Emilie Cady — Lessons In Truth (Study Edition)
The Era of Metaphysical Christianity Is Here
Hi Friends -
I am convinced that the religion we know as Christianity is entering into a entirely new era, which can be called metaphysical Christianity. Christianity’s first era, the catholic era, ran through the first 1,000 years. The catholic era grew out of the Roman Empire and eventually overran the 1,000 year Roman rule of power and oppression with a Christian rule of oneness and order.
The second era, the era of evangelical Christianity, began to form with the expansion of trade, the revival of classical philosophy and, especially, the wide-spread use the controlled experiment to discover new knowledge. I know it’s difficult to associate the term evangelical with such progressive trends but what we know today as modernity would never have come about without the rebellion of Luther and Calvin against the suffocation of catholic order.
The third era, that of metaphysical Christianity, is emerging from the limitations of modernity. It is emerging to provide solutions to problems that modernity has not been able to overcome: deeply rooted racism and hatred, uncontrolled destruction of nature and the environment, persistent alienation and meaninglessness.
Metaphysical Christianity is based on a new sense of the reign of God, not on the order of the catholic era, nor the discovery and intellectualism of the evangelical era, but rather on the sense of pervasive divinity of this new metaphysical era in which we are rapidly moving. The roots of metaphysical Christianity, at least in the United States is transcendentalism,
“A philosophy based on the idea that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, asserting the existence of an ideal spiritual reality that transcends the empirical and scientific and is knowable through intuition.”
That quote is from a beer mug I picked up from the Thoreau Society gift shop at Walden Pond a few years ago. As crass as its container may be, the words describe metaphysical Christianity better than just about anything I’ve read. And it’s no wonder that Emilie Cady repeatedly quotes Emerson, transcendentalism’s great philosopher, in Lessons in Truth, Unity’s foundational metaphysical textbook.
Chapter one of Lessons in Truth is Statement of Being; Who and What God is, Who and What Man Is. This chapter is essential reading, for it explains how “divinity pervades all nature and humanity and assets the existence of an ideal spiritual reality.”
Emilie Cady explains the pervasiveness of divinity in two sentences, each two words long—God is. Man exists. It doesn’t get any tighter than that. What God is—life, love, wisdom and power—becomes what each of us is destined to be. Father God, expressing such divine qualities, is pressed out in us as Mother God. God as transcendent spirit becomes Christ in us as immanent substance, the very foundation of our spiritual Reality.
How we exist, how "we stand forth out of God" as expressions of the pervasive divinity of God, enables us to take on racism and hatred, loss of compassion, the destruction of our environment and our alienation from life. The era of Metaphysical Christianity is here.
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Lesson 1 — Statement of Being
[In entering upon this course of instruction let each one as far as possible, lay aside for the time being all previous theories and beliefs. By so doing you will be saved the trouble of trying all the way through the course to force “new wine into old bottles.” If there is anything as we proceed which you do not understand or agree with, just let it lie passively in your mind until you receive the entire course; for many statements which would naturally arouse antagonism and discussion will be clear and easily accepted a little further on. After the course is completed if you wish to return to your old beliefs and ways of living, you are at perfect liberty to do so. But, for the time being, be willing to become as little children; for, said a Master in spiritual things, “Except ye become as little children ye can in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven.” If at times there seems to be repetition, please remember that these are lessons, not lectures.]
1. When Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well he said to her “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) He did not say, God is a Spirit. The article a, italicized as it is in our bibles, has been interpolated by translators. To say “a spirit” would be implying the existence of more than one spirit. Jesus in his statement did not do this.
2. Webster in his definition of Spirit says, “Spirit is life or intelligence conceived of entirely apart from physical embodiment. It is vital essence, force, energy as distinct from matter.”
3. God, then, is not, as many of us have been taught to believe, a big personage or man residing somewhere in a beautiful region in the sky, called heaven, where good people go when they die and see Him clothed with ineffable glory. Nor is He a stern angry judge only waiting an opportunity somewhere to punish bad people who have failed to live a perfect life here.
4. God is Spirit, or the Creative Energy which is the cause of all visible things. God as Spirit, is the invisible Life and Intelligence (according to Webster’s definition of Spirit) which underlies all physical things. There could be no body (or visible part) to anything unless there was first Spirit as Creative Cause.
5. God is not a being or person having life, intelligence, love, power. God is that invisible, intangible but very real something we call Life. God is perfect Love and infinite Power. God is the sum total of these combined, the sum total of all Good whether manifested or expressed.
6. There is but one God in the universe; but one Source of all the different forms of life or intelligence we see, whether they be man, animal, tree or rock.
7. God is Spirit. We cannot see spirit with these fleshly eyes; but when it clothes itself with a body, when Spirit makes itself visible or manifest through a material form, then we recognize it. You do not see the living, thinking “me” when you look at my body. You only see the form through which I am made manifest.
8. God is Love. We cannot see love nor grasp any comprehension of what love is, except as love is clothed with a body. All the love there is in the universe is God. The love between husband and wife, between parents and children, is just the least little bit of God as pushed forth through visible form into manifestation. A mother’s love so infinitely tender, so unfailing, is the same Love only manifested in greater degree through the mother.
9. God is Wisdom or Intelligence. All the wisdom or intelligence we see in the universe is God, is Wisdom projected through a visible form. To educate—(from educere, to lead forth) never means to force into from the outside; but always means to draw out from within something already existing there. God as Infinite Wisdom or Intelligence lives within every human being, only waiting to be led forth or drawn out into manifestation. This is true education.
10. Heretofore we have sought knowledge and help from outside sources, not knowing that the Source of all knowledge, the very Spirit of Truth, was lying latent within ourselves, each and everyone, only waiting to be called on to teach us the truth about all things. Most marvelous of Teachers, and everywhere present, without money or price!
11. God is Power. Not simply God has power, but God is Power. In other words, all the power there is to do anything is God. God, the Source of our existence every moment, is not simply omnipotent, all powerful. He is Omnipotence,—All Power. He is not alone omniscient,—all knowing. He is Omniscience,—All Knowledge. He is not only omnipresent, but more,—Omnipresence. God is not a being having qualities but He is the Good itself. Everything you can think of that is good, when in its absolute Perfection, goes to make up that invisible Being we call God.
12. God, then, is the Substance (from sub, under, and stare, to stand) or the Real thing standing under every visible form of life, love, intelligence or power. Each rock, tree, animal, everything visible is a manifestation of the One Spirit, God, differing only in degree of manifestation; and each of the numberless modes of manifestation, or individualities, however insignificant, contains the whole.
13. One drop of water taken from the ocean is just as perfect ocean water as the whole great body. The constituent elements of the water are exactly the same, and are combined in precisely the same ratio or perfect relation to each other, whether we consider one drop, a pailful, a barrelful, or the entire ocean out of which the lesser quantities are taken. Each is complete in itself. They only differ in quantity or degree. Each contains the whole. And yet no one would make the mistake of supposing from this statement that each drop was the entire ocean.
14. So we say that each individual manifestation of God contains the whole. Not for a moment meaning that each individual is God in His entirety—so to speak; but that each is God come forth—shall I say?—in different quantity or degree.
15. Man is the last and highest manifestation of this Divine Energy; the fullest and most complete expression (or pressing out) of God. To him, therefore, is given the dominion over all other manifestations.
16. God is not only the Creative Cause of every visible form of intelligence and life at its commencement: but each moment throughout its existence He lives within every created thing as the Life, the ever-renewing, re-creating, upbuilding cause of it. He never is and never can be for a moment separated from His creations. Then, how can even a sparrow fall to the ground without His knowledge? “And ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:31)
17. God IS. Man exists, (from ex, out of, and sistare, to stand forth). Man stands forth out of God.
18. Man is a three-fold being made up of spirit, soul and body. Spirit, our innermost, real being, the deathless part of us, the I of us, which you and I know has never changed, though our thoughts and circumstances may have changed hundreds of times, this part of us is a standing forth of God into visibility. It is the Father in us. At this central part of his being every person can say, “I and the Father are one,” (John 10:30) and speak only absolute truth.
19. Soul or mortal mind,—that which Paul calls “carnal mind,” (Rom. 8:6)—is the region of the intellect, where, we do conscious thinking. Body is the last or external part of man’s being in his descent from God into the material universe. Of this we will speak more fully in a future lesson.
20. The great whole of—as yet—unmanifested Good or God from whom we are projections or “offspring,” and “in whom we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) continually, is, to me, the Father, OUR Father: “and all ye are brethren” because all are manifestations of one and the same Spirit. Jesus, recognizing this, said, “call no man upon the earth your father, for one is your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 23:8-9) As soon as any of us recognize our true relationship to all men, we at once slip out of our narrow, personal loves, our “me and mine,” into the universal love which takes in all the world, joyfully exclaiming “Who is my mother? Who are my brethren? Behold, these are my mother and my brethren.’” (Matt. 12:48-49)
21. Childlike, untrained minds say God is a personal Being. The statement that God is Principle chills them, and in terror they cry out “They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid him!”
22. Broader and more learned minds are always cramped by the thought of God as a Person: for personality limits to place and time.
23. God is both Principle and Person. As the creative underlying Cause of all things He is Principle, impersonal. As expressed in each individual He becomes personal to that one,—a personal, loving, all-giving Father-Mother. All that any human soul can ever need or desire is in the infinite Father-principle, the great Reservoir of unexpressed Good. There is no limit to the Source of our being, nor to His willingness to manifest more of Himself through us. The only limit is in our knowledge of how to draw from the Fountain.
24. Hitherto we have turned our hearts and efforts toward the external for fulfillment of our desires and for satisfaction; and all have been grievously disappointed For the hunger of everyone for satisfaction is only the cry of the homesick child for its Father-Mother, God. It is only the Spirit’s desire in us to come forth into our consciousness as more and more of perfection, until we shall have become fully conscious of our oneness with AllPerfection. Man never has been and never can be satisfied with anything less.
25. We each have direct access through the Father in us, the central “I” of our being, to the great whole of Life, Love, Wisdom, Power, which is God What we now want to know is how to receive more from the Fountain Head and to make more and more of God (which is but another name for AllGood) manifest in our daily lives.
26. There is but one Source of Being.
That Source is the living Fountain of all-good, be it life, love, wisdom, power or whatever,—the Giver of all good gifts.
That Source and you are connected every moment of your existence.
You have power to draw upon this Source for all of good you are, or ever will be, capable of desiring.