And still another law of life is that others usually manifest to us that which our own natures, or, in other words, our own thoughts and emotions, call forth. The same person, for example, will come to two different people in an entirely different way, because the larger, better, purer, and more universal nature of the one calls forth the best, the noblest, the truest in him; while the smaller, critical, personal nature of the other calls forth the opposite. The wise man is therefore careful in regard to what he has to say concerning this or that one; for, generally speaking, it is a sad commentary upon one’s self if he find only the disagreeable, the objectionable. _One lives always in the atmosphere of his own creation_.
Again, it is sometimes said, But such a one has such and such habits or has done so and so, has committed such and such an error or such and such a crime. But who, let it be asked, constituted me a judge of my fellow-man? Do I not recognize the fact that the moment I judge my fellow-man, by that very act I judge myself? One of two things, I either judge myself or hypocritically profess that never once in my entire life have I committed a sin, an error of any kind, never have I stumbled, never fallen, and by that very profession I pronounce myself at once either a fool or a knave, or both.
Again, it is said, But even for the sake of helping, of doing some service, I could not for my own sake, for character’s, for reputation’s sake, I could not afford even to be seen with such a one. What would people, what would my friends, think and say? True, apparently at least, but, if my life, my character, has such a foundation, a foundation so weak, so uncertain, so tottering, as to be affected by anything of this kind, I had better then look well to it, and quietly, quickly, but securely, begin to rebuild it; and, when I am sure that it is upon the true, deep, substantial foundation, the only additional thing then necessary is for me to reach that glorious stage of development which quickly gets one out of the personal into the universal, or rather that indicates that he is already out of the one and into the other, when he can say: They think. What do they think? Let them think. They say. What do they say? Let them say.
And, then, the supreme charity one should have, when he realizes the fact that _the great bulk of the sin and error in the world is committed not through choice, but through ignorance_. Not that the person does not know many times that this or that course of action is wrong, that it is wrong to commit this error or sin or crime; but the ignorance comes in his belief that in this course of conduct he is deriving pleasure and happiness, and his ignorance of the fact that through a different course of conduct he would derive a pleasure, a happiness, much keener, higher, more satisfying and enduring.
Never should we forget that we are all the same in motive,–pleasure and happiness: we differ only in method; and this difference in method is solely by reason of some souls being at any particular time more fully evolved, and thus having a greater knowledge of the great, immutable laws under which we live, and by putting the life into more and ever more complete harmony with these higher laws and forces, and in this way bringing about the highest, the keenest, the most abiding pleasure and happiness instead of seeking it on the lower planes.
While all are the same in essence, all a part of the One Infinite, Eternal, all with the same latent possibilities, all reaching ultimately the same place, it nevertheless is true that at any particular time some are more fully awakened, evolved, unfolded. One should also be careful, if life is continuous, eternal, how he judges any particular life merely from these threescore years and ten; for the very fact of life, in whatever form, means continual activity, growth, advancement, unfoldment, attainment, and, if there is the one, there must of necessity be the other. So in regard to this one or that one, no fears need be entertained.
By the door of my woodland cabin stood during the summer a magnificent tube-rose stock. The day was when it was just putting into bloom; and then I counted buds–latent flowers–to the number of over a score. Some eight or ten one morning were in full bloom. The ones nearer the top did not bloom forth until some two and three weeks later, and for some it took quite a month to reach the fully perfected stage. These certainly were not so beautiful, so satisfying, as those already in the perfect bloom, those that had already reached their highest perfection. But should they on this account be despised? Wait, wait and give the element of time an opportunity of doing its work; and you may find that by and by, when these have reached their highest perfection, they may even far transcend in beauty and in fragrance those at present so beautiful, so fragrant, so satisfying, those that we so much admire.