Keep a True Lent, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
OVER NINETEEN hundred years ago a man taught a religion that changed the whole trend of thought of people. His teachings were called "the Way."
In the beginning He had few followers. He was, like Socrates, accused of treason and killed. His enemies took for granted that after His death His doctrine would utterly disappear, as had many doctrines before His time. However, they lacked spiritual discernment, for the teachings of the man Jesus of Nazareth possessed an element that the people vitally needed and they soon sprang up in regions far beyond the little land where they were promulgated; they spread to many lands and have been spreading ever since.
It was the Word of God that Jesus was teaching; the Word of God is the creative agent, and spiritual man is its supreme creation. Moreover, the man Jesus stands far out in front, as evidenced by His teachings. He is the divine man of this race. We should impress this on our consciousness. We should study His teachings. We should understand and follow them.
Jesus taught that the world belongs to man and that man is responsible for it. The human family is responsible for the poverty or the prosperity of the
world. By our mental beholding and working we determine whether we shall have or have not.
In the days when the Israelites were held in captivity by the Babylonians, a few of the companions of the prophet Nehemiah were allowed to return with him to Jerusalem and to rebuild the wall. They engaged those remaining in the city to help; the Bible says "the people had a mind to work."
Our prosperity is the result of work--not physical work alone, but first mental and spiritual work. There is an everlasting marching on in every industry and science. We are never content with the present methods but are constantly seeking better ones; we are not content with our schools but are always finding easier ways to gain knowledge for ourselves and our children. Our nation is, therefore, progressing.
We find that Christianity is surprisingly progressive, too. Our religion is constantly unfolding new possibilities, new powers, and new beauties; we are on the way to a great outpouring of spiritual development. We have not realized what a wonderful religion we have. It is filled with possibilities, and these possibilities are made known to us in mind and spirit.
But we need more courage to develop these possibilities. We need more initiative. We need more awareness of this divine power in us and when we awaken to the spiritual man, which every one of us has within us, we shall see that through spiritual
unfoldment all good things are possible of accomplishment, as Jesus promised.
All things are possible to us, only we must believe. Believe what? We must believe in ourselves, in this innate spiritual man in us and we must encourage him. Encourage him with what? With sound words, with affirmations of almightiness; then we shall have the key to the overcoming world.
Our most important study is our own mind, not only the intellectual mind but the spiritual mind. "Know thyself" was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi; and it must be inscribed on our own temple, "over" the door of our mind. "Know thyself." We must become acquainted with our own mind.
Now that it is being universally taught that with every thought our brain sends vibrations into the surrounding atmosphere, every progressive metaphysician is admitting that with this invisible thought stuff we are constantly making structures for ourselves and the world about us. The scientific world is also beginning to recognize the fact that man has within himself the capacity to re-form the world about him.
Modern metaphysicians have discovered that with every thought we think there is a movement of active forces--not only a movement of those forces, but a movement of everything connected with our consciousness, our body, our world.
Every time we speak we cause the atoms and
cells of our body to tremble and go through certain changes. Not only do we cause the cells and atoms of our body to form new adjustments, but we even affect the cells of the bodies of those with whom we associate.
We are told that "the desert shall . . . blossom as the rose" and that we shall have a millennium here on earth; that things will be changed "in the twinkling of an eye." This is a Biblical view. We find that changes come gradually, and they come through work.
We find in the Old Testament the poems and prophecies of Isaiah. He tells in the language of the Orient some of the signs of the millennium--and they have been shown by modern science!
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of Jehovah, the excellency of our God.
Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with
reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for the redeemed.
In every generation since the dawn of history have been prophets who claimed that they received revelation of the end of the world. It is claimed that even Jesus told of the end of the world. However, more recent and accurate translations of the New Testament show this to be an error. What Jesus spoke of was "the completion of the age."
A vivid description of the end of the earth's civilization is found in the 34th chapter of Isaiah. Whether Isaiah knew any more about the end of the world than many modern prophets is a question.
History testifies to the fact that they are all wrong. The world is not coming to an end. Geologists say that it has taken the Colorado River at least fifty million years to carve out the Grand Canyon. It is logical, then, to conclude that God has a future for a globe that has taken Him so long to make.
But through poets, prophets, and pessimists in every age we are warned of what, from a human, destructive viewpoint, might occur. Shakespeare says:
Now what we want to ask is this: Are these prophecies of the end of civilization and the destruction of the earth and all things the result of sane thinking or are they the work of sick minds?
They are undoubtedly the work of sick minds. The sane man with a little logic would determine that our God, with the power and wisdom to create a world of such mighty possibilities, would not destroy it and leave the destiny of all the good people to the mercies of a few unscrupulous fanatics.
The destiny of the earth and of its people is in the minds and hands of those who seek to know God as Spirit, and those who seek Him must seek Him in Spirit.
Jesus points the way, and by following His formulas we shall find the solution to every problem. All the formulas given by Jesus are constructive rather than destructive. He does not teach death but life. "If a man keep my word, he shall never see death."
Where in Jesus' teachings shall we find a formula to offset, to dissolve, to meet and nullify the atomic bomb? We find it in the 10th chapter of Luke and the 22d chapter of Matthew. This is the formula:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor
as thyself." "This is the great and first commandment," Jesus told the lawyer who asked Him what was the "great" commandment. This is the fulfillment of all commandments.
The formula has been tested, and history shows that it has built and sustained civilization and produced peace, happiness, and prosperity.
Let us all join in prayer to this end, that we may take the formulas that Jesus gave as working principles, that they may be sent out in the world through the power of the word.
"Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land."