Skip to main content

Chapter 19

Love the Law of Life

The mystic or intuitive sense of the Master not only enabled him to perceive and understand God as Spirit, the universal life force of all there is in existence, but also His manifesting nature. He not only perceived God as Spirit, but also God as love — the infinite Spirit of life and power manifesting itself and acting always in and through love.

In a sense he identified the two; for he said and continually taught, God is love. That is perhaps the reason why God came to him so naturally and so habitually as Father, and why he appreciated so readily his own natural relationship therefore as son. He realised and established himself in that filial relationship with the Father.

The Father not only loves him, but he loves the Father. The Father not only loves him and works through him, but he seeks always to know and to do the will of the Father. That understanding and that attitude of complete reliance upon and complete obedience to the Father, establish the relationship of conscious union which enables him to say, ‘I and my Father are one.’ He not only realises and establishes this sense of union, of oneness with the Father, but he perceives and states and teaches that this is the natural, normal life for every man, for he realises that law is universal.

Therefore his statement and his teaching: ‘As I am you shall be. I show you the way; happy are you if you follow the way.’

It is this universal Fatherhood of God that he makes, one might say, the keystone of the entire structure of his teaching. In him we live and move and have our being. All are children of the same Father, so all are brothers, all related and interrelated. No man lives or can live to himself alone. He cannot live in indifference to his fellows, and he cannot live in hate, except to his own detriment or destruction; for it is a violation of the fundamental law of life.

Love is the primal force in life. It is the building, the constructive force. Its manifestations, its products, are always beneficent. It goes always hand in hand with faith and courage and upbuilding and continual healthy growth. Its opposite, hate, which engenders fear and distrust, works always as a neutralising, destructive force. It blights and cripples and kills.

So it was for no sentimental reason that the Master gave his knowing answer to the lawyer: that the secret of life, and therefore the whole of Life, not only is, but must be, summed up as love to God and love to one’s neighbour. It is simply obedience to the law of life, and its fulfilment.

It is not a matter of choice; for one cannot violate a fundamental law of life and escape the penalty of that violation. The element of choice lies in whether one would be a wise man or a fool. Through thoughts purely of self, through self-seeking and cunning, one may gain certain ends; but one loses the power of enjoyment. One may pluck the fruit; but it turns to dust in one’s hands. One may gain a certain satisfaction; but one can never know what the real happiness of life is. Instead of one’s life growing and expanding, it becomes dwarfed and stunted. One becomes in time an outcast from the larger life of God and one’s fellow men.

Edwin Markham was seer as well as poet when he wrote:

The robber is robbed by his riches;

The tyrant is dragged by his chain;

The schemer is snared by his cunning,

The slayer lies dead by the slain.

The Mastcr knew. When in his reply to the lawyer he said: ‘And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ he simply spoke a truth of life that is the law of life. Understanding as he did so thoroughly the oneness of life, he undoubtedly meant, love your neighbour as yourself in the sense of his being yourself — as if his life were your own life. Otherwise there could be but little sense to his statement. A man is not inclined to love his own life as such; and so ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ is merely the logical sequence, the result of obedience to the law of life and therefore its fulfilment.

I am my brother’s keeper, and my brother is my keeper, in the sense that our interests are mutual, and can never be otherwise. We are dependent and interdependent one on another. The law of love compelling the law of mutuality is the very ridge-pole of our social structure, of all harmonious and satisfactory life. Not strife, contention, fighting, but co-operation, under this imperious law of mutuality, gives always the larger gain.

Love, mutuality, co-operation are the way and the only way of real self-interest. We are beginning to find that this is true. But the lessons and the losses leading us to it have been frightful. A national and a world depression, such as we have been coming through, drives home the lesson, the law, that no one class can gain, no single interest, no one man, no one class can gain and get away with it alone - can prosper at the expense of all others, at the expense of the whole.

There is no such thing as the interests of ‘capital’ or the interests of ‘labour’ as such, as separate entities. Under the law of sympathy, mutuality, co-operation, their interests run parallel. To have representatives, leaders, big enough, un-self-centred enough, to know this, is the real need — and becomes the greatest asset of capital or labour.

Service, real genuine service, is, we are of late beginning to learn, the real basis of all good business, and the way of mutuality is the way of self-interest for capital and labour.

Hatred and suspicion engender fear and strife, and strife is always self-destructive. When we consider the millions, the hundreds of millions, the billions, lost on both sides through the method of strife — ignorance of the law of life — with all the financial loss to the public and all the interference with its rights, its welfare and at times its safety — when we take all this into account we conclude that the sight of a man, supposed to be a real leader, standing and beating his head against a stone wall is no longer pleasant to contemplate. The cost in too frightful. Anyway, the final settlement comes through friendly counsel. The settlement itself must be mutual if it is to be real, a lasting settlement.

The Master’s way of love is the way of sympathy, mutuality, co-operation. Love thy neighbour as thyself, and esteem his business and interests as if they were thine own business and interests. Do away with the frightful costs.

And when we step from national to international relations, the Master’s way of love, with its concomitants of sympathy, mutuality, respect, quite easily and compellingly becomes again the way of self-interest. Those two splendid nations, Germany and France, for how long — it seems for almost endless ages they have been fearing and hating, hating and fearing each other! Think of the hundreds of thousands, the millions of fine young lives that have been lost to these two nations. Think of the suffering. Think of the home ties broken, the waiting, the uncertainty, the fatal news, the desolation: the destruction of homes built with such loving care, from long patient work and frugal savings; the fertile soil turned into a seething hell.

Think of the billions in costs, the frightful taxes that will go on forever — or until some foreign tide of devastation repeats history and rolls in and covers them both. The longer they fight each other, the lower and the weaker become their standards of reproduction, their standards of life, and the more defenceless they make themselves against such an eventuality.

Do not suppose that history does not repeat itself, under the same laws and causes. There was a great and proud nation once. Rome was its name. Where is Rome now? There were other nations as great or greater before Rome. Where are they now? No nation is immune, no people, none.

While the law and the penalty of hate are universal, I have, for reasons, cited particularly two nations. What has been and what remains the cause of danger and disaster in connection with these two? Their leaders — civil, religious, military — did not know, or did not really appreciate, the fact that centuries ago there was a humble wandering teacher with a wonderful knowledge of life, and of the Divine in the human. In his teaching, which they have ignored or forgotten or never knew, love is the basic law of all sane and satisfactory life; love is stronger than hate; love will conquer hate and sterilise all its frightful progeny; love is not only the way of a sane, happy, human life, but is the only way of self-interest.

They may have heard something of this; but long ago a system called Christianity was built upon various speculative and mythical theories about him, with innumerable graftings from preceding heathen religion, while his own teachings, God-given, clear-cut, life-saving and civilisation-saving, were denied and violated and pushed aside.

His great truth, always and still the hope of the world, waiting, as he said, to make men free, has been forgotten or soft-pedalled, and to that extent denied to the world. Will it come again? It will come again. It must come again. In the young men and women of the world lies the hope. They will not be denied. Otherwise, the flower of their generation would go into the same rotten fodder, and their splendid young bodies lie as heaps of carrion out on the fertile fields — again the victims of fear-ridden, Christless leaders.

Dogmatic Christianity does not seem able to prevent this. It seems less able today than ever. It may have to be replaced with something else. The Christianity of the Christ, actually at work in the minds and hearts of many men of different nations, would automatically push it out and take its place.

In the case of the two nations cited, for example, what assets would accrue from following the fundamental message of the Master that love is the Law of Life! What a weight it would lift from the tax burdens of the overburdened peoples! How many lives it would save! How many bodies of splendid young men!

The time may come when the right will be taken from any man to condemn others to go to the ‘front,’ unless he himself must go to the front. This simple requirement might transfer many a man from the class ‘patriot’ to the class ‘coward.’ And of its own motion it might even Prevent the recurrence of war,


Syndicate content