Chapter 1 – Thoughts to Build Upon (part 2)

Chapter I
THOUGHTS TO BUILD UPON
W. John Murray
Mental Medicine
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1923.

(Continued) There used to be a saying that when a man had experienced a change of heart so [27] that his character underwent a change for the better, he had “got religion;” as if getting religion was like getting a new situation or coming into a fortune suddenly. But regardless of the use we have made of this expression, it is nevertheless true that success in every sense of the word is more dependent on getting religion than the average man thinks. If it is true that “Religion is the perception of the relation in which we stand to the principle of the universe,” then the sooner this perception takes place the better. Skill in all the arts and sciences rests upon the perception of the relation which one thing bears to another, for without this perception there can be no harmonious adjustment, and without harmonious adjustment those combinations of tone, color and constituent elements which are essential to music or painting or chemistry, would be impossible. The child, the savage and the dog see those objects which we call houses and things, by other names, but they see them as distinct things in themselves, without [28] any reference to those other things such as brick and mortar and wood and iron without which there would be no houses or other things. It is when simple consciousness becomes self-consciousness, and apprehension becomes comprehension, that man, unlike the young child or the animal, begins to perceive the relation which one thing bears to another, whether it be in the world of art or literature, music or mechanics, mathematics or metaphysics, all of which sciences are, notwithstanding their uses and benefits, on the plane of sense. The assertion that it is as necessary for the soul to rise above the plane of sense in order to “know God,” as it is for the intellect to rise above the general, in order to understand the particular, is based on the truth that the child must, through education, gradually learn that a house is a thing composed of many other things, all of which must bear harmonious relation to every other thing, before that one thing which he calls a house can become the thing it is. The materialist sees an objective world, but he does not [29] see the relation which one nation bears to another nation, or the relation which one individual bears to another individual, hence his selfishness and sensuality; but when once he perceives the relation which exists between nations and individuals, he immediately becomes an altruist, for he recognizes how very dependent and interdependent we all are. If we accept the theory of evolution, let us say for the purpose of illustration that the mechanical movements of the atom are superseded by the sensitive movements of the unconscious plant, which in turn are superseded by the conscious movements of the animal, which are again superseded by the intelligent movements of man on the intellectual plane, from which he must now rise as a spiritual being to the perception of his relation to Great First Cause. It is at this point of the perception of his relation to First Cause that man becomes really religious in the truest sense of this word, for it is at this point that he realizes that an evolution which has gone on until [30] this moment by Cosmic or subconscious processes must, from now on, continue through conscious co-operation. He has arrived now where the responsibility of working out his salvation on a more elevated plane presents itself, and with such knowledge he springs to his task, not as one who feels that the sooner a disagreeable duty is performed the better, but as one who knows that all things are now within his reach and only awaiting the taking and the enjoying. Equipped with the consciousness of his Divinity, he commences at once to lift up his thoughts to the hills of Spirit from whence cometh his help. The ordinary man becomes an extraordinary man in the sense that he accomplishes now by the aid of his new concept of himself, what he never could have accomplished so long as he rested under the belief in himself as a material individual, subject to material laws. Apparently living in a world of chance and change, he learns that he is really living in a Universe of immutable harmony, where, “All things (do [31] really) work together for good to them that love God” (the good). Nay, he sees that all things work for good anyway, whether he loves God or not, since this is the only way that Law can work; either this or it works for evil, for Law cannot be a house divided against itself.

Working for Good always on the plane of the Universal, the Law will work for Good for the individual on the plane of the particular, only as he works consciously with it. There are those who work unconsciously with the Law through conformity to moral requirements and thus partake of the benefactions which always follow such co-operation, but the most “Perfect Way” is the Way of Understanding. The righteousness which avoids the evil consequences of wrong-doing is good, but the righteousness which invites the blessings of Right-thinking is another and a better thing. It is for this reason that Jesus says to His disciples of old and His disciples of today, “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of [32] the scribes and the pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

We are learning now that the kingdom to which Jesus refers is not something afar-off and outside of oneself and one’s present experiences, but that it is something near, very near, and inside of oneself, as that state of content which is based on the knowledge that, “In a universe that is filled with the presence of God there is no room for evil.” Just as man has progressed to the intellectual method of accounting for all phenomena from the acceptance of these as every other animal accepts them, without seeking to account for them, so he ascends to that higher level where the intuitional begins to play a part hitherto undreamed of, for it is from the intuitional that man derives his conviction of Truth even when the intellectual affords him no support. Through intellect he has come up through much reasoning to an appreciation of himself as something other and better than a two-legged animal, to the point where he [33] inwardly feels a sense of his relationship to that which can neither be seen, touched, smelled nor weighed; in short, he intuitively feels that he is not all of matter but some of Mind, and if this leads him by degrees to an eminence where he can conceive of himself as being All of Mind and none of matter, it is just what might reasonably be expected. The steps up from the many to the One, from the particular to the Universal, are as orderly as the gradations from the multiplication table to Euclid, and beyond it. Just as when one discovers that the unit is the basis of the science of numbers, so when one discovers that Cause, in order to be Cause at all, must be One and Indivisible, he has arrived where the Whole spreads Itself out before him, inviting him to come and partake of its Oneness. It is at this point that the individual learns that while he has seemed to be a law unto himself, he has in reality, through painful experience, or pleasurable acquisition of Truth, been following the Cosmic plan and landing at the [34] only place he can possibly land, quickly, if he seeks; slowly, if he suffers as a result of not seeking.

Free moral agency does not mean in its fullest significance that man is eternally free to think as he pleases, but that he is temporarily permitted to think his own thoughts until he learns that it is wiser to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” It is when man does not think God’s thoughts after Him that he is in error, and it is when he is in error that he sins and sickens and dies. Therefore Jesus stated the greatest truth when He said, “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” When through philosophy, man becomes aware of the Truth of his being, the redemptive process has commenced by means of which he is to learn the significance of the Atonement, not as the shedding of one Man’s blood in order that all men may enter into Life eternal, but the appreciation of that Cosmic plan and changeless order of which the Master was thinking when He said, “I and the Father are one.”

[35] This one-ness of Jesus with the Source of all Being is the one-ness of all with the Source of Being, for unless the all is one with the Source it is bereft of reality. The one-ness of the individual, every individual, with the Universal, is a Truth which can never be offset, but the individual must know this Truth; otherwise he will never be free from the belief that he is separate, or separated, from God. It is this belief that we are separated from God which is the cause of all our woes; therefore it is this conviction that “Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus,” which is to bring about our emancipation from all that is inimical to health, happiness and holiness.

When we know the Truth, we follow the advice of Him who said, “Judge not after appearances.” We shall no longer think of man as a body with a soul inside of it, injected into it at birth and just as summarily ejected from it at death, for the man of appearance will give place to the man of Reality, [36] in all our thoughts and considerations. If Man is made in the “image and likeness” of God, it is necessary for us to know what God is, else how can we know what His “image and likeness” is? God is represented as everything which can never be known. We are told that “A God defined is a God dethroned,” and we are told this to prevent us from inquiring into what is called the Inscrutable; yet Jesus says, “To know me and the Father which sent me is to have Life Eternal dwelling in you.” This does not mean that we are to know God as we know objects of sense which are known by their length, breadth and thickness, for God is not matter, but Mind, as is evidenced by those words of Plato wherein he states,–“Mind is the place of Ideas, and God is Mind.” Here is a definition of God which does not dethrone Him but which exalts Him to a place in human consciousness such as He had never occupied before; for until then God has been one of the many deities of the pagan philosophies, or the One God [37] of Israel with all the human attributes which were assigned to Him by those who thought of Him as a Superman. The angry God of Moses, separate from the world of His own creating, becomes now through Plato’s higher conception, that Universal Intelligence which embraces the universe in its all-inclusiveness, as Mind embracing its own ideas. It is when we see (perceive) God from this point of view, that we can appreciation His omnipresence; for it is only as Mind that God can be omnipresent. Again it is when we do so perceive that we can also perceive Man to be Idea, the changeless, painless idea of the Mind which formed him. Thinking of God as Mind, we can see how impossible it is for Him to have “parts or passions,” so that that which we could not understand before, now becomes as light as day. It is that Light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world when he has risen from simple consciousness or the plane of the animal, through self-consciousness or the plane of the intellectual, to [38] Cosmic consciousness or the plane of the spiritual. It is on this plane of Cosmic consciousness that man becomes prepared to have God defined to him satisfactorily. As low as the woman of Samaria seemed to be in the moral world, she had nevertheless risen to the place where her inquiring mind wanted to know the Truth, as is evidenced by her question, “Where is God to be worshiped?” It was nothing to Jesus that she already had five husbands; the important thing to Him was that she wanted to know something about God; and this involved a definition of God such as had never been given before. If God had been defined by Plato as Mind centuries before, He was now defined by Jesus by another word, when He said, in answer to the woman’s question, “God is Spirit,” and they that worship Him must worship in spirit (thought) and in Truth (understanding).

Spirit was not a something which could be limited to any particular place or people; therefore it was neither on “this mountain [39] nor yet as Jerusalem” that the Mind of Plato and the Spirit of Jesus was to be communed with; but rather, it was in the sanctuary of man’s understanding mind. The Psalmist defines God as Health, when he says, “God is the Health of my countenance.” John the Beloved defines God as Love, and the beautiful figures of the Bible expressing such ideas as, “The same fountain cannot send forth at the same place both sweet and bitter waters,” indicates that God is that single Source or Fount from which there cannot proceed opposing elements. Through all of these definitions of God, the idea prevails that He is One, and it is this idea of One-ness which renders dualism and polytheism alike insupportable. It is also this idea of the One-ness of God or Unity of cause, which carries us over naturally and painlessly to the idea of the Trinity of the Godhead, which is not that inconceivable mixture of three Persons in one Person, but that acceptable combination of Three qualities in One Eternal Reality. This Trinity in Unity of [40] the Godhead is the Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience of that One and only Mind, which is called by different names in different nations, for not all nations speak of Deity as God.

Of the first aspect of Divine Mind it might be well for us to consider what is meant by Omnipresence. The Psalmist says,

“Whither shall I flee from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

This Omnipresence from which the Psalmist could not escape is something vastly more than the word “everywhere” implies. When the child answers in reply to the question “Where is God?” “God is everywhere,” he has not stated the whole truth unless he includes the correlated fact that the opposite of God, or evil, is nowhere. One might speak of the [41] everywhereness of God as one speaks of the everywhereness of the atmosphere in which good, bad and indifferent odors express themselves, but this would not convey the true significance of the word Omnipresence as related to the all-inclusive intelligence. God is not everywhere except in the sense that His opposite is nowhere, for if evil exists it must exist in the everywhere present God or Good; otherwise it must exist outside of God, in which case God would not be everywhere. If God is Omnipresent as we declare He is, He must be so to the exclusion of all that is unlike Him; and hence the spiritual philosopher declares, “There is no evil,” on the assumption that for anything to exist at all it must exist in that Presence which is all-embracing, and outside of which there is nothing at all. From this we see how large a meaning the word Omnipresence has, and how much is involved in the acceptance of its philosophical significance. Once it is understood, and accepted because it is understood, and not because it is forced upon one as a [42] matter of faith or dogma, it confers a power which nothing else can confer. For Jesus to know that God is the only real Presence, was for Jesus to know that evil of any name or nature has no place in this Presence; having no place in this one and only Presence, it has no presence at all. It was this conviction of the Omnipresence which enabled Jesus to perceive the nothingness of evil so clearly that He could speak with authority and not as, “the scribes and pharisees.” The sins and sicknesses of poor ignorant humanity were as mere appearances, all alike, and hence He could say to an adulterous woman, “I will not condemn thee,” and to a palsied man at the Pool of Bethesda, “Take up thy bed and walk.” All seeming evil was alike to him, for it was a lie and “the Truth was not in it.” To Jesus, God was “ALL IN ALL” but He could not have been this if Jesus had given in His thought or philosophy, any reality or presence to the imperfect, impure, or impermanent. Apparent as all of these were to the [43] senses, Jesus knew they had no place in Reality; hence they were illusions, one and all, and as such He treated them, with instant dismissal; just as the wise man dismisses the appearance of the mirage when the unwise man may in his delirious thirst go in the direction of it to his own destruction. All the seeming evil in the objective world which is real to the natural man, or the man who believes what he sees with his eyes, is most unreal to the spiritual man who perceives with his mind that, “Only the Good is True.” When Paul came into Cosmic consciousness or the perception of the Real, he said, “We look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporal (illusory), but the things which are not seen are eternal” (real). Spinoza was said to be “God-intoxicated” because reason and medication led him to the conclusion that God is the only Substance. One may be considered mad as Paul was considered mad by Festus, but if one’s insanity is of the nature of [44] Paul’s, one will do what Paul did, and Paul healed the sick and raised the dead by virtue of the fact that he acknowledged no other presence save that of Him who is eternal Life and Love. Truth and Beauty, Health and Wholeness.

If this aspect of the Blessed Trinity is accepted, we may proceed to the consideration of the second aspect, which is the Omnipotence of God. The Omnipotence of God does not mean that God is one of many powers, greater than any one of these, or of all of them combined, for “The Lord He is ONE, and there is none else beside Him.” Therefore He is the ONLY power; and when this is accepted and understood man shall lose his fears, since all man’s fears proceed from the belief in other powers than the One supreme and only power. Jesus gave no power to aught save Divine Mind, and hence He could say, “All power is given unto me in heaven (the subjective world of thought) and on earth (the objective world of experience) for (I am the Idea of that [45] Mind which expresses Itself through me in terms of its own perfection; All that my heavenly Father is in Reality I am in manifestation).” Let so-called evil vaunt itself a power, Jesus would prove at all times and under all circumstances the falsity of its pretensions. “The prince of this world cometh and findeth nothing in me.” The popular belief in evil might suggest itself, but it would find nothing in His consciousness to respond to it; therefore it could neither tempt nor terrify Him; and when a man is neither tempted nor terrified by a thing it is the same as if that thing did not exist for him. This state of mind was peculiar to Jesus, not because He was a favorite Son but because He was a Son who knew His Sonship. So-called evil continues to exist as an appearance, because men love it as sin and dread it as sickness, but this would not be so if men once knew that God is ALL, and kept their minds constantly refreshed with this Truth. Under such conditions any man might then affirm, “The prince of this world [46] cometh and findeth nothing in me,” for where there is no belief in the reality of evil because of a profound conviction of the Allness of God or Good, there can be no response to evil suggestions. When Paul arrived at the conviction of the Omnipotence of God he said, in speaking of all that is called evil, “None of these things move me.” This will be true of you and of me when we arrive at the same state of consciousness. The omnipotence of God is a truth which will make of any man who knows it, and tests it in his hours of trial, a superman.

Now the way has been paved for the definition of the Omniscience of God, a definition which would be impossible to accept if the other two aspects of the Blessed Trinity were not understood. If we bear in mind that the Latin word omni signifies “All” or “The only” it will help us to realize what is meant by Omniscience when applied to Deity, for while it means all knowledge, it also means all knowing, in the sense that nothing can be known which is not known to [47] God. Man may believe appearances, but God only knows Realities; therefore we can understand that many things which man in his spiritual ignorance believes, God in His wisdom can never know, since they are not to be known. Man may believe for instance in a rising sun, but neither God nor man can ever know such a thing, since it is not a truth. Because the unscientific man believes in the reality of appearances he would have other men believe that God sees those appearances. It is this false belief that causes men to ask concerning all the apparent evil in the world: “Why does God permit all the sin and sickness and sorrow?” Such a question is as foolish as it would be to ask why nature permits the illusion or appearance of a rising sun when it is nothing at all but the opposite effect produced by a revolving earth. God no more knows or permits evil than nature knows or permits a rising or a setting sun, for neither God nor nature can know or permit what does not occur. If learned ignorance takes issue with the statement [48] it will be because learned ignorance will be doing the only thing it can do–expose itself. When learned ignorance took issue with the declaration of Galileo concerning the sphericity of the earth, it did not make that old lie, which said that the sun rose in the east and set in the west, true. It merely showed how tenaciously learned ignorance holds to its preconceived theories. Just as certainly as all men who are neither stupid nor savage, have given up the belief in a rising sun, just so surely will all men who are neither stupid or savage, give up the belief in evil, when they learn that the opposite is true; that is, that God is all and in all.

If we seem to lay stress on the understanding of this Trinity in Unity of the Godhead, it is because we know that it is the foundation upon which every successful demonstration of mind over matter, and Good over apparent evil, must be made; for, “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid,” and unless we build on this foundation we build on sand. One God implies One [49] eternal Cause and Creator, One unlimited Presence, Power and Knower, and only One, since, if there were two or more Causes at work in the world, there would be incurable chaos and man would be “without hope or God in the world.” It is out from this accepted Oneness of things that the conception of the unity of substance takes its rise, and we learn that Mind, and not matter, is the underlying substance from which all real formation springs. We use the word Mind in this connection as a synonym for Spirit; the word Jesus is used interchangeably with Deity, if you remember. Substance in its scientific and philosophic sense means that which is insusceptible of decay and disintegration; therefore the only Real Substance must be God, since all else passes away. Man’s immortality rests upon his “likeness” to that Substance which is without beginning of years or end of days.

If the senses say that man is matter and subject to material laws, the senses imagine a vain thing; for the Science of Christ assures [50] us that Man is now the Son of God; and since the effect is ever of the nature of its cause, and the cause of Man is God or Pure Spirit, Man must be spiritual, no matter how material he seems to be. It is this Nowness of Man’s spiritual nature of which John was thinking when he said, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, (not going to be) and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: (when we realize this Truth) but we know that, when He (Spirit) shall appear, (as the only Life and Mind and Substance of all things, including Man) we shall be like Him; (in essence and character) for we shall see Him as He is” (and not as He is represented by the warring creeds).

When we see Him as He is we shall see Him as changeless, Divine Principle, and not as a fickle personality of heroic proportions. Perhaps no synonym for Deity has aroused so much antagonism as has this word Principle, and this because the word has been used by educators and others to signify the inanimate and unintelligent starting point from [51] which to draw scientific conclusions, whether it be in music, mathematics or metaphysics. It is difficult for us to imagine an intelligent Principle, because we have so long associated the word with non-intelligence, but it is at this point that imagination, not fancy, is called upon to exercise itself. One may say that in a question which is purely religious as well as scientific, imagination might well be left out, but if we leave Imagination out, it is like depriving the sun of its light and heat. Imagination is to religion what it is to the exact sciences. Are not the principles of music and mathematics necessary to progress? For where else do they exist if they do not exist in the “chamber of imagery?” These principles are not apparent to the senses; therefore they must be assumed principles. However, shall we quarrel because they are assumed? If man can observe with his eyes a phenomenal world, can he not assume that there is back of this phenomenal world a cause for it, even though [52] he cannot see this cause nor understand its methods? Back of all manifestation there is principle, otherwise manifestation could not be. Principle may be defined as “Source, Cause, Base, Foundation, that from which things proceed and that to which things must ultimately revert;” and it is when this definition of Principle is applied to Deity that we find that God is the Principle of principles, since every true believer in God, be he Jew, Christian or Mahommedan, believes God to be the only Source, Cause, Base, Foundation, and that from which all things proceed and to which all things must ultimately revert. Then again there is that about this word when used as a synonym for Deity which is most acceptable, for it absolves God from many of the charges which have been laid at His door, while at the same time it helps man to work out his own salvation, not so much with “fear and trembling” as with love and courage. For Principle, to be Principle at all, it must be immutable, and this is precisely what God is, if we are to believe the [53] Scriptures. If God is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” then it follows that He cannot be swerved from His divine purpose; so that asking God to relent and be merciful is as foolish as it would be to ask the stars in their course to reverse their natural order. God is the changeless Principle of Being, and His nature is Love, always Love, and ever remains so, regardless of man’s mistakes, which we call sins. Just as the sun shines whether we come out of our caves or stay in them, and just as the principle of mathematics remains the same whether we use it or not, so God, the eternal Principle of all that is, ever has been or ever will be, retains His persistent immutability. Neither praise nor censure affects Him; neither is He moved by the joys or sorrows of men, for this would be to make of Him an emotional God, laughing and crying as men do before they understand His ways and learn to comport themselves accordingly. “His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts,” [54] for the reason that He is not swayed by externals.

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