This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on March 10, 2015. Bob writes, "This is a Wednesday Evening Healing Service that Mr. Fillmore did on Wednesday, November 8, 1922. The title of this lesson is "Practical Christianity". Mr. Fillmore shares his conversation he had with a visiting local minister who came to check out what Charles was teaching. They talked about the personal devil, heaven, and the variation from the King James Version to the American Revised Standard Version of the bible (some 20,000 variations according to Charles) (see p. 7) "
The name of our society is the Unity Society of Practical Christianity. People frequently ask why we put special emphasis upon practical Christianity. They say, "Why, aren't all the churches practical? Why do you distinguish your society as something a little different in its practicality from other Christian organisations?" And we have to answer those questions very often.
Last week a minister of an orthodox church called upon me end said that he would like to ask some some plain, direct questions, that quite a number of his congregation were reading Unity literature and some were coming to our meetings, and he said, "They tell me they can come here and still be members of my church in good standing, and I would like to know at first hand what you teach." I told him I would be glad to tell him, and he said he had some questions written down.
"Now", he said, "do you believe in a personal devil?" "Well," I said, "I would believe in it if the Bible taught it." He said, "Why the Bible does teach it," and I said, "Just where," and he said, "Right in the New Testament, and in the very beginning, in Genesis, there is old Satan, the serpent, the devil." "But", I said, "that isn't really the personal devil that you say you believe in. That word there means the adversary." "Well," he said, "Jesus Christ taught that there was a personal devil." Well, he couldn't explain to me just where it was that he personalized the devil because in going back to the original we find that he used there several terms. In the Greek, they had degrees of satanic conditions.
There are the demons of various kinds and the Satan, now, the Satan that entered into Peter was an entirely different satan from the devil that possessed the swine and ran down into the sea. Those were different kinds of devils. Well now, if there were different kinds of devils there couldn't be a definite devil, so you have to spread that devil proposition over a good deal of ground.
And he still insisted that it was taught in the Bible that there was a Personal devil, he said that he read the King James Bible, and I said, "Now everything that is written in the King James Bible can't be true just as it was written." "Yes," he said it was, "but," I said, "there is another translation called the American version, and thousands of differences were found in the original that weren't properly translated." I said, "There were over twenty thousand differences between the English and the American translations, twenty thousand that they didn't decide upon definitely, and left, and you will find them in the back part of the Bible, and you can choose which you will take." Now that wasn't all the differences they found between the King James version and the Revised. But as I say, they found so many of those that one cannot definitely say that certain things are taught.
He said, "Do you believe in the literal hell," and I said, "No, I don't." He said, "Why it is in the Bible, in Revelations, that there is a hell, a lake of brimstone and fire, and the wicked are to be thrown into it and burned eternally." I said, "Now, if you were God and had a lot of children that were ignorant, and they had to be educated, and they made mistakes, would you throw them into a burning lake of fire and burn them forever?" He said, "That doesn't make any difference what I would do. God has written it. It is in the Bible." I said, "You don't presume that you are better than God, more kind and tender to your children than God is?" He said, "We have to take the vengeance of God as it is written in the Bible."
And we went from one thing to another, and I could see that we really didn't get anywhere because he wanted to bring what I would call the psychological things written in the Bible into material consciousness and make them fit there. And they won't fit.
Now as we analyze that burning lake of fire, as it is written in Revelations, it isn't that at all. Reading the original, you will find that it means those wicked people are to be purified, When? Any time you commit a sin, you begin to feel that burning somewhere in your system, and you are going through a purification of the thought that you sent down into your body consciousness or whenever you have fever you are in hell fire all right, and I don't know that you would suffer any more if you really were in a burning lake, but all those points you will find in the original didn't mean definitely a place.
When Jesus Christ talked about the Hell, so interpreted, he said, "Gehenna", that place in the Valley of Gehenna. He compared them, in other words just a comparison; that you have to be purified before you can come out of this condition that you are in, and so I say to get the teaching of Christianity so that it will fit these purely material conditions is an impossibility.
Jesus Christ was a metaphysician. He taught in what we in this day would call psychology. Everything had reference to some state of mind, and he was talking to the mental man, the spiritual Man. He understood all these inner forces that we are beginning now to unfold, to set into action in our minds, and as we do that we find that there is a practical side to what is called psychology, and that in order to understand what Jesus Christ taught we must become better acquainted with the soul, and the spirit back of the soul. In other words, these things are practical. They are not far removed; they are not something that we are to inherit after we have shuffled off this mortal coil; we have to begin that shuffling process right now, and as we do that and get rid of our mortal idea, we find that the kingdom of heaven is right here.
He (Jesus) said he founded his church upon the understanding that man is the Son of God, the Christ of God. The Catholic Church today are founding their church upon the man named Peter, and the Popes are all descended from that one man; they inherit all his power. Now that wasn't the meaning of Jesus Christ teaching at all. When he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am", well they gave various answers. Some thought Jeremiah, son Elijah; some thought this and that. He said, now get right down to practical Christianity, or the practical teaching that I am giving you, who do you say that I am? "Well, Peter seemed to rise in his spiritual understanding. He said, "Why you are the Christ; you are the Son of the living God. That is it. Then Jesus said, why Simon, you are a rock. You are hereafter to be called the foundation principle.
Now, Simon had two names. Simon means hearing, that is receptivity, that state of mind in which we are receptive to the interior ideas, receptive to spiritual truths instead of trying to make everything fit into our material surroundings, really to get back of the material and discern. As I say, Simon means discernment; it means hearing, listening, opening your mind; and Peter means faith or a rock, so Jesus said to him, now this is to be the foundation of my church, first spiritual receptivity and then faith, and you have to make yourself receptive to higher ideas than you have got today, higher ideas than, pertain to your material life, that is mere sense consciousness.
That is a condition you must get out of. As Moses said to the Children of Israel, go forward, progress, get into another state of consciousness, and you do that through your mind. It is idealism. You must have the vision, end see things that have not come into expression. Everything that was ever formed even in the mechanical world was first visioned in some man's mind, and then brought out into actuality through substance and life. In other words, he clothed it with the material things, and that is just what we are doing, and that is practical Christianity, to materalize if you will, ideas. Now, Jesus Christ went on in this sermon that he gave to those disciples about himself -- what he was and how he was brought into manifestation -- he reduced it to what we would call a mental proposition. He said, now whatever you bind upon the earth shall be bound in the heavens, and that has been personalised and it is now interpreted that whatever the Pope says about material things is also applicable to spiritual things. In other words, he has the power to go off into the heavens end work thru what was given to him by Jesus Christ, that power.
Now that isn't universal at all. That isn't the universal principle that Jesus Christ taught. What did he teach? when he said, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." "Why, he was talking about metaphysical truths, truths of the mind. Whatever you form here in your earthly state of mind, you bind, or make, we might say, tangible in the ideal realm. There is a law, instead of having to work it out -- every idea that you possess or affirm, regardless of your material surroundings, becomes a reality. It becomes tangible to you, and whatever idea you have loosed, or set free, denied, that is dissolved in your mind realm. Now you see this gives you power over the mind and the body, and we know that everything comes into manifestation first as an idea. Now, if you could control your ideas, how easy it would be to control all things. Here is the key to the whole thing, and upon thet Jesus Christ builds his church, builds his practical Christianity, and we can apply that law to everything that we do, and we find it works.
Now, this idea that we must discern the Christ in ourselves, that is the divine mind, the promised Man, the anointed man. Anointing means pouring oil. They poured the oil uoon the one who was to be king or prophet. That represents the harmonizing of the mind of man with God. Now you ere suffering discords of body, in affairs, because you are not harmonized with the infinite mind; you haven't been anointed. But this anointing spirit, this Christ spirit, is right here all the time just waiting for you to accept the anointing, and we find that as we see our possibilities, as we see the Christ in ourselves, and in all men as the one great promised Man, I say as we see that and believe in it, and deny all limitations of matter, of personality, of sense, deny all those away, all at once these higher ideas begin to come in consciousness and form themselves there. That is binding them.
But we also find our minds are loaded up with a lot of ideas that are not true. We are believing in the far away heaven; that Jesus Christ died on the cross and went into heaven and has been away ever since. He said, "Lo, I am with you always, ever, unto the end of the world." "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst." What does that mean? Just what it says. He is here. So we, in our practical Christianity, take for granted that Jesus Christ meant what he said when he said it, and he has been here all the time, waiting for us to recognize him as Peter recognized him.
When we say to people, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," all at once they begin to wake up and see clearly that that is true, and they come into that expression and they manifest more of the Christ nature.
Why, if we put that away, and think about Jesus Christ as having died on the cross and we are to be saved through the offering that, he made, and ail that sort of thing -- This minister said to me, he said, "I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and that I am saved from my sins through him." "Well," I said, "in just what way?" He said, "Just as if I had committed a murder, and some one, some man had come and offered to be hung for me," he said, "in exactly that same way." I said, "would that be fair?" He said, "That doesn't make any difference. God has fixed the law, and that is the way it works out."
I said, "That wouldn't do for me, because it doesn't appeal to my reason. I want some reason and something that would correspond in the world." I said, "That wouldn't be accepted in the world." You have got to work out your own salvation. You can't throw all your sins and burdens on to some one else. They can help you, certainly. Jesus Christ is the greatest help that man can have, because he demonstrated what we every one are trying to demonstrate, what we have got to demonstrate. I don't care how much you believe that Jesus Christ died two thousand years ago for your sins and that, you are going to be saved without any effort on your part.
I said, "You are going to be disappointed. You have to wake up and find that you must make atonement for your sins, just as you make atonement for any other mistake. You can't go to heaven on flowery beds of ease. That is all a delusion. I am assuring you of that. I know it. I have been it over and over again, and I know that we must every one of us come to this Christ consciousness and see ourselves as the Sons of God; that the Christ mind is right here now, forming in your mind. Just the moment you discern that and acknowledge that; and you have to acknowledge that; you have to acknowledge a great deal more than you can absolutely see, and through your acknowledgment you form in your mind that Christ.
Now, Paul, in Colossians, refers to this very thing. Why, he said, this is a mystery, this Christ in you is a mystery that has been hid from generations and ages, but is now revealed to the saints, that is to the illumined, those who accept the truth, and it is now being made manifest in your perfection. That is the climax to the whole thing. In other words, you must realize that in spirit and in truth you are perfect right now.
Now, this is a big jump for people who believe that man is a worm of the dust, and that he is a sinner and that he ought to be burned in a hell all through the ages of eternity. I say it is a big proposition to say, he isn't a sinner, never was a sinner, never will be, and couldn't be. That is true, and the more you believe that, the better man or woman you will be, and the quicker you will be saved. Now, if every one of us could believe that and believe it and believe it, and think about ourselves as absolutely God, and see the Christ as Peter saw that Christ, in everybody, why wouldn't we be enveloped in a great -- I might say, Christ Mind, Christ Consciousness, until all of our shortcomings, all of our sins, would disappear, end as they disappeared, what would be the result? Our bodies would be transformed; we would be quickened to discernment, spiritual discernment, and find that Jesus Christ was sitting in the chair here in his glorified body.
People say, "Do you teach eternal life here and now?" I said, "Certainly, I do." "But," they say, "I don't want to live forever in this old body." I said, "You don't have to live forever in this body. You have to be wholly transformed and have a new body, but you are not going to die to get it. [Get healthy; get so healthy you can't die, and then live forever right here and now" That is practical Christianity, and that is just exactly what Jesus taught, and not only taught but he demonstrated it; he put on that glorified body, and he said, "Follow me," and overcome.]
Overcome as I have overcome." He didn't say "I am going, to save you from your sins." "He that overcometh shall sit with with me on my throne, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." He said, "Follow me in the regeneration." Is there any regeneration in unloading all your sins on some one else and asking them to take care of them, for you? "You are not growing. You are resting, without work on your part, work for the redemption of your mind and your body".
We are gathered here to get a better understanding of this truth, and to absorb more and more of this Christ mind, and when two or three hundred people are gathered together in one place, they exert tremendous power. One shall chase a thousend, and two shall put ten thousand to flight. We find when a number of people get toghether who really believe a thing, and especially if it is based upon the Truth, they exert a wonderful influence. There is no telling how far this thought that we are expressing today will go in the race consciousness. It travels much faster than the radio, and you know the radio can go around this earth seven times a second. Just think how fast your thoughts are going, and if we all get together in this one thought, that Jesus Christ is now here, and what a wonderful influence we are emitting on the race thought. But we are not only to hold this one thought of Jesus Christ here in our midst, but also to encourage those who haven't yet got the vision to a better understanding, a better realization, through our experiences.
(1) Several years ago I was healed and saved from an operation, after two doctors had pronounced that I would die if it wasn't done. I had a treatment in the next day I was jumping rope, and I have been well ever since, with no return what ever. I have also been healed of the flu epidemic here and there were 35 cases in the hotel. I had been doing my work myself, trying to know the truth about it, the one morning I got up and my eyes were streaming water, and I was in a terrible condition, but I drove to the country with my husband, and I felt quite bad while I was out. I came home and lied down on the bed and he called the practitioner, and that night I went down to dinner and no one ever knew the guy had the flu.
(2) A lady came to my house a few weeks ago from Springfield, Missouri, and she is a teacher of stenography and typewriting, and very competent. She had been working for a big firm there, and every two or three months she would have to take the children and start off to another place, because they sent her from one school to another. So she thought she would come here and seek new employment. She worked for a couple of weeks, but she had been commanding quite a good salary and she didn't have the salary offered her here. So she got very much alarmed about it and nervous, because she had broken up her home there and brought her children here. I talked to her some about our teaching, and invited her to come here, but she didn't come. I kept dropping little hints and little hints, and finally I said, well I think this lady had been roving around long enough, and I will see if I can do something for her, and I was sitting there with my work and she made applications 24 places, and the first thing you know, I was working the thought for her that divine providence would open up the way and bring her to the right place. She got four calls yesterday over the telephone, and one was to a place where they would pay a very large salary, but she would be required to do the work is too, and I said that wouldn't be the proper thing for you to do. You better take a place where there is some future for you, and not have to work quite so hard, and so she got very much excited and this morning almost entirely out of place, and I said, "Now the Lord is working for you, and you are not going to take that place did you want so badly at all." "you're going to write the other way. [illegible text] ... And so it developed in a very short time did she was not to have the place did she so much wanted, and she was to have the place they wanted her so badly, so she was satisfied tonight, and said, "I would like to go with you to Unity."
(3) This truth as taught by Unity is something that can be applied at all times. I have had so many lessons brought to me that I can hardly know what to tell you about. My husband was out in the field at work, and he was stricken with flu at the time that people were going out of the back door of the hospitals as fast as they were coming in the front door. I received a wire that my husband was on the train very ill. I was, of course, quite perturbed, because everyone was frightened to death, and I called the practitioner, and said, take care of my husband that he may be conscious and get home from the station alright. I didn't want him to come in an ambulance, and I didn't want him to be in the atmosphere of sickness. Of course, I worked as well as I could with myself and for him, and when he came home - I didn't know what train he was coming on, or I would have gone to meet him - but when he came up he came in a taxi, and he didn't know what he was at home from four until nine. His temperature was 104 1/2, and he was what the doctors would say a case with pneumonia already developed, and so I simply said, " A thousand shall fall at that side, and 10,000 at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee." I said it with a great deal of realization, knowing that I had to take care of my studio and I would not have sickness. So he was taking care of very immediately. I did what I could to make him comfortable. The next day he had a temperature of 102, and that was the last of the temperature. And then he came under the belief that something happens to them after the flu, and one day I looked at him and he was perfectly white, and I said, "What is the matter?" He said, "I am having a little time with my heart." I said, "How many times if you felt that?" and he said "About three times." So I called the practitioner, and it never occurred again. Well, he lost 15 pounds, but he realized that God was ever present, and he was left with absolutely no ill effects from it.
MRS. PALMER: at this time we receive the offering which you love to give for the support of this, the Lords work. But before you make the offering, we apply the principles taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ. He taught us to look up into heaven, or enter into a high state of consciousness, and bless and in the blessing, that which we bless is increased. The blessing that we use is this:
We take our offering in our hands and blessed, knowing that we are the channel through which spirit increases, multiplies everything we touch, if we claim that increasing power of the Spirit through Jesus Christ. Let us speak these words: (Repeated) Again (Repeated) Once more (Repeated) while we are receiving, we will sing "Showers of Blessing".
MR FILLMORE: practical Christianity is to apply the restoring power of the Spirit. Now we have occasion every day to look into this healing power to restore us. When we have hurt our bodies in any way, when wounded, the first thing we think of is, that is going to heal, and what is it that goes the healing? Why, we say it is just a nature, but nature is wonderfully intelligent. We have to admit that. So can't we lay hold of this intelligence with our own intelligence? In other words couldn't we make a union with that intelligent, omnipresent principle just as we would go to a healer great doctor and ask for healing medicine? You say at once, "Why that would seem reasonable."
So it is, but in order to get in touch with that healing principle we have to approach it in its realm. Now God is the invisible, everywhere present silent principle out of which all activity comes. It is a still working principle; it works in the silence. Jesus taught, when you pray, enter into the closet and close the door and pray to the father in secret, in silence. It is written in the Psalms, "Be still and know that I am God". You will find that all the seers and all the demonstrators of this principle do and are all going by themselves and getting still.
Now we don't have to go away by ourselves. It is just a matter of stilling your intellect. We find in our health meetings, the first thing is to go into the silence and get still. You can't accomplish much in healing unless you get still. Now, we are going to invite this healing principle in our consciousness that we may be restored. We can accomplish it, but we must first get still; relax the mind; quit worrying about how you're going to get home, what you are going to do; [just to get still and say, "Lord I want to enter into the stillness", and still that intellectual mind, and realize that Jesus Christ is now here, Jesus Christ is right here.] We will all join in this word that we are holding,
Let us speak these words altogether, and sink right back, the way down deep inside of yourself, where you feel that stillness, and save them in the silence. Now altogether, allowed: (Repeated) Silently.
We have gotten into that stillness and power. Now we can feel that we can let this power go out to all the people. We will say, "you". (Repeated) We realize that thy presence thou Christ. Now mention the name of anyone you wish to help, wherever they are. We will speak the healing word for them: (repeated).
Now God is also, through Christ, providing for us, providing for our every need, and that provision would come easy and without effort if we acknowledged it, acknowledged that the Spirit of the Lord is working in our affairs. So we say,
Let us all make that affirmation, and enter into the realization. Now altogether: (repeat) Now, speak to that to everybody, to everyone. Just mention anybody that you would like to help in their affairs or yourself in your business, or any proposition that you want carried out.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY ARCHIVES