(1762.5) 159:1.3 “The Father in heaven loves his children, and therefore
should you learn to love one another; the Father in heaven forgives you your
sins; therefore should you learn to forgive one another. If your brother sins
against you, go to him and with tact and patience show him his fault. And do
all this between you and him alone. If he will listen to you, then have you won
your brother. But if your brother will not hear you, if he persists in the error
of his way, go again to him, taking with you one or two mutual friends that you
may thus have two or even three witnesses to confirm your testimony and establish
the fact that you have dealt justly and mercifully with your offending brother.
Now if he refuses to hear your brethren, you may tell the whole story to the
congregation, and then, if he refuses to hear the brotherhood, let them take
such action as they deem wise; let such an unruly member become an outcast from
the kingdom. While you cannot pretend to sit in judgment on the souls of your
fellows, and while you may not forgive sins or otherwise presume to usurp the
prerogatives of the supervisors of the heavenly hosts, at the same time, it has
been committed to your hands that you should maintain temporal order in the kingdom
on earth. While you may not meddle with the divine decrees concerning eternal
life, you shall determine the issues of conduct as they concern the temporal
welfare of the brotherhood on earth. And so, in all these matters connected with
the discipline of the brotherhood, whatsoever you shall decree on earth, shall
be recognized in heaven. Although you cannot determine the eternal fate of the
individual, you may legislate regarding the conduct of the group, for, where
two or three of you agree concerning any of these things and ask of me, it shall
be done for you if your petition is not inconsistent with the will of my Father
in heaven. And all this is ever true, for, where two or three believers are gathered
together, there am I in the midst of them.”
(1765.4) 159:3.2 Always respect the personality of man. Never should a righteous
cause be promoted by force; spiritual victories can be won only by spiritual
power. This injunction against the employment of material influences refers to
psychic force as well as to physical force. Overpowering arguments and mental
superiority are not to be employed to coerce men and women into the kingdom.
Man’s mind is not to be crushed by the mere weight of logic or overawed
by shrewd eloquence. While emotion as a factor in human decisions cannot be wholly
eliminated, it should not be directly appealed to in the teachings of those who
would advance the cause of the kingdom. Make your appeals directly to the divine
spirit that dwells within the minds of men. Do not appeal to fear, pity, or mere
sentiment. In appealing to men, be fair; exercise self-control and exhibit due
restraint; show proper respect for the personalities of your pupils. Remember
that I have said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, and if any man
will open, I will come in.”
(1765.5) 159:3.3 In bringing men into the kingdom, do not lessen or destroy their
self-respect. While overmuch self-respect may destroy proper humility and end
in pride, conceit, and arrogance, the loss of self-respect often ends in paralysis
of the will. It is the purpose of this gospel to restore self-respect to those
who have lost it and to restrain it in those who have it. Make not the mistake
of only condemning the wrongs in the lives of your pupils; remember also to accord
generous recognition for the most praiseworthy things in their lives. Forget
not that I will stop at nothing to restore self-respect to those who have lost
it, and who really desire to regain it.
(1765.6) 159:3.4 Take care that you do not wound the self-respect of timid and
fearful souls. Do not indulge in sarcasm at the expense of my simple-minded brethren.
Be not cynical with my fear-ridden children. Idleness is destructive of self-respect;
therefore, admonish your brethren ever to keep busy at their chosen tasks, and
put forth every effort to secure work for those who find themselves without employment.
(1766.1) 159:3.5 Never be guilty of such unworthy tactics as endeavoring to frighten
men and women into the kingdom. A loving father does not frighten his children
into yielding obedience to his just requirements.
(1766.2) 159:3.6 Sometime the children of the kingdom will realize that strong
feelings of emotion are not equivalent to the leadings of the divine spirit.
To be strongly and strangely impressed to do something or to go to a certain
place, does not necessarily mean that such impulses are the leadings of the indwelling
(1766.3) 159:3.7 Forewarn all believers regarding the fringe of conflict which
must be traversed by all who pass from the life as it is lived in the flesh to
the higher life as it is lived in the spirit. To those who live quite wholly
within either realm, there is little conflict or confusion, but all are doomed
to experience more or less uncertainty during the times of transition between
the two levels of living. In entering the kingdom, you cannot escape its responsibilities
or avoid its obligations, but remember: The gospel yoke is easy and the burden
of truth is light.
(1766.4) 159:3.8 The world is filled with hungry souls who famish in the very
presence of the bread of life; men die searching for the very God who lives within
them. Men seek for the treasures of the kingdom with yearning hearts and weary
feet when they are all within the immediate grasp of living faith. Faith is to
religion what sails are to a ship; it is an addition of power, not an added burden
of life. There is but one struggle for those who enter the kingdom, and that
is to fight the good fight of faith. The believer has only one battle, and that
is against doubt — unbelief.
(1766.5) 159:3.9 In preaching the gospel of the kingdom, you are simply teaching
friendship with God. And this fellowship will appeal alike to men and women in
that both will find that which most truly satisfies their characteristic longings
and ideals. Tell my children that I am not only tender of their feelings and
patient with their frailties, but that I am also ruthless with sin and intolerant
of iniquity. I am indeed meek and humble in the presence of my Father, but I
am equally and relentlessly inexorable where there is deliberate evil-doing and
sinful rebellion against the will of my Father in heaven. *
(1766.6) 159:3.10 You shall not portray your teacher as a man of sorrows. Future
generations shall know also the radiance of our joy, the buoyance of our good
will, and the inspiration of our good humor. We proclaim a message of good news
which is infectious in its transforming power. Our religion is throbbing with
new life and new meanings. Those who accept this teaching are filled with joy
and in their hearts are constrained to rejoice evermore. Increasing happiness
is always the experience of all who are certain about God.
(1766.7) 159:3.11 Teach all believers to avoid leaning upon the insecure props
of false sympathy. You cannot develop strong characters out of the indulgence
of self-pity; honestly endeavor to avoid the deceptive influence of mere fellowship
in misery. Extend sympathy to the brave and courageous while you withhold overmuch
pity from those cowardly souls who only halfheartedly stand up before the trials
of living. Offer not consolation to those who lie down before their troubles
without a struggle. Sympathize not with your fellows merely that they may sympathize
with you in return.
(1766.8) 159:3.12 When my children once become self-conscious of the assurance
of the divine presence, such a faith will expand the mind, ennoble the soul,
reinforce the personality, augment the happiness, deepen the spirit perception,
and enhance the power to love and be loved.
(1767.1) 159:3.13 Teach all believers that those who enter the kingdom are not
thereby rendered immune to the accidents of time or to the ordinary catastrophes
of nature. Believing the gospel will not prevent getting into trouble, but it
will insure that you shall be unafraid when trouble does overtake you. If you
dare to believe in me and wholeheartedly proceed to follow after me, you shall
most certainly by so doing enter upon the sure pathway to trouble. I do not promise
to deliver you from the waters of adversity, but I do promise to go with you
through all of them.
(1769.3) 159:5.1 At Philadelphia, where James was working, Jesus taught the disciples
about the positive nature of the gospel of the kingdom. When, in the course of
his remarks, he intimated that some parts of the Scripture were more truth-containing
than others and admonished his hearers to feed their souls upon the best of the
spiritual food, James interrupted the Master, asking: “Would you be good
enough, Master, to suggest to us how we may choose the better passages from the
Scriptures for our personal edification?” And Jesus replied: “Yes,
James, when you read the Scriptures look for those eternally true and divinely
beautiful teachings, such as:
(1769.4) 159:5.2 “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.
(1769.5) 159:5.3 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
(1769.6) 159:5.4 “You should love your neighbor as yourself.
(1769.7) 159:5.5 “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
saying, fear not; I will help you.
(1769.8) 159:5.6 “Neither shall the nations learn war any more.”
(1769.9) 159:5.7 And this is illustrative of the way Jesus, day by day, appropriated
the cream of the Hebrew scriptures for the instruction of his followers and for
inclusion in the teachings of the new gospel of the kingdom. Other religions
had suggested the thought of the nearness of God to man, but Jesus made the care
of God for man like the solicitude of a loving father for the welfare of his
dependent children and then made this teaching the cornerstone of his religion.
And thus did the doctrine of the fatherhood of God make imperative the practice
of the brotherhood of man. The worship of God and the service of man became the
sum and substance of his religion. Jesus took the best of the Jewish religion
and translated it to a worthy setting in the new teachings of the gospel of the
(1769.10) 159:5.8 Jesus put the spirit of positive action into the passive doctrines
of the Jewish religion. In the place of negative compliance with ceremonial requirements,
Jesus enjoined the positive doing of that which his new religion required of
those who accepted it. Jesus’ religion consisted not merely in believing,
but in actually doing, those things which the gospel required. He did not teach
that the essence of his religion consisted in social service, but rather that
social service was one of the certain effects of the possession of the spirit
of true religion.
(1770.1) 159:5.9 Jesus did not hesitate to appropriate the better half of a Scripture
while he repudiated the lesser portion. His great exhortation, “Love your
neighbor as yourself,” he took from the Scripture which reads: “You
shall not take vengeance against the children of your people, but you shall love
your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus appropriated the positive portion of
this Scripture while rejecting the negative part. He even opposed negative or
purely passive nonresistance. Said he: “When an enemy smites you on one
cheek, do not stand there dumb and passive but in positive attitude turn the
other; that is, do the best thing possible actively to lead your brother in error
away from the evil paths into the better ways of righteous living.” Jesus
required his followers to react positively and aggressively to every life situation.
The turning of the other cheek, or whatever act that may typify, demands initiative,
necessitates vigorous, active, and courageous expression of the believer’s
(1770.2) 159:5.10 Jesus did not advocate the practice of negative submission
to the indignities of those who might purposely seek to impose upon the practitioners
of nonresistance to evil, but rather that his followers should be wise and alert
in the quick and positive reaction of good to evil to the end that they might
effectively overcome evil with good. Forget not, the truly good is invariably
more powerful than the most malignant evil. The Master taught a positive standard
of righteousness: “Whosoever wishes to be my disciple, let him disregard
himself and take up the full measure of his responsibilities daily to follow
me.” And he so lived himself in that “he went about doing good.” And
this aspect of the gospel was well illustrated by many parables which he later
spoke to his followers. He never exhorted his followers patiently to bear their
obligations but rather with energy and enthusiasm to live up to the full measure
of their human responsibilities and divine privileges in the kingdom of God.
(1770.3) 159:5.11 When Jesus instructed his apostles that they should, when one
unjustly took away the coat, offer the other garment, he referred not so much
to a literal second coat as to the idea of doing something positive to save the
wrongdoer in the place of the olden advice to retaliate — “an eye
for an eye” and so on. Jesus abhorred the idea either of retaliation or
of becoming just a passive sufferer or victim of injustice. On this occasion
he taught them the three ways of contending with, and resisting, evil:
(1770.4) 159:5.12 1. To return evil for evil — the positive but unrighteous
(1770.5) 159:5.13 2. To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance — the
purely negative method.
(1770.6) 159:5.14 3. To return good for evil, to assert the will so as to become
master of the situation, to overcome evil with good — the positive and
(1770.7) 159:5.15 One of the apostles once asked: “Master, what should
I do if a stranger forced me to carry his pack for a mile?” Jesus answered: “Do
not sit down and sigh for relief while you berate the stranger under your breath.
Righteousness comes not from such passive attitudes. If you can think of nothing
more effectively positive to do, you can at least carry the pack a second mile.
That will of a certainty challenge the unrighteous and ungodly stranger.”
(1770.8) 159:5.16 The Jews had heard of a God who would forgive repentant sinners
and try to forget their misdeeds, but not until Jesus came, did men hear about
a God who went in search of lost sheep, who took the initiative in looking for
sinners, and who rejoiced when he found them willing to return to the Father’s
house. This positive note in religion Jesus extended even to his prayers. And
he converted the negative golden rule into a positive admonition of human fairness.
(1771.1) 159:5.17 In all his teaching Jesus unfailingly avoided distracting details.
He shunned flowery language and avoided the mere poetic imagery of a play upon
words. He habitually put large meanings into small expressions. For purposes
of illustration Jesus reversed the current meanings of many terms, such as salt,
leaven, fishing, and little children. He most effectively employed the antithesis,
comparing the minute to the infinite and so on. His pictures were striking, such
as, “The blind leading the blind.” But the greatest strength to be
found in his illustrative teaching was its naturalness. Jesus brought the philosophy
of religion from heaven down to earth. He portrayed the elemental needs of the
soul with a new insight and a new bestowal of affection.
(1778.4) 160:4.1 While you have an eye single to the attainment of eternal realities,
you must also make provision for the necessities of temporal living. While the
spirit is our goal, the flesh is a fact. Occasionally the necessities of living
may fall into our hands by accident, but in general, we must intelligently work
for them. The two major problems of life are: making a temporal living and the
achievement of eternal survival. And even the problem of making a living requires
religion for its ideal solution. These are both highly personal problems. True
religion, in fact, does not function apart from the individual.
(1778.5) 160:4.2 The essentials of the temporal life, as I see them, are:
(1778.6) 160:4.3 1. Good physical health.
(1778.7) 160:4.4 2. Clear and clean thinking.
(1778.8) 160:4.5 3. Ability and skill.
(1778.9) 160:4.6 4. Wealth — the goods of life.
(1778.10) 160:4.7 5. Ability to withstand defeat.
(1778.11) 160:4.8 6. Culture — education and wisdom.
(1779.1) 160:4.9 Even the physical problems of bodily health and efficiency are
best solved when they are viewed from the religious standpoint of our Master’s
teaching: That the body and mind of man are the dwelling place of the gift of
the Gods, the spirit of God becoming the spirit of man. The mind of man thus
becomes the mediator between material things and spiritual realities.
(1779.2) 160:4.10 It requires intelligence to secure one’s share of the
desirable things of life. It is wholly erroneous to suppose that faithfulness
in doing one’s daily work will insure the rewards of wealth. Barring the
occasional and accidental acquirement of wealth, the material rewards of the
temporal life are found to flow in certain well-organized channels, and only
those who have access to these channels may expect to be well rewarded for their
temporal efforts. Poverty must ever be the lot of all men who seek for wealth
in isolated and individual channels. Wise planning, therefore, becomes the one
thing essential to worldly prosperity. Success requires not only devotion to
one’s work but also that one should function as a part of some one of the
channels of material wealth. If you are unwise, you can bestow a devoted life
upon your generation without material reward; if you are an accidental beneficiary
of the flow of wealth, you may roll in luxury even though you have done nothing
worth while for your fellow men.
(1779.3) 160:4.11 Ability is that which you inherit, while skill is what you
acquire. Life is not real to one who cannot do some one thing well, expertly.
Skill is one of the real sources of the satisfaction of living. Ability implies
the gift of foresight, farseeing vision. Be not deceived by the tempting rewards
of dishonest achievement; be willing to toil for the later returns inherent in
honest endeavor. The wise man is able to distinguish between means and ends;
otherwise, sometimes overplanning for the future defeats its own high purpose.
As a pleasure seeker you should aim always to be a producer as well as a consumer.
(1779.4) 160:4.12 Train your memory to hold in sacred trust the strength-giving
and worth-while episodes of life, which you can recall at will for your pleasure
and edification. Thus build up for yourself and in yourself reserve galleries
of beauty, goodness, and artistic grandeur. But the noblest of all memories are
the treasured recollections of the great moments of a superb friendship. And
all of these memory treasures radiate their most precious and exalting influences
under the releasing touch of spiritual worship.
(1779.5) 160:4.13 But life will become a burden of existence unless you learn
how to fail gracefully. There is an art in defeat which noble souls always acquire;
you must know how to lose cheerfully; you must be fearless of disappointment.
Never hesitate to admit failure. Make no attempt to hide failure under deceptive
smiles and beaming optimism. It sounds well always to claim success, but the
end results are appalling. Such a technique leads directly to the creation of
a world of unreality and to the inevitable crash of ultimate disillusionment.
(1779.6) 160:4.14 Success may generate courage and promote confidence, but wisdom
comes only from the experiences of adjustment to the results of one’s failures.
Men who prefer optimistic illusions to reality can never become wise. Only those
who face facts and adjust them to ideals can achieve wisdom. Wisdom embraces
both the fact and the ideal and therefore saves its devotees from both of those
barren extremes of philosophy — the man whose idealism excludes facts and
the materialist who is devoid of spiritual outlook. Those timid souls who can
only keep up the struggle of life by the aid of continuous false illusions of
success are doomed to suffer failure and experience defeat as they ultimately
awaken from the dream world of their own imaginations.
(1780.1) 160:4.15 And it is in this business of facing failure and adjusting
to defeat that the far-reaching vision of religion exerts its supreme influence.
Failure is simply an educational episode — a cultural experiment in the
acquirement of wisdom — in the experience of the God-seeking man who has
embarked on the eternal adventure of the exploration of a universe. To such men
defeat is but a new tool for the achievement of higher levels of universe reality.
(1780.2) 160:4.16 The career of a God-seeking man may prove to be a great success
in the light of eternity, even though the whole temporal-life enterprise may
appear as an overwhelming failure, provided each life failure yielded the culture
of wisdom and spirit achievement. Do not make the mistake of confusing knowledge,
culture, and wisdom. They are related in life, but they represent vastly differing
spirit values; wisdom ever dominates knowledge and always glorifies culture.
“ Build well the foundations for the growth of a noble character of spiritual
endowments,” he said: “In order to yield the fruits of the spirit,
you must be born of the spirit. You must be taught by the spirit and be led by
the spirit if you would live the spirit-filled life among your fellows. But do
not make the mistake of the foolish carpenter who wastes valuable time squaring,
measuring, and smoothing his worm-eaten and inwardly rotting timber and then,
when he has thus bestowed all of his labor upon the unsound beam, must reject
it as unfit to enter into the foundations of the building which he would construct
to withstand the assaults of time and storm. Let every man make sure that the
intellectual and moral foundations of character are such as will adequately support
the superstructure of the enlarging and ennobling spiritual nature, which is
thus to transform the mortal mind and then, in association with that re-created
mind, is to achieve the evolvement of the soul of immortal destiny. Your spirit
nature — the jointly created soul — is a living growth, but the mind
and morals of the individual are the soil from which these higher manifestations
of human development and divine destiny must spring. The soil of the evolving
soul is human and material, but the destiny of this combined creature of mind
and spirit is spiritual and divine.”
As the days pass, every true believer becomes more skillful in alluring
his fellows into the love of eternal truth. Are you more resourceful
in revealing goodness to humanity today than you were yesterday?
Are you a better righteousness recommender this year than you were
last year? Are you becoming increasingly artistic in your technique
of leading hungry souls into the spiritual kingdom?
(1740.3) 156:5.16 Are your ideals sufficiently high to insure your eternal
salvation while your ideas are so practical as to render you a useful citizen
to function on earth in association with your mortal fellows? In the spirit,
your citizenship is in heaven; in the flesh, you are still citizens of the
earth kingdoms. Render to the Caesars the things which are material and to
God those which are spiritual.
(1740.4) 156:5.17 The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving soul
is your faith in truth and your love for man, but the measure of your human
strength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudges and
your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the
true mirror in which you may honestly view your real self.
(1740.5) 156:5.18 As you grow older in years and more experienced in the affairs
of the kingdom, are you becoming more tactful in dealing with troublesome mortals
and more tolerant in living with stubborn associates? Tact is the fulcrum of
social leverage, and tolerance is the earmark of a great soul. If you possess
these rare and charming gifts, as the days pass you will become more alert
and expert in your worthy efforts to avoid all unnecessary social misunderstandings.
Such wise souls are able to avoid much of the trouble which is certain to be
the portion of all who suffer from lack of emotional adjustment, those who
refuse to grow up, and those who refuse to grow old gracefully.
(1740.6) 156:5.19 Avoid dishonesty and unfairness in all your efforts to preach
truth and proclaim the gospel. Seek no unearned recognition and crave no undeserved
sympathy. Love, freely receive from both divine and human sources regardless
of your deserts, and love freely in return. But in all other things related
to honor and adulation seek only that which honestly belongs to you.
(1740.7) 156:5.20 The God-conscious mortal is certain of salvation; he is unafraid
of life; he is honest and consistent. He knows how bravely to endure unavoidable
suffering; he is uncomplaining when faced by inescapable hardship.
(1740.8) 156:5.21 The true believer does not grow weary in well-doing just
because he is thwarted. Difficulty whets the ardor of the truth lover, while
obstacles only challenge the exertions of the undaunted kingdom builder.
“ I say to you, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Be not deceived by their show of much learning and by their profound loyalty
to the forms of religion. Be only concerned with the spirit of living truth and
the power of true religion. It is not the fear of a dead religion that will save
you but rather your faith in a living experience in the spiritual realities of
the kingdom. Do not allow yourselves to become blinded by prejudice and paralyzed
by fear. Neither permit reverence for the traditions so to pervert your understanding
that your eyes see not and your ears hear not. It is not the purpose of true
religion merely to bring peace but rather to insure progress. And there can be
no peace in the heart or progress in the mind unless you fall wholeheartedly
in love with truth, the ideals of eternal realities. The issues of life and death
are being set before you — the sinful pleasures of time against the righteous
realities of eternity. Even now you should begin to find deliverance from the
bondage of fear and doubt as you enter upon the living of the new life of faith
and hope. And when the feelings of service for your fellow men arise within your
soul, do not stifle them; when the emotions of love for your neighbor well up
within your heart, give expression to such urges of affection in intelligent
ministry to the real needs of your fellows.”
“ You are my chosen ambassadors, but I know that, in the circumstances,
you could not entertain this belief as a result of mere human knowledge. This
is a revelation of the spirit of my Father to your inmost souls. And when, therefore,
you make this confession by the insight of the spirit of my Father which dwells
within you, I am led to declare that upon this foundation will I build the brotherhood
of the kingdom of heaven. Upon this rock of spiritual reality will I build the
living temple of spiritual fellowship in the eternal realities of my Father’s
kingdom. All the forces of evil and the hosts of sin shall not prevail against
this human fraternity of the divine spirit. And while my Father’s spirit
shall ever be the divine guide and mentor of all who enter the bonds of this
spirit fellowship, to you and your successors I now deliver the keys of the outward
kingdom — the authority over things temporal — the social and economic
features of this association of men and women as fellows of the kingdom.”
As Jesus was going for a walk, a young man accosted him and said: “Master,
I would know from you the assurances of eternal life. Seeing that I have observed
all the commandments from my youth, I would like to know what more I must do
to gain eternal life?” In answer to this question Jesus said: “If
you keep all the commandments — do not commit adultery, do not kill,
do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your parents — you
do well, but salvation is the reward of faith, not merely of works. Do you
believe this gospel of the kingdom?” And Matadormus answered: “Yes,
Master, I do believe everything you and your apostles have taught me.” And
Jesus said, “Then are you indeed my disciple and a child of the kingdom.”