Here we recognize the element of time. How foolish, how childish, how puerile, to fail or even refuse to do the same when it comes to the human soul, with all its God-like possibilities! And, again, how foolish, because some of the blooms on the rose stock had not reached their perfection as soon as others, to have pronounced them of no value, unworthy, and to have refused them the dews, the warm rains, the life-giving sunshine, the very agencies that hastened their perfected growth! Yet this puerile, unbalanced attitude is that taken by untold numbers in the world to-day toward many human souls on account of their less mature unfoldment at any given time.
Why, the very fact that a fellow-man and a brother has this or that fault, error, undesirable or objectionable characteristic, is of itself the very reason he needs all the more of charity, of love, of kindly help and aid, than is needed by the one more fully developed, and hence more free from these. All the more reason is there why the best in him should be recognized and ever called to the front.
The wise man is he who, when he desires to rid a room of darkness or gloom, does not attempt to drive it out directly, but who throws open the doors and the windows, that the room may be flooded with the golden sunlight; for in its presence darkness and gloom cannot remain. So the way to help a fellow-man and a brother to the higher and better life is not by ever prating upon and holding up to view his errors, his faults, his shortcomings, any more than in the case of children, but by recognizing and ever calling forth the higher, the nobler, the divine, the God-like, _by opening the doors and the windows of his own soul_, and thus bringing about a spiritual perception, that he may the more carefully listen to the inner voice, that he may the more carefully follow “the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” For in the exact proportion that the interior perception comes will the outer life and conduct accord with it,–so far, and no farther.
Where in all the world’s history is to be found a more beautiful or valuable incident than this? A group of men, self-centred, self-assertive, have found a poor woman who, in her blindness and weakness, has committed an error, the same one that they, in all probability, have committed not once, but many times; _for the rule is that they are first to condemn who are-most at fault themselves_. They bring her to the Master, they tell him that she has committed a sin,–ay, more, that she has been taken in the very act,–and ask what shall be done with her, informing him that, in accordance with the olden laws, such a one should be stoned.
But, quicker than thought, that great incarnation of spiritual power and insight reads their motives; and, after allowing them to give full expression to their accusations, he turns, and calmly says, “He among you that is _without sin_, let _him_ cast the first stone.” So saying, he stoops down, as if he is writing in the sand. The accusers, feeling the keen and just rebuke, in the mean time sneak out, until not one remains. The Master, after all have gone, turns to the woman, his sister, and kindly and gently says, “And where are thine accusers? doth no man condemn thee?” “No man, Lord.” “_And neither do I condemn thee: go thou, and sin no more_.” Oh, the beauty, the soul pathos! Oh, the royal-hearted brother! Oh, the invaluable lesson to us all!
I have no doubt that this gentle, loving admonition, this calling of the higher and the better to the front, set into operation in her interior nature forces that hastened her progress from the purely animal, the unsatisfying, the diminishing, to the higher spiritual, the satisfying, the ever-increasing, or, even more, that made it instantaneous, but that in either case brought about the new birth,–the new birth that comes with the awakening of the soul out of its purely physical sense-life to the higher spiritual perception and knowledge of itself, and thus the birth of the higher out of the lower, as at some time or another comes to each and every human soul.
And still another fact that should make us most charitable toward and slow to judge, or rather refuse to judge, a fellow-man and a brother,–the fact that we cannot know the intense strugglings and fightings he or she may be subjected to, though accompanied, it is true, by numerous stumblings and fallings, though the latter we see, while the former we fail to recognize. Did we, however, know the truth of the matter, it may be that in the case of ourselves, who are so quick to judge, had we the same temptations and fightings, the battle would not be half so nobly, so manfully fought, and our stumblings and fallings might be many times the number of his or of hers. Had we infinite knowledge and wisdom, our judgments would be correct; though, had we infinite knowledge and wisdom, we would be spared the task, though perhaps pleasure would seem to be the truer word to use, of our own self-imposed judgments.
Even so, then, if I cannot give myself in thorough love and service and self-devotion to each and all of the Father’s other children, to every brother, no matter what the rank, station, or apparent condition, it shows that at least one of several things is radically wrong with self; and it also indicates that I shall never know the full and supreme joy of existence until I am able to and until I regard each case in the light of a rare and golden opportunity, in which I take a supreme delight.