Ye Must Be Born Again
And no one hath ascended into heaven,
Save he that out of heaven descended
—The Son of Man
—John 3:13 (Rotherham translation)
JESUS SAID: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." "Except one be born of water and the Spirit..." Who and what is this that is subject to so many births?
2. This important invisibility that takes on these protean forms is man, according to Jesus. But what is man? Plato told his students that a good description of man was a "biped without feathers." Diogenes learned of this definition, procured a chicken, and after plucking its feathers, turned it loose before Plato's class with the words, "Behold Plato's man!" This is a peculiarly fitting illustration of the ignoble end of all definitions that circumscribe man to form.
3. Jesus evidently referred to an invisible something that was first born of flesh, then born of Spirit.
The inference is that this something is capable of an infinite number of experiences in birth and rebirth.
4. What is this invisible something that says, "Before Abraham was born, I am"? Who are you, born into this round of experiences through which you are now passing, and whence came you? What is it that says "I am"?
5. When your voice says "I am," does it do so on its own responsibility, or is it moved by an invisible One? Who is this invisible One, and what is His relation to the voice through which He speaks? These are the most important questions that were ever put to any school on earth. When we begin to consider them, in even the most primary way, we are entering the realm of the gods.
6. Over the entrance to the Greek temple was written, "Know thyself," and it is always written over every door that opens from ignorance to wisdom. "Know thyself"; know who and what you are, where you came from, what you are doing here, and where you are going. If you want to know all this, meditate upon the I AM.
7. Your mind reverts to Moses and to Jehovah; you think of a mighty I AM away back in history. You do not connect that far-away I AM that inspired Moses with your own little everyday "I am" that struggles in the "brawl for bread." Yet there is but one I AM. It cannot be cut into parts; it is Principle. That which says "I am" in all men, women, and children is identical. It is like the mathematical 1. All the combinations of figures that were ever conceived are but the repetitions of this digit. It is the son
the principle, mathematics. It is inspired by its principle and all the possibilities of that principle are open to it.
8. Your I AM is the Son of the God Idea, and all the possibilities of the Principle, through that Idea, are open to you. To "know thyself" is to know that you are I AM, and not flesh and blood.
9. It is this I AM that is born of flesh and born of Spirit. It is not flesh, neither is it Spirit, if by Spirit is meant a state of consciousness. It is just I AM, the center from which all states of consciousness are generated. Speaking definitely, it is never born into any state of consciousness, because it always transcends all conditions. It is the supreme Dictator that determines the state of consciousness in and through which it will function. "I will be what I will to be" is its dictum.
10. I AM may choose to be born into the flesh, and it may choose to be born into the Spirit. By its decision it sets in motion the machinery of the universe to carry out its will. "Legions of angels" hasten to obey its call when it knows
who and what it is.
11. It is evident that we have, at some time, chosen to be born into the flesh or we should not be in it. If we have had enough of the flesh, it is our privilege to drop it out of our mind and to be born of Spirit. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The "flesh" is a state of consciousness, the "Spirit" is a state of consciousness.
12. The ego or I AM functions in these states
of consciousness, according to its desire. The moving factor of the I AM is desire. It desires a certain experience; on the wings of that desire it carries itself to a place where it can be fulfilled. In the process of fulfillment the ego may forget that it has ever so desired, but the law never forgets.
13. If you are functioning in the flesh, you may be sure that you somewhere, sometime, desired an experience to which this answers.
14. There are no accidents in the laws of Being. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6
:7) is another way of saying that for every cause there is an adequate effect. This law of sequence is the balance wheel of the universe. Like all other laws that inhere in Being, it is good.
15. The ego can have any experience that it wills to have. If it wills to revel in sensation, a state where sensation holds high carnival is provided. If its appetite for sensation is satiated, other states are open to it; it may be "born of the Spirit."
16. But before one can journey hence, the tangled ends of this experience must be straightened out. "Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Cor. 14
:40) is written over the door of all of God's playhouses. If you choose to function in the realm of sensation, if through any cause you have brought about disorder, you cannot leave until harmony is restored.
17. If you lack wisdom, there is a way provided to get it—"The Spirit of truth ... he shall guide you into all the truth" (John 16
18. Your real self is that which says "I AM." It cannot be described, because description is limitation,
and your real self is unlimited in its capacity to be. It is the all-possibility, yet it is ignorant of the states of consciousness into which it is ushered until it has experienced them. In the flesh consciousness it is will. In the spiritual consciousness it is love. Both are blind unless will is married to intelligence and wisdom is married to love.
19. There are people who have had enough fleshly experience and now desire to be born into the Spirit. That desire will open the door into the Spirit. You have only to desire to be, and you will surely find the way to be that which you desire. There is no exception to this inherent principle of Being. You have sometime polarized your desire in the direction of the flesh, or you would not be having the experience of the flesh.
20. Do not condemn the flesh or bewail your lot. The flesh is an obedient servant, and it now expresses your idea of what form should be. In its virgin purity it is the immaculate substance of Being. If it appears corrupt or subject to corruption, humanity has made it so through ignorance, and humanity must again purify it by restoring it to the heaven of its consciousness, when it will cease to be flesh. That which the world conceives to be flesh has no existence whatever in Being. It is a malformation of the substance idea of Being, and must be transformed by right conception of divine perfection, before the mortal can put on the immortal.
21. Thus all things are right here, ready for our using, to function through, in the fulfillment of our desire to experience sensation. If we have failed to
get satisfaction, the fault lies not in the substance but in our use of the substance. Now that we wish to transfer our experiences to the realm of Spirit, to light instead of to sensation, we have but to comply with the conditions of that realm in order to make the desired change.
22. There is a primal substance, and all states of consciousness are in it. We do not have to go anywhere to find it; it is here. We are basing our present experiences upon it and calling it flesh. If we desire to see it as Spirit, we must so call it, and must seek to know the mental attitude on our part that is necessary to make it show forth the conditions of Spirit.
23. "The kingdom of God is within you." It is not afar, nor is it hard to find, if your desire has headed you in its direction.
24. Do you really want to be born into the Spirit? The majority of people would answer this query in the affirmative without a moment's thought. But this is mere impulse, and does not involve a careful consideration of the most important matter ever presented to the I AM.
25. To be born into the Spirit is to come into an entirely new and different state of consciousness. This has a mighty meaning back of it. What makes up your present consciousness? Is it not largely the things of sense?
26. Analyze your surroundings and see whether they are not based upon the perception of the five senses. You swing in your little orbit of family ties. You believe that you were born into the world through
a chain of fleshly ancestors to whom you are bound by a filial love that to your present understanding is inviolable. Yet He who passed from the flesh consciousness into the Spirit looked back and said: "Call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven."
27. So the I AM that desires to function on the spiritual plane must drop all belief in fleshly parentage. It must count as rubbish all pride of ancestry and "blue blood." It must forever cease to talk about the social prestige of "our family"; it must not bolster up the mortal man by considering ancestral reputation to be of any weight. This form of human pride must all be denied as a dream of the night, because it is one of the strong cords that bind the I AM to the flesh.
28. Every tie of earthly relationship must be recognized as the passing condition of a brief fleshly experience. Your children are not yours as you have looked upon them. They are egos like yourself; through some similarity of desire they have been attracted to your mental stratum. They may be older than you in experience and in wisdom. Do not let your affections throw both them and you into a little vortex of family selfishness. You will love them with a love that will help to lift them into the eternal heaven when you know that they are not yours alone, but that all men and women compose one great common family with God as the Father-Mother. "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."
29. The I AM was born into the flesh through desire, and desire keeps it in the consciousness of the flesh. The five senses are simply avenues of one great central desire—sensation. The I AM desired experience in sensation, and the five senses are the five formulated avenues through which it enjoys that experience.
30. Sensation is not an evil except when you choose to let it crawl on its belly through the fleshly avenues. It is the serpent that beguiles man when he turns it outward into mere seeming—hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. In the wilderness of sense, Moses lifted it up. Moses was the law that the I AM sent forth.
31. You must make a law for this serpent that is holding you in the sensations of the flesh. You desire to be born into the Spirit, but you cannot rise out of the flesh. Something binds you down. Like a captive balloon, you are tugging at the guy ropes that fasten you to earth.
32. Mind is the only causative power. By the power of the Word, it makes and unmakes all laws governing in personal life. The I AM floats in mind and formulates the words that set mind in motion.
33. If you are bound to the flesh, the cords that hold you are words. If you want to be unbound, it must be accomplished by words. The cords are states of consciousness that you must dissolve. This dissolving process is accomplished by words that express denial—negations.
34. The denial looses the bond. In your cutting yourself free from the chains of Egypt (ignorance),
your I AM must go forth and make laws of denial, the dominant idea of which is negation—"Thou shalt not."
35. "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is a denial that regulates the animal consciousness and helps it along the path to higher things; but Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
36. He was laying down the law of the spiritual consciousness—instructing those who wanted to be born out of the flesh into the Spirit. In that realm the flesh man with his carnal sensations has no part. "And Jesus said unto them, The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage" (Luke 20
37. Do not be deluded by those who cry, "All is good, therefore all the desires of the flesh are good and should be indulged." Jesus plainly said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," definitely indicating two states of consciousness.
38. The I AM is always the same. Your identity is preserved wherever you are, in the flesh or in the Spirit; but the two states are as distinct as America and Europe. When you are in Europe, you come into relation with people and surroundings quite different from those in America. So the one who has let go of the bonds of the flesh and come into the things
of Spirit finds himself in a new and different country.
39. In the flesh, his sensation was turned outward through feeling, and man was bound to the eternally rolling wheels of birth and death by physical generation. When he is born into the Spirit, he cuts off the indulgence of the external, and is delighted to learn that sensation finds an interior faculty through which it expresses itself in perpetual ecstasy. Had he continued to indulge the desires of the flesh in the external, he would never have discovered the enduring faculty of the internal.
40. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions"; that is, there are many states of consciousness, Each state is good for him who enjoys it. Therefore we should not condemn the flesh consciousness, nor those who prefer to remain in it. Neither should we who are satiated with the flesh, continue to bow down and worship it, nor believe the subtle argument that it is Spirit because it came forth from mind.
41. In claiming your unity with Spirit, you must be willing to conform to the conditions of Spirit. If you are not sincere in your conformity, you will be torn in the conflict. You cannot worship two masters.
42. When you have renounced the fleshly consciousness and have resolved to live in the Spirit, you have made a covenant with the Most High to leave the domain of the flesh forever. You have entered into an agreement with your invisible self that is far more binding than any man-made contract could possibly be.
43. If you agreed to go to California and to remain there for a consideration to be paid by your employer, you would be in honor bound to carry out your contract. You would arrange to leave the things of this region behind you; you would faithfully seek to prepare yourself for the new requirements in that country. This is exactly the attitude that you should take when you have agreed with the Father to do His will and to be born into the Spirit.
44. You are going into a country entirely new to you, and your experiences will be strange and wonderful. The customs that prevail in the flesh consciousness will not fit the spiritual consciousness.
45. Paul says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. ... If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk" (Gal. 5
46. Are you bringing forth this kind of fruit?
If not, you may know that you are not being born of the Spirit, for "by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7
47. A large number of students of Truth are at this time complaining because they are having trials. They say, "We have denied and affirmed for years. We have studied science and understand it. We are faithful to the hours of meditation and are stanch defenders of the Truth, yet we do not demonstrate. Why is it?"
48. "If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk." Here is the key that will open the door of causes for you. Do you also walk by the Spirit?
How about the habits of the flesh consciousness? Do you still give them rein?
49. Remember that you cannot perform a single act without putting your consciousness into it. All things are sustained by your conscious thought projection. Every time you indulge in any of the sensations of the flesh, you are binding the I AM to the fleshly consciousness.
50. Spiritual thinking is the pioneer that opens the way into the new birth, but it must be followed by spiritual acting on the part of every faculty.
"Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service" (Rom. 12:1).
51. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5
), Jesus laid down the law for those who desire to follow Him into the regeneration—to be born again. If you seek this spiritual birth, examine your daily life and see whether you are conforming to its requirements.
52. If you are angry with your brother, you will be in danger of the judgment. "Agree with thine adversary quickly." Does this allow the intervention of the courts to settle your disputes? Did you ever know a man who went to law, to agree with his adversary quickly?
53. Judicial courts are not known in the Spirit, and you can never be born again or expect the help of the Spirit in your affairs so long as you believe in securing your rights through such contentious channels. If you are sincere in your desire to be born into the Spirit, shun all the entanglements of the world's legal machinery. It is a snare and a delusion. Your triumphs through its methods will in the end turn
to dust and ashes. "If any man would go to law with thee, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." Trust the defense of your rights to the law of Spirit, and you will be victor in every instance. You may appear to lose both your coat and your cloak, but do not worry. Your judge is the almighty equilibrium of the universe, and all men and all things are obedient to it in its "day of judgment."
54. Do you love your enemies? Do you bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you? This is required of one who seeks the new birth.
55. Are you laying up treasures for yourself upon earth, "where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal"? If so, remember the primal law of thought generation—the gluing of the ego to the things that it consciously seeks; "for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also." You cannot float out into the ethereal substance of the Spirit, with bags of gold in each hand.
56. Do you allow your mind to drift with the current criticism of the world, magnifying the error and minimizing the good? This mental habit of the ignorant flesh is carnal judgment—darkness and ignorance seeing themselves reflected in all the universe. Beware of this subtle adversary who goes forth ostensibly to reform the world.
57. According to Rotherham, Jesus said:
Why, moreover, beholdest thou the mote, in the eye of thy brother, While the beam in thine own eye thou dost not consider? Or how wilt thou say unto thy brother,
Let me cast the mote out of thine eye, When lo! a beam is in thine own eye? Hypocrite! cast first out of thine own eye the beam, And then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of the eye of thy brother. (Matt. 7:3-5)
58. O Son of God and Son of man! realize what and who you are. Know consciously what Jesus so succinctly stated: "No one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man," the one having his being in heaven.
59. Your being is in heaven—the spiritual consciousness. You descended from that high estate; you belong there now. You are there now if you will but realize it and will but comply with the laws of heaven. God is here now in our very midst. The Spirit is here, taking account of our every thought. The Father loves us with His infinite love. We are His in Truth, and must be His in consciousness.