Is it your ambition to become a great _preacher_, or better yet, with the same meaning, a great _teacher?_ Then remember that the greatest of the world have been those who have given themselves in thorough self-devotion and service to their fellow-men, who have given themselves so thoroughly to all they have come in contact with that there has been no room for self. They have not been seekers after fame, or men who have thought so much of their own particular dogmatic ways of thinking as to spend the greater part of their time in discussing dogma, creed, theology, in order, as is so generally true in cases of this kind, to prove that the _ego_ you see before you is right in his particular ways of thinking, and that his chief ambition is to have this fact clearly understood,–an abomination, I verily believe, in the sight of God himself, whose children in the mean time are starving, are dying for the bread of life, and an abomination I am sure, in the sight of the great majority of mankind. Let us be thankful, however, for mankind is finding less use for such year by year, and the time will soon come when they will scarcely be tolerated at all.
It is to a very great extent on account of men of this kind, especially in the early history, that the true spirit of religion, of Christianity, has been lost sight of in the mere form. The basket in which it has been deemed necessary to carry it has been held as of greater import than the rare and divinely beautiful fruit itself. The true spirit, that that quickeneth and giveth life and power, has had its place taken by the mere letter, that that alone blighteth and killeth. Instead of running after these finely spun, man-made theories, this stuff,–for stuff is the word,–this that we outgrow once every few years in our march onward and upward, and then stand and laugh as we look back to think that such ideas have ever been held, instead of this, thinking that thus you will gain power, act the part of the wise man, and go each day into the _silence_, there commune with the Infinite, there dwell for a season with the Infinite Spirit of all life, of all power; for you can get _true power_ in no other way.
Instead of running about here and there to have your cup filled at these little stagnant pools, dried up as they generally are by the continual rays of a constantly shining egoistic sun, go direct to the great fountain-head, and there drink of the water of life that is poured out freely to every one if he will but go there for it. One can’t, however, send and have it brought by another.
Go, then, into the _silence_, even if it be but for a short period,–a period of not more than a quarter or a half-hour a day,–and there come into contact with the Great Source of all life, of all power. _Send out your earnest desires for whatsoever you will; and whatsoever you will, if continually watered by expectation, will sooner or later come to you_. All knowledge, all truth, all power, all wisdom, all things whatsoever, are yours, if you will but go in this way for them. It has been tried times without number, and has never yet once failed where the motives have been high, where the knowledge of the results beforehand has been sufficiently great. Within a fortnight you can know the truth of this for yourself if you will but go in the right way.
All the truly great teachers in the world’s history have gotten their powers in this way. You remember the great soul who left us not long ago, he who ministered so faithfully at Trinity, the great preacher of such wonderful powers, the one so truly inspired. It was but an evening or two since, when in conversation with a member of his congregation, we were talking in regard to Phillips Brooks. She was telling of his beautiful and powerful spirit and said that they were all continually conscious of the fact that he had a power they hadn’t, but that all longed for; that he seemed to have a great secret of power they hadn’t, but that they often tried to find. She continued, and in the very next sentence went on to tell of a fact,–one that I knew full well,–the fact that during a certain period of each day he took himself alone into a little, silent room, he fastened the door behind him, and during this period under no circumstances could he be seen by any one. The dear lady knew these two things, she knew and was influenced by his great soul power, she also knew of his going thus into the silence each day; but, bless her heart, it had never once occurred to her to put the two together.
It is in this way that great soul power is grown; and the men of this great power are the men who move the world, the men who do the great work in the world along all lines, and against whom no man, no power, can stand. Call to mind a number of the world’s greatest preachers, or, using again the better term, teachers, and bear in mind I do not mean creed, dogma, form, but religious teachers,–and the one class differs from the other even as the night from the day,–and you will find two great facts in the life of each and all,–great soul power, grown chiefly by much time spent in the silence, and the fact that the life of each has been built upon this one great and all-powerful principle of love, service, and helpfulness for all mankind.