How is it that we so often find great virtue, remarkable charity and patience
amongst persons who are yet not conscious of any direct contact with God?
They have never known the pains of repentance,
neither have they known the sublime joys of God.
Are these the ninety−and−nine just persons needing no repentance?
Instinctively, and almost unconsciously, they hold to,
and draw upon, the Universal Christ—or Spirit of Righteousness;
but they have not laid hold of nor taken into themselves
that Spirit of the Personal Christ,
whom Christians receive and know through Jesus.
He is the Door into the unspeakable joys of God.
What are these joys of God?
They are varying degrees of the manifestation and experience of
the reciprocal Divine Love.
What is the true aim of spiritual endeavour
an attempt at personal and individual salvation?
Yes … to commence with,
but beyond that, and more fully,
it is the coming into oneness with the exquisite Will of God.
Agreement with the general and universal improving
and raising of the consciousness of the whole world.
Yet this universal improvement must take place
in each individual spirit in an individual manner.
There are those who would deny to individuality its rights,
claiming that the highest spirituality
is the total cessation of all individuality;
yet this would not appear to be God’s view of the matter,
for in the most supreme contacts of the soul with Himself …
He does not wipe out the consciousness of the soul’s individual joy,
but, on the contrary, to an undefinable extent He increases it.
And Jesus teaches us that life here is both the means
and the process of the gradual conformation of the will of Man
to the will of God,
and our true “work” is the individual learning of this process.
But this cultivation of our individuality
must not be subverted to the purpose
of the mere gain of personal advantage,
but because of the heartfelt wish to conform to the glorious will of God.
The failure of the human will to run in conjunction with the Divine will
is the cause, as we know, of all sin.
In the friction of these opposing wills,
forces poisonous to Man are generated.
From its very earliest commencement in childhood
our system of education is based upon wrong ideas.
With little or no regard to God’s plans
Man lays out his own puny laws and ambitions and teaches them to his young.
We are not taught that what we are here for
is above all and before all
to arrive at a sense of personal identification with God,
to identify ourselves with the spiritual while still in the flesh.
To the contrary, we are taught to grow shy,
even ashamed, of the spiritual
and to regard the world as a place principally
or even solely in which to enjoy ourselves
or make a “successful career.”
Children are taught to look eagerly and mainly for holidays and “parties”;
grown men and women looking to the same “partying”
upon a much larger and more foolish scale .
Always under the terribly mistaken belief that in spiritual things
no great happiness is to be found, but only in materialism:
yet very often we find the greatest unhappiness
amongst the wealthiest people.
We see the great pursuit of it on every side,
and no truer or more needful instinct has been given to Man,
but he fails to use it in the way intended.
This world is a Touchstone, a Finding−place for God.
Whoever will obey the law of finding God from within this world
instead of waiting to try and find Him in the next,
he, and he only,
will ever grasp and take into himself
that elusive fugitive and mysterious unseen Something which …
not knowing what it is, yet feeling that it exists …
we have named Happiness.
But how to commence this formidable,
and this seemingly impossible task of finding God
in a world in which He is totally invisible?
To the “natural” or animal Man …
God is as totally hidden and inaccessible
as He is to the beasts of the field;
yet encased within … in his bosom lies the soul
which is the means
of drawing Man and God together in a glorious union.
“I have known all this from my childhood,” we cry,
“and the knowledge of it has not helped me one step upon my way.”
Then try again, and reverse your method,
for until now you have been beseeching gifts from God,
asking for gifts from Jesus,
and have forgotten to give.
Give your love to Jesus,
giving Him a home, instead of asking Him to give you one.
Give your heart to God,meaning to set your affections and desires upon Him.
What is keeping you back?
You are afraid of what it will entail;
you are afraid of what God will demand of you;
Those words “Forsake all, and follow Me” fill you with something like terror.
I cannot leave
- my business,
- my children,
- my home,
- my luxuries,
- my games,
- my fashions
- my friends
- my status
- my reputation!
For these are all considered gain , or riches ,
or prosperity in the eyes of the beast of the field , the carnal mind.
Unable to understand these are fading away , temporal ,
weak and beggarly , and incomparable to spiritual riches.
But knowing this initial agony of mind,
Christ said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
(the name of an exceedingly narrow gate into Jerusalem)
than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
What does it mean to “set the heart” upon something?
We say, “I have set my heart on going to see my son,”
“I have set my heart on doing so−and−so,”
but this does not mean that in order to accomplish it
we must wander homeless and lonely until the day of achievement.
No; but we set our heart and mind
upon eventually accomplishing this wish .
We shape all our plans towards it, we give it the first place.
This is what God asks us to do;
to give Him the first place.
We need not go to Him in rags:
David and Solomon were immensely wealthy,
Job was a rich man;
but we must eventually think of Him MORE IMPORTANTLY …
than we do of our dress,
than we do of our business,
more of Him than we do of lover, friend, or child.
Many well−minded people are under the impression
that such love for an Invisible Being is a total impossibility.
Yet the great commandment stands written all across the face of the heavens
“Thou shalt love Me with all thy heart and mind and soul and strength.”
Are we then to suppose that God asks the impossible of His own creatures, that He mocks us?
No; for when we desire He sends the capacity,
and day by day sends us the power to reach this love through Jesus Christ.
There is included in the words “Give us this day our daily bread,”
the bread of the soul, which is Love.
Continue to Chapter 3