Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine America Spirit . . .May I Be Inspired
The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life, by Emmet Fox. HarperCollins, www.harpercollins.com, copyright 1934, ISBN 978-0-06-062862-8, pp. 183.
"The Golden Key," by Emmet Fox. BN Publishing, www.bnpublishing.com, ISBN 978-1-60796-641-8, pp. 13.
Around the Year with Emmet Fox, A Book of Daily Readings, by Emmet Fox. HarperOne, wwwharpercollins.com, copyright 1931, ISBN 978-0-06-250408-1, pp. 378.
In the last issue of The St. Croix Review there was much writing about the motives and techniques of progressive activists. They are not capable of genuine introspection. They don't have much empathy. They categorize people by gender, race, sexual preference; they don't value individuals. They invent myths to manipulate people. They desire power and domination. They deceive and force their will on us. Their ambition is inexhaustible. Their prescriptions for society fail because they lack wisdom.
How might Americans who cherish liberty, and the best traditions of our nation, defeat progressives? How may we each realize the American dream? Where may we find strength of character?
We do need strength of character. We need liberation from bitterness, because a bitter person is consumed with angry thoughts, and is often borne down by hopelessness too. How can a hopeless and angry person be effective?
Wisdom is a gift from God. Wisdom is intelligence, love, and peace of mind. To grasp hold of ever-present, wondrous possibility, a peaceful and receptive mind is necessary. Anger narrows vision, and hopelessness drains energy, but peace makes room for inspiration.
Inspiration comes like lightning. God provides the inspiration. I need to seek out a connection to God, who resides within me.
Emmet Fox was born in Ireland, schooled at a Jesuit college, and trained as an electrical engineer. He discovered that he had healing powers, and became involved with the New Thought movement. An American with the marvelous name of Phineas Quimby founded the New Thought movement in the early 19th century in America - spiritual movements are a prominent part of our history.
Emmet Fox immigrated to America, and in 1931 he was appointed minister of New York City's Divine Science Church of the Healing Christ. He was immensely popular, and regularly spoke to audiences of over 5,000 people during the Great Depression - a time of great suffering - filling the Hippodrome and Carnegie Hall.
The three works cited above are inspired. The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life, interprets the ministry of Jesus; "The Golden Key," is a pamphlet of few pages about a method for escaping any difficulty; and Around the Year with Emmet Fox, A Book of Daily Readings, may uplift us each day.
The following paragraphs have been woven together from The Sermon on the Mount:
. . . All day long the thoughts that occupy your mind, your Secret Place, as Jesus calls it, are molding your destiny for good or evil; in fact, the truth is that the whole of our life's experience is but the outer expression of inner thought.
. . . Now we can choose the sort of thoughts that we entertain. It will be a little difficult to break a bad habit of thought, but it can be done. We can choose how we shall think - in point of fact, we always do choose - and therefore our lives are just the result of the kind of thoughts we have chosen to hold; and therefore they are of our own ordering; and therefore there is perfect justice in the universe. No suffering for another man's original sin, but the reaping of a harvest that we ourselves have sown. We have free will, but our free will lies in our choice of thought.
. . . Whatever you give your attention to is the thing that governs your life. Attention is the key. Your free will lies in the directing of your attention. Whatever you steadfastly direct your attention to, will come into your life and dominate it.
. . . You must get rid of all sense of resentment and hostility. You must change your own state of mind until you are conscious only of harmony and peace within yourself, and have a sense of positive good will towards all.
. . . fear, hatred, and resentment are ideas heavily charged with emotion, and these, when added to any difficulty, recharge it with fresh and vigorous life and make it all the more difficult to overcome.
. . . With a new difficulty of any kind, it is the reception that you give it mentally, and the attitude that you adopt towards it in you own thought, that completely determine its effect upon you. . . . What matters to you, truly, is not people or things or conditions in themselves, but the thoughts and beliefs that you hold concerning them.
. . . the world of which we are normally aware, and with whose laws alone most people are acquainted, is only a fragment of the whole universe as it really is; and that there is such a thing as appealing from a lower to a higher law - from a lesser to a greater expression.
Jesus concerned himself exclusively with the teaching of general principles, and these general principles always had to do with mental states, for he knew that if one's mental states are right, everything else must be right too, whereas, if these are wrong, nothing else can be right.
. . . Prayer does change things. Prayer does make things happen quite otherwise than they would have happened had the prayer not been made. It makes no difference at all what sort of difficulty you may be in. It does not matter what the causes may have been that led up to it. Enough prayer will get you out of your difficulty if only you will be persistent enough in your appeal to God.
How has change come for me? I received a gift: I was guided to pay attention to the quality of my thinking. One of the best times to observe my consciousness is while I'm driving with the radio off. Most thinking is scattered. It takes effort to focus. Often there is disturbance. Harsh judgment - of myself, or others - arises in an instant, and if I am not careful I may be consumed by bitterness for stretches of time.
I am not responsible for my first angry thought, because it comes unlooked for, in an instant. No fault attaches to my first angry thought.
Self-centeredness and fear generate anger. God gave me self-centeredness and fear so that I have someplace to grow from. This is the secret of life, that I may tame my selfishness and have peace. Peace does not come by accident. I have to seek peace and good will.
I may fall into habitually negative thinking, because I haven't been paying attention. Habits are formidable, especially if practiced for a long time. Becoming aware of my habits is a gift, because with awareness comes the possibility for spiritual growth.
If I try to wrench my thinking elsewhere there arises frustration. The best method for escaping a funk is to watch harsh thoughts passively - not to fight them. It is the nature of thoughts to come and go. Possession isn't necessary. I can let frustration go. There is a simple prayer: "May I have peace" - saying these words over has brought me peace.
God changes me. God brings peace when I ask for peace - this has been my experience. To have found peace consistently, and to have discovered the source of peace in God's strength is the best gift of all.
The cynicism of others, no matter how intelligent the cynic, is of no account after the source of peace is discovered, because it is clear that the cynic lacks the experience of peace.
In The Sermon on the Mount Emmet Fox examines the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:
To be poor in spirit means to have emptied yourself of all desire to exercise personal self-will, and, what is just as important, to have renounced all preconceived opinions in the wholehearted search for God. It means to be willing to set aside your present habits of thought, your present views and prejudices, your present way of life if necessary; to jettison in fact, anything and everything that can stand in the way of your finding God.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
. . . trouble and suffering are often extremely useful, because many people will not bother to learn the Truth until driven to do so by sorrow and failure. Sorrow then becomes relatively a good thing. Sooner or later every human being will have to discover the Truth about God, and make his own contact with Him at first hand. He will have to acquire the understanding of Truth, which will set him free, once and for all. . . .
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
. . . the word "meek" in the Bible is a mental attitude for which there is no other single word available. . . . It is a combination of open-mindedness, faith in God, and the realization that the Will of God for us is always something joyous and interesting and vital, and much better than anything we could think of for ourselves. This state of mind also includes a perfect willingness to allow this Will of God to come about in whatever way Divine Wisdom considers to be best, rather than in some particular way that we have chosen for ourselves.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Righteousness means, in the Bible, not merely right conduct, but right thinking on all subjects, in every department of life. . . . If you want material prosperity, you must first think prosperity thoughts, and then make a habit of doing so, for the thing that keeps most people poor is the sheer habit of poverty thinking. If you want congenial companionship, if you want to be loved, you must first think thoughts of love and good-will. . . . but unfortunately the doing of it is anything but easy. Now, why should this be so? The answer lies in the extraordinary potency of habit; and habits of thinking are at once the most subtle in character and then most difficult to break. . . .
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
The thing that really matters is that you be merciful in your thought. Kind actions coupled with unkind thoughts are hypocrisy, dictated by fear, or desire for self-glory, or some such motive. . . . the true thought about your fellowman blesses him spiritually, mentally, and materially; and blesses you too. Let us be merciful in our mental judgments of our brother, for, in truth, we are all one, and the more deeply he seems to err, the more urgent is the need for us to help him with the right thought. . . .
Blessed are the pure of heart: for they shall see God.
Heaven lies all about us - it is not a distant locality afar off in the skies, but all around us now - but because we are lacking in spiritual perception, we are unable to recognize it. . . . Heaven is the religious name for the Presence of God, and Heaven is infinite; but our mental habit leads us to mold our experience into three dimensions only. . . . Heaven is the realm of Spirit, Substance; without age, or discord, or decay; a realm of eternal good; and yet, to our distorted vision, everything is ageing, decaying, wearing out; getting born only to die, blossoming only to fade.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
. . . prayer is the only real action in the full sense of the word, because prayer is the only thing that changes one's character. A change in character, or a change in soul, is a real change. When that kind of change takes place, you become a different person and, therefore, for the rest of your life you act in a different way from the way in which you have previously acted, and in which you would have continued to act had you not prayed. In other words, you become a different man. . . .
The great essential for success in prayer - for obtaining that sense of the Presence of God, which is the secret of healing oneself and others too; of obtaining inspiration, which is the breath of the soul; of acquiring spiritual development - is that we first attain some degree of true peace of mind. This true, interior soul-peace was known to the mystics as serenity, and they are never tired of telling us that serenity is the grand passport to the Presence of God. . . .
The question remains: How might Americans who cherish liberty, and the best traditions of our nation, defeat progressives?
I have faith the progressives are not equal to God. I pray for inspiration, doing what I can without becoming bitter, knowing that God determines outcomes, and that a wondrous result is possible.
America has been sent noble statesmen: Ronald Reagan successfully navigated economic difficulty and the Cold War because he had faith in God. His cheerfulness and optimism were founded on strength greater than his own. He was a channel for the divine, and thus realized wondrous accomplishments.
Abraham Lincoln was an eloquent man and we are lucky to have his speeches. There is vigorous intelligence in his speeches. Intelligent and eloquent politicians are commonplace, but Lincoln's passion for justice, his humane spirit, his persistence, and his sincerity are extraordinary. In his first inaugural address, on the eve of the Civil War, he said:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Abraham Lincoln lost battles for years before he found competent generals; 51,000 Americans died at Gettysburg alone (50,000 died during the entire French Revolution); wounded soldiers had limbs sawed off; Lincoln signed orders for the execution of deserters to prevent massive desertion; he was presented with innumerable political difficulties; he was ridiculed unmercifully; his son Willie died during the war - somehow he bore burdens beyond seemingly human capacity. The photo taken near his death, with his sorrowful eyes and deeply lined face, show the burdens he bore.
The closing words of his second inaugural address, given after the war was won, are:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln wasn't consumed by bitterness. He prayed. He sought strength from God, and he followed the teachings of Christ. He is an enduring example. *