Emilie Cady — Lessons In Truth (Study Edition)
“True there is Law, but there is Gospel also.”
Hi Friends -
Lessons in Truth has 12 chapters. The final chapter used to be “Liberty or Bondage, Which?” but for many years Unity has shifted this chapter to the start of the book. That affects how we interpret what is now published as the final chapter, “Unity of the Spirit.”
If Unity of the Spirit is seen as the concluding chapter in Lessons in Truth then the focus is on unity in the broader, social sense and the main point of the chapter is achieving unity and harmony in our relationships, our denomination and in our world. But if Unity of the Spirit is seen as the next-to-last chapter then it can be seen as the capstone, or integrating of the inner journey that begins with faith and concludes with the expression of spiritual gifts.
In that case “unity of the spirit” is not about a social unity, but rather a unity of the soul. And, if that is how we approach it, then we will have a better understanding of the rich powerful statement she makes and is the title of this post: “True there is Law, but there is Gospel also.” This post is to elaborate on what I believe to be Emily Cady's original message.
Here is the original text of Unity of the Spirit, chapter 11 of Emilie Cady’s Lessons in Truth. Inserted into the text are audio clips from Vera Dawson Tait’s lectures. These two items, the text and the audio, combined with the Annotations from the Unity Correspondence School lessons, form an opportunity for self study of Unity’s first classic textbook in Metaphysics—what I call the Lessons in Truth Study Edition.
In the first third of the essay, Emilie Cady wants spiritual teachers to quit criticizing one another. She writes “I want to help you to see that there is no real wall of difference between all the various sects of the new theology except such as appear to you because of your circumscribed view.” Apparently the metaphysicians of her day (1895) were clinging to external differences and thereby showing their narrowness and ignorance. I’ll get to what those differences were later on.
For now, just note that Emilie Cady’s point is that when the metaphysician has a “consciousness of the presence of an indwelling God” then the differences (of metaphysics) all fall away. She writes in paragraph 12, “Beloved, as surely as you and I live, it is all one and the same truth. There may be a distinction but it is without a difference.”
In the middle third of the essay, Emilie Cady writes about the secret of metaphysical power. That secret is not the language one uses, nor the metaphysical concepts one has come to understand. The secret is available to the educated and the ignorant alike, to the heathen and the orthodox as well as the student of Truth. The secret, according to Emile Cady, is found in Matthew 6:22, “If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light. No man can serve two masters.”
To illustrate her point, Emilie Cady praises an uneducated woman who overcame poverty and illness by means of keeping the “eye single.” Her language was unsophisticated but her consciousness was powerful when she ceased to recognize evil, but instead chose to “keep my eye single.” Emilie Cady concludes in paragraph 18, “Are you and I, with all our boasted knowledge doing anything more or different?”
Now what were those differences that the metaphysicians were arguing about in 1895? That is Emilie Cady’s focus in the final third of her essay. She writes in paragraph 26,
in these later days when we talk so much about Oneness, most Metaphysical teachers manage again to separate God’s children from Himself by saying that while one suffers the Other (God) knows no suffering nor does He take cognizance of the child’s suffering...
She continues in paragraph 28:
There is no necessity for us to separate God as Substance and God as tender Father; no reason why we should not, and every reason why we should, have both in One. They are One. God, Principle, outside of us, as unchangeable Law,—God within us as tender, loving Father-Savior who sympathizes with our every sorrow, who “knoweth our frame and remembereth we are but dust.”
Take note of what she is saying—that God outside of us as Principle is one with God within us as tender, loving Father (Mother). She says in paragraph 33,
I do not at all understand it, but in some way this indwelling One does move to lift the consciousness of His children up and place it parallel with God Principle, Law, so that no longer two are crossed, but the two, aye, the three, the human consciousness, the indwelling personal Father, the external Principle, God, are made One.
This is the true Unity of the Spirit—the oneness in consciousness of God as Principle and God as tender, loving Father-Mother. When the two are made one in consciousness, we have the the single eye that is so powerful. And when the unity of Spirit is achieved, then we will have an end to the unnecessary criticizing of the language and beliefs of another. This is the true language of Oneness.
Emilie Cady summarizes Unity of the Spirit by writing in paragraph 31:
True there is Law, but there is Gospel also. Nor does Gospel make law of none effect. It fulfills law. God is Principle, but God is Person also. Principle becomes personified the moment It comes to dwell in external manifestation in a human body.
If this interpretation is correct, that Unity of the Spirit is about unity of the soul, then the essay is about metaphysics. But if I’m mistaken and Unity of the Spirit is rather about harmony in our relationships, our denomination and our world, then the essay is about tolerance and diversity.My sense is that this essay is about both metaphysics and tolerance. Her metaphysical point is that God is both Principle and Person. Her tolerance and diversity point is that we each manifest a personified image of the transcendent God, that we don’t have all the answers, that we should honor the texts and testimonials that have been passed on to us and that we must be generous enough to allow and appreciate diverse expressions of sacred knowledge. As Emilie Cady says, “True there is Law, but there is Gospel also.”
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Lesson 11 — Unity of the Spirit
1. Did we not know it as a living reality that behind all the multitude and variety of human endeavors to bring about the Millennium there stands forever the Great Master-Mind which sees the end from the beginning, the Great Master-Artist who Himself is, through human vessels as His hands, putting here a touch of one color and there a touch of another—according to the vessel used—on the picture, we might sometimes be discouraged.
2. Were it not at times so utterly ridiculous it would always be pitiful to see the human mind of man trying to limit God, as though the finite ever could completely encompass or comprehend the Infinite; as though, however much anyone of us may know of God there would not always be unexplored fields so vast that we cannot even think of them, much less reach a place when we can say “This is all there is of God.”
3. Suppose a dozen people are standing on the dark side of a wall in which are various sized openings. Viewing the scene outside through the opening assigned to him, one sees all there is within a certain radius. He says “I see the whole world. In it are trees and fields.” Another through a larger opening has a more extended view. He says “I see trees and fields and houses. I see the whole world.” The next one, with still a larger opening, exclaims “O you are all wrong. I, alone, see the whole world. I see trees and fields and houses and rivers and animals.”
4. The fact is, each one looking at the same world sees just according to the size of the aperture through which he is looking, and he limits the world to just his own circumscribed view of it. You would say at once that such limitation was only a mark of each man’s ignorance and narrowness. Everyone would pity the man who thus displayed, aye, fairly vaunted his ignorance.
5. From time immemorable there have been schisms and divisions among religious sects and denominations. And now with the newer light we have—even the light of the knowledge of One God immanent in all men—many still cling to the external differences, so postponing instead of hastening the day of the Millennium. At least they postpone it for themselves.
6. I want if possible to help break down all seeming “middle walls of partition,” (Eph. 2:14) even as Christ, the living Christ, doth in reality break down or destroy all real wall of partition. I want to help you to see that there is no real wall of difference between all the various sects of the new theology except such as appear to you because of your circumscribed view. I want you to see, if you do not already, that every time you try to limit God’s manifestation of Himself in any person or through that person, in order to make that manifestation conform to what you see as truth, you are only crying loudly “Ho, everyone, come and view my narrowness and ignorance!”
7. I want to stimulate you to lose sight of all differences, all side issues and lesser things, and seek but for one thing i. e. the consciousness of the Presence of an indwelling God in your own soul and life. And, believe me, just as there is less separation between the spokes of a wheel the nearer they get to the hub, so you will find that the nearer you both come to the Perfect Centre which is the Father, the less difference will there be between you and your brother.
8. The “Faith Christ (Healer),” he who professes to believe only in what he terms “Divine Healing,” (as though there could be any other healing than Divine) differs from the so-called Christian Scientist only in believing that he must ask, seek, knock, importune before he can receive; while he of the Christian Science teaching knows that he has already received God’s free gift of life and health and all things, and that by speaking the words of it, the gifts are made manifest. Both get like results—good made visible—through faith in the Invisible. The mind of the one is lifted to a place of faith by asking or praying; the mind of the other is lifted to the place of faith by speaking the words of truth.
9. Is there any real difference?
10. The Mental Scientist usually scorns to be classed with either of the other two sects. He loudly declares that All is Mind, and that all the God he knows or Cares anything about is the invincible, unconquerable “I” within him, which nothing can daunt or overcome.
11. He talks about conscious mind and unconscious mind and sub-conscious mind; and fancies he has something entirely different and infinitely higher than either of the other sects. He boldly proclaims “I have the truth, the others are in error, too orthodox, etc.” And thus he calls the world’s attention to the small size of the aperture through which he is looking at the stupendous whole.
12. Beloved, as surely as you and I live, it is all one and the same truth. There may be a distinction but it is without a difference.
13. The happy Methodist who will, from his heart, exclaim “Praise the Lord!” no matter what happens to him, and who thereby finds “All things working together for good” to himself, is in reality saying the “All is Good” of the Metaphysician. Each one is simply “acknowledging Me (or God, good) in all thy ways,” which is indeed a magical wand bringing sure deliverance out of any trouble to all who faithfully use it.
14. The teachings of Spirit are intrinsically the same because Spirit is One. I heard an uneducated little colored woman1 speak in a most orthodox prayer-meeting a few days ago. She knew no more of “Science” than a babe knows of Latin. Her whole face, however, was radiant with the light of the Christ manifest through her. She told how, five or six years ago, she was earnestly seeking to know more of God, (seeking in prayer, as she knew nothing about seeking spiritual light from people) and one day, in all earnestness she asked that some special word of His will, might be given directly to her as a sort of private message. These words flashed into her mind, “If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light. No man can serve two masters.” (Matt. 6:22, 24)
15. She had read these words many times, but that day they were illumined by the Spirit, and she saw that to have an eye “single” meant seeing but One Power in her life; while she saw two powers, God and devil, good and evil, she was serving two masters. From that day to this, though she had passed through all sorts of troublous circumstances, and trials of poverty, illness in family, intemperate husband, etc., she found always the most marvelous full and complete deliverance out of them all by resolutely adhering to the “single eye,”—seeing God only. She would not even look for a moment at the seeming evil, to combat it or rid herself of it, because, as she said, “lookin’ at God with one eye and this evil with the other is being double-eyed, and God tole me to keep my eye single.”
16. This woman who had never heard of any Science or Metaphysical teaching or laws of mind, was compassing and actually overcoming all the tribulations of this world by positively refusing to have anything but a single eye. She had been taught in a single day, by Infinite Spirit the whole secret of how to banish evil and havo only good and joy in her. Isn’t it all very simple?
17. At centre, all is One and the same God forevermore. And I believe that the Hottentot, the veriest heathen that ever lived, he who worships the golden calf as his highest conception of God, worships God. His mind has not yet expanded to a place where he can grasp any idea of God apart from a visible form, something that he can see with human eyes and handle with fleshly hands. But at heart, he is seeking something higher than his present conscious self to be his deliverance out of evil.
18. Are you and I, with all our boasted knowledge doing anything more or different?
19. The Spirit at the center of even the heathen—who is God’s child—is thus seeking, though blindly its Father, God. Shall anyone dare to say that it will not find that which it seeks, its Father? Shall we not rather say it will find, because of that immutable law that “he that seeketh findeth.”
20. You have now come to know that at the center of your being God, Omnipotent Power, ever lives. From the nature of your relationship to Him, and by His own immutable laws He can never escape from or cease to live there. This indwelling of God as a fact does not at all depend upon your consciousness or unconsciousness of it. Your earthly father and mother are your parents just the same whether you know them well or never consciously saw them.
21. The moment any soul really comes to recognize that which is an absolute fact, viz: that One Spirit even the Father (who being made manifest is the Son) ever lives at the centre of all human beings, he will know that he can cease forever from any undue anxiety about bringing others into the same external fold as himself. If your friend, your son, your husband or brother does not see the truth as you see it, do not try by repeated external argument to convert him.
22. “I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) That which is needed is not, that you (the mortal which is so fond of talk and argument) try to lift up your brother. The Holy Spirit or Christ within him declares “If I be lifted up I will draw him.” You can silently lift up this “I” within the man’s own being, and It will draw the man (the mortal consciousness) up unto—what? Your teaching? No, “unto Me,” the Divine in himself.
23. If your beloved one seems to you to be going all wrong you just say nothing at all. Keep your own Light lifted up by living the victorious life of the Spirit. And then, remembering that your dear one as well as yourself, is an incarnation of the Father, keep him silently committed to the care of his own Divine Spirit. You do not know at all what God wants to do in him. You never can know.
24. You do know, if you have fully recognized the fact of the same God dwelling in all men as dwells in you that each one’s own Lord, the Christ within himself, will make no mistakes. The greatest help you can give to any soul is to silently tell him whenever you think of him, “The Holy Spirit lives within you. He cares for you (is working in you that which He would have you do, and is manifesting Himself through you).” Then let him alone. Be at perfect rest about him,—and the result will be infinitely more and better than you could have asked or thought.
25. Keep ever in mind that each living soul in all God’s universe is a radiating centre of the same Perfect One,—some radiating more, and some less, according to the awakened consciousness of the individual. If you have become conscious of this radiation in yourself keep your thought centered right there; and the Spirit of the living God will radiate Itself out from you in all directions with mighty power, doing without noise or words, a great work in lifting others up. If you want to help others who are not yet awakened to this knowledge centre your thought upon this same idea for them, i. e., that they are radiating centres of the All-Perfect. Keep your “eye single” for them as did the little colored woman for herself, and Spirit will teach them more in a day than you could in months,—or years.
26. Throughout all the ages man has been prone to the idea of separateness instead of oneness. He has believed himself separate from God and separate from other men. And even in these later days when we talk so much about Oneness, most Metaphysical teachers manage again to separate God’s children from Himself by saying that while one suffers the other knows no suffering nor does He take cognizance of the child’s suffering. We, His children, forever a part of Himself are torn and lacerated, while He, knowing nothing of this, goes sailing on as serenely and coldly as the full moon sails through the heavens on a winter night.
27. Little wonder is it that many, to whom the first practical lessons in the gospel of the Christ came as liberation and power, should in time of failure and heartache have turned back to the old limited idea of the Fatherhood of God.
28. There is no real reason why we, having come to recognize God as Infinite Substance, should be, by this recognition, deprived of the familiar Fatherly companionship which, in all ages, has been so dear to the human heart. There is no necessity for us to separate God as Substance and God as tender Father; no reason why we should not, and every reason why we should, have both in One. They are One. God, Principle, outside of us, as unchangeable Law,—God within us as tender, loving Father-Savior who sympathizes with our every sorrow, who “knoweth our frame and remembereth we are but dust.”
29. There is no reason why, because in our earlier years some of us were forced into the narrow puritanical limits which stood for a religious belief, we should now so exaggerate our freedom as to fancy we are entirely self-sufficient and shall never again need in this world (or any other) the sweet, uplifting communion between Father and child. The created, who ever “lives, moves and has his being” in his Creator, needs the conscious Presence of that Creator, and cannot be entirely happy in knowing God only as cold, unsympathetic Principle. Why cannot both conceptions find lodgment in our minds and hearts? Both are true and both are necessary parts of a whole. The two were made to go together and, in the highest cannot be separated.
30. God, as underlying Substance of all things, God as Principle is unchanging and does remain forever incognizant of and unmoved by the changing things of time and sense. It is true that God—as Principle—does not feel pain, is not moved by the cries of the children of men for help. It is a grand, stupendous thought,—that this Power is all unchanging Law; just as unchanging in Its control of our affairs as in the government of the starry heavens. One is fairly conscious of his entire being expanding into grandeur as he dwells upon the thought.
31. But, — this is not all, any more than the emotional side is all. True there is Law, but there is Gospel also. Nor does Gospel make law of none effect. It fulfills law. God is Principle, but God is Person also. Principle becomes personified the moment It comes to dwell in external manifestation in a human body.
32. Principle does not change because of pity or sympathy “even as a father pitieth his children.” The “Father in Me” always moves into helpfulness when called upon and trusted. It is as though Infinite Wisdom and Power, who is Creator, upholder, Father, outside, becomes transformed into Infinite Love, which is Mother, with all of warmth and tender helpfulness which that word implies, when He becomes focalized (so to speak) within a human body.
33. I do not at all understand it, but in some way this indwelling One does move to lift the consciousness of His children up and place it parallel with God Principle, Law, so that no longer two are crossed, but the two, aye, the three, the human consciousness, the indwelling personal Father, the external Principle, God, are made One. In every life, with our present limited understanding (Jesus with his greater understanding was not yet exempt) there come times when the bravest heart goes down for the moment under the apparent burdens of life; times when the strongest intellect bends like a “reed shaken in the wind;” when the most self-sufficient mind feels a helplessness which wrings from it a cry for help from the “Rock that is higher than I.”
34. Every pure Metaphysician either has or must in future reach this place,—the place where God as cold Principle alone will not suffice any more than in the past God as Personality alone could wholly satisfy. There will come moments when the human heart is so suddenly struck as to paralyze it, and for the moment make it impossible to, with strained effort, “think right thoughts.”
35. At such times there will come but little comfort from from the thought “This suffering comes as the result of my wrong thinking. But God, my Father, takes no cognizance of it. I must work it out unaided and alone.” Just here we must have and we do have the PERSONAL MOTHERHOOD OF GOD, which is not cold Principle any more than your love for your child is cold Principle. I would not make God-Principle less but God-Person more.
36. Your Lord’s (the Father in you) whole business is to personally care for you, to love you with an everlasting love, to note your slightest cry and rescue you.
37. Then you say, “Why doesn’t He do it?”
38. Because you do not recognize His indwelling and His power, and by resolutely affirming that He does now manifest Himself as your all sufficiency, call Him forth into visibility.
39. God—Father-Mother—is a present help in time of trouble, but there must be a recognition of this fact, a turning away from human efforts, and an acknowledgment of God only (a single eye) before He becomes manifest.
- I regret the prejudice reflected in Dr. Cady's statement. I've chosen to not edit the text, primarily for being true to the text. Please note that Dr. Cady is praising this woman's spiritual consciousness, despite the pejorative characterization she makes.