The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
This selfhood, this consciousness that is conscious without the effort of thinking, this something that is the man, that thinks without his volition, this vital-principle, we must admit, has been derived from the creative-forces. If this is true and if God is the Cause and Source of creation, then it is derived directly from God, for God did not create something from nothing, but from himself. Therefore all the life that has been gathered into an organism must be the life of God; and since we can find no place for a boundary-line between life and mind, we are brought back to the Revelation which says that God by a word created the world. Consequently this life, pure and free, that animates our being, is God's mind and must be orderly and correct in all its conclusionsa fact we have observed in our consideration of the intuitional faculties.
But, notwithstanding this truth, there exists an underlying cause which brings error to the mind and death to the body. This cause arises in the nature of the creative-word that embodied in itself
a definite purpose and this purpose became a law governing all lifethe purpose being to make man like his Creator, having dominion over all things. For this reason, God, the Spirit, gives himself as a servant to the reasoning mind, and while the manifestation is simply the manifestation of the animal instinct, directed by the reason, it is in accordance with pure nature and always informs the mind correctly. But through the love of self, self-gratification, strong desires arise in the appetites and passions which dominate and overrule the admonitions of the Divine Mind.
Nevertheless, the divine purpose being that the individual is to be the master and that he is to learn and to know, his errors are the means by which experience teaches him the result of disobedience to this divine admonition in the soul, for knowledge is born of experience only.
The divine-life, the creative-life, in man is absolutely obedient to his wishes and desires, that is, if a man desires a thing that is destructive to him or that is wrong in any way, this divine-self admonishes him of the fact, causes him to feel that it is wrong. But if he argues with the higher intelligence he can coerce it to admit what he wishes it to believe, so that in the reasoning mind it becomes a belief without a doubt. Yet, whenever the reasoning mind is quiet, the interior intelligence continues to impress the consciousness with the fact that its belief is wrong. Each time, however,
the reasoning mind rejects its admonition it becomes weaker and is finally silenced, then the belief becomes the law of the individual.
For illustration, a young man beginning life, forms conclusions from his contact with the world as to correct methods for accomplishing his highest ambitions. The divine-life within constantly remonstrates with him against certain of these conclusions, but he reasons the matter out, justifies his position, in short, creates a code of laws, obedience to which, he justifies, and disobedience to which, he condemns. Every intelligent being does this. He may accept the ready-made laws held in common by those around him, but he creates a set of laws in connection with them, if not an entirely new set. But whatever laws are accepted by the person are also accepted by the divine-self, the intuitive, vital consciousness, and the divine-self acts in accordance with them.
God in man, like an over-indulgent mother, serves him faithfully in his desires and beliefs, preserving the body, eliminating poisons, and gathering for him the pure essence of life; but when his sinning against nature has made his case hopeless in view of the original purpose, then the Divine within him unites with the adverse forces to tear down the organism and thus to destroy him. Now bear in mind the following: Appetites and passions create desires; by means of the reasoning faculties, desires create beliefs of which the soul-consciousness, the
divine-life within, makes a law, the law of the individual life. This law is the religious faith, and when it is established, the conscience justifies everything in accordance with it and condemns everything contrary to it. Consequently conscience, which the world and especially the church have relied upon as a guide, becomes a guide in its relation only to established beliefs.
Take in illustration the story of the Arab father whose wife became the mother of a beautiful female child. According to his religious belief, the child must be destroyed, as it was not among the number that it was lawful to preserve. But the child was very beautiful and the mother persuaded the father to allow it to live. As the years went on, however, his conscience pricked him continually, and as the child neared maturity he could no longer endure the condemnation of conscience and consequently put the girl to death. Had he been a Christian, he would have considered this act a great crime and his conscience never would have forgiven him, but with the Arab, the case was reversed.
Now the question arises: If this life, this source of the intuitive and higher mentality, this producer of all mind, is one with God the Creator of all things, why should it impress one in a certain direction and another in the opposite direction? The answer is, in order that the creative-purpose may be worked out in nature, and individual experience become knowledge from which to form a law more
and more correct, a law finally in harmony with divine law, a law according to the nature of the God of the universe.
In order that man may realize that he only is responsible for every act of his life, he must be at liberty to commit error and to suffer the result of it, and to do right and to enjoy the benefits arising therefrom. God, the Source and Essence of his life, leaves him free to experiment with all the laws of his nature. When a man makes a law which he decides is good, the good is such in view of his purpose, in view of the object desired. And the divine-life within impresses the consciousness with the thought of error when he does those things which are contrary to his own law, the law under which he is working for the accomplishing of his purpose. For good is that which does good in view of a purpose. Conscience admonishes in accordance with these facts so that the man is able to centralize all his powers in whatever direction he chooses.
But if the law man makes is not in harmony with the Divine Purpose, with the trend of universal creation, he not only meets many difficulties in his way, but at the end he will find that he has built his house upon the sand, that he has built a structure that must be destroyed. Thus while God, the Source of life, serves man's will faithfully, yet at the same time man himself is made responsible for the result of every act. By this means man is
made conscious of his true need and awakened to an eager pursuit of knowledge.
By reason of the great diversity of human life, there is necessarily a great diversity of individual conception of truth, but nevertheless there are general laws which all thinking intelligences can recognize and do recognize when presented in an orderly form; and these laws furnish a foundation for correct reasoning.
The apostle states that "all men are members of one body and that each is a member in particular." That each man does represent a function of the human organism is undoubtedly a truth, a truth, in accordance with which, when the great foundation principles of true knowledge are presented and accepted, every one will take up some specific line of activity according to his function in the grand body, and will carry out some particular phase of truth peculiar to his own mental formation. Nevertheless, it will be truth because it is based upon demonstrable facts, facts that underlie all truth. Thus it will take all members of the body of humanity to grasp, comprehend, and ultimate all truth.
But surely we have reached a stage of development when the fundamental, the underlying facts we are presenting, may be known and made the corner-stone of the grand temple of knowledge. We therefore hope that this little volume may aid in bringing to the mind of the reader great general facts, or even that it may suggest the necessity of the knowledge of such facts.