What does Jesus mean by the Kingdom of Heaven? We all know the common opinion was that heaven was a place. Now some suppose it to be a state of mind. Had Jesus either of these ideas? I say he did not, and will show what his ideas were. God is represented as all wisdom and love. Now love is not wisdom, but a desire for wisdom; therefore, a desire to get wisdom for the sake of happiness that follows is the highest love. This is heaven and to be deprived of this love is to be out of heaven. The sick are strangers to this heaven. It is true they have a sort of love but it is governed by a false love or wisdom. It is the light or wisdom of man. This leads to death but to have the true love or desire that leads to wisdom, this is heaven.
Now as I have said, the sick are strangers to this truth and being strangers, they are deceived into a false belief that lulls them to sleep. To cure them it is necessary to arouse them from their lethargy and show them their errors. To get a person out of an error is to destroy their error. This can be done in two ways, one by ignorance, the other by science.
I will now give the true conversion of a man of this world or sick man converted to the religion of Christ or cured intelligently, and also one converted from one disease or error to another. I call all error disease that leads to death, and the remedy is religion or a knowledge of the truth that will save us from the evils that flow from our sins. To illustrate the different forms of religion is to show the different modes of restoring the lost child of disease to health and happiness. To show how Jesus differed from all others is to show each religion separately and how the belief affects mankind.
All will admit that Jesus opposed all the religion or modes by which the medical men and priests used to save the people from their sins or evils called diseases. For to be diseased was an evil and the sick were dealt with accordingly; and the false idea that the sins or diseases of the parents are visited upon the children is handed down to this generation. This was the belief of the people in the days of Jesus and to save them from their sins was to cure them of their disease. For this cause Jesus came into the world, suffered and died and rose again that all that believe might be saved from these sins and enjoy the presence of God which was heaven. This was the doctrine Jesus taught.
Now what was the idea the world had of heaven? People never had such an idea as the Christians have now. They never believed in any other world, but their suffering was their evil and to be cured was their heaven or happiness. For this object they employed every means in their power according to their belief. The people were taught that there were certain rivers and pools the angels would disturb and those who visited them were healed. Certain diseases were held so sinful that the victims were kept aloof from the people till the priests cured them. So their religion was all for their health or happiness. This idea of preparing for another world never entered into their minds. It is true that there was a small class who believed that at the end of the world the dead would rise. This belief has been handed down from generation to generation so that religion was in that mode which was used to restore them to health. This of course made them happy. This to them was heaven.
So all religion was for the happiness of man, but their religion never extended to any state after death. Now Jesus opposed their religion or belief so it was necessary to destroy them to cure the sick, for these beliefs made them sick. To do this he had to show them the absurdity of their own belief, so he called them to him and said, Beware of the doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees for their doctrines bind burdens on you. It made them superstitious, made them believe in ghosts, spirits and all sorts of juggling. This kept the people under the rule of the priests who invented all sort of craft to deceive the people, pretending to take away their sins so that God would not torment them with evil spirits and disease. Jesus knew it was all in their beliefs, and if he could introduce a higher principle or a better mode of reasoning or priesthood that could take away their sins or errors so that they would be more enlightened he would be doing them a great favor, and would establish a universal truth that would work out a more excellent law. To do this it was necessary to bring proof of his superior wisdom. So it is said, He came into the world, suffered, died and rose again. He was talking about this great truth called God that governs every true and scientific mind. He made two worlds: one the natural or superstitious man that they were all; the other the scientific man. Now the scientific man was to rise from the earthly or superstitious man. This he called a resurrection from the dead. Not that the dead rose, for if you cannot get a man out of his error, there is no resurrection. As Paul says, If Christ (or this science) be preached that it rose from the dead (or error), how say some among you that there is no higher truth than man's opinion? As science is spiritual, it must be explained by literal things. So he used parables to show how this truth grows in the minds, for he makes the mind matter and sows the seeds of wisdom in the mind. So he takes, for example, a little child before its mind is filled with the errors of priest, as a figure of heaven. Not that the mind contains any wisdom, but like the soil of the earth it is pure from foul seeds or error, ready to receive the true seed of wisdom, guided by a higher development than the priest. He says, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven,” that this truth could live and grow in the child. Not that the heaven or kingdom was happiness, but the happiness was in the one that got into it. But as the kingdom grew, false ideas would creep in, for it is not to be supposed that Jesus ever intended to make his kingdom perfect till every enemy or error should be destroyed. So he likens it unto a great many things, to a sower in a field, and an enemy sowing in the same field. Here you have good seed and bad seed, truth and error, good and evil. But the good was good, and the bad was bad, and they never mingled.
I will take a person as he would come to Jesus, and show how he preached to them the kingdom of heaven. Take the little child that was tormented by the devils that would throw him into the fire and water and on the ground. See what he does. See if he ever said anything about another world, but ask the parents when they said they had carried him to the disciples and they could not cure him. The cure was what they wanted. So here was the cure: Jesus asked how long the child had been in this way . When told, he said, Do you believe all things possible with God? They said, “Yes.” So then he cured the child, not by a “power” but by his wisdom, for he knew what he was about. So their faith in him kept the child from having any more fits. All his cures went to prove his theory of the mind. This theory of Christ was what he talked about. It was a science. So he preached it and illustrated by parables, and proved it by showing himself to the multitudes after they believed him dead. This truth was called Christ and when Jesus spoke it he spoke Christ and the identity of it was a body and the doctrine was its blood. So when he says, “If you eat not my flesh nor drink my blood, you have no life in you.” But the ignorance of the people thought he meant to eat the man Jesus.
I will give an illustration. Suppose a person comes to me to learn navigation. I say, “You must be born again, for your ideas of navigation are all false.” He says, “How can I learn or be born again when I am so old?” I answer, “You must be born in the science, of navigation.” This he cannot understand, but still he wishes to learn. So I begin to explain. As he begins to learn, this is called the love that is spoken of with which he so loved the world, etc. Now the love for wisdom prompts him to learn, and as he learns his happiness is full. This is entering into heaven. This is the heaven that God has prepared for everyone who will try to learn, and if everyone will search for God or Wisdom, God will not cast him off.
I will apply this to disease. To me the disease is a lie or burden bound upon you by the errors of the world. I take upon myself your infirmities that I may lead you to health, for health to you is heaven. The love for health prompts you to come. My love for you prompts me to lead you to health. This I do by teaching you the errors of your belief and showing you where you have been deceived. The truth, like love, leads you to see your error, and the happiness of your recovery is heaven. People believe that religion is one thing and health another. This is a false idea, and if you look at it you will see that to be happy is the chief end of man. And now what is happiness is in what we think we have obtained. Take the religion of our day: but that is a poor illustration of happiness, for the misery it occasions is twice the happiness. We are taught our belief is one thing and our health another. But it is not so. Man's belief is his heaven or his hell. You may not be aware of the effect of your belief.
Disease is one of the evils that follow our belief. For instance, I will cite a case. Take a young lady. Begin to tell her that her happiness depends upon her having religion. She has no idea what you mean. So to convince her you give an account of what religion is and show that she must get it or be eternally lost. This makes her nervous. So you tell her to come to Christ. This to her is all blind. You say Christ is standing with his arms extended to embrace her. Now for her to fall into the arms of a stranger is more than she can do. So she weeps, not knowing what to do. She becomes unhappy. This you tell her is the conversion of her soul. At last she is made to believe she is not worthy to be a Christian. Then come the soothing words of the priest and his words soothe her aching head and she quiets down. Then you tell her this is a change of heart. Now she is in a state to get religion.
What has been brought to pass? The young lady has been deceived into a belief that has cost her all the happiness she had. It will be said her religion had nothing to do with her health, but this cannot be the case for our life is nothing but a belief and when this fact is known then people will begin to be cautious what they believe. For every person is responsible to God or Wisdom for his belief, and must take the consequences of his belief.
Now as I said, religion is a belief and disease or happiness is what follows. So as all men have sinned or got a belief, the sentence of death has been passed upon them, for all have sinned and come short of the truth. So this truth came into the world of opinions to open the eyes of the blind, or appeal to a higher intelligence to lead them to the truth that would cure them of their sins or errors. Now a religion or a theory was to explain to the masses to keep them out of their trouble. We suppose that Jesus wanted to convey the idea that man was in danger of being destroyed after death, but if he would believe in Jesus he should be saved.
So our belief depends upon our beliefs. Now what was Jesus' idea? Let us see if Jesus' belief was founded on man's opinion or on the scientific fact that man through his belief in the priest had been deceived. This deception had brought on evils that were unable to destroy. The leaders of the South who have deceived the people and brought forth all the evils we are now suffering from. They have a God and a religion which upholds them in their wicked belief. The North also have their God and their religion. Now Jesus' religion or belief was different from this. He had no words or ceremonies but a love for the higher development of the human soul. This was Jesus' religion and he put it in practice by his acts upon the sick, not by giving an opinion of what he knew nothing but by showing that their sickness was the effect of their belief. Now see if you admit that mind is matter and to change the mind you remove the burden.
How often have you heard persons say that they are not nervous and they never change their mind. That is as much as to say that they have no wisdom, for wisdom changes the mind. Make a person believe a thing. The belief being matter or mind is an obstacle to wisdom. This obstacle must be removed before the truth can shine. If there is not wisdom enough to remove the obstruction we say such a man has a strong mind. It is true he has a strong error to be overcome, but his mind embraces just as much intelligence as a stumbling block in the way of a train of cars. That must be overcome by wisdom. The dissensions among the passengers represent the contrast between the strong-minded and the intellectual man. One sees no way to remove the obstacle and concludes that it cannot be overcome and settles down in the strength of his mind, while the wisdom investigates the chances and sets himself to work to remove the burden. As the intellectual man works, his mind changes; while the strong man sits and contends that he knows, and when he makes up his mind nothing can change it. The other is fickle and therefore has no mind or stability.
This is the case with disease. The belief is the burden to be overcome. In any disease the strong mind means a man deficient in mechanical wisdom who can't see whether the world develops him or he develops the world. The strong-minded man is a man whom the world develops and he, not knowing the fact that change comes with the growth, and therefore he never changes. While the man of God or Wisdom develops the world, for the world is one universal truth, while matter is one universal error. These two principles of truth and error make up the extremes and every identity is in the one called truth, but the controversy arises about the sensation made on this mind or matter. The strong-minded man's foundation is in what has been handed down from one generation to another. This to him is truth and the disciples of this are his leaders. So his wisdom is based on their opinions and these, being false, are the burdens that the scientific man has to remove, so that the conflict is not to establish an opinion but to destroy an error. The error is the disease and the destruction of the error is freedom from the disease. But the strong-minded man reasons as though you wanted to destroy his belief and make him embrace yours. But truth reasons in this way. Truth is a universal element of God and the destruction of error leaves the man this element without an opinion, but with wisdom.
I will give an illustration. Suppose someone should say that a messenger had just arrived and said that Washington was taken by the Rebels. Now the minds of men would be disturbed and their wisdom would begin to create in themselves burdens according to their mode of reasoning, except those who were bound before. This class would begin to throw off their burdens, so each one's mind is in action directed by their wisdom, governed by their love of party. So this love or enemy would destroy or create trouble. Now when the mind is disturbed the ignorance of our wisdom rises from what they know, and as the lower kind of reason comes from error, there is no wisdom but fear or submission. This is the element that man is afraid of. This is the element man worships and bows down to and prays to. He worships it not because he loves it but because he is afraid of it.
May 1, 1864