BIBLE LESSON VI
THE BREAD OF LIFE

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

It is one of the first teachings of metaphysics that all environments, circumstances, conditions, all the people who come near us, and everything else, existed first as ideas in our own mind and now appear in plain sight to be known and read plainly.

The science of metaphysics which Jesus Christ taught deals with the meta, beyond, and physics, that is beyond, out of the range of, the physical. The mental is the metaphysical.

This being true, he is our greatest teacher who can tell us how to think such thoughts as shall keep us from making failures, sorrows, blind people, deaf people, inferior people, hard circumstances to surround us. He is our greatest teacher who can tell us how to make harmonious circumstances, success in our undertakings, perfect people to surround us. He is our greatest teacher who can tell us how to redeem our life from those failures, hardships, poor people our former thoughts have fruited into.

He will be our divinely good friend who shall teach us to think such thoughts as shall cause us to sit down in due season under the vine and figtree of our exactly right ideas.

Jesus Christ is this teacher and this friend. There was no circumstance and no condition which we have walled ourselves into that He did not take upon Himself and teach us how to redeem ourselves from the consequences of our erring thoughts. Redemption was the story Jesus Christ taught. And redemption is the theme of all these lessons, where He is making an object lesson of Himself for our benefit.

He taught us to say, "How I am glorified," when physical anguish and desertion of friends come upon us for believing in the power of evil and the reality of matter.

Have you learned the lesson so well that you also have redeemed yourself from physical anguish and have chosen unto yourself many loving friends when you seem to have none? No? Then you need not be surprised if anguish still gets a hold on you and you still feel lonely. Words are ideas. True words are alive and good.

So if you are in the deeps of sorrow you speak living words that can bear your mind out on their wings into a paradise of peace. True words are angels.

What matter smile or frown,
If angels looking down,
Do each to other talk of thee
In tones of love continually.
Until thy name on earth seldom heard
Hath come to be in heaven a household word.

Once a woman believed that Jesus Christ meant it as a signal to her of what to say for her feet, which had a habit of paining excruciatingly. So she said: "Father, how Thou hast glorified me." And she felt as if she were actually being borne upon wings of delight, so free and at peace her feet hastened to be.

He taught us what to say when we have come to our last dollar and have no visible means of support. He taught us what to say when we are condemned by our family and neighbors for having acted according to our highest light. He here condescends to our low estate where we have brought around us a tribe of sycophants, or people who think of us as simply a provider, and feeder and caretaker for them.

He here shows us what state of mind we must have been in to have caused such a state of affairs. He shows that it has been because of our mixed beliefs, as first we have believed in the necessity for hard work to accomplish that which we wished to accomplish; and secondly, we have been ambitious for fame of some kind, some earthly honor or emolument; thirdly, we have believed that we ought to carry out our own will at whatever cost somewhere or sometime along our journey over this planet.

The people who followed Jesus this time went for the food, not for His doctrine at all. He takes us at the point where we realize that people want to use us, not to honor us by being near us. You have all had this experience more or less, and it always stands for the coming to outward expression of your self-will, ambition, and belief in the great results of hard work.

The Christian scientist often has this state of affairs, and is grieved by it. He or she has the definite instruction of what to do with the thoughts to be "raised up" at the last extremity of such a situation. Perhaps it might all be summed up in that general statement of Truth which the scientist makes when learning the lessons of mental responsibility. "There is no life, substance, or intelligence in matter;" but this direction is much more explicit than that, and tells you to deny that there is any necessity in your lot for hard labor, deny that you ever hoped great thipgs from earthly honors, and deny emphatically that you were ever self-willed.

When the Christian scientist suddenly discovers that her patient is not her friend and does not believe in the science, though he has said he was and did, but was only making believe in order to get his arms cured, failing which for a time he repudiates the whole doctrine and his obligations of every kind to her, she is grieved and astonished, often discouragcd.

Now nobody has any more religion than just as much as he can command in time of trial. This religion of Jesus teaches you exactly what to do and say to redeem yourself from grief, disappointment, failure. Also that if you deal exactly right with your own mind, the people around you will spring right up into right conditions. Even the patient who shows that he or she just looked upon you as a useful penwiper or door-mat for them and so were not promptly cured, he will be cured if you understand this lesson. Jesus Christ did not despise healing the people, feeding them, furnishing money or anything else for them. He did not look down upon any humble ministry, but He knew that to look at money for its own sake, or food for its own sake, or healing for its own sake, is a belief in the value of earthly things which must be denied. There must be no belief in the necessity for hard labor in anybody's lot. Rest remaineth for the people of God as to manual labor for meat, bread, house, health.

The seeking of God first through faithfully speaking right words will bring anybody into such spiritual power that "all these things are added" without effort. Ambition to merit reward by works is discountenanced by Jesus Christ. Nobody is saved by works. Salvation by works was the early teaching of Christian Science* as set forth by William S. Adams fifty years ago in his book on Christian Science. John Knox was told that his good works would save him. He fought all night against the belief that they would. He came into the understanding that faith in Jesus Christ, or believing the Word of Christ, which is Truth, was salvation.

Here Jesus Christ urges every man, woman, and child to believe in the heart what is true, and this believing, or right faith, will feed, clothe, support them. This one must do by words that are right, very vigorously uttered, when he has been brought up to believe that his bread and butter for himself and family are dependent upon his hard efforts. It is a bad idea to get its hold in any mind. Ben Franklin had that belief so hard that he ran it into a saving up and hoarding state of mind that nearly warped the happiness out of the lot of nearly all the farmers' children of New England.

It is a very unspiritual idea, and must be boldly handled, torn up by the roots, out of mind.

Say positively: "I do not believe in hard work as necessary for myself or anybody else to live comfortably in God's universe." This saving by works will make a man or woman who has struggled hard, feel that he or she has earned some rights to extra blessings in heaven. It will cause a certain class of mind to think that outward actions will satisfy all the demands of God on the soul, as Admiral Nelson, who broke his wife's heart, but did so much service to his country, felt sure he had earned the right to an extra good place in heaven.

The Lord looketh on the heart! Nothing is worth working for except a right state of mind. All the greatest, good men and women the world has ever known have found out a great principle of life in the knowledge that we are not walking over this planet for the purpose of making for ourselves a great name, gathering to ourselves riches, honors, friends, but to do the will of God in that estate whereunto we are called.

The preacher must come to where he knows it is not to convert men to Christ, not to make the world better, not to be great in the cause of God, but to do the will of God willingly. The will of God often pushes the great man or the great woman into the quick fruits of his mistaken thoughts, so that he is in mean and small circumstances, out of which he must extricate himself by speaking the same simple truths the wash-woman and hod-carrier must speak. He will find himself in great extremities, or "at the last day," as Jesus here in this lesson expresses it. But if he do the will of God, or meekly speak the right words he will be "raised up."

The righteous man often has a belief in hard labor, is ambitious to be great, is self-willed, so he has great things depending upon his efforts, has people depending upon him who ought to be doing for themselves, and is harassed by the failures of his plans or their delay in coming out right till he is brought to great extremities. He must take the denial of Jesus, "I came not to do mine own will. I do not care for earthly honors. I am no time server."

Then when he has said in all sincerity, "I am doing the will of God," this denial and affirmation will cause his plans to be "raised up." They will be wonderfully successful. He himself will be honored. He will be "raised up" in joy and delight. Notice that the "raised up" is, first, for the works or plans, and second, for the man. All things were taught by this man of God, Jesus Christ. He is our highest idea of man as a Son of God. If you understand Him, you will be redeemed from evil and will redeem your world from evil.

*The term "Christian Science" as used in these lessons stands for the scientific teaching of Jesus Christ as understood by Emma Curtis Hopkins.

August 23rd, 1891

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