Claudius, the fourth Emperor of Rome, was in the habit of exclaiming: “What! do you take me for a fool?” The consequence was he lost his memory, and became so absent-minded that he did indeed appear like a fool to everyone. Suetonius, the historian of the Caesars, tells us that he inquired why Messalina, the Empress, did not come to the table, though she had been buried some days. He often ordered those whom he had condemned to death to dine with him the day after the execution, actually forgetting what had become of them and sending to reprimand them for their sluggishness in attending his banquets.
Thoughts often given expression to, come due like notes, or, like the planets in their orbits, reach perihelion on time. “By thy words thou art justified.” Often we have people telling us that they nearly broke their neck trying to do certain things. They go away forgetting that such words are fishes spawn, and, though forgotten as the fishes forget their spawn, will some day throw them out of a carriage or down an embankment in a railway accident because their fruitage time has arrived.
Because you have forgotten your once familiar exclamations, do not be so silly as to suppose they will not arrive in your affairs at the proper moment. Violent expletives are making due haste to make violent conditions. All your adversaries are the legitimate offspring of such expressions as “I thought I should die;” “I was nearly killed;” “I am utterly distracted.”
Life words come up for reviews like soldiers well drilled. The lessons of the past quarter now file past our mental vision. If they were understood they have already fruited, and new human environments now delight our once distraught hearts. For it is a point in pure Spiritual Science that every time a metaphysical proposition is clear to us we have a happy change of circumstances.
In our second lesson, we learned from the conversion of Saul by super-natural means that the scholastic world will either succumb to the Spiritual lightning now striking them with palsy, softened brain, or brittle bones, and will meekly recognize that it is spiritual lore they need, instead of so much Sanskrit and pneumatics, or they will drop like shadows into nowhere.
It brought up the doctrine of Seneca, born in the year 7 BC., that mankind must first get free from the bondage of death and then of poverty. It showed that if we set any limit to the action of the doctrine of Jesus we shall have some sort of ailment. For instance, if I do not believe that in the teaching that “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” I am to be set into delightful pathways where all care, all anxiety, all effort is to be taken from me. I shall have something equivalent to Saul’s blindness to mark my limitation of Jesus Christ’s teachings.
No one was ever known to put any limitation upon the absolute demonstration of all the extreme statements of Jesus Christ, who did not get hurt like Saul, who tried to limit the Christians, or did not finish up like Uzzah, who tried to stay with the ark. There is no miracle of interposition in your behalf out of the reach of your open acceptance of the extremest ideas of the transcendent doctrines of Jesus.
In the third lesson, the idea that we should never rehearse how well we used to do, nor tell how much we have turned off as skillful laborers in the past, was brought forward under the figure of Dorcas. It seems that talk of the past as superior to the present, is sure death to our ambition and courage. The past exploits are not superior to this day’s abilities. Rise like the transfiguring Spirit you are in your native splendor, and tell of your powers and greatness this day. This is your Peter with his vigorous NOWNESS.
To be looking forward to great tasks that lie ahead of us is to be wearied in advance, like the pendulum in the fable, paralyzed like Aeneas, whom Peter cured by the idea of doing what belongs to us this moment, forgetting the past, ignoring the future. Evidently Peter had covenanted with the Spirit to take care of his reputation and he would do nothing for it. He had covenanted with the Spirit to do every good work this moment. It is delightful to the Spirit to have us make a solid agreement to let it do all things now. This keeps a continual renewal of strength, vigor, health, and life.
The fourth lesson taught that every sort of omen and prognostication is a prophecy of good. The world has always considered omens and signals to forebode death and disaster, but there was never one, which did not come expressly to foretell a great good. The way to meet an omen is to proclaim that it is a signal of new prosperity and renewed life. If evil came to a family after a strange phenomenon appeared, it was because the family twisted the promise from its beautiful purport.
Our fifth lesson teaches that we must take some line of high reasoning and stick to it. The descent from lofty descriptions of immaculate doctrines into small discussions of the foibles of people is accountable for many misfortunes, and what are called ups and downs of life. Keep a certain set of statements for each hour in the day. The mind and character will soon translate from adversities into a constant succession of happy awakenings.
By our sixth lesson, we were told that the usual missionary idea is totally wrong in that we go out to rescue men from the darkness of their ignorance, and the bondage of their sins. Going forth to seek lost souls is a subtle accusation against the creations of God. It taught that as all is mind, of course if we seek for ignorance we shall find it, but that law of seeking and finding does not make ignorance or sin reality. They will still remain imaginations of mind, not thinking as God thinks. Do you suppose God ever saw a heathen? No, He gave his own wisdom impartially to all mankind. Do you suppose God ever saw a sinner? No, He is too pure to behold iniquity. Then it is hunting ignis fatuus to be hunting out heathen and sinners. If we really love the South Sea Islanders we will praise them, not accuse them.
The next lesson taught how often it is the idea that we are not quite ready for carrying out projects, which puts off other events from transpiring. Whatever the externals may seem, the mind should insist upon NOW for its own readiness to do all things. Then the externals will train to promptness.
It explains that we have our healing powers with their infinite endurance and our defending powers, with everlasting strength. But, like Peter’s angel of defense, they depart after one miracle, leaving us in seeming powerlessness for a long time. This is because we keep wishing and longing for more, more, like Oliver Twist, instead of giving cheerful thanks continually for what we do have now — like as the wonderful Kurozumi practiced so successfully.
The eighth lesson asked us to consider whether we would have all the people of the world fed, clothed, and sheltered, as the result of spiritual teachings, with their miracle-working efficiencies, or slay and labor and fight for our chances on the present material basis. By spiritual means, all these things are possible. Shall we throw our confidence upon the high seas of the Jesus Christ promises or hang back on the muddy bottoms of anguish with the striking world? Take the high winds of universal expectation. Narrow not your hopes down to your own lot alone.
If the woman left alone in widowhood and poverty cast herself upon God to take care of her, and those who had to work for their living sent of their treasures to support her, do you not see that they in their turn would receive easy assistance by the same principle, and still others would receive their bounties the same way, till only the hosts of heaven should be found ministering to a whole world? Was not Jesus fed and clothed by the angels? If the angels can feed one Man without killing some helpless animal, and clothe one Man without a single man’s forced labor, can they not feed and clothe a world? Are the hosts of God few? Are the hosts of God unwilling?
Our ninth lesson tells us not to get tied to our opinions, but to go from mountain top to mountain top of Truth till the freedom of the untrammeled God is ours. It asks us to consider whether this idea is a reasonable description of the experience of the Omnipotent, viz., “God suffers for sinners even more than they suffer themselves.” No. Omnipotence is the Principle of absolute goodness, which neither itself suffers nor permits suffering. All suffering is delusion. That lesson taught plainly that Paul did not need to agree with prophecies of evil, thinking they must be fulfilled. He might trace their origin to an error and erase their whole history, as a metaphysician would erase the whole history of sickness from its first blunder to its externalization.
He must have a powerful mind arise with enough of the absolute Truth in his heart’s faith, to be perfectly well in his own body, renewed in youth by his doctrine, supported absolutely by his thoughts, so that the world may suddenly feel the almightiness of his doctrine by seeing his demonstrations. There shall not be one single breath in his speech or his writings about the power of a horde of opponents to darken his teachings. He shall not believe in any subtle region of his mind that he needs to protect himself from unjust or unkind thoughts. He shall not fear that he would come to want if he should give up his business or his goods. He shall not believe that an evil intention can possibly be carried out.
As Jesus came externalizing the hopes of ages, so the perfect doctrine shall bring forward its first perfect demonstration.
The tenth lesson explained that whoever will give the Spirit unresisted freedom, through him will find himself expressing twelve powers, corresponding to the twelve gates of the heavenly city opened by right doctrine. Gentiles, or those without a particle of religious feeling or tradition, are as likely to express the twelve Jesus Christ powers, as Jews, or those who represent religious feeling and creed. It showed that every young man, and young woman expects miracles to be wrought in his or her behalf, and if they would hold onto that expectation forever they would be forever young. They would be forever beautiful. It is not until they are tempted to be like the world by being pampered like Solomon or abused by experience with the way-wised of earth that they give utterly into not expecting time to fulfill their confidence. They get the first wrinkles with agreeing with the deceptions, which read like the beginning of Johnson’s “Rasselas.”
The next lesson explained by the history of Kurozumi that there is an elixir vitae, which we can breathe by learning how to do so. We set out with thoughts, which reason out a noble doctrine. We let nothing interfere with our confidence in the Truth of our principles. Soon we get beyond thoughts. We enter the realm of the unnamed Good. We breathe the electric elixirs of a realm undescribed. We find our unmixed principles have power over our life quite beyond our first announcement. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, brought Him forth by this high experience. Kurozumi brought forth healing skill by it. We shall bring the heavenly Jerusalem of the Apocalypse into sight by our great number of men and women, with their eyes set on things of God, expecting the God beyond Him we have described to work for us.
Our twelfth lesson shows how Washington’s sincerity brought an angel to tell him of things to come. He was permitted to see the liberation of America from foreign yoke. He was permitted to see the liberation of the colored South from the yoke of belief in slavery. He was permitted to see the hosts of heaven come in these days to liberate us from the belief in our limitations as human beings.
We are now being taught that we are transcendent beings with transcendent powers. We have no need to be limited by Ignorance, poverty, or sickness. We must take off the yoke of our supposition that there is any difference between the Hottentot and the college president in Spirit and in Truth.
We rise to proclaim that all men are the direct handiwork of impartial, glorious God. Every idea of this kind takes form and speeds on and on. Washington saw the field of Armageddon. We are now on that field. We do not believe in fighting; we believe as people of God in letting the angels lift off the yokes. We do not believe in evil; we believe as a people in the angels of goodness working our cause easily, swiftly, and silently, by our unresisted confidence. If we experience hardships, it is because we have not taken refuge under the wings of our own doctrine.
December 18th, 1892