The Prospectus of Life in the University of Hard Knocks

By Thomas Parker Boyd

The subject matter herein has been preparing for a lifetime. The title of the book was announced some seven years ago after many years of lecturing on the subject. The manuscript was finished some five years ago. Just when ready to proceed with its publication, the author had a new lesson in the University of Hard Knocks. He was arrested by the State Medical Board for some supposed violation of the prerogatives of the doctors.

The offense really consisted in laying hands on men in the name of the Lord and saying to them, "Thy sins be forgiven thee; in the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk," or the practice of religion.

The defense turned upon the fact that his right to heal men antedated all doctors, all remedies, and all legal enactment, being nothing less than the authority of Him who healed by the Finger of God. The verdict reached in the Superior Court of the State of California was a complete vindication on all the items of the statute.

The expense of this legal battle has held up this book for four years. In the meantime another book by another author under the same title has been published, so that it has been necessary to change the original title and make it merely a sub-title. This is well, for the book is more of a prospectus than it is a university. It took me some years to see that fact. I accept it cheerfully as the new lesson I learned through the delay.

All things work together for good to them that love God, and we learn to bless the "All Things." – The Author.

I. Life's Curriculum

Life begins with a question mark, and it should end with an exclamation point! Our business here is to know the realities, to accept them as such, to interpret life's meaning by the facts, and to adjust our thinking and living to that meaning. In this way we open the whole field of knowledge.

From this search for knowledge, we develop certain final statements of truth, which are inclusive and conclusive, if not self-evident, which we call categories.

The first category is Being, embracing all that we know or may know of life, of substance, spiritual or material. The second is Reality, embracing the truth in the unconditioned Absolute, and the relative. The third category is that of Quantity, which includes the truth of unity, plurality and totality.

The fourth one is the category of Quality, having reference to reality, negation, and limitation. The fifth is Relation, embracing substance and attribute, cause and effect, action and reaction. The sixth is Modality, embracing possibility, actuality, and necessity.

These are loose adaptations of Aristotle and Kant's famous categories. We accept the categorical imperative for all life in our study. The categorical imperative is the absolute claim of moral law to our obedience, the legal supremacy of the right, as revealed by scientific knowledge and as asserted by conscience or the moral sense, over human life.

We have not followed these categories in any formal way, but have always kept them in view while blazing the trail in a wilderness of opinions, where so many have pioneered, but few have left any helpful landmarks.

We intend to interpret life according to scientific principles, to present obligation in a rational philosophy, to outline a conception of God, and formulate a destiny based upon science and philosophy's dealings with our experience, rather than past traditions. We do not disregard or discredit these traditions when they have any content of proven value, but use them as side lights to interpret life.

We seek to explain only one phase of life: If there is a God, why do so many troubles loom so large? The very inadequacy of the answers to this question has made many despair of finding a suitable answer.

The origin, the course, and the end of troubles resolve into a ministry whose outcome is beneficent. As we ponder the course of human development, the furnace of trouble has played a mighty part in the world's evolution — from chaos up to form, order and beauty, from animalism, to savagery, to barbarism, and finally up to civilization.

Trouble has been our one chief means of extracting the clinkers and slag from human nature. The scientific observer beholds the sparkle of the fast-flying emery wheel of trouble polishing some rough diamond of spirituality. We see pig iron refined into finely-tempered spring steel by heat, chemical action and heavy hammering.

We behold the entire universe, which is ultimately one spiritual substance, and the fundamental law that raising a lower energy form to higher expression requires heat, stress, and eons of time to reach the stage of soil and fruit. This material world process corresponds to the action of pain and trouble in lifting human nature from animalism to Godlikeness.

All things in this universe are incorporated into a University of Hard Knocks, into which we matriculate ourselves at birth. It offers no correspondence course, no proxies. Attendance is compulsory. We all begin as pupils and end sometime, somewhere as masters. Life adapts the course to each pupil.

Just how we will have trouble depends upon our heredity, environment, temperament, and other factors that lend a personal bias. One takes his schooling in one allopathic knockdown dose of calamities, while another gets hers in little homeopathic pellets of annoyance.

We may not always choose how we will receive the lessons — life seems to adjust them to us automatically. However, we may choose how well we learn them, and how soon we may graduate.

It is just possible that we may, as many have done, suggest improvements in the course of instruction to the Absolute Wisdom, our teacher, only to find that He retires into "ways that are not our ways, and thoughts that are not our thoughts" (see Isaiah 55:8).

Sometimes we throw down our books and quit school over night. Yet in the morning we find the tutors of pain and trouble remain, and that school keeps right on.

Daily we add new words to our vocabulary. Every day an angel turns a page in the great book of life, and we find a new set of words to learn. Monday we spell "joy," and Tuesday we wonder why we find lusterless "grief." Wednesday we learn to spell "love," and too often we next learn "disappointment." Friday we spell "happiness," and another day we read "sorrow."

One day we spell "wealth," the next day we meet the hatchet-faced teacher, "want." Some words we have learned repeatedly, until they are our very own. Often we rebel and feel like quitting school, only to find that we cannot until we have at least learned to take good and bad with equal good grace.

Often we worry about tomorrow's lesson. We find that the words that troubled our thoughts and dreams are not on the page at all, but new and strange ones. When will we learn that "sufficient unto the day is the spelling lesson thereof?"

We would go to school with a happier attitude and come home to a refreshing rest if we were content to learn today's lesson. As life proceeds, we learn at length that some great, loving and wise purpose lies back of all our experience, directs our schooling, and interprets our thoughts and actions according to their spirit, rather than their form.

This course is personally conducted. It is yours while you are taking it, and the results will be yours when you are promoted. You begin as a pupil, you develop into a student, you are promoted to a teacher, and you unfold into a master.

It matters not whether you finish the course in this world. Having entered, you may not quit until you do finish. The illustrious ones of every age are those who, without shrinking, have taken good and bad alike with full understanding of their purpose and results, and have passed upward into divine or cosmic consciousness.

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II. The College of Science, Natural and Otherwise

Science's function is to discover, describe and register facts regarding the ways of being and of happenings. It finds events occurring in a certain way, and formulates the hypothesis that all similar facts occur in that way. This hypothesis, which explains that class of occurrences, becomes known as a law.

Science furnishes us with the great hypotheses of gravitation, the undulatory theory of light, the electronic theory of physics, the "Big Bang" hypothesis of cosmology, evolution, etc. Since these theories of operation were the best explanations of the facts in a given series of events, observers accepted them as the law of procedure in their respective realms.

Similarly, by scientifically observing the effects of various methods of directing mental and moral action for the individual and society's welfare, we have evolved a knowledge of the laws governing mind, morals and conduct.

Science, concerning itself with matter and material happenings, gathers a mass of facts, classifies them and discovers how they happen. Certain axioms have arisen from this scientific study, valuable self-evident truths, such as, "Out of nothing, nothing comes. There is a cause for every effect. Nothing just happens."

The laws of matter apply to all material things, no matter in what form they exist. The law of gravitation acts on the human body, just as it does on a piece of iron, and no amount of thinking can suspend this law.

The nutrients and methods of metabolism, or change, are similar in all living forms. Oxygen, alone and in combination with other chemicals, is indispensable to all material life. Water is a large element in all living bodies.

Under the law of the conservation of energy, the form of these bodybuilding factors may change, but the substance must be present. Literally, "No man by merely taking thought can add a cubit to his stature" (see Matthew 6:27).

Pure thinking alone can no more build the body than can feeding the body train the mentality without mental activity and "thought sustenance." Elijah, hungry, deserted his duty, but twelve hours of sleep and two square meals made him the lionhearted prophet again.

The body must have a proper ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, with water and minerals, and no mental or spiritual substitutes exist for these. Science determines that the mental powers develop through contact with the material world, acting upon it and reacting to it.

The brain, the instrument of mental activity and power, reaches its maximum weight about the age of forty. Then it begins to decline in weight and efficiency, unless kept constantly active by feeding on new truths, wrestling with new problems, and seeking new achievement, in which case it constantly increases in power.

No material nor spiritual substitute exists for mental exercise in the realm of truth and fact. A law of the mind exists, just as does a law of the body.

The development of the spiritual life, while largely influenced by the body's condition, through the nervous system and the mind in their contacts with the world of material things, cannot depend on either material or mental things for its sustenance. The soul must find its nourishment in a realm of purely spiritual substance, and discourse and communion with an ultimate spiritual Being sustains it.

Beyond the study of such exercises and their effects, science has made no explicit pronouncement as to the essence of the realm of Spirit. However the spiritual activities and their effects warrant a cause, just as do movements and effects elsewhere.

The ideas of God, the soul's immortality, the rational exercise of prayer, the effects of faith, hope and love in producing character, all stand upon the same logical base as do the theories of gravitation, evolution and other great scientific doctrines. Their fundamental principles are identical, and their manner of proof is similar. They best explain the facts to which they relate.

The material method of science is one of exactness by weight and measure. It has the facts in hand. In studying the mind, the method deals with mental action and the results left behind as the mind proceeds from the self as a center. In spiritual things, method and proof depends upon secondary evidences.

For example, faith produces peace and content. These are determined and reported by the actions and experiences of those who exercise and enjoy them.

A difficulty common to scientific study of mental and spiritual activities is that the same stimulus fails to affect two people in the same way, mentally or emotionally. They do not see or feel alike.

Also, the reliability of their states and experiences is not always dependable, especially their reports and explanations of the causes. Finally, the difficulty of reproducing their experiences makes it necessary for science to generalize by studying the spiritual activities of humanity at large. We may take no individual experience as a criterion.

Science also discovers spiritual occurrences and experiences that lie outside the methods of material activity. It discovers the ego, or self, experiencing and perceiving activities outside the range of the five senses, and the realm of three-dimensional activity.

Science therefore posits, because of these facts, a fourth dimension as a possible field of activity and experience, such as Jesus used when he sent a vibration across a space to heal the nobleman's son. Science also posits a sixth sense of universal power of perception: Elisha, the prophet, saw the hosts of limitless Power on his side, ready to help at Dothan. Jesus saw Nathaniel around a material corner.

Science, from tabulated facts, recognizes that character, intangible but very real, arises from such spiritual activity. It also recognizes that we can grade and classify character, and every individual form of life eventually finds its own level. Every person comes or goes to his own place according to a certain "affinity" or spiritual gravitation.

Science, applying the law of the conservation of energy, recognizes that all seen things have come from the unseen, and that they may be resolved again into the unseen. Since the source and goal is unseen, it follows that supplies from the unseen constantly maintain all life and all that pertains to life, which God sustains through the channels of activity, called laws.

Science reaches the dignity of divine science when, by using the scientific method, researchers observe that all things proceed from a first great spiritual Cause, whose methods of operation are uniform, whose effects are unfailing.

The most potent agencies are those nearest the purely spiritual. Mental energies take their place lower down in the scale, while material forms of energy are still less refined. Yet, they are divine energies, adapted to use in their respective realms, as it is said, "The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." – Ezekiel 47:12.

Applying scientific methods to the problem of health, we can study the incidents and experiences in the careers of history's great healers, and deduce certain general principles. The first principle is that all disease comes from the violation of law, technically called "sin." Thus, all healing, technically called "wholeness" or "righteousness," comes by a return to keeping the law.

Science finds many diseases and ills of character purely material in their origin. Wounds, fractures, lesions, infections, auto-intoxications and abnormal forms of cell growth are in some way violations of material law. We cure them by faithful obedience to the law that we have broken, and by using material agencies, with a recognized specific action.

Science recognizes a large class of life's ills, which arise from wrong thinking habits or violations of mental laws, which we must cure by reeducating the mind in the proper methods and thought habits.

Many ills and afflictions, both of mind and body, grow from the violation of moral and spiritual laws. The cure must logically depend on the sufferer being restored to harmony with the sources of moral and spiritual power and life.

The great Healer himself stated the principle of all these classes of ills arising from violation of the law, and their cure being in keeping the law: "Thy sins be forgiven thee" — a declaration that invariably attended and was understood in the injunction, "Be thou made whole." So extensive was this truth that the Master Healer of the Ages made it apply to every form of ill.

Facts gathered and classified by scientific method reveal the common method of all healers, actively to involve, or implicitly to depend upon the faith of the individual who sought healing, or his friends' faith. Without this faith, even the Master himself "could do no mighty works."

The same scientific analysis of healing reveals that faith was merely an instrument in the healing. The patient must exercise implicit faith, no matter whether the things that he believes are true or the person in whom he trusts is genuine.

Faith is the means of arousing within the patient powers that, operating through the channels or laws of heath, restores the sick one. The same analysis of healers' methods reveals a spiritual quality in the healer and in the patient, which proceeds from some unseen, limitless reservoir of health and power.

Some mighty practitioners of healing, such as Elijah and Jesus of Nazareth, frequently relied on the element of physical contact and the use of material agencies. Elijah used the working principle of the modern artificial respirator to restart a boy's breathing. Jesus touched blind eyes, deaf ears, paralyzed bodies, and put spittle upon the tongue.

He anointed a blind man's eyes with clay, which by the time he had traveled to the pool of Siloam and scrubbed off this sticky mess, had by manipulation thoroughly stimulated the circulation and nervous activity in his eyes, besides arousing his faith and expectation.

We observe the same practice of material contacts in the experiences of Paul, Peter and James. Similar scientific analysis reveals the fact that a healer can send healing vibrations without the use of oral words or direct contact with the patient, as we see in the healing of the nobleman's son and the centurion's servant.

Scientifically, we deduce from these facts that the use of material agencies alone is sufficient, in many cases of purely physical ill, to set in operation the healing powers that work through physical law. Right thinking, established in many mental disorders, will restore the sufferer to normal mental balance and experience.

The restoration of harmony with the spiritual Source of Life — the infinite God — will produce health in a majority of cases commonly arising from spiritual disharmony, and restore the sufferer to wholeness. In other cases, combining two or all these classified powers will prove effective where one might fail.

Finally, whatever agencies may be used, we can trace their source to that region of perfect health from which One spoke and said, "I am the Lord who heals thee." – Exodus 15:26.

In its last scientific analysis, health is a spiritual matter, the result of spiritual powers having their source in the Absolute and operating through every agency which embodies the energy of the great "I AM." Similarly, we may deduce the truth that every good for us, whether it is peace, harmony, power or abundance, arises from our relationship to the invisible and spiritual reality.

Health manifests according to the measure of our conscious realization of that fact. If knowledge of the truth gives us such wonderful privilege, then it also follows that ignorance of the truth imposes our only limitation. The supreme test of scientific method is that thinking does not make anything true. We can know only that which we have put to the test. The only way to graduate from the U.H.K. is to know things by proving them.

We are steadily moving back toward the Power House. We are still waiting for some master who shall give us the formula by which we may unlock the atom and set free its vast power to replace our clumsy efforts at power, using the fast diminishing stores of coal, gas and oil.

Likewise, the whole world is waiting the author of the Principia of the Spiritual Life, giving us its powers, principles and laws so that the spoken word of truth shall become the living word of the Christ. Its miracle-working power shall banish the physical miseries of humanity by the finger of God, and make men whole through spiritual realization. The day is here — the glory of its dawn is upon us.

My Wage

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening,
When I counted my scanty store.
For Life is a just employer,
He gives us what we ask.

But once we have set the wages,
Why, we must bear the task.
I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn dismayed,
That any wage, I had asked of Life,
Life would have gladly paid.
– Jessie B. Rittenhouse

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III. The College of Arts

The liberal art is a skillful adaptation and application of means to an end. In substance, it is a system of rules and methods to simplify how we do certain actions.

Applying the term "liberal" in its largest sense to art, we open the way continually to readjust to the rules to meet new conditions as they arise. Seven liberal arts open the field of scientific achievement for spiritual interpretation and application to the Fine Art of Being Well, Happy and Prosperous.

Grammar: The first art is grammar, which is powerful expression through words. The grammar of the Absolute Life has one tense — the present, expressing itself as "I AM THAT I AM." In human life it has three tenses — the future, the present, and the past.

We see the working method of the tenses of the spiritual life in the words, "Thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass." A conditioned present, in which certain things were done as prescribed, follows this future, and the record of the past reads, "And it came to pass."

The grammar of the spiritual life rises to the dignity of a fine art when we move its rules and expressions past the textbook stage, and embody them in the personal pronoun — I. "I am. I can. I will" — thus, we rise from principles and formulas to the personality of God in humanity.

All of the moods, potential and otherwise, reach their highest expression in the indicative — "I am. I can. I do. I love. I believe," etc. — and, in the imperative — "Go thy way. Be thou made whole. Take up thy bed and walk."

The grammar of the spiritual life is imperfect because it has no term for third personality without a gender coloring. Its pronouns have no neuters. They are "I," "thou," "thee," therefore, God and the angels are all represented as masculine.

However, the grammar of the spiritual life knows that "There is neither male nor female" – Galatians 3:28, nor any other sign of division or incompleteness in the spiritual realm. "He who does the will of my Father, the same is my brother, my sister, my mother." – Matthew 12:50.

Words are the incarnation of ideas. They bring us in sight of the creative Word that was "with God in the beginning." For the creative process is that God thought and called by name that which He thought, and He became that which He thought, and it was Good.

God spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast, He sent His Word and healed them. "Go thy way, thy son lives." – John 4:50. "With great power they gave witness and great grace was on them." – Acts 4:3.

Now God has given it us to speak the creative Word if we will learn the grammar of the spiritual life. Then whatever we shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever we shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (see Matthew 18:18).

This is another way of saying that we will have authority over all things. The Spirit has a new language for each new unfoldment of the truth. In the grammar of the spiritual life, none but himself knows his new name.

Rhetoric is the art concerning the form and power of the symbolic expression of truth. The mind is not content with the bare facts. It must know their nature, the power behind them, and the laws of their production.

The mind is not content with bare statements of truth, but seeks ever to beautify the truth with ornate diction, perfected formulas, and glowing symbolism.

The principle of evolution rises from crudeness to perfection, from ugliness to beauty, from roughness to polish. The simplest spiritual service, obeying the same law, moves upward until it reaches the most elaborate ceremonial. The commonest daily activity inevitably takes on the character of a sacrament.

We naturally turn to rhetoric for help in dealing with the immensities. The ten spies returning to Moses reported that, compared to the powerful Canaanites, "We are like grasshoppers." The ecstatic Isaiah, comparing the nations and peoples with the God who is vision-revealed, saw them as a "drop in the bucket," as the "small dust of the balance."

Only the boundless dimensions of length, breadth, height, and depth can express the greatness of divine mercy, love, and forgiveness.

Spiritual rhetoric exhausts language and imagery in picturing the greatness and goodness of the Supreme One. It does so properly to impress us with the dignity and character of His Life, of which we are living expressions, and thus help us to realize and use our own potentially divine natures to accomplish Godlike results.

Logic is correct reasoning, especially by inference. The logic of Being is, "I am God, and beside Me there is none else." – Isaiah 45:5. When science has gathered all facts, philosophy has formulated their purpose and end, and art has devised rules of application, the logic of life is that it begins with God and ends with God.

Behind every effect stands the Cause. Back of all causes and causality stands the changeless Cause. God alone is the Ultimate Being.

Beyond light and darkness, truth and error, right and wrong, matter and spirit, and all expressions of duality, stands the one Ultimate Reality, saying, "Look unto Me and be ye saved." – Isaiah 45:22.

By "ever looking unto Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith," all else is relative reality. Steadfastly beholding Him who is good, there is no evil. Steadfastly facing Him who is Spirit, there is no matter with its laws.

Steadfastly facing Him who is abundance and completeness, there is no lack, loss, absence or deprivation. Steadfastly facing Him who is love, there is no fear, for there is nothing to fear.

Steadfastly facing Him who is perfect wholeness, there is no sin, sickness nor death. Steadfastly facing Him who only hath immortality, we are immortal.

Life detriments are all real to the downward vision that entangles our feet in the web of things, while things are nonexistent to the uplifted eye, beholding the One Reality.

This is the logic of the spiritual life, and points the way to be saved from the bondage of the senses, time, space, and limitation, into freedom, aspiration and Godlikeness. Because God is, I AM.

Mathematics: Primarily, mathematics deals with numbers and spaces. Nevertheless, its principles, applied to the spiritual life, appear in such problems as, "Give all diligence to add to your faith, power, and to power, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-mastery," etc. (see 1 Peter 1:5).

Subtraction comes first in spiritual mathematics. We debit false notions, wrong ideas, actions and hurtful habits, obsolete words and statements of truth. Then follows addition, for in spiritual addition we can add only likes to likes. The unlike cannot be added.

Multiplication, the short method of addition, follows this. Spiritual potencies grow so fast that only the terms of multiplication can express the process.

"Grace and peace be multiplied by the knowledge of God." – 2 Peter 1:2. Grace and peace are the multiplicands. Your knowledge of God is the multiplier. The product depends on the size of the multiplier for spiritual attainment.

"Acquaint now thyself with God and be at peace." – Job 22:21. The measure of your peace is your knowledge of God.

Spiritual division follows, in which diversities of gifts are imparted among humankind, according to the proportion of their faith. This spiritual ratio and proportion are always evident in our endeavors and the results that we obtain.

Spiritual mathematics presents the enigma that one and one make one, never more and never less. These countless unities eventually make one unity, "that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

The mathematical axiom that "a whole is equal to the sum of all its parts," finds its parallel in spiritual Being, in which all individual expressions of life are summed up in the One Being.

Geometry: The great science of measurements, dealing with three-dimensional principles, deals with space that is topless, bottomless, sideless, endless. Spiritual geometry finds this boundless space filled with a Being whose love dissolves sins, restores integrity, inspires effort, and molds character.

Spiritual geometry announces the great triangle of spiritual experience: Faith, hope, love. Faith and hope find and bring all the riches of the spiritual existence into spiritual realization, and make them soul possessions and endowments. Love goes forth with arms extended, to shower its blessing and abundance upon others, so to reflect its kinship to that God of Love, whose language is giving.

Music: Harmony is an adaptation of parts, one to another, to form a connected whole. The lack of proper adaptation between the various intervals in the scale brings disharmony, or discord.

In the realm of spiritual harmony is a conceivable kingdom of harmony, in which all wills move in unison of thought, word and deed. This is the Universal Stave.

Poetry has dreamed of the "music of the spheres." The illumined prophet saw in the seraphim the personification of the powers of the universe offering themselves to God in service.

All inspired ones have at times risen above the tumult and discord in the wheel of earthly things to see a kingdom in which nothing offends, peopled with beings "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing" (Ephesians 5:27), where evil, sorrow, and death end.

One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event
To which the whole creation moves.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam, Conclusion, Stanza 36

In moving upward toward this "far-off divine event, toward which the whole creation moves," human experience has developed two songs to still every earthly disharmony. A song is the constantly recurring note about a single theme, and its purpose is to fix our wandering-mindedness upon the one essential truth by repetition.

The ancient "Song of Moses" has for its theme, I AM THAT I AM. The "Song of the Lamb" has for its central theme that one Matchless Name, forever enshrined in the world of harmony, or heaven — Jesus the Christ.

Facing the troubles, the trials, the afflictions of this life, which have separated us from our heritage, "The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads." – Isaiah 51:11. These are the songs they sing, the shouts of triumph before which all walls of obstruction fall down.

Steadfastly facing Him, sing this old Song of Moses:

Oh, High and Lofty One inhabiting eternity,
Clothing Thyself with beauty, as with a garment,
Hiding Thyself under the names of relationship,
I know that Thou art, and that Thou art
The Rewarder of them that diligently seek Thee.
Deliver me by the might of Thy great name — I AM.

Or this Song of the Lamb:

Oh Face of the Blessed, behold me
Bowing with every kindred and tongue
In glad allegiance to Thy loving care;
Breathe into me the breath of Thy deathless Life;
Feed me with Thine unfailing Substance;
Enfold me in the secret place of Eternal safety and power,
Thy matchless name — Jesus the Christ.

Hidden in these songs is the might of that kingdom which, released by faith, brings food and clothing and plenty, rolls back the stone, stops the lion's mouth, quenches the power of flame, makes Aeneas' palsy to depart, and makes Dorcas rise into life again. They are the songs of High Deliverance.

Astronomy: We first think of the world, our little earth, as the center of things. Then we learn that appearance has deceived us. We find some far-off sun to be the center. When we adjust to the heliocentric idea, astronomy aids us with a scale of distance and immensity beyond our power to conceive adequately.

Astronomy tells us of another center about which all things move, and guesses that even this great system is only a small part of a vastly greater. Finally, the mind can no longer grasp the thought, for it leads to infinity.

Astronomy shows us the wonderful forces playing in this material universe, the marvelous exactness of the laws that govern it, the infinite intelligence manifest in the movements of its numberless worlds, and in the development processes everywhere. Astronomy hints of a wonderful beneficence in the results of these activities, and how the whole situation adapts remarkably to our needs at our present stage of unfoldment.

So we are led to see in this universe, governed by law and order, the temporary form of a spiritual reality, a spiritual universe of perfect law and order, of perfect Being, life, intelligence, love, goodness, and every other right idea, the sum of which we call God. God is over all, through all, in all, and all in all, the totality.

Our first thought of this infinity is that we are the Center of Being, which has no circumference. Yet astronomy leads us to think of other centers like ours that make up a system of spiritual life called the body of the Christ — the divinely conscious.

We are led to think of other worlds of intelligence, with their activities, "other sheep not of this fold" (John 10:16), until at last, the mind conceives that all of them are gathered into one Being who is infinite.

In this Being who is bottomless, topless, endless and boundless, we are ever in God. We cannot get lost in material earths or spiritual heavens. We cannot wander from our Father's house, which embraces all. We cannot lack any good thing, for all things are ours at any moment when we claim and use them.

We are born from above, from the limitations of our earthly temple into largeness of consciousness. Gradually we move upward to a destiny as limitless as God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

Our highest attainment in the University of Hard Knocks is to become fully conscious of this spiritual reality as always in action, always available, which works in and through us to attain every ideal, and fully to realize every divinely inspired impulse.

Besides these arts, and embracing them all, is The Fine Art of Being Well, which consists in the use of methods and rules by which we bring the body to harmonious cooperation in all of its functions, making it a fit temple for the indwelling of the Spirit of Life. We set our mind to the task of developing its forty and more faculties until it comes to the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

The spirit, following the art of spiritual attainment, must reach that perception of the spiritual realities of existence and so work in harmony with them that when we shall appear in the glory of spiritual realms, we shall be like Him, clothed with equal brightness and crowned with equal glory.

This unity, in turn, may encompass that spiritual consciousness lying behind and expressing itself through the material universe, to produce such a harmony in the workings of the body, the mind and the spirit, and realize completeness here and now. We formulate certain simple rules here, according to the laws of art to carry out the Fine Art of Being Well, which includes well-being for body, mind, and spirit, whether it is health, happiness, prosperity or serenity of spirit, or whatever you want to be.

Earnestly desire to be perfectly whole, successful, beautiful, or whatever else you wish. The desire is innate. It is of God. The very fact that you desire it is the prophecy of its possibility and the warrant of its full realization, but you can intensify it by dwelling upon it, thinking and talking about it.

Visualize it. Mentally picture yourself as perfectly well and filled with abounding energy, as graceful in movement, beautiful in form, bright and active in conversation, perfect in your love toward others, as successful and happy.

See yourself as the image of the Perfect One. If you clothe yourself with His health, strength, and goodness, you will find every ill slipping away, for "no man can see God and live" (Exodus 33:20) after his former estate. This method applies for success or any other possible attainment.

Declare that the thing you desire and visualize is yours. Keep declaring it until it becomes your mental habit to think of yourself as you want to be. When it becomes your habit to think of yourself as you want to be, you will be what you want to be. Declare until you no longer exercise declaration, but dwell in full consciousness and realization.

Believe that it is now yours, that your real self partakes now of the nature of the Divine Mind, the Source of perfect health, the Source of unbounded success. Know that health as now yours in reality. Because perfect health fills every part of your body, it will make every cell in your body vibrate with perfect health.

This faith arouses and calls all the healing powers of the Absolute to action, and your faith is the measure of its working. "According to your faith be it unto you." – Matthew 9:29.

Your faith is the sixth sense, the incorporeal eye that sees the spiritual reality, sees the crooked arm already straight, sees the troubled mind in perfect peace, sees the disturbed spirit resting serenely in the bosom of the God of love, sees the one Absolute Reality in which appears the Divine Nihilism of all negative and relative things.

Get your will into action, for "It shall be unto thee even as thou wilt." – Matthew 15:28. Your imaging faculties may visualize health or success. Your desire may focus on what you want and put you in the right condition for realizing it.

Your faith may arouse all healing potencies, but it remains for your will to direct these to the desired end. Your will must hold you in the attitude of receptivity to the divine healing agencies. It must direct your thoughts and imaging faculty to the thing desired. It must resolutely divert your mind from pain, weakness, failure, depression, poverty or whatever it is.

These negative ideas and conditions return with devilish persistence, and only the edict of a royal will can keep you from thinking, worrying, and fearing about them. Resolutely set your face away from them and toward the spiritual realities. You need only to attend to the causes of health. The effects are certain.

Interest yourself in others' welfare. It will react on you. Go out and comfort someone in trouble, and you will go home relieved of your own distress. Send out a thought — a prayer — to another, the vibration will reach and help its object and will react for good upon you.

Reduce your message to code form, a single sentence, a single word. Let your love, compassion and desire to help empower your message to wing its flight as you earnestly send it. No matter what the mental attitude or state of your friend, it will bring him relief.

Health, success, and happiness are all by-products of simply busying ourselves about other things and other people's welfare. Scatter the seeds of truth, and the golden sheaves of freedom, health, prosperity, and happiness will be the rich harvest along your pathway, and will return manifold to your own bosom.

The life of every individual proves the renewing power of a new interest. The art of living to defy the ills of old age consists in forever finding a new and fresh interest for the mind and new activities for the body. Many great minds of the ages have done their greatest work late in life by finding some new problem to solve.

Service reveals the genius of living. The secret formula of genius is, "I am among you as one who serves." – Luke 22:27. The indelible watermark of genius is to work patiently to achieve the desired end, and resolutely to put aside discouragement or impatience, at least to prevent anyone from noting it if you should feel them.

If you would graduate from the College of Arts, and know and enjoy The Fine Art of Being Well, you must "Study to show thyself approved unto God a worker who needs not to be ashamed." – 2 Timothy 2:15. You must earnestly seek the vision of the higher ends of living, then "Endure as seeing Him who is invisible." – Hebrews 11:27.

You must "Be strong and of a good courage." – Joshua 1:6. You must hold clearly in your mind your objective and "Patiently wait for it" – Romans 8:25. You must fully believe that it is for you, and then "Show your faith by your works" – see James 2:18.

You must "Work out your salvation" – Philippians 2:12, keeping ever in mind that "It is God that works in you both to will and to do." – Philippians 2:13. For the eternal promise, "it shall come to pass," prefaces whatever life holds for you, and is crowned with the absolute period, "and it came to pass."

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IV. The College of Law

The universe in its final analysis is spiritual. It is being adjusted to material form and mechanical means of expression, an evolution from the unseen to the seen, from the Absolute to the relative, from everywhere to here, from eternity to the now.

Evolution proceeds by certain orderly methods called laws. Law has no causality in it, but is a rule by which some power beyond it acts. A law is the way a thing is done, energy following a certain norm or method of expression. Things exist and events occur in certain ways, called laws.

The reign of law is universal. All realms are formed to be governed and perpetuated by law. Laws suitable to their nature of existence and condition likewise govern all beings.

A law exists for inanimate things, a law for the animate, a law for intelligent beings in the flesh, and a law for purely spiritual beings. Everything must obey the laws governing it.

The material world would be chaos if it did not obey the laws of inertia and gravitation. The animal world would cease did it not obey the laws of nourishment and growth.

Every rational being in the universe is bound to fail in obtaining this life's vast good if he neglects to keep the law of his being. Tradition says the early progenitors of our race so failed.

Another tradition concerns "angels which kept not their first estate" (Jude 1:6), and it is possible that God Himself might fail if He did not fulfill the whole law, just as a vast business might fail for lack of organization, order, and central authority.

Among the fundamental laws of the material universe is the law of inertia, which holds matter in a state of rest. Another is the law of gravitation, which maintains the relation of each part to the others, and of all parts to the whole material organism. The law of the conservation of energy preserves the total of matter against waste, and under the law of the conversion of energy, the working forces may adapt materials to any possible need.

Within the operation of these laws is the fact that heat and stress invariably attend in raising lower forms of matter and energy to higher forms. The gold is extracted from the ore by heat and hard pounding. The fast-flying emery wheel brings the diamond to its power of expression. Ore goes from pig iron to spring steel by heat, hammering and chemical action. Perfume comes out of the flower under pressure.

In the realm of moral law, we realize strength of character under the influence of trial and temptation, just as the muscle gains strength by exercise. These grow from the laws governing the individual expression as it meets the laws governing the social body, and the necessary adjustments to it.

The law of development in the mental realm is that thinking power unfolds according to mental laws. The mind acquires power in its contacts with material things, in seeking knowledge and control over them. The mind gains facility of action through the stress of work. We strengthen the will by repeatedly exercising the will in choosing one of two or more alternatives.

Cognition becomes clear only by our unceasing effort to think. Feelings become deep, reliable and inspiring only when we adjust the emotional life to changing conditions that constantly test them. Thus, the mind moves upward from ignorance to knowledge, wisdom and understanding through the stress and challenge of difficulty.

In the realm of spiritual laws, God makes those things of highest value most difficult of attainment. The things that he suffered made the Great Captain of our salvation perfect.

We find the same thought in the words, "The God of all grace … after ye have suffered awhile, makes you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you." – 1 Peter 5:10. Those who were "clothed in white robes" had already "come up through great tribulation."

Humanity moves up from animalism to spiritual supremacy and power only in the University of Hard Knocks.

The law of operation works after the principle of cause and effect, rather than by rewards and punishments. We accept this in all material things, but debate it in human affairs, because we can feel the effects of disobeying the law. We can think about it, conjure up the specters of right and wrong, and do ourselves to death by letting them gain a headway in our life.

We think that God is rewarding or punishing us according to our experiences, pleasurable or otherwise, when the operation of this law of cause and effect is really correcting our views of life and enlarging our outlook.

The idea in Job's day was that when someone suffered, it was a sign that he was a sinner. The severity of his suffering determined the enormity of his sin, all of which they attributed to the action of a personal Being against whom he had offended. It was a crude groping after the law of cause and effect.

In Job's particular case, he had ceased to grow because he was so well situated and so comfortable. This violation of the law of growth caused all the effects as we see them in that wonderful narrative. Trouble emancipated him from the limitations arising from failure to grow, and saw the result in a greatly enlarged enjoyment of life.

He had not knowingly violated the law, true. Nevertheless he received the full benefit of the effects of his unknowing violation of the law of progress, not because he deserved it, but because he needed the emancipation into larger life, through practicing a higher obedience to the law of life.

All law is positive and constructive. All its results are beneficent if we know and keep the natural movement of the law. When we violate the law, consequences follow whose repetition may eventually become a law of itself.

Digestion, for instance, normally follows keeping the law of dietetics, while the violating the law brings a new and unpleasant law of procedure called indigestion. The laws of heat, when kept, can bring comfort in any climate, but violated, a new law of expression, called cold, comes as the absence of heat.

The laws of Light, when kept, flood our pathway with light and certainty, while their violation brings darkness and uncertainty or the absence of light. Mental activity brings knowledge, while mental indolence leaves us in negative ignorance.

The positive "law of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2) — a law of conscious oneness with God, when obeyed gives us character like God, and makes the soul "free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2), which is the absence of conscious oneness and harmony with God, and becomes a rule of existence by disobedience.

From these facts, it appears that what at first is merely a negative, or the absence of the positive, rises by continued action into the dignity of a law of wrong procedure, with its effects.

All good comes from the keeping of the law in its particular realm. All evil comes because of not keeping the law. Every ill, therefore, is the result of law unkept.

No moral turpitude may be attached (perhaps the law was not broken intentionally, especially not with the purpose of injuring self or another), yet the effect comes from sin, which is the violation of the law, consciously or otherwise, by the afflicted one or by someone else.

The Master of the University of Hard Knocks recognized the fact that all evil — moral, mental or physical — arises from some form of sin, when he said, "It is as easy to say thy sins are forgiven thee, as to say, arise, take up thy bed and walk." – Mark 2:9 and Matthew 9:5. He could not say one without saying the other.

The fact that he could say the one, and it would happen, was evidence that he could say the other and it, too, would happen. When he said one, it always included the other. Finally, the fact that he used the expression, despite whether the trouble was physical or spiritual, showed that he regarded all ills as arising from sin.

All ill comes then from sin. Sin is a violation of the law, a missing of the mark. The remedy for sin is to keep the law, to hit the target. Our remedial work begins when we stop sinning.

The consequences of the law are automatic. If we get pain by violating the law, we get ease by keeping the law. Every law is remedial and healthful, and the moment we begin to keep it, recovery begins.

To use the old form of thought, if the law is self-punishing, it is also self-rewarding. "Cease to do evil, and learn to do well." – Isaiah 1:16, was the scriptural recognition of the automatic, remedial, self-healing action of the law.

The law is changeless, but adaptable. All law is immutable. We cannot change it. It cannot be broken with impunity, but we may adapt it to the conditions of existence. As the conditions in a given case change, the law adjusts to meet the new conditions of existence.

For example, vegetarianism was the dietary law when the population was scattered and the activities of life were simple. With a complex civilization arose the necessary use of foods in more concentrated form and more easily procurable under all conditions.

Society permitted things in the time of Moses that were no longer sanctioned under the more enlightened times of the Master. Our consciousness concerning the use of intoxicating substances, slavery, and the rights of women, has risen so that we are again adapting the law to ever-changing conditions.

A law is important according to the interest it protects. The law of existence, expressed in the primal instinct of self-preservation, has made respect for human life, and the right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to assume the place of first importance, while the questions of possessions, morals, and all else come in as secondary considerations.

The laws of the physical body are very important, but they relate to what is but temporary. The laws concerning the mind and soul are supremely important because they concern the immortal soul and its destiny through development.

The violation of the physical laws does not popularly fall in the same category of sinfulness as the violation of moral laws.

The law is remedial, every time, great or small, in the interest it protects. The moment the lawbreaker becomes a law-keeper, the healing action of the law begins. The Master calmly stood in the midst of the blindest, most bigoted definition of sin and their demand for its punishment, and said, "Neither do I condemn thee. Go thy way and sin no more." – John 8:11.

God promised Israel that when they began to keep the law, the Lord would restore to them the years the locusts, the caterpillar and the cankerworm had eaten. It is a wonderful way of saying that what one needs to do is to know and keep the law, and he shall be made whole. What he has lost or its equivalent shall be restored to him.

To know the truth and keep it, as it applies to our particular case of violating the law, will make us free from the bondage of sin and enter us into the glorious liberty of the sons and daughters of God. The remedy for any ill is to know the law, declare and keep it.

We do not deny the darkness nor try to drive it out, but we obey the law of Light by turning on the electric current. We do not cure pain by merely denying it, but by obeying the law of ease and comfort, by emphasizing the fact that God is the God of all comfort, and using the things that make for comfort.

In the sight of the law, pain is but a symptom of growth. Trouble is a trumpet call to triumph over difficulties. Stumbling blocks form a golden stairway leading to the heavens of repose and peace. Every knock is a boost. Every fall is an upward movement.

Accept them, therefore, as a part of the curriculum in the University of Hard Knocks, which is eventually to graduate you into self-mastery. Take them cheerfully. If the cup of trouble is presented to you, drink of it. Take your medicine and do not play with the spoon, at least not until you have swallowed the dose.

You neutralize half the ill when you get rid of self-pity. Do not be sorry for yourself. Do not try to work on others' sympathy. Such an attitude is a sign of weakness.

The call to suffer and endure and to master the causes of suffering challenges the best within us. Only a weakling wants to be protected from the necessity of meeting and solving the problems of life of his own initiative and persistence.

Matter is the material expression of energy. Withdraw energy and matter disappears. Energy is kinetic and potential. It is God in action or at rest. It is uncreated, for it is a principle of Divine Being.

We cannot increase or diminish energy. We may raise its action and materialization takes place. We may decrease or change its action, and dematerialization takes place.

In other words, certain combinations of energy move into material expression while other combinations move to destroy material form. Yet we neither increase nor diminish the volume of energy.

The number of the laws of expression a given person can obey measures the manifestation of power in that combination of energy that we call human life. Since all the powers of God are potentially in us, subject to our command, it follows that we can at will increase or decrease the volume of energy we express, and so determine the richness and beauty of our life.

Isaiah 45:11 recognizes this power to command the powers of the universe in the pastoral parable of Edenic creation, where God is represented as saying, "Concerning My sons, and concerning the works of My hands command ye Me."

God offers this mastery of energy to him who will know and keep its laws, so that he may, at a Word, make the oil and meal or the loaves and fishes increase, the swelling or blindness to be healed, or the anxious mental fretting to cease. It is the authority to command the invisible powers and know that "it shall be as thou wilt."

Summary: The reign of law is universal. The law is no respecter of persons. If even God should violate His own laws, He would cease to be God. If we violate them, we cease to be Godlike.

The law is corrective and constructive. Its effects are educative rather than destructive. The whole scheme of living consists in learning the laws of life and keeping them.

The physical body passes through all the processes of growth and change and renewal in obedience to law. Any attempt to run one department of the organism by the laws governing another department inevitably calls up the old tutors of pain and disease.

No amount of right thinking can make an amends for eating wrong food combinations. Nor can perfect breathing in the open air replace nourishing food, or proper exercise.

The laws of metabolism, which demand the breathing of plenty of oxygen, are as imperious in their demands as those of dietetics or hygiene. The law is, therefore, our schoolmaster to bring us to health.

The laws of mental development are just as specific as those for the organism. Any neglect or over-development of any of the elements of mental life, as cognition, feeling, or will, results in unbalanced mentality. Obedience to the laws of education gives one balanced mentality, a trained mind, and leads to mental efficiency and culture. The law is therefore our schoolmaster to bring us to knowledge and wisdom.

Likewise, the moral nature develops by obedience to the moral laws as ages of human experience have revealed them. However faulty the form of the Ten Commandments, they stand for the protection of specific interests of the moral nature, which can never change while we live on the earth.

The law is therefore our schoolmaster, able to bring us to character and self-mastery. From this triple realm of the reign of law, the spiritual life develops by attention to the spiritual laws of being. So "The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" – Galatians 3:24, the Anointed, which is, in a word, the consciousness of Oneness with God.

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5. The College of History

History relates to the material world, its development, the forces and processes involved therein, and the probable end. It relates to the processes by which life came upon the earth, and the steady upward movement of that life through all its variant forms until it reached human form.

History deals with humanity's rise from animalism, up through savagery to civilization. It studies the records of that progress as they appear in the political, social, economic, and personal experiences of people.

The sources of the history of the material world are found in the structures that abide. The stories of the rocks, and soil, the testimonies of the air, earth and water are all eloquent witnesses of some intelligent purpose, finding material expression for some fruition beyond the material world itself.

Living forms carry the record of an evolutionary process within them, by which we may learn to understand their rise, their use, and their probable end.

Biology, a scientific study of these records, has shown us how life began with a single cell whose unlimited multiplication has resulted in peopling the earth with living creation. It shows how each form carries the history of its own development within itself, and the hereditary influences of all the forms that have gone before it and of which it is an improvement.

We are rewriting history concerning our origin in the world and the length of our stay here as we discover records in the vestigial remains in the human body, hereditary traits, other marks of life, and certain impulses, both vague and well defined.

Traces of human life, from remote geological ages and others more recent, yet antedating written records, have enabled the modern historian to present an intelligible case for humanity, which has put a new interpretation upon the ancients' highly colored symbolical attempts to account for the world and the life upon it.

We must read even the written records of human progress as if we were entirely detached from them, otherwise the element of personal interest or sympathy enters and we make the historical record to say things that the facts do not warrant. For history is not only a record of the facts of life, but is also a philosophy of these facts.

Moreover, we must have the facts in hand before we formulate the philosophy, or we will read the facts to suit the philosophy, instead of adjusting the philosophy to the facts.

In every age, persons of special gifts and unusual illumination have organized and recorded the experiences of humanity in a way that enables them to formulate some statement of the cause, method and purpose of living. These have been the seers of the ages, the men and women who have towered above their fellows, and their records have been incorporated in what we know as the "Sacred Books" of humanity.

Among all the volumes so written and classified, one stands out, peerless and alone as an authority in all matters of physical, mental, and moral life, because of its evident fidelity to facts, and its reasonable explanation of those facts. It deals with personal and national affairs in every stage of human progress and experience.

The Bible's text, in poetry and in prose, deals with the most interesting and exalted subjects, the earliest origin and history of the human race, the providential government of God, the alternate progress and declension of civilizations, the ways of God in dealing with men, the consummation of divine wisdom, purity, love, and life in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

The scope of the Bible's records embraces laws, hymns, prophecies correspondence, philosophy, nuptial songs, and elegies, in their bearing upon national, social, and individual life. One strain of agreement runs through it all — a harmonious presentation of the most sublime views of God, as to His Nature, character, words and works, as to humanity, our origin, fall, redemption, hope, and destiny, duties and privileges, relationships in life, here and hereafter.

Illumined ones from every walk of life wrote it in the most simple style, yet in the most beautiful, dignified and ornate diction. In short, it is the record of the unfolding of the Consciousness of God in humanity.

The Scriptures stand out among the world's "Sacred Books" as the standard of religious history. It is the faithful record of the greatness and weakness of human nature, of humanity's oft-repeated failures, and glorious achievements.

In it are exhibitions of human animalism and divine possibilities. In it are traces of the origin of all religions and the ideal for the attainment of spiritual supremacy by looking upward to the Absolute. In it is marvelous symbolism, and commonsense, matter-of-fact statements.

We can read the Bible as history, as a summary of human experience, although it deals largely with humanity as a single nationality.

We have never understood some of its figures of speech, subject to a great variety of interpretations. Its writers give most of its facts from an experimental viewpoint. Many of its terms are obsolete, and some of its substance mythical. Many of its texts suffer in translation from the original languages, while others gain in significance.

We must study the Bible, take it as a guide, but not worship it as a fetish. We do not accept its statements because of some theory of inspiration, but because the facts recorded are in line with similar facts verified today by scientific method.

The Bible is the organized experience of good and bad people, for encouraging and warning. We accept the Bible as authority, not from a single statement or text, but from the general principles of rightness underlying all its statements.

This history, like all history, is not merely a record of happenings, but a study of the movement of great principles and forces underlying the phenomena of life, as they crop out here and there in some upward movement and its climax. These usually involve some nation or individual, sometimes giving the impression that history is made for a few nations or for the glorification of a few individuals.

If we are to read history intelligently, we must fix our attention not on the events of a year, a lifetime, or even centuries. We can read it aright only in millenniums. We cannot safely write the history of any given generation for at least a century afterward.

We can read and understand the history of the Jewish people only in the light of millenniums, reaching back to Moses, Jacob and Abraham, and can account for it on no other ground than the worship of an Almighty Jehovah, by people who were His chosen elect and specially privileged. This made the Jew the miracle of history.

We read the history of an individual or a race in millenniums of the past, not by a few spectacular items or persons, but in the final achievement. Just as the life of an individual does not consist of a few prominent actions, but must be interpreted by a process called the "logic of life," the summing up of all his actions and thoughts, as they have obeyed the movement of the great Divine Impulse that "works in him both to will and to do."

History is, therefore, the record of the expression of the Universal Life, in all its forms of growth, flower and fruit.

An individual's history must begin back beyond all material worlds in that most Supreme Oversoul, the Father of Spirits, the Source of all Life. There it entered all the movements of the Absolute Life, and when it came forth into material incarnation, it brought with it factors of the divine nature and character, which have outlived all incarnations, and rise into unutterable longings to return to its Source. This is the "Spirit in man which the inspiration of the Almighty hath given understanding." – Job 33:4.

We read the first steps of humanity's material incarnation in the protoplasmic forms of all organic life, thence through the seven great stages of animal evolution in which they took on their physical and mental characteristics, traces of which still abided with them after they had taken on human form and were "planted" or made to stand upright in an earthly Eden.

We must read the record through all those ages of savagery, in conflicts with animal creation from which humanity was but a few steps removed. In the struggles to preserve life, constant fears and alarms, and watchfulness against surprise, each human took part in all the lives of his ancestral strain, at last rising from savagery to civilization, with instincts of fear, suspicion, and conflict.

Then we read humanity's history in the light of national ideals, racial prejudices, tribal characteristics, and family traits. This is the hereditary setting of individual history.

Biography enters into all the facts of environment, home, school, work, love, and religion as they affect our personal peculiarities of temperament. Our relations to these beget habits of action and thought, which eventuate into character.

Character is the honor earned in the University of Hard Knocks in which we struggle from the first protoplasmic cell of organic life until that moment when we lay aside the temple of the flesh, and put on the vesture of immortality.

History is therefore the individual collective record of living souls, each of whom came from God, under the motive of finding expression. Each bears the characteristic qualities of its source, who is life, love, truth, goodness, power, beauty.

Every exercise of initiative in obeying the laws of expression, and in finding variations in the applications of these laws, brings results that make up the sum of living. All the experiences of loving and serving are additions to our personal knowledge.

We must compare our experiences with the organized experiences of all the past, carefully checking up with the same, yet keeping the way open for variations of experience so that the history we are helping to make shall be an advance on the past. The history of the body opens with the sentence, "Unto us a child is born." It closes with the sentence, "He is gone."

The history of the soul is written in countless aeons when it came from the bosom of the Absolute into material form, moved up through all creative stages of development, learned to stand upright, learned to make intelligent sounds, found symbols for their expression, learned to make fire, and invented written symbols for ideas.

Humanity thus achieved personal character, which we finally make into the likeness of the Son of God, then leave the flesh and rise into the Paradise of the spiritual life.

The coming out from the Father of Spirits into flesh records the "fall" — all traditions hint at this mystery. Our return to God in conscious oneness is our rising again. We weave the facts of these experiences into the philosophy of history, which is the unfolding record of God's loving purpose.

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VI. The College of Anthropology

The wise psalmist, beholding in wonder the glories of the heavens, and the economies of earth adjusted to the use of humanity in its development, asked, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?" – Psalm 8:5.

He knew that God provided for all other things in this world, but they were secondary to the interests of humanity (anthropos, the one looking upward), for we alone are capable of the rational use and appreciation of it all.

Then he answered his own question, "Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and honor." – Psalm 8:6.>

The traditions and myths conceived our origins as an immediate creation at the hand of God, as the crown and splendor of all creative action, perfect in all respects. Then came the story of the Fall, to account for our present condition. Then began the process of our recovery. This is the brief outline of tradition accounting for humanity.

Science, reading the unimpeachable records written in our body, organs, and features, our mental and moral nature, all bearing the marks of kinship with the animal world, has answered the question that we are the climax of an evolutionary process that began with a single cell.

The Oversoul clothed a particle of Being with material form, gave it the power of multiplication or growth, caused it to unfold upward through vast periods of time by selection and fitness, until, at last, Homo sapiens stepped forth from the rest of his kind, an animal looking upward, and standing upright.

Science follows this history from animalism, savagery, barbarism, and all the intermediate steps in which humanity slowly left its animalism behind, and finally reached a civilized state. Science dates the period when the animal stepped upward to human form, which corresponds to the biblical creation, to a far more remote antiquity than the records of tradition suggest.

We find the traces of human culture and civilization far earlier than any records. Pictographs are the earliest intelligent records, then the tools of still earlier ages, and we find human remains with animals of a long forgotten past in another geological period.

The pictures and symbols that were the earliest forms of record followed the prehistoric culture, then signs for letters, then writing, language, the family, the clan, the tribe, marriage, the nation and other social origins, all indicating a vast evolutionary process. The teaching power of all these facts is that life, from the Source of all life, somewhere in ages past began to express itself in material form.

The essence of this life principle is the same, whether it is in protoplasm, tadpole, frog, fish, serpent, animal or human. In other words, we prove the unity of all life, so that we safely posit our origin in the Absolute Life of the universe.

As we develop, we first attain a human consciousness through whose activities we realize that we are brothers to the race. We next develop cosmic consciousness, in which we are brothers to the worm and all living. We finally develop divine consciousness, by which we are the sons and daughters of the Absolute, in the sense that we are a part of the Universal Being.

A scientific study of the body reveals the indelible marks of our animal ancestry in some forty vestigial remains of organs and parts that we no longer need. In the lower forms of life, automatic and reflex movements were in the ascendancy, while as the scale of intelligence rises, these decrease and volitional actions increase.

Those parts of the body least controlled by intelligent volition, such as the vegetative organs, are most richly endowed with reflex equipment. Those parts of the body equipped for motived movement are very scantily supplied with reflex movements. All these facts indicate the steady movement upward to the supremacy of mind over matter.

Science detects the traces of our emotional and mental life in the lower forms of life, as the instinctive power of nest-building, or the remarkable structural skill in a honey bee's cell, or the maternal instincts in birds and animals. It finds our intuitions, instinctive movements, many of our emotions and animalism of mind and character to be improvements upon similar qualities in our more humble ancestors.

As the brain, the seat of the higher consciousness, develops, the altruistic sentiments arise, the arts and sciences develop, and the higher qualities of life and character are in the ascendancy.

Stress and danger filled primitive humanity's surroundings. Their constant effort to defend their life and interests, their recent emergence from animalism, made fear a hereditary feeling, and by far the most powerful and elemental emotion.

In their ignorance of the nature and laws of the great natural forces playing upon them and about them, in which they detected some seeming intelligence or method, they attributed their action to gods, whom they constructed in their own image. They gave their gods the same selfish passions as themselves, and feared and placated them by any and every means.

The first gods were fear gods, and the first religion reverenced fear. They evolved social customs growing from contact with their fellows, which resulted in trust, mutual dependence and love, until the gods became the gods of love, while religion changed to the reverence of love.

Humanity gradually merged the many gods, whom they esteemed to be necessary to carry on the various interests of the universe, into the conception of one God, and faith passed from polytheism to monotheism.

This glimpse of the headlines of human development reassures us that our origin is in the Absolute Being. It prophesies that our destiny is in the attainment of universal consciousness.

The process of evolution is the chosen method for bringing many life expressions into separate existence, giving them individualities, clothed with personality or character. This is the Infinite in us, and if we would know the Infinite, who is the sum of all finites, we must learn of God through the Infinite in ourselves and others.

This thought of the Infinite is also the basis of universal hope, and so a warrant for the aspiration to highest attainment, for in science, no energy, substance or life is lost. Some expressions of life rise more rapidly to the Infinite standard by a vast impelling pressure in life, true, but that same truth guarantees the persistence of each individual expression until it reaches its highest destiny.

Science has coined the term "survival of the fittest" to describe the stress under which we have progressed, which shows that all things bearing upon our life, character, and destiny, and the things leading up to us, are incorporated into a University of Hard Knocks. The actual causes and powers embodied in the ministry of trial and trouble provide its curriculum.

We can prophesy this outcome with certainty, for we have written its results in the organized experiences of humanity, and they speak authoritatively.

Accepting our matriculation gladly, we find ourselves allied with an Intelligence in whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. We find ourselves identified with a Love from which nothing can separate us, and eventually we discover that we perfectly reflect all the qualities of the Infinite. Then we have graduated, for we have found the goal of life.

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VII. The College of Economics

We find the basic principle of economics in the unity of all life, and in the solidarity of all its contents and interests. We include the interests of the individual in the larger interests of the community. We vest those in turn in the State, while we hold those of the State in trust for the nation, and the nation's interests can stand fairly only in their relation to all peoples.

Just as the State holds ultimate right to individual holdings, so we vest all interests of all nations in the ultimate Wisdom and Purpose behind all life. We hold a broad fundamental principle of community of interest in all things that we class as possessions.

In the processes of production and consumption of material, cooperation is the keynote of all real economic progress. Competition may stimulate rivalry and lead to greater prominence of the few, but it ends inevitably in needless waste. For the Ultimate Intelligence has decreed that moth and rust, and profligate sons and daughters shall work to bring these prominent ones back toward the common interests.

Economic freedom rests upon two facts. First is the individual's ability to produce. Full consciousness of that ability is real wealth. The other is an equitable distribution of the results of this applied ability.

These results more than supply everyone's legitimate needs. We must predicate economic freedom upon the granting to others all the rights claimed for self. The measure of freedom is in exact proportion to the mental attitude toward others and their rights.

Wealth further consists in what one can distribute prudently, and this process creates a reflex supply, on the principle of "Give and it shall be given to you again." – Luke 6:38. Yet we prefaced this with the understood truth that you have already had value received.

The eternal principle of compensation demands an equitable return, which you either have already given or will receive. Equitable compensation given and required are the stepping-stones to lasting possessions. Therefore, give value received.

Pay as you come. Pay as you go. Do not pauperize. Let each person feel that the law of compensation demands an adequate return for every service. It is an unwritten law, but a universal proverb, that we appreciate that for which we give an equitable compensation, and the obedience to that law is the stepping-stone to material freedom.

The right to consume is predicated upon the fact that we have earned it. He who receives without making compensation is a loser at last. Any other basis of action violates the law of compensation, and tends to pauperize the consumer

Prosperity is what one is, not the abundance of things that he possesses. Apart from the happiness and satisfaction in their use, material resources have no abiding value.

Ownership rests upon the conception that the owner is a custodian of public resources, which office carries the right to one's quota of supply, and the obligation of stewardship in making sure that others have their quota. Just as the economy of personal energy demands laying up a reserve for further service in living, so economy of material resources is an obligation to conserve a reserve supply for the practice of altruism.

Jehovah schooled the Hebrew tribes in the principle of the divine ownership of the land and all that the land could produce. Israel was the tenant of the land, and steward of the produce.

The custody of these was committed to them as their right because of their relationship to the Most High, and because no high degree of civilization was possible apart from some form of individual ownership.

Two facts safeguarded this ownership. The first was "It is He that giveth thee power to get wealth." – Deuteronomy 8:18. The other was that they held it in trust for others. The gift of stewardship is as sacred as the gift of prophecy, and sometimes more immediately practical.

The secret of abundance still rests in an understanding of vital oneness and harmony with the All-abundance, and He has given us a sure method of realizing it. "Be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." – Romans 12:11.

Two counts of the three conditions in this great formula of success concern what the person is, rather than what he has. Riches of personal character bring contentment, and attract material prosperity. The service that we give most freely and abundantly is the key to opulence, for it reacts upon him who gives it.

The laws of supply and demand automatically adjust the two sides of the equation in all economic questions. The demand clearly recognized will find that the supply is nearby. We receive what we are really looking for, with clear recognition of its source, and acceptance of its conditions.

Abundance and want are largely creatures of our own suggestion. Most of the world's poverty rests upon the highly suggestive heresy that there isn't enough to go around, while in reality, the Father's house is filled with an abundance and to spare.

The principle of value rests upon the utility, durability, and quality of a given resource. The tiller of the soil produces elementary resources, which furnish the materials for progress. The builder organizes these materials into forms of utility. The educator develops latent mental resources, which are more valuable and lasting than material ones. The spiritual teacher produces the highest of all resources, for spiritual qualities are the fundamental and everlasting standards of value.

Economics must recognize that all values, whether material, mental or spiritual, come within the scope of its provision for governing their production, use, and distribution. Disease and war do not cause our most stupendous loss, but the undeveloped mental and spiritual powers in the individual, and collectively in the nation.

Right is the seed within the sod
That knows not who, but thro' the clod
Uplifts itself to seek for God.

Right is the impulse of the soul
That stirs through all the sense control
Insisting on a nobler goal.

Whatever helps you to the height
Of your best self, and gives you light,
To see God's truth that thing is right.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Economics relates to our temporal well-being in the widest sense. It refers not only to material production, distribution, and consumption, but to all the conditions of organized society, as the use or misuse of the resources entering social life has advanced or retarded them.

Primal among these resources is the self-preservation instinct. Next is the creative impulse and power, whose economical and wise use peoples the earth with an ever increasing population of an ever advancing type. It equips them with instruments and tools for a steadily growing mastery of all life powers, whether they are physical, mental or spiritual.

Lack of economical rule in directing and expressing this creative impulse results in waste in the forms of lust, disease, race-suicide, birth defects, crime, drugs, and the instruments of destruction and butchery of modern warfare. No amount of denial of the evil of these things will change them. Only a return to the practice of justice and right, and other ethical qualities in economics can stop the waste, and make "the desert places blossom as the rose" (Isaiah 35:1).

Economics is also concerned with the proper use of the individual's own vital powers. It challenges his right to waste them by needless indulgence or by such selfish hoarding as comes from a philosophy of egoism, whose endless monotony results at last in frazzled nerves, abnormal ideas, and functional disorders, all of which reduce his efficiency.

As the only remedy, economics proposes an altruistic activity whose variety and diversion tend to preserve normality of mind and body, and so conserve the energies for the highest ends. The warrant for this seeking each another's welfare is found in the Master's summary of the law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." – Mark 12:31. This is at once ego-altruistic, and is the key to the highest welfare of the race.

Only the most careful study and application of the laws of economics in the University of Hard Knocks can steadily reduce and finally eliminate the morally defective criminal class, and populate the world with people who are made in the image and demonstrate that image through unselfish service.

The practice of these economic principles will graduate the student in the University of Hard Knocks into the possession of and the mastery over material possessions, and into the more lasting values to be found in the understanding of mental and spiritual power.

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VIII. The College of Psychology
The Science of the Mind, the Study of the Self

Psychology's method is to gather the experiences of humanity, and from them formulate the laws of mental activity. Certain terms constantly recur in the study: Spirit, soul, mind and body.

The spirit of humanity is the divine life as it came from God, the Absolute Spirit, sometimes called the superconscious or divine Mind. The soul is the undivided self. It is the spirit overlaid with the influences and effects of material incarnation and evolution.

The mind is the dual expression of the soul in conscious and unconscious activity. The body is the instrument of the mind through which it acts upon the material world and by which material things reacted upon it.

Consciousness includes the activities of the mind, which includes both conscious and unconscious processes. Cognition, feeling, and will are the main elements of consciousness.

Cognition and will face outward, and are the channels of perception through which the soul knows material states, while feeling faces inward, by which the soul may know itself. These overlap and are inseparable.

If cognition predominates, we have the coldly intellectual. If feeling predominates, we have the emotional types. If will predominates, we have the types of leadership and personal force.

The body influences the mind in that it is the mind's instrument. The point of contact is the brain and nervous system.

Impingement of the bones or contraction of the muscles and put pressure on a nerve, cutting off the motor nerve supply, causing functional disorder, because it impairs mental control.

Poor breathing leaves the blood loaded with carbon dioxide which renders the brain sluggish and reduces thought power.

Lack of exercise slows the liver and allows the blood from the portal circulation, loaded with poisons, to pass back into the circulation, poisoning the brain and depressing mental activity.

These and many other physical conditions impair the mechanism through which thought finds outward expression. If the instrument is unstrung, it destroys harmony and the music becomes discord.

First, the mind influences the body objectively and consciously, by directing its movements and activities, and determining the materials with which it will be built and renewed. Second, the mind influences the body subjectively and unconsciously, by directing all its functional processes, and reporting, classifying and controlling all its sensations.

Intense mental concentration, anxiety, such emotions as fear, worry, anger and nervous shocks through bad news, etc., act first on the conscious, then on the unconscious side of mental life. Stress lands the sympathetic nervous system, locking up the innumerable reflexes of the organs, or overstimulating them, and thus causes many serious derangements of the body.

The converse is true, right thinking and normal emotional states keep all the functional activities in vigorous and healthy condition when we obey the physical laws.

The conscious side of mental activity begins after birth. We develop it to enable the soul to find its way safely through the earthly labyrinth. It is the architect of the body, mind and character.

The unconscious activities are present with the first cell with which our bodies start. The unconscious fashions and forms our bodies according to a plan carried over in consciousness from our ancestors. It renews our bodies with the materials that we consciously furnish it. It is the builder and renewer of the body.

The conscious activities arise in reason. The unconscious activities arise in suggestion, by affirmation or implication.

The mind also acts and reacts upon itself. The steady assertion of having a strong will or a perfect memory, produces a strong will and a good memory, while such statements as, "I am losing my memory" or "My will power is weak," debilitate them.

Making positive affirmations to others will prove helpful, and will react upon the one declaring them. All the mental powers like will, memory, reason and judgment, gain strength by being called into action, just as a muscle grows strong by being exercised. Every appeal to turn from a chosen plan of action is a test, a temptation, which yielded to, weakens the will and the character, but conquered, strengthens the will and beautifies character.

We have formulated standards of action for all the mental and spiritual faculties from human experience. Followed slavishly, these destroy all initiative, while disregarded entirely, they expose the doer to all sorts of bad results. Followed as general landmarks, leaving freedom for personal initiative and action, they result in the highest attainable effect.

Meeting and solving the great problems of life, as contained in philosophy, science and art, gives added power to every mental faculty. Wrestling with the problem of what is best for self and others and then doing the best, creates strength and moral character. Seeking to know and fulfill all relationships with the spirit, gives spirituality.

Continued action of a given sort forms a habit of action. Persisted thinking in certain ways results in thought habits. Continued dwelling of the mind upon a single thing until it is ever uppermost in consciousness, produces a fixed idea.

Allowing the imagination to dwell on and clothe this fixed idea with unusual power and effects, will end in an obsession. Constantly dwelling on imaginary things will produce a hallucination, while allowing yourself to think that chance and whim runs the world will eventually cause the mind to drift into any a type of phobia.

Turn the mind to behold law, order, and wisdom under the direction of an Absolute Mind, and all these mental errors will end.

We have never formulated the psychology of pleasure. When the engine is running smoothly, all the cylinders are firing, tanks are full and distributors all working, the car hums along, the driver surrenders to the joy of movement.

However, let something go wrong (a spark plug gets fouled with carbon, the radiator boils over, or a knock starts), and it stops the car. We lay the joy aside and the mechanic begins to explore for the cause of the trouble. He knows that something he has neglected has caused it, and usually berates himself for not attending to it.

When the mind is clear, the spirit is joyous and vigor, energy and comfort fill the body, we go feel the very joy of living. We know that it is the result of careful living, and find satisfaction in doing the things that give us such satisfaction.

Yet if our spirit is clouded, the mind sluggish and heavy, and our body filled with pain and discomfort, we know that it is the result of neglecting the simple laws of body and mind. We analyze the situation, and usually find the exact cause. We make things worse by blaming and pitying ourselves instead of resolutely working to do what will right the wrong conditions.

What passes for self-introspection is usually rehashing, which is about the worst thing we can do. We may continue to analyze every act and motive until we so fill the mind with these elements of self-analysis that we cannot think or do those constructive things that would restore normalcy. Someone else should make the analysis, not magnify details, but aim at readjusting the mental state.

The mental cure for wrong habits of action is to choose a correct action and repeat it until it becomes a habit that replaces the bad one. We can right our wrong thought habits by persistently thinking of right things.

"Whatever things are good, pure, true," etc., "think on these things." (See Philippians 4:8). Unfix that fixed idea by resolutely turning your attention to other things. Get rid of your obsessions and hallucinations by making your thoughts and imaginations line up with those of healthy, normal people.

The first great mental law of activity and growth is to avoid monotony. Mental normality depends on variation.

The monotonous drip of water, the tick of a clock, the repetition of an idea, the monotone of a voice, tends to suspend mental activity, and produce a state resembling sleep. Diverting the mind to other thoughts, to other activities, and to the welfare of other people is the only way to keep from being mentally smothered with selfishness.

Let the mind dwell upon the world of nature, its life, its growth, its color, music, beauty and peace. Meditate upon the world of people, their thoughts, feelings, aims, and achievements. Cultivate altruism. Direct the track of mental vision upward.

The individualized spirit finds its completeness in oneness of purpose and character with the Absolute, in other words, in spiritual consciousness. The soul finds its rest in harmony with other souls or cosmic consciousness. The mind finds rest in the thought world of thinking beings or mental consciousness.

The body finds normal health when it is in harmony with the laws of the universe of which it is a part. Life finds its goal of perfection here in that harmony that comes through the attainment and supremacy of spiritual consciousness.

"The words that I speak and the works I do are not mine but the Father's" (see John 14:10). Identify yourself with the purposes and aims of the Unlimited Intelligence and Goodness, so that you have a specific part and place, then act the part and fill the place.

Just as the eye is at rest on the farthest point of vision, so the mind is at rest when it is contemplating things furthest removed from self. Endless self-introspection is the most difficult and thankless of all self-appointed tasks. Leave it to others.

The greatest thought possible is that of the Absolute Being, and calmly, trustfully to turn the mind toward God is to find perfect peace and rest. The value of religious meditation is that it directs the attention from the body, and gives the vital powers a chance to build and keep it well. This is apart from the fact that we measure the power of a suggestion by the estimated value of the truth we dwell upon, and by the greatness of the personality speaking it.

The psychological lessons to be learned in the University of Hard Knocks are many. The cardinal ones are: Don't worry!

Like a rocking chair, worry gives a vast amount of agitation and no progress. Get the calmness of trust and move forward. Close the mental door in the face of such callers as depression, "the blues," and melancholy. These are all states of vacuity.

The sky is blue only where there is nothing in view. Fill your mind with stars of hope, and people it with great resolves and ideals. Take a vigorous walk. Breathe deeply, wake your solar plexus, oxygenate your brain. Get busy helping someone else and your "blue devils" will go out into the abyss, not to return.

Replace your fear with love. Count your blessings and forget the other things. Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts. Talk about your beliefs, keep still about your doubts, and you will soon dwell in the land of beliefs and of reality.

Avoid anger, hatred, envy and jealousy as you would the plague. Eliminate self-pity and self-blame. They make your trouble two-story. Do the task in hand. Every day is a new beginning. Let there be no yesterday nor tomorrow.

Lift the corners of your mouth. Keep smiling. Do not blame others. They did not understand — maybe they could not. Forgive them and love them, and leave them off your calling list until they can understand.

You cannot get along with everybody — the Master did not. Keeping most people at arms' length is best. Your friendship would be more lasting.

Walk with God.

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IX. The College of Philosoophy

Philosophy is unavoidable. Every normal child is a walking interrogation point. Every person is a philosopher. We begin by distinguishing between that which is self and the not-self. We progress by asking such questions as:

What am I? What are my faculties and powers? From where did I come? Where am I going? How shall I guide myself? What is the vast universe around me? How did it arise? How is it ordered and maintained?

What is my relation to the universe, and to the great Power behind the veil, manifested in wondrous movements and changes? What is the nature of this Power?

What are my duties toward it, toward myself and toward my fellows? What knowledge of these can I acquire? What are my duties and aids for their achievement?

These, and similar questions, are in the province of philosophy. They are so vital that every rational mind engages in pursuing knowledge about some or all of them.

When the scientific method has gathered a mass of correlated facts concerning any of these topics, and has indicated the law of their expression, philosophy is at once summoned to construct a purpose and an end, and from these constructive processes we have natural, mental, moral, spiritual and countless other philosophies.

Every imaginable topic reveals an aptitude for philosophic treatment, and furnishes a basis for some special philosophy. It is, therefore, logical to seek for some general principle underlying all and common to all, and binding them together into an unity, such as is found in the statement, "By whom all things were made and by whom they consist." – Colossians 1:17.

Philosophy begins with the reason and end of countless things. It concludes with an ultimate reason for all things. It begins with loving pursuit after knowledge. It ends with the apprehension of eternal and unchanging verities.

Philosophy, following this method, brings us to the Ultimate Truth — God is the One Reality, from whose spiritual substance all things have been made. He is the One Life of whom all living forms partake.

The material universe is the organism through which He expresses Himself, just as our body is the organism for our expression. His Divine Energy orders and maintains His universe, working through chosen methods under the direction of His Will.

Our relation to God is twofold. Our body is material and is subject to the laws of matter. "Dust thou art." The real self is an expression of the life of God.

We are partakers of the divine nature, are subject to the laws of spiritual being, have the possibilities of the divine character. "In the likeness of God created He him." – Genesis 17. When we have achieved the ends of life, his "spirit returns to God Who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The relation of God to all material things is that of Immanence. He indwells in all things.

Our relation to Him is inherent oneness, best expressed in the term "co-creatorship." The method of the world's creation is an evolutionary process. Life itself in its material expression is evolution, from a cell through all the countless forms of life to humanity. We alone can fully express the qualities of the divine character in a human personality.

In the evolutionary process we lived in the lives of all our ancestors, receiving physical, mental and moral characteristics from them, which they have impressed upon our spirit. Our task is to eliminate these marks and influences of animalism and savagery, to rise to the power of spiritual vision so that we can discern the changeless reality of the Spirit.

We must also learn the changing unreality of matter, so that we may live "not after the flesh but after the spirit" (Romans 8:1). Thus we attain to that mastery, which is the preeminent mark of the divine.

For our guidance in material things, we have developed our objective reason and judgment for this stage of our existence. The Eternal Reason within us is the final authority as to our moral action and spiritual growth for our moral and spiritual guidance.

Spiritual science has developed certain great ideals, which we may follow by an inner assimilative process until we are clothed with the brightness of Spiritual Glory and the express image of the Divine Person.

To reach these ideals, philosophy has developed certain rules of conduct in relation to our fellows, to our surroundings, to ourselves, and to God, which human experience has proven to make for moral character.

The Bible and other sacred books incorporate these experiences into certain great statements. It has furnished us with rules for physical health, which obeyed shall make our physical life an open channel through which the perfect health shall flow. It has revealed the scope of our mental powers, their almost unlimited possibilities, and the supreme end of the mastery of all things, by the mastery of self.

Philosophy holds before us such rules of spiritual activity as faith, hope, love, prayer, confession, forgiveness, and absolution for spiritual guidance, and aids us in their enforcement in every age by some divinely illumined example, like Enoch, who "walked with God," like Abraham, who "was a friend of God," like Moses, who "talked with God," and like Jesus of Nazareth, who "thought it not robbery to be equal with God."

Imitating these examples in meeting the ceaseless demands of life, we find ourselves becoming like them. The things about us constantly appeal to our hereditary influences, to which yielding causes us to "miss the mark" of high attainment, and if repeated causes us to live in a state of human consciousness, called "the law of sin and death," with its attendant pain, ills and troubles.

It is your right to live in divine consciousness by resisting the appeals of the senses. By obeying "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2), you are free from these hindrances. The effort to resist the impulses of the flesh and to recover from their effects when you yield, opens to you the full curriculum of the University of Hard Knocks.

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X. The College of Medicine

Dis-ease is the lack of ease. It may arise from without or from conditions within. Germs from the outside find soil in the body for lodgment and set up a great variety of diseases. The tuberculosis bacilli can thrive only in an undernourished body, ptomaine can thrive only in an acid condition of the digestive tract secretions, and so on through a list of ills.

Every one of these conditions is the result of violating the laws of health — sin against the body or the mind. Undernourished conditions may arise not only from lack of proper food, but from lack of assimilation through high mental tension, and from neglect of proper exercise.

Acidity is caused not only by the food one eats, but by nervous tension, anxiety, fears and jealousy. Thus we will find that we can trace most of our ills to some violation of the law. So, the first step to recovery is to "cease to do evil" — stop violating the law — then "learn to do well" — begin to keep the law. (See Isaiah 1:16-17.)

Chemistry, following the scientific method of noting the properties of elementary and compound substances, has formulated the laws of their atomic relations. Chemistry has found certain agents with a specific action on the human system for remedial purposes, as, for instance chamomile for nervous tension, white willow bark for pain, and red raspberry leaf for cramping.

Physiological and biological chemistry finds the presence of certain chemical properties in various bodily secretions in healthy and in diseased conditions, and sets about to find material chemical agents with corrective value. They have standardized this understanding by the knowledge of the chemical action of an agent upon a given material substance, and by endless experimentation, on animals and on human beings.

Similarly, emotional chemistry, still in its infancy, is steadily determining that certain emotional states, resulting from mental and spiritual activity or indolence, have a marked and specific influence upon the chemical character of bodily secretions. So also they influence the nervous system, and finally upon functional activities.

Physiology reveals that certain forms of automatic activity, called reflexes, fill the body. They originate and execute specific movements without any direct communication to the brain or command from it.

These may act from purely physical stimuli. For instance, percussion of the patella reflex makes the foot kick forward. Percussion of the seventh cervical vertebra slows the heart's action, or percussion of the fifth dorsal causes the pylorus to lower and expand, emptying the contents of the stomach into the duodenum.

Other reflexes connected with these same organs have an opposite effect. These reflexes control and may alter the functional activity of all these organs. Spinal maladjustments and other unusual conditions of the body framework may press on a given nerve, and so influence the action of the organ that it innervates.

Some emotional states act as stimuli, causing these reflexes to quicken or slow the functional activities of any organ involved. Fear causes the heart to move upward and backward, giving the sensation of the heart being in the throat. Anger and other emotions similarly affect the stomach, liver, intestine, and the whole system of the vegetative organs.

Strong mental and emotional states may also contract the muscles, choking the action of the nerves, or pushing the framework out of alignment to impinge upon the nerves, deranging the reflexes, leading to all sorts of functional troubles.

Business or other anxieties and mental strain, can produce over-acidity in the stomach, which continued and intensified will result in ulceration, and this neglected lead to abnormal cellular activity, known as cancer, a tumor, etc.

Mental and emotional states decidedly influence the blood pressure. Anger and kindred emotions raise the pressure while fears of all kinds lower the pressure. This change of blood pressure in turn affects the mental states and functional activities.

This at once suggests that even in the treatment by purely spiritual methods, we must employ scientific method, giving to the anger-habited patient the quieting and calming truth, and giving to the phobia-habited the strong, invigorating phases of the truth.

With this brief analysis of the causes and nature of physical ills, the system of a normal, rational cure must follow the law of cause and effect.

The medical doctor has, through the medium of chemistry, many agents with an essentially specific action that prove helpful to readjust the chemical conditions of the body and relieve the various toxic states existing in the body. He has also the knowledge of dietetic chemistry in the way of food values and food combinations, also the value of rest, the proper methods of hygiene, and diversion of the mind.

The drugless practitioner has for his agents a knowledge of these powerful reflexes of the entire body, of the locations of the nerve centers controlling the various functional activities, and the methods of stimulating or inhibiting their action. He likewise has access to the knowledge and uses of the laws of nutrition, rest, hygiene and mental diversion.

The doctor of mental therapeutics has a powerful system of agents in the knowledge and uses of the mental powers and their processes in the governing and controlling of functional activities. He has a knowledge and skill in the specific effects of the mind on all functional activities, and all organic processes.

He has that most powerful of all corrective agents, suggestion, by which the mind may bring to bear almost an unlimited stimulus to energize bodily activities and regulate the entire physical condition. These he may use with the drugless healer's methods, and in cooperation with the doctor of medicine.

The doctor of spiritual healing power stands first in importance, because he is dealing in the primary energies and the changeless realities of life and energy. He uses the most powerful suggestion possible for the mind to grasp — the thought of the Absolute Being, as the ultimate healing power, to aid his healing efforts.

He also has access to all the knowledge and uses of mechanical manipulation. Finally, his cooperation with the material healing agencies is priceless, since all these agencies owe their potency to the great Physician, whose he is and whom he serves.

If we would emancipate ourselves from disease, suffering, and other ills, and live in perfect health, we may find liberty, freedom from the bondage of material ills, and health at the Hands of God, who is the Author of health, all of the agents of health, and the Director of all the powers, processes and laws involved in health.

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XI. The College of Theology

Religion is the great historic driving force. It has made and unmade all the civilizations of the world. Humanity is a religious animal. The moral sense is universal. The phrase "I ought" exists in every language. The first rational movements are seeking after some personal good, and logically this seeking leads to the Supreme Good.

The soul intuitively rights itself in its bearings, just as it instinctively shuns the things that work ill. In all its activities and seeking, the central thought uttered or unexpressed is, "Where is He?"

The great law of being is that every being finds its satisfaction in the fullness of the elements of which it is composed. The birds of the forest, the cattle of the hills, the finny tribes of the deep, and all living things in which the material predominates, eat their fill and are satisfied.

Yet we eat and are still hungry; we study and are still restless and unsatisfied; we sweep the whole gamut of sensation; we adventure in every field of knowledge and wisdom, and cry that "It is all vanity and vexation of spirit." – Ecclesiastes 1:14. We are never satisfied with this world's things.

As Job said, "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty has given him understanding." – Job 32:8. We are satisfied only in the conscious oneness with the Eternal Spirit from where we came. We are Spirit and only Spirit can fill us.

We came from God and only God can satisfy us. To find that Being, to know Him, to live with Him in spiritual communion is the end and supreme aim of living, and it is the work of this school to teach the nature of that Being, the laws of His existence, the forms of His activities, His relation to the world and to us, also to teach our relation, duty and privilege toward Him.

The facts of the spiritual life are subject to scientific treatment and philosophic formula, just as any material or mental facts are. Science can have no facts or theory concerning these facts, without a place for Him as their first Cause.

Philosophy can furnish no aim or end of living that does not arise at least to greet the dignity of the Supreme Wisdom. Art can formulate no rules or methods of living that fail to have Him for their final objective. Medicine can have no potency or specific virtue in which He is absent, nor can it act in any way except as the agent of Him who is our help, the Great Physician.

The laws of material success can find no rule so influential, no example so potent as "Be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." – Romans 12:11. We must, in this teaching, deal with the ultimates, the finalities of existence, as they are found in Him who is the First and the Last.

Postulates of Being: There is one Being — the Absolute — from whence comes all life, power and manifestation. This Final Causality is called God, Mind, Spirit, Principle, Intelligence, and other terms of personality, relationship and condition. He is the Omni — the All. He is the Uncreated Substance, the Source of all things, visible and invisible.

God is Spirit: He is not a spirit, but universal, uncreated Spirit. Spirit is without form or parts. Human spirits conform to the body in which they dwell, but He is Absolute Reality.

All material forms are relative reality. All material things are temporary instruments of expression, the organism of which He is the active life. His movements in material incarnation are the textbooks in which we learn of Him.

God Is the Absolute and Eternal: No limitations exist in God, the Spirit. Time and space do not exist to Him. All time is now; everywhere is here.

The only limitations of being are those found in the conditions of material expression. In these, He works by law, and does not work otherwise. In His own potential spiritual completeness He is the Unconditioned Absolute.

God Is Omnipresent: There is no place where He is not equally present. He is an Eternal Here. Every living soul is the center of divine Being. Every spot is holy ground. Every task is a sacred duty. Every service, sacred or secular, is a sacrament.

God Is Omnipotent: Energy, whether potential or kinetic, is God at rest or in action. "Power belongs to God." He is the Universal Servitor "working in us both to will and to do" (Philippians 2:13), and in His work "He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask or think." – Ephesians 3:20.

God Is Omniscient: He is the All-knowing One. He is the full, final, Absolute Truth. His methods of thought are such that the beginning, the middle and the end are present to Him in the Eternal Now. No everlasting mysteries exist in divine consciousness. These are merely the result of limited, human consciousness.

God Is Personality: He reveals Himself in the terms of relationship. This may be for our accommodation, but He also bears the stamp of personality. He has the power to know, to feel and to will, and reveals the character that results from the exercise of these faculties.

His is infinite personality, and His personality is apart from all idea of form. We identify our personality with the human form. The elements of personality are mental and spiritual, and these alone are the image of God, in which He has made us.

God Is the Self-Existent Creator: With Him there is no beginning nor end. "In the beginning God." He is the Alpha of all beginnings, and the Omega of all endings. All things else begin and end in Him. He is the Totality of Being.

God Is Immanent: He is the Administrator of all movements and changes in the universe. He indwells in all living forms and expresses Himself in all living things. "The invisible things of God, even His Eternal Power and Godhead, are clearly seen from the created world, being understood by the things that are made." – Romans 1:20. He lives out His spiritual activities in the spirits of men. "That which may be known of God is seen in us, for God hath revealed Himself in us." – Romans 1:19.

God Is the Father: As the Author of our being, He is the Universal Servitor and Provider. He cares for the sparrows, feeds the ravens, clothes the lilies, numbers the hairs of our heads, and is identified with every experience of every living soul and of every living thing.

God Is the Savior: He helps in every need, is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities," enters intimately into all our experiences, is acquainted with all our griefs, stands with us in trouble, and shows us the way out.

God Is the Comforter: He enters into compassionate relationship in all our experiences, encourages us when we halt, strengthens us when we are weak, guides us in uncertainty, upholds us in trial, and makes us to abound in every good word and work.

God Is Love: His Name and Nature are Love. Because the language of loving is giving, He is ever giving of His boundless store to His children whom He loves. Since He is Omnipresent, Love is the universal moral power. His Love is the inspiration for every good, the cure for every moral ill. It casts out fear, and makes an end of hatred, envy and all other evil passions. It never fails.

The soul, led and inspired by the God of Love, can know no permanent failure or reverse. It has entered upon the pathway that "shines brighter to the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). It has entered upon a day that has no noontide height from which slowly to decline, but upward to whose zenith the soul may rise to communion with the princes of the spiritual realm, to be bright with equal brightness, and great with equal glory.

These are postulates of Being, the assumptions of spiritual truth, founded on the organized experiences of humanity, announced by the seers of all races and times, and recorded in the sacred books and documents of all peoples of earth.

God's Relation to the World: God is the Creator. "All things were made by Him." – John 1:3. "That which hath been made was life in Him." His Own spiritual substance furnished the elements for material creation. Evolution was the method of creation, and just as creation proceeded by a principle of development, specific laws of movement maintain it.

Law is simply the method by which the powers of the Almighty operate in carrying on the countless processes in the universe. Things do not happen by chance, but by orderly procedure.

These laws are uniform. "He sends rain on the just and the unjust" (Matthew 5:45), meaning that the laws of the precipitation of moisture are in no way related in their action to the moral or spiritual condition of people.

Lightning strikes a church about as often as it does a saloon. Riches or poverty comes to the good and the bad alike, if they obey or disobey the laws of prosperity. Illness assails the best and the worst alike if the laws of nutrition have been broken. When the prosperous and content soul settles down to vegetate and stops growing, the eternal law of progress scatters his flocks and his family, smashes his credit and assails his body until he gets up and moves on.

Vibration and ceaseless motion are the conditions of life's continuance. If God ever says, "Stand still," it is only that the soul may hear Him say, "Move forward." Growth, health, prosperity, happiness, etc., is the result of divine energy, moving in the channels or laws governing each.

God does not grow new lung tissue in a diseased lung. He does not grow a new arm on an old stump. That is not His law of producing such things. He made the laws and He fulfills them, otherwise He would cease to be God, the Perfect One.

We can be Godlike only by knowing and keeping the laws that apply to His life. It is conceivable that a higher law may supersede the ordinary law of procedure, so we may obtain results outside or above what occurs under normal conditions. We may explain the so-called miracles, or wonder works in this way.

Because God is immanent or indwelling in all living forms, it follows that He is directly present in every movement under any law. It is His method to work from the inside rather than from without. In dealing, therefore, with the powers of the universe as we touch them and they touch us, we must remember that because of His indwelling we are dealing directly with Him, though we are using material agencies.

God's Relation to Humanity: Humanity is the glory and crown of creative process. We are the outcome of material evolution. We are the most complex of all organisms. We can obey more laws of life, and hence can experience and express more of life than all other living things.

The Spirit in us is of the same Essence of Being as God. This Unity of Life, this oneness of nature, power, and purpose, is expressed under the term of co-creatorship. God is "the Father of Spirits," through subjection to whom and in communion with whom, we live.

Life's greatest moment begins in the full realization and acceptance of this oneness and co-creatorship. Then we find a familiar voice within himself, crying out to the Great Absolute, and saying, "Abba, Father." This is the hour in which we are "born again" or "from above," in which we step from human consciousness into divine consciousness.

Then our task is to meet our earthly contacts and their results, and so to master them and eliminate their hurtful influences from our character and incorporate their good effects, that we shall show forth the character of God. In this work, we are coworkers with God, a partner in the world affairs.

God is the Being of ceaseless activity. He works hitherto and evermore. We are also partakers of this divine impulse to work, whose unfoldment finds work a necessity. We are to work out our salvation from sickness, sin, heredity, and environment, into the full enjoyment of co-creatorship and of divine mastery, knowing that "God works in him both to will and to do."

If a person will not work "neither shall he eat." The nation or individual who will not work invites decay and death. A lazy person calls work a curse, but work is a blessing untold to the soul who accepts its place in the divine scheme of living.

The soul, who attains a success and retires, violates the first law of being. Every attainment is the beginning of a new task. The crown of every evolutionary process is but the foundation of another great cycle of activity and development. Every seeming failure in any of these processes is a shunt in a new direction toward success.

Each of the seven great stages of material creation laid the foundation for an upward move. The present stage of human activity and achievement lays the groundwork for a new activity in a spiritual realm.

If we disobey the laws of our co-creatorship with the Absolute, we receive the consequences or effects of a sin. As soon as we obey the law, it is remedial and we are saved.

Temptations to violate the law for our own immediate pleasure constantly beset us. If we yield, we must accept the consequences. If we resist the temptation, we lose a moment's pleasure, but the law rewards us with a greater gain.

If we are a Bachelor of Arts, we do not practice sin. We cannot sin because we are "born from above." It is the same moral "cannot" by which a child might wish to strike his mother, but his love is the restraining power, and he "cannot."

The relationship is the relation of the whole and the part, the relationship of a unity facing in two directions. We are a part of God's life as truly as our finger is a part of our hand. Because of this, our standard of living and of achievement is set for spiritual supremacy.

God's Relation to Prayer: God hears and answers prayer. He encourages us to pray in prosperity, in adversity, in health, in sickness, in every condition and estate, and about everything. In vain shall we cry, "where shall I find God that I may pray to Him," until we look within our own spirit.

God is the Being without circumference, Whose center is everywhere. The center of Spirit is within us, from where its lines diverge toward omnipresence. Turning the mind to this center is prayer. It is providence within calling upon providence without. It is demand calling on supply, effect changed into cause, and the ground for certainty that God answers all true prayer.

Prayer is the soul's silent or expressed desire to come into the Presence of Him Whom it recognizes as Being, Will, Wisdom, Power, and Love. Prayer opens the channels of communication between the infinite and the finite, so that the soul's true nourishment may steadily flow in, renewing, enriching and empowering the life.

Prayer takes on the form of confession by which the soul unloads its sense of wrongdoing by telling it to Him. Prayer is the universal and natural call of the soul in the hour of its extremity.

Prayer as praise is the heart's irresistible impulse in the hour of attainment. Prayer is the soul's spontaneous outpouring in the moment of imminent needs or of supreme triumph.

Prayer is talking to God. Prayer is listening to God speak. Prayer is thinking the thoughts of God and so directing the creative powers of God.

We must preface prayer for forgiveness by a forgiving spirit toward others and ourselves. Prayer is not answered while we blame ourselves or others.

Prayer takes on the character of importunity when the need is great and the obstacle insurmountable. Under the importunate prayer we get a vision of what is wanted. Our purpose becomes clearer. Our resolution to have it becomes more definite, and our faith that we can have it reaches that triumphant note of realization, which cries, "It shall be done," and it is.

All the powers without and within us, upon whose action the answer depends, have waited and do wait for this faith. Spiritual understanding, through receptivity, and the divine compelling note of faith, set all the spiritual powers into action.

The results of prayer are both objective and subjective. Prayer prepares us, the suppliant, to receive what we ask, and what is already ours. Prayer brings us into conscious harmony with the spiritual Source of all things. It sets these powers that flow through us into active operation, and directs us to the desired end.

The time to pray is always. "Pray without ceasing." Pray instantly for each new condition that arises. The scope of prayer is universal. "All things whatsoever ye ask believing ye shall receive" – Matthew 21:22. This includes the things we can do alone, the things we cannot do alone. Prayer is equally effective in material things, mental things, or spiritual things.

The conditions of prayer are a sense of need, a forgiving spirit and a believing heart, with clean hands, in harmony with the Divine Will, for the welfare of self and others, and in cooperation with other praying spirits.

God's Relation to Health: God is the health of His people. "I AM the Lord who heals thee." He is the life of the world, and His life is perfect health. We can induce a state of disease only by clogging the channels through which vitality flows.

Even though we become diseased, He is still the Master to heal all our diseases. Obeying Him, we have the same warrant for health that He gave to the people of the Exodus, "I will not suffer any of the diseases of the Egyptians to come upon you." – Exodus 15:26.

Those who have come to full consciousness of His perfect health have been masters over disease and old age. Moses was so clothed with divine consciousness that at the time of his passing out at the age of one hundred and twenty years, "His vision was not dimmed, nor his natural force abated." – Deuteronomy 34:7.

Jesus and his initiated disciples broke the bonds of disease, and assaulted the gates of death itself, in their supreme confidence in the Great Healer. Facing the conflict growing out of all material contacts, Paul cried triumphantly, "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory." – 1 Corinthians 15:57.

The psalmist, recounting the works of God for His people, summarizes them in the words, "Who forgives all thine iniquities" — the cause — and "heals all thy diseases" — the effects. (See Psalm 103:3.)

Speaking of those who forgot God, the real healer, the Prophet Jeremiah said, "In vain shalt thou use many medicines." – Jeremiah 46:11. No plaster or powder has any virtue not imparted by the Great Healer, and one's faith greatly enhances the action of the specific virtues in material things, or one's doubt retards it.

When the Master was teaching people gathering from all over the Holy Land, the record says, "The power of the Lord was present to heal them." – Luke 5:17. That same condition of healing power was present over and over again in his life and the life of his disciples, and they recognized that they might expect it to take place in any religious service anywhere. Whatever the content of the service may be, it is to apply equally to the physical and spiritual welfare.

God is the Healer of all diseases. He uses divine agencies in any form that the case may require. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" – Psalm 24:1, so that healing by pill, powder or scalpel may be as truly Divine Healing as that which comes through prayer, the laying on of hands, or the use of a sacrament. So, for every condition, every disease, we are called upon to use every means, and to obey the Divine Fiat, "Look unto Me and be ye saved." – Isaiah 45:22.

God's Relation to the Affections and Emotions: God is Love. He is the Source of love in all its manifestations, from the maternal instinct of the lowest creatures, to the highest intellectual conception of love for its own sake — the love that goes out freely with no thought of reward or return.

Love is the prevailing and dominating characteristic of the Divine, and it is the anterior power in all advance. In love is life's secret of abundance. It comes from one Absolute Source, and to give it the right of way in the heart is to fulfill all law, human or divine.

Perfect love seeks always another's good. Selfishness seeks its own good. Two people love perfectly only in forgetfulness of self, "Love seeks not her own." – 1 Corinthians 13:5. Yet the reciprocal operations are such that love never fails to draw its own. The law of affinity, the irresistible attraction of likes, guarantees that "None shall lack her mate" (Isaiah 34:16), and that every individual goes to his own place in the scale of character.

Ideally, we may ground the affections and emotions in the Divine Love, which is universal and perfect. Love instinctively clothes its objective with a perfect ideal.

To the lover, love is supreme, and all things are lovely and lovable, just as "To the pure all things are pure." – Titus 1:15. Often we find that the one we love has not fulfilled the ideal.

It is this eternal struggle between the ideally perfect and the realistically faulty objective that tries so many couples to the breaking point. Only a course in the University of Hard Knocks can help the student to a wise adjustment of his or her perfect ideal to the imperfect human mate.

Love is the legitimate basis of all ties, especially those of the family. Marriage can arise only in the outgoings of this Divine Love ideal, which finds its own, though it must cross continents and worlds, until two are one.

Marriage can begin, continue and end aright only in this Divine Harmony of two ideal lovers. This alone constitutes marriage, and because of this perfect harmony we say that marriages are "made in heaven."

Legal and ecclesiastical sanctions alone cannot make "Holy Matrimony." Love alone is the divine warrant. The other sanctions are provisions for the protection of the social order.

The love that endures is so akin to God that it takes the form of worship toward God and His Human Image. Love is, therefore, a Divine Prerogative, whose volume is measured to the individual, according to his intelligence and uprightness.

Love fills its possessor with a general altruistic inclination which expresses itself in kindness to every living thing. This is the key to every permanent success.

Divine Love, with its gentleness, cannot exist apart from a forgiving attitude toward all others and toward ourselves. Love endows the soul with redeeming purpose and power. Love stimulates the incentive to achievement, industry, presentable personality and self esteem.

Love imparts its divine quality to everything, and transforms its surroundings into a paradise. Love reclaims when all else fails. "Thy gentleness hath made me great." – Psalm 18:35 is the secret of all preferment.

Love alone with its kindness and gentleness can inspire to greatness of achievement. Love promotes to honor and shapes destiny. Love may lose its objective because love was not pure, unselfish and exalted, or because the objective was not worthy, but love can never lose itself and the fruit of its service.

"I am persuaded that nothing can separate us from the love of God" (see Romans 8:38-39). Love is the highest form of divine harmony, making its human medium a harp of a thousand strings, upon which vibrates forth its soothing, healing and ennobling power.

Love, with its feelings and deep sentiment, profoundly impresses the physical body, filling it with contagious health and boundless energy. In other words, one's system appropriates one's feelings, and every cell in the body shouts for the joy of living when the divine stimulus of true love reaches them. Love absolves from all wrong and consumes all iniquities, for "we are without blame before Him in love" (See Ephesians 1:4).

Love inducts us into the thought atmosphere of the Eternal, for "He that dwells in Love dwells in God, and He in him." – 1 John 14:6. It lifts us from the idea and sense of time into the method of the divine existence. Lovers lose the idea of time. Jacob's seven years of service "seemed but a few days for the love he had for her."

Love is the all-impelling power, for "All things work together for good to them that love God" – Romans 8:28. Logically this is true of love, whatever its object is. Therefore, the greatest thing in the world is love, for love is the highest characteristic of the Divine Nature and noblest expression of a Divine Character.

God's Relation to Fear: Fear is the most elemental and powerful of emotions. The chicken hiding from a hawk, the primitive human dwelling in a tree or cave, the fear manifested by the modern civilized individual, all show that the fear germ is in all living things.

Fear is an offshoot of the instinct of self-preservation, and became highly developed in the earlier stages of human life. So many physical dangers beset and threatened us, we constantly exercised the sense of self-preservation. Instinctively it rises in the presence of a marked power or unknown purpose.

Fear was the first motive in religious activity. When fear was the supreme emotion furnishing the motive in our attitude toward God, the circle or reign of fear was complete, concerning our preservation here and with our welfare hereafter. Under the reign of fear, whole colonies of fear germs with their progeny beset the path of human attainment.

The world is filled with people who have all the elements of great attainment, but fear to risk besets them. We call it timidity, but it is plainly fear that paralyzes their powers of initiative and achievement.

The Fear family is very large. Some of its principal children are fear of mistakes, fear of ridicule, fear of failure, fear of public opinion, fear of suffering and fear of death. These are links in the chains of "bondage of fear" in which people live, hindered from reaching that success for which we are endowed, and to which plainly we are divinely called.

Fear always magnifies the real danger and blinds its victim to the real safety. These timid souls, hesitating, blushing, stammering, shrinking, need to know God's relationship to this whole fear impulse, and that in the presence of His Almightiness, fear is only the negation of love and trust. That Power of all powers, God, whose we are and whom we serve, is a Being of Love.

Every power in the world works under the influence of the supreme law of love, and is, therefore, beneficent. Every divine purpose is good, and every normal outcome of action is just. Every failure comes as the result of fear to trust and use the powers always at our disposal.

Bold initiative in a world set for adventure, implicit confidence in the heart of love behind all action, unfaltering fidelity in using what is here, paves the way to conquering fear.

To believe in the One Supreme God and in oneself as His representative on earth, is to clothe the soul with the panoply of all spiritual powers. God, the very Life of the world, is Love. Love is His Name and Nature.

Esoteric knowledge of that truth marks the end of fear. Fear is a negative that ends the moment the soul understands the Great Positive. Perfect love casts out fear, makes it nonexistent, sets the captive free.

Active identification of our life with the life of the Being who is love, ends fear in whatever form it may assail. No soul who consciously identifies with the purposes of an Almighty Love can fear failure. There is a "High and Uplifted One," who carries us unafraid through the testing things of life, and makes us more than a conqueror of fear.

It enables us to prove love in its power over sin, sickness or death, enables us to realize the great ideal of Zacharias in that song of the centuries, the Benedictus, "Might serve Him without fear all the days of our life," and enables us to say, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow … I will fear no evil, because Thou art with me."

God's Relation to Sin: The history of humanity revolves around the tragedy of human transgressions, for thereby our destiny has been threatened. In the ignorance of the simplest laws of material life, of mental activity, and social relationships, we have found ourselves suffering the consequences of broken law, and these ill effects we ignorantly attributed to gods whom we had not pleased, and whose tyrannical rule we must placate.

It did not occur to us to mend our ways, but rather to purchase the favor of gods with some sort of gift, or sacrifice. It was a sort of tribute to a personal tyrant whom we feared, and whose displeasure or ill will we could not afford to invite. When we found our god or gods cooperating with us and apparently prospering us in right-doing, our fear softened into reverence for this senior partner of our life's doings.

Humanity still had no idea of the reign of law. We accepted the ten words, or Commandments, and tried to obey. We made sacrifices and offerings because we could not obey.

We esteemed these Commandments as God's announcements, but did not see their significance as laws that protected interests vital to human destiny, the doing of which protected our own interests, and furthered our progress. If violated, we perceived that they brought specific visitations of divine wrath upon us, rather than understood that they automatically visited us with definite consequences.

Sin, to us then was an offense against a personal being who took vengeance upon the sinner. We had to grow into the truth that sin was the violation of the laws that made for our best interests, and whose effects came to us and to others regardless of the personal attitude of the law-giver.

Our first object lesson of the nature and effects of sin came in a ceremonial observance in which a priest, clothed with authority to represent God. He took a goat, and in view of all the people, laid his hands on the goat and placed on him all the people's sins. This scapegoat was then separated from his kind, sent into the wilderness, banished from the protection of the shepherd, to be chased by wild beasts, and to perish outside the camp.

We did not really think of vicarious suffering in this process. It merely taught us that certain definite consequences attended the violation of the law, which work automatically. Doing right brought good results. Doing wrong brought bad results.

The priest took incense and burned it, and as we saw it ascending, our thoughts turned upward toward God. We learned the secret of devotion, the upward breathing of spirit, and the efficacy of prayer. Ages of bondage to the fear gods passed before we found that we felt very little relief in the sacrifices offered, but rather a measure of good results from avoiding certain actions, and in following certain other principles, which experience showed brought happy consequences.

We found that our gods seemed to work with us as we followed lines of conduct having some motive beyond self-gratification. This was especially true when we became concerned in the betterment of the family, the tribe, the nation, and of the world at large, so that eventually life moved into various channels and activities of altruism.

Eventually, our sacrifices for sin took on a sacramental meaning, for they not only placated the Divine Being. We found an inner subjective experience and peace in offering them, which good results we eventually discovered followed the obedience of certain forms of action, furnishing us with an incentive to keep the law.

In all these processes "the law was his [our] schoolmaster to bring him to Christ," the Divinely-anointed, and to conscious fellowship with God. Slowly we grew to think of God as a beneficent Being, who cooperated with us in all good endeavor.

Eventually the gods of fear passed upward into the God of Love, and our religion passed from a fear motive to a love motive. Moreover, we realized that our God of Love was no longer interested in the "blood of bulls and goats," and other sacrifices, but rather in the offering of a contrite spirit.

Religion became an intensely personal matter, and resolved itself into a loving partnership with a Being of Absolute Love. We are teaching this to ourselves by amending our life, stopping the violation of physical, moral and spiritual law, and by a positive obedience to the same.

If we, through ignorance or otherwise, finds ourselves violating the law, we simply change our action to obeying the law, and find our wrong doing absolved in the great Spirit of Love whom we serve. When we seek to do His Will, our God of Love, with whom we are at one, sheds into our heart that all-cleansing love, which is the solvent of every sin, the healing for every disease, the restoration from every fall, the success leading from every failure. He requires no sacrifice, no price paid, but a loving obedience to the command of a Loving Heart, "Go thy way and sin no more."

God's Relation to Prosperity and Adversity: God is the Universal Power behind and in all phenomena. We can discern a certain great principle in all that takes place, as, for example, the principle of growth. Certain methods of action, called laws, are apparent in the operation of power under these great controlling principles.

Because God is the Intelligence guiding these operations, evidently whatever is, is referable to Him at last. Whatever happens is His action through the operation of His laws, and all that He does is wise, just and good. In whatever form the results of His divine movement come, we may group them under the head of good or prosperity. These are the positive products of Divine Powers at work.

God not only acts through law, but permits events to happen by law. The operation and effect of law are uniform in all cases in which no form of choice is possible, as in inanimate things. Yet when will, or its earlier forms of automatic reflex, and intuitive action arise, the operation of the law continues uniform, but obedience or disobedience conditions the results of the law.

The great principle of production with its laws is infallible, but the volume and character of its results depend largely upon the preparation, seed time, cultivation, and other factors involving an intelligent understanding and obedience to the laws of growth. Failure to obey intelligently the laws of the harvest results in reduction of the volume and quality of the outcome, while obedience moves toward abundance.

Obedience to the principles of growth causes every species to move steadily upward, while a reversion to more primitive and less perfect forms follows disobedience. This atavism can never occur if we maintain intelligent cooperation with the law.

These principles, operative in the realm of material production, result in prosperity or adversity as a comparative condition. "If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land." That is material prosperity, and the secret of its attainment. "But if ye refuse and rebel ye shall be destroyed." That is material adversity, with its cause.

This principle applies to mental growth, and its fruits of intelligence, literary production, the arts and sciences, and other attendants of civilization. The fruits of knowledge and wisdom mark mental prosperity, organized into a general condition of mental supremacy and prosperity, in the knowledge, practice and enjoyment of the truth.

Failure to obey the same laws results in ignorance with all its limitations, which eventually organize into a state of mental poverty with its embarrassing limitations of expression. Nor does the principle apply any the less powerfully in the higher realms of spiritual adventure and growth with their activities of faith, hope and love, exercised in prayer, praise, and service. These grow into peace and happiness now as the normal spiritual condition of an obedient and therefore prosperous people.

These spiritual exercises, which result in a clearer understanding of God and of our oneness with Him, growing at last into full conscious completeness in Him, we call "the law of life in Christ Jesus." Failing to obey this law leads to a state of spiritual destitution, which we call "the law of sin and death," for persisting in sin and its effects soon organizes them into a condition of active evil, so pronounced and intelligent that people have personified it with the title of "devil."

Since our exercise of spiritual powers puts us in the most intimate contact with Him who is the repository of all resources, it follows that prosperity is primarily a state of the soul, whose wealth may express itself in wisdom, or knowledge, or skill, or in material possessions. Individual characteristics relate to the abundance of God.

We may be surpassingly rich in all results of spiritual adventure, and yet have little of material resources. Our true wealth is contentment with higher things, and that very state of spiritual abundance draws to us whatever we need for our personal welfare. We therefore ground prosperity and adversity in the state of our relationship to God. Job, unconscious of having violated the law of growth and yet feeling its effects, said, "Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not also receive evil?"

The secret of prosperity is to abound in spiritual riches in all conditions of life, being "diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," remembering that "He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings," and that He "shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." The student in the University of Hard Knocks learns how to abound and be in want, and rise above them as merely incidental in the presence of the greater riches of spiritual treasure.

God's Relation to Faith, Hope, and Love: These are the three cardinal principles that abide changelessly in a changing world. They are the essential elements of the Divine Life. They are the working virtues that lead to spiritual supremacy. They are the going forth of the Divine within us to the Divine without us.

Faith, hope, and love form the spiritual triangle upon which life projects itself along the pathway of eternal progress. They form the three sides of the prism that reveals every hue of spiritual light and beauty. They are the three-dimensional qualities that combine to make the universal dimension in which all perception is possible, and all understanding feasible. They stand in order as the first, the last, and the greatest thing in the world.

Faith is the first thing in the world. It is first because it is the means of contacting the source of supply. Faith is an exalted reason. Reason is an extended vision, which is an extended arm, which is an extended mouth, which is an extended stomach.

Faith is the highest form of appropriating supplies for the universal hunger, which ranges from bread for the stomach to spiritual grace for the soul. It is first because one cannot come to God without first believing that He is. It is first because in the beginnings of spiritual growth we commence with faith alone, to which we add knowledge, and to this, power.

Hope is the last thing in the world, if for no other reason than when all else is lost, we may still have hope. Hope relates us to the future as memory does to the past. Hope is the positive pole of being, around which the world of our thought and achievement revolves.

Hope sees the unseen beyond the veil of material things. It discovers the boundless reservoirs of Spiritual Substance, which faith may appropriate and love may distribute. Hope is the pioneer of all progress. In the hour of success hope is still looking forward. In the hour of adversity hope sees the way out. Hope is the steadfast anchor that outrides all storm and stress.

Love is the greatest thing in the world, because it is concerned with the not-self. Faith and hope are concerned primarily in the discovery and attainment of valuable possessions, while love is concerned with their distribution.

Faith and hope come laden with arms full, but love goes forth with arms extended to scatter its treasures abroad. Hope discovers the fields of adventure, faith goes forth to gather the fruits of conquest, but love distributes them.

It is conceivable that faith may fail in the presence of uncertainty, despair might dim that hope deferred, but love never fails. These three abide, for they enable one to live safely between egotism on the one hand, and altruism on the other.

Hope sees with Godlike vision, faith achieves with Godlike authority, while love gives with Godlike abandon. God makes them the abiding instruments of all progress, the channels of all supply, and the triple crown of all virtues. They are the three modes of the Divine Movement for establishing the kingdom of heaven among men.

God's Relation to Life Here and Hereafter: Human life began with God. It is His Life in material form, in which it achieves countless personalities. We can trace each individual existence backward to a first living cell.

Before that its origin arises in the first great Cause, the Supreme Oversoul of the universe. It lived in all the lives of countless living forms, not as a separate consciousness, but partaking of all that occurred in the life of each form through which it passed.

The Bible illustrates this principle with Levi, who offered tribute to Melchizedek, the High Priest of Heaven, while he was yet in the loins of his grandfather, Abraham. Of course, Levi had no separate consciousness of the active part that he was taking in the proceedings, but the effect of it was a strain of heredity that fitted him to be the tribal head of the Levitical priesthood.

Jesus of Nazareth, pondering his antecedent life, saw so clearly his past path in the experiences of his human ancestors, that he said, with full consciousness of its truth, "Before Abraham was, I AM." However, our individual experiences begin in the moment when our life parts company from our ancestors, and begins a new line of succession. From that moment our experiences are our own, although all our unconscious past, and by our mother's mental states and physical condition powerfully influence us.

When this formative and dependent period of our individual existence has passed or is finished, a second climax in life occurs at birth, when our individuality enters upon conditions of full expression. The material world begins to act upon us, and we begin to react upon it.

Sense perceptions spring up, we summon memory images from past perceptions, and establish comparative thinking. We begin to distinguish between self and the not-self. Our affectional and emotional life begins to develop. Our body grows to the stature and form of family and racial type.

Our mind unfolds into full conscious activity. We exercise free initiative in all things. We meet life's contingencies and dispose of them with freedom of choice. We wrestle with our problems, deal with the fluctuations of life — its vicissitudes — until we form character, and achieve personality.

Inevitably all the intricate processes of our physical, mental and moral life reach their zenith, and some, if not all of them, decline until we stand at the borderland of this life. We see the great Sun of Light, of Life, and of Energy, sinking into the mysterious West. Into this realm we have often peered, usually to draw back fearfully at its mystery.

Sometimes we have dreamed of it. Perhaps we have heard footfalls on its ethereal plains, caught the echo of familiar voices in the corridors of eternity, have felt the vaguely familiar touch of a hand, but have not been sensitive enough to get any continuous and intelligent message from the realms of radiant light, perfect truth, and boundless freedom.

We now project the heaven-born ideal of perfection, which has rested on some person or thing and has filled our mind with its substance and its inspiration, forth upon the screen whose background is Spiritual Reality, and we see some representation of that ideal, like our mother, the angels, some loved human form, the Savior.

We know that we stand at the borderland of a new life. We give friends farewell messages, sometimes exchange greetings with the inhabitants of the spiritual realm, and pass the supreme climacteric. The God who gave of Himself has taken back unto Himself.

Without the sound of a trumpet, our spiritual body, fashioned after the form of its earthly temple, but clothed in the glory of its Spiritual Ideal, steps forth into Spiritual Reality, clothed with the substance of all life's thoughts and acts. We need no unerring judge to detect our state.

We step forth to take our place in the next plane of existence, and by the affinities of character, which is the great Law of Spiritual Gravitation, we land in the midst of those of similar spiritual attainments. Here we still advance on a limitless pathway by learning of those who return from their positions of greater attainment, and by making practical use of this acquired knowledge in teaching those who are behind us in spiritual understanding.

We may enhance our growth by exercising our higher wisdom and power in the interests of those who are yet earthbound, as a ministering spirit, "ministering to those who are heirs of salvation," seeing their struggles and perplexities with clear vision. Knowing their outcome to be for good, we surround them with guidance and loving influence, as a mother surrounds her child.

In this genderless spiritual world, we meet and renew all the memories of the earth life, and understand the refining influence of its hard knocks. We find the ties of earthly relationship ended, and know that "he that does the Will of God is brother, sister, wife or mother." Our love of human relationship ceases, or is merged into Universal Love. We pass earthly limitations. Our desire for knowledge is followed by its possession.

We replace the earthly processes of reasoning which were limited to a few perceptions, with the open perception of all reality. Human judgment, which has been limited to a few concepts, passes into perfect understanding. Memory, which was so often forgetful, is quickened into a perfect grasp of all the facts in cosmic consciousness, whether they were known to us or unknown. Here our dreams and ambitions and plans and hopes, so often dimmed and shattered by earthly impact, rise into reality and possession.

In this realm of eternal progress, the human spirit rises from plane to plane of spiritual knowledge and power, and passing eons find us steadily enriched in the knowledge of the Body of Christ, which is made up of the spirits of mortals made perfect, which is the Life of God. In this realm of certainty, the emancipated soul looks ahead, to behold the brightest and best of the sons and daughters of the morning, knowing that we shall come at last to equal attainment.

Beholding even Gabriel, brightest Archangel of God, we shall hail him and cry with prophetic certainty — "And thou, Gabriel, standing in the presence of Perfect Being, glorious with ages of growth and attainment, I, too, shall stand where thou standest, see with equal vision, clothed with equal brightness, crowned with equal glory, and thou shalt have passed upward to other heights of service and attainment."

An illumined soul said, in substance, when our vision is opened to behold God we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Life is God coming into material expression, "the Lord gave." Death is God withdrawing from material incarnation, "the Lord hath taken away." The eternal future is to live in His Perfect Being. Therefore, the graduate of the University of Hard Knocks can with full understanding say, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."

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XII. The College of Mystics and Seers

The gift of prophecy, of interpretation of tongues and other gifts are listed among the enumerated gifts of the Spirit, which carry the believer into the realm of mysticism. We may interpret no Bible teachings unless we recognize the mystical strain that runs through them.

Prophets, seers and illumined ones of all ages past have spoken and recorded facts of knowledge and experience outside the range of five-sense perceptions, or three-dimensional living. They have grouped these experiences together under the head of mysticism, the substance of which is that every living soul, by virtue of its divine origin, has the power within itself to directly communicate with God, without the use of any intermediary at all.

Sages, in studying these mystics and their experiences in all ages, have formulated certain methods by which many people, if not all, may develop the mystical power. In past times, mystics have usually been men and women apart from the ordinary walks and ways of life. They neglected their bodies, exposed themselves to suffering and hunger, and isolated themselves, thinking that they enhanced this power.

Modern mystics have found that we can exercise all of this inner power and perception under the normal conditions of life. The mystic has the greatest control over the secret powers when the body is most normal in its functions and sensations. We, therefore, pay attention to having the body, which is the instrument of our perceptions and experiences, in optimal condition.

The exercise of mystical power is merely an extension of the power of perception, by which we know things either seen or unseen. All sense-perception is merely a projection or extension of the sense of touch.

The lowest forms of life have only one sense to enable them to obey the impulse to preserve life. That sense perception enables them to learn the difference between what is food and what is not food. No further perception is necessary for that stage of existence.

Nutrition is the first demand of a living organism that feels the impulse to preserve life. As the power to function became more complex, other senses develop.

The stomach was the first organ. The mouth was an extended stomach, the hand an extended mouth, the eye an extended hand, the reason an extended eye, and faith an extended reason.

Along with these new methods of functioning, we developed the other senses. Perception ordinarily uses all the five-sense agencies, but is not limited to this use. We may transcend them by simply ignoring or closing them, or may extend them almost indefinitely.

All religious thought and teachings have had their beginnings in the mystical experiences of the seers and prophets of past ages. Since Adam talked with God and heard Him walk and speak in the garden long ago, every definite advance in religious thought has come from some mystic who has walked and talked with God.

Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Zipporah, Joshua, Deborah, and Melchizedek were all mystics of that early time. The exercise of this extended perception extends to the religious beginnings among all peoples –all have started through the development of the inner perceptions until they extended them beyond the usual range of action.

Perception is an inner and subjective knowing, which later in the thought process becomes an objective and conscious knowing. We inwardly perceive a thing before we are consciously aware of it.

Thought activity ranges from subconscious to conscious to superconscious. We see the objective side of life in the Divine Being in the discoverable laws and processes of the material world, while the superconscious, hidden and Absolute Life is apprehended by mortals only by means of the mystical sense.

This inner and hidden intelligence in us is that which constitutes the image of the Divine in us, for it is the Divine taking on human expression. It is the exhaustless reservoir of power for all achievement.

When we discover its presence, its nature and its resources, we find the touchstone to all achievement. We need only to realize that if we intelligently set this power to work, we may ask of it what we will, and it shall be done.

One method to call forth these resources is to accept the fact of the Limitless Power within, visualize objectively what we want to take on material form, then hold the thing visualized as a fact until this inner power materializes whatever we desire out of its own exhaustless Spiritual Substance.

So did Elijah of old hold within himself the perception of unfailing supply, and "the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail."

So did Jesus, having his unseen perception fixed on the Reservoir of all Abundance — his oneness with the Father — send the five loaves and three fishes to fill all the requirements for the multitude. He visualized it as sufficient and it appeared according to his perception of reality.

We recognize the existence of this power to view Unseen Reality in the Divine Fiat that said, "Look unto Me and be ye saved." Naturally no demand of this sort could ever have any claim to divine origin had there not been a power of perception within us to obey the command. The command assumes and challenges the use of a supranormal or incorporeal eye, which is an extension of the other five senses or avenues of perception.

The presence of this power of perception is manifested in such incidents as when Elijah heard "the sound of abundance of rain," when there was not a cloud in the sky. Elisha saw a "measure of fine flour sold in the gate of Samaria on the morrow" at the time of great famine.

The Syrians "hearing the noise of horses and chariots, a great host," fled from the siege of Samaria. Jesus "saw" Nathaniel and led him to believe and to ascribe divine powers to the Master. These are only a few of many recorded uses of this sixth sense by which the seer became aware of events and facts, not apparent to the five senses or knowable to the ordinary methods of conscious thinking.

The Master so clearly recognized this power as an endowment of every human being that he said to Nathaniel, "thou shalt see greater things than these, thou shalt see heaven opened and the angels descending on the Son of man." The "thou" is plural, thus including Nathaniel and all disciples. The fact that they record just such experiences in the lives of Peter, John, Paul, Philip, Stephen, and many others, bears out this statement.

Anyone who will steadily practice following his mind down to the threshold of sleep may determine just where this place of vision is, and stop at the point where he would otherwise step into unconsciousness. When you can hold yourself at this zone that joins the conscious and the unconscious activities, you will soon hear and see things beyond the range of the five senses.

For a time you will find it no easy task to hold that level. Just a little too much attention to the unconscious activities, and you are asleep, while too much attention by the conscious mind to the things reported will close the report of the sixth sense.

After some practice you will find it easier to maintain this level and to see "things which are not utterable after the common methods of thinking," as did Paul. Later you will be able to enter this zone anytime and anywhere you may desire, to ascertain facts that are not available through the five senses.

Like Elisha of old, you may be talking with your body servant, and also see the chariots of the hosts of the Almighty. This is a common experience of the modern mystic. It happens occasionally in the lives of many people as a mere incident, but steady attention and obedience to the laws by which it is produced will bring this power into operation anytime the seer wills to see or hear.

We find this extension of the senses in the everyday experiences of life. A person, seeing and following a bird in its flight, will see it, when one who tries to see it for the first time will fail. The same is true of sounds or other sense reports.

Many people have experienced becoming so absorbed in their thoughts that they pass their best friends, looking squarely at them and failing to have the image report in consciousness. They often "come to" with a start and realize that their attention has been so abstracted that the sense of sight did not report.

We may, at will, so fix our attention on a sound as to shut out the visual report, or gaze so intently at a scene as to fail to register a sound. We may apply this abstraction intentionally to all the senses.

By consistent practice we may isolate and insulate ourselves from material things and enter the secret place anytime and talk to the Father of lights in secret. We receive such wisdom, power and health that, when we emerge from the secret place, the Lord will reward us openly.

This all shows that we, the modern mystics, may and do use these hidden powers in daily life, without entering a retreat or cloister, or separating ourselves from the daily tasks of life. We use this ability when we enter the place of prayer. We use it when we stand in the presence of disease and see not sickness but health for the patient.

We see abundance in the midst of the outer appearance of poverty, and hopeful conditions out of the most depressing states. We see doubly locked prison doors open. We see the morning and deliverance when the earthbound walks the floor the livelong night, disturbed and regretting.

Life holds a new meaning to us, the mystics, who discover and develop this sixth sense, for it opens to us the boundless resources of the Absolute Life. It places us in touch with the reservoirs of all energy, all abundance, and all else that our life ought to express.

Life reveals the source of our being. Humanity first sought its origin in the dust, but the uplifted vision finds that our origin is in God. The struggle is always to keep our vision fastened upon Him Who said, "Look unto Me and be ye saved."

The body, the faithful register of all the sensations, is ever calling attention to the ills and pains and weakness, while the incorporeal eye sees the regions of perfect health. The five senses keep us tangled in the wheel of things, while this eye of the soul beholds the changeless verities.

We look out from a twelfth-story office and see brick walls, concrete, smokestacks, smudge, cars, and things, if we are looking downward. Yet when we exercise the upward look, we see the sky, the sun, the moon, and the glories above earthliness.

The downward look of conscious thinking is concerned with honors, preferment, self-exaltation, and other things that hold us securely in the net of circumstances. The upward look of the sixth sense, seeing the Changeless Reality, is indifferent alike to praise, honors, or contempt.

In carrying this power of perception into its higher reaches (in obedience to the command to "Look unto Me"), we must recognize that we know the High and Uplifted One in a twofold way: The relative side as we see in (1) material representation, the objective, the revealed and apparent, and the subjective, the hidden, or (2) that Absolute side that is unseeable and unknowable to sense perception and mortal thinking.

This distinction is essential to keep from being hopelessly entangled in the contradictions arising from the relative and the Absolute.

Being is both relative and absolute. Relative being is that which is apparent to the senses and apprehensible to the conscious mind, while the Absolute is that which is beyond the reach of the senses, and above purely intellectual processes, and therefore, knowable only by using this sixth sense. The relative and material is temporary and changing, while the Absolute is Changeless Reality.

The Absolute is the Source from which came the seen and temporal. "The things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." They are the surface things that the surface person may see, but the Ultimate Reality is not discernible to the five senses, and does not act directly in the range of the three dimensions. Only when we have developed the mystical sense, so that we can see with this higher vision, do we see the Unseen, and act in the fourth or other higher dimensions of existence.

This we, the mystics, do when we move among the three-dimensional things, enjoying them and triumphing over them, living a natural and normal material and objective life. Again at will, any time and anywhere, we may raise this sixth sense to behold fourth-dimensional activity where the Absolute moves in ways that are not human ways, and thinks in thoughts that are not human thoughts. Here we triumph, know and see the Invisible, and so endure the material entanglements, knowing that they are but momentary.

Vision deals with the instrument of seeing, and an objective. When two persons look at the same object, one sees more than the other, either because the instrument of vision is better or the power of perception is greater. Vision travels to its objective, then something of the light, the coloring, and the general perspective of the object travels back over the visional track.

Now when a perfect and complete objective is set before the sixth sense, the inner vision power of the beholder, than all that he has the perceiving power to grasp and appreciate travels back over the visional track. When the High and Uplifted One, Who says, "Look unto Me," reveals Himself to us in strength, wisdom, love, health, abundance and all else that we can see, we are at once able, by some inherent power, to commence to materialize and to express those qualities in ourselves.

It is essential to our highest mystical development that we will get a clear visualization of Him Whose face shines upon us as the sun in its splendor. Elisha was not so much interested in Elijah's achievements as he was in the secret of his greatness, so his demand was, "Where is the God of Elijah?"

Having found the answer, Elisha found himself beginning to exercise the same powers of achievement as his master had done. Subtle magnetism filled his fingers, at whose touch disease vanished. Healing vapors charged his breath. Power clothed his words to heal the poisoned pottage and to cause the meal and oil to increase.

Monumental acts of helpfulness marked his path. He never lost his high visioning power, and the power to heal charged his very bones. The secret was that he found and lived with a clear and perpetual view of the God of Elijah.

Beholding this same I AM, the majesty and dignity and leadership came into Moses' range of vision, which made the strong and mighty follow this man of eighty. Because I AM transformed the meekest of men into the image of fadeless strength, so that at the age of one hundred and twenty, "his vision was not dimmed nor his natural force abated."

When our uplifted vision beholds Him, power comes from the regions of perfect health, which makes every cell vibrate with divine health and energy. Beholding Him, a calm and poise of mind come from the regions of infinite peace, which is undisturbed by earthly cares, not frightened by prison bars, unshaken by any form of material threats of ill. Beholding Him, immunity from all sin, all fear, all want, moves into experience from the inexhaustible reservoirs of absolute Love, so that the mystic can truly say: "I will fear no evil."

The law of redirection, by which we call the attention from one thing and direct it to another, operates in a very practical way for relief. What we do not see or otherwise perceive, does not exist to us, and so — when our perception is always fixed on Him who is Absolute Health, who is Spirit, who is the reality back of all appearances — sickness, pain, evil, matter and even death is nonexistent to us.

We read this divine nihilism of material things in such a statement as Job made when he said, "Thine eye beheld me and I am nothing." The clear vision of the Absolute suspends relative reality, and as we constantly visualize the Absolute, we make the relative reality conform ever more to the image of the Absolute.

We see this mystical principle in the text, "For we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory after His image by the Lord, the Spirit." Jesus of Nazareth's clear visioning enabled him to see his inherent oneness with the Absolute and to say, "The Father and I are one." He attributed his words and his works to the Father, yet when one came to him, he spoke as if he alone were doing the works. "I will, be thou clean"; "Take up thy bed and walk"; "I say unto you."

Others had acknowledged themselves as teachers and seekers after this full vision of the Truth, and not having fully perceived their identification with the Life of the Uplifted One, they confessed themselves as pilgrims traveling toward a better state, and they record that "These all died, not having received the promise."

When the Master came and entered full conscious communion with the Father, he spoke not as a seeker after truth, but as the Truth Itself. He answered for all time the questions nearest our hearts. They said, "Show us the truth." He answered, "I AM the Truth." They said, "Give us light." "I AM the light." "I AM Life." "I AM the Resurrection." "Whatever there is of life to be attained, I AM that."

This inner perception of His Oneness with God gave that sense of authority, so that he spoke without a moment's hesitation as to his right to speak. He spoke without a question as to the authority and the effect of his speaking — "Take up thy bed and walk." "Thy sins be forgiven thee."

When He began his ministry of healing, his first thought for the people was, "Father I will that they behold Thy glory," and that glory was the indwelling of the Absolute in him, so that to see him was to see the Father. His second thought was, "Father, I pray that they may be one as we are one," that is, that they might realize that a oneness with the Father was within them, similar to his own, and by which virtue all power dwelled in them.

Looking with this sixth sense upon the blind man, he saw not the blind eyes, but perfect spiritual vision within him. The blind man's inner perception saw the Uplifted One, the secret of all power and perception, and instantly the atoms of his eye responded to the vibrations of light, and he saw with his material eyes.

Always the great Teacher saw in every case, not a sick person, but one well and whole. He saw not the withered arm, but an arm stretched forth. He saw not a woman bent double, but a woman made straight and well. He saw not deaf ears and a dumb tongue, but ears that heard and a tongue that spoke.

Every healer must be enough of a mystic to be able to exercise some of this visional power so that we may perceive the real Divine Soul of the patient, clothed in the perfect health that is ours in the realm of reality. Seeing that spiritual self clothed in the Perfect Health of the Absolute, we must steadfastly behold him as perfectly well and whole, and with unfailing certainty, out of the unseen regions of His Own Health, the Great Physician will manifest His health in the body of the patient.

Just as the visional power beholding Reality causes that Reality to manifest in the body as health, the same process of the Seer beholds the sinner, taken, as in one case, in the very act, so clothed with the Divine Love, that matchless love dissolved her sins, and he said to her, "Go thy way and sin no more."

Just as the Absolute Health is the remedy for all disease when the inner vision beholds, so Absolute Love is the solvent for all sin when we uplift the inner eye to the Absolute Righteousness. The moment that Mary Magdalen saw herself as Jesus saw her, she arose and became his most devoted disciple. He used no sort of machinery to make her a good woman. She needed only to see herself as Divine Love saw her, and she was forgiven and perfectly whole.

This upward visioning is the channel of the recreating Power. Every mind or body that has become diseased has done so because they have not stayed the vision on Him. Only repentance can restore them — a return of the vision to its own Objective, "Look unto Me."

Every call to repentance has in it the principle of again focusing the eye on the High and Uplifted One, for no sin, sickness, pain, death nor lack appears on the pathway of such vision power. These appear when we look downward to material things. We remit them when we take steadfast notice that Deity beholds. This upward visioning makes us free from the law of sin and death. It gives us the secret of the mastery of all things.

When our inner eye becomes adjusted to beholding the Absolute, we hear Him say, "Concerning the work of My hands, command ye Me." This means that God gives authority over all things, so that old things pass away, are remitted, and behold all things are made new, by looking unto the Great Original.

"No man can see God and live," after his former estate. Fictitious values pass away. All things assume their true value in the light of higher visioning. We forget grasping for the things of matter in the passion to serve. We dissolve bondage to downward visioning, and our untrammeled soul salutes God. Then the soul perceives that beyond all dualities, such as good and evil, stands the Lord, the Changeless.

With the coming of the Absolute into the relative, duality of expression arises. Light and its absence, called darkness, pure bliss becomes pleasure and pain, good has its negative expression of evil, imperfection shadows the perfect, the apparent hides reality — all expression is a mixture, a duality. Back of these, the uplifted vision beholds the "light in which is no darkness at all," the truth in which is no error, the goodness in which no mixture can be, the health in which is no disease, and the abundance in which is no poverty.

Looking to the body and mind as if they were the sources of health and truth, we will never understand how to arouse and maintain unfailing strength, but will clothe the body with weakness and disease, and the mind with gloom and fear. Yet when the inner vision goes forth in this secret viewing of the Ultimate and the Uncontaminated, then the Perfect Wholesomeness laughs in the substance of our bodies.

This is "the path that no fowl knows, the vulture's eye hath not seen it, the young lion hath not trodden on it, nor the fierce lion passed it by." It is the highway upon which we move away from the causes of calamities. Walking here he beholds, "the earth and its inhabitants are dissolved."

Evil has no substance. Matter is not. The world is nothing. They are relative reality, and we nullify them by looking to the Divine Original. This nihilism of material conditions, operates in one case in the readjustment of environment. In another case it will bring forgetfulness of environment. For some it is the joy of shining vibrant, physical health. For others it is forgetfulness that the body exists.

Beyond all the tools of health stands the Perfect Health, saying, "I AM the Lord who heals thee," waiting only our upward look to come "with healing in His wings," and make us whole by remitting our diseases. Back of all ecclesiastical devices for salvation stands the Perfect Love, the Light of whose Countenance dissolves all our sins.

We have used various terms to describe this power of secret vision, and none more fitting than that in the 11th Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which faith is the mystical power that withers the common law, "stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, opened prison bars, etc."

Perfect Love opened the heart of Job to see an unlimited pathway of service and enlargement to manifest Divine Patience. It took the shrink out of Jacob. It taught David the gentleness that is the secret of greatness, and made the lips of Isaiah clean.

It revealed to the Man of Nazareth that greatness is embedded in willingness to serve. The language of the Fundamental Knower, the hidden soul of the heart, without beginning of days, and universal, is "I AM Power, incarnated to serve," and this language faith alone can perceive.

Faith, the ancient term for this inner visioning, reveals to us that authority is resident in the King of Kings, and that He is a partaker of that authority. "All power in heaven and earth are then given" to us, to which we may surrender so that he may command armies, as Joshua did — as Elijah commanded the weather — as Daniel did lions — as the one in the fourth dimension commanded fire, who imparted his resistive qualities to the three Hebrew children in the furnace — as Jesus commanded material growth with bread, and fish, and wine — as Paul did chemical action when he shook off the deadly serpent and suffered no harm — as did Iamblichus of Chalcis, who found that the weather obeyed him, and eagles flew hither and yon at his insistence.

Because of these triumphs, which certain individuals of every age have achieved after surrendering to the invisible Power with determination, they conceived that an order of invisible Power must exist in the universe, which is always ready to use us.

This sense of the mystery of our inborn authority has been the secret attraction that has drawn them to obey the Supreme Edict, "Look unto Me," and looking they have found that the will to surrender to the Supreme Presence, which finds its authority in the revelation that God is the Universal Servitor.

Beholding this truth, the Master rose up from lowliest of men and said, "All power in heaven and earth is given unto me," and he, with perfect illumination, claimed the same authority over devils, disease and death, for everyone who should go forth in his name. The fact that these signs followed attested that the disciples had entered upon his Divine birthright, surrendered to that Power, and were endued with authority to overcome the world.

It was the supreme genius of Jesus of Nazareth to discern and show that the root of authority in man lay in his relationship to the Supreme Good Will. "Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and His maker, concerning the work of my hands, command ye Me."

He spoke and gave his disciples courage to speak as obedient servants of God. Blooming out of lowliness into Supreme Authority, he tells us how.

Speak like masters, to the Divinity of Lazarus, to the man with the impotent arm, to the mountain, to the sycamore tree. After this manner, speak ye: "Thy Kingdom come! Thy Will be done! Thine is the Kingdom forever! Stretch forth thine hand! I will! Be thou clean! Come out of him! Rise up and walk! Go thy way! Be opened!"

This consciousness of the Eternal was in some measure in Job, Jacob, Joshua, and others who rose to the heights of willing obedience. God is ever challenging us with the words, "See, I have set thee this day over the nations and over the kingdoms." "Lo, I look toward you waiting." "Concerning the works of My hands, command ye Me."

These seers rose to the inborn authority over surrounding conditions. They saw and spoke not of outward conditions but of inward fact, as it was held in the mystery of the kingdom of the conquering actual.

It is a challenge to all souls who by their downward viewing in the past have walled themselves in with feebleness, sickness and defeat, to look upward into the vast Countenance of the Willing Good, realize their oneness with Him, and proclaim with all boldness, "I am strength. I am health. I am peace. I am what I wish to be, will to be, for the Universal Obedience works in me, and His Kingdom is come."

Following our great example we are to emulate his works. "If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Live, think, speak in the realm of authority and Power. After this manner, speak: "Keep me ever facing Thee: Deliver Thou me from evil: Thou art the Overpowering Obedience. I owe Thee bold command. O Thou Owner of all the Kingdoms. In Thy Name I shall speak, and it shall be done; shall command and it shall stand fast."

In the midst of impossible conditions the soul shall hear, "Thy God whom thou serve, He will deliver thee, for the God of the universe serves those who call with holy boldness." Thus is faith the secret visioning power, the confidence of things chosen.

It is attainable only with singleness of purpose and lowliness of heart. We have only to remember the apostolic precedent to find that they who sought the highest with the greatest humility spake with such boldness as to put all their enemies to confusion.

Faith is nothing less than kingship to command the sick to be well, the mind to be at peace, and the bondage of fear to cease. It is the key to His Kingdom. It reveals to us the secret power of the Great Servitor, and gives us the secret of all attainment. "He, who is greatest among you, let him be the servant of all."

Looking upward with this extended vision, the soul finds the mystery of the Divine Obedience everywhere, awaiting the rise of a heaven-planted boldness to command. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, we shall say to this mountainous obstacle of poverty, "be thou cast into the sea." We may say to this mocking fig tree of disease, "be thou plucked up," or to blindness of mind, "be thou opened," and know before we speak that it shall be so.

The New Testament is filled with statements that we can interpret only on the hypothesis that the power to apprehend the Supreme is in every soul, without the need of any intermediary. Its great ideal of self-mastery is attainable only on the assumption that the soul has immediate access to Unlimited Resources.

We can work out our own salvation only because it is God that works in us both to will and to do. This secret identification with the Divine is the basic truth, the knowing that brings emancipation from the bondage of the senses.

The mysticism of the Gospels and Epistles is centered in the Christing, the anointing. It consists in becoming conscious of our inherent oneness with God.

The knowing of this Supreme Truth is embedded in the purpose to live the truth. The fact of this oneness with the Divine has always existed. Yet to become conscious of it, and to make humanity conscious of it, was the goal toward which all the mystics and seers of the ages had been striving.

The heart of mystical Christianity is, "The mystery which was hidden for ages is now revealed unto us by the prophets and Apostles, Christ in you, the hope of glory." – Colossians 1:26-27.

We are being conceived and born into spiritual consciousness, represented as a babe in the Christing or anointing. We rise to fuller consciousness, and are children in the knowledge of our divine relationship. We attain at last to the measure of the stature of the fullness of this anointing or Christing. We move onward still to the place of supreme inner visioning, to say, "I live, and yet not I live, but Christ lives in me." – Galatians 2:20.

John spoke of this anointing, this Christing, which abides, which makes us so fully realize our resources in Being that we need not that anyone should teach us, but know all things. This mystical perception of God, according to John, brings us in touch with all knowledge.

It also makes available to us the power, the presence, the love, the peace, and all the completeness of that High and Mighty One. His fiat still challenges all that is within man, "Look unto Me and be ye saved" from every material impediment into every spiritual privilege.

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XIII. The College of Paleontology: A Study of Fossils and Shells

We can trace the progress of natural history in the records of its remains. Likewise, we may trace human progress by studying the fragments or remains of ancient civilizations, especially their religious features, from which they have sprung, by which people have built them, and through which they have perished.

The naturalist can reconstruct a complete figure of the ancient monsters that roamed the earth from a single bone. We may, from an occasional fossil idea, reconstruct the monstrous deities that, in the fancy of ignorance, peopled the skies, ran riot on earth, and played havoc with the affairs of men.

The Fall of Man is an ancient fossil that has done a yeoman's service in the interest of bad theologies as original sin.

In the scientific formula of creation, a state of divine consciousness took on thought form, and was called by name. Then God became that which He thought and called by name. Thus, we have life coming out of the Absolute into the relative, from the unlimited into the limited.

This is really the "fall," and although man was potentially in the first germ of life, he had actively nothing to do with the Fall. If the old allegory seems to picture a sudden fall, it is because we have misread the story. The Fall was a gradual descent from God, just as the restoration is a gradual evolution back toward the source of being.

One of the modern fossils is poverty, the belief that the poor are the specially favored of the Lord. "The poor ye have always with you." – Matthew 26:11, is a favorite text to prove that it is the decree of Divine Providence rather than a condition growing out of wrong thinking and wrong action.

Poverty, like everything else, is primarily a state of consciousness finding expression. An idea that lies at the base of most poverty is the notion that there is not enough to go round. Therefore, somebody must be short.

The self-righteous martyr decides that he can endure it better perhaps than someone else. Thus, he settles down to make poverty a mark of merit. After all, "A man's life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses" – Luke 12:15, but in that which he is. If he is rich in those ideas of reality as life, truth, love, wisdom and harmony, he will not be much concerned about "things" although he will have plenty.

"It may not be God's will." Nothing has been so overworked as this idea that an absentee God may for some reason, which He does not make known, thinks it best not to give relief. The sufferer enjoys a bit of self-martyrdom by quoting, "Whom the Lord loves He chastens." – Hebrews 12:6.

And if He loves us much, He afflicts us much, and when troubles come thick and fast, the sufferer prides himself that he is one of the Lord's pets. Most human fathers would not wait a minute to relieve his child if it was in his power to do it. Surely God must be as good as an earthly father!

The Master said, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask Him." – Luke 11:13. That ought to end that old fossil, but unfortunately it doesn't. People still stick to that old shell because they don't want to shoulder the responsibility or do the work that will bring them out of it.

One of these fossil ideas was anthropomorphism, that God was a big man with human passions, ruling the world as it suited His whim, arbitrarily changing His attitude toward it, especially when displeased, and they have embalmed this idea in some hideous idols that have expressed men's conception of their deities. Fragments of this old fossil are found in the literature of earlier religions, and are apparent in the beliefs of some today, who vainly think that God will change His purposes or suspend His laws, to do for them personally, despite the interests of the whole race.

Another of this family of fossils is the idea of favoritism, expressed in the belief of being the Elect and specially favored, which has tinctured all beliefs. The Elect alone were considered. All others were in the category of opprobrium. The Elect were not to consider them, nor have any dealings with them. The Elect were in special favor here, and were safe hereafter, regardless.

They reduced this ancient idea to mathematical exactness and a high degree of refinement, so that the number of the saved could not be changed. It was not a matter of merit, but of arbitrary favoritism. Lest some ray of hope might lift the gloom of the non-Elect, even that mercy was blocked by constructing a future atmosphere of fire and brimstone, whose boundaries opened only inward. Thus the final and irretrievable condition of most of the race, old, young, and "infants a span long," was fixed.

It was a fascinating belief for dyspeptics and hypochondriacs, and other physically and mentally abnormal people. This god, of all human attributes except limitless power, thus decreed the number of the saved and the number of the lost because He foresaw it would be that way. Such a conception is no less than a diabolism in the Will of God.

This fossil idea was moderated somewhat to the form that God foresaw just how things were going to come out, but allowed countless millions to be born, knowing them to be elected to such a fate. That was no less than a diabolism in the Love of God.

In the mechanism of this ancient fossil, they worked out a scheme, by which one sent from God and partaking of His nature, should suffer all the present and future results of sin, which were really coming to the Elect. By this vicarious atonement, which they were bound to accept because it was eternally determined that they should accept, their future bliss was assured, no matter what they might do or not do.

This doctrine of partialism finds its echo today in the bigotry of denominationalism, in which each particular body esteems that it holds the essential truth, and that its adherents are in the special favor of the Lord. There are, no doubt, some good people among the others, and they piously hope that they may get to heaven!

The University of Hard Knocks has graduated some of its pupils from the College of Paleontology, and has set them free from the reign of fossils and shells. Here and there some bold prophet has seen and proclaimed that God is no respecter of persons, peoples or places.

Others have declared that while God may visit sin to the third and fourth generation, He visits righteousness to a thousand generations, so that while sin has consequences reaching into another life, righteousness has consequences and potencies reaching into all eternities.

Others have seen that the divine Father of the spirits of all flesh can be finally happy only when all His children are home or coming home. All souls are the objects of the love that never fails. God is not limited as to means or places, and has all the time and all the eternities to bring them all into harmony with Him.

One of the most paralyzing of the shells, in which people take refuge from the ceaseless prod of the principle of growth, is the idea that any final statement of the truth has been made or can be made. Nothing so cramps the rising aspirations of the soul as to feel that there are no new fields to be explored, nor new expressions of the truth to be given.

Another ancient shell is the substitution of a form or symbol for the Life and Power for which it once stood, and the worship of the form goes onward steadily, while its glory has departed.

Another ancient shell, exalted into a fetish, is that one called authority. Some people look to the ministry for authority, until they behold men and women with no ministerial sanction, moving the multitudes up to higher living, and they learn that authority is vested somewhere else.

Others look to an authoritative church for the final word, until they discover that people with no churchly affiliations are living the life of God among men. Then they know that final authority does not rest in the church. Others think they find the final authority in an inspired and infallible book, only to find that God's agents are constantly bringing new truth and new adaptations of the truth to humanity.

They come at last to realize that final authority is vested in the individual consciousness because we have the power to contact God consciously, without any intermediary whatsoever. This does not depreciate their value as agencies and instruments, but it relieves them from trying to maintain an impossible pinnacle such as final authority.

One popular shell from at least mediaeval times is the resurrection of the physical body. Sometimes they assume that the identical particles in the body at the hour of dissolution. Others think that it will be the same body, but spiritualized in some way that they left to the Lord, after they had appointed the task.

Anyone who can believe it in the face of the facts involved could believe any other thing despite the facts. We have not enumerated the difficulties here.

However, the simple fact that "there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body," right here and now, and that the event that we call death marks the separation of the two, and the rising of the spiritual body into its glory and triumph, points out a rational form of belief.

Related to this is another fossil, which has given many heartaches, yet it may have sometimes furnished motive for reformation. It is the idea that, with the resurrection of the identical body, the relationships growing out of this human period of our lives continue or resume.

The Master clearly set aside one feature of it by saying that the Samaritan woman of many husbands would belong to none of them, for that life knows no such thing as marriage. Likewise he set aside the other features of human relationship by saying that "he that did the will of God, the same was his sister, his brother, and his mother."

Another fossil is the idea of a Judgment Day with its great white throne, and all the appointments of an earthly tribunal, before which all living should in turn pass. All this in the face of the fact that with such an arrangement some of us would have to wait for several eternities to find out our fate. And in the face of the Master's statement that "now is the Judgment of this world," the record that Judas went to his own place, and the statement of Paul, that he desired to depart and "be with Christ."

The judgment is now in session, and no man needs anything more than the still small voice to tell him just how it is with him, and the resurrection is now continuing. There is no waiting nor uncertainty. We continue after death just where we left off here. Personal identity and recognition are in no wise predicated on a material resurrection, nor does our future depend on anything else but character.

The Second Coming of Christ as presented has usually mystified more people, because of the manifest absurdity of applying the prophecies of the event to any physical appearance. The foolish claims of some sects of even today only show how we have misunderstood the Master's words concerning his second coming.

Yet it is but history repeating itself, for the first coming did not in any sense meet the material expectations of the people of the promised Messiah, simply because they had misread the nature and significance of the event. John said to them, "there stands one among you whom ye know not," and it is true today.

The Christ has come in the sense that he is promised, and few know him because the world and the church have misunderstood his words. However, the steadily growing volume of Christ-consciousness must soon make the blindest see and accept his presence and Reign of Power.

Another hampering fossil in its effects on the growth of character is the doctrine of the Vicarious Atonement, in that it purports to do for others what they ought to do for themselves. This violates a law of spiritual economics, not to mention the patent impossibility of one man putting his hand in the fire and another getting the burn.

The Vicarious Atonement theory properly belongs to an age when fear was the supreme motive in religion, but it can have no place in an age when love is the motive of religious thought and action. The At-one-ment stands a changeless fact, but the vicarious theory of it is to be classed with that pagan conception that "God was reconciled to us by the death of His Son." – Romans 5:10.

These and many other cast off fossils and shells, in which many people find a seeming security like the hermit crab, all have had a part and served a purpose, for they stood for some truth that they have long ceased to represent. They are old wine skins that are not at all adequate vessels for the fuller understanding and expression of the truth.

The pupil whom God has promoted to be a student discards the letter, but retains the spirit of truth. To him these "traditions of the elders" are interesting relics, but the "I say unto you" of the Eternal Christ speaking within, is his stay and authority.

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XIV. Illustrious Graduates

From the time when God made this school, in that hour when He said, "Let us make man in our own image," illustrious ones have stood head and shoulders above their fellows in their attainments, have been the landmarks, the guides and the saviors of men, calling them upward to the walks of self mastery and the positions of supreme influence. These epochal men and women have inspired the vast masses to strive for similar attainment.

God has had His honorable ones in all generations. Enoch learned to walk with God, keeping step with all the divine requirements, whether walking was good or bad. One day he walked off the edge of the material world into the Realm of Reality.

Abraham heard within himself a divine Voice calling him out, and he followed, "not knowing whither he went." In his career he at once thought nothing of lying to Ahimelech, and some things in the episode about Hagar were not to his credit.

Nevertheless, he kept on in the great school until he graduated, and came to talk with God, as a man talks with his friend. He was not only blessed, but God made him a blessing, and called him the "father of the faithful."

Jacob, who was by name and nature a deceiver and a supplanter, when he entered the school, did things that would have sent him to State's prison had he lived in this day. Yet the ceaseless constructive processes of the Universal Servitor eventually made him a "prince with God."

Elisha, who seems to have had some irascible streak of temper so that he could not endure children teasing because of his bald head, kept on at school, following the ceaseless quest, "Where is the God of Elijah?" until God answered the question. From then on he found himself clothed with mastery. His touch vibrated with health, healing vapor charged his breath, his words could heal the taint in the poisoned pottage, and life-giving power charged his very bones.

Job seems to have had fewer of the so-called "flaws" in his makeup, yet trouble multiplied for him. When his troubles came thick and fast, he walked the brink of blasphemy, and vowed his integrity in spite of trouble.

Job's real trouble does not seem to have been that he was in any conscious sense a sinner, but he was so well situated that he had unconsciously violated the law of growth. An earthquake shook down his surroundings, pulled up the stakes of his tents, smashed his business, scattered his family, knocked the bottom out of his securities, and enlarged the borders of his life. He graduated as God's honor man in the College of Patience.

David did some very naughty things when he was in school, and had a very serious frank interview with his teacher. After a prolonged season of trouble and lessons, he became the voice of the divine harmonies, the sweet singer of Israel.

Isaiah, of seraphic vision, took a thorough course in the school of trouble that was once as uncomfortable as a hot coal from off the altar to heal his lips of the bad habit of telling naughty stories, until at last he spoke in exalted and inspired phrases.

Paul took the full course. Scripture enumerates a few of his troubles, and they were enough for a dozen ordinary men. An eloquent silence stands where the record should have mentioned his marital experiences.

In fact, Paul reacted to trouble so naturally that he rejoiced in it, and was comfortable only when things were coming thick and fast. He found trouble to be an emancipator.

Just why he failed to get rid of that mysterious "thorn in the flesh," we probably will not know, but he recognized that it was "a messenger of the Satan," whoever he was. Paul talked with God, could boast of "visions and revelations of the Lord," could heal the sick and raise the dead, but he could not shake that thorn.

What a pity he did not live to learn what a stupendous error under which he was laboring — that his thorn in the flesh had "neither intelligence nor sense," but was an "error of the mortal mind." It is just possible that a change of his thought regarding the whole ministry of trouble would at least have taken the point off the thorn.

He had a remarkable graduation, in that he could rejoice in tribulation, and go forth to give his message and his ministry without any guarantee except that God would deliver him from the people whom he served. What a world of hidden irony lay in that promise!

He was afraid of neither pain nor trouble, and shrank not from either death or dying. Illustrious honor man of the University of Hard Knocks, rest thy soul in paradise!

Other illustrious honorable ones without number have lived, but they are so numerous that they are all included in that white-robed company, who are going "up through great tribulation." Their number is ever increasing. Among them are the myriads who have died in war at the word of a ruler, who decreed their death by "divine right."

The martyrs to scientific experiment have "suffered many things of many physicians." Heroic legions have spent their last breath denying the reality of pain or disease, or even death itself.

Myriads of real martyrs worked the mills and sweatshops, where financial tyrants robbed life of every sweet thing and wrung them dry of every fond hope, To swell the dividends of their trusts. God has all promoted these, or will.

Trouble lasts only while we need it to emancipate us. When we have moved up to freedom, that special form of trouble departs and something else comes along. It is one thing right after the other.

At first it seems like a tragedy, then it becomes ridiculous. When we adjust our philosophy, we rejoice that "tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope."

Chief of all is the Man of Nazareth, whom we call the Master, "Who learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and was made perfect." His life began amid the gossip of neighbors, started in a manger and ended on the point of a spear.

He summed up the whole volume of human trouble in one brief life. He set the way for everlasting ages by which each soul may make himself of no reputation, and yet be highly exalted by the very things he suffers.

Nothing can so fully reconcile the ways of God unto men, and so reconcile men unto God, as for one to so fully obey all the laws of the Father, even unto death, in obedience to the categorical imperative, that he became the very Voice of God to men in trouble, the Savior of the world.

He did not suffer for us, nor in our stead, nor to reconcile God to us. Yet, he did enter fully into all the experiences of a normal human life, showed us the way to bear trouble, to triumph over it, and so to reach self-mastery.

All hail the Matchless Name — forever enshrined in earth and in heaven — Jesus, the Christed of God.

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Thomas Parker Boyd
1864 –1936
Episcopalian theologian, D.D., PhD,
teacher, preacher and author

Thomas Parker Boyd originally published The Prospectus of Life in the University of Hard Knocks in San Francisco, California, 1920. Second edition copyright 2016, The Society of the Universal Living Christ.


To her who trusted though she could not see,
Bore patiently the uneven-burdened yoke,
Suffered all things without murmuring,
Learned the hard lessons of life smilingly,
Holding faithfully and firmly the soul of man,
Waiting awhile genius was coming to bloom,
Who has not lived but ever is living,
The ideal woman, the mother of men,
The woman who understands.