The Hidden Power, by Thomas Troward , at sacred-texts.com
THERE is a very general recognition, which is growing day by day more and more widespread, that there is a sort of hidden power somewhere which it is within our ability, somehow or other, to use. The ideas on this subject are exceedingly vague with the generality of people, but still they are assuming a more and more definite form, and that which they appear to be taking with the generality of the public is the recognition of the power of suggestion. I suppose none of us doubts that there is such a thing as the power of suggestion and that it can produce very great results indeed, and that it is par excellence a hidden power; it works behind the scenes, it works through what we know as the subconscious mind, and consequently its activity is not immediately recognisable, or the source from which it comes. Now there is in some aspects, its usefulness, its benefit, but in other aspects there is a source of danger, because a power of this kind is obviously one which can be used either well or ill; in itself it is perfectly neutral, it all depends on the purpose "for which it is used, and the character of the agent who employs it.
This recognition of the power of suggestion is in many instances taking a most undesirable form, and I commend to your notice, in support of this observation, numerous advertisements in certain classes of magazines--many of you must have seen many specimens of that kind--offering for a certain sum of money to put you in the way of getting personal influence, mental power, power of suggestion, as the advertisements very unblushingly put it, for any purpose that you may desire. Some of them even go into further particulars, telling you the particular sort of purposes for which you can employ this, all of them certainly being such uses as no one should ever attempt to make of it.
Therefore, this recognition of the power of suggestion, say even as a mere money-making power, to leave alone other misapplications of it, is a feature which is taking hold, so to say, of certain sections of the public who do not realise a higher platform in these things. It is deplorable that it should be so, but it is in the nature of things unavoidable. You have a power which can be used affirmatively, and which can be used negatively, which can be used for higher purposes, and can be used for lower purposes, and consequently you will find numbers of people who, as soon as they get hold of it, will at once think only of the lower purposes, not of the higher.
In support of what I say--although this is by no means, I suppose, intended as a low application, probably it is intended as a high application, but I cannot
say I agree with it--but to show you that I am talking from actual facts I will read you a note which I have made from the Daily Mail, of the 10th January, that I daresay some of you may have seen. It is an article headed "Killing by Prayer," and the article goes on to say that a certain circular has been sent round to the different hospitals and other places where the study of vivisection goes forward to this effect. In this circular, signed with the letters "M. C.," the writer says that he accidentally heard of a person who was in the habit of praying from time to time for the death of one of our leading vivisectors and that always the man indicated died. That is what M. C. heard by chance during conversation at a hotel dinner. Then thinking over this, M. C. goes on to say that he (or she) tried praying that the man most likely to cause suffering to innocent subjects by his experiments might be removed, and the consequence was that about a fortnight later one of our most distinguished medical scientists died.
I do not know who the scientist in question was; I daresay some of you may be aware of the name. However, that is what the Daily Mail tells us, and it also states that the Anti-Vivisection Societies were unanimous in condemning this circular, and very properly so. Now you see the sender of that circular, whoever he was, obviously thought he was doing a very good piece of work. I myself am by no means any friend of vivisection. I do not think any one can
have a real knowledge of the truth and remain in touch with it, but I certainly agreed with the Anti-Vivisection Societies in condemning such a circular as that. You see there is the assumption that prayer, or mental power, can be used to remove a person from the stage of life, and M. C. claims that he did it in the case of this particular scientist.
That brings back another parallel, almost, I might say, an historical parallel, to our mind; that of Dr. Anna Kingsford, taking place perhaps some forty years ago, who claimed--of course she was a very strong anti-vivisectionist--that by thought-power she caused the death of Claude Bernard, the great vivisection scientist of France. Certainly at the time that she put out her forces he did die, but on the other hand, it has been remarked that it was from that very date that her own break-up commenced, and never ceased till she herself passed into the other world. So you see these actions are likely to revert to the sender, even if they are successful.
Now in these two cases the ultimate object was not a low one, it was one which was supposed to be for the benefit of humanity and of the dumb creation. But that does not justify the means. The maxim, "The end justifies the means," is the greatest perversion of truth, and still more so if this hidden power, the power of suggestion, is used to injure any one for a more personal motive than in these cases which I have cited. The lower the motive, the lower the
action becomes, and to suppose that because mental means are employed they make any difference in the nature of the act is a very great mistake.
It has been sometimes my painful duty to sentence people to death for murder, and therefore I claim that I have a very fair knowledge of what differentiates murder from those cases in which life is taken which do not amount to murder; and speaking from the judicial experience of a great many years, and the trial of a large number of cases which have involved the question whether the death penalty should be passed or not, I have no hesitation in saying that to kill by mental means is just as much murder as to kill by poison or the dagger. Speaking judicially, I should have not the least hesitation in hanging any one who committed murder by means of mental suggestion. Psychological crime, remember, is crime just the same; possibly it is more deeply dyed crime, because of the greater knowledge which must go along with it. I say that the psychological criminal is worse than the ordinary criminal.
One of the teachings of the Master is on this very point. I refer you to the miracle of the fig tree. You know that he exhibited his power of killing not a person, not even an animal, but a tree. And when the disciples said to him, see how this tree which you cursed has withered away, he replied, Well, you can do exactly the same thing, and goes on to say, nothing shall be impossible to you. Therefore if you can kill
fig trees, you can kill people, but, "forgive, if you have aught against any," that your heavenly Father may forgive you.
He says in effect: now you have seen that this hidden power can be used to the destruction of life, at your peril use it otherwise than as a Divine power. Use it with prayer to God and with forgiveness of all against whom you have any sort of grudge or ill-feeling, and if its use is always prefaced in this way, according to the Master's directions, then nobody can use it to injure another either in mind, body or estate.
Perhaps some of you may be inclined to smile if I use the word "sorcery," but at the present day, under one name or another, scientific or semi-scientific, it is nothing but the old-world sorcery which is trying to find its way among us as the hidden power. Sorcery is the inverted use of spiritual power. That is the definition of it, and I speak upon authority. I refer you to the Bible where you will find sorcery takes a prominent place among the list of those things which exclude from the heavenly Jerusalem; the heavenly Jerusalem not being a town or a city in this place or that place, but the perfected state of man. Therefore, use sorcery, and you cannot reach that heavenly state.
It is on this account that we find in Revelations that wonderful description of two symbolical women; they represent two modes of the individual soul. Of course they go further, they indicate national things, race evolution and so on. Why? Because all national
movements, all race evolutions, have their root in the development of the individual. A nation or a race is only a collection of individuals, and therefore if a principle once spreads from one individual to another, it spreads to the nation, it spreads to the race. So, therefore, these two symbolical women represent primarily two modes of soul, two modes of thought. You know perfectly well the description of the two women. One, the woman clothed with the sun, standing with the moon under her feet, and with a diadem of stars about her head; the other seated upon an earthly throne, holding a golden cup, and the cup is full of abominations. Those are the two women, and we know that one of them is called in the Scripture, Babylon, and we know which one that is. One of the marks of this woman--mind you that means the class of individuality--is the mark of sorcery, the mark of the inverted use of spiritual and mental powers.
But what is the end of it? The end is that this Babylon becomes the habitation of devils, the hold--or, as the original Greek has it, the prison of evil, an unclean, spirit, the cage of every unclean bird. That is the development which takes place in each individual who sets out to misuse this mental power. The misuse may have a very small beginning, it may be such as is taught in a certain school, which I am told exists in London, where shop assistants are trained in the use of magnetic power, in order to decoy or
compel unknowing purchasers into buying what they do not want. I am told there is such a school; I cannot quote you my authority. That is a trifling matter. I go into a shop and spend two or three shillings in buying something which, when I get home, I find absolutely useless, and I say, "How in the name of fortune did I come to buy this rubbish?" Well, I must have been hypnotised into it. It does not make much difference to me, but it makes a great deal of difference to the young man or young woman who has hypnotised me, because it is the first step on the downward path. It may be only a matter of sixpence, but it leads on step by step, and unless that path is retraced, the final end is that of Babylon. Therefore it is that St. John says, "I heard a voice from Heaven saying, 'Come forth, my people, out of her'"--and that is out of Babylon--"come forth, my people, out of her"--that is out of this inverted mode of using spiritual power--"come forth, my people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins and that ye shall receive not of her plague." Therefore, against this inverted use of the hidden power I warn every one from the first day when he begins to realise that there is such a thing as mental or spiritual power which can be exercised upon other persons.
Are we then on this account to go continually in terror of suffering from malicious magnetism, fearing that some enemy here, or some enemy there, is turning on this hidden power against us? If so, we should go
in trepidation continually. No, I do not think there is the least reason for us to go in fear in this way. To begin with there are comparatively few who know the law of suggestion sufficiently well to use it either affirmatively or negatively, and of those who do know it sufficiently to make use of it, I am convinced that the majority would wish only to use it in all kindness, and for the benefit of the person concerned. That, I am confident, is the attitude of nine-tenths, or I might perhaps say ninety-nine hundredths, of the students of this subject. They wish to do well, and look upon their use of mental power as an additional means of doing good. But after all, human nature is human nature, and there remains a small minority who are both able and willing to use this hidden power injuriously for their own purposes.
Now how are we to deal with this minority? The answer is simple. Just see them in their true light, see them for what they really are, that is to say, persons who are ignorant of the real spiritual power. They think they have it, and they have not. That is what it is. See them in their true light and their power will fall away from them. The real and ultimate power is that of the affirmative; the negative is destructive, the affirmative is constructive. So this negative use of the hidden power is to be destroyed by the use of the affirmative, the constructive power. The affirmative destroys the negative always in one way, and that is not by attacking it, not by running at it
like a bull in a china shop; but by building up life. It is always a building power--it is building, building, building life and more life, and when that life comes in, the negative of necessity goes out.
The ultimate affirmative position is that of conscious union with the source of life. Realise this, and you need not trouble yourself about any action of the negative whatever. Seek conscious union with the ultimate, the first cause, that which is the starting point of all things, whether in the universe or in yourself as the individual. That starting point is always present; it is the same yesterday, to-day and forever, and you are the world and the universe in miniature, and it is always there working in you if you will recognise it. Remember the reciprocity between yourself and this truly hidden power. The power of suggestion is a hidden power, but the power which creates all things is the hidden power which is at the back of all things. Now realise that it is in yourselves and you need trouble about the negative no longer. This is the Bible teaching regarding Christ; and that teaching is to bring about this conscious personal union with the Divine All-creating Spirit as a present living power to be used day by day.
The Bible tells us there is such a thing as the mystery of iniquity, that is to say, the mystery of the spiritual power used invertedly, used from the diabolical standpoint; and when the Bible speaks of the mystery of iniquity, it means what it says. It tells us there are
powers and principalities in the invisible world which are using precisely these same methods on an enormous scale; because, remember one thing, there is never any departure in any part of the Universe from the universal rule of law; what is law upon earth is law in Heaven, law in Hell, law in the invisible and law in the visible; that never alters. What is done by any spiritual power, whether it is a spiritual power of evil or of good, is done through the mental constitution which you have. No power alters the law of your own mind, but a power which knows the law of your mind can use it.
Therefore, it is so essential that you should know the law of your own mind and realise its continual amenability to suggestion. That being so, the great thing is to get a standard for fundamental, unchangeable, and sufficient suggestion to which you can always turn, and which is automatically impressed upon your subconscious mind so deeply that no counter-suggestion can ever take its place; and that is the mystery of Christ, the Son of God. That is why we are told of the mystery of Christ, the mystery of godliness in opposition to the mystery of iniquity; it is because both the mystery of the Divine and the mystery of the diabolical are seeking to work through you, and they can only work through you by the law of your own mental constitution, that is to say, by the law of subconscious mind acting and re-acting upon your
conscious mind and upon your body, and so upon your circumstances.
The mystery of Christ is no mere ecclesiastical fiction. People have distorted it, and made it not clear, by trying to explain what at that time and in those days was not properly known, by trying to explain what they did not know; because what is commonly now known regarding the laws of mind was unknown then. But now this light has come we begin to see that the Bible teaching regarding Christ has a great and a deep meaning, and it is for these reasons St. Paul said to the Corinthians: "Little children of whom I travail again in birth, until Christ be formed in you." That is why he speaks of "Christ in you the hope of glory," that is to say, the Christ conception, the realisation of the Christ principle as exhibited in the Christ person, brings you in touch with the personal element in the Universal Spirit, the divine creative, first moving Spirit of the Universe.
Then you see that realising this as your fundamental fact, it is continually impressed upon your subconscious mind, even when you are not thinking of it, because that is the action of the subconscious mind to take in and reason and argue in its own deductive way upon things of which you are not at the moment consciously thinking. Therefore it is that the realisation of that great promise of redemption, which is the backbone of the Bible from the first chapter of Genesis to
the last chapter of Revelations, is according to a scientific law. It is not a hocus-pocus business, it is not a thing which has been arranged this way and might just as well have been arranged in some other; it is not so because some arbitrary Authority has commanded it, and the Authority might just as well have commanded it some other way.
No, it is so because the more you examine it, the more you will find that it is absolutely scientific; it is based upon the natural constitution of the human mind. And it is therefore that "Christ," as set forth in the Bible--whether in the Old Testament symbology, or in the New Testament personality--"is the fulfilling of the law," in the sense of specialising in the highest degree that which is common to all humanity. As we realise this more and more, and specialise it more and more, so we shall rise to higher and higher intercourse and more and more consciousness of reciprocal identity, reciprocal life with the Universal Power, which will raise us above any possibility of being touched by any sort of malicious suggestion.
If anybody should be, then, so ill-willed towards us and so lamentably ignorant of spiritual truth himself as to seek to exercise the power of malicious suggestion against us, I pity the person who tries to do it. He will get nothing out of it, because he is firing peas out of a pea-shooter against an iron-clad war vessel. That is what it amounts to; but for himself it amounts to something more. It is a true saying that "Curses
return home to roost." I think if we study these things, and consider that there is a reason for them, we need not be in the least alarmed about negative suggestion, or malicious magnetism, of being brought under the power of other minds, of being got over in some way, of being done out of our property, of being injured in our health, or being hurt in our circumstances, and so on.
Of course if you lay yourself open to that kind of thing, you will get it. "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." That is why the Scripture says, "He that breaketh through a hedge, a serpent shall bite him." That is the serpent that some of us know something about, that is our old enemy Nahash. Some of you, at any rate, are sufficiently trained in the inner sciences to know the serpent Nahash. Break down the hedge, that is to say, the conscious control of your own mind, and above all the hedge of the Divine love and wisdom with which God himself will surround you in the personality of His Son, break down this hedge and of course Nahash comes in. But if you keep your hedge--and remember the old Hebrew tradition always spoke of the Divine Law as "the hedge"--if you keep your hedge unbroken, nothing can come in except by the door. Christ said, "I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
I have spoken of the two great mysteries, the mystery of godliness and the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of Christ and the mystery of anti-Christ.
[paragraph continues] Now, it is not necessary, mind you, that you should understand these mysteries in full in order to get into your right position. If it were necessary that we should fully understand these mysteries, either to get away from the one or to get into the other, I think all of us would have an uncommonly bad chance. I certainly should. I can touch only the fringe of these things, but we can realise the principle of the affirmative and the principle of the negative which underlies them both; one is the mystery of light, the other is the mystery of darkness.
I do not say do not study these mysteries; they are exactly what we ought to study, but do not think that you remain in a state of danger until you have completely fathomed the mystery. Not a bit of it. You can quite get on the right side without understanding the whole thing, exactly as you travel on a railway without understanding the mechanism of the engine which takes you along.
So then we have these two mysteries, that of light and that of darkness, and therefore what we have to do is to exercise our will to receive the mystery of light, and then that will make for itself a centre in our own hearts and beings, and you will become conscious of that centre. Whether you understand it or not, you will become conscious of it--and then from that centre, that centre of light in yourself, you can start everything in your life, whether spiritual or temporal. You do not have to go further back; you do not have
to analyse the why and the wherefore of these things in order to get your starting point. It may interest you afterwards, it may strengthen you afterwards to do so, but for a practical starting point you must realise the Divine presence in yourself, which is the son of God manifested in you, that is the Divine principle of personality speaking within yourself.
So then, having realised this as your centre, you carry the all-originating affirmative power with you, all through everything that you do and everything that you are; day and night it will be there, it will protect you, it will guide you, it will help you. And when you want to do so you can consciously apply to it and it will give you assistance, and because you take this as your starting point, it will manifest itself in all your conditions; because, remember, it is a very simple law of logic that whatever you start with will manifest itself all down the sequence which comes from it. If you start with the colour red you can make all sorts of modifications and bring out orange, purple and brown, but the red basis will show itself all down the scale of colour, and so if you start with a basis of blue, blue will show itself all down the scale of various colours.
Therefore, if you start with the affirmative basis, the one starting point of the Divine spirit, not taking it lower down the stream, but going to the fountain head, that affirmative principle of life will flow all through, showing its own quality to the very tips of your fingers and beyond that out into all your circumstances.
[paragraph continues] So that the divine presence will be continuously with you, not as a consequence of your joining this Church or that, following this idea, or that teacher, but because you know the truth for yourselves, and you have realised it as an actual living experience in your own mind and in your own heart; and therefore it is that this personal recognition of the Divine love and wisdom and power is what St. Paul calls "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Each one who recognises this, is one who answers the Biblical description of a true Israelite indeed. That word "Israelite" in the Bible is a very deeply symbolical word, and carries an immense amount of meaning with it. So get this recognition as the real working fact that each one of you is an Israelite indeed, and if so, then make yourselves perfectly happy with the everlasting statement, which is as true now as it was on the day on which it was uttered: "There is no divination or enchantment against Israel."