Salvation for the World

AT one time the impelling motive which made people go through self-denial and trials was the desire to be saved out of the world. They had the hope and expectation that some few of the earth's inhabitants were going to be selected for future bliss. If life was dreary and desolate here, they comforted themselves by thinking that there would be compensation for all this in the other realm. In the endeavor to make salvation certain, there were those who sought for it by asceticism, cutting themselves off from all human activities for friendliness and good will, and oppressing themselves with fasting and self-inflicted punishment. It all seems so strange when one considers the attitude of our Master's prayer with and for his disciples, when he said, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." What was it that John meant when he said, "The whole world lieth in wickedness"? Was he not referring to a condition wherein men had their reasoning perverted, calling evil good and good evil, as, for example, thinking they could benefit themselves by doing evil to others?

What is it that causes envy, hatred, and the various cruelties and brutalities against which the Ten Commandments warn us? Is it not the theory that one can do evil to another in order that selfish good may come to himself? Is it not a condition of mesmerism, wherein evil seems to be reality and power? If John had said that the whole world was lying under a claim of hypnotism, would he not be describing exactly that terrible condition of fascination, that influencing spell by which mortals in their actions show characteristics the reverse of those one might expect from the children of God? If that be so, then salvation must be for the whole world. If competent to set one person free from the binding mesmerism, it will be of such a character as to assure deliverance for all mankind.

On Lifting Thought Godward
January 8, 1927

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