Today we are requested to make a definite review of the lessons of the last quarter, remind the Christian believer of his duty as a missionary of his doctrine, and speak for practical temperance in the conduct and speech of the human race.
As one gets newer and newer ideas of a landscape by looking at it intently, so to look at a Bible text steadily, thinking it over carefully, we come to newer and newer revelations of its meanings.
So a review of the lessons of the last quarter will give us new spiritual insights. Two ways of teaching the practice of divine principle have been in vogue; first, the statement of the whole doctrine in one short sentence, as in St. John, I., and then the particularization of that doctrine in living application, as in the statements following the first of John. The second method is the statement of particular cases and the explanation thereof according to universal principles, as a teacher might tell his pupil to take in, item by item, the views of his landscape and report the whole in the order of his survey.
The method of John concerning the meaning of Jesus and His principle is to say that "In the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God."
God is the eternal Mind. Without Him was not anything made that was made.
The thought of a mind is its word. As the Word that filled the Mind of God was God, of course the Word was equal in presence, power, and knowledge with Its Thinker, Whose Mind it absolutely occupied.
And John taught that this Word made all that was made.
Looking over the universe and seeing the earthquake swallowing its thousands, the tidal waves drowning cities, with the countless other manifestations of what does not coincide with this affirmation of John and Jesus and Moses- that all that the Word made was good- we find that an explanation of what they did indeed mean is necessary.
Nobody can make us call earthquakes and pestilences good. "Woe unto them that call evil good."
Those who call calamity good always try to get away from it.
The martyrs who did not try to get away from persecution had their minds so filled with the name Jesus Christ that they did not notice what was going on around them. They did not explain that it was the absorption of their own mind with the name that gave them no room or space in mind for any other idea, that kept them from pain, but so it was.
One whose mind is absolutely occupied by an idea has no room for a thought of pain.
Now the Word that occupies the mind of God is God. And the creation of that Word is all good.
Paul says there is a veil over the eyes of those who read the Scriptures about God. This is because people have accused God of creating both good and evil.
"As I live, saith the Lord, I know the thoughts that I think towards you; thoughts of peace and not of evil." The word satan held in mind steadily would make all things dark and horrible and ugly toward us. We would finally conclude with Schopenhauer that God, the ruling force of the universe, is gigantic evil evolving into good. It would not make it true but would make everything hopelessly uncomfortable for us.
On the contrary, the word God held in mind will fill all things with glory and a noble ecstasy for us.
People have held in mind the words Holy Ghost, and the words Holy Spirit, till their mind was so renewed that their bodies were rejuvenated.
People have urged holding the mind to the words "praise God," because so many men and women with tangled business affairs have straightened them out so satisfactorily by looking them straight in the face and saying, "Praise God."
"With God all things are possible." The word God is the password into the kingdom of joy and gladness. God is Spirit. The word Spirit is the passport into substantial satisfaction. Not the word "spirits;" there are no spirits. There is one Spirit only- God.
John secondly bore record of Jesus Christ as the living demonstration of one who had held the word God in mind. He showed the way out of all the circumstances and conditions into which mankind has complicated itself by believing that God made evil as well as Good.
There is no failure of knowing exactly what to do when the mind is set free and made true and joyous by the true thought of God.
The Texas Compass plant always points truly north and south when it is not burdened with dust. Our judgment is perfectly true when one theme only occupies it.
"Thou art my theme, my inspiration, and my crown:
My strength in age, my pleasure; wealth- my world."
John tells, thirdly, that what no one could ever accomplish by practicing any external science, or even by faith in the good presence of God, could be brought to pass instantly after the experience of the atonement- or at-oneness of the mind of man with the Mind that is God through thinking of God.
Jesus Christ took the six stone waterpots, representing the six ugly situations of the human lot, and filled them with rich wine to symbolize how the homeliest lot can be made joyously satisfactory by our being united to God in mind.
Jesus then explained to Nicodemus that the showing forth of the mind after it is sure of its oneness with God is so beautiful that it is like being born again.
The process of systematic thinking to cleanse and quicken the mind is called in the science of mind denial and affirmation. We deny the reality of the principle of evil, and affirm the good only as a principle of action.
John tells how Jesus taught His lesson of rest after labor by walking the long journey towards Jacob's well and resting thereon. Almost everyone has some goal toward which his efforts are made. If he has done his best and the end seems as far from attainment as at first he must give it up- rest.
The time of discouragement and weariness and what seems failed hope is the time to give up and rest. Look for the sudden bloom of your hopes when you are willing to give up your hopes.
The best and the highest powers and words spring forth after letting go with the mind. After His rest He announced Himself as the Messiah. He called Himself the Well of Living Water. All who speak truthfully of their spiritual nature are found to radiate a peculiar refreshment and healing.
Take one who boldly announces himself as a believer in the unfailing bounty of God and you will find yourself suddenly devising wise ways and means for the management of your affairs while you are in his society. Take one who believes in God as his unfailing health and you will find in his society great impetus toward health. Take the one who announces that he believes in God as his unerring judgment and your own judgment will be nobler in his presence.
"I will tell you, Socrates, a thing incredible, yet nevertheless true, I made a great proficiency when I associated with you, when I was in the same house, though not in the same room."
The next lesson was for the instructing of us all out of the habit of self-condemnation. Self-condemnation leads to condemnation by other people who find fault with us.
We must take the good word into our mind that, "There is no condemnation."
Seventhly, John taught how Jesus fed multitudes with small visible resources simply by giving thanks and praising the Spirit of God for the law of the self-increasing potency of every substance. Take the few pennies or the small revenues you are possessed of and do likewise and you will surely see the increase.
Then John laid plainly before us that we must not believe in the necessity for hard work in order to live joyously. Also that we must give down our will into the Divine will by saying, "I came not to do mine own will," or else we would run our necks headstrong into great obligations and responsibilities.
He showed in the tenth that what we see in others is the sight of some word in our own mind, and our eyesight depends upon how we see people, whether spiritually born or carnally born.
Here also we discover the fact of the other seeing faculty once owned by the human race which now we are quickening again.
In the eleventh we are told to deny reincarnation and the heredity of sin.
Twelfthly he proves by the results of the teachings of Jesus we may see that His doctrine is the only door into satisfactory living.
The lesson on missionary work shows that no matter if the Red Sea of difficulty seems to lie in our path, we are to preach the gospel we know to be true.
The temperance lesson opened up to us the joyous information that no man ever wanted strong drink. He wants only strong words. When those are given the rum appetite is gone. Temperance means good judgment. Even children love good judgment. They naturally have it. But if somebody tells a child that he does not know what he is about, or fears all the time that he will do something wrong, his sweet, true judgment is hidden, and he goes seeking among tobaccos and cards for his hidden faculty. Whoever would set him free must praise the hidden judgment till it springs forth a glorious goodness; not for anything describe the poor judgment with which the Divine is covered.
A child that is told of "spirits" loses judgment or rather has it hidden. There is only one Spirit. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" To tell a drinker of ardent spirits there is but one Spirit, even though you tell him silently will "satisfy his soul in thought," while "describing his evil ease" will be your accusing.
You remember that John the Revelator saw four angels (accusing words) given power to hurt the earth.
But other angels sealed the servants of the Living God in their foreheads to keep them from the four accusations.
The four accusations against God's people are that: First, they are liars; second, they are unsound; third, that they have wicked propensities, and, fourth, that they are made of a dying substance called mortality. If the beautiful temperance women would spend their generous energies speaking to and of the living goodness of the soul that the accusers have hidden, the goodness of mankind would break forth as the morning.
"I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify that this is true."
September 27th, 1891