Talks on Truth, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
GOSPEL is an Anglo-Saxon word derived from God (good) and spell (story, tidings). It is now universally identified with Jesus Christ's mission and the doctrine that has grown out of it. So when we speak of the gospel it is understood that we refer to that system of religious beliefs that has centered about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
2. But as to what that gospel is in detail, there are many opinions. Many believe that it is the plan of salvation for men outlined in the dogmas and creeds of the churches. But those doctrines, creeds, and dogmas were formulated three hundred years after Jesus taught and demonstrated. There is no authority from Him or from His immediate disciples attesting the genuineness of many of these later enunciations interpreting the original teachings. They are the work of men who had to sustain an industry known as the church, who had to provide for a privileged class called the clergy. These had become
an important part of the body politic, and it was thought best to organize them according to human ideas; hence, church creed and church government. Thus originated the Catholic Church; the Protestant churches are its offspring. All that the Protestants count dear as doctrine they borrowed from the Catholics, who had patched it together from early Christianity and from paganism. These teachings are not the pure Christianity of Jesus Christ, and He did not authorize the ecclesiastical structure called the Christian church.
3. It is safe to assert that no one can know the doctrine of Jesus Christ without going direct to Him for information. The writings of the New Testament known as the four Gospels are the most reliable external guide. When these are studied with unbiased mind, it is perceived that Jesus delegated no ecclesiastical power to anybody; that He did not formulate His doctrine or authorize any other human being to do so. Jesus appointed one teacher: "The Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you."
4. The Holy Spirit is the only authorized interpreter of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and no man can know what His doctrine is unless he gets it direct from this one and only custodian. It is not to come secondhand, but each for himself must receive it from the Holy Spirit, who is sent by the Father in the name of the Son.
5. The question is frequently asked: "Who is
the Holy Spirit, and what relation does He bear to God and to Christ?"
6. The early disciples knew the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity. The Father is always first, the Son second, and the Spirit third. The terms Father and Son express an eternal, reciprocal relation. The Spirit is the infinite "breath" of God, as the Son is His infinite "Word."
7. We may understand the relation and office of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by analyzing our own mind and its apparent subdivisions during thought action, because each one of us is a perfect copy in miniature, an image and likeness, of the great universal first cause--Being.
8. The source of all my manifestations is my mind. This source is exactly like the Father--is the Father in degree. An idea arises in my mind of something that I want to do; this idea is the Son. I express that idea in definite thought; that is Spirit going forth to accomplish that whereto I have sent it.
9. The Father is Principle. The Son is Principle revealed in a creative plan. The Holy Spirit is the executive power of both Father and Son, carrying out the creative plan.
10. Thus we might also say that Father is Being in the absolute, the unlimited, the unrelated. Son is the I AM identity of Being. Holy Spirit is the personality of Being. In its last analysis, Holy Spirit is the personality of God. The Holy Spirit is neither the all of Being nor the fullness of Christ, but is an emanation, or breath, sent forth to do a definite work. Thus circumscribed, He may be said to take
on, in a sense, the characteristics of personality, a personality transcending in its capacity the concept of the intellectual man.
11. The Holy Spirit is designated in Scripture as personality and as not always existing for the consciousness of humanity in uniform degree. The mission of Jesus was to open the way for the Holy Spirit to enter into the minds of men. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me."
12. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."
13. The function of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of truth, implies distinct personal subsistence: He speaks, searches, selects, reveals, reproves, testifies, leads, comforts, distributes to every man, "searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
14. What writers of the old Testament ascribe to Jehovah, the writers of the New Testament ascribe to the Holy Spirit. (Compare Isa. 6:9 with Acts 28:25, and Jer. 31:31-34 with Heb. 10:15; see Acts 5:3, 4.)
15. The Holy Spirit is the law of God in action; in that action He appears as having individuality. From this fact the Hebrews got their concept of the personal, tribal God, Jehovah. Their prophets and
mystics came into conscious mental touch with this executive lawgiver of God, and He used them as the mouthpieces through which He guided and directed His people. Adam talked to Him as Jehovah God. In this we understand that by means of the harmony and perfectness of the sinless man's mind, he was always conscious of the omnipresent Holy Spirit. Discord had not entered his innocent world--he was in the Eden of infancy. The desire for independent experience entered his mind; he began to get knowledge from experimenting blindly with the powers of Being, and in so doing severed the connection between his mind and the mind of the Holy Spirit.
16. Then the Holy Spirit found other means of communicating with men, the most common being the visions of the night, or dreams. "And he said, Hear now my words: if there be a prophet among you, I Jehovah will make myself known unto him in a vision, I will speak with him in a dream."
17. The Bible records a long line of prophets, mystics, and dreamers, who for thousand of years communicated the word of the Holy Spirit to the people. Jacob "dreamed," and "behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven . . . And, behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac . . . And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land."
18. Joseph dreamed, and he interpreted the dreams of others. Solomon was instructed by the Lord in dreams. Daniel prophesied through instruction
received from the Lord in dreams. Joseph the husband of Mary, was instructed in dreams, and he saved the life of the young child Jesus by following the warnings given him in this way. Peter had visions of the night. "And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace." "And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer: for as thou hast testified concerning me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome."
19. The Children of Israel depended upon the Holy Spirit to guide and direct them, and from Genesis to Revelation the Bible is filled with incidents bearing testimony to the direct and personal interest of the Holy Spirit in the affairs of men.
20. Jesus Christ, the resurrected Adam, reconnected man with the Lord, opening the way by which man might at any time enjoy that communion with his Creator which he had had in the Edenic state, before his season of experimenting had begun.
21. Jesus prayed much by Himself and spent long hours in silent communion with God. Those who have even in a slight degree opened the Christ consciousness in themselves, so that it flows forth and recognizes the universal Mind, can readily understand that Jesus was in the silence with God, getting the power and wisdom necessary to do His work. The normal condition of man is one of opened inner communion, such as was enjoyed by Jesus, a condition in which he can say of every thought and word: "The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me."
22. It is the mission of the Holy Spirit to bring all men and all women into this open communion; but it is a difficult attainment. "And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not." He who is buried in sense limitations must find the way out of them into the place where the light shines in the light and man perceives it clearly. It is the mission of the Holy Spirit so to guide man in order that man will not mistake the way into that light or wander off into the darkness of the many delusive bypaths of mortal sense.
23. The Holy Spirit comes to men in this day, as in the past, and reveals to them in various ways how to overcome the erroneous states of consciousness that they have evolved, or in which they are cast through association. A higher and more farseeing guide than mere intellect is necessary, and that guide has been provided in the Holy Spirit.
24. The Holy Spirit is the one factor that His disciples and immediate followers counted absolutely necessary to their success in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They looked to Him for power and guidance in all their work. They announced Him as the special gift promised by Jesus Christ, an endowment that could be given by them to those who believed on His name. By the laying on of hands they transferred Holy Spirit power to others, who upon receiving it went about preaching, teaching, prophesying, and healing. Even to this day many in the orthodox Christian church believe that only those are fitted to preach who are inspired of the Holy Spirit. But in some cases the inspirations
of Spirit are so turned away by minds filled with scholastic dogma and creed learned in ecclesiastical colleges, that when given forth it is not recognized by the soul seeking the pure bread of life.
25. But the Holy Spirit is in the world today with great power and wisdom, ready to be poured out upon all those who look to Him for guidance. The Holy Spirit is authority on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only authority ever recognized by Jesus Christ, and whoever attempts to set forth the Christ gospel from any other standpoint is in the letter and not in the Spirit.
26. Jesus gave His words into the keeping of this universal receptive agency, the Spirit of truth, whose mission it is to carry those words directly into the understanding of everyone who accepts the Christ way into the kingdom of heaven. The Holy Spirit gave His words to the writers of the New Testament, and they wrote them out for the comprehension of the intellectual man. But this does not signify that the mission of the Holy Spirit ended there--that after giving this message He then withdrew from the world. On the contrary, it was just the beginning, the primary step of that larger, more comprehensive teaching that Spirit is ever ready to impart to every soul. The soul needs instruction, and the Father has provided a perfect way for us to get it. That way is the Jesus Christ way; whoever follows the steps outlined in Christ's gospel, now brought to each of us by the Holy Spirit, will finally reach the same place that Jesus reached.
27. The fact is that everybody has a soul to
save, not from the hypothetical hell after death, but from the sins and the delusions of the sense consciousness that make hell here and now. There is a way to bring that salvation about, and it is the mission of the Holy Spirit to reveal that way to every one of us. The revelation begins the moment we turn from the letter of the gospel and seek for its spirit. To know that every word and sentence of Scripture veils a spiritual truth is the first step in unraveling the gospel. Spiritual truths cannot be expressed in language that will carry correct concepts to the mind. No attempt to describe the Holy Spirit is made in Scripture, because language might be expanded indefinitely, description and illustration fill volumes, yet the Holy Spirit would not be compassed or apprehended on the intellectual plane where human language passes current. The Holy Spirit is the whole Spirit of God; He can be known by man only through his spiritual nature. When he tries to bring Spirit down to the plane of things, he always falls short.
28. So those who attempt to learn of the Holy Spirit by reading about Him, or from the teachings of others, will fail. The Holy Spirit comes only to those who earnestly seek Him. If you are depending for spiritual enlightenment on some book or on church ritual and doctrine or on some teacher or leader, you need not expect to have the Holy Spirit fall upon you. It is the prayer and supplication of the soul alone in its upper room (state of high spiritual aspiration) that brings the Holy Ghost.
29. The doctrine of Jesus Christ is so intimately
associated with the Holy Spirit that they are inseparable. The Holy Spirit is the interpreter of the Christ, and the Christ is the thing interpreted. They are omnipresent and cannot be separated in spirit or in works. Hence, to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ is to set forth that the Holy Spirit of God is ready and willing to bring all men and all women into the kingdom. It is the proclamation to everybody: "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
30. All down the ages, ministers of the gospel have assumed that the requirements are met when men have been persuaded to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour of their souls, and to keep on believing this until they pass out of their bodies; then, the teaching runs, believers are received into the arms of the Lord. But the Holy Spirit does not indorse this assumption, neither does the letter of the Scriptures.
31. In the 17th chapter of John are these words of Jesus: "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Here Jesus opens the door of unity with the Father to all who believe on Him. It is thought by nearly everybody that Jesus was the only Son of God, but here He prays that we all may be in God as He is in Him and may realize our sonship.
32. Jesus wants companions in power, dominion,
and glory, that it may be demonstrated to the world, this world, that what He claimed about man and his relation to God is true. Jesus was one with the Father--was the Father incarnate, and His prayer was "that they may be one, even as we are," that the world may believe.
33. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that all men shall become God incarnate. It is not alone a gospel of right living; it shows the way into dominion and power equal to, aye, surpassing that of Jesus of Nazareth.
34. Paul also saw it in this light. In the 2d Chapter of Philippians, he says: "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped."
35. "But," we are asked, "do you mean to say that living upright, moral lives in the sight of God will not fulfill the requirement of the gospel of Jesus Christ; that believing on Him as our Saviour will not bring us into the kingdom of heaven?"
36. Jesus answered this question when He said that if our righteousness did not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees we could in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
37. How can one be in the Father, where Jesus Christ is, without being right with Him in consciousness? That is, to be one with the Father, as He is one, and thereby fulfill His prayer, we must be equal with Jesus Christ. If we have a sense of inferiority, if we believe that He has greater wisdom, or power, or love, then we are not fulfilling the
requirements. So long as we feel any difference between ourselves in the Father and Jesus in the Father, we have fallen short of that "mind . . . which was . . . in Christ Jesus."
38. The cry goes up: "This is foolish, sacrilegious, to put man beside Jesus Christ and claim that they are equals." The claim is not that mortals, in their present consciousness, are equal with Jesus, but that they must be equal with Him before they will emerge from the sense of delusion in which they now wander.
39. We know that health is the normal condition of man and that it is a condition true to his real being; we claim and declare this truth, right in the face of appearances to the contrary. We have proved by experience many times repeated that our words in this way reveal that health is potential in Being.
40. If man is the son of God, he must be that son right now; sonship must be just as real, just as omnipresent, as the health that God has revealed through His Word. How shall man reveal his sonship to himself and to others except by claiming it; by declaring that he is not a son of mortality, but a son of God; that the Spirit of God dwells in him and is now shining through him; that this Spirit is Christ, who said through Jesus: "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word"?
41. Your word is the power through which you make your belief manifest. Simple belief in or assent to the truth of a proposition never gave understanding
to anyone. There must be mental action; organic changes in the mind are necessary before the new state of consciousness takes up its abode in you.
42. If you can convince yourself that you are a son of God, your next step is to declare it in word and to carry it out in the acts of your daily life. After declaring this, if you fall short in demonstrating yourself to be a son of God, you are to find out why. "Ask, and it shall be given you . . . knock, and it shall be opened unto you." You have neglected some of your spiritual powers. You may be dissipating in the lusts of the flesh some transcendent energy given you by the Father.
43. Here comes the mission of the Holy Spirit. When you ask in the silence of Spirit to be shown why you do not manifest the powers that Jesus of Nazareth manifested, the Holy Spirit will in some way reveal to you the lack. How that revealment will come about no one can tell you. But if you are patient and trustful you will be guided and directed so that all the links in the chain of your being will be brought together and harmoniously joined, and the Son of God will be revealed in you.