MANY PEOPLE insist that miracles never take place, while others are just as sure that they are a reality. It depends entirely on the point of view. It is strictly relative to one’s belief.
If you have a materialistic slant and do not believe in miracles, you will never see one, but if you do believe in them, you will perceive many. There is not a day on which the unexpected does not happen, not a day when something does not occur to startle you if you have not been closely observing your wishes and your thoughts.
But what do we mean by a miracle? Ordinarily we mean something for which we cannot account by recognized natural laws. In other words, man classes anything that he does not understand as a miracle. Since we do not yet fully understand all the laws of the universe, it is plain that such miracles are of frequent occurrence. Hence, we may make a statement that seems paradoxical. So-called miracles are frequent, but there is no such thing as a miracle, if, by that word, we mean something that breaks a cosmic law.
The idea as to what is, or what is not, miraculous is also relative, relative to our knowledge, and to nothing else. To a savage, a flying machine is a miracle when he first sees one. He does not believe that it is man-made, because experience has taught him that only birds can fly. He therefore takes the materialistic standpoint and denies the fact, or he falls back on his superstitious belief in the powers of evil and tries to destroy the object. To us it is an everyday affair, to him it is a miracle. But it was not so many years ago that some of our learned men claimed that these machines never could be successful, because, owing to the law of gravity, they must fall to the ground, being heavier than air.
Similarly, the first balloon was looked upon as a piece of witchcraft, because everybody was acquainted with the law of gravitation, some painfully so, and nearly all were convinced that no man could rise in the air unless aided by the powers of darkness.
In neither of these cases is the power of gravity defeated. The law of gravitation is in full action at all times. In the balloon, the bag is filled with a gas so much less dense than air that the whole machine weighs less than an equal volume of air. In consequence the heavier air rushes and crowds in below the balloon, really lifting it in order to be at the bottom. So we see that what raises the balloon is really the force of gravity applied in a novel way. Once started upward, the bag and its load will rise until the total weight exactly equals the weight of the same volume of air, when it will rise no higher.
In the case of the airplane the rapid motion of the air, as it is driven backward, and the forward motion of the ship exert a lifting force against the wings, thus raising the machine. Laws are fixed and unchangeable, that is, the cosmic laws that we term scientific. But their action may be modified by the simultaneous application of other laws. The law of gravity says that the airplane shall fall, while the laws of mechanics say that the swiftly moving air shall lift the machine. By working in accordance with these laws man soars aloft, covers great distances, and returns safely to earth, an accomplishment that was once to many people a miracle, to others a device of the Devil.
Let us take another example. When it was proposed to build a ship of iron, disaster was freely prophesied, for iron sinks in water. That is true of a bar of iron. But the iron ship is a reality. When that same bar of iron is rolled into plates and they are fashioned into a ship, we have a large vessel containing so much air that it is, bulk for bulk, lighter than water. The heavier water, therefore, forces it upward and holds it at the surface. The object, made of material heavier than water, is kept afloat by the power that causes a lump of iron to go to the bottom.
It has always seemed strange to me that many so-called scientists never use their powers of observation outside of their laboratories. If they had watched an old-fashioned tin dishpan floating in a sink full of water they would never have doubted the success of the iron ship, while if they had watched the birds they would have seen the possibility of the airplane.
We are today surrounded by things that would seem miraculous to an ignorant person, but which we accept as a matter of course. Among these are the telephone, the electric light, the automobile, and the radio. It is not so many years ago that witchcraft would have received the credit for all these. They all are due to the intelligent application of laws that scientists have discovered. And the end is not yet, for men now are delving into the unknown as never before.
But, it will be objected, these things are all of the so-called material world. How about the intangible things? How about the healing of sickness, the bringing of supply, or the removal of discord? Surely these are miracles. I grant that they may seem miraculous many times, yet I must still insist that there are, strictly speaking, no miracles. Everything happens in absolute accord with law. We may not understand the laws at work in every case, but it must be true that law and order reign supreme over every action. Every scientific investigation leads to this point. Then if these things happened under a suspension of the rules, or by chance, there would be no way of repeating them. It would be merely an accident if your prayers were answered. If it were not true that law governs everything, the Master could not have given us His great promise, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.”
This brings us into the realm of mind and mental laws. We are only beginning to understand the latter. Psychology is a very young science, and very early it became sidetracked and spent altogether too many valuable years on nervous and emotional reflexes, instead of trying to find the basic principles behind all mental activity. In fact, there has been so little work done along this line by academic psychologists that it is difficult to get much light on the subject. We have been obliged to seek without their help, and metaphysics has been of the greatest aid to us who have tried to follow this line, more so than any work on psychology.
We know that there is a mind, and that mind is behind every activity that we meet. We are also satisfied that all mental action follows definite laws. We cannot define mind scientifically even now; we cannot grasp it by any of our senses, and we know but little regarding mental laws. Some good people would tell us that we must not attempt to use a thing with which we are not fully acquainted. This is far from the truth, about as far as one can get. If you are holding this belief, do not turn on your electric light tonight.
Nobody knows exactly what electricity is, yet we have been using it for years. We began using it before very many of the laws governing its action were understood. And here is a real secret. If electricity had not been used we would know no more about it today than our great-great-grandparents knew. The more it was used the more was learned about the laws of its activity, and the more useful it became, until today we are performing many seeming miracles with its aid, and this without knowing just what it is. We are traveling daily by means of its power; we are talking to friends across the continent; we are cooking food, or freezing it; we are lighting our homes, and warming them; and we are listening to music from great distances all through the application of the laws governing an unknown thing.
We cannot define mind, no, but we are using it, and through observation of its workings we have discovered some of its laws. The more we apply the rules we have learned, the more we discover. When I left college I thought I knew a great deal about chemistry. I soon learned how little I really knew, but, as I applied that little, the knowledge rapidly increased. This seems to be one of the laws of mental action: that use of what one has brings more. It will always work out this way.
Mind is the connecting link between man and his Creator. It is through mind that we “contact” Him, and it is through the same channel that He speaks to us. Many are seeking now to know the laws of mind, the knowledge of this great power present in each one; and the answer is coming slowly, just as we apply the knowledge that we do have, and show that we are ready for more. Our knowledge has now reached such a point that we realize that, while we are in this body, our real life is entirely unseen and intangible. We are beginning to feel the presence of that unseen realm all around us, and we find that it is a realm of strict law and order, that nothing is left to chance. Hence, if we take a miracle to be something that is opposed to universal laws, we are justified in saying that no such thing ever happens. But if we say that a miracle is something that we cannot explain in our present state of enlightenment, then we must admit that such things are very common.
Now, as to those other miracles mentioned, healing, and so forth, I still maintain that they are not strictly of this order. We speak of the healing of a disease. There is no such entity as a disease. There never has been, and there never will be. Let us analyze the word itself: dis means lack of; hence disease means literally “lack of ease.” That is what we mean, and that only.
The healing of physical discomfort is not a miracle, but is strictly in accordance with law, for the power to heal is innate in every living thing. We are self-healing machines. Faith stimulates healing by this natural power; fear, or lack of faith, retards healing. We also know that there is a great Source of all power, ready to come to our aid when we call. I say, in the face of many denials, that we know this, because many of us have proved it through personal experience.
Let us pursue this idea a little further. Poverty, trouble, and discord are most certainly not ease. They are lack of ease, or disease in the strict meaning of the term. Since we have found that there is an unseen Power that will heal bodily ailments, it is fair to assume that this same Power will relieve disease of any kind and from any cause. Again we are borne out by experience. In no case does this Power fail if it is called on in the right way. It does not work occasionally while mostly failing us; it is consistent. Consequently, we must believe that there is a definite law under which these things are done, and the only miracle is that so few are willing to learn and apply the law to their own needs. We do not know this Power perfectly as yet, but we do understand the law under which it acts sufficiently to make practical applications of that law.
Sometime we shall have a complete understanding of the laws of mental and spiritual action, but we shall get this only by applying the knowledge that we have, thus showing that we are ready for more. It is in this way that we are each day learning a little more of the laws under which we live and work. As we sense the presence of that higher, spiritual realm, and seek to learn its laws, we shall find that the same rule holds. Apply what we learn and we shall learn more. That is why full mastery does not come to anyone instantly. A person must pass through a period of apprenticeship. He must learn to work well with the tools he possesses before he is given more delicate instruments. As he shows his fitness, he is advanced in knowledge and in power until his overcoming is complete.
When our knowledge becomes perfect, and we develop ourselves mentally and spiritually, we shall find that in the highest realm of Spirit everything is still absolute law and order. The seeming miracles of today will seem petty, for we shall there discover laws and powers of action of which we dream not at present. The things we shall do in the future will transcend the things of the present, just as the things we do now overshadow the things of the past. And it will not be miraculous in any meaning of the word, but it will be simply the careful application of the laws and forces of that great realm of universal Intelligence.
Would you reach this realm? Do not expect to walk right into it. You must begin by learning the simplest of its laws, and by the constant application of them. You must ask to be shown the way, and use the knowledge you receive. You will then learn more and more, until you will one day find yourself in that realm right here. There will be nothing miraculous about it, merely the application of God’s unchanging laws. Learn His laws, find this realm, and you will realize that so-called miracles are always the natural result of following the rules.