II — How Grace Is Available
Do you remember that day when you were discouraged and blue, when you walked along the street weighed down by your woes, wondering if life were worth while? Then you met that friend who was cheerful, even gay. He exuded a sense of well-being and optimism and took it for granted that you were enjoying life too. After you had talked with him for a few moments, you did feel better. Your attention was diverted from your depression, your mind was lifted to new ideas and your heart was lightened with new hope. It is easy to understand communication of consciousness. You entered into the consciousness of your friend.
We all are entering continuously into the consciousness-thoughts, feelings, beliefs—of those people with whom we associate, especially of those with whom we companion constantly and intimately—unless we decide determinedly not to accept their conclusions on some subject. In the same manner, our consciousness is entering into that of other people.
This intercommunication takes place very often without a word being spoken. We enter a room where someone is very joyous and immediately we feel the radiation. We can also come into contact with a gloomy person whose state of mind may drag us down too—and will, unless we are too fortified with joy ourselves, or determine not to be receptive to his despair.
In the large “room” of the universe, the joyful consciousness of Jesus that God, Good, is the only Presence and Power, remains eternally established as tangible Grace. We rise to the spiritual level where this Grace exists by believing that it is, and by having faith that we can enter into it.
This acceptance of the vicarious atonement—Jesus’ atonement for us—does not contradict in any way the modern understanding of God as Spirit, Mind, rather than the older conception of Him as an anthropomorphic Deity, a Super Person above the sky.
It does not set at naught the conviction that this creative Mind conceived a perfect Idea of Itself, and that this Idea is Its Son, the Christ, the original spiritual self of every man, the Image (I-am-age) of God in which all men are created. Ideas are the progeny of mind. Therefore, the Son of the Mind that God is must be an Idea; and because God-Mind has only one perfect Conception of Itself, an all-inclusive Idea of Its Goodness, which is the original spiritual man, each man in his first spiritual identity must be “the only-begotten of the Father.”
Jesus’ greater power is explained by the doctrine that He became “the only-begotten Son” manifest, or Christ incarnated in objectivity. “The Word (Christ) was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (St. John). Jesus became the full embodiment of the Christ. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” said Jesus. The whole, entire expression of the Son became a living actuality in, through and for Him. Emerson has put it, “One man was true to what is in you and in me,” the Christ.
In orthodox Christian theology, and frequently in New Thought teaching, “Christ” is used interchangeably with “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ” to refer to the man Jesus, as for instance, “What did Christ say?” on such and such a subject. Where we find no distinction made between terms indicative of the original spiritual self of every man, Christ, and the Christ expressed in the man Jesus, Jesus Christ, the context discloses which is meant. It is, of course, the meaning that is important; and a distinction is made in this explanation of Grace between the terms “Christ” and “Jesus Christ”—(or “Christ Jesus,” the term used in this book to denote the Christed, ascended Jesus) only to clarify the glad tidings of the Nazarene as the Saviour of the world.
Belief in the vicarious atonement does not set at naught the illumination that “all men are created equal.” Neither does it “make void” the Grace of God—the help to us of Jesus’ greater realization of His Christhood as a communicable state of consciousness.
How, and why, should He have so outdistanced other men in realization and manifestation of the inner truth of Himself?
Did He do it in one incarnation, in one life on this earth? Or had He developed His glorious faith in the Father within Him through previous incarnations?
Was He of "immaculate conception” physically when He appeared on earth as the Word made flesh? Did the long held Hebraic vision of the Messiah to be so conceived find fulfillment in Him, through the purified consciousness of His mother, Mary?
For the purpose of accepting Him as Saviour, does it matter too much whether or not the “Virgin Birth” was a fact? Is it very important whether or not Jesus lived before, or how He began His life on this plane? Is not the important thing: He finished His life here as a perfected soul, and gave His glorified soul realization as a communicable consciousness to other men?
Nor need we accept His salvation as something that saves us only after "death.” If we wish we may believe in it as a Redeemer from sin that rewards us with perfect life after our passing from this earth. But if we believe it is no more than that we are missing the mark of the perfection of joyous living here and now. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will (of Good) be done on earth as it is in heaven,” this Saviour taught us to pray.
Our cause for rejoicing is that, in manifesting fully His Christhood, Jesus has made it easier, or we may even say possible, for us to realize and prove in this life, "I and the Father are one.” Thus He is "Divine Lord and Saviour” and "Revelation of God,” as the orthodox Christian Church holds.
In her Letters (p.25), Myrtle Fillmore, "mother” of Unity, writes that Jesus:
"merged His wonderful consciousness with the race consciousness (thoughts and feelings), that we may turn to Him and receive into our mind the understanding of life and the activities of mind that result in freedom from the limitations of the race beliefs and the intellectual reasonings. . . . We must think of Jesus ... as ever with us in the spiritual consciousness that He has established and that He has merged with the race mind in order that we may be in touch with Him and lay hold on Him. . . .”
The Nazarene expressed this high realization here on earth, when performing His miracles. His ascension to the Father, following His resurrection, marked the “day” or time of development, of eternally perfect Christ consciousness in, and therefore of complete demonstration of the Son for, Him. In Bible symbology a "day” signifies a new stage of realization in the soul.
After His resurrection, immediately prior to His ascension, Jesus Himself said, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” . . . (My realization of God, Good, is with you until, by accepting it, you make an end of the evil beliefs of the worldly state of soul, the beliefs in something not-God which cause all the trouble and vicissitudes known by man.)
Jesus contributed to the race consciousness a divine realization of wisdom, love and power able to eradicate all subconscious “error”—memory of not-good, instinctive evil thought currents, unwanted habits. All men may lay hold of His perfected consciousness, now a part of the race knowing.
Foretelling His ascension, Jesus promised, “I go to prepare a place for you,” the “place” meaning a state of perfect consciousness.
This state of perfect consciousness is the Grace that is available to us. It is the master key state of “saving” knowledge.
Jesus’ contribution to the race knowing will lift all men eventually to His perfected consciousness and expression. Not one soul can resist forever the divine intelligence that He in love and tender mercy expressed. Sometime—and not necessarily on a death-bed—all will praise in paraphrase of the Reverend George Matheson’s well-known hymn:
"O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my thankful soul in Thee:
I give Thee back the Life I owe,
For in Thine ocean depths Its flow
Must richer, fuller be.
O Grace that endest now my night,
I do not ask to fly from Thee:
I walk in Peace, Life’s glory bright,
For from Thy Ground* there blossoms White
Joy that must endless be.”
(* Perfect realization of Good as the only Presence and Power.)
“He will allure thee out of thy distresses.”
Thus "allured” from incomplete realization of the Father, (and how lovely to be allured, not driven and beaten by "stripes,”) when the most holy Lord has won all through His actualized—and soul-purifying—Grace, then shall all fulfill in themselves the vision of the Psalmist:
"I will walk within my house (of consciousness,
thinking and feeling) with a perfect heart.
I will set no base thing before mine eyes:
A perverse heart shall depart from me:
I will know no evil (imperfect, 'unfinished’
Him (within) that hath a high look and a
proud heart will I not suffer.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the
land, (my true beliefs in God as love)
that they may dwell with me:
He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall
minister unto me”—even the ascended
consciousness of Jesus, Minister of Grace.
© 1947, Crichton Russ Boatwright