Abel Leighton Allen
The Message of New Thought
“Only the genuine men of science, we say, can truly know how utterly beyond, not only human knowledge, but human conception, is the universal power of which nature and life and thought are manifestations.”–HERBERT SPENCER.
THERE never was any conflict between true religion and real science. Truth was the real goal of each. The only conflict has been between those defending creeds on the one hand, and the narrow and intolerant scientist on the other. Too often the real business of each, the rational pursuit of truth, was forgotten in their zeal to defend a cause.
Many persons seem to think that God endowed man with reason and then inflicted upon him a religion, so that there would be an eternal conflict in his soul. Men have been told that reason and revelation are contradictory and that man can only become religious when he denies intelligence, ceases to think, and surrenders himself wholly to a belief. The logical sequence of their reasoning is this: man has been given a mind and clothed with the power of abstract reasoning, but his eternal welfare depends upon his ignoring the reasoning of his mind.
Some writer has said: “Every branch of science has, with the clergy, gone through three stages: First they say it is absurd; second, it is against the Bible; third, we always knew it was so.”
We have heard vastly more about disturbing faith than about seeking truth. A hunger for truth is the first step toward real religion. There never was any conflict between truth and truth, but the only conflict was between truth and error. Carlyle said, “Wise man was he, who counseled that speculation should have free course, and look fearlessly toward all the thirty-two points of the compass, whithersoever and howsoever it listed.”
But, someone says, scientific investigation disturbs faith. What of it? The disturbance of faith or, more properly speaking, beliefs, is the first movement toward real progress. What if it brings a revision of all creeds and traditions? Is that to be weighed against the discovery of truth?
When we follow the light we have and from that try to discover more and clearer light, we are on the road to true religion, to progress and development. We must give science credit in the main for an honest effort to discover truth. It has ever moved forward and upward with an open and inquiring mind. Science has advanced and become more tolerant; so have many religious thinkers. The scientist of today finds himself in harmony with advanced and intelligent religious thought. Science now recognizes the existence of an intelligence pervading the entire universe and all forms and creative things that exist within it.
The scientist once said that molecular action was the cause of life. Now he reverses his former position and says life is the cause of molecular action. It is true the scientist does not recognize the existence of an absentee God, one external to ourselves, an anthropomorphic God, clothed with the attributes of hatred and revenge, as deity has been pictured to man, but he conceives of God as an unseen presence, filling the universe, penetrating every atom and molecule, manifesting in all objective Nature, which gives life to all created beings, in whom we live, move, and have our being.
As Emerson says, “The true idea of omnipresence is that God reappears in all his parts in every moss and cobweb.” This is the God of science, the only omnipresent God. When science finds the way to lead man into a recognition and union with that divine intelligence, what will science be but the highest form of religion? Is it unthinkable that in due time science may supplant theology and become the only living church?
But someone says this is an extravagant and unfounded assumption. Is it? More men rely on the voice of science today than ever before. It has the respect and confidence of the intelligent world. They turn to the scientist for evidence of the continued, conscious identity of the soul after death, and they are not turned away empty-handed. Science proclaims the unity of all substance, the reign of universal law, and the existence of an omnipresent divine intelligence. When men rise to that degree of development and enlightenment that their one quest is truth, they will be found enrolled in the ranks of scientists and listen to what they say.
Alfred Russel Wallace, the contemporary of Darwin, whose contributions to science and to our knowledge of evolution is gratefully acknowledged by the whole scientific world, in his work entitled “The World of Life,” in speaking of organized life says: “What we absolutely require and must postulate is a mind far higher, greater, and more powerful than any of the fragmentary minds we see around us; a mind not only adequate to direct and regulate all the forces at work in living organism, but which is itself the source of all those forces and energies, as well as the more fundamental portions, of the whole material universe.” He continues: “If, as John Hunter, T. H. Huxley, and other eminent thinkers have disclosed, life is the cause, not the consequence, of organization, so we may believe that mind is the cause and not the consequence of brain development.
“The first implies there is a cause of life, independent of the organism through which it is manifested, and this cause must be persistent, eternal life, any other supposition being essentially unthinkable. And if we posit eternal life as the cause of life, we must equally posit one eternal mind as the cause of mind.
“And now that we are led to believe that the atom itself is highly complex, that it is a system of revolving electrons or corpuscles, held together by tremendous forces, the mystery becomes deeper still and we find it quite hopeless to realize what is the nature of the controlling power and mind, which out of such unimaginable entities has built up the vast material universe of suns and systems of which our earth forms a fractional part, together with that even more complex world of life of which we are ourselves the outcome.”
Even the chemists are beginning to see directive forces back of all Nature. Professor H. E. Armstrong, the learned chemist, says, “The general impression produced by known facts is that directive influences are the permanent influences at work building living tissues.”
Professor Larkin, the astronomer, in writing on this subject, remarked that “For a year past no book, pamphlet, or letter had been received at the observatory containing arguments against the scientific necessity for the existence of a creator to account for the universe.” He continues: “Science now demands a conscious power within protoplasm–the only living substance; and science knows that the power is mental, that mind now manifesting in man is identical in its nature, in every attribute, property, and phase, with primordial mind.
“The human mind is illimitable. Majestic as is the universe, it is destined to be still more magnificent. So is man. How shall eternal progress obtain, if all things are perfect now?
“To try to think of the existing possibilities of the coming grandeur is overwhelming. It doth not appear to what immortal heights man will ascend, for the mind of man is a portion of the infinite mind within.
“The expression that mind is now demanded behind protoplasm is obsolete. Mind within is the truth. This is immanency. No clew to its nature has been detected. To say that it is chemical activity obscures the problem. Waste no time at present to find what life is, but find what it is able to do.
“I state that mind is the base of Nature and that the seat of the mind is in the primordial electrons; and I reassert here and now that they know what to do to build all existing objects.”
These are the voices of science, speaking to an intellectual and listening world. They are the utterances of men learned in their professions, studious of Nature, of long and patient experience in the study and investigation of physical phenomena, and who have delved deep into the wonders and mysteries of life. These are the mature observations and conclusions of unbiased and thoughtful minds. They are flashes of light from an unexpected source, whose beneficent rays bring joy and gladness to the soul of man. They enlarge man’s understanding of himself, they give him a more complete conception of his place in the universe and the possibilities that await the future man. They are worthy of our deepest thought and contemplation.
When did theology give to man a message half so precious as this? In what theological book did you read of the greatness of the coming man? Theology said man was finished. What a conception in view of man’s arrested development. Man’s weaknesses and imperfections have always been emphasized and enlarged. It remained for science and philosophy to accentuate his greatness and possibilities.
Much criticism has been heaped upon science and philosophy in times past. They have been charged with removing the prop from man’s faith and belief, but they are awakening in him a greater faith and a stronger belief. They are revealing to him a knowledge of his own inherent worth and greatness.
“The human mind is illimitable.” What a message to man! The very thought vitalizes and quickens every energy of man’s being and arouses the sublimest emotions of the soul. If man is still a slave to the thought that he is weak, inherently bad, and insignificant, what message is of such transcendent value to him as that mind now manifesting in him is identical in every quality and attribute with Divine Mind?
If there is in man a spark of slumbering manhood, will not this arouse it to the highest activity? What will kindle the smothered fires of the soul so much as this thought? If man has not discovered the hidden forces and powers of his own soul, what tidings can give him such inspiration or lead him to that discovery, as the latest utterances of science and philosophy ?
“What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty!” Truly did the great Master of thought have a keen insight into the greatness of man.
Whatever man has accomplished in his upward progress since he was declared inherently bad, has been in the face of adverse suggestions and retarding influences. Limitations were always set before his face. Discouragement marked every step of his long and rugged pathway. That he has so far surmounted all obstacles and that he has made so much intellectual and moral advancement is the standing and indubitable proof of his own divine qualities.
To sum up the results at the present time, we find the most noteworthy of modern philosophers, scientists, and psychologists in agreement upon the fundamental questions respecting life and intelligence in Nature and that they are the basis of the physical universe. They are in unison on the point that life and intelligence are manifest in all created forms, from electrons, atoms, molecules, up through the infinitude of Nature to her highest organized existences. It is also said that the electrons are endowed with intelligence and understand what to do, to build all objective forms found in Nature.
Such being the conclusion of modern science and philosophy, Nature inspires us with a new interest and takes on a grander aspect. It can be seen at a glance that man’s mind will dilate with this thought that he is enveloped in an atmosphere of intelligence which pervades and carries life to every creative object. The flower will reveal new beauty, the tree more grace and symmetry, the mountain and valley more majesty and grandeur.
How similar are the voices that speak to us from different epochs of time when we open our minds to catch their meaning! The declaration of Jesus that the kingdom of God is within you; that of Emerson, that man has access to the entire mind of the Creator, is himself the creator in the finite; and that of modern science, that a universal intelligence pervades all nature and that the mind of man is illimitable, are equivalent, are one and the same. In different dialects and varying expressions they spoke the same great, universal truth. They saw the divine in man, they recognized his transcendent qualities, and each expressed the thought in his own way. They looked into the future, they saw man as he shall be, when he shall stand forth in the full stature of his mental and spiritual manhood, a free man, divested of all thought of limitation, conscious of his own true worth and greatness.
With these thoughts sinking deep down into his subconsciousness, man gains a new view and estimate of life and feels a deeper reverence, not only for the divine Creator of all things, but also a sublime reverence for the majesty of his own soul. He obtains a new faith in his own forces and worth, the first true step to all progress and advancement. He sees his kinship with the divine and the possibilities and duties that flow from that relationship. The consciousness of the divine in man creates worth without vanity; strength, poise, and serenity without egotism. Vanity and egotism are not qualities that flow from the consciousness of man’s divine kinship. They belong to undeveloped minds, those that have not touched the universal.
If life and intelligence exist throughout Nature and are present in all its manifested forms, then it follows, as a logical conclusion, that life and intelligence are in every electron, atom, molecule, tissue, nerve, muscle, and bone of the human body, a fact heretofore ignored or at least not expressed by medical science.
If this conclusion is correct, it suggests far-reaching consequences and possibilities in man’s development. The medical profession has spoke much and kindly about Nature and its marvelous powers of healing, and they have said that medical science can act only as an aid and assistant to Nature in the cure of disease. When pressed for the meaning it attaches to Nature and what it understands by the term, it has never been able to illuminate the questioner with an intelligent answer. It speaks of chemical activity and chemical action as the cause of physical change, when, as Professor Larkin says, the term chemical activity only obscures the problem.
The physiologist, in seeking an understanding of the human body, the mysteries of its life currents, the building and tearing-down processes, has failed to discover that an intelligence pervades and guides the operations of Nature, including everything in the physical organism of man. If he has discovered it, he has not made his discovery known to the world.
Alfred Russel Wallace continues: “Now in none of the volumes of the physiology of animals, that I have consulted, can I find any attempt whatever to grapple with the fundamental question of the directive power, that in every case first secretes, or as it were creates, out of the protoplasm of the blood, special molecules adapted for the production of each material bone, muscle, nerve, skin, hair, feather, etc., carries these molecules to the exact part of the body where and when they are required, and brings into play the complex force that alone can build up with great rapidity so strangely complex a structure as a feather adapted for flight.
“Of course the difficulties of conceiving how this had been done and is being done, before our eyes, is nearly as great in the case of any other specialized part of the animal body; but the case of the feather of the bird is unique in many ways, and had the advantage of being wholly external and being familiar to everyone.
“It is also easily accessible for examination either in the living bird or detached feather, which latter material offers wonderful material for microscopic examination and study.
“To myself not all that has been written about the properties of protoplasm or the innate forces of the cell, neither the physiological unities of Herbert Spencer, the pangenesis hypothesis of Darwin, nor the continuity of the germ plasm of Weismann, throw the least glimmer of light on this great problem.”
We must therefore conclude that some directive force is at work in the physical organism and with ceaseless activity selects molecules from the protoplasm of the blood to build up the manifold tissues and other parts of the human body. Whatever that influence is, it manifests intelligent action of a high order. It cannot therefore be other than intelligent. That same intelligence is sending the blood through the arteries and veins, carrying building molecules to the various parts of the body and at the same time bearing away the decomposed particles when their work is done. Thus that intelligence is ceaselessly and noiselessly performing its tasks, forever renewing the physical organism and keeping it new.
As evolution reveals that its processes ever tend toward development and growth, and that all life and intelligence are striving to manifest in more perfect forms, so we may well conclude that the forces, life, and intelligence within us are working to build healthful, normal, and perfect bodies.
What a startling fact for contemplation, that an intelligence pervades every atom and molecule of our physical organism and controls all its functions and activities. We pause and reflect on its far-reaching consequences, when we consider it from the standpoint of the psychologist. If intelligence holds dominion over the physical universe, it includes the physical organism of man and that intelligence is subjective. It can be impressed with ideas of health, power, ability, and other desirable qualities, with the certainty and consciousness that results will be measured by the thoughts conveyed to it and the manner in which they are impressed upon it.
In other words, the subjective intelligence will respond to the suggestion it receives from the conscious mind. This one thought unlocks the door to the mastership of man over the forces and powers within him. That he can guide and control that intelligence within, to build, renew, and accomplish according as he wills and suggests, is a fact of the utmost importance to man.
As we look forth into Nature and study its processes, we find it is difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of it and the hidden forces trying to find expression in manifold forms as other than intelligent. What is it that gives the flower a grace and beauty that no artist can match, but an intelligence endowed with a sense of beauty? What is it that builds the tree with such graceful symmetry and proportion, but an intelligent agency possessed of artistic qualities? What constructed the physical organism but an intelligent architect having a perfect understanding of the marvelous mechanism necessary to perform its proper functions?
The wonder is that we ever looked for other than an intelligent cause for all we see in Nature. On every hand we see beauty, proportion, order, grandeur, and harmony, the attributes and symbols of mind. When we stand, we are not conscious of holding ourselves erect, but there is an unrecognized power which sustains us in an erect position. When life is extinct and the intelligent forces cease to act, when the prop of intelligence is gone, the body falls.
We marvel at the developments of physical science and pay our grateful acknowledgment for its noteworthy benefits to man in his long and tedious struggle toward enlightenment. But it has not accomplished all or supplied all man’s wants.
Modern psychology has also done its work. What discovery in twenty centuries compares with this, that man has learned to tap the Universal Mind, the infinite reservoirs of his own soul, and thereby create health, ability, character, or any other quality he may desire? Man is at last discovering himself.
“Science started with the stars and ended with the soul.” We are following an illumined pathway that leads to a knowledge of the soul.
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The Message of New Thought
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