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Divine Adjustment Henry Thomas Hamblin

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Divine Adjustment

by Henry Thomas Hamblin

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On Divine Providence, Attainment, and Other Problems

"He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's Sake."
Psalm XXIII

The following is the substance of a letter which was sent me.

'Several friends have been discussing the different kinds of teaching derived from a study of the 91st Psalm and the lessons of the Beatitudes. The former seems to speak of temporal blessings so openly, of protection from ills, of immunity from plague and generally of a life surrounded by an environment which keeps away all strife. Jesus Christ on the other hand spoke openly to His followers of persecution and hardship. He must have known the 91 st Psalm and yet He did not appear to be a living example of its wonderful teaching. The early Christian martyrs had, indeed, a sorry time of tribulation and the 91 st Psalm could mean nothing to them of physical comfort, or health, or troubles overcome.

Do you think the Psalm is to be interpreted spiritually ? Yet it speaks so openly of the dangers of life of today as of old.

Possibly if Christ had lived more to Himself He might have claimed the protection of God, but then He could not have achieved His mission. Many people take the meaning to be literal and to operate in daily life. I should like to do so, but it would make life so easy (if all we did were to prosper) it might take away all the experience which is such a necessary part of our discipline.

I quite agree that if we are God's children, we should develop a 'God-consciousness' which puts above the power of all evil, but whether we can live on the higher plane of worldly success and above the reach of all life's little troubles I have my doubts.

"If you feel able to express an opinion on the above problem in the near future I am quite sure many people will be greatly interested.'

In reply I must first point out that the 91 st Psalm does not refer to persecution but to a state of adeptship or attainment, which makes the adept a master of negative ills and disorders. This is a state of mastery, but it is not the highest form of attainment. The teaching of Jesus Christ leads up to the highest and last stage of attainment, such as was achieved by John. The 91 st Psalm refers to the lower stage.

It is a mistake, however, to think that it is easy to live accordingly to the 91 st Psalm. Let those who think so try it and then see if they find it easy. To live up to the teaching of the 91 st Psalm requires such a high state of faith and spiritual activity as to be quite beyond the comprehension, or even the imagination, of most people.

Instead of discussing this matter. it is really very much better if we put the teaching to a practical test and thus start on the great life of spiritual adventure.

We can arrive at merely a part of the state of mastership as outlined in the 91st Psalm only through passing through the most searching experiences. through making great ventures in faith. and through trusting ourselves and our all to God. When we have found out the secret of Divine Providence and Spiritual Protection, when we have become great in prayer, and when, as it were, we can bend the whole universe to our will, we are called upon to give it all up, and prepare ourselves for the second and last stage of the great adventure. The Old Testament teaches the first stage, the New Testament teaches the second stage.

That great apostle of faith, George Muller, became a master not only of circumstances, but also of the elements. After reaching the age of 70 he traveled the world over on several great preaching tours. On one of his voyages the vessel in which he was traveling was brought almost to a standstill by a dense fog. As a delay in the voyage would have prevented Muller from appearing at a meeting at which he was pledged to appear, he took the Captain below and made him kneel down while he {Muller) prayed for the fog to disperse. The Captain thought his strange passenger was mad, but Muller told him to go with him on deck and see the fog clear away. Sure enough, when they reached the deck the fog was already clearing, and soon disappeared altogether; thus enabling the passage to he concluded in time for the meeting to be attended at the appointed time. Muller had prayed to some purpose for over fifty years, and KNEW that when he prayed that for which he prayed was already accomplished.

Like Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus he could pray:

Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. And I know that Thou hearest me always." He possessed this power and in such a circumstance, in which he found himself, he felt justified in using it. It was not for himself, for his own pleasure or convenience, but in order that the Lord s work might be done.

But the time came when Muller had to surrender all this, and more, even himself. 'There was a day.' he relates, "when I died, utterly died. I died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, taste and will - died to the world, its approval or censure - died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God'. What happened to George Muller was what happens to all who seek en trance to the Path of Attainment as shown and taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. He had to surrender all that he had attained to and achieved. He had to surrender the great Dr. Muller, the renowned man of faith and prayer. He had to surrender his power to control his life and circumstances, and even forces of Nature and the elements.

He had to become just a child, or mere clay in the hands of the Potter. Then it was that a greater Muller, or shall I say, a greater than Muller, arose. Henceforward he was a different being, shaped and fashioned by God into His own likeness and image. George Muller had entered upon the second and last stage. The first stage, be it noted, is just as important and necessary as the second.

John Wesley once went to preach on a Village Green. He was met by the local bully, a terror of a man. noted for his violence and fury. He had his arms full of stones, and thereupon said that if Wesley attempted to preach he would stone him, which of course would have meant death, or serious permanent injury. John Wesley simply tapped the man on the shoulder and said: "Look here, my friend, you cannot throw a single stone unless my

Heavenly Father allows you to." The bully dropped the stones and became John Wesley's supporter and body guard. John Wesley knew the truth of the 91st Psalm, and without such knowledge and realization he would have been helpless. But towards God, Wesley was as a little child, desiring only that He should lead him on in his own way and at His own time.

That Jesus was a unique Master of the first stage was evident. He mastered all the forces of Nature. No one could assault Him, or even touch Him. His life was a life of positive mastery, and not the negative existence which some seem to think it was. Some people seem to think that the life of Jesus was a very negative thing. They apparently imagine that He and His disciples were poor, hungry, ragged, and so on. On the contrary, although they refused to hold any possessions they were not poor. All their needs were well supplied, and they had money to give to the poor. The disciples always spoke of the poor as a class quite distinct from themselves. It is one thing to spurn wealth, refusing all possessions, and quite another thing to be a negative victim of poverty.

The life of Jesus was a life of mastery and positive strength. Negative ills had no power over Him. And yet He was Love incarnate, and taught 'service', washing the disciples' feet as an object-lesson for them.

Neither did anyone 'take' the life of Jesus. Hear what He said about it. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down. and I have power to take it again."

But there came a time when all this mastery had to be given up. All who are willing to enter the very narrow path of final attainment have to give up all that they have gained. Those who will not are those of whom Jesus spoke thus: "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father in Heaven. ...Many will say unto me ...Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.”

Doing the will of the Indwelling Lord is the second stage. We are brought to a stage where we have only one desire and that is that the Divine Will should be done. This corresponds to Christ's Gethsemane, where He surrendered all, and said: "Not as I will, but as thou wilt." This is the surrender of the personal will. This experience is beautifully described in Newman's hymn, Lead, Kindly Light. After this, events and experiences come to us, which if met co-operatively, result in the crucifixion and death of the self, and the resurrection, or raising up into fullness of life, of the Christ self, or Christ in us. All this corresponds to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Again, after further experiences, there is the ascension to the Heavenly, or Universal consciousness, as typified in the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ.

Going back to the difficulties discussed by certain of our readers, Jesus was invulnerable, and was untouchable by the forces of evil, until He, of His own free will (following on His surrender in the Garden) , took down His defences. He was then taken by the soldiers. Otherwise they could not have touched Him, or hurt a hair of His head. Jesus did this so that the experience could come to Him for which He had come into the world.

It was the same with the martyrs, I think, personally that either they were great awakened souls who came to earth for the sole purpose of enduring martyrdom, or they were souls who could reach attainment, at a bound, through martyrdom. The death of the self would be accomplished at one fell blow, so that they might enter or find the new life which is the great objective of all seeking souls, The one who will not give up his life (not necessarily literally, but in heart, mind and will) loses it (the real life) , while he who is willing to lose his life, finds the life which is eternal in the Heavens, and which means far more than this, Nothing less than martyrdom would have satisfied them, and they could have had no joy if they had not fulfilled their glorious destiny ( which was what Jesus termed doing the will of the Father). Not only so, but if they had refused martyrdom they would of all people have been the most miserable and to be pitied.

Followers of Christ must always be ready and willing to suffer persecution. We are nowhere promised that it will be avoided, Indeed our Lord said: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Again, He said: "Verily, I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel's but he shall receive a hundredfold. with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life ."

Everything in this life looks the opposite of what it really is. It looks dreadful to suffer for Truth, yet it really is the greatest joy, and it is the entrance to far greater joys than can be imagined or described; or rather, to bliss which is far higher than the greatest joy.

Because of this, martyrs went to the stake singing, and they sang in the flames. I believe that the Lord so possessed them that they transcended mere physical pain.

Although in these times we are not called upon to suffer martyrdom at the stake, yet we have to be willing to be stripped of all things, and to suffer all things, and to endure all things, and even to lay down our life, for the sake of the Kingdom so that the Indwelling Lord can come into His own, and that we find our true identity. It is seldom necessary that these things should be experienced literally, for what is needed most of all is the inward surrender of the heart, of the will, of our all. Then, when this takes place, we find that which no tongue can describe.

But while such persecution as the early Christians experienced is not in vogue today, yet all who are true followers of Jesus are nevertheless persecuted in other ways. Some may even think that they would rather have been a martyr, in the old days with their heroism and adventure, than pass through the scorn and ridicule of the world today. We all know how hard it is to be a fool for Christ. We all know how difficult to bear is ridicule. Some would rather be burned or fight a duel, than be subjected to ridicule and cruel, sarcastic tongues.

But the way has to be trodden by all aspirants. It is not an easy way, for the Path of Attainment is a greater thing than is generally realized, for it is the greatest thing in the Universe. But if we are yoked with Christ we find His words true. "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

No aspirant can avoid going through all the necessary stages of attainment, even as typified in the Gospels. If he is a true seeker he is already passing through them, and, possibly through lack of knowledge, may wonder what is the matter, or where he has gone wrong. If he meets all his experiences with willing co-operation, and with understanding, he will find that they are all entrances into joy and ever-increasing joy.

Being yoked with Christ does not lead to negative ills or disorders, but to adventures, and to conflict with those powers which hate His name and nature. and indeed, all for which the Name of Christ stands.

Some may say? Why should there be a crucifixion? Why martyrdom? Where is the necessity of such sacrifice and suffering?

These questions can be answered without entering into any theological or doctrinal discussion; and the answer is this. The lower cannot be raised to the higher except the higher stoops down to raise the lower. The "higher” is Love; and love, true love, desires to give itself for the sake of others. Indeed, it is not satisfied, neither can it be happy, except when it is doing so. You, dear reader, are doing, every day, the same thing that the martyrs did. You sacrifice your own comfort for the sake of helping or making happy and comfortable someone less happily circumstanced than yourself. You willingly give up your seat in the train to one who is older, or weaker, than yourself. You are just sitting down to a meal, perhaps, when someone, who is in trouble, calls at your door. In spite of the protests of your wife and family you leave your meal to spoil, in order to attend to the needs of the helpless, or lacking one. A woman sits up all night with a sick neighbour, sometimes night after night. She thinks nothing of it; yet she is exhibiting the same spirit that has animated in the past all martyrs. No work of social betterment has ever been accomplished except through the whole-hearted, devoted, self-sacrificing service of a few, who have given their strength, their health, yea, their very life for the sake of the common good. All such have had to face calumny, spite, misrepresentation and persecution, loss and suffering, for the sake of the cause they have held dear; and they have given gladly all that they had to life and the world. All pioneers of any new movement for the raising of humanity meet wIth bitter hostility. There are always to be found noble souls who are willing to lose all and to give themselves and their life for the cause. This is their joy and happiness.

But let us not spend time or energy in argument or speculation. Let us realize instead, and rejoice in the fact, that God is Love, God is Good, God is Wisdom, and desires for us only our highest good. Let us realize that Good comes entirely from the Lord ( our Divine Spiritual Source) and Good only. Realizing and acknowledging this let us go forward with confidence and joy, allowing the Spirit to bear us forward on the bosom of the Tide of Life, which is a Stream of Blessedness, to our highest good; knowing that all is well, and that our destiny is far more glorious than we can imagine.

A perfect Divine plan is being unfolded; and it is our joy and privilege to cooperate with it, and thus help our brother man to reach his high and glorious destiny.

Let us get down to actual facts and to firm reality by realizing, and living in the realization, that God is Love, and that behind every experience is Divine love. All the time that we spend in speculation is a waste of time and opportunity to realize the Truth. If instead of trying to puzzle these things out we meditate upon and realize the truth about God, and about ourselves as children of God, leaving the future in Divine hands, then all is well.

Whatever experience comes to us is a blessed one. In it we find Love itself, and through it are brought into closer fellowship and union with Christ. Such a life, lived in co-operation with the will of the Indwelling God, gives greatly improved health, and joy indescribable. It also gives us peace. "My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." Can we not imagine these words coming from the Lord within, the Indwelling God who is ordering our life, and ever seeking to lead us to our highest good?

"Ye believe in a God Transcendent and afar off, believe also in Me, the Lord within, Who desires to lead you to your highest good, if you will but cooperate, and be willing to go wherever I may lead you. You may not think, at times, that it is the best way. But My way for you is always the best way, and it leads to your eternal joy. You may want to go your own way, the way of self-hood, the way of self-will. But this can bring only suffering, unhappiness and discord to you. I, alone, know the way, and I can bring you into freedom, liberty and everlasting joy." Can we not hear the same Indwelling Lord say also, from the depths of our inmost being: 'Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' It looks both heavy and difficult, and is difficult if we hold back, but if we co-operate, if we let go of self and go willingly, then we find that the yoke is indeed easy, while the burden is a source of constant renewal of strength.

Let me close by pointing out that things are not what they seem and that although it looks difficult to follow the Divine Way , it is only so at first, and then mainly is appearance. The way of co-operation with the purpose and will of the Divine is the only path that can lead us to joy, peace, and happiness. It is also the only path that can lead us to liberty. We can never lose anything or become poorer by giving up ourselves, or what the self likes, to God. For whatever we give up is restored to us a hundredfold, even as our Lord said; or rather we find that He underestimated it, for we are given something that is infinitely more precious that that which we have surrendered, Also, through this surrender, we avoid an amount of suffering, the extent of which cannot be realized, so great is it. If we do not surrender them we find that life removes things from us; things that we hold dear, so that the parting is very painful. But If we surrender ourselves and our all to the Lord within, Who is desirous of ruling our life, we find that nothing is taken away from us, for the reason that no such experience is necessary.

Again, through our surrender to the Indwelling Love and Wisdom, all conflict ceases; and this produces health, the most precious of all earthly possessions. Ill-health and disease are produced by inward conflict as also are other painful and negative states. The inward surrender produces peace and rest, harmony and joy, so that health follows naturally, even as the sun rises after the night of darkness.

Again, disease is produced by strain, anxiety and care. When we surrender our all to God, there is no further strain, or anxiousness, or fear, for all these ungodly and health-destroying states of mind pass away. When we have surrendered all to the Lord, then there is nothing about which we can be anxious, for the reason that all things are in His care. When once we give God liberty to act as He pleases; when we surrender to Life and allow It to lead us where It pleases, we enter into peace and joy. It was said a moment ago that the path of surrender leads to liberty. It is the only path that can do so. Surrendering to the Lord is surrendering the things that keep us from Him, and from liberty and freedom. When we have given all we find that we can trust 'the Current which knows the Way" - the way that is care-free; that is, a state of liberty from negative ills, from inhibitions, from all that holds and binds.

Finally, at whichever stage each individual may be, it is the best at the time. The circumstances in which we find ourselves are the best for us at the time. The duty which lies before us and which is right at hand is our path of unfoldment. Doing household work, or answering a shop bell, or working in an office, or nursing a sick neighbour, or relation, may seem prosaic and ordinary. It may be, but to do our duty faithfully as unto God or as an offering to Life; to follow the promptings of the Lord within; to live the Golden Rule at all times; to endeavour to be love in every situation that life brings to us, is to enter the Path of Attainment, which is to lead a life of high adventure, Doing spectacular things is not; unless of course they are forced upon us.

In all events and circumstances of life let us remember that all Good comes from the Lord and Good only. Also that through trusting in God the Infinite, we are protected from every ill and preserved in every time of danger. Also, that all supply comes from the Lord, Who is the only Substance and only Source of all that we need. If we live in this higher consciousness we find that all is well, and we know that all will be well.

 

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