The Hidden Power, by Thomas Troward , at sacred-texts.com
"THOU shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married" (Isaiah lxii, 4). The name Hephzibah--or, as it might be written, Hafzbah--conveys a very distinct idea to any one who has lived in the East, and calls up a string of familiar words all containing the same root hafz, which signifies "guarding" or "taking care of," such as hafiz, a protector, muhafiz, a custodian, as in the word muhafiz daftar, a head record-keeper; or again, hifazat, custody, as bahifazat polis, in custody of the police; or again, daim-ul-hafz, imprisonment for life, and other similar expressions.
All words from this root suggest the idea of "guarding," and therefore the name Haphzibah at once speaks its own meaning. It is "one who is guarded," a "protected one." And answering to this there must be some power which guards, and the name of this power is given in Hosea ii, 16, where it is called "Ishi." "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and thou shalt call me no more Baali."
[paragraph continues] "Baali" means "lord," "Ishi" means "husband," and between the two there is a whole world of distinction.
To call the Great Power "Baali" is to live in one world, and to call it "Ishi" is to live in another. The world that is ruled over by Baali is a world of "miserable worms of the dust" and such crawling creatures; but the world that is warmed and lightened by "Ishi" is one in which men and women walk upright, conscious of their own divine nature, instead of dodging about to escape being crushed under the feet of Moloch as he strides through his dominions. If the name Baali did not suggest a wrong idea there would be no need to change it for another, and the change of name therefore indicates the opening of the mind to a larger and sounder conception of the true nature of the Ruling Principle of the universe. It is no imperious autocrat, the very apotheosis of self-glorification, ill-natured and spiteful if its childish vanity be not gratified by hearing its own praises formally proclaimed, often from lips opened only by fear; nor is it an almighty extortioner desiring to deprive us of what we value most, either to satisfy its greed or to demonstrate its sovereignty. This is the image which men make of God and then bow terrified before it, offering a worship which is the worship of Baal, and making life blank because all the livingness has been wiped out of it.
Ishi is the embodiment of the very opposite conception, a wise and affectionate husband, instead of a taskmaster exploiting his slaves. In its true aspect the relation
of husband and wife is entirely devoid of any question of relative superiority or inferiority. As well ask whether the front wheel or the back wheel of your bicycle is the more important. The two make a single whole, in which the functions of both parts are reciprocal and equally necessary; yet for this very reason these functions cannot be identical.
In a well-ordered home, where husband and wife are united by mutual love and respect, we see that the man's function is to enter into the larger world and to provide the wife with all that is needed for the maintenance and comfort of the home, while the function of the woman is to be the distributor of what her husband provides, in doing which she follows her own discretion; and a sensible man, knowing that he can trust a sensible wife, does not want to poke his finger into every pie. Thus all things run harmoniously--the woman relieved of responsibilities which are not naturally hers, and the man relieved of responsibilities which are not naturally his. But let any perplexity or danger arise, and the woman knows that from her husband she will receive all the guidance and protection that the occasion may require, he being the wise and strong man that we have supposed him, and having this assurance she is able to pursue the avocations of her own sphere undisturbed by any fears or anxieties.
It is this relation of protection and guidance that is implied by the word Hephzibah. It is the name of those who realise their identity with the all-ordering
[paragraph continues] Divine Spirit. He who realises this unity with the Spirit finds himself both guided and guarded. And here we touch the fringe of a deep natural mystery, which formed the basis of all that was most valuable in the higher mysteries of the ancients, and the substance of which we must realise if we are to make any progress in the future, whatever form we may adopt to convey the idea to ourselves or others. It is the relation of the individual mind to the Universal Mind, the combination of unity with independence which, though quite clear when we know it by personal experience, is almost inexpressible in words, but which is frequently represented in the Bible under the figure of the marriage relations.
It is a basic principle, and in various modes pervades all Nature, and has been symbolised in every religion the world has known; and in proportion as the individual realises this relation he will find that he is able to use the Universal Mind, while at the same time he is guided and guarded by it. For think what it would be to wield the power of the Universal Mind without having its guidance. It would be the old story of Phaeton trying to drive the chariot of the Sun, which ended in his own destruction; and limitless power without corresponding guidance would be the most terrible curse that any one could bring upon his head.
The relation between the individual mind and the Universal Mind, as portrayed in the reciprocally connected names of Hephzibah and Ishi, must never be lost
sight of; for the Great Guiding Mind, immeasurably as it transcends our intellectual consciousness, is not another than ourselves. It is The One Self which is the foundation of all the individual selves, and which is, therefore, in all its limitlessness, as entirely one with each individual as though no other being existed. Therefore we do not have to go out of ourselves to find it, for it is the expansion to infinity of all that we truly are, having, indeed, no place for those negative forms of evil with which we people a world of illusion, for it is the very Light itself, and in it all illusion is dispelled; but it is the expansion to infinity of all in us that is Affirmative, all that is really living.
Therefore, in looking for its guiding and guarding we are relying upon no borrowed power from without, held at the caprice and option of another, but upon the supreme fact of our own nature, which we can use in what direction we will with perfect freedom, knowing no limitation save the obligation not to do violence to our own purest and highest feelings. And this relation is entirely natural. We must steer the happy mean between imploring and ignoring. A natural law does not need to be entreated before it will work; and, on the other hand, we cannot make use of it while ignoring its existence.
What we have to do, therefore, is to take the working of the law for granted, and make use of it accordingly; and since that is the law of Mind, and Mind is Personality, this Power, which is at once ourselves and
above ourselves, may be treated as a Person and may be spoken with, and its replies received by the inner ear of the heart. Any scheme of philosophy that does not result in this personal intercourse with the Divine Mind falls short of the mark. It may be right so far as it goes, but it does not go far enough, and fails to connect us with our vital centre. Names are of small importance so long as the intercourse is real. The Supreme Mind with which we converse is only to be met in the profoundest depths of our own being, and, as Tennyson says, is more perfectly ourselves than our own hands and feet. It is our natural Base; and realising this we shall find ourselves to be in very truth "guarded ones," guided by the Spirit in all things, nothing too great and nothing too trivial to come within the great Law of our being.
There is another aspect of the Spirit in which it is seen as a Power to be used; and the full flow of life is in the constant alternation between this aspect and the one we have been considering, but always we are linked with the Universal Mind as the flower lives by reason of its root. The connection itself is intrinsic, and can never be severed; but it must be consciously realised before it can be consciously used. All our development consists in the increasing consciousness of this connection, which enables us to apply the higher power to whatever purpose we may have in hand, not merely in the hope that it may respond, but with the certain knowledge that by the law of its own nature it
is bound to do so, and likewise with the knowledge that by the same law it is bound also to guide us to the selection of right objects and right methods.
Experience will teach us to detect the warning movement of the inner Guide. A deepseated sense of dissatisfaction, an indescribable feeling that somehow everything is not right, are the indications to which we do well to pay heed; for we are "guarded ones," and these interior monitions are the working of that innermost principle of our own being which is the immediate outflowing of the Great Universal Life into individuality. But, paying heed to this, we shall find ourselves guarded, not as prisoners, but as a loved and honoured wife, whose freedom is assured by a protection which will allow no harm to assail her; we shall find that the Law of our nature is Liberty, and that nothing but our own want of understanding can shut us out from it.