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The Golden Fountain
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Golden Fountain, The
Golden Fountain, The
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Price:  $8.95

ISBN:  0-941532-02-X
Book Size:  4 3/4" x 7 3/4
# of Pages:  95
Language:  English


Published anonymously in the 1920s, this is the first edition to acknowledge Lilian Staveley as the author of this masterpiece of mystical literature. The author shares with us many secrets of a life of integral devotion, providing a marvelous example of how true mysticism leaves nothing outside the pale, but in an eminently practical way knits together all the elements of our existence into the seamless robe of contemplation.

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Detailed Description
About the Author
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Detailed Description of The Golden Fountain

Lilian Staveley was unknown to the public when, at the end of the first world war, she brought to John M. Watkins of London a manuscript to offer for publication. For the sake of her own privacy, she insisted upon remaining anonymous, since her beloved but non-mystical husband--Brigadier General William Cathcart Staveley of the British army--was still living, and she was surrounded by the social world she later described in her autobiography, The Prodigal Returns. It was only after her death that General Staveley learned that his fond wife and companion of nearly thirty years had for long led a hidden spiritual life which from charity she had opened to the reading public in three works constituting a deeply original and grace-filled personal record of a soul's journey to God. In The Golden Fountain she shares with us many secrets of a life of integral devotion, providing a marvelous example of how true mysticism leaves nothing outside the pale, but in an eminently practical manner knits up all the elements of our everyday existence into the seamless robe of contemplation.

Little is known of the author's historical person beyond the few facts she herself has told us in The Prodigal Returns. Born around 1878 into a distinguished and intellectual English family named Bowdoin, descended on both sides from Huguenots of the old French nobility, she was reared in an international setting, during an era when modern science seemed to promise an answer to every problem of the universe. Her discovery of a direct and living relationship with God has been chronicled in her autobiography mentioned above. It is characteristic of her spiritual way, however, that she continued to attend Anglican church services, husk though the outward form may have become for her in the light of her inward experience. She died in 1928 and her body lies buried in a Dorsetshire village.

Now, when she and those of her generation who knew her have departed this earth, we can freely honor the anonymous mystic without fear of indiscretion. World Wisdom is happy to bring out this new edition of The Golden Fountain under the name of Lilian Staveley.

About the Author(s)

Lilian Staveley

Lilian Staveley (c. 1878-1928) was an Englishwoman of the late Victorian era who led the life of a seemingly “ordinary soul” of the time. It was only after her death that her husband, Brigadier General John Staveley, and others, learned that she had anonymously published three books. These books (The Prodigal Returns, The Romance of the Soul, and The Golden Fountain) contained autobiographical passages of a soul’s mystic and private journey back to God, and insights and advice accessible to all readers seeking more knowledge of how to deepen our individual relationships with the Divine. World Wisdom has published the following books containing Lilian Stavely's work:

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Excerpts from The Golden Fountain

How many of us inwardly feel a secret longing to find God; and this usually accompanied by the perception that we are confronted by an impenetrable barrier—we cannot find Him—we can neither go through this barrier nor climb over it! We have faith. We are able to admit that He exists, for we cannot help but perceive a Will dominating the laws of the Universe; but something deep within us that we cannot put a name to, something subtle, secret, and strange, cries aloud, 'But I need more than this, it is not enough; I need personally to find and know Him. Why does he not permit me to do so?'

We might easily answer ourselves by remembering that if, in everyday life, we greatly desire to see a friend, our best way of doing so is by going in the direction in which he is to be found: we should consider this as obvious. Then let us apply this, which we say is so obvious, to God. We waste too much time looking for Him in impossible directions and by impossible means. He is not to be found by merely studying lengthy arguments, brilliant explanations of theological statements, or controversies upon the meanings of obscure dogmas. He is not even to be found through organizing charity concerts and social reforms however useful. We shall find Him through a self stripped bare of all other interests and pretensions—stripped bare of everything but a humble and passionately seeking heart. He says to the soul, 'Long for Me, and I will show Myself. Desire Me with a great desire, and I will be found.'

*     *

Scattered all through history are innumerable persons, both great and insignificant, who looked for the Pearl of Great Price: and not too many would seem to have found it. Some sought by study, by intelligence; some by strict and pious attention to outward ceremonial service; some by a 'religious' life; some even by penance and fasting. Those who found sought with the heart. Those who sought with careful piety, or with intelligence, found perhaps faith and submission, but no joy. The Pearl is that which cannot be described in words. It is the touch of God Himself upon the soul, the Joy of Love.

*     *

The entrance to the land of happiness and peace is through union of the will to Christ, by love. How can this sense of love be reached? By centering the wheel of the mind, with its daily spinning thoughts, upon the Man-Jesus, and learning inwardly to see and hold on to the perfect simplicity and love of Jesus Christ. We can form the habit of taking Jesus as our heart and mind companion. We are all aware of the unceasing necessity of the mind to fill itself: we cannot have no thoughts until we have advanced in the spiritual life to a long distance. We may well see, in this, one of the provisions made by God for His own habitation in the mind of man—a habitation too often hideously usurped by every kind of unworthy substitute. Petty social interests and occupations, personal animosities, ambitions, worries, a revolving endless chaos of futilities, known and praised by too many of us as 'a busy life'!—the mind being given opportunity only at long intervals, and usually at stated and set times, to dwell upon the thought of God, and the marvelous future of the human spirit. We are like travelers who, about to start out upon a great journey, pack their portmanteaux with everything that will be perfectly useless to them!

Now, it is possible to put out and obliterate this chaotic and useless state of mind, which would appear to be the 'natural mind, ' and to open ourselves to receive the might and force and the joys and delights of Christ's Mind. These joys are the Heart of Christ speaking to the heart of His lover. They are incomparable: beyond all imagination until we know them; and we receive them and perceive them and enjoy them as we have largeness and capacity to contain them. For there is no end. He has ever more to give if we will be but large enough to receive.

We are too absorbed in the puerile interests and occupations of daily life. We make of these endless occupations a virtue. They are no virtue but a deadly hindrance, for they keep us too busy to look for the one thing needful—the Kingdom of God. What is this world? It is a schoolhouse for lovers, and we are lovers in the making.

Is baptism of itself sufficient to get us into this Kingdom? No. Is the leading of an orderly social life sufficient to find it? No. Is the hope, even the earnest expectation, that we shall, by some means or other (we do not know by what!), be brought to it, sufficient to find it? No; not without the personal laying hold can we ever achieve it. Shall we find it in much outward study? No; and our aim is, not to be the student but the possessor; and the key to this possession is not in books, but, for us, in Jesus. He it is who must be invited and admitted into the heart with great tenderness with all those virtues for which He stands—and made the centre point of thought. Out of constant thought grows tenderness; out of tenderness, affection; out of affection, love. Love once firmly fixed in the heart for Jesus, we get a perception (by contrast) of our own faults—very painful, and known as repentance. This should be succeeded at once by change of mind, i.e. we try to push out the old way of thinking and acting and take on a new way. We try, in fact, strenuously to please the Beloved, to be in harmony with Him; and now we have established a personal relationship between ourselves and Christ.

With the perception of our own failings comes the necessary humility and the drastic elimination of all prides. We remember, too, that although Jesus is so near to us, and our own Beloved, He is also the mighty Son of God.

He is also the mystical Christ, who, when we are ready, leads us to the Father: which is to say, that we are suddenly stricken with the consciousness of and the love for God; and here we enter that most wonderful of all earthly experiences—the Soul's great Garden of Happiness.

To be a student of theories, dogmas, laws, and writings of men is to be involved in endless controversy; and we may study books till we are sick, and embrace nothing but vapor for all our pains. To be a pupil and possessor we must first establish the personal relationship between ourselves and Jesus. To do this we must realize more fully than we now do that He still lives. The mind is inclined to dwell on Him mostly as having lived. When we have taught ourselves to realize that Jesus is as intensely alive to everything that we do as He was when He visibly walked with men—that Jesus is as easily aware of our inmost thoughts and endeavors now as He was of the secret thoughts of His disciples, —then we shall have brought Him much closer into our own life.

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