In the daytime, when the sun was high in the heavens, it thawed. But at night it froze again. Day after day the long weeks stretched in a never-ending process of thawing and freezing.
One day, as the sun dropped low in the sky it did not freeze so heavily; the next day the thaw was greater. On the following day great masses of ice broke free from the river banks and were carried away down stream. It is true there was a certain jamming and crowding and blocking; but this was only temporary, for at last the thaw had come to stay.
Sometimes the experience of the believer seems to be after this fashion. Because the new birth is not instantly manifest in tangible experience he goes back and forth between the unreality and reality of Life, and at certain moments the unreality seems more real and solid than the reality.
The great blocks of ice, frozen again and again to each other, seem more real than the soft lush breeze of spring that is loosening them and freeing the year into new birth. But no matter what the appearance, from the moment of the first thaw - from the moment of the first recognition of Christ and the establishing of the divine nature within - the movement is in a definite and direct line of freedom.
"Stand fast and see the salvation of the Lord" is one of the things which we are called upon to do, and it is not difficult to understand why Jesus insisted that we "judge not from the appearance but judge righteous judgment." The mere fact that the freezing takes place every night can trick us into believing that it nullifies all the power recognized in the thaw. Unless we trust in the words of Jesus Christ wewill continue to believe that we are still in the former bondage and find ourselves fast in the winter of discontent.
There is a glorious song of freedom that accompanies the consciousness of Christ as our life, no matter what our outer belief in appearances is doing while it is spending whatever energy we have given to it. Remember that the moment you have broken with the appearance as reality, and discovered the divine nature within, you have cut off the life-stream from this sensory belief, from that time on it has only the energy you have formerly given it upon which to subsist.
What does it mean to you to become conscious for a single moment of God's presence within you, and to know that your inner man is the place upon which the urge of Spirit throws the desire of God? Your desires are but the voice which is calling to you, "Let Me into expression - let me reveal Myself in you and sup with you."
A glorious sense of freedom and relaxation takes place when you realize your purpose in life. You are here as an organism through which God is to express Himself. His wishes come to you in the form of desires - yes, all your desires. They would all be beautiful and glorious if it were not for the way your conscious mind distorts them and produces malformations because of its limitations - because of its inability to believe that God's desires in you have the power of self-expression.
Think for a moment what it means to realize that you are the temple of the living God - the point through which God is to be expressed - and that His way of communication to you is through the urge of the Spirit upon your inner person in the form of desire. You will readily see that it is necessary to take the whole proposition out of the processes of the human reason which cannot understand the how, why, when or where of the One who "Has a way you know not of."
If you let the government be upon His shoulders, the perfect alignment with Him takes place and the willingness to carry on, without personal interference or complaint, becomes simple. You see yourself as no longer responsible for causing the manifestation of His life in you to come into being. But the momentyou introduce any resistance to the relaxed way of the overshadowing Spirit you again assume responsibility. To imagine that you can enter into the "no responsibility" of being led by the Spirit and at the same time have "your own way" is to shift the government back onto your own shoulders.
And yet, it is true that you are to have your own way! But this way is not the way of the outer person with its malformations of desire. It is the way of the inner man, which is the point through which God speaks to you. "My Father works hitherto and I work." The One within performs the whole proposition, and the outer man carries out the mechanics in perfect alignment with the Father within.
It is one thing to tell an experienced artist to be "careful about nothing" as far as paints and materials are concerned, because you know that he has the integrity to use lavishly, and yet to a purpose, these very materials. The same injunction to a child would work disaster in the average studio. Why? Because the child has no integrity nor understanding of these things.
In His awareness of being the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth could move off at the level of "be careful about nothing" because of integrity of purpose. But the outer consciousness of man is unable to handle the infinite without losing its balance. It would go off at a tangent and work more evil than good.
You cannot introduce a fourth-dimensional function into a machine which has only a three-dimensional capacity. It is not built to receive it., Jesus said, "I can of My own self do nothing" - knowing it would be impossible for Jesus the carpenter to do the works of God unless He were functioning out of that awareness which has the integrity and the capacity to handle the substance of Spirit.
All of this is aiming at the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth. If it sounds very mystical and difficult, it must be kept in mind that it is in reality simple and natural to commune with God consciously, and is that which is given to the child. It is a definite law that when you are ready God will do the works through you. Heed it, and you will see the new day dawning through the mists of conscious limitations.
The new birth is not a bodily change; it is an inner consciousness which functions naturally and easily. To many people truth is merely a drug - something that is taken to bring about an emotional uplift which lasts for a short time and then leaves in its wake a sense of futility. Truth is pure revelation - it is God urging upon you (the temple) His glorious promises and designs.
"O you of little faith" is almost a cry of desperation. The disciples had got on the outside of the so-called stubborn problem and had returned to the frozen river condition of appearances. They had, according to the account, entered into a certain amount of "thaw" but the night was too strong with its solid manifestation which bore such definite evidence of the apparent reality of evil.
We learn that the magnifying of the power of God in us is more than words, affirmations, etc. It is a recognition of the presence of God here, there and everywhere, and more especially in hell and the devil. Anyone can recognize heaven or God in beauty and harmony, but He must also be found in the devil and hell in order to be one.
"There is now, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." There is no condemnation because they are born again, into a state of consciousness where the former things and beliefs, for which they were being condemned, have passed away and the place thereof knows them no more.
"Neither do I condemn you" is the lovely freeing word of Jesus Christ when we come into this consciousness. "Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow - though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool."
This contrast between scarlet and snow is for the purpose of showing you how completely and utterly things are changed in the newborn consciousness. "There is nothing that shall be destroyed in all the holy mountain of the Lord." Begin then on the fulfillment of life here and now.
When you come into the rest of God you find that any effort, struggle or labor put upon a thing is indicative that you are off your center, as it were. You must return each time, even though it be seventy times seven, until you find the rest of God. This all seems so much more difficult than it is. More of the contemplation of God's presence in everything and everybody eventually gives you the "feel" of launching out onto the deeper waters of expression. A wholesome disregard for appearances and beliefs of former times frees you from the appearances which have engulfed you in the bog of despair.
Sigmund Spaeth has defined music as "the organization of sound towards beauty." Then he shows how music has evolved through rhythm, the underlying beat or time, into melody, in which is embodied this rhythm, and how this melody resolves into harmony. It then becomes a rich combination of beautiful tones, changing, melting and resolving back and forth from one pattern to another.
So we conceive of the pattern of God. At first we are merely able to beat the time, as it were, and feel a vague sense of rhythm - an underlying law which functions in spite of all the beliefs of other laws - and upon this we begin to string the melodies of love, joy, peace, patience, which finally flower out into glorious patterns of harmony.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul?" The frozen river will one day melt and the manifestation will be completely dislodged. "Turn even unto Me with all your hearts and you shall find rest for your soul." The rest and the ease which come to the weary thought-taking person, dis-eased by the taking in of a thousand and one beliefs, will be sufficient to show that the ways of God are ways of harmony and peace.
Heaven (harmony) is the final out-picturing of life and its purpose, just as harmony is the final result of music. And yet no conscious effort can bring about the real harmony in music, because without the quality of soul the interpretation falls hopelessly into mechanics and becomes just another tune. We realize that the interpretation of music is the thing that counts and without this it is virtually nothing.
So it is with life. Going through the physical motions and efforts to live a decent life may result in a degree of respectability, but it does not necessarily mean beautiful living - which is a matter of inspiration. This element known as inspiration or interpretation is not at the beck and call of science - in fact it is entirely outside the confines of science. Though it incorporates all the technique of it, it is never contained therein.
It is an age-old controversy: scientist versus artist. The scientist ever frowns at the apparent ease with which an artist creates and clings to the hope that some day art will be brought about through serious mathematical calculation instead of frivolous dreaming, but while art and science may serve each other, the one will never bring about the other. - Wilfred.
The technique of truth will never bring about life, revelation or harmony, because it is dead of itself. The letter without the spirit is dead, so the technique without the life which expresses inspirationally is dead and of no use.
Art happens - no hovel is safe from it, no prince may depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about and puny efforts to make it universal end in quaint comedy and coarse farce.
Metaphysics has thought to segregate truth - branding it, trade-marking it and thereby stifling every bit of inspiration or life in it. Alas! It refuses to remain in the temple and goes into the hovel. Truth is Christ.
If you cannot find Christ in the hovel, hell, devil and enemy, there is little for you to look into temples for; you would not recognize Him. I do not say that He is absent from the temple; I say that unless you can find Him beyond the garments of appearances about you, you will never discover Him in the designated place of His residence - for strangely enough, He will not be there. You seek Him for the loaves and fishes and cannot find Him. It is all strange and wonderful. "The ways of God are past finding out."
"Art happens - no hovel is safe from it" is such a wonderful statement of the presence of God. He is there the moment you recognize His presence; but if He cannot come through the manger - the stable - He cannot come through the temple, until He be found in you.