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Chapter 1 The Relation of the Human Mind to God

All true philosophy begins and ends in God, the fountain of all life, and love and truth. A correct knowledge of the soul involves of necessity a true conception of the Divine Being. To sunder the human mind from Him, and then study its phenomena, is to discern only effects without rising to the higher and more satisfying knowledge of things in their prime causes. The latter alone constitutes true science and real philosophy.

God is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and Ending of all finite things. In Him is life. He alone has life in Himself unoriginated and self-derived. All else lives from Him and in Him. Everything, from the insect to the angel exists by virtue of a life proceeding from Him. We live because He lives, our life being the stream of which He is the fountain, or it is a ray of which He is the central sun. This central life is everywhere and in all. It is diffused through all space and all worlds. It is the inmost essence of all created things. But God’s life is love. All that we can think of Him is included in the words Love and Wisdom. This bounds and terminates our conception of Deity. All other attributes, properties, qualities and powers of the Divine Mind must be referred to one or the other of these, and are only modifications or manifestations of these universal principles.

His love is the esse of His being, as schoolmen would have called it, or that which lives in and by itself. His Wisdom is the existere thence derived, the term being used in philosophy to denote manifested or derived being. The divine intellect goes forth from the divine love., as light from fire.

This conception of God is a first principle in philosophy, of which we must never lose sight. It is a fundemental verity , without which we can neither know ourselves nor Him. It is a self-evident truth, that nothing finite can exist from itself, but from something prior to itself, and this from something primal, which brings us as far as our limited powers of thought can carry us — to the causa causarum, the great first cause, whom we call God.

But this divine being is One. This grand truth was long ago announced in the deserts of Arabia, by the Jewish legislator, and proclaimed anew by Jesus of Nazareth. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. vi.4; Mark xii.29.) Three self-existent individualities cannot be conceived. Such a propo-sition, as Herbert Spencer would say, is unthinkable. Two of them must derive their existence from the first, and that which has not being in itself is not God. It does not answer our conception of Deity.

Man is a finite image of God, or in other words, he is a created form recipient of the one only life. He is manifestation and in a mitigated sense, an incarnation of the Divinity. This constitutes the true dignity of humanity. The inmost essence of every human soul is divine, using the word to express that which goes forth from God. Deeply hidden beneath all our external and sensuous coverings, and all our moral and intellectual disorders, is the inextinguishable divine spark, sometimes concealed, like a gem in the ocean abyss.

God was in Christ. In him God was manifested in the flesh, as never before in the hitory of the race. The Father was in him and he was in the Father. This vivid consciousness of the indwelling divine principle, was the marked characteristic of the man Jesus. In him God became man, and the humanity divine, He seemed to himuelf and has so seemed to others, as the God-Man and the Man-God.

In his personality there was a humanization of the Divine, and deification of the human. But the Deity was thus manifested in Jesus, in order that through him he might be incarnated In all humanity, so that every man might walk forth consciously to himself as a son of God and say, “I and my Father are one.” Then every human nature will be viewed as affiliated with Divinity. Then will be realized the full import of the words of Jesus: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” ( John i. 11, 12.) Then will be fulfilled the dream of the Oriental philosophy, which has haunted the Eastern mind from the remotest ages.

“The idea of God’s becoming man,” says Dr. Turnbull, and man becoming aod, is the mystic circle in which all their thoughts revolve. Nothing is more familiar to their minds than the possibility of divine incarnations, and the consequent possibility of human transformations. Somehow, God and man, the infinite and finite, must become one.”

To evolve and to bring forth to freedom this hidden divine element in human nature is the true aim of all philosophy, and should be of thcology. This will add no new property to the soul, but only bring out to our consciousness what lies concealed within. The antagonism between the inmost divine essence in man, and the selfhood, or the blinded and disorderly activity of the mind, either acquired or hereditary, is the secret spring of all our mentsl and physical unhappiness.

When the inner divine life pervades, appropriates, and controls, the more external degrees of our nature, man then returns to God, as did the humanity of Jesus.

This is the hour of our glorification. This is the end of our creation, the appointed destiny of every created soul.

After the lapse of ages of darkness, the son of Mary appeared in Palestine as the type and model of a new and higher development of humanity. What human nature was in him. it is the design of the infinite Love it should be in all, if not fully, at least in a degree.

God is all and in all, but all things are not God. All things, singular and together, are finite or limited, and the finite cannot be the infinite, for this, to our intuitive and rational thought, is contradictory and impossible. But is God personal, or an indefinitely diffused principle? In a certain sense, He is both, one and the other. He is love and wisdom. These are the essential properties of personality. They are essentially human.

An impersonal affection or intelligence is an impossible conception. He is an infinite Man, and we are men by virtue of our derivation and conception from Him. But his divine life goes forth everywhere. The sphere of His love and wisdom extends beyond the bounds of creation. The universe of mind and matter is but its ultimation or visible manifestation. The Divine being is in all things, the least and the greatest, but in the human soul in the highest degree.

Here we may seek and find him, as Madam Guyon and the mystics of all ages have averred. She declares the source of the disquietude, the unrest of religious people to be, that they seek Him where He is not to be found. “Accustom yourself to seek God in your heart, and you will find him,” was her advice to the Franciscan monk, who complained that he could not attain a satisfactory consciousness of God. This pregnant utterance was only a ray of the inner light and life. May it come to every man who reads it, with the force of a new revelation.

We can study human nature under two aspects or points of view: 1) As it was designed to be, and such as it is when it exists and acts according to the divine order of its creation. and stands forth an image and likeness of the Divinity. Such a study, alas, could only create an ideal model, like Plato’s perfect man. Or we should be obliged to confine our investigations to the character and state of Jesus of Nazareth, of whom men, in all ages, have said in adoring wonder, “Behold the man.”

2) We may view it as we unfortunately find it generally, in a state of moral, intellectual, and physical disorder. This is one of the most prominent facts of consciousness. The geologist, as he surveys the wreck of former generations of animals, studies them as they are, in order to find what they were. By the science of

Comparative Anatomy, and under the light of his intuitions, he is able to restore the imperfect and decayed animal frame-work, and show us what it was when it moved, a thing of life, in an age on the globe long since passed, and which presents only broken relics of its living inhabitants.

It belongs to a true mental philosophy to discover the source of our unhappiness, and to point out the way in which we may rise from our inharmony of mind and body to that divine and celestial order, into which the Divine Love longs to introduce us.

All medical science that does not penetrate with its light to the root of our physical maladies and sufferings, but applies its remedies only to visible effects, and to the removal of temporary symptoms, is superficial and unphilosophical, and “heals the hurt of the daughter of my people but slightly.”

True science is a knowledge of things in their causes, and an intelligent system of medication aims to remove the source of our suffering. This done, the effect ceases of its own accord. This will be the honest aim of this necessarily imperfect treatise on Mental Hygiene. “Philosophy is a futile, frivolous pursuit, unworthy of greater respect than a game of chess, unless it subserve some grand practical aim — unless its issue be in some enlarged conception of man’s life and destiny.”

As our prescriptions will be more of a spiritual character, than is common in medical science, it will be needful to enter into some discussion of the general nature of our inner being, whose varying states are the body’s health or malady.


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