The Law and the Word by Thomas Troward , at sacred-texts.com
THE more we grow into a clear perception of what is really meant by "Squaring the Circle," the freer we shall find ourselves from the burden of anxiety. We shall rise to a larger generalization of the Law of Cause and Effect. We shall learn in all things to reach out to First Cause as operating through the channels of secondary causation,--"causa causas" as producing, and therefore controlling "causa causata"--and so we cease to worry about secondary causes. On the plane of the lower personality we see certain facts, and argue that they are bound to produce certain results, which would be quite true if we really saw all the facts; or, again, allowing that in any particular case we actually did see all the facts as they now exist, we can either deny the operation of First Cause, or recognize its infinite capacity for creating new facts.
[paragraph continues] Therefore, whatever may be the nature of our anxiety, we should endeavour to dispel it by the consideration that there may be already existing other facts we do not know of, which will produce a different result from the one we fear, and that in any case there is a power which can produce new facts in answer to our appeal to it.
But I can imagine some one saying to us, "You bumptious little midget, do you think First Cause is going to trouble Itself about you and your petty concerns? Do you not know that First Cause works by universal Law, and makes no exceptions?" Well, I would not have written this book if I did not suppose that First Cause works by universal Law, and it is just because It does so that I believe It will work for me and my concerns. The Law makes no exceptions, but it can be specialized through the power of the Word. Then our sceptic says, "What, do you think your word can do that?" To which I reply, "It is not my word because I am not using it in my lower personality, as John Smith or Mary Jones, but in that higher personality which recognizes only one all-embracing Personality and itself as included in that."
Which comes first, the Law or the Word?
The distribution of the solar systems in space, the localization of the Spirit in specific areas of cosmic activity, proclaims the starting of all manifestation through the "Word." Then the operation of Law follows with mathematical precision, just as when we write 2 × 2 we cannot avoid getting 4 as the result--only there is no reason why we should not write 2 × 3 and so get 6 instead of 4. Let it be borne in mind that the Law flows from the Word, and not vice versa, and you have got the clue to the enigma of Life.
How far we shall be able to make practical use of this clue depends, of course, on our acceptance of its principle.
The Directing Power of the Word is inherent in the Word, and we cannot alter it. It is the Law OF the Law, and so, like any other law, it cannot be broken, but its action can be inverted. We cannot deprive the Word of its efficacy, but our denial of it as the Word of Expansion is equivalent to an affirmation of it as the Word of Contraction, and so the Law acts towards us as a Limitation. But the fault is not in the Law, but in the way we use the Word. Now if the reader grasps this, he will
see that the less we trouble ourselves about what appear to us to be the visible and calculable causes of things, the freer we must become from the burden of anxiety; and as we advance step by step to a clearer recognition of the true order of Cause and Effect, so all intermediate causes will fade from our view. Only the two extremes of the sequence of Cause and Effect will remain in sight. First Cause, moving as the Word, starting a sequence, and the desired result terminating it, as the Word taking Form in Fact. The intermediate links in the chain will be there, but they will be seen as effects, not causes. The wider the generalization we thus make, the less we shall need to trouble about particulars, knowing that they will form themselves by the natural action of the Law; and the widest generalization is therefore, to state not what we want to have, but what we want to be. The only reason we ever want to have anything, is because we think it will help us to be something--something more than we are now; so that the "having" is only a link in the chain of secondary causes, and may therefore be left out of consideration, for it will come of itself through the natural workings of the Law, set
in operation by the Word as First Cause. This principle is set forth in the statement of the Divine Name given to Moses (Ex. iii, 1314). The Name is simply "I AM"--it is Being, not having--the having follows as a natural consequence of the Being; and if it be true that we are made in the likeness and image of God, that is to say on the same Principle, then what is the Law of the Divine nature must be the Law of ours also--and as we awake to this we become "partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Pet. i, 4).
What we really want, therefore, is to be something--something more than we are now; and this is quite right. It is our consciousness of the continually generative impulse of the Eternal Living Spirit, which is the fons et origo (fountain and source) of all differentiated life working within us for ever more and more perfect individual expression of all that is in Itself. If the reader remembers what I said at the beginning of this book about the Verb Substantive of Being, he will see that each of us is in truth a "Word (verbum) of God." Let not the orthodox reader be shocked at this--I am only saying what the Bible does. Look up the following
passages: "I will write upon him the name of my God and my own new name" (Rev. xiii, 12). "I saw, and behold a lamb standing on the Mount Zion (note, the word Zion means the principle of Life), and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads" (Rev. xiv, 1). "His name shall be on their foreheads" (Rev. xxii, 4). Read particularly the whole passage Rev. xix, II-16, where we are expressly told that the name in question is "the Word of God"; and that this name is the one put upon those who follow their Leader, is shown by the same description being given of the followers as of the Leader. They all ride upon "white horses," and the "horse" is the symbol of the intellect. Also in the case of the Leader, the peculiarity of his Name is that "no one knows it but himself," and in Rev. ii, 17, exactly the same thing is said of the "New Name" to be given "to him that overcometh." Again, in Isaiah lxii, 2, "Thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name"; and again in Num. vi, 27, "They shall put my name upon the children of Israel."
Then as the meaning of that Name "the
[paragraph continues] Word of God." In Ps. cxix, 160: "Thy word is true from the beginning," and Jesus said: "Thy Word is Truth" (John xvii, 17).
This also corresponds with the description in Rev. xix, 11-16 where another name for "the Word of God" is "Faithful and True"; and the same metaphor of the Truth "riding into action" is contained in Ps. xlv, 3, 4. "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty; and in thy majesty ride prosperously because of Truth." The same symbol of "riding" also occurs in Ps. lxviii: "Extol him that rideth upon the heavens," "Sing praises to him that rideth upon the heaven of heavens which were of old (i.e., ab initio); lo, he doth send out his Voice and that a mighty Voice"--and the word "Voice" is the Hebrew Word "Kōl," meaning "Sound" or "Word"--so that here again we have the idea of "The Word" riding into action. Once more--"Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name" (Ps. cxxxviii, 2), thus repeating the idea of the Word as the Name.
In other passages we have the idea of the Word as a Weapon. "The Sword of the
[paragraph continues] Spirit which is the Word of God" (Eph. vi, 37), which answers to the description in Revelations of the Sword proceeding out of the mouth of the Word; and we have the same metaphor of the Word riding into action in Habakkuk iii, 8 and 9. "Thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation. Thy bow was made quite naked . . . even thy Word"; and similarly those that oppose the Word are "killed with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth."
In other passages we have the Word put before us as a Defence. "His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Ps. xci, 4); and again "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe" (Prov. xviii, to); and we have already seen that this Name is "The Word of God"; and similarly in Ps. cxxiv, 8: "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
Lastly, we get "the Word" as the final deliverance from all ill; "Into thy hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth" (Ps. xxxi, 5).
And the reason of all this is because "His
[paragraph continues] Truth endureth to all generations" (Ps. c, 5); it is everlasting, Changeless Principle. "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth" (Ps. xxxiii, 6), as is also said of the Word in the opening of St. John's Gospel and First Epistle.
Now a careful comparison of these and similar passages will make it clear that the sequence presented to us is as follows: The "Word" is the passing of the Verb Substantive of Being into Action. It is always the same in Principle, on whatever scale, and therefore applies to ourselves also, so that each one of us is a "Word of God." We are this by the very essence of our being, and that is why the first thing we are told about Man is, that he is made in the image and likeness of God. But how far any of us will become a really effective "Word," depends upon our acceptance of the New Name which is ready to be bestowed upon each one. "To as many as receive him, to them gives he power to become Sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name" (John 1-12). We get the New Name by realizing the Truth, which Truth is that we ourselves
are included in THE NAME, and that name is called "The Word of God."
The meaning of which becomes clear if we remember that the spiritual name of anything is its "Noumenon" or essential being, which is manifested through its "Phenomenon" or outward reproduction in Form; so that the true order is first our "Name" or essential Being, then our "Word" or active manifestation of this essential Being, then the "Truth" or the unchangeable Law of Being passing into Manifestation--and these three are ONE. Then when we see that this is true of ourselves, not because of some arbitrary favouritism making us exceptions to the human race, but because it is the working on the plane of Human Individuality of the same Power and the same Law by which the world has come into existence, we can see that we have here a Principle which we can trust to work as infallibly as the principle of Mathematics; and that therefore the desire to become something more than we now are is nothing else than the Eternal Spirit of Life seeking ever fuller expression.
The correction which our mode of thinking needs therefore is to start with Being, not with
[paragraph continues] Having, and we may then trust the Having to come along in its right order; and if we can get into this new manner of thinking, what a world of worry it will save us! If we realize that the Law flows from the Word, and not vice versa, then the Law of attraction must work in this manner, and will bring to us all those conditions through which we shall be able to express the more expanded Being towards which we are directing our Word; and as a consequence, we shall have no need to trouble about forcing particular conditions into existence--they will grow spontaneously out of the seed we have planted. All we have to do now, or at any time, is to take the conditions that are ready to hand and use them on the lines of the sort of "being" towards which we are directing our Thought--use them just as far as they go at the time, without trying to press them further--and we shall find by experience that out of the present conditions thus used to-day, more favourable conditions will grow in a perfectly natural manner to-morrow, and so on, day by day, until, when later on we look back, we shall be surprised to find ourselves expressing all, and more than all, the sort of "being" we had thought of. Then, from this
new stand-point of our being, we shall continue to go on in the same way, and so on ad infinitum, so that our life will become one end, less progress, ever widening as we go on. And this will be found a very quiet and peaceful way, free from worry and anxiety, and wonderfully effective. It may lead you to some position of authority or celebrity; but as such things belong to the category of "Having" and not of "Being" they were not what you aimed at, and are only by-products of what you have become in yourself. They are conditions, and like all other conditions should be made use of for the development of still more expanded "being"; that is to say, you will go on working on the more extended scale which such a position makes possible to you. But the one thing you would not try to do with it would be to "boss the show." The moment you do this you are no longer using the Word of the larger Personality, and have descended to your old level of the smaller personality, just John Smith or Mary Jones, ignorant of yourselves as being anything greater. It is true your Word still directs the operation of the Law towards yourself--it always does this--but your word has become inverted, and so
calls into operation the Law of Contraction instead of the Law of Expansion. A higher position means a wider field for usefulness--that is all; and to the extent to which you fit yourself for it, it will come to you. So, if you content yourself with always speaking in your Thought the Creative Word of "Being" from day to day, you will find it the Way of Peace and the Secret of a Happy Life--by no means monotonous, for all sorts of unexpected interests will be continually opening out to you, giving you scope for all the activities of which your present degree of "being" renders you capable. You will always find plenty to do, and find pleasure in doing it, so you need never be afraid of feeling dull.
But perhaps you will say:
"How am I to know that I am not speaking my own Word instead of that of the Creative Spirit?"
Well, the word of the smaller personality is always based on the idea of possessing, and the Word of the Spirit is always based on the idea of Becoming--that is the criterion. And also, if we base our speaking of the Word on the Promises of Spirit, we may be sure that we are on the right track.
We may be sure of it, because when we come, to analyze these promises we shall find that they are all statements of the Creative Law of Being, and the nature of this Law is obvious from the facts of the Visible Creation.
These things are not true because they are written in the Bible, but the Bible is true because these things are written in it. The more we examine the Bible Promises, the more they will impress themselves upon us as being Promises according to Law; and since the Law can never be broken, we can feel quite secure of it, subject to the one condition that we do not stop the Law from working to the fulfilment of the Promise, by our own inverted use of the Word. But if we take the Word of the Promise and make it our own Word, then we know that we are speaking the right Word, which will so specialize the action of the Law, as to produce the fulfilment of the Promise. Apart from the Word there is no Foundation. In all other systems we have either Law without Will, or Will without Law.
Then we know that we are not speaking of ourselves, but are speaking the Word of the Power that sent us into the World. The Law alone cannot fulfil the Promises. It is in itself
[paragraph continues] Cosmic and Impersonal, and, as every scientific discovery amply demonstrates, it needs the co-operation of the Personal Factor to bring out its latent possibilities; so that the Word is as necessary as the Law for the fulfilment of the Promises; but if the Word which we speak is that of the Creating Spirit, we may reckon it as being just as certain in its operation as the Law, and the two together form an infallible Power.
But there is one thing we must not forget, and this is the Law of Growth. If the Law which we plant is the seed, then we must allow time for it to grow; we must leave it alone and go about our business as usual, and the seed we have sown will spring and grow up of itself, we know not how, a truth which we have been told by the Master himself (Mark iv, 26, 29).
We must not be like children who plant a seed one day, and dig it up the next to see whether it is growing. Our part is to plant the seed, not to make it grow,--the Creative Law of Life will do that. It is for this reason that the Bible gives us such injunctions as "Study to be quiet" (I Thess. iv, II). "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Is. xxviii, 16).
[paragraph continues] "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Is. xxx, 15). To make ourselves anxious as to whether the Word we have planted will fructify is just to dig it up again, and then of course it will not grow.
The fundamental maxim, then, which we must always keep in mind is that "Every creation carries its own Mathematics along with it," and that therefore "The Law flows from the Word," and not vice versa; and consequently "The Word is the Foundation of every creative series," whether that series be great or small, cosmic or individual, constructive or destructive. Every series commences with Intention; and remember the exact meaning of the Word. It is from the two Latin words "in," towards, and "tendere," to stretch, and it therefore means a "reaching out in a certain direction." This "reaching out in a certain direction" is the Conception of ourself as arrived at the destination towards which our Thought tends, and is therefore the conceiving of an idea, and our formulated idea is stated, if only mentally, in Words--and the termination of the series is the realization of the idea in actual fact. Therefore it is equally true of every series, whether it be the creation of a
lady's blouse or the creation of a world, that "in the Beginning is the Word"--the Word is the Point of Origination.
Then, since the Word is the Point of Origination, what is our conception of the best thing we can originate with it? There is a great variety of opinion as to what is desirable; and it is only natural and right that it should be so, for otherwise we should be without any individuality, which means that we should have no real life in us--in fact such a world is unthinkable; it would be a world that had ceased to move, it would be a dead world. So it is the varied conception of "the Good" that makes the world go on. Uniformity means reducing things to one dead level. But on the other hand there must be Unity--unity of action resulting from unity of purpose, otherwise the world logically terminates in internecine strife. If then the world is to go on, it can only be by means of Unity expressing itself in Variety, and therefore the question is: What is the unifying Desire which underlies all the varieties of expression? It is a very simple one--it is just to ENJOY LIVING. Our ideas of an enjoyable life may ire very various, but that is what we all really
want; so what we want to get at is: What is the basis of an enjoyable life?
I have no hesitation in saying that the secret of enjoying life is to take an interest in it. The opposite of Livingness is Deadness, that is, inertia and stagnation. Dying of "ennui" is a very real thing indeed, and if we would not die of this malady we must have an interest in life that will always keep going on.
Now for anything to interest us we must enter into the spirit of it. If we do not enter into the spirit of a game it does not interest us; if we do not enter into the spirit of a book, it does not interest us, we are bored to death with it; and so on with everything. So from our own experience we may lay down the maxim that "To enjoy anything we must enter into the spirit of it," and if this be so, then, to enjoy the "Living Quality of Life" we must enter into the Spirit of Life itself. I say the "Living Quality of Life" so as to dissociate it from all ideas of particular conditions; because what we are trying to get at is the fundamental principle of Life which creates conditions, and not the reflex of sensations, whether physical or mental, which any particular set of conditions may induce in us for
the time being. In this way we come back to the initial proposition with which we started--that the origin of everything is only to be found in a Universal Ever-Living Spirit, and that our own life proceeds from this Spirit in accordance with the maxim "Omne vivum ex vivo." Thus we are logically brought to the conclusion that the ultimate Desire of all Humanity is to consciously enter into the Spirit of Life as it is in itself, antecedently to all conditions. This is the widest of all generalizations, and so opens the door to the highest of all specializations; for it is a scientific fact, that the more widely we can generalize the principle of any Law, the more highly we can specialize its working. It is only as our conception of it is limited that any Law limits us.
A principle per se is always undifferentiated, and capable of any sort of differentiation into particular modes of expression that are not in opposition to the principle itself; and it is true of the Principle of Life as of all others. There is therefore no limit to its expression except that which inverts it,--that is to say, anything which tends towards Death; and, accordingly, what we have to avoid is the negative
mode of Thought, which starts an inverted action of the Law, logically resulting in destructiveness instead of constructiveness. But the mistake we make from not seeing the basic principle of the whole thing, is that of looking to the conditions to form the Life, instead of looking to the Life to form the conditions; and therefore what we require is a Standard of Measurement for our Thought, by which we shall be able to form The Perfect Word which will set in motion the Law of Cause and Effect in such a manner as to fulfil that Basic Desire of Life which is common to all Humanity. The Perfect Word must therefore fulfil two Conditions--it must have the essential Quality of the Undifferentiated Eternal Life, and it must have the essential Quality of "Genus Homo." It must say with Horace "Homo sum; nihil humani mihi alienum puto" (I am Man; I regard nothing human as alien to myself). When we think it out carefully, there is no escaping the conclusion that this must be the essential Quality of the Perfect Word we are in search of. It is the final logical inference from all that we have learnt regarding the interaction between Law and
[paragraph continues] Personality, that the Perfect Word must combine in itself the Quality of each--it must be at once both Human and Divine.
Of course all my readers know where the description of such a Word is to be found; but what I want them to realize is the way in which we have now reached a similar description of the Perfect Word. We have not accepted it unquestioningly as the teaching of a scholastic theology, but have arrived at it by a course of careful reasoning from the facts of physical Nature and from our experience of our own mental powers. This way of getting at it makes it really our own. We know what we mean by it, and it is no longer a mere traditional form of words. It is the same with. everything else; nothing becomes our own by being just told about it.
For instance, if I show an artist a picture, and he tells me that a boat in it is half a mile away from the spectators, I may accept this on his authority, because I suppose he knows all about it. But if next day a friend shows me a picture of a bit of coast with a fishing-boat in the distance, and asks me how far off that boat is, I am utterly stumped because I do not know how the artist was able to judge the distance.
[paragraph continues] But if I understand the principle, I give my friend a very fair approximation of the distance of the boat. I work it out like this. I say:--the immediate foreground of the picture shows an amount of detail which could not be seen more than twenty yards away, and the average size of such details in nature shows that the bottom edge of the picture must measure about ten yards across. Then from experience I know that the average length of craft of the particular rigging in the picture is, say, about eighty feet, and I then measure that this length goes sixteen and a half times across the picture on the level where the boat is situated, and so I know that a line across the picture at this level measures 80 × 16½ = 1320 ft.= 440 yards. Then I make the calculation: 10 yds. : 440 yds. :: 20 yds.: the distance required to be ascertained 440 × 20/10 = 880 yds. 1760 yds. = 1 mile and 1760/2 = 880 yds. Therefore I know that the boat in the picture is represented as being about half a mile from the spectator. I really know the distance and do not merely guess it, and I know how I know it. I know it simply
from the geometrical principle that with a given angle at the apex of a triangle the length of a perpendicular dropped from the apex to the base of the triangle will always bear the same ratio to the length of the base, whatever the size of the triangle may be. In this way I know the distance of the boat in the picture by combining mathematics and my own observation of facts--once again to co-operation of Law and Personality. Now a familiar instance like this shows the difference between being told a thing and really knowing it, and it is by an analogous method that we have now arrived at the conclusion that the Perfect Word is a combination of the Human and the Divine. We have definite reasons for seeing this as the ultimate fact of human development--the power to give expression to the Perfect Word--, and that this follows naturally from the fact of our own existence and that of some originating source from which we derive it.
But perhaps the reader will say: How can a Word take form as a Person? Well, words which do not eventually take form as facts only evaporate into thin air, and we cannot conceive the Divine Ideals of Man doing this. Therefore the expression of the Perfect Word
on the plane of Humanity must take substance in the Form of Humanity. It is not the manifestation of any limited personality with all his or her idiosyncrasies, but the manifestation of the basic principle of Humanity itself common to us all.
To quote Dryden's words--but in a very different sense to that intended in "Absolom and Achitophel,"--such a one must be "Not one, but all Mankind's epitome." The manifestation must be the Perfect Expression of that fundamental Life which is the Root Desire in us all, and which is therefore called "The Desire of all nations."
Here then we have reached (Haggai ii, 7) the foundation fact of Human Personality. It is the Eternal "Will-to-live," as Schopenhauer calls it, which works subconsciously in all creation; therefore it is the root from which all creation springs. In the atom it becomes atomic energy, in the plant it becomes vegetable life, in the animal it becomes animal life, and in man it becomes personal life, and therefore, if a Perfect Standard of the Eternal Life is to be set before us, it must be in terms of Human Personality.
But some one will say: Why should we
need such a Standard? The answer is that since the working of the Law towards each of us is determined by our mode of Thought, we require to be guarded against an inverted use of the Word. "Ignorantia Legis nemini excusat" (ignorance of the Law does not excuse you from its operation), is a scientific, as well as a forensic maxim, for the Law of Cause and Effect can never be altered. Our ignorance of the laws of electricity will not prevent us from being electrocuted if we get into the circuit of some powerful voltage.
Therefore, because the Law is Impersonal and knows no exceptions, and will bring us either Life or Death according to the direction which we give it by our Word, it is of the first importance for us to have a Standard by which to measure the Word expressed through our own Personality. This is why St. Paul speaks of our growing to "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," (Eph. iv, 13) and why we find the symbol of "Measurement" so frequently employed in the Bible.
Therefore, if a great scale of measurement for our Word is to be exhibited, it can only be by its presentation in human form.
Then if the purpose be to establish such a
standard of measurement, the scale must be expressed in units of the same denomination as that of our own nature--you cannot divide miles by ampères--and it is because the scale of our potential being is laid out in the same denomination as that of the Spirit of Life itself that we can avail ourselves of the standard of "the Word made Flesh."
When this is clearly seen it removes those intellectual difficulties which so many feel with regard to the doctrine of the Atonement. If we want to avail ourselves of the Bible Promises on the basis of the Bible teaching, we cannot throw the teaching overboard. As I have said before, if a doctrine is to be rightly interpreted, it must be interpreted as a whole, and in one form or another the doctrine of the Atonement is the pivot point of the whole Bible. To omit it is like trying to play "Hamlet" with Hamlet left out, and you may put your Bible out on the rubbish-heap. How, then, does the Atonement come in?
Here are the usual intellectual difficulties. To whom is the sacrifice offered? To God or to the Devil? If it be to the Devil, then the Devil is a greater power than God. If it be to God, then how can a God who demands a
sacrifice of blood be Love? And in either case how can guilt be transferred from one person to the other?
Now as a matter of fact none of these questions arise. They are beside the real point at issue, which is: How can we so combine the Personal action of the Word with the Impersonal action of the Law, as to make the Law become to us the Law of Life instead of the Law of Death (Rom. viii, a)?
Let us recur to the principles which we have worked out. The Law flows from the Word and not vice versa--it acts for good or ill according to the Quality of the Word which calls it into action. Therefore to get the Law of Life we must speak the Word of Life. Then, on the principle of "Omne vivum ex vivo," the Word of Fundamental Basic Life, which is not subject to conditions because it is antecedent to all conditions, can only be spoken through consciousness of participating in the Eternal Life which is the "fons et origo" of all particular being. Therefore, to be able to speak this Word we must have a foundation of assurance that we are in no way separated from the Eternal Life, and since this foundation is required for all men, it must be broad enough
to accommodate all grades of perceptions.
Theologically the separation from the Eternal Life is said to be caused by "Sin." But what do we mean by "Sin"?
We can only judge of what a thing is by what it does; and so, if "Sin" is that which prevents the inflowing of the Eternal Life, which we know is the root of our individual being, then it must be the transgression of the inherent Law of our own Being. The truth is that we live simultaneously in two worlds, the visible and the invisible, just as trees draw their life from the earth beneath and from the air and light above, and the transgression consists in limiting ourselves only to the lower world, and thereby cutting ourselves off from the essential part of our own life, that which really lives.
We do not realize the true function of the three lower principles of our nature, viz.: Vital Spirit, etheric body, and outward form; the function of which is to give concentration to the current of spiritual life flowing from the Eternal Spirit, and thus enable the undifferentiated Life to differentiate itself into Individual Consciousness, which will be able to specialize the action of the Law into higher
manifestations than it can produce without the co-operation of Personality.
On the analogy of Ohm's Law our error is snaking our "R" so rigid that it ceases to be a conductor, and so no current is delivered and no work done. This is the true nature of sin, and it is this opposition of our R to E. M. F. or Eternal Motive Force that has to be removed. We have to realize the true function of our R, as the channel through which the E. M. F. is enabled to carry on its work. When we awake to the fact that our true place in the Order of the Universe is to be fellow-workers with God in carrying on the work of Creation, then we see that hitherto we have entirely missed the purpose of our calling, and have misused the Divine image in which we were created; and therefore we want an assurance that our past errors will not stand in the way of our future advance into continually fuller participation in the Divine Creative Work, which, in virtue of our true nature should be our rightful inheritance.
That our future destiny is to actually take an individual part, however small, in guiding the great work of Evolution, may not be evident to us in the earlier stages of our awakening;
but what is clear as a matter of feeling, but not yet intellectually, is, that in some way or other we have been cutting ourselves off from the Great Source of Light, and that what we therefore want, is to be re-united to it. What is wanted, then, is something which will give us a firm ground of assurance that we are re-united to it, and that that something must be of such a nature as never to lose anything of its efficiency at any stage of our progress--it must cover the whole ground.
Now, if we think deeply upon this question, we shall gradually come to see that this expansive quality is to be found in the doctrine of the Atonement. It meets all the needs of our spiritual nature in a way that no other theory does, and responds to every stage of our progress. There is only one thing that will prevent it working, and that is, saying that we have no need of it. That is why St. John said, that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John i, 8). But the more we come into the light of Truth, and realize that sin is everything that is not in accordance with the Law of our own essential being as related to the Eternal Life, the more we shall see, not only that we
have transgressed the Law in the past, but also that even now we are very far from completely fulfiling it; and the more light we get the more clearly we shall see this to be the case. Therefore, whatever may be the stage of our mental development, the assurance which we all need for the basis of our new life is that of the removal of sin--the sins of the past, and the daily errors of the present. We may form various theories, each to our own satisfaction, as to how this takes place. For instance we may argue that, since "the Word" is the undifferentiated potential of Humanity, every human soul is included in the Self-offering of Christ, and that in Him we ourselves suffered on the Cross. Or we may say that our confession that such an offering is needed amounts to our participation in it. Or we may say with St. Paul that, as in Adam all are sinners, so in Christ all are made free from sin (1 Cor. xv, 22). That is, taking Adam and Christ as the representatives of two orders of men. Or we may fall back on the statement "Sacrifice and burnt offerings Thou wouldst not" (Ps. xl, 6), and on Jesus' own explanation of his death, that He offered himself in testimony to the Truth--that is. that the Eternal Life will
no more exercise a retrospective vengeance upon us for our past misunderstanding of It, than would electricity or any other force. We may explain the modus operandi of the great offering in any of these ways, for the Scripture presents it in all of them--but the great thing is to accept it; for by the nature of our mental constitution, such an acceptance, whether with or without an intellectual explanation, affords the assurance which we stand in need of; and building upon the Foundation we can safely rear the edifice of our future development.
Also it affords us a continual safeguard in all the further stages of our evolution. As our psychic consciousness increases, we become more and more responsive to psychic stimulus whether that stimulus proceed from a good or evil influence; and therefore the recognition of our Redemption in Christ surrounds us with a protecting barrier, through which no evil spirit or malign influence can pass; so that, resting upon this Truth, we need never be in fear of any such invasion, but shall at all times be clothed with the whole armour of God (Eph. vi, 11).
From whatever point of view we regard it,
we therefore find in the One Offering once made for the sin of the whole world, a standpoint such as is provided by no other teaching, whether religious or philosophical; and we shall see on examination that it is not an arbitrary decree for which we can give no account, but that it is based on the psychological constitution of man--a provision so perfectly adapted to our requirements at every stage of our evolution, that we can only attribute it to the Divine Wisdom acting through One, who by Perfect Love, thus willingly offered himself, in order to provide the Foundation of complete assurance for all who recognize their need of it.
On this basis, then, of reunion with the Eternal Source of Life, all the Promises of the Bible are found to be according to Law--that is, according to the inherent Law of our Being; so that, in the laying of this Foundation, we find the supreme manifestation of the interaction between the Law and the Word, which, when its significance is apprehended, opens out vistas of limitless possibilities to the individual and to the race.
But the race, as a whole, is yet very far from apprehending this, and for the most part has
no perception of spiritual causation. Where some dim perception of spiritual causation is beginning to emerge, it is very frequently inverted, because people only apprehend it as giving them an additional power of exercising compulsion over their fellow-men, and thus depriving them of that individuality which it is the one purpose of Evolution to develop. This is because people do not look beyond the three lower principles of life, those principles which animals have in common with man; and consequently the higher principle of mind, which distinguishes man, is brought down to the lower level, so that the man is distinguished from the beast only by the possession of intellectual faculties, which by their perversion make him not merely a beast, but a devil of a beast. Therefore the recognition of psychic powers, when not safeguarded by the higher principles of Truth, plunges man even deeper into darkness than does a simple materialism; and so the two go hand in hand on the downward path. There is abundant evidence that this is increasingly the case at the present day; and therefore it is that the Bible Promises culminate in the Promise of the return of Him who offered himself in order to lay the foundation
of Peace. As I have said before, we must either take the Bible as a whole, or reject it entirely. We cannot pick and choose what pleases us, and refuse what does not. No legal document could be treated in this way; and in like manner the Bible is one great whole, or else it is just--"skittles."
Therefore, if that Divine "Word" was manifested to save the world from destruction, by opening the way for the individual through recognition of his true relation to God, then it is only a reasonable carrying out of the same thought that, when the bulk of mankind fail to realize the beneficent use of these powers, and persist in using them invertedly, the same Being should again appear to save the race from utter self-destruction, but not by the same method, for that would be impossible.
The individual method is that of individual self-recognition in the light of Truth; but that cannot be forced upon any one. The headlong downward career of the race as a whole cannot therefore be stopped vi et armis, and this can only be done by first letting it have a bitter experience of what intellect, depraved to the service of the Beast in Man, leads to, and then forcibly restraining those who persist
in this madness. Therefore a Second Coming of the Divine Man is a logical sequence to the first, and equally logical, this Second Coming must be as One who will rule the nations with irresistible power; so that men, reflecting upon the evils of the past, and enquiring into their cause, may be led to see that cause in the inverted action of the Law of their own being, and may therefore learn so to renew their thoughts in accordance with the Divine Thought as to bring them into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.
This, then, is the Promise we have to look forward to at the present day, and though it might not be wise to speculate as to the precise time and manner of its fulfilment, there can be no doubt as to the nature of the general principles involved; and I trust the reader has at least learned from this book that principles unfold themselves with unfailing accuracy, though it depends on our Word, or mental attitude, in what way their unfoldment will affect us personally.
For such reasons as these, it appears to me, that the current objections to the doctrine of Atonement are entirely beside the mark. They miss the whole point of the thing. Punishment
for Sin? Of course there is punishment for sin so long as it is persisted in. It is the natural working of the Law of Cause and Effect. Forgiveness of sin? Of course there is forgiveness of sin as soon as, through knowledge, we make a right use of the Law of our own Being. It could not be otherwise. It is the natural working of the Law of Cause and Effect.
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. x, i6); and similarly in Jer. xxxi, 32, from which the writer of the Epistles to the Hebrews quotes this. "Now the Lord is the Spirit" (2 Cor. iii, 17, R. V.), i.e., the Originating Spirit of life, and therefore "my laws" means the inherent Law of the Originating Principle of Being, so that here we have a plain statement that the realization of the True Law of our Being ipso facto results in the cancelling of all our past errors. When once we see the principle of it the whole sequence becomes perfectly plain.
There is nothing arbitrary in all this. It results
naturally from a New mode of Thought producing a New order of Consciousness; and it is written that "if any man be in Christ he is a new creature" or, as it says in the margin, "a new creation" (2 Cor. v, 17), and on the principle that "every Creation carries its own mathematics with it," every such man has passed from the Law of Death into the Law of Life. The full fruition may not yet be visible--we must allow for the Law of Growth--but the Principle is in him and has become the central, generating point of his consciousness, and is therefore bound, sooner or later, to develop into perfect manifestation by the Law of its own nature. If the Principle be accepted it will work all the same, whether we accept it by simple trust in the written Word, or whether we analyze the grounds of our trust; just as an electric bell will ring when you press the button, whether you are an electrical engineer or not. But there will be this difference, that if you are an electrical engineer you will see the principle implied in the ringing of the bell, and you will find in it the promise of infinite possibilities which it is open to you to develope; and in like manner, the more clearly you see the relation
which necessarily exists between yourself and the All-Originating Living Spirit, the more clear it will become to you, that this relation opens up an endless vista of boundless potentialities which can never be exhausted. This is the true nature of the Bible Promises; they were not made by some external Deity about whose ideas we can never have any certainty, but by the Indwelling God, who is at once the Life, the Law, and the Substance of all things, and therefore they are Promises according to Law, containing in themselves the principle of their own fulfilment.
But, as I trust the reader is now convinced, the Law can fulfil the Promise which is latent in it only by the co-operation of the Word, that is, the Personal Factor which provides the necessary conditions for the Law to work under; and therefore, if the Promise is to be fulfilled, we must meet the All-originating Life, the "Premium mobile," not only on the Plane of Law, but on the Plane of Personality also. This becomes evident if we consider that this Originating Life must be entirely undifferentiated in Itself; for otherwise it could not be the origin of all differentiated modes of Life and Energy. As long as we find differentiation,
on however wide a scale, we have not arrived at First Cause. There will still be something further back, out of which the differentiations have proceeded; and it is this "Something" which is at the back of "Everything" that we are in search of. Therefore the Originating Spirit must be absolutely undifferentiated, and consequently the Personal Factor in ourselves must be the differentiation into individuality of a Quality eternally subsisting in the All-Originating Undifferentiated Spirit.
Then, since our individual differentiation of this Quality must depend on the mode of our recognition of it, it follows that a Standard of Measurement is needed, and the Standard is presented to us in the form of the Personality around whom the whole Bible centres, and who, as the Standard of the Divine Infinitude differentiating Himself into units of individual personality, can only be described as at once The Son of God and The Son of Man. If we see that the Eternal Life, by reason of its non-differentiation in itself, must needs become to each of us exactly what we take it to be, then it follows that in order to realize it on our own plane of Personality we must see it through the medium of Personality, and it is
therefore not a theological figment, but the Supreme Psychological Truth that no man can come to "the Father"--that is, to the Parent Spirit--except through the Son (John xiv, 6).
When we see the reason at the back of it, the Bible becomes a New Book to us, and we learn that the interpretation of it is not to be found in learned commentaries, but in ourselves. Then we find that it is indeed The Book of Promises, not vague and uncertain, but logical and scientific, teaching us how to combine the instrumentality of the Law with the freedom of the Word; so that through the Perfect Word, manifested as the Perfect Man, we reach the Perfect Law, and find that THE PERFECT LAW IS THE LAW OF LIBERTY.