Universal Brotherhood – September 1899


"One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin."

Brotherhood is the condition of universal kinship. What then is this "one touch" of which the wise poet wrote? In demonstrating the realness of Brotherhood in our lives, we shall find this wonderful touch of kinship. Another poet equally wise has said:

"Yet underneath Socrates clearly see, and underneath Christ, the Divine, I see."

It is this universal divinity that is the touchstone, this divinity in all men that is the common ground on which all men meet.

What is it that makes a boy fight for his dog? What is it that makes a dog leap into a stream to save a child? What is it that fairly dashes a man into a flaming building to save his fellow? What is it that makes our Father Damiens, our fever nurses, our hero surgeons on the firing line? These last might admit that they loved humanity. But why love humanity?

There is a saying that blood is thicker than water. Verily, we love humanity because the divine essence which is in us is a thicker "blood" than the water of our selfish lives — and therein lies the greatness and power of true Brotherhood. It is this divine force which will prevail. We have been battling against it for ages. We have made wars and famines in our greed for power and wealth as nations. We have made poverty and vice in our lusts of trade. We have broken hearts and retarded souls in our desires of the flesh. But to-day the hand of this law of nature, this law of Brotherhood, is on the shoulder of every man and woman. Yet with only this touch, this call to awake to the divinity in each of us: "Waken, O my children, and try to think; try to realize who you are, who your brothers and sisters are," the great mother has spoken to us. She has cried out to us to cease our strife, to cease our warring, to have an end to our selfish greed. And already one who listens may hear the answers echoing throughout the world, like the sentry posts of a camp calling out along the lines in the night.

Mother Nature has pointed the way, she is showing herself to us, showing us that the real, true, natural life is harmony, and each individual expression of the "All Life" is one note in that harmony. It falls then to each one of us to strike our "note" and see if it does harmonize. If not we must then tune ourselves up to the proper pitch.

Brotherhood is, after all, a very plain, practical state, its condition is a very simple one. At the present time, during the present life, we are making our home on this old earth. Now just as one should try to make one's personal home as pleasant as possible, so should one try to do one's share toward making this earth-home a pleasant place to dwell in. Brotherhood begins within each one of us right on the inside and just where we are. No man has the right to so live that he shatters his health and so becomes petulant and sour. If by any means he has gotten himself into such a condition he is bound to overcome and rise above that condition of health as far as he can and so clear himself of his petulance. This idea should be carried up into the mental and moral planes of life. We must clear our minds of all dark thoughts, bigotry, intolerance and selfishness that clog and make them sluggish and unresponsive. We must open the windows of our soul and let in the sunshine and the air of truth. We must accept the rains and storms of pain and sorrow even as do the flowers, and learn to realize that growth comes thereby as well as from the sunshine. We must learn that the "fundamental" of Brotherhood — giving and sharing — is the only "business" that pays a hundred per cent, alike to borrower and lender. Thus we may become active brothers as we walk our daily rounds and thus we come to see the Brotherhood of all things.

Brotherhood means more than an organization — it is not a solidarity in a narrow sense, it is not a trades' union. It is a condition, a state of being, and a state of being must be realized and felt, not by the senses but by that inner power, the real man, which knows and feels, which is that divine central thought, that divine life within us, from which we radiate and to which we draw all our Brotherhood.

Brotherhood is not a dead level for mankind — not in the least. There are elder and younger brothers in the great universal family just as there are in our little personal families, and the younger members need teaching and helping. They need the schools of the heart and soul and mind and body. Neither is there any man so wise but that there may be a wiser, and the wiser a man becomes the more truly simple and humble he becomes, the more ready to teach and be taught, and the more ready to serve and help.

There is another thing that Brotherhood is not. It is not sentimentalism. He who deals in sentimental ideas of and for his fellows is not as yet a true brother. In fact, Brotherhood is ultra-practical and begins with our treatment of our brothers, the dog and horse; our brothers, the man on the street and the man who labors daily in the burning sun or biting cold; with our sisters, the unfortunate and fallen, whose way, God knows, is hard and stony, and whose cup is full of bitterness; with our friends and associates, with those who would be our enemies, and it ends — where? There shall be no end. It will be ever-growing, on and on — a state perpetual with but one throb, one heartbeat in the universe, but one song of life — Universal Brotherhood.

An ocean of so vast a reach,

That stars are pebbles on its beach.

Each soul shall know and be known by its fellow-souls as the mother-soul shall lay her hand in benediction on all her children and give them that one touch of Nature which makes the whole world kin.

Universal Brotherhood