Bible Lesson LIX
Acts 7:54–60
Acts 8:1-4
The Answering of Prayer

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

There is an invisible aura about the heads of very pious people, which makes their prayers very slow in being answered. It acts with their fulfillment exactly as the atmospheric ether acts with the earth, viz., as a defense from outer attacks and falling debris. Not long ago an imaginative astronomer explained that, the reason the inhabitants of Mars cannot communicate with earth’s people, is because of the mental resistance which surrounds earthly heads and is symbolized by the resisting atmosphere. So for a long time they have been beaming upon us a mental treatment to yield our stiff-necked notions, especially our religious ones, and to receive the ideas they have for our advantage. The non–resisting attitude of mind which the yielding of our religious prejudices would inspire, would open a clearer means of communication between the inhabitants of the two planets.

The imaginative men in the realm of great scientific researches having given us all our discoveries, directly or indirectly, we as a race listen to them better than we used to. A prominent Boston paper declares that Professor Holden will never be a discoverer because he looks too much to the pictures in his telescope for his ideas. He imagines nothing. Newton imagined that the earth had an attractive quality, then went to work to prove his imagination. Columbus imagined a new continent and set out to prove his theory. Franklin imagined that lightning and electricity were identical and experimented to prove it. Lavoisier imagined the metallic bases of the earth and set about proving them.

The power or faculty of imagination is from God. It is far above the manifestations of the senses. The senses obey the theories of the mind like slaves. Men who imagine microbes in the human body put their microscopes to work to find them. The docile microscopes say yes, and the eyes wink assent.

This exactly agrees with the Buddhist bible, which declares that the world is what we make it by our thought, it moves by our thought, it changes at our word. Schiller, in a moment of mental keenness said, “What the Spirit promises, nature will perform.” Every aspiration of the mind will be fulfilled. It will not be fulfilled, however, till the mind has struck some one moment when, instead of hoping the event may come to pass, it suddenly feels “It is — it is!”

The faculty of image–ing is the creative gift. He who uses this beautiful gift skillfully may companion himself with princes of wisdom and daughters of beauty. He uses his mind with as delicate exactness as a watchmaker handles hair–springs, and jewels.

Now, if the saint has set his mind to the idea that his God is one who always puts very good and holy people into very hard places and often tells them that they must wait and wait and wait to see their hopes fulfilled; the saint who so imagines will manufacture an aureole about his head to keep himself from seeing that the things he is praying for are right there at his elbow. This atmosphere, caused by his imagination against God, is sometimes visible to the naked eye of those who think very much as he does. They all think that it is a mark of great superiority. They do not see that it is really such a setting of the will against God, that even little children suddenly feel themselves liable to be naughty, and almost afraid to move lest they do something to offend these very pious heads.

The aura of imagination that God’s will must be done to hurt and torment is a mental will exercised over all people who come near. They mentally compel young and old to step around as they say. Thus, even if their will is set to morality, and young and old act better when they are around, it is no credit to them, for it is by will power and not by Principle that they govern.

If people do not do right because they act from Principle, their notions are mechanical. There is no life in them. If rich men do not give generously to a worthy institution till a strong will is put to manipulating their minds, their giving is chaff. It will soon be forgotten that they gave. Indeed, their subservience will become the jest of the shrewd public press.

This aura of imagination against God’s intentions keeps blessings outside its tough ether, exactly as meteoric showers are kept outside the aura of earth. It has been supposed to be a great protection to the earth. As a supposition governs the conditions and not the conditions the supposition, it had verily seemed that we needed to be protected as an earth from some terrible droppings from Perseus. Not so! The passing heavens have new ideas to drop. We will open our mind to receive them. Their openness of mind will disintegrate the atmospheres and a new heaven and a new earth will dawn upon our ecstatic vision, as it has been proclaimed that Stephen’s gaze caught them in free delight.

If we imagine that falling lights from Perseus are dangerous to our earth, we proudly proclaim that our atmosphere protects us from them. So the atmosphere toughens in obedient power. If now, we boldly proclaim that there are some great advantages to be derived from a rarer atmosphere through which the feathery metals of dissolved systems may come sifting, soon we will rarify our atmosphere. Those with keen vision of coming actions tell us that soon our airs will be too rare to breathe except for those who understand managing their bodies by their minds.

If one astronomic mind has faith in his imagination strong enough to set to work to prove it, he will teach men to think less admiringly of the so called saints, and their tough wills must soon fall from our mind circles to give us a chance to think all is good, rather than part is bad and part is good. This will hasten to change the enveloping ethers.

We will take the first real practical step toward overcoming evil with good. This will open our windows to Mars.

Highly rarified minds tell us that God is truly above goodness and virtue. Dante got clear enough from former ideas to see this for a moment.

Thus, it would really come to a pass where practically we would overcome goodness with God. This would open our skies to the truths of the suns. A truly inspired metaphysician caught a moment like this of Stephen’s as here related. (Acts 7th and 8th chapters). He said: “I am convinced that man must drop his concept of evil; for each man’s good has been his God, till he has set it against his neighbor’s concept of good, which was his God, and all the wars of religion have resulted. They were simply the pitting of ideas of good against each other.”

An occult book tells us of a pious preacher who promised another pious preacher to come back and tell him of his experience after death. As preachers are great on proclaiming death instead of life, of course he went through that process. Both of them had made intense pictures of a place of hot torment for all sinners after death. Both of them had pronounced themselves unworthy sinners. The logical outcome of such imagination would, of course land both of these “unworthy sinners” into the place they had built for sinners. So, when that one died and came back to tell his experience (as people have done) he said to his friend: “I am in hell fire, and am put there justly, too.” He tried to tell more but he could not. He did not like the place he had prepared for himself at all. Yet the justice of the law that reads: “He createth the fruit of the lips,” (Isaiah 57:19) was soon perceived by him. He without doubt went immediately to work and denied that he was a sinner, refused to create, or permit to exist any longer, a hell, and soon floated to some such happy opposite as Stephen’s mind had prepared for himself.

The microscope reveals what the mind declares. The telescope shall show forth tiny moons, swinging in happy nearness to the loving face of Mars, if Swift and Voltaire imagine them till they see them with their naked eyes.

“What the Spirit promises nature will perform.”

We have a marvelous mechanism called mind. With skilful handling thereof, we may companion ourselves with high causes and noble comrades. We do not use this mind for ignoble imaginings when we find how obediently it manufactures all things we please. The successful man or woman is the one who uses his mental mechanism to make lofty concepts and holds it steady to them. The successful physician is the one who does not use his mental instrument to brook over “cases of sickness,” but is more engaged in ideas of cure. The successful mental practitioner or metaphysician is one who purposely clears his mind machine of the clogging dust of the names and the looks of diseases. While people are describing them, he is forgetting them. That practitioner will surely see what he manufactured by concepts.

One metaphysician was given to clogging her mind with the ideas of how sick people look. She learned how to let fall such ideas, but then she had nothing in mind to take their place. So she bought the most beautiful picture yet conceived of Jesus Christ to hold in her mind to see while men patients were talking of different diseases; also a lovely picture of the Madonna to keep in her mind’s eye while women patients were detailing their long lists of miseries. No need to tell that she is a brilliant success at healing.

People are bound to look to us as we insist. Stars are bound to tell us what we determine. Bugs and stones will say yes to everything we tell them to be and show forth.

By this Principle you are able to see that Stephen had a highly beautiful concept of the place such people as he should come into if they would fix their mind’s eye on it right in the midst of all sorts of daily experiences. He held this idea clear on through his old ideas of how meanly humanity serves its kindest friends.

There was one important point Stephen was not clear upon. That was how to direct his mental machine in such a way that his treatments would strike exactly where he wanted them to. Here you perceive he treated the rabble to go free from the consequence of their vicious ideas. He did not want the poor things who were seeking their good by the mistaken line of stoning him to go through the siege of the destruction of Jerusalem, which was to be the logical outcome of the intense ideas shot forth by them before they hurled the stones. But Stephen’s treatment for the law of cause and effect to cease for their sakes shot over their heads and struck Saul with all its force.

What the highly–wrought treatment for an unlettered multitude intended, learned Saul got all the benefit of. It struck him to the earth like a cannon ball. Many Spiritual Science healers have the same experience now. They treat powerfully without apparent results. Their treatments fly entirely over the heads of their patients. The treatments are not lost, however, and all over the earth men and women of great power and learning are struck blind with astonishment to think they never before saw how falsely the God of heaven has been talked about and how the law of thought proceeds to fruitage.

So the rabble went into the terrors of Jerusalem, but Paul rose from the astonishment of Saul.

Stephen’s senses were all trained to obey his mental images. He did not feel the stones at all. He did not see the rabble at all. He did not hear their shouts. He saw their mental concept that it was for their good to kill him. He tried to erase the concept but did not accomplish it.

He was probably more than satisfied to be told that Saul was to accept the divinity of Jesus Christ, and that it took all the force of his own mind to hurl Saul’s mistaken notion of his good. When Saul’s idea of good was eliminated, the purity of his mind from both good and evil caused the actual character of Jesus Christ to be so near and clear to him that he understood Truth above the very heavens of Stephen’s gaze.

This is the way the ideas of Spiritual Scientists are now acting. The demonstrations of their splendid thought shall rise from every city on the round earth. Men and women with living glory shall prove that higher is Truth than the heavens of the faithful Scientists of today, with their traditions of the past still clinging to their ideas so what they feel each other wrong when they are right; seeing their good opposed to their neighbor’s good, even willing to see sin in the motive and purpose of those who are acting from religious instincts as set as their own. There is a clearer atmosphere possible to me if I drop my idea that your good is my evil. There is still a clearer atmosphere if I drop my idea that my good is your good. I have lifted myself out of the traditions of even my own idea of good when I let God overcome all my own notions of what is good.

God is above goodness. God is above knowledge. As birds clear their feet from the snares of the fowlers, so the coming Pauls shall clear their names of our Stephen–like ideas of what is good. A Science, too pure to set his neighbor down as in error, shall rise from the science now preached and shall be lived. There will then be no earth atmosphere left.

August 28, 1892

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