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His Purpose of Lifting Up, Energising, Beautifying, and Saving the Entire Life: The Saving of the Soul is Secondary; but Follows
We have made the statement that Jesus did unusual things, but that he
did them on account of, or rather by virtue of, his unusual insight into
and understanding of the laws whereby they could be done. His
understanding of the powers of the mind and spirit was intuitive and
very great. As an evidence of this were his numerous cases of healing
the sick and the afflicted.
Intuitively he perceived the existence and the nature of the subjective
mind, and in connection with it the tremendous powers of suggestion.
Intuitively he was able to read, to diagnose the particular ailment and
the cause of the ailment before him. His thought was so poised that it
was energised by a subtle and peculiar spiritual power. Such confidence
did his personality and his power inspire in others that he was able to
an unusual degree to reach and to arouse the slumbering subconscious
mind of the sufferer and to arouse into action its own slumbering
powers whereby the life force of the body could transcend and remould
its error-ridden and error-stamped condition.
In all these cases he worked through the operation of law -- it is exactly
what we know of the laws of suggestion today. The remarkable cases of
healing that are being accomplished here and there among us today are
done unquestionably through the understanding and use of the same laws
that Jesus was the supreme master of.
By virtue of his superior insight -- his understanding of the laws of the
mind and spirit -- he was able to use them so fully and so effectively
that he did in many cases eliminate the element of time in his healing
ministrations. But even he was dependent in practically all cases, upon
the mental cooperation of the one who would be healed. Where this was
full and complete he succeeded; where it was not he failed. Such at
least again and again is the statement in the accounts that we have of
these facts in connection with his life and work. There were places
where we are told he could do none of his mighty works on account of
their unbelief, and he departed from these places and went elsewhere.
Many times his question was: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?"
Then: "According to your faith be it unto you," and the healing was
The laws of mental and spiritual therapeutics are identically the same
today as they were in the days of Jesus and his disciples, who made the
healing of sick bodies a part of their ministration. It is but fair to
presume from the accounts that we have that in the early Church of the
Disciples, and for well on to two hundred years after Jesus' time, the
healing of the sick and the afflicted went hand in hand with the
preaching and the teaching of the Kingdom. There are those who believe
that it never should have been abandoned. As a well-known writer has
said: "Healing is the outward and practical attestation of the power and
genuineness of spiritual religion, and ought not to have dropped out of
the Church." Recent sincere efforts to re-establish it in church
practice, following thereby the Master's injunction, is indicative of
the thought that is alive in connection with the matter today.[A] From
the accounts that we have Jesus seems to have engaged in works of
healing more during his early than during his later ministry. He may
have used it as a means to an end. On account of his great love and
sympathy for the physical sufferer as well as for the moral sufferer, it
is but reasonable to suppose that it was an integral part of his
announced purpose -- the saving of the life, of the entire life, for
usefulness, for service, for happiness.
And so we have this young Galilean prophet, coming from an hitherto
unknown Jewish family in the obscure little village of Nazareth, giving
obedience in common with his four brothers and his sisters to his father
and his mother; but by virtue of a supreme aptitude for and an
irresistible call to the things of the spirit -- made irresistible through
his overwhelming love for the things of the spirit -- he is early absorbed
by the realisation of the truth that God is his father and that all men
The thought that God is his father and that he bears a unique and filial
relationship to God so possesses him that he is filled, permeated with
the burning desire to make this newborn message of truth and thereby of
righteousness known to the world.
His own native religion, once vibrating through the souls of the
prophets as the voice of God, has become so obscured, so hedged about,
so killed by dogma, by ceremony, by outward observances, that it has
become a mean and pitiable thing, and produces mean and pitiable
conditions in the lives of his people. The institution has become so
overgrown that the spirit has gone. But God finds another prophet,
clearly and supremely open to His spirit, and Jesus comes as the
Messiah, the Divine Son of God, the Divine Son of Man, bringing to the
earth a new Dispensation. It is the message of the Divine Fatherhood of
God, God whose controlling character is love, and with it the Divine
sonship of man. An integral part of it is -- all men are brothers.
He comes as the teacher of a new, a higher righteousness. He brings the
message and he expounds the message of the Kingdom of God. All men he
teaches must repent and turn from their sins, and must henceforth live
in this Kingdom. It is an inner kingdom. Men shall not say: Behold it is
here or it is there; for, behold, it is within you. God is your father
and God longs for your acknowledgment of Him as your father; He longs
for your love even as He loves you. You are children of God, but you
are not true Sons of God until through desire the Divine rule and life
becomes supreme in your minds and hearts. It is thus that you will find
the Kingdom of God. When you do, then your every act will show forth in
accordance with this Divine ideal and guide, and the supreme law of
conduct in your lives will be love for your neighbour, for all mankind.
Through this there will then in time become actualised the Kingdom of
Heaven on the earth.
He comes in no special garb, no millinery, no brass bands, no formulas,
no dogmas, no organisation other than the Kingdom, to uphold and become
a slave to, and in turn be absorbed by, as was the organisation that he
found strangling all religion in the lives of his people and which he so
bitterly condemned. What he brought was something infinitely
transcending this -- the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, to which
all men were heirs -- equal heirs -- and thereby redemption from their sins,
therefore salvation, the saving of their lives, would be the inevitable
result of their acknowledgment of and allegiance to the Divine rule.
How he embraced all -- such human sympathy -- coming not to destroy but to
fulfil; not to judge the world but to save the world. How he loved the
children! How he loved to have them about him! How he loved their
simplicity, and native integrity of mind and heart! Hear him as he says:
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God
as a little child, he shall not enter therein"; and again: "Suffer the
little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the
Kingdom of God." The makers of dogma, in evolving some three hundred
years later on the dogma of the inherent sinfulness and degradation of
the human life and soul, could certainly find not the slightest trace of
any basis for it again in these words and acts of Jesus.
We find him sympathising with and mingling with and seeking to draw unto
the way of his own life the poor, the outcast, the sinner, the same as
the well-to-do and those of station and influence -- seeking to draw all
through love and knowledge to the Father.
There is a sense of justice and righteousness in his soul, however, that
balks at oppression, injustice, and hypocrisy. He therefore condemns and
in scathing terms those and only those who would seek to place any
barrier between the free soul of any man and his God, who would bind
either the mind or the conscience of man to any prescribed formulas or
dogmas. Honouring, therefore the forms that his intelligence and his
conscience allowed him to honour, he disregarded those that they did
Like other good Jewish rabbis, for he was looked upon during his
ministry and often addressed as Rabbi, he taught in the synagogues of
his people; but oftener out on the hillsides and by the lake-side, under
the blue sky and the stars of heaven. Giving due reverence to the Law
and the Prophets -- the religion of his people and his own early
religion -- but in spirit and in discriminating thought so far
transcending them, that the people marvelled at his teachings and
said -- surely this a prophet come from God; no man ever spoke to us as he
speaks. By the ineffable beauty of his life and the love and the
winsomeness of his personality, and by the power of the truths that he
taught, he won the hearts of the common people. They followed him and
his following continually increased.
Through it all, however, he incurred the increasing hostility and the
increasing hatred of the leaders, the hierarchy of the existing
religious organisation. They were animated by a double motive, that of
protecting themselves, and that of protecting their established
religion. But in their slavery to the organisation, and because unable
to see that it was the spirit of true religion that he brought and
taught, they cruelly put him to death -- the same as the organisation
established later on in his name, put numbers of God's true prophets,
Jesus' truest disciples to death, and essentially for the same reasons.
Jesus' quick and almost unerring perception enabled him to foresee this.
It did not deter him from going forward with his message, standing
resolutely and superbly by his revelation, and at the last almost
courting death -- feeling undoubtedly that the sealing of his revelation
and message with his very life blood would but serve to give it its
greatest power and endurance. Heroically he met the fate that he
perceived was conspiring to end his career, to wreck his teachings and
his influence. He went forth to die clear-sighted and unafraid.
He died for the sake of the truth of the message that he lived and so
diligently and heroically laboured for -- the message of the ineffable
love of God for all His children and the bringing of them into the
Father's Kingdom. And we must believe from his whole life's teaching,
not to save their souls from some future punishment; not through any
demand of satisfaction on the part of God; not as any substitutionary
sacrifice to appease the demands of an angry God -- for it was the exact
opposite of this that his whole life teaching endeavoured to make
known. It was supremely the love of the Father and His longing for the
love and allegiance, therefore the complete life and service of His
children. It was the beauty of holiness -- the beauty of wholeness -- the
wholeness of life, the saving of the whole life from the sin and
sordidness of self and thereby giving supreme satisfaction to God. It
was love, not fear. If not, then almost in a moment he changed the
entire purpose and content, the entire intent of all his previous life
work. This is unthinkable.
In his last act he did not abrogate his own expressed statement, that
the very essence of his message was expressed, as love to God and love
to one's neighbour. He did not abrogate his continually repeated
declaration that it was the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, which
brings man's life into right relations with God and into right relations
with his fellow-men, that it was his purpose to reveal and to draw all
men to, thereby aiding God's eternal purpose -- to establish in this world
a state which he designated the Kingdom of Heaven wherein a social order
of brotherliness and justice, wrought and maintained through the potency
of love, would prevail. In doing this he revealed the character of God
by being himself an embodiment of it.
It was the power of a truth that was to save the life that he was
always concerned with. Therefore his statement that the Son of Man has
come that men might have life and might have it more abundantly -- to save
men from sin and from failure, and secondarily from their consequences;
to make them true Sons of God and fit subjects and fit workers in His
Kingdom. Conversion according to Jesus is the fact of this Divine rule
in the mind and heart whereby the life is saved -- the saving of the soul
follows. It is the direct concomitant of the saved life.
In his death he sealed his own statement: "The law and the prophets were
until John; since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every
man presseth into it." Through his death he sealed the message of his
life when putting it in another form he said: "Verily, verily, I say
unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed
from death unto life."
In this majestic life divinity and humanity meet. Here is the
incarnation. The first of the race consciously, vividly, and fully to
realise that God incarnates Himself and has His abode in the hearts and
the lives of men, the first therefore to realise his Divine Sonship and
become able thereby to reveal and to teach the Divine Fatherhood of God
and the Divine Sonship of Man.
In this majestic life is the atonement, the realisation of the
at-one-ment of the Divine in the human, made manifest in his own life
and in the way that he taught, sealed then by his own blood.
In this majestic life we have the mediator, the medium or connector of
the Divine and the human. In it we have the Saviour, the very
incarnation of the truth that he taught, and that lifts the minds and
thereby the lives of men up to their Divine ideal and pattern, that
redeems their lives from the sordidness and selfishness and sin of the
hitherto purely material self, and that being thereby saved, makes them
fit subjects for the Father's Kingdom.
In this majestic life is the full embodiment of the beauty of
holiness -- whose words have gone forth and whose spirit is ceaselessly at
work in the world, drawing men and women up to their divine ideal, and
that will continue so to draw all in proportion as his words of truth
and his life are lifted up throughout the world.
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