In entering upon this course of instruction, each of you should, so far as possible, lay aside, for the time being, all previous theories and beliefs. By so doing you will be saved the trouble of trying, all the way through the course, to put "new wine into old wineskins" (Luke 5:37). If there is anything, as we proceed, which you do not understand or agree with, just let it lie passively in your mind until you have read the entire book, for many statements that would at first arouse antagonism and discussion will be clear and easily accepted a little farther on. After the course is completed, if you wish to return to your old beliefs and ways of living, you are at perfect liberty to do so. But, for the time being, be willing to become as a little child; for, said the Master, in spiritual things, "Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3). If at times there seems to be repetition, please remember that these are lessons, not lectures.
"Finally . . . be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might" (Eph. 6:10).
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8).
1. Every man believes himself to be in bondage to the flesh and to the things of the flesh. All suffering is the result of this belief. The history of the coming of the Children of Israel out of their long bondage in Egypt is descriptive of the human mind, or consciousness, growing up out of the animal or sense part of man and into the spiritual part.
2. "And Jehovah said [speaking to Moses], I have surely seen the affliction of my people that are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
3. "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exod. 3:7,8).
4. These words express exactly the attitude of the Creator toward His highest creation, man.
5. Today, and all the days, He has been saying to us, His children: "I have surely seen the affliction of you who are in Egypt [darkness of ignorance], and have heard your cry by reason of your taskmasters [sickness, sorrow, and poverty]; and I am [not I will, but I am now] come down to deliver you out of all this suffering, and to bring you up unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with good things" (Exod. 3:7 adapted).
6. Sometime, somewhere, every human being must come to himself. Having tired of eating husks, he will "arise and go to my Father" (Luke 15:18).
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow,
And every tongue shall confess to God" (Rom. 14:11).
7. This does not mean that God is a stern autocrat who by reason of supreme power compels man to bow to Him. It is rather an expression of the order of divine law, the law of all love, all good. Man, who is at first living in the selfish animal part of himself, will grow up through various stages and by various processes to the divine or spiritual understanding wherein he knows that he is one with the Father, and wherein he is free from all suffering, because he has conscious dominion over all things. Somewhere on this journey the human consciousness, or intellect, comes to a place where it gladly bows to its spiritual self and confesses that this spiritual self, its Christ, is highest and is Lord. Here and forever after, not with sense of bondage, but with joyful freedom, the heart cries out: "Jehovah reigneth" (Psalms 93:1). Everyone must sooner or later come to this point of experience.
8. You and I, dear reader, have already come to ourselves. Having become conscious of an oppressive bondage, we have arisen and set out on the journey from Egypt to the land of liberty, and now we cannot turn back if we would. Though possibly there will come times to each of us, before we reach the land of milk and honey (the time of full deliverance out of all our sorrows and troubles), when we shall come into a deep wilderness or against a seemingly impassable Red Sea, when our courage will seem to fail. Yet God says to each one of us, as Moses said to the trembling Children of Israel: "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you today" (Exod. 14:13).
9. Each man must sooner or later learn to stand alone with his God; nothing else avails. Nothing else will ever make you master of your own destiny. There is in your own indwelling Lord all the life and health, all the strength and peace and joy, all the wisdom and support that you can ever need or desire. No one can give to you as can this indwelling Father. He is the spring of all joy and comfort and power.
10. Hitherto we have believed that we were helped and comforted by others, that we received joy from outside circumstances and surroundings; but it is not so. All joy and strength and good spring up from a fountain within one's own being; and if we only knew this truth we should know that, because God in us is the fountain out of which springs all our good, nothing that anyone does or says, or fails to do or say, can take away our joy and good.
11. Someone has said: "Our liberty comes from an understanding of the mind and the thoughts of God toward us." Does God regard man as His servant, or as His child? Most of us have believed ourselves not only the slaves of circumstances, but also, at the best, the servants of the Most High. Neither belief is true. It is time for us to awake to right thoughts, to know that we are not servants, but children, "and if children, then heirs" (Rom. 8:17). Heirs to what? Why, heirs to all wisdom, so that we need not, through any lack of wisdom, make mistakes; heirs to all love, so that we need know no fear or envy or jealousy; heirs to all strength, all life, all power, all good.
12. The human intelligence is so accustomed to the sound of words heard from childhood that often they convey to it no real meaning. Do you stop to think, really to comprehend, what it means to be "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17)? It means, "Every man is the inlet, and may become the outlet, of all there is in God." It means that all that God is and has is in reality for us, His only heirs, if we only know how to claim our inheritance.
13. This claiming of our rightful inheritance, the inheritance that God wants us to have in our daily life, is just what we are learning how to do in these simple talks.
14. Paul said truly: "So long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all;
15. "But is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father.
16. "So we also, when we were children [in knowledge], were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:
17. "But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son . . . And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts [or into our conscious minds], crying Abba, Father.
18. "So that thou art no longer a bondservant but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God" (Gal. 4:1-7).
19. It is through Christ, the indwelling Christ, that we are to receive all that God has and is, as much or as little as we can or dare to claim.
20. No matter with what object you first started out to seek Truth, it was in reality because it was God's "fulness of the time" (Gal. 4:4) for you to arise and begin to claim your inheritance. You were no longer to be satisfied with or under bondage to the elements of the world. Think of it! God's "fulness of the time" now for you to be free, to have dominion over all things material, to be no longer bond servant, but a son in possession of your inheritance! "Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit" (John 15:16).
21. We have come to a place now where our search for Truth must no longer be for the rewards; it must no longer be our seeking a creed to follow, but it must be our living a life. In these simple lessons we shall take only the first steps out of the Egyptian bondage of selfishness, lust, and sorrow toward the land of liberty, where perfect love and all good reign.
22. Every right thought that we think, our every unselfish word or action, is bound by immutable laws to be fraught with good results. But in our walk we must learn to lose sight of results that are the "loaves and the fishes" (Matt. 15:36). We must rather seek to be the Truth consciously, to be love, to be wisdom, to be life (as we really are unconsciously,) and let results take care of themselves.
23. Every man must take time daily for quiet and meditation. In daily meditation lies the secret of power. No one can grow in either spiritual knowledge or power without it. Practice the presence of God just as you would practice music. No one would ever dream of becoming a master in music except by spending some time daily alone with music. Daily meditation alone with God focuses the divine presence within us and brings it to our consciousness.
24. You may be so busy with the doing, the outgoing of love to help others (which is unselfish and Godlike as far as it goes), that you find no time to go apart. But the command, or rather the invitation, is "Come ye yourselves apart . . . and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). And it is the only way in which you will ever gain definite knowledge, true wisdom, newness of experience, steadiness of purpose, or power to meet the unknown, which must come in all daily life. Doing is secondary to being. When we are consciously the Truth, it will radiate from us and accomplish the works without our ever running to and fro. If you have no time for this quiet meditation, make time, take time. Watch carefully, and you will find that there are some things, even in the active unselfish doing, which would better be left undone than that you should neglect regular meditation.
25. You will find that some time is spent every day in idle conversation with people who "just run in for a few moments" to be entertained. If you can help such people, well; if not, gather yourself together and do not waste a moment idly diffusing and dissipating yourself to gratify their idleness. You have no idea what you lose by it.
26. When you withdraw from the world for meditation, let it not be to think of yourself or your failures, but invariably to get all your thoughts centered on God and on your relation to the Creator and Upholder of the universe. Let all the little annoying cares and anxieties go for a while, and by effort, if need be, turn your thoughts away from them to some of the simple words of the Nazarene, or of the Psalmist. Think of some Truth statement, be it ever so simple.
27. No person, unless he has practiced it, can know how it quiets all physical nervousness, all fear, all oversensitiveness, all the little raspings of everyday life -- just this hour of calm, quiet waiting alone with God. Never let it be an hour of bondage, but always one of restfulness.
28. Some, having realized the calm and power that come of daily meditation, have made the mistake of drawing themselves from the world, that they may give their entire time to meditation. This is asceticism, which is neither wise nor profitable.
29. The Nazarene, who is our noblest type of the perfect life, went daily apart from the world only that He might come again into it with renewed spiritual power. So we go apart into the stillness of divine presence that we may come forth into the world of everyday life with new inspiration and increased courage and power for activity and for overcoming.
30. "We talk to God -- that is prayer; God talks to us -- that is inspiration." We go apart to get still, that new life, new inspiration, new power of thought, new supply from the fountainhead may flow in; and then we come forth to shed it on those around us, that they, too, may be lifted up. Inharmony cannot remain in any home where even one member of the family daily practices this hour of the presence of God, so surely does the renewed infilling of the heart by peace and harmony result in the continual outgoing of peace and harmony into the entire surroundings.
31. Again, in this new way that we have undertaken, this living the life of Spirit instead of the old self, we need to seek always to have more and more of the Christ Spirit of meekness and love incorporated into our daily life. Meekness does not mean servility, but it means a spirit that could stand before a Pilate of false accusation and say nothing. No one else is so grand, so godlike as he who, because he knows the Truth of Being, can stand meekly and unperturbed before the false accusations of the human mind. "Thy gentleness hath made me great" (II Sam. 2:36).
32. We must forgive as we would be forgiven. To forgive does not simply mean to arrive at a place of indifference to those who do personal injury to us; it means far more than this To forgive is to give for -- to give some actual, definite good in return for evil given. One may say: "I have no one to forgive; I have not a personal enemy in the world." And yet if, under any circumstances, any kind of a "served-him-right" thought springs up within you over anything that any of God's children may do or suffer, you have not yet learned how to forgive.
33. The very pain that you suffer, the very failure to demonstrate over some matter that touches your own life deeply, may rest upon just this spirit of unforgiveness that you harbor toward the world in general. Put it away with resolution.
34. Do not be under bondage to false beliefs about your circumstances or environment. No matter how evil circumstances may appear, or how much it may seem that some other personality is at the foundation of your sorrow or trouble, God, good, good alone, is really there when you call His law into expression.
35. If we have the courage to persist in seeing only God in it all, even "the wrath of man" (Psalms 76:10) shall be invariably turned to our advantage. Joseph, in speaking of the action of his brethren in selling him into slavery, said, "As for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:20). To them that love God, "all things work together for good" (Rom. 8:28), or to them who recognize only God. All things! The very circumstances in your life that seem heartbreaking evils will turn to joy before your very eyes if you will steadfastly refuse to see anything but God in them.
36. It is perfectly natural for the human mind to seek to escape from its troubles by running away from present environments, or by planning some change on the material plane. Such methods of escape are absolutely vain and foolish. "Vain is the help of man" (Psalms 60:11).
37. There is no permanent or real outward way of escape from miseries or circumstances; all help must come from within.
38. The words, "God is my defense and deliverance," held in the silence until they become part of your very being, will deliver you out of the hands and the arguments of the keenest lawyer in the world.
39. The real inner consciousness that "the LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalms 23:1 A.V.) will supply all wants more surely and far more liberally than can any human hand.
40. The ultimate aim of every man should be to come into the consciousness of an indwelling God, and then in all external matters, to affirm deliverance through and by this divine One. There should not be a running to and fro, making human efforts to aid the Divine, but a calm, restful, unwavering trust in All-Wisdom and All-Power within one as able to accomplish the thing desired.
41. Victory must be won in the silence of your own being first, and then you need take no part in the outer demonstration of relief from conditions. The very walls of Jericho that keep you from your desire must fall before you.
42. The Psalmist said:
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains [or to the highest One]:
From whence shall come my help?
43. "My help cometh from Jehovah,
Who made heaven and earth.
44. "Jehovah [your indwelling Lord] will keep thee from evil . . .
45. "Jehovah will keep thy going out and thy coming in
From this time forth, and for evermore."
(Psalms 121:1, 2, 7, 8)
46. Oh, if we could only realize that this mighty power to save and to perfect, to deliver and to make alive, lives forever within us, and so cease now and forever looking away to others!
47. There is but one way to obtain this full realization -- the way of the Christ. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), spoke the Christ through the lips of the Nazarene.
48. Your holding to the words, "Christ is the way," when you are perplexed and confused and can see no way of escape, will invariably open a way of complete deliverance.
Following Entry: Lessons In Truth 2: 2. Statement of Being