W.John Murray
The Astor Lectures
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1917.


To create
Is greater than created to destroy.
Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound
Thy empire? Easily the proud attempt
Of spirits apostate and their counsels vain
Thou has repelled, while impiously they thought
Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw
The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks
To lessen thee, against his purpose serves
To manifest the more thy might: his evil
Thou usest, and from thence creat’st more good.
Witness this new-made world, another heaven
From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view
On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea;
Of amplitude almost immense, with stars
Numerous, and every star perhaps a world
Of destined habitation; but thou know’st
Their seasons: among these the seat of men,
Earth with her mother ocean circumfused,
Their pleasant dwelling place. Thrice happy men,
And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanced,
Created in his image, there to dwell
And worship him and in reward to rule
Over his works on earth, in sea, or air,
And multiply a race of worshippers [110]
Holy and just; thrice happy if they knew
Their happiness, and persevere upright! –Milton.

”What a piece of worke is Man! How Noble in Reason? How infinite in faculty? In forme and moving? How express and admirable? In Action how like an Angel? In Apprehension how like a God? The beauty of the world, the paragon of Animals.” –Shakespeare.

In the beginning was Mind. The universe came into Being. Nothing can come from nothing. The universe was made out of the substance “which is substance in itself”–the substance of Mind. Out of Mind the heavens unfolded, the Intelligence appeared in the form of light. The light was unconscious of the darkness even as intelligence is unconscious of ignorance. This unconsciousness was the firmament which separated the ocean of intelligence from the sea of ignorance which “divides the waters from the waters.” “Nature does not grow alone, but as her temple waxes, the inward service of the mind and soul grow withal” and clothes with form the idea which emanates from Mind. With the creation of form a shadow appeared on the deep. It was the shape of earth which is the natural shadow of the spiritual substance. Enlightenment unites the shadow with substance.

Shape was gathered together in one place, and shadow as “dry land” appeared. As the ideas [111] of Mind unfolded they appeared as vegetation. The earth conceived and brought forth grass and herbs yielding seed and trees yielding fruit whose seed was the idea. Two “great lights” now emerge: the sun to rule the day and the lesser to “silently shine during the night over the profound sleep of unconscious nature.” Out of apparent darkness and chaos, but in reality out of Mind, the world rolled into light.

And the world was fruitful and multiplied the forms with which to personate the divine individualities of Mind.

Aeons passed. And then out of the whole rational scheme of things a fuller expression of Mind emerged “whose seed is in itself upon the earth,” but whose identity is hid with Christ in God. This is man who is destined to be God-like, when the outer will becomes as the inner.

Again aeons passed. We see “like those who have imperfect sight, the things that distant are from us,” and consequently no one yet has seen Man and yet what has been seen of that which he has achieved in his own realm has been sufficient proof of his potential divinity. Notwithstanding that as yet he has not come into his inheritance, man has within himself the germ of a God to be, and although,

“Silent and weeping, coming at the pace
Which in this world the Litanies assume”
he yet is coming into his own.

So far man’s progression has been hampered [112] by the ignorance which has caused him to look without for that which he can find only within the recesses of his own being. Men have ever dyed their robes red in the blood of their fellows instead of washing them white in the river of Spirit. Unconsciously to himself, Man wills to be like God. Dante says:

“The greatest gift that in his largeness God
Creating made, and unto his own goodness
Nearest conformed, and that which he doth prize
Most highly, is the freedom of the will
Wherewith the creatures of intelligence
Both all and only were and are endowed.”
In that man wills to be like God and in that,
“Will is never quenched unless it will,
But operates as nature doth in fire,
If violence a thousand times distort, by
The force of will man is destined,
That essence to behold, wherein is seen
How God and our own nature were united.”
But until man unites his will to the will that is divine, necessarily his progression will be accomplished through the fire of suffering rather than by the divine art of enlightenment. “Cord never shot an arrow from itself,” nor did man come into being by his own volition; he is a design in the divine project of which God is the Author, the expression of the highest idea in the Divine Mind.


“So from its Lord did the triform effect
Pay forth into its being all together
Without discrimination of beginning.”
Hence man was “born, not of the blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” and therefore by right of birth he is heir to the whole estate of the Divine Mind.
“All things whatever they be,
Have order among themselves, and this is form
That makes the universe resemble God,”
in that God is the unity of which His ideas are the multiplicity. From Mind, Idea, and “form co-mingled and conjoined” came perfect being without defect. Thus man is Being, immortal and eternal.

Every diversity of operation which nature mirrors has its eternal unity in the Mind which is God, and every attribute of nature is ordained of Spirit to assist in the divine scheme of creation; it extends from Man who is “a little lower than God,” even to the wandering winds and wanton breeze, the least of things which under the guidance of intelligence, bear seeds of trees across sea and continent on their ethereal wings, in their invisible ministry on behalf of divine unfoldment. The evolution of man from Mind is no more mysterious than the unfoldment of a flower from a seed. Man is the completion of God; a rose is the completion of the seed. Watch [114] the evolution of a rose, how it appears as a tiny bud, from which spring those petals of exquisite loveliness, nestled mid leaves of delicate green, and each leaf veined in palest gold. It is the soul of color, and its spirit exhales rare perfume. A rose is a symbol of marvelous unity in an inexpressible variety of exquisite manifestations. If you understand the evolution of the rose, you will understand the “birth” of the universe. They are designed by the same Mind and are fashioned of the same substance, in a like mold, which man has called nature, and which is the matrix of shape, the shadow of form. Perhaps you do not understand this, but you will if you will “apply your measure, not to the appearance,” but to the reality of substance which is God.

Nature is not a creator; instead she is the auxiliary of Spirit and clothes ideas with shape that they may be apprehended by reason. When intelligence takes the place of reason, she discloses the form of the idea which is hidden from reason who, because of her short sight, cannot “traverse the illimitable way.” And man, who is guided alone by reason with his mind fixed on earthly things, “pluck’st darkness from the very light” and believes the world to be made of matter instead of framed by the word of God. It is intelligence that assures us “that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Says Dante, “Thou makest thyself so dull with false imagining, that thou seest not what thou wouldst see if thou hadst [115] shaken it off.” To conceive of the trinity as three persons in one, instead of athreefold expression of one Divine Substance, is to imagine a monster and so deprive ourselves of the use of a vital Truth which is indispensable to the realization of Spirit as ever present and omnipotent. Likewise to associate Spirit with formlessness is a grave error. Formlessness would indicate the absence of qualities, and that which has no qualities is not anything. The soul could not exist apart from form, and in the exact proportion that we throw off the shape of materiality we are seen to be clothed in the form of spirituality.

Man is the image of God, in that he is a Spirit, and he is like God in that he is individual; he is the individual microcosm in which the universal whole is mirrored. The universe is unchangeable, but Truth is sifting out thought from a finite to an infinite conception of that which constitutes the universe as a manifestation of God. Goethe’s dying request is being answered, and the earnest seeker for Truth is receiving constantly “more light” and clearer light, the light which is changing the chaos of mythical hypothesis concerning creation into the order of divine unfoldment.

The manufacture of many gods, which was the first tacit acknowledgment of man’s lack of faith in his own ability, gave rise to a belief in gods conceived in man’s inefficiency and brought forth in his imagination. Man’s mistake in looking [116] outside of his own divinity for that which could only be found in the wealth of his own being, gave rise to the theory of the “Fall of man.” Man fell from his divine possibility in devising gods many, none of which man was able to endow with the intelligence of their maker.

Enlightenment has enthroned man as a tabernacle of the Holy Ghost which is the very God, in that it is the whole manifestation of the Principle, Idea and Expression which is God. It is because of this, then, that no one can say that man is God but by this complete understanding of the triune nature of the attributes of God coming to fruition in man, who may be likened to the tree of which God is the seed.

To seek aid of the finite in trying to fathom infinity is like dissecting a seed to discover the nature of the fruit. Eye has not discerned Spirit nor hath ear heard His voice. But “when the mind of man, a wanderer more from the flesh, and less by thought imprisoned, almost prophetic in its vision is,” it hears that voice like “the sound of many waters,” and the intellect reposing in the Truth sees the “countenance as the sun shining in its strength,” symbolizing the brightness of Truth.

The substance of Spirit may not be measured in the mold of matter, nor substance found in its shadow, nor yet man in corporeality, for man represents divinity. Spiritual sense is the medium by which man discerns the form of God to be in “that motion which keeps quiet the center, [117] and all the rest about it moves, from hence begins as from its starting point–the love that turns it, and the power it rains.”

Man, by nature of his individuality, can never be absorbed in the Infinite and thus lose his identity. Man is the expression of every attribute of divinity, and what God is, man may become. To make ourselves unto the likeness of God, however, we must first have a perfect image of God. To be present with the Lord is to be absent from the body. By wrong thinking we have made the body the hostelry of grief. To redeem it we must assume our spiritual control over it and think only such thoughts as will reconstruct it in its original likeness to the temple of the Holy Ghost. Fix your eyes on the verities of being, soar as a bird to your mountain of Spirit, and when you return to your earthly tabernacle let it be as the swallow returns to her old haunts, to reconstruct and beautify, that she may consecrate them anew to the service of her highest instincts. Use your body to the glory of Spirit, for in no other way can you keep it “wholly acceptable unto God” which is your reasonable service. Put off mortality by putting on spiritual wisdom which is immortality. Live in your body but do not vegetate in it. It is a temple of usefulness, not a vault for storing unexpressed divine faculties. If your progress heavenward is made at a snail’s pace, refrain from discouragement, “for mortal man, by passages diverse, uprise the world’s [118] lamp.” “Seek first the kingdom”; everything else will seek you.

“Unto the virtue
Apply thy measure, not to the appearance.
Thou wilt behold a marvelous agreement,
Of more to greater, and of less to smaller,
In every heaven with its intelligence.”
There is often more incentive toward spiritual development in the shadow of affliction than in the wrath of fame. Crowns are blood-stained and sceptors are bought with human lives.

We may lose the field occasionally, but the knowledge of our divinity should never permit us to lose our hearts in the marsh of discouragement. Jesus corrected by example and refrained from faultfinding, a method which acts more as an irritant than a curative policy. Like a mortal wound, the more it is treated and probed, the more it hurts; and it is so with faultfinding. It accomplishes little less than to hurt and afflict the victim to whom it is applied. It has well been said that he who corrects “every fault he spieth and judgeth all alike, doth all amiss: for faults are greater thought or less, as is the person’s self that doth transgress,” and perhaps the habit of faultfinding is a greater evil than that which calls it forth. Correction does not require that its object be harassed. The true method of education is by constant example. To destroy the orthodox devil and supply another bugbear [119] to haunt the place heretofore dedicated to the devil’s workship is to chase out a chimera and breed a tyrant in his stead. Fear of any sort is fatal to health, and fear has no place in God’s kingdom. All that is, is fashioned out of the substance of Love, and fear has no place in Love. Therefore perfect Love casts out fear.

The loss of a personal love often widens one’s vision and increases his capacity to love and labor universally. The destiny of man demands dominion on his part and not subjection. To depend for happiness upon any earthly condition or any earthly love, demands the removal of both, in order that their place may be filled with that love of God which never disappoints. The only things we are permitted to keep in this life are those we can enjoy in God. These we may never lose, because if a mist of sense should descend and separate them from our vision for a time we should still know that they are hid with Christ in God, from whence they shall again appear as the sun appears when the cloud has passed.

There is nothing other than Mind, and nothing can be lost in God. If those whom we have loved and in whom we have confided, turn from us in the hour of our need or betray our confidences, it will be God’s opportunity to fill the place of these shadows with His divine presence. If you are betrayed, you are simply carrying a part of Christ’s cross. He carried the full weight. Remember that all the works of man’s hands may, aye, will come to naught, but the ideas of God are eternal and not one of these will ever be moved from the Divine Mind, in whom man reposes co-existent and eternal with His Maker.

Next: Divine Mind and its Idea

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