"Religion is devotion. Religion is a tie to the most exalted Reality that one has experienced. So, what have you experienced to which you can tie yourself and say that that’s religion? The only true religion - you will find it in the Gospel. That is the fulfillment of God's promises to man."
FAMILY PORTRAIT Neville Goddard
Tonight’s title is the “Family Portrait.” Thirty-odd years ago a play appeared on Broadway called the “Family Portrait.” It was a study of Jesus, and starred Margaret Webster and Judith Anderson. They played the parts of Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother. The central figure, Jesus, never appeared on the stage, just as it should be. The brothers appeared, bringing the news of what he had said and the reactions of the crowd, and the concern of the two Marys. This went through the entire play for its two and a half or three hours.
I do not know if it ever came on the road – if you ever saw it – but it was a perfectly wonderful presentation of this greatest of all mysteries, and in keeping with the story, He never appeared, because Jesus Christ is not what the world thinks he is.
Jesus Christ is the Pattern Man. It’s a pattern buried in every child born of woman. There is no description of Jesus in the Bible, because everyone, one day, will experience the story of Jesus in a first-person, singular, present-tense experience, and he will know that he is the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, you cannot pinpoint it and take one face and say, “That is Jesus,” because that would not be Jesus. Everyone, wearing the same face that he has now, will realize, “I am He.” Then, before others know it, they will witness to the one who knows it. When you are “born from above” and have experienced the entire story, and you tell it, there will be those who believe you and those who will not believe you.
Those who will believe you will see you cast in the role – not in this world – no, not here, but they will see it in the world where it really does take place. For, in the depths of consciousness the Gospel is still extant. It is an eternal story, the story of Redemption, and everyone is going to experience it.
So, in the story, the Mother would ask, “What is he doing now?” and they would come back and say what he is doing and what he is saying now. They bring back the story of what he is saying.
“And how are the people reacting?”
“Well, they are very excited. The people are speaking in terms of revolution. The people are thinking in terms of all kinds of violence, over what he is saying.”And then the two Marys are frightfully concerned, because spiritual growth is the gradual transition from a god of tradition to a God of experience. They had a god of tradition, and he is now turning the whole thing over, and showing a God of experience.
“Well, what did he say to the crowd?”
“He told them that he came out from Heaven and came into the world, and he’s leaving the world and returning to Heaven.”
“What else did he say?” said Mary.
“Then he told them that God was his Father. He also told them that he and his Father were one. He also told them that his brothers were those who did the will of Him who sent him, and that his Father sent him, and his Father is himself, and the Father never left him.”
“Did he say that?” said Mary.
“Yes, that is what he’s teaching. The people are going wild. And he’s telling them that we are all brothers, and that he is ascending to his Father and my Father, and he is ascending unto his God and my God. And the people are all for him, but the authorities are against him, but he does speak with authority. He speaks not like the Scribes and the Pharisees; he speaks just like anyone who is speaking with authority.”
He is knowing, and he knows what he is talking about, for he has experienced it. Now, when I tell you that I have experienced in detail the entire story, I must say to everyone who hears me: Believe it or not. Those who believe it will see me cast in the role – not here, and those who know me very well here know my weaknesses, know my limitations, they say of me just what is said in Scripture, “Why, I have seen him under the influence of wine; he’s a wine bibber and a glutton. He’s a friend of sinners, harlots, tax collectors.” And they will think that is superior insight, and yet it is pure blindness to read into the life of God’s elect some littleness with which one is in some peculiar way familiar.
The intimates know you well, and they knew you occasionally take one too many, that you indulge sometimes as a glutton, and that you do have friends that are questionable. They are harlots. They are, possibly, thieves, and yet you will tell them how to use God’s Law to free themselves from the clutches of law. They have broken the law of Caesar, and you will come to their assistance and tell them how to pray, as your Father taught you how to pray, and it will not fail them. They will free themselves from what Caesar would impose upon them if he caught them.
And, so, you are a friend of sinners, a friend of the harlot.
Those who know your friendships and know your physical weaknesses, you’ll hear them say, “Well now, I know him,” and they will read into the life of one they know well the littleness with which they chance to be familiar, and think that is superior insight. That’s the story.
But, here, in my own case – New York, here, and in Los Angeles, but because I am in Los Angeles more often than I am any other place, I find more witnesses there. So, “What else did he say?”
“Well, he said to them that all that is written in the Scripture about me, even though the Prophets and the Law of Moses, and in the Psalms, must be fulfilled. And then he told them, ‘You are my witnesses.’”
Now, here is the story of a lady at the turn of this year, the first week of January. She said,
“I found myself, seemingly awake, yet reason tells me it was a vision. At the moment that I experienced it, I seemed so much to be awake. I found myself in an ancient Roman seaport in Biblical times. It was almost midnight, a very, very hot summer’s night. There was an enormous crowd in their tunics bearing these lights. They all had these tapers, moving towards an enormous temple, but I was moving in the opposite direction. I was struggling and fighting through this enormous crowd trying to reach the beach, where I knew I had an appointment with someone on the beach.
“I am fighting and struggling, and when I got clear of this enormous crowd, all moving in the opposite direction, I found, and felt myself on the beach. I could feel the sand. And here a group of fishermen, darkly clad, and they were all discussing. In the distance farther on were three fishermen and a man dressed in white, and they were urging him to get into the boat and rest. Then he stepped into the boat and sat down and placed his head in his hands, and he seemed so weary, so very tired. And they began to push the boat into the water, and I tried to scream out to wait – ‘wait but one minute for me’ – but I was so tired that I couldn’t get even a squeak out of my voice, and I thought, “I have utterly failed!”
“Then the man clad in white said something to the three fishermen, and then he got out of the boat, and then he looked up to the starry heaven, and then he turned and faced the east, and as he faced the east, Neville, it was you! There you were. You were the man with whom I had the appointment! Then you turned to the fishermen and you said, “No, I will wait until the dawn, for there are others to come.”
“Then the relief that I felt that I had not been too late was so overpowering that I woke.”
Well, that’s Scripture. We read that in the book of Mark. (Mark 3:7, 9) I tell you honestly that you are going to have that experience. Others will believe you and see you in the role, and everything said in Scripture concerning Jesus Christ, you are going to experience. And when you tell it, as you will, those who believe you when you tell it will see you in the role, and those who do not believe it will not see you in the role. They will continue their journey, believing in an external Jesus Christ.
They will see Him as someone other.
She saw Him, naturally, as someone other, but she also heard me tell her she, too, would have the experience of not only seeing her in that same role and they too would be coming through that crowd moving in the opposite direction. They are moving towards some man-made temple, made with human hands, and she’s moving toward a temple not made with hands. And the temple is the Risen Lord.
One day you are going to have this experience. So, all the things said of Him, you will, one day, know it is said of you, and you will experience it.
So then, John, who was the witness, said:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands concerning the Word of Life, we proclaim also to you… and we write this that your Joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1, 3)
He’s telling you, “I witnessed the truth of what He said.”
So, His face did not appear upon the stage, because no one person can claim, “I am
he, and I alone.” The “I AM” in everyone is the He who will have all the experiences as stated in the Gospel, and it begins with the Resurrection. It begins with this rising within you, in the sepulcher of your own skull. And, then, out you come from that sepulcher, “born from above” – born just as told in Scripture, with witnesses to bear witness to this fantastic supernatural birth. That’s your birth. And then, you go through the entire story, but not only the four major events as I have recalled them for you, but all the things said of Him will be said of you and witnessed concerning you by those who believe you when you tell the story.
So, we are told the one who first heard it and first recorded it – his name was Paul. And Paul’s day ended in his own home teaching from morning to night, trying to persuade others concerning the story of Jesus Christ, using only the Bible to support his arguments, and some believed, and others disbelieved. And that is the story.
Today I had a very dear friend of mine to lunch. She was born in the Mormon faith, but married outside of the faith, and her parents, to save her soul – they are very good Mormons – had her married by proxy to a Mormon who has been deceased, because without a Mormon marriage, she could not go to heaven. So, they have a heaven where there is marriage, and you have a mate. So, she’s now mated to someone that she doesn’t know and doesn’t care for. But she has her own mate, who sired her child. She’s mad about her son – they are mad about their son, and here she is now, by the Mormon tradition, married to another by proxy, to save her soul.
She gave up that faith and joined the Christian Science faith and became a very good practitioner. She still is a practitioner. But she said to me today, “Neville, you know, you frighten me. You have taken from me my traditional Jesus. You speak of the human imagination as the Lord Jesus Christ. Can’t you say Divine Imagination?”
“Well, I speak of my own wonderful human imagination, and it is to me divine, yes. If that is going to satisfy you, I will call it divine. But, do I not say that the human imagination is the Divine Body of the Lord Jesus Christ? Well, that should aid you to believe I mean divine, for that’s the Immortal Self, which I call ‘human imagination’, that I may make it easier for the whole vast world to feel the reality of the Jesus Christ who is buried within him, for Scripture teaches that ‘Jesus Christ is in you’ (II Corinthians 13:5), and challenges man to prove it or disprove it.”
“Do you not realize,” asks Paul, “that Jesus Christ is in you, unless of course,” said he, “you fail to meet the test.” (II Corinthians 13:5)
Well, if he is in me, or if I have an external Christ, where is he? I tell you that He is your very Being. That’s why you can’t see Him. You don’t see Him as you see objects. You are the Reality that is named Imagination. You don’t see imagination. You see the fruit of an active imagination. You see it in action, and you see the fruit of that activity, but the reality – you are the Reality named that Imagination.
“If I say, ‘Jesus Christ,’ because of the traditional concept, you think of a man, and think of him as something external to yourself, and you get on your knees and you pray to a false god. There is no external god to you. God literally became you, that you may become God – And the God that became you is your own wonderful human imagination, and that is the Divine Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, so, if that does not offend you, then take that, My Dear.”
Well, she was filled to overflowing with questions. She said, “At lunch I was only going to ask you two questions.” Well, the two became two hundred. It was perfectly all right – just one after the other. It is perfectly all right, for I love her dearly. She was so hungry for all the answers concerning what I am saying here that are in conflict with her traditional concept, which she gave up and then accepted the Christian Science faith, which now she practices as a practitioner. And she loves it; it gives her a great comfort.
I said to her, “You know, it is a positive way of thinking, and it’s a wonderful way to go through life. You help unnumbered people who will turn to you, but may I tell you, it is neither science nor religion. It is certainly not scientific, and certainly it is not religion.
Religion is devotion. Religion is a tie to the most exalted Reality that one has experienced. So, what have you experienced to which you can tie yourself and say that that’s religion? The only true religion – you will find it in the Gospel. That is the fulfillment of God’s promises to man. The Gospel is His plan of Redemption. When you have experienced the Gospel, then you have religion. Now, hold onto it just like a tail. You’ve held onto it so far. And, as the poet said:
“Truth embodied in a tale Shall enter in at lowly doors.”
“You hear it, as I heard it as a child. My Mother taught me the story. I went to school, and they repeated the story, and it became the story that I accepted as my faith until it happened in me. Then I had to reinterpret Scripture in the light of my own experience of Scripture, and then I go out to tell my own experience. And that is the story of the Gospel.
“And, so, it happens, and will happen, to every being in this world. There isn’t a man born into this world who will not, one day, experience it.”
Well, then, she said to me, “But suppose I die now and I don’t experience it?”
You don’t die. You really don’t die! I will experience it if you go now and I don’t go with you. I will experience your death, but you will not experience your death, because you won’t even know you’re dead. You are dead only to me, but not to yourself, because you are very much alive in a world just like this – just as real as this with the problems that now confront you. You may find yourself in an entirely different role as far as environment goes. But, may I tell you – you are not going to find yourself married to that one who is now your husband by proxy. You are not going to find yourself there at all. The average marriage in this world, if it had to be perpetuated forever – wouldn’t you be living in hell forever? Why do you think we have divorce courts and are making it easier and easier every day of the world all over the world, because without that to help man here, it would be hell – really hell. By man, I mean generic man. It’s just as bad for woman as for man.
So, you desire to live and you want to be perpetually tied to someone you don’t even know, and yet know you are tied to one that you’ve been tied to for years and years” – she’s a lady – my senior by quite a few years, and here she has been happy, but it wouldn’t be that one by their concept; it would be a proxy she had never met before. But she will not meet him. She will find herself in this world, and she may not find herself in the environment where she makes the contact with her present husband. She may be married again to another, because in the world into which we go we marry, as told us in Scripture. If you want to find the passage, read the 20th chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
Those who do not marry are only those who are resurrected, because the resurrected are above the organization of sex and they marry no more. Why?
Because they cannot die any more. “They are now sons of God, being sons of the Resurrection.” (Luke 20:36) And they do not create under a divided image.
So, anyone who is resurrected here, at that moment in time when he departs this section, others see him go and call him dead. He is not dead; neither will he be restored to life in a world like this. He will be in the New Age, and that age is entirely different. He will be clothed with the Divine Body. That Body is Heaven itself, for wherever he is, clothed, as he will be then, is Heaven, for nothing can remain imperfect in his presence. He passes by, and everything that is imperfect as he walks by becomes perfect – it can’t remain imperfect. He is Perfection, and everything in his world must be perfect without raising a finger. He doesn’t raise a finger to make it so. No – he walks by, and the blind see, and the lame jump. Arms that are missing come back into their sockets. Everything is made perfect, because he is perfect.
That is Heaven, for heaven means harmony, and wherever he goes, he turns hell into harmony – hell into Heaven.
But those who are not resurrected are restored to life, and everyone is restored into lovely bodies – nothing imperfect. If you are blind here, you are not going to continue blind. You will see perfectly. If your limbs are missing, they will not be missing there. You will be young, not a child – young – about twenty, and perfect, but to continue the aging process. All the problems that confront you here, they are going to confront you there.
“For he, who began the good work in you will bring it to completion at the unveiling in you of the Lord Jesus Christ,” as you. (Philippians 1:6 RSV)
So, He unveils you as the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is your own wonderful human imagination, and the body that you will wear will be that Divine Body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the picture. So, here, the family portrait is the Gospel. It is eternally true, and now, at this moment and forever it is extant in the depths of your own soul. And one day it will unfold in you, and everything said of Him in the Gospel, you are going to experience – not as a spectator seeing it of another, but as yourself. And when you experience it, you will tell others, and they will see you in that role. They will see you and then one day, because they saw you and you’ve told them, they themselves will experience all that you’ve experienced, as told you in the 14th chapter of John:
“All that I have done, you will do, and ever greater things than these you shall do.” (John 14:12), because “I am going to send the Holy Spirit, and He will bring to your remembrance all that I have told you.” (John 14:26)
“He will bring to your remembrance” – the whole thing unfolds within you. And then, you will tell others, and they will see you in the role, with all its side issues. Then they themselves become witnesses to the Truth, and in them the whole thing unfolds. And eventually, everyone is the Lord Jesus Christ. So, in the end, there is nothing but God.
But while we are here, we can use the Law that was given us. It’s a simple law, and it will not fail you. But you must believe in Him. And you cannot believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, believing in someone other than your own wonderful human imagination – not the real Lord Jesus Christ. If you want results, believe in the true Jesus, and the true Jesus is your imagination. And all things are possible to the human imagination, therefore, all things are possible to Jesus Christ, So, imagine yourself (and you name it). Believe in the reality of what you imagine. Persist in that assumption, and that assumption, though at the moment that you made it, it is denied by your senses, if you persist in it, it will become a fact. It will actually harden into some objective state.
Now, you test Him and see if this is not true concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Well, if it works that way, why then, who did it? Well, you can’t deny you did it.
Well then, “If all things are made by Him, and without Him not anything is made that is made,” (John 1:3) and you know honestly that you did it, aren’t you Jesus Christ?
If I now assume that I am elsewhere, and reason denies that I am, my senses deny it, my pocketbook denies that I could even make the trip; if all of a sudden things change and compel me to make the trip, and what I did in imagination I am then compelled to do in the flesh, and I find myself actually there in the not distant future, I didn’t devise the means. I didn’t build the bridge of incidents; I went across that bridge and I came to the point where I actually was in imagination prior to the physical trip – well, then, who did it? Well, all things are done by Him and I remember what I did, and so memory doesn’t tell me, I remember exactly what I did, and then here I now do it physically, well, haven’t I found Jesus Christ?
So, when you read in Scripture, “I have found him” (John 1:45) – found what? “I have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the Prophets wrote,” Jesus, the Messiah. Well, then, where is he now? Well, “Come and see.” (John 1.46) And then they went up unto the place, “and it was the tenth hour,” (John 2:39) and so they remained with him.
Now, the modern translation of the Bible tells us it was 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. What nonsense! It hasn’t a thing to do with any 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. I know the day, in the Hebraic language, starts at 6.00 a.m., and it goes through, but it isn’t 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. The Prophet meant exactly what he said when he said, “It was the tenth hour.”
Well, in the language of the Bible these hours are significant, and “ten” does not mean four in the afternoon. “Ten” is the letter “Yodh,” and the letter “Yodh” has the symbol of the hand. It’s the creative hand, and the symbol is a seed; it’s the creative seed. They speak of him as a carpenter. What is a carpenter? You and I think of a man with a hammer and nails, and he builds a house, or he builds a chair; he’s a carpenter. Not in Scripture! A carpenter means “one who produces from seed,” just as a mother, as a plant, as the earth, to be born, to be delivered, to bring forth, bringing forth from seed.
Well, ten means seed, so, he was at the creative point, and they remained to learn the story of creation. So, they came to him, and because it was the tenth hour, they remained, and did not depart. And they say it’s 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon! It hasn’t a thing to do with any 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon! This comes to the point where now they are going to discuss the creativity of God. It is ten: the hour is ten. And here is the seed, and this is how it works.
What’s the seed? Tell me what you want. That’s a seed. Well, how do I plant it?
How do you plant it? What would it be like – what would the feeling be like if it were true that you had it? That’s how you plant it.
Then I become a carpenter, and I build from scratch. I actually build from the seed, the seed being my desire, my hope, my longing. I assume that I am what at that moment of assumption my reason and my senses deny. But I dare to assume it.
Well, that’s the carpenter. So, they went to the carpenter’s house, and it was the tenth hour, and he shows them the secret of bringing things out as you would out of the earth, out of the woman, out of the plant. Well, there must be a seed there. The seed is your want, your desire.
And, so, in the modern version they have it translated into what is called the modern English and call it 4:00 p.m. or 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. You will miss the entire mystery of Scripture if you start doing that with the words of Scripture.
These meanings are unique, and they are forever. And you can’t change them.
Here is one told in the book of John. They say John did not tell of the birth. They say that only Matthew told it, and then Luke told it, so Matthew and Luke tell us of the birth of God, with the symbol of a child signifying that God was born. But where is it in the other Gospels? Well, here it is in the end of John. They came to the tomb, and they found not the body of the Lord, for he was risen. The Lord was risen, but they found the linen clothes, and then they found the napkin, lying not with the linen clothes, but lying apart from the linen clothes. (John 20:3-7) When you read that and start to translate it into modern English, they don’t know what they are talking about.
The “linen clothes” symbolize the physical body, out of which he departed. You will see it when you come out. But, now, what is the napkin? The napkin in ancient times had very many more meanings than today. We speak of a dinner napkin, a cocktail napkin, a sanitary napkin, but in the ancient world, the napkin meant the placenta – the afterbirth. If I see the symbol of the afterbirth, then a birth took place!
What took place? I see the evidence of a birth; I see the napkin. What was born here? God was born! Where was He born? Out of that thing that you call now “linen clothes.” That wrapped Him. Well, where was the napkin? Well, the napkin was not around the loins of a woman, the napkin was around his face; that’s where He was born. He came out of his skull; He came out of his head. He didn’t come out of the loins of a woman, out of the womb of a woman. So, here we find the napkin, the placenta, the afterbirth, signifying that something great was born here this day, and because it was a napkin, and the napkin covered his face, it was out of the skull that that birth took place.
If you try to change that into modern English, you are going to ruin it. This whole story is everlastingly true, and it’s all about you.
He said to them,
“Everything that is written about me in the Law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms, must be fulfilled,” (Luke 24:44) and, “You are my witnesses.” (Isaiah 43:10) Then he said, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and all that is written about the Son of Man will be accomplished,” (Luke 18:31) “… but they did not understand this.” (Luke I8: 34) It was beyond their grasp.
He’s going up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is above – the skull. “I” am going up now, and all that is said about me, in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, will be accomplished – but in time. He explained to them the mystery of Scripture.
So, here, I tell you – Jesus Christ is the Pattern Man. Don’t expect to see him on the outside. He is the pattern, a pattern that is buried in every man, and that pattern contains the plan of redemption. So, when the pattern begins to erupt in you, like a seed erupting in the earth, then the whole thing is beginning to unfold, and everything said there you are going to experience.
So, Paul warns the people to whom he writes, especially his friend Timothy, and he said:
“Follow the pattern of the true words that you have heard from me. Guard the truth which has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.” (II Timothy 1:13, 14)
You guard this truth, which you have heard. It’s all within you, and if you are tempted to turn on the outside to some external god, remember these words and go back and turn to the Only True God, and the Only True God is your own wonderful human imagination. That is the Immortal You that cannot die, that survives every blow in the world. That survives the grave. It survives everything; it cannot die.
If you died tonight at the age of one hundred and you were completely gone physically and demented, you will not be demented after the departure of the Immortal You. It will restore Itself in a new body, a young body, with no loss of faculty, no loss of anything, but still continuing the journey that is necessary until you reach that point in Jerusalem where the thing erupts within you, and then you are “born from above.”
So, “What is he doing now?” asked the mother.
And, then, James, the brother, answered, and then Simon answered, and Peter answered. And they all brought back these many reports. But He is never seen, for He is the Invisible You.
Can you see your imagination? You can see the fruit of its efforts, but you can’t see Imagination. Look around you. Everything here was once only imagined. So, you see the results of an imaginal activity, but you don’t see imagination. He is the Invisible God. So, He comes to us as one unknown, one that is invisible, yet one who, in some mysterious manner, lets man experience who he is. So, when you experience who he is, it’s your Self, and there is no other.
As we are told,:
“Unless you believe that I am he, you die in your sins,” (John 8:24) unless you believe that I AM is He, you die in your sins.
He also said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” (John 8:58) and then they stoned him with the “facts of life.”
“You are not yet fifty, and you are before Abraham?”
No, this script has no punctuation in the original script. Read it with punctuation; put the punctuation differently:
“Before Abraham was, [he put it] “I am.” Put it now: Before Abraham” – “Before Abraham, (comma) was I AM.” Nothing precedes Him. Nothing precedes “I AM,” for that is the name of God forever and forever and forever. Nothing came before it, because He has no precedent. He is without father, without mother – no father or mother; He is the Origin of all. He has not originated from something other than Himself. He is the Origin of all. So, “Before Abraham, (comma) was I AM.” (John 8:58)
Now, we can make it more sensible: “Before Abraham, was I am.” All right, that’s perfectly all right, but this changes it somewhat. “Unless you believe that I AM is He, you die in your sins.” (John 8:24) That is, you remain to miss the mark. Well, if you believe that I AM is your own wonderful human imagination, then you can’t miss the mark, because, “All things are possible to Him,” (Mark 9:23) and you simply imagine the state desired, persist in that imaginal state, and it will come to pass.
So, the story, as told us in the Scripture, is everlastingly true. No one can change it. Do not add to the words of this Book; do not take from it or add to it. Yet man goes on forever and forever changing it, adding to it, trying to make sense out of it. It does make sense, if you have had the experience. I have had the experience, and I would not try to alter one word. I have tried to put it back into its original frame when I find translations that are not true. You find insertions in it. You find interpolations that should not be there. But some try, overly zealous, to put his own beliefs into it – what he thinks the scribe ought to have said.
The “Family Portrait” is your portrait. It is all about you, as told you in the 40th Psalm: “In the volume of the book, it is all about me.” (Psalm 40:7)
“I did not refrain my lips; I told the great congregation. I told them all that it was all about me.” (Psalm 40:9)
And now, you write it, and, may I tell you, you can’t restrain the impulse to tell it either. When it happens to you, you cannot restrain it. You become like Jeremiah, and then you say,
“I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name. There is in my heart as it were, a burning fire set up in my bones. And I am weary with holding it in and cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9)
You can’t hold it in. You will simply spill over, and you will tell it. No matter where you are, you can be standing at a bar, the occasion will arise for you to tell it. You will tell it while you are drinking at a bar. You can’t keep it in. It’s like a “burning fire,” and you will tell it, and you do not care where you are.
You go to church to tell it? That’s no more holy than standing at a bar! If anyone tells you that is a more holy place, forget it. Wherever you are is holy. And when you are born from within and “born from above,” where on earth could you go that is holier than where you are? You don’t have to go into a church to feel more holy, or into some temple. Wherever you are is holy ground.
So, the great story – this “Family Portrait” – was right in its place, because the One of Whom they spoke was not seen. They only heard the story about Him.
“And what is he saying now? What is he doing now?” and they brought the report of what he was saying, and the mother wrung her hands. She was concerned that it was told in that manner, because it must be told in a way that it can “enter in at lowly doors.” So, you tell it in the form of a story, but eventually you’ve got to find out the truth of that story and take off the covers. Are we not told in Scripture?
“Abraham had two sons; one by a slave and one by a free woman.” (Galatians 4:22) “Now,” said Paul, “this is an allegory.” (Galatians 4:24, RSV)
An allegory is a story told as if it were true, leaving the one who hears it to discover its particular character and learn its meaning. For, if it is an allegory, and Abraham begins the genealogy in the story of Matthew – well, then, if the origin is an allegory, what is the end? The end of the entire genealogy is Jesus.
You start with Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and all the way down, culminating in Jesus. Now, Paul, the earliest of all the writers of the New Testament, tells us that the story of Abraham and Sarah is an allegory. Well, if that is an allegory, then all the way down it has to be. Therefore, find out what the story is all about. For, an allegory is simply a great truth concealed, therefore discover the fictitious character of the story and learn its meaning.
Whatever it is, an allegory, to begin with, all ends run true to origins: if the origin is an allegory – the end is. So, find out what it is trying to tell you. Well, it’s trying to tell us our own story. And the whole drama unfolds within us, and you are the Lord Jesus Christ!
Every little child born of woman – his true identity is the Lord Jesus Christ. And he is taught, in the beginning, to turn on the outside for his own true identity, and he worships a shadow, because he has to turn within to find it, and it can’t even be near, for nearness would imply separation. It isn’t even near. It’s his very Being!
Now, what is so near that it isn’t even near to man? Where could you go that you are not in Imagination? Where on earth could any man go that he is not in Imagination?
I have seen this body apart from myself, but no matter where I go, I cannot get away from my imagination. I have stepped out of this body and seen it on a chair; I have seen it on the bed in a state of catalepsy and seen it as something distinct from myself. But I can’t go any place where I am distinct from Being; wherever I am – well, that’s where I am; that’s my Reality, and that is my imagination.
I can’t even claim my imagination. I am the Reality named imagination. And, so, I can’t go any place and get away from that Reality. Well, I can get away from this [indicating the physical body], and if I can get away from this, this isn’t my Reality. Anything from which I can move and see it as other than myself cannot be that basic being that I am.
A man can be poor today and rich tomorrow, therefore he’s neither poor nor rich. These are attributes that he can apply a law toward being: identify himself with wealth and become wealthy. But tomorrow, by a change in attitude, he can become poor. Therefore, wealth wasn’t his Reality. It wasn’t a true Being; it was only an attribute. Therefore, poverty is not true, because he can get away from poverty, but he can’t get away from his true being, which is I AM.
He can’t get away from imagining. No matter where you go in the world, “I” am there, therefore you can say, “I am with you always, even to the very ends of time.” (Matthew 28:20) You can’t get away from it.
I can be a great anything: banker, artist – anything, but I can get away from it. Therefore, that is not my Reality. But I can’t get away from this Reality that is named Imagination.
Now, I tell you from my own experience that the eternal story – that “Family Portrait” – as given to us in the Gospel, is eternally true and still extant in the very depths of consciousness, and that is the Being that you really are. That’s your story. That is your real, true autobiography. And you come into this world of death to overcome death, and the overcoming of death is the reenactment within you of the story as told in the Gospel concerning your true identity, who is Jesus Christ.
Now, let’s enter the Silence.