H. EMILY CADY Lessons In Truth (4-6)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me–Mt. 16:24.
1. All systems for spiritualizing the mind include denial. Every religion in all the ages had some sort of denial as one of its foundations. We all know how the Puritans believed that the more rigidly they denied themselves comfort the better they pleased God. So far has this idea taken possession of the human mind during some ages that devout souls have even tortured their bodies in various ways, believing that they were thus making themselves more spiritual, or at least were in some way placating an angry God. Even today many interpret the above-quoted saying of Jesus as meaning: If any man wants to please God he must give up about all the enjoyment and comfort he has, all things he likes and wants, and must take up the heavy cross of constantly doing the things that are repugnant to him in his daily life. This is why many young people say, “When I am old I will be a Christian, but not now, for I want to enjoy life awhile first.”
2. There could, I am sure, be nothing further from the meaning of the Nazarene than the foregoing interpretation. In our ignorance of the nature of God, our Father, and of our relationship to Him, we have believed that all our enjoyment came from external sources, usually from gaining possession of something we did not have. The poor see enjoyment only in possessing abundance of money. The rich, who are satiated with life’s so-called pleasures until their lives have become like a person with an over-loaded stomach, compelled to sit constantly at a well-spread table, are often the most bitter in the complaint that life holds no happiness for them. The sick one believes that, were he well, he would be perfectly happy. The healthy but hard working person feels the need of some days of rest and recreation, that the monotony of his life may be broken.
3. So ever the mind has been turned to some external change of condition or circumstance in pursuit of satisfaction and enjoyment. In after years, when men have tried all, getting first this thing and then that, which they thought would yield them happiness, and have been grievously disappointed, in a kind of desperation they turn to God and try to find some sort of comfort in believing that sometime, somewhere, they will get what they want and be happy. Thenceforth their lives are patient and submissive, but they are destitute of any real joy.
4. This same Nazarene, to whom we always return because to us He is the best-known teacher and demonstrator of Truth, spent nearly three years teaching the people–the common everyday people like you and me, who wanted, just as we do, food and rent and clothing, money, friends, and love–to love their enemies and to do good to those who persecuted them, to resist not evil in any way, but to give double to anyone who tried to get what belonged to them; to cease from all anxiety regarding the things they needed because “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Mt. 6:32). And then talking one day He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (Jn. 15:11). And He continued, “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (Jn. 15:16). “Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. . . I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you” (Jn. 16:24-26). We have further learned that God is the total of all the good in the universe and that there is in the mind which is God a perpetual desire to pour more of Himself–the substance of all good things–through us into visibility, or into our lives.
5. Surely all these things do not make it look as though, when Jesus said that the way to be like him and to possess a like power was to deny oneself, He meant that we are to go without the enjoyable comforts of life or in any way deprive or torture ourselves.
6. In these lessons we have seen that, besides the real innermost self of each of us–the self that is the divine self because it is an expression or pressing out of God into visibility and is always one with the Father–there is a human self, a carnal mind, which reports lies from the external world and is not to be relied upon fully; this is the self of which Jesus spoke when He said, “let him deny himself.” This intellectual man, carnal mind, or whatever you choose to call him, is envious and jealous and fretful and sick because he is selfish. The human self seeks its own gratification at the expense, if need be, of someone else.
7. Your real self is never sick, never afraid, never selfish. It is the part of you that “seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5). It is always seeking to give to others, while the human self is always seeking its own. Heretofore we have lived more in the human region. We have believed all that the carnal mind has told us, and the consequence is that we have been overwhelmed with all kinds of privation and suffering.
8. Some people who, during the last few years, have been making a special study of the mind find it a fact that certain wrong or false beliefs held by us are really the cause of all sorts of trouble–physical, moral, and financial. They have learned that wrong (or, as they call them, error) beliefs arise only in the human mind; they have learned and actually proved that we can, by a persistent effort of the will, change the beliefs, and by this means alone entirely change our troublesome circumstances and bodily conditions.
9. One of the methods that they have found will work every time in getting rid of troublesome conditions (which are all the result of erroneous thinking and feeling) is to deny them in toto: First, to deny that any such things have, or could have, power to make us unhappy; second, to deny that these things do in reality exist at all.
10. The word deny has two definitions, according to Webster. To deny, in one sense, is to withhold from, as to deny bread to the hungry. To deny, in another sense (and we believe it was in this latter way that Jesus used it), is to declare to be not true, to repudiate as utterly false. To deny oneself, then, is not to withhold comfort or happiness from the external man, much less to inflict torture upon him, but it is to deny the claims of error consciousness, to declare these claims to be untrue.
11. If you have done any piece of work incorrectly, the very first step toward getting it right is to undo the wrong, and begin again from that point. We have believed wrong about God and about ourselves. We have believed that God was angry with us and that we were sinners who ought to be afraid of Him. We have believed that sickness and poverty and other troubles are evil things put here by this same God to torture us in some way into serving Him and loving Him. We have believed that we have pleased God best when we became so absolutely subdued by our troubles as to be patiently submissive to them all, not even trying to rise out of them or to overcome them. All this is false, entirely false! And the first step toward freeing ourselves from our troubles is to get rid of our erroneous beliefs about God and about ourselves.
12. “But,” objects one, “if a thing is not true and I have believed a lie about it, I do not see just how my believing wrong about it could affect my bodily health or my circumstances.”
13. A child can be so afraid of an imaginary bugaboo under the bed as to have convulsions. Should you, today, receive a telegraphic message that your husband, wife, or child, who is absent from you, had been suddenly killed, your suffering, mental and physical, and perhaps extending even to your external and financial affairs, would be just as great as though the report really were true; and yet it might be entirely false. Exactly so have these messages of bugaboos behind the doors, bugaboos of divine wrath and of our own weakness, come to us through the senses until we are overcome by our fears of them.
14. Now, let us arouse ourselves. Denial is the first practical step toward wiping out of our minds the mistaken beliefs of a lifetime–the beliefs that have made such sad havoc of our lives. By denial we mean declaring not to be true a thing that seems true. Negative appearances are directly opposed to the teachings of Truth. Jesus said, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous [right] judgment” (Jn. 7:24).
15. Suppose you had always been taught that the sun really moved or revolved around the earth, and someone should now persuade you that the opposite is the truth. You would see at once that such might be the case, and yet as often as you saw the sun rise, the old impression, made on your mind by the wrong belief of years, would come up and seem almost too real to be disputed. The only way by which you could cleanse your mind of the impression and make the untrue seem unreal, would be by repeatedly denying the old beliefs, saying over and over to yourself as often as the subject came up in your mind: “This is not true. The sun does not move; it stands still, and the earth moves.” Eventually the sun would only seem to move.
16. The appearances are that our bodies and our circumstances control our thoughts, but the opposite is true. Our thoughts control our bodies and our circumstances.
17. If you repeatedly deny a false or unhappy condition, it loses its power to make you unhappy.
18. What everyone desires is to have only the good manifested in his life and surroundings–to have his life full of love; to have perfect health; to know all things; to have great power and much joy; and this is just exactly what God wants us to have. All love is God in manifestation, as we have learned in a previous lesson. All wisdom is God. All life and health are God. All joy (because all good) and all power are God. All good of whatever kind is God come forth into visibility through people or some other visible form. When we crave more of any good thing, we are in reality craving more of God to come forth into our lives so that we can realize it by our senses. Having more of God does not take out of our lives the good things–it only puts more of them in. In the mind that is God there is always the desire to give more, for the divine plan is forever to get more good into visibility.
19. Intellectually we may see the fact of our own God-being, which never changes. What we need is to realize our oneness with the Father at all times. In order to realize it we deny ourselves and others the appearances that seem contrary to this–deny them as realities; we declare that they are not true.
20. There are four common error thoughts to which nearly everyone grants great power. Persons who have grown out of sickness and trouble through prayer have found it good to deny these thoughts, in order to cleanse the mind of the direful effects of believing them. They can be denied like this.
21. First: There is no evil.
22. There is but one power in the universe, and that is God–good. God is good, and God is omnipresent. Apparent evils are not entities or things of themselves. They are simply apparent absence of the good, just as darkness is an absence of light. But God, or good, is omnipresent, so the apparent absence of good (evil) is unreal. It is only an appearance of evil, just as the moving sun was an appearance. You need not wait to discuss this matter of evil or to understand fully all about why you deny it, but begin to practice the denials in an unprejudiced way, and see how marvelously they will, after a while, deliver you from some of the so-called evils of your daily life.
23. Second: There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere.
24. We have seen that the real is the spiritual. “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). By using this denial you will soon break your bondage to matter and to material conditions. You will know that you are free.
25. Third: Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real.
26. Fourth: There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear, for greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.
27. God says, “I will contend with him that contendeth with thee” (Is. 49:25). He says it to every living child of His, and every person is His child.
28. Repeat these four denials silently several times a day, not with a strained anxiety to get something out of them, but trying calmly to realize the meaning of the words spoken:
29. There is no evil.
30. There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere.
31. Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real.
32. There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear, for greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.
33. Almost hourly little vexations and fears come up in your life. Meet each one with a denial. Calmly and coolly say within yourself, “That’s nothing at all. It cannot harm or disturb me or make me unhappy.” Do not fight it vigorously, but let your denial be the denial of any thought of its superiority over you, as you would deny the power of ants on their little hill to disturb you. If you are angry, stand still, and silently deny it. Say that you are not angry; that you are love made manifest, and cannot be angry and the anger will leave you.
34. If someone shows you ill will, silently deny his power to hurt you or to make you unhappy. Should you find yourself feeling jealous or envious toward anyone, instantly turn the heel of denial on the hydra-headed monsters. Declare that you are not jealous or envious; that you are an expression of perfect love (an expression which is God pressed out into visibility) and cannot feel negation. There is really no reason for jealousy or envy, for all persons are one and the same spirit. “And there are diversities of operations [or manifestations], but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Cor. 12:6), says Paul. How can you be envious of a part of yourself that seems to you more comely?
35. Shall the foot be envious of the hand, or the ear of the eye? Are not the seemingly feeble members of the body as important to the perfection of the whole as the others? Do you seem to be less, or to have less, than some others? Remember that all envy and all jealousy are in the error consciousness and that in reality you, however insignificant, are an absolute necessity to God in order to make the perfect whole.
36. If you find yourself dreading to meet anyone, or afraid to step out and do what you want or ought to do, immediately begin to say, “It is not true; I am not afraid; I am perfect love, and can know no fear. No one, nothing in all the universe, can hurt me.” You will find after a little that all the fear has disappeared, all trepidation has gone.
37. Denial brings freedom from bondage, and happiness comes when we effectually deny the power of anything to touch or trouble us.
38. Have you been living in negation for years, denying your ability to succeed, denying your health, denying your Godhood, denying your power to accomplish anything, by feeling yourself a child of the Devil or of weakness? If so, this constant negation has paralyzed you and weakened your power.
39. When, in the next lesson, you learn something about affirmations, the opposite of denials, you will know how to lift yourself out of the realm of failure into that of success.
40. All your happiness, all your health and power, come from God. They flow in an unbroken stream from the fountainhead into the very center of your being and radiate from center to circumference. When you acknowledge this constantly and deny that outside things can hinder your happiness or health or power, it helps you to realize health and power and happiness.
41. No person or thing in the universe, no chain of circumstances, can by any possibility interpose itself between you and all joy–all good. You may think that something stands between you and your heart’s desire, and so live with that desire unfulfilled; but it is not true. This “think” is the bugaboo under the bed that has no reality. Deny it, deny it, and you will find yourself free, and you will realize that this ‘seeming’ was all false. Then you will see the good flowing into you, and you will see clearly that nothing can stand between you and your own.
42. Denials may be spoken silently or audibly, but not in a manner to call forth antagonism and discussion.
43. To some, all this sort of mechanical working will seem a strange way of entering into a more spiritual life. There are those who easily and naturally glide out of the old material life into a deeper spiritual one without any external help; but there are thousands of others who are seeking primarily the loaves and fishes of bodily health and financial success, but who really are seeking a higher way of life, who must needs take the very first steps. For such, the practicing of these mechanical steps in a wholehearted way, without prejudice, is doing the very best thing possible toward attaining purity of heart and life, toward growth in divine knowledge and fullness of joy in all things undertaken.
Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he will hear thee; And thou shalt pay thy vows, Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and light shall shine upon thy ways–Job 22:27,28.
1. Most persons, when they first consciously set out to gain a fuller, higher knowledge of spiritual things, do so because of dissatisfaction–or perhaps un-satisfaction would be the better word–with their present conditions of life. Inherent in the human mind is the thought that somewhere, somehow, it ought to be able to bring to itself that which it desires and which would satisfy. This thought is but the foreshadowing of that which really is.
2. Our wishes, it is said, do measure just
Our capabilities, Who with his might
Aspires unto the mountain’s upper height,
Holds in that aspiration a great trust
To be filled, a warrant that he must
Not disregard, a strength to reach the height
To which his hopes have taken flight.
3. The hunger that we feel is but the prompting of the Divine within us, which longs with an infinite longing to fill us. It is but one side of the law of demand and supply, the other side of which is unchangeable, unfailing, the promise: “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mk. 11:24). The supply is always equal to the demand, but there must first be a demand before supply is of use.
4. There is, attainable by us, a place where we can see that our doing can cease, because we realize that Spirit is the fulfillment of all our desires. We simply get still and know that all things whatsoever we desire are ours already; and this knowing it, or recognizing it, has power to bring the invisible God (or good)–the innermost substance of all things–forth into just the visible form of good that we want.
5. But in order to attain this place of power, we must take the preliminary steps, faithfully, earnestly, trustingly, though these steps at first glance seem to us useless and as empty as do the ceremonial forms and religious observance of the ritualistic churchman.
6. To affirm anything is to assert positively that it is so, even in the face of all contrary evidence. We may not be able to see how, by our simply affirming a thing to be true, a thing that to all human reasoning or sight does not seem to be true at all, we can bring this thing to pass; but we can compel ourselves to cease all futile quibbling and go to work to prove the rule, each one in his own life.
7. The beautiful Presence all about us and within us is the substance of every good that we can possibly desire–aye, infinitely more than we are capable of desiring; for “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9 A.V.).
8. In some way, which is not easy to put into words–for spiritual words cannot always be compassed in words, and yet they are none the less infallible, immutable laws that work with precision and certainty–there is power in our word of faith to bring all things right into our everyday life.
9. We speak the word, we confidently affirm, but we have nothing to do with the “establishing” of the word, or bringing it to pass. “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee” (Job 22:28). So if we decree or affirm unwaveringly, steadfastly, we hold God by His own unalterable laws to do the establishing or fulfilling.
10. They who have carefully studied spiritual laws find that, besides denying the reality and power of apparent evil, which denying frees them from it, they also can bring any desired good into their lives by persistently affirming it is there already. In the first instructions given to students, the denials and affirmations take a large place. Later on, their own personal experiences and inward guidance lead them to an understanding of divine law that makes it easy for them to follow simple rules which at first seemed difficult.
11. The saying over and over of any denial or affirmation is a necessary training of the mind that has lived so long in error and false belief that it needs this constant repetition of Truth to unclothe it and to clothe it anew.
12. As it is with the denials, so with the affirmations. There are four or five sweeping affirmations of Truth that cover a multitude of lesser ones, and which do marvelous work in bringing good to ourselves and to others.
13. First: God is life, love, intelligence, substance, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence.
14. These ideas you learned in the second lesson–“Statement of Being.” As you repeat the affirmation, please remember that every particle of life, love, intelligence, power, or of real substance in the universe, is simply a certain degree, or, so to speak, a quantity of God made manifest or visible through a form. Try to think what it means when you say that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient.
15. God is omnipresence (everywhere present), and God is good. Then why fear evil? He is omnipotent (all powerful). Then what other power can prevail?
16. Since God is omnipotence and omnipresence, put aside forever your traditional teaching of an adverse power, evil (Devil), that may at any moment thwart the plans of God and bring harm to you.
17. Do not disturb yourself about appearance of evil all about you; but in the very presence of what seems evil stand true and unwavering in affirming that God, the good is omnipresent. By so doing, you will see the seeming evil melt away as the darkness before the light or as the dew before the morning sun, and good come to take its place.
18. Second: I am a child or manifestation of God, and every moment His life, love, wisdom, power flow into and through me. I am one with God, and am governed by His law.
19. Remember while repeating this affirmation that nothing–no circumstance, no person or set of persons–can by any possibility interpose between you and the Source of your life, wisdom, or power. It is all “hid with Christ [the innermost Christ or Spirit of your being] in God” (Col. 3:3). Nothing but your own ignorance of how to receive, or your willfulness, can hinder your having unlimited supply.
20. No matter how sick or weak or inefficient you seem to be, take your eyes and thoughts right off the seeming, and turn them within to the central fountain there, and say calmly, quietly, but with steadfast assurance: “This appearance of weakness is false; God, manifest as life, wisdom, and power is now flowing into my entire being and out through me to the external.” You will see a marvelous change wrought in yourself by the realization that this spoken word will bring to you.
21. You do not change God’s attitude toward you one iota by either importuning or affirming. You only change your attitude toward Him. By thus affirming, you put yourself in harmony with divine law, which is always working toward your good and never toward your harm or punishment.
22. Third: I am Spirit, perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid, for Spirit is God, and God cannot be sick or hurt or afraid. I manifest my real self through this body now.
23. Fourth: God works in me to will and to do whatsoever He wishes me to do, and He cannot fail.
24. Our affirming His mind working both to will and to do, makes us will only the good; and He, the very Father in us, does the works, hence there can be no failure. Whatsoever we fully commit to the Father to do, and affirm it is done, we shall see accomplished. These, then, are the four comprehensive affirmations.
25. First: God is life, love, intelligence, substance, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence.
26. Second: I am a child or manifestation of God, and every moment His life, love, wisdom, power flow into and through me. I am one with God, and am governed by His law.
27. Third: I am Spirit, perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid, for Spirit is God, and God cannot be sick or hurt or afraid. I manifest my real self through this body now.
28. Fourth: God works with me to will and to do whatsoever He wishes me to do, and He cannot fail.
29. Commit these affirmations to memory, so that you can repeat them in the silence of your own mind in any place and at any time. Strangely, they will act to deliver you out of the greatest external distresses, places where no human help avails. It is as though the moment you assert emphatically your oneness with God the Father, there is instantly set into motion all the power of omnipotent love to rush to your rescue. And when it has undertaken to work for you, you can cease from external ways and means, and boldly claim: “It is done; I have the desires of my heart.”
“Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:16).
30. In reality God is forever in process of movement within us, that He may manifest Himself (all-Good) more fully through us. Our affirming, backed by faith, is the link that connects our conscious human need with His power and supply.
31. They who have claimed their birthright by thus calmly affirming their oneness with God know how free they can be from human planning and effort, after they have called into operation this marvelous power of affirmation. This power has healed the sick, brought joy in place of mourning, literally opened prison doors and bidden the prisoner go free, without the claimants calling for human assistance.
32. Understand, it is not necessarily the using of just this form of words that has availed in each individual case. It is the denying of apparent evil, and, in spite of all contrary evidence, the affirming of good to be all there is, affirming oneness with God’s omnipotent power to accomplish, even when there is no visible sign of His being present, that has wrought the deliverance. In one case within my knowledge, just simply claiming, “God is your defense and deliverance,” for a man who had for five years been an exile from home and country (through a series of deceptions and machinations that for depth and subtlety were unparalleled) opened all the doors wide and restored the man to his family within a month, without any further human effort on the part of himself or his friends, and this after five years of the most strenuous human efforts of lawyers had failed utterly to bring the truth to light or to release the prisoner.
33. Some minds are so constituted that they get better results from repeated use of denials; others, from using denials less and affirmations more.
34. No definite rules can be laid down as to which will work most effectually in each individual case to eradicate apparent evil and bring the good into manifestation, but some little hint that may be helpful can be given.
35. Denials have an erasive or dissolving tendency. Affirmations build up, and give strength and courage and power. Persons who remember vividly, and are inclined to dwell in their thoughts on the pains, sorrows, and troubles of the past or present, need to deny a great deal; for denials cleanse the mind and blot out the memory of all seeming evil and unhappiness, so they become a far away dream. Again, denials are particularly useful to those who are hard and intolerant, or aggressively sinful; to those who, as a result of success have become overconfident, thinking the human is sufficient in itself for all things; to the selfish, and to any who do not scruple to harm others.
36. Affirmations should be used by the timid and by those who have a feeling of their own inefficiency; those who stand in fear of other minds; those who “give in” easily; those who are subject to anxiety or doubt, and those who are in positions of responsibility. Persons who are in any way negative or passive need to use affirmations more; the ones who are self-confident or unforgiving, need denials more.
37. Deny the appearance of evil; affirm good. Deny weakness; affirm strength. Deny undesirable conditions, and affirm the good you desire. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe [or claim and affirm] that ye have received them, and ye shall have them” (Mk. 11:24). This is what is meant by the promise: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon [or that you stand squarely or firmly upon], to you have I given it” (Josh. 1:3).
38. Practice these denials and affirmations silently in the street, in the car, when you are wakeful during the night, anywhere, everywhere, and they will give you a new, and, to you, a strange, mastery over external things and over yourself. If there comes a moment when you are in doubt as to what to do, stand still and affirm, “God in me is infinite wisdom; I know just what to do.” “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to withstand or to gainsay” (Lk. 21:15). Do not get flustered or anxious, but depend fully and trustingly on your principle, and you will be surprised at the sudden inspiration that will come to you as the mode of procedure.
39. So always this principle will work in the solution of all life’s problems–I care not what the form of detail is–to free us, God’s children, from all undesirable conditions, and to bring good into our lives, if we will take up the simple rules and use them faithfully, until they lead us into such realization of our Godhood that we need no longer consciously depend on them.
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this
mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall
not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he
saith cometh to pass; he shall have it.” –Mk. 11:23
“Science was faith once.”–Lowell
1. The word faith is one that has generally been thought to denote a simple form of belief based mostly on ignorance and superstition. It is a word that has drawn forth something akin to scorn from so-called “thinking people”–the people who have believed that intellectual attainment is the highest form of knowledge to be reached. “Blind faith” they have disdainfully chosen to call it–fit only for ministers, women, and children, but not a practical thing on which to establish the everyday business affairs of life.
2. Some have prided themselves on having outgrown the swaddling clothes of this blind, unreasoning faith, and having grown to the point, as they say, where they have faith only in that which can be seen or intellectually explained.
3. The writer of The Epistle to the Hebrews, obviously a most intellectual man, and a learned theologian, before writing at length on the nature of faith and the marvelous results attending it, tried to put into a few words a condensed definition of faith:
4. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1 A.V.).
5. In other words, faith takes right hold of the substance of the things desired, and brings into the world of evidence the things that before were not seen. Further speaking of faith, the writer said, “Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3 A.V.); that is, things that are seen are not made out of visible things, but out of the invisible. In some way, then, we understand that whatever we want is in this surrounding invisible substance, and faith is the power that can bring it out into actuality to us.
6. After having cited innumerable instances of marvelous things brought to pass in the lives of men, not by their work or efforts, but by faith, the Epistle says,
7. “And what shall I more say? for the time will fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens. Women received their dead by a resurrection (Heb. 11:32-35).
8. Do you want any more power or any greater thing than is here mentioned–power to subdue kingdoms, to stop the mouths of lions, quench fire, turn to flight whole armies, raise the dead to life again? Even if your desires exceed this, you need not despair or hesitate to claim their fulfillment, for One greater than you, One who knew whereof He spoke, said: “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mk. 9:23).
9. Until very recently, whenever anyone has spoken of faith as the one power that can move mountains, we have always felt a sort of hopeless discouragement. While we have believed that God holds all good things in His hand, and is willing to be prevailed upon to dole them out according to our faith, yet how could we, even by straining every nerve of our being toward faith, be sure that we had sufficient to please Him? For does it not say, “Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him” (Heb. 11:6)?
10. From the moment we began to ask, we began to question our ability to reach God’s standard of faith on which hung our fate. We also began to question whether, after all, there is any such power in faith to prevail with the Giver of “every good gift” so as to draw out of Him something that He had never let us have before.
11. Viewing faith in this light, there is not much wonder that logical minds have looked on it as a sort of will-o’-the-wisp, good enough for women and children to hang their hopes on, but not a thing from which any real, definite results could ever be obtained–not a thing that the business world could rest upon.
12. There is a blind faith, to be sure. (Someone has truthfully said that blind faith is better than none at all; for, if held to, it will get its eyes open after a time.) But there is also an understanding faith. Blind faith is an instinctive trust in a power higher than ourselves. Understanding faith is based on immutable principle.
13. Faith does not depend on physical facts, or on the evidence of the senses, because it is born of intuition, or the Spirit of truth ever living at the center of our being. Its action is infinitely higher than that of intellectual conclusions; it is founded on Truth.
14. Intuition is the open end, within one’s own being, of the invisible channel ever connecting each individual with God. Faith is, as it were, a ray of light shot out from the central sun–God–one end of which rays comes into your being and mine through the open door of intuition. With our consciousness we perceive the ray of light, and though intellect cannot grasp it, or give the why or wherefore thereof, yet we instinctively feel that the other end of the ray opens out into all there is of God (good). This is “blind” faith. It is based on Truth, but a Truth of which everyone is not at the time conscious. Even this kind of faith will, if persisted in, bring results.
15. What is understanding faith? There are some things that God has so indissolubly joined together that it is impossible for even Him to put them asunder. They are bound together by fixed, immutable laws; if we have one of them, we must have the other.
16. This is illustrated by the laws of geometry. For instance, the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. No matter how large or small the triangle, no matter whether it is made on the mountaintop or leagues under the sea, if we are asked the sum of its angles we can unhesitatingly answer, without waiting an instant to count or reckon this particular triangle, that it is just two right angles. This is absolutely certain. It is certain, even before the triangle is drawn by visible lines; we can know it beforehand, because it is based on unchangeable laws, on the truth or reality of the thing. It was true just as much before anyone recognized it as it is today. Our knowing it or not knowing it does not change the truth. Only in proportion as we come to know it as an eternal truth can we be benefited by it.
17. It is also a simple truth that one plus one equals two; it is an eternal truth. You cannot put one and one together without two resulting. You may believe it or not; that does not alter the truth. But unless you do put the one and one together you do not produce the two, for each is eternally dependent on the other.
18. The mental and spiritual world or realms are governed by laws that are just as real and unfailing as the laws that govern the natural world. Certain conditions of mind are so connected with certain results that the two are inseparable. If we have the one, we must have the other, as surely as the night follows the day–not because we believe some wise person’s testimony that such is the case, not even because the voice of intuition tells us that it is so, but because the whole matter is based on laws that can neither fail nor be broken.
19. When we know something of these laws, we can know positively beforehand just what results will follow certain mental states.
20. God, the one creative cause of all things, is Spirit, and visible to spiritual consciousness, as we have learned. God is the sum total of all good. There is no good that you can desire in your life which, at its center, is not God. God is the substance of all things–the real thing within every visible form of good.
21. God, the invisible substance out of which all visible things are formed, is all around us waiting to come forth into manifestation.
22. This good substance all about us is unlimited, and is itself the supply of every demand that can be made; of every need that exists in the visible or natural world.
23. One of the unerring truths in the universe (by “universe” I mean the spiritual and natural worlds combined) is that there is already provided a lavish abundance for every human want. In other words, the supply of every good always awaits the demand. Another truth is that the demand must be made before the supply can come forth to fill it. To recognize these two statements of Truth and to affirm them are the whole secret of understanding faith–faith based on principle.
24. Let us square this by the definition of faith, given earlier in the lesson: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith takes hold of the substance of the thing hoped for, and brings into evidence, or visibility, the things not seen.
25. What are usually called the promises of God are certain eternal, unchangeable truths that are true whether they are found in the Bible or in the almanac. They are unvarying statements of truth that cannot be altered. A promise, according to Webster, is something sent beforehand to indicate that something unseen is at hand. It is a declaration that gives the person to whom it is made the right to expect and claim the performance of the act.
26. The Nazarene recognized the unchangeable truth that, in the unseen, the supply of every want awaits demand. When He said, “Ask, and ye shall receive” (Jn. 16:24), He was simply stating an unalterable truth. He knew that the instant we ask or desire (for asking is desire expressed) we touch a secret spring which starts on its way toward us the good we want. He knew that there need not be any coaxing or pleading about it; that our asking is simply our complying with an unfailing law which is bound to work; there is no escape from it. Asking and receiving are the two ends of the same thing. There is a very close connection between them.
27. Asking springs from desire to possess some good. What is desire? Desire in the heart is always God tapping at the door of your consciousness with His infinite supply–a supply that is forever useless unless there be demand for it. “Before they call, I will
answer” (Is. 65:24). Before ever you are conscious of any lack, of any desire for more happiness, for fullness of joy, the great Father-Mother heart has desired them for you. It is He in you desiring them that you feel, and think it is only yourself (separate from Him) desiring them. With God the desire to give, and giving, are one and the same thing. Someone has said, “Desire for anything is the thing itself in incipiency”; that is, the thing you desire is not only for you, but has already been started toward you out of the heart of God; and it is the first approach of the thing itself striking you that makes you desire it, or even think of it at all.
28. The only way God has of letting us know of His infinite supply and His desire to make it ours is for Him to push gently on the divine spark living within each one of us. He wants you to be a strong, self-efficient man or woman, to have more power and dominion over all before you; so He quietly and silently pushes a little more of Himself, His desire, into the center of your being. He enlarges, so to speak, your real self, and at once you become conscious of new desire to be bigger, grander, stronger. If He had not pushed at the center of your being first, you would never have thought of new desires, but would have remained perfectly content as you were.
29. You think that you want better health, more love, a brighter, more cheerful home all your very own; in short, you want less evil (or no evil) and more good in your life. This is only God pushing at the inner door of your being, as if He were saying: “My child,
let Me in; I want to give you all good, that you may be more comfortable and happy.” “Behold, my servants shall eat. . .behold, my servants shall drink. . .behold my servants shall rejoice. . .behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart. . .And they shall build houses, and inhabit them” (Is. 65:13, 14, 21).
30. Remember this: Desire in the heart for anything is God’s sure promise sent beforehand to indicate that it is yours already in the limitless realm of supply, and whatever you want you can have for the taking.
31. Taking is simply recognizing the law of supply and demand (even if you cannot see a sign of the supply any more than Elijah did when he had affirmed for rain, and not a cloud even so big as a man’s hand was for a long time to be seen). Affirm your possession of the good that you desire; have faith in it, because you are working with divine law and cannot fail; do not be argued off your basic principle by anyone; and sooner will the heavens fall than that you fail to get that which you desire.
32. “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mk. 11:24).
33. Knowing the law of abundant supply, and the truth that supply always precedes the demand, demand simply being the call that brings the supply into sight; knowing that all desire in the heart for any good is really God’s desire in us and for us, how shall we obtain the fulfillment of our every desire, and that right speedily?
34. “Delight thyself also in Jehovah; And he will give thee the desires of thy heart” (Ps. 37:4). Take right hold of God with an unwavering faith. Begin and continue to rejoice, and thank Him that you have (not will have) the desires of your heart, never losing sight of the fact that the desire is the thing itself in incipiency. If the good were not already yours in the invisible realm of supply, you could not, by any possibility, desire it.
35. Someone asks: “Suppose I desire my neighbor’s wife, or his property; is that desire born of God? And can I see it fulfilled by affirming that it is mine?”
36. You do not and cannot, by any possibility, desire that which belongs to another. You do not desire your neighbor’s wife. You desire the love that seems to you to be represented by your neighbor’s wife. You desire something to fill your heart’s craving for love. Affirm that there is for you a rightful and an overflowing supply, and claim its manifestation. It will surely come, and your so-called desire to possess your neighbor’s wife will suddenly disappear.
37. So you do not in reality desire anything that belongs to your neighbor. You want the equivalent of that for which his possessions stand. You want your own. There is today an unlimited supply of all good provided in the unseen for every human being. No man must needs have less that another may have more. Your very own awaits you. Your understanding faith, or trust, is the power that will bring it to you.
38. Emerson said that the man who knows the law “is sure that his welfare is dear to the heart of being. . .He believes that he cannot escape from his good.”
39. Knowing divine law and obeying it, we can forever rest from all anxiety, all fear, for “Thou openest thy hand, And satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:16).