Bible Lesson XLVI
Daniel 2:36-49
Artificial Helps

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

Confucius observed that there is a common faculty possessed by all men in equal shares, which if cultivated, makes the serf the peer of the prince, the un-booked the peer of the savant. A certain sea captain noticed that on the Island of Madagascar and among the natives on the coasts where his ship put in at Africa and Australia there was the use of another sense practiced besides the senses ordinarily exercised. By the use of this faculty or sense, they could foretell storms and calms, fair weather and foul with far greater accuracy than our weather bureaus are able to do.

Their system was quick and simple. It was as open as nature’s sweet face. Ours seems to be stilted and complex. Ours seems like studying shadows. Theirs seems like converse with the substance that casts the shadows. There were other things the seers among the “heathen” could tell besides weather. They could foretell earthquakes and tidal waves. They could see the march of human events ahead. They could read the signals of the stars. There was one item in common with civilization, however, they could not prevent tidal waves, nor annul coming disasters. They rendered up a verdict exactly like Job’s: “The thing I feared came upon me.” This is civilization’s proudest summing up: “Mankind is under the evangel of despair; we are all on a train bound for destruction. The most that we know is that we know nothing.”

It was upon such times that Daniel appeared in the courts of Babylon. All the learning of the world was gathered under Chaldean skies. Their mathematics and music, their astronomy and surgery, business methods and commerce, were as dry and dehumanizing as ours of today. One of our profoundly learned physicists writes lamentingly, “There is a wide-spread want of an enlightened spiritual philosophy that shall counteract the materializing tendencies of the study of the natural sciences, which attribute faculties and functions to blind agents and give material forces and combinations the power to control life and destiny.”

With his measure of the simple Judean spirit, unmixed with the stilted sciences of the highest civilization of that day, Daniel reproduced the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. In no way did Daniel suggest putting the coming kingdoms on their guard to strengthen themselves and prevent their demolition. He read their coming doom without the proposition of a remedy.

If he saw that the coming kingdom triumphant was to be the kingdom of spiritual morals he did not say so. If the king of material monarchies appreciated that the algebra and mathematics of ethical law should supersede the pride of worldly science he gave no sign.

Those figures stand out on the canvas full of information as sphinx’s face.

In the realm of religion there are the golden, the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay periods. In the realm of science, the same characteristics are apparent. In the realm of political movements, from gold to clay is history.

It is the common conviction that the days we are now experiencing are the last of materiality. “The stone cut out without hands is smiting the image of all the ages” and breaking the religious systems, the scientific calculations, the governmental policies, in pieces.

“The kingdom on the earth, though not of it,” is begun. The sound of its unseen hammer is the restlessness of nations, the conflict of capital and labor, the dragging forth into the sight of “the iron and clay mixed” science and religion and government, of the “Ishmaelites of Civilization” the rise of woman, the disgust of the observing of our school system, the general dissatisfaction at the existing order of things.

Whosoever preaches must preach that the old dispensation has closed. We will have none of it. He must preach that the new dispensation has begun. “Its will be done.” This is the time when Michael and his angels fight against the dragon and his angels, and the dragon and his angels fight among themselves, but not against Michael and his angels, for they cannot see them.

The conflict of human dynasties is among themselves. The name Michael signifies there is only God. The angels with Michael are the teachings that belong to that proposition. The dragon is the belief of mankind that there is another power besides God, another substance besides God, other laws than God’s laws. The angels with the dragon are the necessary ideas that go with such a great error of belief. These angels or ideas, with the people that represent them, get into a final fight among themselves. Each system blames the other for the universal restlessness, but no man blames his neighbor for the dissatisfaction that stirs his breast. Let him listen at the gates of silence. It is Michael and his angels moving down on the wings of the hour with the supreme truth — there is only God.

The conflict is first in the mind. Then it shows forth in the nations. Art, with its images of sense suggestions, falls down. Religion, with its proclamations of evil, crumbles. Science, with its artificial helps to life and health, falters and fades as the shadows of a ghost dance. Governments hang their heads and go out under the reign of demented, senile, or profligate rulers. They all are the outward formulations of the mental convictions of a power and a substance and a ruling besides God, the never absent good. However pious you have been, have you not believed in the necessity for evil, the reality of evil, the possibility of evil? That was your reserved opinion, was it not, while you were praising Jehovah and His Jesus Christ? Even at the golden height of your noblest consistency of conduct with belief, was such a reservation right? That reserved opinion has been the harboring of the dragon within your mind. If you have mixed it with the systems of church, or state or society of today, you are in at the “clay and iron age,” and the blows of the silent doctrine cut out of the rock of Revelation are being felt by you in your restlessness and dread of coming evil.

The stone cut out of the universal rock is the bold word that there is only good intended for us all. Those two great doctrines in the mind have now come face to face. Those who recognize the reasonableness of the message of the archangel proclaim that “there shall no ill come nigh their dwelling.” They smile at the host of Michael and answer back while the shakings of empires signal the end of all flesh, that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” and they love the good God who sendeth only good. With the acceptance of this proclamation that there is only good intended for us, there is no standing helpless at the sound of the earthquake. There is no expectation of death. Even the body knows that its mission is to transform and transfigure and not to be buried and fall into ashes.

The intellect hears the trump of love sounding in the crash of governments, and takes on the glance of Omnipotence when it receives the doctrine cut out of the rook without hands of mortality. This doctrine is that “God is all; there is only God.” Nothing that opposes can stand under the fall of its hammers. No argument based on history or science, or experience, or appearances of any kind can do anything but rise like a baffled worm of nothingness to assert its vanity and die away in the shame of absence. When this trump sounds “they shall not judge after the sight of the eyes nor the hearing of the ears,” for they shall know that all those things seen by eyes and heard by ears are the embodiment of the headstrong belief in mind that there is another presence besides God, another power besides God, another kingdom besides God’s. They shall realize that any faculty that is exercised for the prognostication of evil in any fashion is still of the clay of imagination, whether it be the keen sense of the Madagascar child of nature or the stilted computations of civilized science. Though one should rise from the grave where you laid him in tenderness, and from the sphere of the cloudy substance of astrals should foretell doom, you would give him the lie, for you would know he was still of the clay of imagination, while the Truth is that God has only good for you and no evil or pain or fear forever.

All things that shake and tremble are founded on the belief of another power or presence or law besides God. They are an image of nothing ... an imagination without substance. They are the opposite of Truth. Side with them and evaporate like mist. Side with Truth and live in fullness of joy.

When you rise in the morning, are you afraid of the day? It is the dragon and his angels who fear. It is imagination that trembles. The trump of Gabriel, the hammer of the new kingdom, the war cry of Michael is calling you to make your choice of truth or error; of “God is with me” or “not with me.” Every day sounds its tocsin: Choose! Every item of the day gives you the chance to proclaim what manner of faith you are of. Do you believe that God guides all your steps in safety and your affairs successfully, or do you not? When you purposed to bring to pass that particular result and each item thwarted you, as it seemed, did you see that that which was being thwarted was of the clay of imagination? Did you fret and be anxious, or rejoice in the sight of the workings of good?

In the stillness of your own chamber alone, do you appreciate that your millions are clay if one man can say, or one woman, or one child, that you overreached them? Do you know what that trembling signifies, which seizes your limbs sometimes, or gives you the blues? It is the dragon of imagination calling for his own destruction. It is the hammer of the Spirit striking its blows on your old ideas. Do not hesitate an instant. Proclaim, “I surrender my religion, my business policy, my possessions, to God.”

Then there shall walk by you a high counselor, a noble comrade, a powerful friend. You will not then need to be careful and anxious lest someone get away from you what belongs to you. God is the pleader of your cause.

The light of His countenance shall shine on those with whom you have dealings, and they will be kind and true. Their Spirit shall respond to the Spirit that walketh by you and they cannot do you wrong. Every attempt at it will meet with defeat. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”

This is the second chapter of Daniel. It is the counterpart of the twelfth of Revelation, seventh and eighth verses. It is the proclamation of the highest Truth in all the brightness of its glory. It tells that though science and religion, and government have been as gold, at their best on this planet, their reign was imagination, for they have reasoned on the necessity for evil and the reality of material things. At their best, they have calculated on the basis of two, when there is only one. So religion has come to her clay and iron age, and at her best she cringes and flinches under the storms of this age, proclaiming with her latest breath that “God in His wisdom has suffered these things to be.” It is a lie! God never permitted or ordained evil. It is all imagination. Let now the failure of the idea of two purposes in the mind that is God be our instruction. Science also has reached the formation of her understanding and looks helplessly upon the conflicts of poverty and riches, learning and ignorance. She has studied matter, when Spirit was her province. She sees no safety from cyclones, no help out of floods, no prevention of accidents. Governments have now struck the mire of their first imaginations, viz., that there are some who shall sit in judgment, and reign over their neighbors, when the Truth is, all are one. There is no one to govern. God is the only Being and needs no dominion over Him by any other creature. His word is: “There is none beside Me.” All those things totter and fall. Founded on nothing their end is the end of a tale that is told. Even at the golden height of most honored consistency, they were founded on a wrong idea. There is a doctrine building out of a rock not seen by the eyes that have any power to see evil. It is binding all who accept it into one common knowledge, viz., the knowledge of good only.

There is a Science hewing out of the heart of Love, not studied mind believing in two substances. It is proclaiming Spirit unto Spirit that all do now know good and good only. The knowledge of Spirit only knowledge.

There is a government being wrought out of Omnipotent tenderness. Its proclamations cannot be heard by any who believe in the inferiority or superiority of one under or over another. Its pulsing strokes fall softly on the hills of anguish and in the valleys of despair “There is no government but self-government; which is the knowledge that God is the Omnipotence within and around every creature.” Whoever believes that he has a right to govern or be governed by his neighbor, cannot hear the strokes of the hammer of the Almighty. Daniel and John saw our age in symbols. We feel it in the crashings of old dynasties, or the consciousness of a triumphant doctrine which defends and provides and holds us fast, fearless at peace on its bosom, — which?

May 15, 1892

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