Correspondence School - Series 1 - Lesson 6 - The Great Demonstration
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- 330. What is the "great demonstration"?
- 331. What is consciousness? What is its importance in demonstration?
- 332. What is the Absolute?
- 333. How is sin the cause of what is called death?
- 334. What is sin?
- 335. What is the meaning of "the Devil"? What other names are given to him? Is there a personal devil?
- 336. Explain where the Adversary gets its power.
- 337. How may one overcome adverse states of consciousness called "the Devil," "the Adversary," or the Accuser?
- 338. What is the Christ righteousness?
- 339. What deceptive thoughts concerning life does the Adversary give to the race?
- 340. What is reincarnation? What purpose does it have in the experience of man?
- 341. What is resurrection?
- 342. How does salvation come to men?
- 343. What has man to do with the working out of his own salvation?
- 344. What is the first step in putting off the "old man" (Eph. 4:22)? What is the first step in putting on the "new man" (Eph. 4:24)?
- 345. What is meant by the expression "the law of sin and of death" (Rom. 8:2)?
- 346. What is "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2)?
- 347. How does the body benefit by salvation?
- 348. Where is the river of life? How do we become conscious of it?
What is meant by "demonstration" in Truth study? What is "the great demonstration"?
We often hear and read the word demonstration in Truth study. It is defined as: an exhibition; proof; especially, proof beyond the possibility of doubt or denial. In this lesson we may designate a "demonstration" as an exhibition or example of the working of a spiritual law; a proof -- beyond the possibility of doubt or denial -- of the operation of a principle of good. In order to have this proof there must be a change in a person's consciousness from error thoughts to thoughts of Truth. This is brought about by thinking true ideas (spiritual principles) in the conscious phase of mind until they take root in the subconscious phase, or feeling nature. In this phase of mind, the ideas will, like seeds, grow and produce "after their kind" through the "spoken word" (silent or audible). In mind, these seed-ideas will bring forth alertness, keenness, positiveness; in body, they will manifest as health, strength, vitality, beauty; in affairs they will produce success, prosperity, harmony, order, and peace.
The "great demonstration," that which crowns all others and includes all others, is the individual's consciousness of life -- omnipresent, radiant, pure, perfect life, without beginning or ending. It is the demonstration of eternal life for spirit, soul, and body in harmonious unity here and now.
The "great demonstration" is the continuous proving of spiritual laws, a harmonious solving of all the problems of life. The "great demonstration" is the understanding of perpetual growth, renewal, and reproduction of the life idea. It is knowing that life is inexhaustible and indestructible, and a showing forth (demonstrating) of this life eternally by the individual consciousness. It is demonstrating the Christ mastery over one's thoughts, feelings, words, actions, and reactions. The "great demonstration" is mastery in one's entire being. His very life stands forth (demonstrates) as a living proof that he Is a conscious soul. He is spiritually awakened and illumined in mind, peaceful in heart, radiant in body, harmonious in his human relationships. He is victorious in living and conscious of the omnipresent substance of God as his constant and abundant source of supply.
Since the teachings of Jesus are practical for daily living, the "great demonstration" must mean the practical application of His instruction in our daily living right here and now, showing forth (demonstrating) the principles of Truth successfully. In this way we truly bear witness to our knowledge and use of Truth.
What is consciousness? What is its importance in "demonstration"?
All the attributes of Spirit -- life, substance, intelligence, love, and so on -- are eternal, but nothing exists for one unless he becomes conscious of it. The importance of "consciousness" in all demonstrations, in the whole of salvation, should be clearly understood. "Consciousness" is all the states of mind that have been formed by thinking and feeling.
Life is consciousness; direct knowledge of a person, thing, or situation; knowing for oneself without the possibility of doubt; knowing all the time so that such knowing is a habit of thought.
Consciousness and demonstration are related as cause and effect. Consciousness is cause, demonstration is effect. Consciousness is therefore the forerunner of demonstration. When the intellect grasps Truth, that act symbolizes John the Baptist's going before and preparing the way. But a greater one than John must come, and that greater one is Jesus Christ, representing the realization and the demonstration of Truth. "He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life" (I John 5:12). Man in limited consciousness is not aware of eternal life, thus he is not able to demonstrate it.
What is the Absolute?
The actual operation of a law brings the functioning of that particular law to our notice. A person may be aware of the probability of divine powers within himself, but until he knows by experiment that he can use them he is not really conscious of possessing them. Realization (consciousness) of the effect of a single thought, or train of thought, upon the body gives man possession (knowledge) of the mental law of cause and effect. The conscious use or application of this law is the motive power in changing from the limited, personal consciousness to the universal Christ consciousness. The change is brought about by letting go of error beliefs concerning life and by taking into the mind the true understanding of life in the Absolute. The Absolute is God, the good omnipotent. The Absolute is that which is; the limitless, the unrelated, the unqualified Truth, pure Being, pure knowing; not in a state of becoming as is the relative.
What is sin? How is sin the cause of what is called death?
Jesus came to show us how to attain the consciousness of life in its fullness. By understanding and applying the principles which He taught and proved, each one may reach the same consciousness of life and thus make the "great demonstration." Jesus' teachings are not to prepare men for a heavenly home after they have separated from the body, but to give them the victory over death, "the last enemy," so that they may become conscious of heaven and enter into its joys here and now.
"There is no need of any state or condition called death. The word 'death' is a denial of God's idea of life. If we would accept life as God offers it to us, we are obliged to refuse the conditions that man has attached to it" (Talks on Truth 149).
Paul stated to the Romans "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). So long as we continue to sin we may expect to receive the wages of sin. The race in general accepts the belief that death is inevitable because it refuses to acknowledge the cause of death as sin. The way to overcome the effect, death, is to remove the cause, sin.
"Cast away from you all your transgressions, wherein ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die . . . for I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah: wherefore turn yourselves, and live" (Ezek. 18:31-32).
In Talks on Truth 155, we read:
"If we are not spiritually alive, if we have not the Christ Mind, we are not alive at all. ... In order to be alive, we must be sanctified, purified, and regenerated. We must be perfect, even as Jesus Christ was perfect. . . . If I am in any degree a sinner, I have in that degree a corruptible, dead body. . . . And what is the remedy? I must get rid of carnality; that is all. The quicker I do that, the quicker I shall become alive. I should not expect that through my further dying the good Lord will make me alive. I can find in the Scriptures no hint of a promise that warrants such a presumption. 'God is not the God of the dead, but of the living' (Matt. 22:32)."
Mankind in general looks upon "sin" as a transgression of the moral law only; that is, nonconformance to the law as set forth in the Ten Commandments. These laws have to do with the conduct of man. "Sin" originates in the human consciousness or soul, the realm of thinking and feeling. God is perfection; man, God's image-likeness, His offspring, is also perfect in the spiritual phase of his nature and always one with his indwelling Father. "Sin" is primarily man's belief that he is separate from God; that he is limited and unlike his divine Parent. "Sin" is ignoring the divine law of life; it is a failure to recognize one's own innate divinity and failure to apply (demonstrate) spiritual principles (divine ideas) in his own life and affairs. Such negative thinking and feeling result in an adverse state of consciousness that is called "the Devil" or "the Adversary." Whether sin is committed willfully or in ignorance, the effect of the transgression is the same.
What is the meaning of "the Devil" sometimes called Adversary and accuser?
In the American Standard version of the New Testament, "the Devil" is referred to as "the Adversary." This "Adversary" is an adverse state of consciousness which has developed in man. Because of man's dual consciousness (belief in two powers), there is warfare in the individual soul. Spiritually, man is the "descent" of the Holy Spirit, and humanly, his aspirations for good draw him upward toward his source, God. "No one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven" (John 3:13).
The Hebrew word that is translated Adam means "red earth." The unenlightened Adam man is ascending from "red earth," from a lower or undeveloped consciousness. It is from this undeveloped consciousness that his low desires and impulses come. Not knowing that this conflict is within his own consciousness, man has felt as if he were in the hands of two powers, and has imagined one as a good being, God, and the other as an evil one, the Devil. He has made the Devil his alibi for selfishness and for the weakness of his will when he has been led astray by low desires. Paul's description exactly fits when he calls man's low desires "the mind of the flesh" (Rom. 8:7). The concept of a "personal God" must give way to the knowledge of a universal God individuated in every man. Belief in "the Devil" must go before the understanding that "the Devil" is only the personalization that man has given to his wrong thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. "The Devil" is the mental image that man has made of his own concept of evil.
How may one overcome adverse states of consciousness called "the Devil," "the Adversary," or accuser?
When Jesus took on Himself "the likeness of sinful flesh," (Rom. 8:3) He placed Himself where He had to meet and overcome all that man has to meet, including the adverse state of mind called "the Devil." He found that "the Adversary" tried to overthrow Him by quoting Scripture. We need to be on guard and to be so rooted and grounded in the knowledge of Truth that we shall at once detect any illegitimate use of Scripture that would aim to keep us bound in the limitations of the manifest or physical man.
Since God is the one Presence and the one Power in the universe, the seeming power of "the Adversary" must come from man, to whom God has given all authority, dominion, and freedom of will, for he is to represent God in the manifest world. By using this freedom and power for his own selfish interests instead of recognizing the unity of all creation, man has built within himself a state of consciousness adverse to the universal good. The strength of the adverse thought lies in the power attributed to it by the people who have accepted it. By such acceptance they have given to this adverse belief the substance and intelligence of their thought. Thus it seems to be a separate force, no longer under the control of man. It is an enemy, subtle, lying, deceiving; it is "a liar, and the father thereof" (John 8:44).
Part of man's great problem is to learn how to overcome "the Adversary." To overcome it, he needs to know its character, that he may not be deceived by it. He must also understand that "the Adversary" is not his true Self. Adverse states of consciousness keep their hold on man when he continues to believe they are part of his true Self. When adverse states of mind express selfishness in some of its forms -- jealousy, greed, lust, anger, envy -- then man feels that he is a great sinner without redemption. He forgets that he is the sinless offspring of the perfect Father. He identifies himself with adverse states of mind and thus loses the consciousness of his heritage of divinity.
"The Adversary" helps to accuse man of sin. In Rev. 12:10, this Adversary is called the "accuser." Every overcomer needs to be on guard that he may not be deceived by the accusing voice within him. God does not accuse His offspring of anything wrong; His eyes are too pure to behold iniquity. God constantly beholds man in the perfection of his spiritual nature. Man must learn to cast out all depression, all discouragement, all bondage to a belief in sinfulness as being a part of his nature. The image of Truth constantly repeated or reproduced in mind will eliminate all other concepts and the sinner will not exist because man's mind will have no image or reproduction of that thought, thus the act cannot exist either. "Be fruitful, and multiply" (Gen. 1:28) was the command, and this growth and multiplication of awareness of the divine image is the essential factor in life. A good overcoming statement is:
Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. (Based on I John 4:4.)
That is, greater is the Christ in each of us than "the Adversary" who is of the world.
What is the Christ righteousness?
The Christ righteousness is our true or spiritual nature. By faith in our Christ righteousness, sin is overcome. This Christ righteousness is not based on personal merit, but is a heritage that is ours as sons of God. God's own nature of Absolute Good is our inherent perfection. We may manifest this perfection by claiming it and holding firmly to it in the face of all appearances set up by "the Adversary." If we claim our divine heritage, know ourselves as the sons of God, free from all sin, and refuse to be identified with adverse states of mind, we shall overcome all sin. Consequently, we shall also overcome death, for death can come only through sin. Our realization that sin has no power, except what we give it by believing in and making ourselves one with it, makes this overcoming more easy to accomplish. Christ is Truth, and righteousness is the functioning of Truth in the mind of man.
The first appearance of "the Adversary" is recorded in Genesis under the figure of a serpent, which was "more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made" (Gen. 3:1). The "serpent" represents the quality in the human consciousness that ignorantly takes of the good of God and uses it for ignorant, selfish, unlawful, or sensuous purposes. The "serpent" told Eve a lie in the very beginning and she believed him instead of Jehovah-God. Jehovah-God had told Adam and Eve that the result of disobedience would be death, but the serpent said, "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). The life force working out the divine command to "be fruitful, and multiply" (Gen. 1:22) reproduces the body form, but when man is not fully enlightened he does it only in a separate organism instead of reforming and renewing the cells within his own body, as divine wisdom directs. Man is thus reproducing only limited concepts of himself, the physical man, instead of going further and reproducing In himself a consciousness of what God is, the immortal or spiritual man, the Christ.
The lie that the Adam man is immortal and does not die because of sin became incorporated into the race consciousness. Many men are still believing that although they sin they are by nature immortal and will not lose the physical body through their sin. When the Christ idea of life is quickened in man and he lays hold of it; when he enters into the Christ consciousness; when he directs the life force in obedience to divine law, thus conserving it indefinitely, then, and then only, does man prove his claim to eternal life.
What is reincarnation? What purpose does it have in the experience of man?
The "deceiver" deludes man with the thought that death does not come by sin but comes because it is the will of God, or the course of nature, or the inevitable. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of life by any of these delusions. God is life, and it is His will that all His children should have life abundantly. If they have not realized their privilege, or have not succeeded in demonstrating life, the loving Father has provided opportunity for them to try again in a new body vehicle. Through this new embodiment opportunity is given to express and manifest man's inherent perfection in accordance with divine wisdom. This is called "reincarnation."
When man understands the plan and purpose of life, he begins to exercise his mastery over all limitations. He consciously forms his own body vehicle, a spiritual creation, an image of the divine ideal. In its true state the body is the embodiment of all the laws of the universe.
What is the resurrection? How is man individually resurrected?
Thus we see that the goal of man is not reincarnation, but resurrection: a rising again; the resumption of vigor -- the raising of the whole man, spirit, soul, body, into the Christ consciousness of righteousness and life. There is first the divine center -- the creative idea; then an unfolding or expression of the divine faculties of the soul that it may be a true "temple of the Holy Spirit"; then a vehicle for the manifestation of all the God qualities -- the body of man.
How does salvation come to man?
It should be remembered that "salvation" -- freedom from sin and its bondage, freedom from all the limitations of both mind and body -- and the attainment of a consciousness of eternal life are not dependent upon man's own power or ability. "By grace have ye been saved" (Eph. 2:5). Salvation is the gift (grace) of God. That is, it is man's heritage on account of his divine origin. It is not anything that is man's because of his personal merit. In his human consciousness man has no power of himself, and usually it is the realization of this fact that leads him to seek spiritual comfort in a higher power. Man has so long thought of his limitations that he has failed to perceive that all freedom is his, that all good is a part of his being.
Jesus Christ brought knowledge of the gift of salvation within the reach of man. Through His teachings and His example in proving the principles of right thinking and feeling, He showed the way to eliminate the consciousness of sin and to establish the consciousness of divinity. The Old Testament words, "Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High" (Psalms 82:6) were reiterated by Jesus, "Is it not written in your law ... Ye are gods?" (John 10:34).
The first chapter of Genesis states that man was created in the image and after the likeness of God. Metaphysically, Christ is the image or divine principle, which is inherent in each one. Metaphysically, Jesus is the Saviour, or the constant outworking in man's mind of the Godlikeness; the claiming and unselfish use of the attributes of God; the continuous proving or showing forth of the laws of life.
What has man to do with the working out of his own salvation?
Jesus made the gift of salvation possible by showing the way. Man's responsibility is to take the gift and use it, to make practical application of it spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The gift is individual, and each man must use it in his thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. That is, each man must work out his salvation or he will not be freed from belief in sin, sickness, poverty, and death. All his concepts of life, his manner of living, must undergo a revision in order that he may unfold his knowledge and powers. (See Annotations for Lesson Nine, Lessons in Truth, and Annotations for Lesson One, How I Used Truth on "salvation.")
The process by which the old state of consciousness (which produces general death to the physical from or vehicle of manifestation) is changed into the Christ consciousness, which gives life to the body, is called putting off "the old man" and putting on "the new man." In Truth "the new man" is and always has been present and intact in every man, and is the only reality for it is the divine nature or pattern of every man -- "Christ in you" (Col. 1:27). We must have faith that this is true. "The old man" has been put on by man's wrong thinking, built into his consciousness by ignorance. In other words, "the old man" is the outgrowth of wrong thought habits. Since "the old man" has been put on by wrong thinking, he must be put off by right thinking.
Paul said to the Ephesians,
"That ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man . . . and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of Truth" (Eph. 4:22-24).
To get spiritual understanding of Paul's meaning, one must take the statements into the silence. By meditation and prayer one prepares for the quickening of Spirit that will make Truth a saving power in one's consciousness and daily experience. Words like these used by the individual will help to quicken his understanding:
Old thoughts and old conditions are as waters that have passed away.
Behold, all things are made new in my life.
Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real.
I am a new creature in Christ Jesus.
I am alive, alert, awake, joyous and enthusiastic about life.
To put off "the old man" one must have faith in God. Despite all appearances to the contrary, man is alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Man begins to demonstrate this when he is willing to cooperate, to make the effort. The first step is to believe in his inherent divinity and to put away all thought of himself as a sinner. The next step, taken by faith, is to begin daily to unfold the spiritual powers (divine ideas) latent within him. Each day he becomes more and more alive to Spirit, basing his thinking on the divine ideas of the Christ Mind and living the Christ life in all that he does.
The divine law is constantly in operation, working out the adjustment of all things in perfect order and harmony. Everything in life works toward the observance of this law. So long as man believes himself a sinner, falling short of the perfection inherent within him, he is disobedient and causes friction, inharmony, with resultant loss of power and dominion. Man's endeavor to be a law to himself has formed conditions which bring him sorrow, suffering, and dissolution. The resolving of these conditions by divine law into their primal elements is not vengeance or punishment by God, but rather releasing of life and substance from the error. By so doing the integrity of the whole is preserved. There are in reality no destructive forces. What man sometimes calls a destructive force, that seems to bring him punishment, is actually divine love purifying and protecting and preparing him for a more perfect expression. The old error conditions must be dissolved before the new conditions based on God's plan of good can manifest.
What is "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2)?
The raising of man's consciousness to the Superconscious realm, or the Christ Mind, frees him from "the law of sin and of death" (Rom. 8:2); that is, the effect, death, is dissolved by the removal of the cause, sin. A new law (the law of right thinking), "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2), is set into action. A new cause will be set into operation bringing forth eternal life instead of death, when the following conditions are met:
- (a) Man must understand the relationship that exists between God and man himself; between himself and his fellow man; and between himself and the universe.
- (b) All men must be guided by divine wisdom in thought, word, and deed.
- (c) Universal love must be expressed in each heart.
- (d) Each man must be conscious of all as much as he is of self.
How does the body benefit by salvation?
The body must share in the scheme of salvation, for it is "a temple of the living God" (II Cor. 6:16) and "the whole creation groaneth ... waiting for ... the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8:22). One may redeem one's body by understanding Truth and by holding words of Truth in mind until they become a part of the subconscious phase and are built into the flesh. The Word must be made flesh through the law of righteous thought. The flesh, nourished and sustained by thoughts and words of Truth, is immortal and incorruptible. It is not subject to decay or death, because it is formed of the pure substance of Spirit and is eternally renewed by God's life and power.
Love is the great organizing power of Being (God) and is an essential factor in demonstrating eternal life. Love, united with wisdom, harmonizes all the functions of the organism and saves mind and body from the destructive, disintegrating effects of jealousy, hate, and anger. Divine power gives dominion and establishes in man's mind a positive force which prevents the forming of negative states of mind that cause conditions of weakness. When one perceives that the body is an instrument of Spirit, such perception helps to redeem it from the belief that it is merely physical or of animal origin. Every one of the attributes (ideas) of Being has a place in the work of redemption. "Every idea has a specific function to perform" (Mysteries of Genesis 21). One should keep the life, intelligence, love, power, and substance of Spirit active in the body by giving attention to these qualities or ideas in meditation and prayer. The conscious thought should be carried through the organism every day, giving to every part of the body words of Truth that will quicken it and make it truly God's temple. Silently hold these quickening words:
The Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus quickens my body.
My body is the temple of the living God, because the Spirit of God dwells in me.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
To speak some word that has direct reference to a particular part of the body is sometimes a help in awakening life in that part. For instance, if you wish to feel the quickening power of the Word in your feet, you will find it easier to center your attention on them if you concentrate on statements like these:
My feet are established on the rock of Christ Jesus.
My feet are filled with the quickening, vitalizing life of Spirit, and they love to express it.
Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, at the well,
"If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. . . . the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life" (John 4:10, 14).
What is the river of life? How do we become conscious of it?
In Revelation, this water is described as a "river of water of life, bright as crystal" (Rev. 22:1). This great fountain or river of life is the activity of the life idea, the life principle, the I AM or Christ within man. Man becomes conscious of this life when he comes into touch with the quickening power of Spirit through sincere desire to know God and feel His presence. The life idea is the desire of God for self-expression; it is the active or positive energy of which divine substance is the negative (responsive) or passive counterpart. It flows through man, a life-giving stream of intelligent, vitalizing energy, renewing and restoring the body to the wholeness of Spirit. To know about this life energy is not enough; it must be felt. The consciousness must receive it and feel it filling and thrilling the body from the innermost to the outermost parts of the organism. There can be no death where this life stream flows. It flows freely and continuously when the Christ righteousness opens the way, and it keeps spirit, soul, and body eternally renewed. This is what it is to be saved "to the uttermost" (Heb. 7:25).
IN THE BEGINNING
The great God dreamed a dream through me,
Mghty as dream of God could be;
He made me a victorious man,
Shaped me unto a perfect plan,
Summoned me forth to radiant birth Upon the radiant earth.
He lavished gifts within my hand,
Gave me the power to command
The thundering forces that He hurled
Upon the seething world. . . .
Creation's dream was wondrous good
Had I but understood.
The great God dreamed a dream through me,
But I was blind and could not see.
My royal gifts were laid in rust,
For parentage, I claimed the dust.
Decay and sorrow, age and blight --
These gifts I deemed my right.
The great God spoke a word through me --
That word was Life. How can it be
That I, in God's own substance made,
Should face the universe, afraid?
Born of eternal life am I --
Why should I fail and die?
O God, so huge was Thine intent,
So greatly was Thy passion spent,
This counterfeit is not the plan
That Thou didst dream for man.
'Tis this: Man's dream must mate with Thine,
Man's word, man's life, must be divine;
Man must be conscious through and through
To make Thy dream come true!
-- Angela Morgan (Copyright by Dodd Mead & Co., Inc.)