Moving the great Wheel of the World is a divine Purpose, and outside the sweep of that Purpose is no one and nothing. It rules in the small and in the great. It adjusts the changes of all things, so that through those changes it shall, at last, be perfectly fulfilled. It is the Power in anything that exhibits power, and to its presence, even the most perverse volitions of man owe their brief sway.
If a man starts in the morning with a purpose to carry out through the day, all the smaller purposes of the day will be servants of the larger one. If it be his fixed purpose to achieve something by the end of a week, the purposes of each day will be tributaries to that larger one. If his purpose needs a year for its fulfillment, then the purposes of the months, and within them of the weeks, and again of the days, and even the passing purposes of the hours, all will bend to the inclusive purpose.
Strong men will make a purpose for the whole life, and all the lesser purposes of days and hours serve the larger life-purpose, these being threadlets that make up the great thread running unbroken through the whole life. But these strong men may be of noble or of selfish make. If selfish, the life-purpose will be to some selfish end; if noble, the life-purpose will be noble, a blessing to all men as it moves to its fulfillment; in harmony with — nay, part of — the Purpose that moves the Wheel of the World. The nobler a man, the nearer his purpose to that Wheel-mover: the smaller the man, the closer cluster his purposes about his own ends.
Some men take, so to speak, an oath or vow to the great Wheel-mover, forego all purely personal aims, even those commonly counted innocent and even laudable, dissolving them all in the World-Purpose; eat, drink and sleep for that, and are not stayed till they outgrow all measuring by common men of common aims. They become perfect in unselfishness, or rather selflessness. They have expanded their self to the great Self.
Others purpose for themselves; eat, drink, sleep, and work for themselves only; their purposes return into them like bees into a hive, laden with honey for themselves only.
The Great Purpose is confided to the soul, is known to the soul, is felt dimly in the heart of every one. But as few know their own souls, so few understand this Purpose in their minds, and hence few seek to serve it. Being free of will, we often act away from it, against it, using its power — the root of all power — against itself. Some time the effects of such foolish acts come back on us in pain. By that we learn, and in that education the Great Purpose is after all fulfilled, even by those who foolishly thought to escape it. The divine energy and purpose in the soul of every man will in the end, in all cases, get the better of him and redeem him in spite of himself.
Children play in the sunlight, and because of their play develop strength of limb and vivid senses. Thus they serve the Great Purpose, though they know it not; in them it works as the urge to play and gives them the joy of playing. It is essentially a joy-bringer.
In children of older growth it is the urge to other exertions, to the development and output of other powers, other parts of the nature.
The action of the Great Purpose is visible as Evolution, as the mounting of all things up the scale of being. Life proceeds through stone and plant, and animal, to man. Men too, it works upon, so that — by power coming out of weakness; faculties replacing blindness; wisdom supplanting ignorance; will, impulse — they may become gods.
Deep in the heart of every one it lives, and whoso will may find it. It holds all within its grasp. Unweakening, unhurrying, it says to each: "Be thou divine and work my promise out." And because few obey and few reach the full flower of perfectness, it brings each of us back again and again to birth. The vivid pangs and joys of childhood, the deeper pleasures and pains of ripened life, the hidden and earth-withdrawn life of senility, through these it leads us again and again.
Since our little purposes are fragments of it, since it is the power of attainment in all purposes, therefore the yet unfulfilled purposes of one life are those which carry us forward into the next. As soon as childhood passes to youth, sometimes ere infancy has passed to childhood, the uncompleted purposes of the past life begin to come forth. To music, to art, to literature, to war, to commerce, the instincts of the youth guide him. They are the open purposes of his last life on earth. Some never can be closed and completed, for their matter cannot be exhausted. What musician ever said, "I will create no more; I have gone high enough?" All the nobler powers and activities of man, those whose exercise benefits alike him who uses and him who witnesses them, are the direct outcome of the Great Purpose. It is on its own program that we should all have them.
Who knows all the purposes in the granaries of his consciousness, secret places whose key is its own keeper? New conditions of life come about, and behold, we find ourselves with new tendencies, new instincts to meet them. The new circumstances answer to old purposes unfulfilled, deep in our nature, deep yet active, active in bringing about the very conditions that permit of their play, purposes made and stored in the last life we spent on earth.
No one lives without consciously or unconsciously making purposes, and they all compel their own expenditure. They are forces that must out. They are, as units of power, Sons of God — the Great Purpose — and they have the indestructible potency of their Parent. But most of them are errant sons.
Must we then be dominated by our past, its slaves, slaves of the miserable and sinning purposes we once made?
Nay, for though all past purposes have their life-force, one that cannot be annulled, they can be absorbed in — bent to — a greater. The force of the purpose, for example, to be great or of note among men, can be seized and be transmuted into the force of the diviner purpose to find and obey the soul. The soul of each of us, the light in the heart, is the embodiment, the heat and the light of the Great Purpose, the Wheel-mover; it is that part of the Great Purpose that applies to that special unit among men. It is the very self of that unit, for a man's soul is himself. But it is only fully himself when he has redeemed himself from personal desire, when his only aim is to serve the voice of his heart. There is no other way to get rid of desires save by feeling after that light in the heart whose reflection in the brain is the brain's power of seeing. Saying "I am that Light," its heat straightway burns up a little of the dross of nature. To feel it henceforth is to have all dross removed.
Since the Purpose that moves the World is that all living things shall go higher, then all work for the betterment of the race, energized by what is in the heart, is a service of that divine Purpose and helps its work. No one can thus help it without growing better and nobler. A man is as his companions, and we have selected the noblest of all Companions. We are in the way of outgrowing all pettiness of nature, of surmounting all faults; we have shouldered the world and become one of its helpers. We cannot any more, after that, even think of another person without helping him; we cannot strongly purpose to help another's growth without ensuring that now or at some time our blessing will come home to him when most he needs it; he may not know from whom or from whence comes that help, that sudden lifting of a load, that sudden light in his heart, that gleam in his grief or perplexity; but it will be nevertheless there for him. We shall never again be lonely; the pulse of the waves of all life is on our heart; we share the yet painful life of all humanity; and though in that way we have to take up that great pain, we have the constant joy of lessening it.
And through it all, at all moments, come again and again the visions of the glory of the life that awaits all men.