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"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God."
There is a right and a wrong way of doing everything; there is a right and a wrong way of using the Creative Imagination. By visualizing and strong willing, the imagination can be used, or rather, mis-used in such a way as to produce results. But these have no permanence, and can bring no real harmony into being. Such results are a creation of the mind of separateness and because of this have no divine foundation; therefore, like the house built upon the sand, spoken of by Jesus, they fall into ruin, because they have no true foundation.
The mind is creative. Our outward life is largely the result of the activity of our mind. It is also the result of the activity of the race mind. The human race has thought itself into its present state of disharmony, mostly subconsciously. It is for ever creating evil and disorder for itself. But we are called by God to cease doing this, and instead, to think God's thoughts after Him. To do this is, of course, the highest form of right thinking. 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.' Some of our readers may object to being called wicked, for the reason that they have put aside all carnal desires; but there is no greater sin than that of doubt, and most people will admit having had their doubts and fears, when everything in their life has appeared to go wrong. Again, they may object to being called 'unrighteous'; but righteousness is Divine order, and most of us surely admit that we do not live in a state of Divine order, and that our thought life is not in accord with it.
We see, therefore, that the Scriptural quotation refers to us. We are invited to forsake our 'ways' (attitude of mind and mode of life), and also our thoughts (creators of disorder), and return to the Lord (the One Source of all Harmony and Perfection).
We are invited to do this because God's thoughts (Reality and Truth) are so different from our human thoughts. 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.' Man's thoughts and man's ways produce disharmony, disorder and suffering. But God's thoughts and God's ways produce harmony, order, beauty and joy.
God is a God of Wholeness. The life that He has designed for man is a state of perfect wholeness. If we return to the Lord and forsake our wrong thoughts and ways, so that God's thoughts and ways may be followed, then a state of wholeness is brought about that is in itself a healing of the whole life, right from the centre to the circumference. It is because of this that I have used, elsewhere, the term Healing the 'Hard Times' Consciousness, for it is true healing that is needed; a Divine adjustment, a restoration to a state of complete wholeness.
All methods of healing either of mind, body or state, that are of the human mind, while they may produce a temporary relief, can never bring about a state of wholeness and Divine order.
The Divine invitation is not for us to visualize and concentrate upon in order to produce with our mental powers wealth, money and other things which when rightly used are necessary, but which, if thought too much of, become tyrants of the worst description; but instead the call comes for us to return unto the Lord, the author of all order and wholeness, and to forsake our thoughts, in order that the thoughts of God which are wholeness, perfection and harmony, should be allowed to operate, to our eternal good, and that of other people and the world at large.
But how can one return unto the Lord in the sense in which it is being interpreted in this article, it may be asked. People write to say that they have been Christians all their life, or for many years, yet they know nothing of the power of which we speak, and in no church can they find any instruction in the matter. They say that we possess something which they lack, how can they discover it. In reply it may be stated at once that information concerning the hidden things of the Spirit does not come to us, and cannot be found by us, until we are ready for it. But when we are ready for it, what we need comes to us just at the right moment.
THE ONE POWER OF INFINITE GOOD
In order for healing to manifest in our life, and a state of wholeness to encompass and permeate it through and through, we have to turn to a Power greater than ourselves. We have also to believe that this Power is the only power. If we cannot at present believe it, we can declare it to be so. If we do this, then the truth of the matter is revealed to us later, generally in the midst of some trying experience. The reason this is necessary is a paradox. If we do not believe and declare that there is only one Power, the Power of Infinite Good, then we become conscious of other powers. By declaring the truth about God as the only Power, the other seeming powers, or powers of a lower plane, are dispersed or destroyed. In the Christ or God Consciousness of pure spiritual knowing of Truth there are no such powers, but only the One Power of Love and Good. By declaring the Truth in spite of all temptations to believe otherwise, we enter the consciousness in which we know there is only the Good. This paradox is a great mystery to all who cannot enter into the Truth by means of spiritual knowing; but those who seek the Truth, acknowledging that spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned, will surely enter into a state of understanding.
"In the world," said our Lord, "ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." This might be metaphysically interpreted as: "In the material consciousness there is trouble, disorder, want, failure and every form of disharmony to which you are subject, or enslaved, to the extent that you remain or live in the material consciousness. But be hopeful with a sure and certain hope, for I have overcome the material consciousness with all its claims and suggestions of evil, disorder, and want, and have reached the pure spiritual consciousness of my Father, in which all is perfect, beautiful, harmonious, and Heavenly." Because of this "overcoming of the world" we are set free from the power of material laws and enslavements, to the extent that we acknowledge, believe, and accept the deliverance of Christ in the matter. Our salvation is a complete one, emancipating us from sin, from sickness and from the power of Mammon, but only if we believe it and accept it, and enter into the consciousness of it. Until we do so, our creative imagination continues to bring evil, disorder and disharmony into manifestation. It brings us under the power of those influences from which Christ came to deliver us. When, however, we enter the Christ Consciousness which has overcome the world, or outer or material consciousness, our creative imagination is brought into correspondence with the Divine imagination which can only create that which is beautiful, harmonious. lovely and good.
THE SECRET OF ADJUSTMENT
Thus we see that order and harmony, bounty and sufficiency, are brought into our life, not by our own mental power, but through the Life, Power, Imagination and Mind of God being allowed to manifest in a Divinely normal manner. The Divine word goes forth unimpeded and undistorted by man's contrary will and false imagination, to bring forth beauty, loveliness, order and harmonious perfection. "So shall My word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." And the result of all this is a state of blessing, poetically described by Isaiah: "Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
"Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." This describes a perfect state of Blessedness, a complete healing of the whole life, through a Divine adjustment, so that a state of harmony, wholeness and order is brought into being.
"Be not deceived," said Paul, "whatsoever a man soweth (in his inward thought and imagination) that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh ( the outward man and life that is not in harmony with God) shall of the flesh reap corruption (everything that is not of God comes to naught): but he that soweth to the Spirit (the Source of all harmony, order, beauty, and perfection, and Heavenly conditions) shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (the life of God which is perfect order and harmony, and which can never grow weak or fade away.)"
But how, it may be asked, are we to deal with life in the light of Scriptural teaching which is so at variance with generally accepted worldly wisdom? When faced by hard times and periods of financial difficulty, our first tendency is to shut up our pockets. We feel that we must not only cut out unnecessary and frivolous expenditure on ourselves (which of course is the right thing to do) but that we must also cease our liberal giving to the Lord's work. This policy is dictated by fear and doubt in God's goodness, and His ability to deliver us. If we adopt it we encourage our fears, we increase our doubt in God (a deadly sin this), and thus make it impossible for good to flow to us. But, if we continue giving, we keep the channel clear so that God's free supply can flow into our life. If we cease to give we block the channel so that no good can come in. I remember once receiving two letters by the same post. One was from a man in rather straitened circumstances, who wrote to say that he could not continue to subscribe to our magazine, the cost of which, by the way, works out at approximately one penny per week. I have never heard from, or of, the man since. How poverty-stricken his mind was in thinking that he could not afford one penny per week for a Magazine which would have revealed to him, month by month, the knowledge that he needed to overcome his limited condition. Such knowledge is acquired through regular reading and reflection. The Truth is presented, month by month, in various forms and ways, so that in course of time the reader is able to understand and live it. Such information is not dearly acquired at the cost of one penny per week, and to spend such a sum would not be a great venture of faith. Yet this man, who had experienced a temporary set-back, thought, in his panic and fear, that he could not afford this trifling sum.
The other letter was from a man who had lost all, and who was destitute, save for a few shillings. He sent almost his last coin in renewing his Magazine subscription, declaring that he had decided to do so, as an act of faith. He almost immediately became the recipient of an unexpected £100. Cynics will say that he would have received the £I00 in any case, but those who are experienced in the spiritual life, and in living by faith, do not believe that such would have been the case.
Infinite Mind knows the end from the beginning and does not see events one after another, one at a time, as we do. Actually, there is no time or space, as we know them; therefore, God is not bound or limited by time.
I give these two illustrations from memory; my description may not be exactly correct in every minute detail, but actually it is true in substance. Many times have I been astonished by people giving up their subscriptions because of temporary shortage of money. In their panic they thought that they could not afford a subscription that has purposely been made so low that it amounts to one penny per week. By so doing, and by so acting, they limited themselves in actual fact, and entered into a bondage of financial limitation.
EXAMPLES OF FAITH
On the other hand, far more often have I been amazed, at the faith shown by many, who in the face of alarming circumstances have not only continued their subscriptions but have continued to help the work that helped them; supporting it with a thankful heart, in order that its helpfulness might be extended to other lives. Such men and women of faith keep the channel open for Divine good to flow into their life and affairs. They perform acts of faith, and, through so doing, prove God, Who, when proved, is found always to be a God Who never fails those who put their trust in Him. Such men and women through their faith and acts and steadfastness of mind enter into a state of Blessedness. Those who act differently, shutting up their pockets against the Lord's work (it does not matter which branch of the Lord's work is supported, so long as we give to it in a willing spirit) enter, not into a state of Blessedness, but the reverse of this. In the Old Testament it is called a curse. I interpret this to mean that man by his wrong attitude of mind and lack of faith, removes himself from the sphere of Divine Blessing, so that his life becomes like a barren wilderness. The following is what God's word says concerning the blessing that follows tithing. 'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that they may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
This is from Malachi iii, 10, and it is sufficient justification. I think, of all that has been written in this article. From this passage we see that by tithing we prove God, and He promises that if we so prove Him, He will bless us abundantly.
ALWAYS RENDERING SERVICE
In closing, let me say that I am dealing mostly with the inward and spiritual aspect of the subject. Outwardly we have to be "not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." That is, we have to be industrious, do everything as unto the Lord, and do all in our power to improve our service, so as to deserve success and prosperity. But such industry as we display must not occupy aIl our time, otherwise we defeat the very object we have in view. Every day, if possible twice a day, we should sit quietly, realizing the truth about God as our Father, and the truth about ourselves as children of God. This may seem selfish to some readers; and to such it must be pointed out that we can best serve the world by being successful and happy ourselves. If we are weak, miserable, low-spirited and in a state of failure and poverty, we are not in a fit state to help others. When, however, we have overcome, the very fact that we have passed through difficult times ourselves makes us capable of sympathizing with, and helping and encouraging, those who are also passing through hard times and trying experiences. The real source of supply is spiritual. Those who realize and acknowledge this know that the plenty that comes to them does not impoverish others, for the reason that the Divine supply is infinite and inexhaustible. The Divine abundance exhibited by Jesus in feeding the five thousand did not impoverish other people.
It can never be exhausted any more than the source of electricity can be exhausted, or the energy of the atom can become run down and weakened. The Divine Power that heals can never be exhausted, and when a person is healed he or she does not deprive someone else of his share of health. Those who can realize this, and live in the consciousness of it, enter into liberty.
Now there may be some of our readers who are prosperous at the present time who may think that it is not necessary for them to give heed to this lesson. It is, however, very necessary that they should take heed, and for two reasons. In the first place, if they are not living in the consciousness of Divine plenty, their period of leanness may come at any time, catching them unawares. The second reason is that they should seek and find the Divine Consciousness of eternal supply for the sake of others. As Henry Victor Morgan once said in a letter to me: 'I am sure we can add to the sum total of human happiness at this time by keeping the high watch of the soul.'
Those of us who can keep on the mountain top are able to help the whole world, probably far more than we are aware of.
Waiting upon God in order to know the Truth about temporal supply, so I have found, is a wonderful help in the spiritual life. We learn to know God, as an available God, as a hearing, acting God, a God who never lets us down, although we may be kept waiting, it is true, until the last minute. And how great the joy that is experienced when the answer comes, and faith is vindicated. It is so wonderful it is useless to attempt to describe it. I can only recommend readers to experience it.
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