The Day Of Rest
That there is a law back of the universe, none of us deny; but all the details, all the statutes, all the governing principles of that law are not plain to us. If they were, we would observe the law of God, the law Universal, the law of the cosmos, and everything would go on in our lives as it does in the eternal heavens. There would be no conflict; we would not run against each other; there would be no resistance, but perfect harmony would pertain in all our ways.
There is such a law and rule in every man’s life; it is not a law external, but a law internal, a law of Spirit, of Mind. This law is based in thought, and when man begins the observance of some simple thought action he finds that it opens the door to a larger understanding, and also makes way for a better use of the powers of the mind.
The mind has its steps of activity and rest. You can, if you practice mental rest, come into a place in your consciousness where you stop personal effort and rest in Spirit. Yet it is not the rest of inactivity, but the rest of Divine Energy. Instead of making any effort on your own account, the Great Universal makes the effort for you.
Metaphysicians practice holding thoughts of peace until they find this place. Jesus pointed the way to this quiet state when he said, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He discovered that place in his consciousness, and he practiced until he could at will throw himself into that state of mind and radiate it to others. Everyone who finds that same place of rest that he found is rested.
It is a very good thing to know how to rest yourself after your labors. It is also good to know how to lay all your burdens on Jesus. We will begin our meeting this morning by resting in the consciousness of the great Universal Mind. The open door is to appreciate or acknowledge that there is such a place, then mentally affirm it and rest in it. We will say, as a centralizing thought, “I rest in the consciousness of Spirit as given by Jesus Christ. I rest this day and all days from all my labors.”
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” It is popularly supposed that this command originated with Moses, but recent discoveries in cuneiform records in the buried city of Nineveh reveals that the Chaldeans had a seventh day of rest. It is also found that in the pagan nations, long before the Hebrews were known to history, there were days of rest, which would indicate that a regular day of rest has long been observed by the human family. So it must be right And good for man to rest from his labors at intervals suited to his needs.
As metaphysicians, we would search out the law which, reflected into externals, causes man to need this day of rest. We know that there must be a cause for every act, and by finding that cause we can better observe the law. If we give ourselves up wholly to external rule we gradually come under the law we have created, and are eventually its slaves. Instead of giving us good, as it should, it brings restrictions and burdens. In the time of Jesus, the Pharisees, following literally the law of Moses, had become its slaves. They had made the law of the sabbath oppressive by their restrictions. For example, a blind man could not carry a staff on the sabbath day, because that would be bearing a burden. Neither could a man wear sandals that had metal pegs in them. That would also be carrying burdens. Nor could a man use false teeth on Sunday, because that would be bearing burdens. They also had a law that one could go only two thousand paces from his domicile on the sabbath day, but, in order to extend the journey, they got around it by carrying along a little something to eat, which they partook of at the end of the two thousand paces, and where a man ate was his domicile. So he could go on another two thousand paces. There were many similar evasions of the law which showed that they did not understand its principle.
No work could be done on the sabbath day. One of the restrictions was that no woman could look in a mirror, because, if she looked, she might see a gray hair and pluck it out, and that would be a species of labor. When Jesus came, men had made the burden of the law grievous, and he sought to set them free. He and his disciples went into the fields of grain on the sabbath day and plucked the heads and rolled them in their hands and ate them. Now, that was sacrilege in the sight of the Pharisees, and, in extreme cases, that sacrilege was punishable by death. They were looking for opportunities to accuse him, and here was a good one. But he said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” Man is greater than the law. He healed the man with the withered hand on the sabbath day, and he called their attention to certain occurrences in the Old Testament, where David, being enhungered, went in and ate the precious or sacred shewbread, which was only for the priests. He showed them that the necessities and demands of men are greater than the law. Man makes the law. Jesus said, Isn’t it better to do good on the sabbath day than to do harm?” He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth thy hand,” and he was healed. All of which indicates that the same power that sets free the bondage of self-imposed laws of a religious character can also set free the law that binds the members of the body. It is as easy to say “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” as it is to say “Take up thy bed and walk.”
In Genesis it is written that God created for six days, and rested on the seventh. Giving that a metaphysical interpretation we find that Divine Mind had six moving periods in the ideal, followed by a rest. The mind of God saw in Spirit seven steps, and having taken those seven steps under a righteous law, there was a rest; and that rest goes out into all creation. It does not mean that all nature rests one sidereal day out of seven; that the growth of animal and plant life, or the movements of the heavenly bodies, stop on the seventh day. Not at all. There is a constant going forth of the six great impulses of Divine Mind, a id an inner rest. There is activity and rest everywhere, and when we know this law and observe it, our days of activity and our day of rest will follow each other in order, and there will be none of that exhaustion, that breaking down, which comes to people who constantly push ahead and have no days of rest, who have no periods or stopping places in life’s drama.
In the time of Jesus, Saturday was the sabbath day; and among the Jews it is now. The Christian church desired to commemorate resurrection day instead of the day that he lay in the tomb, hence the adoption of the first day as the sabbath. For a long time the early church observed both days, the Jews’ sabbath and the Christian sabbath. They had two Sundays. Some people would like to have two Sundays now—or even more, they are so eager for rest of a certain kind.
However, this is not a matter of observing days, but ascertaining the needs and laws governing men. It isn’t that we shall observe a certain day of the week for our Sunday. The Chinese have an entirely different Sunday from ours, and they get along very well. It is really a matter of knowing what the needs of your mind and body are. Your attention was called to the six days’ creation as being six movements of the mind. First, is the making manifest of light. “And God said. Let there be light.” This is the perception of the law. You will find, in your own experience, in the exercise of your mind, that the first perception of Truth is like a flash of light. You will see how certain things are in the realms of the ideal, and no one can explain to you just how you see it. Then the next step is the second day, when the heavens appear, which is faith in things spiritual. Then that takes form, and you begin to see it as substance—the dry land appears—that is the third day. And so you go on for six days, according to the symbology of the Scriptures, until your mind rests. That is the sabbath of the mind—the seventh day.
You will be surprised at the consciousness of peace and satisfaction which will come to you when you take that attitude of resting in the Lord, resting in the Spirit. The great majority of people who live in the outer world know nothing about absolute rest; that rest that gives satisfaction and builds up the man. They think that rest is going to sleep. The fact is that unless the mind enters into rest first it carries its activities into sleep, and it works all night, and the man is as tired when he wakes in the morning as he was when he went to sleep. That isn’t rest. That isn’t entering into that great universal satisfaction. Before you fall asleep, if your mind has been very active, you should put it into the rest of the Spirit, and then that consciousness will enter into the body, and your whole being will be rested. Every muscle, every nerve in that organism will come under the law of spiritual rest. It is a wonderfully good thing to know this law. If you use it, it will build you up; it will give you strength and energy for the next day’s work.
A good metaphysician makes his statements of Truth, or utters his prayers, and then rests in the consciousness that the law will do its perfect work without further effort on his part. You know people, probably, who do the very best they know how, and after they have done that best, are constantly thinking, “Well, I ought to have done better, or I might have done this or that, or the other thing.” They are never satisfied with their work. They keep the mind in a state of agitation, a state of unrest. You get nervous, you get wrought up; you destroy your vital force in such states of constant activity. If you find yourself getting nervous or tense, at once take the attitude of work well done, and say, “I rest; I am satisfied with what I have done.” “What I have done, I have done,” and let it rest at that. “What I have done, I have done the very best that I knew how, and I rest in the consciousness that it is well done.”
But there is even a deeper rest than this, and that is that spiritual rest that Jesus Christ realized and promised to those who believed in him. That is the rest of God. There is a great spiritual rest in which man can feel the peace of the Universal Mind; and it is possible for us to enter into that rest and come to the place in mind, in affairs, too, where there will be a cessation of the mental and physical activities that wear us out. Instead of being torn down, we will be built up, when we rest in the sabbath day of the Spirit.
All of God’s creative work is done and he rests in the Great Sabbath Day. It is given to the Son, the Lord God, to carry out the ideals of Divine Mind. In other words. Divine Mind is entering into that second step, faith in its Word to do that which it has spoken forth. Man is the offspring of God and works in mind like his Father, hence what we have done is good, and very good. Put the stamp of the very good on all that you have done. Although you may have made mistakes, if you will put the thought of goodness into what you have done, it will lead on to something better. By taking this attitude you will do your work a little better next time, and you will see a little farther into the work that you are doing; and it will be shown to you how you may accomplish a little more, if you rest in the Eternal Goodness. God, as the Great Universal Mind, is working with you. He is working with every one of us. There is no other source of life or intelligence but the one Divine Life and the one Divine Intelligence. Then cooperate with it, enter into it, make it part of your life, by abiding in its activity and its rest.
You will notice in the Genesis account that in the seventh day God rested from all his labors, and he blessed the sabbath day. Now, do you ever bless your day of rest? If you bless, you will find an added satisfaction and increase in whatever you are doing, because blessing has increasing power. Whatever you bless you increase. If you bless the good, you increase the good. If you curse, you destroy. Cursing is always destructive, while blessing is always constructive. All metaphysicians take that law of blessing into all their affairs, and they increase the good by blessing all their words and acts, and all the people to whom they minister.
We know that the good in Divine Mind can be expressed, can be blessed into the lives of men and into the world, until it will transform the whole universe. But we should not let out zeal eat us up. I know people who work in the name of the good until they are nervous wrecks. They wear themselves to a frazzle in good works, and when they go down, people say, “Oh, what a blessed spirit; how she or he has worked for God!” But they didn’t work understandingly. They didn’t work understandingly because they didn’t know the law of rest.
I don’t wear myself out by working all day and all night, in the service of God, even. God wants me to rest in his Spirit; so I insist upon having my rest. Not that I want to sleep all the time. That isn’t rest. That is animal cessation of activity. But, when I rest in the Spirit, I go into the silence, and I commune with God. I say,
“Father, I am thy obedient Son; I want to do thy will and thy work; but I want to keep on living. I don’t want to wear out my organism; I don’t want to break down my mental activity; I don’t want to disrupt the law between mind and body; but I want to enter into the peace and harmony of Spirit on the one side, and activity on the other.”
We must all do that if we would sustain the equipoise between mind and body; and the only way to accomplish this is to insist upon the law that this day of rest is made for man; that man shall not be driven by the law. I must not allow myself to be driven by external conditions. The idea that I must work continuously, from morning till night, to make a living—no! That is allowing the law to make a slave of me.
The only condition that God requires of you is obedience to his law. Take that into your mind and begin at once the observance of the law of life, and you will have energy and capacity; you will do in five minutes that which now takes you all day. You will find that, through taking God into partnership with you, through entering into God’s rest, new powers will arise in you, and you will know what forces rule in the silence; you will know the power of the Spirit to build you up; and this is the rest of God. This is that place of peace which Jesus Christ said he would prepare for those who believed in him. And this is the rest into which we can all enter, if we only believe in it. But you must believe in it for yourself; you must believe in it as being prepared for you, and then, through your word, enter into it.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Those words are constantly going forth and are being spoken to every one of us. If you are tired; if you are burdened with worldly care; if you are nervous; if you are tense; if even the organs of your body are not working properly because of some hard, irritant, burdened, or anxious, or fear state of mind, just let go, relax, and go into the rest of God.