"He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold- the same is a thief and a robber."
The "sheepfold" is the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is not a place, though the place where we are may seem heavenly. The real kingdom of heaven is the right state of mind.
The right state of mind is where there is perfect health, perfect judgment, and perfect prosperity. These are all secured by right reasoning. The most exalted or freest reasoning gives the most exalted state of mind. If anybody stops short in his reasoning he stops short in his health and judgment; also in his prosperity.
The only way to get into heaven or a perfect state of mind is to reason to the highest ultimates your mind can conceive without regarding whether it would be considered ,reductio ad absurdum by the oldfashioned doctrines or not.
As everybody is trying to get into the "sheepfold" here mentioned, let us consider "the door", or the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ so consistently that He called Himself "the Door."
We may readily conceive of ourselves as so one with our doctrine, that we are it, if we have thought and taught and demonstrated it as Jesus Christ did His doctrine.
"The sheep" are your thoughts. The calling of your thoughts "sheep" is very appropriate, because thoughts are docile and obedient like sheep. You yourself are the keeper of your thoughts and lead them where you will.
Every obedient little idea has faithfully pictured that pink glow on your cheek, or that happy light in your eye.
The thoughts referred to here are your thoughts of God particularly and what those thoughts do at all times.
There is one thought you have which you have always held strongly and definitely or indifferently and indefinitely; it is the thought: "God is my friend."
If you started this thought long ago and held it warmly and confidently, you are a good friend to everybody and you now number among your comrades one warm, strong, efficient, unchangeable, loving friend. There is another thought which is of the obedient character of the sheep here meant. It is the idea that "God is omnipotent." This idea, held in confidence, has made you strong in yourself. The most obedient thoughts you have are your thoughts of God. Jesus when speaking of sheep refers entirely to ideas of God. It is ideas of God which if you shepherd well, will get you into that state of mind called heaven, when you have health, judgment, prosperity. Jesus Christ was sure that His doctrine was the door, and everybody else's the climbing in some other way. They had all before Him proved themselves thieves and robbers. Why? They had robbed men and women of health, judgment, and prosperity. Ninety years before Him there had ridden through the streets of Rome, Pompey, proclaimed conqueror of the whole world. Nine hundred cities, 1000 castles, sacked; long lines of manacled captives, with heads hung low and speechless tongues, sightless eyes, broken hearts.
There was splendid triumph for Pompey and the nations shouted his greatness. But Jesus Christ said that was not the doctrine that would make heaven manifest on the earth. His doctrine was the only "door." His doctrine would bind up the broken-hearted, loose the dumb tongues, unstop deaf ears, open blind eyes, lift up the cast down heads. Not only that, but all over the universe you might look for captivity where His doctrine had been preached (or His door opened) and you would not find captivity itself for He had "led captivity captive."
Whoever has any bondage to anything whatsoever, believes more in Pompey's doctrine than in Jesus Christ's. For Pompey believed in bondage, but Jesus Christ believed in freedom. Jesus Christ was sure He had the only doctrine that would set absolutely free. A locksmith is sure he has the only combination that will open the safe. If another man has the same combination he can get in; otherwise not. Jesus Christ knew His doctrine to be the only door into safety.
A mother had a baby that she loved so much she was like a barnacle to its little life. She felt ownership, clinging fondness for it. So the baby boy began to dwindle and pine away. Hungry love always drives its object away. If you long after and hunger for and eat with fondness in your affections the object of your affections will take every means to keep out of your way. So this little boy was getting away in self defense. No treatment helped the puny child till the mother said over and over in her heart: "You are God's child, you are God's child."
She kept this up till she loosed the tentacles of her mind off his life, and he sprang forth as free and robust and hardy as a boy could be. This was the door or teaching of Jesus. "One is your Father, even God."
Is not that teaching theft and robbery which takes away sight, hearing, hopes?
Jesus Christ had nothing to say against Pompey as a child of God, but his expecting to enter into heaven by his beliefs was folly. Jesus explained that the porter at the door of heaven is the Holy Spirit. The true doctrine will bring you face to face with the Holy Spirit who will lead you into greater and greater knowledge. The Holy Ghost will teach you all things- guide you into all truth. Just as soon as you take the doctrine of Jesus- actually take it- there is a fall of sweet, loving power over all thought. Once you spoke carelessly, "I believe in God as my friend," but now you speak it in delightful assurance that "whatsoever things ye ask for ye shall have." Every friend who comes to you, you know very well that they are the coming to you of your words about God. All truth about God brings good friends, good success.
Jesus Christ praises Himself as His doctrine, and praises His doctrine as Himself. He lives in blissful ignorance that there is any idea that His doctrine and Himself are not God. When you praise yourself you begin to know yourself. Try it. Praise yourself silently at first, for you have not at first shown that your words are true by your works. Say, "I am wise. I am bold. I am good. I am able to do everything perfectly." You will soon show forth to all the world that you are indeed all this. Then you will have a beautiful effect upon the people. But, indeed-
"Thou must be true thyself
If Thou the Truth would teach;
Thy soul must overflow with love,
Loving results to reach."
Now try once speaking some of Jesus Christ's doctrine. He set before you an open door which no man can shut (or no prejudice or fear of anybody keep you from getting the benefit of). Let all your thoughts lie still as the pool of Bethesda for a little while. Now, if your mind is quite placid stir it with this beautiful text: "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall he live again.
He had unbounded confidence in Himself. You must have unbounded confidence in yourself. Your Father is the same one that Jesus Christ had. Your substance is exactly like His substance. Your powers are exactly like His. You have the same privilege to ignore your birth in the flesh that He had. You can demonstrate over hardship, pain, trouble, as well as He if you have His combination, or doctrine, or "door." When you have got His teachings truly, you will not follow after strange doctrines.
When you once have said "I do not believe in the power of evil to come nigh my life," and somebody tells you your house and children are burned, you will boldly say: "I do not believe it."
Your calamities will turn out not calamities at all. The stronger you hold onto your words the nobler your blessings. After once saying: "Spirit is the only substance," nobody can make you believe that a whole tide of spirits exists.
After saying: "God is good: God is all," you would not credit the story of anybody who should say that in a vision he had a picture of hell. There would not be in your mind the slightest credence of the accuracy of that little girl's vision of Jesus Christ taking her by the hand to show her the sight of many people in hell. It would not be consistent with your knowledge of His saying that children's true thoughts always behold the good only.
He said He came with a teaching that would give life more and more abundantly. A woman's beloved husband lay dying (according to other men's opinions.) She knew that according to Jesus Christ he had a right to more abundant life. So she leaned hard on some words of Jesus Christ. These were: "God is Love." She said them over and over and the air became vivified with Love. The man revived and lives, strong in God.
A man who felt himself ignorant got down on his face on the mountain side night after night, saying to the folding presence of God: "Thou knowest all things." He repeated the words often. Repetition of truth is the quickening. After some days he became very wise. There was an extraordinary judgment and intelligence about the man. Whoever comes nearest to the principle of speech announced by Jesus Christ is really most successful in life. Life- such life as His words give is miraculous. His words are pure reasoning. Be careful not to stop short on your reasonings along His lines, for that is to stop short in health intelligence, prosperity.
Right reasoning leads you on to the topless heights of the hills of God, from whence cometh our help. The most exalted reasoning concerning yourself as the substance and manifestation of God is the most exalted reward. Where have you stopped in your reasoning? There where you have stopped is where old age begins to seize you, pain lays hold, sickness settles. You have a right to rise to the hills of glory on the wings of the words of Jesus. Speak these words of His: "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
See how hereby you announce yourself one with God in the beginning, now His manifestation by your word, and the shining glory of His goodness in the sight of all mankind. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away."
September 20th, 1891