Bible Lesson LV
Acts 4:1-18
About Mesmeric Powers

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

It is a noticeable fact that all who believe that people are exercising mesmeric powers instead of spiritual powers are reputed to be old and well stricken with years. Whenever anyone accepts the fundamental principle of Christian metaphysics, he thereby announces that he does not believe in two powers ruling the universe. He believes in one power only. Then if he talks about a second power he is talking and thinking of nothing at all. He is exercising his mind on pure nothingness. He might as well be fighting windmills in fever so far as any use to himself or anyone else is the outcome.

There are not two powers at war with each other in the universe. There is just one. That is God. The mind that imagines another power, and tries to inspire itself with zeal to fight and defeat it, is a will-o’-the-wisp mind, and must get aged and die quickly, because will–o’–the–wisps are temporal. The effect of imagining that a lover of God is exercising psychological influences is very withering. One who thus accuses his brother always has aging skin, darkening cuticle, wrinkling epidermis. Also he has the reputation of being aged, often of being dead.

To be seized with an ardor to go out and reform the world is to be seized with a sudden enlargement of the accusing instinct. How do you know that the world needs reforming? Maybe it is only yourself that needs reforming. If there is only one presence in the universe, and that is the Omnipotent God, who is it you are going to reform?

Just as soon as you sit down in Jerusalem (the self), and take yourself and all your own thoughts in hand, you will find more changed of heart and newly converted people appearing in your presence, than ever you supposed were possible. What you have thought in the closet is thus noised on the housetops. According to metaphysics, the converted, so-called, are simply showing forth their real nature. Their real nature is spotless Soul. When you think well in the temple of your own mind, they will go forth to represent your own thoughts. They could not show you their real nature while you were thinking of them as under condemnation and needing redemption.

To take the idea that there is nothing to hate is to enjoy life better. The imagination that there is something to hate is very shriveling. The knowledge that there is nothing to hate is very reviving. One can reach the point where “every prospect pleases” by thinking there is nothing to hate.

One can reach the point where he actually thrives in a house where people are speaking words of animosity. They will not seem like animosity to him. And so he will smile them out of sight. Either they will become very gentle and gracious or be taken altogether out of his way, “and the place that knew them once shall know them no more forever.”

On this principle of there being nothing to hate, you can see that you ought to think that if anyone is sending what is called evil thoughts toward you, you ought to be a great deal stronger, a great deal happier than if they sent no thoughts at all, for when their ideas come near you they seem so lovely to you that you smile on them and back they return to their sender all sweet with healing praise. Who wins the case–you from your standpoint or the sender from his?

To be seized with the idea that a man needs healing is to be seized with an accusation against him. He does not need healing. You need to drop an imagination. You need to stop accusing the son of God of being unwholesome. As God pronounced the man good there must be something ailing your ideas if you do not see him as God sees him. The whole secret of mental cure is to see no disease in anyone because God sees none. Who shall save us from our disease save Him that seeth no disease in us?

There is a man in Boston who has the reputation of imagining just how a perfect human being ought to look and keeping his mind’s eye on that image he has set up within his mind. Then whenever a sickly or deformed person comes into his physical sight he instantly closes his eyes and looks at the perfect image in his own mind. He then proceeds to speak mentally to that image somewhat in this fashion: “I see you, Arthur Brown, as a perfect being. There is no blemish or disease of any kind in your wonderful body. I see you perfect from your head to your feet. You are animated and vigorous, strong and healthy. I see you as every whit whole. In the name of God I pronounce you alive and strong and healthy through and through.”

Of course he is more explicit sometimes and spends some time praising the parts of the beautiful image he sees within his mind which Arthur Brown has taken pains to complain of. This practitioner of healing minds his own business, and heals thousands of people by this method. There is great deal of scorn lavished on him by some who think it is more Christian to use the same kind of formula without having a mental image set up to look at while the mind is thinking of the perfect child of the living God.

Whatever way the metaphysician proceeds to “treat the case” you must know that he is the most successful who sees the least imperfection. According to this principle, you can see that it is not the reformer tearing his hair at the “appalling increase or crime,” but the cool denier that there is any crime who will effect most cures of crime. There are two standpoints from which to view all the people in the world. One is from the appearance standpoint and the other is from the reality standpoint. We always see things and feel things from the standpoint from which we speak of them.

To believe that anyone can steal anything from us is exactly as bad as if we had stolen something. For, looking at life from the reality standpoint is looking at it and seeing that in Truth there is only God; so as God cannot steal anything from Himself no one is here to steal anything from anyone.

Doubtless this seems like very idealistic reasoning to people who “judge by appearances,” but if it has more effect on humanity in the way of changing them to be more like God to reason this way, why not try this way?

To think that by holding the name Jesus Christ in mind we are likely to have exactly His experiences as reported by the evangelists is to suppose what is not true. To hold the two words Jesus Christ in mind is to have your own experiences hurry along and get under your feet in a very short time, instead of dragging through a haggling period of three-score and ten years.
There is a victory –just victory in the character and office of that principle called Jesus Christ. The two words mean the visibility of good. If you want to make good visible keep that name in mind. Do not neglect the twelve lessons of Science by any means, but that name in mind will hurry up the demonstration of those twelve propositions.

If you are quiet and have nothing special to attend to, then it is the time that the mind should be taking hold of some great truths of Science. “Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel.” (Ephesians 6:15) If you are on board a steamer, look abroad over the wide waters and send the noblest thought you can think toward the land where the multitudes hide the white soul of God. Talk to the spirit of mankind concerning its perfection. This will cause the ways of the mortal to fall off like mantles for the ways of the immortal to come into sight.

If you do not sleep at night remember that it is “the Lord holdeth thine eyelids waking,” (Psalms 77:4) for the purpose of uncovering your Spirit of those thoughts that make your life not pleasant. If you believe there is an evil destiny written in your stars, give orders to the stars of destiny to stand back for your victorious Spirit to walk unhindered through life.

All material things are but shades of the thoughts men have thought. They have no reality in them. All astral shapes are but the shades of thoughts men have thought. There is no reality in them. All miseries are but the shades of the thoughts men have thought. There is no reality in them. All the thoughts that made the shades are no-thing — no-thing at all.

This is no new doctrine. That all the sensible, material world is phantasm has been taught for ages. That only the good has any reality is the oldest doctrine known to man. That healing from sin is seeing no sin is gospel teaching. That curing of disease by seeing no disease is the quickest curing, is the oldest practice on the globe.

Jesus Christ had no new doctrine. The apostles who stand here in this fourth chapter of Acts do not claim that they have anything original. They do not think that Jesus Christ made a great discovery. They simply think He lived His principle, and so are they living His principle.

To see all around a question is to decide upon it very differently from what we would decide if we saw half way around it. The Sanhedrin sat in a semicircle and judged concerning the merits of the Christian doctrine from a half–way–round standpoint. They knew enough to know that these healers of disease had cured by using a Name in which they believed. They had heard of such things before. This made them very learned judges on the subject of healing by names. But here again they saw only from a semicircular standpoint (also sitting point, which is all the more typical of their mental viewing of spiritual principles). They did not know that the Name that stands for the Omnipotent Jehovah is the only name that can take unlettered fishermen and make them the peers of the Sanhedrin; and more than their peers. They do not see that it is the power of a Name that discomfits them in the presence of two wandering Jews. All they see is that by the use of a Name a lame man has been healed.

They are grieved because 5,000 people have been converted to confidence in the truthfulness and divinity of one who lived a principle. Annas, Caiaphas, John and Alexander sit in adverse judgment on the Name that can work miracles, on the men who work miracles by the Name, and on the working of miracles in general.

This is not only historic. It is what is transpiring within your own mind this minute against your two-miracle-working powers. You have a Peter and John pair of faculties in your mind. The Peter faculty is bold and reckless in trusting to the Spirit to support you, defend you, and heal you. The John quality does not see the evils, does not feel the material conditions. The Peter sees the material situations, but denies them recklessly. Putting these two faculties forward when you see a cripple will heal him. The two faculties, or ideas, are sure to come forward if the Jesus Christ principle is once accepted by your mind. The more closely you occupy your mind with the Name of Jesus Christ while the twelve laws of Science are being worked, the more boldly will the Peter and John stand out and the closer they will stand together. They are a sure cure for deformity.

They are the denial and affirmations of Science actually speaking aloud to the public audience of all the thoughts you ever thought. Now up comes your religious and worldly Sanhedrin.

The “Annas” impression within your own mind is that you are ambitious. The “Caiaphas” impression says you are deceived into thinking that a mere personal influence or will power or thought transference is a true healing. This will invariably fill your boldness with the Holy Ghost power. You will know you are right to be bold in the cause of Spirit, and right to stand steadfast to the point or reality utterly oblivious to appearances.

But the Sanhedrin of your judgment cannot tolerate the reputation of a John utterly abstracted from appearance and a Peter defying them. You fear that people will fear that you have lost your good judgment. You forget that Jesus Christ teaches that people are the expressions of your own thoughts. The John of the Sanhedrin is the forgetfulness of your primal principle. John is always abstracted. He is either utterly oblivious of both principle and personality, as John in the Sanhedrin, or utterly oblivious of materiality as John the apostle.

Here you will perceive that you are afraid of losing your prestige. Fear is a monster. But what are we afraid of? The principle idea of the Jesus Christ teaching is that there is nothing to fear. The greatest promise of Principle is that He leads captivity itself captive.

Here is the time to be quiet and watch principle removing all fear. The Sanhedrin of past ways of thinking should be kept utterly silent within your mind when you feel like trusting the Spirit, and also when you recognize what it is to see from the spiritual standpoint. You should not argue a word with your Peter and John. If you do you will command yourself to be silent with respect to your doctrine instead of with respect to your accusations.

The greatest accusation you make against your miracle-working energies is that they do not know anything. “They do not realize what they are about.” You reflect that there has never been anyone living on the face of the earth who holds on to the spiritual doctrine against the power and learning of the world. Peter says, “I don’t care if there hasn’t.” John says, “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, but to us it is given to know what is in God.” All the memories within you remind you that Jesus was crucified, the apostles were murdered, the converts were martyred. None of them lived against a learned church, which looked coldly on miracles. Your own mind accuses your own energies of not knowing what they are about. You accuse your own highest powers of foolishness and ignorance. You accuse all the people of the world of foolishness and ignorance who permit themselves to speak boldly against the reality of every material thing and every thought of materiality. You accuse all the people of the world of foolishness and ignorance who speak steadfastly from the absolute standpoint. The absolute standpoint is the standpoint of Absolute Spirit, where even the ideas of carnal mind are forgotten. But you fear that since no one has lived through the ordeal no one can.

These are the days prophesied when the Spirit shall be poured out on all men, and there shall be but one Lord mentioned, and His name One. “They shall not hurt or kill in all my holy mountain.” (Isaiah 65:25) You may keep still and not accuse. You may be silent and not remember about the demonstrations of the past thinkers. One thing is expected of all the people of this age, viz., that they will “forget the things that are behind and press on to the things that lie before.” (Philippians 3:13) One always begins anew by ignoring the past. You can keep silence with respect to all things. Most certainly, the Sanhedrin of the past, which is your church and school, has no such quickly working principle as these two ideas (denial and affirmation according to Jesus Christ) demonstrate. Therefore, the old judgment ought to keep still.

Stop the accusation of foolishness and ignorance. Stop thinking anyone has to be taught anything, exactly as you would stop thinking anyone has to be converted or redeemed. The whole secret of inspiration through your whole mind lies in dropping the idea of there being any foolishness or ignorance in anyone or anything.

The Sanhedrin should have kept silent in its accusation that the two men who wrought the miracle were foolish fanatics. They should have kept silent in their belief that these two ideas would steal any prestige from them. Prestige is of the Spirit. “The Spirit bloweth where it listeth.” (John 3:8) Their belief that they could be stolen from caused them to be thieves, though they stole nothing. They attempted to steal the liberties and reputation of two men, but as there cannot be any stealing, they stole nothing. Their fear of being stolen from acted like Job’s fear upon them, for even their names are forgotten, while posterity is ashamed of their memory as posing for wisdom. If they had been silent, they would have received the fourth strength of the Spirit, which is the strength of inspiration, the strength of wisdom.

Let the judgment council ever sitting in its semi–circle of only half appreciating the situation you are now placed in, keep absolutely still. Silence will be the opportunity for divine inspiration to thrill you. Isaiah says that the strength of Zion is to sit still. He says that your strength is to be demonstrated through quietness and confidence. The inspiration of Omniscience will quicken your mind by keeping still when the great ideas of Science come into your mind. You do not accuse those who speak them of not demonstrating. This is the speech of those who complain of Jesus for not coming down from the cross, and snarling against the martyrs for not stepping forth out of the flames and the racks.

John the Revelator saw how the fires of a sudden and wonderful inspiration should kindle in the face of one who should not accuse the high doctrine as folly. He pictured it forth as the eagle, which if it light on the earth, knows now the bondage of earth, because its pinions are swift and strong. It builds its nest on the unscalable mountains. Its eye gathers its strength of sight from the blazing sun of the noontide. All the flying things fall back before it. The earth is nothing to it only to do its bidding. The waters are nothing to it only to obey its behests. The airs clear the way for its flying. The sun is its strength.

This lesson is one. It has many suggestions. It brings to mind all the doctrines of Jesus, but its point is one, viz., when you would feel not to know which way to turn – when it seems as if your good name would be lost if you did not defend yourself – when you reflect that you have never seen the spiritual doctrine hold its disciples victorious during their lifetime – when you would accuse yourself of having made a blunder (as the Sanhedrin), keep still and watch the majestic operation of the name Jesus Christ – the inspiring wisdom of the Spirit.

In you, there is the Holy Ghost, which inspired Peter and pressed for the silence of that council and for the setting free of Peter and John. In you it whispers: “By your silence as to doctrines of men, I, the Spirit within you, am able to light my candle of inspiration at the shining fires of Omniscience. By your silence I am able to fly the boundaries of the senses and live the ideal life free thought can find. I will build your house of honor in the watch–towers of Omnipotence. I will fix the glory of Jehovah on your patient face. The fourth strength of God shall be yours. This is the strength of inspiration. The shades of the dead shall not be in the earth or on the waters or airs where you fly. You shall be fearless and free, wise, buoyant, and honored. Gird on the armor of silence under the accusation of folly, and Christ shall give thee light.”

He, “when He was reviled, reviled not again, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.”

Now is the great time for silence among the thoughts of the mind. The time of the Spirit is ripe. That which was nineteen hundred years ago is now and there is nothing new. “Endure as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27) “Fear nothing.” (Mark 16:6) “Look unto Me and be ye saved.” (Isaiah 45:22) The strength of Zion is silence. The inspiration of silence is now wisdom.

July 31, 1892

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