By Charles Fillmore
THIS is distinctly the age of reforms. Never before have there been such widespread and persistent efforts by both men and women to right the wrongs of religion, society, and politics.
From the hearts and souls of millions goes up the cry "Set us free from our burdens." Every imaginable scheme of release is proposed, and each advocate of a panacea for the people's ills stoutly affirms his to be the only remedy that has virtue. It is observed that the majority of these reformers are clamorous that laws be enacted to force their theories upon the people. In this they are following the same methods to cure the ills of the body politic that they have followed in curing the body physical, and the results will surely be of like impotency.
Laws, whether natural or artificial, are but the evidence of an unseen power. They are simply effects, and effects have no power in themselves. When man looks to them for help in any condition of inharmony, he is departing from a universally recognized principle of sequence. God, Spirit, or Mind — whatever you choose to name it — is the supreme dictator, and thought is its only mode of manifestation. Mind generates thought perpetually; all the harmonious and permanent affairs of men, and the innumerable systems of the infinite cosmos, are moved in majestic measures by its steady outflow.
All power has its birth in the silence. There is no exception to this rule in all the evidence of life. Noise is the dying vibration of a spent force. All the clatter of visibility, from the harangue of the ward politician to the thunder's roar, is but evidence of exhausted power. As well try to control the lightning's flash by wrapping the thunder about it as attempt to regulate mind by statutory enactments.
All reforms must begin with their cause. Their cause is mind, and mind does all its work in the realm of silence, which in reality is the only realm where sound and power go hand in hand. The visible outer world, with all its social, religious, and political laws, customs, and ceremonies, is but the flimsy screen upon which mind throws its incongruous opinions. God's thought is love, the inherent potentiality of the God man, which knows neither persons nor things, mine nor thine, but a universal brotherhood in which perfect equity and justice reign in joint supremacy. All philosophers and sages have recognized this silent cause, this perpetual outflow from center to circumference. Emerson says of Plato: "He was born to behold the self-evolving power of Spirit, endless generator of new ends; a power which is the key at once to the centrality and the evanescence of things." Jesus Christ said: "The kingdom of God is within you." "Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Elijah found God, not in the whirlwind, or the earthquake, or the fire, but in the "still small voice."
All men who have moved the world to better things have received their inspiration from the Spirit within and have always looked to it for instruction. God is not a person who has set creation in motion and gone away and left it to run down like a clock. God is Spirit, infinite Mind, the immanent force and intelligence everywhere manifest in nature. God is the silent voice that speaks into visibility all the life there is. This power builds with hands deft beyond the comprehension of man and keeps going, with all its intricate machinery, universe upon universe, one within another, yet never conflicting. All its building is from center to circumference. The evidence for this runs from the molecule and the atom of the physicist to the mighty swing of a universe of planets around their central sun.
Every act of man has its origin in thought, which is expressed into the phenomenal world from a mental center that is but a point of radiation for an energy that lies back of it. That point of radiation is the conscious I, which in its correct relation is one with Cause, and has at its command all the powers potential in Cause. The conscious I can look in two directions — to the outer world where the thoughts that rise within it give sensation and feeling, which ultimate in a moving panorama of visibility; or to the world within, whence all its life, power, and intelligence are derived. When the I looks wholly within, it loses all sense of the external; it is then as the Hindu yogi sitting under his banyan tree with his eyes riveted on the point of his nose, denying his very existence until his body is paralyzed. When it looks wholly without, upon sensation and feeling, it loses its bearings in the maze of its own thought creations. Then it builds up a belief of separateness from, and independence of, a causing power. Man sees only form, and makes his God a personal being located in a city of dimensions. This belief of separateness leads to ignorance, because all intelligence is derived from the one Divine Mind, and when the soul thinks itself something alone, it cuts itself off in consciousness from the fount of inspiration. Believing himself separate from his source, man loses sight of the divine harmony. He is like a musical note standing alone, looking upon other notes but having no definite place upon the great staff of nature, the grand symphony of life.
Life is a problem informed by a principle whose essence is intelligence, which the wise man always consults. The ignorant and headstrong trusts to his intellect alone to carry him through, and he always is in a labyrinth of errors.
A belief prevails that God is somewhat inaccessible; that He can be approached only through certain religious ordinances; that is, a man must profess religion, pray in a formal way, and attend church in order to know God. But these are mere opinions that have been taught and accepted by those who perceive the letter instead of the spirit. For if God is Spirit, the principle of intelligence and life, everywhere present at all times, He must be just as accessible as a principle of mathematics and fully as free from formalism. When a mathematician finds that his answer to a problem is not correct, he consults the principle and works out the correct solution. He knows that all mathematical problems inhere in mathematical principles and that only through them can they be worked correctly. If he persistently ignored principles and blundered around in a jungle of experiments, he would be attempting to get up "some other way," and he would prove himself a "thief and a robber," for there is but one way. Jehovah God, infinite Mind in expression, is the way, and this Mind is always within reach of every man, woman, and child.
It is not necessary to go in state to God. If you had a friend at your elbow at all times who could answer your every question and who loved to serve you, you certainly would not feel it necessary to go down on your knees to him or ask a favor with fear and trembling.
God is your higher self and is in constant waiting upon you. He loves to serve, and will attend faithfully to the most minute details of your daily life. If you are a man of the world, ask Him to help you to success in any line that you may choose, and He will show you what true success is. Use Him every hour of the day. If you are in doubt about a business move, no matter how trivial, close your eyes for an instant and ask the silent one within yourself what to do, just as you would send a mental message to one whom you know and who could catch your thought. The answer may not come instantly; it may come when you least think of it, and you will find yourself moved to do just the right thing. Never be formal with God. He cares no more for forms and ceremonies than do the principles of mathematics for fine figures or elaborate blackboards.
You cannot use God too often. He loves to be used, and the more you use Him the more easily you use Him and the more pleasant His help becomes. If you want a drink of whisky, a dress, a car, a house, or if you are thinking of driving a sharp bargain with your neighbor, going on a journey, giving a friend a present, running for office, or reforming a nation, ask God for guidance, in a moment of silent soul desire.
Nothing is too wicked or unholy to ask God about. In my early experience in the study of Christian metaphysics I was told that through the power of Divine Mind I could have anything I desired. I had a lot I wanted to sell and I asked God to dispose of it to a certain man who I thought needed it. That night I dreamed that I was a bandit holding up my customer. The dream showed me that I was asking God to do what was not right and I thereby gained a lesson. A saloonkeeper came to me for health treatments and was helped. He said: "I also need treatments for prosperity, but of course you could not pray for a man in my business to prosper." I replied: "Certainly. God will help you to prosper. 'If ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name,' does not exclude saloonkeepers." So we treated the man for prosperity. He afterward reported that he was out of the saloon business, and had found prosperity in other lines of work.
If you are doing things that are considered wicked, you will find swift safety in asking God first, then acting or refraining, as you are moved. Some people act as if they thought that they could hide themselves from the one omnipresent intelligence, but this is the conclusion of thoughtlessness. God knows everything you do, and you might just as well have His advice. God does not want you to reverence Him with fear. God certainly never can get your confidence if you constantly stand in quaking fear of Him. He will do you a favor just as quickly if you ask in a jolly, laughing way as He would if you made your request in a long, melancholy prayer. God is natural, and He loves the freedom of the little child. When you find yourself in His kingdom it will be "as a little child."
God's kingdom of love and unity is now being set up in the earth. His hand will guide the only ship that will ever sail into the Arcadian port, and the contented, peaceful, and happy people that throng its decks will sing with one voice: "Glory to God in the highest."
Lee's Summit, Missouri