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A Search For God
Lesson 5: Virtue and Understanding
(262-18 to 262-20)
"Whatever is true,
Whatever is noble,
Whatever is right,
Whatever is pure,
Whatever is lovely,
Whatever is admirable
- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
- think about such things."
Let virtue and understanding be in me.
My defense is in You, O Lord, my Redeemer.
You hear the prayer of the upright in heart.
In defining virtue and understanding,
we must remember that these words
are used here in their fuller meaning
as expressions or activities of the soul or spirit forces,
not as mental or emotional concepts.
To be true to that which is pure in our purpose is virtue.
Virtue is full cooperation that prepares the way for enlightening
and uplifting humanity.
Virtue is keeping ourselves in tune with God.
Virtue is enabling us to know ourselves as we are known by others.
Virtue is holding steadfastly to the Ideal that is set in Christ.
Virtue is pureness of heart, pureness of soul, and pureness of mind
that come through God's Spirit bearing witness with our spirit.
Virtue is the seasoning of faith.
Virtue is the essence of hope.
Virtue is the crowning element of truth.
Virtue is an attribute of God.
True understanding is beyond the reason of the senses.
True understanding is the power to experience and interpret the laws
that govern the expression of God in and through
the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies of mankind.
Where there is virtue there will be understanding, one follows another.
Understanding is the reward of virtue.
With virtue, therefore, comes understanding,
for the two are as the tenon and the mortise;
they fit one with the other.
Knowledge is not always understanding.
Daily, many experience miracles of which they have no understanding.
Few that have knowledge get understanding.
An understanding of the mysteries of life
comes to those only who make a close approach to the Throne.
We may know the course of the stars, the intricate formulae of mathematics,
and the secrets of sciences, but we cannot understand God's laws
until we have experienced that closeness with the Divine
that makes us realize that we are part of His laws,
rather than mere observers of them.
It was no miracle to those who understood Stephen when he said,
"Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
It was no miracle to the Master when He fed the five thousand
with five loaves and two fishes, for He understood the law of supply.
It requires an understanding of God's law (love),
when such a message is heard today as,
"Lo, I am present with you in this room
- I have chosen you as ye have chosen me.
Keep the way thou know, keep the path you have trod,
for He is able to deliver thee in every trial,
and unto him that is faithful comes the crown of life.
As I am lifted up in your conciousness,
so will I be lifted up in the conciousness of others."
With such an understanding comes a finer
and more sincere relationship with others,
and a higher spiritual concept of self.
We link virtue and understanding because
they are expressions of the activities of the soul forces.
Virtue built into the mind is the only sure path to true understanding.
Knowledge assists when it is in harmony and in accord
with the Ideal; otherwise, it may become a barrier, a curse,
and a dark pit from which it is hard to escape.
VIRTUE AND UNDERSTANDING ARE SPIRITUAL
Those of us who seek virtue and understanding must walk with God.
We never sink so low that we do not at some time feel a longing to look up,
and to seek something higher than our own selfish desires.
Often it takes only a song, a kind word, or a friendly deed
to cause the fire of hope to leap and such a prayer to be uttered as
"Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!"
We may be counted worthy to point out the way
only after we have walked the way with Him,
who was tempted in all ways like unto us, yet without sin.
If our hearts are open to the conciousness that comes from abiding in Him,
there will be no misunderstandings, for the power of the Holy Spirit
will awaken in each of us that which was ours in the beginning.
The desire for virtue and understanding is already within.
Spirit cries to spirit,
"Purify me, cleanse me! Give me back my first estate,
my virtue, my understanding, my God!"
"As the deer pants for stream of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God."
May our aspirations be expressed in the following words:
O Thou divine and celestial spark, alive in some, dormant in others
- Virtue, Understanding, Creative Force, God
- have Thy own way in our hearts and lives, we pray!"
VIRTUE AND UNDERSTANDING ARE ESSENTIAL TO RIGHT LIVING
Virtue and Understanding are essential to right living, or righteous living.
Virtue and Understanding are needed in meeting the daily problems of life
that arise within us as well as in our relationships with others.
We sincerely desire that our standards be correct,
but none of us can choose aright unless we are guided by the Holy Spirit.
It is hard to know the original cause or the final result of a decision influencing other.
We may not know what trial or tribulation may have caused a brother to err.
If we know, it is because we have ourselves experienced some similar tribulation.
It is then that our standards are measured by Him who abides within our holy temple,
and they fit perfectly with the Ideal within our less fortunate brother.
We have no cause to find fault or condemn.
Virtue and Understanding are the requisites for spiritual work.
What we do not possess we cannot give.
What we do not live we cannot teach others to live.
Unless we are pure, how can we expect others to be pure?
Our very words and acts condemn us.
We must be and know before we can direct,
or before we can rightly guide others who are seeking the safe harbor.
There is a desire in each of us to live better day by day.
We wish to reach a certain goal.
If we are choosing the highest, the best,
we will not be satisfied with anything less.
It is well for us to remember that the highest goal
is not reached at a single bound,
but step by step - here a little, there a little.
It is encouraging to know that no good deed is lost,
not even a good intention; but all are built within our very souls
and will bear fruits, some thirty, some fifty and some a hundredfold.
It is by deeds, righteous deeds, that we rise.
"We climb to heaven leaning on the arm of a brother whom we have helped."
THE WAY TO VIRTUE AND UNDERSTANDING
The way to virtue and understanding is through prayer and meditation.
The approach to all understanding must come from a proper concept
of our needs in the physical, the mental, and the spiritual phases of our lives.
This is the approach of the Master Jesus.
Others may point the way, but have they
the virtue and understanding of Him who said,
"I am the way the truth and the life."
He proclaimed no way except the one He, Himself, had trod.
He so lived the way that He could say,
The way is open to all.
We are moving along the path when we begin to see ourselves as other see us,
when no unkind thought of our brother is allowed to lodge in our hearts,
and when we seek earnestly to be pure in heart,
pure in mind, pure in body, and pure in soul.
The way is straight and narrow, so narrow that we must have no will but the Father's,
that we must have no aim but to reach the Christ Consciousness.
This leads to virtue and understanding.
"Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Personal Experience 1
"I have found the way.
It is through divine love,
and it is for all who desire it.
I prayed seven years for divine love.
It is a living thing within me,
giving me strength to love those who have wronged me,
giving me the sight to see good in those who would do evil.
It is in me the healing power.
I give thanks that I now recognize the God within me
who is helping me to express divine qualities."
If we would have virtue, then let us step out on faith -
faith in the purity of self,
faith in the perfection of our brother, and
faith in the promises of God.
Virtue is the reward of faith, and
Understanding is the reward of virtue.
Through faith the veil is lifted and we can go within ourselves,
within the holy of holies and be transformed into
the image and likeness of the Son of God.
Personal Experience 2
"I did not feel I had the necessary virtue for an upright life.
After much thought and meditation, the words came to me,
'Faith is the chief cornerstone.'
This helped me, for I knew that I could exercise faith.
I then began to give thanks that I, through faith in the Christ,
had virtue, a cleansing of body, soul, and spirit.
Understanding came to me."
We must have implicit faith in God and in His promises,
if we would have the cleansing power of His Spirit
manifest in and through us,
if we expect to do our greatest work.
Unless we have faith, how can we expect to see the glories of God?
He that doubts is condemned.
It is only through faith that we are justified,
for belief in God is counted unto us for righteousness.
VIRTUE IS A DEFENSE, UNDERSTANDING IS A WEAPON
Virtue has the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.
It strengthens the spiritual quality of man and
engenders a greater knowledge of the Maker
and a greater faith in Him.
The more we open our hearts as a channel of blessings to others,
the more power we possess.
Keeping the channel clear, open, and ready to be used,
we see the seemingly impossible begin to take place
and we come to realize that no weapon
that is formed against us shall prosper.
Happy are we when protected by the impregnable defense
found in the same pureness of ourselves that we demand of others.
Virtue is a defence against all temptation
to censure, condemn, or criticize -
for with it we see with eyes that are looking for the pure.
We see behind the vice of other souls,
made in the image of their Maker.
We feel that they need our love
and our help along the way.
With virtue within, we never retard the development of others.
As with virtue comes understanding,
so with understanding comes divine light.
Understanding is a strong and tried weapon
whose blade is never bent.
Understanding has ever been a weapon
in the endless warfare for truth.
When once the enemy is conquered,
he is at the same time won as an ally,
for he stands in awe in the presence
of a power that gives an understanding
of his real intentions and purposes.
Only with virtue and understanding
can we rise above the tumult in the battle of life,
and, with the Master, pass through the midst of it and go out way.
How simple when we understand!
How wonderful when we are pure in heart, pure in mind, and pure in spirit!
THE EFFECTS OF VIRTUE AND UNDERSTANDING
ON OURSELVES AND OTHERS
Virtue and understanding have to do primarily with ourselves
and with our relationship to the Creative Forces.
Virtue and Understanding are reflected in our judgment of others,
for our conduct is a reflection of our inner thoughts.
To think nobly is to act nobly.
It is a privilege to think, provided we think with a mind
that is in tune with the ideal that is set in the Christ.
We may compare the daily building of ourselves,
mentally, physically, and spiritually,
to the construction of a house.
Are we choosing those attributes that will help our development?
Are we casting aside the imperfect stones, using only the good?
Are we placing them evenly in line?
Are we ready to be passed on by the divine Inspector?
If we can answer these questions in the affirmative,
then we are hastening our development toward God.
The quality of the structure depends upon us and upon us only.
We are building for ourselves either hovels or holy temples.
No man liveth to himself.
How we live, act, and think not only is reflected in ourselves
but also has its effect upon others.
As we put into practice love, mercy, justice, patience,
and forgiveness, others catch the same spirit.
This is illustrated by one who came in contact
with those who had received spiritual cleansing.
"They made me better," she said,
"gave me back my living faith,
instilled in me a desire to realize - that God lives and is speaking through men.
They gave me hope and new interest in life.
Before I met them my worship was form;
afterwards it became more spiritual and
I began to reach out for the joy that seemed to be theirs."
Finally, we know we have passed from death unto life because we love.
We know that new life now courses through us,
and that a new and strange peace is ours
that makes us in accord with divine will.
What we once despised now we cherish,
and the world we formerly cherished now ceases to attract.
We give thanks to God for this unspeakable gift of spiritual understanding
which is now ours through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit.
May the following words be ever upon our lips:
Let virtue and understanding be in me,
for my defense is in Thee, O Lord, my Redeemer;
for Thou hearest the prayer of the upright in heart.
The individual's cooperation with a group,
or the concerted effort of one mind, or aim, or purpose.
2. Know Yourself
The understanding, or looking into oneself.
The preparation of self in the light of cooperation.
To become active with what has been gained.
The basis (foundation) each approaches the forces within
that there may come forth those works.
The works through the activity of that force called faith in the
material activities of an individual.
5. Virtue and Understanding
Adding to your faith, virtue and understanding.
Virtue is the reason why your faith is to be put into active service.
For without the pureness of the virtue of oneself's own mental,
material and spiritual self, there can come little or no understanding.
Each know that these are the beginning of the
opening of self to the activity of those forces emanating from
the application from the studies that have gone before.
With faith comes the working forces that make for
an activity upon the part of each towards that being manifested
in the lives of each who have set their face towards an activity.
So these, then, are the beginnings.
Show within self an illustration of what has been gained (virtue)
then comes understanding.
Show that same pureness that you demand from another.
Keep in line with what has been set before self,
and sure is the way - for this is His way.
In the application of what has been gained comes the
Be true to what is pure in your purpose, this is virtue.
In virtue comes understanding; for they are like the tenon and
the mortise, they fit one with, one to, another.
Understanding comes with application.
Application may be experience mental or physical, or spiritual.
With the ideal that is set before self there comes the awakening.
As to whether this is shaken by doubts or fears (rather than faith),
or there is the inroads of a doubt that makes for muddying
of your experience, this then makes for less understanding.
Definition of Spiritual Faith.
The application of what is awakened by the spirit within self.
Definition of Virtue.
That applied in the daily life of individuals respecting
the cooperation, self, the ideal, and the faith, to each it is given.
For each individual is an entity in itself, and all work together for
the proper understanding and definition - but to each in their own
Not that God is many, but the attributes of the Creative Forces
respond according to the development of each entity.
Keep the way open.
Do not become a stumbling block to any.
Know in what believe, and where your faith has been placed.
By the works you shall know them, by their fruits;
For virtue is a fruit of faith, so does the Understanding come
like the full grown seed ready for planting.
In the study of this particular phase
the necessary preparation within individuals that:
Each know and understand themselves.
Each know their relationships to the Creative Forces.
These lessons are the preparations for the relationships
to be studied as respecting their fellow man.
Hence the next lesson must be Fellowship.
In the preparations of self:
Virtue and understanding are necessary
requisites for the relationships that are to be further studied.
Well that this be understood:
Virtue and understanding deals primarily with self
and self's relationship to the Creative Forces, or God.
Virtue and understanding in self is reflected in self.
Rather than a judgement upon another.
Judge yourself by your understanding and your own virtue,
judge not another.
Virtue and Understanding are of the spirit and must be judged by the spirit.
"Judge not that you be not judged."
As there is set before you that you have builded and chosen in your
service, your work, so will the harvest be.
If there will be kept that faith in Him who gives that necessary understanding
for the comprehension of the varied conditions as present themselves as
problems in your daily experience.
There will not be those things that are not understood, if there will be
the opening of the heart to that consciousness that comes from the closer
walk with Him.
Keep to the way you know; keep to the path you have trod in,
for He is able to deliver you in every trial, in every way.
For to him that is faithful comes the crown of life.
What source may I gain a greater understanding?
Through prayer and meditation in Him, for He is the way, He is
And the approach to all understanding must come from the proper concept
of the relationships of conditions in the physical, the mental and the spiritual
phases of an individual's existence.
In Him, then, is understanding. The approach to the Father through Him.
In making those parallels, or those analyses of what are the requisites
for the closer relationships to faith, to knowledge, to self, to cooperation,
to the knowing of self, to your ideal, measure these by the spiritual aspects;
not as man-made, or man's concept from the material viewpoint, and there
will come the more perfect understanding.
Knowledge is not always understanding; for these are as knowledge in
the daily experiences that are as miracles, yet they become so often
as everyday facts that there is no understanding in the mercies or the
glories that are showered upon the sons of men from an All-Wise Creator.
Few get understanding that have mere knowledge.
Then the fault lying in that which is as the standard of measurements,
in judgements; but get the understanding through the closer approach
to the throne, for he that has understanding may move mountains.
"Truth is not learned, it is earned."
Truth is an experience. Hence truth is an earning, through the manners
in which a finite mind becomes conscious of what truth is.
Truth is a growth, and hence an earning, a yearning, a growing and is earned
by he or she that applies what is known in the manner that is in keeping with
His will, rather than that there may be the satisfying of self's own desires.
Not that man should deny that this or that force exists, to make self believe,
but rather that the truth is as that which may be earned through the experiencing
of the knowledge and understanding concerning the laws of truth; for He is Truth!
"Open our hearts to those unseen forces
that surround the throne of grace, and beauty and might,
throwing about us the protection found in the thought of the Christ."
These expand by doing it! That's the best expansion!
As you sow, so shall you reap.
As you remain in that attitude of seeking, so will there be opened to you
that sought. In Him is the light, and no darkness at all. Seek the way,
and it will be opened to you.
Am I still on the straight and narrow path?
That must be answered from within, to Him in whom you have put
your faith, your trust, your hope, your hereafter.
Who am I to judge you? "Who is good?" as He gave, "None save the Father",
not even the Son of man.
Rather in Him is the way, and "My Spirit", says He, "bears witness with
your spirit whether you be the sons of God or not."
Keep in the way that is set before you.
For much may be accomplished in what you have undertaken.
In the preparations one depends upon another, so does the lesson
depend upon the activity of each individual contributing to the lesson.
Each should feel, should know, as individuals, they are a portion of
the whole, and must contribute their part that the whole may be more
applicable in the lives of individuals who will be interested in that lesson
No one finite mind can contribute that will interest the many
who may be reached through such lessons.
Yet individual contribution that makes the whole will find a responsive
chord in the lives and hearts of those who are contacted.
For these are experiences, living truths, known and read by many,
and will become worthwhile in the lives of others.
Then let each give that will aid in making the whole complete.
For each should recognize their individual responsibility to themselves,
to the group, to their Maker whom they reflect their conception of
in the minds of those who would apply the lesson in their daily experience.
Virtue and Understanding are the attributes that make for
the relationships with the Creative Forces, that makes for preparation
of contacts with the fellow man as individuals, personalities that must
be dealt with.
That the relationships may become the understandings of individuals
compatible with daily life, daily experience, that the lesson may be
the more worthwhile.
Study the lesson which has been given on cooperation!
Applying that in the individual life will make for what is necessary for carrying on.
Do not become weary in well-doing, for soon we must come to that lesson
of Patience following Fellowship.
Let each know themselves as a link in the chain, a spoke in the wheel.
Do not be the whole, but fulfill what you may do, that there may be the perfect
For he that gives a cup of water in His name is greater than
he that conquers a city for his own aggrandizement.
Updated: 7 August 2013