OBEDIENCE TO DIVINE LAW
The first verse of our lesson today, Romans 13:1-14, reads,
“Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Paul was an advocate; he was argumentative; he analyzed every situation and applied his intellect vigorously in explaining the law of God as he understood it. Paul claimed inspiration in some of his writings but not all. He candidly admitted at time that he was expressing his opinion of the subject under discussion. Paul was an interpreter of Christianity and like Peter, his Jewish training often cropped out in his interpretations. Paul’s writings should not be accepted on a parity with the utterances of Jesus. Jesus taught absolute truth; Paul taught the relation of absolute truth to relative conditions. So we find that Paul is a mediator between Jesus and man, just as Jesus is the mediator between God and man. Paul’s interpretation in our lesson today is a combination of the spiritual and the material. He tells us, to begin with, that every man should be in subjection to the higher powers. Then he drops to the temporal, the rulers in the earth, and it would seem that his argument is that even all temporal rulers are divinely ordained. The sovereigns of the world have taken advantage of this writ and proclaimed that they rule by divine right. If you asked our police justices, or judges if they felt that they were divinely appointed to the office, you would get the stony stare, or your question would be taken as a joke. Our temporal rulers have not asked God for their offices and they do not try to square their acts by the divine standard. Our temporal laws are not inspired by God and our legislators do not ask divine aid in framing them. Our courts of law are not opened with prayer nor do our judges and attorneys ask that equity, honesty, justice and love shall prevail in all their acts. But we find that the rulers in the earth are not ordained of God, the affairs of the world today are not carried on under divine law and that is the trouble with us and that is the reason our civilization is on such insecure grounds, we have not made ourselves subject to the higher powers. We have set up a world of our own and everything is carried on independently of the higher powers. God is recognized in the Constitution of the United States of America but not by our Congress, our law makers. A chaplain is employed to make perfunctory prayers but during his prayers the members of the House and Senate sit with their feet on the table reading the paper, or talking about temporal things, giving no spiritual attention to the supposed spiritual leader of that great law; making body.
So we find in every department of business there is little or no recognition of the higher powers. The existence of higher powers is usually ignored by the world’s so called practical people because they claim that God does not reveal himself to them, then why should they bother to look him up? One who has unusual spiritual experiences seldom mentions them because of the ridicule and incredulity of these very practical people. They are the dominant ruling minds of the world in science, finance, art and religion. They are so far removed from the spiritual life that they look with suspicion upon those who have revelations from the higher realms. I had an experience in that respect myself and as I am unusually fearless in telling you what the Lord tells me I will describe in a few words what occurred. Up to the age of thirty-five my life was cast in a very material environment. I had no religious training, in fact very little training of any kind. I was born among our American Indians and felt more at home with them than with civilized people. But civilization finally overtook me and with it new surroundings and a better environment. Family ties and responsibilities claimed my attention. The higher power healed Mrs. Fillmore when she was on the brink of the grave. She then became a disciple and demonstrator of the higher law and in her turn was the instrument through whom I witnessed many restorations to health. I was forced to recognize the spiritual life as a very present power in our world and as I gradually adapted myself to it I found that it worked for me and also for those for whom I prayed.
However I did not follow prescribed and popular methods in developing my spiritual nature. I decided that I would find God for myself and in my own way. I prayed often and followed up my prayers by striving to awaken my spiritual faculties. I spent many hours daily in silent meditation, affirming my highest perception of truth and denying the errors that sorely possessed me. As the months and years passed I developed activities in mind and body that I did not know I possessed. I found that my faculties expanded with exercise and I began to feel them working within like mental muscles. From the beginning of my spiritual development I was shown that I must save both soul and body, that under the divine law they were indissolubly united. This was opposed to all that I had been taught in physics, metaphysics and religion, but the revelations that I began having in dreams, visions and direct inspirations confirmed the unity of all things in one universal mind. When I accepted this fundamental truth I found that it was taught by Jesus, Paul and in fact all teachers of primitive Christianity. I had wide and continuous experiences in visions and dreams and had evidences that there was a superior intelligence working through me. My dreams became so varied and vivid that I depended upon them for guidance in matters small and great. Like Job my ears were opened “In a dream, in a vision of the night.” I had inspirations during my waking hours but was not always sure of their divine origin until they were confirmed in a dream. The teaching which I have voiced has been tested in this way. Sometimes it has been beyond my comprehension and experience but I am certain that it will prove true as man develops spiritual capacity. The experience which bears upon this lesson occurred soon after I had asked to what extent the higher ruling powers were interested in earthly affairs.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on June 28, 2018.