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The immutable and unalterable I Am is in no way affected by the instabilities of men. Neither smiles nor tears—vices nor virtues, nor prayers, change that divine Energy, who is “the same yesterday and forever.” Prayer expands the soul that breathes it, and opens to clearer vision the portals of the spirit-world, in which all have the right of citizenship. It intromits the petitioner into closer fellowship with heavenly hosts, and, imparting a holier baptism, raises him above the worthless things of earth. The soul in self-communion feels its immensity, its relation to the universe, and its illimitable future. And through prayer and meditation, the external universe partially reveals its inmost self, and another universe within—the subjective-opens in grandeur, seemingly limitless before the spirit vision.
One of our most philosophical writers on Spiritualism, purely appreciating the law of prayer, says:
“When man comes into that department of being where all that is eril and false ceases, when every impure and unjust desire and impulse is banished, and when the soul, in its yearninys after the divine, puts forth all its life and power in humble, submissive prayer--then is such soul elevated to the summit of its being, and there is infilled with the living presence of Divinity, which makes the whole being radiant with spiritual light. Such a degree of elevation is coming into the Mount of Transfiguration, and all who have really been there, have felt its blessedness and desired to establish his tabernacle thereon.”
Jesus, speaking from the inner life, said
“When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are ; for they love to pray standing in the synagogue and at the corners of the streets to be seen of men.
But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
James the apostle, in an inspired moment, asked
" Is any
sick among you ? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, * * * and the prayer of faith shall save the sick."
To plead with God for this or that, “ for Christ's sake,” is churchal, but not philosophical. Prayer moves us, and all in sympathy with us, as one chord in a musical instrument tones another, bringing us more and more into harmony with heavenly order. It is devoid of all virtue without practice. The sectarist prays God to send rain in the dry season, while the philosopher prays by irrigating his fields and gardens. The bigot prays God to feed the poor, whilst the philanthropist prays by carrying supplies to their very doors. The churchman, partaking of a rich repast, prays God to clothe and comfort the widow and the fatherless, and expects by these soulless ceremonies to win the special favor of heaven. Up from your knees, 0 Ritualist! and bestow the blessings which you ask God to confer. Golden the age when men will do, rather than say their prayers. The Grecian drayman received no help from Hercules, though calling in prayer, until he put his shoulder to the wheel.
Invocations to spirits, angels, God—“Jehovah, Jove, or Lord”—when bubbling up spontaneously from the inner depths, are vitalizing and strengthening to the divine forces of the soul. Whether niost efficacious, voiced, or breathed in calm silence, each must determine. No mortal is independent. Sympathies and destinies blend like the tremulous branches of forest trees. Man, dependent as stream upon fountain, is fed from the ever-flowing rivers of inspiration. Is it not expressive of gratitude, as well as wisdom, then, for man to look to God, as drop, rill, stream, lake, all, to the immeasurable oceanic fountain of waters? Thus, aspiring to the good and lofty, to angels and arch-angels, we approximate their states of recipient love, and become illumined with the Promethean fires of God's eternal sunshine, our souls invited up and standing upon high mountains of holiness, under the arching rainbows of Intinite Merey.
Aspiration knows no bounds; ideally it measures all spaces over which the soul treads; it is the highest form of prayer. The immediate object of prayer, then, is to incite calmness of spirit. It puts us into an inspirational condition,
enabling us to come into rapport with heavenly presences, association with whom transforms us into their own moral likeness. Companionship with poets makes us poetical ; with musicians, musical; with objects of beauty, beautiful in character; with the good, divinely spiritual. Folded under the wing of immortal hope, embosomed on the heart of the Infinite, thrilled with the pulsations of angel faith, we thus ascend higher, higher in thought and purpose—the children of God gathered home in the heaven of Love.
FREEDOM AND FUNCTION OF LOVE.
“Love is the fulfilling of the law."
"Come angel! for I need thy love
More than the flower the dew, or grass the rain.
And let me in thy smiles rejoice and live again !”
"Love communes in gentle glances,
Over there :
Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. Love is not merely a white lily uydulating upon embosomed waters, not an æolean harp murmuring music in the window, not the cooing of the turtle doves, but an active principle, a divine soul-emotion, the central magnet of our conscious existence. Just in the ratio of the soul's unfoldment, love becomes subjective, philosophic, idealistic and universal. Platonic love, blending with the fraternal, and enzoned by the infinite, is exalting beyond all heights of mortal perception; and yet as well talk metaphysics to mummied gorillas, as such love, disenthralled of passion and earthliness, to those who swelter in the lower brain department of their cranial organisms.
The inimitable Emerson, determined to preserve his wholeness, and recognizing no one being as absolutely necessary to his happiness, says of those early selfish loves :
-- I know how delicious is this cup of love-I existing for you, you existing for me; but it is a child clinging to his toy, an attempt to eternize the fireside and nuptial chamber; to keep the picture alphabet through which our first lessons were prettily conveyed.
* * Once abroad, we pity those who can forego the magnificence of Nature's Eden for candle light and cards.
This early dream of love, though beautiful, is only one scene in our life-play. In the procession of the soul from within outward, it enlarges its circles, like light proceeding from an orb. It passes from loving one to loving all; and so, this one beautiful soul opens the divine door through which he enters to the society of all true and pure souls. Thus in our first years are we put in training for a love which knows neither sex, person. nor partiality; but which seeks virtue and wisdom everywhere, to the end of increasing virtue and wisdom.”
Say not that Emerson's nature is cold and icy, reflecting only the crystalline side of life. To those sufficiently exalted rightly to translate him, he is warm, fresh, and golden. His soul feeds ours. Abiding in such love, we drink at his living fount of ideas, fatten upon his inspirational truths, bathe in his dreamy mysticisms, and feel the influx of eternal youth.
Souls require no introduction. The recognition is intuitional. Meeting a noble soul that knows our soul, we indulge the pleasing truth to us, that we knew the loved one in a pre-existent state, and delicious were those delicate experiences in the sweet realms of blessedness. Too etherial were the workings of that inner consciousness, then, to be now projected into the external memory of earth's sordid masses, cloyed with the cares of this material life.
“ 'Tis somewhere told in Eastern story,