« PreviousContinue »
offenses that were legally punishable by death.
What expression is right and what is not, is simply a matter of opinion as One religious denomination that now exists does not allow singing; instrumental music has been to some a rock of offense, exciting the spirit through the sense of hearing, to improper thoughts“through the lascivious pleasing of the lute”; others think dancing wicked, while a few allow pipe-organ music, but draw the line at the violin; while still others use a whole orchestra in their religious service. Some there be who regard pictures as implements of idolatry; while the Hook-and-Eye Baptists look upon buttons as immoral. Strange evolutions are often witnessed within the life of one individual. For instance, Leo Tolstoy, a great and good man, at one time a sensualist, has now turned ascetic; a common evolution in the lives of the saints poste But excellent as this man is, there is yet a grave imperfection in his cosmos which to a degree vitiates the truth he desires to teach: he leaves the element of beauty out of his formula. Not caring for harmony as set forth in color, form and sweet sounds, he is quite willing to deny all others these things which minister to their well-being. There is in most souls a hunger
for beauty, just as there is physical hunger i Beauty speaks to their spirits through the
senses; but Tolstoy would have your house barren to the verge of hardship. My veneration for Count Tolstoy is profound, yet I mention
him here to show the grave danger that lies 1 in allowing any man, even one of the wisest } of men, to dictate to us what is best. We
ourselves are the better judges. Most of the
frightful cruelties inflicted on men during the i past have arisen simply out of a difference of
opinion that arose through a difference in temperament. The question is as alive to-day as it was two thousand years ago-what expression is best? That is, what shall we do to be saved? And concrete absurdity consists in saying that we must all do the same thing. Whether the race will ever grow to a point where men will be willing to leave the matter of life-expression to the individual is a question; but the millennium will never arrive until men cease trying to compel all other men to live
after one pattern. ; Most people are anxious to do what is best for themselves and least harmful for others. The average man now has intelligence enough: Utopia is not far off, if the self-appointed folk who rule us, and teach us for a consideration, would only be willing to do unto others as they would be done by, that is to say, mind their own business and cease coveting things that belong to other people st War among nations and strife among individuals is a result of the covetous spirit to possess. A little more patience, a little more charity for all, a little more love; with less bowing down to the past, and the silent ignoring of pretended authority; a brave looking forward to the future, with more self-confidence and more faith in our fellow men, and the race will be ripe for a great burst of life and light. as the subject is somewhat
complex, I will have to explain it to you. The first point is that there is not so very much difference in the intelligence of people after all. The great man is not so great as folks think,
and the dull man is not quite so stupid as he seems. The difference in our estimates of men lies in the fact that one individual is able to get his goods into the show-window, and the other is not aware that he has any show-window or any goods. “The soul knows all things, and knowledge is only a remembering,” says Emerson. This seems a very broad statement; and yet the fact remains that the vast majority of men know a thousand times as much as they are aware of. Far down in the silent depths of subconsciousness lie myriads of truths, each awaiting a time when its owner shall call it forth. To utilize these stored-up thoughts, you must express them to others; and to be able to express them well your soul has to soar into this subconscious realm where you
have cached these net results of experience. In other words, you must “come out”-get out of self-away from self-consciousness, into the region of partial oblivion-away from the boundaries of time and the limitations of space. The great painter forgets all in the presence of his canvas; the writer is oblivious to his surroundings; the singer floats away on the wings of melody (and carries the audience with her); the orator pours out his soul for an hour, and it seems to him as if barely five minutes had passed, so rapt is he in his exalted theme. When you reach the heights of sublimity and are expressing your highest and best, you are in a partial trance condition. And all men who enter this condition surprise themselves by the quantity of knowledge and the extent of insight they possess. And some going a little deeper than others into this trance condition, and having no knowledge of the miraculous storing up of truth in the subconscious cells, jump to the conclusion that their intelligence is guided by a spirit not theirs. When one reaches this conclusion he begins to wither at the top, for he relies on the dead, and ceases to feed the well-springs of his subconscious self.