BY JULIUS A. DRESSER
[The author of the following discourse, delivered in the Church of the Divine Unity, Boston, in 1887, and published in the Mental Healing Monthly, Boston, went to Mr. Quimby, in Portland, Me., as a patient in 1860, and became an ardent follower and expounder of Quimby’s views. In response to persistent requests, he published The True History of Mental Science, in 1887, to show the origin of mental healing in the United States, in contrast with a view which attributed the new truth to a “revelation” in 1866. He had no desire to enter into controversy, but believed that justice should be shown the man who unselfishly labored to establish a higher method of healing the sick. His own work with the sick continued until his death in 1893.]
It is generally recognized by the world that man received his powers and capabilities from his Maker; and it is believed by a majority of the Christian world that to some extent God exists within the members of His human family, but in what shape or to what degree He lives within them, they have little or no knowledge, nor even a definite belief. But that man is really a medium for God is clear from the highest spiritual evidences. From these evidences it is apparent that man is not complete in himself; he is only complete in God. Paul says that “our sufficiency is of God,” and is not of ourselves; and he also carries the idea in the same connection that man should not take any credit to himself for any power of capability as being of himself.
This divine mediumship is a vital thing to understand. For it reveals the fact that, instead of living in comparative weakness and inefficiency, we can approach infinite powers, just so far as we become open to and understand them. How shall we become open to these infinite powers? By understanding this mediumship or, in other words, by recognizing that whatever powers we each possess are not merely our own, but are God in us, and therefore are and must be infinite. I do not discriminate between powers for good and bad, because no one will do wrong except through ignorance.
A wise man knows that it does not pay to be bad or to conduct himself in an evil manner, and the unwise one is forced to learn this. There is but one direction in which it pays to move, in word or deed, and that is the right one. And the knowledge that our powers and capabilities are God in us takes away all desire to act recklessly or otherwise than with the best of motives and for the best of results.
The understanding of this mediumship is gained by knowing ourselves analytically, or in proportion as we thus know ourselves; but the worst enemy we have in getting this understanding and in enjoying the infinite power spoken of is selfishness. Man is born in ignorance, but he can grow out of that condition, if he overcomes his selfishness. In proportion as he is impeded by this, it is like a dead weight to defeat his progress toward light and truth. For, if he is in reality a medium for that which is not himself, the more he is bound up in his own personal comfort, his own affairs, good or bad, the less can that power use him; and his selfishness prevents his finding out his true status, it blinds his eyes and seals him in ignorance.
As we were born in ignorance of ourselves and of the truth, what arrangement did God make for working through us, how is He to get his work done that each of us is assigned to do? Indirectly, through our natural belief in the necessity for action, but, directly, through love. This element of love is a prompting toward another; and, as our ignorance of life and truth makes us largely dependent on each other for help of various kinds, the flow of love and the good will of charity is thereby promoted, and this opens us to an exercise of the God—powers within us, which are not only love, but all powers by which we perform our daily works and duties.
This spontaneous love, the very opposite of selfishness, opens out the soul to a full and free action for whatever benefit or cause we may promote, be it that of our families, our neighbors and friends, or the general good; and its stream is always laden with the dews of heaven for every thirsty soul it may help. Love, therefore, is the avenue for God through us. And we know very well that love is born of truth; while selfishness is born of ignorance, a soil in which the truth cannot flourish. Here we see why Paul said, “Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor’s good,” because man’s real power, God, works through one for another; and love unites us all in one bond of brotherhood, and in our common Father, who is the one only Reality.
And we see why Jesus said so much about oneness with his disciples, and why he laid down such far—reaching and apparently superhuman laws for the practice of love, such as “Love your enemies,” “Do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.” It was because love is the very flood—gate through which flow man’s real and true powers, and the wisdom that makes success and breaks down all obstacles. Christ’s law of love, therefore, is the very economy of life, the open door for the powers of the Infinite to flow through us to secure our prosperity and to do mighty works.
This mediumship is again expressed when we are told to work out our own salvation; and the consolation is added that “it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” And this is a consolation; for what the passage means is that God works through me, for instance, to will and to do whatever it is necessary for me to do. Therefore, God Himself is in every act of my life. And in every duty that we have to perform, and in every opportunity for doing good to another, if we do it willingly. Even to a denial of self, where our personal preference stands in the way, God is as much in it (our deed) as we are, and even more, because God is the reality of our being, and without Him we are nothing.
What a glorious life does this describe! What a majority against all difficulties! Surely, there can be no failure in such a life, except beyond where we understand; and God is constantly leading us into all truth and understanding. This is where selfishness does not stand in the way, and where no preference of our own, outside of simple necessity or justice to ourselves, is allowed to prevent a willing and an earnest doing of whatever seems to be the better way or the kindly act, or any duty in any given circumstances. Also where no personal reputation or self—glory is ever desired, and the cause of truth and the good of humanity, or of our neighbor, is ever uppermost.
Man is not a man in the abstract, but in the concrete. That is, he is an organized being; and it is as such that we need to deal with Him and understand Him. Now, if God fills all space, He certainly is within man—in every human being, so far as space is concerned, and that practically establishes God in man.1
1 That is, God is in truth the “Omnipresent Wisdom,” the essayist’s favorite term for God.—Ed.
Man is but an image or a thought of God, but God certainly is in His own thoughts.
Besides the many passages in Paul’s writings which directly speak of God in man, what does Jesus say about it? Being asked when the kingdom of God would come, he replied that it came not with observation, but “behold! the kingdom of God is within you.”
Now, if we understand that God fills the same space that our bodily form appears to occupy, that it is He who fills the space and we fill none of it, we soonest get away from the material sense of ourselves and more completely hold ourselves as purely mental (spiritual), with God as the reality of our being; and His attributes become the thoughts that govern us. In fact, the full realization of this has the most powerful correcting and harmonizing effect of any thought with which you can search yourself. And herein lies the meaning of Christ’s words when He said, “He that findeth his life (that is, his physical life) shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake (Christ’s) shall find it.” This is literally true, and it puts Christ in every inch of space that you occupy.1 Until you can make this surrender, you are not fully Christ’s, nor can you fully experience the fact that God is “All in all;” that is, the only Reality in yourself.
1 The term “space” is, of course, partly figurative, and refers rather to spiritual states.—Ed.
[Man a Medium of God, written by Julius A. Dresser, published in The Spirit of the New Thought: Essays and Addresses by Representative Authors and Leaders, Editor: Horatio W. Dresser, Publisher: Thomas Y Crowell, New York, N.Y. 1917, pp. 59—66. Julius A. Dresser was a patient, an ardent follower, and an expounder of Quimby’s views.—Ron Hughes]