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A comparison of orthodox Christianity with New Thought shows the awakening of man. He has advanced in spite of doctrines and dogmas which have fettered his mind, and is now casting off the chains of creeds and ritualisms.
Orthodoxy believes in a good God and a bad devil; in two powers - good and evil, the evil in seeming supremacy in this world, and that we have to die to escape from it and obtain the good. The belief in a good God and a bad devil places life upon a semi-perfect basis. It is impossible to believe in a devil without beholding devilish things. Good things and bad things are the inevitable result of a dual state of mind, for like produces like. When the individual is intelligent enough to forever drop his belief in a devil, and absorb his mind in the omnipresence of good, or the God-idea, evil will forever disappear, for there will be nothing in the mind of man to discern evil.
New Thought maintains that evil is negation, which, under its various discords, is the result of man's ignorance of his relation to the great universe in wnich he has his being. Man will not forever be left comfortless by his ignorance of the law of cause and effect; he will find that there is an aptidote for every discord that arises in life, and what better remedy can we have than that offered by Paul, “ Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"? This means to get a new mind, a different estimation of ourselves, to rid the mind of the thoughts which have bound us to negative conditions. The thoughts we have been thinking have manifested according to the character of the thought, and if we are in unlovely conditions we must cease to entertain unlovely thoughts.
A divine being is one who thinks divine thoughts and acts in a divine manner. Evil can no more exist to the Christ-minded man than darkness can exist where there is sunshine. If we find that our minds are lacking in divine elements, we mụst replenish them, just as we replenish a lamp with oil. We must fill the mind with purity of thought, with love, with the powers and characteristics of God. God is something to be, and not something to worship. By purifying our thoughts we revive latent powers which will operate against everything negative to the spiritual laws of perfection, and that perfection will become manifest in us. What the hour needs is concentration. We have scattered our soul forces by dipping into this “ism” and that “ology," and now, after proving these ideas to be mostly unsatisfactory, let us center our attention and effort upon the establishment of the Kingdom of God within, and fill our souls with divine forces and elements. Without effort nothing is acquired, and if we would be happy and prosperous, noble and perfect, we must do our part to attain these blessings. Jesus said, “What things soever the Father hath are mine," but he had to put forth persistent effort to obtain his own property. But he did it, and so can we. We are this moment fully equipped with sufficient qualities to externalize the Christ, but the trouble is we do not use these forces, or we employ them upon the wrong side of life, and remain servants where we should be sovereigns.
There is not one thing in life from which we may not redeem ourselves if we will concentrate our energies to such conquests. We must strive to prove our divinity, even as Jesus of Nazareth proved his, thus establishing the divinity of man, and the proof is peace, purity and perfection.
In the cultivation of God qualities in the soul, we sooner or later come to the place where we discern that there can be no separation between God and man, and to call God “Spirit” and man “flesh ” creates opposition, and God becomes unknown, and man debased. It has been said that, “To place God and man upon a common, equal basis, gives actuality and supremacy to both. The equal extolment of both is the salvation of both; God from obscurity,
and man from serfdom. If man needs to be saved from discord, disease and death, God needs to be rescued from the concealment and mysteriousness of the unknown."
Because the divine is the better, it is the normal standard, and by the persistency of divine thoughts and acts we are transformed into divine beings, but first there must be the mental, or soul transformation. We must cultivate the spiritual attributes in an orderly manner, pot by fits and starts, but regularly, earnestly, constantly endeavoring to keep the mind in the domain of the spiritual.
Until our minds have gained a preponderance of spiritual thought we shall fall and fail again and again, but it is not for us to be discouraged. Even though we fall by the wayside, stripped by the robbing human thoughts, and wounded by our ignorance, yet the Good Samaritan of our higher Self will ever come to our aid, and our past failures should never deter us from vigorously pressing onward to the goal of spiritual, perfect selfhood.
Let us then concern ourselves with the spiritualizing of our minds, that we may become the creators of good, under the spiritual law of our being. We are constantly creating the conditions in which we live, and if we are spiritually minded then we will create the good, the perfect and the harmonious. We cannot stop creating, but we can govern creation by creating only the good. Our whole careers, here and hereafter, depend wholly upon the thoughts we entertain, for thought is the creative power, and the cause of all phenomena.
We are standing upon the threshold of the eternal redemption of man from all that enslaves, and in the days that are steadily drawing nearer, we look for the mental emancipation of man. This is the age of man's redemption from the bondage of ignorance, and is the climax of the intelligence of the ages. We are entering the promised land of mental fruition, the spiritual domain of thoughts, which must conquer the world of things, and we need the spiritual courage that Jehovah charged Joshua to possess, but we must be free from all mental leading strings. Because someone says, “ This is the way, walk ye in it," does not make it obligatory upon us to follow that way. We must think for ourselves. Too long have we allowed others to think for us; let us now think for ourselves, and not through another; let us act for ourselves, and not by direction of another. We are individuals, and each one must do bis own thinking in order to redeem himself and work out his own salvation independent of another. We live too much in the fear of others, or in the favor of others. Both are bad. What we need is to live in ourselves alone, having supreme confidence in ourselves, and our power to be and to do. This is the secret of Jesus' life - he believed in himself. He had confidence in himself, in the God within him, and it transformed him into the God-man. We may do the same, for his life is the way, the truth of our being.
It is ours to express the perfect, the harmonious and the true. It is ours to manifest the abundance of God along all lines. It is ours to elevate our thoughts to the throne of supremacy, where the divine elements of goodness, peace, power and perfection become our own property, and factors in our own being, and which we radiate out into the world of human consciousness. It is ours to cultivate, the spiritual that we may enter into the Holy of Holies of higher consciousness. It is ours to save our own souls, and thereby gain the whole world, for “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all unto me."
Let us awake to the call of the hour; let us open our souls to the influence of the Spirit, as the lily opens its heart to the dew of heaven, and may we, like it, radiate the sweetness of a pure life. Let us gain a clearer understanding of Truth, and with purified purpose and larger knowledge, build more beautiful mansions of the soul.
( Text from the Revised Versiou.)
Lesson 8. November 19.
NEHEMIAH'S PRAYER.- Neh, 1:1-11. 1. The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2. That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men out of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,
5. And said I beseech thee, O Jehovah, the God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeih covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments:
6. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: yea, I and my father's house have sinned.
7. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye trespass, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples:
9. But if ye return unto me, and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to cause my name to dweli there.
10. Now these are thy servants and thy people. whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
11. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who delight to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. (Now I was cupbearer to the king.)
GOLDEN Text — The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. - James 5:16.
All the realms of consciousness must be brought