Every mind has a religious streak. Every mind has a business streak. Every mind has a political streak. There is a streak of every department of human endeavor in every mind. Each one of us lets one streak or the other dominate. We can choose which streak shall rule.
Some streaks have much admiration bestowed upon them when they are prominent. Some streaks receive a great deal of censure.
When Bunyan saw a drunken thief, he said: “But for the grace of God, there goes John Bunyan.”
Oliver Goldsmith was very stupid at school. The streak of love of letters was not uncovered in him till something happened that uncovered that streak and we have his inimitable books.
Something happened to you once, which uncovered the streak of mechanical tendency and you became a printer, or a stenographer, or a sewing machine operator, or maybe you are an inventor.
If you admire scholasticism, why did you not uncover that learning. You have without doubt (according to metaphysics, which is mental science, as taught by Jesus Christ) as much ability to become a world-famed scholar as President Eliot and President Harper.
If you admire statesmanship, why did you not uncover that streak in your reservoir? You might just as well have uncovered the streak you love and admire as the line of hiring out to your neighbors at a dollar and a half or so a day, which you know very well makes you “mad” when you think of it.
When the religious streak is uncovered, it passes through three stages if we give it freedom to be natural. If we let our religious tendency come to the surface freely, and let it spring forth from our center without hindrance of prejudice or bias, we shall get into the genius of it swiftly.
But whether we nag and cuff our religious ideas or not, they run through three stages before they, as one stream from our mind, strike the sunlit heights of miracle working.
To be doubting ourselves, and speaking ill of ourselves, is nagging and cuffing our genius, and has the effect of prolonging our time of travel up the mount of enchantment.
The three stages up to the point of availability to turn water into wine, make bread out of nothing, coin gold out of bones, heal sickness, raise dead people into happy life, stop pain everywhere, are hope, faith, love.
It is not till love gleams and transfigures on the heights of our religious teachings, that we are capable of working miracles without ever a failure.
Whoever fails once in his attempt to perform a cure or carry on a ministry is tarrying at the threshold of faith or hope. He has not reached love.
Was Daniel at the court of Darius the Mede in the city of faith or of love as to his own mental state? Love is understanding. It is specially written of Daniel that he had understanding. But the name Darius means restrainer, and Daniel was his prisoner. So we know by this that Daniel was at the gateway of understanding, just ready to enter in, at 80 years of age, when Darius threw him into the den of lions. (This lesson is Daniel chapter 6).
Another way we may know that Daniel had not entered into the third stage of his religious aspiration is by the fact of his being in a den of lions and having such a pack of enemies.
Whoever has enemies does not understand God; has not struck the third round of religious ascent. Whoever gets into great trials has not entered into the delectable country of love.
Whoever has hope only will get into troubles. If he has faith he will get out of them. If he has love, he will have an enchanted life, free from sorrows.
This simple division will tell you how far you have given your religious streak its liberty. For the liberty of a faculty is necessary to its perfection.
The same is true of every faculty that is true of the religious one. But the Bible lessons are intended to show that the religious streak is the one that is capable of quickening all the others if it is allowed to leap and spring like a fountain, forth from our center.
Columbus had uncovered his idea of the sphericity of the earth. Every child ever born on the planet knew it before him, but paid no attention to his knowledge. Then there came a time when Columbus had faith.
After his discovery, he had hoped that the world would rejoice in the new country. But people did not want Columbus to have so much glory and treasure, so they persecuted him. He had enemies undermining his reputation and efforts in the most subtle fashions. One night he heard a voice saying out of the darkness, “Fear not, I will provide for thee.” Then his faith quickened.
In every line of endeavor, there is the genius of success. The instant one strikes the round of love, or understanding of his art, he is no longer hounded, but honored.
Each faculty can call on its spirit of success to hasten it on to victory. If you are in a line you have chosen, call on the god of that art to give you victory. It is sometimes quite necessary to call the god of battles to make him triumphant, instead of on God as a principle. For a close issue, a necessity for quick action, demands the close, quick action of God. This might make it seem as if there were many gods, instead of one God. No, God is one, but God acts through your line for you and through your neighbor’s line for him.
There is a God of business transactions ready to lift you into prosperity the instant you specify that it is along that line you would like Him to act.
God always works for prosperity, bounty, beauty, and peace. But you might put the abstract principle to working for the dematerialization of your body before you wished to disappear, if you should spend much time praying, even in a scientific fashion, unto God, as God in the abstract.
We are all getting this moment exactly what we have prayed for. We get into our daily lot exactly what we have described God to be.
A man had a habit of going before light every morning into a mountain and praising the wisdom and knowledge of God. It was not long before he was noted for his wisdom and drew many wise people around him.
Another man praised God as the spirit of union-unity. He declared himself married to the Spirit of God. He described God as his Provider, his Merciful Protector, his High Counselor. Thus, he was miraculously provided for, carefully guided away from every danger, wise in counsel.
This was the exact opposite of the Guyon and Fenelon type of union with God. They called upon the God of safe transit through suffering. Jesus Christ taught the God of safe transit over suffering.
Bravery because of hope in God, or faith that God will save, is not high religion.
Absolute safety is the only religion worthwhile. The teachings of men that bravery in battle or boldness in a cause, are God-like, are humbug. In high truth there is no one to fear, for nothing has any power to hurt and no one warts to hurt.
In high truth, we dwell at the center in safety and greatness with God. Why not tell the truth about this country through which we are walking? The whole truth instead of stopping short would astonish you.
The truth is there are no lions and no den. The truth is that God is the God of Heaven, the God of safety, the God of prosperity. Try telling this story to yourself for a while. Daniel was well enough as far as he went, but lion’s dens have no charm for you. You love the stories of the mansions of goodness with harmony around you better. So does everyone.
According to the uncovered spring of the fountain of God leaping toward the sunlit heights of the companionship of Jesus, I rejoice that my high counselor, Truth, has told me that it is a low kind of religion which teaches that God afflicts or permits afflictions and then takes us out of them that we may be thankful enough to satisfy His greed for praise.
“As I live, saith my God, I know the thoughts that I think towards you — thoughts of peace and not evil, to bring you an expected end.”
See that? The expected end is always triumphant prosperity.
Knowing this awakens love. Knowing this takes away all fear. Keeping on in this knowledge is mastery over every circumstance, not by desperate struggling either as man with man to see who will beat, or with God to see if we cannot win Him over, but by easy praise.
The love of God in the heart through knowing His character causes us to praise all things. They will do exactly as we want them to if we praise them with the wisdom that our high religion teaches. See how the earth pours forth grains and fruits, foliage and vegetables because the ministers in their pulpits praise the goodness of God in her.
Then see how some people lie down and starve, while millions of beggars put up their wan faces in all countries, just because the ministers have taught that God is better pleased with sackcloth and ashes, hard bread and fasting, than with beautiful clothing and plenty to eat.
They have seen now the fruits of their words in full measure.
Of course scientifically, they were in the stage of hope, where the mind tries every expedient to see which will demonstrate redemption from evil. They have felt afar off that there was something wrong about our clothing and food. This was the hint of the spirit that clothing should not be made with material hands, of material substance, nor food produced by such processes. According to the high truth, all clothing should fall upon us from the Beauty of Holiness, and all food should come to us from the word of God.
But neither by splendor of silks, nor by squalor of sackcloth, is the road to the raiment and food, which is ours by divine right. Only by the pathway of Truth are provision and defense.
Daniel was enough inside the gateway of love so that his mind praised the lions for their obedience to him. The least little shining of love will make even the chairs in the house move around at your bidding. The mountains would move into the salt sea of the west, and lift up their rocks of protection at the command of the least little glint of the love which tips the heights of religion.
This love manifests itself in praise. You would be found praising even your debts for their goodness and tenderness and loving-kindness to you. Debts are heavy burdens in the mind that has not entered the portal of love, where you can praise them till they walk away to spots where God has laid by your treasures. They really are your safe guides into prosperity.
Did you ever try praising your affairs? No? Then try telling them how you love them for their goodness. Praise them that they hold for you the secret of good.
You have been hating your lot, have you not? Your lot is your lion’s den. Now that you have got into it, praise the lions. Poor dumb affairs. They are not to blame. Lovingly speak to them. No matter how dry the den is, how frightened and trembling you feel. Do not play the Darius, hoping something will turn up. Be Daniel. You need not try to be brave. Just practice the words of loving-kindness. Talk to your affairs as you would to a frightened child.
The cross mother frightens the child still more. The loving mother quiets it and sets it to play or to work again.
A timid little woman always most afraid of dogs or anything was always beset by dogs. (Of course she was. Whatever you fear most, will come sailing up to you by and by). She learned this law of praise, and when once a savage dog broke his chain and sprang toward her, she touched the gateway of love just a bit and spoke to him as a masterful lover of dogs would speak, and he shrunk away to his kennel.
Daniel struck the gatepost of heaven when the lions faced him, and looked upon them in love. “God is love.” “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut up the lion’s mouth.”
The angel that God sent to Daniel was the one that the same God has sent to you to read this lesson. That angel is named Praise. Praise your hardships. Speak tenderly to them. Take them close. The lions were friendly to Daniel. Your hardships are friendly to you.
Daniel believed in his God. “God is love.” Love sends an angel to every trial. Always the angel is Praise. Not praise of a Great Being sitting on a throne, but praise of the trial.
Such a friendly lion as that one is that faces you up little mother. Tell it you do not hate it. Such a friendly lion as comes looking into your eyes, brave, hard-working father. Tell it you understand it. Such a great dumb friend is that lion, whose eyes look into yours, lonely, unprotected heart. Look him straight in the eyes. Tell him God’s angel of praise walks beside you.
In Spiritual Science, we do not think it a sign of much knowledge of God to have troubles come upon us, but we know there is always a sure and swift and merciful way out, if we have got into them.
Here you perceive living troubles are called lions. Last Sunday, diseases and sicknesses were meant by fires. You have heard many a woman and man say that living troubles are the worst of all troubles, have you not? Well, there is where some living people have got you in their power in some way-seemingly-remember, there is no reality in trouble, though while it seems real it is just as hard to bear. People have you in their power if they have any power to hurt you, if they have any hold on your lot to wound you by what they do.
This lesson is for such conditions. It teaches that you face the condition square up: the debt itself, not the one you owe. The grief itself, not the one who grieves you. The shame itself, not the one who shames you. Those who do you wrong are Darius. The feeling that faces you, or the thing they do, is the lion. What you say to the situation will fix the situation. Then, when the situation yields, “They have no power to hold you or hurt you forevermore.”
“The love of God constraineth me.” “How can I keep from singing about the angel abiding with me, closing all the lions’ mouths, into whose den I have been so foolish as to fall?” This is the way you feel long before your friends, who have yielded to the temptation to hurt you, feel sorry like Darius that they failed you just when you needed them most.
We are not called to martyrdom of any kind, but being in it, let us take the Daniel way out
We must take a good stand regarding our religious streak. It seems that Jesus Christ was positive that we get all the graces, if that streak dominates. Daniel was sure of it. Moses was sure of it. Moses and Daniel could not help getting into trouble. Jesus said He took our troubles voluntarily to show the highest way out of every sort and kind thereof
By His methods He tacitly praised both Daniel and Moses, but by His tears at the grave of Lazarus, He showed that Martha and Mary and Lazarus would have given higher evidence of understanding Him, if they had kept alive and well, instead of getting sick and dying.
To let the scholastic streak loose in us is to become pedantic, lean, dry as dust, and rheumaticky. The highest honors of men will be awarded to us. But what are they worth?
To let the philosophic and speculative streak loose is to become cold and critical, intellectual and unmerciful. We shall get the praises of our own generation and the reverence of posterity. But what are those worth?
To let the management of finances loose is to have thousands of men and women and children by the throats, and to be cowered before by our neighbors, whose labor we are buying. We shall found, mayhap, some great institution, which believes in the absence of God, and a great monument may crumble in some noble city to mark our resting-place. But what is that worth?
Jesus Christ said, “The fashion of this world passeth away…My words are Life…I am the Truth.”
Come back here to the foundation whence the living waters flow. It is not too late to begin all over again, uncovering the living stream of the religious faculty which wells in every mind.
And then, if we but let the stream flow freely, untramelled by the ideas of even the martyrs, hope will quickly clasp hands with faith, and love will chant victory over sin, death, and the grave.
On the white wings of Truth fly, soul of man!
June 12, 1892