◄ Edited and condensed from a talk given by Martin Cecil, April 2, 1961 ►
…In the world today there is a great deal of talk about peace, but fundamentally there is no peace. The words, “Peace be unto you,” surely need to be spoken today. While there are certainly many people in the world who are not particularly interested in peace—there are those, for instance, who make a profession of fighting, in one way or another, not all of them soldiers by any manner of means—nevertheless there are multitudes who claim that they want peace. However, generally speaking, they want it on their own terms, whether those terms are individual terms or national terms. There is in fact a general refusal to function in a manner which would permit the experience of peace. Peace is wanted provided that those who want it do not have to change too much. Peace cannot be experienced on any such basis.
…Love is characterized by truth. Truth contains within it the elements of design and control. It is impossible to accept God’s love without accepting God’s truth. In fact we must contact God’s truth before we come to God’s love, and the truth relates to the elements of design and control…. We cannot receive God’s love without receiving first the truth, because God’s love ceases to be love when the truth is not present. Human beings have, in their self-activity, removed themselves from the divine design. God created man to function in a certain way, according to certain principles, in the fulfillment of certain laws, for the achievement of certain purposes. Human beings have removed themselves from that design and have attempted to establish designs of their own making, both from the individual standpoint and from the collective standpoint.
We have considered the matter of the human ego and the human personality. These things are built up by human beings on the basis of certain designs which are humanly established. The designs may vary to some extent from one part of the world to another but fundamentally they are all human designs, and human beings consequently have been extracted from the divine design and injected into human designs. They consequently have lost awareness of adequate contact with the truth, because the element of design, divine design, is a part of truth. Because they have extracted themselves from the divine design the working of God’s love is experienced as something which brings conflict, turmoil and confusion. It is no longer a true manifestation of God’s love, because God’s love is characterized by truth, and if man has removed himself from the design of truth he loses his awareness not only of truth but of the reality of God’s love. God’s love is nevertheless working.
We might recognize something of a symbol of God’s love in relationship to what is called gravity. Gravity is something that is in its workings understood by human beings to a certain extent; the manner of its operation is known. But who knows, actually, what it is? It is in fact not only a symbol but a manifestation of God’s love working at a certain level of being. The effect of gravity is to hold things together, to hold things in their proper places according to the divine design. The earth moves in its orbit around the sun. That which is on the surface of the earth is held there by the force of gravity. Here we have an excellent illustration of the working of God’s love. God’s love holds things together in the divine design. The very moment anything is taken out of the divine design it begins to fall apart. Human beings have taken themselves out of the divine design, instituting designs of their own imagination, and consequently they proceed to fall apart, because God’s love is no longer holding them together. And they can only hold themselves together by a good deal of effort—“sweat of the face,” as it is put in the Book of Genesis—because the natural force which would hold things together is not operating to do so in relationship to man to the extent that man has removed himself from the divine design. All struggle to make things work, to cause things to be held together properly in a state of peace, is absolutely futile as long as man remains out of the divine design. He may expend a great deal of effort on it, and he only succeeds to a certain extent at best, on the basis of physical force, the sweat of the face.
In endeavoring to hold things together various things are utilized; for instance, fear. Fear is one of the elements of man’s design; it is necessary, to hold things together in man’s design. If human beings were not controlled to a certain extent by fear there would be unutterable chaos in man’s design. Most people are inclined to do the right thing, partly at least, because they are afraid to do the wrong thing, and in various ways fear is used to hold the design which man has established in being on earth. Another force which is used is that which comes to focus through the word greed, man’s desire to get what he wants. Utilizing this motivation, things are held together to a certain extent. There can be industries, organizations of various sorts: if you pay enough you get people to stay and do a job—up to a point at least. So this motivation of greed is used. Perhaps many people would not translate it in those terms, but when we come right down to it, that is what it is.
So fear and greed are a means used by man to hold things together in his design, and of course he uses physical force too in various ways. And we recognize that in man’s design these things are necessary. But as long as man’s design exists the state of disintegration will continue, and there is nothing that man can do about it except by these methods, trying to hold things together and making the best of it. Of course individual human beings are falling apart too. They get sick, they have troubles of all sorts, they are in a process of disintegration, and most of the methods that man uses in relationship to this problem are merely designed to try and hold man together a little longer, to enable human beings to keep on living the way they do live, the way they want to live, in the designs that they have established for themselves. And the only way that can be accomplished is by struggling in various ways. There is no solution in man’s design, because man’s design is not God’s design.
That which is held in place in God’s design is held by the force of God’s love. There is no need for all these various methods which human beings use to maintain their own designs. When everything is in place, held together by God’s love, there is peace, the experience of peace, for it is the gift of God’s love. It is the natural state in the divine design, but it is totally unnatural in man’s design. Because the so-called communists have recognized this fact, and used it for their own ends, they have been very successful in achieving their purposes. They recognize that in the world as it now is, the state of conflict, the state of war, is a natural thing—and it is! The state of peace is entirely unnatural in man’s world, in man’s design, and the endeavor to make it be in man’s design is the endeavor to maintain an unnatural state in relationship to man’s design. And it keeps falling apart, because actually the lack of peace, the state of conflict, the turmoil, is all the process of disintegration, the process by which that which is not according to the divine design may be returned to the divine design.
Now we see this in relationship to the individual physical body, for instance. If the human being takes it out of the divine design and attempts to build a life according to his own idea he disintegrates; and when the final point of disintegration is reached, where he can no longer control the process in any measure, he can no longer stop it, then the substance which composed his physical body is returned to a realm — the mineral realm we could say, the mineral kingdom— which is contained within the divine design, at least to the extent that man has not taken it out of the divine design. He has done a good deal of that of course, even in relationship to the mineral kingdom; but when we consider the whole mass of this planet, man has been able to manipulate physical substance to a very small degree. The great mass of this planet remains in the divine design and moves in its orbit around the sun. So we see that that which is taken out of the divine design automatically begins to return to the divine design at a lower level. The experience of peace is not the natural state where disintegration is taking place. If the experience of peace is to be known there must be a movement away from that state, out of that state, a return to the divine design, that there may be an awareness of the reality of God’s love, which then proceeds to hold the individual in position in the divine design. There is no struggle; there is no need for the sweat of the brow to do it. It is, we might say, an automatic process, just as automatic as the movement of the earth in its orbit around the sun.
Therefore the words, “Peace be unto you,” carry many more implications than are generally seen in relationship to them. Most human beings are inclined to expect that if they come to God somehow and say, “I am ready to receive peace; please give me peace,” God will somehow dole it out and that is all there is to it. There may be something of that experience in the individual if there is a true yielding at that point, but we must recognize that wherever anything is out of the divine design the working of the truth of love does not bring peace; it brings turmoil…. the working of God’s love in relationship to that which insists upon remaining in the human design produces discomfort.
The Master Jesus spoke about the Spirit of Truth, whom He described as another Comforter. The experience of comfort, the elimination of discomfort, is only possible as there is a return to the divine design, which is an element of truth. So it is through the Spirit of Truth that comfort may be known, and love, God’s love, may begin to make the experience of peace possible. If we hear the words, “Peace be unto you,” we may recognize that it is going to require change in ourselves if we are to be capable of experiencing it. It is not something that can be plastered on the outside. It is something which comes from within, on the basis of the application of specific principles, the harmonization with specific laws. If we do what is required it works. If we do not do what is required it does not work. It is mathematically exact. We need to recognize this in relationship to the working of the things of God, so that we do not retain any idea that seems to be general in the world that somehow God works in a fanciful manner: You can pray to God, and if you pray hard enough He will change His mind. No, God does not change His mind. What is necessary is that human beings should let their minds be changed. Trying to change God’s mind is one of the most futile undertakings.
We have no desire to change God’s mind. We are willing to let it be as it is. But we need to let our minds be changed, so that we can begin to experience, because we receive it, that which God is offering; and it is offered on the basis of definite laws and principles. There is a definite mechanism that must be allowed to work, and when we harmonize with these things it works. And that is the meaning of faith. Faith, rightly speaking, is not a blind thing. It is not based in some fanciful hope. It is not a matter of trying to have faith; it is a matter of becoming aware of the way God works and then harmonizing with that. And when we do so, we find it works; and because we find it works we have faith in it. You have faith, when you get into your car, that if you do certain things it is going to operate the way it should. Why do you have that faith? It is not based in a fancy, is it? It is based in your own experience, in your own awareness of the fact. True faith is always like that. We need to become aware of the way things work and then let them work that way. And when we discover how they work and we have the experience of their working, it is only natural that we have faith. Then the working of these things is discovered and becomes known in the living of life, in just the same way as the working of the law of gravity becomes known in the processes of living. It would be absolutely futile, wouldn’t it, to read a book about gravity to a small child in order to teach it to walk. It is by experience, by doing it, by making the attempt—by falling down, by getting up, by trying again—that coordination begins to appear, a sense of balance is established, and even though the individual knows nothing about gravity insofar as its scientific aspects are concerned, he can still walk.
We do not have to know everything about everything, but we have to know something to find a starting point, and it is in the application in living that we begin to experience the working of God’s way. And we have faith. It comes. We do not have to work to produce it. We have to act, of course. We have to deliberately do something in order to harmonize with the laws and principles of being, but when we function correctly in this regard we find it works, and consequently faith is the natural outcome. And as we move back, step by step, into the divine design, we find that love holds everything together. We don’t have to struggle to hold things together. We are no longer afraid that everything is going to fall to pieces if we are not busy doing this, that and the other thing. No, God’s love is going to hold things together in the divine design. We may well be fearful that things are going to fall apart when we are out of the divine design, and that is why human beings think they have to be so busy about everything, trying to hold things together, because if they stopped for a moment everything would fall apart. But when we move back into the divine design we discover that Jesus’ words were true when He said, “My yoke is easy.” Any other sort of yoke is hard, difficult. What was supposed to be the yoke of Christianity has been looked upon as being something terribly hard: “Oh you have to work at it so, to be good. You feel like being bad, and you have to work at it to be good, and if you relax for a moment, stop working at it, well, you are bad!” This is man’s way, man’s way which is in the process of disintegrating. It has been in that process for twenty thousand years, but by the sweat of the face human beings have held it together thus far. But to what end? What has been achieved by it? Human beings have some notions about purposes, their own purposes, but they have no idea whatsoever as to what God’s purpose was for this world. They have perhaps invented one. Some say that this is a training ground for the life hereafter. At that rate I think most people flunk out! No, it was not designed as a training ground. It was designed for divine purposes, which man is incapable of comprehending as long as he stays out of the divine design. As long as he is occupied with his own purposes, in his own design, he has no awareness that there is any divine design or any divine purpose.
It all seems such a senseless thing to those who are not supported by their religious beliefs. But when we begin to look at most of the religious beliefs, we find they are equally senseless. We are not concerned so much with beliefs but with the thing itself, with the reality. Trying to believe something does not make it so. And even if we believe in something that is true it has little meaning until we come to the point of knowing it in our own experience. We know that gravity works to hold us on the surface of this planet. We do not have to believe in it, do we? We know it. We need to come to the point of knowing in relationship to all the things of God that are necessary to our right function in the divine design.
So only by returning to the divine design can the reality of peace be experienced. Peace is a natural state in the divine design. We do not have to get it; we do not have to make it; it is there. Human beings struggling to make peace on earth in their own design are engaged in one of the most futile undertakings, because it is absolutely impossible. If man has not learned that yet, I wonder how long it will take him. He always hopes that somehow he is going to be able to achieve the impossible.
We would readily admit that in the world as it now is there is the necessity of maintaining those controls and motivations which hold things together, so that it may be possible, for those who are willing, to move out of man’s design into God’s design. If human beings would let this transpire it could be done so easily, relatively painlessly, but it is unlikely to happen that way. Human beings are going to get hurt, not because that is in any sense God’s will but because of the stubbornness of the human attitude, the unwillingness to relinquish man’s designs, his own patterns of life, and move into the divine design. Those who live in the so-called free world are very willing that the design of communism “over there somewhere” should be relinquished and pass away, but in relationship to man’s design that is right here, oh no; or in relationship to the design that applies to the individual himself, oh no. He wants things the way he wants things, and he is going to keep them that way as long as he possibly can. If he can patch himself up in the disintegrating state for a little longer, well, he will do it. But change his ways? Move over into the divine design? Oh no! “No thank you, I want my own design; I want to live my own life in my own way. After all,” he says, “didn’t God give me free choice?” Yes, He did. That is why human beings are able to do it. That is why they have been able to produce this hell on earth. But what sense is there in maintaining it?
Let us learn to move over into the divine design, where love holds things together and there is no need for the sweat of the face in that regard. And when we are not so concerned about endeavoring to hold things together we may have a little energy left to do something else, to accomplish that for which we are here in the world, according to the divine design. Man has been so occupied with holding his own design together that he has had no time, no opportunity, no energy, no anything, to give to anything else but that. He does not see anything else anyhow.
There are some words written in the Book of Revelation in relationship to Babylon—Babylon, the city of confusion, the confused state of human consciousness. “Come out of her, my people.” Come out of her; Babylon is falling, if not completely fallen. The question is as to whether mankind is going to fall with it into oblivion or whether there are those who shall come out of it, come out of it into something here on earth—not through the portals of death but to move out of Babylon, the human state of confusion here on earth, into the Holy City, the Holy City which comes from God out of heaven because it is God’s design. And as we learn to move into that, and to receive it in ourselves, we begin to experience the reality of peace. But as we pass through the transition from one state to the other, we will find that there are times of turmoil. Why? Because love is working in relationship to something in you that is not true to the divine design. Whenever you feel a state of turmoil you may remember this point: There is something wrong, there is something which needs to go, and there is something which needs to be relinquished, something which needs to pass away. If, feeling that turmoil within yourselves, you begin to respond to it, you begin to become involved with it, you go down with it; because that is what is passing away, and if you are identified with that, well you begin to pass away too. So, immediately there is the sense of turmoil, what should be done? Turn at once to God, to Center, and hold steady and true in relationship to God, so that that which needs to be separated from you may be removed. Nothing that does not belong to you can be removed from you until you are willing to relinquish it. As long as you hold on to it, well, you end up keeping it. It is only as you relinquish it that it can pass from you.
We begin to relinquish our spasmodic grip upon man’s design when we begin to find our relationship to God’s design, so that when turmoil appears and there is evidence of something which needs to go we turn immediately to God’s design, to the truth, and regardless of how we feel, we stay true to that. Then the former things pass away. And we remember there is a lot to pass away. The subconscious mind, for instance, quite apart from the conscious mind, is filled with all kinds of rubbish according to the human design. That is true of all of us. We were born into the human world, we are part of man’s world; but all those designs, human designs, need to pass away. And as we receive the divine design the process is easy; for being true to the truth, true to the divine design, God’s love holds us there; we are held firmly in place. The things that are disintegrating, the things that are not true to the divine design, keep falling away, and we let them go. Anything that can fall let it fall. We can let go because that which is true to the divine design will not fall; it is always there. That which is not true to the divine design will fall. And that is a very simple way of letting the process of separation work out.
As there is this increasing attunement in the divine design the reality of the working of God’s love becomes known and there is peace inside. This is the only way by which peace may come—not only into you but, because it comes in you, through you into the world. There is peace in the reality of God. That is the divine design, along with divine control. There is peace in the reality of God. But we have to let it come. We cannot let it come except as we learn what it means to be of that reality, to be open to the divine design, to be true to the truth. Here is the answer to all of the human woes. Peace be unto you. Surely you shall receive peace, and know peace as you have not known it heretofore, as you move through the cycles of life, open to receive the blessings of God. So let it be.