Bible Lesson LXIV
Acts 9:1-31
On The Healing of Saul

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

Swedenborg taught that the physical body is capable of being recuperated and cured of maladies by material means up to a certain point; beyond that point it must have spiritual food for renewal, and spiritual treatment for its cure, or fall under the death process.

Zoroaster (1200 BC) said, “One may heal with holiness, one may heal with law, one may heal with the knife, one may heal with herbs, one may heal with the Holy Word. Amongst all remedies, this is the healing one that heals with the Holy Word; this one is the best that will drive away sickness from the body of the faithful, for this one is the best healing of all remedies.”

There are a great many invalids and sick people wandering up and down the earth for healing who will never be healed till they open their minds as docile little children to the Healing Word Zoroaster refers to.

Poor Saul of Tarsus needed healing of too much schooling, too much hearsay learning. He had swallowed every idea of God, which his schoolmasters had given him, just as he had swallowed the Mishna and Gemara, unquestioningly. So he wandered up and down seeking heretics to persecute, thinking to get his healing that way; but we know that it was the Truth, the Holy Word, he needed to restore his mind to the right state, just as we now know that people who have descended from chasers of heretics now need both bodily and mental healing by the right word.

“A right word, how good it is!” “Who can measure the force of a right word?” “He sent forth His Word and healed them.”

There are millions of Sauls belonging to Brahminism, Buddhism, heathenism, and Christianism who, from hunting out heresies in their neighboring denominations, have now a great deal of trouble with their eyes, because such stupendous truths are now being proclaimed that their antique ideas fall flat when they esoterically meet them.

People who feel confident that what their parents and teachers told them about God’s “mysterious” delighting in Jesus is true, have their confidence in a reed so brittle that when the wind of a Stephen’s treatment strikes it they drop to the ground with eye troubles, rheumatic joints, quaking nerves. The only reason they do not know that it is their mental error meeting the spiritual truth of some illuminated mind is because they are not as good timber as Saul. He was hardier, bolder, abler by nature, than they, and hence had not been so enervated by his “much learning” as they are by theirs. He had more presence of mind to understand his emotions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes says that, “the world’s great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men. The active mind feels itself above any and all human books.” It is said of Whittier that if he had been a great scholar he would have enervated his genius. Not many minds are rugged enough in their natural genius to take too much ipse dixit. Saul, however, was one who had not been enfeebled by schooling; he had only become religiously knock-kneed, consequently he made a powerful opposition to the voice of the Absolute Truth when it struck his mind. He became totally blind.

At the present time, there are wonderful truths coming and going through the mental atmospheres, which act as treatments to the scholastic minds. If scholastic minds make powerful resistance, they have powerful ailments. If they make pusillanimous objections, shying around the questions that arise, they have half-blind, half-deaf, half-enfeebled bodily states. All the ailments of intellectual people are due to their evading spiritual teachings.

There are prophecies in the earth that about this time many people shall suddenly fall by the wayside of human life; “The places that knew them once, shall know them no more forever.” They shall disappear like shadows.

If spiritual truth is the substance, and intellect and flesh are shadows, when spiritual truth shines hot overhead, why indeed should not the representatives of intellect and flesh disappear? Do not shadows always disappear at high noon? Saul could not be cured till a spiritually awakened member of the despised religious sect touched his blind eyes. Saul then became Paul the Apostle. Whoever yields to the irresistible truths of Spiritual Science becomes well aware that the spiritual intelligence of an Ananias is more capable than a Gamaliel to cure him of mental infirmity and physical disorder.

If according to astrology, it was written that about this time you would die, you could not die in the old way if the living truth of Jesus Christ had appealed to your judgment. But you must make some change of mind and action as totally unlike your old self as if you had died. You do not disappear from the sight and sound of your former companions, maybe; and maybe you do; but you will make as definite a change of life and mind as Saul made by turning into Paul. The acceptance of a new line of reasoning changes your mind and life. You are dead to the former mind and life. If you have always been thinking that strong, bold, vigorous, active warfare against evil and wrong is the way to erase them from the human lot, and suddenly the illuminating text of the “Bhagavad Gita” concerning the futility of active opposition to wrong, and showing the more excellent way of Spirit, comes clear to you, those with whom you have worked will know you no more among them. They have not seen the truth with you.

The full acceptance of the perfect truth would take us entirely out of the reach of our old methods. And it is the full acceptance of the Absolute Truth now, by those who see that it is the Lord’s second coming unto full salvation, which is putting as many as do receive it out of the reach of the old experiences and old methods.

To those who are afflicted with the disease of poverty, the perfect truth with respect to Jesus Christ comes with healing of poverty. If any of the agitators of these times think they are doing the Lord service by persecuting anyone or anything, they must be told that they are mistaken. If their methods are carried out, it would be only changing the money from a Rockefeller’s hands to their hands, and we have abundant evidence that they do not understand finance. No, there is an acceptance of some spiritual propositions, which would externalize as practically for the healing of poverty as Saul’s blindness was healed.

It is the acceptance of some unwonted propositions, which has healed thousands of men and women in later years of bodily infirmities. Half the time they did not know which proposition cured them. They cannot tell which proposition by their “not accepting” makes them continue miserable in certain other ways.

One has to accept certain truths for the cure of lameness, and other truths for the cure of shaking palsy. So one has to take certain ideas for the cure of timidity, and certain others for the cure of poverty, just as practically as the kitchen girl would use chalk for cleaning the silver and sand for the floor.

There was one who would not be healed of a particular kind of bodily sickness till she accepted the idea that Joshua caused the sun to seem to stand still, that Elisha multiplied the widow’s oil, raised the Shunammite child to life, etc. Her belief in the limited action of Spirit was like a fence to hold in her malady.

Whatever the reason that makes you a machinist, with not wages enough to take care of your family, you may be sure it is not because you are not as capable as the neighbor, who throws away more daily than you earn weekly, but because there is some one thing that you do not believe which you ought to believe. The instant you believe it, whatever it is, you will have some unexpected help from somewhere. Remember that any limitation is a disease. And take notice that poverty is a limitation as much as blindness or palsy.

The most cures of bodily disease have been made by calling them nothing but dreams snubbing them as delusions. Poverty has usually declined to leave the premises by such a simple process as calling it a dream, snubbing it as nothing but a delusion. That disease has required some more metaphysical doctrines, as for instance, that there is no God ruling over the world or over us — that all the God there is, is our own Spirit. We may be utterly astonished, and as “struck down” as Saul, when we first hear the idea. But if “Ananias” gives us the touch of his efficient explanations (or laying on of hands, as the ninth chapter of Acts calls it), we shall feel new power, new strength, new knowledge. It will be seen by us as a reasonable doctrine.

Some people have to believe in symbols before they can be cured of the disease of ignorance. Symbols, and signs, and dreams, and astrological foretelling, are all perfectly accurate. They are not to be despised. See how much more Saul and Ananias knew after they had praised, and believed in signs and dreams.

Do the stars then govern our destiny, according to Spiritual Science? No! We govern the stars and our destiny. The stars and the dreams are only innocent handwritings of our present status and our native possibilities. They are as truly nothing as the symbols of algebra. “The invisible things of God are clearly seen by the things that are made.” And these “made” things touch us for good at every turn. Generally, we do not believe that dreams and stars tell us entirely of good. We believe they stand for evil, for dangers ahead, for deaths, for losses; but they forever prophesy of good only.

All the signals now thrown out concerning the speedy dissolution of this world and all things in it, are signals of the great wave of spiritual understanding, which shall touch the mind of man, now so diseased with mistaken statements of God, as Ananias touched Saul’s eyes. There is a touching of the scales on the eyes of the world’s theology, which will make the end of Saul and give us Paul throughout all the earth. There is a touching of the scales on your mind, which will snap or dissolve the filmy ideas, which make you cringe before anyone or any situation in all the world, and show you wise as Socrates, Plato, or Jesus. Perhaps you must say with vehemence, “It is not scholastic lore I need, it is to let my free Spirit speak its ‘I AM’ in me and through me and by me.”

Perhaps you are to speak forth the statement of pure metaphysics that, “It is not money I need, but to let the free Spirit within me claim its independence of matter, its independence of people, its independence of all things. The Spirit within is the Substance within. God is the only Substance. Shall God depend upon money, upon people, upon suitable circumstances, to have all things, know all things, and do all things? Neither then shall I depend upon any thing, or circumstance, for the “I Am of me — the only I Am — is God”.

Now this reasoning requires no exercise of the will. It simply requires your expression. The Physical Research Society, quite independent of the doctrine of Jesus, discovered that there is no need to exercise any will with our reasoning with people at a distance, in order to make them respond, nor indeed with people near at hand. The reasonings accomplish their own meanings, as the words of Jesus Christ to the mind of Saul carried their own weight.

The Buddhists teach that four classes of people accomplish results with “righteous working” — which means right reasoning — viz., the afflicted, the searchers for truth, the poverty-stricken, and the wise.

The afflicted are sure to be relieved of their afflictions by talking to the inner nature, which rests, so peaceful, within all bosoms forever. The restless wanderers of the earth, who are wondering always what is true among the multitudinous religions and philosophies, (which amount to nothing as far as practical help goes), are sure to get convinced of what is true without a shade of doubt, if they address with praiseful words, the wise inner nature, forever resting so calm in their bosoms. The poverty-stricken come into their rightful inheritance if they speak to the all-holding Owner of worlds, forever resting so royally free within their own bosoms. The wise accomplish all things by describing face to face the Omniscience, that sits as Omnipotent Principle, forever within their own bosoms.

“Why, then, did the Buddhists not reap the fruits of such beautiful doctrine?” Because they never spoke truth to their own inner nature. They never practiced what they preached. Do you practice praising through the night watches while you are restlessly tossing with inability to sleep — praising and praising the Supreme Spirit resting within your own bosom? It was no more incumbent upon them, to practice what they had heard of truth, than it is upon you to do so.

Simple proclamations to the nature and place of the Spirit will cause the proclaimed results to come forth. Absolute Truth will bring absolute victory. Hear the Buddhists praising the Spirit within them for establishing caste, for distinguishing against women, for making certain animals more sacred than even their own children. Is that absolute truth of the impartial, responding God?

Hear the Buddhists at their praises of the Spirit that dwells in their bosoms, telling it that it responds in their lives with exactly what they proclaim that it does, thus making themselves the arbiters of their own lot in life.

Hear the Christian at his devotions calling his God a mystery. Hear him beg of a hard task-master to lessen the poverty, the suffering of his lot, fearing his God will not lessen it more than he believes that He will. Is that telling the Absolute Truth to the inner nature that waits in calm majesty the touch of your right words? Your own inner wisdom will not spring forth if you beg it to come. It will only stand out on the affairs of your life, on the health of your body, on the wisdom of your mind, by your describing it just as it is.

Zoroaster called the proclamation the Holy Word, the whole Truth. Of what do you need healing? Of the idea that you have had a hard life? Look now, to the smiling majesty enthroned within you, and tell it of its eternal peace. Do you need healing of sickness? Look now at the gracious Self — dwelling in everlasting security within your own bosom, and tell it of its beautiful health.

Do you need healing of poverty, or of sorrow at the poverty of the world? Within your own bosom sits the Maker and Owner of all the universe. Is He poor? Is He in want? Is He mournful? Describe the greatness of that Center within you. As the sun breaks forth from the night, as he rides free on the highways of ether, so shall the sun of your world rise, so shall the scales of your night fall, so shall your mind ride free on the highways of the mistaken ideas of the world, and no man, no woman, no animal shall ever again cry under the dark doctrine of pain, of want, of ignorance, of loneliness, or of bondage. Some of you cannot be absolutely healed till you hear the response, “I am God. There is no God.” All is God. God is now free. For this Being within hath a loud voice to touch you. Its Word is the holy healing of your world.

October 2, 1892

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