GUIDANCE BY VISIONS
The vision which Peter had while he was waiting for his dinner was one that we all may have and we should study Peter's vision, that is, his experience in the light of modern science, the science of mind. Peter did not have the advantage of that study, consequently he did not understand the meaning of his vision at the very beginning, but the Lord had a way of reaching him and he finally showed him that his vision was not to be taken literally, that it was a lesson of tolerance and universality of the infinite mind.
To show him that we were all and are all children of the one God. Peter had been educated in the school of the Pharisees, evidently not an educated man but I mean he had been brought up under that religious intolerance which was so prevalent among the Jews, the Jews who believe that they were the elect people, and that religious intolerance is with us today, and if we understand ourselves, if we study ourselves, not intellectually alone, but spiritually and also physically, we shall get the connection between the visions and dreams and the inspiration that we have and the intellectual activities of our mind.
Well, man must understand himself in a degree before he can understand God, the language of God, and he must be. He doesn't inspirationally and intuitively reason himself out of the religious ideas – he must be taught by God what is the truth, taught tolerance, universality and spirituality. We are not spiritual in our manifestation until we put spiritual consciousness into that manifestation. Now we have to recognize that we are being educated and that the great teacher is God. We must get acquainted with the teaching, we must know something about the ability of our teacher, something about his character and his means of communicating with us. If we are taught that the teacher of our school had omnipotent power and was not under control of any law of teaching, we would give him God ability, a supreme power he didn t really possess. Well, we are in a measure looking to the creative law to deal with us in that arbitrary way not under the law. God works under a law and we must observe that truth and concede to it that we are developing and that God is developing himself through us. We are a part of the great mind expressing itself.
The next question is: What is the law, how can we commune with this great, omnipresent power? We will never find that out until we find out what God is, put aside all our old preconceived notions about God and our religion. Peter had a great deal to learn, being brought up in that narrow, restricted idea of religion and God that was based entirely upon, well the Book of Moses and what the Pharisees taught. People say that is old stuff and that there are no Pharisees today. What is a Pharisee? Well, one who depends entirely for his religious inspiration on what was taught in the ages past and what has been handed down from age to age as traditional religion, not inspired religion, nothing new. They preferred the religion of Moses and the prophets and did not need any miracles. There are many people today teaching that we do not need any miracles. Those are the Pharisees who think that you can get everything out of the written word of the Bible. You are a Pharisee if you are observing the law as taught by Moses. I would not say that about Jesus Christ because he did not follow the Mosaic law. That is the reason he was crucified. He wanted to improve on Moses, but the Pharisees did not want to improve on anybody living in the past. Why the Pharisee is in every one of us. It is that state of mind that makes us cling to old ideas, that does not readily extricate itself from the crystallise relations of the past. So we need, every one of us, to be on guard, and when the inspiration begins God begins to talk to us. Let us find out what he is talking about, trying to teach us. We will get what Peter did, a new vision, a broader vision. We will begin to see God is in the world today and he is instructing his people today, every one of us, inspiring us.
This brings us to the practical application of this lesson. We naturally say: "What good do I get out of that lesson? Do I ever have dreams?" Sure, every one dreams, "Yes, but that is not a good dream, I have just a common every day dream." Maybe you ate too much dinner and had a nightmare. Well, you can get good out of your night mares, good out of your visions or dreams. The commonest dream has a lesson for you. If you studied you would see your daily thoughts reflected in your consciousness when you slept. When this conscious mind, this active mind, is still. That is the object of sleep, to still your mind that the regenerative, recuperative forces may get into action. Sometimes you can get so active in your intellect that you can stop digestion. That is not good. Nature seems to have provided for those people who have separated themselves from Divine adjustment sleeping and awaking. Certainly in the sleeping state we are separated from the mind that deals with the things of every day life. Then the subconscious mind begins to work; then the superconacious, super-sensitive mind has opportunity to impress itself on the sub-conscious and conscious mind. When it begins to awake it begins to catch it. We say: "I dreamed so and so." That explains the action of the mind. When that is expressed if you are wise you will begin to think about your dreams.
The next point is what does the dream mean? Now God is Spirit and that Spirit is omnipresent. Now a spirit is just another name for the highest phase of mind. How does that Spirit or that infinite Mind express itself? Why, we say it must express itself under its own law, and that law is of mind, spiritual mind. Then God in the beginning must have created under a spiritual mind, law. That is plainly set forth in Genesis. God said: "Let it be" and we have those first great steps of spiritual creation, but was that all of God's creation? Did God really create a man in that first day's creation? Here we are touching that contention between the modernists and the fundamentalists in the present day. They are quarreling over spiritual creation and material creation, or direct creation of God in six great days or great periods of evolution. There is no contention there. The world needs to understand this great Book, the Bible, and every churchman, every follower of the Christian religion, should understand the first, second end third chapters of Genesis, because if God had created his universe, his world, his men [missing text]
How do you recognise that? By understanding the working of your own mind because you are the image and likeness of God. How does your mind work? First you idealise your picture in your mind, that thing you are going to manifest. That is the secret of the whole thing. This Jehovah God formed this man in His own mind. He breathed into this man the breath of life and set him going, and whatever that man called things, that they became. First the image, then the form. When the Christian religion understands this there will be no contentions. The Bible is a book of spiritual importance. In other words, involution and evolution are both plainly taught here in the very beginning of our Bible. Then you see at once that God is still creating, forming. God created — everything is finished in the ideal, everything planned, it is just a matter of of bringing forth through a law of mind — evolution. This brings us out of mere material evolution. There are gaps in our material evolution. And why is that? It is because the mind can make a new idea manifest if it knows the law, and it does not have to follow a circuitous route of evolution. The mind uses matter and these things we see around are what is the basis of that mind — ideas. God gave Peter some ideas and Peter had to come out of his material relation, had to come out of that historical basis of his religion and get some new ideas. Are any of us in that Peter state of mind, are we believing in a historical religion? Why certainly. We must realize this spiritual evolution (and that is what it is) is going on right now and God is impressing his mind unon his people and his people are all those who will look to this infinite mind for instruction, for guidance. And that impression, that open door to the mind of every individual is ideas.
Now when you dream ideas flow into your mind and you may dream in a semi-conscious state. That is called a vision, it is a sensitive state of mind. You start in meditation thinking about spiritual things, the inner spiritual world, and you will immediately rise to the top brain. That is where your I AM, your ego begins to function, and the moment you do that your brain begins to function, you begin to get ideas. Sometimes people say to me: "Do you believe in dreams?" "Yes." "I do not dream, I do not have to depend upon, my dreams, I know when God talks to me." Well, that is the highest form of inspiration. I haven't attained that yet, I depend a great deal upon my dreams and I get inspiration from them. The Lord wants something done. I doubtless get back to the material life and forget about it but in the dream I will be shown, I will be reminded — why don't I do it? Well that spurs me on and I get busy again. In the dream I will be shown, certain things will be done. "You need reforming yourself, the work needs some change." I have just learned through years of experience to interpret the ideas I get. The idea of vision comes to me in a train of ideas, thought pictures and I have to interpret them in the language of the outer world.
Peter had this lesson, and if we would study it in the light of our experience we would find we are receiving lessons every day. The Lord really talks to us but we don't awaken to the fact. Every dream has a meaning. This is the latter day in which your young man shall dream dreams. People are every where having these visions but they are not interpreting because like Peter, they had not been inspired by the Holy Spirit. They think: "Oh, that doesn't amount to anything." But he was alert, alive. He got up and went down stairs for the men waiting for him and went with them, and the result was union between the Jews and the Gentiles, and there was a broadening, a co-operation into this world religion of a new element, and instead of being intolerant and narrow and bigotted those early followers became broad. But they had to fight the old restrictions, old Pharisaical ideas. The Pharisees condemned Peter when they found he had been eating with the Gentiles, with the unwashed, the uncircumcised, those not sanctified under the old Biblical law, and they did not forgive him, made him an outlaw so far as their religion was concerned.
We find that same thing today. If I should go into and orthodox church and preach visions and dreams as a guide, they would give me to understand I was not welcome, they did not teach that, that was old stuff. But if I was to say that Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter and Paul and, all those old fellows they seemed to have been led by visions, why couldn't we in this day have that same leading if we are in the state of inspiration they were. I do not know what the answer would be but I know I do not want to be held by that old Pharisaical thought. That is binding you back to what the fathers have taught and we can't have anything new, we must be bound hand and foot by old religious teachers. Now I think God has some new instruction for us, that there are some new ways of reaching and making union with this omnipresent mind that is manifesting in us and in the world today, new ideas.
Now Peter found he must be one with all God's people if he wanted to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ was the broadest teacher, the broadest man that over lived, undoubtedly. He made no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles, the saint and the sinner. They were all children of the Most High and Peter in his education was taken out of the old and put into the new, and there he found that there was a baptism or a spiritual influx, an inflow that lifted him out of his old states of consciousness when he accepted it. So he said that when he began to speak in the Holy Spirit there fell upon him and those around him a spiritual inspiration as it was in the very beginning, that is, on the day of Pentecost. And he remembered the word of the Lord, how he said: "John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit." He remembered that. That came to his mind under this inspiration. Now here is the key to the real baptism. The church is clinging to the old forms and ceremonies, because John baptised with water they are baptising with water, but did Jesus Christ baptise with water? No. "But," they say, "he let John the Baptist baptise him once." That represented his evolution out of the old natural man into the spiritual man. That was the washing away of his sins, but when he became Jesus Christ, he was baptised by Holy Spirit. Here we get a lesson in baptism, that new inspiration of the Infinite mind. Let us take that and eliminate this separation.
We have illustrations of that separation or caste idea in the world today. In India it remains to a great extent. When the English built the railroads in India they had a great deal of trouble with their workmen because they would not drink the sane water some other people in another caste did. The same thing is true in every nation. I read once of a prominent English reformer who decided to move into the slums of London and he invited a prominent statesman, a chimney sweep and a scavenger to eat with him. The statesman and the scavenger came but the chimney sweep sent regrets and said he could not associate with a scavenger. That is the way with religious intolerance today, that separation. You remember a number of yours ago a Spanish woman of the nobility came over to America and refused to associate with Mrs. Potter Palmer. The chairman had a terrible time but the princess wouldn't associate With an inn-keeper. That shows the old Pharisaical religion and ideas pertaining to our sub-conscious ) mind. We have got to root them out, get into the broad spiritual understanding and we must be taught God.
So I emphasize this revelation which God gives us through our dreams and visions. I know these Unity people, the people who are studying the new interpretation of the New Testament, are receiving instruction direct, yet they are timid about telling it. People ridicule dreamers just as they did Joseph. Well, Joseph got to be the head of the house, the provider. He saved not only the Jews but the Egyptians by his wisdom and so did Daniel. He had visions and dreams and we find those people who have their visions are taking the leadership in the world. Do not let people ridicule you, if the Lord has been talking to you. But we are so afraid of what the world will say that we do not tell about them. God is talking to you and if you do not get the direct expression let him talk to you through this kindergarten method. Jesus Christ did not have any visions or dreams that I know of. He developed that Christ consciousness we are all seeking but we are discovering in ourselves a capacity.
But how shall we eliminate the old, natural man, the man of the world? By incorporating into our consciousness a higher spiritual understanding, the divine mind. That Divine Mind is God himself in man and when we have that Divine Mind we shall lose this personal mind. It will gradually be sluffed off until none will be left. "The words I spoke to you", said Jesus, "are not mine but the Father dwelling in me." He had so attuned his mind to Divine Mind that it flowed into him without any effort at all. Immediately he gave forth the word and that word was with power. So we are approaching that state, a little here and a little there. We get instruction and guidance in our dreams. Where there is no vision the people perish, we are told. If you are not open to that higher consciousness you get down on the material plane and that in the desert it is the Spirit that quickeneth. Let us then get acquainted with our Spirit and have that broader vision Peter had. I say to you every one, God is speaking to you; God is talking direct to you and if you learn to interpret your dreams you will know what the Father is saying; you will know what you shall do; you will know every step of the way when you make a mistake you will be shown. If you are obedient, open-minded as Peter was you will be led in righteous ways. Let us give thanks this morning for that open mind, let us rise as did Peter. Stir yourself in that top brain and let it function in you and explain to you in its own way. Obedience is necessary; you must be obedient to Spirit, open your mind to Spirit; then we shall receive from the Spirit.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY