Alfred Oram Lane (1881-1951)
First exercise book
This book includes a number of religious “sermons” written by Alfred between 1906 and 1918. The following is the first in this book.
Why I am a Christian
Because from personal experience I believe it to be the best life.
If I knew all that all the wise and learned men of to-day know I would be considered very clever and great, and would be deserving of a very high place in the esteem of the whole world. But if I had all this knowledge, would there be anything for me to learn? I hear you answer, Yes! Then, is there a mind that knows all? Is there a mind so great as to know everything, not only of our little world but of many others too? without hesitation we answer yes! again. Such a mind must hold great and wonderful thoughts. Wise men say : Tell me a person’s leading thought and I will tell you what he is. I am what my thoughts are. We must all be thinkers. Even the lowest type of person is a “thinker”; but, how does he think?
Guard well your thoughts,
Our thoughts are heard in heaven. I must be careful to think thoughts that will be worthy of heaven & pleasing to God. If I think upon anything but what is good, I waste some of God’s precious time, and for this I will have to render an account. We are all thinkers and therefore builders for eternity.
As a man, who wishes to build a beautiful residence, a beautiful home, must devote many hours to thinking out a plan first, so I saw that I must think out a plan not only for my earthly life but for that life beyond the gates of death – the heavenly life. Yes, I realized that I was building up a home somewhere in eternity, and I tried to think out a plan.
Men spend their whole lives in accumulating money with which to make a comfortable and beautiful home made of bricks, stone, etc., and this is good; but are they building at the same time homes as beautiful in heaven.
Man’s home here is one of joy and happiness; will his eternal home be the same kind, – that is, full of joy, peace & happiness?
I feel that this applies to me. I must build here for eternity. But what am I to do? What material must I use? In what way must I work? Thank God He has shown us the way. Instead of bricks and mortar what materials are there?
Ah! there are things more real than bricks & mortar. In building my heavenly home I am to allow “Love” to do the work, and He will use pure thoughts, pure feelings, holy desires and all that is good.
And this Divine Love, that works in us building up a Holy Temple fit for God’s presence, is of God, Himself. With such a worker as “Love” I have no doubt about the loveliness and beauty in store for me.
And whose Temple am I building? It is none other than my God’s. And He it was who sent His only Son with the plan for me and for everyone who chooses. I try to follow Christ’s plan of life and am therefore a Christian.
There are other plans and I have seen them all tried, but all of them have been proved to be failures both in providing joy here and joy hereafter.
Love is the greatest power in the universe, and the less L hinder it and the more it works in me the better Christian I will become. I pray that God will keep me from being a “hindrance” not only to myself but to those among whom I live, and that He will make me a “Helper” which I long most of all to be. All who hinder God’s work in the world about them are “hindrances” and unchristian and therefore my desire to be a “Helper” entitles me to designate myself a Christian. There are many other reasons why I am a Christian but time will not allow any further explanation.
Second Exercise Book
This book includes a school song written by Alfred at Bombala in 1908
The day has come with brightest life,
We’re full of joy and fun.
Our happiness is only found,
In duty rightly done.
The Whistle sounds! We hear the call
To take our place in line,
Then forward to our class we go,
Success is yours and mine.
Then higher and yet higher rise.
God made us for the skies.
His help, we know, He’ll always give
To him who bravely tries.
As steadily we work away,
and learn with all our might,
We know that there will come a day,
a day of great delight.
Then come along! We cannot stay,
our day is speeding fast,
There’s time for work and for play.
Night comes and it is past.
Third Exercise Book
On 1 January 1933, at age 51 years, Alfred was promoted to Class 2A teacher. This meant an increase in salary and a teacher status for teaching at a particular type of school. The next step for Alfred’s career was to be examined for promotion to Class 1B. The subsequent relevant school files held by the NSW State Records do not indicate that Alfred applied to undertake any exams at the 1B level.
The following is his thesis written in his hand, without the extensive quotes from sources and summaries of other supporting information that Alfred included. As no comments have been added by someone marking the thesis, and together with the fact that this book has been retained by the family, indicates that Alfred probably did not submit it to the NSW Department of Education. The first page of this exercise book is inscribed by Alfred as follows.
“The Development of the Individual as the Aim of Education”
A ground plan is essential, but the superstructure should arise from the positive thought and selfrealisation of pupil.
Nurture and training should never interfere with, but merely aid in discovering Truth and life.
The child whatever his mind or body should not be at the mercy of any environment or outside influence. He is simply in need of a foundation or ground plan which Christ has made available to all human life and once thoroughly grounded in this plan any environment must be constructive, and opposed to the destructive or evil.
The ground plan for each life as revealed in the Great Master’s teachings is briefly set out as follows ; –
(i) The great natural world in which we live is God’s World.
In my school the child is led to understand that God is in the world, that creation is constantly proceeding. They learn to realize that all the wonders, the beauty the immensity of things and, the universe could only be the work of the spirit of Love. Love is harmony, beauty, grandeur. Love is the spirit that works and maintains all of this, the Mind and hand that does it all. They soon realize that, if this spirit entertained hate, or rage, or some similar negative state, there would be periods when the smooth working, the unstinted beauty, the constant Truth and loveliness as manifest in the world of nature and life, periods when hate and rage would wreck and destroy and universal harmony and love would cease.
Perfect love, knowing no hate, creates and maintains all forms of life and activity.
Through the nature study and other lessons the child, – God the creator and builder is a spirit of Truth. He is true in His work. The oranges, the trees, the flowers grow true to His plan. He works with Truth and all is pronounced good and right. They learn to know the Truth and Good and Right are but the expressions of the Spirit of Love in which image all is made, and personally in Whose image they are made.
(ii) The child is God’s child.
Often a child when told that he is God’s child looks in amazement, seeming never to have heard of it before, and dwelling on the fact in wonder and delight. When questioned, he knows that he could not do the work of making and building his life and body, which SomeOne is doing for him, for everyone. The SomeOne working in him is God, and so with God in Him, working and creating, he begins to realize the presence of God, and knows he must be God’s child.
(iii) Being God’s child in God’s world he needs to choose a mind to work with.
When questioned he knows of many minds in the world around and is led in his choice to understand the working of each different mind. He must choose for himself for the mind is to be his and he must learn to use it. I have never had a child choose any other than the Christ mind. They are led to realize that this is the same sort of mind as God uses, in fact that God sent Christ to earth to reveal this very fact for us.
Having chosen the Christ mind, how does it work? How is the child to use it? Christ said, “be perfect”. Do you think you can be perfect? At first, the child does not think so but is told that being God’s child he should be. Then he is led to see that everyone can be perfect. He is asked, When you get your sum right, can you get it righter or improve on it? Of course he cannot for this is perfection. Right is perfection. Doing right is perfect. Again; If you speak the Truth, can you speak any better? No. Then Truth is perfection. Being true is perfect.
Again: If you do a deed in love or kindness, is there anything better? Love is perfect. Hence Right, Truth, Love give the perfect life just now, and when you use these you are using the Christ Mind making your life perfect now, and beginning eternal life.
The child is led to realize that, if this mind is worth while, it should give him something of good value. Does it do this? Asked how he feels when he gets his sum right, he will say, “Good O!” “Happy!” “Full of Life!” “Full of joy!’ And Truth and Love he learns to cherish for the joy, the life, the happiness that bring and maintain in his being. He learns to call this joy and happiness coming through the Christ Mind. Heaven. He is a new creature because he can, and known he can, get Heaven here and now; and added to this he learns that he has begun to live the eternal life just here and now.
As the years go by he grows in perfection increasing his heaven, and he knows that he can by his own thought and act he is getting Heaven Now! Now! Now! He can do it.
He learns that faults limit and lessen perfection and create the opposite state which he calls hell. He is asked, “What should be done with faults?” The answer always comes, “Cut them out.” By changing thought and ideas faults disappear.
It is one of the functions of a true teacher to assist the child to “cut out” or eliminate his faults in the spirit of the love of the Master Teacher.
The child is told that he will probably make mistakes, but mistakes are not evidence of wrong or evil, being truly quite unintentional. Deliberate and intentional wrong being evil.
Moreover no punishment, superimposed punishment, should ever be inflicted for pure mistakes. The child is told that he is to control his life, do his own think, and, provided he is working on the plan and working for heaven each moment to the best of his ability, “cutting out” his faults, it may be by degrees, all will be well and happy for him.
All through, he needs the loving guidance of his teacher.
It happened that a new child, Tom, not knowing the plan of life, committed an offence by stealing a notebook belonging to a classmate. He did not own up to doing it at first, but, after a little questioning, he did so, with a sorry countenance. “Now”, I said, “Teacher can punish you severely for your wrong deed, are you ready to take the punishment? Stay, I have a better way. If you give me your word of honour, that you will cut such things out of your life and never do them again. I’ll cut the punishment out.”
Given time to think he responds, and sets to work building his Heaven.
Before he goes to his seat, Teacher says to the school and Tom: “we loved Tom all the while but of course we did not like what he did.” We love everybody all the time even if we don’t agree with or like what they do at times or what they may say at times. We love even to our enemies.
I have seen faults disappear wholesale, and children of the lowest type making their Heaven here and now.
The child builds his heaven here & now on a perfect plan using the Christ Mind in Truth, Right, and Love. He knows it is in God’s world that God is ever present and doing so much in Love & Truth for him. He knows that what-ever the future holds faults of the present will disappear and at some time in the future Absolute Perfection will be attained.