Prosperity, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
AFTER the multitude had been fed by the increase of the loaves and fishes, Jesus commanded that they gather up the fragments so that nothing might be lost. "And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full." Any form of waste is a violation of the divine law of conservation. Everywhere in nature there is evidence of stored-up energy substance, ready for use when needed.
This reserve force is not material but spiritual. It is ready to be called into expression to meet any need. But when it is not put to use or called into expression, there is a manifestation of inharmony or lack either in the body of man or in its outer supply. It is in his wrong conception of this spiritual force that man makes the mistake of falling into the habit of hoarding instead of conserving. He tries to gather things together in the external in a vain effort to avert an imagined shortage in the future and he counts himself rich by the amount of his material possessions.
Spiritually awakened people are coming to know that all riches are spiritual and within the reach of all as divine ideas. They study the law of conservation as it pertains to the spiritual and seek to build up a large reserve consciousness of substance, life, strength, and power, rather than laying up material treasures that "moth and rust consume" and "thieves break through and steal."
Men and women scatter their energies to the four winds in the effort to satisfy the desires of the flesh, and then wonder why they do not demonstrate prosperity. If they only realized the truth that this same thought force can be conserved and controlled to express itself in constructive channels, they would soon be prosperous. Spirit must have substance to work on and there must be substance in the ideas of your mind. If your substance is going here, there, and everywhere, being spent in riotous thinking, how can it accumulate to the point of demonstration? Such a waste of substance is a violation of the law of conservation, a law that all should know. When you overcome your desire for dissipation, not the overt acts only but the inner desire, then you will begin to accumulate substance that must manifest itself as prosperity according to the law.
One of the fundamental principles in the study of Christianity is that God's great objective is the making of a perfect man. Man is the apex of creation, made in God's image and likeness, and endowed with full authority and dominion over his elemental thoughts. We sometimes think that we
must succeed in some business or occupation before we can become rich or famous. This is a missing of the mark of "the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," which is to demonstrate the divine idea of a perfect man. The real object of life is not making money or becoming famous but the building of character, the bringing forth of the potentialities that exist in every one of us. A part of the divine plan is substantial provision by the Creator for all the mental and physical needs of His creation. We are not studying prosperity to become rich but to bring out those characteristics that are fundamental to prosperity. We must learn to develop the faculty that will bring prosperity and the character that is not spoiled by prosperity.
Faith is the faculty of mind that deals with the universal-substance idea. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Everything in God is ideal, without form or shape but with all possibilities. He is omnipresent in our mind and in our body. It is in our body that we bring God into visible manifestation. Faith is the faculty that does this. It lays hold of the substance idea and makes it visible.
The scramble for wealth seems to be the only object of existence for certain minds. Writers of Biblical times were incessantly preaching against the evils of money. Yet Jehovah was always promising riches and honor to all those who kept His commandments. The gold and silver that God promised were spiritual rather than material. God is mind, and mind can give only ideas. These ideas can be translated
into terms of gold or of anything else we desire, according to our thought. The only treasures that are worth saving are those we lay up in the heavens of the mind. The only gold that can be trusted to bring happiness is the gold of Spirit. Jesus says, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest."
Paul tells us that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." That means of course that by loving money man has in some way limited it. He has not loved the true source of money but has loved the thing rather than the Spirit that it expresses. He has broken the law by trying to grasp the thing and failing to acknowledge the idea that lies back of it. We must know this law, observing it in the handling of money, and make love the magnet of supply instead of becoming entangled in that selfishness and greed which is causing so much inharmony and suffering in the world today. We should know that there is a universal money substance and that it belongs to all of us in all its fullness.
In the parable of the sower Jesus uses a most striking phrase. Part of the good seed was choked out by thorns and the thorns represent the "deceitfulness of riches." Money is indeed a cheat. It promises ease and brings cares; it promises pleasures and pays with pain; it promises influence and returns envy and jealousy; it promises happiness and gives sorrow; it promises permanence and then flies away.
Metaphysically, it is better or at least safer to be poor than to be rich. Jesus taught this in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is pictured in torment, crying for the poor man to give him a drink of water. But if the rich are miserable, the poor who greatly desire to be rich are equally so. Poverty and riches are the two poles of a magnet whose pivot is a belief that the possession of matter will bring joy to the possessor. This belief is a delusion, and those who are attracted by this belief and allow their minds to be hypnotized by the desire for material possessions are to be pitied whether their desire is realized or not.
The real possessor of wealth is the one who feels that all things are his to use and to enjoy yet does not burden himself with the personal possession of anything. Diogenes was a most happy man though he lived in a tub. His philosophy has outlived the influence of the rich and powerful people who were his contemporaries. He walked around with a lantern at midday looking for an honest man, so they seem to have been as rare in his day as in ours.
However, the widespread desire for material possessions indicates that there is somewhere some good in it. The natural man is from the soil, formed of the dust of the ground, and loves his native element. The spiritual man is from above, originating in the heavens of the mind. He is given first place and like Jacob supplants the natural man. Men should not condemn the earth because of this, yet they should not love it to the exclusion of the heavens. They
should understand that substance is the day from which the Father makes the body of His people. "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things ... But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
The divine law holds that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. If this truth were thoroughly understood, men would begin at once to make all property public, available for the use and enjoyment of all the people. The early disciples of Jesus understood this and their religion required them to bring all their possessions and lay them at the feet of their leaders, to be distributed and used according to the needs of all. Paul's companion Barnabas gave his field. Ananias and Sapphira sold their land and brought part of the price to Peter but held back part of it. They had not overcome the fear of future lack and had not put their faith fully in the teaching and promises of the Master.
When we have recognized the truth of the omnipresence of God as substance and supply for every need, there will be no occasion for holding back part as Ananias and Sapphira did. We cannot hoard money in its material phase without breaking the law, which is that we have all the substance necessary for our supply. We ask the Lord for our "daily" bread and expect to have it but we do not get an accumulation that will spoil on our hands or that will deny the proper supply to any other man. The metaphysical idea of this part of the Lord's Prayer
is "Give us this day the substance of tomorrow's bread." We ask not for bread but for the substance that Spirit arranges to manifest as bread, clothing, shelter, or the supply for any need we may have.
Substance in the form of money is given to us for constructive uses. It is given for use and to meet an immediate need, not to be hoarded away or be foolishly wasted. When you have found freedom from the binding thought of hoarding money, do not go to the opposite extreme of extravagant spending. Money is to be used, not abused. It is good to keep one's obligations paid. It is good to have some money on hand for good uses, such as hospitality, education, for developing industries that will contribute to the good of numbers of people, for the furtherance of spiritual work, for helping others to build useful and constructive lives, and for many other purposes and activities. But in such conservation of money one should keep ever in mind the necessity of a constructive motive back of the action. Money accumulated for a definite and definitely constructive purpose is quite a different thing from money hoarded with the fearful thought of a "rainy day" or a prolonged season of lack and suffering. Money saved for "rainy days" is always used for just that, for fear attracts that which is feared unfailingly. "The thing which I fear cometh upon me."
Money saved as "an opportunity fund" brings an increase of good, but money hoarded from fear as a motive or with any miserly thought in mind cannot possibly bring any blessing. Those who hold the
thought of accumulation so dominant in the world today are inviting trouble and even disaster, because right along with this thought goes a strong affirmation of the fear of loss of riches. Their actions bespeak fear, and the loss they dread is certain to be manifested sooner or later. The worldly idea of prosperity is based on the wrong idea of supply. One may have the right idea about the source of riches as spiritual and yet have the wrong idea about the constancy of supply as an ever-present, freely flowing spiritual substance. God does not clothe the lilies in a moment and then leave them to the mercy of lack; He gives them the continuous supply necessary to their growth. We can rest assured that He will much more clothe us and keep us clothed from day to day according to our need. When we doubt this and place our dependence on stored-up money instead, we shut off the stream of divine supply. Then when our little accumulation is spent, stolen, or lost, we are like the prodigal son and we begin to be in want.
Jesus did not own a foot of land. Yet never did He lack for anything needed. Without laying up treasures on earth He was rich in His consciousness of the treasures of heaven within Himself, treasures ready to be manifested in the outer whenever He needed them.
We know perfectly well that sooner or later we shall have to let go of our earthly possessions. Does this bring the thought of death and of leaving the world behind? Then it shows what a powerful hold
this race belief of worldly wealth has taken in your mind. Men can think of letting go of their material possessions only in connection with death. They seem to prefer death to giving up their idea of wealth. When they make such a choice they decree what shall come to pass for them. That is why it is hard for a "rich man" to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He has laid up treasures on earth and not enough in heaven. He has not made it possible for his mind to lay hold of the positive pole of wealth, the true idea of wealth. He is holding to the negative side of the wealth idea, and that side is always changing. Material things pass away unless they are firmly connected with the unchanging, positive Source.
True riches and real prosperity are in the understanding that there is an omnipresent substance from which all things come and that by the action of our mind we can unify ourselves with that substance so that the manifestations that come from it will be in line with our desires and needs. Instead of realizing the inexhaustible, eternal, and omnipresent nature of that substance, we have limited it in our thought. We have thought that there is only about so much of it and that we had better hurry to get our share. We have thought that we must be careful how we spend it and put some of it away for a time when there won't be any more. In building up this consciousness of a limited supply we have concluded that it is necessary to be economical and more and more saving. We begin to pinch in our mind, and
then our money becomes pinched, for as we think in our mind, so we manifest in our affairs. This attitude pinches the channel through which our substance comes to manifestation and slows down the even flow of our supply. Then comes depression, hard times, shortage, and we wonder why, looking for some way to lay the blame on the government, or on war, or on industry, or even on the Lord, but never by any chance do we put the blame where it belongs: on ourselves.
The "pinching attitude" of mind does even worse than bring people into want. If people would relax in mind, they would loosen up the nerves and muscles of the body. They must learn the cause of their strained, pinching mental attitude and let go of that first. Then the relief of the outer condition will become manifest as the condition itself did.
Nearly all of us have been brought up in the belief that economy is an important thing, even a virtue. We should save our money and have a bank account. Saving money is the recipe for success given by many of our wealthy men. It is not a bad idea. There must be money available in banks to carry on business and industry. By having a bank account we contribute to the welfare of the community, if we have the right idea; which is that the Lord is our banker.
The word miser is from the Latin root from which also comes "miserable." It describes the condition of those who love and hoard money, lands, or other material things. The stories that are told
about misers are almost beyond credence, but nearly every day the press recounts the story of the pitiable straits to which misers have reduced themselves in order to add to their riches. They sometimes starve themselves to add a few dollars or even a few pennies to their hoarded store. The papers recently carried an item about a miser in New York worth eleven million dollars. He goes from office to office in one of his great office buildings and picks up the waste paper from the baskets, which he sells for a few cents. Another almost as wealthy will not buy an overcoat but keeps his body warm by pinning newspapers under his house coat. Such men are not only themselves miserable but they make miserable all those around them. A New York paper tells of a miser worth millions when he died. Once burglars broke into his home, but they succeeded in getting out again without losing anything.
You do not need to lay up treasures for the future when you know that the law of omnipresent good is providing for you from within. As you evolve into this inner law of mind, you draw to yourself more and more of the good things of life.
In your mind see plenty everywhere. Yes, it is hard sometimes to overcome the thought that there is not enough, for it is an insidious thought that has been in consciousness for a long time. But it can be done. It has been done and is being done by others. The prosperity law is not a theory but a demonstrated fact, as thousands can testify. Now is the time to open your mind and to see plenty. As you do so you
will find that there is an increase in your supply. Deny out of mind every thought of lack and affirm the abundance of all good. The infinite substance that infinite Mind has given to you is all about you now, but you must lay hold of it. It is like the air, but you must breathe the air to get it. It is yours for the taking, but you must take it. You should cultivate this wonderful power of the mind to know that everything is bountiful and this power to lay hold of invisible substance in the mind and by faith bring it forth into manifestation. Know with Job that we have as much now, in reality and in Truth, as we ever had. There is no shortage, lack, or depression with God.
Do not be fearful, regardless of how outer appearances may affect others. Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs. Refuse to load up your mind with the old material thoughts of economy to the point of denial of what you really need. Eliminate the old limiting ideas. Assert your freedom and your faith as a child of God. Do not spend foolishly or save foolishly. The farmer does not throw away his wheat when he sows a field. He knows how much he must sow per acre and does not stint, for he knows that a stinted sowing will bring a stinted harvest. He sows bountifully but not extravagantly and he reaps bountifully as he has sown. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
We cannot help but see that apparent lack and hard times are the result of states of mind. We have such things in the manifest world because men have not squared their action with divine Principle. They have not used spiritual judgment. When they invest in stocks and property, they get the opinions of other men, sometimes those who call themselves experts. Then comes the crash, and even the experts prove how little they understand the real laws of wealth. We can go to an expert who really knows the law because He ordained it in the first place. And He is not far away, but right within ourselves. We can go within and meditate on these things in the silence, and the Lord will direct our personal finances. He will show us just how to get the most and give the most with our money and He will see to it that we have the supply that we need so that we may not be in want of anything needful to our good. This may not mean riches piled up or "saved for a rainy day," but it will insure our supply for today, the only day there is in Truth.
As we continue to grow in the consciousness of God as omnipresent life and substance we no longer have to put our trust in accumulations of money or other goods. We are sure that each day's need will be met, and we do not deprive ourselves of today's enjoyment and peace in order to provide for some future and wholly imaginary need. In this consciousness our life becomes divinely ordered, and there is a balance in supply and finances as in everything else. We do not deprive ourselves of what we need today;
neither do we waste our substance in foolish ways nor deplete it uselessly. We do not expect or prepare for adversity of any kind, for to do so is not only to invite it but to show a doubt of God and all His promises. Many people bear burdens and deny themselves sufficient for their present needs in order to prepare for dark days that never come. When we look back over the past we find that most of our fears were groundless, and most of the things we dreaded so much never happened. However the things we prepared for probably did happen and found us not fully prepared even after all our efforts in that direction. This should enable us to trust God now and rest in the positive assurance that He will supply every need as it arises.
Things are never so bad as you think. Never allow yourself to be burdened with the thought that you are having a hard time. You do not want a soul structure of that kind and should not build it with those thoughts. You are living in a new age. Yesterday is gone forever; today is here forever. Something grander for man is now unfolding. Put yourself in line with the progress of thought in the new age and go forward.