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A New Vision
"Behold, I make all things new." - Rev. 21.5
Most of us have heard of Pandora and the Magic Box. According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on earth. She was made from clay by the god Hephaestus. She was greatly endowed with mental gifts. but she was also possessed of a great curiosity. Up to this time mankind had lived in perfect harmony and free from evil, but through Pandora's curiosity earthly conditions became greatly changed. There was a box in the house of Epimetheus, her husband, which she was forbidden to open. But her curiosity overcame her, and she opened the box, whereupon all the evils that afflict mankind escaped. She endeavoured to repair her mistake by shutting it again quickly. but, alas, she was only successful in preventing Hope from escaping. So runs the story of Greek mythology. and it has a curious and interesting resemblance to the Bible allegory of the Garden of Eden. Today, it is as though a Box of a different kind had been opened. At one time we thought that God afflicted us, and that God did not want us to enjoy life on this earth at all. We used to think that there was no remedy in this life, and that at the best we could only look forward to a better existence beyond the grave. Every hope that we were permitted to indulge in was a post mortem hope. Religion to us was largely a post mortem religion. Even the word "peace' reminded us of cemeteries and graveyards, with their artificial flowers under a glass dome, together with a deeply black-bordered memorial card.
But now, thank God, a new day has dawned, a new hope has arisen, a brighter and better idea has come to man.
Deeply embedded in the subconscious mind of the race is a belief that there is an evil purpose in life, that there is some sinister motive, some omnipotent malignant power from which no one is safe, and which neither mankind nor God can control. If It were true that there is such an omnipotent power or influence for evil, it is obvious that God could not control it, for no power could control omnipotence.
The idea is demonstrably false for it is a philosophical impossibility for two omnipotent powers to have being. There can be only one omnipotent power, otherwise it would not be omnipotent. Therefore we take our stand upon this truth that there is only one Omnipotent Power and this Good: that there is only one Omnipotent Being and He is Love.
The natural man judges by appearances, but the child of God lays hold by faith of the truth that God is Love and Good; and he never lets go of it, in spite of appearances, and of those sense evidences that war against his belief. Judging by appearances, life is often an evil thing; but faith tells us that such is not the case, that life is good, and that man is the cause of his own troubles. Life, so faith and spiritual understanding tell us, is good; but through man's separation from it (the true life) and by his opposition to it (subconscious mostly) a state of disorder is produced. Now there is not only embedded in man a belief in evil and its inevitableness, but there is also a love of doing those things which, because they are contrary to the Divine order, produce suffering. Some teachers suggest that we 'kill out desire', because desire produces suffering. We, however, cannot agree with this. We do not want to avoid suffering. We want to find out it meaning, to discover its cause, and to direct our desires into better channels so that they shall produce harmony in place of disorder. It is the wrong direction of desire that produces disorder. One who is capable of the lowest desires, is also capable of the highest. The greatest sinner is capable of becoming the greatest saint. A person who is capable of being neither very bad nor very good is a sort of alpaca, neither a sheep nor a goat.
Our Lord's allegory of the sheep and the goats, makes no provision for the alpaca, Let us not then try to make ourselves into spiritual alpacas, but rather direct our desires heavenward, cultivating the life of God in our soul. Through so doing our desires become transmuted, so that they are changed into a Heavenly nature. By the term "Heavenly nature" I do not mean longing for a better land and an easier life, but that our desires should be of the nature of the Divine order of Truth, of righteousness. According to our desires so are our thoughts. Because thoughts are creative, so do we become like unto our thoughts, and our life also.
There is nothing evil in the life which God has given us, but only good. It is a Stream of Blessedness which carries us along harmoniously to our highest good. It is not our own goodness or right thinking that carries us along to good and all that is lovely, true and heavenly, but the essential goodness of the Stream of Life itself. We must at all times acknowledge that all good is in the Stream and not in ourselves, otherwise we may have to pass through experiences similar to those of Job. He was tested because he thought that his good fortune was the result of his righteousness. That was his only fault. He had to learn that even the righteous may be tried and tested until they realize and acknowledge that all good comes from the Lord, and is not the result of their own righteousness.
We all have to learn this lesson, that goodness is in the Stream of Life and not in ourselves. The most that we can do is to co-operate with the Good, and thus allow the essential, innate Good, which is God in expression, to manifest. It is perfectly true that we ourselves are daily using energy that has its origin in God, and according to the way we either use it, or misuse it, it produces good or evil; but that is only one aspect of Truth. There is another aspect of Truth which is, that Life itself is a stream, essentially good in character and purpose, which will carry us on to our highest good, if we will but allow it to do so. Life is good, and its intention is good. Whatever is evil is due to an interruption in consciousness, but not in Reality, of the Divine Good Intention. We can either live, work and think in harmony with Life the Good, or against it. If we work against it every possible disorder may arise. We all, however, may be tested and tried and winnowed like wheat, but this is only a good process which if co-operated with by us and met with steadfastness, leads us to greater good, harmony and joy.
GOD ALWAYS HAS SOMETHING BETTER IN STORE
Life is progress towards higher and better things; that is, if we co-operate with it. Of course, if we believe that life is evil, that it is a gradual deterioration, descending step by step into greater darkness and misery, it may become so in our experience. But, if we meet life in the right way, acknowledging its essential goodness, and looking for increasing good and blessing, then it becomes possible for these to come to pass in our experience. Life, because it is a progression toward higher and better things, has always something better for us in store. If, however. we think it to be evil, we act in such a way as to thwart its good purpose, thus bringing about disorder instead of harmony. But this is not the fault of Life, but of our misuse of it. Life is good in essence, being the product of Infinite Wisdom and Love, consequently it seeks to lead us to higher and better things, and to carry us on its bosom to that which is harmonious, beautiful and true. The realization of this truth that the intention of life is good and not evil - has proved to be a revelation, and the beginning of a new life to many. It is the Divine intention that we should be blessed, and that our life should be blessed. The processes of winnowing and testing are only for a time.
Their purpose is to open up the way for greater blessing and for a more complete realization of Love as the motive of life and the sustaining law and principle of the universe.
The unbelieving man judges by appearances: he sees evil, or what he thinks is evil, on every hand, and decides that life is evil in intention, that there is a malignant power abroad which may seize him at any moment.
The man of faith, on the other hand, believes the reverse to be the case. He starts with the premise that life God is Good, and Love and Wisdom, and that He rules the universe no matter how much outward events may make such a belief appear to be misplaced. He believes that "the Lord omnipotent reigneth," and that evil is no positive reality, but a negative departure from the good. He believes that if he maintains his faith in the Good in face of seeming evil, then his faith will be vindicated sooner or later. He who puts his faith in God can never be "let down" or forsaken. The only condition is that faith has to be maintained even to the last ditch, and even when that may seem lost. In times of extremity God can help us only when all shred of trust in self, or "the arm of flesh," is abandoned, and when the only thing the soul can do is to give up the struggle and cast itself entirely and completely upon God. When this is done, and persisted in, then faith is vindicated; and it is found that Truth has power to demonstrate itself.
Actually, we do not have to battle and struggle, but only to put Truth forward, to take our stand in it (or behind it), and to depend upon it. Then, if we do this, Truth, which is omnipotent, demonstrates itself by own power.
I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD
'In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world,' said Jesus. He was referring to the persecution which would come upon his disciples. In spite of it all he could say: 'Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.' These words are as true today as when they were uttered. There is no one who has not a certain amount of tribulation in his life, and all who are true to the light that they have, and are true representatives of Christ, meet with persecution and ridicule. But these things are only for a time. We discover that there is a Power for good that is greater than 'the world'. We find that the great truth that God is Love, Order, Harmony, Wholeness, and the only Reality, is able to demonstrate itself; for the reason that it is the only Reality.
And the One who said that He had overcome the world, was Love incarnate. The burden of his teaching was 'love'. It is through love and non-resistance, that we are to overcome. Love is the key to every situation in life. What would LOVE do? is a question which, if asked in the face of annoying and exasperating experiences, will always lead us into the right path of action, so that we are enabled to do just the right thing, through which harmony can be either maintained or restored.
THE POWER IN US
The New Vision that has come to us reveals to us the fact that the Power of the Infinite is in us, and is not exterior to ourselves. At one time we thought that the Power was a long way off, but now we know, even as Paul did, that it is within. It is not the power of the finite man at all, but is the very life of God. Through comprehending the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, so Paul tells us, we become filled with all the fullness of God. Then he speaks of Him Who is able to do for us exceeding abundantly, above all we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
Wonderful words these, if we will only accept them. It is not our own power of which Paul speaks, but the power, the whole power, of the Infinite. All the fullness of God filling us. Mighty and wonderful things become possible, through the Power that works in us.
But we must not aspire to perform wonderful feats of a magical or occult character The wonder of the power in us is that it enables us patiently to work through the experiences of life, so that we become victorious. Unto him that overcomes great and wonderful things are promised - things so great and wonderful, indeed, as to leave us gasping. These great things do not come to us through the waving of a magic wand, but they are won by the patient "working through " of present conditions.
Our life may appear to be very restricted; our occupation may apparently lead nowhere; limitations may hem us in on every hand; we may feel suffocated by the hopelessness of it all. It may seem useless to continue; the only thing possible, so it may appear, would be to run away from it all, or in some way or other to cut the knot, or the tangled skein that baffles us and fills us with a feeling of hopelessness and despair. But there is no way of escape except the path of victory. All short cuts are a fallacy. If we rebel against life, we find that we are fighting against powers so great and overwhelming that it is like a man trying to stem the torrent of Victoria Falls. Or again, if we run away from experience, choosing an easier and happier path, we find that we have become a victim of a far greater tyranny than that from which we have run away. The way of escape is always along the path of victory. There is no exception to this rule.
While it is futile for man to try to oppose the power of gigantic waterfalls, he can yet harness it to his use. The energy that lies hidden in those swiftly moving waters can be converted into electrical power, which, in turn, can be carried by cable to light distant towns, to turn its machinery, and bring prosperity to man. In the same way, while we cannot successfully oppose life, yet hidden powers enable us to overcome and work through all experiences, until we become master of our life, through mastery over ourselves.
Within you is the power - the power that works in us - by means of which He is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. God is able to do these wonders 'according to the power that works in us' if we go His way. That is, if we follow the path of life, which indeed is also the path of victory. If we go God's way we can never become failures, for God can never fail. God's way is the only right one for us. It is not a sanctimonious path, but one of true service.
POWER TO BE WELL
"The Power that works in us" is universal in its application. It is not only a power for righteousness; it is not only a power that can bring us victoriously through all the experiences of life, but it is also a power that can keep us in health. Ill-health, I find, is mostly due to a lack of life. A plant that lacks life-energy through living in a poor soil is subject to diseases or parasitic invasions. The same plant, nourished in good soil, or soil enriched by the use of fertilizers, would possess such powers of resistance that the parasitic diseases would not be able to attack it successfully. It is the same with man. If he lacks life, then he may manifest various weaknesses, diseases and disorders. The more attention he pays to these the worse they may become; or if he apparently overcomes one set of symptoms, then another disorder soon appears. Ill-health, disease, etc. cannot be eradicated by attacking them, for they are only results, or effects, and an evidence of deficiency in life-power. What is needed is more life-power. If we concentrate upon this, instead of upon our ailments, then there is some hope of success, because we are seeking to remedy the cause, instead of fighting against the effect. If we open ourselves to accept 'the Power that works in us', we receive a greater measure of life-power (or realize its presence), and then the weaknesses and disorders from which we may have suffered soon become things of the past.
POWER TO SUCCEED
The truest success is to live one's life in such a way that one becomes a master instead of a slave. The basis of true success is character. Every difficulty met is a test of character. Every difficulty overcome is a stone well laid in the edifice of a true and lasting godlike success. God is not a weak failure, and does not want us to be failures. He measures success, however, not in terms of money or fame, but in terms of character and true worth. The cultivation and display of a fine character may not always bring worldly or material success, although not infrequently they do, but are in themselves the truest success. The amount of money that a man may have made, or the fame he may have won, can never bring satisfaction in the hour of death, when all things are beheld in the light of Eternity. But the victories of character, the possession of qualities of sterling worth, these are the things that satisfy when all the baubles of life are seen in their true light, and assessed at their real value.
The Power that works in us, creates and builds up character, which is in itself the only success, and the only basis of truly successful achievement.
"Within you is the Power." This is the keynote of the New Vision that has come to man.
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