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inflow of Divine Life, and the outflow, seem identical, and "The Father and I are one.”
But there is system and order in the structure which man builds. The “candlestick all of gold with its bowl upon the top of it,” evidently means the nervous system, with its brain at the apex, through which the light of intelligence shines. The seven lamps are the seven glanglionic centres in the body, through which the Universal expresses itself. The olive trees are the veins and arteries through which the oil of life, the blood, is carried. But these physical organs are not what they seem
of sense. We name them as if they had real existence in a world of forms, but the fact is they are but forms of words. They are the “Word of the Lord.” We say they are built up by natural processes — of which we actually know nothing - and we assume that they have a physical cause. But there is no mortal might nor physical power in their building, but the Spirit of the Lord.
Zerubbabel means disperser of confusion. He represents that attitude in man that brings order out of mental confusion. The Divine Wisdom is showing this man that he must level the mountains of consciousness and bring forth the sleeping intelligence.
It is very plainly taught here that this man, Zerubbabel, laid the foundation of this body-house, and that his hands must finish it.
If we are finding the law of our being, and trying to obey the Inner Wisdom, we are Zerubbabel bringing order out of confusion. To do this, we may have to begin in the simple process of holding daily statements of truth. Some people despise this “ day of small things" and look for a larger way. They think the Lord is going to make a special dispensation for them, and that they shall go up on a certain day with a great shout of glory. Others want the whole process of soul and body building explained and outlined, so that they can get an intellectual comprehension of it. Now the fact is that this process of gaining control of the soul forces, and the brain and nerve centres through which they function, is one of very small beginnings. Simple denials and affirmations open the way to the broader understanding. This clears up the conscious mind, then step by step the “ seven eyes of the Lord” that to and fro through the whole "earth," or body, will come under your control and you will be a Christ-man.
Lesson 6. November 5. ESTHER PLEADING FOR HER PEOPLE.- Esther 4:10-5:3.
Then Esther spake unto Hathach, and gave him a message unto Mordecai, saying:
All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, 'do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law for him, that he be put to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
And they told to Mordecai Esther's words. 13. Then Mordecai bade them return answer unto Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.
14. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father's house shall perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
15. Then Esther bade them return answer unto Mordecai,
16. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shusban, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maideps will fast in like manner; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
17. So Mordecai wept his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inper court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the entrance of the house.
And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
3. Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be given thee even to the half of the kingdom.
GOLDEN Text - Jehovah preserveth all them that love Him.- Psalm 145:20.
King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, represents the Will, puffed up by its conquests. It is the office of the Will to rule, and when man is more ambitious than wise he often makes a spectacle of himself. Xerxes had an ambition to conquer the whole earth, and he marched into Greece with an army of a million and a half soldiers. He was checked at the pass of Thermopylæ by Leonidas and his immortal 300, and he returned home with less than 5,000 of all his vast army. Napoleon did a similar thing in his Russian expedition. The imperious Will loses its head when it rules without consulting the other faculties of the mind, and always meets with disaster in the end.
Man ca create such force of will that every thought that enters its fierce vibrations is pulverized. This is when the positive, unreasoning attitude is dominant. When the king is willing to listen to reason, he holds out the “golden sceptre,” which is symbolical of wisdom.
Under the despotism of the Will we make laws for ourselves that are unwise and often destructive to our higher ideals. The edict to destroy the Jews, which king Ahasuerus had sent forth, at the instigation of Haman, represents one of those foolish and unreasoning laws we lay down when we are influenced by sense consciousness.
About two years ago a despotic father, in this city, commanded that none of his family should attend certain religious meetings, where, he had been informed, evil doctrines were preached. The wife and children apparently obeyed, but secretly rebelled, and this was the opening wedge that broke up and scattered his family and caused his wife to get a divorce. His position was that of the king in this lesson - he was killing his Jews, or spiritual thoughts, without knowing it.
But there is an antidote for a dictatorial Will, and that is Love. Queen Esther represents the dissolving power of Spiritual Love. She had all her relations, the Jews (spiritual thoughts) fast, and she joined with
them. This means that we must deny all selfish desires out of our love before we use it in softening the imperious Will. When this consciousness of Love stands in the inner court of our being we cannot help acceding to its demands. Unselfish Love is fearless because of its forgetfulness of Self. Will divides its dominion with Love, when approached in the right attitude, which is by touching the top or highest point of the understanding. Understanding of the Law is the one necessary thing in all permanent unions. When we know the truth we are all one, and there is no separation whatsoever at all.
Lesson 7. November 12.
EZRA'S JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM.- Ezra 8:21-32.
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek of him a straight way, for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
For I was ashamed to ask of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them that seek him, for good; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
23. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was en treated of us. 24.
Then I separated twelve of the chiefs of the priests, even Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them
25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering for the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his princes, and all Israel there present, had offered:
26. I even weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels a hundred talents; of gold a hundred talents;
27. And twenty bowls of gold, of a thousand darics; and two vessels of fine bright brass, precious as gold.
28. And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto Jehovah, and the vessels are holy; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto Jehovah, the God of your fathers.
29 Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites, and the princes of the fathers' houses of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of Jehovah.
30 So the priests and the Levites received the weight of the silver and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
31. Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of
our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the band of the enemy and the lier in wait by the way.
32. And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
GOLDEN TEXT The hand of our God is upon all them that seek him, for good.- Ezra 8:22.
A fast represents a discipline of sense desire. It is not necessarily abstinence from food, but a sacrifice of some physical pleasure that a higher consciousness may be apprehended. The senses represent the substance side of the mind, and the tendency is to attach the preponderance of effort to their sustenance; thus man makes a material body, when he should make a body of radiant substance.
Ezra is one who perceives the spiritual as the foundation of existence, and the necessity of returning Is-real minded thoughts to Jerusalem - city of peace. The river Ahava means essence, being, generation, which is the spiritual life stream from which all things come forth. In order to consciously realize this inner life current we have to shut away our mortal thinking and centre our attention upon God. When we “humble ourselves before our God" we do not belittle nor condemn ourselves, but take an attitude of receptivity. The mind can put itself in an expectant, listening attitude toward Spirit, like one who strains his ears to catch a sound hard to distinguish in the presence of outer tumult.
When we have proclaimed God as our security we should not look for nor expect the help of those who believe in the force of arms.
The children of Israel had lost their spiritual centre through too much interest in things material, and Ezra was trying to get them to return and re-establish their temple worship. This is illustrative of the condition of all people who become immersed in sense life. They accumulate substance in gold and silver, representing experience in substance as wisdom and intelligence. This is carried back to Jerusalem to enrich the temple.
There are robbers by the way, and protection is