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Sermons of Charles Fillmoe

Lesson In Justice


Amos 5:1, 2, 10-15, 21-24

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This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on March 31, 2015. Bob writes, "This talk is the follow on of last weeks talk where Mr. Fillmore used the Book of Amos for a basis. He speaks about "acquisitiveness" again and its dangers. He makes a great comment that "praise is the increasing power of our mind." See page 8 of the text for that tidbit."

Mrs. Nachraan's song is a very appropriate sitting far our lesson this morning — faith in Jesus Christ; faith, the very foundation of His church in all the laws of the nation and that individual. We fall back upon faith, the recognition that there is a panacea for all sicknesses, not only of the body but of the mind and of the people at large.

So our lesson this morning is a remedy; the remedy for a state of mind, and that state of mind is injustice — an unjust state of mind. The prophet Amos, compares this to a virgin. He calls it the virgin of Israel. We, in our day, symbolize this justice by the statue of a woman with balances in her hands. He uses different symbols, but it is virtually the same thing. Justice has gone awry, justice has fallen down, and he, although the Israelites were at that time very prosperous, could see disaster. He saw that those factors were, so dominent in the people that their prosperity was not founded upon righteousness. It was not founded upon true principles, as our prophets today are discerning that there must be a reversion to foundation principles because the very elements of injustice and graft will destroy the foundation principles of our government.

So this lesson, though it was preached twenty-seven hundred years ago, is appropriate to our day; and it is not only the nation, but every individual in the nation who is not practising absolute justice in all of the relations of his life.

Injustice works first, in man's acquisitiveness, and then it works out into his outer life and tinctures everything he has to do with, and then it reacts and works in his body. Not only his body, but his affairs. We don't sift these propositions right down to their original, basic principles. We read about this as the effusion of a wild-eyed prophet coming out of the wilderness and preaching without authority, as he claimed he did not have anybody to back him up, and of course he was ridiculed and decried. You remember how one of the leaders of the people about that time told him he had better go back home and attend to his sycamore trees and herd his sheep, that he was out of place teaching the people. How could he teach?

The Teapot Dome Scandal

The criminal trial of former Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall and former Mammoth Oil chief Harry F. Sinclair began on October 17, 1927, twenty days before Charles Fillmore gave this talk. (Wikipedia: October 1927)

The Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States from 1921 to 1924, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall had leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and two other locations in California to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies and became the first Cabinet member to go to prison.

Before the Watergate scandal, Teapot Dome was regarded as the "greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics". The scandal damaged the public reputation of the Harding administration, which was already severely diminished by its poor handling of the Great Railroad Strike of 1922 and the President's veto of the Bonus Bill in 1922. (Wikipedia: Teapot Dome Scandal)

Now. that same reception is given to self-appointed prophets in this day and in every age and in every day. But it is worthy of our attention to listen to the truth, regardless of just who gives it forth, whether they are authorized by the institutions of man or not. Whether they have any degrees attached to their names, listen to the prophet of Truth, because, sooner or later, we must, every one of us, accept the Truth. There is no other recourse for us but to get at the real foundation principles of life, of our existence. Some people have a superficial way of estimating themselves and estimating the civilization in which they [live] life, and especially people who are animated by the grip of acquisitiveness. Acquisitiveness is one of the most dangerous faculties of the mind because it works in such a subtle way. It is backed by selfishness, of course; that selfish ego in us which, fundamentally, is good. If we didn't have the ability to draw to ourselves the things that we need, we never would grow, we never would develop; but we must know how to develop and grow in the right way through the use of this faculty which draws to us.

Now, the Judah, which really is the foundation name of the great tribe of Judah, means Praise. What has praise to do with acquisitiveness? We find, we metaphysicians, that the praise of a thing increases it. It is the increasing power of the mind. We praise a child and that child immediately gets active. It appreciates your word of praise, and so you can praise yourself and stimulate yourself along any line. You can praise the organs of your body, the functions of the organism, and they will work very efficiently. You can see how these fundamental principles, these words, applied in every detail of life, produce results. So we count praise as a fundamental factor in increasing the thing that we want to attain, and if you are a little rusty on any line of thought, begin to praise that thing.

Now, the tendency of most people is to say: "Well, I am not up on this," or "I am not up on that;" "I don't know this," or "I don't know that." Don't do that; that is an error. You don't understand the power of praise. Begin to think about yourself as efficient in all those things, and then you get back to first principles, because we know that there is a spirit of efficiency in every one of us, the image and likeness of God. The All-efficient One must be the Spirit of efficiency. Then begin to think about your innate efficiency, and if you start thinking about it you throw into action the high speed in your consciousness, in your very organism. In this way you will start something. Then begin to praise in detail.

Now, a good metaphysician takes all these fundamental propositions first and applies them first in the Absolute, in a large way; and then he goes into details, goes right out into, the machinery of the mind and adjusts. This is a form of righteousness that has as its basis justice — balance — we all need more balance. We get one-sided, we get erratic and go off at a tangent, and we think that that is genius or great artistry. We become temperamental; but you are crazy, you lose balance when you do that. You have got to come back to balance, to poise. Where do you get that? Right in yourselves. Every one of us has that symbol of justice — that is a feminine quality — that is why we symbolize justice, because it is based upon love. Love and justice go hand in hand, and as you study the mechanism of your body you find that the nerve centers that express the mind are closely related in love and justice. In your solar plexus, we are told, love and justice are manifest. They are John and James. John, you know, is Love; that is a feminine quality; and James is Justice, or your native wisdom, if you will — the masculine quality. But these two, Jesus said, are the sons of thunder. The action and reaction of the two are dynamic power.

It is found that stomach trouble and heart trouble are so closely related that doctors can't tell the difference sometimes, whether man has a weak heart or a weak stomach. They act and react and cause terrific vibrations near the solar plexus. What is the remedy? Metaphysicians say we must have justice somewhere; that man or that woman are unjustly exercising their minds. They are pronouncing condemnation upon somebody, or they are thinking that injustice is ruling, — injustice in themselves or in the world — and we say to them in the silence: "Now, the Spirit of justice is established in you. You are not going forth to condemn anybody or anything." But it may be that Amos had an inklihg of this injustice that, he was declaring for Israel.

Now, you say that nobody should ever call attention to the ills of the man or of the nation. Certainly, he should do it, but he should do it in the right way.

Now, you find that there are two great classes of prophets and two classes of reformers and two attitudes of mind that come to every individual when he begins to see the light and begins to see the Truth. The first come like Amos and John the Baptist, with water. They want to cleanse everything through denying. They want to reform the world through denying; so Amos told them that justice is like a mighty stream of water, cleansing and purifying. John the Baptist came denying, baptising; they called him John the Baptiser. Now, these represent an attitude of mind that we all have when we first take up the Truth, when we begin to see what the Truth is, we think all the errors should be washed right away and everybody who is practicing error should be condemned. We are fanatical in our reform.

Take one who has a great spiritual realization. Take Peter the hermit. You know that he rode up and down the river on a little mule crying: "God wills it!" God wills it!" and he set the people afire especially the religious people; caused tremendous — well, I might say — religious devastation. They burned up their vanities, they burned up their jewels, they destroyed everything because he said "God wills that they should stand naked before Him, be shed of all their sins, — all their shortcomings." That was fanatical, it passed away. It was not balanced by the affirmative side.

So, I say, we must find in ourselves that we must come as Light, as Power. Here again, you have Elijah and, in the reform under the new dispensation as given in the New Testament, Jesus. Jesus represented the affirmative side, John the Baptist the denial; and when we get further along in our development of the spiritual man, we begin to balance up and we take on cleansing of fire, of life. It is not all destruction and it is not all the washing away of one's sins; but it is filling in the vacuums, renewing these waste places that you make in your mind, filling your mind with the absolute Truth of life.

Undoubtedly, Amos must have been followed by someone who made a better foundation for the advent of these really true prophets. And in all the ages and all the history of nations, you will find that in some great prosperity was their greatest danger. When they were very prosperous — well, in Babylon, you will remember the handwriting on the wall. In their great prosperity they were reveling and feasting, and Belshazzar was king, and right in the midst of one of the greatest feasts a hand came out and wrote on the wall, "Mene, mene, tekel upharsin," which is: "Weighed in the balances and found wanting." King Cyrus was right at the gates of their city at that time. This was the beginning of the downfall. And we see a parallel in our nation today, a parallel in this graft and oppression and a parallel in this bribery. A great trial is going on today in Washington, of men prominent in our finances who bribed the government, bribed the officers, made presents in order that they might receive some great extensions to their industry. And what is the result? Why, their downfall; and if this thing keeps up we will have, some of us, to preach to the people, preach to the common, people — that is what Jesus Christ did — tell them that they must, every one of them, become just and righteous. That is the I beginning of all reforms. It is not going to be accomplished through legislation; it is not going to be accomplished through imprisonment or calling down penalties upon these dishonest officials. That never will remedy the thing.

What is the remedy? We must establish righteousness and justice, begin right where we are to practise righteousness and justice. We must let that innate spirit of righteousness and justice which is within every one of us be released. Let it be freed.

People are born into certain states of consciousness and they take on their surrounding thoughts. Take the bootleggers today. We find that they are beginning to think that they are just, that they are carrying out certain ideas of the people; our law is an oppression. And I say, they begin to build up in themselves a certain consciousness of justice and righteousness in the thing that they are doing. Now, that is an illustration of the abomination of desolation getting into the Holy Place, and we have to be a little careful, about that. You may be doing unjust things, you may be practising unrighteousness, and yet you think: "Well, other people do it and I'm going to do it. I couldn't get on with my business unless I did those things." But what is it founded on — righteousness? No, you have to admit that you don't like to do those things, "but how could I carry on my business? How could I care for my family if I didn't do these things? I put a little water in the sugar, maybe, or sand it, or some little thing like that gets into business." You are not just exactly right. You misrepresent things a little bit. And yet we find the whole world, in the commercial world, even, there is a reform going on. There is a change going on there all the time. You know it was only a few years ago that the slogan of the business world was, "Let the buyer beware"; in other words, you could not take an article back after you had bought it. You had to take your chances. If a man could show you a thing and get it off onto you, he was a bright man. That was part of the business world. But now we have new prophets coming in, and the old prophets say: "Well, that couldn't succeeded all, to let people bring back an article if it was not satisfactory", but the new said, "We are going to try it", and they did, and now the whole world is excepting that. That shows reform. That shows that there is a certain justice and righteousness being established.

What is to be the limits to this? No limits at all. It must be universal. That is why I say, "How am I going to establish this righteousness? And this injustice that prevails in the world: how are we going to reform it?" By beginning at home. Charity begins at home. Begin right where you are. But, we say, our mind and the mind of my neighbor hasn't any standard. Justice and righteousness are not taught in the school. No spiritual foundation is recognized by our teachers in the schools. But I say, you have implanted in you, and everyone of you, the spirit of Justice and Righteousness and Love, and it is doing onto your neighbor as you would have him do onto you that is right.

Then, too, you may have, as Paul said, "Seared your conscience over as with a hot iron," (I Tim. 4:2) but it is there. It is just covered up; and if we will, every one of us, ask of God that we may be just and righteous, that we nay be freed from all tendency to accept bribes for our righteous judgment, if we call in prayer, this Spirit of Justice and Righteousness innate will spring forth. It is there. It is the foundation of real religion or real well-being.

You know, we have many instances of people being called, like Amos, right out of the wilderness and coming into what is called polite society and handling themselves as if they were trained. Bobbie Burns is one of them. He seems to have had, innately, that quality of a gentleman. And Jesus Christ was another one. Now, Jesus Christ was not reared by the aristocracy. He was, we are, told, a carpenter, reared in that despised city of Nazareth; but he seems to have been a perfect gentleman. He was welcomed by the aristocracy to their feasts and everything of that kind; and he even taught, according to the Scriptures, some rules of courtesy and politeness. Simon, you remember, a rich man, was given a lesson in courtesy when Jesus told him: "When I came into your house you didn't bring a basin of water to base my feet; but here this woman, coming from the outer realm, this despised woman of the street, comes in here and bathes my feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head." There was a lesson in courtesy. Jesus taught the people just in that way; in other words, He had innate spirit of justice and righteousness, and by following Him, and by keeping His and studying his life, we get some wonderful lessons in bringing the spirit within us to the surface.

I say we all have it, that we have not uncovered it, and the reason we have not uncovered it, doubtless, is that we have not realized that we are, in our innate lives, and that Spirit within us, the offspring of the Source of all justice and alright just mess, all goodness and all truth.