix is begotten and reared from the very ashes of an empty opinion. Nothing is so easy to beget, nothing so easily bred as sadness, for it is begotten and bred of nothing.
Whilst maintaining that this suffering of universal sadness is begotten by the universal disappointment which is the natural result of seeking that assistance to our beings, which we know we require, at a source where it cannot be found - the result of a long-developed delusion - I think it will be well to show that, in a wide, though comparatively limited, sphere, it is produced without actual cause, or rather, that its causes are visionary, although its effects are so very real. This can not be better done than by simple illustrations, the truth of which cannot be gainsaid.
When young people leave their homes for good, they have a powerful and strange longing to return, which is a very painful misery known as "home-sickness'" out of which neither the music nor the dancing of the foreigner can rouse them, and yet the cause is purely ephemeral.
A common soldier's funeral is a most solemn and stately dead march. The corpse, in a coffin covered with the Union Jack, on which lie the cap, belt and sword of the deceased, is borne shoulder high by his comrades, while a company of soldiers follow with rifles reversed. The whole cavalcade creeps slowly along, keeping step to the music of a slow and solemn dirge. Not a voice is heard, not a sound, but the simultaneous, deathlike tread of the regimental footfall and the muffled drum and the wailing instruments. At last, over the grave three volleys as a farewell salute are fired. The mixed crowds that gather at the sight, even when they belong to the lowest rabble, are forcibly and reverently impressed with the solemn scene, and join with all the demeanor of sympathetic sadness. To and from the grave the sadness used to prevail, but the order is now somewhat changed, and for this reason. While our gallant Highlanders were stationed in India, a strange and unaccountable fatality attacked them. The doctors were puzzled, the officers alarmed at the widespread sickness, and the keen-sighted colonel observed that, after every funeral, many more were overpowered. After investigation, it was found that the brave men were succumbing to the sadness produced by the solemnities of such a dead march, and such tunes as "You're wearin' awa', Jean, to the land o' th' leal." New orders were at once issued, which have continued in force to this day, that, whilst there should continue march music expressive of the deepest lamentation to the grave, the men should return home to the quick step of such lively music as "We'll gang nae mair tae yon toon, tae yon toon," and" I'll clout my Johnnie's auld breeks for a' the ill he's dune." The effect of this change in the military funeral services seemed nothing short of the marvellous. No more men fell ill, and those wbo were ill got quickly better. Here the effects of misery were terrible in their reality, and yet, hallucination alone was the cause. The Jews, in their Babylonish captivity, were so overpowered by depression, that they hung their harps on the willow trees, for all joy had gone out of them. With few exceptions, men honestly do such acts as they reasonably believe will produce happy lives, and yet their actions are too often belied by results. Men of years and experience sometimes come to the conclusion that it is right to seek the pleasures of life by every apparently attainable means, even when these are by no means conducive to the happiness of others, or even when they are direct violations of what in their youth they had accepted as the just laws of morality and righteousness; but young men without experience, prejudice or habit, which could only be obtained by living, have higher and purer motives for their actions. It is contamination with a world gone wrong that impregnates its delusive ideas into a mind steadily progressing according to reason founded on false premises. Young people mean to do well, hope to do well, and try to do well reasonably anticipating happiness as a result, and yet, all goes awry, and vexation of spirit comes to all. It is not when a man is first found out to be a rogue that he first begins to be one. The first act of roguery is generally much anterior to the discovery, and, in all likelihood, has no resemblance to the deed found out. Misery may come out of all proportion to its immediate cause, but not at all out of proportion to what might reasonably be looked for after tracing the true source and course of its development. When a man has no knowledge of his reasoning falsely, he cannot see either this source or course, and so puts down the misery as something inscrutable, and charges it to the account of fate. Prejudiced people naturally come to conclusions quite adverse to those of an impartial judge, and are puzzled to think why a recognized judge of ability could hold ideas that are to them outlandish. It is proverbial that doctors disagree because their reasons differ at the source.
We have many proofs that men are, like sheep, very much given to following a precedent. There is a natural inclination to do as others do, and to believe what others believe. Remarkably few people think for themselves. It is too busy an age to allow time to do more than merely adopt the opinions of others. Men are all more or less interested in politics, and persuade themselves that because they are daily readers of the newspapers, and keep up with the times, that they are therefore thinkers; yet they unwittingly accept the opinions of the party papers they read, and in expressing their own opinions, simply paraphrase what they have just read. Original thoughts come from very few. Most people believe what their fathers believed, simply because they believed, and this is proof that the precedents of our forefathers are accepted as correct, although many times they have been proved wrong. The groundwork of our belief is the same as that of our fathers, and we are supposed to have advanced in knowledge of education of all kinds, and yet our natural sorrows are by no means lessened but rather increased; therefore education cannot have improved our means of obtaining substantial happiness. We feel more keenly the condition of our misery, because we pursue the same methods of reasoning which are fundamentally wrong, and the further we advance in the same lines, the further we shall recede from the real source of true happiness. Our fathers believed, and we believe, that in man himself lies all the powers requisite to acquire this world's happiness, and that the source of their soul's salvation alone lay in an exterior power. It is as easy to believe that the source of worldly happiness lies in another as to believe that the source of the soul's happiness does, and it is quite as reasonable. Besides, it is daily demonstrated that this source does not lie in man himself. Every human effort has failed to give that amount of human happiness which we, as reasonable beings, may justly claim as belonging to us by right. But there may be untold wealth beneath our feet, and we not know it, or we might know it, and for many reasons not obtain it. Intellectual hallucination is so common, that it may be said to be a characteristic trait of man's nature. The wisest sages have promoted ideas of the most beautiful and inviting character, which, when put to the practical test, have, like still-born children, passed out of existence before they have lived, so to speak. Many men of great natural engineering ability have evolved from their own minds, to their own entire satisfaction, mechanical contrivances that would revolutionize the world's labor, but, when put into practice, have been found to have one little link wanting. There are few amateur engineers who have not warrantably proved the practicability of perpetual motion, although it is mathematically and physically impossible, Science has promulgated ideas with despotic arrogance, which have in time been proved to be utter nonsense, although, while the rage was on, they were the beliefs of the world. The number of political lies that honest men honestly believe is incredible. Faith and life have been honorably pinioned to infamous lies that have been accepted as almost Divine truths by the civilized world. The number of beliefs held, with the clear knowledge that they could not for a moment bear scientific investigation, is legion, although truth will stand any truthful and logical examination; the glare of light can never be too great for truth. It is easy to be seen that the whole race, reasoning on false hypotheses, must hold extraordinary doctrines that are utterly unreasonable when logically treated on a truthful basis. That one sacred Being can be the essence of all love and the source of all evil is a creed contrary to all common sense, utterly unreasonable, and consequently untenable. If man's first start to reasoned action be accepted as correct, then all the evils which he endures must be received as legitimate results - all the darkness and spiritual gropings must be inevitable, all the intellectual doubts and fears must necessarily be his natural portion, all the blasted hopes of his life must be birthrights he has no choice but to accept. That "man was made to mourn," must be accepted as that prerogative of man that raises him above the brute beasts. All the miseries of childhood are inevitable, probationary courses of training, through which every man of reason and self-will must pass, to make the cruel discovery that he is a thing and not a creature. The creed is a terrible and unreasonable one, and could only be carried out by those who are degraded enough to be abject slaves in soul and body to any tyrant. The belief is an insult to omniscience and omnipotence, whence error and injustice cannot arise. Great rivers have small sources, and the false idea that took its rise in the human breast six thousand years ago, must now have results out of all proportion to its first insignificance. It is, at first thought, almost incredible that facts now recognized as universally true, and are yet false, should have grown from such small beginnings. On a false foundation has been built the elements of guidance of our private and public conduct, with the result that a great deal must be wrong that has the appearance of being right. There are in Europe three rivers, the Rhine, Rhone, and Danube, that rise in the same watershed, and yet flow in distinctly different directions, and empty themselves into three distant and distinct seas. The difference of destination is caused by the inclination of the ground at the source, and what flows into the North Sea would have fallen into the Black Sea if it had risen with the other slope, and so the conditions of existence now recognized as necessary, and yet diverse, are unaccountably accepted as unaccountably true. The difference was effected by the slight divergence from truth at the source, and as time went on and experience grew, the slight elementary difference was overwhelmed and forgotten, and soon the stream of accepted thought got so strong as to make it practically impossible to stem the tide or go back to the origin, It is a serious matter to fight against public opinion, yet again and again it has been proved that public opinion has been dangerously wrong; moreover, it has often been proved that there is no madness so powerfully headstrong as mad public opinion. Public opinion that now declares we are on the right road to true happiness has not a leg to stand upon, and every individual opinion is that "there is something wrong." If we started six thousand years ago on a wrong basis, there must be something wrong now. We have gone on from the beginning until now building up governments, politics and rules of action, and there is no wonder that a bitter experience should now cry out we are in the wrong groove. Does any thinking man now conscientiously believe that we, as reasonable and intelligent beings, are in that state of existence where mortals, made in the image of divinity, and only a little lower than the angels, ought to be? The man does not live who has not his doubts, and only blind ignorance can cling to the idea that everything is as it ought to be. Let us examine, by way of specimen, some present-day doctrine that is recognized as true, and yet, on the face of it, must be wrong.
The greatest error of the age is the promulgation of the false idea or belief that money is the source of happiness, and of all things, a man must get money. The answer at once comes "This is not so;" but it is so, and it is mere prevarication to say it is not so. To get money is undoubtedly the first object of the age. What the Americans call truly "the almighty dollar," is the medal of life to be gained and worn on every breast. We try to flatter ourselves that we do not love it, but we adore it all the same, and, because of the false hypotheses on which all our reasonings and actions are founded, it is an unavoidable necessity that we should arrive at the conclusion, that money is the source of all good. Money is the open sesame to all that the world holds worth having from our accepted ground of argument, but our ground-work of belief is all wrong. Had our arguments of life been obtained, as they ought to have been, from the true source of our existence, which is not in ourselves, the question of money would have been, at the least, a very inferior one. As it is, nothing can be done without money, and it is the aim of every one to get it. The ultimate aim of all education given in our schools is to make money. Subjects that ennoble and give true edification are very secondary and are only acquired as "accomplishments." Although the acquirement of money is such a necessity to our mode of living, it is by no means the sure path to true happiness, for poor men are often happier than the rich, who are able to purchase devices to hide their misery, and at the best it only helps to keep up appearances. Money is the greatest force in modern society, and it is the natural resultant of the three forces which are the axioms of this creed.
Why this doctrine of false hypothesis should not be accepted as, first, possibly true, then as probably true, and finally as certainly true, it is hard to understand, seeing how many proofs of our being in the wrong constantly present themselves. The doctrine of probability and chance now runs through every action, and no certain results can be predicted or calculated, because even the data cannot be assured. On the hypothesis, that man is complete in himself, almost every calculation of life is wrong. Mathematicians and logicians have a very different way of dealing with hypothesis that thus produce no correct and reliable results. They condemn them at once. Although all the essential actions of life, founded upon the hypothesis that "the whole life of man is wholly in man," invariably produce unreliable and wrong results, yet men continue to argue on the same false theory, instead of discarding it. Many popular beliefs have been discarded on far less evidence.
The accepted hypothesis is one that cannot stand on its own legs. It has to be propped up, and always had to be. It has been a cripple, walking on human crutches, from its infancy. It has been bolstered up by dogma and superstition from time immemorial, and although superstition and dogma have - many of them - been discarded, the cripple still holds its clearly fallible sway. It has created an omnipotent use for the universal loophole IF, and so men's best hopes are buttressed by, if not founded on, an IF. All the dogmas that the skill of churchmen has contrived, and all the superstitions of tyrannical governors and self-consolers, have made men cling to the falsehood, but have failed to prove it true: for no reasoning whatever can make falsehood truth. The belief has been handed down, and men have duped themselves into believing it, but reason and experience have condemned their belief. Thousands of those who are paid to preach the dogmas that support it, do not believe it, and would gladly say so if they could retain their fees and salaries, and therefore hypocrisy is its special nursling. Superstitions of all sorts have given way before enlightened reason, but a great and grave superstition still holds sway, and that is the superstitious fear, that examination into any fundamental belief may infringe on the rights and doctrines of religion. But there can be no reasonable reason why any true religion should be injured in the least degree by the investigation of truth. Inquiry into the truth of religion itself cannot be the unpardonable sin. The more we know of truth, the more we know of Him who is the truth. It can be no heresy to know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. If some superstitions have given way to reason, why should not all?
Universally accredited belief is not necessarily true. Witchcraft was once universally believed, now it is considered not true. That the earth was not round, was once believed by all, but now it is believed by none. Belief in astrology was once common, now few believe it. That the rivers water the earth was the geographical opinion of our fathers, now the opposite holds good, that their use is to drain the earth. Thunder and lightning were formerly considered special expressions of divine wrath and displeasure, and now they are known to be the simple effects of natural laws. Electricity is now the servant of man, but it was formerly believed to be the sword of the Lord. Ten thousand changes have taken place that have utterly reformed the beliefs of man, but yet there remains that old tradition, that "the whole life of man is wholly in man" (except in questions of religion), the belief of which can only lead honestly thinking men to atheism and despair.
The doctrine of fatalism is essentially a true one, that is, if certain premises are allowed. The man who jumps into deep water and remains, say five minutes underneath, will undoubtedly be drowned. Nothing can save him: drowning is inevitable, but, presumably there was no necessity for his going into the water. So, to acknowledge as true the presently accepted hypothesis, that man is humanly complete in, himself, is to arrive necessarily at the conclusion, vanitas vanitatum, etc., but, as the hypothesis is false, the conclusion also is false. Everything must now go wrong, and the wonder is that Hope herself has not long ago ceased to exist. Countries that in olden times ruled supreme, and were acknowledged in their day as the most powerful, did not fall because they were doomed by supreme power or fate to fall. Yet it was a foregone conclusion that they should decay and fall, for that was the natural result of the conduct of each such country. Every nation that ultimately excelled, began with frugality and ended with luxury, and luxury, with its attendant evils, has always been proved to be effeminating and destructive. But there was no necessity for anyone of them indulging to excess. So, if men believe and act up to their belief, that "the whole life of man is wholly in man," the results of life must be very different from what they would otherwise be. The rules and actions of life must be quite different with the contrary belief.
As with nations so with individuals, the doctrine of fatalism is true. Certain actions must produce certain results, and these certain actions are bound to take place with the present accepted fundamental reasons. Wrong reasoning must produce wrong actions, which in their turn must produce fatalistic wrong results. The results of life are acknowledged to be altogether unsatisfactory, but if a man goes into a south-going train, he cannot reasonably expect to be landed in the north.
If the whole race sprang from one man of a healthy, ruddy color, is it not a most extraordinary thing that there should now be on the earth black, white, yellow, tawny and copper-colored descendants from that one progenitor? Men do not consider this an extraordinary fact, but say it is the natural result of climatic influences. With such extraordinary changes, not only in color, but also in shape, character and customs from one common parent, how is it that men can possibly be amazed to think that man can be different from what he once was? Surely there is great probability that his intellect may be as affected by six thousand years of false reasoning, as that white should become black in the same time. Surely the mind and intellect are no more impregnable than the body; moreover, men have always taken more pains to protect their bodies than their minds. For centuries the cultivation of the mind was neglected; is it to be wondered at that it should change and forget its own powers? The change in the body is self-evident and acknowledged, and it is strange that the change of opinion is not equally clear. It is not necessary to maintain that the change in either the one or the other is deteriorated. All that is wished to be proved is, that there is an extreme change, and the analogy between body and mind is a strong one, giving confirmatory evidence. Intellectual opinions throughout the world about life are very diverse, and cannot all be right because they are contradictory; why should not all be wrong? The likelihood is that they are all wrong, for none of them give satisfaction to thinking men.
Many new diseases are common to the body, and very different ones have been generated from the same bacilli that could not have existed among the ancients; why should continuously changing public opinion - not beget ideas altogether foreign to man's original nature? There are some diseases acknowledged to have no further power over the body when it is once innoculated with them, and so minds imbued with false notions imbibe any amount of erroneous ideas, without carrying convictions of falsehood.
In married life, it not unfrequently happens that not only do the characters of man and wife assimilate, but they actually grow to resemble each other physically. A person of inferior intellect, brought up in a highly-cultivated circle, will take on a very great deal of polish. The butcher grows to resemble the ox, and the swineherd the hogs that he tends. In such cases - and there are thousands of cases - great changes take place in the original nature in a very short time. Family and national characteristics are also transmitted, not only of the physical, but of the mental condition. The effect of the mental condition is distinctly marked in the facial expression. The face is undoubtedly the mirror of the mind, or rather a camera obscura that takes not negative, but positive pictures of the mind. The man of habitually merry mind has a face like father Jove, and is called jovial. The scheming and strategetical man cultivates a martial face as hard and cold as marble, and the man of melancholy makes you freeze in his presence. Roman, Grecian, English and Irish faces are very different, and may be all beautiful or all ugly, for it is not the conformation of the face, but the mental expression depicted on it, that is the essence of beauty, so that anyone, however plain, may cultivate beauty. Parents who discourage the smiles and pleasures of youth, are helping their children to form faces that will make them altogether unfitted for the social and matrimonial market. The sweetest musical sound in the world, is the merry laughter of youth and the harmony of young hearts, for it never contributes an ugly scar to the countenance, but brightens the expression with a genial brilliance that cheers the hearts of others. A cheerful soul is far more useful in the world than all the cantankerous sermons of divines. If a habit of short duration stamps itself so powerfully on man, surely a habit that has been growing on the human family for six thousand years must be very perceptibly marked in morality, religion and intellect, and he who, in order to succeed, maintains that he must keep up with the times, must play such tricks in business or professions as look remarkably like dishonesty.
It is unaccountable to many why there should be so much suffering in the world, and especially does it seem an inscrutable mystery why innocent children should, in their helpless condition, have to endure such extraordinary suffering as is often their lot. If God made man for his own glory, He has a right to create that glory as He sees fit; but it seems to altogether overstate the point to say that He creates suffering because He permits it. This idea is only adopted because the existence of universal suffering cannot be otherwise be accounted for. But this is a most illogical conclusion, and, in connection with the belief in a God of love, a most inexplicable one. The suffering is the inherited natural effect of a false life, inasmuch as all life contrary to the laws of nature produce evil effects. It is natural that the children of unhealthy parents should be unhealthy and subject to insidious disease, but while many of the ailments of life would take place under any ordinary circumstances, it is but reasonable to think that, with a more natural life the conditions of life would be more healthy, and so freer from suffering. This more natural life cannot be obtained except from the true source of nature.
It is manifest that neither complete life nor the motive power of life is in man. It is equally clear, that tbe power of obtaining that reasonable amount of human happiness which man has been created capable of receiving as a necessity of true life, is not in him, and yet that it is obtainable according to the original design of the Creator. In the Creator lies life: He is its source. Sympathy, like a human electricity, is the essence of life. The Maker is the source of sympathy, and between the Creator and the creature there is a connecting-rod that conveys the motive power of true human life. Whatever name may be given to this connecting-rod and motive power is of no moment. It is all etheriform element by which life sympathy is transmitted from God to man. That the influence does exist, may best be illustrated by a human example. Unless there be sympathy between creature and Creator, prayer itself must be useless. Sympathy in human affairs is a divine virtue: without it the world is cold, and by it hearts are brought nearer. It is appreciated by all, and acknowledged to be a great power of happiness. However excellent the language in which sympathetic words may be conveyed to a sufferer, he derives no solace unless he believes in the genuineness of the feelings of the speaker. If he has no faith in the friendship, the finest language in the world will never touch his heart, but will rather lie there like an icicle. A truly sympathetic look from one whom he believes to be a true friend will give comfort and happiness beyond expression. If there be no faith in the sympathizer, there can be no benefit or solace to the one sympathized with. Non-faith is a non-conductor of sympathy. Thus sympathy can only be successfully derived through faith. If the creature believes that the source of all sympathy is in the Creator, there is at once established between them a connection that is unfailing in its communications. To open direct communication between creature and Creator, there must first be adjusted the connecting link of confluence or faith. It is the only medium in which there is conductivity. Man has cultivated such implicit faith in himself, although it has proved so unavailing, that he has lost faith in his Creator. The connection is not broken, never has been broken, and never can be broken; but the communications, although intelligible, are rendered as useless as the work of electricity in a wire at whose end there is no understanding operator. The electric needle is continually in motion delivering its sacred communications, but it is nothing but a subject of wonderment to the beholder - it speaks with unknown signs, as if its use were obsolete or had never been known.
Of all things or conditions of nature, the most remarkable quality is simplicity. It is remarkable in everything - beauty and law. Nothing is more simple than are the laws of nature when once understood. One law never contradicts another, and where one law or its necessary sequence is sufficient, no new law is ever called into force. Laws that are applicable in one sphere of the Universe are in force in another. Law in the natural, moral or spiritual world is infallible and unalterable, and what is true in connection with the law of sympathy in one condition is true under all conditions. Sympathy between man and man can only be experienced as a reality when the one receiving solace has faith in the sympathizer, and it is exactly the same between creature and Creator. Whether it be assumed that it is human electricity, or that its workings are electrical, makes no difference. As in electricity there are conductors and non-conductors, so there is one true conductor between the life of man and the source of man's life, and that is exactly the same conductor which conveys the appreciated solace of sympathy from man to man. There may be different mediums used as conductors, but the one essential quality in every medium must exist, and that is, faith in the source of sympathy. The current of sympathy is a constant quantity in the etheriform element in every particle of human nature, just as there is electricity in every body, but as electricity is only utilized by human instrumentalities, so must this sympathy be. Electricity and human sympathy are constant powers that cannot be annihilated, and electricity was never used as the servant of man until it was believed in, and human sympathy in its highest sense comes under exactly the same law. Nature gives all the supplies requisite for a happy life, but it was never meant that noble man should suck in sustenance like a mere vegetable. When men have this high belief in this elemental force, they will use their senses, and prove it the greatest power in human life. This treatise claims for it greater power in the moral and spiritual world than is claimed for electricity in the natural world.
The more any person is charged with ether - transmitted sympathy, the closer and more direct must be the communion between that one and the source of all sympathy. Of all qualities, the most recognizable in Christ was his intense human sympathy for humanity. Never was man so filled with sympathy; therefore, never was man so fitted to be a medium between man and God. Nature intended that with the highest sympathy the greatest happiness should go. Everyone is endowed with latent sympathy as with human electricity, but if not put to active use, it will remain latent or deteriorate, for there is no such thing as stagnation in nature. Though every man's system is more or less charged with it, yet, there is greater capacity in all for more, and the more it is exercised the more powerful it becomes. Although use will develop it, yet, cultivated sympathy can never approach the perfection of that which can freely and liberally be obtained direct from the fountain-head through the etheriform transmitter.
It is generally acknowledged that a poet is born, not made. He is a genius - one who is inspired. He is distinctly different from great intellectual scholars, whose distinctions are gained by hard study. He is distinctly a human being, whose sentiments come more directly by intuition. He is recognized as a favored one of heaven, and there are poets and poets. What is it that distinguishes one poem as superior to another? What is it that entitles a poem to be recognized as a work of genius? The quality of a poem is estimated and appreciated by its amount of human sympathy, and the amount of human sympathy depends, not on the education of the poet, but on his proximity to the fountain-head of sympathy. It does not depend on the man being a Christian, for men were made before Christians, and the laws of sympathy were established long before the doctrines and duties of Christianity. A man may be a poet, or creature of sympathy, without being a Christian, and the nearer he is to the source of sympathy, the purer and more powerful will his sympathy be, and the more universally will the power and truth of his sympathy be felt and acknowledged.
Human sympathy ethereally transmitted is the source of human happiness, and if Nature meant it to be so, it must be so. If there be any human happiness in the world, greater than the happiness which is thus produced, then the doctrines of sympathy, being the root of human happiness, stand in very deed condemned: the whole theory of this creed must fall, like a house of cards, for its fundamental belief is, that "in the Creator is that sympathy which the creature by created means made known to him, must imbibe as the requisite motive power for producing true human happiness." How is human happiness produced? What is the happiness of power and authority? What happiness does the tyrant derive from having his most dread commands put into execution, except the satisfaction that might be produced by beasts of prey in devouring their victims? But the mere satisfaction of brute beasts can never be compared with the happiness of intellectual man. "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." The happiness of the merely rich man stands a bad contrast to that of the peasant who is content with his poor lot in life. The possession of money for its own sake essentially produces a desire for more, and discontent and happiness are an ill-matched pair. The pleasures of licentiousness are but temporary, wild excitements, that leave no fruit but bitter remorse. There is no pleasure can approach the feelings of appreciated true sympathy. There is no joy like that which produces joy in others. Doing good to others through sympathy is, like mercy, twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes. It is a heaven-born happiness, and, like all that is heaven-born, is genuine and never ending. No human happiness can approach that begotten of sympathy, and, were this sympathy universally exercised, it would produce universal human happiness.
As the possession of sympathy is a guarantee of human pleasure, so the want of it is a sure proof of unhappiness. There can be no better example of this in the world than that of the man who foolishly poses as a disappointed man. His life is commenced with very elastic hopes, and he expects the world's most loving embrace, but grows up to find the world has no need for, and will not accept his qualifications, then, with hopes deferred, disappointments without number, he turns, in high dudgeon, on the world, and despises it heartily because it has despised him. Outside the human pale, he grows colder and colder in his nature, declines to hold communion with others, will neither give nor receive sympathy, and, self-ostracized from the world, he wanders with a Sphinx-like face of marble, entirely wrapped up in his own unsympathetic self, like a blind man alone in the boundless world. There is no sympathy in himself, and therefore he can draw none from others. He is a human icicle among humanity.
Mesmerism is the art of inducing a state of complete coma, or insensibility, or of somnambulism, in which the operator claims to control the actions, and communicate directly with the mind, of the recipient. The operator, having the higher power, dominates the will of the patient, who involuntarily becomes so submissive under the influence of mesmerism that he has practically no will of his own, but obeys, in detail, the will of the operator. He becomes but a minor part of the operating force, or motive power, and for the time ceases to be an individual being. This power cannot be forced on anyone. The recipient must first submit himself to the influence of the operator. A man cannot be mesmerized without in some way aiding and abetting, although that may be done in ignorance. So with this vast power of sympathy with which the systems of all men are charged, and of which the higher power and divine source is the Creator. His power - and He is perfection in all things, including love - dominates the wills of men, but they must first submit themselves to the action of the sympathetic influence, which it might not be wrong to call human magnetism. The more man has of this magnetism in his body - his soul is also in his body - the more directly he is under the control and influence of supreme sympathy, whose great wish is for peace on earth and good will to man.
Some of the Edison inventions are looked upon as little short of marvelous, but the inventor himself would be the last to consider them marvels. Had he lived when it was customary and lawful to burn witches and wizards, he would undoubtedly have been brought to the stake. He himself knows that he is but utilizing the commonest element in nature, although his genius is worthy the praise of all men. The powers of electricity have not hitherto been observed, nor have the origin and importance of sympathy. The electric marvels of the present day were in electricity thousands of years ago, but there was no practical observer to utilize them. Sympathy is as everlasting and all-powerful as electricity is. Men, in their honest research for human happiness, will put it to the test, and the new insight it will give to life will be more marvelous than the marvels of electricity.
The peculiar power of being able to read the thoughts of others (by muscular contact) by people of finely-strung nerves, can be cultivated to a high degree. Surely the verbal thought of one mind being silently conveyed to the mind of another is a more extraordinary thing than the conveyance of a feeling, and yet most people think thought-reading a comparatively easy matter to understand. Besides, there are many simple matters in nature that are acknowledged facts, and yet cannot be accounted for. It often happens that, while one casually thinks of a person without having the remotest idea of seeing him, he meets him face to face, and all without having the likelihood of seeing him, or the necessity for thinking of him. No man can tell what gives rise to such opportune thoughts, and so it is put down as a mere coincidence, and commemorated by a proverb. Two persons on very familiar terms will frequently sit silent together, and then simultaneously begin to ask each other exactly the same question, which has no bearing whatever on any previous conversation. Many illustrations that will suggest themselves to the reader might be cited of "extraordinarily simple" things happening that cannot be accounted for by any scholastic reasoning; but this subject of sympathy is a self-evident necessity of life, presenting itself with ten thousand proofs of its truth, and yet men do not try to understand it.
The laws of nature came into operation with the creation of nature, and all nature is subject to them. No new laws have ever been added, or ever will be added. Even the Mosaic laws are not laws of nature, although they are the verbal expressions of many of the chief elements of natural laws. Men, as members of the human race, are not necessarily amenable to these, except in so far as they embrace the laws of nature. To thinking man's finite mind, it is an inexpressible cruelty that there should be no human happiness attainable by man except through some definite religion, which cannot, in the nature of things, become known to tens of thousands of generations over the face of the globe. True, ignorance of law does not condone crime or violation of law, and savage and civilized person alike have justly to take the consequence of breaking a law of nature. But there is a vast difference between a law of nature and an institution, which the ceremonial law of Moses is. The institution of any particular kind of religion cannot be, like the laws of nature, binding upon all, but only upon such as are of the particular persuasion. The religious institution's laws can only reasonably be forced upon members of the institution, just as laws of a country can only justly be applied to its own people, and not to aliens out of the country. Christianity itself is an institution, and not a law of nature from the creation; but if Christianity be proved, of all religions, to be that which best connects man with the source of his existence, he surely stands much in his own light not to accept it; and if he, having once received proofs of its truth, rejects it, he cannot complain at not obtaining the rewards offered for belief in it. If belief in it be the only means of obtaining its rewards, then the heathen cannot obtain its promised happiness; but there is no reason why they, as human beings, should not have that amount of human happiness which belongs to them as human beings. Sympathy is common to all men and God.
The more civilized people become, the more clearly will sympathy be recognized as a necessity of happiness, the more acutely will they feel the want of it, and the more amazed will they he at its absence from man's lot. Without the knowledge of the fundamental use of sympathy, the universality of suffering will only be accounted for by a kind of religious superstition by those who are too weak to renounce a religion they cannot understand. Men of a scientific and bolder turn of mind, who cannot see this simple, sympathetic solution of life, will naturally become socialists and atheists, for everything, according to present doctrines, must seem to them contradictory and unreasonable, for life in all its phases is affected by the fact, that sympathy is the bond of true life between God and man, and man and man. The further down in civilization we examine, the less sympathy is found, but it is never extinct, even in cannibals, because its existence is a human law of nature, and therefore all human beings are subject to it. The sympathetic connection between the lowest savage and the highest supreme power can never be nonexistent.
All men suffer, and yet often they have an inner consciousness that they suffer in innocence. When a man violates nature, or does some vicious act, he has an inner consciousness of having done wrong that causes him uneasiness, vexation or remorse, and his nature never fails to accuse him, more or less, even when he does wrong with evident inadvertence; yet he has no feeling of blameworthiness when he is oppressed with what may be called the recognized sufferings of humanity, but rather he has the feeling of an undeserved hurt having been placed upon him. He recognizes and acknowledges the justice of rewards and punishments in the moral world consequent on virtue and vice, but he finds no solution for the existence of all the ills that flesh is heir to. His nature inclines to rebel against unnatural and unjust punishment. Greater fears of future punishment are created in him, for he wisely reasons, if he receives punishment for no conceivable evils, what must he expect as the result of sins he acknowledges. His life grows a misery to him, and death seems the king of terrors, instead of a mere transformation scene or passage from one state of existence to another. It is very natural for a man to resent injury, and retaliate not only on his own account, but on that of others; and it does seem a hardship to be compelled to bear an uninvited injury and wrong, as the inexplicable miseries of life seem to thinking men to be. We are so constituted that well-doing gives us satisfaction, and ill-doing dissatisfaction; also, we are so made as to at once recognize justice or injustice - to admire justice at all times, and to condemn injustice at all times, therefore we are so made that we must naturally condemn the injustice that comes to us like an inheritance, but the contention of this treatise is that there is no such inheritance, and that the natural sufferings which we endure are the natural results of founding our lives on a wrong basis, and of conducting our reasoning on false premises. We have given ourselves a false start in depending entirely on ourselves for motive power, and so have brought upon ourselves ailments that are unnatural to our real life, but natural to the life we have chosen to lead. The nearer a man is to the source of sympathy, the more he seems to co-operate with the divine administration of the world, and the more genuine satisfaction, security and hope has he in the world.
An electric battery may be weak or strong: so weak that all attempts to communicate with a distant indicator must result in unintelligibility. The current may be strong enough to make intelligible communications with one station and not with another, where another current may be used to complete the message. So, while all have sympathy and are in communication with the source of all sympathy, yet the supplies are - from use, abuse, or nature - very varied in individuals. Here arises the question of mediums, which God has wisely provided for the double purpose of communicating directly and intelligibly with Himself, and also for generating goodwill and happiness among men, through doing good, sympathetic services for each other. Faith, the communicating motive power of life, is a gift; but in all ages there have been people more gifted than others. The whole analogy in nature shows that no benefits should be expected without making use of the means appointed for obtaining or enjoying them. A corrupt and depraved moral nature is no preservative of faith, neither is a systematic life of delusion; yet a person of weak faith may be strengthened by one of stronger faith, and the one of stronger faith strengthened by one of stronger still; and the strongest of all must be, as it were, for communicating purposes, nearest the fountainhead - just as the strong current of the Atlantic Cable brings Britain and America practically nearer, than does a weak and ineffective current bring two places together that are only ten miles apart. It does not follow from this that people must communicate with God, the source of sympathy, through mediums such as vicars, priests and popes. These may assist; but everyone is already by a natural element in direct contact with God, therefore has in him every requisite for communicating with Him. Still, a man of more faith is a better medium than one of less faith; a divine creature, who, presumably, is more constantly in the immediate environment of God, must be a better medium still; and the best of all mediums must be a combination of the human and divine, which Christ alone is; and He is therefore the highest possible medium through whom sympathy can come to man from its divine source; and, therefore, human happiness, irrespective of the question of religion, is best attainable through Him and the etheriform element.
There is nothing in the higher beliefs of spiritualism contradictory to this creed. The writer is distinctly not a spiritualist, but one who holds in contempt the paltry gambols of spirits in secret or dark chambers, at rapping of tables, and such mysteries; but he is not unwilling to believe that the inhabitants of another world take a sympathetic interest in man's actions and happiness. It is incredible that human life, with its divine origin, should be meant by omniscience to be so utterly incomprehensible as men are now perfectly satisfied to assume it is.
It is good we should not know the future, except simply as the production or fruit of the present, but, endowed as we are with great reasoning powers, it is only reasonable to think that rational actions should bring about rational and definite results; but it is not so, for there is the greatest uncertainty as to the results of our acts not only here but hereafter. True, we cannot give the whole account of anyone thing whatever, yet there are many things completely incomprehensible, that to reasonable beings should not be so, and would not be so if our life proceeded on the lines that our whole life is not wholly in ourselves.
There is nothing man fears so much as death, or rather the manner of dying, or the great uncertainty of the hereafter, and yet, seeing that death is inevitable to all, this is surely something that ought not to be so incomprehensible. Before natural death or dissolution actually takes place, everyone is really willing to die. This is peculiarly noticeable in old age, where man simply decays. Then, whatever the moral and spiritual conditions and longings, life ripened for death invites the change as the weary body invites repose, or it succumbs as mature fruit naturally falls from the parent tree. Old age looks forward to inevitable death with calm resolution - not wistfully, and certainly not with fear, and that sometimes long before the time of actual dissolution. Death is natural in old age, and nature anticipates it calmly and independently of any moral, spiritual or social feelings. The longings and cravings, begotten by the associations of life, are quietly ignored or laid aside like cast-off clothes. Calm farewells are made to friends, as if only a parting on a fixed journey were taking place. The things of the world are ungrudgingly renounced, and death is not accepted as a mere necessary evil, but as an experience of existence natural to the being passing away. Nature asserts her rights irrespective of worldly connections, and the dying being recognizes the justice of the assertion. Death is a plain, simple, necessary fact, and is recognized as such by decaying old age. It is a necessary fact that neither logic nor reason attempts to refute, for the law of nature is, in such decay, plain, and needs no more proof than an axiom. At this stage of existence man's farewell is powerless, but in the choice of his life and his manner of living, in as far as no law actually is violated, it is powerful. If man chooses to live and act, as he has the power to do, on the false hypothesis that he has the entire motive power of true life in himself, this is no violation of law, though a discretionary digression from what is best, yet which must produce results different from what his actions on different lines of conduct would produce. This treatise maintains that if man acted thoroughly on the belief that from God proceeded the motive power of his life, that all the results of his life would be as calmly, logically and intelligibly received as death is indubitably received by decaying nature; darkness and doubt would vanish. We are so accustomed with being in the present groove of false life, that, with lethargic indifference, we make no attempt to stir, but believe that as life has been so it shall be and must be, and therefore never can have been, nor be otherwise. Yet all the time we know there is something wrong.
Can anyone with a knowledge of the world say that he is satisfied, or maintain that the world itself is satisfied, or that it is unjustifiably dissatisfied? Are the results of life such as reasonable men can accept as reasonable? A mere shrugging of the shoulders because of a fear of giving of offence to the God of truth, cannot be an acceptable excuse to Him from His reasonable creatures for evading honest inquiry. Timidity is not naturally allied to reason, nor is it a becoming cloak of adornment to truth. Modesty is very becoming to beauty, but it has a most artificial appearance when used to cover a lie. If men are persuaded they live in darkness, it is their duty manfully to seek the light. A life's happiness and an eternity of existence are worth a little investigation, and are not to be taken at the mere haphazard opinion of another. It is a question for every individual's personal consideration, and not one to be settled by priest or sophist, yet men do not take courage in the cause of truth, but prefer to go with the current even in a subject of such supreme importance. What has been accepted as true is not necessarily true.
Are men dissatisfied? Let private conversation which men have with their confidential friends answer the question. Let the meditations of the honest scientists answer. Let the man of highest learning reply, or even let the blind amazement of ignorance. Let the masses who struggle with the classes, let the down-trodden and unfortunate reply. Let old age or want or honest industry reply. Let riches with its solid grasp of the world's hearty hand reply. Let our prisons, madhouses and suicides reply. Why, the whole world groans like a woman in travail because of the unreasonable mysteries of evil that surround daily life. Yet there is no attempt to face and investigate the difficulty, except in the old unsatisfactory groove. The conditions of life can scarcely be made worse by investigation, unless in a world-wide human anarchy, which even the adopted false-reasoning and civilization would not permit. On the other hand, an honest and true investigation into truth, on the bases of human sympathy, would bring us nearer to that origin of sympathy, which is the sure and certain source of all human happiness.
It is a fact, that there are times of revival in religion. Educated men and women are then worked upon to make confidential confessions of their hopes and fears that almost break one's heart to think of. In the short time of enthusiasm - for it is but a short time to the majority - they candidly acknowledge they are in despair not only about things spiritual, but about temporal mysteries. They, frightened into submission like terrorized creatures, acknowledge faults that their calm reason would deny, and promise anything if only peace of mind can be obtained. But to few does this peace come, and when the enthusiasm is dead, the disappointed ones are more bewildered than ever and in darkness more inscrutable. There is nothing to them but ever unrealized hope. To many, true conversion comes, but it comes only to such as have faith in divine sympathy; for the mere belief of historical, facts does not establish that confidence that makes sympathy effective.
The multitude of suicides is a powerful witness against the adopted delusion of life. Who dare judge and condemn the self-destroyer? Is he not one of the natural and logical conclusions of misunderstood life? What bold coroner will declare that immorality is the cause that brings about such a climax of life? Who will discriminate between rashness, cowardice, and bravery in such cases? Who will say that Virtue herself has not lashed herself into despair in face of the world's apparently inevitable gloom? Are not thousands of suicides such as have arrived at the logical conclusions of false hypotheses of life, that life is not worth living? Such seems clearly the case. Could people but see that the bond of sympathy between God and man is one of the established laws of Nature that can always be exercised, there would be no despair and no necessity for forcibly casting off this mortal coil.
The Strikes that are the peculiar feature of this age, are not the results of a mere low uncultured desire to obtain a share of the world's wealth, but of the heartfelt dissatisfaction with the unequal share of human happiness that is clearly unjustly withheld, and yet vainly hoped to be obtained by the possession of money. The masses of the present day in all the centers of civilization, are standing on the great threshold of inquiry, for which education, scholastic and worldly, has fitted them; their experience of the bitterness of life heartily supports the arguments of their innate common sense; the natural craving for a just recognition on the part of that sympathy whose rights are here contended for, cries on them to make a new start in life for themselves; and, on the other side, the civilization established on the false lines that have produced their miseries holds out its gloved hand for their acceptance. Between the old, gloved hand and their newly bestirred desires for their true interests - which they do not clearly understand - they are about to make choice. If they continue to accept the old Faith, they must accept the old miseries with it, for neither money nor strikes will give them any happiness, except what is purely artificial. The contest between labor and capital is a disturbance of the forces of Nature trying to assert their rights in gaining for each and all a new and a true start in logical life, so as to gain the greatest amount of happiness. Although the public leaders of social discontent are, for the most part, self-interested false prophets who argue on such lofty grounds, they are, generally, despicable men, of excellent speech, who are more likely to injure the highest interests of men than to bring them a single true blessing. They are the lowest types of utilitarians. The yearning for natural sympathy is the real, although unrecognized, cause of the great upheaval in society, and if Nature has its way, there will be a fundamentally new and great reformation.
Never in the history of the human race has man reached such a high state of civilization, and never has such a large proportion of the race been forcibly confined in madhouses as at this present moment. Whether this be a consequence or an accident of civilization, it says little for it. Surely this truth in itself is a vast proof of some latent error of judgment that should make all men pause and think. With civilization diseases of mind and body have increased, and yet never did more distinguished physicians live. The miseries of man multiply every day, yet the wealth of the world is enormous, and public asylums and institutions for relief are innumerable. No reform designs of man on the present fundamental lines of reasoning are able to cope with the increase of unhappiness. The feebleness of man in all his actions of self-reliance is manifest. The worry necessarily attendant upon gaining a livelihood amongst civilized people increases with the growth of civilisation, and yet civilisation is supposed to be a nearer and nearer approach to the highest state of human existence, which, if the present logical premises of civilization be correct, has no small appearance of being something bordering on universal insanity. Even civilization, with all its ennobling conditions, has a false basis. Nature, or the natural world, never changes. It is a very strong point in favour of this creed that man derives more genuine pleasure from his close, interested contact with this nature than he derives from his contact with human nature. So it is with all analogies where fixed laws govern, and the free will of man controls. The controlling government of man is a failure in producing happiness, compared with what is obtainable under government by fixed laws. On the face of it, this gives evidence against the intervening power of man. The lover of Nature has a true happiness in solitude that society can neither give nor approach. Her ever-varying beauty of simplicity, painted with innumerable blending tints and light and shade, produces a poetry in the artist's eyes that words cannot describe. There is a geniality in the study of Nature that enters into harmony with every phase of life, and nowhere is hypocrisy or sycophancy visible. Her presence never creates a doubt in the mind, even when the mind itself creates doubts. Everywhere she invites confidence. Never is Nature false, for she is not dependent on reason, prejudice or impulse (like man), but on law. The sympathy of Nature with humanity is very strong, and it is fully enjoyed by those who have confidence in her: and confidence in her, as in the source of all sympathy, is essential before true pleasure can be appreciated. Sympathy without confidence is at all times powerless, although this confidence may be involuntary. To be in harmony with the natural world is to be happy, and there can be no social salvation where this harmony does not exist, although it cannot produce the highest human happiness, which can only be found in the author of Nature.
This happiness has not always been derived from Nature, although it has always been derivable. It is not universally derived now. Yet never has it been the fault of Nature that aught but happiness has been derived from her. By many superstitious people she has been dreaded. Her solitary and weird places were believed to be the abode of witches and kindred spirits, under the immediate government of the Devil. Boggles dwelt in the low-lying grounds. Some of the most dreaded deities were the materialized mountains, and Furies embodied themselves in sylvan scenes. Nymphs and Naiads appropriated the rivers and lakes. Fairies inhabited the beautiful valleys, while the neighboring glens in the gloom of night sent forth their array of giant warriors to do the Devil's work. There was a time when all believed that Nature was merely a kind of fox-cover for spirits good and bad, and that places of beauty, grandeur and gloom were but the creations of different deities. Such was once believed, but now is laughed at. Why the change? Has Nature changed? Did she play fantastic tricks with human beings, until, being found out to be false, she changed to suit the opinions of advanced times a la man? No. Nature has never changed and never will. She is invariable. Therefore the change must be in man, and the whole world acknowledges that man was therefore wrong in his universal opinion about Nature. In how many more things has he been wrong, and in time, after bitter experience, acknowledged his error. Never could there be greater proofs of error than in this, that the logic of his present life is illogical. The fundamental reasons for his belief have led him altogether out of his natural sphere, and his belief of life - of his own life - now is further from the truth than was his forefathers' belief about fairies, etc.
If liberty be not a birthright, then every action of every individual man, and the actions of every combination of men, are vain, for they are each and all endeavors, or struggles, to secure what men believe to be theirs by right. In no country is greater liberty enjoyable than in the crowned republic of Britain, yet liberty in its truest sense is in great scarcity there. As law in the Parliamentary books reads, the country is essentially and logically free. Men now believe that the Government and laws of life are the work of God, and that the civil law is the work of man. Examine the law, and it will be found that the civil law is better than man's accepted law of life; that is, the work of man is better than the work of God, and far more reasonable. Surely this is incongruous. As the wisdom of man increases, the civil laws of the country are improved, yet there is not an item of improvement in the true life of man. Man's miseries grow more and more real with the advancement of his country. What an anomaly this seems! The more we build on the edifice of human logic, the more clearly does the ugliness of the construction appear. The architectural appearance of the plans or original designs of man's creation seem perfection, and all that happy ambition could wish for, but the actual building is a rotten reproduction of the magnificent ideal. Into none of his creations has there been infused any of that human magnetism that can only be derived from divinity, therefore in none of his works is there true life. In the balanced account of man's actions not a single item can be laid to his credit. He can carve sculpture that looks like reality, but he cannot put life in it: his greatest works are but works of art. With all his utmost and most honest efforts for the good of mankind he cannot produce true liberty. Every effort has been a distinguished failure. Upon the accepted basis of man's reasoning no such thing as true liberty has been built, and so life itself has been an inevitable failure; but that is no just reason for arguing that there can be no such thing as true liberty, and that life must necessarily be a failure. Man's efforts have been failures. His intentions are good, but the effects are bad. A man who builds on shifting sands may have good intentions, but his work will be a substantial failure. Life, as it is, is bound to be a failure, and true liberty a mere mirage, and proofs are every day given in every life that this is true, and all because men won't understand the real life that is in them, and will still maintain the truth of the reasoning that has always proved false.
There are constant cries in justification of the failures of old-established and recognized systems that they do not advance with the times. Houses of business, founded and carried on on the lines of strictest integrity, come into bankruptcy because they do not change their principles to suit the changing opinions of the times. Systems of education become obsolete if they are not radically transformed to suit the times. Churches and creeds that are supposed to be based upon truth must change to suit the times, or they die what men call a natural death. So in everything the cry is, we must advance with advancing times. This either means a change of belief or a change of principle. But the principles of truth are immutable. What is once true must always be true. Nature never changes, but man is constantly changing his ground, because he is constantly finding out his error, yet, no matter how often he shifts, he will never get on sure ground while he starts on a false hypothesis.
Mankind does not reason from conviction, but from an adopted and an adapted idea. Although this idea is not a correct one, man's actions are in the highest degree plausible, for, being almost born with false ideas of life, he labours with might and main to practically prove them correct. He is very assiduous in carrying out his quasi-inherited opinions. To prove two of his most gigantic labours to obtain happiness as utterly useless in their results will be sufficient examples: his works of charity, and suppression of intemperance. Both are intended to produce happiness in himself and others, and both come infinitely short of the results that might reasonably be expected from such huge and honest efforts.
Millions of money are annually given, from the highest motives, for the amelioration of human misery. Charities are upheld by benefactors who have no wish to be known, and therefore do not give out of vainglory; palatial hospitals and asylums, upheld by voluntary contributions, adorn every town; work for the idle, homes for the homeless and meals for the starving are provided on the most approved principles of established philanthropy; yet, at the most, they do nothing more than lessen the accidental miseries of life. They cure none of the evils that are falsely believed to be the legitimate birthright of men. The ailments of the body may be cured, but not a gleam of light is, thrown on the mysterious evils of life; not a ray of substantial hope illumines the dark vista of the future, which can only be a repetition of the dark past. Such almsgiving to the needy is only a dosing of morphia to lessen the cruel pain of a patient who is known to be incurable. It is the best that man can do, with his false reasoning, but it is not a cure, nor is it the best that could be done. It is a noble work, but it is based on the ignoble opinion, that man was made to mourn.
Why do men drink intoxicating liquors - drink to excess? Is there no excuse for the poor drunkard? Surely the object of the meanest drunkard is not that he may become a brute beast. No one drinks for the love of getting drunk, else surely the memories of getting sober would be a perfect cure. The confirmed drunkard is a diseased person, but he began, with all beginners, by peering into the social cup in search of happiness, and thereby acknowledged that the world had not, up till that time, given him the happiness he had hoped for. Disappointment with the experience of the past is the beginning of all premeditated wrong-doing. The tens of thousands who go wrong with drink do so, because, in their way, they have logically proved that things are not what they seem, that the world is not such a happy place as their hopes had painted it, and that something artificial must be done to increase their chances of being happy, and so, because others drink and seem happy, they drink, and find out, often when too late, that the widespread idea that drink gives true happiness is, like most of the human beliefs, a false one. It is wonderful how universal the love of drink is, but it is loved because it is erroneously believed to be one of the great channels of human happiness. It is one of the many delusions of life, for while nothing is made in vain, not even the fruit of the vine, nature commends moderation in all things.
This etheriform agent is an invisible, but a great and wonderful power in creation, known to all by its influence and effects. Why should the belief in it not be called the creed of human magnetism, or of vital electricity? The name matters little if the doctrine be understood and believed. Man must recognize that the wonderful mechanism of his life requires some motive power that is not in himself, and yet that will connect him with the divine source of his being, and with Him in whose image he is made. It is not a question to be settled by higher education or extraordinary scholastic intelligence, but one for common humanity. Blind or stubborn trust in education will only multiply prejudices, yet education should more readily open a man's eyes to the necessity for investigation into the truth, into the advisability of accepting the truth, and into the wisdom of advocating its cause. It is for the good of all to find out what is right, but it must be more difficult for those trammelled, with dogmas and creeds that must be renounced, than for men of simple natures, who only see and acknowledge their own necessities, and are free to accept what they clearly deem to suit their requirements. Simple fishermen appreciated and adopted the doctrines of Christianity long before the wise and learned could uncoil from themselves the prejudices associated with their old beliefs. We must see the necessity for being more in sympathy with each other, more in sympathy with the true world, more in sympathy with nature, and more in sympathy with God, whilst we remember that sympathy is ineffective without faith. The most excellent locomotive may be in splendid condition, the steam up, and everything ready, yet be perfectly useless to produce motion without communication from its guide, the driver. The hard frost that binds the earth with a solid crust, loses its strong hold only when the sun raises the temperature. What motive power do we think of when we say, "Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still!" The living confidence in true friendship is a binding power between hearts. When the connecting-rod of sympathy is broken, the poles of sympathy cannot act. The hammered metal may be magnetized, but it cannot act as a magnet, until the two poles, in horseshoe-shape, act in unison. The great law of gravitation does not apply only to material things, for as the force of attraction of bodies increases directly in proportion to the amount of matter they contain, so does the force of that sympathy in God Himself and of that in man increase with the amount of sympathy in each. So, too, as attraction of gravitation decreases in proportion as the square of the distance increases, sympathy between God and man is less attractive, according to the greatness of distance. Attraction between any two bodies is equal and mutual. If the earth pulls a stone (suspended) towards it with the force of a pound, the stone pulls the earth upward with the same force. So, too, the attraction or pull between the divine sympathy and the human is mutual and equal, and while the latter may increase, the former can never decrease. It is a law of falling bodies that they steadily increase their speed, so is it with this great power of sympathy when once it is started. Its rate of acceleration is enormous. A force that is once created can never be destroyed, and there is no force in all creation more real or more powerful than the force of sympathy. It may be stored up and hidden as energy is in fossil vegetable matter. It is a great created power, latent in the hand of the Creator, and at the command of the creature. The vast difference between the ordinary forces of nature and those of magnetism and electricity is, that magnetic and electric force can be imparted to or taken from other bodies. A body can be magnetized or demagnetized, and the laws of magnetism and electricity are so similar to, if not exactly like, those of sympathy, that the study of the one may well be considered the study of the other. The magnetism of the earth itself, which is a great magnet, is so affected by commotions in the sun, that the magnetic needles in our observatories are violently agitated from side to side, thus proving that magnetism forms a sympathetic band between the bodies of the whole universe.
When machinery is out of order, an Investigation is made into the cause, and repairs are made. The gear of life is, certainly in a perilous state. This question of sympathy is not merely one of science, religion, morality, or even necessity alone, although it is as much each of these as it is one of philosophy. It is a subject of experimental truth, and therefore of science, just as the question of magnetism is, for, like it, it can be stored up in the body, and used as a creative force to produce work. The rate at which light and heat travel has been measured, and though the velocity of sympathy has not been so generously experimented on, yet it is known to travel with incredible speed, and that, in sleep and wakefulness, through space where the connections are unknown. There is no reason to doubt that dreams themselves may be but a confused accumulation of sympathy with objects of real or mental acquaintance, where the sympathy is unguided by the reason that is then asleep, or at least inactive. There is then no logical arrangement in the communications, as a rule, yet often the sympathetic current is so strong as to overpower the other current influences, and convey a message of truth in a dream that comes true. Thought-reading, too, is a question of sympathy that science might well investigate, for it does not confine itself to material solids, fluids and gases. This vast question of sympathy is only one about a subtle current everywhere present in the universe, and one whose best conductor is through man. It is as universal and powerful as magnetism, and a true knowledge of it is of far more importance, for it is at the foundation of the great law of human happiness - a universal law of nature that is only apparently suspended in its action by the illogical procedure of man, who has insulated himself by the false hypothesis of his life's reasoning. This great law of nature has been perverted to a wrong use, in generating the belief that man was made to mourn, just as lightning is diverted to good purposes in telegraphy. If lightning were originally created to be the servant of man, why was it not so used long ago? Simply because man did not find it out. If men were originally made to he happy, why was it not manifest long ago? Simply, also, because he did not find it out. Man is a free will agent, with a not too highly valued educative faculty, who neither saw his own original use nor that of electricity. Six thousand years ago he started with - among other false notions - the idea that lightning was the sword of the Lord, and it is only very recently that he has changed his opinion. For a like period he has held the erroneous idea that he has all living motive power in himself, and is entirely disconnected from his Creator, with the result that life is a miserable puzzle, instead of being an existence as full of happiness as that of the angels. Sometimes, without being able to account for the reason, we feel an immense admiration for a stranger, and put the utmost confidence in him. It is an impulse, like a scientific shock, of sympathy. This power is sometimes so strong, as justly to receive the high name of love at first sight. This is simply a near and rapid transmission of the sympathetic fluid or motive power of life, that ought to be scientifically accounted for.
This creed is the very backbone of morality, and the keystone of uprightness. If the true object of life were appreciated, men would avoid immorality as the very poison of life, for all know that it is antagonistic to true happiness, and there would be no necessity for courting it, even for temporary pleasure, the one object of first immorality. It is the nature of immorality to estrange a man from the sympathy of his fellows, but a new interest in life, whose greatest craving would be for sympathy, would be created. The increased desire for sympathy with one's fellow-creatures would be backed up by the desire for, the higher and divine sympathy. Even if the lowest grade of sympathy - that for one's fellow-creature or nature - be alone sought, it would be ennobling. Man, of all animals, is the most gregarious, and must be with the crowd, whether right or wrong, and if the desire to know more of this sympathy were created among leaders of men, the whole world would follow. Up hill or down hill the human flock will follow the leader. Gambling has become an established trait in the English character, because it is the fashion of big men to bet in their clubs. Drinking at the bar is common, because it is a high-class custom to entertain. It is now considered vulgar to get drunk, because it is unusual to do so in the best fashionable society, where it was not always so. The truly beloved Princess of Wales had once the misfortune to be lamed, and every lady in the land walked with an Alexandra limp until royalty got better. It is admitted that a man's long silk hat is the most uncomfortable headgear discoverable, and yet all wear it, because it is fashionable. What stubborn, docile, manageable and gullible creatures men are! They would forsake immorality with the best goodwill if they were only introduced to it fashionable substitute. They are the most obedient slaves to the fashion and opinion of their times. If this be so now, in all the acknowledged darkness of the world, how much more readily would they hurry from darkness to light, when the change ensures for them an infinite increase of happiness. The downward course of immorality is a very rapid one when once the first start is made, for the start is the great creator of side-issues required as bolsters or screens, and its widespread influence, like a net, ensnares many companions in a seemingly innocent manner. The infection and contagion of immorality is much easier to communicate than it is to add virtue to faith and knowledge to virtue. All immorality has a de-sympathizing influence, and therefore detracts from true human happiness.
No religious belief can be a barrier to this eternal and universal sympathy. It is common to heathen and Christian, education and ignorance. It is the claim of every living man, for it is the chief property of life. Its primary object is to ensure man's human happiness, whereas the work of religion has to do with his spiritual welfare. True, human interests, rightly understood, are most conducive to religious welfare; for if the life of the body and the life of the soul are not in harmony, then there are two living existences in man at variance with each other; and therefore there can be no peace in his life, for war must go on till the variance terminates, which cannot be sooner than at death. If this be true, and man's real natural life, then he was created to be miserable - a belief utterly untenable by a Christian. It is more reasonable to believe that body, mind and soul are harmoniously knit together. To the Maker of such a creation as man, the harmony would be a very simple matter, and it would be a most remarkable thing if harmony were wanting in this His greatest creation alone. There is harmony in everything in nature and in nature's laws; why should the earthly divine image of perfection stand alone on inharmonious conditions? The probabilities are, that man's complex life is as harmonious as the other works of creation. As far as we know, this - man's life - is the only work of creation not controlled by fixed laws, but which has alone been gifted with will, which has been left under the working authority of man. Is it not more likely that the inharmoniousness begins somewhere in the dominion of man's authority, rather than in the design of a perfect Creator? There is a certainty of the existence of unnatural misery, and a probability that free will man is the cause of the disorganization of life; and there is also the undoubted fact, that sympathy is the only certain source of true human happiness - that is, that doing good to others, for the love of doing it, is the sure and certain way - and only one - of obtaining human happiness. The attainment of human happiness is the best incentive to ambitious aims; for spiritual happiness, therefore, this creed, essentially created for a purpose not denominationally religious, is the very handmaid of religion, although its faith is simply and solely the faith of natural religion. A man may worship idols, and yet be in harmony with nature; but he that worships God must be in harmony with nature and the world - not with man's world, but with the true world as it was meant to be. This simply means that man may be in harmony with a part, but not with the whole; but that he cannot be in harmony with the whole without being in harmony with the component parts. God is as the whole, and nature is a part. Human happiness is attainable independently of any religious creed. Neither country, color nor creed can debar a man from claiming his birthright of human happiness, and it is a pity that his prejudices and false reasoning should actually do so.
The more natural life is, the better it is, and so death would be more natural - that is, a greater number of people would die from mere decay. Death would in no case be longed for or looked wistfully forward to, but it would not be feared. Independent of this, the increased benefits of ordinary life would be very great. Supposing this new creed to be adopted, we should still have to work. Certainly so, for work is the glory of life. Work brings worry and annoyances: how would they be affected or modified in the event of a full working power of sympathy being established? A great change in the work-a-day world would take place, for men, with their new view of life, would see that the Creator had not neglected to place in every man not only a desire for labour, but a power for discerning the kind of labour congenial to every individual. To prove that this discerning power is necessarily innate in everyone, will be the last part of the work of this treatise.
As the magnetized needle ever points to the north, so will the current of sympathetic life ever point a man to life's duty. The compass needle does not actually speak in verbal form; no more does the voice of conscience, nor does this discerning power that gives a bent to the mind; yet all are understood by those who believe in them.
It is a hard and terrible philosophy that persuades man that he is the mere puppet of chance, or fate, or of some unseen and unknowable beings, who, for their pleasure, torture him for a whole lifetime by thrusting him into, and keeping him in, places or positions in life for which he is unfitted, and giving him only, at the best, the shadowy consolation that life is but a time of probation for a higher sphere. The adopted philosophies of the day, in their incompleteness, do neither more nor less and so leave poor mortals in bitter doubt, and so cast dishonor on the great Architect of human nature. The acceptance of conscience and religion, as the only guides to life, begets a morbid misconception of human existence in the minds of religionists who have "hard lines," molding them, as their life experience darkness, into reckless anarchists and callous fatalists, having nothing to endear life to them, but an ever unrealized hope.
Independent of the miseries of life caused by physical ailments, there is a great deal of preventable unhappiness in life caused not by ungodliness, not by immorality, nor by the will of God. The purely mental unhappiness common to mankind is of three classes: those caused by anxieties about a future state; those that are the resultant consequences of the violation of the moral law; while another class, altogether independent of these two, is caused by not recognizing this innate sympathetic power that shows the bent of the mind. The Christian, fully assured of the safety of his future existence, does not free himself from the miseries engendered by a former breaking of the moral law; nor is the devout and strictly moral man exempt from the inconveniences, worries and miseries consequent on his unsuitability to that sphere of life in which he moves. A good man out of harmony with his surroundings must be unhappy. Even innocence is bewildered and tormented, and righteousness shudders in blank amazement at the prosperity of wickedness.
There is an innate motive power in man for the express purpose of inclining his ways to congenial work. It is possessed by every properly-constituted person. It is distinct from intellect and action, and may be used, abused, or disregarded, but no individual can live the life for which he is best fitted without carrying out its behests and fulfilling its requirements. Caged birds, even when they reach that high stage of bird-civilization of being able to speak or sing, but know nothing of their natural liberty, are very like men who have been tamed in habits, prejudices, creeds, dogmas, philosophies, and, therefore, in ignorance of true nature. The greater the ignorance, the greater the unreality of life. Some of these birds may have good and luxurious homes, better even than their natural state could have afforded, yet surely the luxurious bird-happiness in the small cage is infinitely less than the natural, genuine pleasures of the grove. So the natural pleasure of the man, who is not in his natural "environment," is more or less artificial, and his "correspondences" are not in harmony. There is a tendency in all unused organs to degenerate. What nature gives must be used, or it will be taken away again or become dormant. There is no exception to this law in regard to this innate knowledge of the mind's bent. Men have disregarded it, and so it is dormant from want of use. Many believe in it as an after-growth or acquirement, but the contention here is that it is innate. It is in all, and is only dormant and not dead - it wants resuscitation, not resurrection. It has been shown that everywhere in nature, where there are certain "correspondences," there are also the complimentary "environments," and the environments of individual men being self-evident, why should the correspondences not exist? Is it likely that laws of nature will be violated, and that for the simple reason that men may mourn where they would otherwise rejoice? Some parts of life's environment are more healthy to the individual than others. Air is a necessity of life, but there is a great difference between the fog of London and Brighton ozone. Nearly all our foods are diluted with poison, but there is a vast difference between taking food and taking poison. A gift or talent grows with its use, and with greater use of this innate sympathetic life-guiding power will appear its greater growth. Every man naturally knows of its existence, therefore no divine revelation of it is required. There are men and communities who do not know they have consciences, but they have them all the same.
The wisdom, greatness and omnipotence of the world's Architect are manifest in all His works. Nothing of His making has man, even in his vanity, imagined he could improve. Everything is perfect and fitted for its place. Is it likely that there is imperfection in man, His greatest work? The world's wisdom represents that this "noblest work," from the cradle to the grave, creeps and gropes in terror like a guilty and highly sensitive thing through life's impenetrable darkness (that must be traversed), seeking that light which imaginary hope pictures, and that happiness which the poor, crawling beggar believes he can never get on this side of the grave. Is such a "noblest work" a perfection? If man, who is fearfully and wonderfully made, is placed here without anything in him to guide him, he is most imperfect, and he is the only imperfect work of the great Architect. If man be so helpless, the perfect Architect has launched on a dark and stormy sea a well-equipped ship without a rudder. If this be so, man is a gigantic blunder, and the architecture of human nature a failure. But it is not so. He has the power of observing where he ought to go, and what he ought to do, in the most magnificent and lovable world in which he is placed. He knows he must work, and his individual work is pointed out by the needle of sympathetic magnetism. There is no omission in his make, no imperfection in his mechanism. He has been born in a world where God said, Let there be light;" but he has himself blown out the lamp, or hid it under a bushel of prejudices and false reasoning.
The buoyancy of healthy youth turns all the futurity of life into poetry, but there comes a day of darkening shadow when even innocence is bewildered. With an earnestness that is sometimes agonizing, the honest, inquiring mind is filled with such philosophical and religious questions as, "What is my duty or calling here?" "What is right?" "What is my future?" Self-preservation is a first principle of life. Man has a duty to himself necessarily of prior importance to his duties to the community, and the first of all his duties to himself is to make sure that he is in that place in the world from which he can reap the greatest amount of real happiness. If he be trained out of place, life is a wilderness to him, and the terrible but unnatural question sooner or later occurs to him, "Is life worth living?" It is a man's first duty to get himself into his right place, and, although it is now a task, it is one attainable by all. A young man's poetic hopes of life are right and realizable, but they are blasted by adopting the old man's prejudices.
Conscience tells no man what religion to adopt, nor what calling to follow. It simply distinguishes right from wrong, but this inherited magnetic sympathy points answers to such questions as, "Why am I here?" "What is my duty as a human being?" Because men do not recognize and obey this birthright in them, they grope in darkness. Millions have been as round men in square holes, because this monitor has been neglected. Parents, whose education and experience have forced them to the conclusion that life is a mystery, teach their children in blindness the same false doctrine. The evil of their blindness lies in their inherited philosophical prejudices and ill-directed education. They believe and teach that man was made to mourn. They educate their children to make money, not to think.
Humanly speaking, the highest standard of man, and the most admired form of life, is that of the genius. A genius is one of the best examples favorable to the proof of this new creed, and the existence of this motive power, from a source external to himself. He is born in full sympathy with the universe, and the divine source of all sympathy, although often a person of great ungodliness and immorality.
A man may have a jewel and not know it or appreciate it. So with this creed. One may despise the philosophy that contends for it and deny its existence, but, as Galileo would say, "it is so" all the same. A philosophy that has nothing but the happiness of the race for its aim, is at least worthy of some consideration. Let the sceptic sneeringly deny it if he will, but let him also examine into it. Its object is to do good and make men happy. It is the most natural thing in the world for some persons to adopt the established callings of their fathers, but their personal happiness depends on their own fitness, although their success may not. Men, to be happy, must not allow the natural bent of their lives to be influenced by habits. The dross of habit, prejudice and evil education, must be cleared away before this philosophy is appreciated. Knowledge is the secret of happiness - knowledge of oneself - and that can only be obtained by being educated to concentrate one's thoughts on one's inward self.
A New Creed a review of the book As a Man Thinketh Celestial Radiation Figure 10.01 - Tuning Forks in Sympathy Figure 9.1 - Sympathy Connecting Neutral Centers God Light Light of Mind Love Mind Mind Force Mind Force the hidden Scalar Force Mind The One Universal Substance Mind to Mind moral science Part 10 - What Sympathy Is Scalar Sympathy Sympathy Hillard The Universal One Vera Vita the Philosophy of Sympathy Vibratory Sympathy Will 05 - Chart Showing the Conditions Governing the Transmittive Link of Sympathy 07 - Resonance Co-vibration or Sympathy of Tones 17.17 - Gravital Sympathy 9.11 - Love or Sympathy is Perfect Continuity 9.6 - Sympathy 9.9 - Sympathy or Harmony Between Harmonics or Overtones