Neville Goddard Lecture, Grace VS. Law

Grace VS Law

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We are told in the first Chapter of John: “The Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Unnumbered columns have been written about this grace vs. law. Tonight I am speaking not from theory, I am speaking from experience. We are called on to pass on to other generations, succeeding generations, our testimony. We are told in the First Epistle of John 1:1-3: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes . . . that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us.” These are the two births that take place in every individual in the world. No one brings about his own physical birth. He is born by the action of powers not his own. And so, no one brings about his own spiritual birth. He is born by the action of powers beyond his own. The first – we admit we are here, clothed in this garment of flesh. We find ourselves here but we know we had not a thing to do about it. We simply found ourselves. You will find yourself born spiritually in the same miraculous manner. You will be born from above, just as you were born here from below.

Then there will be God’s mightiest act, and you will be begotten and born from above, by the action of powers not your own. We turn first to the law. In the very beginning God established the law of identical harvest: “And let the earth put forth vegetation, trees yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit, in which is their seed, each according to its own kind.” Here we find that the harvest is nothing more than the multiplication of the identical seed. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows so shall he reap.” That is this world, this law. Tonight I will show you what I have found about this sowing. Causation in our world is really mental. It was not always known as a mental state; it was believed (in the beginning) to be spiritual. And so laws were instituted and men abided by these laws. Outwardly they observed the laws. Then came the great revelation of “grace” that interpreted the law, thus bringing grace. For, says he: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.” And then he interprets law for us and puts it on a mental plane. “You have heard it said by men of old, ‘Thou shalt not’” and then he states it. “But I say unto you,” and then he puts it on an entirely different level and not one statement conveys it more graphically than this one: “You have heard it said of old ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, but I say unto you, to look on a woman lustfully is to already have committed the act with her in your heart.’” To restrain the impulse, that is not good enough; but not having the desire, for then you haven’t committed the act. But to have the desire, and because of the consequences of your act you restrain the impulse, that is still not good enough – the act was committed with the impulse. Here, we are on an entirely different level, a mental level, and this is what I have discovered about this level.

 I can stand here physically, and be in any part of this world mentally by assuming that I am there, then, viewing the world from that assumption rather than thinking of that state. Standing here, if I desire to be elsewhere, though at the moment my reason tells me I can’t afford it, my senses tell me I haven’t the time – you are committed, you will be here next Friday, you couldn’t get there and be back so here you are stuck. Well, I know from my own experience that if I dared to do it, though everything in this world would tie me here, there will be a reshuffling of the events of life and compel the journey on my part, and it worked. That assumption of mine would build a bridge of incidents across which I would move to the fulfillment of that state. No power in the world could stop it. I will walk across a series of events from the moment that I do it. Things would happen to compel me to go, and I, physically – the man – could not resist it. That would compel the journey. Now the same thing is true not only of a physical journey but a journey into other states, like wealth, faith, like anything in this world. Suppose at this moment I desired certain security that I do not now enjoy – I hunger for it. What would it now be like if I were in possession of security? Let me now make the same psychological motion – all in my imagination – and then view the world from that assumption, just as though it were true. If I dare to assume that it is so – I can acquaint you with this law and then leave you to your choice and its consequences. Many a person who had nothing, who hungered for wealth, and they got it, but oh! what things happened to them when they got it! They wanted it and if you want it, take it. You can always give it up, but here is the law by which man moves in this world. So, I will acquaint you with the law and show you how I operate it and how it works.

But may I tell you: no matter how good you are in this world, no matter how wise you operate the law, it doesn’t in any way qualify you for the second radical change in your mind, which is called “grace” – that is the second birth: the twice-born man has received “grace.” And grace is God’s gift of himself to man. That is grace. No matter how wise you are, you are on a wheel with the first birth. Play it as wisely as you can, and I hope you will play it wisely when you hear the law and how to operate it. But it cannot in way qualify you for the second birth. That is grace, that is the gift, and you cannot bring that about anymore than you brought about the first. Now the second birth is sheer fantasy. It is called, not salvation – grace is salvation. “What must I do?” they asked. For he made the statement: “What if you own the whole vast world and lose your life?” Then he said: “It is so much easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” And they said to him: “Well, then who can be saved?” He said: “With men it is impossible, but nothing is impossible to God.” With man, yes, it is impossible; he can’t save himself. When man tells you he is a self-made man he is not speaking of any knowledge of this mystery. No self-made man. For this is the gift, the second is a complete gift. And what is the secret of God’s election? I do not know, I can’t tell you. I can share with you what I have experienced and tell you how it comes. It is a process, something that happened so suddenly. It comes without warning – no one knows the moment it is going to come, and suddenly you are born. You are actually born. You are consciously born. I have no conscious memory of being born from my mother’s womb, none whatsoever. I was born on a certain day of a certain month of a certain year, and on a certain little island in the West Indies

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Neville Goddard, Summa Theologica, Manly P Hall, A Course In Miracles

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