Making Your Self the Master
© Harvey Hardman
Denver, Colorado, 1935.
 The human soul, in its religious life and desire for worship, will never be content with a purely metaphysical, abstract conception of God. While we recognize that such words as Principle, Cause, Infinite and Eternal Energy, Universal Spirit, and the like, are proper scientific names for Deity, and have their admitted value in modern religious thought, they do not, as a matter of fact, completely satisfy the longing of the human heart for a God who cares, and who can respond to our human need for compassionate understanding and personal communion. We cannot worship a principle; we cannot commune with a law; we cannot have a sense of companionship with energy.
We must, therefore, in working out a scientific system of religious thought and practice, account for the universal nature of God in terms that are universal; and for the personal nature of God in terms that are personal. And, since the Infinite is One and All, and therefore universal and, at the same time, finite and individual in the manifested creation, and therefore particular in the forms of nature, the solution of the problem is not impossible. That a perfect and final solution must rest with generations  to come we must admit. But we are making a start. What we do here and now will contribute to that perfected Science of the Soul, to be enjoyed by humanity in that blessed time when superstitions, that now bind mankind in prisons of darkness and fear, will be merely a part of the literature of the future describing the strange ideas of God that men once believed and held sacred.
The word universal, when applied to Deity, means the all-inclusive One, the Absolute Unity, the Omnipresent Principle of all things.
As the Principle of Life, it is the same in all living forms. As the Principle of Intelligence, it is the same in all minds. As the Principle of energy, it is the same in all motion. It is the Impersonal Source of all that is personal–the Infinite One.
The word Father, when applied to Deity, must refer to consciousness, love, purpose, creative intention. The word father, in our language, and in fact in all tongues, is not capable of mistranslation. It means the male principle of generation, one who begets. Like all words, it is of human origin, and is one of the oldest words in any and all languages. It is definitely related in the human mind to the act of begetting offspring, and the offspring is always related as child to the father, and like the father in form, appearance and nature.
 How natural that men, in their thinking about God, should come to regard Him as their own Father. It required a long time for this conception to reach maturity in all its implications of love and fellowship, but it grew alongside the other conception of God as a being of partialities, capable of hating some nations and loving others.
The old Hebrew tribal deity was a man of war, destroying the enemies of the Jews, and not a universal Father. Nevertheless, we see the idea growing in Hebrew literature. Where can we find a loftier sentiment than this of David’s: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust,”–the frail creatures of time and circumstance. Not until that other great Jew, Jesus, gave to this conception its fuller meaning did mankind come to see that the Infinite Father is more willing and able to give good things unto his human offspring than man is to give good things to his own flesh and blood. And it was only through the greed and selfishness of a crafty priesthood, that this vision of infinite compassion and love was twisted into the awful creeds that defined God as an infinite, an inhuman being, who would consign some of his creatures to eternal torment because they  could not or would not believe certain creeds and worship in certain ways.
But although the idea of the Universal Father is a beautiful and in many ways satisfying ideal, it is very easily distorted into the image of a being with human limitations, with partiality and special favors to some who worship him, and discrimination against those who are wicked and irreligious. Jesus forever silenced that thought for those who study his teaching, when he pointed out the obvious fact that “He sendeth his rains on the unjust and the just alike.” So our thought of the Universal Father must be lifted to the plane of the impersonal Principle of all things. Our human terms are necessary to get any conception of God at all. It is man that calls God the Father, and so in a very large way attributes to the Infinite his own qualities, thoughts, desires and characteristics.
In this there is an element of truth. We are conscious, therefore consciousness must be an attribute of the Universal Father from whom we emerge. Man thinks, and by thinking, creates his world of experience. Hence God must think, and in so doing brings forth the creation. It is right that we should reason from man the effect, to God the Cause, as well as from Cause to effect. It is only in this  way that we can confirm our conclusions.
If we make statements about God that grow out of our human limitations, like attributing personality to the Deity, we deny in so doing the universal and impersonal nature of God as Principle. If we deny the attribute of consciousness, life, and intelligence which must inhere in the Universal Father, we become confused, for we ourselves possess these attributes and could only derive them from like attributes in our Source.
The Universal is Life, Mind, Spirit. How do we know? Because man expresses life, intelligence, spirit. How can we know God as Father? By realizing the Presence of the Universal One within ourselves. That is the only way we can know the Infinite at all, for our consciousness is the personal action of the Impersonal Principle of Being.
By reasoning in this way we come to see the wisdom of the teaching of Jesus, who found this Presence within himself and called it the “Father in me.” It is the Father in me that makes it possible for me to be the father of my children. The principle of generation that makes this possible is the same Principle which, on the universal plane, makes God the progenitor of worlds and all that is in them.
 If I wish to worship this Infinite Creator, I can find no place to contact Him except in my own soul. Here I can commune with and be conscious of life, love, intelligence, power. When I know that these elements of my being are the individual expression of the Infinite Father, and one with Him, I no longer have a feeling of detachment or separation. I can say with Jesus, “I and my Father are one.” This enables me to know my completeness in Him, and His completeness in me. I do not have to worship an external symbol through rituals and creeds. I have the essence of the Father within my own soul. And this means the power, love, life and wisdom of the Father. The Universal is no longer merely Principle to me, a cold impersonal God of Law, but intimate and dear as my Father. And in this conception I find that which satisfies my intellect, warms my heart with love for all things, and puts me in touch with the Soul of beauty and truth.
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