"Truth is hid in great depths, and the way to seek it does not appear to all the world."
When the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke to the people in parables, and he answered, ''Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given” what did he mean? That it was given to some to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but from others that knowledge was withheld? The same question that confronted the people two thousand years ago confronts us to-day. To some it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven; from some these mysteries are withheld.
We find that Jesus spoke to the people time after time through parables. Why did he use parables? Because they were not able to comprehend in any other way the truths he had to impart. People have gone on ever since the time of Jesus, right up to the present time, living in the symbol and failing to understand the spirit of Christ's teachings. Over and over again we have listened to sermons preached on the Kingdom of Heaven — the city with streets of gold and gates of pearl, where there is everything to appeal to the sense-nature of man. The golden streets, the golden harps, and all the things pictured of that beautiful city, are only a grade of the beauty we have on earth — very earthy in its nature.
Jesus, in referring to this Kingdom of Heaven, likened it unto a grain of mustard seed he spoke of it as a Pearl of Great Price; he used many terms in referring to it. But a grain of mustard seed or a pearl of great price does not give the idea of a beautiful city. This Kingdom of Heaven — this Kingdom of God — is but a condition of mind and soul, and only as such can it be understood when we read Christ's true meaning.
Before referring to the Kingdom of Heaven in his parables, he spoke in one of them of the sowing of seed those who received the seed by the wayside were the people failing to understand the Word of God when they heard it, and thus there was no permanency of growth. So a great many hear the Word and fail to understand and profit by it. It is a waste of time to impart a knowledge of the Word to those who are not ready to receive it. Jesus, understanding this, simply put the truth in the shape of a parable, knowing that those with spiritual insight would receive a knowledge of the truth. Where the seed is sown by the wayside, and people fail to understand, the emotions may be acted upon, and sentiment aroused; but that is only a temporary condition. Many of us have attended religious revivals, and have seemingly felt a quickening of spirit. But it passed away. That was seed sown by the wayside; it was sown in the mind, but it found no place to grow. It left no lasting impression.
Now, he who receives the seed on stony places, is he who hears the Word with joy; but the seed, not finding root in him, dwells with him for a time only; for when tribulation or persecution arises, because of the Word, he is offended.
There is another stage of development where there is some understanding of the Word of God, and yet those understanding it are not willing to live it. They do not care to shape their lives iri accordance with their understanding. It is very beautiful, very fine, when everything is going smoothly with one, to conform to the laws of God and the laws of being; but when things go wrong — when a little persecution comes — then people are not willing to continue in the way that they have started, and so, the seed here makes little, if any, impression.
Then with others the seed falls among the thorns. They hear the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. How often do we say that we have no time to look into matters pertaining to the soul! There are so many cares in this world — so many things to do— that we have no time to devote to that which would benefit us here and for all time. We have no time but for the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches — the things we expect so much from, but that give us so little return. We have no time — and so the Word again fails. Then there are those who receive the seed in good ground, and bring forth good fruit.
Now there are four stages, and those stages occur at some time in all our lives. We are told that the Kingdom of Heaven is likened to the good seed a man sowed, and while he slept the enemy sowed tares. That is just what is going on in all lives. God has sown the seed of all goodness in our souls, He has sown there His own Image and Likeness, He has endowed us with faculties of mind and soul that, if used properly, will bring nothing but gain; and yet, in spite of all this, while we sleep, the enemy sows the seed of the tares. Remember, the enemy never sows the seed while we are awake; it is only when we are asleep — when we allow the knowledge of spiritual law to die out in our lives, then must come the knowledge of material things, and the material things of this world crush out the spiritual. It is while we are asleep that this occurs. It is not possible, if we surround ourselves by strong, positive thought — by taking a true, uplifting position — for the enemy to sow the seed of the tares. It is only when we forget the things that will prove of lasting benefit that the enemy sows the tares; and they grow side by side, the good and the bad; and into every life this good and bad will enter. No one in all this world is entirely bad; no one is altogether good. It is all a question of growth, from the time when the seed is first sown by the wayside, where there is very little chance that it will ever grow to ultimate perfection; and yet that little chance is something — there is at least an awakening. When the seed is sown among the rocks, there is a new awakening but until the ground is cleared of rocks we cannot expect that seed will bring forth a bountiful harvest. So, step by step, we work up until we come to where the soil is already prepared, where we can understand and live the things we understand.
Now, the Master likened the Kingdom of Heaven unto a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds; yet, when it has grown, it becomes a great tree. So the Kingdom of Heaven — the Word of God — is in the soul of man (for there and there only is the Kingdom of Heaven to be found), and this Word of God is as a grain of mustard it is hardly distinguishable; it is almost beyond knowledge. We have a feeling of something — we hardly know what — a reaching out for better, truer things. At first, this feeling comes to us only at times. It is like the grain of mustard seed. By and by, as it grows and expands, that grain becomes a great tree; and so this knowledge of the Word of God in our souls, little by little expands there until at length it overflows our being, and we realize that the God within us and the God without us are one — "I and the Father are one."
Again, we are told that a merchant dealing in precious stones, hearing of a Pearl of Great Price, sold everything in order that he might purchase that Pearl (the Kingdom of Heaven). This means that as we grow year by year into the knowledge of our own powers and possibilities, one talent after another being developed, at last we realize that there is something beyond the mentality of man — something beyond the faith and hope in God. It is the Love of God in our own lives — in our own souls; and that Love of God is the Pearl of Great Price — the Kingdom of Heaven — and for its possession we are willing to give up ever3rthing else in all the world that is, we desire above all else to come into the fullness of the Love of God. That does not come to us at first in our search for God it is the very last thing of all because, contained within that Love is everything else. To know God is Eternal Life, and Jesus tells us that God is Love. To know the Love of God in our own souls is Eternal Life.
This Kingdom of Heaven that we have heard so much about in the past, is no place similar to this earth it is no place at all. It is a condition of our own minds and souls. The Kingdom of Heaven is within us.
Someone said in reply to the statement that the Kingdom of God is within one: “Very true; but the Kingdom of Heaven is a place," making a distinction between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God. But in reading over these parables of Jesus, we find no reference at all to place mention is made of condition only, and Jesus shows the various necessary conditions in order to know this Kingdom of God — to realize this Kingdom of Heaven, this Word of God.
In Revelation we are told of a wondrously beautiful city. And the measure of the city is the measure of a full-grown man; that is, an angelman, showing that this wonderfully beautiful new Jerusalem is the purified soul of man, where the Lord God reigns, and shall reign forever and forever. The gates are closed neither by night nor day, and there is no need of the light of the sun for the Lord God giveth light. The light is no longer sought without, for the true Light is found within. We are the Temple of God. We must seek God in His Temple. There is no other place. If God dwelt in all His fullness in our lives now, this world would be heaven to us; and because God does not dwell within us, we find earth anything but "heaven."
Why should we seek a heaven that we know not of? Why should we seek a heaven away off somewhere in the distance — nobody knows where — when we can realize God here and now ? On one occasion, when talking to the people, Jesus said that some of them should see the Kingdom before death came to them. It is a realization of the Power of God in our own lives. Why do we blind ourselves to this knowledge? Because we are paying so much more attention to the things of this world — riches and their attendant anxieties — and we take upon us cares that bring us but little gain. Therefore, our eyes are closed to the Celestial City within. The time must come when we shall understand not only the Word, but we shall live it in all its fullness. We shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free — free from the cares of this world and its anxieties. It is true freedom that we desire. Shall we continue to live only in the parable — in the symbol — or shall we see the truth contained in the parable? Shall we go beyond the mere form of the worship of God, or shall we still continue to be lost in a wilderness of form and symbol? It is for us to decide. No one can do it for us.
Furthermore, why should we seek development where it is not to be found? The law of life is the law of love. It is the one great truth of life, containing within itself a solution of all truth. If God is Love, and if God's Temple is in man's inner life, then, only as that love flows uninterruptedly into the outer consciousness, can we express the perfection of life. No external thing can convey to the mind a knowledge of God, when that knowledge has had no beginning in the inner life. The solution, then, of life's problem is to know God, and this inner knowledge and love radiating from the very center of being, will have an uplifting, munificent action upon the lives of many. Let us seek God in the only way He can be found, then will that peace that human reason cannot understand, but that the God-enlightened soul can feel, flow into the life and become an ever-present reality.
"The letter fails, and systems fall,
And every symbol wanes;
The Spirit over-brooding all,
Eternal love, remains."
More from Charles Brodie Patterson
- Canadian New Thought author
- Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917