1. There is nothing the human heart so longs for, so cries out after, as to know God, "whom to know aright is life eternal."
2. With a restlessness that is pitiful to see, people are ever shifting from one thing to another, always hoping to find rest and satisfaction in some anticipated accomplishment or possession. Men fancy that they want houses and lands, great learning or power. They pursue these things and gain them, only to find themselves still restless, still unsatisfied.
3. At the great heart of humanity there is a deep and awful homesickness that never has been and never can be satisfied with anything less than a clear, vivid consciousness of the indwelling presence of God, our Father. In all ages, earnest men and women who have recognized this inner hunger as the heart's cry after God have left seeking after things, and have sought, by devoted worship and by service to others, to enter into this consciousness; but few have succeeded in reaching the promised place where their "joy" is "full" (John 16:24). Others have hoped and feared alternately; they have tried, with the best knowledge they possessed, to "work out" their "own salvation" (Phil. 2:12), not yet having learned that there must be an inworking as well as an outworking. "By grace (or free gift) have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves (nor of any human working), it is the gift of God, not of works, that no man should glory" (Eph. 2:8-9).
4. To him who "dwelleth in the secret place of the Most high," there is promised immunity from the "deadly pestilence" and "the snare of the fowler," from "the terror by night," and "the arrow that flieth by day" (Psalms 91); and even immunity from fear of these things. Oh, the awfully paralyzing effect of fear and evil! It makes us helpless as babes. It makes us pygmies, whereas we might be giants were we only free from it. It is at the root of all our failures, of nearly all sickness, poverty, and distress. But we have the promise of deliverance from even the fear and evil when we are in the "secret place." "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night" (Psalms 91:5), and so forth.
"In the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion: In the covert of his tabernacle will he hide me" (Psalms 27:5)."
In the covert of thy presence wilt thou hide them from the plottings of man:
"Thou wilt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues" (Psalms 31:20).
5. The secret place! Why call a secret place? What is it? Where may we find it? How abide in it?
6. It is a secret place because it is a place of meeting between the Christ at the center of your being, and your consciousness -- a hidden place into which no outside person can either induct you or enter himself. We must drop the idea that this place of realization of our divinity can be given to us by any human being. No one can come into it from the outside. Hundreds of earnest persons are seeking, night and day, to get this inner revealing. They run from teacher to teacher, many of them making the most frantic efforts to meet the financial obligations thus incurred.
7. You may study with human teachers and from man-made books until doomsday; you may get all the theological lore of the ages; you may understand intellectually all the statements of Truth, and be able to prate healing formulas as glibly as oil flows; but until there is a definite inner revealing of the reality of an indwelling Christ through whom and by whom come life, health, peace, power, all things -- aye, who is all things -- you have not yet found "the friendship of Jehovah" (Psalms 25:14).
8. In order to gain this knowledge -- this consciousness of God within themselves -- many are willing (and wisely so, for this is greater than all other knowledge) to spend all they posses. Even Paul, after twenty-five years of service and of most marvelous preaching, said: "I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. . .and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ" (or the consciousness of His divine self) (Phil. 3:8).
9. Beloved, that which you so earnestly desire will never be found by your seeking it through the mental side alone, any more than it has heretofore been found through the emotional side alone. Intuition and intellect are meant to travel together, intuition always holding the reins to guide intellect. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah" (Isa. 1:18). If you have been thus far on the way cultivating and enlarging only the mental side of Truth, as probably is the case, you need, in order to come into the fullness of understanding, to let the mental, the reasoning side rest awhile. "Become as little children" (Matt. 18:3), and learning how to be still, listen to that which the Father will say to you through the intuitional part of your being. The light that you so crave will come out of the deep silence and become manifest to you from within yourself, if you will but keep still and look for it from that source.
10. And conscious knowledge of an indwelling God, which we so crave, is that of which Paul wrote to the Colossians, as "the mystery which hath been hid for ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested. . .Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:26,27). "The secret place of the Most high" (Psalms 91:1), where each one of us may dwell and be safe from all harm or fear of evil, is the point of mystical union between man and Spirit (or God in us), wherein we no longer believe, but know, that God in Christ abides always at the center of our being as our perfect health, deliverance, prosperity, power, ready to come forth into manifestation at any moment we claim it. We know it. We know it. We feel our oneness with the Father, and we manifest this oneness.
11. To possess the secret of anything gives one power over it. This personal, conscious knowledge of the Father in us is the secret that is the key to all power. What we want is the revelation to us of this marvelous "secret." What will give it to us -- who can give it to us except Him, the "Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father" (John 15:26)? Surely none other. That which God would say to you and do through you is a great secret that no man on the face of the earth knows, or ever will know except yourself as it is revealed to you by the Spirit that is in you. The secret that He tells me is not revealed to you, nor yours to me; but each man must, after all is said and done, deal directly with the Father through the Son within himself.
12. Secrets are not told upon the housetop; nor is it possible to pass this, the greatest of secrets, from one to another. God, the creator of our being, must Himself whisper it to each man living in the very innermost of himself. "To him that overcometh (or is consciously in process of overcoming), to him will I give the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone (or a mind like a clean white tablet), and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17). It is so secret that it cannot even be put into human language or repeated by human lips.
13. What you want today and what I want is that the words that we have learned to say as Truth be made alive to us. We want a revelation of God in us as life, to be made to our own personal consciousness as health. We no longer care to have somebody just tell us the words from the outside. We want a revelation of God as love within us, so that our whole being will be filled and thrilled with love -- a love that will not have to be pumped up by a determined effort because we know that it is right to love and wrong not to love, but a love that will flow with the spontaneity and fullness of an artesian well, because it is so full at the bottom that it must flow out.
14. What we want today is a revelation to our consciousness of God within us as omnipotent power, so that we can, by a work -- or a look -- "accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isa. 55:11). We want the manifestation to us of the Father in us, so that we can know Him personally. We want to be conscious of God working in us "both to will and to work" (Phil. 2:13), so that we may "work out" our "salvation" (Phil. 2:12). We have been learning how to do the outworking, but have now come to a point where we must learn more of how to place ourselves in an attitude where we can each be conscious of the divine inner working.
15. Mary talked with the risen Jesus, supposing that He was the gardener, until suddenly, as He spoke her name, there flashed into her consciousness a ray of pure intuition, and in an instant the revelation of His identity was made to her.
16. According to the same sacred history, Thomas Didymus had walked daily for three years with the most wonderful teacher of spiritual things that has ever lived. He had watched this teacher's life and had been partaker of His very presence, physical and mental. He had had just what you and I have thus far received of mental training and external teaching. But there came a time when there was an inner revealing that made him exclaim, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). The secret name, which no other man could know for him, had that moment been given to him. There had come, in the twinkling of an eye, the manifestation to his consciousness of the Father in him as his Lord and his God. No longer simply our Father and our Lord, but my Lord and my God -- my divine self revealed to me personally.
17. Is not this that which you are craving?
18. Each man must come to a time when he no longer seeks external helps, when he knows that the inner revelation of "my Lord and my God" to his consciousness can come to him only through an in-dwelling power that has been there all the time, waiting with infinite longing and patience to reveal the Father to the child.
19. This revelation will never come through the intellect of man to the consciousness, but must ever come through the intuitional to the intellect as a manifestation of Spirit to man. "The natural man receiveth not (nor can it impart them) the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged" (I Cor. 2:14), and they must be spiritually imparted.
20. In our eagerness we have waited upon every source that we could reach for the light that we want. Because we have not known how to wait upon Spirit within us for the desired revelation, we have run to and fro. Let no one misunderstand me in what I say about withdrawing himself from teachers. Teachers are good and are necessary, up to a certain point. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:14).
21. Books and lectures are good, teachers are good, but you must learn for yourself that Christ, the Son of God, lives in you; that He within you is your light and life and all. When you have once grasped this beyond a doubt with the intellect, you cease looking to teachers to bring you spiritual insight. That Christ lives in you, Spirit itself must reveal to you. Teachers talk about the light, but the light itself must flash into the darkness before you can see the light.
22. Had the Master remained with the apostles, I doubt whether they would ever have gotten beyond hanging on His words and following in the footsteps of His personality.
23. Jesus knew that His treatments for spiritual illumination, given to His apostles from His recognition of Truth, would act in them as a seed thought, but He also knew that each man must for himself wait upon God for the inner illumination which is lasting and real. God alone can whisper the secret to each one separately.
24. The inducement of power was not to come to them by the spoken word through another personality, not even through that of Jesus, with His great spiritual power and discernment. It was to come from "on high" (Isa. 32:15) to each individual consciousness. It was the "promise of the Father, which. . .ye heard from me" (Acts 1:4). He had merely told them about it, but had no power to give it to them.
25. So to each of us this spiritual illumination that we are crying out after, this inducement of power for which we are willing to sell all that we have, must come from "on high," that is, to the consciousness from the Spirit within our being. This is the secret that the Father longs with an infinite yearning to reveal to each individual. It is because of the Father's desire within us to show us the secret that we desire the revelation. It is the purpose for which we come into the world -- that we might grow step by step, as we are doing, to the place where we could bear to have the secret of His inner abiding revealed to us.
26. Do not be confused by seeming contradictions in the lessons. I have said heretofore that too much introspection is not good. I repeat it; for there are those who, in earnest desire to know God, are always seeking light for themselves, but neglect to use that which they already have to help others.
27. There must be an equal conscious receiving from the Father and giving out to the world, a perfect equilibrium between the inflowing and the outgiving, to keep perfect harmony. We must each learn how to wait renewedly upon God for the infilling, and then go and give out to every creature that which we have received, as Spirit leads us to give, either in preaching, teaching, or silently living the Truth. That which fills us will radiate from us without effort right in the place in life where we stand.
28. In nearly all teaching of Truth from the purely mental side, there is much said about the working out of our salvation by the holding of right thoughts, by denials and affirmations. This is all good. But there is another side that we need to know a little more about. We must learn how to be still and let Spirit, the I AM, work in us, that we may indeed be made "a new creature" (Gal. 6:15), that we may have the mind of Christ in all things.
29. When you have learned how to abandon yourself to infinite Spirit, and have seasons of doing this daily, you will be surprised at the marvelous change that will be wrought in you without any conscious effort of your own.
30. It will search far below your conscious mind, and root out things in your nature of which you have scarcely been conscious, simply because they have lain latent there, waiting for something to bring them out. It will work into your consciousness light, and life, and love, and all good, perfectly filling all your lack while you just quietly wait and receive. Of the practical steps in this direction we will speak in another lesson.
31. Paul, who had learned this way of faith, this way of being still and letting the I AM work itself into his conscious mind as the fullness of all his needs was neither afraid nor ashamed to say:
32. "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled unto all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:14-19).
33. And then he gives an ascription: "Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Eph. 3:20).