Class Lessons 1888
by Emma Curtis Hopkins
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In the Beginning God Created
All study of mind or mental action or phenomena is essentially metaphysical, taking the student above or out of the province or range of pure physics, which deals with visible phenomena and their laws.
Thus the study of mind and its laws of operation has been called the study of metaphysics, and the knowledge obtained, classified and arranged for further systematic investigation, may be properly termed mental or metaphysical science.
When but partially understood, or known only in its partial application, simply for the cure of bodily ailments, the practice of mind for such results has been called "mind cure," meaning that by the use of mind in some way or other, bodily infirmities and maladies could be healed, as formerly water was used for such purposes, and all practice with that agent was called "water cure."
In school metaphysics or mental science, the study seems to have been for the most part a record of the phenomena of cerebration, as conscious and unconscious, cognitive and motive, without definite information as to whether mental action, controllable or uncontrollable, could be held responsible for health and disease.
The other extreme, taken by those unacquainted with school meta-physics, is that mind is useful mainly as a curative agent for bodily sickness.
But mental science has three departments of application to the wants and needs of the people:
1. Therapeutic — Which treats of mind in its relation to all bodily conditions. Shows how health and disease are the results of thought, and teaches such rules of thought as will change physical infirmities of all kinds, as deformity, disease, sickness, weakness, pain, and even liability to all these, to a state of health and exemption from danger of their recurrence.
2. Ethical — Which treats of the relation of habitual thought to character quality and intellectual faculty. Uplifts life motives and renovates morals. Intensifies the powers of intellect, and turns the attention of students from sordid cares and depressing anxieties to peace and freedom of mind. It is practical application and proof of the old Socratic doctrine that men act wrongly because they form erroneous judgments. It teaches the laws and conditions upon which right thinking depends, or such thinking as regulates character, conduct and judgment.
3. Religious — Which treats of the nature of mind, soul and spirit. Shows them to be identical in essence. Proves every mind — every soul to be the direct offspring and emanation of the Divine Soul or Mind and teaches the rebinding of the soul of man to the All-Soul or Divine Soul after the supposed disjunctive agency of sin is annulled. (Religion, from re and lige). It is practical revival of the doctrine: "I and my Father are one" — "That they may be one with me as I am one with thee" — "ye are the sons of the Most High," which is the most ancient spiritual teaching known to the race.
Each department closely relates to the other, and in explaining and defining each, the other is broadly intimated or taught.
The Therapeutic application of mind claims attention most strenuously as yet, and all instruction in the new metaphysics is devoted more especially to healing of bodily sicknesses, brain affections, or whatever infirmities the flesh claims. It is promising evidence of the advance of the Science into the higher thought of the people to find that latterly many have urged: Why devote so potent a reformatory principle to the simple healing from physical maladies, when moral and religious instructions have fallen so far short of their high mission? Why not bend the energies of scientific discovery to the curing of depraved tastes and vicious lives?
Formerly the complaint was against the broad claims of the science of metaphysics, going as it did so far as to invade religion and ethics, and its simple disciples were haughtily bidden to stick to their physical healing, leaving religion to the wise clergy whose preaching and doctrines stimulate intelligence and rouse hope.
To the scorn of the past or the reproof of the present the trained scientist is indifferent, keeping on her steadfast way, helping, encouraging, healing everywhere, knowing that in process of time all good will come to the people through the law she is practicing.
All who come before classes for the study of the science are miracles of proof of its mighty efficiency in some one or other application of its laws. There are those who were once hopeless and despairing invalids, with diseased bodies they prayed to be rid of, now healthy and joyous people teaching the way others like them may be saved out of their bondage.
Others tell of salvation from worse bondage than disease — slavery to depraved tastes and evil propensities. They also are teaching the law of holy living and righteous thinking, to the joy and uplifting of all who will hear.
There are many who tell how close creeds and cramping theological beliefs had dwarfed mental growth and spiritual unfolding 'til life was a perpetual siege and battle of resentment against the dealings of the Great Invisible Being who had decreed such merciless laws of life. When such are set free, they seem the fulfillment of certain prophecies of old, that when Truth shall be preached in the latter days the mouths of the dumb shall be opened and the tongues of them that cannot speak shall be eloquent in its praise, "that its way may be known upon all the earth, its saving health among the nations."
Now all these results are reached by methods differing in most important and vital particulars from the recognized systems, religious, educational and medical, that have ruled the world study and practice hitherto.
We find people bring about moral changes and bodily renovations, who knew nothing of past or present theories of medication, who had no traditional knowledge of a single one of the 265 curative drugs handed down from Hippocrates to the learned in pharmaceutic art of our own time, or of the anatomy of the human body, though the same old naming and description have instructed generation after generation since the days of Herophilus of Alexandria (who dissected criminals alive for surgical enlightenment).
People who could not preach a sermon on the nature of the soul, who had no theories of the effect of social life and morals on individual life, or of individual life on social currents at large, have been found accomplishing works of healing and moral changes far outstripping the performances of the learned in medical sciences and surgery, the temperance workers, "White Cross" legions, moral education promoters and missionary societies' endeavors.
It is generally known to investigators, and particularly known to the best practitioners, that all the most miraculous results are produced without visible aids, appliances, applications, restoratives, touch of hands or material remedies whatsoever; and in cases of moral cure, without pleading, preaching, urging or threatening on the part of the worker. But all changes are wrought by and in the mysterious silence of the scientific worker's secret mind.
Insofar as visible helps are resorted to, the practitioner of healing nowadays shows ignorance of the inherent powers of mind to do all healing, and ignorance of the science of mind whose knowledge makes other restorative agencies prove themselves ridiculous.
The earnestness and eagerness with which all classes of people seize upon the study, whether they scold or condemn the "so-called science," or whether they believe in and practice it, only shows the perpetual effort of the race to get wholeness — to solve the problem of life by looking into all that pertains to life conditions. The quest of life is satisfaction. This is the one word that expresses the whole effort of life in everything that lives.
How to get satisfaction is the problem that absorbs the attention of the race. It has absorbed the attention of all races in all ages. Those who set out on the search for health are pursuing one branch of the great problem of wholeness or satisfaction.
The definition of satisfaction is conceded to be, peace of mind, knowledge of absolute truth, and health of body.
These sides of the triangle satisfaction cover all the ground of all the desires of the human heart. All religions and sciences have for their foundation or underlying intention, the teaching of the race so to live as to bring that threefold answer. They have all failed; totally failed. There is great running to and fro among us; people's hearts failing them — doubting and fearing each other, even them of their own households, but most of all doubting and fearing the great Force that drives cyclones, lowers lightning flashes, shakes mountain fastnesses and separates loved ones.
Nobody is sure that any knowledge he has obtained from intricate calculations and laborious researches is Truth; that with all his computations and measurements he knows even the orbits of the planets; or that with all his spectrum analyses he can tell the constitution and color of the sun. "The most that we know is that we know nothing," say the wisest materialists. Neither are they sure which of all the teachings of pulpit, itinerant preacher, or missionary is the one safe for all to follow — Jew and Christian, civilized and heathen — since the doctrine of each, obeyed to the letter, has made its devotees intolerant and cruel, slaughtered men like sheep, and desolated countless hearts.
Where is the health that has been sought with universal scramble? With all our knowledge of witty inventions, cruel dissections and vivisections, microscopic investigations and surgical proficiency, diseases have multiplied and universal sickness devastates our homes. So much for ages of effort to solve the problem of life and get its true answer, Satisfaction.
Note that the results of a practical knowledge of mental science or metaphysics are identical with what is conceded to be the threefold condition which the true solution of the problem of life must show — awakened intelligence, purified morals, bodily health. Thus the life problem and the health problem would seem to be identical, and the principle of life and health one and the same.
All work accomplished by the mental scientist or metaphysician, has its foundation in a knowledge of just this truth, and the measure of the excellence of his work is the measure of his understanding of this principle. The inability to define or explain his basis in principle has been the occasion of the criticism and ridicule hurled at him by press, pulpit and logician. And even when ardent students have named the foundation statement that their argumentation springs from, they have not been listened to by reason of the fact that many cures are wrought by apparently inferior or imperfect characters.
"You need not tell by their titles what books you have read. (I infer your reading from the wealth and accuracy of your conversation.)" If these critics had well read a certain ancient classic author, they would have found recognized cause why inferior or imperfect mentalities may cure physical disorders by the use of mental action. "The thought of every mind is a likeness of that mind and imprints itself upon every other mind, making others more like the mind that sends the strong thought forth." Many a thinker of bodily health is a forgetter of moral excellence, and in sending his quality forth makes the recipient of his thought, like himself, a forgetter of justice and charity, even while he builds for him — temporarily — a robust body.
"We must never say, I do not know this, therefore, it is false. We must study to know, know to understand, and understand in order to judge." When one knows, understands and truly judges, he finds that health, happiness and outward circumstances are well or ill with us according as we have thought falsely or truly of the problem of life. It is the principle involved in this which must be understood, before intelligent discussion of merits can be entered into respecting the reasonableness or folly of the claims of mental students.
It takes certain knowledge of mathematical principles before the demon-strations of the geometrician are intelligible. Science is science, and whether it is a problem in health or mathematics we are solving, we must know the principle involved or be liable to mis-judgment and failure.
A problem is a question proposed for solution; something to be worked out. A problem always involves a special principle or principles which must be stated before propositions can be reasonably combined to bring forth a result proving the soundness of the principle stated.
The problem of life has not been solved by any of us. Each one tells his neighbor that his life has turned out all wrong in spite of his efforts to solve it according to the plan he has laid down. No system as taught, has given us such a hold on the laws of life as to bring to us peace of mind, certain conviction of what is truth, and health of body.
While supposing that satisfaction lies along certain lines we think we must pursue them. But satisfaction does not come, though we have struggled along the path pointed out by the wisest of our teachers. Under the pressure of desire and surrounding temptations we do the best we can, but only to fail. We have a dim consciousness that we are continually in error — "prone to err as the sparks fly upward." So much light as to know we are perpetually wrong we have, but the way to do exactly right is hid. "Why is light given to a man whose way is hid.'"
"Is there a solution of this problem, or is there not?" the people are asking. "If there is, show it to us, you to whom we have paid tithes of mint, anise and cumin of gold, honors and opportunities to find its way for us — if not, sound the alarm from lip to lip the world over, for man is betrayed!"
When little children find the results of their calculation altogether wrong, they go back to the beginning of their problem, state the principle to be demonstrated, announce the propositions and apply their rules.
Let us become like little children with the problem we have got so fearfully wrong.
As it is the problem of life we are discussing, the principle involved must be the Life Principle. A study of the Life Principle must be a study of beginning, creation, origin, cause.
Now whether we have prejudice for or against the disciples of a system, if we would study the system fairly we must set the prejudice aside. Whether we favor the character and conduct of the men whose historic connection with Bible doctrines has necessitated their figuring in that book or not, we cannot, in studying origin, ignore an authority on the subject which has been respected by many wise students of life in all ages, and which so boldly states, without excuse or apology, as if unquestionably true and accurate, a certain proceeding called the creation of earth and all living things. This authority is said to be the written statement of Eadras, indited by him in a mood of what he called intuitional memory of the oral teachings of the Hebrew lawgiver, Moses.
The teachings are almost identical with those of all real students of life and its laws in all times. Wherever taught or recorded they have been called sacred truths and carefully cherished as the wisdom of the devout and learned in life's mysteries. The remarkable analogies of the Christian Bible and Hindu Sacred Books, Egyptian Ancient Teachings, Persian Bibles, Chinese Great Learning, Oriental Zohar, Saga and many others, show that the whole world has had life teachings so wonderfully identical as to make them all subjects for respectful attention and investigation by the thoughtful of our age.
"In the beginning God created." They all say this.
Was the writer speaking of the time of an actual beginning? No, in principle creative Deus has no reference to time.
To one who searches in most meanings these words tell that in the great forever without beginning of years or end of days God is creating, or creates.
The responsible center of the statement is the word God, whose name in all languages is THE GOOD. The Good is creating. "Thou great First Cause, least understood."
Deus est omnium rerum causa, immanens nan transient.* A creator — not the "Great Absentee of the Universe," who having set the mysterious mechanism into action left it to spin its desolate way unheeded — but the perpetual causation of all things; the responsible center of all life. His name is The Good.
*"God is the cause of all things, immanent not changing."
What and where is The Good? Life is good. There is no point of space or place where Life as Life is not good. If one says life is not good, he does not mean that Life as Life is not good, but only that his experience with conditions is unendurable. Life is good, and Good is God; thus God is Life. There is no point of space or place where Life is not Good — thus Life is Omnipresence. "There is only one Life in the universe."
Truth is Good. There is no point of space or place where truth is not Good. And Good is God. Thus God is Truth. "Burn the libraries, said Omar, "for their value is in the Koran;" and the Koran says, "God is Truth." Plato only is entitled to the statement of Omar, says a great teacher of ethics, for he tells what all wise men teach. "Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated among men." And Plato says, "God is Truth." "Truth is Lord of all, and there is nothing higher than it," teaches the oldest religious philosophy of the world.
Love is Good. There is no point of space or place where Love as Love is not Good. If one says that Love is not good he does not mean Love as Love, but only that his desires toward a certain object are unbearable — his selfish terror lest there be no adequate return of affection is unendurable. This is not Love. Love is Good; and Good is God. Thus God is Love.
Substance is Good. That upon which we can rely — depend. That which stands under, sustains, upholds. If reliable and dependable, then unchangeable, steadfast, immutable, indestructible, unfailing, eternal. If unchangeable, reliable, steadfast, eternal, then essentially opposite in character, office and name from that which has been termed substance — the changing, temporal, unreliable matter of the physical world. And if opposite in name, character and office, to matter, then Spirit is the substance that is good, occupying all space and all place. Spirit is Good; and Good is God. Thus "God is Spirit." (Right rendering of John IV. 24). "God is the only Substance."
Intelligence is Good. There is no point of space or place where Intelligence is not Good. Intelligence is Mind which to be Good must be steadfast, reliable, unchangeable, unfailing, eternal. Thus Intelligence as Good is Mind, steadfast, eternal. Mind is Good; and Good is God; thus God is Mind. The Omnipresence, First Cause, Creative Principle. The only Substance in all the universe. The only Deity. The only God. The Good. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." That other deity set up — whose name is Evil — the origin and governing law of all evil conditions — has no space or place or where — no kingdom — no subjects, no substance, no reality. To believe in such a governing force and law-giver is to do homage to another deity besides The Good. Idolatry is the worship or acknowledgment of a false God! Who are idolaters?
All devout teachers of Truth have said that from the Only Life all Life proceeds. From the Only Mind all mind emanates. By so dealing with the problem of Life, we find this statement of a principle commonly accepted by all; The First Cause is Mind. Thus given the mind of man and the Mind that is God identical, how shall we think so as to prove it? Given, the life of man and the Life that is identical, how live so as to prove it. "Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." "Offspring of the Most High."
We have been working at the problem of life with two opposing Creators, proposing the mind of man and the Mind that is God different and opposed. How could we think so as to get into harmony with the Good? Given the life of man and the life that is God different and opposed, how live so as to be reconciled to Life?
Truth Shall Make You Free
It is written that the Truth shall make us free, as if Truth were a mysterious working principle, capable of accomplishing our salvation from evil and danger. As if the statement of it, if it could be actually known what Truth is, were all that is necessary to lift us out of bondage.
Either the statement is true or it is false. If it is true, it can be proved and will do the work. If false it will not prove, and we shall grope on in the old darkness, knowing not the way out of our bondage.
All are under bondage to something. "Every heart knoweth its own bitterness," — that which it is under bondage to. One suffers the pangs of a guilty conscience, a fearful load. Perhaps cruelty to wife or children or parents haunts him. Maybe he has wronged and cheated his fellow-man. Or some secret sin makes him ashamed before himself and afraid to be left alone with the silence. Some are under the bondage of weakness and deformity. To some, wasting sickness and gnawing disease render life that might be sweet and full, a burden and time of groaning. Some have lost beloved companions and see the vista of years stretch ahead, with only the memory of past joys; no hope, no satisfaction with new friends possible, — only loneliness on and on. Death has been the terror and cruel monster of their lives. They are among the beaten, the worse than death — the desertion of loved ones; no burden heavier. Who shall deliver them from "the body of this death!"
Some carry the weight of discouragement because of the failure of every plan and effort of their lives. They are among the beaten, the thwarted in the battle with life-conditions. Some have found themselves looking upon life-relations with such mistaken judgment that it has seemed to them wisest to deceive family, neighbors, friends, the world, respecting themselves, their motives, their possessions, their work; and the weight of the gigantic fraud of their own lives, even themselves cannot calculate. A terrible burden is mistaken judgment.
Now the Truth, it is written, will set us free from all the bondage under which we suffer — the bondage of evil. What evil? Sin, sickness, death. All the evils we know are included under these three heads.
In seeking for freedom from bondage, then, we are seeking for Truth. The search for freedom from disease is the onesided or partial effort to get absolute Truth, because only absolute Truth will set absolutely free. Absolute Truth is Universal Truth. Only Universal Truth will set all people free. If one religious hand says slavery and polygamy are good, and, being more powerful than the poor heathen and simple woman, they take them into bondage, then what they say is not Universal Truth, for Universal Truth makes universal freedom. Part of the people are in bondage under their statement, so it is not universal or absolute Truth.
The eager rush of all, the solemn despair of the thoughtful, who, after ages of seeking cry, "What does it all amount to? Life is not worth living if we cannot get hold of the right solution to our problem," seem to indicate that there must be a way out of the sorrow and sin of people.
If the Truth does make free when taught — free from evil — and if we are all under evil still, then we do not yet know Truth. Not to know is ignorance. Then ignorance of Truth is cause of evil. Gautama Buddha, a tender and compassionate teacher of life, being sorrowful over the miseries of the creatures of earth, sought long and earnestly to find the cause of so much sorrow, anguish and despair. He wept and fasted and lay in the dust of abjectest humility before the Unseen Presence, whatever its name might he, to inquire what the cause. And when he had got down to the bedrock of sincerest humiliation, where himself was forgotten, and one with the Intelligence which alone could answer him, he heard a voice saying, "Ignorance of Truth is the cause of the misery. Teach them Truth; and the Truth shall make them free." Then he arose and went about seeking Truth — that Truth which should be freedom for every creature.
Oh! What is Truth and where shall it be found?
There was one teacher of life and its duties — wise, compassionate, and tender he was — who came among men, bringing the laws of health, of joy, of wholesome satisfaction; and he said that the accepted written Scriptures were good testimony to the excellence of his system. Deep searching into their meanings, thereby discovering their hidden sense, would reveal to all the ways of life and peace. "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me."
Eternal life to the people to whom he spoke was the sum of heavenly bestowal; it meant all the joys of the blest. There is a living, breathing joy, in knowing Truth, they said, that causes those who know it to cry, "My words are life to them that find them, and health to all their flesh."
To search the Scriptures for Truth seems to be the only way for us, for the wisest students of nature and human experience agree that the most they know is that they know nothing; so from all their schemes we can hope no good. Now, the Scriptures say, "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." One set of Scriptures says that the enemy of spirituality is materiality. Hence, if we would get the seeing eye and hearing ear with respect to divine things, we must dematerialize ourselves. Thus we find knowledge of Truth, and being spiritually minded, identical.
There is a thought that has run like a golden thread through the noisy wars and quarrelings of nations. Kingdoms have risen and fallen; philos-ophies have sunk into disrepute; the conclusions of geologist, astron-omer, and religionist are the rubbish of the past but this thought has run along in the hearts of the wise among all peoples, told in almost the same language, as, "Truth being one, its language must be one, and they who speak Truth must say the same things." This deathless thought of the wise has been, "That there is a divine, idea pervading the outward and visible universe, which outward and visible universe is but the shadow, the sign, the symbol of the idea, having in itself no reality, no meaning apart from the idea. To the mass of mankind the idea is hidden; but to seize upon the idea which each outward thing signifies, would be to all men a good condition of life, and health, and peace, and the end of all spiritual effort for all ages. How should we seize hold upon the idea? With the mind only.
The result of seizing the idea which material things signify, agrees exactly with the saving outcome of being spiritually minded and knowing Truth. That is, life, and health and peace.
Thus in searching for health we really are seeking to be spiritually minded. If we do not know that which brings health, we are not the spiritually minded. It makes no difference how much we know, it is knowledge that profiteth not, if knowing it has for its answer, "The most we know is that we know nothing," and death is on the increase. If we have not learned to carry health and freedom by the words of our lips, we are far from carrying the signs of true knowledge.
Notice that sin, sickness and sorrow are laid at the doors of ignorance. And ignorance is a state of the mind. Health, righteousness and joy are the fruits of true knowledge — understanding. And understanding is a state of the mind, making all good and all evil to mankind to lie in right or wrong states of mind.
All the systems of the world have taught us the direct opposite of the ways that lead to life and health and peace. They have not taught us to be spiritually minded. Where, if we desire health and peace, shall we look for the way that will bring them? The Scriptures are said to teach the way. But only the right interpretation of them will lead us into it. "Search!" Searching implies deep looking. Deeper looking than anybody has yet done, it seems, for its wisest students are far from peace and true living.
We begin very meekly to search the Scriptures of all languages. We find that they all teach there is but one substance in the universe. We find that the great convocation of clergy were right in concluding that in the written Scripture, material terms are used to convey great spiritual truths, and physical transactions, descriptions and namings should have metaphysical interpretations.
We find that there is a great truth underlying the symbology taught by the ancients. Those who have studied these laws in any measure are not so startled at being told that all Scripture is written in symbolism, and only by the right interpretation of the terms and namings used therein, can the true meanings be found. Upon knowing this, some will remember how it has been taught, that to know the deep-most meaning of written Scripture, would be to know the laws of life and spiritual unfolding. It is the living hidden meaning within it that has kept it alive in the teeth of skepticism, materialism, and "scientific opposition" of all kinds, through the ages.
Deep searching reveals these hidden meanings. It teaches that one law of natural phenomena, observed by the students of nature, is the law by which mind goes from ignorance of truth to knowledge of truth. It is the law of sameness of procedure, whereby to know the on-going of one living thing, from protoplasmic void and uselessness to time of fruiting or usefulness, is to know the history of all things. Natural science teaches that the protoplasm of insect, beast, man, is indistinguishable in kind, and the stages of progress toward perfect unfolding are identical in all. The phenomena of nature symbolize and hint the unfolding of mind from ignorance to understanding.
From dark planted seed to fruiting time,
we the symbol and type of our destiny see.
The earth itself in all its movements symbolizes mind. "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, "Let there be light." The awakening of the slumbering energies of wisdom that lie dormant in the mind, is pictured by that statement. Darkness is a symbol of ignorance, and light is a symbol of knowledge. Spirit is but another name for word, as "My words are spirit;" and "Waters" is the symbolic word for mind acting consciously, or conscious mind. The word moves upon the face of the waters: "Let there be light." As if the earth must do something of her own initial faculty — put forth her own effort to lift the dark clouds and slumbering shadows, and let the light shine over her. It is to us a lesson.
We are in the darkness and cloud of ignorance. It makes no difference if we call our ignorance knowledge; if we are not free, it is clouds of ignorance. We have many beliefs; if they are not health they are false beliefs. We must get rid of them. By this it would seem that ignorance were made up of false beliefs.
Deep searching reveals that the Scriptures teach the scheme of life to be freedom from bondage, and perfect freedom is knowledge of Truth. "If any man will come after me (follow Truth), let him deny himself," — deny himself as he seems, all his folly and foolishness, all his ignorance, all his false old beliefs. Now if ignorance means false beliefs and folly, it is high time we were denying them if denying them will bring us into line with Truth.
What are the false beliefs which make up the sum total of our ignorance? The Scriptures show that we have five false beliefs in common, which we must deny if we would be free. As there were five porches between the lame man and the beautiful waters of healing, so there are five strong guards of false beliefs between the waiting mind and the healing baptism of Truth. What are these false beliefs, and how shall we deny them?
1. The Race has believed in more than one governing Force and Law Giver for the Universe, in spite of saying, by occasional declarations and counter-statements, that there is but one, who occupies all space and place, whose name is The Good. The race believes that there is a principle operating in the universe against the Good; its dominion over the world is so great, "from the river to the uttermost seas," that one of Boston's ablest clergymen said, that sometimes he believed "evil to be a greater power than good."
Now, if the universally conceded statement be true, viz.: that there is one Force omnipresently acting, which is Deity, or God, whose name is The Good, then that belief that there is another force acting besides it, is a false belief.
Then we must deny it. How shall we deny it? There is but one way under heaven: take the belief by name and give it the lie. There is no evil. Go ye into all the world with this word. Now if the Truth makes free when it is spoken, then if that is Truth, the result of speaking it should be freedom from evil. Is it? Try it.
Knowing why there is but One Principle governing the universe, send your strong, vehement thought out over the invisible air to speed like an arrow straight on its mission. Do you know the nature of a thought— that it is deathless, indestructible, invisible arrow, charged with the kind of mind you have, and strikes out into other minds to change them to be more like you? Wherever this thought strikes, that there is no principle of evil operating against the Only Power in the universe; cruelty and greed and crime die away like echoes in the wake of your true word. They ought to, if what you say is true, for it is written that "the truth makes free."
Some hard closing grasp of unendurable circumstance, sorrow in the home, injustice and oppressive dealings, vanish, fall away as dreams of the night from the broken heart and hopeless life where your word goes. They flee from your own life also. How can they help fleeing if you speak the Truth? Not something you have done, but something you have said, a Principle that has been made known to you, has set you free. "He doeth the works." Truth is a silent Principle, waiting in its vastness of silence through the ages for words to set it into manifest action. Thou shalt have no other Deity but one, "Turn and acknowledge Me."
2. The race believes in more than one substance in the universe, and that it has a visible presence, a name, and way of working. Now if there is but one Presence, one Force, one Substance, that belief of another substance than the One, the omnipresent Spirit, is a false belief, and stands for rejection or denial. There is no matter. Hurl the belief from the weighted mind. If it is true that there is no matter, you will be free from matter and its way of working. To those who have spoken these words, these results have come: the hard tumor, the stiffened joint relax.
Where has the close grip gone that held the pitiful limb prisoner? Where has the lie gone that built the unreal, untrue picture? Matter becomes plastic to the strong vehement word of Truth. I pray you speak it. Let the walls of your prison house be a hundred feet thick, and your swift word shall fly through the night to the judge and law readers, to harass them till they find the saving clause, or move the people to set you free; some angel by night to open your prison doors, as the Apostles of old were set free. "Enter the path."
3. The race has given the name, character and excellence of Deity, to what has no reality; — to the non-being and substanceless, the name Substance; to the lifeless, the name Life; to the non-intelligent, the name Intelligence. The race has believed that there is Life, Substance and Intelligence in matter. The belief is found under the light of argument from a certain premise to be a false belief. It stands for denial. Give it the lie. There is no Life, Substance, or Intelligence in matter. Material life, substance and seeming intelligence should fade and fail if that be Truth.
Speak the words. Those who have spoken them tell us that the whole world changes to them as the objects of nature change to our view when the light shines over them after the night. Some who have hoped great things from earth-life, finding, as all must sooner or later, all its blessings temporal, elusive, sitting under the roof-tree of desolation, the shadow of disappointment, lift eyes to the invisible heavens and cry with a new joy. "I know that my Redeemer liveth. I will not mourn, I know that the Comforter cometh. 'He shall deliver me in six troubles — yea, in seven there shall no evil touch me.' "
One who has lived, believing the riches, profits and advantages of material transactions are worthwhile, feels suddenly the vainglory of them, and forgetting to calculate upon them, cries, "Vanity of vanities! " or, lying in the midst of all his splendor, means, "I am poorer than the poorest if I do not know of some riches I can take with me — something that will not fail me." He begins to be set free from vanity and sordidness. One who has set great value upon the intelligence stored in the brain; has taken pride in his knowledge of stars and rocks and growing things, begins to realize that "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death," "knowledge that profiteth not." He begins to think what that may mean, "If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God." Ah, none rest till they have sought and found the nameless Wisdom, whose words are health to the inward parts and joy to the fainting heart — the wisdom that age cannot wither nor accident betray.
He sets his feet unto the right way who says, "Life, Substance and Intelligence are Deity Himself— all that claims to be Life and yet dies. Substance and yet decays, Intelligence and yet fails, is but the creation of the imaginations of foolishness, false beliefs which I will not harbor." This one enters into his inheritance of freedom. He must, if it is Truth he speaks, because "The Truth shall make you free."
4. The race believes that the unreal has the faculties of Reality; in other words, that matter sees and hears, and feels. "Thou, God, seest," "He heareth the crying of His children," "We have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Then matter which has no being, no life, no intelligence, how can it have the sensations of Mind, Soul, Spirit? There is no sensation in matter. One speaks this great word out over the waiting universe. He who has set great store by the physical body, which is like a shadow that declineth, loses his taste for the pleasures of sense; false appetites fall away, "What shall it profit me," he says, "if I gain the whole world and lose my Soul?" Somebody, moaning on couch of pain, lifts his head and cries, "I am eased of my pain."
5. The race believes that in a universe created by The Good, governed and occupied by The Good, there is sin, sickness, and death. "We miscreate our own evils." "All that we see is the result of what we have thought." Deny the false belief, saying earnestly, "There is no reality in these things, There is no sin, sickness or death." These words are true and true results follow. The hand lifted to strike falls powerless. Some selfish grasp of the powerful upon the labor and against the rights of the feeble, relaxes. The weapon raised to injure finds the motive that prompted it die into indifference. Some cruel deed thought in the heart hurries out and away to die in the shame of forgetfulness. Some heart, terrified by all these, feeling the rush of the white wings of Truth, lifts his unconquerable spirit to the heavens and sings, "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." Instead of the lie that struggled to utter itself, a sweet truth springs to the lips. The heart that was filled with unbelief, begins to trust in God.
The healing of Truth's seamless dress
Moves past sick beds and pain;
We touch it in life's throng and press,
And are made whole again.
The dying feel the living Truth stir every fiber to new leases of life. "The Truth shall make you free." Free from what? Free from evil. What is evil? Sin, sickness, death; we do not know any other evils but these.
The ancients tried a system of denials; they mortified the body with torture and fasting, neglect and cold, going without shelter and raiment, to teach sensation that it had no rights, and will that it had all.
The asceticism of the early religionists taught days of fasting and abstinence from bodily comforts, to teach the nothingness of the earthly man — the flesh that is as grass. To deny the world, the flesh and the devil; to put behind, as temptations of Satan, all earthly comforts — thus was the law of true denial hinted at. The teachers of ethics showed how "only with renunciation, life, properly speaking, begins." "Not till we have learned to expect nothing, do we compel all things to our service." "Fly the boundaries of the senses, live the ideal life freed thought can give." How eagerly they sought the five denials of the science of life.
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