When the captain of a mighty ocean liner clears from port and turns the prow of his vessel into the sea lane indicated by chart and compass, he knows what his objective is. By all his innate knowledge, by all the skill of his seamanship, by all the manhood that is in him, he sets himself to bring his vessel safely to the haven of his promise. He circumvents or uses tides and weather; he directs his crew; he controls the mechanism of his craft; he adapts to his needs all agencies and all circumstances that will contribute to his delivery of his precious cargo at the port of destination. You would not fear to commit your body, your credentials, and your wealth to the care of that captain. He knows where he is going; his objective is definite, understandable. He does not guess, nor does he particularly hope. He knows, and he does.
The captain of a tramp vessel drives from port to port, swerving with the trend of trade as he picks up a cargo. His objective changes. After years of cruising he may bring his craft to the port you seek. But you would not ship with him on the probability of his touching that port. You take passage on the vessel that drives direct to the shore that commands your interest.
The battered derelict that rolls to passing swells, that yields to winds and tides, that lags in Sargassos or lurches helplessly in the drift and turmoil of typhoon, has no objective. You would not trust your
life and your fortune to such a vessel as that.
The ship of the dead Viking, floating ablaze, has a destination -- the ocean floor. It is a ship of death; oblivion in the unknown deeps is its objective. You would not take passage on that ship and let yourself be cut away from the land of the living.
The objective is the most important consideration in life. There is no definite place in life for you while you keep you mind purposeless. If you live merely because you are alive, for you there will be no quickening of the pulses, prophetical of stronger living. For you there will be no eager intake of breath in the morning, as you have nothing but hours before you. For you there will be no grateful outgo of breath in the evening, as you have not accomplished that which commands content. The magnificent unrest, the goading joy, the tingle that comes of matching adequacy with need, will be yours when you choose a work, swear before high heaven to do that work, and then in the strength of heaven set about doing.
Have you an objective? Have you chosen your port of destination? What do you hope to make of yourself? Do you know what you want to do? Have you a conception of what you are accomplishing?
Your objective is what you supremely wish to do; what you most ardently wish to become; what, with the utmost passion of your soul, you endeavor to achieve within yourself.
If you have not already determined your objective, consult life's possibilities and make your choice. Decide what objective you will have. If you
resolve to do your present work perfectly, or if you choose a new line of endeavor, at the moment of making your decision begin to bend all your energies to the attainment of your objectives. If what you choose now is God's eternal now, it will forever abide, and your work for it will eternally prosper you. If what you choose is of the time world you will tire of it or it will fail you. Then you will be compelled to forego that objective and to select another. Pray God now for intelligence now to choose what will last, and what will increasingly bless and enrich you.
The illusory objectives of the fictitious world have their culmination in power over human kind. The soul is sensible of power, whatever its circumstances. But not until it knows itself spiritually does it understand that its power is to be devoted only to the work of setting itself right with life. The agency of power in the fictitious world is some form of political dominance or some form of financial supremacy. And, to avoid what might be construed as the snub of silence, mention might be made of the teaching that you can have as an objective the power of mental control of others.
The use of any power by which you bend others to your will is destructive to your best aims and to your freedom. If you control others you become responsible for their acts, and for their very lives. Moreover, your interference reacts in dissatisfaction on your part, and ultimately you find yourself disappointed, unhappy. You learn by experience, if you are too headstrong to learn from
observation and too unresponsive to heed the teachings of innate wisdom, that you cannot prosper while you violate the sacred right of initiative in others.
Alexander of Macedon selected world power as his objective. Upon being informed that an infinite number of worlds existed, he wept "because we have not yet conquered one." His objective excluded the real values of life. He wept not with the orphans whose fathers had fallen to give him power. He wept not with the widows whose husband had been sacrificed to insure him supremacy. He wept not for the devastation of fair places and the destruction of men's work. He has been called Alexander the Great. He was greatly destructive, greatly murderous, but not greatly a great man. His objective inhibited the activity of the greatness that is real, the greatness that induces content. Disappointed, unhappy, this king who had greatly abused his great opportunity to serve, closed his time life with a span of thirty-three years.
Mind knows that initial act is the beginning of result; mind knows that the act cannot be separated from its effect. So legend, tradition, myth, fancy, and fairy tale support history in emphasis of the truth that, when attained the selfish objective reward the seeker with discontent. Joy to the unselfish, sorrow to the selfish, is the apportionment. King Midas prayed that he might be given the golden touch. As all prayer is answered King Midas was given the power whereby the objects that he touched were turned to gold. This was a foolish
prayer, and one obviously destined to be most awkward in fulfillment. But Midas, in the sentiment, if not in the language of modernism, wanted what he wanted -- and received what he asked. His selfish prayer plagued and grieved him when it began to work. Midas had to pray again, "even as you and I," for the reversal of the prayer that was conceived in ignorance, made in selfishness, and found insupportable in fruition.
The control of others by means of silent suggestion is an objective that presents itself only to meager minds of ambitious tendencies. One who has even a rudimentary sense of honesty does not consider such a use of power. One who has any regard for the sanctity of the soul does not choose an objective so profane. One who respects his own integrity does not attempt to violate the integrity of another. Whatever plausibilities of "success" may be presented as justification for the practice, the fact remains that its devotees do secretly what they would not dare to do openly. The secrecy imposed avows the character of the work. The practice of suggestion is referred to in the Gospels as a thief who, before despoiling the house, binds the strong man who should protect the house (Matt. 12:29).
The thief never enters the house whose strong man knows himself to be a son of God. You never will be touched by direct or by indirect suggestion after you have regained your spiritual consciousness. The bonds that the thief would fasten on you are as ropes of water that spill out of his hand. You remain unfettered.
No one can influence you by suggestion without your consent. Fear is a form of consent. Acknowledgment of power renders you susceptible to the power that you acknowledge. What you think that you can do to another you will think that another can do to you. The cleansing that frees your mind from the secret ambition to control others also cleanses you of the fear that others can control you.
The Mind of God flows outward as your mind. It bears defilements from you and dissolves them as it carries them away. Cast into that stream both your faith and your fear that suggestion can compel you. Then the uncleanness of suggestion will depart from you.
Attempt to influence by silent suggestion is the work of a Frankenstein who assembles dead things and makes of them a monster that destroys its author. When you understand what you are you will respect yourself in a way that will prevent your entering into this practice. When you understand what life is you also will understand that the "monster" cannot be made to attack any but its creator. Then self-preservation will forbid your use of silent suggestion.
Attempted control of another through silent suggestion bears no resemblance to the act of praying for the welfare of another. The welfare of the one for whom you pray is secured in his finding freedom in God. It does not come for your gratification at seeing manifest what you may think is needed. Any improvement that comes to another does not warrant your celebrating yourself. You never did
and never can heal anyone. You never did and you never can prosper anyone. You never did and never can do more for anyone than to refrain from meddling with his life.
There is an objective that embraces all your good. The objective is service.
Working for this objective, you awaken. As you near this objective you feel the nature of God stirring in you. When you have passed all that at one time lay between you and this objective, you find that you have become conscious of aliveness. You then know why God must give all of Himself for the mere asking. Jesus, who had dominion over life and earth and heaven, said of Himself, "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Matt. 20:28). Power in life, in earth, and in heaven, lies in ability to minister. Service is coordination with the laws of being. It is the law of heaven.
When you see others working with apparent ease and much success you may feel that you are not progressing as rapidly as you should. The comparison between your work and their work is based on your ignorance of the effort and the consecration that they have made to induce the facility that you admire. If you will try with all the industry of which you are capable, you will find yourself nearing your objective. You may say, "If I could teach as my favorite teacher teaches, and if I could write as my favorite writer writes, how happy I should be!" Do you think that your teacher and your writer attained their present states of proficiency by merely wishing to do the work that they are doing? Be assured that
the excellence which you admire and should like to parallel has come through work: development of consciousness and the application of consciousness.
Work, if you would grow into your ideal. "No man becomes a saint in his sleep." All seasons are yours. While you are awake your mind appropriates, gathers the food that makes it grow. While your are asleep your mind assimilates what you have fed it. The objective fades if it is not pursued. Then, until you select another objective, or until you rechoose your first objective and work for your choice, there is an apparent pause in your development.
All things in the marts of life are bought at par value. There are no bargain counters at the place of exchange where God gives Himself to you in the precise measure of your giving yourself to Him. Having chosen your objective, are you willing to pay the price of the prize?
The price is the devotion of your courage, your ability, your time, your very blood. The price is you. If you have purpose, if you have spirit, if you feel yourself to be alive, you will pay; will pay gladly, and thank God for the opportunity of receiving at any rate of exchange.
To prove that you are not seeking favors and that you are willing to earn what you ask, you will have to be steadfast, despite all obstacles that you may encounter. If you believe in yourself and in your objective, you will be given proof that opposition is nothing more than a phantom of the fictitious world. None of God's realities opposes you. All the powers and all the agencies of the kingdom of God are
arrayed to encourage and to aid you. When you win your objective it is no longer a goal; it has become a part of you. It lends itself to the formation of a yet lovelier objective.
You cannot borrow your ideal. The perfections of God are epitomized in you. "Thy ideal is in thyself; thy impediment, too, is in thyself." If you will make the ideal your companion your impediment will be forgotten, and finally obliterated through lack of husbanding. Ideals are evolved, are attained. Then they take their places in your mental background; there they become a host to support you and to give you confidence.
If you inexpressibly yearn for the attainment of your ideal, if you want it more than you want anything else in life, you will push forward in the spirit of Paul, "But one thing I do ... I press on toward the goal" (Phil. 3:14). Wanting it enough to make you try enough, you will reach your goal. Let that assurance keep you in good heart.
Permit nothing to come between you and your purpose. If your present objective does not compel your firmest allegiance and command the fullest of your admiration, pursue it no longer. You have all of God's eternity in which to achieve, but you have no minute of time to devote to the second best thing. Choose again. Choose what is dearest, fairest, most valuable of all things to you. Then let no argument prevail against your loyalty and your endeavor. Not the pattern shown in the mount to another, but the pattern there shown to you, is your objective. Do not be flattered or argued into accepting what is
contrary to that which has been given you. Say with staunch old Luther, "Here I stand; I can no otherwise, so help me God."
If you let minor interests draw your attention from your main work you cannot rapidly prosper in your quest. When a farmer wants a bumper crop of corn he does not spend much time in his potato lot during the season of corn cultivation. He gives his time to his cornfield. The teacher and the writer whose abilities you admire did not and do not give their nights to amusements and their days to resting from amusements that they again at night may be amused. They followed along the path to their objective; they still follow. In season and out of season, through good report and ill, you also will follow the path if you do fully believe the thing that you think you have chosen as the Mecca of your heart.
The ideal always keeps a little in advance of you. As your vision clarifies you will see that the improvement which you first dreamed of making was but the initial step toward the goal. Your guiding star is not a stationary one. Having gained the eminence from which the light first shone, you find that the beacon has moved to higher ground. Pursue it rejoicingly, a song on your lips, courage in your heart. All the ground that you gain is good ground. If you weary, plod on. If you stumble, regain your march tread. If you are refreshed, speed forward. Always far enough ahead to keep you climbing, always near enough to give you comfort, up, and ever up, proceeds the beacon light. It is leading you along the hills of God to the summit of
His consciousness. Realities urge you forward. Fictions have no force to delay you. All things are possible. If you hold to you purpose, you will accomplish all that you attempt.
Rest is not quitting
The busy career;
Rest is the fitting
Of self to its sphere.
'Tis the brook's motion,
Clear, without strife
Fleeing to ocean,
After its life.
'Tis loving and serving
The highest and best;
'Tis onward, unswerving --
This, this is true rest.
To attain your objective you do not have to compete with others. Competition belongs to the fictitious world, wherein it is felt that success is to him who outstrips all others. In the real world your aim is not to win at the expense of others, but to win at the expense of that part of you which still may cling to the fictitious. To compete is to employ the petty; to abstain from comparisons is to wing yourself with omnipotence. Your race is with yourself. You are to outstrip yourself. You, as conscious national of the real world, compete with you as victim of amnesia, wandering lost in the realm of the fictitious. This is the only form of competition permissible to you. Your objective includes the finding within
yourself of the perfection that you dimly have sensed and gropingly have reached for in others, in circumstances, in outer attainment.
Everything that you have sought in the outer has reposed within you from the beginning of time. "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us," (John 14:8) said Philip. When Philip transferred consciousness from eternity to time, he forgot the look of God and the place of His abode. With mind distracted by the events of time, the Cause temporarily is lost to sight. Though the Cause repose, you are in unrest. Faint stirrings of memory trouble you -- and give you hope. You would see, you would hear, you would touch the Cause, which is too near to you for you to contact through the senses. "I am in the Father, and the Father in me" (John 14:11). There is no excellence, no bliss for you outside yourself. Reality is within.
You move from experience to experience in time; you pass from consciousness to consciousness in eternity. You always are to understand that in speaking of time you are considering events. Time is not the place of the living; it is the field of experience. In speaking of eternity you consider events. Eternity is not the place of the dead. It is the place of the living. In eternity all things abide. In time all things change; event succeeds event. Failure is no part of life. A state of consciousness is as definite as the results that it produces. If you begin something while in one state of consciousness before that thing is finished, you cannot have a complete product of the first state. If you begin a thing in high
enthusiasm and finish in a ragged funk you will not have a perfect product. But this is not failure. You carry the products as far as you carry your consciousness in that respect. You succeed so far as you maintain the cause of the success. Never say that you have failed. You may have ceased to try, and so did not complete the matter that you began. It is quite impossible that you should fail, but it is quite possible that you may desert a work before you have finished it. If you wish to bring to a perfect consummation a thing that you now have in hand, do not let got of it by switching from your present consciousness regarding it to another consciousness regarding it.
There is no defeat. There may be postponement. If you surrender to fear; if you think that there are insurmountable impediments, and so cease to try, your work comes to a standstill. If the owner of a factory suspends operations, some articles of his manufacture may be left in a state of partial completion. But that is not defeat. When the owner again sets his machinery into productive activity he will finish what was left unfinished. If he abandons his former line of product for a new line, he is not defeated, nor has he failed. He has changed his objective. He will succeed in his new line if he has intelligence, courage, and perseverance.
You have intelligence. You are intelligent because God's intelligent mind operates your mind. You have courage because you know what is backing you. You have perseverance because you know that you produce, all the time, and that you can produce what you choose to produce. So you cannot be defeated.
If postponements occur you know what causes the. Fortune, change, results, all proceed from you.
The present is an area in life too small to contain the ultimate of your endeavors. It is too small to give you a true perspective of what you are accomplishing. Each day brings a partial result, and today's partial result is carried forward, daily. You are not willing to wait for your outer success, your vindication? The Nazarene Carpenter has waited almost two thousand years, and still waits. Do not be impatient with time; do not despair of increasing success and of final complete triumph. In a onetime-present area they said of Jesus, "He saved others; himself he cannot save" (Matt. 27:42). Time-blind were they, to think that eternity's cause could be accurately presented in a day. That which on the first Black Friday was pronounced a loss was the beginning of an infinite salvation. If you do the real thing that you undertake to do, despite judgments, scourgings, and Golgothas, you too will serve the divine objective: not to be ministered unto, but to minister.
If you say that His cause was so great, so high, so divine that in itself it contained unfailing inspiration and support; that your cause is commonplace and therefore subject to small annoyances and nagging smarts, you do not read from the book of life what I read. Jesus had His work; you have your work. For His work He was responsible to God; for your work you are responsible to God. His work met oppositions that never can be repeated on this planet; traps by lawyers, traps by theologians;
plots, lies, defamations, desertions, disloyalties, physical hurts, crucifixion of soul and body. His work protects your work, insuring it and you from hurt. You forget His time experiences in the honors that have accrued to Him for the appointed work fulfilled in both letter and spirit. You think only of His present exalted life and contrast with it your present humble life. But to stop with that comparison is to ignore the fact that you are an idea in the mind of God, and therefore indispensable to the universe. Your life will receive its need of glory in its proper sphere, if you reach your objective as He reached His. Your responsibility has an extent as far-reaching as your consciousness. "To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required" (Luke 12:48). Aware of your divine character, you are aware of your divine responsibility. Noblesse oblige.
Victory first is achieved within yourself. The abiding outer triumph is the tablet that records your permanent triumphs over the phantoms of the fictitious world. When you cease to regard oppositions as personal and recognize them as your response to the challenge of environment, you find yourself able to ignore them. When you ignore them you divest them of power to interfere with you. Keep within your own sphere -- the real world. There you meet your own, respond to your own. The fictitious cannot pursue you there or confront you there. "A gentleman will not insult me, and none other can." Victory is in your accurate concept of being: You know that you are an idea in the Mind of God, and that you therefore are, as He is, love.
You do not war with anyone. You are the love that fulfills the law. You reach your objective because love cannot fail.
Victory is in your feeling: You know that your mind is the use that you make of the Mind of God. You perfectly react to the Mind of God, and you become aware of the power of God in you to understand and to do according to the specifications of the love that fulfills the law. You win your goal because the power of God cannot be thwarted.
Victory is in your living: You know that the substance of God is shaped by your use of it. Letting the Mind of God think you, malformations cannot appear in your life. Love and power unite to do their perfect work in you. Mind, body, environment, slough off the fictitious, and the real emerges. You attain your ideal because the ideal is the jewel in the setting of substance. It is the image-Likeness of God in you.
Now is the beginning. Here is the place. Not waiting until you are wiser, but beginning now to use wisdom; not hoping to develop the strength necessary for the conquest, but developing strength by using strength, so shall you without delay draw near to your objective. Not looking afar, but searching here; not groping toward the unknown, but in the place called present environment, lay hold of your ideal. The ideal begotten of the Father is Jesus Christ. The ideal begotten of Jesus Christ is life, perfect within and perfect without. Concerning beginnings, the Father said of His ideal, "This day have I begotten thee" (Psalms 2:7). Of continuation that embraces
place, Jesus said, "I am with you always." The ideal and the way to the ideal are now present, now unmistakable.
You will be what you will to be;
Let failure find its false content
In that poor word "environment."
But spirit scorns it, and is free.
The supreme power with which you are cooperating never is defeated. Your supreme objective is to let that power function in you.
Any objective is attainable. Only the supreme objective is worthy of your aspiration and endeavor. All objective is worthy of your aspiration and endeavor. All objectives less glorious than the supreme objective will dim, cease. The night of forgetfulness will pass. There will dawn in your consciousness the glory of that perfection which never deserted you, which waited while you wasted, which called while you slept. To grasp that glory in mind, in soul, and in body; to have and to hold its beauty and its peace, will become your final objective. To the attainment of this objective God pledges you His aid, His comfort, and His eternity.
You are the seeker who finds.
My objective is to find myself.
My objective is to understand life.
My objective is to know God.
God is my inspiration, my way, my strength.
He brings me to Himself.