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Most men and women are convinced that there is a divine Power of some sort operating in human affairs; but they are not sure what it is, nor do they know how to bring this divine Presence and Power into their daily experience. There was a time when many of these people were content to believe in a God dwelling in a remote heaven, a God whom they would not meet until after death. In this practical age, however, very few are satisfied with that limited concept of God.
The world is full of discord. The question is asked again and again: Why, if there is a God, does this God permit sin, disease, war, famine, and disaster? How can all these evils be, if God is good, if God is life, if God is love? How can there be that kind of a God and the horrors of human experience? People throughout all time have attempted to solve this riddle, but there is no solution; there is no answer except that the world has not known God. We can never for a moment believe that if people in this world bad a realization of God, they would have discord and in harmony, too. Discord and in harmony come into our life because of our ignorance of God. As we acquaint now ourselves with Him, we find the secret of harmonious existence.
People throughout all time have sought freedom, peace, and plenty; but their search has been primarily through the feverish activity of the human mind. Pleasure and satisfaction have been artificially created, and because of their artificiality, they are neither permanent nor real. Living out from the level of the mind, there must be a continuous round of new pleasures, new faces, and new scenes. There is rarelya truly joyous moment, nor are there periods of rest and relaxation.
Freedom, peace, and plenty are not dependent upon circumstances or conditions. Men have been free in chains; they have been free under slavery and oppression; they have found peace in the midst of war; they have survived floods and famine; they have prospered in periods of depression and panic. When the Soul of man is free, it carries him through Red Seas and desert experiences to the Promised Land of spiritual peace. Freedom is a condition of the Soul. As we turn to the kingdom of our inner Self, we find the reign of divine Power in the outer world. As we seek peace within, we find harmony without. We reach the depth of the Soul, and It takes over our existence, providing activity and newness of life, a peace and serenity, the like of which we have never dreamed. We then have achieved the freedom of the Soul, the freedom of grace.
All through the ages there have been spiritually endowed men and women-the mystics of the world-who have known conscious union with God, and who have brought the presence and power of God into their actual experience. Always there has been a Moses, an Elijah, a Jesus, a John, or a Paul, but none of them had many followers. None of them was ever widely known or his teaching widely practiced, during his own time or for years afterward. These spiritual masters devoted their lives to giving us the truth which has brought us to our present state of consciousness. The light that we have today is the result of the light which has come down through all time. There are many spiritual teachers who have left no record, and about whom we have no knowledge; but there are many whom we can identify: Moses, Elijah, Jesus, John, and Paul, mentioned above; Eckhart, Boehme, Fox, and other mystics of the twelfth to the seventeenth centuries; as well as the great leaders and revelators of more recent years. No one person has given the light to the world, but each of these great spiritual prophets has been a beam of light contributing to the whole light.
These great spiritual leaders are all in agreement on the basic principles and teachings with which most of us are acquainted: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; thou shalt do unto others as thou wouldst have others do unto you; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery. They did not teach that we all be of the same nationality, color, or creed; they taught the principle of love and co-operation. If this principle of love and co-operation were really practiced and lived by the millions of people who accept the teachings of the Christ, war would be an impossibility. It is a paradox that, thousands of years after these revelations of truth, strife and struggle continue to be the motivating force in the world. With this vast reservoir of mystical wisdom available, we should expect that after all these years the world would be enjoying freedom and abundance. But the principles of these teachings have not always been practiced as they were revealed; instead they have been crystallized into form, and gradually they were adulterated, sinking at times to the lowest level of human thinking rather than rising to the heights to which these truths ultimately lead.
The original principle taught by the Master Christian revealed that the kingdom of God, the presence and power of God, is within. Jesus called this presence and power "Father" "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Paul, using a different term, said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtbeneth me." By whatever name It is called God, Father, or the Christ I t is to be found within. The kingdom of God is within us; the whole of the Godhead is to be found within our individual being, not in holy mountains nor yet in the temple at Jerusalem, but within us. If we really believed this great wisdom, we should be willing to leave the world for a season, until such time as we could reach, touch, and respond to the Father within.