Lesson VRev. W. John Murray
THE OLD THOUGHT AND THE NEW
The Murray Course in Divine Science
Society of the Healing Christ
New York, 1927.
Our instructions so far have consisted of what is known as Mental Science or Psychology. We have endeavored to show what may be accomplished by the mind alone, operating entirely through its own powers and depending entirely on what man has discovered for himself in the way of causation.
But this is very much as if we were to say to you: “Here is a player-piano. You have been using the wrong rolls of music. You have been playing sad pieces, funeral marches, monotones, chants and wails. Throw those away and put in lively rolls, glees, dances, two steps, jazz music and happy melodies. They will give you a complete change of spirit and you’ll forget all your woes and troubles and build up a new mental condition.”
Or again: “Discard your negative rolls and put in positive rolls. Don’t play negative music. Play positive music. The result will be that you will have a new state of mind and life will become pleasant instead of gloomy.”
Now the subjective mind is like an instrument and we can take out of it all negative forms of thought and replace them with positive forms. But to treat the subject of consciousness in this manner is to occupy the attitude of a materialist who believes in nothing outside of matter and who thinks that all the spiritual life of man is merely a question of sensation derived from a cerebro-nervous mechanism. To this attitude Divine Science is totally opposed. It is proper therefore to consider the question of what it is that Divine Science teaches and wherein it differs from the teaching we have been accustomed to receiving.
Divine Science teaches that Life is continuous; that it proceeds from Divine Life, which is Good in all its manifestations; that there is only one Power that we call God; that there is no evil except that which is man-made and that the Divine purpose is to express the joy of life.
Divine Science teaches the science of developing the divinity which is in every man.
It teaches that the normal state of man is abounding health, with full possibility of achieving and accomplishing, thus making certain a full and complete expression of all the good that is within the individual and making certain a sufficiency of supply.
It teaches that this happy condition is possible to all who will change their habit of thought, alter their attitude of soul, and thus, by coming into harmony with Divine Law, direct the life forces into their right channels and draw all good from the central Good, or God.
Divine Science teaches that man is the victim of his own thought, or of the thoughts of others. If by a purely mental attitude forces for good may be converted into destructive agencies, a reversal of thought process will result in a physical transformation.
Divine Science teaches that by study and reflection on the things that Jesus did and by following the instructions Jesus gave to his followers we can develop the Christ consciousness and do the things that Jesus did.
Ordinary mental healing operates by and through suggestion. It works from below and not from above, from without and not from within. It is concerned with measures of relief and conditions for success instead of with an expansion of Life drawn in fullness from the Source of Life. Spiritual healing, on the other hand, works through an inflow of Divine Life, from contact with God, or Good, in a complete union of mind with Divine Mind. Man should so live that Health will radiate from him because his soul radiates virtue, peace and joy. Health and Success are secondary considerations in comparison with that union with God which manifests health and right-thinking as the outward signs of inward peace and happiness.
God has been known of man since the very beginning of time. But man has sought “many inventions.” Until Jesus came, until the Christian religion was founded, no religion had taught the great truth that God is not a far-off, unapproachable Deity, but that He is within us. Jesus proclaimed that “I and the Father are one,” and his prayer was “That they may all be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us.” And he promised in return for a love for him that “the Father will love you and we will come to you and make our abode with you.” The truth of the constant fulfillment of this promise is at the very heart of the religion of Christ.
And yet emphasis has not been laid on this teaching. Just as when Jesus came, the Jewish religion has hardened into dogma and a mere performance of rites and rituals and a struggle for eminence and prestige in religious position. Similarly, the Christian religion, from the accession of Constantine to the return of the New Thought of Jesus, has also been held down to specific creeds and dogmatic forms of belief, to conformance with rules and regulations, unmindful of the warning given by Jesus in his reproof to the Jews: “The letter killeth. It is the Spirit that quickens.” The Spirit has not had full opportunity to express itself among peoples taught to look to church creeds, ceremonies, rites, rituals and clerical assistance.
Notwithstanding that Jesus brought this New Thought into the world–the thought of the indwelling of the Eternal Spirit in the human soul–the race has reverted to the Old Thought of a God that is far-off, remote and inaccessible, whose interest in our affairs we question and whose presence we do not pretend to understand except in an academic sense.
The God that we have all been taught to believe in is the old tribal God of the Hebrews, an angry, irascible, vindictive God; a huge patriarchal Man-God, living in the skies, seated upon a throne surrounded by angels playing harps and offering incense. The heaven we have been taught about is an Oriental conception of a super-earthly palace, with walls of jasper and onyx, in a magnificent city of golden streets. God has been conceived of as the Great King, dwelling in power and majesty far above us, dispensing favors and punishments much as one of the world’s grand monarchs of the past bestowed largesse with one hand and inflicted penalties with the other. This is what is called an anthropomorphic God; anthropomorphic in the sense of being human in character and temperament. Do we suffer from sickness, grief and death? It is God’s will. Are we victims of poverty, failure and injustice? God has ordained them for us for the good of our souls. Have we received a well-earned blessing? God has sent it to us as a mark of His favor. The wicked may prosper and the good be worn to exhaustion, but we are to understand that there is a good reason for this, although no good reason has ever been given for it. People are so tenacious of this kind of a God that they consider it blasphemy for someone to deny that the Supreme Being is the sender of both good and evil, the dispenser of punishments and blessings, the one hand delivering a favor and the other withdrawing it.
Jesus did not so describe God. Jesus declared that God was Love and that He did not wish the death of a sinner but that he be converted and live. Converted, how? To some form of religion? Certainly, we were told. But we were not told that conversion means the conversion of the mind from false ideals to Truth. God wishes the sinner to be converted, or changed, or transformed, in mind; to cease following after sense pleasures and begin to see the joys of the Spirit; and to live rather than die. And if to live, then to live in health, and joy, and peace and love.
The church has been telling us how we are to prepare for death rather than how to prepare for life. The church, or churches, rather, have worked to keep our eyes on the New Jerusalem into which we would be admitted after death providing our lives were lived acceptably, and they have made it so hard for us to live that millions of people have found it impossible to follow them in their injunctions and restrictions. They have taken all the joy out of life and, as a consequence, a great number of Christian people have reacted so strongly against them that they object even to the mention of religion. This notwithstanding the fact that every man is religious at heart. The churches have so confused us with their interminable mixtures of moral conventions and church rules, with their dogmatic insistence on specialized beliefs and practices, based on over-emphasized texts from the teachings of Jesus, and with their religious bigotry and sectarian feuds, that we say with Mercutio: “A plague on both your houses,” and follow our own interpretations of religious truth in our own way, leaving the churches to thunder at us and fight out their own fights themselves. The New Jerusalem is a long way off, the Promised Land is here in sight, and the average person of common sense does not want to be marched about for forty years in a wilderness before he can be led up to the gates of the realization of the promises of God as they have been interpreted for us.
Why are the churches empty? Why do the people stay away? Is it because they do not believe in God, or in the Son of God, the Christ? Not at all. It is because the Holy Spirit is not found in the churches except as individual members bring it in within their own bosoms; because fashion and social conventions rule therein; because Mammon has become mighty among them; because they have become the centers of sham and worldly respectability; because they are too often run by the self-righteous and the Pharisee.
These are hard words and may jar the susceptibilities of many of those who read them. But they are not uttered harshly; rather with deep feeling, a feeling that even church leaders themselves are obliged to confess, although they do not always do so openly.
The necessity is strong upon us to return to the teachings of Jesus and to take up the thought that he implanted in the minds of his followers. Jesus taught above all things the apprehension of God as a loving Father, an indwelling power in the soul of every human being, a constant, tender, protecting interest, who supplied us with all things and to whom we should always turn as little children. He taught that life was love and joy, and peace and harmony, and above all health, as contributary to all. Jesus went about healing the people of their sins and their diseases, showing the relation between the two. “Sin” means, literally, mistake, or “missing the mark.” It means our failure to be true to the innate spirit of Good; it means a false system of thinking, the control of the body by the senses rather than by the soul. And as the fame of Jesus as a healer went abroad throughout the land they brought sick people to him in multitudes, and he healed them and told them to repent of their ways, to be converted and to live. He even raised people from the dead. This not to show his power but to reveal to us the power of the Father that was within him. He disclaimed any power for and of himself. All power came from his heavenly Father. And, he said, “The things that I do ye shall do also, and greater than these shall ye do,” providing they believed on him and on the power of the Father. And he did give this power to his followers. They healed and cured people and raised many from the dead. They went abroad teaching the truths that Jesus had imparted to them and the Word they gave out was confirmed by the “signs following,” the healing of the sick, the lame, the blind, the deranged, the leprous, the deaf.
But what have the churches told us about this power? That it was one that belonged to the apostles and their immediate followers only. That it was given in the beginning merely to demonstrate the truths spoken by Jesus and the glory of the Father. That as soon as the new church had found its feet it was withdrawn, and that all these healings and cures were “miracles,” supernatural wonders worked by God’s power for the upbuilding of the early church. It is admitted that here and there, later on, a “miracle” has been wrought by reason of the intense faith of some devout person, but it has been insisted upon that the “age of miracles” is past. “Miracles” are wrought no longer. They are scoffed at by Christians, most of all.
But that age has not passed. A “miracle” is today a religious certainty. “Miracles” are being wrought today by and with those who believe that the power of healing has never been withdrawn from the followers of Christ. That power has not been lost. It has not passed away any more than God has passed away. God’s power is manifest today in all the kingdoms of the earth, the animal, vegetable and mineral, in the earth itself, in the suns and in the stars. The sustaining power of God’s love, order and harmony is visible everywhere throughout the universe. Why should it be withdrawn from man? The people who live today are as dear to the heart of God as those who dwelt in Palestine at the time of the appearance on earth of the Christ and who were so blessed as to come under the personal touch of Jesus. To doubt that would be to doubt the whole realm of the Good. God and Good are synonymous. The words are the same in meaning as they are in our form of language. And we have it from Jesus himself that the earth itself shall pass away rather than his Word shall pass away. We teach this fact because we know it to be a fact. Those of us who are in Divine Science rely upon it and believe in the healing power of the Holy Spirit as we believe in God–one and the same. And we put it into practice, teach it and exemplify it. We believe in it as we do in the New Thought that Jesus brought into the world, not as it is known to mental scientists, but as it is known to Divine Scientists. And through Divine Science people can be healed of their sins and diseases and they can be brought into a state of mind where their consciousness is connected with and operates under the Divine Consciousness. This is the union of the soul with God that Jesus taught and to find it the soul has but to enter into a Silence with its Creator and Divine Companion, open the mind and listen to the still, small voice speaking in the secret places of the heart.
The life that we teach is the Hidden Life with Christ, and while we, in the previous Lesson, have taught the mechanics of the mental process of healing, we desire now to pass on to the true method of operating the mechanism, the union of the soul with God through prayer and contemplation, for while it is possible for the human will to operate alone in the matter of renewing the mind and restoring health, strength and vigor to the body, that is a power given to it by God and its true and effective operation must be undertaken in mental union with the God consciousness within the soul, thus insuring certainty and the “peace that passeth understanding,” the realization of being one with the Infinite and the Joy that is a certified promise to the soul that consciously unites itself with its Maker.
Emerson’s advice to “hitch your wagon to a star” has been used as a formula for worldly success and is quoted as proof that the adoption of a high idea is necessary for a perfect life; but what is this advice compared to the realization, once it fills the mind completely, that it is within our power to hitch our wagon to the Omnipotence that created the stars, the Power that sustains the Universe, and to become one with it?
Thus, instead of using the mind as a player-piano is used, to be fed with rolls of prepared music, we use it as an instrument consciously attuned to the music of the spheres, receiving its harmony from the Source of Harmony, revelling in sounds of joy and gladness imparted by the vibrations from celestial melodies composed and imparted by the great Master Musician. We take our music from its source. Instead of relying upon suggestion or hypnosis we rely upon Infinite Love, that “forgiveth all our iniquities,” that “healeth all our diseases.” We seek help not from without, but from within, contacting in spiritual wireless with the Oversoul, the currents from which fill us with all power, and enable us to approach perfection to the highest degree of which we are capable.
PRACTICE IN DIVINE SCIENCE
Methods Recommended for Putting Into Daily Application
THE TEACHINGS OF TRUTH
Shall the world’s famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.”
“Search me, O Lord, and know my heart: Try me and know my Thoughts.”
(Memorize and Repeat Often)
Pages 19 to 37 of the “Astor Lectures.” [Online at this website.]
Health, Prosperity, Protection
The order and Harmony of the Christ Consciousness, established in me throughout all eternity, is expressing itself now as perfect Health.
2. What kind of God is the God we have been taught to believe in?
3. Is this the God that Jesus revealed to us?
4. Can we do the work that Jesus did?
5. Has the age of miracles passed?
6. What is necessary to effect spiritual healing as against mental healing?
7. How may we add the power of Omnipotence to our own?
The Murray Course in Divine Science
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