Amanda M Hicks.

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forces, light, heat, electricity, gravitation, chemism
and others almost without number, and we find that
certain qualities are common to all. They are each
and all invisible; we know them only by their effects.
Each force outreaches the bounds of human thought
as to quantity. Man cannot create nor destroy one
unit of force. Each force has its own fixed, un-
changeable laws. By knowledge of the laws of a
force and conformity to these laws man may com-
mand the force for his own special purposes. For so
utilizing the simplest natural force man must have a
device for applying and directing the force; he must
have a machine. A machine must be constructed in
every minute part according to the laws of mechan-
ics. Lever and pulley, wheel and axle, each part has
its own fixed law.

One of the greatest modern discoveries of science
is that all the so-called natural forces are different
manifestations of one all-inclusive force. That each
may be transformed into another force, but cannot be
created nor destroyed by man. This is the great prin-
ciple of the conservation of energy. In making this
profound generalization, science stopped short at the

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threshold of a yet greater truth, that all the forces of
nature are different manifestations of "ONE OMNI-
PRESENT DIVINE ENERGY OR WILL"; hence one
with what religion has long since recognized as spir-
itual force, the out-go of the all sufficient Personality
back of created things.

Our study of Spiritual Dynamics then must in-
clude all the natural forces as factors in this one
primal all inclusive Force which is God.

Science in her great generalization of all natural
forces as one force found no single law that would
fit this inclusive force. Le Conte gave us the clue to
such a law and coupled with it a new definition of
Science. "The laws of nature are regular modes of
operation of divine energy or will; invariable because
he is unchangeable." "Science is systematic knowl-
edge of divine thoughts and divine ways." Boutroux,
a noted French philosopher, speaks of a time when
we shall recognize "a science which shall embrace all
knowledge, because it sees all things in God."

What then is the law of this one ultimate force
that includes all natural forces, and also spiritual
force? If all force is divine the law of all force must
also be divine, must be spiritual. We seek spiritual
law on the plane of the spiritual. Here is the one
universal divine law, the keeping of which will bring
man into harmony with the divine will, hence into
harmony with divine power.

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart and thy neighbor as thyself."

Apply now the scientific principle that in order to
utilize any force there must be conformity to the law
of the force. Let science and religion join hands and

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conform to this universal divine law wherever in all
the world men touch the springs of human life, and
the sources of production; and we shall see all the
mighty forces of nature added to the spiritual forces
now in action, for the advancement of human welfare,
for the coming of the kingdom of God here on earth.

We have seen that any force of nature to be con-
trolled by man must have a medium of manifestation,
a mechanism made conformable to law. What is the
mechanism through which spiritual power may mani-
fest itself here on earth? We touch here one of the
most wonderful truths of Christ's teachings. Man is
the medium, the mechanism through which divine
power may manifest itself for the bringing in of the
kingdom of God here and now.

If the medium through which physical force is
to be utilized must be made conformable to law and
kept in order to avoid friction and limitation of
power, what of the mechanism through which spiritual
power may manifest itself? Here is a challenge for
efficiency.

Man's body is the most perfect piece of machinery
ever made. It is man's duty as a child of God to keep
this part of himself in order, that it may help and not
hinder the divine Spirit which seeks it as a medium
of work in the world. This may be done by knowing
and obeying the laws of physical life, laws as truly
divine and imperative as any other laws of God.

So of the mind. Here again we are in the domain
of law. Who shall estimate or set bounds to the pow-
er of the mind of one man, developed and used in
harmony with divine law and yielded to the Spirit of
Truth which is promised to guide into all truth?

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Of spiritual media through which the power of
God may be manifested Paul singles out faith, hope
and love. The promises made to faith alone stagger
us by their greatness; and as for love, read I Corin-
thians 13 and Eph. 3:14-21, and stand in awe.

If there is limitation of power in the physical
realm, it is on the side of the mechanism and not of
the force. Electricity cannot light a million homes,
cannot turn uncounted wheels, cannot speak through
the air, cannot do any of its wonderful works in the
world without the various forms of mechanism
through which it is today manifesting its power. Man
may limit this force by failing to supply proper media
for its expression. He may enable it to do mighty
works by conforming to its laws.

If there is limitation of power in the spiritual
realm it is on the side of the human mechanism and
not of the Power. The Power is unlimited. It is said
of the children of Israel because of their failure at
Kadesh-Barnea, that "they limited the Holy One of
Israel." Ps. 78:41. Jesus himself could not in his
own land do many mighty works because of the un-
belief of the people who saw in him only the car-
penter's son. Matt. 13:55-58.

As man may limit God by failing to supply the
medium for the divine power which is ever at hand,
so he may enable the Holy One to do his wonderful
works in the world, by conforming to divine law.
As there are unexplored resources of power in every
natural force, so there are unexplored resources of
power in God, for help in all the right purposes of
life for hastening the coming of the kingdom. Acts
1:8.

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FIFTH STUDY.
SPIRITUAL GRAVITATION.

Early in the Seventeenth century Galileo startled
the religious world by his discovery that the earth is
not the center of the universe, but that it moves about
the sun. The discoverer came near losing his life for
his bold assertion. Later in the same century came
the even more startling discovery by Newton of the
law of gravitation.

Voltaire openly advocated Newton's views, think-
ing that he had now found an unanswerable argument
that would banish God from the course of nature.

Today many of our greatest astronomers and other
men of science regard the conception of one force
pervading infinite space, and one law guiding un-
numbered worlds in their orbits, as the strongest
proof of the imminence of God. Truly the heavens
declare the glory of God.

It was surely a daring generalization on which
Newton announced this great law, "Any two par-
ticles of matter attract each other with a force which
is proportionate to their masses and inversely pro-
portional to the square of the distance between them. 9 '
Shall we find that this force of gravitation and the
law from which it never varies by a hair's breadth
can teach us valuable lessons of spiritual life?

Two bodies, as the earth and the sun, have each an
attraction for the other, and somewhere between the
two is a point or line of equilibrium between the two
forces. Note that this is only a point or line, and
that every particle of matter between the earth and
the sun must be on one side or the other of this in-
visible line, hence more strongly attracted to one body
than to the other.

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For man there are but two centers of attraction
and two motive powers which determine his direction
of movement, his actions, his character. The one
center of attraction is God. The other center is self.
One motive power is love. The other is selfishness.
Love is the source of all the good in the world.
Selfishness is the source of all the evil in the world.

God as a center is drawing every man to himself
by the persuasive power of a perfect ideal and the
attractive force of love. At the same time every man
is being drawn towards the self-center by the urge of
his own lower nature and in obedience to the law of
selfishness.

Here again we find man's royal privilege of choice.
He may and must choose his center of gravitation,
shall it be God, or shall it be self? He must choose
the law of his life. Shall it be love or shall it be
selfishness? Here is a test by which we may know,
by what a man is, which of these motives is the law
of his life. Love seeks the highest good of its object,
without regard to the gratification of the lower self.
Selfishness seeks gratification of the lower self with-
out regard to the good of its object, be that object
self, or neighbor, or God.

Again we turn to the great law of the kingdom as
our standard: "Thou shall love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself."
Usually we think of only two objectives as named in
this law, God and the neighbor; but we lose the true
meaning of the law if we fail to include the third
objective, "Self." We are speaking now, not of an
emotion which may call itself by the holy name of
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love. We are speaking of love which is of the very
nature of God. Love of self is as far removed from
selfishness as the east is from the west.

Apply now our test, beginning with self. The man
who loves himself seeks his own highest good without
regard to the gratification of his own lower self. This
gives him the only true standard for loving his neigh-
bor. If he love his neighbor as himself he will seek
the neighbor's highest good without regard to the
gratification of himself. If he love God he will seek
the highest that God seeks; and if he love himself he
must love God, for that is his own highest good.

Having chosen his life center, either God or self,
and having made the law of his life either love or
selfishness, we find every man on the God side or on
the self side of the line of equilibrium between the
two centers, God and self, good and evil.

We have learned from our own observation and
experience that every man is himself a force of gravi-
tation. This is in harmony with the physical law,
every particle attracts every other particle. Here we
find the glory and the pathos of life. Every man as
a gravity force is attracting men toward God or to-
ward the great mass of selfishness which is on every
hand. He is adding to the attractive power of God
his own attractive force, or he is adding to the at-
tractive forces of evil in the world.

And he must do this whether he deliberately plans
it or not. He makes his choice when he chooses his
life center, self or God. It is not by his words that
a man is the greatest attractive force for good or evil.
It is by what he is. "What you are thunders so loud
I cannot hear what you say."

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Men pass the line of equilibrium between self and
God at the new birth, but some keep dangerously near
the line even after they are new born. John was the
"Beloved Disciple" because he chose his place nearest
to the heart of the Master; and what a drawing power
he is in the world today.

Of Jesus Christ as a drawing power Napoleon at
St. Helena gave this testimony: "I and Alexander
founded empires on force. Today I am an exile and
no man does my bidding; and where is the empire
of Alexander? Jesus Christ founded an empire on
love and he alone has succeeded in so raising men to
the unseen that they become insensible to barriers of
time and space. Across the chasm of eighteen hun-
dred years Jesus Christ makes a demand, which of all
others, is difficult to satisfy. He demands the human
heart, and today millions of men would die for him.
This it is that proves to me quite conclusively the
divinity of Jesus Christ."

SIXTH STUDY.
THE SPIRITUAL KINGDOM.

In our first study we have said that one great pur-
pose of the Christ in coming to the earth as Jesus
of Nazareth was to establish here and now a spiritual
kingdom in which the will of God shall be done as it
is done in heaven. Our five studies already given
have steadily kept this end in view.

Prophets and sages of old had seen in vision a
kingdom of God which had these signs:

"His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom." Dan.
4:3. "A kingdom of glorious majesty." Ps. 145:12.
"A kingdom that ruleth over all." Ps. 103:19. "Of
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the increase of his kingdom and peace there shall be
no end." Is. 9:6-7.

At the beginning of his public ministry, "Jesus
went about all Galilee, preaching the good tidings of
the kingdom." Matt. 4:23. He sent out the twelve
with one message, "As ye go preach, The kingdom of
heaven is at hand." Matt. 10:7. He gave the same
word to be spoken by the seventy whom he sent out
later.

Our Lord's teachings, especially his many parables,
centered largely in the thought of the kingdom. He
taught men to pray, "Thy kingdom come." In those
wonderful forty days after his resurrection when he
appeared to many, but especially to his chosen dis-
ciples, he was "Speaking of the things concerning the
kingdom of God." Acts 1:3.

So from the far off days of the prophets down to
our own day people have been thinking and talking
about "A Kingdom of God." Many different ideas
have been held concerning this kingdom. The Jews
thought it was to be a temporal kingdom with a king
of mighty power on the throne of David. When
Jesus fed the multitude on the shores of the Sea of
Galilee they thought he must surely be the promised
one, and sought by force to make him a king.

The disciples held to this view concerning Jesus.
On the day of his resurrection the two who walked
to Emmans and saw the Lord but knew him not, said,
"We hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel."
Luke 24:21. Just before the Master's ascension the
disciples asked, "Lord, dost thou at this time restore
the kingdom to Israel?" Acts. 1:6.

In all the Christian ages many believers in Christ
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have thought that the kingdom of heaven is in
heaven and that believers will come into the kingdom
only after death.

The belief current in many minds today is that the
kingdom will not come on earth until Christ returns
in bodily form to dwell among men.

What was Christ's idea of the kingdom? Al-
though it had been announced again and again,
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand," still
the people were in doubt. The Pharisees asked
him when the kingdom of God cometh and
he gave in one short sentence the time and
place and character of the kingdom. "The king-
dom of God cometh not with outward show, neither
shall ye say, 'Look here!' or 'Look there!' for lo, the
kingdom of God is within you; or, in your midst."

Christ's most perfect word description of the char-
acter of the kingdom is in the prayer he taught men
to pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is done in
heaven." Paul's great definition of the kingdom is in
Rom. 14:17, "The kingdom of God is not eating and
drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the
Holy Spirit."

Jesus seems almost to go beyond the power
of language in setting before his hearers in plain word
and in parable what the kingdom is like. The short-
est and most wonderful of these parables we find in
Matt. 13:33, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven
which a woman took and hid in three measures of
meal till the whole was leavened." No one on earth,
except Jesus himself, knew at that time the nature of
leaven. That is a recent discovery of science, a
discovery that waited for the microscope. Leaven is
life and growth. It is a plant which forms buds and

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each bud breaks off and forms a new plant. And
these countless microscopic plants assimilate the life-
less mass of meal, particle by particle, and vitalize it;
and the growth continues till the last particle is
reached and made alive, till the whole is leavened.
The kingdom is like leaven.

The truth of the kingdom growing as a living thing
is beautifully set forth in the parable of the seed grow-
ing while men sleep, yielding first the blade, then the
ear, then the full grain in the ear. Mark 4:26-28,
also in the parable of the mustard seed. Mark.
4:30-32.

Through the life of God in man, as so wonder-
fully set forth in the parable of the vine and the
branches, not only is each life to be transformed into
the likeness of Christ, but human society in all its
varied activities is to be transformed. Dr. James A.
Francis gives us this illuminating definition of the
kingdom, "Human society in this world transformed
by the Spirit of God till it becomes a copy of society
around the throne.**

Science with its manifold discoveries and inven-
tions has made the whole earth one neighborhood.
The leaven of spiritual life in Christ is to make the
whole world one brotherhood. In the kingdom of
God each citizen is "a child of the king," hence all
are brothers.

The most far-reaching, the most stupendous, the
most seemingly impossible thing ever undertaken on
this earth is the establishing of this kingdom of God
among men. We stand in awe before the task and
readily admit, "With men it is impossible." But we
turn with joy to the Master's added word, "All things
are possible with God." Mark 10:27.

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Never before have the forces of good and evil been
so fiercely arrayed against each other as today. Many
in the past have regarded religion as a thing apart
from the work-a-day world; as something for Sun-
day; for churches and Sunday Schools; good for
women and small children. Men have been playing
at the game of fighting evil: fighting it by snatches;
fighting it in patches; fighting it by man-made de-
vices. Today the world is awaking to see that the
fight is on at its fiercest; that all the forces of good,
that the great army of God must be set in array along
the whole line of battle and that only by the aid of
divine Power can the victory be won. Paul clothed
his Christian warrior in armor. We have been wear-
ing soft raiment and abiding in palaces. Meanwhile
the forces of evil have seized upon and turned to
their own selfish and fiendish purposes the natural re-
sources of the earth and all the mighty forces of nature.
These must be captured from the enemy and made to
serve all men; made to serve for the bringing in of
the kingdom of God in all the earth.

The one law of the kingdom is the law of love.
Jesus had given it again and again, but in the upper
room he gave it as a new commendment and added
this test, "That ye love one another even as I have
loved you." Study this divine love in its sacrificial
pouring out of life itself. This is study for a life-
time.

In this divine love in action we find cure for all
the evils of the world. And this cure is to be wrought
by divine love and power manifested in and through
human agencies, through men who are heirs of God

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through spiritual birth; through men who are re-
sponsive to divine environment; who by the help of
the indwelling Christ are choosing that in them the
fit shall survive and the unfit shall die; men who
have accepted Christ's offered gift of abundant life;
men who are so in harmony with divine law that
infinite power can be manifested in and through
them for the mighty tasks; men who through what
they are, and what they do as the out-go of the life
of God in them, are attracting the world away from
the self -center toward the true center, which is God;
men who, whatever their occupation for daily bread
seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Through such agencies the prayer which Jesus
taught men to pray is being answered and we see in
vision the dawn of the New Day when the kingdoms
of the world shall have become the kingdom of our
Lord and his Christ; AND HE, THE KING ETER-
NAL, IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, SHALL PRESIDE
AS PRINCE OF PEACE IN THE PARLIAMENT
OF MAN, THE FEDERATION OF THE WORLD.



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APH



1946



671713



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY





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Online LibraryAmanda M HicksSpiritual evolution; → online text (page 2 of 2)