Chapter 9 – Making Your Self the Master – Christ’s Code for Mankind


Harvey Hardman
Making Your Self the Master
© Harvey Hardman
Denver, Colorado, 1935.

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was settled, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them,…And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority.”
— St. Matthew.

[81] A Code is essentially a system of regulations. It differs from a creed, in that a creed is a definite and fixed statement of religious belief, while a code is more elastic and susceptible to such changes as changing conditions may demand. Jesus never formulated a creed; he did originate a code for mankind.

Just here, in the beginning of this chapter, it may be well to explain the meaning of the word Christ as used in the title, and the difference in meaning it has from the name Jesus. It is common practice in the Christian world, and indeed wherever the Christian religion is known or discussed, to regard the names Jesus and Christ as referring to one and the same person. So that people say Christ when they mean Jesus, and Jesus when they mean Christ. In short, the words are absolutely synonymous in Christian theology.

In Spiritual Science we distinguish between Jesus and Christ. Jesus was a man; Christ is a Principle. Jesus was human in all respects so far as his personality was concerned, a man with like passions and appetites as our own. Christ is the Creative Principle of the [82] Universe, and Jesus, along with all other humans, was an expression of the Christ Principle.

The Christ Principle is not only the creative power that manifests as man, but as all things. To use the words of Saint John’s Gospel: “All things were made by him (it) and without him was not anything made that was made.” In his opening verses, John refers to this Christ or Creative Principle as the “Word.” But whether we use “word” or “principle,” the reference is not to a personality, which in the very nature of things is limited, but to the creative action of a force that is universal.

Jesus was an individual incarnation of the Christ Principle. So also are you, whoever you may be, and to make the matter clear, we may refer to Jesus Christ, the man with whose code we are here concerned; or Abraham Christ, father of the people of Israel; or David Christ, a king of Israel. But lest you think the term Christ refers only to the Hebrews, we will still further elucidate the meaning by using your personal name, whatever it may be, as your identity in Christ, by placing it before the divine Word–Anna Christ or George Christ–so that there may be no misunderstanding as to what we mean when we speak of Christ’s Code for Mankind. Hence we have used the word [83] Christ as the surname of Jesus in the universal sense, for he must have had another patronymic besides the name Jesus, just as you have a Christian name and a surname. His surname may have been Samuels, or Hezekiah, or Solomon. Certain it is that it was not Christ, for that is a Greek, not a Hebrew word. It was added to his baptismal name long after he had passed away, and after his surname had perhaps been forgotten.

To be definite, then, we may say that this lesson deals with that code for mankind that was formulated or originated by Jesus Christ. This distinguishes it at once from the Mosaic Code; the Code Napoleon of France; the laws of Solon, of Greece; and from the Rooseveltian Codes now being made into law for the American people. The question is this: Is the Code presented to mankind by Jesus Christ a workable system of regulations for the moral, ethical, spiritual, economic, and social life of humanity? If it is not workable–that is, practical and useable–then we may as well have done with it, for we have too many idealistic theories of our own creation, without adopting the ideas of some visionary of two thousand years ago.

It may be well to locate the Code at once, for while there are many saying of Jesus Christ recorded in other chapters of the four gospels, the entire Code, in all its essentials, is [84] stated in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Chapters of the book named Matthew’s Gospel. Whatever else the great Law-giver may have said in parables, personal discourses to multitudes or individuals, stories, answers to questions, personal experiences and so on, the real foundation of his system is to be found in the three chapters above mentioned.

Before we analyze this Code, let us frankly repeat: The Code is not a Creed. The Code is elastic, capable of application to any situation that may confront the individual (or the nation). It is a statement of principles, with illustrations as to how the principles may be applied in practice. No hard and fast rules are given. It is really a most masterly summation of those fundamental laws that underlie and must be used in the creation of a new type of humanity; a new order of civilization; a new system of government and society.

In the consideration of this subject, I ask you to dismiss as far as possible all preconceived notions about the Code. You may have read it a hundred times–in the light of orthodox creedal beliefs. But that does not mean that you have read it in the light of what Jesus Christ really meant. Nor am I assuming that I have the key to its full meaning. No one has. It is too vast a conception for any one person to comprehend, and in this statement I include [85] Jesus himself. Great men are often the mouth-pieces of that Vaster Intelligence, and utter words which they themselves do not fully comprehend. It sometimes appears that Genius is a raving madman. Jesus Christ was accused of being mad on many occasions. His message was bigger than his personality. But it was not bigger than Christ and that is the reason it is today as modern as if it had been written yesterday.

Truth is an immortal youth. I only ask that you approach this subject with me as a free mind, curious to know what this Teacher really meant when he gave utterance to the ideas that are–perhaps crudely and inadequately–recorded in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

“He went up into a mountain, and when he was settled, his disciples came unto him, and he began to teach them.” Then follows what have been called “The Beatitudes.” The importance of these opening remarks is not so much in their surface meaning, as in the spirit they express.

No one believes that the “meek shall inherit the earth,” but the idea is that pride and [86] vain glory shall not finally prevail over wisdom and love. Every other statement, in the Introduction to the Code (read them), carries the internal evidence of its truth. In each line, wisdom speaks with the soft voice of love. But the voice is the Voice of Truth. It does not have to rave like a military commander, Truth is its own demonstration. Love attracts love. Righteousness (right thinking), the search for truth, shall be rewarded. The pure in heart shall see God in everything, for they are without guile. The introduction to the Code is a masterpiece of universal appeal to the soul of man.

How different our reaction if it started off thus: “His Imperial and August Majesty, Jesus Christ, King of the Jews, Emperor of the World, decrees”: and then, following, a long series of great and glorious announcements as to his divine origin; his power; his authority; his majesty as the Heir to Infinite Power; his ability to condemn anyone to hell or other kind of punishment; and a winding up of the Introduction to the Code by saying that he was the wisest man on earth; the most glorious king in the universe; the rule of all nations and countries; the owner of the habitable globe. All we need do to see the wisdom of humility is to read the Code of Christ-Jesus and then think of the Codes of lesser teachers, rulers, and gods.


Jesus Breathes a New Spirit Into Morals and Ethics
Now to the Code itself. Start at the seventeenth verse of the Fifth Chapter of Matthew: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law.” Every Jew loved the Law of Moses. He must get their favorable attention. He is going to make all the glorious promises of the Old Testament come true. Just read some of them and see how wonderful they are. They had really become dead letters. People no longer believed them. As we would say today, in our slang, “The law is a lot of hooey.” But Jesus told these students that he knew a way to make all the great visions of the Seers and Prophets come to pass–he would show how they could be “fulfilled” in human experience.

If you can only get a little of the feeling that surged in the hearts of the poor down-trodden lower classes of the Jews of that time and prior to that time, you will be able to understand what those students of Jesus, who belonged to that submerged class, really felt when the Teacher told them he was going to bring to pass all the dreams of the great dreamers of Israel. Read the prophecies of Micah and Amos and Isaiah and other thinkers [88] and progressive statesmen and radicals of the Hebrews. It is just as if a man came along, a man with sufficient mental and spiritual power to make people have faith in him, and said to all our hungry and disinherited millions in America: “I am going to drive the Money Changers out of the temple of American life. I am going to give you a New Deal and a Square Deal. I will restore to you the rights which a few powerful and unprincipled crooks have taken away from you. Give me your faith and your cooperation and I will bring to you a new world of peace and plenty and happiness and justice in American life.”

That was a wonderfully wise approach to the minds of the people Jesus expected to win as his disciples. Without stirring their deep-seated prejudices into active antagonism, and by the most subtle appeal to their hopes and desires, he touched the springs of responsive loyalty. And then, with consummate art, he put his finger on the trouble or spiritual disease of the religion of his people: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Having paved the way for the presentation of his Code, by saying that there was nothing wrong with the Mosaic law except that it required fulfillment in practice, he begins boldly [89] to declare his spiritual authority. “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill.” He selects a commandment out of the ten fundamentals of the Mosaic Code that is the most striking for the purpose of contrasting that Code with his own, and then continues: “But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother is in danger of the judgment;” has indeed broken the law, by entertaining murder in his heart. Therefore, if you bring your gift or sacrifice to the altar, and there remember that your brother has just cause of condemnation against you, leave your gift and go and square the matter by removing as far as possible the cause for this mental attitude. Get right with your neighbor before you try to get right with God. Here is an entirely new conception of the spiritual law. It embraces motives as well as acts, and demands a higher loyalty to principle than lip service.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The import of the New Commandment is far beyond any outward observance of a law. It implies a secret or inner loyalty to the ideal of mental and emotional chastity, and ties up with [90] that wonderful statement in his introduction to the Code in which he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

In like manner he deals with divorce, forswearing, resistance to evil and injustice by using force against force, evil against evil, and, penetrating to the very heart of the whole matter, he contrasts the law of love with the law of Moses.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” Why? In order that you may live as the children of the One Father, who loves all and gives to all with impartial munificence.

The New Commandment is based on the capacity of the human soul to express the god-like power of universal love, the observance of which reveals a new type of spiritual being, a real citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus Breathes a New Spirit Into Prayer and Worship
Throughout the Fifth Chapter (first of the Code) Jesus contrasts his own code with [91] that of Moses by repeatedly saying, “It hath been said by them of old time, but I say unto you…” The Sixth Chapter (second of the Code) introduces a new note of authority.

With penetrating satire, he pictures the alms-giving of the wealthy hypocrites, who advertise themselves with trumpet and self-laudation in the streets and synagogues. In effect, Jesus as much as says–Here is the fruit of religious formalism; of outward piety and inward corruption; of observing the letter of the law while denying its spirit. Look at them! These seekers for the chief places in the church, who go about robbing the widows and orphans and then with a loud noise proclaiming their righteousness by giving a portion of their ill-gotten gains to the church and to the poor, in order that they may have the praise of men. “Verily I say unto you, they have their reward (to be seen of men). But be not ye like unto them, for if ye be, ye shall have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Therefore, “When thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Then, with sublime simplicity coupled with the most biting satire, he describes the hollowness of public worship and prayer:–people [92] who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street, lifting up loud and oratorical invocations, not with any thought of reaching the ear of God, but with the thought of being heard of men. But when you pray, “Enter into your closet and shut the door, and pray to your Father which is in secret, and your Father which seeth in secret shall reward you openly.”

Throughout this chapter of the Code, the clearest and most powerful emphasis is placed on the necessity of secret communion with the Father in heaven–that is, the Father within. He gives his model prayer, and, at its close, throws upon it the light of his spiritual genius by selecting the one phrase that contains the heart of his instructions: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your Father will also forgive you; but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.”

The hate, ill-will, malice and condemnation you treasure in your heart against others damns you most of all. It is a subtle poison, a canker, a corrosive mental force, that shall eat away at the vitals of your being, and lead you ultimately into either evil doing or result in sickness, loss, disappointment, and bitterness. No one can study the Code of Jesus Christ without realizing that not only was he a spiritual [93] teacher and genius of the highest rank, but that he was also a master of human psychology.

Then follows a section of the Code devoted to the real meaning of the religious fast; the warning against selfishness and greed and the desire for riches; the necessity for singleness of purpose and devotion to the one God as the path of light, spiritual wisdom and power.

When he speaks of a unified mental and spiritual life, he uses the unanswerable logic of common sense by saying what everyone knows at once to be true: “No man can serve two masters.” “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways,” to quote another Teacher. The wisdom of Jesus, in demanding of his disciples sincerity and unity of thought, motive, and purpose, is beyond question. But this alone does not confer power, as many a one can attest. The practice of the principle of secrecy, in all the religious or spiritual devotions of the individual, is paramount if spiritual power is to be attained.

Further direct analysis of the Code of Jesus Christ is not here needed. Read the Code for yourself and mark each item in it, and think how far it is from creedal limitations and hair-splitting theological dogmatism. It is really a great spiritual charter of freedom for the individual. It makes no reference whatsoever [94] to organized religious authority except to show how absurd and inadequate to real religion such authority is.

In your study, do not overlook the instruction regarding the practice of giving in secret as unto God and not unto men; of praying in absolute secrecy, telling no one; of fasting or any other form of personal devotion, as a direct secret recognition of the Inner Presence, and for the purpose of clearing the channels of the body of waste material so as to make more effective the act of spiritual communion with the Presence.

All three sections of the Code are necessary to the complete triangle of instruction and regulation of the spiritual life, but the second section is the base, for without the specific esoteric items regarding the law of the inner life that are contained in it, it would be impossible to fulfill the conditions involved in the other two. It supports the lines and determines the apex of the other two angels of this profound and amazing Code for mankind.

Observance of the articles of the Code implies the primary desire for inner illumination and personal freedom. The entire Code is a powerful suggestion to the individual to cast off all outward trappings of ritualism and organized forms of worship, and to deal directly [95] with the Divine Presence in his own soul. It is a challenge to all fixed beliefs. It demands spiritual allegiance to Principle alone.

Unlike all other codes, this Code of Jesus Christ is for the individual. If you regulate your life in accordance with its spirit, you will harm no one; deceive no one; lust after no one, nor anything; judge no one; condemn no one, not even yourself. You will make love the law of your life–love for the Father in you; love for your fellow-man. Love does not fight, never nags, doesn’t find fault. Love, while it is the fulfilling of the law (moral, spiritual, ethical) is also the means of realizing the greater powers of the Self. Hence the Code contains those specific instructions for the development of spiritual power and insight which are given in the second section.

But the only thing that gives value to this or any other code is the spirit with which it is observed. We have seen that the real essence of the system is absent from Christianity, which is more concerned with doctrines about the personality of Jesus than it is with the Code he gave to mankind.

The whole thing is a dead letter until it is put into practical use. The only thing that will lead people to try to put it to work is faith that [96] its principles, when put into operation, will bring forth the desired results.

These promises include protection from evil, guidance, an abundant life; all the good things required for comfort and happiness. In this connection study the beautiful and poetic allusion to the life and raiment of the birds and flowers. And again: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” But in order that these fruits shall grow in your life, you must put the Code to the test of real practice in all its parts and implications.

Jesus envisaged the universal application of this New Commandment. To him it must have appeared so demonstrably true, that he could not believe the world would turn it down, for its observance would bring peace and happiness to all the world and healing for all nations. But the world has been blind to its pragmatic value as well as to its spiritual wisdom. Mankind had to evolve to the level where it could see beyond materialism with all its terrible fruits of greed, selfishness, hate, war, and bitter and senseless competition. Perhaps now is the time in human evolution when mankind, having suffered so greatly, will see the wisdom of putting into effect the Code of Christ. Sooner or later the world must come to it, for its is Truth.

[97] Meanwhile, as Divine Scientists, we can prove it in our lives. We can work the works of the Father within us; live above strife and hypocrisy, and the deceitfulness of the illusory sense-life of the animal man. And in doing this we shall help to usher in the new Day and the New Age, wherein the principles of the Eternal Christ, as expounded and demonstrated by Jesus, shall rule the life of mankind with its fruits of righteousness, and peace and justice for all.

Only one conclusion is possible as to the result of the general application of these principles, either by the individual or by the race: a new type of human being, as far above the present average human, as he is above the Caveman with his law that might makes right. For no one can study carefully the teachings of Jesus without becoming aware that he visioned a new type of humanity, the Super-man, living in the kingdom of heaven as an outward evidence of his inner mastery and power over spiritual and mental laws.

May we cooperate with all our hearts with those progressive forces in the world today that are moving in the direction of the new order of human life, in which, not the money-changers and war-makers, but Christ shall rule in the hearts of men, and so in the affairs of the world.

Chapter 10

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Making Your Self the Master
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