THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW THOUGHT
THE ABUNDANT LIFE
BY SARAH J. FARMER
[Miss Farmer, well known as the founder of the Green Acre Conferences, Eliot, Maine, established 1894, gave the mental-healing movement a prominent place in the early years. The following is from an address in which she interpreted the New Thought in her own terms.]
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Down through the ages these words have run like a joy-bell. We have heard them. We have repeated them again and again. Today they sound in our ears and bring a new revelation. We call it the New Thought, but the only thought in the universe is God, "the same yesterday, today, and forever."
What is the newness about which we talk like children?
This, too, is answered in the old, familiar words -- "newness of life." It is the new revelation that comes to the individual when for the first time there flashes in upon him the meaning of the Incarnation -- the Power that worketh in us. We hold our breath as the mysterious words are opened to our rapt gaze -- "that ye might be filled with all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily." What! -- we who have thought ourselves "weak worms of the dust," are we called to this high goal? With a humility that sends us to our knees, but with a joy that the world never before gave us -- a joy too deep for words -- the conviction fills our being that nothing less than the attainment of this birthright can satisfy the immortal soul. . . .
In this moment a voice breaks the silence: "Thou hast made us, for Thyself, and the heart never resteth till it findeth rest in Thee." St. Augustine walked in this Path, pointed out by sages of old, and found it the path of peace. We, too, must find it; but how? We have put such a halo about the head of the one who came to be to us "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," that our eyes have been blinded and we have groped our way in darkness, sometimes crying out with Siddartha --
In this maze of doubt, how can we find our way? By changing our thinking. "Repent, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," was the warning cry of one in the wilderness. It had been to him a wilderness -- he had found it the kingdom of heaven; and his warning cry, "Repent!" means (literally translated) "Change your thinking!" You think life a vale of tears, where only misery and trouble reign; change your thinking and you will know it to be the kingdom of heaven, where love, peace, and joy abound. This is what the phrase New Thought means. It is simply putting ourselves in new relation to the world about us by changing our thought concerning it. The moment that we begin to conceive of the creative power of thought, the abundant Life has consciously begun in us. It was always there, for it is the only Life; but while we were unconscious of it we missed its joy. Now we know that we alone are responsible for our environment, our attitude of mind, our misery or peace. We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators, "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." In this moment of revelation our relation to Him changes. Hitherto we have followed Him afar off, worshiping Him with a blind faith that sometimes carried us to mountain-tops of revelation and sometimes left us in valleys of despair.
Now, all is changed. Jesus, who grasped this truth and through overcoming attained his birthright of the Son of God, becomes to us a Savior in very deed and truth -- a mediator between this vision of God to which we are called and the narrow life of self that we have known. Though fashioned in the form of man, He thought it "not robbery to be equal with God." With fear and trembling, we listen to His words with a new spirit of interpretation and find that He calls us to manifest not only the power of the indwelling God that He showed to the world, but to do "even greater" things. Men and women who listen, ask yourselves this question: Can it be possible that it has taken Christianity nineteen hundred years to come to the realization that we who take upon ourselves the name of Christ are called to reach the plane of life that Jesus of Nazareth reached, and to do the works that He did before the fulness of time can come in which He can reveal the "other things" that even then He had to tell but could not because His disciples could not bear them?
The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in birth, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God -- waiting for you and me to turn from seeking after the things of self and to give ourselves in gladness of heart, first to realizing within ourselves the fruits of the abundant Life, and then to bestowing it upon others by simply being. Said Carlyle:
"The ideal is in thyself; the impediment, too, is in thyself; thy condition is but the stuff thou art to shape that same ideal out of. . . . O thou that pinest in the imprisonment of the Actual and criest bitterly to the gods for a kingdom wherein to rule and create, know this of a truth: The thing thou seekest is already within thee, 'here or nowhere, couldst thou only see it!' "
We give unto others only that which Emerson says we cannot give -- that which emanates from us. To speak the word that shall impart the abundant Life we must consciously be that Life. We must say with Paul -- who caught the secret that Jesus sought in vain to impart to His disciples, and that He could teach them only by going away from them -- "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me," Did the thought ever come to you that Jesus took those words upon His lips when He said -- "The words that ye hear me speak and the deeds that ye see me do are not mine, but the Father's who dwelleth in me." That He, too, must overcome the temptations of the Son of Man before he could consciously become the Son of God, to whom all power is given in heaven and earth? Tempted at all points like as we are, and yet without sin, through overcoming he rose in his consciousness, step by step, toward union with his Father, until at last the full glory burst upon Him and men hid their faces, unable to bear its radiant effulgence.
In all ages of the past, thousands of years before the birth of Jesus, great souls caught the vision of the Christ and tried to attain unto it by making the choice between "the way of greatness or the way of good," and by treading the paths of life "with patient. stainless feet." In this way Siddartha became the Buddha. A kingdom was not too great a price for him to pay for this "pearl of great price" -- the abundant Life.
Six hundred years later Jesus showed us a harder task -- to be "in the world, and not of it"; to hold wealth as a wise steward and administer it for the good of humanity, not for the gratification of self.
There were times in the life of Jesus when He went apart to the mountains or the desert and spent whole nights in prayer, not as an example for us to follow, but because the world-thought weighed Him down so utterly that only by going apart into the silence could He keep His conscious connection with the Father, which was the source of His power and the strength that enabled Him to finish the work His Father had given Him to do. . . .
How shall the hunger and thirst after righteousness that bring us here be satisfied? Does it seem too great for you? Too wonderful? You cannot attain unto it? "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." What is rest? Listen to Henry Drummond, of our own day, who not only found it himself but imparted the secret to others, especially to young men:
"It is the mind at leisure from itself. It is the perfect poise of the soul; the absolute adjustment of the inward man to the stress of all outward things; the preparedness against every emergency; the stability of assured convictions; the eternal calm of an invulnerable faith; the repose of a heart set deep in God. It is the mood of the man who says, with Browning, 'God's in His heaven, all's right with the world.' "
How can we attain such faith? By taking our mind from such securities as houses, lands, stocks, bonds, safety-vaults, banks, and even friends, and, placing it upon Him whose these are.
The Vedas say, "Those who think on Me, with love and devotion in their hearts, find all that they need at their very door, brought by myself" [literally, on my shoulders]. Did you ever fully realize what it means to be God's "shoulders" to the saint who trusts to His providing care; or to be the hands by which He leads home some wandering child; or to be His feet to carry to those who know Him not the gospel of peace? If not, go home to the silence of your own room. Enter the closet of your own soul, and pray to the Father to reveal Himself in you. Prayer is the ladder by which we climb to heights of conscious being where our prayer is answered before it is uttered. "Only in meditation the Mystery speaks to us."