Bible Lesson XLIV
Psalm 103:1-22
False Ideas of God


by Emma Curtis Hopkins


According to spiritual law it is found that it is good for the health to get hold of some principle and stand by it.  If one is changeable, variable, unreliable in his ideas, one day believing one thing and another day believing another, he will be changeable, variable, unreliable in health. If he looks at principles or teachings to find what is true to his way of feeling, he will certainly be changing his ideas often because feelings are no criterion for basing judgment upon.

Feelings are dependent upon weather and victuals, upon finances and friendships. Then the writings of Schopenhauer or Emerson may strike the mood and one is a pessimist or an optimist according to the book that hit his feelings. Many a physical infirmity might be traced to the reading of a book full of brilliantly expressed falsities, like:

“There is no place where earthly sorrows are more felt than up in heaven; though it has pleased God to send upon me this great aff1iction of palsy.”

Maybe the mind had been thinking of the kingdom of heaven as an abode of peace and rest. Maybe the mind had been believing that God is goodness, and has no substance in Himself out of which to make palsy; but here are these sentimentally expressed lies, and away go the ideas of God and heaven which would have been such a reliable tonic to the blood. This 103rd Psalm, selected for the International Course, has for its golden text, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”

It tells that it is possible to drop all our old notions, and thereby drop our old conditions any minute. It teaches that mistaken ideas are the cause of every bit of sickness, every bit of hunger, every bit of old age, every bit of cruelty, every bit of pain, every bit of misfortune. It reminds us it is easy to drop mistaken ideas and leave ourselves free from miseries of all kinds.

It teaches that to have the right idea of God is the first important state of mind to be conscious of. Whoever declares that he will not have anything at all to do in his mind with the idea of a God sending hardships of any kind has proclaimed a principle of thinking which will work wonders with him if he will not let appearances strike him down from his Principle.

Appearances and feelings must not count against your Principle. The Principle will lay the appearances low when you have held by it long enough to believe it in your heart.

The marvel about this Psalm is, that it lays out the appearances of old age that so many people have, and shows it up as just the result of believing in a God of limited generosities. It comes of believing in a stingy God. A stingy God is one who gives His children eyesight for a limited time and then shuts off on it. A stingy God gives vigor and intelligence up to a certain point and then begins in a tantalizing manner to withdraw them. This psalm is very explicit in declaring that if one has the true idea of God in his mind and won’t be shaken off his basis for a moment that he shall “renew his youth like the eagle.”

There is such a thing possible as getting the right idea of God and holding right to it until your youth returns, your strength renews, your beauty comes forth, your vigor rises, your health is perfect. Read over the psalm and then follow these ideas which it discloses to the bold mind of one who pays no attention to appearances, but fearlessly regards reasoning according to Jesus Christ as the right interpretation. The ministers that do the pleasure of God are those who accomp1ish His kind of works. “If I do not the works of the Father, believe me not.” But if by reason of this Principle anyone brings to pass its works in even a slight degree we will take up the Principle and hold by it till we also do like works, or even greater works inasmuch as we my have some larger appearances and stronger feelings to meet than he seems to have. Any system of religion that lets its ministers get old and toothless, gray and tottering, spectacled and poverty-stricken, is not the Truth of God no matter if those ministers can reel off Sanskrit by the cargo to confirm their ideas. All these conditions have got to go away off the planets under the ministry of Truth.

The fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth verses describe man as he seems to us while we are looking through the spectacles of believing that God made him a mortal and fleshly thing instead of out of His own immortal Substance. Looking at mankind through such a mistaken idea of God’s creative powers, we see all performances of mortality that are so deplorable.

Turning our minds off those people and telling the Truth about God’s creations, we withdraw our belief from mankind, and away go all those appearances that made us feel so badly. Everything is glued together particle by particle by our believing. Withdraw the glue of our believing and they are gone.

Beliefs in lies rot. They fail as glue fails. There is nothing in a lie anyway. It seems to have quite a hearing for a while but it is nothing. The man of flesh seems to be something for quite a while but the first thing you know he is gone. All flesh is the appearance of a lie. There was a way of thinking about that man which would have glorified his presence till there could not have been any departure from him. All material or mortal and transitory appearances will vanish out of our sight when we do not believe that God ever made anything to die or be limited in power or wisdom or length of life.

Eternally increasing beauties and strengths and faculties stand forth upon our steadfast confidence in a truth.

Those who begin to name a truth that they wish to believe in and see come out in life often come to a stopping place because it seems as if their words about goodness did not work any better conditions for them; but, if anything, matters went worse than ever with them. This is the time to be firmer than ever. It comes to the whole planet full of people if you send them word that you do not believe there is any evil in them. It comes to your affairs if you send them word that you do not believe in failures. It comes to that sick man to whom you have given the bath of withdrawing the belief in his sickness. They all show up worse than ever. This is Satan let loose for a thousand years. Who is Satan and what are a thousand years?

Satan is the subconscious belief in evil, which you may be surprised to find you have kept hidden in your mind. The very hidden ideas of evil must stand out for you to withdraw your belief from. You must unglue every memory of evil from your mind. When all the nations are angry, just as it mentions in the book of Revelation, and Satan is let loose, it means that we have come face to face with all the smothering beliefs in evil which lie under our plausible conscious thinking about the goodness of God and His immortal and perfect creations. The most pious devotees have kept a mental reservation about the evils that might possibly come to them, even while they were singing praises of the goodness of God. That was their Satan in the hidden places. By and by, that reservation comes fronting us in whatever we have spoken about as good. It will last in our sight till we bring up from the deepest region of our mind the efficient idea, “I do not believe in evil at all. I believe in the good only.”

While this final determination is ungluing even our unconscious belief in the possibility of evil in God’s universe, it is our thousand years of struggle. The term “thousand years” simply means period of final struggle. “For the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” That is, we may be so determined to stand by our Principle that old errors give up their appearances at once. Determination is a terror to Satan. The words, “I do not believe in evil at all. I believe only in the Good,” are the arrangement of a new base in mind and a new set of circumstances in life.

Every bit of the miracle working of Jesus Christ is easy to one who has established his base in Truth. Satan is to be bound and cast into the bottomless pit. That is, even our remotest reservations concerning the evils that might possibly come upon us are to be utterly annihilated. And not only ours but the beliefs in evil that the world has held, will be utterly annihilated. Everything has to be done in mind first, before crimes and pains and misfortunes perish from the seeming. Thus, the greatest ministry you can give forth is the ministry of your right thoughts. The greatest good you can do is to spread the gospel. You may fit out some missionaries to go telling this Principle. You may encourage some faithful minister of it whose bidding is to stand boldly out and give up his former ways of making a living for its sake. But believe it and preach it you must — some way, somehow. This will shorten the thousand years symbol, or your struggle with your present environment, after seeing the reasonableness of this Science.

It is reasonable, is it not, that if it will make your stomach strong enough to digest any sort of food if you will tell yourself that you are strong enough to do anything you please and material food can not dictate to you, and if you can drink the strongest coffee and tea without their affecting you at all by the same assertion, that gin and rum and tobacco are as harmless as anything by the same line of reasoning? It is reasonable to you, is it not, that if schools are all founded on the idea of absence of intelligence, as soon as that idea of the absence of intelligence is withdrawn the schools will tumble down out of sight? Their foundations being taken out they must fall, mustn’t they?

It is reasonable to you, is it not, that if the reformatories are built on the idea that the good is absent from some spots or creatures of its own creating, they must all fall into nothingness when we know the Truth that there is no absence of good? It is reasonable to you, is it not, that if Satan is the product of our belief that God has made an opposite to himself, there will be no Satan when we do not believe God made anything unlike Himself?

It is reasonable to you, is it not, that if God occupies all spaces and places, and as astral spooks and elementals are the product of our belief in spots of the universe where God is not the substance, these must all be seen as pure nothingness without any power to hurt, when we withdraw our belief of the absence of the Substance of God from some spots of His kingdom? It is reasonable to you, is it not, that if the mathematics of the schools are all founded on the supposition that five balls and five balls are ten balls, when there are no balls, the mathematics of the schools are all a farce? By studying the Science of God or Spirit we find that all numberings and calculations are but the symbols of eternal verities, and that we had better be studying the eternal verities than the symbols of them.

The geometry of God is the statement of an absolute truth as its starting point:

The straight line of an irresistible reasoning;
The triangle of the fulfillment of a word of good in the life;
The square of the daily proclamation that Truth preaches its own gospel, heals the sick, casts out demons, raises the dead;
The circle of the beautiful gift of clothes and food and shelter and home without working for them, either as rich slaves or poor servants;
The sphere of understanding how to breathe the airs of heaven and see and hear only the good;

The pyramid of triumphant forgetfulness of the former heaven and former earth, high over the memory of the dream of mortality with its beliefs in the wickedness and absence of God, with our name written in our foreheads. That Name which stands in Spirit for the special work set out for us to do in the kingdom from whence we came forth. To know our own name is the only knowledge that is worthwhile.

May 15, 1892


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