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If We Seek the Essence of His Revelation, and the Purpose of His Life
If we would seek the essence of Jesus' revelation, attested both by his
words and his life, it was to bring a knowledge of the ineffable love of
God to man, and by revealing this, to instil in the minds and hearts of
men love for God, and a knowledge of and following of the ways of God.
It was also then to bring a new emphasis of the Divine law of love -- the
love of man for man. Combined, it results, so to speak, in raising men
to a higher power, to a higher life, -- as individuals, as groups, as one
great world group.
It is a newly sensitised attitude of mind and heart that he brought and
that he endeavoured to reveal in all its matchless beauty -- a following
not of the traditions of men, but fidelity to one's God, whereby the
Divine rule in the mind and heart assumes supremacy and, as must
inevitably follow, fidelity to one's fellow-men. These are the
essentials of Jesus' revelation -- the fundamental forces in his own
life. His every teaching, his every act, comes back to them. I believe
also that all efforts to mystify the minds of men and women by later
theories about him are contrary to his own expressed teaching, and in
exact degree that they would seek to substitute other things for these
I call them fundamentals. I call them his fundamentals. What right have
I to call them his fundamentals?
An occasion arose one day in the form of a direct question for Jesus to
state in well-considered and clear-cut terms the essence, the gist, of
his entire teachings -- therefore, by his authority, the fundamentals of
essential Christianity. In the midst of one of the groups that he was
speaking to one day, we are told that a certain lawyer arose -- an
interpreter of, an authority on, the existing ecclesiastical law. The
reference to him is so brief, unfortunately, that we cannot tell whether
his question was to confound Jesus, as was so often the case, or whether
being a liberal Jew he longed for an honest and truly helpful answer.
From Jesus' remark to him, after his primary answer, we are justified in
believing it was the latter.
His question was: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first
and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and
Here we have a wonderful statement from a wonderful source. So clear-cut
is it that any wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot mistake it.
Especially is this true when we couple with it this other statement of
Jesus: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I
am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." We must never forget that Jesus
was born, lived, and died a Jew, the same as all of his disciples -- and
they never regarded themselves in any other light. The basis of his
religion was the religion of Israel. It was this he taught and
expounded, now in the synagogue, now out on the hillside and by the
lake-side. It was this that he tried to teach in its purity, that he
tried to free from the hedges that ecclesiasticism had built around it,
this that he endeavoured to raise to a still higher standard.
One cannot find the slightest reference in any of his sayings that would
indicate that he looked upon himself in any other light -- except the
overwhelming sense that it was his mission to bring in the new
dispensation by fulfilling the old, and then carrying it another great
step forward, which he did in a wonderful way -- both God-ward and
We must not forget, then, that Jesus said that he did not come to
destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfil them. We must not
forget, however, that before fulfilling them he had to free them. The
freedom-giving, God-illumined words spoken by free God-illumined men,
had, in the hands of those not God-illumined, later on become
institutionalised, made into a system, a code. The people were taught
that only the priests had access to God. They were the custodians of
God's favour and only through the institution could any man, or any
woman, have access to God. This became the sacred thing, and as the
years had passed this had become so hedged about by continually added
laws and observances that all the spirit of religion had become crushed,
stifled, beaten to the ground.
The very scribes and Pharisees themselves, supposed to minister to the
spiritual life and the welfare of the people, became enrobed in their
fine millinery and arrogance, masters of the people, whose ministers
they were supposed to be, as is so apt to be the case when an
institution builds itself upon the free, all-embracing message of truth
given by any prophet or any inspired teacher. It has occurred time and
time again. Christianity knows it well. It is only by constant vigilance
that religious freedom is preserved, from which alone comes any high
degree of morality, or any degree of free and upward-moving life among
It was on account of this shameful robbing of the people of their Divine
birthright that the just soul of Jesus, abhorring both casuistry and
oppression under the cloak of religion, gave utterance to that fine
invective that he used on several occasions, the only times that he
spoke in a condemnatory or accusing manner: "Now do ye, Pharisee, make
clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is
full of ravening and wickedness. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk
over them are not aware of them.... Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For
ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch
not the burdens with one of your fingers.... Woe unto you, lawyers! For
ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves,
and them that were entering in ye hindered."
And here is the lesson for us. It is the spirit that must always be kept
uppermost in religion. Otherwise even the revelation and the religion
of Jesus could be compressed into a code, with its self-appointed
instruments of interpretation, the same as the Pharisees did the Law and
the Prophets that he so bitterly condemned, with a bravery so intrepid
and so fearless that it finally caused his death.
No, if God is not in the human soul waiting to make Himself known to the
believing, longing heart, accessible to all alike without money and
without price, without any prescribed code, then the words of Jesus have
not been correctly handed down to us. And then again, confirming us in
the belief that a man's deepest soul relation is a matter between him
and his God, are his unmistakable and explicit directions in regard to
It is so easy to substitute the secondary thing for the fundamental, the
by-thing for the essential, the container for the thing itself. You will
recall that symbolic act of Jesus at the last meeting, the Last Supper
with his disciples, the washing of the disciples' feet by the Master.
The point that is intended to be brought out in the story is, of course,
the extraordinary condescension of Jesus in doing this menial service
for his disciples. "The feet-washing symbolises the attitude of humble
service to others. Every follower of Jesus must experience it." One of
the disciples is so astonished, even taken aback by this menial service
on the part of Jesus, that he says: Thou shall never wash my feet. Jesus
answered him, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."
In Oriental countries where sandals are worn that cover merely the soles
of the feet, it was, it is the custom of the host to offer his guest who
comes water with which to wash his feet. There is no reason why this
simple incident of humble service, or rather this symbolic act of humble
service, could not be taken and made an essential condition of salvation
by any council that saw fit to make it such. Things just as strange as
this have happened; though any thinking man or woman today would deem
it essentially foolish.
It is an example of how the spirit of a beautiful act could be
misrepresented to the people. For if you will look at them again, Jesus'
words are very explicit: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with
me." But hear Jesus' own comment as given in John: "So after he had
washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again,
he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master
and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master,
have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I
have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his
lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know
these things, happy are ye if ye do them." It is a means to an end and
not an end in itself. The spirit that it typifies is essential; but not
the act itself.
The same could be rightly said of the Lord's Supper. It is an observance
that can be made of great value, one very dear and valuable to many
people. But it cannot, if Jesus is to be our authority, and if correctly
reported, be by any means made a fundamental, an essential of salvation.
From the rebuke administered by Jesus to his disciples in a number of
cases where they were prone to drag down his meanings by their purely
material interpretations, we should be saved from this.
You will recall his teaching one day when he spoke of himself as the
bread of life that a man may eat thereof and not die. Some of his Jewish
hearers taking his words in a material sense and arguing in regard to
them one with another said: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Hearing them Jesus reaffirming his statement said: "Verily, verily, I
say unto you, except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink
his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.... For my flesh is meat
indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." His disciples, likewise, prone
here as so often to make a literal and material interpretation of his
statements, said one to another: "This is a hard saying; who can hear
him?" Or according to our idiom -- who can understand him? Jesus asked
them squarely if what he had just said caused them to stumble, and in
order to be sure that they might not miss his real meaning and therefore
teaching, said: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Try as we will, we cannot get away from the fact that it was the words
of truth that Jesus brought that were ever uppermost in his mind. He
said, Follow me, not some one else, nor something else that would claim
to represent me. And follow me merely because I lead you to the Father.
So supremely had this young Jewish prophet, the son of a carpenter, made
God's business his business, that he had come into the full realisation
of the oneness of his life with the Father's life. He was able to
realise and to say, "I and my Father are one." He was able to bring to
the world a knowledge of the great fact of facts -- the essential oneness
of the human with the Divine -- that God tabernacles with men, that He
makes His abode in the minds and the hearts of those who through desire
and through will open their hearts to His indwelling presence.
The first of the race, he becomes the revealer of this great eternal
truth -- the mediator, therefore, between God and man -- in very truth the
Saviour of men. "If a man love me," said he, "he will keep my words: and
my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode
with him.... If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even
as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."
It is our eternal refusal to follow Jesus by listening to the words of
life that he brought, and our proneness to substitute something else in
their place, that brings the barrenness that is so often evident in the
everyday life of the Christian. We have been taught to believe in Jesus; we have not been taught to believe Jesus. This has resulted in
a separation of Christianity from life. The predominating motive has
been the saving of the soul. It has resulted too often in a selfish,
negative, repressive, ineffective religion. As Jesus said: "And why call
ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
We are just beginning to realise at all adequately that it was the
salvation of the life that he taught. When the life is redeemed to
righteousness through the power of the indwelling God and moves out in
love and in service for one's fellow-men, the soul is then saved.
A man may be a believer in Jesus for a million years and still be an
outcast from the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. But a man can't
believe Jesus, which means following his teachings, without coming at
once into the Kingdom and enjoying its matchless blessings both here and
hereafter. And if there is one clear-cut teaching of the Master, it is
that the life here determines and with absolute precision the life to
One need not then concern himself with this or that doctrine, whether it
be true or false. Later speculations and theories are not for him.
Jesus' own saying applies here: "If any man will do his will he shall
know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." He enters into the Kingdom,
the Kingdom of Heaven here and now; and when the time comes for him to
pass out of this life, he goes as a joyous pilgrim, full of anticipation
for the Kingdom that awaits him, and the Master's words go with him: "In
my Father's house are many mansions."
By thus becoming a follower of Jesus rather than merely a believer in
Jesus, he gradually comes into possession of insights and powers that
the Master taught would follow in the lives of those who became his
followers. The Holy Spirit, the Divine Comforter, of which Jesus spoke,
the Spirit of Truth, that awaits our bidding, will lead continually to
the highest truth and wisdom and insight and power. Kant's statement,
"The other world is not another locality, but only another way of seeing
things," is closely allied to the Master's statement: "The Kingdom of
God is within you." And closely allied to both is this statement of a
modern prophet: "The principle of Christianity and of every true
religion is within the soul -- the realisation of the incarnation of God
in every human being."
When we turn to Jesus' own teachings we find that his insistence was not
primarily upon the saving of the soul, but upon the saving of the life
for usefulness, for service, here and now, for still higher growth and
unfoldment, whereby the soul might be grown to a sufficient degree that
it would be worth the saving. And this is one of the great facts that is
now being recognised and preached by the forward-looking men and women
in our churches and by many equally religious outside of our churches.
And so all aspiring, all thinking, forward-looking men and women of our
day are not interested any more in theories about, explanations of, or
dogmas about Jesus. They are being won and enthralled by the wonderful
personality and life of Jesus. They are being gripped by the power of
his teachings. They do not want theories about God -- they want God -- and
God is what Jesus brought -- God as the moving, the predominating, the
all-embracing force in the individual life. But he who finds the Kingdom
of God, whose life becomes subject to the Divine rule and life within,
realises at once also his true relations with the whole -- with his
neighbour, his fellow-men. He realises that his neighbour is not merely
the man next door, the man around the corner, or even the man in the
next town or city; but that his neighbour is every man and every woman
in the world -- because all children of the same infinite Father, all
bound in the same direction, but over many different roads.
The man who has come under the influence and the domination of the
Divine rule, realises that his interests lie in the same direction as
the interests of all, that he cannot gain for himself any good -- that is,
any essential good -- at the expense of the good of all; but rather that
his interests, his Welfare, and the interests and the welfare of all
others are identical. God's rule, the Divine rule, becomes for him,
therefore, the fundamental rule in the business world, the dominating
rule in political life and action, the dominating rule in the law and
relations of nations.
Jesus did not look with much favour upon outward form, ceremony, or with
much favour upon formulated, or formal religion; and he somehow or other
seemed to avoid the company of those who did. We find him almost
continually down among the people, the poor, the needy, the outcast, the
sinner -- wherever he could be of service to the Father, that is, wherever
he could be of service to the Father's children. According to the
accounts he was not always as careful in regard to those with whom he
associated as the more respectable ones, the more respectable classes of
his day thought he should be. They remarked it many times. Jesus noticed
it and remarked in turn.
We find him always where the work was to be done -- friend equally of the
poor and humble, and those of station -- truly friend of man, teaching,
helping, uplifting. And then we find him out on the mountain side -- in
the quiet, in communion -- to keep his realisation of his oneness with the
Father intact; and with this help he went down regularly to the people,
trying to lift their minds and lives up to the Divine ideal that he
revealed to them, that they in turn might realise their real relations
one with another, that the Kingdom of God and His righteousness might
grow and become the dominating law and force in the world -- "Thy Kingdom
come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."
It is this Kingdom idea, the Divine rule, the rule of God in all of the
relations and affairs of men on earth that is gripping earnest men and
women in great numbers among us today. Under the leadership of these
thinking, God-impelled men and women, many of our churches are pushing
their endeavours out into social service activities along many different
lines; and the result is they are calling into their ranks many able men
and women, especially younger men and women, who are intensely
religious, but to whom formal, inactive religion never made any appeal.
When the Church begins actually to throw the Golden Rule onto its
banner, not in theory but in actual practice, actually forgetting self
in the Master's service, careless even of her own interests, her
membership, she thereby calls into her ranks vast numbers of the best of
the race, especially among the young, so that the actual result is a
membership not only larger than she could ever hope to have otherwise,
but a membership that commands such respect and that exercises such
power, that she is astounded at her former stupidity in being shackled
so long by the traditions of the past. A new life is engendered. There
is the joy of real accomplishment.
We are in an age of great changes. Advancing knowledge necessitates
changes. And may I say a word here to our Christian ministry, that
splendid body of men for whom I have such supreme admiration? One of the
most significant facts of our time is this widespread inclination and
determination on the part of such great numbers of thinking men and
women to go directly to Jesus for their information of, and their
inspiration from him. The beliefs and the voice of the laymen, those in
our churches and those out of our churches, must be taken into account
and reckoned with. Jesus is too large and too universal a character to
be longer the sole possession, the property of any organisation.
There is a splendid body of young men and young women numbering into
untold thousands, who are being captured by the personality and the
simple direct message of Jesus. Many of these have caught his spirit and
are going off into other lines of the Master's service. They are doing
effective and telling work there. Remember that when the spirit of the
Christ seizes a man, it is through the channel of present-day forms and
present-day terms, not in those of fifteen hundred, or sixteen hundred,
or even three hundred years ago.
There is a spirit of intellectual honesty that prevents many men and
women from subscribing to anything to which they cannot give their
intellectual assent, as well as their moral and spiritual assent. They
do not object to creeds. They know that a creed is but a statement, a
statement of a man's or a woman's belief, whether it be in connection
with religion, or in connection with anything else. But what they do
object to is dogma, that unholy thing that lives on credulity, that is
therefore destructive of the intellectual and the moral life of every
man and every woman who allows it to lay its paralysing hand upon them,
that can be held to if one is at all honest and given to thought, only
through intellectual chicanery.
We must not forget also that God is still at work, revealing Himself
more fully to mankind through modern prophets, through modern agencies.
His revelation is not closed. It is still going on. The silly
presumption in the statement therefore -- "the truth once delivered."
It is well occasionally to call to mind these words by Robert Burns,
singing free and with an untrammelled mind and soul from his
Here's freedom to him that wad read,
Here's freedom to him that wad write;
There's nane ever feared that the truth should be heared
But them that the truth wad indict.
It is essential to remember that we are in possession of knowledge, that
we are face to face with conditions that are different from any in the
previous history of Christendom. The Christian church must be sure that
it moves fast enough so as not to alienate, but to draw into it that
great body of intellectually alive, intellectually honest young men and
women who have the Christ spirit of service and who are mastered by a
great purpose of accomplishment. Remember that these young men and women
are now merely standing where the entire church will stand in a few
years. Remember that any man or woman who has the true spirit of service
has the spirit of Christ -- and more, has the religion of the Christ.
Remember that Jesus formulated no organisation. His message of the
Kingdom was so far-reaching that no organisation could ever possibly
encompass it, though an organisation may be, and has been, a great aid
in actualising it here on earth. He never made any conditions as to
through whom, or what, his truth should be spread, and he would condemn
today any instrumentality that would abrogate to itself any monopoly of
his truth, just as he condemned those ecclesiastical authorities of his
day who presumed to do the same in connection with the truth of God's
And so I would say to the Church -- beware and be wise. Make your
conditions so that you can gain the allegiance and gain the help of this
splendid body of young men and young women. Many of them are made of the
stock that Jesus would choose as his own apostles. Among the young men
will be our greatest teachers, our great financiers, our best
legislators, our most valuable workers and organisers in various fields
of social service, our most widely read authors, eminent and influential
editorial and magazine writers as well as managers.
Many of these young women will have high and responsible positions as
educators. Some will be heads and others will be active workers in our
widely extended and valuable women's clubs. Some will have a hand in
political action, in lifting politics out of its many-times low
condition into its rightful state in being an agent for the
accomplishment of the people's best purposes and their highest good.
Some will be editors of widely circulating and influential women's
magazines. Some will be mothers, true mothers of the children of others,
denied their rights and their privileges. Make it possible for them,
nay, make it incumbent upon them to come in, to work within the great
It cannot afford that they stay out. It is suicidal to keep them out.
Any other type of organisation that did not look constantly to
commanding the services of the most capable and expert in its line would
fall in a very few months into the ranks of the ineffectives. A business
or a financial organisation that did not do the same would go into
financial bankruptcy in even a shorter length of time. By attracting
this class of men and women into its ranks it need fear neither moral
nor financial bankruptcy.
But remember, many men and women of large calibre are so busy doing
God's work in the world that they have no time and no inclination to be
attracted by anything that does not claim their intellectual as well as
their moral assent. The Church must speak fully and unequivocally in
terms of present-day thought and present-day knowledge, to win the
allegiance or even to attract the attention of this type of men and
And may I say here this word to those outside, and especially to this
class of young men and young women outside of our churches? Changes,
and therefore advances in matters of this kind come slowly. This is true
from the very nature of human nature. Inherited beliefs, especially when
it comes to matters of religion, take the deepest hold and are the
slowest to change. Not in all cases, but this is the general rule.
Those who hold on to the old are earnest, honest. They believe that
these things are too sacred to be meddled with, or even sometimes, to be
questioned. The ordinary mind is slow to distinguish between tradition
and truth -- especially where the two have been so fully and so adroitly
mixed. Many are not in possession of the newer, the more advanced
knowledge in various fields that you are in possession of. But remember
this -- in even a dozen years a mighty change has taken place -- except in a
church whose very foundation and whose sole purpose is dogma.
In most of our churches, however, the great bulk of our ministers are
just as forward-looking, just as earnest as you, and are deeply desirous
of following and presenting the highest truth in so far as it lies
within their power to do so. It is a splendid body of men, willing to
welcome you on your own grounds, longing for your help. It is a mighty
engine for good. Go into it. Work with it. Work through it. The best
men in the Church are longing for your help. They need it more than they
need anything else. I can assure you of this -- I have talked with many.
They feel their handicaps. They are moving as rapidly as they find it
possible to move. On the whole, they are doing splendid work and with a
big, fine spirit of which you know but little. You will find a wonderful
spirit of self-sacrifice, also. You will find a stimulating and precious
comradeship on the part of many. You will find that you will get great
good, even as you are able to give great good.
The Church, as everything else, needs to keep its machinery in continual
repair. Help take out the worn-out parts -- but not too suddenly. The
Church is not a depository, but an instrument and engine of truth and
righteousness. Some of the older men do not realise this; but they will
die off. Respect their beliefs. Honest men have honest respect for
differences of opinion, for honest differences in thought. Sympathy is a
great harmoniser. "Differences of opinion, intellectual distinctions,
these must ever be -- separation of mind, but unity of heart."
I like these words of Lyman Abbott. You will like them. They are spoken
out of a full life of rich experience and splendid service. They have,
moreover, a sort of unifying effect. They are more than a tonic: "Of
all characters in history none so gathers into himself and reflects from
himself all the varied virtues of a complete manhood as does Jesus of
Nazareth. And the world is recognising it.... If you go back to the
olden time and the old conflicts, the question was, 'What is the
relation of Jesus Christ to the Eternal?' Wars have been fought over the
question, 'Was he of one substance with the Father?' I do not know; I do
not know of what substance the Father is; I do not know of what
substance Jesus Christ is. What I do know is this -- that when I look into
the actual life that I know about, the men and women that are about me,
the men and women in all the history of the past, of all the living
beings that ever lived and walked the earth, there is no one that so
fills my heart with reverence, with affection, with loyal love, with
sincere desire to follow, as doth Jesus Christ....
"I do not need to decide whether he was born of a virgin. I do not need
to decide whether he rose from the dead. I do not need to decide whether
he made water into wine, or fed five thousand with two loaves and five
small fishes. Take all that away, and still he stands the one
transcendent figure toward whom the world has been steadily growing, and
whom the world has not yet overtaken even in his teachings.... I do not
need to know what is his metaphysical relation to the Infinite. I say it
reverently -- I do not care. I know for me he is the great Teacher; I know
for me he is the great Leader whose work I want to do; and I know for me
he is the great Personality, whom I want to be like. That I know.
Theology did not give that to me, and theology cannot get it away from
And what a basis as a test of character is this twofold injunction -- this
great fundamental of Jesus! All religion that is genuine flowers in
character. It was Benjamin Jowett who said, and most truly: "The value
of a religion is in the ethical dividend that it pays." When the heart
is right towards God we have the basis, the essence of religion -- the
consciousness of God in the soul of man. We have truth in the inward
parts. When the heart is right towards the fellow-man we have the
essential basis of ethics; for again we have truth in the inward parts.
Out of the heart are the issues of life. When the heart is right all
outward acts and relations are right. Love draws one to the very heart
of God; and love attunes one to all the highest and most valued
relationships in our human life.
Fear can never be a basis of either religion or ethics. The one who is
moved by fear makes his chief concern the avoidance of detection on the
one hand, or the escape of punishment on the other. Men of large calibre
have an unusual sagacity in sifting the unessential from the essential
as also the false from the true. Lincoln, when replying to the question
as to why he did not unite himself with some church organisation, said:
"When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification
of membership, the Saviour's condensed statement of the substance of
both law and gospel: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour
as thyself, that church shall I join with all my heart and soul."
He was looked upon by many in his day as a non-Christian -- by some as an
infidel. His whole life had a profound religious basis, so deep and so
all-absorbing that it gave him those wonderful elements of personality
that were instantly and instinctively noticed by, and that moved all men
who came in touch with him; and that sustained him so wonderfully,
according to his own confession, through those long, dark periods of the
great crisis, The fact that in yesterday's New York paper -- Sunday
paper -- I saw the notice of a sermon in one of our Presbyterian
pulpits -- Lincoln, the Christian -- shows that we have moved up a round
and are approaching more and more to an essential Christianity.
Similar to this statement or rather belief was that of Emerson,
Jefferson, Franklin, and a host of other men among us whose lives have
been lives of accomplishment and service for their fellow-men. Emerson,
who said: "A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light
which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the
firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his
thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognise our own
rejected thoughts. They come back to us with a certain alienated
majesty." Emerson, who also said: "I believe in the still, small voice,
and that voice is the Christ within me." It was he of whom the famous
Father Taylor in Boston said: "It may be that Emerson is going to hell,
but of one thing I am certain: he will change the climate there and
emigration will set that way."
So thought Jefferson, who said: "I have sworn eternal hostility to every
form of tyranny over the minds of men." And as he, great prophet, with
his own hand penned that immortal document -- the Declaration of American
Independence -- one can almost imagine the Galilean prophet standing at
his shoulder and saying: Thomas, I think it well to write it so. Both
had a burning indignation for that species of self-seeking either on the
part of an individual or an organisation that would seek to enchain the
minds and thereby the lives of men and women, and even lay claim to
their children. Yet Jefferson in his time was frequently called an
atheist -- and merely because men in those days did not distinguish as
clearly as we do today between ecclesiasticism and religion, between
formulated and essential Christianity.
So we are brought back each time to Jesus' two fundamentals -- and these
come out every time foursquare with the best thought of our time. The
religion of Jesus is thereby prevented from being a mere tribal
religion. It is prevented from being merely an organisation that could
possibly have his sanction as such -- that is, an organisation that would
be able to say: This is his, and this only. It makes it have a
world-wide and eternal content. The Kingdom that Jesus taught is
infinitely broader in its scope and its inclusiveness than any
organisation can be, or that all organisations combined can be.
Links to Additional Media for Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit by Ralph Waldo Trine such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.