Bible Lesson LXIX
Acts 12:1-17
Seek And Ye Shall Find

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

People seem to be all seeking something. They take a multitude of ways to arrive at the object of their restless search. It is written: “Seek and ye shall find.” So the good or satisfaction people are seeking they will come at without doubt. Some things people get right away on this plane of existence, called mortal. Other things people wait for the astral plane to fulfill.

Herod loved to “please” the majority vote. So he beheaded everyone that those in power of public opinion wanted him to. Peter loved to do things, which he thought would please one man. So he kept courting martyrdom and imprisonment. They had very rough ideas of ways and methods for bringing about a satisfied state of mind, but hardly more rough than the ideas people nowadays have, who imagine that it pleases Jesus Christ for them to tell that the Christian walk is one of hardship and suffering.

It is related of a soldier in the East Indies that his comrades threw a basin of hot soup into his bosom to test his patience after his conversion to Christianity. He had been a prizefighter, and they hoped he would fight at this insult. He, however, looked up calmly and said, “This is what I must expect if I become a Christian.” Well, who taught him to “seek and find” such things as that? Was he not rather bending like a reed under the wind of a popular opinion of the Christian walk than standing straight up like a pillar of faith with the early proclamation, “I do not believe in violence and hardship?” “They that seek Me early shall find Me.” Who is this “Me” the soldier might have found? “The Prince of Peace.” He had a right to the peace of God. Does God suffer? Then remember it is not God-like to suffer. Those who are most like God suffer least.

People imagine it is very pleasing to God for them to tell how ignorant they are. Is God ignorant? Did He have an ignorant mind out of which to form part of His children? Is He not our Father? Did not His hand fashion us? Out of His own Substance created He not us? Is not that a rough idea of what is pleasing to the Infinite Wisdom who “fashioned all hearts alike?” Some imagine that it pleases God for them to be sick, lame, or poverty-stricken. Did God have a portion of His Being sick, lame, or poverty-stricken, out of which to make these people?

Even with a few of these notions lugging along in your mind, it is amazing how grandly one little ray of truth given forth will work. Pastor Harms, of the Hanover Mission, did not believe in begging. He did believe in getting money by the Spirit of God. So he told the Spirit daily how good It was to him, and let such a warm stream of gratitude run free over the universe that it attracted to him $14,781 in one year. No one had bent him to the notion that a Christian ought to go half naked and hungry, but he did yield to a point on the “barely enough” idea, for he felt it was a “skin of the teeth” getting through, that after all his prayers he had only $15 over his expenses. He would not let the full doctrine of “abundance” flow through him.

Peter, in this twelfth chapter of Acts, had evidently let the protecting idea flow freely enough” — so that it was only reined in by his seeking a crucifixion later on.  “Not yet”, was his constant idea concerning his own cross. Some of us hold the “not yet” for our benefits. We are all seeking our good. According to the law, we shall find it. As it is meant for us, let us put out our hands and take it as Peter took the angel’s word and got out of prison. We have great wisdom belonging to us particularly; by putting out our hands — right ideas — we shall show forth this wisdom. We must put the right ideas to it unceasingly, as it is written the Church did for Peter that he might be set free. To the radiance of your own wisdom, speak truly how strong it is, how efficient it is, how beautiful it is. You will get out of this prison house of your imagination that to shut wisdom back is pleasing to the Divine Wisdom, makes you more companionable to your friends, or is of any present of future advantage to yourself.

You have a hidden Peter, a hidden healing power. Be a Church praying without ceasing for the freedom of that healing power. Tell it how quick it is in action, how sure it is to touch the right case, how willing to speed with strength every instant. Our lesson tells that as soon as the angel had wrought the miracle of delivering Peter out of prison he “departed.” Of course, if one believes that the power of God comes and goes, leaving him when he has had some signs of it, he will experience accordingly. Tell your healing power how its strength and quickness abide with you, increasing daily. Your talks to the hidden energies of your being are either putting soldiers around them who will guard them from appearing outside, or they are setting the guards at naught.

What is your habit of speaking to your healing power? How do you speak of it? Some have put four quaternions of soldiers to guarding their healing powers and it is only by several nights spent in unceasing description of the healing Spirit that it comes forth freely to heal one case. The complaining, and mourning, and wondering, and lamenting because the healing power does not work through them quickly are quaternions of soldiers and stone prison walls to the healing energy.

How do you speak of your power of loving? How do you think of it? That loving power God gave you is eternal in its ministry. It need not be killed with the sword of persecution as James was by Herod. Do you think your love will cease because it is scorned? Do you think it is too weak to endure the desertion of those unto whom you sent its ministry? Tell the bright stream of your power of living that it is warm and strong enough to melt all the hate of a world. Tell it nothing can withstand it. Tell it how wise it is in dealing with all people. It speaks a word here and keeps silent there. It defends a child here and supports a whole family there. Each energy has all the potency of all the ministry in its nature. Each energy is strong in wisdom, quick in healing, wise in speaking, able in supporting and defending.

Is it your habit to tell the twelve energies with which you are endowed how perfect they are? If not, spend as long time as this church did telling of Peter’s free goodness. Then a maiden will report to you that Peter is come out of prison. That is, some credulous person will believe you have great healing power, great wisdom, strong powers of some kind, as Rhoda, the maiden, first heard the voice of the liberated Peter.

You will not believe that credulous character. You would rather a bank president or a city mayor told you that you had such liberated powers. Then, if you do not really feel satisfied that there is Omnipotence in your healing power so that it can melt down every obstacle from your path, why you may hide it under another set of ideas, as they did Peter for new fear of Herod.

But the mighty doctrine still remains that the angel of the Lord forever encampeth, the power of the Spirit is able for all things, and they shall not hurt or kill the Spirit set free at our will. Peter will continue knocking. Wisdom knocks without ceasing for approval. So we will without ceasing, tell of its strength and quickness. We will exercise it on every little event of our life and on every stupendous occasion. Shall the insect under the buttercup have less attention to the paintings of its little back than Orion’s belt in its splendor? Shall the minutest bit of good I would have brought to me have less of the strength of my wisdom or love than my destiny in the sum total of my life’s happiness? As my purpose is utter consecration to untrammeled Truth, so is my purpose to make the daily lot of the newsboy and my boy one and the same in strength of beauty, freedom of wisdom, and power in making the imprisoning notions of past teachings nothing — nothing at all.

What these two ranks of seekers go forth to seek they will find. It is not their good to win popular favor by shutting their wisdom and spiritual energies into the hidden places where they have been taught they are now kept only to be won forth by the terrible battle with ignorance. They shall hear the noble doctrine of Jesus that there is no danger in the pathway of Spirit, no failure in the judgment of the Divinity pressing for utterance at the gateway of every pore of their being.

The black man on the Saharan oasis shall not be sought for his rescue from evil. God shall be sought in his face and in his life. For what we go forth to find, we shall find and how we proceed is according to what it is we proclaim we are seeking. What we do is the energy we liberate. We liberate what we choose. We are transcendent beings, using or not using our energies according as we choose.

The prison and cross for them that seek them. The glory of Jesus in quick demonstration for them that seek Him in all events. Ignorance and sin if you seek them — the goodness of God if you please. “Seek and ye shall find.”

November 6, 1892

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