Keep a True Lent, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
TIMES OF DEPRESSION bring out the fact that in days of prosperity man either forgot the prayers and struggles that brought him to success and apparent safety, or else he failed to build his fortune on a firm financial foundation. If he had thought more about the source of life and substance, he would have escaped the needless grind of the poverty he has endured right here in the midst of abundance.
There is both a primary and a secondary law of increase. Men pile up possessions by human effort, interest, and other ways of secondary increase, and grow into the thought that these are the real means of attaining prosperity. But possessions gained in this way rest on a very insecure foundation and are often swept away in a day. Then men are in despair and often think that their means of existence is gone forever and life is not worth living. Such persons are really never happy in their wealth, because there is always a lurking fear that they may lose it. They are secretly troubled with the thought of lack, in the presence of worldly plenty.
We cannot help but think that a wise and provident Creator must have planned more permanent possessions for His offspring. In Truth, He has so planned. Access to this permanent source of all man's
good lies in his power to possess and mold in thought the omnipresent substance of Spirit.
Apparently we live in two worlds: an invisible world of thoughts, and a visible world of things. The invisible world of thought substance is the real world, because it is the source of the world of things, and man stands between the two, handing out with his thoughts the unlimited substance of Spirit. When man gets understanding of the right relation between the visible and the invisible into his mind and active in his thought, all his needs will be met. That is what Jesus meant when He said, "Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
But the invisible thought substance provided for man is very sensitive to man's thought about it; that is, about the things that originally came from it and that man claims as his possessions. If man hoards the things that he seems to possess, he clogs the spiritual channel from which they originally flowed and so receives sparingly from that source.
Watch your thoughts when you are handling your money, because your money is attached through your mind to the one source of all substance and all money. When you think of your money, which is visible, as something directly attached to an invisible source that is giving or withholding according to your thought, you have the key to all riches and the reason for all lack.
Paul had a consciousness of this law of thought
in finances when he wrote to the Corinthians, "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
This law of the mind affecting resources applies especially to those who are responsible for the temporal needs of the family, because they are seriously interested and put actual thought substance into the monetary income and outgo. Children and those who have not labored to gain money put very little thought substance into it or its spiritual idea. But the heads of families need thought discipline in raising the prosperity consciousness, because the law is no respecter of persons and millions of good people, the very salt of the earth, are in want the world over because they do not know this law of sowing and reaping in thought. The financial field is a large one, and we are all sowing and reaping in it every day. The financial genius deals in large transactions because he has large ideas of supply.
God, being the giver of inexhaustible ideas of plenty, loves those who abandon themselves to a cheerful state of mind so that He may pour more abundance into their thoughts. Then Paul says, "God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work."
The thought behind a gift is the real measure of its value and efficiency. Jesus illustrated this when He called the attention of His disciples to the poor
widow who cast two mites into the treasury, which was large in her estimation because it represented all her living. It is what we think about our gift that gives it spiritual value and not the stamp on the coin. This is illustrated by the story about the careless Scot who tossed a crown, thinking it a penny, into the collection plate, and when he saw his mistake asked to have it back. The deacon refused, and the Scot grunted, "Aweel, aweel, I'll get credit for it in heaven." "Na, na," responded the deacon, "ye'll get credit for the penny."
It is easy to forget that God is the source of our supply, so we have our days of thanksgiving and our grace at table, besides the discipline of acknowledging the supreme Giver of all good whenever we receive or pay out money. The practice of tithing is undoubtedly the most expansive practice in this respect, and thousands of successful businessmen use it to their continuous financial and spiritual profit.
Jacob began tithing very early in his successful career. "Of all that thou shalt give me," he vowed to Jehovah, "I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Tithing for the support of his religion was incumbent on every Israelite, and of all the races of the earth none other has equaled the Israelites in financial ability.
Metaphysical insight reveals why the Jews have always been noted for their prosperity. By the act of tithing, men make God their partner in their financial
transactions and thus keep the channel open from the source in the ideal to the manifestation in the realm of things. Whoever thinks that he is helping to keep God's work going in the earth cannot help but believe that God will help him. This virtually makes God not only a silent partner but also active in producing capital from unseen and unknown sources, in opening up avenues for commercial gain, and in various other ways making the individual prosperous.
That the law works for those who persist in its application is beyond question. But nearly all who practice tithing confess that in certain stages of their prosperity they fall into the error set forth in Deuteronomy: "Beware lest thou forget Jehovah . . . when . . . thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget Jehovah thy God . . . lest thou say in thy heart, My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth."
We give money a dignity that does not belong to it. Money and those who possess money are looked on as wielding a certain power, and we give them deference that in no wise belongs to them. The foundation of this is fear; we fear the power of those who use money to their own ends.
Various plans have been proposed to rob money of its power--or the power that men have given it--
the idea being that money is responsible for the abuses that have grown up through its use. But the destruction of money will not cure the evils that have come into being in the name of money. It is not money, but the love of money, that is the root of all evil. What men need to know is that money represents a mind substance of unlimited abundance and accessibility; that this mind substance cannot safely be hoarded or selfishly used by anyone; that it is a living magnet attracting good of every kind to those who possess it; that those who train their thoughts to depend on this mind substance for supply of all kinds never lack. When there is a need, they simply sing and pray and praise and give thanks that their need is bountifully supplied. If the mind is free from attachment to money or love of it, and lovingly concentrated on the divine substance, there is never failure in the demonstration.
"Because thou servedst not Jehovah thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies that Jehovah shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things."
This was the admonition of Moses to the Children of Israel, and it holds good to this day. Making a living is a species of slavery to most persons. To them God is a slave driver, and they are continually under the lash of their own thoughts of how hard it is to make a living. Life to them is just one task after
another without any hope of finding rest and peace.
This certainly is not the destiny planned by an all-powerful and all-loving Father for His children. When we groan and sweat under the stress and strain of life, we are serving Satan instead of God. The satanic consciousness would make us believe that there is a limited amount of the things necessary to life and that we must labor hard to get our share. It is true that such conditions do come upon those who have turned their faces from God. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread."
However, those who follow Jesus in the worship of the loving Father escape the effects of the curse of the serpent and are restored to the liberty of the sons of God.
All work becomes divine for man when he affirms that he is working for God and that God is a generous paymaster. Then joy and gladness of heart will automatically spring up in the soul "by reason of the abundance of all things." This means that when we praise God and give thanks for His supply and support we open our mind to the inflow of the abundant spiritual essence of all things.
Jesus said that before we can enter the kingdom of the heavens we must become as little children. Most children are bubbling over with happiness. They have not yet been taught how to take life in the serious, solemn manner of the average adult. They hop and they skip and they sing, and their daily needs are met.
We all look back on the joys and freedom of our childhood and wish that they might have lasted always. And why not?
We have been taught that in mature life we have many hard lessons to learn, that trials and tribulations are an essential part of man's life, and that we must experience them in order to develop our character; that is, our consciousness. But Jesus said we must become as little children before we can enter the kingdom of heaven and that the kingdom is within us.
The little child has no consciousness of the tribulations of life, and the logical conclusion is that when we unload false states of mind and become childlike we shall begin to realize what heaven is like.
"'For your Father knows your necessities before you ask Him. Consequently, ye must pray in this way:
"'Our Father in the Heavens; Your Name must be being Hallowed;
"'Your Kingdom must be being restored.
"'Your Will must be being done both in Heaven and upon the Earth.
"'Give us to-day our to-morrow's bread;
"'And forgive us our faults, as we forgive those offending us, for You would not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from its evil.'"
This translation of the Lord's Prayer is found in "The Complete Bible in Modern English," by Ferrar Fenton.
In a footnote to this translation Mr. Fenton says:
So we see that we are not to beg God to provide for us, implying that He has been like an improvident parent whom we have to remind of His remissness. God has provided absolutely and continuously for every need of man, individually and collectively, and everything belongs to us: "All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine," said Jesus.