Chapter 16 – Making Your Self the Master – Mental Law and Personal Destiny


Harvey Hardman
Making Your Self the Master
© Harvey Hardman
Denver, Colorado, 1935.

“And his father said unto him, ‘Son, thou art ever
with me, and all that I have is thine.”
— St. Luke.

[153] The parable of the Prodigal Son and the Elder Brother is one of the most significant lessons in the Bible, in regard to personal responsibility for the use of the mental Law that determines personal destiny. The fact that this parable has been used to illustrate and inculcate the doctrine of special Providence and a personal Deity is one of the interesting curiosities connected with the spiritual evolution of man.

The Figure of the Father in the parable is unquestionably designed to represent the Universal Mind or Creator. The characteristics of the Younger Son and the Elder Brother typify two distinct attitudes on the part of humanity toward God. The genius of Jesus drew these types with such remarkable fidelity to life, that they are as modern as though the characters were drawn yesterday.

We will consider the Figure of the Father as the Eternal Principle of all being. The Sons represent individual use of the Principle, or the action of personal mind in relation to it. For the sake of convenience and to make perfectly [154] clear the scientific conception implicit in the parable, we will regard the terms Father and Law as being synonymous. The Son stands for the individual mind.

The Law gives to the younger son that which “falleth to him.” Note that the Father did not remonstrate with the young man when he requested his part in the paternal fortune. He did not point out the pitfalls and dangers that awaited his unwary footsteps in the far country. Nor did he in any way interfere with the young man’s plans. He was permitted to use the wealth and power of the Law in exactly the way he chose to use it. He formulated in his mind the thing he wanted to do, and his will in the matter was left inviolate. Power was given to him to execute his plan.

No searching party was sent out for him when a long silence led to the disturbing conclusion that he was “lost.” No rewards were offered for information concerning him. He was left absolutely to his own devices, to find his own way and learn from experience the big lesson of life. Not until he “came to himself” and his awakened thought led him to say, “I will arise and go to my Father,” did the Law act to restore to him the position, power, and privileges of Sonship.

The supreme authority of the self was not [155] violated, even when he misused, through ignorance, the mighty power and resources of the Father.

The Law (the Father) did not say to him: “No, my Son, I will not permit you to misuse my power and wealth in the manner you contemplate. You can use my resources for only ‘good’ purposes. The word of my will is an immovable obstacle in the path of your progress in the wrong direction. You must be a ‘good’ boy, and I will not allow you to squander or use my wealth in the way you plan.” Instead, the young man was given complete freedom to do as he pleased.

In this brief lesson, we can only indicate the outline of our thought. If you wish to misuse the great Law for selfish, or even criminal purposes, the Law itself will not and cannot, as an act of personal interference, stop you, for the force of Law is in its own nature, and carries within itself the penalties of its infraction.

The resistance of the Law to your conscious or unconscious misuse of It is not in the action of the personal fiat on the part of a benevolent Father. It is the inexorable working of the Law as an impersonal force, in the action of which destructive thoughts and acts bear fruit after their kind.

[156] It is begging the question to say that the fruit of an evil or ignorant act is an illusion and non-existent, while the result of a “good” act is real because it is in harmony with the Principle of creative evolution. The “thorns and grapes” and the “figs and thistles” of another of Jesus’ illustrations, confirms the essential point that you can either use or misuse the impersonal Law. (For those who question the power of the individual to use criminally, or in any destructive way, the power of the Law, we suggest that you examine the statement in the parable with regard to harlots, certainly a crime against moral, to say nothing of criminal, law. And it was the Father’s power or wealth that made possible this criminal action.)

Much as we may wish to have a Father who would prevent us from squandering our spiritual substance in selfishness and sensual pleasure and in other destructive ways, the facts of life and the evidence of Law are both against such a conception.

Destiny, in the large sense of the ultimate of the human soul, may be fixed as to its character. That is, each soul is doubtless moving upon an unbroken spiral of ascent toward the perfect Ideal–Christ. A vast range of experiences, life after life, are no doubt required to realize this Ideal. The further we travel, [157] the more we see, and the more able we are to understand the truth.

But we are always dealing with Law, and the Law plays no favorites. It permitted the Younger Son to pander to his appetites. It allowed the Elder Son to become narrow, mean, jealous, and self-righteous– a wizened manikin instead of a man. Each had access to the unlimited resources of the Law. Each used it according to his limited understanding, and no doubt the bigoted Elder Son learned his lesson from the Father’s rebuke, as well as did the Younger Son from the Father’s love and generosity.

We call ourselves Scientists. Let us recognize the simple fact that it is impossible to erect a science on any other foundation than that of changeless Law. Personal destiny is determined at any period of the soul’s existence by its understanding and use of impersonal forces.

The Eternal Father, with perfect wisdom, has created a universe of infinite variety of phenomena, which is a perfect unity based on the Omnipresence of Law. When we perceive this principle of unity, we shall cease our vain clamoring for special consideration, and seek to understand the immeasurable generosity and wisdom of that Law which confers upon us the utmost liberty of choice and action, to the end [158] that we may learn at last that security and peace and happiness are to be found only in knowledge of the Truth–the only charter of mental and spiritual freedom and power.

The parable indicates that there is a thrill of joy in the Cosmos when an erring mind sees the Light of Truth, and when an individual abandons his selfishness and sensuality and returns to the sanity and peace to be found only in the shelter and protection of the Everlasting Law of Life.

The way of return is never closed, and the Father’s House is always open.

Chapter 17

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Making Your Self the Master
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