EMERSON said that the utterance of true ideas by one with a mission causes kings to totter on their thrones. Words of Truth from a zealous man possess dynamic power to heal and bless because the spiritual man enters into them. This is why they move multitudes and are not stayed by conditions or time. When the zone of Spirit, from which healing words emanate, is unobstructed, they feed the souls of men and are creative as well as re-creative. This is why the sayings of the prophets and mystics have such enduring qualities. They are attached by invisible currents of life to the one Great Spirit, and they have within them the germ of perfect wholeness that keeps them perpetually increasing.
The scriptures of the different races are examples of the outward expression of this inner germ. The Book of Job is a dateless work that has been preserved through great changes, including the rise and fall of nations. Who wrote it no one knows, but it was not lost with the loss of its custodians. They were wiped out, their lands taken from them, and they are no longer known among the nations of the earth, but the mystic word of Job was not consumed. If they had applied in their own lives the power of the germ word, the fate of these people would have
been very different. But the history of the Book of Job is that of nearly all the sacred writings of all peoples. Secular histories and records of the exploits of men and the affairs of nations have disappeared and been forgotten because they told the tale of the passing world of flesh; but the records of those who had to do with the spiritual are preserved, and they are living today as they have lived ever since they were given forth: through the power derived from Spirit. The true prophet of God does not even have to write his words down. He may speak them to the ethers, and through their own inherent power of perpetuation and growth they will find their way into the minds of men to uplift and to heal. Jesus did not write a line except in the sand, yet His words are treasured today as the most precious that we have.
We know by these many examples that the word of Truth has life in it, that it has power to restore and make whole, and that it cannot perish or grow less with the changes that come with the fleeting years. The more spiritual the individual is who gives forth the words the more enduring they are, and the more powerfully the words move men the more surely they awaken them to their divine nature.
The words of Jesus Christ were given to common people—according to the world's standard—by a carpenter in a remote corner of the earth. Yet these words have moved men for more than nineteen hundred years to realize, to dare, and to do as no other words that were ever uttered.
When Jesus said, "The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life," (John 6:63) He was speaking in terms of that inner Word which creates all things. He knew that His words were vivified with a life essence and a moving power that would demonstrate the truth of His statement.
These words have rung through the souls of men and set them afire with God's Spirit throughout the ages. This is because they are spiritual words, words that have within them the seeds of a divine life, of a perfect wholeness. They grow in the minds of all who give them place, just as a beautiful flower or a great tree grows from the seed germ planted in the ground.
Jesus knew that the consciousness of man was submerged in the things of sense, that it could not perceive Truth in the abstract, and that it must, under these conditions, be stirred into activity through some stimulating force dropped into it from without. Hence He sent forth His powerful words of Truth to the thirsty men, and said unto them, "Keep my word" (John 14:23).
To "keep" a word is to resolve it in the mind, to go over it in all its aspects, to believe in it as a truth, and to treasure it as a saving, healing balm in time of need. All peoples have in all ages known about the saving power of words and have used them to the best of their understanding to cast out demons and to heal the sick. The Hebrews bound upon their foreheads and wrists parchments with words of Scripture
written upon them. The Hindus, Japanese, Chinese, and nearly all other nations have their various methods for applying sacred words to the alleviation of their ills, and for invoking the invisible powers to aid them in both their material and their spiritual needs. Although these methods are faulty in that they tend to use the letter of the word instead of its spirit, they are significant as indicators of the universal belief in the power of the sacred word.
We know that words express ideas, and to get at their substantial part we must move into the realm of ideas. Ideas are in the mind, and it is there we must go if we want to get the force of our words. The Hebrew's phylacteries and the Buddhist's prayer wheels are suggestive of the wordy prayers of the Christian; but this is not keeping the words of Jesus, nor reading the inner substance of the mystical words. This can be done only by those who believe in the omnipresent Spirit of God and in faith keep in mind the words that express His goodness, wisdom, power, and wholeness.
Jesus voiced this nearness of God to man more fully than any of the prophets, and His words are correspondingly vivified with the divine inner fire and life and wholeness. He said that those who keep His words will even escape death, so potent is the energy attached to them. This is a startling promise, but when we understand that it was not the personal man Jesus making it but the Father speaking through Him, then we know that it was not an idle one; for He said, "The word which ye hear is not mine, but
the Father's who sent me" (John 14:24). This is why these words of Jesus endure and why more and more they are attracting the attention of men as the years go by. That is the reason why Jesus' words heal.
Whoever takes Jesus' words into his mind should first consecrate himself to the Truth that they represent. That Truth is not the formulated doctrine of any church nor the creed of any sect; not even of Christianity. That truth is written in the inner sanctuary of every heart, and all men know it without external formulas. It is the intuitive perception of what is right in the sight of God and man. It is this Truth and justice which every man recognizes as the foundation of true living. Whoever consecrates himself to follow the inner monitor, the Spirit of truth, and lives up to its promptings regardless of social or commercial customs has consecrated himself to do God's will, and he is fitted to take Jesus' words and make them his own. His words are then spirit and life.
It is no idle experiment, this keeping in the mind the words of Jesus. It is a very momentous undertaking, which may mark the most important period in the life of the individual. There must be sincerity and earnestness and right motive, and withal a determination to understand its spiritual import. This requires attention, time, and patience in the application of the mind to solving the deeper meanings of the sayings that we are urged to "keep."
People have a way of dealing with sacred words that is too superficial to bring results. They juggle
words. They toss them into the air with the heavenly tone or the oratorical ring and count that a compliance with divine requirements. But this is only another form of the prayer wheel and the phylactery. It is that lip service which Jesus condemned, because the purpose is to be "heard of men."
To keep the words of Jesus means much more than this. It has peculiar significance for the inner life, and it is only after this inner life is awakened that the true sense of the spiritual word is understood. But through his devotions the sincere keeper of Jesus' sayings will awaken this inner life or Spirit, and the Lord will come to him and minister to him as carefully as to the adept mystic.
Jesus said, "The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life." Spirit is that indescribable invisible cause that produces all reality. He who lives in the consciousness of effects alone can know nothing about Spirit, because he has not made himself acquainted with the realm in which it operates. But no one is barred from becoming acquainted with Spirit and residing in its domain. It is just as accessible as the material and far more attractive. If you want to know about Spirit, you will have to take up spiritual ways. You cannot go to the realm of Spirit by traveling the lower road. The road to the realm of Spirit does not lie on the map of the earth, and no man has found it in his physical geography. That spiritual things "are spiritually discerned" was the discovery of someone long ago,
but he had no copyright on it. To him it was a revelation, just as it will be to you and to everyone when it dawns on the consciousness. It is a great advantage to the spiritual seeker to make this discovery. Millions of persons in every age have tried to find Spirit through matter and material ways, but they have returned unsuccessful to the dust. "For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not" (Matt. 13:17). They did not fulfill the promise of Jesus, because they saw death and succumbed to its dissolving hand. They missed the goal because they did not keep the words of Jesus. They kept the letter instead of the spirit. They applied in an abstract way what was intended for everyday practical use.
Jesus tells us that His words are spirit, and then says to keep them. How can we keep a thing that we know nothing about? How can we keep the words and sayings of Jesus unless we get right where He was and grasp them with our minds?
Surely there is no other way to keep His words. Those who are trying to do so from any other standpoint are missing the mark. They may be honest and they may be good, sincere people, living what the world calls a pure Christian life, but they are not going to get the fruits of Jesus' words unless they comply with the requirements.
"There's no getting blood out of a turnip" is a trite saying. Neither can you get Spirit and life out of matter and death. Unless you perceive that there is something more in the doctrine of Jesus than keeping
up a worldly moral standard as preparation for salvation after death, you will fall far short of being a real Christian.
Jesus did not depreciate moral living; neither did He promise that it would fulfill the law of God. Very negative persons are frequently trustworthy and moral. But that does not make them Christians after the Jesus Christ plan. Jesus' Christianity had a living God in it, a God that lived in Him and spoke through Him. It was a religion of fire and water, of life as well as purity. Men are to be alive: not merely exist in a half-dead way for a few years and then go out with a splutter like a tallow dip. Jesus Christ's men are to be electric lights that glow and gleam with perpetual current from the one omnipresent energy. The connection with that current is to be made through the mind by setting up sympathetic energies.
The mind reacts to ideas, and ideas are made visible in words. Hence the holding of right words in the mind will set the mind going at a rate proportioned to the dynamic power of the idea back of the words. A word with a lazy idea back of it will not stimulate the mind or heal the body. The words must represent swift, strong spiritual ideas if they are to infuse the white energy of God into the mind. This is the kind of words that Jesus reveled in. He delighted in making great and mighty claims for His God, for Himself, for His words, and for all men: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth." "My
Father ... is greater than all." "Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods?" "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." These were some of the claims with which He stimulated His mind, and He produced the results: He fulfilled His words. He even raised the dead.
But He did not copyright His words or forbid anyone else to use them. He importuned you and me to keep them as He kept them—right in His heart—to realize that this is no idle repetition of words but the setting up of a living fire in the soul that will never go out. This is what the words of Jesus will do for everybody who keeps them in the inner sanctuary of the mind. They will kindle a fire there that will burn higher and higher until it licks the very canopy of heaven and burns a hole in the blue vault of Truth, revealing the wonders of God to the astonished eyes of man.
Jesus' words are varied, but all are food for the minds of His disciples. None of them is too hard for him who would be a disciple, nor is it too far from his present power of realization. What you now comprehend is not the ultimate of your ability in any direction. Your not consciously feeling that you and the Father are one does not militate against its being true. Men in high states of civilization lived for centuries on this planet without knowing that it was a globe and that just across the seas were other continents inhabited like their own. The race today is in the same position as regards the spiritual world. We
look with longing eyes across a sea of doubts, fears, and delusions, trying to catch sight of the "Promised Land," but there seems to be no one to pilot us over. But here comes one who is to us a Columbus and who has given us a ship and compass. He has sailed the sea and found the other shore. He asks us to follow Him, and keep His words. His words are the ship and compass.
In about twenty places in the New Testament Jesus is recorded as saying in substance, "Follow me." When we inquire into Jesus' teaching, it is evident that He meant for us to follow His example of being receptive to God's wisdom, peace, power, and health. For instance, let us consider His healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda who had been afflicted with an infirmity for thirty-eight years.
5:2Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches. 5:3In these lay a multitude of them that were sick, blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.5:4for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole, with whatsoever disease he was holden.5:5And a certain man was there, who had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity. 5:6When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wouldest thou be made whole? 5:7The sick man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 5:8Jesus saith unto him, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. 5:9And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked. (John 5:2-8)
This healing of the man at the pool represents the power of the Christ (typified by Jesus) to restore the equilibrium of the organism through the
activity of spiritual ideas in consciousness, independently of the healing methods utilized by the sense man. The true spiritual healing method employs the word of authority, as spoken by Jesus, which must be set into activity. Through the power of the word the "infirmity" gives place to perfect equalization and strength.
To the rich young man who desired to enter into eternal life Jesus recommended the keeping of the commandments, but in addition there was the inevitable "Sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor ... and come, follow me" (Matt. 19:21 Mark 10:21 Luke 18:22). Faithfulness to law alone will never make you a follower of Jesus in the regeneration. You must go deeper than this; you must know the inner secrets of the universe. These are revealed in Spirit, and Spirit is found only by those who go about looking for it in an orderly way. People who have for years been students of the science of Christ and who have a clear intellectual perception of its truths are yet outside the kingdom of Spirit. They anxiously ask, "Why is it that I do not realize the presence of Spirit?"
Have you kept the "words" of Jesus? Have you said to yourself in silence and aloud until the very ethers vibrated with its truth, "I and the Father are one"? Have you opened your mind by mentally repeating the one solvent of crystallized conditions, "Even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee"? This means mental discipline day after day and night after night until the inertia of the mind is overcome and the way opened for the descent of Spirit.
The personal consciousness is like a house with all the doors and windows barred. He who lives within may hear voices without, but the doors and windows unlock from within, and it is left to him to unfasten them. The doors and windows of the mind are solidified thoughts, and they swing loose when the right word is spoken to them. Jesus voiced a whole army of right words, and if you will take up His words and make them yours, they will open all the doors of your mind, the light and air will come in, and in due time you will be able to step forth.
No one can do this for you. You do not really want another to do it although you sometimes think how nice it would be if some master of spiritual ideas would suddenly help you right into his understanding. But this is a childish dream of the moment. You want to be yourself, and you can be yourself only by living out your own life and finding its issues at the Fountainhead. If it were possible for one person to reveal the Truth to another, we should have heaven cornered by cunning manipulators of mind and its glories stored up in warehouses awaiting a higher market. Let us be thankful that God is no respecter of persons; that Truth cannot be revealed by one mortal to another. God is a special, personal Father to every one of His children, and from no other source can we get Truth.
Jesus, who has clearly revealed the Father in His consciousness, tells all men how it came about. He points out the way. He says, "I am the way, and the
truth, and the life" (John 14:6); but there is always a condition attached to its realization by the seeker. He must "believe," he must "keep my words," "follow me." Summed up, the condition is that by adopting Jesus' methods you will find the same place in the Father that He found. But the Father is Spirit and spiritual understanding is the open sesame to His kingdom. The secrets of Jesus' words may be said to be in sealed packages to be opened by those only to whom is given "the mystery of the kingdom of God." [TruthUnity note: the phrase "mystery of the kingdom of God" is not from scripture. It may be a reference to Albert Schweitzer's 1914 book of the same name.]
But Jesus did not peddle His doctrine. He did not copyright His "words." He claimed to hold converse with the Father, and He demonstrated extraordinary abilities in many ways in substantiation of this claim. He did not found a sect or in any way fence off His doctrine. He opened wide the way: "Whosoever believeth on me" and "keepeth" My words—shall do thus and so; shall do as I do and do greater things. He made a special prayer to the Father that all who kept His word might be made one with the Father as He was one with Him.
The mighty "words" of Jesus are handed down to us. By using them in the silent corridors of our own consciousness we may come into the place where He now is.