Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 16
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 16:1-5
16:1And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra: and behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewess that believed; but his father was a Greek. 16:2The same was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 16:3Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and he took and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those parts: for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 16:4And as they went on their way through the cities, they delivered them the decrees to keep which had been ordained of the apostles and elders that were at Jerusalem. 16:5So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
August 21, 1921: Acts 16:1-5
Why did Paul circumcise Timothy before he accepted him as a worker for the Lord? Circumcision represents the elimination of generation in the lives of those who enter the spiritual ministry.
What was the result of Paul’s ministry? As stated in the text, “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
To what extent has this ministry spread throughout the world? The seed thoughts sown by Jesus have taken root in every nation on earth; these seed thoughts are bringing forth fruit according to the understanding and power of those who are faithful to the doctrine.
September 23, 1923: Acts 16:1-3
What is the meaning of the name “Timothy,” and what does Timothy represent metaphysically? “Timothy” means honoring or worshiping God. Timothy's father was a Greek and his mother was a Jewess. In this duality of parentage, two streams of thought enter into the ego: the spiritual from his mother and the intellectual from his father.
What is represented by Paul’s circumcising Timothy? Circumcision symbolizes the cutting off of the thought of physical generation, to the end that the attentions may be turned to spiritual generation. Paul circumcised Timothy “because of the Jews,” and thus fulfilled the law in spiritual consciousness.
August 9, 1925: Acts 16:1-5Timothy had a Grecian father and a Jewish mother. The word “Timothy” means “worshiping God.” Paul circumcised Timothy. How do we reconcile this act of Paul’s with the fact that just a short time previously he had been determined not to put the burden of circumcision upon the Gentile converts? In his zeal for Truth, Paul admitted that he was all things to all men for the sake of Christ. To conciliate the Jews and to make the worship of God wholly spiritual, Paul sought to eliminate every carnal thought and to sanctify Timothy to purity and to Truth.
September 26, 1948: Acts 16:1-5
Is the intellect a barrier to the worship of God? No. God is Divine Mind, and intellectual power can coexist with faith. We are privileged to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Is the scientific attitude incompatible with interest in spiritual truth? No. The deeper scientific research goes, the more surely the scientist finds God as the answer to all his questionings.
Is faith innate in us? Like the other faculties, faith is innate, and its development is given direction by our training.
In this lesson what is represented by the disciple Timothy? Timothy, the son of “a Jewess that believed” and a Greek, represents inspired reason united with faith and zeal.
March 16, 1952: Acts 16:1-3
What does the name Timothy mean, and what does Timothy represent? “Timothy” means “worshiping God.” Timothy was of mixed parentage, being the son of a Greek and a Jewish Christian. He represents inspired reason and faith, or an idea in us which originates in a union between our intellectual reasoning and our inner spiritual qualities of faith and love.
What is the true circumcision? It is the cleansing of our mind of the belief that the body is sinful flesh, and that the life that is in us is unclean. When we are risen with Christ, we know that our entire being is not carnal, but spiritual. The putting away of carnality is the real circumcision.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 16:6-10
16:6And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 16:7and when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not; 16:8and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 16:9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There was a man of Macedonia standing, beseeching him, and saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 16:10And when he had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 16:11-15
16:11Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a straight course to Samothrace, and the day following to Neapolis; 16:12and from thence to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the first of the district, a Roman colony: and we were in this city tarrying certain days. 16:13And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were come together. 16:14And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul. 16:15And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
Sunday, November 22 1914: Acts 16:6-15
CLEARING AWAY BARRIERS
SILENT PRAYER: The energy, fervor and enthusiasm of the Spirit overcomes all obstacles.
Paul and his companions entering Europe is symbolical of opening up in the consciousness the Word of Truth, where it had never before been realized. The body is pervaded by a life and intelligence, which has formed a little world of its own. It has no knowledge of the higher, life of the Spirit. It has to be regenerated, born from above. The spiritual spark is carried by the Converted Will, (Paul) and it has to meet obstacles of various kinds. The lands and towns through which Paul passed represent some of these. For instance, Phrygia means dry, barren; Galatia, white, but lifeless; Asia, muddy, boggy. The Holy Ghost forbade Paul speaking the Word there. When guided by the Spirit, we are led to develop along the lines of least resistance and where the conditions are most favorable. We should not be discouraged when we strike the barren places, nor waste our time in trying to quicken the localities that are at present too negative to respond. It is the experience of those who regenerate the body, that a certain fiery element is necessary to give action to the watery negative parts. This is referred to in this lesson. Macedonia means burning adoration, and is representative of that enthusiasm and energy of Spirit which sets the whole man aflame. It is necessary that this phase of the consciousness be cultivated, because without it a certain passivity sets in that is content with the battle only half won.
Philippi means powerful and warlike. It is necessary to stir up this fiery power in the man when he gets into dry, watery, [or] barren states of consciousness. The vision of the man in Macedonia crying, “Come over and help us,” is the discernment of this inner fervor which needs stirring up. It can be done by affirming that all obstacles and barriers to the supremacy of Spirit are now cleared away. Then, like Paul, make a straight course to Neapolis, the new city, or center of action. This means to concentrate all your energies to the accomplishment of your purpose, and you will surely get there.
– UNITY magazine.
August 10, 1919: Acts 16:9-15
What great change in the unfoldment of the race is taking place today? There is a great spiritual awakening going on in all the peoples of the earth. The Gospel of Christ is becoming a living, moving, transforming power. Selfishness is giving way to the deep, abiding love of God. Tyranny is replaced by meekness, gentleness, positiveness, service.
What does the apostle Paul symbolize in this lesson? The apostle Paul symbolizes the converted will illumined by the Word. He represents that in man which turns from the set, unyielding letter of the Law, to the uplifting, life-giving, directing power of the spirit of the Law.
How is man guided by the Spirit? By visions, dreams, and direct inspiration of the Spirit. In this lesson Paul had a dream-vision. He interpreted the meaning as a call from God to preach the gospel in Macedonia.
What does Philippi represent? A warring state of mind which is opposed to Truth.
How is this opposition overcome? Through first converting love (Lydia), “the seller of purple,” representing manifest power.
What is the meaning of “come into my house and abide there”? That we shall enter the very presence of Divine Love in our hearts, make our home there, and go no more out. “Perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18).
What is the meaning of Macedonia? Macedonia means enthusiasm, active energy. To carry the great and beautiful message of Truth over the seeming hindrances, to the different cities and nations (centers and states of consciousness), requires fervor, intensity, vehemence.
August 28, 1921: Acts 16:6-18
What is the meaning of the entering of Paul and Silas into a new country? The entering of Paul and Silas into a new country symbolizes the will of God moving upon, and setting into action the word of God in parts of the soul, where the light of Truth has never been perceived.
Explain: “And when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not.” The meaning of Mysia is “criminal,” and the meaning of Bithynia is “violent precipitation.” Under the guidance of the Lord, the redeeming power of Spirit is not set into action in these dark states of consciousness, until neighboring thought centers that are more or less awakened to Truth, have been spiritually strengthened.
What is the meaning of Paul’s being called “over into Macedonia”? Macedonia means “burning adoration,” “extended.” When the droughts of man turn adoringly towards God, a certain spiritual zeal and enthusiasm are awakened, and these set into constructive activity the whole consciousness.
What is the meaning of Philippi, a city of Macedonia? Philippi means “powerful,” “warlike.” A certain fiery fervor is necessary in order to establish faith and persistency in barren, weak states of consciousness.
In this redeeming work, what new faculty of mind is awakened? The feminine faculty of love and intuitive knowing, symbolized by the women.
What is the meaning of Lydia? Lydia means “a dispenser of blessings,” and symbolizes a love quality that always works for good.
What quality of mind does the “mind having a spirit of divination” represent? She symbolizes an intuitive force, partly in spiritual consciousness, but still bound in personal, or the serpent, consciousness. Hence, the continual crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim unto you the way of salvation.”
How is this mind force brought under subjection to Spirit? By the power of the converted will. When Paul spoke the word, the serpent consciousness dropped away, and the intuitive force was free to operate in the light of Spirit.
December 16, 1923: Acts 16:9-15
What does the apostle Paul symbolize in this lesson? The apostle Paul symbolizes the converted will illumined by the Word. He represents that in man which turns from the set, unyielding letter of the law to the uplifting, life-giving, directing power of the spirit of the law.
How is man guided by Spirit? Man is guided by Spirit through visions, dreams, and direct inspiration of Spirit. In this lesson Paul had a dream-vision. He interpreted the meaning as a call from God to preach the Gospel in Macedonia.
What is the meaning of Macedonia? Macedonia means enthusiasm, active energy. To the great and beautiful message of Truth over the seeming hindrances to the different cities and nations (centers and states of consciousness), requires fervor, intensity, vehemence.
What other mind powers does the converted will need in order to spread successfully the Christ Gospel? The zealous earnestness of the converged will should be united with poise, peace, and judgment. The enthusiasm and energy of the converted will should be joined with faith, hopefulness, courage.
What does Philippi represent? Philippi represents a warring state of mind, which is opposed to Truth.
How is this opposition overcome? This opposition is overcome by converting love (Lydia),”a seller of purple.” (Purple represents manifest power.)
What is the meaning of “come into my house and abide there”? “Come into my house, and abide there” means that we shall enter into the very presence of divine love in our hearts, make our homes there, and go no more out. “Perfect love casteth out fear.”
August 23, 1925: Acts 16:6-15
Why were Paul and Silas forbidden to preach in certain places in Asia? Paul and Silas represent man's use of the word of God to awaken the body centers to spiritual consciousness. Certain centers are so unreceptive to spiritual quickening that it would be unprofitable to work in them. The meanings of some of the cities mentioned in today’s lesson show the character of those cities: Phrygia means “torrid, barren, dry;” Galatia, “white but lifeless;” Asia, “muddy, boggy;” Mysia, “abominable, criminal;” Bithynia, “violent precipitation.”
“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There was a man of Macedonia standing, beseeching him, and saying: Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” Explain. Macedonia means “burning adoration.” It represents the enthusiasm and energy of Spirit. Where there is a burning desire for spiritual Truth, it is easy to preach and to teach.
Philippi was the place where the work of Paul and Silas was accomplished. What does it represent? Philippi represents the seat of power. The power of the word is sent forth from Philippi. The power of the word has within it the consciousness of Spirit, which accomplishes things that, to the uninitiated, seem miraculous. Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).
What is represented by the “woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshiped God who heard Paul and Silas”? The name “Lydia” means “a dispenser of blessings.” The Lydia in our lesson represents the divine feminine, which pours forth the power of good in all its attributes: health, power, joy, prosperity.
What is the meaning of verse 15: And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there”? When we have a realization that our words are charged with spiritual power, we can immerse certain centers of consciousness, not only in our own bodies but in the bodies of others. This is spiritual baptism. When we have faith in this spiritual quickening of life in the body temple, it becomes an abiding consciousness.
What is the meaning of Thyatira? Thyatira means “burning incense;” it represents the intense desire of the soul for the higher expressions of life. When this inner urge comes forth with power (seller of purple; purple symbolizes power), the Lord opens the heart. The disciples said one to another: “Was not our heart burning within us while he spake to us in the way while he opened to us the scriptures?” When in such a receptive state of mind, man receives the heavenly message.
August 19, 1928: Acts 16:9-15
Are all Christian missionaries led to foreign lands by visions as Paul does? The Lord communicates to man in various ways; sometimes it is in dreams or visions; again, a strong urge from within will take possession of the one who has the desire to serve the Lord. Trust God to show you the way and you will be shown. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am confident that when the Almighty wants to do, or not to do, a particular thing, He finds a way of letting me know it.”
What one point stands out vividly in the life of Paul? Paul's obedience to the guidance of Spirit stands out in bold relief. When the light shone about him and Jesus spoke out of the clear sky to him, he asked quickly what the Lord wanted him to do; then he promptly did it. When in the temple he fell in a trance and saw the Lord standing by telling him to make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, he obeyed. When in a vision or dream at night the man of Macedonia was beseeching him to “come over and help us,” Paul made no delay, but proceeded at once to go and preach the gospel as requested. We can learn a lesson from this prompt obedience of the great apostle. “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”
What is the meaning of Paul's being called “over into Macedonia”? Macedonia means “burning adoration,” “extended.” When the thoughts of man turn adoringly toward God, a certain spiritual zeal and enthusiasm are awakened, and these set into constructive activity the whole consciousness.
What is the meaning of Philippi, a city of Macedonia? Philippi means “powerful,” “warlike.” A certain fiery fervor is necessary in order to establish faith and persistence in barren, weak states of consciousness.
In this redeeming work, what new faculty of mind is awakened? The feminine faculty of love and intuitive knowing, symbolized by the women.
What is the meaning of Lydia? Lydia means “a dispenser of blessings,” and symbolizes a love quality that always works for good.
November 12, 1933: Acts 16:9-15
Metaphysically, what does Macedonia represent? Macedonia, the scene of today's lesson, signifies the enthusiasm and the energy of Spirit, that set the whole man aflame.
Why is it necessary to cultivate this phase of consciousness? It is necessary to cultivate this phase of consciousness in order to avoid a state of passivity that would otherwise take possession of the faculties and keep them content with a half measure of activity.
In this lesson, what do Paul and Silas represent? They represent the will and the understanding endeavoring to establish man in the consciousness of Truth.
The first convert in Macedonia was a woman, Lydia, a seller of purple. What does this reveal? This reveals that the soul, symbolized by the woman, is quicker than the intellect (man) to catch the spark of zeal, when a new idea enters the mind.
Lydia constrained Paul and Silas to take up their quarters in her house. Please explain. By making her home their headquarters, Lydia, representing the soul, could personally see to their comforts and insure their temporal welfare. The spiritually quickened soul naturally fosters and encourages zeal, and nourishes divine will and understanding.
Sunday, September 8, 1935: Acts 16:11-15
Name some of the soul qualities and indicate how they are best expressed. Wisdom, love, and faith are qualities of the soul. Wisdom finds its best outlet through intuition, love through service, and faith through co-operative deeds.
What is symbolized by the journey of Paul and Silas from Troas to Samothrace, thence to Neapolis, and finally to Philippi? Troas (“penetrated,” “perforated”) symbolizes the dawning of spiritual consciousness in man. When this takes place, man's will (Paul) and determination (Silas) cause him to make a straight course to Samothrace (“height of Thrace” ), a high, noble state of thought, at first intellectual rather than spiritual. Thence he reaches a new center of action (Neapolis), and at last, realizes power (Philippi) to remake his life by the Christ ideal.
Is there a lesson for us in the statement that Paul and Silas tarried certain days in Philippi? It is well for us to concentrate (tarry in meditation) on the thought of power (Philippi), and try to develop a power consciousness by action in conformity with the affirmation “In him who strengthens me I am able for anything” (Moffatt).
Does dwelling on great thoughts give a perceptible effect on man? Thinking great thoughts develops greatness of soul. He who meditates on God quickens his mind to the inflow of universal truth.
What significance has the place of prayer by the riverside in Philippi, where Paul and Silas preached to Lydia and other women? A river symbolizes a current of light or of vital force. A place of prayer by the riverside represents a state of mind in which the power of man's thoughts are turned toward Spirit, the one source.
The name Lydia means “travail.” How does such a meaning apply to the soul of man? The soul undergoes travail in order to gain the understanding that life is in essence spiritual, and can be given spiritual expression.
October 4, 1936: Acts 16:6-15
What is represented in this lesson by Phrygia, by Galatia? Phrygia denotes a barren, fruitless state of thought signifying a belief in lack; Galatia, a state in which one is not yet ready for the operation of the word of Truth (Paul).
Why were Paul and Silas commanded not to preach the word in Asia? In the text of today's lesson Asia refers to a state of consciousness permeated with old, decayed, outworn material ideas that should have been discarded long ago. Man's will and understanding (Paul and Silas) have no further use for this state, but need instead to catch the enthusiasm and energy of Spirit that set the whole man aflame with zeal (Macedonia).
Was the vision that Paul had concerning Macedonia peculiar to him? No. The vision of mankind in need of help is one that always stirs the zeal of every earnest worker in the cause of Christ.
After reaching Phiippi Paul and Silas tarried there certain days. Interpret this statement metaphysically. A city represents, an aggregation of thoughts, and Philippi (“city of Philip, lover of horses”) symbolizes a center power and vigor in consciousness. To tarry in Philippi means to concentrate one's powers, especially the will and the understanding, on the things that arouse zeal and enthusiasm.
What is the proper course to follow in case of failure to demonstrate one’s desires immediately? Instead of giving way to discouragement or complaints, the faithful student holds steadily to his constructive habit of thought and action, assured that his demonstration will be in proportion to the degree of his faith and loyalty.
How does any one learn to speak the word of Truth with power? By willing to be true to the principle of right thought and action, anyone may put power into the word of Truth.
Sunday, April 30, 1939: Acts 16:4-15
Why were Paul and Silas “forbidden of the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia”? In this reference Asia refers to a state of consciousness impregnated with old outworn material ideas that should have been discarded long ago by the one who could progress spiritually. Time spent on this state of consciousness would be wasted.
What is the Spirit of Jesus referred to as not permitting the apostles to go to Bithynia? It is the indwelling Spirit of truth that Jesus prayed might be in them (“as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us”) to teach them all things.
What is the meaning of the word Bithynia? Bithynia means “violent precipitation,” a darkened state of mind. The Holy Spirit showed them that they should not enter into it just then with the expectation of enlightening it.
How did the Macedonian call come to Paul? Paul had a dream. “For God speaketh once, Yea, twice ... In a dream, in a vision of the night.”
Paul acted upon his vision without hesitation. Why did he conclude that it was a call from God to preach the gospel? Paul had made a complete surrender of his life to God (“whose I am, whom also I serve”), and did not doubt that he was always divinely directed. The God-possessed life is the God-directed life.
Interpret the names Macedonia and Philippi. Macedonia means “burning adoration” and signifies the enthusiasm and energy of Spirit that sets the whole man aflame. Philippi (city of the lover of horses) signifies a thought center of power and vigor in consciousness.
What is the meaning of the names Lidya and Thyatira? The name Lydia means “travail”; Thyatira “burning incense.” Lydia represents the travail that the soul undergoes in conceiving and giving birth to spiritual ideas.
What final proof does this lesson afford of Paul’s habit of seeing God in all that came to him? Lydia was converted by Paul's preaching, and he saw the conversion not as proof of his power of persuasion, but as the Lord opening her heart to give heed to his words. God was in all Paul’s activities.
May 7, 1944: Acts 16:13-15
What is represented by a “place of prayer” by a riverside? A river represents a current of thought to the mind. A place of prayer by its side on the Sabbath day therefore represents exaltation through prayer arising from faith and based on faith. Faith is one of the strongest of all thought currents.
In this lesson what represents zeal? The town named Thyatira (“burning incense,” “zeal”). Lydia (representing the soul) was from Thyatira, and she was the first convert to Paul’s preaching in Philippi.
How does zeal affect the soul? It develops its full power, so that the zealous person becomes whole-souled and continues to work with faith and enthusiasm, whereas the person who is without zeal may lose interest and become indifferent.
Is zeal heightened by the action of the will? The enlightened will (Paul), reinforced the rugged state of mind (Silas, meaning “wooded”) heightens zeal until nothing can neutralize or thwart its action.
What part does concentration play in the expression of zeal? Concentration is a necessary accompaniment of zeal. In complete concentration thought is given to one thing or is subject to the exclusion of everything else.
November 10, 1946: Acts 16:11-15
Has faith more than one foundation? Yes, it may be rooted in material things or in spiritual reality. When a person's faith is in material things, he seeks to enforce his will on others, or else he bows to superior force himself. When his faith is in spiritual reality, he puts his trust in the highest conception of life and Being and holds fast to that.
Has the will a part in keeping faith steadfast? A very important part. When the will acts In harmony with divine law, its action is gentle and unobserved, and therefore its importance seems small.
Who in this text represents this divinely harmonious action of the will? The apostle Paul (whose name means “little”). Paul seemed to accomplish little by his missionary efforts, but the centuries have proved the great value of his work.
What is the significance to us of the conversion of Lydia and her household in Macedonia? The name Lydia means “travail,” and it signifies one who works at developing spiritual understanding in the soul. The name Macedonia means “burning,” “adoration.” Zeal and enthusiasm give such power to faith that it accomplishes a complete transformation of the inner life and character (Lydia and her household).
Is zeal or enthusiasm possible without faith? No. Without faith these qualities remain latent or dormant in the soul.
What is the significance of Paul and Silas tarrying in Philippi? Philippi (“city of the lover of horses”) signifies a center of mental power and vigor in consciousness. The will (Paul) and the rugged state of mind that accompanies it (Silas) are normally associated with power and vigor.
December 5, 1948: Acts 16:9-10
What is the meaning of the Macedonian vision that came to Paul? The name Macedonia means “burning,” “adoration,” and it signifies the energy and enthusiasm of Spirit that set the whole man aflame with fervor. Everyone needs to stir up the inner fervor of the soul for spiritual understanding and power. These faculties give zest to life and do away with all sense of futility.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 16:16-40
16:16And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. 16:17The same following after Paul and us cried out, saying, These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim unto you the way of salvation. 16:18And this she did for many days. But Paul, being sore troubled, turned and said to the spirit, I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And it came out that very hour.
16:19But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they laid hold on Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers,16:20and when they had brought them unto the magistrates, they said, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 16:21and set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to receive, or to observe, being Romans. 16:22And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent their garments off them, and commanded to beat them with rods. 16:23And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 16:24who, having received such a charge, cast them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
16:25But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 16:26and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison-house were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 16:27And the jailor, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 16:28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 16:29And he called for lights and sprang in, and, trembling for fear, fell down before Paul and Silas, 16:30and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 16:31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. 16:32And they spake the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house. 16:33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately. 16:34And he brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed in God.
16:35But when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, Let those men go. 16:36And the jailor reported the words to Paul, saying, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore come forth, and go in peace. 16:37But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men that are Romans, and have cast us into prison; and do they now cast us out privily? Nay verily; but let them come themselves and bring us out. 16:38And the sergeants reported these words unto the magistrates: and they feared when they heard that they were Romans; 16:39and they came and besought them; and when they had brought them out, they asked them to go away from the city. 16:40And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
November 29, 1914: Acts 16:25-40
Paul and Silas represent the Will and the Understanding in their work of clearing up the consciousness. Paul had cast the demon of “divination” out of the damsel who “brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.” This “damsel” is that in man that believes in the occult and mysterious, that there is a realm hidden just beyond the surface where the unknown and the past and the future may be revealed. This belief in the “occult” is the result of ignorance and superstition. Victor Hugo said, “There are no occult truths; all is luminous.” This superstition should be denied out of consciousness in the name of Truth Demonstrated, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who believe in the revelations from this assumed occult realm also think that it is the source of much profit, that it brings gain in science, literature and finances. When this error is cast out, they call down the man-made law and put in prison the Will and Understanding. But the incarceration is temporary because of the power of the illumination that lies back of Paul and Silas. Instead of discouragement and sorrow, they sing and praise and pray. It is said that Christianity is the only religion that inspires men to sing. Mohammedanism has no hymnal; neither has Hinduism nor Buddhism. “No glorious outburst of sacred song from the hearts and lips of the people ever awake the echoes of any Oriental temple,” says a religious historian. Singing sets into action the thoughts, and they become dynamic, and when there is a conscious connection with the great source of energy, Divine Mind, the very foundations of the prison are shaken and all the doors open, and those who are bound find themselves free.
Paul never missed an opportunity to make a convert. Instead of escaping from the jail and the jailer, he remained and converted the whole family. When, through the power of the Spirit, you have made a demonstration, do not leave it incomplete, but bring into spiritual harmony all the factors entering into the problem. Fear makes men timid and weak. Right where they should follow up a victory by standing their ground and declaring their Roman citizenship, they sneak away. Paul claimed everything in sight and out of the rights of a Roman, and when the church authorities questioned his teaching he told them of his heavenly vision. His fearlessness was the strong point of his character. Truth to him came first and the things of the world second. This is what made him the Great Apostle; he was Will personified in conjunction with Understanding. When these are joined in consciousness, man is equal to any emergency.
– UNITY magazine.
August 26, 1928: Acts 16:19-34
The imprisonment of Paul and Silas was the result of their casting a “spirit of divination” out of a maid. Explain. In psychic consciousness, the maid who had a spirit of divination represents an intuitive force bound in personality, but having a certain perception of the higher directive forces of being; hence her continual proclamation, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim unto you the way of salvation.”
How is this mental force brought under spiritual subjection? By the power of the spiritualized will, Paul. When he spoke the word of authority, the false personality was converted and the light of Spirit acted through it.
Is the power of prophecy confined to one individual, or to one state of consciousness? No. The light of Spirit shines for all, and whosoever will open his consciousness to the light may read from the law.
Through what power may this be accomplished? The activity of the will working with the understanding awakens the consciousness to the truth that nothing happens by chance; that everything is the result of the law of mind action. When one is spiritually quickened to the degree that he perceives the law of cause and effect in the invisible mind forces, he is able to come to a logical conclusion as to what is about to take place.
When this truth is made clear, what happens? The intellectual powers that have tried to hold this seemingly occult faculty as a source of material profit are enraged and endeavor to throw into bondage the freeing powers of Spirit, represented by Paul and Silas.
Is it possible to hold spiritual forces in bondage for long? No. Spiritualized mind forces are always joyous, full of praise and thanksgiving, with no consciousness of opposition. This dynamic power shatters the error forces, throwing open the prison doors and giving the spiritual will and understanding greater freedom of expression.
What is characteristic of the will and the understanding after they have received the quickening power of Spirit? After they have received the quickening power of Spirit, the will and understanding are steadfast and fearless in proclaiming this power. Paul and Silas were freed; instead of making their escape, they stood firm, placing their trust in God, thereby winning to Christ thought forces represented by the jailer and his family.
October 11, 1931: Acts 16:22-34
In the verses that precede today’s lesson, it is revealed that Paul cast a spirit of divination out of a certain maid. Explain. Paul and Silas represent the will and the understanding engaged in their work of cleansing the consciousness. Paul had cast the demon of “divination” out of the damsel, who “brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.” This “maid” represents man's belief in a realm in which the unknown and the past and the future may be revealed. Belief in the occult is the result of ignorance and superstition. Victor Hugo said: “There are no occult truths; all is luminous.” The superstition that centers in the occult should be denied out of consciousness, in the name of Truth.
What is represented by the words: “Her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone”? “Her masters” represent acquisitiveness, greed, and selfishness, which seek gain through the use of occult or psychic forces. Like Simon Magus, they would buy the power of the Holy Ghost and use it for selfish ends.
When, through delving into the occult, the individual allows himself to be led from the straight and narrow way, he binds both his will and his understanding (Paul and Silas) to the occult plane of consciousness. What will set him free from that bondage? It is found by metaphysicians that prayer and praise, silently or audibly expressed, free both mind and body from bondage. Every word that we utter moves certain cells in the body, and through the ethers these impulses are transmitted to surrounding organisms. Words repeated silently, then audibly, then sung, have a definite effect upon substance. Paul and Silas, by singing and praising, unfastened their shackles and opened the doors of the prison. Metaphysically this is freeing the mind from its shackles. However, under certain conditions, this rhythmic power of the word is transmitted to the environment, and outer conditions are shattered. There is no limit to the power of the word that is expressed under the divine law.
Should we sing and praise God when we are in a joyous mood, or should we sing and praise God when we feel gloomy and sad? Paul says: “Rejoice ... again I will say, Rejoice.” We were created to be happy, and we should render praise to God regardless of moods or events.
After Paul and Silas had been freed from their chains and from prison, they did not run away, but remained and converted the jailer and his family. What is the spiritual interpretation of this incident? Jesus said: “Agree with thine adversary quickly.” The thing that seems to be binding us has within it the elements of good. When the limitation sees that we are friendly to it, it responds and seeks to know the better way, so that, instead of running away from an adversary or fighting it, we should make it our friend. This applies not only to our inharmonious states of mind, but also to the states of mind that we see manifesting in the people about us.
November 12, 1933: Acts 16:25-31
Paul and Silas were thrown into jail, but they did not rebel. Please explain. Their faith was centered in Spirit, and they trusted the law (the Lord) to guide them. Therefore they were free from ail fear or skepticism and praised God and gave thanks for all good.
What was the result? Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison-house were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's bands were loosed.
The jailer was converted. Metaphysically considered, what does the jailer represent? In individual consciousness everyone holds some part of himself imprisoned. The magistrate over him (the jailer) may be fear or some external personality that he has allowed to dominate him.
What is the crying need of every soul? The crying need of every soul is to throw the light of Truth into the inner prison of the subconscious mind, where the will and the understanding are fast in the stocks. It is through freeing them, taking them into his conscious thought (man's house), and relying on them that man saves himself from the fear of what may happen to him at the breaking up of his old material ideas (the earthquake).
Sunday, October 11, 1936: Acts 16:22-34
What determines the success or failure of our undertakings? The frame of mind in which we undertake a task largely determines whether we succeed or fail in it. Circumstances cannot defeat the one who aligns his purpose with the divine and wills to succeed.
What do Paul and Silas represent in this lesson? They represent will and understanding engaged in the work of clearing up the consciousness.
Can we always demonstrate over adverse circumstances? When our loyalty to the principles of Truth is equal to the onslaughts of adversity, we demonstrate over the latter without fail.
How does the natural man's reaction to punishment contrast with that of Paul and Silas? The natural man, when he comes face to face with a crisis, rages against “fate” and demands his rights. Paul and Silas, who represent the spiritual man, engaged in song and prayer and by this means demonstrated their freedom from bondage.
If we sing and praise God only when all is well with us, are we practicing the principles of Truth? When we do this we merely reflect external circumstances, and make no progress in spiritual understanding.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-10-2013