Keep a True Lent, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
GOD IS PRINCIPLE; Christ is the idea of principle as it is brought into creation, and man is that creation on its way to the perfect expression of the Christ.
This being true, man must learn that he has within himself all the potentialities of Being. When this tremendous truth is revealed to him he sometimes forgets that his potentialities are to be expressed according to plans inherent in Being and he proceeds to make his world after his own design.
This is the first step in the fall of man--the belief that he can act wisely without first knowing the plan of God.
This fall takes place in his own consciousness. He follows the dictates of the animal nature rather than those of the higher wisdom, and in indulging them he eats the fruit of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," which is a consciousness of nakedness and separation from God.
Man is Being in miniature, and all the powers of God are available to him. These powers and possibilities are made manifest through man. It therefore follows that man is a most important factor in creation. It also follows that he should become acquainted with his part of the work and do his very best to carry it forward.
All the powers of Being are summed up and concentrated in the one word I. All possibility lies in this one word, and from it issues forth everything that appears. From the standpoint of the visible universe this I is man, and by reason of his divinity he makes and unmakes as he wills. At work with the powers of Being, man is the transformer of all things. In this lies his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.
The ego of itself is possessed of nothing; it is a mere ignorant child of innocence floating in the mind of Being, but through the door of its consciousness must be passed all the treasures of God.
How small, how insignificant is man--yet again how mighty, how important, how powerful. As Jesus truly said, "I can of myself do nothing"; "all authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth."
As this I, this man, comes into consciousness of the life, love, and wisdom of God, it builds for itself a consciousness; it begins to say "my" and "mine."
This is selfhood, the son taking his inheritance and going into a far country. But the Father does not condemn selfhood. In His eyes the son who stays at home and the son who exercises his freedom are equal. If the Father is free to do as He wills, the same privilege must be the son's inheritance, else he would not be "the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Ignorance as to his place in Being and the powers
delegated to him is the one great giant that keeps man from his own. If he would acknowledge God in all his ways, in every thought and act, there would be revealed to him a new world, an undiscovered country lying all about him, ready for his occupancy.
This is the promised land that God reveals to those who are willing to be led by Him out of the bondage of ignorance, which is termed Egypt.
Egypt exists in the consciousness of every man, but his I AM does not have to remain in that dark place. God calls him up out of that animal condition in which his desire is for "pottage," and invites him into "a land flowing with milk and honey."
Whoever answers that call is guided by the Spirit of God; it may be through seas of error and deserts of wasted possibilities, but if he is faithful to that inner wisdom, he is finally led to the Jordan of demonstration and through it into his promised land.
But the real man is not flesh and blood; he is not body and brains. These are but his outer garments. Man is just as undefinable as God. The I within you is as great a mystery as the infinite I. You are just as great a mystery to yourself as you are to others. You do not conceive of your possibilities, nor can the most high archangel conceive of them. You are just as fully the son of God as was Jesus or any other Christlike man who ever existed. The I AM is the same in all men and all women. It
is without limit in its capacity to express the potentialities of God.
Why, then, are you not doing the works of Jesus? Simply because you have not taken advantage of your privileges.
The way is open to you as it was to Him. All things are provided for you in the great storehouse of Being. You have but to go about getting them in an orderly way.
This "way" is revealed by the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of truth, which Jesus said the Father would send in His name. This Spirit of wisdom has always existed. Jesus did not create it, nor was it created for His special benefit, but through His demonstrations of an inner and higher power than men had been accustomed to, He opened the way into their consciousness for this Spirit of wisdom. They saw His works and "believed on him," and this belief made it possible for the Spirit to come to them.
This Spirit of wisdom is right now a part of the consciousness of everyone. It is in you and about you, and you will come into conscious relations with it when you believe on it and its powers.
If you ignore it and thereby deny that it exists in you and for you, you remain in the darkness of ignorance. It is exactly as if a man lived in the basement of a large house and refused to go upstairs, declaring that because the upper rooms did not come down to him they were not there.
You are to "go up . . . and possess" this promised
land. It is yours all the time, and you live in the world with it, yet you do not choose to see it. "The light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not."
Great is man; great are his privileges.
"I said, Ye are gods,
And all of you sons of the Most High."
Great is man; great are his privileges. But he must realize his spiritual nature before he can reap its benefits.
"Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you."
So long as man is not conscious of the Spirit of God, he is in the flesh; that is, he is conscious of his body and its material surroundings only. This is the carnal consciousness that does not know God.
But it is man's privilege to rise out of this animal plane onto the spiritual plane and thereby come into an open communion with the Father and know as Jesus knew and have all the powers that He had--and greater ones.
Man is I. By itself I is potentiality only; associated with its cause, it is all-comprehensive.
God is life, love, Truth, substance, wisdom. Man is the potential I that recognizes these inherencies of Being and makes them manifest.
Wisdom, life, and substance are incorporated into man's consciousness as spirit, soul, and body; each takes form in him according to his recognition of it.
If man takes cognizance of body only, he becomes a mere living, breathing, eating, drinking animal. He lives in the flesh, and through his ignorant use of its full privileges he perverts it to the most base ends. He builds up within its pristine purity lustful images, and in carrying them to fulfillment in act and deed he fills the world with disease, discord, selfishness, poverty, and death.
If man rises a step higher and takes cognizance of mind as well as body, he cultivates the ambitions of the intellect and the lust for power. Government, commerce, art, and literature become his ruling stars, and he is not always careful about the means that he uses to attain his ends.
It is when he recognizes his supremacy over both these and abides in the inner Spirit, the Father within, that he finds his true estate and shines forth the image and likeness of the Most High, which he truly is.
The question is frequently asked, "Why, if God is perfect and man is His likeness and image, should there be imperfection in man?" The answer is that there is no imperfection in man. He is perfect potentiality proving itself. In the course of bringing forth this perfection there are processes he must go through. Life and intelligence are factors entering into this process of man's manifestation and they seem to fall short of accurate consummation in certain stages of the work. This, the limited consciousness, looks on and pronounces it failure. In a sense
it is error, as is the boys' assertion that two plus two equals three. When, however, the correction is made and the work proceeds according to the principle, success is always the ultimate result.
When man fails to submit the impulses of the lower nature to the analysis of the higher, he is beguiled by the serpent and eats of the tree whose fruit is a concept of good and evil.
Man never indulges in his animal nature without having a reaction of discomfort, which he sees is opposed to that which is comfort. When this is extended into the experiences of a race the reaction takes on the aspect of good and evil. Thus, man in the Adam consciousness has come to look on the world in which he lives as subject to two opposing principles, which he has named God and Devil. When he discovers that principles are the basis of existence he pronounces these opposing appearances good and evil.
The so-called principles of good and evil are nonexistent outside the sense mind. The true God cannot be known to the sense consciousness, and whoever postulates a being who is good or not good, according to his sense concepts, is building a "man of straw."
Man is made in the image and likeness of God, and when he seeks to know himself he will find the true God and will know that he is one with Him.
God is life, and man is life. But life in its essence and life as seen in the living are not identical.
The sense man looks on living, moving things and says, "This is life." It is not life, but only the evidence of life. Man may know the life that is back of the living. When he feels the thrill of that life within him he has touched the divine energy that changes not.
God is substance, but not that which the sense mind perceives and calls matter. Material things are but the evidence of the substance that God is, and not the unchangeable foundation of Deity. God is intelligence, but not that shifting opinion which the sense mind calls intelligence.
Hence, to know the nature of Him whose image and likeness he is, man must detach his I from the Adam consciousness and attach it to the Christ consciousness. Then he will learn the meaning in the steps in creation that preceded him in the divine planning. Then he will learn that he is not a "worm of the dust" but that with God he is helping to form the divine plan of existence, which ever rests in Being.
Man is the executive power in Being and only through his willing co-operation can the designs of the true God be carried out. These designs are based on principles that cannot be changed, and man must come into such close touch with the wisdom of God that he will consciously co-operate in bringing the perfect creation into existence.
Man is the will of God externalized or projected into visibility, and this will must respond to the
slightest impulse of the divine power within the depths of his own being.
The sense mind has long been the realm of man's labors, and it has truly made him earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.
In this realm he has formed a center of consciousness, which is termed the will. This seeming will must be given up, and the pure will must find its rightful place in the realm of God-Mind. Jesus was passing through this dissolution of the false will when He cried out, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
So each of us must become so obedient to the Spirit of God within himself that the image and likeness which he is will shine forth in its pristine glory and the sons of God take their place in the Father's house.