Dear friend and student:
You will find also some very beautiful instructions and a beautiful spiritual sentiment running through this Lesson and I want you to apply this principle every day in your own life, for to find the power of the great God-Law means supreme happiness, supreme peace, and supreme supply.
Sincerely your friend and teacher,
The Lessons in this Course which you have received to date have been specifically designed and very earnestly designed to show you something of the existence of this great, unseen Power , we sometimes chose to call "God." I have shown you scientifically that there does exist an unseen, dynamic Spiritual Power, and I have further shown you that this Power does not and indeed could not operate through any one man or any one organization to the exclusion of the rest of the human race. I have so earnestly tried to show you the universality and the omnipotence and the omniscience and the everywhereness of this great, invisible, but dynamic Power. I have shown you furthermore that this Power is a Law, a Spiritual Law, which must respond and which does respond universally and in every individual case in which the conditions of this Law are complied with.
I realize that the common opinion of perhaps ninety-nine per cent of the human race is that financial and material success are the only things necessary to complete happiness in life. I realize that this is perhaps the universally held opinion of practically everybody, so in this course of instruction so far I have carefully and purposely designed these Lessons to show you how this great God Law can be used for the manifestation of these material things. I have shown you, however, that, the source or every material manifestation must lie and does lie in the great, unseen Spiritual Cosmic GOD-REALM. In that Realm lies the starting point and the very beginning of every physical and material thing on this earth. We covered that rather carefully in the Lesson dealing with that subject, and I think you will realize that without the unseen, creative Realm of the God-Law, there never could have been any material or physical manifestation of any kind, nor could there ever have been any physical manifestation of life as we know it now in all its varied forms. I took great pains to impress this fact upon you and right here I want to drive it home again. I want you to permanently understand that the origin of every created thing lies in the unseen, creative Spiritual Realm of this dynamic spiritual Power we call "GOD." I want you to further understand that whatever material things manifest in your own individual life in the future will first have a manifestation unseen by you in your thought realm, which, as you now know, is a definite part of the great universal Spiritual Realm of the great LIFE SPIRIT.
Most of my students are absolutely in earnest in desiring the better things of life, and by far the great majority of them are following me very closely, and are, day by day, and week by week, and month by month, laying the foundation in the Spiritual Realm, or rather let me say they are making the manifestation in the Spiritual Realm of those things which are to manifest materially or physically in due time. Many of these good friends and students of mine--in fact, quite a large percentage of them--have already written to me thanking me for leading them to the place in which they could actually manifest the blessings and the power of this great God-Realm. These thousands of letters to me. and to anyone else are conclusive evidence of the truth and reality of the power of the great God-Law which actually brings into realization by means of the unseen Spiritual Realm, the things needed and desired physically and materially here and now.
But there is another side to this question of manifestation, and while it is a fact that the vast majority of people imagine that happiness, success, and satisfaction lie in the material realm and in material possessions, let me say to my students that money, or material possessions never yet were the means to the very best things the Spiritual Realm holds for you and for me. There is no question whatsoever that money and a nice home and a good car are very much to be desired blessings in many cases; but the point I want to make is that the obtaining of these things is by no means an assurance of real happiness, real satisfaction, or real success in life, for real success in life lies not so much in getting as in giving. Real satisfaction in life lies not so much in material accumulation as it lies in the accumulation of the finer spiritual things of life; and real happiness in life lies not so much in the amassing of a fortune as it does lie in the fact of the conscious realization of one's inseparableness from this vast spiritual God-Realm.
So, in this Lesson we are going to get away from the material realm for a while and I am going to show you some of the finer and much more to be desired gifts that this invisible Spiritual Realm bestows upon those in that Realm, and which gifts are a part of this great God-Law itself. I have purposely given the impression in this course of instruction so far, that the spiritual God-Law is a cold-blooded, never-varying Law, working with absolute precision and with the certainty of a chemical formula whenever the conditions governing this Law are complied .with. I have deliberately done this, for that is actually the impression I wanted you to form. I wanted you to have a conception of Spiritual Law which would convince you beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is no possibility of Spiritual Law failing when the conditions governing it are complied with; so in order to more effectively do this, I have impressed upon your minds the fact, and it is a fact, that there is no more possible way to miss the results from this great realm of Spiritual Law than there is to stop a pencil from dropping to the floor by the law of gravitation. I have used my best brain power and my most earnest efforts in my attempt to give you this picture of this great God-Realm, and right here I wish to make it even stronger if I possibly can.
When dealing with the God-Realm, there can be no such a thing as petitioning this great Realm for something, and then hopefully and watchfully waiting in the expectation of the power behind the Spiritual Realm looking with favor upon your request, and some time or other in the far distant future perhaps granting it. This is the common idea given out by the religious systems of the day. If adversity comes along, you are told that it is all in the will of God, and you must not murmur or complain but just simply say in a very meek and obedient voice:
"Though dark my path and sad my lot,This sentiment is a million miles from the truth of God as it actually exists. The sentiment behind this teaching, however, is easily understood when it is traced back to its source. In those days the church was what it would like to be now but cannot--a great political power. Every means were used to cow people into submission and threats of "Hell" and "damnation" and everything else were held over their heads in an effort, and a very vain effort, by the way, to force this foolish and pagan teaching into the minds of ignorant and superstitious people incapable of thinking for themselves. In those days the world was a very fertile field for all sorts of religious superstition, and many and terrible were the atrocities committed in the name of "God."
Let me be still and murmur not;
But breathe the prayer divinely taught--
'Thy will be done'.
"What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends beloved no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
'Thy will be done."'
A few weeks ago I was in New York City and made a special trip to see one of the most gruesome exhibitions I have ever seen in my life. It was interesting, but I never want to see it again. Mr. Joseph Lewis has brought to this country direct from Germany several dozens of instruments of torture which were used by the so-called "Christian" church only a few hundred years ago, in its effort to force down the throats of the "heretics," or in other words, those who believed differently, the teachings of that religious organization. The first thing I saw in this exhibition room were several pairs of horrible pincers two or three feet long with which the tongues of these "heretics" were literally torn out by the roots. Following after this, I saw another gruesome display of gouges by which the eyes of the "non-christians" were literally gouged out in the name of "God" by a supposedly Christian organization. Over in one corner of the exhibition room was a rack which was a horrible piece of machinery. The victim was fastened down on this rack and both arms extended over his head and chained to a post on the two upper corners of this diabolical instrument of torture. The legs were also extended and similarly fastened. Then two men or more would get on a wheel and turn it until the victim's arms and legs were torn from their sockets. The next gem in this "christian" persuasive category was a bathtub sitting on rockers. It was about six feet long and made of wood with sloping sides and ends. With points only one-half an inch apart horrible steel spikes about one and one-half inches long were driven into the bathtub and these points sharpened to points of terrible cruelty. The victim, stark naked, was put into this bathtub and rocked from side to side, and you can imagine the condition of this "unbeliever" when these cruel and ignorant and benighted "agents of God" were through with him or her. On a table in the center of the exhibition hall were several branding irons for the purpose of branding "unbelievers" on the forehead and other parts of the body as a punishment for their not believing in the God taught by this "Holy" religious organization. On still another table was a gruesome assortment of thumb screws which were fastened around the wrists of the victim and his thumb screwed around and around until it was literally wrenched from his body. Another horrible thing I saw there was the wheel and the rack. This consisted of a ladder about seven feet long and two feet wide constructed of very heavy wood with the rungs about six inches apart and having sharp edges on them. The victim was tied to this rack and the "Holy men of God" attempting to convert him seized a very heavy wheel. On this wheel a knife blade about six inches deep and one foot long had been fastened and while this helpless victim lay tied to the rack, these "saints" would bring down the wheel, with the knife blade attached, onto his body until he was literally hacked to pieces.
There was also a terrible chair there the seat of which was covered with one and one-half inch spikes, as also were the back and arms. The "unsaved" one was compelled to sit in this chair stark naked on these spikes, and then was chained in that. condition. One of the most fiendish things, though, was a brass helmet which was fitted over the head of the "unbeliever" and on each side of this helmet was a funnel-shaped affair hollow on the inside. Molten lead was then poured through these funnel-shaped affairs after this horrible thing WAS attached over the "sinner's" head and this molten lead ran into the ears and down the sides of the face of the victim. I saw in that horrible place mouth gags which were pear shaped and which were forced into the mouth and then screwed wide open. Lying in another corner of the room were several torture belts which were applied to the naked bodies of women. As long as the victim stood absolutely motionless, she suffered no pain; but the very moment she made one move, then spikes from this torture belt penetrated her flesh. Several whips were there with many lashes onto which pieces of lead with jagged points had been fastened every six or eight inches and the victim was horribly lashed to death or to insensibility. But the crowning masterpiece of all was a contraption called "The Iron Maiden." This is a hollow brass figure of a woman hinged on one side and weighing several tons. The "unbeliever" was placed, upright, in this contraption and the door was forced shut. On the inside of the door were spikes six inches long and fixed in such a manner that, .when the door was closed, the victim was impaled by these spikes and suffered an excruciating and agonizing death. With devilish ingenuity two of these spikes were placed so that they went through the eyes; another penetrated the nose; while another went through the mouth; three went through the breast; two through the stomach; and four through each leg. I will not prolong this picture, for I realize as well as you do that it is a horrible thing to talk and to write about.
My only object in mentioning these terrible things I saw in New York is to make a definite connection between them and the teaching I have just alluded to which tries to tell thinking, intelligent men and women today that they must keep submissive to the will of God. This "submission" teaching originated in the countries and by the organizations which used the cruel methods I have described to force men and women to accept their religious teaching, and this teaching of submission to both God and His "agents" was the fundamental feature and dogma of that horrible thing which masqueraded as a divinely appointed organization to which the truths of the great God had been exclusively revealed. Now that connection is established and now that it has been clearly shown that this petitioning of God is a false and pagan teaching, let us forget this picture and view another which is a much more sensible and reasonable one of the operations of the great spiritual God-Realm in a human life.
While I was very insistent upon painting this picture of the Spiritual Realm as being an immutable realm of LAW, I purposely left until this part of the course another side of this realm which operates with the same unerring accuracy and precision in the unseen Spiritual Realm as it does in the physical and material realm. For instance, I would not for one moment have my students think that all the Realm of God is, is an invisible storehouse from which, by complying with an immutable Law, they might obtain whatever material things they might need for their happiness. These material things positively are to be obtained from this great God-Realm; but, also, there is to be obtained from this same realm many unseen, and therefore spiritual, gifts, and it is of these gifts that I want to write for a little while now. Here is a student. He grasps the Law governing this great Spiritual Realm. He applies that Law and is eminently satisfied in a material way; but, he may stop there and if he does, disappointment and unhappiness and failure are almost sure to follow, because he has not gone the limit in appropriating to himself all that the spiritual God-Realm has to give, for there is in that Realm much more than physical and material wealth. And let me repeat, I question very much whether the accumulation of material things can ever bring permanent, lasting joy and happiness, because such happiness and joy may not be found merely in the possession of material things.
When my students have learned something of the existent power of the God Realm and something of the existent presence of this great creative God-Law, the first thing they are able to experience is a strange spiritual quietness which goes far beyond the so-called "joy" and "happiness" which may or may not come from the possession of material things. Some poet said, "Joy is like restless day; but peace, divine, like quiet night;" and by far the greatest gift attached to the Realm of God, or perhaps I should say the greatest attribute of the Law of God, is the attribute of peace. Just as surely as this great God-Law brings this health and happiness and success materially, it also brings this spiritual peace. Let me take one specific example which is perhaps characteristic of thousands I know. Here is a student. He has been suffering perhaps from some minor ailment or affliction. He comes into contact with the great God-Law and by complying with the conditions underlying or governing this God-Law, he secures freedom from this condition. Then he masters his material surroundings and perhaps obtains a good paying position, or as one student wrote me this morning, "I have made the first payment on a new home." He accumulates a little money in the bank and is well on the road to material success through the application of this invisible God-Law, and here is where I want to warn you to be very, very careful, for if you stop at this point, you will miss the goal and you will find that you have before you a life of continual struggle and continual restlessness and continual anxiety, for you will be limited in your use of the Spiritual Realm to material things and therefore will miss the true source of the power which naturally emanates from this great creative God-Realm.
You will find as you progress in this Realm of God that the master key which unlocks all the other locks in this great mansion may be called the KEY OF PEACE. Perhaps TRUST would be a better name for it. You see if I trust a person, then I am absolutely at ease in his presence. I can talk freely before him and I can also act freely. No question ever arises as to my being refused any request I might make of him, and therefore any worry or fretfulness cannot possibly enter into a situation where two people trust each other. I want you to enter into this arrangement, if you please, with the great God-Law. I want you to recognize that you, yourself, through your oneness with this great Spiritual Power, have in you all the power that is tied up in this great Spiritual Realm and that is certainly sufficient power to make you an overcomer in every phase of life. I want you to realize that as this great God-Law is a creative Law, so are you, as part of this great God-Law, also a creative being. You cannot stay in communion with the Spiritual Realm and not yourself be a creator, for this great Spirit of God will drive you to the creation of something or other. In my own particular case it drove me to the creation of this marvelous work of mine. In your case it may drive you to creation of something along an entirely different line. This great God-Law drove Thomas A. Edison into his marvelous inventions. The same great God-Law drove Henry Ford along lines of mechanical genius. The same great Spiritual Law is driving everyone in its power toward a creative end of some sort or other. Some people do not allow their reason to reign supreme and therefore they allow this great Law to drive them in the wrong direction in which case they inevitably meet with disaster and failure; for the same great Law which will drive me to create a movement which will change the lives of thousands will also operate with the same unerring accuracy and precision to the destruction of a man if he does not stay close to the Law and follow the greatest gift of the Law---that gift being the purest gem in the human mind, the gem of REASON.
Not. long ago I personally listened to a famous preacher. There is no question in my mind that the man is being driven by the great God Spirit, but this particular man is allowing himself to be driven according to old pagan dogmas and doctrines which on the very face of them are so asinine and so foolish that a child with its pureness of heart could not possibly believe them. Yet this man wonders why eighty per cent of the churches in his denomination are not self supporting. He wonders why he labors his heart out and yet is a failure as far as actually doing anything for the human race is concerned. He cannot for the life of him see why nothing but failure, and worse than failure seems to be ahead of his efforts which he recognizes are controlled by the great God-Law. If this good brother would sit down and think for about a week and decide to discard every thing unreasonable in his teachings, he would be one of the most stupendous leaders the world has ever seen, but he will not do this. Instead he chooses to limit himself by applying the driving force of the great God Spirit along a channel which is based purely on man-made, and therefore perfectly human, dogmas and traditions. This man will tell you that he actually believes that the great Creative Intelligence of this universe came down to the earth in mortal flesh and was born in that form through the medium of the wife of a Syrian Jew. He will tell you that he actually believes that through the crucifixion of this child of the Syrian Jewess, which child was at the same time God and man--he will tell you that he actually believes that by this barbarous act, those who believe the story shall be eternally saved from eternal damnation.
Now, I ask you if you think this is a reasonable belief. I ask you if you think it is a true belief, and your answer must be "No" to both questions. This being a fact, then, the entire story must be and is entirely outside of the realm of the great God Spirit. There is no question at all in my mind that the story does belong in the Christian religion, for the simple reason that the only God the christian religion has ever known is old "Yahweh" or "Jehovah," which God never was anything more than the old tribal God of the Jews and which God never had any existence outside the imaginations of those old Jewish religious leaders. This is the God that smote dead over fifty thousand men and women for attempting to look into a little wooden box called the "ark" in which this old God, "Yahweh" or "Jehovah," lived.
So, I must in honesty to myself and to you say to you that any teaching by any religious organization, no matter who they be, must be false and untrue if it teaches anything contrary to illumined human reasoning. I have stated in many of my writings and been grossly misunderstood for stating it that the christian religion as it exists today is founded wholly upon an unprovable fabrication originating in a perfectly human, but perfectly blind and ignorant superstitious structure, which structure in its attempt to manufacture a guide of its own, stole a crucifixion and resurrection story from another system, which story was known to millions of people thousands of years before the so-called "Saviour" of this religion was ever heard of. You will never "save" this world, and you will never give to a human being one single enlightened and helpful thought from a system of religion which is based on fear and ignorance and superstition. What an atrocity it is to attempt to be a power for enlightenment in the world and come to the world with a story so foolish that even a child cannot believe it.
The religious organizations of today are dabbling with prohibition. They are fighting among themselves. We have over three hundred of them in this country and outside of their social organization, they do not have among them one reasonable, sensible, constructive truth to give anybody. They had better leave prohibition and politics and everything else alone and examine their own structure first and then, when convinced of its dishonesty, which they inevitably will be on only a superficial examination, they had better come to men and women with a true story of a true God, which is not and cannot be "Jehovah" or old "Yahweh," the tribal God of the Jews. What a difference in the life of a student of mine who knows some thing of the freedom and something of the quietness and something of the power of the great creative God-Law behind this universe. There is no fear in the life of such a one either of the past or of the future, for there is no fear in the Realm of God, I promise you that. Instead of fear there comes an absolute TRUST; instead of doubt, there comes an absolute FAITH; and instead of strife and turmoil, there comes CALM, for the realm of the Spirit of God is a realm of calm. It is a realm of peace; it is a realm of quietness; it is a realm of static power, and you can make it dynamic by applying it in your own life.
NOW for the next two weeks I want you to discontinue the use of all affirmations of every kind and I want you to enter into a period of absolute quietness. I want this period to be with the full consciousness that this quietness comes to you from the Spiritual Realm, or rather is part of the Spiritual Realm. You see, you cannot hear the still small Voice of the great LIFE SPIRIT unless you keep quiet. You could not hear a whisper at a ballgame; and if your life is busy, if it is noisy, if it is hurried, and if it is fretful, you will not be able to hear this still small Voice of God. When you arise in the morning, sit still for a few moments and be quiet. Recognize your union with the great quiet Life Spirit. Take your bath quietly. Dress quietly. Eat your meals quietly. Go to work quietly. Do your daily duties quietly. And for the next two weeks let there be a silence over your entire life. This is what will happen. Out of that quietness will come to you a knowledge of your union with the great God Spirit. You will know as never before something of the power that lies in the peace and quietness of God. If you have a problem which needs solving, you will be much more able to get the solution of the problem in the quietness than you will be able to get it in the bluster and humdrum of life. If you are out of a job and if there are pressing bills to be met, and if you do not know where the rent is coming from, or if you do not know where the next meal is coming from, or if you have domestic troubles, you will find the answer much more quickly through a simple quiet resting in this great quiet Realm of God than you will in any other way. In fact, it is an immutable Law of God that the answer to every human problem, and this includes yours, may be found in the great quiet Spiritual Realm from whence comes all wisdom. You will be kind in this quiet realm; you will be loving in this quiet realm; you will say no unkind things or hurtful things to anyone because you cannot if you keep quiet. Relax your efforts to direct your little barque on the Sea of Life. You have left the coast clear for the Master Pilot to step a board your little vessel and THROUGH you guide it aright. You will not be like the preacher I mentioned, driven in the wrong direction; but by living this quiet life, with nothing imposed by you between yourself and the great God Spirit, you will invariably and most assuredly be driven where you should go, for this Master Intelligence--this unseen God Spirit--is the cause of life. It caused your life to be; consequently, it knows far better than you know in what channel lies complete happiness and success. You might by being noisy and unsettled, do the very thing which will hinder your hearing the direct leadings from the great God Spirit. When this life is lived, you will find that there will be created in you a desire to pass on your knowledge of the great Life Spirit to others. This Presence will become very close to you and very near to you, and in working with this Spirit you will find that it will show you the way to triumph over every undesirable condition. If you will live continually in this attitude toward the great God Spirit, you need have no more thoughts about your future for you will want to follow where this great Spirit leads and that is always aright.
So for the next two weeks, and indeed forever, let this be your condition of life. There is a little poem which comes to my mind now written by that saintly old man, Dr. Washington Gladden, who, by the way, was ostracized by his own church organization and practically called a heretic and an infidel for stating that the Bible was not infallible. This precious old Bible scholar of the Congregational Church said: "In the Bible, human ignorance and error have been suffered to mingle with the stream of living water throughout all its course. If our assurance of salvation was made to depend upon our knowledge that every word in the Bible was of divine origin, our hope of eternal life would be altogether insecure. It is not infallible scientifically; it is not infallible historically; and it is not infallible morally; and the attempt of any intelligent man to maintain the theories and to maintain the infallibility of this book is a criminal blunder." For making that statement this man was ostracized and, of course, the Congregational Church, to which he belonged, stated that he knew nothing about God at all. They bitterly condemned him and said all sorts of nasty things about him; but listen to what he wrote as I am about to quote it and then ask yourself who knew the most about God, the great Life Spirit--Dr. Washington Gladden, or the church, founded upon pagan superstition and idolatry, which condemned him. I want you to read these verses slowly and carefully and when the word "Master" appears in these beautiful verses, you look upon that word as being the great invisible God Spirit. Do not consider for one moment that it means Jesus Christ, or any other of the world's sixteen crucified God-men. For the time being at least just pass that out of the picture and in repeating these marvelous verses do so with the idea in mind that the word "Master" means the great Life Spirit you are learning to know and to love.
"O Master, let me walk with TheeI am going to leave you now with this thought and I wish you the happiness that it brings me to know that thousands of students the world over will be reading these beautiful lines, and will be quietly resting from now on in the peace and the power coming from the great Spirit of the .REAL GOD.
In lowly paths of service free;
Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care.
Help me the slow of heart to move
By some clear, winning word of love;
Teach me the wayward feet to stay,
And guide them in the homeward way.
Teach me Thy patience; still with Thee
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future's broadening way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live."
Sincerely your friend and teacher,
EXAMINATION QUESTIONS FOR LESSON NO. 18
These examination questions are for your benefit and you should know the answers to them all. If they are not clear to you, read your Lesson again and again until they are clear.
1. Whatever material things manifest in your own individual life in the future will have had a prior manifestation?
2. What constitutes (a) real happiness (b) real satisfaction (c) real success in life?
3. Distinguish between the common idea regarding prayer given out by existing religious systems and the attitude of one who uses the God-Law
4. The fundamental policy of the Church was expressed in the well-known hymn, "Thy Will Be Done"?
5. What was the reason for describing the various horrible instruments of torture exhibited in New York?
6. A student, by applying the God-Law may be eminently satisfied in a material way, but he must not stop there?
7. What is described in this Lesson as "the greatest attribute of the Law of God"?
8. What is described as "the master key which unlocks all the other locks in the Realm of God"?
9. Why is it that you are a creative being?
10. There exists a danger that. as a creative being, you may be driven in the wrong direction. How can this danger be avoided?
11. Why is it beneficial to enter into a period of absolute quietness?
12. Why need you have no more thoughts about your future?