Chapter IW. John Murray
THOUGHTS TO BUILD UPON
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1923.
(Continued) When man learns to govern his life according to Principle rather than by personal opinion, he will not be swayed by externals. Realizing that he lives and moves and has his being in that eternal order where Harmony is the only state of consciousness, he will understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Nothing shall by any means hurt you;” for he will know that no thing which has proceeded from Principle, can be in any wise injurious, and he will acknowledge nothing that does not proceed from this One and Only Principle. Herein lies the test to be applied to all man’s experiences. If they proceed from Principle, they are true and good; if they are not true and good, they do not proceed from Principle: and man is empowered by his knowledge of Truth to free himself from them by saying to them, whatever their name or nature, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Satan is the name given to that sum total of error which masquerades as Truth, and  whose only reality is the reality which men give to it by believing in it, and fearing it because they do believe in it. In the spiritual infancy of the race, Satan was a person of ugly or pleasing mien as it pleased ignorant humanity to regard him. Then human consciousness expanded to the point where it robbed Satan of all personality and made of it what theology called that “principle of evil at work in the world;” and now consciousness has expanded still farther to where it robs evil of all right to reality, on the ground that God is all. Its pretentions are exposed until now it can deceive only those who do not know its nothingness; just as a ghost, so-called, can frighten a child so long as he does not know its unreality.
With this perception of evil’s nothingness, man is now free to consider intelligently his own relation to the Infinite. No longer does he grope in the dark concerning his own identity, for having discovered the Principle of his Being to be God, and having also discovered that this Principle never ultimates  itself in anything unlike itself, his unity with God becomes first an intellectual persuasion, and then a demonstrable science. It has been said that “The greatest study of mankind is man,” and this would be so were it not that God is prior to man and hence the study of man rests upon the study of man’s Maker. From time immemorial those divinely inquisitive members of the race who are ever in advance of those who take everything for granted, have asked with the Psalmist, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?” But this question would never be asked were it not for the fact that reason assures us that there is more of man than can be contained “between his hat and his boots,” as Whitman puts it. The thoughtful individual is not content to regard man, especially himself, as so much matter. It is not a question with him as to how much he weighs, neither is it a question as to how tall or short he is physically. He is concerned to know what he is mentally and above all spiritually,  and hence his question, which is merely the repetition of the question asked by the Psalmist, and Carlyle, and others. When Carlyle asked, “What is man?” he answered himself by saying, “To the eye of vulgar logic (that which makes its assertions on the evidence gained through the senses) man is an omnivorous biped wearing breeches.” But Carlyle was not satisfied with vulgar logic’s definition and so he asks the question again, this time of his own intelligence: “To the eye of Pure Reason what is he? A Soul, a Spirit and a divine Apparition.”
Now it is a question with each of us as to what we shall be in our own consciousness, “an omnivorous biped” or a “divine idea.” I say in our own consciousness, because, regardless of any belief we may have concerning our real selves, the fact will always remain that we are “now the children of God.” Greater than the discovery of gold in the hills, pearls in the sea, electrical energy in the atmosphere, or the North or South Pole, is the discovery of Self. It is written in  the Scriptures that, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and from the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made He woman, and brought her unto the man.” This is a description of man as he appears to all of us when we are as yet on the plane of simple consciousness or that plane of consciousness which we share with animals and young children. Judging man after the flesh, or according to physical appearances, man is little better according to his own estimation than the “omnivorous biped.” James the Apostle asks, “What is your life (in the flesh)? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.” It is the conviction on the part of every intelligent man that he is something more than he appears to be, which compels him to ask, “What am I?” Is it not borne  in upon us every day through human experience that the man of flesh or fleshly inclinations is not the man which shall “hereafter be”? The word “hereafter” in this connection is not used with reference to a postmortem condition but with reference to that state of consciousness and existence which will come here, after man discovers his oneness with Pure Spirit. In our spiritual infancy we conceive man to be material and therefore we associate him with all that is material, and consequently subject him (in belief) to so-called material laws. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” expresses the popular conception of man as we know him through the senses; but when the first dawn of spiritual consciousness comes we can say with Paul, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him so no more.” This  spiritual illumination by means of which we see through appearances to Realities, is what is called by Jesus the “new birth,” when He says: “except ye be born again ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” And He tells us distinctly to “Call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven.” By this it is not meant that we shall lose our respect for our earthly parents, but that we shall see them as the channels through which we came into manifestation. There is but One Father of those we call our fathers and mothers, as well as of ourselves, for there is but One Divine Principle, Source, Cause, Origin, Base and Foundation from which all things including man proceed and to which all things and man must inevitably revert. When this command of Jesus to call no man our father upon the earth is observed, because it is understood, we shall have a new law of heredity. We shall no longer justify ourselves in our moral weaknesses because “Father and grandfather drank or gambled  before us;” neither shall we be afraid of this, that or the other disease because our progenitors died as the result of it. Calling no man our father or grandfather upon the earth we shall trace our ancestry to Him in whom all perfection is, and in the consciousness of this glorious ancestry we shall claim our divine right to health and holiness. “That which is born of the flesh (false concept) is flesh (false appearance); and that which is born of the Spirit (Reality) is Spirit” (manifested).
The teachings of Jesus on this question of spiritual relationship are fraught with tremendous import and practical value, for not only is it a great spiritual comfort to realize that we have not inherited sinful or sickly tendencies from our One and Only Parent, but that we have inherited the very opposite of these which we may bring into our experience, by Thinking of ourselves, not as the offspring of the flesh, but as the children on God. The child who was stolen in his infancy by gypsies and brought up by them to  believe he was one of them, thought as one of them, acted as one of them and made no claim to anything higher until he was apprised of the facts concerning his princely relationship, is an illustration of the condition of every man until he is made aware of his kinship to the King of Kings. For the most part we are worse off than the child stolen by gypsies, for we labor under the delusion that we are now the children of men but that at some time we may become the sons of God. That we must become something is true, but it is not that we must become the sons of God; it is that we must become aware that we are that already, and that no mistake on our part can ever make us otherwise. No delusion on the part of the child stolen by gypsies could ever make him other than the natural son of the Prince, but it could and it did shut him out from the enjoyment of his princely privileges; and this is precisely what occurs to all of us so long as we do not know what we are, in Spirit and in Truth. Occasionally we get fitful glimpses  of our real natures, but we are like the man who “beholdeth himself (in the glass) and goeth his way and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” Only yesterday a man was taken to the hospital dying of starvation, whose name, when it appeared in the newspapers, attracted the attention of a lawyer who associated it at once with that of one whose whereabouts had been sought for a long time. An estate to which this man was joint-heir could not be settled until it was ascertained where he was, dead or alive. Once his identity was established he was removed from the charity ward to a private room with all that goes with it. Was this man dying from poverty or from a belief in it? Jesus was the good lawyer who came to inform the man dying of starvation, spiritually and materially, that an estate was awaiting settlement which could never be administered so long as one of God’s children remained outside of His universal beneficence. He illustrated this by the one lost sheep for which the Good Shepherd leaves  the ninety and nine to seek and restore it to the fold.
It is this restoration of man to his divine rights that is the crowning glory of the mission of the Master, and this restoration can never be brought about save as it is brought about by man’s intelligent co-operation with divine law. There can be no co-operation, however, without understanding or true knowledge; and this is what Divine Science is intended to convey. Once accept the fact that Great First Cause is Spirit or Mind, and we must admit that Man as Great First Effect is spiritual or mental, and that what seems to be material in connection with man is nothing more nor less than man’s material concepts of himself at a certain period of his mental unfoldment. It is these material concepts that Truth has come to destroy, so that we may enter into the enjoyment of those things which God has prepared for us from before the foundation of the world.
First of all there are those false concepts  concerning God and man which the race has entertained through countless ages, and which must be dispelled. We must no longer think of God as a mammoth man beyond the skies, neither must we think of man as a material being subject to material conditions over which he has no control. We must not be afraid to think of God as Principle instead of personality, as this latter word is commonly used. While God may be “The Great Unknowable” from the standpoint of personality, He is certainly not unknowable from the standpoint of Principle, for from this standpoint the Author of our Being is as knowable as is the principle of the science of numbers, and just as demonstrable; and it is this demonstrability of Divine Principle which reveals God as “A very present help in time of trouble.”
Is there any time or place where one may not work out a problem in mathematics? Is it not true that, since the principle of mathematics is everywhere, it may be utilized in  the solution of any problem which presents itself at any time, and in any place? Men have solved mathematical problems in prison cells just as they have in palaces, and perhaps with more ease because of their greater solitude, knowing that a principle which is demonstrable anywhere is demonstrable everywhere.
If from now on we supplicate Personality less, and demonstrate Principle more, we shall profit by the change and glorify our Father which is in heaven in ways of which we never before dreamed. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (accomplish many thing through Truth understood). Having grown away from the false concepts of a distant God and a material man as His image and likeness, we must now grow away from the false concept which imposes itself on all of us in the form of accepted limitation. There will always be an accepted belief in the negative, forever expressing itself in negative thoughts and utterances, and consequent negative conduct,  until man outgrows the belief in limitations. Men say, “I can’t” almost from force of habit, and the result of this is that they do not try, and, not trying, they do not succeed; not succeeding they either blame God or society or economic conditions, when all the while their lack of success is the consequence of their accepted limitations, which they do not realize.
We speak of material laws, and this is another false concept we must get away from, for there are no material laws. All laws are mental, and the sooner we admit this the better, for it is an admission which will enable us to avail ourselves of those mental laws, and thus rise above our accepted limitations by a purely mental process; the process of Thought, for “Thoughts are things” and the most real things in the universe, notwithstanding the materialists of whom, thank fortune, there are few left.
If God is Mind, Thought of a necessity is the plastic material with which Mind works. This fact makes it easy for us to accept the  idea that, “The universe is the Thought of God,” and after this we ought not to experience any difficulty in believing that the world, as we see it in the objective, is the thought of man: that is, the world is to man what man thinks it is; good if his thought of it is good; bad if his thought of it is bad, and this according to Shakepeare’s declaration that, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
The difference between God’s universe and man’s world, is the difference between law and order, and chaos and confusion. The only way for man to conform his world to God’s universe is to learn to form mental pictures of the Ideal, that is, to think of things as they are in contradistinction to things as they appear to be, to his disordered senses. We must take the advice of the scientist, who said: “When thy science and thy senses conflict, cleave unto thy science,” and of that greater scientist, Jesus of Nazareth, who said: “Judge not after appearances but judge righteous judgment.”
 The law of Mind has no limits. We are limited in our application of the law by our belief that it has limits. We are not merely affected and influenced by our thoughts, but we are what we are, in actuality and in manifestation–that which our thoughts have made us. In the Dhammapada, one of the books of the sealed canon of Buddhism, there is a statement which supports the above declaration. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought; it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.” So we see that this is not a new doctrine and that what is called the New Thought is simply a practical application of a philosophy and a science which is as old as the Ancient of Days.
Though we should ascend the loftiest heights or descend into the lowest depth, we shall never go out of our mental realm; it will always be our own thought that we shall perceive. Emerson substantiates this when he says, “All that you call the world is the shadow of that substance which you  are, the perpetual creation of the powers of thought, of those that are dependent and those that are independent of your will.”
In view of the fact, therefore, that the most profound thinkers of all ages have regarded Thought, not as something “light as air” and just as unproductive, but as that plastic substance from which all form proceeds, ought we not to be as careful in our use of it as we are now careful in our use of electricity? Regardless of all the beneficent uses to which electricity is being put, we, nevertheless, know that there are uses to which it may be put that are hurtful and injurious; for the same force which may be used to vitalize may also be used to electrocute.
Just as there is a science of electricity by means of which generic power may be controlled and directed, so there is a science of righteousness or right-thinking by means of which injurious thoughts may be cut out or short-circuited and by means of which helpful thoughts and healing thoughts may be  turned on, as one would turn off and on the electric light; and the one is no more miraculous than the other. The electrical displays of the twentieth century would be just as wonderful (miraculous) to the disciples of the first century as the physical healing by spiritual means of the first century, without any other form of medication whatever, is to the people of today. “The supernatural is only the divinely natural not generally understood.” Just as we of today dispel darkness by merely pressing a button and availing ourselves of a law and an energy and a substance which we can neither understand nor define, so those early disciples overcame disease by the pressure of their own thoughts upon that ever-present Force of Mind which is the Source from which all manifestation takes its rise.
It might be well at this point to show what we mean by the pressure of Thought and the result of that pressure in our bodies and in our affairs. We read in “Medicine and Mind”: “A lady saw a heavy dish fall  on her child’s hand, cutting three of the fingers. She felt great pain in her own hand, and on examination the corresponding three fingers were swollen and inflamed. In twenty-four hours incisions were made and pus evacuated.”
Dr. Day in the “Medical and Surgical Journal,” had a patient “whose lips and mouth were suddenly enormously swollen from seeing a young child pass a sharp knife between his lips.”
Dr. DeFleury tells us of a girl who dreams she is pursued by a man and falls into a ditch and breaks her legs. Next morning she wakes bruised and declares her legs are broken. It is not so; but her legs are paralyzed (by this dream) for six months.
Dr. A.G. Schofield says, “A gentleman known to me, seeing a friend with stricture of the gullet, soon experienced an increasing difficulty swallowing, which ultimately was a cause of death.” So much for the pressure of Thought in a negative way; and  this vouched for by most reputable physicians.
The day has come in the evolution of the race when Thought, like any other natural force which has not been used except in a very limited way, even by what the world calls Thinkers, is being called upon to yield up its too long concealed resources. No longer do we feel that Thought is a something which comes and goes at its own sweet will, regardless of the Thinker, for we now know that what we are, we are as a result of what we think. Therefore we are learning to select our thoughts as horticulturists select seeds and bulbs from which their precious things of color and fragrance are to proceed later on, knowing, as we do, that ideas and mental pictures formed in the chamber of imagery are the prototypes of whatever we desire to see in visible manifestation. If what we are today is what we thought yesterday, then what we shall be tomorrow will be determined by what we think today, and hence the necessity of thinking today in such  a manner as will be provocative of the best in the form of health and happiness, peace and prosperity.
Man is free to direct his attention, which is his concentrated thought, as he chooses; but he must choose in accordance with law and order if he would have law and order prevail in his affairs; inasmuch as law and order exist in the mental world as they do in the physical world, which is nothing more nor less than the mental, expressing itself in objective form. Swedenborg points out this in his Law of Correspondences. The only limits of mind are those which are encountered when the thinker would impose conditions on himself or others which are contrary to the true order of things as they exist in Divine Mind; it is from this misuse of thought that sin and sickness come into manifestation as if to rebuke us for our ignorance. No longer does the intelligent man think that these distressing conditions are visitations from Divine Providence over which man has no control. He has outlived,  or out-thought this ancient error, as he has out-lived or out-thought the false belief that he could not control those forces of nature; forces which at one time were considered so destructive as to defy conquest and subsequent utilization.
When the race subdued the Nile so as to prevent inundation on the one hand and to produce irrigation on the other, it prefigured what it would later accomplish in a field far more subtle, the field of modern psychology. The conquest of external nature is one thing, and a great thing, but if man merely conquers that which is external to himself, while his inner emotions and feelings remain untouched and undisciplined, of what avail is it? The glory of the new psychology of life lies in the fact that it not only theorizes about mind’s supremacy over matter, but it demonstrates it in such manner as to furnish us with the idea that it was on some such basis that Jesus, the Master psychologist, performed what we in our ignorance call miracles. Speaking to the woman  who had touched the hem of His garment in the full belief that if she did so she would be healed, He said, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” This saying implies that her restoration was due to an idea, or mental picture, carried to its ultimate conclusion; for this is precisely what faith is,–an idea conceived in the womb of the mind, carried through a period of gestation or expectation, until its birth in manifestation is the natural consequence.
The trouble with the faith of most of us is that, while we can conceive what we want, we cannot carry the idea, or mental image, sufficiently long in thought to have it make its impression on the subconscious mind; and unless it does register there it quickly loses its power to reproduce itself. The woman who touched His garment could not be disuaded from her belief that if she did one thing, another thing would follow. The “press” or crowd could not prevent her, invalid as she was, from obtaining her desire. Unlike her, we are discouraged at the first  sign of delay. Do we desire, as this woman desired? If so we shall be as insistent as she was insistent. Desire which is not continued is desire which is not gratified. One does not row across a stream with one stroke of the oars; it requires a “long pull and strong pull,” if we would cross the stream which separates us from the things we desire, but which we often fail to receive, not because they cannot be received but because our demand is not sufficiently concentrated to attract supply.
It is the matter of concentration to which we must pay attention, if we would draw from the Inexhaustible Reservoir those things which God has prepared for them that love Him.
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