MAN CAN be what he determines to be. He can be master or he can be serf. It rests with him whether he shall fill the high places in life or the low, whether he shall serve or be served, lead or be led, or be sickly or healthy. Of course we understand that these distinctions are relative only; in the sight of the Most High the servant may be prized more than his master, but there is within every one an inherent desire to be at the top, which desire has its root deep down in our very nature and is consequently legitimate. That it is frequently misdirected and used toward base ends is no reason why it should be depreciated. We all desire to excel. This desire is the inspiration of Spirit, which ever forces us up through earth toward heaven, and it should be encouraged and cultivated in the right direction.
A man without ambition is like a ship afloat on the waves without sails or power. Such a man simply drifts: if he reaches port safely it is by chance.
But a ship under full sail or power needs one other important thing and that is a rudder. Then it needs a man to handle that rudder, and that man needs faith.
In considering the character of faith we must start, as we do with everything else, in the one Mind.
God must have had faith in order to ideate the universe before it was created; and man, being like God, must base his creations on faith. Faith is innate in man. A favorite definition of faith is that of Paul: "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). It is by works of faith that we develop our consciousness and heal ourselves. The important question with everyone of us is, How does faith work?
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It is possible to have a reality and yet neither touch it nor smell it nor see it nor in any way come into consciousness of it in the outer realm. That is what faith is. It is the consciousness in us of the realities of the attributes of mind. Before we can have the substance of faith we must realize that the mind creates realities. How do we create realities without seeing them, or feeling them, or smelling them, or tasting them, or in any way coming into outer consciousness of them? Faith is the wonderful power that builds these eternally real things.
Faith is a power of the spiritual mind, but in all the realms of existence we find faith. The foundation of faith is in the spiritual, but wherever you find the mind at work you find faith. Faith in its highest form is an exalted idea. And what is the most exalted idea that man can have? That he is spiritual; that he is related directly to the one great Spirit, and that through that Spirit he can do mighty works by faith.
Jesus laid great stress on faith. He always tried to direct the attention of the people to the invisible,
the spiritual, by statements like these: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" "According to your faith be it done unto you." "Thy faith hath made thee whole." All through His works there runs a golden thread of faith. Jesus did not advocate faith in material forces of any character. Through faith He healed thousands. His command was "Have faith in God."
We would not destroy anyone's faith in the lesser things, but would give him a sure foundation for all faith by directing his attention to the one and only source of faith, Divine Mind. The question for us is how to increase our faith in Spirit. You will find that you have plenty of faith. All men have faith, but it is scattered here and there and everywhere by being placed in lesser things, and those lesser things finally fail us.
If you get a good strong perception of something that your inner mind tells you is true, act upon it, and you will find that it will come true.
In developing His apostles Jesus took Peter as the representative of faith, and proclaimed that upon this foundation (of faith) He would build the new man, His "church" or aggregation of spiritual ideas. The faith demonstrated by Peter in the beginning of his career was not of a very high type. When Truth (represented by Christ) was being tried, Peter denied Jesus: said that he did not know Him and swore at Him, showing that Peter's faith must have been at a very low ebb when put to the test. At the very last Jesus tried Peter again and again, asking three
times, "Lovest thou me?" Faith and love are very closely related. You must love the Lord, and then you must have faith in His spiritual power and continuity. Peter finally unfolded a mighty healing power. Even his shadow healed (Acts 5:15).
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Now this faith that we are all cultivating and striving for is built up through continuous affirmations of its loyalty to the divine idea, the higher self. You must have faith in your spiritual capacity.
Many have learned how to hold the truth about health steadily in faith even in the midst of the most adverse appearances, and they clearly understand that they are not telling falsehoods when they deny sickness right in the face of the appearance of it. In the same way we achieve our victory over sin. When ill temper, vanity, greed, selfishness, and other sins of greater and lesser degree come up, they should be denied; and the unselfishness, the purity, the uprightness, and the integrity of the higher self should be affirmed. Persons who are quickened spiritually can do very much greater works through the law of faith than those who are still in the material consciousness; and once having discerned the power of Spirit, we should be on our guard and send forth on every occasion exalted ideas of the spiritual.
"I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever" (John 6:51). Jesus Christ raised people who had let go of the life idea and brought them into such a consciousness of omnipresent life that they came out of the tomb.
This life consciousness that Jesus Christ quickens is as greatly needed in our day as it was in the time when He first worked in the souls of men. If you go to a medical doctor and ask him the cause of your ills, he will tell you that most of them come from lack of vitality, which means lack of life. We all need vitalizing. The question is, How shall we get life? What is the source of life? Those who teach the use of material remedies point us to various things as the source—food, air, water, and so forth; but those who depend on these remedies are fast losing faith in drugs and are reaching out to electricity and similar means of gaining more abundant life. They are thus getting a little closer to the healing system of Jesus, but they still lack the all-important truth that God is life and that they who worship Him must worship Him in the life consciousness, that is, in Spirit. When we worship God in His way, we are vitalized all at once; there is no other way to get real, permanent life. We cannot get life from the outer man or from anything external; we must touch the inner current.
The life source is spiritual energy. It is deeper and finer than electricity or human magnetism. It is composed of ideas, and man can turn on its current by making mental contact with it.
When Jesus came teaching the gospel of Spirit, people did not understand Him. They did not know that universal Spirit is Principle and that we demonstrate it or fail to demonstrate it according to the character of our thinking. It has taken the race two
thousand years to find that we turn on the life current by means of thoughts and words. We can have fullness of life by realizing that we live in a sea of abundant, omnipresent, eternal life, and by refusing to allow any thought to come in that stops the consciousness of the universal life flow. We live and move and have our being in life, Mind life. You can think of your life as mental; every faculty will begin to buzz with new life. Your life will never wane if you keep in the consciousness of it as Mind or Spirit; it will increase and attain full expression in your body. If you have faith in the life idea in your consciousness, your body will never be run down but will become more and more alive with spiritual life until it shows forth the glory of Christ.
We must think life, talk life, and see ourselves filled with the fullness of life. When we are not manifesting life as we desire, it is because our thoughts and our conversation are not in accord with the life idea. Every time we think life, speak life, rejoice in life, we are setting free, and bringing into expression in ourselves more and more of the life idea. Here is the place of abundant life, and we can fill both mind and body, both our surroundings and our affairs, with glad, free, buoyant life by exercising faith in it. "According to your faith be it done unto you."
In this way we enter into the same consciousness of abundant, enduring, unfailing, eternal life that Jesus had, and we can readily understand His proclamation that those who believe in the indwelling
Christ life will never die. If we are wise, we shall cultivate faith in and understanding of omnipresent life.
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I know a man who is a natural pessimist, and if anyone mentions something that is not to be emulated he will say, "Now, let us be careful about that." If you speak of someone who has been doing a good work for the community, he will always throw in a little depreciation. His whole life has been like sodden bread. Everything falls flat in his affairs, and he does not understand why it is. He says, "I have been studying this Truth for years, and I do not understand why I do not succeed." Intellectually he is a Truth seeker, but it has not taken hold of his faith substance. He doubts, and down he goes. When Peter tried to walk on the water to meet Jesus, he went down in the sea of doubt. He saw too much wetness in the water. He saw the negative side of the proposition, and it weakened his demonstration. If you want to demonstrate, never consider the negative side. If mountains seem to oppose the carrying out of your plans, say with Napoleon that there shall be no Alps. The man who is grounded in faith does not measure his thoughts or his acts by the world's standard of facts. "Faith is blind," say people who are not acquainted with the real thing; but those who are in spiritual understanding know that faith has open eyes, that certain things do exist in Spirit and become substantial and real to the one who dwells and thinks and lives in faith. Such a one knows.
Many Christians are like the woman who was on a ship during a great storm. She went to the captain and said, "Now I want to know just how bad it is." He told her plainly that they were in a very desperate and helpless condition and finished by saying, "We shall have to trust in God." She exclaimed, "Oh, dear! has it come to that?"
A close analysis shows that faith is the foundation of all that man does. The doctor knows that the patient's faith in him and his method is essential to his success. I remember a story told me by a lawyer: A certain attorney was subject to periodical headaches. He had some capsules prescribed by his physician that would cure these headaches almost instantly. For emergencies he carried one of the capsules in his vest pocket, and immediately upon swallowing it the pain would disappear. Once when pleading a case he was seized with a headache. He reached into his pocket, secured the little antidote and swallowed it, and immediately the headache left him. He went on with his argument, and after he sat down he wished to make some corrections in his notes, and felt in his pocket for a little rubber pencil tip that he carried for that purpose. Instead of the rubber tip he brought out a capsule, thus discovering that he had swallowed his pencil tip instead of the capsule.
This was an exhibition of faith asserting itself unawares. Suppose we should concentrate such faith on the invisible, the real things, the things of Spirit, how wonderful would be our demonstrations! How
effective we should become in using the mighty working power of Spirit!
Jesus told His followers (and we are all His followers) to go forth and do His works—raise the dead and the like—and that we should do even greater works than He did. How? By exercising spiritual faith, by increasing our power through exalted ideas. We must raise our faith to the very highest in us and rest in the "assurance" or substance of its reality.
Jesus had faith in God, and this gave Him faith in all men. Spiritual understanding reveals the universality of all things. When they brought to Him the lame man on the couch, letting him down through the ceiling, "Jesus seeing their faith," healed him, not because of the faith of the man himself but because of the faith of those who brought him. The faith of his neighbors in the power of Spirit did the work for the sick man.
We believe that doctors are doing the very best they know; but if they would only approach a little closer to the spiritual, what a wonderful work they might do! They are giving less and less medicine every year. They recognize more and more that there is something back of medicine that they call the healing power of nature.
Nearly every doctor of large experience will tell you that he can get the same result with a little sweetened water that he can with drugs if he has the confidence of the patient. If the patient can be made to believe that the drug is going to work in
a certain way, he will carry out this belief to the letter. Thus the word, the imagination, and faith work together.
Jesus had this high spiritual realization, and He healed through the word. He is the Great Physician. He is the one whom we are to follow, whom we are seeking to emulate; and we do it through laying hold of Spirit. I would say to you that if you want to do the works of God, you must follow Christ. If you want to elevate yourself out of the physical, you must have faith in God and must cultivate that faith through affirmation of your spiritual power and faith. The Lord's Prayer is continual affirmation from beginning to end.
It has been our experience in developing the faculties of mind that the more we affirm a certain thing the stronger it becomes. But we must have the understanding that our relation to God is that of a son to his father; that we exist in the one Mind as an idea, and that this idea does work in us as in a superman, even Christ.
It is a metaphysical law that there are three steps in every demonstration; the recognition of Truth as it is in principle; holding the idea; and acknowledging fulfillment. Pray believing that you have received, and you shall receive.
From the teaching of Jesus it is clear that He accepted fully the proposition that God is our resource and that all things are provided for us by our Father. It is necessary to cultivate these ideas by considering them daily in all that we do.
It is recorded that a pupil of Socrates' once said to him: "Master, when we read what you have inscribed we are inspired; when we come into your presence we are moved to love; when we hear your words we are charmed, and when we touch your hand we are thrilled."
Socrates was a great soul, a master mind, and his soul radiation was very powerful. But Jesus was still greater in His soul radiation; He had through ages of discipline and thought projection in word and deed made Himself a master scientist in the mental and spiritual worlds. His soul radiation or aura was so powerful that it perpetually stimulates to greater achievement and thrills with new life all who enter its sphere of influence. Thought transference is an accepted fact to many persons, and it is sustained by the recent tests in measuring the force projected in the process of human thinking. Machines have been invented so sensitive that they respond to the thoughts of men and women under various emotions. The results are reported to be so pronounced in their order and regularity as to constitute a universal law in mind activity.
This power of the mind to project the results of thinking gives us the key to the work of Jesus in resurrecting His body and making it perpetually radiant in our mental and spiritual atmosphere.
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As there are dimensions above that in which we live so there are levels of mind activity above and beyond the intellectual. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions" (John 14:2); that is, dwelling places
in mind or consciousness: states of consciousness.
"I go to prepare a place for you ... that where I am, there ye may be also."
The assertions by physical scientists that we have no assurance of any power that will increase our moral stature or save us from suffering and degeneracy is beyond comprehension to one who has gone deeply into the study of psychology and spiritual dynamics.
We may receive spiritual inspiration from within. By prayer and meditation on words of Truth in the silence we may so open our consciousness to the inner divine presence that the necessary understanding, love, and power may be given us to enable us to bring forth in our own lives the good results that we wish to see manifest. This is much better than waiting to see the demonstrations of others before believing and before attempting to bring forth demonstrations of our own.
After Thomas was shown the evidence he believed. After the outer reason sees the works accomplished by the I AM by means of faith and the word it accepts Truth. But there is a quicker way to grow in faith and in spiritual understanding, a way that has nothing to do with intellectual reasoning and belief. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29). That way is the quickening of our innate spiritual faith.
True faith in God separates itself from all negative belief in the body as material, impure, transient.
With the growth of faith in the mind of the individual
there comes a quickening of all his thoughts by the influx of Truth. "The word of God" increases.
God is never absent from you. He is constantly taking form in your life according to the exact pattern of your words, thoughts, and actions. Just as soon as you really bring your words and your expectations up to the measure of God's love for you, just that soon you will demonstrate.
Thoughts are seeds that, when dropped or planted in the subconscious mind, germinate, grow, and bring forth their fruit in due season. The more clearly we understand this truth the greater will be our ability to plant the seeds that bring forth desirable fruits. After sowing the plants must be tended. After using the law we must hold to its fulfillment. This is our part, but God gives the increase. You must work in divine order and not expect the harvest before the soil has been prepared or the seed sown. You have now the fruits of previous sowings. Change your thought seeds and reap what you desire. Some bring forth very quickly, others more slowly, but all in divine order.
The law of spiritual healing involves full receptivity on the part of the one under treatment. God does not do things in us against our will, as will acts in both the conscious and subconscious realms of mind. However much it may appear that the word is thwarted in its original intent, this is never true; it goes on, and it enters where reception is given it. In this way men are quickened, and whether we see the result with our physicial vision
or not, the process is as sure as God Himself.
In treating others we are told to see our patients as perfect. So in actualizing our ideals we must see them as if they were part of our phenomenal life. We often hear it said that the genius lives in a world of his own, separate and apart from common minds. From the metaphysical standpoint we see that the genius is merely one who has caught onto the law of believing his dreams of health, perfection, and success to be true, and whose dreams have therefore become true.
A genius is one who lets the full Spirit within him speak out, regardless of how different its utterances may be from those of people who have posed as authority. He has absolute faith in his spiritual revelations and fearlessly proclaims them. He is a pioneer and a leader. He listens to his own inherent genius and has faith in his God-given ability. Not only must he listen but he must act. The world is filled with original dreamers. They have ideas brilliant beyond expression, but they do not clothe them in the habiliments of action.
You must not only perceive and idea; you must also give it form by infusing into it the substance of your living faith. Daydreamers may be found by the score in physics and metaphysics. They all fall short in failing to realize that there are two sides to every proposition, the image and the expression: and that the Lord God formed man out of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
So each one of us must not only see the image of his desires as a theory, but he must also form it into a living, breathing thing through every motive and act of his life. That is, if we have an idea, we must act just as if it were part of our life. We must be formed from the substance of our world, whether it be the dust of the ground or the ethers of the invisible. There must be an actual imaging of them in our consciousness before we shall ever see our ideas realized.
Here is where the dreamer and the divine scientist part company. One says, "I admire your theories greatly, but they can never be realized on this earth. Things are as they are, and they cannot be changed. We are here, and we shall just have to make the best of it."
He who has learned the meaning of man—who and what man is—never allows himself to make any such admissions. He knows that there is a way provided by which he not only can lift himself out of the swamp of belief in sin, sickness, and death but also through his efforts open the way for many others to find the way to perfection. No man ever demonstrated his God-given powers in even a small way who did not help many others to do likewise. Preaching is good, but practice is better. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself" (John 12:32).
There is a work for everyone who will listen and obey the Spirit. That work is important, because it is eternal and brings results eternal in their nature.
If you have heard the voice of the Lord and are obedient to it at any cost, you are chosen. Your life is hid with Christ in God, and the way into the kingdom is assured you.
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This is no fanciful sketch, nor does it refer to a theoretical place or condition to be reached in some future state or under circumstances more propitious. This kingdom of God is now existing right here in our midst. It is being externalized little by little.
Whoever has a high, pure thought and affirms his allegiance to it as a part of his daily life is adding to the externality of that kingdom among men. Whoever says, "I will be upright and honest in all that I think and do," is laying the foundation stones for one of the buildings of the New Jerusalem.
Whoever affirms his allegiance to the good, regardless of all appearance of evil, and in dealing with his brother declares by word and act that only the good exists, is building white spires to the one and only true God.
Whoever lays up in his mental storehouse the resolve "I will do unto others as I would have them do unto me" is paving the highways with pure gold in a heavenly city of equity and justice.
There will be no need of the sun or the moon in the city of the kingdom of God, because God, the good, will be the light thereof.
We are the temples of God, of good, and through us is this light to shine, which is so bright as to dim the rays of those shining orbs of the night and the day. Herein is God glorified that we love one another. Herein does the true light shine that we let
love and peace and kindness shine forth forever and always. We are to be the very light itself and we can only be the light by becoming so pure that it cannot help but shine through us. This is possible to the highest and lowest in the world's roster of respectability. We are all the chosen of the Lord and we make the covenant that carries us into His visible presence by laying down the personal man and taking up the universal man. He it is that thunders in the depths of our soul. "Who say ye that I am?"
Preceding Entry: Jesus Christ Heals 87-99: God Said, and It Was So
Following Entry: Jesus Christ Heals 117-136: The Fullness of Time