To remain in one order of thought, that is, never to change our method of thinking, would mean stagnation, and stagnation always means death. Now the moment one speaks of changing one’s order of thinking, there are those who immediately jump to the conclusion that one has rejected all that has been held as Truth or Divine Revelation in the past, and that a "new religion” is accepted. There will even be a suspicion that one is denying all that one has hitherto held sacred and divine, because one speaks of (to use a well-known phrase) “New Thought.” Of course I am well aware that the title “New Thought " means different things to different people. The modern sect usually called “New Thoughters,” however, are almost as numerous as the sects in the “Old Thought," and scarcely any two think the same. When I speak or write of “a new order of thought” I am not in any way referring to any School of people called by any name, nor am I teaching anything that any seeker after Truth may not apply to his or her own religious life and experience, no matter what they may call themselves.
If we take the Bible and study the Old Testament from the beginning we shall ﬁnd that all up through the ages man was constantly being led into a “new order of thought.” The light of Divine Truth had to break upon the human mind very gradually as man was able to bear it. "Here a little, there a little, line upon line, and precept upon precept” has always been the divine order, and as we trace the spiritual history of man we shall find how the Priest followed the Law, and the Prophet followed the Priest, and with each change, or with each fuller revelation, there came a “new order of thought,” that is, a new and wider revelation concerning the one and unalterable Truth. Not a new Truth, but a new order of thinking concerning the ONE TRUTH. And while many here and there, and from time to time accepted the wider revelation, and the newer order of thinking, doubtless there were vast numbers of people who regarded the departure from the beaten tracks of thought as heretical, and, as our Lord Himself said of such, ”they shall turn you out of the synagogue, yea, the time cometh when he that killeth you shall think that he doeth God service,” and these words were spoken to men who were being led by Him into a new order of thought, not opposed to the Eternal Truth, but opposed to the conventional religious order of thought of their day.
The Truth that I gave expression to in our last lesson would doubtless be regarded as utterly opposed to much of the religious teaching of this day. We all know how we were brought up to believe that sorrow and suffering, labor and travail must be the heritage of all men. Many of our hymns voice this, and if one accepted the sentiments of much that we used to sing we should have to come to the conclusion that life has been a big mistake from the beginning, and not worth the living. But when we sang those hymns we really did not believe them, neither did we accept them as Truth. When we sang,
"Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, life-long care."
we did not really believe in our hearts that either brief life, or sorrow and life- long care must be ours. And why did we not believe what our fathers had believed so emphatically when those hymns were written? Simply because we were entering into a new order of thought. We sensed the " increasing purpose” that has run, and still runs, through the ages, and we were experiencing What the Poet meant when he wrote,
“Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen’d with the process of the suns."
Our thoughts were being widened into a new order, a new conception of Truth, and God—and all that God means to the human race—was being revealed to us day by day. Never again will such hymns be written as those our fathers sang, and if you take the trouble to examine the new hymns you will ﬁnd them expressing a new order of thought altogether.
Who would care to go back to the old order of thought that permitted slavery, child-labor, the old prison systems, and other institutions which we regard with horror today? Some of us long and pray for that “new order of thought ” to come into full life and energy that will regard all war as murder, and all sweated labor as a sin against Truth, Liberty, and God. Well indeed might we say, "God help us,” if the thought of the majority about these evils to-day should remain the thought of posterity regarding them. Take away the vision of a new order of thought coming to the world, and nothing remains to look forward to. What is Progress but a new order of thought! What are all our discoveries in this wonderful century upon which we have entered, but, in every case, a new order of thought! The old thought of separateness has brought disunity and disharmony among the people, and especially among the various religious bodies; and are not hundreds of earnest men and women looking forward to a day when a new order of thought will do away with all separateness, and Christ’s Church all over the world, no matter by what name it may be called, will join in that love and unity for which the Master prayed two thousand years ago?
There are those who actually overlook the fact that our Lord Himself declared that He could not give the whole of His message to His disciples, or to the world, because He said, “Ye cannot bear them now.” The time had not come for the fullness of His message. Men must grow to it. True, the Apostle said, "God who in sundry places and in divers manners spake unto the fathers by His prophets, hath in these last times spoken unto us by His son,” and there are those who would limit the message of the Son to just what He said and thought during His short ministry. They forgot that He Himself stated that His message could not be given in full by Him, tor He said, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now, howbeit when the Spirit of Truth has come He shall guide you into all truth and shall bring to your remembrance of all things whatsoever I have said unto you.” So "the increasing purpose ” has been for ever more and more fully revealed to the hearts of men by a new order of thought, and today, in a greater degree than ever before, “the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.”
With all those facts before us is it not strange that always there has been opposition to any new order of thought by those set in authority over us? It may be well that it is so, for, without opposition and the necessity to prove the new order as a divine revelation, men might have held the vision at too low an estimate, and they might have been too ready to let go the new thought.
Christianity is today coming under the power and inﬂuence of a new order of thought, and well for those churches and teachers who investigate the claims of the new order, and who seek prayerfully and diligently, and without prejudice, to find out if it be a wider and fuller revelation of Divine Truth. I do not suppose for one moment that in any pulpit in our land today you would hear what this writer heard many times when a child, viz., that we were not to expect happiness or health, or success in any way down here (!), and that the men and women who suffered the greatest trouble and sorrow, poverty and suffering, were the most chosen of God! The order of thought that could make a man write "Man is born unto trouble as the sparks ﬂy upward” is a dead order, and no one could possibly believe it today. The
Truth that I give expression to about the power of increase, fruitfulness, and replenishment being inherent in all Good, and that all men possess the power to command that Good to increase and multiply, will be regarded as foolishness by a great many who have not yet entered into the new order of thought which alone makes these things possible to men. Truly, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for those that love Him.”
When our Lord came with His "new order of thought" the high priests and the Pharisees would none of it, and ﬁnally put Him to death. Yet He said of Himself, "I have not come to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfil." He told them that if they had searched the Scriptures they would have found Him (that is, His teaching) there; and He said “They testify of Me.” So His teaching was not opposed to the old, but a deeper and truer interpretation of it, and a wider vision than others had hitherto had.
And remember His words in regard to the future, for He declared that a still greater vision should be vouchsafed to all who believed on Him; that a greater and greater revelation of the Truth concerning life would be given by the Holy Spirit; and all this would come through THOUGHT POWER, under the control of the Highest. ”Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He shall lead you into ALL TRUTH." It must all come through a new order of thought.
Perhaps we have taken two thousand years to forget that He also said, when the disciples marvelled at His works, “Greater works than these shall ye do, because I go unto the Father." What did He mean by stating that because He would go to the Father therefore we should in time do greater works than He had done? Did it not make plain to us that gradually our vision would grow clearer, our knowledge of life, and the Laws governing Life, would increase, and The Spirit of Truth would be more and more active in the hearts of men, uncovering to their understanding all that wisdom and power which is a very part of themselves by virtue of their sonship?
I desire so much to help all who are earnestly reading this book to put it to the test. I want to help you to understand, not only that ever and always a new order of thought comes to the world, lifting it up out of all that is base and mean and sordid, but I want you to enter that new order; to understand what it means, and to learn how to think in that new order. So in our next lesson we shall consider how we, you and I, must apply this new order of thought to our thinking, so that we may realize its power in our life and circumstances, in our relationships, environment, and personal character.