Joyous Union With Life
This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on April 7, 2015. Bob writes, "Mr. Fillmore makes a comment about the significance of meaning for names in the Bible stories and says there are no special meaning to our names. I am not sure I agree with that but that is what Mr. Fillmore would encourage us to. "
The subject of our lesson this morning is Isaac. These characters in the Bible we always regard as representing some power in man's mind, and that power expressing in his body. In this way we get a near view and close application of the lesson and we then find the Scriptures very interesting. But if we study the Old Testament merely as history, we do not get very much out of it. Every one of these Hebrew names had a meaning. Our names in the present day do not seem to have any special meaning to us. We might as well be like convicts, numbered. But under the Hebrew numerology every name represents some idea.
This morning we have Isaac - his name means "laughter, joyousness" representing the spirit of joy in man and studying his history we find that he brings out to our consciousness a faculty that we all prize and need to cultivate, and with this interior spiritual discernment to see how we may develop joy and laughter, humor. And that it is legitimate. Bible historians have said Isaac was one of the most uninteresting characters in the Bible, that about all he did was to dig some wells, was a negative character and did not leave any impress on his age like Abraham and Jacob.
But I do not know how we would get along without a little ioy in life. I do not know how we would exist without the humorous side. Somebody has said that nature itself is the great big laugh of God. Everything is smiling, but you have to smile inside yourselves before you can get the smile of God on the outside. The old Jews always considered Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were equal. Because Isaac was historically a nonentity did not dampen their enthusiasm for him. They knew he represented some essential quality of the mind. So as we study the real, the spiritual man, we find we have an inherent joy and if we give ourselves up to that joyous experience which comes to us when we are least aware of an outer cause and we find we have a real joy.
You find people sometimes under very adverse conditions singing to themselves, joyous and happy, and they do not know just why. Those people are expressing the innate Spirit of joy, the Isaac quality that comes from the digging up of these wells of joy deep down in the soul. That is why Isaac dug so many wells. We find when we get down to the very joyous life bubbling up in us a great joy. So the farmer going about his work whistling is considered a good man, a good farmer. We do not always work enough, dig enough, do not always know how to dig, and sometimes when we do dig a well we contend for it.
Here is the big lesson today: As we got down in ourselves and find these wonderful spiritual issues of life and begin to get the good out of them, almost always an adverse condition comes in from the outside. When you have a great uplift everything seems to be coming your way and almost the next instant an adverse thought will come in and you will awake the next morning in the dumps and wonder what that is. It is the Philistines filling up your wells of joy.
Some people contend with this condition, get rebellious. They say: "Why was it I felt so happy, uplifted yesterday and here I am today way down in the depths?" Well, don't question, don't wonder. We, as metaphysicians, can say: "Let the Philistines have those wells." Isaac did not quarrel. He walked right away and left them. These are conditions a follower of Jesus Christ must put out of his mind. Non-resistance was the very foundation of the doctrine of Jesus. He did not resist anything or anybody. He did not believe in war. When Peter cut off the ear of the servant Jesus but it back on again. He did not believe in this selfish gripping of things. His philosophy was that if a man ask anything of you to give it to him.
That is pretty hard doctrine but it is not much harder than many things along that line we see being demonstrated today. John Wanamaker says his success was founded primarily on the one slogan, which was, that your customer is always right, "If the thing you buy is not perfectly satisfactory bring it back and get your money." When he began preaching and practicing that doctrine all the merchants in the country said: "He will fail sure. People will take advantage of him." But he succeeded, and all the merchants today are using those rules in their business. It may be that as time goes on and we begin to understand more of these fundamental principles we will adopt those rules also just as the merchants have adopted the rules of John Wanamaker.
We will find that love and good will and unselfishness will iron out and harmonise all the contentions of the world. If we understood this law of giving up the material things and holding to the spiritual, war would cease and we would not have any war at all. The contentions of the world today are for material things. The earth does not seem to be large enough for the human family; they are quarreling for their rights. If they only knew the earth is for all and the fullness thereof it would be but a short time until we would be one great human family. This giving up the material side is being demonstrated again and again on every side. We do not always see it, though.
I read of a man who bought a farm which was under litigation for years. Everybody in the country said it was bad luck to buy it and that the man would have to contend with this other old farmer who had been suing year after year for two or three feet of ground on the line fence. This new neighbor said he would handle the situation. After he bought the farm he met the farmer who had been suing. The old farmer said: "You know you brought a law suit." "No," said the other, I did not know about that. You and I are going to be neighbors, aren't we?" "Yes, but you are two feet over on my line on one end and one foot over on the other end." "Oh," replied the farmer," just move your fence over four feet on my side. I have many acres of land and I won't miss a few feet." "But I only claim a couple of feet." "That doesn't make any difference. Move your fence over; We won't have any trouble." The farmer was nonplussed; he always had had the opposite brought to his attention, and he said: "Do you really mean that? The fact is I do not want that two feet of ground, it was just the principle of the thing I was contending for."
Isn't that true always? It is the principle of the thing. We do not want these things. They do not do us any good. You do not get anything out of your life but your clothes and board. That is all any of us get, just these things from day to day, why contend for them? If the well you are using now is being contended for move on and make another.
That is what Isaac did, and do you know what this joyous attitude of mind brought to him? It brought abundance. He had all kinds of herds and flocks, and in those the days they were considered most valuable things one could have. He had his possession increased a hundred fold. Is there any relation between ones possessions and the joy of your heart? Yes, there is, and if you would take the lesson and build in your consciousness this thought, that God brings to me all good in Spirit, and why shouldn't I be joyous? I am joyous; I am going to be joyous, see the joyous side of life.
As Emerson said, do not pollute the air with your groans and your dismal wails about your health and so forth. That is good advice. All inspired people see the disadvantage of filling the air full of the negative, the fretful, the doubtful, the darkness. It is the Philistines that fill up the wells. They, represent the fighter, the sense consciousness; they tear down but the real spiritual man builds up. And to build up we must harmonize, we must unify.
The ancient Dutch illustrated this to their children by taking two earthenware pots and marking on them "if we knock we sink," and then they would set them afloat. That was to illustrate to the children if they knocked they would go down. The knockers go down. So the old Greeks used to illustrate to their children by taking sticks and tying them together and showing the children that together they could not be broken but separated they were easily broken.
So we get from these so-called material illustrations a wonderful lesson. But we ought not to have these lessons when we know the law of spiritual unity. This spiritual unity must come about through our own realisation. We must realize within ourselves that this is founded upon a principle and walk right away from all contention.
Abraham Lincoln during the war was told by one of his partisan politicians that some one said he was a fool. Lincoln replied: "well Stanton is most always right." He didn't get angry. That is the way to take it. Do not be ruffled, disturbed by the Philistines. They are always knocking and if they knock they sink together. The Philistines have disappeared. Where are they today? The world is full of them, you say. Yes, but they do not hold together very well; they sink on every side, but the Christian people, Christian religion has hung together for two thousand years and yet we have had the fighting element in the human family right on this continent and that continent; but Christianity, the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, is still with us and always will be.
Now we find that this spirit of harmony, this spirit of joyous unity with the divine law is pervading more and more the people because we are beginning to see it is founded upon a principle. When you know the principle of the thing you can't help but follow it. If you want to succeed you do your mathematical problems according to the principle and then you will get the right answer. So this principle Jesus Christ taught of Joyousness and peace, he said:"My joy in you."
It must [be] prevailing in the lives of all Christians; we must begin to teach this to the, well - aborigines. Like Wm. Penn in the early days. They thought they would subdue the Indians by arms but he went in and talked to them in a friendly way and had an oral agreement which held for fifty years. They had no contention, there was never a warwhoop heard in Pennsylvania during his administration. They found a Quaker cloak and hat was a good deal more protection than a musket. When the rule was taken away from the Quakers contention and war set in again right away. So we must take these things into consideration.
As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, it is imcumbent upon us to apply this lesson today of Isaac, to be joyous in the possession of our material things and if there is a contention, why do not quarrel about it.
Lincoln, when a lawyer in Indiana, his partner said, always advised their clients to compromise. And the one who wins, what does he gain? He has to pay the attorneys fees first, then the expenses and other things connected with the suit. Always in the end the loser. Then let us seek unity and a joyous unity. Do not let your religion be long-faced and don't be too pious about it. But put a little joy into the wells you dig in this inner consciousness.
There is an abundance of light in every one of us and it is not the wear of a piece of machinery that destroys it; it is the lack of oil, the friction. If you could overcome the friction to machinery your machine would never wear out.
Now you have in your organism twelve different functions designed by the Creator to never wear out. Doctors tell us our stomach should never wear out. They do not understand why any of our organs should wear out. It is because of old age we say. But would you ever get old if your functions kept up to right action; if we kept up to standard all the time?
If you had an automobile, self-renewing in all its parts if it were not well oiled would it last? Certainly not. You have a piece of machinery in your mind and body just like that indestructible automobile but you must know how to oil it and keep it in good order, and it will never wear out. That is a psychological fact and a physical fact. I have the authority of doctors on that point.
What puts the sand into your stomach, the creak into our bones? Lack of love, and love always brings joy. You can't have that joyous feeling if you leave out love. If you leave that out you will leave out a very essential quality. We must have love all through our bodies and then we will have this perpetual oil and our minds and bodies will not wear out. Our clothes will not wear out. If we get that principle our bones will be renewed, every bit of our organism will be renewed every day and grow and grow and grow. Every one'of us should hold to that new spiritual consciousness that we are new in the sight of God and ourselves when we believe in this perpetual renewing inner Spirit. Praise the Lord!
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY