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A Parenthesis in Eternity: Living the Mystical Lifeby Joel S. Goldsmith
Synopses & Reviews
THE TWO WORLDS
There are two worlds. There is "this world," and there is "My kingdom." There is the world that we see, bear, taste, touch, and smell, the world that we live in, in our business and in our home with our family; and there is the world within, where we live when the Christ has been raised up in us, the world inside our consciousness where we are alone with God and where we tabernacle with the son of God in us. On one band, there is the mortal man, and on the other, the spiritual son of God.
Paul, who was spiritually and inwardly taught by the Master, described mortal man as the "creature," the "natural man" who "recievth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned"; and explained that "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Until we learn about the man who has his being in Christ--the man we must become--we are that "natural man," that "creature," that mortal who must put off mortality, that man who must "die daily."
Progress on the spiritual path will be much more rapid once it is understood that this human or mortal man, this "creature," the "natural man," is entirely cut off from God, is never under the law or protection of God, and is never governed or sustained by God. If he were, could there be murder, rape, arson, or war? Could there be death if man were God-governed? Could there be disease? Could an airplane go hurtling out of the sky to kill all the people in it?
If man were God-governed, would not disease have diminished? But has it not rather increased? For every disease that has been brought under control, have not two new ones,more deadly than the old, made their appearance? Yet every day millions upon millions of prayers go up to God; and then when a solution to the problems of the ills of the flesh comes, does it come from God or from a bottle of medicine, an antibiotic, or a new surgical discovery? Do not human beings die of the most horrible diseases and tragic accidents? Does God interfere?
Human beings suffer terrible injustices at the bands of others: they are governed by tyrants; wars are fought, and the righteous do not always win those wars. In every age there are those in slavery, there are those in bondage. We have only to look at history to know how many thousands of years this world has suffered from war, even though every generation has felt, as we do, that war is wrong, that it does not solve anything, and that no lasting good comes from it. Has not every generation prayed to God to end war, and in all these thousands of years, has there ever been an answer to such prayers? Are not nations whose history goes back thousands and thousands of years and whose people have been praying to God all those years still in slavery, ignorance, and poverty?
God never has been known to do anything for a human being as long as he is immersed in "the things of the flesh." A lack of understanding of this point causes many aspirants on the Way to miss the mark because they are forever trying to get God to do something to, or for, a human being, but this He does not do. Regardless of how much humankind suffers or enjoys, regardless of whether men are sick or well, poor or rich, they are not under the law of God; they are not fed, sustained, or protected by God; and for that reason the tragic things thathappen to the human race keep right on happening generation after generation, with only a few escaping the common fate.
This need not be, for both Christ Jesus and Paul, as well as others before them, taught that these experiences of the human race can be avoided, and they also taught bow it is possible to "come out from among them, and be ... separate," and bear fruit richly. That was the whole purpose of the ministry of the Master--to reveal to the world how to come out from among the masses and avoid the strife, the lack, the sins, and the diseases that beset mankind.
Human beings think they can add spirituality to their humanhood and thereby attain God's grace. This cannot be: there has to be a "dying daily"; there has to be a putting off of "the old man"; there has to be a putting off of mortality and a clothing with immortality; there has to be a transition from the man of earth to that man who has his being in Christ; there has to be repentance. God has no pleasure in "the death of him that dieth ... wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." There must be a turning before we can live again.
Most of us think that we can turn to God and persuade Him to add something good to us, without our losing, giving up, or changing anything. We expect to add immortality and divine Grace to our human self. But it is only as the old man in us "dies" that the new man can be "born"; it is only as we change our outlook that spiritual harmony can begin to function in us and as us.
It is not that God, Spirit, is going to do something for mortal, material man: it is that mortal, material man is to put off his materiality that his spiritual identity may be revealed. It is nonsense to believethat human beings are under the law of God when all the prayers that the human race has ever invented have never brought God into human experience: they have never brought peace on earth, eliminated disease, nor have they overcome the sin or the poverty of the world. Have the prayers of the Christians, the Jews, the Hindus, or the Buddhists been answered? Why not? What is wrong? Is God a respecter of persons? Is God a respecter of races or religions?
Goldsmith explains the Circle of Eternity--the basis of his approach to mysticism--and tells how to transcend the "parenthesis of our everyday lives that falls between birth and death.
About the Author
Joel Goldsmith (1892-1964), one of America's great mystics, spent his life lecturing on "The Infinite Way" — his personally developed principles of spirituality. He is the author of more than 30 books, including The Art of Spiritual Healing, Living the Infinite Way, and The Thunder of Silence.
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