Chapter 22 – The Nativity and Maturity of Jesus

Chapter XXII
THE NATIVITY AND MATURITY OF JESUS
W. John Murray
The Realm of Reality
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1922.

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
–Luke 21:28

[250] The central figure around which most serious thought revolves is undoubtedly the most unique person of all history, Jesus of Nazareth. From every Christian rostrum and from many Jewish pulpits the name of Jesus is sounded forth as the one who has left the greatest impression upon human consciousness.

The songs sung, and the sermons preached, at Christmas services often deal with the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem. Many references are made to prophecy, particularly to that of Isaiah, who, seven hundred years before the coming of Jesus, foretold it, and related just what would happen to him, just what he would do and what he would accomplish for the race. Those who are skeptical might take the prophecy of Isaiah and the advent of Jesus of Nazareth and [251] bring them together in parallel columns and see if one does not exactly fit the other, if one does not seem to produce the other. One strange fact about prophecy is this: that when it finds acceptance by a single human mind there is another mentality added to the mentality of the prophet, and when this belief is communicated to other minds, there are a number thinking along the same line, confidently expecting the same thing; and when this goes on increasing with geometrical ratio that which starts in the mind of a single prophet presently becomes a nation’s hope. And so it is perfectly natural, knowing what we know of the power of thought, that Jesus should come in response to prophesy.

He came because of a great demand of the human heart. The children of Israel had longed for an emancipator, a deliverer and a savior, and their hope gave rise to the prophetic utterances and soul desire that this should come to pass, and it came to pass in due order and in due time. Hence we have the peculiar and the supernatural aspect apparently surrounding the birth of him who was prophesied long before by Isaiah.

I am not so much concerned with the nativity of Jesus, though it is tremendously interesting, as I am with the maturity of Jesus. His nativity and early life have been taught in Sunday Schools all over the world. The lives and characters of children have been molded according to this marvelous history of the child Jesus. The young of either sex who desire to be in the world, and yet [252] not of it, find in the youthful Nazarene a flesh and blood testimony to the power of God to keep one from yielding to temptation.

We see in the young Jesus the triumphant personality, one who was tempted in all things, even as we are, and yet, without succumbing to sin, calling upon his internal and integral and inherent Divinity which sustained him in the hour of trial and tribulation and, moreover, temptation, because many a man can stand in the hour of trial and tribulation who finds himself utterly weak in the presence of temptation. To be tried from without is one thing; to be tempted from within is another. And so we find in this youthful Jesus an example of the power of a young man to rise superior to his appetites and passions–because he had them. Otherwise it would not be stated in the Bible that he was tempted in all things, even as we are, yet without succumbing. Herein is not only a model for childhood, not only a something upon which you may build juvenile character, but a something upon which you may base the virility of early manhood.

But such another composite character the world has never known. Such another rare instance of spiritual superiority over material tendencies history cannot furnish. I want to deal especially with his maturity, with his full-fledged manhood. It is nothing to us where he was or what he was doing between his twelfth and thirtieth [253] years, though speculation has abounded over this particular period in the life of the Master. Hindus tell us he was in India. Persians assert that he was in Persia. Assyrians tell us he was in Assyria. The Esdras of Judea claim he was in their monastery. It does not make any difference where he was. The question is, what was he doing? I believe he was studying the science of life, Divine Science. I believe he was becoming more and more intelligently conscious of his unity with God, so that when he appeared in his thirtieth year in the first days of his ministry he came forth with an internal conviction of his co-partnership with the Infinite.

We do not find anywhere in the history of the Nazarene any attempt to set up a new organization, a new cult, a new church. On the contrary, everything bears witness to the fact that he sought to use intelligently and wisely the existing institutions of his day. He was not to be the founder of a new church. He came to give life to the old one. He came to ask of the old church what it was doing as the pastor, what it was doing as the shepherd of the flock. He came to remind the old church of his day that it was not measuring up to the Divine requirements. And so we find him going from city to city, and village to village, and preaching in their synagogues about the Kingdom of God, the gospel of righteousness.

He had traveled over many cities in Judea, and one day he came to his own little home town, [254] Nazareth, and, as the custom was in that day (and one which might prevail today with a great deal more benefit to the world than the customs which do prevail), he was handed by the presiding rabbi of the synagogue the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. And he read from the Prophet Isaiah a reference to himself and to his own mission–“I am come to bind up the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to open the eyes of the blind and to preach the Gospel to the poor.” And, closing the book, he handed it to the rabbi and he said: “This day, this very day, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears.”

That prophecy had stood on the pages of the Book of Isaiah for seven hundred years, and no man up to that time had dared to attribute it to himself. No man up to that hour had felt that it had any reference whatsoever to himself. But this man, who had arrived at his maturity, not only his maturity in years, but his maturity of spiritual understanding, took it to himself. “It has reference to me, and I tell you, of a verity, on this day this scripture shall be fulfilled in your ears. I shall preach the Gospel to the poor. I shall heal the sick. I shall preach deliverance to the captives. I shall open the eyes of them that are blind. I shall bring to them a new thought concerning themselves and concerning God and concerning their fellow-men.” And they marveled. They marveled because they knew that he was not schooled in the Sanhedrin. He was not [255] a college graduate. He was not a theological seminarian. He was not ordained by the existing ecclesiastical institutions. He was the son of a carpenter from a remote village. He had not even had the benefit of associating with the bright lights of Jerusalem.

“Now, how knoweth this man letters, seeing that he hath never learned?” They propounded questions, and the answers staggered them. He had been closer to the great heart of things than they; he had not developed the intellect at the expense of spiritual intuition. Rather, he paid more attention to the inner thoughts of God. He confounded the wise, made the scholastic look foolish, asked questions to which there was no answer, from their point of view, and then, as it is said, he came unto his own and his own received him not.

There is a tremendous significance in this statement. One of the most natural things in the world, when a man finds a good thing, whether it is a valuable gold mine, a great political idea, or a tremendous spiritual truth, is to communicate it to others. There is that inherent unselfishness in the great majority of men which, when they discover anything that is really worthwhile, prompts them, impels them to share it with others. And so, the most natural thing in the world for Jesus of Nazareth to do was to communicate this great spiritual truth of his to his own people. He came to Nazareth, where he was brought up, where he was well-known, and there he proclaimed [256] for the first time the mission that he was about to accomplish.

Presently a murmur arose in the synagogue. His statement was a rebuke to them. If he were going to do it, why had not the Church of Israel done it long before? If he were going to initiate this new order of things and fulfill this prophecy in his own person, why had not someone like Malachi or Joel done it? Why had not the great prophet in the wilderness, John the Baptist, done it? Why should he attribute this prophecy to himself and make himself co-equal with God? Presently we find them leading him out of the church to the brow of a hill, from thence, says the Scriptures, to cast him off, to murder him.

He had blasphemed. He had taken unto himself a prophecy that could have no application to an ordinary carpenter’s son. If any were going to fulfill this prophecy, it must be one of them. It would naturally be a man high in the church, one noted for sanctity and piety. But the strange thing is that history does not record that any great truth, that any startling spiritual truth has ever come through a man standing high in the church. * St. Francis of Assisi did not stand high in the church; neither did St. Francis de Sales. Peter was a fisherman. Truth seems always to have reserved herself for some simple, meek and great soul of humility. You cannot pour the wine of spiritual inspiration into a vessel that is already full, but only into an empty vessel. And Jesus was such, an empty vessel crying night and day [257] for wisdom and love and righteousness and truth. Like David, his forbear, he moistened his couch with his tears. He wept on the Mount of Olives as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane. His great soul poured forth its supplication for more truth wherewith to feed humanity. And he came unto his own and his own received him not. Such is the history of every great thinker.

Homer sang through many cities in which he could get no bread, and in which hundreds of years afterwards he was honored. So, Jesus of Nazareth was rejected in his own community when he came there with a message. He came to a people, the children of Israel, the members of the ancient Church of Judah, with the fulfillment of the very thing that they believed in, wanted, desired, or thought they did. He came to tell them that Isaiah had spoken the truth, and that it was within the power of God to heal the sick, to comfort the sorrowing, to set the captives free and to raise the dead. It was the message of life and love to a dying and sickly race–and it was too good to be true. Could it be that God was going to minister to them through a solitary personality who was not equipped as they thought he should be? Was this lonely man, unknown in the world of letters, to be the channel through which these great blessings should come to the race? This was too much to expect, and so at once he was misunderstood.

The Greeks understood him better. The despised [258] Samaritans understood him better. The common people heard him gladly. The scholars scoffed. And today, two thousand years later, we find the scholars still scoffing. Christians, who call themselves by his sacred name, ridicule the possibility of a continuation of his healing ministry. He comes unto his own and his own receive him not. The Christ truth knocks at the door of the synagogues of today, and I mean by the synagogues, the Christian churches as well. There was no intention on the part of those to whom the second appearing came to start up new institutions, new organizations.

Ask yourselves, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics and Jews, when this thought of the indwelling Christ first came to you, if it was not the desire of your heart and the ambition of your soul to take it to your people–the Jew to the Jew, the Presbyterian to the Presbyterian, the Catholic to the Catholic? When this light of a new truth dawned upon your consciousness, was it not the first great impulse of your heart to communicate it to your own? What is more natural? Appreciating all the good of your respective churches, recognizing all the sanctity of your respective clergy, realizing all the peace and contentment that had come to you in your churches through your respective sacraments, or without them, the first great impulse of your generous hearts, when you discovered this, was to take it to your people.

The Presbyterian had no desire to convert the [259] Roman Catholic, and vice versa; the Catholic had no desire to go to the Presbyterian with his message of love and life and truth or New Thought. To the Presbyterian it is the fulfillment of prophecy, it is the realization of hope, and likewise to the Catholic and the Jew. And then what? What else would we do, if we should not go into our respective synagogues or churches and say to our respective ministers or rabbis: “What do you think of this? This has given to me more comfort than my old church has ever given to me. I wish you would look into it and incorporate it. I wish you would take it into the church and preach it from your pulpit. Will you not recommend it to your people? It is so real, so vital, so loving, so healing. Please do not keep it out of the church.” And the wise man has all too frequently shaken his head and looked at us with a sort of pitying contempt: “What is this strange thing? What is this new doctrine, this declaration of Spirit is greater than matter, the affirmation that God can overcome evil; this statement that prayer can conquer human ills, as well as moral infirmities? What do you mean?”

Exactly the same questions are being asked today as were asked by the people of our Saviour’s time. It was the doctrine of man’s emancipation to the right exercise of his own mentality, of salvation to the power of the spirit over the flesh. It was merely a re-emphasis of an ancient truth. The same thing is true today; it comes to its own and its own receive it not.

[260] It is such a startling truth that a Christian, calling himself such, believing himself such, will say: “Well, I believe in prayer, but when I am ill I want a doctor. I believe in prayer, but when I am ill I want some physical help.” He cannot understand the man who believes in prayer and is willing to trust to it absolutely with the same thought that Job expressed when he said: “Yea, though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” And when a man arrives at that conclusion, he knows that God does not slay anything. Truth comes unto its own and its own repudiates it. It comes in the sacred name of Christ, and Christians resent it, because, they say, if this thing were designed to come to us in the natural and prophetic order of things it would have reached us through our respective churches.

Well, again we repeat, nothing that is really worthwhile has ever come to us through our respective churches. Churches, like individuals, have to be aroused. They are hypnotised by ecclesiastical formulas. Great bodies move slowly. It is always some lonely, solitary individual who, alone with God or some great idea, perceives a hidden truth and then communicates it to another. Great bodies have never given us anything. For all they have ever done we thank them, but we do not applaud them very much. All that any great body has ever done has been to perpetuate an idea which an individual communicated in the first place. And then, when it has grown up into [261] a great, big, tremendous organization, it resents a new idea. It says: “We have always believed this. This is the faith of our fathers. Ye shall not bring to us any new thought. The religion of our fathers is good enough for us. We are perfectly satisfied.” But the new idea keeps knocking at the door; very frequently from within the church, more frequently from without, and the church maintains its stolid indifference.

I want to give to the churches all the credit that belongs to them, but every great ecclesiastical and political institution, and every institution which has banded together under its banners large numbers of men, moves slowly, whether it is medical, or political, or religious. You remember how long it took the medical institutions to accept Sir Humphrey Davy’s idea. You remember how slow the medical schools have been to accept new ideas born in the minds of individual physicians; how they have been opposed and persecuted and misunderstood and rejected and finally accepted, and then the sweet, wise men of the profession have said: “Why, of course; we always believed it.” They forget the days when they persecuted the man who formulated the idea.

Agassiz says that every great truth goes through three stages of evolution–first it is rejected, then it is considered, then it is accepted; and when it is accepted men delude themselves into thinking they always admitted it. Divine Science, not as a religion, not as a denomination, [262] not as a sectarian philosophy, came unto its own and its own received it not. It has knocked at the door of every church of the City of New York through someone who has been healed and helped by it. It has knocked at the door of every rector’s private study through someone who has been affected by it, or through some book which has been sent to him anonymously. It has sought admittance into the souls of the most progressive clergymen of this and other countries, and only in rare instances do we find men big enough and meek enough and humble enough to kneel at the feet of Christ and take it as a truth. One of such was Archdeacon Wilberforce, the noted prelate of England. Dr. Andrew Raymond is another. There are very few men in the city of New York like Rev. Herman J. Randall, a Baptist clergyman, who has been willing to sit down thoughtfully, quietly and prayerfully, and examine this thing to see if it had a message for him. And, if so, if it had a message for others through him, he thanked God that he had found it. But he is only one in perhaps twenty thousand.

The Jews accept it more readily than most of our Christian people, and yet these same Christians say: “We are open, we are alive to new things.” They say: “We want to know more about God.” Do they? I am speaking on the maturity of Jesus. He went to his own people, as was most natural for him to do, and they received him not. History ever repeats itself. He comes today, in the maturity [263] of two thousand years of Christianity–a great maturity that is, you know–and knocks at the door of the human mind and the doors of the synagogues and churches and asks if there is any room for him within. And again, as of old, there is no room.

The ass hears the message of good will and peace upon earth more quickly than most of our scholastics. It is the donkey in the stable that breathes upon it and keeps it warm, and most of us are considered donkeys by the general public. But, thank God, we are breathing upon a newly revived philosophy, keeping it warm until the men and women, and children of tomorrow will take it up and see in it a communicable light. It is the stranger, sometimes, whose heart has been longing for something better, whose thoughts have been aspiring to something higher and nobler, and in all his simplicity and contriteness of soul, and all the great repentance of a mind that is conscious of the fact that it does not know everything, who sits down at the feet of a simple disciple of truth and listens in wonderment, enthusiastic over the new revelation, and sets about to learn more of it. Such a person may not be in the church and may not want to have anything to do with the church; because he has sought in the church previously and found Him not there.

It is all very well for us to go out into public squares and talk about the nativity of Jesus and how he was born, but what about his maturity? What about his Gospel? To sing the praises of [264] the infant Jesus we tend to forget the manly Jesus; that is hardly the full text of Christianity.

It has come again, and the same question is being asked today that was asked in that day–can any good thing come out of Nazareth? That was the question the clergymen asked concerning P.P.Quimby, of Portland, Maine, who was Mrs. Eddy’s [founder of Christian Science] first healer and teacher–“Can any good thing come out of an ordinary clock-maker?” We ask exactly the same question, with two thousand years of Christian philosophy at our backs–can any good thing come out of Portland? Can an ordinary clock-maker communicate any new truth to us? But he did; a truth that has rung around the world, so that there is not a Christian city, village or hamlet on the planet today that does not know something of the philosophy of the Newer Thought of God. There is not a place in the world today that is worthy of the name of place where this thought has not been heard, felt and demonstrated.

Over in Germany and England, when this re-statement of the truth was taken over to them, they said: “This is another American fantasy; can any good, profound, religious thing come out of America, a land of commercialists?” When a friend of mine took it to Berlin they wanted to know what this strange thing was. And, when it began to make inroads in the court, it was summarily suppressed. It made no further progress except secretly, just as the early Christians progressed [265] secretly in the catacombs of Rome. When it was seen by the powers-that-be that it was making headway among the thoughtful people of Germany, then the iron hand was put down upon it, but it went on growing nevertheless. It makes no difference how heavy the rock is, the worm under the soil performs its functions and wriggles its way upward and through. It makes no difference what may be the weight of the soil, the thirsty root of the tree will find water. And it makes no difference how many weights are placed upon this larger thought of God, this Twentieth Century communication of Christ to humanity will find its way into the hearts of men, and no ecclesiastical dynasty, no government authority, can prevent it. Just as early Christianity flourished in spite of persecution, so Twentieth Century Christianity will do likewise.

It has come unto its own, and if its own have not received it, if the smugly complacent and self-satisfied ecclesiastics have not taken it as a body, what of it? You can’t expect them to do so. The sick have taken it, and the common people have heard it gladly, and the poor have accepted it, and the oppressed and the down-trodden and the miserable. The Gospel of New Thought or Divine Science appeals to the very same class of people as those to whom the Gospel of Jesus appealed. The common people always hear a prophecy of better things gladly, and this is no Utopian dream. This is not something to make men feel better for a while, and to delude [266] them into the hope that they are going to get better things, and have them feel that they must put up with conditions as they are today, because the future will bring forth a new order. Not at all! This is not only the prophecy of better things to come next year, but it is the fulfillment of the thing today; so that men and women can rise up and call it blessed, and know that the healing of their bodies is being accomplished through the quieting of their minds, through the uplifting of their souls, and that something greater has come into their lives than ever was there before.

It has come unto its own, but only those receive it who really yearn after it. Only those who are worthy receive it, because this is not thrust upon anybody. There must be a heart-longing and a soul-yearning for it. We must desire this truth of God as much as the drowning man desires air, or the sunflower desires the sun. We must yearn after it with all our hearts and souls and minds and bodies. And then it shall come unto us and sup with us. We shall invite it and it will bring with it its own rich blessings. Our health shall spring forth speedily, regardless of the laughter of so-called Christians, regardless of the ridicule of existing institutions.

There are those individuals who have felt the touch of this healing agency in their own bodies, who know something of the uplifting of the mind through spiritual influences, who know something of the change of heart, or what we call the [267] transformation of the soul, through it. This something can never be taken away from us. There is no amount of legislation that can take it away from us, no amount of persecution that can belittle it in our estimation. We believe that we are standing for the same Divine principles for which the early Christians stood, the right to pray in time of trouble, and the right to trust God absolutely and implicitly and not to lean upon an arm of flesh. Woe unto them that go down into Egypt for help! Woe unto that man who seeks any lesser aid or assistance than that which comes from God, because sometime, somehow, somewhere, he will be rudely awakened from his delusion.

Divine Science has come to teach us and to emphasize the great fact that the only reliable thing in the universe is God Almighty, and that a man that putteth his trust in Him confidently, absolutely, implicitly and without division will bring whatsoever he will to pass. There is no danger in trusting God. The great danger is in not trusting God. We cannot trust God too implicitly. “Do not rely,” says a very good Christian, “too much on prayer.” How remarkable–do not rely too much on prayer? Did Jesus rely too much upon prayer? Did the early apostles rely too much upon prayer? Has any man ever lived who relied too much upon prayer? The great trouble is we have not relied enough upon it. “When I am ill,” says a caustic individual, “I [268] pray, but I also take drugs.” Well, in Divine Science, we do not say that. When we are ill, we pray the fervent, effectual prayers of righteous men and of righteous women, and the prayer of faith saves the sick without drugs.

There is one thing from which Divine Science has saved us, thank God, and that is the drug habit. There are thousands and hundreds of thousands in this great country who can testify to the fact that they have been saved by Christ from the drug habit. What do you suppose the Churches of Christ, Scientist, have been builded with in this country or in any other? Let me tell you–drug money. With what do you suppose this church is carried on? Drug money, for the most part, if not altogether. If our people would compute the cost to themselves, before they came into Divine Science, of just drugs for their so-called maladies and diseases, and would put that money into the treasury, they would do marvelous things.

If Divine Science has done nothing more than to break the drug habit for most of us, it is a benefactor, a veritable Messiah. Submit it to yourselves–those of you who know anything about Divine Science, those to whom it is a religion, those to whom it is a philosophy–have you saved anything, or have you been saved from anything as the result of your interest in it? Do [269] you take more, or less, drugs? Do you feel better, or worse? These are simple questions, purely mathematical in their character. If you want to find out whether you have been benefited or blessed by your study, take your little day book and study the debit and credit side. Most of you have lost an ugly and costly habit, and you have gained a better understanding of God.

And this thing comes to its own today in this enlightened Twentieth Century, and we are still egotistical enough to say that “the religion of my fathers is good enough for me.” Abraham might have said that and remained a pagan. Moses might have been so minded and remained in Egypt. Jesus might have said that and have gone to the synagogue with his mother from then until now, if he had stayed with us. The religion of our forefathers is not good enough for us, not if we are progressive. The lives of our forefathers and the characters of our forefathers may be, but their religious ideas and views, not at all. Why? Because God is forever imparting himself to human souls. God, in his infinite wisdom, is ever unfolding to humanity nobler, higher, better, more beautiful truths, and for a man to say that “the religion of my forefathers is good enough for me” is to limit the power of the Holy One of Israel. It is to stand still.

We might as well say that the politics of two thousand years ago are good enough for us, that the sanitary conditions of our forefathers are [270] good enough for us, and therefore we will make no improvement. How ridiculous, how absurd, how un-Christian! As if God had reached a limit of his impartations to the human soul! As if the final word of truth had been spoken and God would never again utter himself! And, when a simple man comes to us, apparently from nowhere, with a message, we say: “Can any good thing come out of this simple, unschooled man? Can he know anything of truth? Is it possible that this man knows more than Bishop So-and-So?” Bless you, perhaps the bishop knows more about good eating than he knows about Christianity. We are awakening to the great fact that scholastic education means nothing by comparison with Divine intuition, and whether a man comes out of Nazareth as a simple carpenter’s son with a message of truth, or from a remote village in some foreign country and brings to us a more glorious tiding of great joy, we in all humility should listen to his message. How do we know but that it is one that is coming to its own and not being received?

Therefore, I recommend to you that you listen more intelligently to this new message, that you get such literature as is now at your disposal, that you study it earnestly and thoughtfully, that you make comparisons between the new thought and the old thought, and then abide by your convictions. If you do, there is a blessing in store for you that is as far superior to anything that you can think of as prosperity is superior to poverty. [271] Search the Scriptures, for in them ye have eternal life.

It is the maturity of this man, Jesus, this God-man and man-God, that I wish to emphasize. The beautiful infant is pictured in art, literature, music and oratory. A holy child is one thing; a sublime man is another. It is the sublime man that I want to call to your attention, the developed Christ, the matured soul, the courageous, fearless proclaimer of truth, the man who could say, with all the conviction of an awakened consciousness: “I have come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly. This day this Scripture will be fulfilled in your ears.” And he said it without any thought or suspicion in his mind that it would not come to pass; he said it though he knew that his very declaration would draw down upon him the bitterness, the hate, the animosity, the devilishness of the existing institutions, that that very minute they would seek to pull him out of the synagogue and cast him from the hills. Failing in that they would cry, as any angry fool mob will cry: “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And yet, he had the hardihood to say it.

It is the mature man that stands before me and not the infant Jesus. I love the infant Jesus. It is a wonderful example to youth that one could stand there, with all the appetites and passions and angers and hates of the human soul, and still could triumph over them by the power of an [272] intense spirituality. But it is quite another thing when a man comes before us, at thirty years of age, matured and developed, and opposes the institutions which would slay him, which would crucify him, and which did so. It is not the birth of Jesus but the life of Jesus that stands out, the life of a glorious man, the life of a personified God who feared nothing and nobody, who spoke the truth as he felt it, gave utterance to it as he knew it and defied the Devil and all his minions.

In our parks we set up wonderful Christmas trees–to what? For the most part to the infant Jesus. What do we know about the mature man? Very little, and that little would be taken away from us if that could be done. But we are learning every day and every hour the principle for which he stood.

Up to date I have found nothing better than a divinely scientific interpretation of his mission. I do not know what new revelation is in store for me next year. But this one thing I know, that when it comes I shall pray God for humility and meekness and strength enough to accept it; no matter through whom it comes, or from where. Tomorrow, if any of you has a better interpretation of the law of God, bring it to me: I want it. I have never stood as one who knows more of the Lord than you. I am a fellow-disciple with you, a co-worker in the Kingdom of God with you, a reacher-out with you, after the great things of God. It is only as we come with this empty vessel, it is only as we come with this open soul, [273] to the great heart of things that there can be poured into it the water of life and the wine of inspiration. It is only as we become conscious of the fact that, by comparison with all there is to know, we know very, very little, that we will be kept meek and humble and contrite.

He came unto his own and his own received him not. That text haunts me. The natural expectation of the human heart is that when it goes to its own it will be received. Have you tried to communicate this thought to a mother, or has a mother tried to take it to a child, or a sister to a brother? Has it always been accepted joyfully and gladly? Then you know something of the attitude of mind that Jesus must have suffered when he brought this great, glad message of God to his own people and they received it not. If you have tried to take this New Thought to one whom you believe needs it more than he needs anything else in the world, and he has looked at you with astonishment and almost ordered you out of his house, then you know something of the experience of the Master. He came unto his own and his own received him not. There is nothing more pathetic than this in the whole New Testament.

There is nothing more pathetic on the pages of human history than this great, tremendous fact, that when you discover a new truth, whether it is political or religious or otherwise, and you strive to communicate it to others, they do not receive [274] it. That is where the poignancy of it all comes in, and the pain of it all, but it is good for you. It is tremendously good for you, because then you know what it means when he says: “Two women shall be working in a field; one shall be taken and one shall be left. Two men shall be sleeping in a bed; one shall be taken and the other shall be left.” And the one that is taken with your idea may not be related to you, while the other, the one sleeping beside him, may be your own brother or your own father. Whatever objection men may have to it, whatever refusal they may make of it, do not be discouraged. You are no better than Jesus, not as good; and remember that your faith is only his faith written in small letters. No matter what you have to go through, he felt it before. He trod the wine-press absolutely alone, and not even the guards at Gethsemane, Peter nor John nor James could stay awake with him.

His own received him not and comforted him not. It is well for us, because the only comfort that we can get is the comfort of turning the heart unreservedly to God, and when that comes you will not seek consolation, but you will give it. That is the mark of an emancipated soul. The only thing it seeks consolation from is the Most High God, and, seeking it there, it will get it in abundance, and, getting it in abundance, it can minister lavishly.

The Christian life is wonderful. It is not what we have thought it to be at all. It is a life of perpetual prayer. And what is prayer? I quote Emerson on this, because I think he was more of a Christian than those who condemned him. “Prayer,” says Emerson, “is the contemplation of the highest facts of being from the sublimest point of view.” In other words, prayer is contemplation; it is meditation upon God. It is the absorption of the soul in the Deity. It is the conscious unity of the individual with the universal, the contemplation of the facts of being from the highest point of view. How many who pray with the lips contemplate the facts of being from the highest point of view? How many know anything about the facts of being? A woefully small number. Let it not be said of us that he came unto his own and his own received him not. Let us cultivate the expectant heart, the awakened mind, the open soul, because these lead to joy, gladness, peace, power and prosperity.

Chapter 23

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The Realm of Reality
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