Succeeding Years

There is no segment in eternity's circle in which God can become more to man than He continuosly is; nor can any particular day in the calendar of time mark an increased immanence in the nearness of all-pervading good. Men, however, have a custom of opening the door of hope on the threshold of a new year, and of visioning for themselves and for the world a fuller experience of the good which they have longed for, fought for, perhaps, yet failed to grasp, or at best realized only in limited measure. The exercise of hope is always beneficial, if it is based on the understanding of divine Principle, Love; but it is no more effectual on one day than on another; nor does the oncoming new year bespeak any more of opportunity than is always at hand. But the very persistency with which mortals turn expectant thought toward some dimly sensed good outside of and beyond themselves, hints the reality and substance of divine good which is not afar off and elusive, but constant and present, waiting only to be understood and demonstrated.

At those moments when, in human belief, an old year is but recently ended and another allotment of time is marking its first stroke, eager youth may look forward with pleasure at the prospect of testing its strength against that of the world; while sober-minded maturity, disciplined by iterated disappointment, looks forward, too, but with a hope perhaps more tremulous, if indeed it be not tinged with skepticism. Looking backward with regret for deeds done or left undone, with grief for seeming loss, with memories of a happiness too impermanent, with relief, perchance, that some inglorious chapter is at last ended, and looking forward for some vaguely outlined better thing,—these belong to human experience, but are no part of spiritual consciousness, which reflects God and constitutes real existence. The beginning, the passage, and the ending of a year, as well as the year itself, with all the mortal events contained in it, are merely phases of a false, mortal concept.

There is rarely any profit in looking backward and living over again in memory past sorrows, or failures, or disappointments. The only benefit that can possibly come from even recalling them lies in learning from them how to avoid their repetition by abandoning the false beliefs which were the occasion of their appearance. Unspiritual experiences, one and all, are as unreal as is the measurement of time in which they are supposed to occur. Past deeds that were unworthy, conditions that were undesirable, need never recur; nor is it necessary to suffer any aftermath of wrong. One needs only to change the basis of his thinking from the material belief, which apparently caused his past unhappiness, to spiritual thinking, which can result only in harmony. This change is not so difficult of achievement as it sometimes seems to be. Illusions, past or present, must be surrendered; but when a false belief is once seen as the illusion that it is, its disappearance is already begun. This passing from the olf false belief to the new basis of spiritual thinking is the only progress that may be looked forward to; for it is the only real progress there is, and the only worth-while result that can come into so-called human experience.

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Believe God's Prophets!
January 6, 1923

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