Carmen Ariza Part 193

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"I have solved my problem! I have proved G.o.d! I have found the Christ!"

"I knew you would, for he was with you always!"

"But--oh, you beautiful, beautiful girl!"

Then in a little while she gently released herself and went to the door through which she had entered. She paused for a moment to smile back at the enraptured man, then turned and flung the door wide.

A woman entered, leading a young boy. The man uttered a loud exclamation and started toward her.

"Ana!"

He stopped short and stared down at the boy. Then he looked wonderingly at Carmen.

"Yes," she said, stooping and lifting the boy up before Jose, "it is Anita's babe--_and he sees_!"

The man clasped the child in his arms and buried his face in its hair.

Verily, upon them that sat in darkness had the Light s.h.i.+ned.

CHAPTER 21

Another summer had come and gone. Through the trees in Central Park the afternoon sunlight, sifted and softened by the tinted autumn leaves, spread over the brown turf like a gossamer web. And it fell like a gentle benediction upon the ma.s.sive figure of a man, walking unsteadily beneath the trees, holding the hand of a young girl whose beauty made every pa.s.ser turn and look again.

"Now, father," laughed the girl, "once more! There! Why, you step off like a major!"

They were familiar figures, out there in the park, for almost daily during the past few weeks they might have been seen, as the girl laughingly said, "practicing their steps." And daily the man's control became firmer; daily that limp left arm and leg seemed increasingly to manifest life.

On a bench near by sat a dark-featured woman. About her played her boy, filling the air with his merry shouts and his imperfect English.

"There, father, comes Jose after us," announced the girl, looking off with love-lit eyes at an approaching automobile. "And Lewis is with him. Now, mind, you are going to get into the car without any help!"

The man laughed, and declared vehemently that if he could not get in alone he would walk home. A few minutes later they had gone.

The profound depth of those changes which had come into the rich man's life, he himself might not fathom. But those who toiled daily with him over his great ledgers and files knew that the transformation went far. There were flashes at times of his former vigor and spirit of domination, but there were also periods of grief that were heart-rending to behold, as when, poring over his records for the name of one whom in years past he had ruthlessly wrecked, he would find that the victim had gone in poverty beyond his power to reimburse him. And again, when his thought dwelt on Avon, and the carnal madness which had filled those new graves there, he would sink moaning into his chair and bury his drawn face in his hands and sob.

And yet he strove madly, feverishly, to restore again to those from whom he had taken. The Simiti company was revived, through his labors, and the great La Libertad restored to its reanimated stockholders.

Work of development had begun on the property, and Harris was again in Colombia in charge of operations. The Express was booming, and the rich man had consecrated himself to the carrying out of its clean policies. The mills at Avon were running day and night; and in a new location, far from the old-time "lungers' alley," long rows of little cottages were going up for their employes. The lawyer Collins had been removed, and Lewis Waite was to take his place within a week. Father Danny, now recovered, rejoiced in resources such as he had never dared hope to command.

And so the rich man toiled--ah, G.o.d! if he had only known before that in the happiness of others lay his own. If only he could have known that but a moiety of his vast, unused income would have let floods of suns.h.i.+ne into the lives of those dwarfed, stunted children who toiled for him, and never played! Oh, if when he closed his mills in the dull months he had but sent them and their tired mothers to the country fields, how they would have risen up and called him blessed! If he could have but known that he was his brother's keeper, and in a sense that the world as yet knows not! For he is indeed wise who loves his fellow-men; and he is a fool who hates them!

The great Fifth Avenue mansion was dark, except where hung a cl.u.s.ter of glowing bulbs over the rich mahogany table in the library. There about that table sat the little group of searchers after G.o.d, with their number augmented now in ways of which they could not have dreamed. And Hitt, great-souled friend of the world, was speaking again as had been his wont in the days now gone.

"The solution of the problems of mankind? Ah, yes, there is a cure-all; there is a final answer to every ethical question, every social, industrial, economic problem, the problems of liquor, poverty, disease, war. And the remedy is so universal that it dissolves even the tangles of tariff and theology. What is it? Ah, my friends, the girl who came among us to 'show the world what love will do' has taught us by her own rich life--it is love. But not the s.e.x-mesmerism, the covetousness, the self-love, which mask behind that heavenly name.

For G.o.d is Love. And to know Him is to receive that marvelous Christ-principle which unlocks for mankind the door of harmony.

"No, the world's troubles are not the fault of one man, nor of many, but of all who seek happiness in things material, and forget that the real man is the likeness of spirit, and that joy is spiritual. The trusts, and the men of wealth, are not all malefactors; the churches are not wholly filled with evil men. But all, yes all, have 'missed the mark' through the belief that matter and evil are real, and must grope amid sickness, poverty, crime, and death, until they are willing to turn from such false beliefs, and from self, and seek their own in the reflection of Him, who is Love, to their fellow-men. It is only as men join to search for and apply the Christ-principle that they truly unite to solve the world's sore problems and reveal the waiting kingdom of harmony, which is always just at hand. And it can be done.

It must be, sometime.

"In that day all shall know that cause and effect are mental. The man who hears the tempter, the carnal mind's suggestion to enrich himself materially at the cost of his brother, will know that it is but the voice of mesmerism, that 'man-killer from the beginning', which bids him sever himself from his G.o.d, who alone is infinite abundance. The society woman who flits like a gorgeous b.u.t.terfly about the courts of fas.h.i.+on, her precious days wasted in motoring, her nights at cards, and whose vitality goes into dress, and into the watery schemes for 'who shall be greatest' in the dismal realm of the human mind, must learn, willingly or through suffering, that her activities are but mesmeric shams that counterfeit the divine activity which manifests in joy and fullness for all.

"Christianity? What is it but the Christ-knowledge, the knowledge of good, and its correlated knowledge, that evil is only the mesmeric lie which has engulfed the world? But, oh, the depths of that divine knowledge! The knowledge which heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, and opens the prisons to them that are captive! We who are gathered here to-night, feeling in our midst that great, unseen Presence which makes for righteousness, know now that 'in my flesh shall I see G.o.d,' for we have indeed already seen and known Him."

With them sat the man who, swept by the storms of error and the carnal winds of destruction, had solved his problem, even as the girl by his side told him he should, and had been found, when his foul prison opened, sitting "clothed and in his right mind" at the feet of the Christ. Jesus "saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit--G.o.d--like a dove descending upon him--immediately the Spirit--carnal belief, error, the lie--driveth him into the wilderness." And there he was made to prove G.o.d. So Jose de Rincon, when the light had come, years gone, in desolate Simiti, had been bidden to know the one G.o.d, and none else. But he wavered when the floods of evil rolled over him; he had looked longingly back; he had clung too tightly to the human concept that walked with him like a s.h.i.+ning light in those dark days.

And so she had been taken from him, and he had been hurled into the wilderness--alone with Him whom he must learn to know if he would see Life.

Then self-consciousness went out, in those four years of his captivity, and he pa.s.sed from thence into consciousness of G.o.d.

Then his great world-knowledge he saw to have been wholly untrue. His store of truth he saw to have been but relative at best. His knowledge had rested, he then knew, upon viewpoints which had been utterly false. And so, like Paul, he died that he might live. He crucified Self, that he might resurrect the image of G.o.d.

"The world," resumed Hitt, "still wors.h.i.+ps false G.o.ds, though it reaches out for Truth. And yet, what are we all seeking? Only a state of consciousness, a consciousness of good, of joy and harmony. And we are seeking to rid ourselves of the consciousness of evil, with its sin, its disease and death. But, knowing now that consciousness is mental activity, the activity of thought, can we not see that harmony and immortality are within our grasp? for they are functions of right thought. Salvation is not from evil realities, but from the false sense of evil, even as Jesus taught and proved. The only salvation possible to mankind is in learning to think as Jesus did--not yielding our mentalities daily to a hodge-podge of mixed thoughts of good and evil, and then running to doctors and preachers when such yielding brings its inevitable result in sickness and death. Jesus insisted that the kingdom of heaven was within men, a tremendous potentiality within each one of us. How may it be reached? By removing hampering false belief, by removing the limitations of superst.i.tion and human opinion which hold its portals closed. True progress is the release of mankind from materialism, with its enslaving drudgery, its woes, and its inevitable death. Mankind's chief difficulty is ignorance of what G.o.d is. Jesus proved Him to be mind, spirit. He proved Him to be the creator of the spiritual universe, but not the originator of the lie of materiality. He showed matter to be but the manifestation of the false belief that creation is material. He showed it to be but a sense-impression, without life, without stability, without existence, except the pseudo-existence which it has in the false thought of which the human or carnal consciousness is formed. But the lack of understanding of the real nature of matter, and the persistent belief in the stability of its so-called laws, has resulted in centuries of attempts to discredit the Bible records of his spiritual demonstrations of G.o.d's omnipotence and immanence, and so has prevented the human mind from accepting the proofs which it so eagerly sought. And now, after nineteen centuries of so-called Christian teaching, the human mind remains still deeply embedded in matter, and subject to the consentaneous human beliefs which it calls material laws. Jesus showed that it was the communal mortal mind, with its false beliefs in matter, sin, disease, and death, that const.i.tuted 'the flesh'; he showed that mortals are begotten of such false beliefs; he showed that the material universe is but manifested human belief. And we know from our own reasoning that we see not things, but our _thoughts_ of things; that we deal not with matter, but with material mental concepts only. We know that the preachers have woefully missed the mark, and that the medicines of the doctors have destroyed more lives than wars and famine, and yet will we not learn of the Master? To reach G.o.d through material thinking is utterly impossible, for He is spirit, and He can be cognized only by a spiritual consciousness. Yet such a consciousness is ours, if we will but have it.

"Ah, friends, G.o.d said: Let US make man in OUR image and likeness--let Life, Love, Spirit make its spiritual reflection. But where is that man to-day? Buried deep beneath the dogma and the crystallized human beliefs of mortals--buried beneath 'the lie' which mankind accept about truth. Nothing but _scientific_ religion will meet humanity's dire needs and reveal that man. And scientific religion admits of actual, practical proof. Christianity is as scientific as mathematics, and quite as capable of demonstration. Its proofs lie in doing the works of the Master. He is a Christian who does these works; he who does not is none. Christianity is not a failure, but organized ecclesiasticism, which always collapses before a world crisis, has failed utterly. The hideous chicane of imperial government and imperial religion against mankind has resulted in a Christian veneer, which cracks at the first test and reveals the unchanged human brute beneath. The nations which writhe in deadly embrace to-day have never sought to prove G.o.d. They but emphasize the awful fact that the human mind has no grasp upon the Principle which is G.o.d, and at a time of crisis reverts almost instantly to the primitive, despite so-called culture and civilization. Yes, religion as a perpetuation of ancient human conceptions, of materialistic traditions and opinions of 'the Fathers,' is a flat failure. By it the people of great nations have been molded into servile submission to church and ruler--have been persuaded that wretchedness and poverty are eternal--that heaven is a realm beyond the grave, to which admission is a function of outward oblation--and that surcease from ills here, or in the life to come, is a gift of the Church. Can we wonder that commercialism is mistaken by nations for progress? That king and emperor still call upon G.o.d to bless their barbaric attempts at conquest? And that human existence remains, what it has always been, a ghastly mockery of Life?

"Healing the sick by applied Christianity is not the attempt to alter a mental concept; it is the bringing out of harmony where before was discord. Evil can not be 'thought away.' He who indulges evil only proves his belief in its reality and power. Christian healing is not 'mental suggestion,' wherein all thought is material. When evil thinking is overcome, then the discords which result from it will disappear from consciousness. That is the Christ-method. Behind all that the physical senses seem to see, know, and feel, is the spiritual fact, perfect and eternal. Jesus healed the sick by establis.h.i.+ng this fact in the human consciousness. And we must learn to do likewise. The orthodox churches must learn it. They must cease from the dust-man, whose breath is in his nostrils; they must cease from preaching evil as an awful reality, permitted by G.o.d, or existing despite Him; they must know it as Jesus bade all men know it, as the lie about Truth.

Then, by holding the divine ideal before the human mind, they will cause that mentality gradually to relinquish its false beliefs and copy the real. And thus, step by step, changing from better to better beliefs, at length the human mind will have completely subst.i.tuted reality for unreality, and will be no more, even in thought. The 'old man' will have given place to the 'new.' This is the method of Jesus.

There is no other. Yes, for the present we reckon with material symbols; we have not yet fully learned their unreality. But at length, if we are faithful, we shall lay them aside, and know only Truth and its pure manifestations.

"Ah, my friends, how simple is Christianity! It is summed up in the Sermon on the Mount. Our salvation is in righteousness. He who thinks right shall know things as they are. He who thinks wrong shall seem to know them as they are not, and shall pa.s.s his days in sore travail, even in wars, famine, and utter misery. Then why not take up the demonstration of Christianity in the spirit of joy and freedom from prejudice with which we pursue our earthly studies, and as gladly, thankfully seek to prove it? For it, of all things, is worth while. It alone is the true business of men. For if what we have developed in our many talks regarding G.o.d, man, and the mental nature of the universe and all things is true, then are the things with which men now occupy themselves worth while? No, decidedly no! But are the things which we have developed true? Yes, for they can be and have been demonstrated. Then, indeed, are we without excuse. Carmen has shown us the way. No, she is not unnatural; she is only divinely natural. She has shown us what we all may become, if we but will. She has shown us what we shall be able to do when we are completely lost in accord with G.o.d, and recognize no other life, substance, nor law than His. But--

"'I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil,' cried the prophet. _Truth always has its suppositional opposite!_ Choose ye then whom ye will serve. All is subject to proof.

Only that which is demonstrably true, not after the change which we call death, but here this side of the grave, can stand. The only test of a Christian is in the 'signs following.' Without them his faith is but sterile human belief, and his G.o.d but the distorted human concept whom kings beseech to bless their slaughter.

"'Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?

"'His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

"'That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

"'Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.'"

The fire crackled briskly on the great hearth. Carmen rose and turned off the light above them. All drew their chairs about the cheery blaze.

Silence, sacred, holy, lay upon them. The rich man, now possessing treasures beyond his wildest dreams, sat holding his daughter's hand.

Her other hand lay in Jose's. Sidney had just entered; and Haynerd had sent word that he would join them soon.

Then the silence was broken by the rich man. His voice was unsteady and low.

"My friends, sorrow and joy fill my heart to-night. To the first I am resigned; it is my due; and yet, were it greater, I know not how I could live. But the joy--who can understand it until he has pa.s.sed through death into life! This little girl's mother knew not, nor did I, that she was royal born. Sometimes I wonder now if it is really so.

And yet the evidence is such that I can scarcely doubt. We met in the sun-kissed hills of Granada; and we loved. Her old nurse was Argus-eyed; and our meetings were such as only lovers can effect. I was young, wild, and my blood coursed like a torrent through my veins!

But I loved her, yes, base though I was, I loved her. And in these years since I left her in that little house in Bogota, I have suffered the agonies of the lost when her memory and my own iniquity fell upon me and smote me sore--

"We were married in Spain, and the marriage was performed by Padre Rafael de Rincon."

"My uncle!" cried the startled Jose.

Carmen Ariza Part 193

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Carmen Ariza Part 193 summary

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