Bible Lesson L
Psalms 72:1-19
Value Of Early Beliefs

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

“With those elect,
Who seem not to compete or strive,
Yet with the foremost still arrive,
Prevailing still.
Spirits with whom the stars connive
To work their will.”

There are some people, who are bound to be foremost. “There’s a destiny that shapes their ends, rough hew them how they will.” They do not answer when they are accused. They do not need to. They do not try to have their names enrolled on the scrolls of earth’s great ones. They do not have to try. It is written in their foreheads that the nations shall call them blessed while they smile as little babies in their cradles. They are the answers to the prayers of the saints. Their minds are docile, simple, innocent, confiding, always.

All children expect to be good. They look only for goodness when they stretch up their fingers and open their eyes for the first time in our arms. They expect justice. They take Providence for granted. And some little ones are left so free that they keep to the last that open expectation of the universe always doing the right thing by them. These are enrolled on the annals of fame.

For the universe purposes only good to us all. We keep our windows and doors open and in it all rushes. Such minds are the right kind of vacuum. The gods love them, and come in and sup with them freely. And this is all there is to greatness — taking the best for granted.

Everything you ever accomplished you have accomplished because you have from childhood kept one childish trait of taking for granted. Maybe you dragged along the weight of supposing you would have to scramble and struggle to carry it out, but that was a notion that did not frighten you out of your childish expectation of some one thing.

To be supremely good one must be supremely childlike, taking no notion of having to try to be anything along with his expectation of all things. It is the children, who enter the kingdom of God.

This lesson is a wonderful reminder that it is never too late to be little children all over again. We may become again, as we were when we were first born — knowing neither good nor evil, docile to the will of destiny.

“Conduct me, Zeus, and thou, O Destiny, where’er thou wilt.”

Solomon took many, many goods for granted. He took not the idea of enduring chastity. So in this psalm 72, where his own expectation of righteousness left off, he saw by prophecy that one would come who, by reason of expecting all things, holiness included, should, no matter what happened, be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

When Jeremiah is forbidden to call himself a child, it is meant that he should not be after the order of one who cringes and trembles with fears of evil. This is not the child, who is Son of God — equal with God — but the shadow of him.

Solomon says that this type of character shall be a judge, a savior, a king, a peacemaker, a bountiful provider, a counselor, a friend, an instructor. He shall teach mankind how to have all things without scrambling and struggling.

Jesus Christ taught this. He promised a hundred-fold more human goods by His principle of expectation than by all the methods of action now in use. He said that the bounty of the Spirit of the universe would fall wonderfully over those who would take things for granted. And in the next sphere of experience we would be sure to drop the notion of death: “An hundred-fold more in this life, and in the world to come everlasting life.”

In noticing the expectations of good, which have characterized the great, we mark that they all took death for granted. This is not laid up against them, but it is promised that they shall not take that into the next sphere of experience.

Here it is remembered that the mind of the profound thinker, who has received the gift of seer-ship, has ever declared that for the most of us on the earth, there are seven spheres of experience through which we must walk. This earth is one of them.

Those who hasten their experiences here may pass the others, which have pain and sorrow, swiftly, hardly touching them with the wings of light, which our life here in righteousness has furnished us.

Jesus Christ intimates that most of the people passing the next sphere still expect death as the portal through which to step on into the next beyond. But those who understand Him will not take that belief along, and will fly the spheres on wings of deathless life.

As no one has yet entirely practiced His principle of expecting provisions of all kinds straight from the Spirit of righteousness, we have an entirely new field of Science before us.

Solomon sees that it will be natural for gold and silver to flow to that kind of scientist. And gold and silver shall be nothing to him any more than the applause of people or the air he breathes. He shall see that all things are provided by the Spirit. He shall see that all things are done by the Spirit. It shall never occur to him to say that he wrote his books by hard work. He shall not think that he conquered his enemies by kindness. He shall see that the Spirit wrote his books and the Spirit furnished him his friends.

Dickens told the people that he had only one genius, and that was the genius for hard work. The pugilist thinks his strength is his muscle, but there is nothing of intelligence or strength but God. It is acknowledging that it is God, who causes the work to bless the world with its light.

Every child heard its name called when it was young. Some listened and knew that the Spirit meant something for themselves alone. Others forgot. You heard your name called. Do you remember the day? Go back in memory, and sit down into that state of mind again for a moment. So lovely is this Spirit that broods overhead that all the intervening days may be blotted out, and you may be a child again, hearing your name called and feeling the open, docile mind again.

It is our privilege to begin over again today. From this time on we will take things for granted. This state of mind “shall deliver the needy, and him that hath no helper,” says this psalm. It goes on to tell how easy all the honors of the world are to get. Things come. It is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.”

It was taught by Jesus Christ to be a terrible thing for any of us to teach children to expect anything else but the best to come to them. He did not praise civilization. He called civilization the knowledge of His doctrine without the practicing of it: that is, knowing the ways to be well, and happy and provided for, but doing the ways that make for starvation and caste and blood poisoning.

This hearing the doctrine preached and closing up the ears against it till the hands and brains are obliged to use other methods, brings great sorrows and pains. It makes a solid substance for the devil to feed on.

The hearing mind that is easily blessed along some one line never is hurt or frightened along that line. If you have kept the childhood expectation of being always fed and clothed, you are never stung with misery lest you come to want.

The devil of the world — which is the belief in evil — might come again and again, tempting you with tales of disaster and famine. But he would find no food in you to feed on, and so you would feel no torment of that kind. The feeling of torment along any line is the sign that the devil is feeding on you and enjoying himself immensely. Now the devil cometh to Jesus and findeth nothing in Him.

If you are very sensitive to blame or censure, why, you have a solid bar of eatable food for the belief in evil, which is called the devil, to feed on. You certainly will get a great deal of torment from the intentional slights and censures of people, and likewise from their unintentional woundings. Now the devil cometh to Jesus along this line and findeth nothing in Him.

If you care a great deal for your reputation and have fought like a hero for your good name, you have a solid lump of human feeling for scandalizing tongues to bite you in the back and hurt you. But if you never closed up the open window of that childhood’s expectation that all people would be kind and just to you, the scandal of a million would only make you smile indulgently. For you see that the devil cometh to Jesus and findeth nothing in Him of feeling to torment. Sensitiveness to praise and blame, or jealousy of friendships, is most excellent food for the devil to feed on.

Is there a devil going to and fro, seeking whom he may devour? No, that is only our own belief in or fear of evil of some kind. That fear is the bar of flesh with which we closed up the window into which was streaming one line of our goods.

The Messiah’s reign described by this psalm is simply the description of a state of mind into which Tarshish and Seba, Sheba and the isles, all flow and shimmer their blessings.

Tarshish is a figure of speech meaning riches. Take riches for granted. Do not hustle and bustle and feel so anxious about riches. Really, you were born to riches. You do not have to shout, drive a sharp bargain, nor hold your own in a deal. The devil must not find any food of such idea in you.

Seba is a figure of speech for greatness of character and position. You do not have to try to be great. You were born to greatness. If you think for a moment, that someone is going to get the position over you, then indeed you must take down the shutter of that notion. It is a bar of “bringing up,” or cultivated characteristic of such a solid flesh substance that the devil eateth a good morsel by keeping you in an inferior position when you feel fitted to a higher one. Take your greatness for granted. Do not fight and connive. You need not pay someone to help you into your seat. Do you not see how you are taught that it shall come to you with this state of mind?

Sheba is a figure of speech for noble reputation. You came forth into this sphere with the expectation of the perfume of a reputation for virtue and wisdom. If you laid across the open window the fear of misrepresentation or injustice, what torments you would feel from the bitings of report. Jesus kept that bar of human feeling away. It was a flesh spot, the devil found not in Him at all. He was so silent at calumny that the Shekinah comes strolling over the ages from the temple halls of His presence on Calvary.

Sheba always stands for the perfume of Holiness. Of Sheba, Herodotus says that the land exhaled an odor of marvelous sweetness. Diodorous tells that the wondrous perfume thereof extended far out to sea.

Strabo said that this perfume of the spices of Sheba made them so valuable that Sheba was the wealthiest spot on earth. The people made their furniture of gold. This riches of Sheba signifies that to expect people to speak well of you is a sure state of mind to be supported by. It is a forerunner of poverty if one is afraid someone is talking against him. Loss of some goods will follow on that idea.

“The isles” is a figurative expression for believers in your doctrine — converts. Never think for an instant that people will not believe in your highest teachings. You were born to inspire confidence. Never think you must trim your sails to curry favor. “Speak the word boldly that is given you to utter.” Put no bar on your lips. “But,” says one, “suppose one feels like preaching communism, free love, etc.” He does not feel like preaching anything that defrauds a single creature of a thing if he is of the Messiah’s mind.

This psalm gives the description of how the mind with which you came forth expecting all people to believe in your words was the mind to help the needy and helpless, not to rob them. The Messiah spends no time robbing, nor preaching of such.

The highest truth is the highest defense, support, strength, and peace. Better not put the idea of getting away from your neighbor that which you want, across your childhood expectation of good. That is an idea that makes the torment of anger and resentment, very excellent eating for that devil of impotent rage which tried Jesus and went away as hungry as a shad of the seas of nowhere.

On the top of the mountain there is a handful of corn that can shake the earth with plenty, writes Solomon. The top of the mountain is the highest doctrine of Self. The Self is the I. The only I there is, is the one God. “I am God, and there is none beside.”

Some day you will find the central intelligence of your being proclaiming His name within you. This will be after you have become as expectant of good as an infant. There will be no bars of flesh — no human dreads. “Truth is not cumbered by matter.” This is the handful of corn that shall drop its increase till the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters fill the seas.

When that Name speaks within you, at the summit of your being, you will do great works easily. The Name shall speak a doctrine forth, to which every knee shall bow. At this moment it is proclaiming in a voice the ears of flesh tell you they do not hear: “I can preach the truth through you. I can heal the sick for you. I can cast down evil by your presence. I can raise the dead where you walk.”

The glory of God from whom the child came forth need not have any coverings of flesh suitable for the devil to eat. There need be no imagination of evil to torment: the earth. With this knowledge the imagination of evil is put away. The knowledge of truth is the only knowledge worthwhile. See what experience your ideas of evil have brought you. Watch what experiences your knowledge of truth will bring you.

Your first estate was God. You may drop what you have heard unlike God and be a child again seeing God. Expecting good from every direction, you shine forth glory over all your world. You are of “those elect…with whom the stars connive to work their will.”

June 26, 1892

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