And in the same sense we are all the saviors one of another, or may become so. A sudden emergency arises, and I stand faltering and weak with fear. My friend beside me is strong and fearless. He sees the emergency. He summons up all the latent powers within him, and springs forth to meet it. This sublime example arouses me, calls my latent powers into activity, when but for him I might not have known them there. I follow his example. I now know my powers, and know them forever after. Thus, in this, my friend has become my savior.
I am weak in some point of character,–vacillating, yielding, stumbling, falling, continually eating the bitter fruit of it all. My friend is strong, he has gained thorough self-mastery. The majesty and beauty of power are upon his brow. I see his example, I love his life, I am influenced by his power. My soul longs and cries out for the same. A supreme effort of will–that imperial master that will take one anywhere when rightly directed–arises within me, it is born at last, and it calls all the soul’s latent powers into activity; and instead of stumbling I stand firm, instead of giving over in weakness I stand firm and master, I enter into the joys of full self-mastery, and through this into the mastery of all things besides. And thus my friend has again become my savior.
With the new power I have acquired through the example and influence of my savior-friend, I, in turn, stand before a friend who is struggling, who is stumbling and in despair. He sees, he feels, the power of my strength. He longs for, his soul cries out for the same. _His_ interior forces are called into activity, he now knows his powers; and instead of the slave, he becomes the master, and thus I, in turn, have become his savior. Oh, the wonderful sense of sublimity, the mighty feelings of responsibility, the deep sense of power and peace the recognition of this fact should bring to each and all.
God works through the instrumentality of human agency. Then forever away with that old, shrivelling, weakening, dying, and devilish idea that we are poor worms of the dust! We may or we may not be: it all depends upon the self. The moment we believe we are we become such; and as long as we hold to the belief we will be held to this identity, and will act and live as such. The moment, however, we recognize our divinity, our higher, our God-selves, and the fact that we are the saviors of our fellow-men, we become saviors, and stand and move in the midst of a majesty and beauty and power that of itself proclaims us as such.
* * * * *
There is a prevalent idea to the effect that overcoming in this sense necessarily implies more or less of a giving up,–that it means something possibly on the order of asceticism. On the contrary, the highest, truest, keenest pleasures the human soul can know, it finds only after the higher is entered upon and has commenced its work of mastery; and, instead of there being a giving up of any kind, there is a great law which says that the lower always and of its own accord falls away before the higher. And the time soon comes when, as one stands and looks back, he wonders that this or that that he at one time called pleasure ever satisfied him; for what then satisfied him, compared to what now is his hourly peace, satisfaction, and joy, was but as poor brass compared to the finest, purest, and rarest of gold.
From what has been said let it not be inferred that the body, the physical, material life is to be despised or looked down upon. This, rather let it be said, is one of the crying errors of the times, and prolific of a _vast_ amount of error, suffering, and shame. On the contrary, it should be thought all the more highly of: it should be loved and developed to its highest perfections, beauties, and powers. God gave us the body not in vain. It is just as holy and beautiful as the spirit itself. It is merely the outward material manifestation of the individualized spirit; and we by our hourly thoughts and emotions are building it, are determining its conditions, its structure, and appearance. And, if there are any conditions we are not satisfied with, we by an understanding of the laws, have it in our power to make it over and change these conditions. Flamarion, the eminent French scientist, member of the Royal Academy of Science, and recognized as one of the most eminent scientists living, tells us that the entire human structure can be made over within a period of less than one year, some eleven months being the length of time required for the more compact and more set portions to respond; while some portions respond much more readily within a period of from two to three months, and some even within a month.
Every part, every organ, every function of the body is just as clean, just as beautiful, just as sweet, and just as holy as every other part; and it is only by virtue of man’s perverted ways of looking at some that they become otherwise, and the moment they so become, abuses, ill uses, suffering, and shame creep in.