Master Class Lessons
by Ernest C. Wilson
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The Master Class Lessons by Ernest C. Wilson are simple yet profound. The classes consist of six lessons that are as beneficial for the beginning student as they are the advanced metaphysician. These six lessons assist the student in gaining an intellectual understanding of Unity's basic teachings and most importantly, how to apply them to daily life. Over 12 thousand students participated in the first 12 classes offered. The results were phenomenal.
LESSON I The Masters Way of Prayer; LESSON II The Masters Way of Giving; LESSON III The Masters Way of Receiving; LESSON IV The Masters Way of Healing; LESSON V The Masters Way of Love and Happiness; LESSON VI The Masters Way of Overcoming; Answers to Questions.
The aim of the practical Christian is to make his life conform as nearly as possible to the pattern given him by Jesus, the Master. Therefore Ernest C. Wilson, the author of this book, has based its six lessons on the Master’s way of doing things.
The first chapter deals with “The Master’s Way of Prayer.” The author says that true prayer is a turning to God not in order to change Him but to change ourselves. Again, our part “is to make prayer an open channel through which God’s answer shall come with harmony, grace, and power.”
“The Great Teacher knew more about the law of prosperity than any one who has ever lived,” says Mr. Wilson. He knew that prosperity includes giving as well as receiving, for He said, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” The Master’s way of giving and receiving is considered in the second and third chapters respectively.
“The Master’s Way of Healing” is the subject of chapter 4. “The desire for health is universal,” says Mr. Wilson, “and is in itself a prophecy of its fulfillment.” He points out that God power lies back of every healing, and he shows how to contact that power and bring it into manifestation as health and strength
One of the most interesting chapters in this book is the one that discusses “The Master’s Way of Love and Happiness.” The author says that the heart of Jesus, not His mind, made Him the Savior of mankind. Jesus loved with an all-embracing, selfless love that was big enough to include us all, yet he did not neglect to love His mother and Joseph, little children, the disciple John, and most of all His heavenly Father.
The concluding chapter explains “The Master’s Way of Overcoming.” Mr. Wilson says that daily meditation upon statements of Truth is a powerful preparation for any crisis that arises in one’s life; that more important than what we overcome is the way we overcome it.
Questions come with each chapter of this book, and the answers are listed in the back. MASTER CLASS LESSONS is especially adapted for use in systematic study.
THE MASTER’S WAY OF PRAYER
IF YOU want authoritative information on any subject, to whom do you go? To the leading authority on that subject, do you not?
Even if your own knowledge of the subject were quite thorough, you would be inclined to check your information by that of some one who knows as much as you do, or more.
Wise men go to headquarters for what they want. They find that the head of the firm is often more approachable than the sub-ordinates, and that even if the subordinates are willing to co-operate, they may not have as complete information as the chief executive.
It is so in practical Christianity.
If you have a good desire, go to the source of that desire for its righteous plan of fulfillment.
As a home builder goes to an architect for plans, knowing that well-drawn plans will enable him to build the best house with the least effort, delay, and expense, so does the life builder go to the Supreme Architect for the plans of a successful life or a successful project in that life.
You and I are builders. We do not create the material with which we build, nor do we in the final analysis create the plan; but we are responsible for the use we make of available material and for the way in which we co-operate with the divine plan for our life. We should go to the architect for guidance and direction. We should go to God.
Perhaps you say, “It is all well enough to say, ‘Go to God,’ but how are we to make contact with Him?”
Prayer is your means of contact with God.
“Prayer is the key that unlocks the stores of abundance and blessing. The secret of effectual prayer is belief. When we pray, we get not necessarily what we ask for, but what we expect.
“If we pray for some good thing, expecting its realization to be deferred, it will be.
“If we pray for a thousand dollars, expecting only a hundred, we shall get only a hundred.
“If we pray expecting a more satisfying answer than we can foresee, that too will be realized.
“If we pray expecting immediate response, we shall get immediate fulfillment or some sign or token to indicate that our prayer is in process of being fulfilled.
Faith: the Measuring Cup
“The reason for this is not that our belief will change what actually is true. The reason is that what is true is the perfect, the harmonious, the ideal; and that the perfect, the harmonious, and the ideal is manifested for us according to the measure of our faith. Jesus recognized this law when He said, ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ Again He said, “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ ”
How can that be?
How can we believe that we have something that is not apparent? The law of possession is the law of vision. You may have many blessings that you do not perceive. You do not really possess them until your vision is quickened to see what you have. A child might carry about in his pocket an immensely valuable diamond, believing it to be only a piece of glass. He would not truly possess it as a diamond until he knew it to be a diamond. Thus, though he would have received a diamond, he would to all practical intents and purposes have only a piece of glass, until he perceived it to be a diamond.
Moses illustrated this law of possession through vision by the story in Genesis of Abram, in which Abram and his son-in-law Lot decided to divide their households and possessions and go their separate ways. “Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan” then, “and Lot dwelt in the cities of the Plain . . . And Jehovah said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it.”
The land thou seest! Look about you! Free your sight from the thought of prejudice and your environment often becomes transformed. How far can you see? How much can you see? How much of good can you detect? “The land which thou seest, to thee will I give it” is Jehovah’s promise.
The Law of Vision
Again in the story of Jacob and Laban and the spotted sticks Moses illustrates this same law of vision. Jacob, you will remember, had been tricked by his father-in-law. His loyalty and faithfulness and devotion through fourteen years of good service had been discounted. Laban had promised Jacob that all the spotted and ringstreaked and speckled young animals born to the cows and ewes and she-goats should be given to him as a beginning for his own herds. Then Laban had secretly had the spotted mother animals taken on a journey over the hills, leaving only the plain-colored ones, whose progeny presumably would be plain-colored too.
Jacob might have been justifiably indignant at such treat-ment. Perhaps he was; the Bible does not say. He went down by the poplars, perhaps to nurse his hurt feelings, perhaps to think over the problem of what to do. At any rate he did one thing right then. “Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond and of the planetree; and peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear.” Then he came back to the ranch house, and as he passed the watering troughs where the animals came to drink, he tossed the rods into the troughs. “And the flocks conceived before the rods.”
A curious thing happened.
When the animals gave birth to their young, they were born spotted and ringstreaked and speckled, and Jacob took them as his patrimony and went and established his own household.
Seeing spots, the animals had “thought” spots, thinking spots they had conceived spots, and conceiving spots, they had brought forth spots!
In this modern day, scientists declare that mothers, either human or animal, do not prenatally “mark” their young; but Moses evidently thought that they did; and whether they do or not, it is quite evident that in other ways we mark our own lives by what we see, which may have been the point that Moses intended us to realize.
What we see, that we shall think.
What we think, that we shall conceive.
What we conceive, that we shall bring forth.
Calling Forth Abundance
Vision calls forth abundance. As we look back through the past we can see that clearly. It is said that Watt caught the vision that was responsible for the development of the steam engine from watching the steam from a teakettle. Franklin viewing a thunder-storm, brought lightning down to earth in a way that prepared the world for Edison’s discoveries. Chemists working in their labor-atories have learned to make rubber from weeds, perfume from coal tar, and wall board from cornstalks. Such simple things as barbed wire and paper clips have made fortunes for persons who had the vision to see opportunities in simple things.
We sigh sometimes when we hear of such things. Perhaps we say, “If only I had lived in the time of Watt; if only I had the education of Edison; if only some one would finance me while I invent something worth while.”
The genius of vision is to see the possibilities of the present moment, the present environment, the things within our grasp. “Far fields are always greenest” is an old saying.
Youth sighs for the olden days of romance and adventure; but perhaps no time has ever equaled the present in opportunities. Surely no country has greater opportunities than our own. Our dreams and our ideals cheat us unless we insist upon their yielding us a deep appreciation of what we have at hand.
Let us meditate often upon the thought:
I am alert and responsive to new ideas, new opportunities, new joys that are at hand this moment to bless me.
Do Not Belittle!
Let us never belittle our work, ourselves, or our environment. We may wish to change them, but we can usually best change them not by condemnation, but by growth. Conrad, one of the most distinguished writers of English prose, could not speak a word of English at the age of twenty-one, yet before he was forty he had written books in the language that gained world-wide recognition. Abraham Lincoln, as every schoolboy knows, was born in a log cabin, and read his few books by firelight. Genius, wealth, happiness, good health, and well-being generally are limited to no one locality or age.
Apply the law of vision to whatever seems to trouble, handicap, or offend you. Through vision you can discern and call forth the good. Have faith in your vision of the good, and you shall prove abundantly that miracle follows miracle and wonders never cease.
Finding Your Place in Life
Does your job seem too small for you, unworthy of your abilities? Strive the more to give it your best. Let appreciation of the work in hand be your job. Do a good job of appreciating the work you have to do. Look upon your work as a learning time. Learn all that you possibly can about your job. Later perhaps you will come to a time of directing others in what you have learned. When you have grown too big for your work, you will find your way into other work. When the chicken grows too big for the egg, the shell breaks and he finds himself in a new world. But he can never go back into his snug little egg world again. And once you have graduated out of your “little” job into one that offers bigger opportunities, you will find that it also includes greater responsibilities. You may then find yourself thinking appreciatively of the past-and-gone days of carefree work. Make the most of them now, and be ready to accept new blessings as they come, without regrets for those you leave behind.
Are you out of a job? How many times, when you had one, did you wish you had more time? Now that you have it, make the most of it! Waste no time worrying. If you feel that you should be working for an income, put your house in order—your house of body, mind, and emotions. Prepare yourself inwardly for the kind of work that you can do best and in which you can best render service to others. Say and realize deeply,
“Nothing can keep from me the work that the Father has for me. I go forth to find and to do the work that the Father wishes me to do. I claim my good, and I press my claim. ‘My Father worketh even until now, and I work.’“
Have you dependents that harass you and make heavy demands upon you? Do what you can do for them ungrudgingly. Have the grace to withhold what you cannot give willingly and freely. No blessing accompanies a grudging gift. Look deeper than the harassing demands to the unseen bond that links you to those who look to you as a channel of love and bounty. Distinguish between the persons you love and the characteristics you find to be unlovely.
To what shall you bear witness in your estimation of persons and things?
What is the real truth about them, and what is only passing, unreal, the “shadow of a great thing”?
One of old commanded, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Bear witness, by your inner vision, to Truth. You will call forth increasingly that to which you bear witness by thought and feeling, word and deed.
If you see yourself as separated from your good by time or space or both, that is your vision; if you see your good coming only through delay and in unexpected, unpredictable ways, that is your vision; and if you see your good opposed by persons and circumstances, that too is your vision. Your insistence upon such vision may make them seem to be true for a time, but none of them is the truth. Make your vision true to Spirit. Be able to say with Paul, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” For what you see you will think, what you think you will conceive, and what you conceive you will call forth!
Jesus said, “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness!”
What is the single eye? In this passage Jesus contrasts opposites in parallel construction; light and darkness, the single and the evil eye. The single eye is to the eye beholding evil as light is to darkness. The single eye, then, is the eye that sees good. If thine eye be single—seeing the good only—thy whole body shall be filled with light. Modernly Emerson, defining prayer, has said almost the same thing: “Prayer is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul pronouncing God’s work good.”
By seeing not good and evil, but good only, then, our world is transformed. This is the true attitude of prayer, an attitude that conforms our mental attitude to the attitude of Spirit. As God once beheld all His work and pronounced it good, so also shall we. When we have so cultivated the habit of searching out the good and persistently beholding and declaring its presence and power, we are beginning to fulfill the admonition to “pray without ceasing.”
Turning thus to God not in order to change Him but in order that we ourselves may be changed, is the powerful attitude of true prayer. It should be our first recourse in any emergency, but we should not wait for some emergency before we become familiar with the attitude and the science of prayer. We should make the prayerful attitude the rule rather than the exception in our life. Prayer is a practice that like other forms of practice has only one legitimate end—performance. Practice will lead to performance and ultimately to perfect performance.
Let us make a habit of turning to God in prayer, and in times of stress we shall do so without effort. Let us make a habit of taking the impersonal, spiritual viewpoint of persons and problems, viewing them with the single eye, and automatically we shall find ourselves doing so, with increasing steadfastness and effectiveness, when our personal interests and feelings might otherwise be involved to our detriment.
Go First Direct to God!
Go first direct to God; go next to man as God directs.
Many times our problems are simply a matter of mistaken human vision. Greater vision, vision more nearly true to Spirit, will correct and dissolve a very great many difficulties. Sometimes when we turn trustfully to the Father for guidance and vision, the light that fills our body or material world reveals to us clearly that we should change our methods of thought or speech or action, or perhaps all three. We should, then, not hesitate to do so. “If ye know these things,” said Jesus, “blessed are ye if ye do them.”
Having gone to God in prayer for guidance and vision, the next great step in prayer is to have faith in God’s power and willingness to answer your prayer.
Have faith in the power of God. “Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save.”
Have faith in His loving-kindness. “For his lovingkindness endureth for ever,” and “the God of heaven, he will prosper us.”
Have faith in His responsiveness. “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”
Keep your faith high. Say often,
“My expectation is from the Lord.”
And mean what you say.
Do not confuse the source and the channels. All mankind and all circumstances are possible channels for God’s blessing to you. There are many channels, but there is only one source. That source is God. Look to Him. You dissipate your faith when you fasten it upon channels as if they were the source.
Have Only One God
It is unfair to persons to make gods out of them. They are sons of God and true vision always sees them so; but they are not God, and we should not look to them as to God. Even Jesus Christ discouraged such a view of Himself. He said, “Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God,” and again, “I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works.”
It is unwise to hinge the fulfillment of prayer upon any person or circumstance. Identify your prayers and their fulfillment with God. Shall we not ask in the name and through the power of Jesus Christ then? Yes; but to ask in the name and through the power of Jesus Christ means to ask in the consciousness of Jesus Christ. The consciousness that gave Jesus Christ power was the consciousness of the Father within Him. Jesus knew the truth about God and Himself. He knew that the real nature of God is Father; and that the kingdom of God is within man. He knew the truth about Himself and all men; that is what made Him so wonderfully the Christ of God. For us to ask in His name and power, then, means to ask in recognition of God, all-mighty, all-powerful, all-present, and of man as the child of God, blessed by the Father’s indwelling presence.
Pray All the Way Through
Your prayer should not be a wish but a conviction.
Not always the simplest prayer is most completely answered. That prayer is most completely answered that is itself most complete.
How far does your prayer extend? To your dreams? To your thoughts? To your affirmations? Or through these to all your thoughts, all that you say, all that you do? Become a thinking, feeling, breathing, acting prayer of faith, and your prayer will find fulfillment through all the channels that you open to it by your consciousness of prayer.
Remember that God answers even before you ask. Your part is to make prayer an open channel through which God’s answer shall come with harmony, grace, and power. If the answer to your prayer is delayed or incomplete or insufficient, obviously the channel needs to be cleared of whatever is clogging it. Open wide the channels of body, mind, and affairs to the action of God. Say often, with other Unity students the world over,
“I am now in the presence of pure Being, and immersed in the Holy Spirit of life, love, and wisdom.”
Know the Truth; feel it, think it, act upon it, and rejoice in its response to your needs.
God, who gave you life, can best sustain it. Turn to Him. Prayer is your means of contact. You must have vision, for the law of possession is the law of vision.
What you see, that you will think; what you think, that you will conceive; what you conceive, that you will bring forth.
Make the most of what you have. Bless your work, your associates, your relatives. Be single-eyed to goodness. Cultivate the habits that will serve you, the habit of prayer, of right thinking, of vision, and in time of need they will rise up to bless you.
Go always first direct to God; go next to man as God directs. Have faith. Pray all the way through.
Close your study with this meditation for whomsoever you especially wish to bless:
You are a radiant center of the
light, mighty to attract your good, and to radiate good to others.
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