Chapter 13 – The Wisdom of Expectation

Chapter XIII
W. John Murray
Mental Medicine
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1923.

[186] We have so often seen the words hope and expectation used in prose and poetry as if they were synonymous, that we feel it will not be time wasted if we venture to explain their difference. Hope carries within itself the element of uncertainty, so that men hope against hope itself. James Fenimore Cooper says that “Hope is the most treacherous of all human fancies,” but Henry Ward Beecher affirms that, “The greatest architect and the one most needed is hope.” Hope has been defined as “the poor man’s bread,” meaning that when he has nothing else he may still have hope though it lead to nothing but death and “the hope of eternal life, of which he may have no certitude.”

Benjamin Franklin says, “He that lives upon hopes will die fasting,” and we have [187] seen this come true literally. A strange fact that is not commonly observed is that we seem to have the most hope when we have the most fear. The approaching calamity is so appalling that we are blinded by it, and all we have or can have under such circumstances is that hope which if it is deferred too long, as it frequently is, “maketh the heart sick.”

True, it is better to have hope than not to have it, but it is a poor substitute for that attitude of mind which does the thing and expects the results. An opiate may be a good thing when one is in intense pain, but it is not a remedy for the pain-producing disease. Hope is frequently an opiate which puts the mind to sleep when it should be wide awake and “about the Father’s business.” To go through the world hoping that something will “turn up” while doing nothing to turn it up, is to have the world turn up its nose at us and blast our hopes by disregarding them. The mechanic does not hope that his machine will serve his purpose; all things properly attended to, he expects it will; indeed [188] he would be surprised if it does not; but how frequently the man who takes it out in hoping, is surprised when the thing he hopes for actually comes to pass. The farmer does not merely hope that his corn will come up and ripen; he expects it will and goes about his other business. The commuter who takes the seven o’clock train expects to get to his office on time. That both the farmer and commuter are sometimes disappointed does not change the fact that expectation is better than hope, for it carries within itself that mental magnetism which attracts the thing expected. Not every piece of steel attracts another piece of steel, but only that which is properly magnetized. We need to be magnetized by a conscious contact with that all-sufficing Supply if we would attract to ourselves the things we hope for and which we so seldom receive because we do not expect them. But to expect everything and prepare for nothing, is as foolish as to hope for something and make no effort to bring it to pass. In the same man expectation and [189] preparation are the chemical properties of mind which always result in a third condition, namely, actualization.

When the multitude which followed Jesus were hungry and hoped for food he bade them sit down in groups. This created an expectant attitude of mind as of body, for that which their mere hopes could never have obtained their expectation made possible. For the loaves and fishes were multiplied in accordance with the law, proving that which you expect you get, whether it is poverty or prosperity, sickness or health.

Expectation creates a neutral path in the brain into which tumbles the thing we expect whether it is good or ill, and which then flows into our experience as water flows into the ditch we prepare for it.

If Jesus hoped for an increase of the loaves and fishes and expected no increase, He would have been like the majority of mankind. The thing that distinguished Him from other men was the thing that distinguishes any successful man from the vast [190] majority. Expectation is that state of mind which sees the thing expected actually coming to pass despite all appearances. Sometimes this is called visualization, but visualization in this sense is not idle fancy; it is rather the intensification of thought on a specific reality, in short, it is the method of making the ideal real.

When the metaphysician sees or visualizes an abstract idea or mental picture and predicts its appearance in visible form, it is only a question of time when the mathematician will support the reality of this idea, whether it is in the field of astronomy or electricity, and then it is only a question of further time when the man in the street will be able to see it by means provided mechanically, as when one sees through a telescope what he could never see without it.

The New Psychology is to the eye of the mind what the telescope is to the eye of the body. It enlarges one’s vision of mind, which will presently be made manifest on the plane of matter, if one really expects [191] it. Just as the plainsman whose eyes are trained to great distances observes on the horizon what the ordinary person cannot distinguish, and as the mariner sees objects at sea long before the landsman sees them, so the illumined consciousness perceives changes in circumstances and understands what the Bible means when it says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand,” and this when there is no visible evidence of it.

Just before dawn one might say on the evidence of his senses, “It is getting darker and darker,” but the fact would be that “It is getting lighter and lighter,” and so Coue’ is right when he instructs his followers to say, “Day by day in every way I am getting better and better,” though the evidence of their senses does not bear immediate testimony to the truth of the statement. Declaring the truth and expecting the verification of it in improved health, improvement must come to pass.

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Chapter 14

Mental Medicine
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