Bible Lesson XLV
Daniel 1:8-2l
But Men Must Work

 

by Emma Curtis Hopkins

 

Does not the Bible tell us that man is to labor for his living, earning his bread by the sweat of his brow?

It tells us that man under the curse earns his living by the sweat of his brow, but under the Gospel, he is set free from that curse. He is under the Gospel to “labor not for the meat that perisheth.” He is told that the seed of the woman shall bruise the curse. What is the seed of the woman? It is the teaching of Divine Science. The Science of Christ is figured by a “Woman” in John the Revelator’s mind. When we are quoting Scripture, it will help us to know where ye stand and what we are talking about if we will explain whether, we are speaking of what goes on under the curse or under the Gospel.

Does it make any difference to our daily lot in life whether we are speaking of man under the curse or under the Gospel? Indeed it does. “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” Many a man or woman could trace all their misfortunes to their continual harping on the Adam and Eve side of life, describing the dire effects of the fall and curse side. They might have been joyous and powerful if they had let their mind rejoice in the knowledge that words of Truth can annihilate the curse ideas as soon as they show themselves. What made the curse?  The law of opposition.  The idea of the opposite of the Jesus Christ man.

Is it not beneficial to study the ways of the opposite of Jesus Christ? Just as beneficial as to study the shadows of trees and rocks. Is it not reformatory to keep statistics of crime and records of horrors and tell them often to public audiences? Just as reformatory as it would be to study discords and not harmonies in music. We become like what we study. In this lesson on Daniel in the court of Babylon, are we not taught that poor food is more consistent with a righteous life than rich food? It teaches that there is just as much nourishment in one kind of food as another. Food is a symbol of religious thoughts. Daniel meant to intimate distinctly that he did not relish their religious ideas. At home in Jerusalem, he had eaten meat and drunk wine. There those foods symbolized the reviving words of Truth and the strong will of God. Here in Babylon they stood for the great idols, Bel, Merodach, and Nebo, to whom human sacrifices were offered. They intimated that man is governed by stars and suns and moons. They declared man is the victim as to happiness and health of blind forces. Indeed, material science was the god of Chaldea then, just about as material science is the god of civilization today.

In the fourth verse of this chapter of Daniel, you will see that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah understood the Science of God or the Science of Spirit.

God is Spirit. Understanding this Science, they were able to symbolize their ideas of the difference between material science and Spiritual Science by eating a totally opposite kind of food from that eaten by their captors. They compelled pulse and water to signify the difference of their religion from the Babylonians. Was it necessary for them to signify their different ideas by different eating? No, but in those days everything was signified by symbols. Every idea had its outward action rigidly observed, as the Jews used the water of jealousy, the water of separation, water of feasts, etc., symbolically. Their teachers spoke in symbols. The first chapter of Genesis is symbolic. The second chapter of Genesis is symbolic. One stands for the Science of Spirit and the other for the science of matter. Whoever studies the first chapter will understand Substance, Truth; whoever studies the second chapter will understand nothing. Whoever thinks both chapters refer to man in reality will become much mixed. Whoever knows the first chapter well can handle the second one understandingly. Evidently Daniel understood the first chapter thoroughly, because he could make pulse and water do him as much service as meat and bread. Would he not have made a nobler demonstration of his spiritual understanding if he had gone three years without eating anything at all? Going without eating would have been to his mind a symbol of having no religion at all. It would have been the same symbol to his captors also.

Would it be a good plan for us nowadays to regard our eating and drinking as symbolizing the words and will of God? It is true that eating and drinking indicate the state of our mind religiously. If we feel hungry, we can be sure that there is some word concerning the will and purpose of our God which our mind longs for. If we eat even to gorging ourselves we shall wish we could keep on eating till the knowledge of that will comes to us. If we drink, we shall keep on drinking and wish we could drink more, even longing and thirsting for drink till we imbue drinks with strength to intoxicate, while the mind longs for some good news from Truth. Whoever is thirsty for strong drinks is wild for strong words of Truth. Where shall we get those strong words of Truth? We shall find them in Spiritual Science. At present Spiritual Science uses words just as much in the symbol as Daniel used eating and drinking, but there are certain signs now of Spiritual Science words bringing forth the full power of their substance right soon. All Spiritual Science words so far have been like alabaster boxes. They contain precious ointments but the alabaster boxes have not been broken. What do you mean by breaking open words as you would break open boxes?

I mean receiving the quality of their meanings. How can you tell when they are broken open and the words have poured out their Ointments? When the words concerning God as our health have made us every whit whole so that there is no blemish in us as there was no blemish in those four young Jews. When the words concerning God as our support have given us assurance of abundant provisions right in our sight and manageable with our fingers, just as all things were given to those four young Jews who lived by Spiritual Science in the midst of an age that lived by material science.

In this age of material science, the Spiritual Scientist should be defended by the supernal beings who fought for Elisha (that most perfect Spiritual Scientist of old). The Spiritual Scientist should be fed and clothed by the angels who ministered to Jesus Christ. When he breaks open the alabaster boxes of these mysterious words he is now using, he will find that the end of the world has come and the beginning of his life has sprung forth. Who were those supernal beings around Elisha? They were his thoughts personified. If he had seen demons and devils, they would have shown the quality of his thoughts. But as he had no such thoughts no such being appeared to him. The angels that ministered to Jesus were His supernal ideas. The more lofty our ideas the more defense and support there is in them.
How shall we break open these words we are now using? By speaking them fearlessly as the faith of our life. By writing them down carefully as the light of our judgment, by which we would be judged. By thinking them silently as the only thoughts worth thinking.

Ought a man sit down and fold his hands while his children go hungry that he may meditate on spiritual doctrines, seeing that all labor is the sign of living under the curse? No. He must keep swinging his hammer and balancing accounts till his knowledge of Truth takes those tasks out of his hands.

Spiritual knowledge itself does the turning and over-turning. It is very subtle in its workings. It is so secretive that the eyes and ears take no cognizance of it. But by and by its mission is visible. Knowledge of Truth is irresistible action.

At Kenilworth we saw, “on the ruins of solid masonry in one place the swelling root of a creeper had lifted one arch from its base, and the protruding branches of a chance spring tree had unseated the keystone of the next,” wrote a traveler. Just so all these evidences of civilization shall be subtly undermined, even to the stoppage of steam cars and sewing machines, by the words of Jesus Christ concerning eating and drinking and shelter. Was not Jesus Christ poor so that He had not where to lay His head? No. He owned all the kingdoms of the world and the riches of them. When He wanted to fit out His disciples with purses and swords, He did not have to work and earn them, He simply had to speak the word and it was done.

What did He mean by saying that the foxes had holes and the birds of the air had nests but the Son of Man had not where to lay His head? He was speaking of that man who had imagined he wanted to follow His doctrine when he had not the faintest idea of what it was. The Son of Man is the word of God. The man had not let anything but the teachings of the schools and the business of the stores and factories rest in his mind. Not a single idea that there is a way of living untouchable by deal and barter, work and study, had ever rested in his mind.

Daniel and his three friends lived by a Principle that was their defense and support, and yet they did nothing like the Babylonians. This Principle of living is now being proclaimed. One after another of its adherents is being removed from the ways and works of the world. The
end of material things has touched the hem of their garments. Will this
doctrine hasten the end of the world? Yes. The end of looking to material things and being hurt by the world’s forces comes with speaking Truth. Will there be terrible times upon the earth? The end of a shadow at high noon is peaceful; so the end of materiality as represented by civilization cometh as a thief in the night, softly. There is no shadow at high noon. There is no materiality under the reign of Spirit. At high noon you may speak some great affirmation, and you will never see any shadow to it. Twelve o’clock is high noon time. Exactly at twelve every day tell God what you would like to demonstrate better than anything else. Then affirm it as already done. In reality it is already done so you only speak a great truth when you affirm that a good thing is finished. To someone whose heart was depressed by misfortune these words were given as so bright that no misfortune could evermore lurk near her lot. She must keep them at twelve: “I am satisfied with my abundant prosperity, which from this date makes no delay in pleasing me.”

To another whose heart was clogged with earthly cares the direction was given: “Write a letter to Jesus Christ and state your case exactly. Ask for help. Burn the letter and tell no one. You can focus all your mind and soul and heart into a letter. Writing is a great mystery. Jesus Christ wrote in the sand. Both these ideas come from the misty past of the mystics like Daniel and his friends. They disdained nothing and observed everything, even to interpreting dreams. They knew the law of high noon and morning and evening prayers. They did not need the second chapter of Genesis, which is the Babylonian side of the interpretation of symbols, which is judging man as on the down grade or curse side, a fallen creature under the curse of dependence upon skill and material things. No. They regarded all things as signs and symbols of our opportunities to step out of the shadow, away from Adam, out and away from the ways of materiality.

We will use nothing henceforth as signs of the needs of mortal and material man, but all things as signs of the opportunity of spiritual man to proclaim his exemption from matter and evil and the laws thereof.

This manner of looking at things will post you in languages without studying them. It will give you skill in mathematics without investigating them. It will give you the history of the sun and explain for you the times and seasons of constellations and comets.

Read this first chapter of Daniel with the knowledge that Chaldean science is all science of materiality, from astrals down to marble quarries. Take it home as a demonstrable verity that the understanding of Spirit gives easy mastery of all these things. If you do not catch this lesson, you will not rise up in your greatness, but plod along in your present appearance. Yet, there is a Spirit in you all, and the inspiration of Omnipotence giveth understanding of Spirit.

May 22, 1892

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