There are four verses in this lesson which contain all the Science of God ever announced to the world. They are the first twelve lessons of the Science, and the second twelve also.
The first set of twelve lessons has already been given very plainly, and is beginning to work its way in the world of sense and intellect. The second set of twelve lessons can come clearly apparent only to those who accept in understanding the first twelve.
If a student finds himself suddenly in possession of the second set of lessons and then goes and tells thereof, he is soon hushed up, and finds himself obliged to go tenderly over the first lessons line upon line and precept upon precept, because his hearers tell him he is annihilating their God, destroying the office and character of Christ, denying the Bible. He must then patiently tell them that God is indestructible, irresistible Substance. Christ is Eternal Truth. The Word of God is infallible.
He does not insist at this point upon telling what he knows to be true, viz, that their God is nowhere, their Christ is a hoax, their Bible an imagination. It must come to each mind by itself that the true God, the true Christ, the true Bible are infinitely incapable of such dealings as the outward wordings of the external Bible proclaim or human observations argue.
The verses that tell the whole story are: "Speak ye comfortably unto Jerusalem that her warfare is accomplished, for she hath received of the Lord's hand, double for all her sins."... "Make straight in the desert a highway for our God."... "All flesh is grass" ... "The Lord will come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him."
Any mind that has ever listened to the voice of God at its center, and has pledged itself to love and believed in God, is Jerusalem. Unto this mind with its body and human lot, it is promised, "The Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt upon thee." "In famine He shall redeem thee from death, and in war from the power of the sword." "Bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure." "He will cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shalt thou trust." "The Almighty shall be thy defense, and thou shalt have plenty of silver." "Thou shalt run and not be weary, walk and not faint." "He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
The Egypt mind gets no such promises. The Egypt mind is the mind that dwells in the senses and has never listened to the voice of the Spirit. It has never pledged itself to live after the dictates of righteousness. Here Jerusalem has been suffering great tribulations in spite of the wonderful promises. How is this? Because she has entangled her mind with imaginations of ways of getting a living, of learning, of happiness, not in accord with the teachings of the Spirit. Looking at the ways of the world, she has felt that she "must do in Rome as the Romans do." She speaks of God as her rest, and fears accidents. She speaks of God as her health, and looks to material things for her healing. She says: "The merciful man is merciful to his beast," and cuts off the helpless horses' tails to do like the world. Thus is Jerusalem taking at some point of her experience, the fruits of compromise.
But the Truth works also. The Truth the mind tells comes unto its fruitage as well as the error the mind thinks. Then, when error has reached its highest point of pain, the Truth comes like a healing balm, "Speak comfortably unto Jerusalem."
If in your childhood, some true word kept conning itself over in your mind, it will come to you at your sorest need as a healing. This is what is meant by "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." But it is the mind pledged to faith in such Truth that gets the healing by its own words, not the mind living in its imaginations. The affairs of your life are met at their direst extremities by certain words you once spoke, just as your bodily health is overtaken. I hope you believed this passage at some period of your life: "Call thou upon Me in the day of adversity, and I will deliver thee." It will come with unexpected successes at some least probable moment, "In such an hour as ye think not."
All this is taught in the first lessons of Science. The idea of Jerusalem receiving double for her sins, is the same as the idea of sixty and an hundred-fold fruitage for Truth told. Seeds make more than themselves. The mind always cries, "My punishment is too great for my mistakes." It rejoices in the "exceeding weight" of its successes.
The third verse, commanding mind to make straight in the desert a highway for God, has also an intimation of the highest lessons of Science. But the simple information will strike you as extravagant enough, so you may get the profoundest one out by yourself. This is the simplest metaphysical interpretation allowable, viz, that every mind has its Sahara spot - its desert place. This desert spot is your dead hopes. It is that place in your mind where you expect nothing though such things as you would most love to have are the very ones you do not expect.
Why do you not expect them? How dared your teachers teach you that you must not expect those things here and now? You do not expect to dwell here again with your beloved? You do not expect the renewal of youth? You do not expect miracles to be wrought for you?
Why not? Make straight through that desert of non-expectation for the fulfillment of each one of them. "The desert shall blossom as the rose." "I will satisfy thy soul in drought." The most marvelous things you can think of are the things to expect in the Science of God. In a certain city, where the rich have everything and the poor have nothing, there has arisen a meek sect of people who say they can call upon the Father-Mother God for everything, even to money. They do not seem to have any visible means of getting their living, yet they are honorable in their dealings and never run into debt. The people of that city have stoned them, thrown mud at them and broken their windows, though they are harmless and un-retaliating.
Would not you rather know how to call upon God, in whose hands are all the treasures of the hills, than to know how to make a deal on the Board of Trade that would cost every starving child one penny more for his supper, which penny he cannot get? Why do they not stone those who gather the productions of the generous earth into corners and make it so hard for the poor, instead of those who are making a path through the desert of hard times for the marvelous God to walk through? Would not you rather know the process by which the noble Ram Lal called down the white fog on the hills of Keitung to defend his friend from the would-be murderers, than to know the latest device in electric alarms for burglars? There on the hills of desolation in the desert mound of no prospect for help, was the marvelous God of defense.
Would not you rather know the mystic language by which the three wise men met on the plains of no fruitage under the white stars of midnight, never having met before, coming by sure steps, unsought by cablegrams, telegrams, letters, to find in each other friendship unfailing, comradeship in all things, than to know how our ministers to England or France, or our fair women delegates are received at foreign courts? There on the sands, with only the moon for a light, the marvelous God taught His friendship for man.
Come — desert spot in the heart where you do not expect love, do not expect home, do not expect fulfillment — awake! The God of the nations commandeth, expect! This is the hour when the desert must bloom. "Is anything too hard for Me?" saith our God. Let them keep their gold, God will provide. Let them corner our bread and meat, God will provide. Let them preach death and sorrow, God will bring to life, and comfort them that mourn.
All the riches of earth shall be no more counted in that day when the desert lifts up her head than the air is now measured out. We do not hold our breath lest the air fail us. Here on the desert we hold fast no riches. God will provide. Do you rise into faith as this simple text opens its loving meaning to you?
Here on the lap of our mother we rest;
God is our home.
Here none shall pursue us,
Here none can undo us.
We walk with the blest,
God is our home.
The next text is: "All flesh is grass." That is the second lesson of Science, the second lesson of the first course. Here we count it as true that all earthly things are symbols only. Thought is the substance. Then we push the meaning still further and say that the thoughts that show forth in material things are as non est as the material things themselves.
Is that too metaphysical for you? Oh, no, it is not. You already believe that God, the Mind of the universe, fills all space and place and where. "Am not I God? Do I not fill heaven and earth? Is there any besides Me? Nay, I know not any." Then there is but one Mind thinking thoughts. So the thoughts that produce material things with their clashings and sorrows are no thoughts at all. It has a very uplifting effect upon the mind and a very enchanting power over your affairs to understand this text. Down through the walls steps the transcendent Jesus into your presence. The granules of matter offer no resistance to the Mind that knows them not. Spirit will bear witness with Spirit that there is only one substance at all, and that is your soul. "The flesh profiteth nothing," speaks the entrancing Friend as He lifts you out of the memory of the past — out of the pain of the present.
Alone with Thee, my soul walks fearless,
Mantled by Thee, I rest in happy peace;
Standing 'mid scenes I once mourned as cheerless,
I now joyous smile, proclaiming swift release.
The fourth text takes us by one touch of inspiration to the unspoken top of the Mount of Paradise, where in the workshop of Jehovah we watch the Christian doctrine redeem the race.
"The Lord God shall come with a strong hand and His arm shall rule for Him." This is prophecy. John the Revelator saw the same moment and on the friendless isle of Patmos, rejoiced in our day. In the great pyramid of Gizeh, the north star looked down the mystic shaft of ages ago and wrote across her golden breast that the line where it is intended history shall end and prophecy be fulfilled, is today.
John spoke it by a figure. He saw the holy Science as a woman. Take your mind away from men and women and think only of the Holy Spirit as you read how he saw the woman clothed as the sun, having on her head the crown of twelve stars, and the moon under her feet. This is the Science of God, and it gives to the world the Man-Child who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron.
The Man-Child of Science is the strong teaching of Science, the strong and invincible idea that springs forth at its highest point of instruction, viz, that man is God and God is man. The Spirit of man and the Spirit of God are one. The Spirit of man may say: "I am that I am, as the Spirit of God my say, "I am that I am." "There is a Spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding." Who told them to change the royal arch word of God ever speaking in the soul, "I am that I am," in Masonry to "I was, but am no more?"
Am not I "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end?" Who said that the flesh might speak? Shall any have voice save God?
The "strong right hand" of this text means the efficient thought, or strong idea of God. The idea of mind is the son, or man-child. The idea that the "I am that I am" in man is the "I am that I am" of God shall rule nations with a rod of iron, though the Science that gave it birth may have to be driven into the wilderness of the scorn of the world.
Now think of all those who teach the Science, as the Science itself, and with the twelfth of Revelation, follow their experience after they give forth their noblest conclusion. The chased black in the everglades was no more at bay than they, as the very abstraction of evil hurries them into poverty, pain, tribulation. At this point, they are met with the strange information that holding the name Jesus Christ in mind, forces all the issues between Good and evil, into their own experience.
If Jesus Christ "had not where to lay His head," neither shall they. If He was "despised and rejected," so shall they be — by holding His name in mind. But "the earth helped the woman." The very wilderness shall yield you the corn, and the wine of dominion over all the ways of the flesh. "His own arm shall get Him rule." Throw your highest truth into the arena, and let it fight for itself. Jesus Christ teaches you dominion. It is Jesus Christ in you that is the "I am that I am."
"He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the uttermost parts of the earth."
John, speaking in a figure, saw the holy Science fly away with the "wings of a great eagle." The two wings with which you who enter into the Science may fly, are two words: "within and without." God is both within you and without you, the here and the there, the beginning and the end. To you forever the breath comes, "I am satisfied in Thee," and from you forever the response must go back, "I am satisfied in Thee."
From far beyond principalities and powers, from farther than angels and archangels fly, drops down the message into your heart, "I am satisfied in Thee." From your breath in the wilderness of earthly seemings, the triumphant response, "I am satisfied in Thee." From the heart-fires of the earth, from the crawling things and the stones comes the nourishing message, "I am satisfied in Thee." And from your wise heart, no timid answer steals; like a radiant light your word lets fall, "I am satisfied in Thee."
Thus, they that know the Science are "nourished." Its arm gets them rule. "Thus shalt thou be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee."
March 27, 1892