BY THIS time all who have been journeying with us have become more or less aware of the loving guidance they are receiving from within, and are gradually becoming more acquainted with The One who is not only their Guide, Teacher and Master, but who is the Source of all their life, strength and health.
All such have learned from the preceding chapters and from the books suggested for collateral study what constitutes a disciple, and we trust all are determinedly striving to become wholly empty and clean of self so as to be deemed worthy to be accepted as such by their Divine Master and to be given definite work to do. Those who have been accepted or who are approaching that stage understand what we mean by such work, and also comprehend the deep significance of the words of our Beloved Master when He says: "If ye abide in me and let my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you."
In order to help others to perceive this significance, we will study the inner meaning of the wonderful words of the Master beginning the 15th Chapter of John:
"I an the vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."
First realize and always keep in mind, whenever Jesus spoke in the first person, using the words "I am" and similar terms, that it was not he, the mortal man, but the Christ or Holy Spirit within him that spoke. Realizing this, then in very truth the Christ or Holy Spirit is in the nature of a vine whose branches are in every human heart, even as It is also a light that in many "shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not."
Likewise we know that the Father, like an expert husbandman, when a branch does not blossom or bear any fruit, cuts it off, takes it away and burns it. On the other hand every branch that produces fruit such a husbandman trims close, lets it bleed, and thus purges it, in order that it may draw to itself the special renewing force of the life in the vine, which makes it grow more freely and thereby bring forth fruit more abundantly.
Can you not now see why the disciple receives so much trimming and is brought under so many purging influences, until all former selfish human traits are finally bled away from him?
"Now ye are clean through the word I have spoken into you."
From this purging process the disciple gradually learns to feel and know the presence and influence of the Master- the loving Christ within, to hear His Voice and to receive daily teachings from Him, so that he becomes clean and empty of self and seeks only to heed and obey every word of the Master.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except you abide in me."
The disciple thus learns to abide in the consciousness of the Master, and in so doing the Master actually abides in and works through him; for he has learned through hard experience that he of himself can do nothing, and except as he enters and abides in the consciousness of the Master within him, he is as a branch cut off.
"I am the vine, you are the- branches. He that abideth in me and I in hem, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
This is now become very plain, showing that the I AM, the Divine Self, who alone is the expression of the Life of the Father, is the conscious partaker and producer of the fruit of His Love-is the Vine whose roots are in God-and ever seeks to produce through His disciples, the branches, but cannot until the branches recognize their identity with the Vine, and thus abide in Its life and let Its life abide in and flow freely through them. Only then can that life blossom and bring forth its fruit plentifully.
"If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned."
He who recognizes not his identity with the Vine-the Christ within him, and thus is unable to receive of the Divine Life of the Father, naturally becomes as a dead branch and withers away spiritually. Of course it is because he is still attracted by and yields to the lures of the world, the flesh and the devil. Such the men of the world gather to themselves and lead into the fires of sensation, until all desire is burned away from them. And that often takes many lifetimes.
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall, ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Now you can understand what will be the results of abiding and of not abiding. One who abides in and waits upon the Lord within, naturally is in His consciousness, and asks only to be given the wisdom and strength necessary to do the things required of him.
"Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
As you thus learn to abide in the Master's consciousness- which means in His Love, and you let His Love abide in and direct you in all your ways, in very truth is the Father-the Source of all love, of life itself-glorified, and you are caused to bear much fruit. Naturally all such are beloved disciples.
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love."
As the Father pours into the I AM, the Christ within, His Holy Love-the fullness of His Life, so will the disciple feel and receive of the Master's Love and Life. And the disciple, once partaking of that Love and Life in its fullness, will surely continue in It.
And then the Master tells us how to continue in It-how to fit ourselves so as to receive and express the fullness of His Life and Love so that His Joy may become our joy and that it may be complete.
"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
"These things I have spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
Heed and ponder long over all these wonderful words, all the time trying to feel that the Loving One within your heart is speaking them to you, His disciple. Before very long, as you determinedly seek to realize His Presence there, you will know that He is ever speaking them from out a great Love, and your joy will indeed be full in that knowing.