I — “Facts” or Grace?
Grace is a sparkling thing, compounded of the very essence of moonlight, and sunshine and starshine too.
Yes, it is; but although we have compared it to the unique beauty of the moonflower, the shining gold of sun and stars and the blue-white fire of a diamond, let no one be deceived into thinking that it is too delicate, too poetic, a thing for practical everyday consumption. Its fibre is toughest of the tough, strongest of the strong, and will stand the one test by which anything is proved: it works. Only that which is integrated, secure, in the essential truth, can afford to lilt, sparkle and be gay.
Who are the strongest people? Those of serious, doom-portending countenance? No. Those who are truly lighthearted.
Such uncounterfeited lightness of heart comes not from any human strength but from our finding the peace, which is the poise and the power, of the Comforter within us. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you,” said Jesus. He has given it to us—His very own realization of the peace of God. “The Blood of Jesus whispers peace within.”
Sometimes it may seem that there is nothing in all the world at which to laugh gay-heartedly. But always within the soul there abides the lightness (understanding) of the Holy Spirit Comforter. Once we comprehend just with our reason that it there awaits our entering into it, are we not foolish if we do not decide to seek, and find, its surcease from anxiety and gloom, its freedom in the good manifest?
Never let us forget that this Holy Spirit Comforter is the power quickly to make blessings tangible and visible.
Living Grace does not cocoon us in a haze of inner ecstasy that yet fails to solve the problems of the moment. Spirituality always demonstrates itself.
In The Sermon on the Mount, Emmet Fox invaluably stresses the power of the spiritualized consciousness to manifest its faith:
“Truth always works. The Truth always heals ... Truth heals the body, purifies the soul, reforms the sinner, solves difficulties, pacifies strife ...”
It has been pointed out in the first part of this book that deep-souled desire is the necessary beginning for all manifestation of the formless good in specific form. The particular expression—and so experience—desired by one person will differ from that wanted by someone else. No two people want to be active in life in exactly the same way because no two are at exactly the same stage of soul development. No two would duplicate completely each other’s thought, word and deed. But is not the general picture the same for all: actualized blessedness?
Who, honestly, does not want to be peaceful in mind, joyous in heart, whole in body, successful in his true work, affluent in his material supply, and harmonious in satisfying relationships with other people?
Grace received inevitably produces these in tangible and actualized form—speedily, the “outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Quickly, in perfect ways, it finishes unfinished facts. The sternest unfinished appearance loses its power to remain in dawdling incompletion. No matter how uncompromising it has seemed in its threat to our peace of mind, the blessedness of our life, the completion of Grace is the finish of the problem—in a more constructive sense than that expression usually indicates.
Illness, an incomplete manifestation of life, is finished into health.
Inefficiency, an unfinished expression of power, is completed into satisfactory ability.
Poverty, a skimpy appearance of substance, is rounded out into plenty.
Discord, a creaking balance between people, is oiled by love into harmony and good-will.
However much of an actual fact an unsatisfactory soul activity or visible condition may be, we should understand its unfinished state, and face the Grace of completion which is within us in His Name. The perfect way to bring an incomplete fact to delightful fulfillment is not to wrestle mentally nor materially with its immature development, but to send our attention ahead to the Grace of completion in Him who indwells us.
Don’t “face the facts.” Face Grace. If there is something we should do about appearances, we shall receive perfect guidance, not from looking uninspiredly at the outer conditions, but from looking for inspiration from the inner Comforter.
This is not escapism. It is not useless running away in fear and defeat from the facts of life. We would much better turn and face the difficulty if we are turning away from it only to look at some vain daydream of “better times” within our human selves. Taking our attention from a distressing fact to give it to the Christed Jesus, the Holy Spirit Comforter, in us is something else entirely. Then we are turning to the light which automatically draws the evil out to its Grace-full conclusion of goodness.
No man need be kept from entering his own kingdom manifest on earth, because of the terrors from the “night,” soul darkness, of others. “A thousand shall fall at thy left hand, and ten thousand at thy side, but it shall not come nigh thee,” if thou put thy trust in Him.
So, “What of life and its stern facts?” do we ask? At once let us remind ourselves they must be left astern by one who sails the ship of Grace, or else in proper guise of Good they must be clothed by the radiant light of Jesus, our Elder Brother. Whether they be facts in our own life or in that of another, often must we hear again and heed from the Risen Lord in us, the admonition to our Peter (Our faculty of understanding faith): What is that to thee? See that thou follow me.
“I, if I be lifted up from the earth (unfinished appearances),” said Jesus, “will draw all men (all man-I-festations, incompleted conditions that I have formed by imperfect thinking and feeling) unto me (up to expression of my perfected consciousness about them).” All visibility “follows after” my uplifted vision.
When we follow Him within us, we are able to be unmoved emotionally by adverse appearances and thus the negative seeming moves out of our life. We can so love this true self in us that we free ourselves from bondage to the human portrait. We must, and by the power of His Name in us we can, show forth the divine portrait that has been hid behind the pencil sketch of the too often unworthy personality.
“We must be inwardly and spiritually so assured of ... good that we are not overcome by outward appearances of loss or disadvantage. We must love ourselves so much that we shall be loving and unselfish toward others and unwilling to insure our own good at their expense. We must transform foolish pride into pride of such dignity that it will not stoop to anything mean or common or unworthy of the kind of person we spiritually sense ourselves to be. We must love ourselves too much to betray the higher self to the lower.” (Ernest C. Wilson in The Great Physician) This is our “duty” to ourselves. In Him indwelling we can fulfill it as we should.
Poor foolish pride, that stooped and shied,
And sometimes Him within denied,
When faced with fact unpleasing;
It can stand straight, this is its Fate—
To be a truly noble trait,
By finding Flim indwelling.
“For frantic ‘sword of foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord”— (Rudyard Kipling)
Through “brothers” mercy showing.
Following the Saviour serving in the midst of us, we find our “duty” to our “brothers” includes less seldom than formerly we thought the necessity of pointing out to them where they have failed to “hit the mark” of right. The more of Grace we realize the less of “judging” need we do; and then only when we are quite free from emotional turbulence about the ignorant, or wilful “error” of their “night.” More and more through His ascended Name in us, we are liberated into seeing that, in the words of Louis E. Meyer, there is “a Diviner Hand than ours to guide them,” even the most Grace-full Hand of the most Holy Lord in them.
Shall we be so egotistic as not to recognize that He who dwells in us and leads us is also an abiding truth within our “brothers”? In this respect, under Grace, we find our goal to be: How to win friends and not influence people, personally.
Do we question, “Have our ‘brothers’ no responsibilities to us?” Must we love them in this freeing Gracious fashion no matter how they act towards us? What else, as Jesus taught us, and in His indwelling Name empowers us, is there for us now to do? (Although we are not His martyrs, as the dearly beloved we are still His Christians.) His Name of Grace exceeds all other names above and in its incandescence we see what really it is to love.
Shall we give love only where, apparently, it is given last—or first? If so we do not know love and, knowing not, we “thirst.” It is the love that, divinely, we ourselves express which saves and heals and blesses with the riches of the kingdom manifest on earth.
And if our “brothers” seemingly have pushed us into “troubled waters,” is the fault not somewhat ours? Having put our trust in princes, or yet in principalities, shall we rage at liabilities that descend in steady showers? Yet can we still escape to a much safer place, when we put our trust most firmly in the principle of Grace.
Have we been the kind of person who before the facts must grovel, and persist in saying black is black, or calling spade a shovel? In the light of Grace we see the kingdom is all Whiteness. No spade—nor shovel—just a key—of His Comforter inside us—admits us to its Lightness.
Always let us remember that we are not going to ascend to the heights of heavenly splendor by our own personal power.
Roman Catholics are given a prayer called, “Prayer to the Sacred Heart”:
“Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked you for many favors, but I plead for this one. Take it, place it in your open broken Heart, and when the Eternal Father sees it covered with the Mantel of the Most Precious Blood, He cannot refuse it. Then it is your prayer, not mine.
“Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee.”
If we should pray this prayer with an understanding of its inner meaning, then indeed we’d clearly see how wonderful is its power.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is His perfect, ascended consciousness of divine love: “God is Good, and God is all, on earth as in heaven.”
His “open broken Heart” is this consciousness “open,” freely given to all who will receive of His divine faith, “broken” into realizations of particular blessings manifest to fulfill the specific desires of men for food, shelter, clothing, wisdom, strength, ability, companionship—whatever they may be. “And when he had blessed the bread (realized the divinity o£ all substance) he brake it and gave to them ...”
“Break Thou the Bread of Life, dear Lord, to me ...
As Thou didst break the loaves besides the sea.”
“And when the Eternal Father sees it (my prayer) covered with the Mantel of the Most Precious Blood, He cannot refuse it.”
When the Father, Who is without beginning and without end, “from everlasting unto everlasting,” “sees” my request “arched over” by the consciousness of the diamond-pure realization of the ascended Lord, He is unable to refuse it. “If ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you, in my name“ said Jesus—(when ye pray in my consciousness that I freely give you.)
“Then it is your prayer, not mine.”
Then it is no longer “I” an “unfinished” soul, John Smith, Mary Jones, who prays, but it is Thou, the Lord of Grace, praying through me.
“Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee.”
Dear realization of the ascended Lord in me, I place my trust in Thee.
Yes, dearly beloved of the Father and the Son Apparent, let us place our prayer, our every prayer, in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now in us. So shall our “health (and our every blessing, including the ability to express His Grace to “brothers”) spring forth (into visibility) right speedily.”
© 1947, Crichton Russ Boatwright