This lesson is about Jesus Christ's going across the Sea of Galilee, up into a mountain and sitting down to the working out of a problem of human life.
The going across the sea, instead of around it is a hint of the metaphysical Law of taking the straight line as the shortest distance between two points.
By this lesson I know that there is no need of waiting for summer and winter, seed time and harvest to feed people. Also, Jesus Christ settled the question for all time as to the duty of the spiritual or Christian teacher in the matter of feeding the multitudes as well as healing and comforting them.
You may be sure that there is a short cut or direct route to all accomplishments. French and music should be learned at once without long years of drill. Success is your immediate right without years of painstaking effort. Are you not one with the Origin of all power and all knowledge? Does that substance or divine region of you have to learn anything? No. Let the Divine of you reign and like Jesus Christ you enter at once upon your inheritance.
Simply because you have heretofore gone around and not across the sea of your life, need not count against your acceptance of the divine guidance now with you and for you and in you. Jesus of Nazareth settled the question once what to do when falsely condemned; of what to do when deserted by your friends and in humiliation; of what to do when there is a death in your family, of what to do with sickness, of what to do when you yourself are buried in a tomb past all hope. Today He settles the question of feeding starving people.
This vital spark of divinity you now represent might be fanned by you into a living, quickening fire of bright genius if you would let it have its way. Genius always does things in a new, unexpected way. Napoleon conquered armies, not by the usual arts of war or military tactics, but in his own way. Abe Lincoln won victories and ran the government to a new tune. Jesus Christ took this time to set aside the circuit of summer and winter and seed time and harvest and make bread at once. He explained the modus operandi of quick accomplishments.
Elijah once kept a widow's cruse full at Zarephath. Elisha replenished one at Gilgal and fed one hundred men with twenty loaves of bread, but neither of them explained the process. Jesus here explains it.
First, "He went up into a mountain and sat down." This means that he went into an exalted state of mind. There is no power of healing in a depressed state of mind. There is no quickening of the exhausted by a sorrowful or anxious state of mind. In order to work your best, metaphysically, you must be in an exalted state of mind. Now, there are two ways of getting into an exalted state of mind. There is the short and direct way of Jesus, and there is the longer but just as sure way of Job.
The short, direct way of Jesus Christ is the one now used by the Christian scientists.* It is by denial and affirmation, as explained three or four weeks ago. You remember that He denied the reality of material things by saying, "The flesh profiteth nothing." He denied the power of evil by saying, "It is a lie from the beginning." He affirmed "All power is given unto Me," and "I and the Father are one." His manner of speaking has a very exalting effect upon the mind, and to rest in that state of exaltation is the sure healing of your sick mother and the sure bringing to pass of success. Exaltation is a magnet for all good things of the universe to hasten to you. Depression and anxiety are a magnet for trouble to fly to you.
But you are saying, "How can I be other than depressed and anxious when my father has failed in business, my brother is a drunkard, and my mother is paralyzed?" Then you must take Job's way of getting into an exalted state of mind. Job reasoned with the Almighty. He told the Almighty face to face that His own hands having fashioned him he could not be wicked and that he would maintain his righteous cause before Him.
This reasoning out your own case with that divine Presence that folds you so close is a mighty help to your state of mind, and never was known to fail anybody. The poorest and most unhappy can plead their cause with this Presence. An old colored woman reasoned her's out this way, "Dear Lord Jesus, if I was you, so great and powerful and happy, I'd help you ef you'se a pore ole cull'd mammy and had lost yore nice little picaninny, as I have. Sho' you can't be not so good as me ef I was you, dear Lord Jesus." And the Lord Jesus took hold of the old mammy's hand and led her through the bogs and the morasses and the forests and the white men to her picaninny.
The great account made of "sparrows" fills our hearts with gladness. A man who had to feed the soldiers in a camp, was ordered to give them half slices at a time when they had been extra worked and were extra hungry. He reasoned with the divine Goodness as a man talketh with his brother, that according to the righteous law of supply and demand these men should have double rations instead of half ones. Then he ordered his under officer to double the thickness of the slices, and before he got through distributing the first lot a wagonload of provisions drove into camp.
Be sure to be very definite in stating your case. Do not let your emotion consume your words. Be on hand to mumble out something besides intense emotion of grief, or anger, or fear. The "Word" is very essential. "Without the Word was nothing made." "If a man eat of the Word I give him, though he were dead, yet shall he live again."
Then when your mind gets into an exalted state, trust God. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." This is the confidence of mind which Jesus emphasized by sitting down in the mountain. Now, in this calm state of confidence you may take deliberate account of your assets and liabilities. The same is true in cases of illness and domestic sorrow, as in this case of penury or seeming failure of supplies in running your home or affairs of any kind. So if we understand this case, we understand all cases. You take account of liabilities and necessities. That is your Philip thought. Notice how Philip said that there were five thousand people and it would take thirty-four dollars worth of bread to feed them. Andrew told the assets, "Five barley loaves and two fishes." Without noticing the hopeless calculations of Philip or the tiny comfort of Andrew, Jesus Christ bade the five thousand to "sit down on the grass" just exactly as if there were plenty on hand.
So you, when your faith hath come into its word, "All my trust on Thee is staid; all my health from Thee I bring," do you go right on with your affairs and works just exactly as if your bounty was visible. This is not the time to economize and withhold. This is the time to use right up to the last of the assets, right on to the heels of the last penny, as the two windows poured freely forth what seemed the last of the meal and the oil.
Every stroke you make towards penuriousness and retrenchment of fair expenses will cost you double. This is the time when you LOOK UP and give thanks for your assets, give loving thanks for five loaves and two fishes to do a five-thousand dollar business with.
Jesus Christ did not roam around despising the meeting of people on their own ground of wants, but He found out their wants and wills and met them there. Who cares about flying round a throne on wings with our children and mothers after death, when a good home and ability to make it happy here is what the heart craves? Jesus Christ helped people here to see that there is in themselves all power to get out of every condition undesirable, and beyond that the ability to do great works in proof of Sonship and Oneness with the One who created them . Nothing is too small or too simple to reason with Jesus Christ about. Jesus Christ is God manifest. To reason with Him is to become more and more merged in Him.
By this time you have caught the secret of reasoning with Jesus Christ, or the Almighty. You can not help seeing that if we become like those we converse with we should soon become so lost in the knowledge of the Character of Jesus Christ that His very miracle-working power would be ours. You have now caught the Principle, have you not, that if you describe God you become exactly as great as you describe God to be, as fast as you realize what you are talking? A man once had a habit of lying with his face down praising God for knowing him altogether. After a time he got so wise that he could tell all the past and present and future of all the people he met.
So if you praise God as Supreme giving — Supreme bounty, you may hand out and hand out and hand out, for back of you is infinite supply. "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more that is meet and tendeth to poverty."
This teaches that God is unto us according to our faith; therefore dreadfully economical people do not have much faith if they carry their careful saving unto hoarding up lest they come to want. If they hoard for giving farther after all the present bounty has filled their neighbors they will increase it and increase it till they have to call to the streets of foreign cities to get people enough to partake of their bountiful stores.
Wonderful words are those with which you describe the Almighty. They react on you so wonderfully. They are alive. There is no wonder that so many people have said, "There is no God only the one you imagine, because you get exactly what you imagine God to be giving."
Then again, it was a very good expression of one man to say, "An honest God is the noblest work of man," because if you describe God as revengeful you soon get revengeful; if you describe God as love and justice you soon become just and loving. If you describe God as niggardly and apt to send afflictions you soon get stingy and full of sorrows.
This lesson enjoins strict reasoning, strict truth — right description of God.
*The term "Christian Science as used in these lessons stands for the scientific teaching of Jesus Christ as understood by Emma Curtis Hopkins
August 16th, 1891