Six points are suggested to be considered by this lesson: temperance, the history of Jesus Christ as to His birth, His preparation for His ministry, His teaching as a whole and the particular doctrine of salvation from evil by the atonement. Also the effect of His teaching upon the race Which, when truly one with His doctrine shall be in itself “The Risen Christ.”
To consider all these points in detail is to fill the mind with a vivid picture of the character of Jesus Christ. To have in the mind a vivid picture of the character of Jesus Christ is to have the same mind in us that was in Him to as great extent as we realize and love that character.
It is a well-known law to metaphysical students that the mind is sure to become like the mind it associates With, whether by reading its writings or face-to-face conversations. To think much about a person or his or her characteristics is to become like him or her. A young girl thought so much about a relative who was demented that, although she prayed vehemently not to get demented she became exactly like the relative whose character she thought upon so much.
If you think profoundly with Plato by reading his books and his life you cannot help getting polished and coldly scholarly like him with the same helpless feeling about the mastery over human experiences which he had. “We look for one,” he said. What for? Why to show power over nature instead of subjection to nature like the race at large.
Suppose you looked upon the ways of Theotymus of whom St. Ambrose tells, you would certainly get willful enough to damage yourself for the sake of carrying out a sensual purpose.
“Vale lumen amicum,” he said, when he found that his willfulness was destroying his eyesight. “Farewell sweet light.”
If you read the book of a prejudiced mind or one that cannot keep its body Well you are likely to copy the very thought that makes the bodily ailment, and soon your prejudices will be exactly like that one and your foot will be lame or your head shaking with the same palsied tremble of the one whose book you read.
Any thought is communicable. Do you know the thought that made your eyesight fail? Well, when you get hold of what it was and will drop it, your eyesight will be splendid.
Jesus Christ taught the gospel of healing by keeping His doctrines and character so much in mind that other thoughts would have to fall off, and with their fall your health should “spring forth speedily.”
The study of His life and ministry is the lifting of Him up in the mind. We are under orders from the Captain of our salvation to lift Him up in our minds till He draws all men unto Him. His words and character being held in mind will make us wise, strong, bold, efficient, full of health and healing love- He promised that anybody having Him supremely in mind should draw all men unto confidence in spirit — unto love of God — unto goodness of life.
This has been proved true in more Ways than one. For instance, it is true of your own thoughts. If you lift Jesus Christ up, and make it your particular word, holding it steadfastly, whether it seems a reasonable thing to do or not, all the rest of your thoughts will turn towards it as flowers turn to the sun, and the drooping thought that makes you so drooping in the morning will become invigorated so that you will spring up with new life each morning.
This is the best way to effect temperance among your own thoughts and among the race of people in the world, for what an army of people could not do to put steady officers into our high seats this one name could do easily.
“Is anything too hard for Me?”
“Nay, I know not any.”
By holding His name in mind and by studying the character in earnest, you will find yourself going back to Mosaic science where the proposition is made that God made everything good. Then you will see there is no power in grape juice fermented or unfermented, in tobacco plants green or dry, to do any hurt. You will see that all the sting they have is our false thoughts regarding them. That as soon as we Withdraw our accusations from the things we have found growing or have manufactured from them, that they will prove their generic harmlessness.
This is the review of the year’s temperance lessons. Our review is the summing up of the testimony of ideal science, which is the voluntary withdrawal on our part of the four accusations hurled by error against mankind, and caught up by the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the plants of the earth.
If ever you have agreed with either of these accusations, withdraw them today and lift up the theme of this lesson. John the Revelator saw that the four angels or four thoughts of error were: first, that the children of God have lustful passions and sensual appetites; second, that they are liars; third, that they are sinners; fourth, that they are foolish and ignorant.
There is one angel who stops them from hurting the people or the things of the earth. That angel is a perfect idea. Lift it up and earth is redeemed from all the stings of accusations. If you have believed any of these four evil thoughts against mankind, Withdraw your accusings and refuse to believe the angels of accusing or the thoughts that are false. This is good judgment. Good judgment is temperance.
No other temperance lessons will count in demonstration.
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the time of Herod.”
This you may take home to your own minds where your thoughts spring up. On the map of your mind there is a colony of thoughts all of the Judean quality. There is born among that herd of ideas one little thought that it is really possible to perform healing and supporting and defending by a law not material. The little sweet idea comes to you that you need not fear that any harm will come to your children or to yourself for God will take care of you. This is Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea.
The next thought you have is the Herod one that there is no knowing what strange idiosyncrasies such a notion might lead you into. Maybe you would lose your social position or your business if this notion were allowed to grow to its full stature with you for a notion is so apt to make people peculiar; so you determine to out off such a notion. You cannot quite destroy it however. It is never utterly smothered in any breast, but you do relegate it to Nazareth or to the lowest place, as that only the fakirs and dervishes and mediums are miracle Workers. No respectable persons do such things.
Now, miracle-working is the noblest idea you can believe in.
It is Jesus Christ. To give that idea its chance to grow within your mind would make you Wise Without books, strong without muscle, efficient without effort. “No ill should come nigh thy dwelling.” Your every action would bring benefit and blessing.
You could take the common clay and make it heal blindness just as Jesus did. You remember how those other men had tried clay on the eyes of that blind man, and the clay would not work, but it worked loving healing as soon as He used it.
It is all according to the mind that uses a remedy as to Whether it heals or not.
The physicians have found that more depends upon the mind with which they administer doses than upon the doses. Some physicians in a certain city wondered why one of their number never lost any cases, no matter how sick they were. One of them who was highly learned in drugs Went to the successful one and asked him to prescribe exactly for his cases the very same as he would for his own, which he did, and every case died, just as usual.
The mind that you hold while you cook your food or while you write your editorials heals or slays, according to what you believe. The unsuccessful physician held some idea antagonistic to Jesus. Herod ruled in his thoughts. It is healthy to believe in miracles.
Jesus, it is said, was 30 years old when He began to preach and Work spiritual doctrines. So also was John. This shows that you ought to let the belief in spiritual doctrine get complete sway over your mind. One man Worked 60 years to get to where he could actually feel the spirit of God present with him. The Spirit is able, ready, willing to do all things that we can ask or think of, but unless we give it complete sway we show the scars of conflict with opposition to Spirit. He taught patience by this waiting. “Patience, my heart, in loving; patience, my heart, to Wait.”
His whole ministry was the assurance that He might have the Kingdom of heaven right here and now. He taught the necessity for getting into the standing place of the mind, and beginning over again with a true idea of God. Everything depends upon our idea of God.
The prison houses will open when We start over the World strongly the right idea of God. The Russian starvelings will be fed if we start the true idea of God to fold the planet in. The dwarfs and old people will be straightened out with bright joyousness when the breath of our true word fans their hopeless foreheads. We made the dwarfs and the starvelings. They are our personified thoughts — our embodied false ideas of God.
You say, “I never thought of a dwarf till I saw one.” Oh, no, you did not need to imagine a dwarf to make one. All you had to do was to think there are high and low, rich and poor in the universe which you have admitted God made. This will create a dwarf if you only believed it for a minute. You have only to believe that you must Work and struggle to lay up for old age and feebleness, after you have once said that “the Lord will provide,” to have a host of old and feeble people hanging around you.
Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted forty days to refute every false belief of the race. Fasting is simply the mortal rejection of false notions. You must learn to think for yourself quite independently of what people believe or tell you or write in books as the result of experience or observation. Unless it is good it is a lie from the beginning. Hypnotists say that as long as they can make a man think that if they tell him he is blind or lame, whether he is or not, he will act so until he rouses to think for himself, and then he is well enough.
All that we see and experience is the result of thoughts, the result of beliefs. Unless what we see is joyously good it is the product of a false idea. Fast from ideas for a while. Begin anew. This was what Jesus meant by His fast. He taught the atonement as the redemption of the world. Atonement means at-one-ment, or at-one-mind. To be exactly of the same mind as Jesus Christ you see we have to think exactly as He did. To partake of the atonement is to find that the earthquakes could not close over us, the fires could not burn us, the water could not drown us.
These things have power over one who has not partaken of the atonement. No man passeth over this land (or over this kind of experience) and comes out alive. Only the Spirit can come up smiling and hold and unhurt when the natural forces get to working. Tottin sees that the planet is in her last throes.
“Abstract good and abstract evil are about to close in for a final conflict,” he says. Once in a While all old false ideas come gathering around you and you say you have a terrible amount of sorrow and trouble. Now, if you will close you mind from thinking of your troubles and think entirely of Jesus Christ you will be lifted right up and taken over the hard place. No flesh can live where the beliefs in evil have headed. They all die unless they close their minds to the thoughts of What is going on and think of the Captain of their salvation, Jesus Christ, the righteous. When Jesus Christ was here embodied there was only Himself believing in the omnipotence of the good.
Now there are hundreds and thousands who will stand forth and sing the absoluteness of the good. Whosoever believeth and hath not doubted in his heart that God as Good is omnipresent, as Love is omnipotent, as Spirit is omniscient, is passed from death unto life.
As the risen Christ, or risen into this faith through the gospel, we are to preach good news to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem or beginning at ourselves. We cannot do great things with the world till we have got down into the starting place of our own thoughts and got true.
Thou must be true thyself
If thou the truth would teach.
Jonathan Edwards found out a great truth when he found that the Whole purpose of God with him was to have him one with Himself. The works would be sure to follow one who had made his peace with God.
“Acquaint now thyself with Me and be at peace.” “They that understand (God) among the people shall be wise and do exploits.”
December 27th, 1891