Chapter 11—Spiritual Gifts
In the following audio and transcripts, Vera Dawson Tait provides commentary on the Correspondence School Annotations for Emilie Cady's Lessons in Truth.
130 What are spiritual gifts?
We are now going to start the 11th chapter of the book, Lessons in Truth. Do you remember in our very first lesson we referred to man’s inheritance as being all of the ideas that make up the divine, or the God nature? When you stop to think, are these not the gifts of God? Let me read our first question. What are spiritual gifts and what is the greatest gift?
Now, before I read from the chapter, I’m going to ask again, do you not think that all of the ideas of God must then be the gifts of God? It is true that we may think of certain words that seem to represent gifts if we want to think of them as talents, but if you will remember that every idea that God has given to you and to me is a gift, then there will be no misunderstanding of the things that are said in this 11th chapter. Let me read then from the chapter itself.
The chapter opens with these words: It is very natural for the human heart, first to set out in search of truth because of the loaves and the fishes. In other words, in the beginning most of us start out with the idea we want something, we want something in the outer that we feel is going to satisfy our life.
The next paragraph says this: Perhaps it is not too much to say that the majority of people first turn to God because of some weakness, some failure, some almost unbearable want in their lives. In a sense, we could say that the gifts that God has given to us are not really ours until we have accepted them. These ideas are always part of our spiritual nature, but until we actually claim them and make them ours by using them, allowing them to move through our consciousness and then into our very life, they are not really ours.
If somebody presents you with a gift, and you refuse to take that gift, then as far as you’re concerned, it is not a gift. You understand? Therefore, if God has given to you and to me life and love and strength, and power, and joy, and peace, and harmony, all of the ideas of God and yet we do not accept them, and we do not use them, then as far as you and I are concerned, they are not gifts.
Every gift that God has given to us in the form of an idea, only stays alive as it were, when we put it into every day use. Love as a gift can be accepted, but it cannot be placed away in a drawer or put away in a box, it has to be used. One of the American poets once said, “Love that is hoarded molds at last, until we find someday, the only thing we ever have is what we give away.” So, strictly speaking, even though God has given me life, and love, and power, and strength, I really never have them until I give them away.
Suppose I say to myself, “Oh isn’t it wonderful? God has given me the gift of perception in the form of faith.” I can talk about it. I can think about it. I can sing about it, but until I actually use my power to perceive, or in other words, until I use my faculty of faith, I really do not have it.
If somebody dear to me seems to be doing things that hurt me, or upset me very much, I can give away faith by seeing that individual as essentially a child of God trying in the only way he knows how, to unfold his own true nature. And in the giving of my faith, then I recognize this wonderful gift that God has given to me. Now, I can do that with of the various ideas, or gifts of God. Let’s look at the B-part of our question. What is the greatest gift? Let me read from the book.
It is the divine self, though only a spark at the center of the man’s being suggesting to him the true remedy for all his ails.
The gracious gift to you and me is this divine self. In other words, the greatest gift to you and me is our own divine nature, god’s nature given to us and the scripture calls it the image likeness of God. You say to me, “But isn’t love the greatest gift?” Even Paul didn’t say it was the greatest, he said, “Love is the greatest of these three.” Therefore, we know that the full nature of God given to every man, as the Christ, as the I am, as his own true self, is the greatest gift that any man can have because it is the gift that includes all gifts.
This Christ nature, or I am, to which you and I refer as being our true self, is made up of all of the other gifts of God, such as love, and life, and strength, and power, and faith, and understanding. Sometimes when you think of the Christ body, think of these marvelous ideas of God as being the organs of the Christ body in the same way that you have organs in your physical body, for each of these ideas has a special job to do, but it takes all of them to work together.
Paul did speak as though love were the greatest gift of these three. And yet, love of itself could not be the greatest because without life there would be no love. Without understanding, love would probably be something that we didn’t even know how to understand, or even how to direct. So when you realize that all of these divine ideas go to make up the true nature of every individual, then you can say that the greatest gift to every man is the gift of his own divine nature.
I’m inclined to think that next to this greatest of all gifts, is not the individual gift, but the gift that God has given to us to be able to think and to feel. Without the power to think, I don’t even lay hold of love, and life, and strength, and power. So, in considering the greatest of all gifts, realize that following close on the heels of that gift is the ability that is given to you and me to even use our mind to think and then to use our feeling nature to add life, and strength, and power to that which we think.
Now like any gift, man can do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, even the spiritual gifts can be handled by man in ways that are not good. Man can take the gift of life itself and yet, instead of using it in right ways, he begins to abuse this wonderful gift. Now, he never changes life, but it is his faculty of life that he uses in the wrong way. Time and time again, you and I have seen the wonderful gift of love being used in the wrong way, being used without wisdom, without good judgment, and without understanding. Then, love becomes a smothering kind of thing. It becomes that which would only seek to possess.
Yet, god’s love has never been changed. It is only your use and my use of the faculty of love. You and I can go through each one of these divine ideas that make up our spiritual gifts, and realize how we have the privilege, actually it is such, to use the gift as we desire. However, we have been told, not only through our teachers, and our books, and through our parents, but in many remarkable ways that the wrong use of any faculty will bring upon it its own punishment. God does not punish. But the wrong use of any of these laws for the gifts, or the ideas are laws of God, will bring their own adverse results.
When you and I consider the greatest gift, which is the realization of our own divine nature, our life does change. Because then we seek in the best way that we know how, and it isn’t always done at once, it is a step-by-step process, how to unfold this greatest of all gifts. We may seem to be very slow in our unfoldment, but let us not judge by the appearance anymore than we are to judge others by the appearance in their use of these various gifts.
God abides in us as our divine nature. Yet, God never pushes himself. Got always awaits, as it were, our invitation, and our moments of prayer, our time spent in the secret place or the silence, are the times when we are guided, sometimes quite unconsciously, how to unfold this divine nature.
You will find there are times in your life when you need to express more faith. You say, “Well, am I not always to express love?” Yes, but at one particular time you might need even more faith than love at that moment. Sometimes, as I said before, if a loved one is doing something that hurts you, or seems to go against everything that you have taught him, you may need a good deal of faith, and certainly a great deal of understanding. But your love you see, being the attracting power, draws more faith into that particular situation.
At another time, you may need to be able to keep very still, and say nothing with your physical mouth, but just to allow the inner voice to speak. Because to speak audibly might upset the other individual and only cause unhappiness, or in harmony. So at that time, you need the gift of good judgment. Perhaps you need the gift of order that says now this is not the right time to speak. It’s in divine order now to keep very still.
Sometimes when a child is seeking ... and the only way he knows to express himself, an adult feels, “Oh, I must help him along.” And he seems to speak for that child, and the child feels, “Oh, he won’t let me say what I have to say.” But love and understanding, and order then brings forth the gift, perhaps judgment and certainly order, and we wait. We let the child express himself.
Many times people will say, “Well, you didn’t listen to what I had to say.” But if we have a lot of love that is balanced by understanding, we know when it is right to keep still. So remember that the spiritual gifts are all these wonderful ideas that God has given to you.
Now, it is true that our chapter emphasizes the gift of life, which of course often needs to be expressed through the gift of healing. Love is mentioned, and of course wisdom is mentioned, but if you will bear in mind that the spiritual gifts are not merely just a few that any book mentions to you, but it is all the ideas of God, then you are on your way to a wonderful understanding of what God has given to you. And remember, that the greatest gift that God has given is really the gift of himself in you as your own divine nature, the Christ self, or the I am. Then as I said before, it is very wise to remember that the gift of thinking is a marvelous gift.
As a matter of fact, there are individuals in mental hospitals who, having been given the gift of thinking, have lost the ability to direct their thinking and there is just a confused and muddled state of mind. So you and I can realize how very valuable this gift of thinking is.
131. Do our difficulties sometimes result in good to us?
Our second question is very interesting for the simple reason that all of us have difficulties to meet in this world of outer expression. Let me read the question. Do our difficulties sometimes result in good to us?
The one answer of course, is yes, but there is a condition attached to it. So we have to say yes if, now that’s very important, if they cause us to turn to God ... I’m going to repeat something from the chapter that read in the beginning.
Perhaps it is not too much to say that the majority of people first turn to God because of some weakness, some failure, some almost unbearable want in their lives.
All people of course do not turn because of troubles, but they certainly turn because they want an answer. Now, bear this in mind, that if our difficulties cause us to turn to God, then we can be assured that good will result. But if we were merely to say do our difficulties result in good to us and then we just let it go that, it is not true. Because millions of people in the world today are having many difficulties. There are people suffering the ravages of war. There are people in prisons. There are individuals suffering in mind and body. Then there are those who are suffering because of lack of food and shelter.
Yet, you see these difficulties are not resulting in good to them. However, to those individuals, as it says here, feeling this unbearable want, turn to the once source of their good, are assured of good. If we were to say, oh yes, man’s difficulties result in good to him, then that would be like saying every time you make a mistake, then of course you can be assured of good. You and I are only assured of good in a mistake when we learn our lesson, and make a right about turn, lay hold of the principle that can bring good into our life, no matter what it may be.
Sometimes people will feel, “Oh this is a terrible thing that has happened to me. Oh, I’ll never get out of this.” Well, that individual will not get out of that if he continues in that attitude, or that approach to his difficulty. But if he says, “Now this is something that I feel can work out. I don’t know how, but I feel it can.” He knows he can’t do it himself as a human being, but as he turns to that inner place that we have already termed the secret place or the silence, then he knows the next steps that he must take.
Do you remember reference was made in one of the lessons to a man who had lost his job, and/or his particular profession, and yet through the seeming negative problem that occurred in his life, he was able to step into an entirely new profession, or a new career.
Our difficulties can be made as stepping stones, but not so long as we bemoan them, and begin to blame others for these difficulties. When we can realize that somewhere in our life we have brought this particular experience, and it doesn’t always mean that we have done something very negative in order to bring it, but we have the key to handling it from the standpoint of its fulfillment or solution.
Nobody today would say that Jesus must have been very negative to draw to himself the cross, the crown of thorns, but we know that in Jesus life there came a time when he turned himself so completely over to the father, that he fulfilled a mission. And sometimes in your life and mind, difficulties come along, not so much from a negative standpoint as to be handled from a positive standpoint when we meet these particular experiences or difficulties right now.
When you and I know that we have within us that which can meet any problem, or any difficult, then we are on the way to bringing good into our life. It’s a strange thing, but many an individual would say, “Oh well, good is that which makes me feel happy and satisfied.” And many times that individual thinks of it as something, shall I say, that is easy for his mind and makes his body feel at ease, and yet it doesn’t always work that way.
I am thinking now of those who feel that they must scale great mountains, that they must conquer, as it were, difficult things in their life. Have you ever thought of those who in the beginning, I’m just using this as an illustration, decided that they must try to conquer Mt. Everest? But you see, their good was really a difficulty. You and I would think it was terrible to have to climb a mountain with very little oxygen and probably very little food, and struggle, and strain every nerve. But you see, the good to the mountain climber is the attainment of some goal, and of course that goal is reaching the summit.
So you and I have to be very careful when we talk about difficulties, because what to one person may seem a difficulty may to another person just seem part and parcel of the goal that he is seeking to attain. But keep it in mind that always your difficulty can be an open door, but only if you are willing to turn your thought to the thought of truth. In other words, you turn it to God who is the source of all good.
No matter what the difficulty is that comes into my life, I have two ways of looking at it. Either, from the standpoint of what is the solution? What do I do next in order to bring about a good end result? Or, I can say, “Oh well, this individual, or that organization is responsible for this difficulty.” And I may even, if am not very enlightened, seek processes by law.
From my own experience, I know how many unhappy cases have come about because people have sought to find an answer through law, which might have been handled in a much more humane and a much more loving way. Were they to turn first to God and then whatever was necessary in the outer. So do bear in mind, that whatever difficulty you and I have to meet, it can be handled if we will turn first to God, and it will result only in good because even the difficulty, as I said before, can be a door, and it can be a wonderful opportunity to an entirely new life.
132. Is God willing to grant to all men deliverance from sin?
Our third question reads this way: Is God willing to grant to all men, deliverance from sin?
Now, before we even go on with the question, let’s take the word sin from the standpoint of our metaphysical teaching. We say that it means a falling short. Of what? Of God’s high standard, and sometimes what man calls sin is not always as sinful as he thinks because many times and many churches have said that sin is merely a failure to obey a moral law. There are those who probably wouldn’t think that sickness was a sin, but it is a falling short of the standard of God’s life.
Sometimes people don’t think of even carelessness as being a sin, oh it’s just careless, and yet it is a falling down, or a falling below the high standard of divine order. So we have to say yes to this question that God is willing to grant to all men deliverance from sin. In other words, the power to stop making mistakes. Let me read from the book.
“Especially have people been led to seek truth for the reward for the sake of the works themselves.” That’s a quotation from John 14:11. During the last few years, since they have come to know that God is not only able, but willing to deliver them from all the burdens of their every day life. The balance of the paragraph mentions that everyone wants to be free, free from sickness, and free from suffering, and free from bondage, and free from poverty.
If God is the one presence and the one power of absolute good, then we know that the desire in God must be for deliverance from man’s own shortcomings. Sometimes students of what we call the absolute will say, “Oh well, there’s nothing for man to be delivered from.” Now, that’s all right if you are talking about the absolute. When you’re speaking only of truth, that there is nothing for man to be delivered from because man is the heir to all good. But you and I, in a question such as this, are considering man, physical man, manifest man, as he is today. And that man, you know as well as I do, needs a great deal of deliverance from many of the things that are binding him and holding him.
As a matter of fact, you probably would not even be thinking of this book, Lessons in Truth, or even listening to these lessons, did you not have a feeling that there are millions of people all over the world seeking deliverance from something that is very burdensome.
So God as the source of good, must desire, if we can say that desires, one thing and that is that man shall be a clear avenue through which his good, his love, his strength, and his power may come forth. Well, if man is burdened with sin, or he is burdened with the results of his shortcomings, then there’s going to be no room. If man is filled with hate, envy, and jealously, there is no room in his consciousness for God’s love to come forth.
If man is burdened with a sense of inefficiency, then there is no room in his consciousness for God’s wisdom, understanding, and God’s power to come through that will make him efficient, and keen, and skillful in the work that he does. If his consciousness is filled with a feeling of poverty and lack until he feels that that is all to which he is heir, then there is no room for God’s substance to come forth. There is no room for God to speak in him and say, “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased, and I have given to you all good.”
So, this deliverance from sin then will include the power of God in you and me to cleanse by denials and to build in the truth by affirmation. So naturally, God is always willing to grant to all men deliverance from sin. Let us look once more at our chapter.
We had not yet known that there was willingness as there was power. I, even more, that there was intense desire on the part of our father to give us something more than sweet, patient submission to suffering. There are those who say, “Oh yes, I love God. I believe that God created me in his image and after his likeness. And I give my whole heart to God.” And yet, those same individuals frequently will think that whatever difficulty, or problem, or suffering comes, that they must accept it. As it says here in sweet, patient submission. We know that that could not be true.
If God is life, then he wants you and me to express that life joyously. If God is love, then God must desire for you and me the fullness of companionship, the fullness of good relationships with our fellow man. Therefore, anything that is needed to deliver us from that which is holding us in bondage, must be part of the Father’s plan for you and me.
That is why the more you think of that process of denial and affirmation, you will come to realize that it is a God law. It is given to us because as free-will individuals, we are allowed to choose, and if we choose, we are allowed to make, or shall I say rather than make, to come into that new attitude of mind that makes for a new understanding of our relationship to God.
I remember very definitely reading in one of our Unity publications about a woman, as a matter of fact, this woman happened to be a friend of mine, who was talking with her little granddaughter one day and the child said, “Look Grandmother, see what I can do.” And she was trying to write her letters. Then she made a mistake, and she said, “Oh, I’ve made a mistake.” And her grandmother said very quickly, “Well dear, that is what erasers are for, to erase mistakes.” And ever since then I have thought, “Well that’s just exactly what denial was made for, or created for, to allow you and me to rub out our mistakes, and to start again.”
133. If a person has had healing power and it seemingly leaves him, how should he regard this change?
Because question four is really going to need a little more attention than some of the others, I’m going to take question five right now, and then finish with four later on. This is the fifth question. If a person has had healing power, and it seemingly leaves him, how should he regard this change?
We can’t say that all change is good, but in this case we can say we must regard it as good. Let me read from the chapter.
If you are faithfully and earnestly living what truth you know, and still find that your power to heal is not so great as it was at first, recognize it as all good. Be assured no matter what anyone says to you, or thinks, that the seeming failure does not mean loss of power.
Now, notice what the book says now: It means that you are to let go of the lessor, in order that you may grasp the whole in which the lessor is included.
Do not fear for a moment to let go of just this one little branch of divine power. Choose rather to have the highest thoughts of infinite mind. Let them be what they may fulfilled through you.
Notice this last sentence: We need to take our eyes off the ends of the branches, the results, and keep them centered in the vine.
You’ve probably noticed throughout this entire chapter, references made as healing as a branch of the vine. Yet, all through chapter Dr. Cady is trying to bring out the fact that all of these ideas of God, or gifts of God, have their own particular, shall I say need in our life, and yet one is no greater than another.
So, if you have had healing power, and you feel somehow that it’s left you, you are going to look upon this as good. You are going to say to yourself, “Well, I think that God wants to reveal through me another gift.” I want to tell you something that is absolutely true. There was a time in my life when I was doing quite a bit of teaching and I liked it very much. But I did not like to have interviews, and most of those interviews were related to healing, and I was still making my own overcoming of a physical difficulty.
But do you know, there came a time in my life that it almost seems that I couldn’t teach. And I was forced, I remember the day that it happened, to take an interview and begin to work on that particular gift. It was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened, because through interviewing and counseling, I began to understand more and more the needs of individuals, which of course helped me to teach and present to students more of the real practical needs of every day life.
If a person then, feels, now let’s not think just of healing, but he feels that some gift is going, let him know he can never use a gift, but somehow there is the gentle nudge of the Father to unfold a greater gift in him. As you go through this chapter, you will begin to understand and know the truth of this particular answer.
134. Name the spiritual gifts enumerated by Paul in I Cor 12 4:10
Now, our fourth question. It’s quite comprehensive. For one thing, it says this: Name the spiritual gifts enumerated by Paul in First Corinthian 12:4-10 and explain each briefly. Then it asks, is healing the greatest gift? Now, I would like first of all to deal with this B-part.
Is healing the greatest gift? Because I have already said that all of these gifts are equal, and as you read the wonderful things that Dr. Cady has to say about healing. Yet at the same time, showing that healing is but one branch of the vine, you will understand why we can say that healing is not the greatest gift.
As we said before, the greatest gift to you and me is the gift of our own divine nature, and the gift of thinking is so valuable. But healing, which so many millions of people desire is very important, but is it more important than many of the other gifts? Just ask yourself that question. You may say, “Well at this particular time, it seems to be the most important.”
Let us put it this way, at one particular time, one gift may need more importance. It may need more of your attention, but actually it is not the greatest gift. Many times the greatest gift that God could give is the ability to teach others, the help others, and yet, if the individual does not have health, well he’s not able to teach. So at that particular time, his need for healing becomes very important to him in order that he may carry on the greater gift.
Now, allow me to read first of all from the chapter. And the reason I’m going to do this, reading about Paul’s gifts, is that I am going to refer also to the authorized version, because the quotation in our newer editions of Lessons in Truth are taken from the revised standard version.
Paul said, “Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed. Now there are varieties of gifts of the same spirit. To one is given through the spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another, the utterance of knowledge according to the same spirit, to another, face, to another, gifts of healing, to another, the working of miracles, to another, prophesy, to another, the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another, various kinds of tongues, to another, the interpretation of tongues.”
The authorized version, and most of you may be more familiar with this than anything, refers to the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, to another, face, to another, gifts of healing, to another, working of miracles, to another, prophesy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues. Of course you realize that from the revised standard version and from the authorized version, the meaning is identically the same.
Now, Paul has enumerated these various gifts. And perhaps you think that that is all the gifts of God that we have, but you know what I said in the beginning, that every idea of God is a gift of God. So the interesting thing about the metaphysical approach to this particular part of scripture is that it gives us the practical, every day approach.
135 Spiritual gift: Words of Wisdom
For instance, what is the word of wisdom, or as the revised standard says, the utterance of wisdom? It is being able to grasp through intuition, which you remember we said is the voice of God, the laws of God. In other words, it is getting direct revelation.
136 Spiritual gift: Words of Knowledge
What is the word of knowledge, or utterance of knowledge? It is the intellectual approach and understanding of truth, and this makes for a good teacher who can present the theory.
137 Spiritual gift: Faith
The next gift enumerated by Paul that we’re going to consider is that of faith. Now you remember when we were studying about faith, we said that it is the pre seething power, so you see how well this gift of God fits in with our lesson. Actually then, if a person has this gift, he has the ability to see or perceive the good desired, in spite of appearances because he has added understanding to this faculty of faith.
138 Spiritual gift: Healing
The gifts of healings. This would be we would say, the ability to lay hold of the life idea, which is one of the ideas that makes up our divine inheritance, which in turn, produces health of body.
Many times one individual seems to have this gift. It seems somehow as if he or she has the ability to see that life is man’s by divine right, and because of a strong faith within the individual, he is so often able to help another one to erase the wrong thoughts about his body and allow him to, through affirmation, silent or audible, lay hold to the life idea until help is produced in the body.
139 Spiritual gift: Working of miracles
Working or workings, as is said in some versions, of miracles is a very interesting gift. We could say that this is the ability to bring forth some manifest good. Oh whether it’s health, or whether it’s plenty, or harmony, or peace, or the ability to make good decisions, whatever it may be, when to those around who have not full understanding, it might seem like a miracle.
Many an individual has had a healing and someone said, “Oh, it’s a miracle.” Yet, it has not been contrary to any law. As a matter of fact, something has occurred in the individual that has allowed him to work along with the divine law, but to those who do not understand, it seems very miraculous.
140 Spiritual gift: Prophecy
Another gift, which is the gift of prophesy. Now, too many people have thought that has meant only prophesying, “This dire result is going to happen in your life, or the life of a nation.” Or, “This terrible thing is going to occur in nature.” As far as you and I concerned, those are the prophecies that we’re not nearly as much interested in. We are interested in that which concerns our life.
So let us say that prophesy then is the ability to know what is going to happen to us ourselves. Do you remember the question that said something like this: that how can we know what results will come forth from certain states of mind? And we said, and the book of course brings it out very clearly, that when you and I know that there are certain laws that have to be obeyed, even in our outer world, in order to bring certain results, we can know the same in our spiritual life.
We’d come to the place of knowing that a negative state of mind, and negative words are going to bring forth negative results. So, the prophesy, the gift of prophesy that you and I want, is the ability to say to ourselves, “Now I must not think along that negative state because if I do have that negative state of mind, then I’m going to bring a negative condition.”
You know, we say these things to ourselves, we are looking ahead as it were, we know then that prophesy is the ability to know the law. Not merely know about it because some teacher has told you, or some author has written it in a book, but to definitely know the law, so that you can say, “Well, I had better watch myself or else I’m going to have a negative condition result from this negative state of mind.”
141 Spiritual gift: Discerning of spirits
Discerning of spirits. You see, a gift like that can also be misunderstood as can the gift of prophesy. One might think, “Oh well, this is some religious thing, or some spiritual thing. It’s far beyond me.” Think of the discerning experience as your ability to understand other people in spite of the negative words they may be saying, or even the negative acts that they may be doing.
Actually, it is being able to interpret a sharp, or a negative result that may hurt you for a moment, but yet, to be loving enough, and understanding enough to read behind it, to discern, that what that soul is really doing is crying out, desiring love, or understanding.
Many a psychologist will interpret some action as being the unconscious cry of an individual for attention, for more love. So the discerning of spirits depends on your understanding and your love, and your good judgment. And oh, how much it depends upon the gift of faith, that enables you to proceed. He doesn’t mean what he just said, but he’s reaching out to God and somehow or other, he just doesn’t know how to do it. Then you see all your love and your compassion comes forth.
142 Spiritual gift: Diverse kind of tongues
We have two more gifts that are very closely related.
The first one is divers kinds of tongues. This another gift that has been often misinterpreted. Now, it is quite true that many people have what we call the gift of tongues, but for you and me do you know what the real gift of divers kinds of tongues is? It is the ability through understanding and love to communicate with others in different states of understanding.
In other words, I should be able to speak to the six-year-old in language that he can understand just as I should be able to speak to the adult in language that he understands, or I should be able to speak to the unlearned in the same way that I can speak to him who is very highly educated.
In other words, I must come back to understanding and love. Meeting everyone at the stage where he finds himself. And my love meets him there. I do not expect the one who has not gone very far in the study of truth to understand great metaphysical terms. But in my love, I can speak in such a way that he knows exactly what I’m talking about.
143 Spiritual gift: Interpretation of tongues
The last gift, interpretation of tongues is ... fits in with divers kinds of tongues, for it is my ability to know what others are saying, no matter what kind of words they may use. It is able to speak, as I said before, as well as understand the six-year-old, to be able to speak to him, and to the adult and so forth.
So you see, you and I have every one of these gifts. We may have felt, “Oh, well I don’t have the gift of miracles. I don’t have the gift of prophesy.” But I do have because all of these gifts are the ideas of God moving in my consciousness.
I would like to tell you a story that’s a little interesting. Last summer when Unity had its convention, we had so many hundreds of people visiting here, and some of them of course visited the correspondence school because they were taking the course, or proposing to take the course. One woman came in and at first I found her a little difficult to understand. And this is interesting, she told me that she was Russian, spoken only Russian until she was quite grown up, then she learned a little English, but very little.
She met a man who was born in Holland, who spoke only Dutch. Actually, but he too spoke a little broken English. Well these two fell in love and decided to marry. The Dutchman was connected with a bank in Southeast Asia. So he and his wife went to Southeast Asia, both unable to speak in the other’s native tongue. But they did all right. They managed to speak in the language of love.
Here is one of the interesting things, today their son who is about 30 years old, speaks very fluent English. He speaks fluent Russian to his mother, and fluent Dutch to his father. And here is a very interesting thing, after about 18 or more years in Asia, in Southeast Asia, the father has retired. But, do you understand when I say this that it is a state of confusion in this family? They decided they didn’t want to live in any country but Spain because Spain is very warm.
So by now, which is almost a year gone by, probably all three of them have had to learn to speak a little Spanish. But what had been the main thread in this family? It has been love and understanding.
144 Do apparent failures sometimes lead to success?
Now, we’re going to begin the last half of lesson 11 of Lessons in Truth. Bear in mind that the previous lesson emphasized that spiritual gifts are all of the ideas of God, such as life, love, power, faith, joy, peace, et cetera. The unfoldment of these gifts depends upon each individual. Actually, that has been one of the themes throughout this entire book.
Our first question reads in this way: Do apparent failures sometimes lead to success?
We can say yes, provided. And as I go on with that, you’ll realize why I said provided. However, let me look first at the book and read just a little that Dr. Cady has to say.
First of all, she says, “Oh, for men who have the courage to abandon themselves utterly to infinite will. Men who dare let go, every human being for guidance and thinking the Christ within themselves, let the manifestation be what he wills.” Then later on she goes on to say, “That many times there is a seeming failure,” but notice this, “But the going down would only mean a mighty coming up, a most glorious resurrection of God into visibility.”
Now, the next sentence is the one that I want to tie in with the first remark that I made. It says this: Do no fear failure, but call failure good.
Well, you know as well as I do that that is all right if you are referring to the movement of your life and mine in our spiritual unfoldment. But you and I cannot call failure good. We could not call failure to live up to God’s standard good, could we?
Therefore, we say that apparent failures sometimes lead to success provided we are seeking the truth way of getting out of any situation that we do not like. In other words, when we turn to God, then these periods that later on Dr. Cady refers to as transition periods, come into our life, then they can be made to lead us to success once we turn Godward and ask for his guidance.
Remember this, there is always a condition, and the condition, as I said before is, if we turn to God. There are too many times in your life and mine when we give way to failure. We say, “Oh, well what’s the use?” And we try to make no movement at all towards success. Yet, there are other times when we seem impaled no matter how great the failure may seem to be. To say, “I will not give in. I will find a way out.”
Time and time again, we can read stories of individuals who have lost one job, but not giving up to failure, have found their way into a different way of expression in life. So that the spiritual gifts that they use are now being used, we might say, in a different direction.
Do you recall that when Joseph finally met his brothers after probably years, he said to them, “That what you have done to me,” in other words, “Was meant for evil, but God meant it for good.” We find that in the 50th chapter of Genesis, and the 20th verse.
So bear in mind then that apparent failures, and that word apparent is important, sometimes lead to success, provided you and I are willing to say, “Well, now where do I go from here? What is my next step?” There are many important paragraphs in this particular chapter that will help you to understand a little more, the fuller expression of what I’m saying regarding so-called failures.
I said the word apparent was important and it is. Because you and I can look at a situation and say, “That is failure.” And yet, viewed from a higher, or shall say a more long-range viewpoint, we see that it wasn’t a failure at all. It was but a step into something greater.
Then on the other hand, something that is definitely a failure can also wake you and me up and say, “Now come, we’ve got to do something about this.” I haven’t been using the principle so what are we going to do now? And we know that our first step must be to turn to God for guidance.
145 Is cultivating a consciousness of our oneness with the Father more important than demonstrating things?
Now let us go on to our next question. However, it is not going to be number seven. As with the first part of this chapter, I want to leave our seventh question until the end because it’s a very important point, and it is a point that will follow you all through your teachings in Unity.
We’re going to deal now with question eight. Question eight: Is cultivating a consciousness of our oneness with the Father more important than demonstrating things?
Our direct answer is yes. And now we’ve got to see why we say yes. The chapter says this: I do assure you, as do all teachers, that you can bring good things of whatever kind you desire into your life by holding to them as yours, in the invisible, until they become manifest.
Now, this is a mental process, or a mental activity. But notice what Dr. Cady goes on to say, “But beloved, do you not see that your highest, your first eye, your continual thought should be to seek the abiding in Him?”
Many schools of mental teaching will say, “Now, keep your mind on a certain thing and you can bring that into your life.” But you see Dr. Cady is bringing out here that that is not the highest. It can be for you and me an avenue through which we work, but our highest, as she says, and our first thought should be to seek the abiding in Him. All of our lessons have lead to this same thing. Let me read part of a paragraph from this chapter. This is what Dr. Cady says.
“I do assure you, as do all teachers, that you can bring good things of whatever kind you desire into your life by holding to them as yours, in the invisible, until they become manifest.”
Now, this is a mental process. This is entirely the mind moving, but notice what Dr. Cady goes on to say: “But beloved, do you not see the your highest, your first eye, your continual thought should be to seek the abiding in Him?” Now, let me read from another paragraph in this chapter.
What we all need to do above everything else, is to cultivate the acquaintance, or consciousness of spirit within ourselves. We must take our attention off results and seek to live the life. Results will be added unto us in greater measure when we turn our thoughts less to the works, and more to embodying the indwelling Christ in our entire being.
Now, let’s go back to that first sentence that had to do with a mental process, because I want to give you an illustration. Before I ever came into the study of truth through Unity, a friend of mine gave me some interesting books to read. I didn’t understand very much about what was in the books, but one thing I remember was this: the author in one book said, “That in order to change your mind, you must be sure that you’re imagination is trained.” And so he said, “At the outset imagine, for instance a rose. Close your eyes wherever you may be. You may be walking, you may be quiet in your own room, but imagine a rose. And imagine that you can see this, but beyond that, imagine that you can actually smell the perfume of this rose.”
Well, I didn’t know very much about the mind, or about spiritual things from a truth standpoint, so I thought, “I’ll try this.” I said nothing to my family. So back and forth from work, I would imagine I could see a rose. Then, about a week later I was able to smell this rose, at least I thought I could smell the rose. I didn’t say a thing to anybody until the end of the third week and I was getting almost a little tired of doing this. It seemed a little bit childish.
So I was helping my mother with the dishes one evening, and I told her about it. She had been in Unity for about 18 months and I thought she’d understand. So I told her what I had done, and nothing much was said. She never tried to say, “Well Unity says this, or Unity says the other.” The next day when I came home from work, I opened the front door, and glanced right at the mantelpiece over the fireplace. To my astonishment, I saw a vase, or a container full of roses.
Well living in northwestern Canada, roses were not something that we saw too often, especially in the late fall or the winter, unless you got them from florist shop. Well before I got very far in the room, I said to mother, “Where did these roses come from?” And mother was in the kitchen, and I heard her voice say, “What roses?” The funniest feeling came over me and I thought, “Oh my goodness! Am I seeing things?”
Then she came into the living room where I was, and she was smiling, and then I knew that she had been teasing me. So I said, “But mother, where did they come from?” So she explained to me that one of the girls that worked with my sister had had roses sent to her from a much warmer climate, and she had said to my sister, “I’d like to send some to your sister.” And so, my sister who had preceded me home for lunch, had brought them home and put them in this container.
You know, strange as it may seem, I had no good feeling about those flowers. I didn’t understand the truth, but there was a strange and funny feeling. I thought, “Well maybe I have had something to do with this. At least my mind has.” Do you know it was only a matter of a few weeks after that, that I got into the study of truth. Then, I began to see that I could never be satisfied with that which was entirely mental. I wanted something much greater than that.
So now, when I begin to use my imagination, when I begin to use this wonderful picture forming faculty, I am very sure that I’m letting it be guided by God’s own spirit within. So I do not try to do it from the mental plane alone. And yet, as Dr. Cady said, this is very possible.
You and I must seek ideas first, and then the ideas will bring about the outer forms, whatever we may need. You see, I did not seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Somehow or other, I looked first to the things, and I drew those things in the form of the roses, but I am learning that if you and I want good in our life, the only safe way is to seek first the kingdom of God, which is the realm of divine ideas, and his righteousness, the right use of those ideas, and the forms, whatever they may take, whether it be food, shelter, clothing, anything at all, will be added unto us.
Keep in mind therefore, that truth spoken from the mental standpoint only cannot last. It may bring outer things, but there is nothing substantial upon which these things may rest.
Demonstrating is showing forth principles. So to cultivate a consciousness of our ones with the Father, have to be more important than merely demonstrating, but the demonstrating must follow because as I said, it is the showing forth of some principle in form.
146 What is the grace of God?
Now let us go onto our ninth question. Believe it or not, there is very little mentioned in this chapter about grace. This is the question: What is the grace of God? And there is only one small paragraph. And actually, except for four words, it is a quotation from the bible. Let me read this one small paragraph.
There is one spirit, and then quote, “One God and Father of us all, who is above all, and through all, and in all. But grace,” then in parenthesis, “Our free gift, was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” This is taken from a Ephesians 4:6 and 7.
Now you may wonder why it was felt important enough to have an entire question on grace when there is so little given in the book. Probably all of us, having been brought up with any religion at all, are familiar with the word grace. Sometimes we are apt to think of it as something quite apart from us, something rather religious and spiritual. Yet, when we begin to consider the word grace from a metaphysical standpoint, we find that it is just one of the most important things in our life.
Now, from a metaphysical standpoint we say this, “Grace is the love of God.” But we don’t stop there, “To which man has responded.” Now God’s love is always there. There’s never been any time in existence when God’s was no there. But unless I call upon that love, it actually does not become his grace.
The dictionary has many meanings for grace. And for us, perhaps this one is important, and let me quote, “It is the unmerited, divine assistance given to man for his regeneration, or sanctification.” Notice the word unmerited. Therefore, we say that grace is the gift of God. It is a free gift.
Do you remember in the New Testament that Paul spoke of the fulfillment of the law, or the fulfilling of the law? We find that in Romans in the 13th chapter. Think of grace as being love busy fulfilling the law. It means its love at work. Love is always there, but the moment it is at work in your life and mind it’s because you and I have allowed it to work.
I remember very distinctly as students as some years ago, writing in a paper that God’s grace will meet every individual wherever he may find himself. Now, God’s love is always there, but wherever you and I find ourselves, our particular need for God’s love will take a certain form, and nobody really knows just exactly what form that grace will take. All we know is that love will meet every need.
So when your life seems burdened with many things, when you feel that there is no way out, or perhaps you feel, “Well what’s the good of all this study? What does prayer do?” Know that when you consciously respond to God’s love, then immediately you become a recipient of God’s grace.
147 Should we measure our work by what others have done?
Now our tenth question, and remember we still have one more to cover. Our tenth question reads this way: Should we measure our work by what others have done?
I want to go back a little in the chapter and read this: Your gracious work will be done in your own God appointed channel.
Then I’m going to almost toward the end of the chapter, in which it says this: Let us not desert or own work, our own God within to gaze our pattern after our neighbor. Let us not seek to make his gift ours. Let us not criticize his failure to manifest any specific gift.
So, should we measure our work by what others have done? We have to say no. If you and I are going to unfold the God qualities within ourselves, then it has to be done in our own way, and in the only way, or work that we can do this.
One person may say to another, “Oh, you should be a singer.” Or, “You should be an artist.” Or, “You should be a teacher.” Or, “You should be a doctor.” Nobody really knows for another just exactly what channel is needed for him to express his own particular gift, or his own particular gifts. Only the highest in us, as Dr. Cady says, can choose what is right for us.
One place in the chapter Dr. Cady says that we have to use our gifts that will fit our own size, and our shape, and our own capacity and desires. Therefore, another may find a tendency in us toward a particular work, but only the spirit within can guide.
We have found evidence time and time again of a small child saying, “I want to be a doctor. I want to be a teacher.” Now, this has been something from within that child, and many times given the opportunity, that child can go forward along that path that has been chosen from within. But when adults try to bend a child to their will to do a certain thing, we nearly always find problems.
I remember reading about a very brilliant professor who decided that when his first child was born, that from the first days of that child’s entrance upon this earth planet, he would begin education. So tiny as the child was, lying in its crib, this professor began doing many things that he thought would guide that child along the way.
When that boy was about 12 he was definitely a genius. He could do things that professors many, many years older could not do. And yet, that boy’s life ended up a failure. I say failure because he did not know how to get out of the bondage of which he found himself, which was the bondage of intellectualism.
He disappeared from the educational scene, even though he had gone to school far younger than most, and entered university at an age that was just astonishing. Then he disappeared from the educational scene altogether.
One day, one of the universities was seeking someone to give an after dinner talk. And this young man was thought about. So after a certain period of time they managed to find his address, wrote to him and asked if he would give the address. He wrote back and said yes.
Now, they had not checked into the years that had come between his time of education and this particular time. That dinner, that dinner talk I should say, was a complete fiasco. This young man had become completely unbalanced, and instead of giving a talk that was worthy of the intellectuals at that dinner, he gave a talk on streetcar transfers. Of course, you can imagine the terrific shock. You see, this boy, or this soul, let me put it that way, had been forced into an avenue of expression that was not his own particular way.
Now, this does not mean that parents, teachers and guardians should not make available to all children the opportunity to study, but there is a loving understanding and there should be on the part of parents, teachers and guardians the ability to see just how much a child needs at any particular stage of his unfoldment. And that makes for the true teacher, whether it be a parent or a guardian.
To measure our work by others is to downgrade our particular work. Let us imagine two school friends. They go through school, they go through college together, taking almost identical subjects. Then we find that one of these young men rises very high in his particular profession.
The other one may look longingly at his friend and think, “Well why can’t I do that?” If he does, he may put himself into a position of being a failure. But if he suddenly realizes, “That is not my way, I must find my own way,” he may end up in the business world, he may end up in an entirely different profession, but the important thing is if he is willing to follow the indwelling guidance, he may not completely realize what it is, but that urge within rather that looking longingly at what his friend has done, he too can become a success. He dare not measure his work by what his friend has done. He must seek his own gift. He must not seek as the book says, to make his friend’s gift his particular gift.
Teachers often find that they would like to do this, or do the other, but their life seems to lead them only into teaching others. I have often thought about those who teach the great singers. I wonder how many times some of those teachers have thought, “Oh if I could only stand on that platform and give forth that aria from that particular opera.” And yet, most of these teachers who have not been themselves, opera singers to start with, have known that they have a talent in teaching others, so they have been satisfied in what they are doing, and have felt a certain amount of satisfaction in what their pupils have accomplished.
So, bear in mind that you dare not, and you cannot measure your work by what others have done. Neither can you measure what you might call your own particular sole unfoldment.
You may read a book and it gives you something so marvelous, and you think, “Oh if I could only write like that. If I could only share that with other people.” And yet, you may have something far more wonderful to share with your world than even what is written in that book because the words of those books, of any book, will be from the intellect first, it is only what is done with the principles contained in the book. And you may be one of those who is actually living the spiritual principles that another may only have written about.
148 What is the Holy Spirit?
Now, to our last question which is number seven. If you recall we spent quite a bit of time on the three-fold nature of man. We said that man is spirit, soul, body, that is his makeup. And we began to realize how each of those phases fits perfectly in with each other.
Now we come to one phase of God’s three-fold nature. And it becomes so necessary in a question like number seven to cover that. Here is our question: What is the Holy Spirit?
In a question such of this we have to consider the whole of God’s three-fold nature, which is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And we’re going to fit that into our question. Now, let me read from the book a sentence that I consider one of the most important in our entire teaching on this subject of the Holy Trinity.
The Holy Spirit, which is God in movement. Just that much. The Holy Spirit, which is God in movement. Now, let us consider our Holy Trinity, or our Godhead. That is a word that is often used for the Holy Trinity.
Sometimes students are apt to say the Trinity, but it is wiser for you to add the adjective Holy Trinity, for the simple reason that sometimes you say Trinity and immediately your mind says, “Spirit, soul, body.” Which is man’s three-fold being or nature. But when we say Holy Trinity, we are going to refer to God’s three-fold nature. So in order, as I said before, to fit the Holy Spirit in, we must consider the whole.
The Holy Trinity from a spiritual standpoint, or shall I say from a religious standpoint is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost. Now, let us take the first phase, or degree, whatever you want to call it, God the Father is the one creator, the source of all, the principle of all good.
Do you remember we said that principle is the beginning of beginnings. God is the first cause. Then, God the Son, now notice I’m not yet giving you the metaphysical. I’m giving you still the spiritual or the religious. God the Son is that which was created of the Father. We call this the Christ, the I am, the word, spiritual man, the divine self, the divine pattern.
Now do you notice something? That this second phase, God the Son, is covered by the first phase of man’s three-fold nature. Do you remember our circle with a small circle in the middle, this is God the Son, or the Christ, or I am.
Now we got to our third phase, God the Holy Spirit, and as some versions of the Bible call it, the God, the Holy Ghost. This is, as Dr. Cady says here, God in movement. If you can remember nothing more than those words that the Holy Spirit is God in movement, it will open a new world to you.
Sometimes we say that the Holy Spirit, which is the whole spirit of God in movement, is the breath of God. You see, we have to use many illustrations with anything like spiritual study. And doesn’t it feel reasonable to you that the whole spirit of God, or God in movement, is his breath? It’s God breathing out himself into creation.
In Mr. Fillmore’s book, Jesus Christ Heals, he emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is the whole spirit of God in action. You see, he does not stop there. The whole spirit of God, but the whole spirit of God in action. You could not say that God the Father is all there is of God because we have something else, God the Son. And then we have God the Holy Spirit.
Now, we’re going to go to the metaphysical interpretation of this Holy Trinity, or Godhead. We say the Father is mind, divine mind, universal mind. Then we say the Son is the idea and there we put a capital I. It is the idea that contains all ideas. If God gave all of his nature to this Son, let us make man in our image and after our likeness, then all of the ideas that made up the God nature, and we said that was the nature of absolute good, must be in the Son. So this idea is the idea that contains all ideas.
One of Mr. Fillmore’s books written in conjunction with Cora Fillmore, is called, Teach Us To Pray. In that book there is one of the finest expressions of this idea, or the word of God. The idea that contains all ideas.
Now, we go on to the third phase of our Holy Trinity, taken metaphysically. And we say that this is expression. Now, doesn’t that sound logical to you? You have a mind, then you have an idea. Well that idea has to be expressed. So, as the whole spirit of this mind moves through the idea, there is an expression. So we say that the Holy Spirit is expression. Now we have mind, idea and expression.
Can you see then that the mind has to be moved by its own spirit? Moving through the idea and producing something. If you were to write down on a piece of paper Mind with a capital M, I with a capital I, and Expression with a capital E, and then put an and in each of those places, mind plus idea, plus expression, you have a mathematical propositions because then you can say equals manifestation. You would be wise to put a capital M, because the perfect manifestation of the Godhead bodily, so Paul tells us is Jesus Christ.
In other words, we have Jesus, Son of man, and Christ Son of God coming forth as a result of mind, idea, and expression, or, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You see, when Jesus said, “Of my known self I can do nothing,” he was referring to the human part. Then he said, “The father within.” And he knew that father within was the Son, or the Christ spirit within himself. But when Son of man and Son of God are added together, and the Holy Spirit moves through, we have an unbeatable combination, well we have the manifestation of the Godhead bodily.
In other words, we have the full expression of the Holy Trinity, or the Godhead coming through one of God’s creations. And this highest of God’s creations, we feel is Jesus Christ. Yet, Jesus said whatever he did we would be able to do. As a matter of fact, his mission wants to show us how to do it. That’s why we called him the Wayshower, and then our mission is to actually do it.
Our mission is to so realize that we are the Son of God in our divine nature, and open ourselves to this mind, divine mind, universal mind, and allow the whole spirit of God, the whole spirit of this mind to move through us to reveal all of these ideas that make up our true nature.
Then, we have learned, have we not, that we begin to cultivate our personality, and our consciousness so that these ideas may come through in perfection.
149 How LIT has led up to this chapter on Spiritual Gifts
Can you see how logically each chapter in this book has moved up, shall I say, to a place like this. We had bondage or liberty, and we made the choice. Then we learned about God. We learned about this one creator who brought us forth. Then we found that he had given to us a tremendous gift after the gift of his own spirit, which is the gift of thinking. And we learned about our own three-fold nature.
Then, with our chapters on denials and affirmations, we found that it was possible for us to erase from our consciousness, that is from our soul, or our human mind, the things that were really blocking the full expression of God’s spirit in us, and that through affirmation, once the cleansing had taken place, we could begin build up the truth in our consciousness.
The truth is, it always has been there, it is our true nature, but our affirmations began to draw it out, as it were, through soul, both conscious and subconscious, and then through our bodies, and through our affairs.
Then we learned the tremendous value of faith. We found that we had to perceive truth that we couldn’t even see expressed or evidenced in the outer world. But we found we had to have that faith that perceived that God was guiding, that God knew the plan of our life.
Then, from there we went to personality and individuality, and we found that our personality was that part of our human consciousness plus our body, that had to be made a perfect instrument for the expression of God’s spirit in us, the only way that Holy Spirit could move in us without interruption.
Then we came to the chapter on spiritual understanding, and we found in that chapter that only as went to this secret place, which we learned about a little later, would we gain the right guidance, which we call spiritual understanding. After all, what is spiritual understanding, but doing the right thing at the right time.
Then we studied two chapters, The Secret Place of the Most High, and Finding the Secret Place, that told us how we made our contact with this spirit of God in each one of us.
Then into this important chapter spiritual gifts we have come to an understanding of the whole spirit of God moving in and through us. Not only giving us guidance, but allowing us to do the right thing in connection with our fellow man. This Holy Spirit guides us how to speak the word of peace, how to speak the word of harmony, the word of healing, but only as we know that we can call upon this whole spirit of God, can we be of help to our fellow man, and be an instrument of God in the hand of God, for the work of God.