A growing tree is rooted in the ground, from which it extracts nourishment. Secretly, industriously, the rootlets reach into untapped areas of soil, and therefrom draw the elements that, acted upon by the life force in the tree, prosper growth and fruitfulness. The alchemistic processes whereby mineral and air and water become a tree, are beyond the scrutiny of human eyes. But that the processes occur any one of your five senses may tell you. The tree is there; you even know the kind of tree it its. Not by the invisible roots do you know the nature of the tree, but by trunk and branch and leaf, by bud and blossom and fruit.
Your life has its roots in the invisible; its character is known by the appearance that it presents in the visible. Secretly, industriously, your life processes are carried on in the soil of mind. Thought rootlets reach into new areas where novel concepts and attractively rearranged old concepts are to be found. These are seized by the life force and are borne by the circulatory currents into the structure of your life. If the elements thus appropriated are of the highest nutritive value, renewed vitality, more symmetrical growth, and the germ of golden fruits are released in you.
Your life is in perpetual flower, fed by the vital essence contained in your thoughts. It is in perpetual fruit, the ripened forms of your thoughts. The transmutation of thought into flesh never is witnessed by
the senses. That it takes place your changing life gives proof.
Had there been no mind to mold it, our universe would not have been formed. Chaos would have ruled throughout pulseless eternity. Were mind withdrawn from the manifest universe, that universe would crumble to elemental formlessness. Had there been no substance to mold, our manifest universe would have held sway within itself, unproductive, monotonous. Were substance to be withdrawn, our manifest universe would vanish as light vanishes when the flame is extinguished.
To induce mental balance you must construct a consciousness that can deal with the absolute and remain practical, that can deal with the relative and not become materialistic. Occasionally to consider life in the absolute is refreshing; to do so washes the clay from your eyes and hushes the din of the time world. Wholly to discard the relative is to throw yourself out of step with the march of events; is to make you miss the cue for you next act. In your present development life is both absolute and relative. You must consider mind and you must consider substance, in which your mind works. Mind is your equipment if full; substance is the pliant stuff of your life. Contemplation of the absolute may defer physical demands, but it will not abolish physical demands. You are mind, but you have built a body that you must cherish.
You are absolute; for the present you are also relative. Mind must have a background against
which to draw its pictures, a clay out of which to fashion its forms. Sufficient unto the day are the demands thereof (Matt. 6:34). You will not finish with the relative until you have identified each phase of it with its origin, and merged it therewith. Substance in mass and substance in definite form are you two great considerations in the relative world. Your relation to substance in mass embodies power to determine the forms that substance assumes in your life. But you must know your tools and how to use them. The plutocrat and the beggar use tools identical in nature, but the product of the first is opulence while that of the second is penury.
Substance is the elemental quality of the food that produces growth and fruit in the tree. It is the elemental quality that feeds your body; that gave itself in the genesis of your body; that sustains and that lends itself to the re- creation of all organisms.
Substance is your resource, your support. It is your bodily support; it is your financial support. Substance is the element; support is the transmutation of substance into the diversified forms that daily minister to your physical life and its comforts. Bread, butter, potatoes, are not the elemental quality that is food. They are containers of the elements that through transmutations and distributions become food. They are conveyers of food; they bring from nature to your body the elements that you have taught your body to demand. Transmutation of the food element begins when the element is accepted by your mind. At the instant of the mind's approval the element is picked up by the life force and is
carried to the point of demand. During transportation the element undergoes other changes. At the point of demand it becomes liquid, tissue, bone, according to the need of your body when your body is in normal condition.
A similar transmutation of substance fits it to the needs of your life in areas not purely physical but tributary to the physical. To work intelligently with substance you must accept the fact that in all matters of supply you deal with the element and convert it to the form that fits your need. Bodily support is maintained through intimate cooperation of the life force in you and the food elements that you give your body. These transactions involve hidden processes that you cover by the word "nature." Your financial support is maintained by intimate cooperation between the life force in you and the substance element that manifests in the forms called financial resource.
Your mind controls the life force in you. Whatever may have been your experience, you will find that to treat the elemental substance as the immediate, quickly responsive resource, will prove to you that substance is your financial resource as surely as it is your physical resource.
In the absolute your support is direct from God, who is the substance within matter, the element that sustains eternal life. In literal fact your support is God, but your obligations to the relative necessitate the employment of forms. You cannot desert your creation. You cannot outrage even your most foolish mental images; you must transform them into images
that wear the glory of wisdom. Financial resource will continue to be a necessity until you learn how to receive life direct from God, and in so receiving possess the eternal base of financial resource.
Intelligent contact with substance is your most pertinent need in the visible world. The tree lives and grows by what we call unconscious use of substance. The use that you make of substance duplicates the use that the tree makes of substance until your mind begins to ask questions concerning the perpetuation of the body. The tree is not supposed to ask such questions. When the questions arise in your mind you and the tree part company in the matter of interest in substance, but not in the matter of the use of substance. When either you or the tree ceases to use substance in a way that would keep the body healthily sustained, disintegration begins. In either case, if the disintegrating process continues the body collapses.
Your physical interest in substance centers in its availability. There are four ways by which you may shut off the flow of substance in your life. If you check the flow of substance, destruction of your body, or financial entanglements, will ensue. Perhaps both will result. The four ways of shutting off the substance flow:
1. Treating substance as if it were decreasing in volume.
2. Treating substance as if it were fixed of form.
3. Treating substance as if it were insufficient to demand.
4. Treating substance as if it were restricted in agencies of distribution.
Political economists have mishandled the question of supply. Metaphysicians have taught only a portion of the law of supply. Through the delineation of miracles the Bible teaches the perfect law of supply, and also shows how the law may be ignored, to the decrease of supply. How the flow of supply is regulated is illustrated in four outstanding miracles. These illustrations specify the form of lack, then give the processes by which plenty supplants lack. The treatment of substance that insures supply embodies four points that counteract the movements that check supply. The points are:
1. Consideration of substance that recognizes it as steady of volume.
2. Consideration of substance that recognizes its adaptability.
3. Consideration of substance that recognizes its sufficiency in every case.
4. Consideration of substance that recognizes unrestricted agencies of distribution.
The four Biblical illustrations:
THE PROPHET AND SUPPLY (I Kings 17:3): The prophet Elijah brought drought on the land ruled by King Ahab.
After the drought had continued for some time Elijah was forced to move from his retreat by the brook Cherith. His prophecy was working smoothly; the stream had dried. Elijah's activities began to assume a resemblance to those of the dog, which, "to gain its private ends, went mad, and bit the man."
Taking advice of Jehovah, Elijah went to
Zarephath. At the city gate he met the widow who was to provide him food. Having drunk of his own drought, the prophet was thirsty; he asked the widow to bring him a drink. As the widow turned to go for the water the prophet requested her to bring him a little bread. The widow goes on record: "As Jehovah thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in the jar, and a little oil in the cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
The visible aspect of the situation has been outlined. Attention now should be transferred to the mental acts that operated to originate and to complete the visible situation.
A spiritual prophet is one who delivers a divine message. A practical prophet is one who uses his power of mind to shape a specific result. In the case under consideration, Elijah was a practical prophet. He used his mental power to score against Ahab and also to take care of himself. A widow is defined as "a woman who has lost her husband by death and is still unmarried." To widow means "to deprive of something desirable, or that suggests a husband's ... support." The widow of Zarephath had been widowed in a double sense: Her husband had died, and by her penurious considerations of supply she had deprived herself of what suggested a husband's support. She had been believing that substance would cease to support her, and by her mental shutting down on substance she was lessening her store of visible supply. Her treatment of substance had so
effectively prevailed on her supply that she considered two sticks sufficient to her culinary demands.
The life force is tenacious of its forms. It tries to convince you that it needs your body as a mode of expression. This fact is indicated by the terms that you instinctively stipulate when prophesying disaster on small or on large scale. You keep a back door open, through which you hope to escape when the avenger enters the front door. Elijah had his brook, his rave; after that, the widow was to provide for him. The widow had her meager supply. She expected that small supply to fail; but she did not expect it to fail before she again availed herself of its comforts. Starvation was only a little beyond, but it was beyond. Persistent is the life force. The widow postponed her dying by starvation. She would have another square meal, or a meal as nearly square as she could make it, before beginning to starve to death.
The widow was ignorant in regard to the law that regulates supply. The prophet knew the law. He persuaded the widow to treat her little of meal and her little of oil in the way that would make them become as springs calling to the hidden streams of plenty. Under his treatment the outflow continued. The persons of the household were sustained.
The widow was ignorant in regard to the law that regulates supply. The prophet knew the law. He persuaded the widow to treat her little of meal and her little of oil in the way that would make them become as springs calling to the hidden streams of plenty. Under this treatment the outflow continued. The persons of the household were sustained.
On this miracle has been based the metaphysical teaching that you must share your supply if you would insure continuation of your supply. This teaching is correct in itself, but it is not the whole of the teaching implied. Though you should invest in the best of securities, and though you should share
to your last crust, you cannot make your supply steady until you treat it as being based on constant, essential substance.
Not essentially your possessions, but essentially your spirit toward your possessions, makes you rich or poor. When you give, let the gift be made in conjunction with the fact that substance cannot be diminished in volume. When you start supply into circulation, let it represent the pound that the thrifty servant used in gaining ten pounds of increase. If you feel that you cannot share you are poor in mind. Then, despite your external accumulations, some day you will know yourself to be a beggar, forever trying to receive, forever trying to withhold.
The widow learned that sharing precedes replenishment. She shared. She treated her supply as constant. Her supply became constant. The miracle of continuation, worked in the widow's meal and oil, presents two provisions of the law of supply:
1. Keep supply in circulation; send out.
2. Treat the inner elemental substance and the outer form of substance supply as continuous in nature. Expect replenishment.
If you have the courage to submit your interests to the provisions of the law that were observed in this miracle, you will prove for yourself that supply is constant.
You are more likely to forswear yourself in your intention toward supply than in any other way. You say that when you are prospered you will give liberally to worthy causes; you will be generous; you will not use your income selfishly, but will
devote it to good works. Then, when supply begins to increase you find personal ways in which to apply the increment. The house with which you thought you would be content will be so much more desirable, so much more satisfactory, if its proposed unpretentious dimensions and interiors be enlarged and embellished. The long dreamed of trip will be so much more enjoyable if taken in a luxurious suite instead of in the modest accommodations that at one time seemed acceptable to you. Your associations change, and the changes are expensive. You must keep up appearances; you must dress a richly as you friends dress, must have as many and as good cars as your friends have. Your tastes take on the qualities suggested by your fortune; what had been luxuries become necessities. Of the volume of supply that you once thought would provide a surplus for unselfish expenditures no surplus remains, and the fine vows you made are unfulfilled.
In all things be slow to promise, prompt to perform. Your can fairly estimate what you would do with much by what you do with little. If you say that you now are too poor to share, you will find other reasons for not sharing when your supply becomes great. Be honest with yourself. You have gains to make, aside from all hopes of gains in finances. One of these is integrity. Learn not to cheat yourself.
Do you pray that you may be prospered in order that you may give to others? If you do, change your prayer; pray that others may be prospered. The only way in which you can duplicate God in the
matter of giving is by giving of what you already have.
In practical ways, you will find that sharing and expectancy are the beginnings of financial increase. The widow did not wait until she had accumulated much meal and oil. She did not pray that she might be prospered to the end that she might be able to care for the prophet. She shared what she had, expecting supply to continue. Then her prosperity began.
Your application of your mental powers may so far have resulted in a state of which you say, "By yielding to the divine order I have been able to receive health, but my finances do not improve. How can I become prospered?" If you will use you mind as intelligently in the matter of supply as you used it in the matter of health, you will find yourself financially prospered as well as healed. The substance that renews your body is the substance that renews your bank account. Your mind transmutes substance. Of gold the government makes coins; of the same metal the smith makes works of art; the jeweler makes personal adornments. Gold, which is an adaptations of substance, adapts itself to demand. The adaptations to which gold lends itself are not many; the adaptations to which substance lends itself are as numerous as your wants are, or as they ever can become. Treat substance as the obliging presence of all that you need, appearing in your body as health, in your affairs as supply. Then, you will become acquainted with your resource and you will find that it will yield to you in all your requirements of it.
THE WEDDING GUESTS (John 2:1): There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Substance as wine failed. Substance as water continued. The ruler of the feast was troubled. Embarrassment might ensue. "Water," he may have mused, "comes from God, a free gift bestowed as He will. It pours easily from the clouds and eagerly is received by the earth. It filters through the soil and comes out, a sweet and cleansing flow. Of water there is no lack. But wine is another matter. To garner an abundant harvest of grapes the vineyard must be worked on; the vines and the clusters must be protected and encouraged by the husbandman. Then, there is the wine press, also the rich, ripening juice. Wine comes from nature; it is the reward of working and waiting. I need wine for the guests."
In so arguing the ruler of the feast anticipated your views concerning forms of substance: The free gift of God none may check; it comes when He is gracious enough to bestow. The toil-earned reward fails. God is constant to His purposes. Nature is capricious.
The Guest at the feast spoke to the servants, instructing them in certain matters. The servants refilled the waterpots with water. The empty wine skins, the drained ewers, they touched not. But forthwith they drew from the waterpots that which they bore to the ruler of the feast. Wine it was; good wine, such wine as hosts were wont to serve at the beginning of feasts when drinkers had keenness of taste.
How is water made wine? How is mineral made tree? What grew your body?
The elemental resource is God. Human consciousness objectifies the resource in general as nature, in particular as water, wine. If there were more than one substance each substance would be peculiar in character, and the ruler of the feast would have had to send out for wine. As there is but one substance, that substance is adaptable to meet all your needs. The Guest at the wedding feast knew the adaptability of substance. He cooperated with the adaptable nature of substance, and wine was drawn out where water had been put in.
God has given you Himself as your resource. He does not bestow Himself occasionally; He has given you Himself as your steady, your eternal resource. The toil-earned reward is good, but better is it to let substance come forth, shaped to fit the need before you become aware of the need; then need cannot arise.
The conversion of water into wine occurred at a wedding. Adaptability exists in union, in oneness. Substance is water or it is wine, dependent on your need. As resource, substance is one. In use, substance becomes many.
All the forms of substance that you know are adaptations of the one elemental substance. Each form of substance contains the potentiality of all other forms of substance. The Guest knew this, and by treating the available supply as the desired form of supply, water became wine.
The parable of the marriage feast offers you two more rules having to do with supply. When you observe these rules you will be able to adapt
substance to your requirements. The rules are:
1. Consider substance as one, not many.
2. Treat the available form of supply as if it were the required form of supply.
If your understanding of your resource stops at the knowledge that supply will last, you may duplicate the experience of the widow: Your supply will continue, but it will be scanty. This is the hand-to-mouth program from which many find it hard to depart. If to continuation of substance you add adaptability of substance, forms of substance will multiply for you. But continuation and adaptability may not give you abundance; they will produce for you in the forms to which you give your consent. The prophet will have oil and meal; the ruler of the feast will have enough wine for the guests. You are the prophet when you say, "I can hold my job. My wages are small, but they will keep me from starving." You are the ruler of the feast when you say, "I can feed, clothe, and house my family, but I cannot give my children the education that I should like them to have."
In taking stock of your abilities and of your manifest supply, you may say, "There is not enough to go around." Not enough for you, to be sure. But there is enough of God to go around, and since substance is the body of God, there is enough of substance to go around. Your restricted supply is due to your restricted treatment and consideration of substance.
THE BANQUET IN THE DESERT (Matt. 14:13-21): The Guest at Cana of Galilee had become the Host of the desert.
The guests were expectant of a spiritual feast; this they were given. At the conclusion of that feast the Host offered them food of another kind. The Host was also teacher; He had taught them, "All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine" (John 16:15). He would now in part demonstrate that teaching, that they might learn to demonstrate and so be approved in "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John 14:12).
Advisers of the Host suggested that He send the multitude to those places where food was to be seen as already manifest. Had the Host believed as the widow had believed, that supply would dwindle to the vanishing point; had He believed with the ruler of the feast that substance is fixed in form and non-convertible; had He believed with His apostles that food is to be found in some places and not to be found in other places, He would have dismissed the multitude that each person might shift for himself. But He knew that supply may be made to continue. He knew that substance is convertible to all forms that the mind decrees. In addition to His knowledge of these facts, He knew that no place is barren of the element that nourishes.
Not knowing that substance is everywhere, they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy food for these people? We have money enough to buy a morsel for each." He answered, "Feed them with what you have." Not knowing that substance is exhaustless, they said, "We have but five loaves and two fishes -- little fishes, and," with eloquent gesture toward the multitude, "what is this among so many?"
The Host took the supply. He looked to the Source of supply and spoke words of thanks. Then He broke the bread and the fish, passed the pieces to His apostles, who distributed to the throng.
One account relates that when a loaf or a fish was broken it immediately was entire again. The Host never took His hands off the visible supply. Bread and fish passed through His hands in a steady flow, and in the desert where only He could discern supply, He fed the multitude.
You may have been taught that the ability of the Host to feed the multitude from that scanty store was due to His having given thanks. This is good teaching, but it does not cover the vital fact in the situation. Thanking God for supply may be a formal courtesy or it may be the expression of a profound gratitude. In either event it is not sufficient to produce increase. When you know whence comes your supply you instinctively will give thanks.
Substance flows under your hand, an unending stream of potential forms. If you keep your hand on the stream, you can break substance in any form and in any quantity. When you take your hand off the stream of substance you cease to break. Thousands or few, substance is sufficient. Desert or garden, substance abounds. Neither place nor numbers can dismay you when you have rightly related yourself to your resource. Seed time and harvest and the seasons thereof are mental processes slowed to the rhythms of the fictitious world. Immediate response is the harvest of your reliance on the eternal resource.
There must be no waste. All things are for use.
Pick up the fragments. They will remind you that supply is in even the desert. They will compel you to think of the source that flows for you everywhere, all the time. Pick up the fragments; substance is everywhere, but waste is contempt for the resource.
The banquet in the wilderness specifies two more requirements for your perfect cooperation with the law of supply. These requirements are:
1. Look to the Source. Spontaneous thanks will arise from your heart.
2. Keep your hands on the stream of substance. Break according to the need.
If conditions look doubtful, continue to break in the form that you require. If substance seems to dwindle, break opulently. Whatever comes, whatever goes, keep your hands on the stream of substance, and break, break, break in the fashion that satisfies your need. This treatment of substance will make you able to feed any multitude that may assemble in your life.
There is no numbering of the avenues through which supply may come to you. The avenues that you close stay their caravans of richest offerings from remote lands; through them you receive nothing. The avenues that you open will turn their sparkling treasures into the strong room of your consciousness; these treasures are available supply. Of them you may receive as you will. Your resource is as far-reaching as the universe. Here is the concluding lesson on the law of supply:
THE SHEKEL (Matt. 17:24-27): Taxes were due. There was no money in hand with which to pay. The Son tested
Peter's attitude toward tribute. No protests were made; no growling over taxes complicated the question. Peter could have said, "I will call my brethren; we will fish and sell our catch, that there may be a shekel to pay for thee and me." Or, with a mind to evasion, he might have said, "We are sons, and not strangers. Why pay the tax?"
But the son would pay the tax, "lest we cause them to stumble," as He tenderly said. So Peter again became a fisherman, but not that he might sell his catch and by so doing come into possession of tribute money for the Son or for himself.
In all other cases of the Son's special handling of substance results are described. The narrative of the fish and the tribute money closes with the words, "take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt find a shekel: take, and five unto them for me and thee." Why carry the story farther? The tribute was paid. In the course of your development you learn that when the Christ speaks the work is done. Unless you prize superfluities you do not say that a heavy rain fell and soaked the ground. You say that a heavy rain fell. The Son gave instructions; the apostle followed instructions. No prolongation of the account is required.
The incident of the coin in the mouth of the fish has been interpreted to mean that the fish represents increase; that the word of plenty often spoken eventuates in prosperity. The interpretation is good, but not complete.
Another teaching in regard to supply is that you
must not expect it to come to you through any special avenue. This is a good teaching, but it does not meet the whole situation. The important reason for not looking to a special avenue of supply is that, expecting your supply from a given source, your expectation takes on the nature of suggestion. You may suggest to yourself concerning yourself, but you may not suggest to another for any purpose.
The great teaching contained in the tribute money miracle is that you are to expect your supply through all avenues of contact with life. Not from one specified point, not from two or more specified points; but from all points of the universe your good is crowding toward you. If you would coincide in full with the law of supply, you must give it these two final considerations:
1. Supply comes from the expected source in the expected way.
2. Supply comes from the unexpected sources, in unexpected ways.
You are the one who is able to shape substance.
Substance is the presence of God. It does not fail.
Substance is adaptable to all my demands. The form that is necessary to my well-being appears. The stream of substance flows through my hands. I keep my hands on the stream of substance, and break according to my need. Substance is everywhere. It comes to me from expected and from unexpected sources.