According to the scientific or absolute interpretation of the Bible stories and descriptions, we have such a teaching of life that actually we can understand all the material earth to be optical delusion. This psalm of David reminds us of how safely the three wise Hebrews sat in the furnace unhurt. Why were they unhurt? Because they knew that fire cannot burn Spirit. Were they Spirit? Just Spirit, and nothing else.
Does it make any difference to the power of fire to burn your flesh if you know you were made of God Substance, and not material substance? “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” “When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned.”
Is this explanation of the Scriptures common? No. The Scriptures are usually described as lessons preparing mankind for a future state, instead of as actual information of immunities from every sort and kind of misery here and now.
The psalm reminds us of Daniel in the den of lions unharmed. How could Daniel be so safe in the lion’s den? Because, as it is explained in Daniel l:4, he had “understanding of Science.” What Science was that which Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had? The Science of “Om” — Omniscience. They had great wisdom in this Science. Is that Science understood in our time? It is understood just so far as those studying it can save themselves from drowning by their understanding of Spirit, and not by their ability to swim or build rafts; by their safety in the midst of fires and swords through their knowledge of God, and not by their ability to run or fight back; by their never knowing pain, or sickness, or poverty through having the “Lord for their Shepherd.”
What does it mean to have the Lord for a shepherd? It means having the law of the Spirit in the understanding so that material processes count for nothing. Can that law be understood now? Law of Spirit is eternal. Is this law in any respect like the law of matter and evil? “My ways are not your ways,” saith the Lord.
Why was not the thorn removed from Paul if understanding of Spirit redeems one from trouble? There was no thorn to remove. If Paul persisted in imagining a trouble and in declaring that he was able to bear a trouble, he would find himself able to bear his imagination. “By thy words thou art justified,” saith Jesus.
Then it is not noble to endure great sorrows and afflictions with fortitude? It is the nobility of one who sets up a straw image and fights it, or of one who builds a pond of iced blood and walks through it, praising himself for his ability to endure cold and pain. Would it be nobler to understand that according to the law of the Spirit of life there never was any reality in sorrows and afflictions only such as we have imagined? It would be the nobility of one who understands the Science of’ God and chose to live it rather than one who kept on insisting that there is no Science of God.
“For this is Life eternal, that ye know the true God.” What does eternal Life mean? It means that there is no end to any faculty. Seeing is an eternal faculty. To know the true God will keep the sight strong forever. Hearing is an eternal faculty. To know the true God will keep the hearing good forever. Self-providing is an eternal faculty. To know the true God will make us self-providing and self-sustaining forever.
This is what the first verse of this psalm means: “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” To know the law of God is to know the law of Spirit, for God is Spirit.
If one should sit right down in the midst of this sordid age and determine to get his provision from Spirit, and not by any material process whatsoever, would he be provided for? Yes. He would help to open the gates of the golden age, when no one can get anything away from anyone, and no one can get any power over any one. It ushers in the sight of Truth and we are ashamed of our barterings and calculatings. We can see that all ideas of buying and selling, giving and taking, borrowing and lending, had their rise in our covenantings with God to give us life, and health, and home, and heaven, if we could give Him faith, or praise, or penance. We should not attempt to barter with the true God for our blessings. “He giveth to all men liberally.” “The gift of God is Eternal Life.”
Eternal Life must be applied to our blessings as well as to our being. If you will not agree with your God to give Him anything or do anything for Him, you will feel a thousand times more grateful when you see your safety and pleasure increasing day by day, than if you should agree to praise, or acknowledge, or give thanks, for there is always a sneaking feeling of not having been half thankful enough or half conscious enough of the goodness of God if one has agreed to give thanks and praises for blessings received. And this sneaking feeling of not having half kept your obligations is very hardening to the character and irritating to the mind.
Many a man or woman is ugly or cross, because he or she feels as if there were something they ought to have done which they have not. And the hidden idea, that you have not half performed your obligations to your God, will end by your getting into debts which it will seem impossible for you to pay. Indebtedness to your fellow men is an awfully uncomfortable feeling. So in Science you are taught to go and make it right with your God and you will find it easy then to make it right with your neighbor. Tell the true God that you never owed Him anything and He never owed you anything. Speak boldly that as God cannot owe God, so you cannot owe God, for your substance, your life, your mind is God, and God is your substance, your life, and your mind.
Jesus taught this lesson of getting out of debt by a saying that has been translated this way: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Looking at the text from the scientific standpoint of David, as found in the sixth verse of this psalm, we see that “forgive us our debts,” means: “give now into our mind Thy knowledge that there is no debt.” As we now pass along the lines of mind that there is no debt, we hereby drop our imagination that we could owe God anything, or that God could owe us anything. As God is the substance, and life and mind of man, so man cannot owe man anything.
Will such reasoning make you careless about paying money you owe? No. It will provide you with easy abundance to pay what you have promised. It will “anoint your head with oil.” It is the self–treatment farmers and working people should use. Talk to God that He owes you nothing and you owe Him nothing. There is no deal and barter in Spirit. There is no four and five are nine in Spirit. While anyone is hugging on to the idea of obligations to God, he will be constantly getting into some sort of obligations to his fellow man. The burden of his family becomes a disease. God provides abundantly. “Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life.”
When you see the wolfish faces of the anarchists, nihilists, communists, pass the Divine Truth along to them that they owe no one and no one owes them, for God cannot owe God. Their thwarted hearts were first crushed under the heel of the religious teaching that penance was due God, faith was due Him, praise had not been half rendered, acknowledgment had been a failure on their part.
There is a loving truth shining up from one line in this psalm that makes me think of the way a diamond throws its sunshine from its angles and facets. It touches a dark corner of your mind with glory, precious child, if you look at it steadfastly. You cannot look at one of these texts, or even at a single word, but that finally it will shine with a loving meaning. But this one about “dwelling in the house of the Lord forever,” is greatly bright for that hidden chamber in your heart, where the curtains are drawn so close that you will not admit to yourself that there is such a chamber — you keep it so dark. Let this light shine into it with me while we hold the candle of Science in our hand.
It is that chamber where you keep the silent thought, “I made a great mistake; I wish I had not done and said what I did.” The outcome of having such a dark chamber in your heart is vicissitude of fortune and friendship. Let us deal with it scientifically. There is no advantage in vicissitude. Religious people may tell you there is, but Science shows you plainly that there is not. To “dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” means to dwell in that state of mind that keeps you prosperous, and happy and beloved always. You cannot be prosperous, or happy, or beloved steadfastly while you have a place within you that repeats within itself, “I made a mistake, I made a mistake.”
As God cannot make a mistake, so you could not make a mistake. There are no mistakes. “But,” you say, “I did make the mistake and now I am desolate and unhappy in consequence.” You do not need to speak from that standpoint just now. Speak from the spiritual standpoint a few minutes. You have spoken, and thought, and acted from the standpoint of having made a. mistake, lo, these many years, and now it is only fair that you should speak from the standpoint of this text, which is Absolute Truth, for the few minutes we are together.
In Spirit, which is your true nature, you are utterly incapable of making mistakes. In Spirit you are God. Ignoring the shadow nature with its dark claims, speak now with Truth from your spiritual nature saying, “I never made any mistake; therefore I never took the consequences of any mistake.” You had better speak often and much from your spiritual nature. Its name is, “I am” or its name simply is, “I.” Let that “I” tell its tale of goodness and peace over and over till the old “I” with its tales of woe is never heard speaking or felt thinking any more at all. This “I” of you that never made any mistakes is Jesus Christ in you.
Jesus Christ is dominion, and light and joy. How much of your time have you spent speaking from your spiritual nature? Pass your knowledge along over the airs to the unfortunate. They will stop speaking from that “I” of themselves which is so miserably sorry it made such mistakes in the past.
Job caught sight of the “I’ that is not wicked, and though his best friends urged him to acknowledge his mistake, he declared he had never made any. So he came off victorious and unscathed. You must not let that nature speak now for you which says, “But it cannot be made up to me, now that the friends are gone and the home is broken up forever.” In Truth, they were never taken away. By Truth, you are able to understand that it is all to you “as a dream when one awaketh.” You must spend your time with Truth and see what it will bring. If you have never tried this way, of course you are not competent to shake your head unbelievingly.
There are many witnesses to testify to the satisfaction of speaking from the spiritual standpoint, instead of from the material standpoint. Material experiences are ceasing to a great many people. They used to be careful and troubled about many things and they had to work fearfully. Today they are relieved of care and trouble and they do right works easily. They are living witnesses of the promise, “My Presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest.”
There are many tired mothers to whom you may pass the Truth that they are Spirit and not matter. Their pale faces will brighten when to the Divine in them that tries to speak and waits to be spoken to, you proclaim, “You are Spirit, and Spirit is free.” As the ocean breeze refreshes the heat burdened traveler, so your breath renews the roses and the smiles of the youth of the motherhood on earth. To the friendless, you may be friend though you never speak to them or meet them. They are thinking perpetually from the standpoint of loss. In Spirit, nothing is lost or wasted. That which is in God goes to God. There is no loss. There is no loss even of your simplest possessions. There is no waste even in your kitchen.
Sit down by the river of that Truth and speak from the Spirit entirely for as long as you can. “There is nothing lost in Spirit. There is nothing wasted in Spirit. There is nothing lacking in Spirit.”
As you preach this mysterious gospel in the silence of your mind, you will, be told exactly where and how to restore unto yourself that which you seemed to have lost. Even your possessions that have seemed lost or wasted will come into your sight, and you may take them into your ownership again.
And speaking from this standpoint, your friends and your possessions will take on a new light. At first, the result of saying that there are no mistakes or losses may not seem to be restorations. Some breakings — up may begin, breakings — up of the present states of affairs as they look. Even your present friends may change in the seeming. But your true words going forth from the Spirit will stand to the setting up in right order of all things. Restoration is sure. “I will restore unto thee, all the years that the caterpillar hath wasted.” Caterpillar means the speaking from the material standpoint. It makes you so hungry all the time, gnawing and wishing and longing and waiting. The “I’ that restores and satisfies like a shepherd, is the Spiritual speaking, letting the Spirit tell its tales in your mind.
Pretty soon all, the Science of God will be clear to you. Then you will be as bold as the rest in proclaiming that all study of material things is vanity, while the study of Spirit is the very powder of God in you “all the days of your eternal Life.”
April 24, 1892