Bible Lesson LXVII
Acts 10:30-48
Emerson’s Great Task

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

Emerson teaches that the gods always overload with disadvantages those whom they have appointed to great tasks. Homer must be blind; Virgil must have asthma; Epictetus must be a deformed field slave. As Emerson had been appointed by the gods to a greater task than any he had in mind, he was more overloaded than any, for it comes unto a man that what he really believes, what he really covenants with as a principle, will work out with him.

Peter had been really preaching that God is no respecter of persons, so he was faced up with the compulsory companionship of people with whom it was an “unlawful thing,” according to Jewish creed, to “keep company,” no matter how good they might be. Had Peter refused to stand by his preaching when this demand for a demonstration met him he would have been defeated in his later conferences with the Christianized Jews. Many of us can attribute our misfortunes and failures to our once having refused to stand up to our ideas when they confronted us with their situations. As Peter stood to the practicalization of his religion, he won by his arguments when the Christians got to quarreling. Moses taught this idea to Esdras by a figure of speech, “Let the waters bring forth.” Surely, the conscious words and thoughts we speak do bring forth. And there is no principle we can fellowship with which hurries us into its situations like a high and lofty religious sentiment.

The greatest miracles on record have been wrought by highly religious people. Religious principle acts like a hot sunshine over the waters or flowing ideas of our minds, and warms and vitalizes them so that they bleed with life at every point where we cut them. Our words are alive.

Any principle held as the light or guide of our life will by and by, vitalize our words with its purport. Klopstock was waited upon by some musicians from Goettingen, who travelled to Hamburg to ask what he meant by a certain passage in “The Messiah.”

“I do not this moment recollect what I did mean,” he said, “but it would pay you, gentlemen, to devote your life to finding out what I meant.” He had such living, practical confidence in his principle that, being one with it, he knew that what it said through him was right.

Hannibal “swore eternal hate to Rome” as a boy, and lived and taught that hate principle so constantly that the sound of his voice was a terror to his foes. Hannibal is at the gates,, was the synonym for “destruction is nigh”.

When a high religious proposition strikes the mind and becomes its daily theme for years all the words brought forth in relation to it live and act. If you were to set up an imagination of a perfect human body in your mind and describe that continually you would make healthy bodies appear near you for a long time, but as it would be an imagination of a form or symbol it would fail you sometime. The enduring and increasing power is our religious reasoning.

The twelve propositions of Spiritual Science are the highest religious reasoning. They have perfectly shining meanings lying just back of the outer wordings of them. It has been found that whoever penetrates these outer wordings and sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, and knows the splendid intentions of them, finds his outer eyesight his hearing and knowing faculties sharpened and quickened. It has also been found that it is a stubborn stopping short of penetrating into the meanings of things, which causes a loss of the faculties in so many people.

If we do not want our religious ideas to work freely with us we have to throw up hard barriers of refusals. If you are wondering why your high religious ideas do not carry you more safely over the trials of your lot, you will find it is simply because you let your mind descend from its lofty reasoning to describe material performances.

Michael Angelo would not allow himself to discuss the faults of other artists. He shut himself alone with his own lofty ideals, and so kept his mind in a high altitude all the time. This caused itself to express what belonged to it perfectly. If you have a leaning to some special kind of art, increase and improve your ideals of it. Do not discuss the opposition of it at all. The belt of your planet is small — very small — if you stop from talking ideals to discuss imperfect works. A critic always has a small belt to his sphere. A critic is always a small mind. For one who is in the daylight of his art while he is thinking ideals, is in the nighttime while he is thinking of poor works. So if he turns from the perfect to the imperfect quickly his planet must turn quickly on its axis. Look out for the highest along your own line.

“One science only will one genius fit,
So vast is art, so narrow human wit.”

Keep your mind on ideals. This continual flow of the river of thought will bring forth fruits at every turn. Let it do so. Peter here preached Jesus Christ so eloquently to the audience of people he once would have shrunk from, that it has become a living and active Christian idea that there are no high, nor low in Christ. All are equally endowed; all have the same opportunities to perfect themselves in their art, whatever it may be, by keeping the highest ideals in mind, by making idealism their religion. And the highest idealism is religion, no matter what you are studying. Its highest swing is Jesus Christ, or the expression of soul. In the practice of Christian healing we do not set up an image within our mind, and we do not imagine how a perfect man or woman would look; we keep reasoning onward along the lines of what God thinks. Like Kepler we say often, “O, God! I think Thy thoughts after Thee.” At every turn, this way of thinking breaks forth into demonstration.

If we descend from our upper stratum of reasoning to discuss the faults and foibles of human beings, we are astonished to see how chilled we get with the disappointments of people not being cured, helped, or comforted by our high line of thought. We are apt to think the high lines of thought are not demonstrable.

John the Revelator speaks of four themes, which cause the mind’s descent so that high demonstrations do not appear. Jesus speaks of our never discussing certain subjects if we would keep the mind swinging on the axis of eternal day. We must not talk about what is healthy or unhealthy, expensive or cheap to eat; nor discuss what we ought or ought not to wear; nor confer with each other about what is safe or unsafe, good or wicked to drink. We may speak of the doctrine that heals, cleanses, quickens, and comforts. Doctrine is the only safe theme.

John the Revelator says that if we do not bring out the perfection of health, wisdom, and peace, in everyone we meet, it is because we have stopped to talk about, or think about, one of four things. One of these things that the mind must forever be above is thinking that we ourselves, or any other living creature, have appetites or passions lower than the breathings of the Holy Ghost. He who preaches Jesus Christ must hold forever that no man of flesh is our father. God alone brought us forth. Do not descent to talk of heredity of appetites or associations with temptations if you would make your words vascular at every point where the demonstration of purity is called for.

Another topic that the mind is not to descend into thinking or the voice into speaking about is that there is anything against anyone or anything. Whoever says opium is dangerous, or distillations of cereals or compositions of minerals are offensive, is descending from the ideal reasoning of God, who pronounced all things good. No one shall speak against the climate, the draughts, or the actions of earth’s creatures, for he who would see them good must think along the thoughts of God. We shall not permit the lowering of the mind’s holy reasoning into the thought of the talk of sin in the world or in ourselves. Sin is not a theme we can give any thought to. Many a good reasoner in Science wonders why his thoughts do not live and thrive at the harbors of demonstration where he halted them. He may remember that yesterday or last week he descended into the idea of the selfishness of Mary, or the jealousy of James or his own temper gave him regret. A fall of the barometer of reasoning must chill the delicate process of demonstration.

Peter here keeps up his majestic thoughts of the wisdom of God as pouring through all mankind, and permits not his mind to linger in the suggestion of how differently he had formerly believed. This stately march of thought suddenly breaks forth in the audience. “The Holy Ghost fell on all those which had the word.” By this uplifted sweep of the Science shall the Holy Ghost fall upon this whole world.

The African Princes shall lift up their hands from slaughter, for there is a reasoning driving over the planet from the mind of the changeless God. Asia shall feel the shadow of her long belief in a karma folded around her ignorance, flee away into the infinite day of pure knowledge as God thinks of His people. Europe shall let go her clutch on the masses, through keeping them in poverty, for a high tide of Spiritual feeling is being driven over her shores by the sunlight of a pure and undefiled doctrine, away out of the jurisdiction of the church that has stopped on the line of her march of teaching the everlasting protection of God, to teach that He also calls some to misery. America shall cease from her mad scrambles for gold, for her mind shall catch the secret gleam of a Light that is shining from a people as inspired as Peter, with the certainty that undefiled Science will feed and clothe and heal without traffic or competition of man with man.

“The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple.” The God whom ye have covenanted with shall write upon the bells of the horses, “Holiness,” and upon the hearts of the world, “Peace.” If ye have covenanted with hate, ye shall have a name that shall strike terror like Hannibal. If ye have covenanted with love, ye shall have the healed world for the signal of your chosen principle. If ye have covenanted with the principle of the absolute equality of all men in rights of possessions, happiness, and wisdom, like Peter, be sure that “the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, shall come suddenly,” and the gift of the unstinted Presence of God shall be demonstrated in the happy and wise earth, which prophecy has prepared for this age. In Spiritual Science there is no covenant with hate. The love of God is her only theme. Make your covenant now with love.

October 23, 1892

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