How is one to know a friend? Certainly not by the duration of acquaintance. Neither can friendship be bought or sold by service rendered. Nor can it be coined into acts of gallantry or phrases of flattery. It has no part in the small change of courtesy. It is outside all these, containing them all and superior to them all.
To some is given the great privilege of a day set apart to mark the arrival of a total stranger panoplied with all the insignia of friendship. He comes unannounced. He bears no letter of introduction. No mutual friend can vouch for him. Suddenly and silently he steps unexpectedly out of the shadow of material concern and spiritual obscurity, into the radiance of intimate friendship, as a picture is projected upon a lighted screen. But unlike the phantom picture he is an instant reality that one’s whole being immediately recognizes, and the radiance of fellowship that pervades his word, thought and action holds all the essence of long companionship.
Unfortunately there are too few of these bright messengers of God to be met with in life’s pilgrimage, but that Judge Troward was one of them will never be doubted by the thousands who are now mourning his departure from among us. Those whose closest touch with him has been the reading of his books will mourn him as a friend only less than those who listened to him on the platform. For no books ever written more clearly expressed the author. The same simple lucidity and gentle humanity, the same effort to discard complicated non-essentials, mark both the man and his books.
Although the spirit of benign friendliness pervades his writings and illuminated his public life, yet much of his capacity for friendship was denied those who were not privileged to clasp hands with him and to sit beside him in familiar confidence. Only in the intimacy of the fireside did he wholly reveal his innate modesty and simplicity of character.
In this book Judge Troward has attempted to formulate a final statement of his beliefs, after long investigation and study in the field of mental science. Beginning with the elemental quality of matter and thought, Judge Troward discusses this logical opposition clearly and simply on the broad grounds of human experience and scientific knowledge. These two apparent opposites, manifested as the law and the word, are reconciled through the subconscious workings of an infinite God in the spirit of man. Throughout the book, the emphasis is on the practical and creative significance for the individual of these fundamental ethical truths. Everyone honestly interested in the problems of human conduct and character development will find Judge Troward’s work of first importance.
To Judge Troward was given the logician’s power to strip a subject bare of all superfluous and concealing verbiage, and to exhibit the gleaming jewels of truth and reality in splendid simplicity. This supreme quality, this ability to make the complex simple, the power to subordinate the non-essential, gave to his conversation, to his lectures, to his writings, and in no less degree to his personality, a direct and charming naïveté that at once challenged attention and compelled confidence and affection. His sincerity was beyond question.
The search for truth, to which his life was devoted, was to him a holy quest. That he could and would lay a lance in defence of his opinions is evidenced in his writings, and has many times been demonstrated to the discomfiture of assailing critics. But his urbanity was a part of himself and never departed from him.
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About the Author
THOMAS TROWARD (1847–1916) was one of the foundational architects of the New Thought movement. He was from England, and for a time was a divisional judge in British-led India. He synthesized Eastern and Western philosophies into a universal philosophy that influenced Ernest Holmes, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, and many others. His teachings are still required reading in colleges and organizations internationally.
After his retirement from the judiciary in 1896, Troward set out to apply logic and a judicial weighing of evidence in the study of matters of cause and effect. The philosopher William James characterized Troward’s Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science as “far and away the ablest statement of philosophy I have met, beautiful in its sustained clearness of thought and style, a really classic statement.”
According to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) archivist Nell Wing, early AA members were strongly encouraged to read Thomas Troward’s Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science.
In the opening of the 2006 film The Secret, introductory remarks credit Troward’s philosophy with inspiring the movie and its production.
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