Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

HE supreme prayer of my U heart is not to be learned,

rich, famous, powerful, or good,” but simply to be radiant. I desire to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and good will not

I wish to live without hate,

U whim, jealousy, envy, fear. I wish to be simple, honest, frank, natural, clean in mind and clean in body, unaffected— ready to say “I do not know,” if it be so, and to meet all men on an absolute equality—to face any obstacle and meet every difficulty unabashed and unafraid. I wish others to live their lives, too—up to their highest, fullest and best. To that end I pray that I may never meddle, interfere, dictate, give advice that is not wanted, or assist when my services are not needed. If I can help people, I 'll do it by giving them a chance to help themselves; and if I can uplift or inspire, let it be by example, inference, and suggestion, rather than by injunction and dictation. That is to say, I desire to be radiant-to radiate life.

[graphic]

dat ne

the doc

And ir

is pro

morali

separa

Bever

Y exercise of its faculties
the spirit grows, just as a
muscle grows strong thru
continued use. Expression
is necessary for the Life is
expression, and repression
is stagnation-death.

Yet, there can be right

R and wrong expression. If a man permits his life to run riot and only the animal side of his nature is allowed to express itself, he is repressing his highest and best, and the qualities not used atrophy and die. Men are punished by their sins, not for them. Sensuality, gluttony, and the life of license repress the life of the spirit, and the soul never blossoms; and this is what it is to lose one's soul. All adown the centuries thinking men have noted these truths, and again and again we find individuals forsaking in horror the life of the senses and devoting themselves to the life of the spirit. This question of expression through the spirit, or through the senses through soul or body-has been the pivotal point of all philosophy and the inspiration of all religion.

Every religion is made up of two elements

that never mix any more than oil and water 1 mix A religion is a mechanical mixture,

not a chemical combination, of morality and i dogma. Dogma is the science of the unseen: I the doctrine of the unknown and unknowable.

And in order to give this science plausibility, } its promulgators have always fastened upon it

morality. Morality can and does exist entirely be separate and apart from dogma, but dogma

is ever a parasite on morality, and the business 1 of the priest is to confuse the two.

But morality and religion never saponify. [ Morality is simply the question of expressing

your life forces—how to use them? You have ľ so much energy; and what will you do with it?

And from out the multitude there have always

been men to step forward and give you advice į for a consideration. Without their supposed į influence with the unseen we might not accept 1 their interpretation of what is right and wrong. 1 But with the assurance that their advice is · backed up by Deity, followed with an offer of | reward if we believe it, and a threat of dire

punishment if we do not, the Self-appointed Superior Class has driven men wheresoever it

IS not

liceticis

and the

spirit

willed. The evolution of formal religions is not a complex process, and the fact that they canifest embody these two unmixable things, dogma puntain and morality, is a very plain and simple truth, zemselv easily seen, undisputed by all reasonable men. And be it said that the morality of most religions is good. Love, truth, charity, justice ad shoi and gentleness are taught in them all. But, face like a rule in Greek grammar, there are many in insta exceptions. And so in the morality of religions there are exceptional instances that constantly arise where love, truth, charity, gentleness and justice are waived on suggestion of the der exe Superior Class, that good may follow. Were it not for these exceptions there would be no wars between Christian nations. The question of how to express your life will probably never down, for the reason that men thinks vary in temperament and inclination. Some men have no capacity for certain sins of the flesh; others there be, who, having lost their inclination for sensuality through too much indulgence, turn ascetics. Yet all sermons have but one theme: how shall life be expressed ? Between asceticism and indulgence men and races swing.

Somew

les the

all oth Asceticism in our day finds an interesting manifestation in the Trappists, who live on a mountain top, nearly inaccessible, and deprive themselves of almost every vestige of bodily comfort, going without food for days, wearing uncomfortable garments, suffering severe cold;

and st moint

so we

actors

and should one of this community look upon i the face of a woman he would think he was i in instant danger of damnation. So here we į find the extreme instance of men repressing

the faculties of the body in order that the į spirit may find ample time and opportunity

for exercise. į Somewhere between this extreme repression 1 of the monk and the license of the sensualist

lies the truth of But just where is the great I question; and the desire of one person, who [ thinks he has discovered the norm, to compel

all other men to stop there, has led to war į and strife untold. All law centers around this į point—what shall men be allowed to do? And į so we find statutes to punish “strolling play į actors,” “players on fiddles,” “disturbers of

the public conscience,” “persons who dance wantonly,” “ blasphemers,” and in England there were, in the year 1800, thirty-seven

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »