From the 1952 New Washington Series
byJoel S. Goldsmith
Q: What is it to fulfill spiritual law?
A: Well, of course, the first thing is to pray, and especially for a soldier, to pray daily for your enemy. That’s the first and greatest of all the spiritual laws there are. Anyone at all facing situations where they are in danger, whether it’s from opposing armies, or whether it’s from opposing interests in a law suit, the first thing anyone should do is learn how to pray for their enemies, how to forgive them seventy times seven, because very frankly unless you are praying for your enemy, and unless you are forgiving seventy times seven, you are not under spiritual law, even if you go to church every day of the week and get down on your knees, and tithe eighty percent of your income besides, you are still not under spiritual law.
Spiritual law is a very exacting thing, and spiritual law is not taught in ordinary religious teachings. Therefore, to come under spiritual law you have to rise much higher than religious teachings. You have to go back to the source of religious teachings to your New Testament, and not ask what this church or that church interprets of spiritual law, or how it’s interpreted, or how this man interprets it, or this woman interprets it.
Actually, what does it read in those four Gospels? What does it say about spiritual law? And you’ll be surprised how far it differs from ordinary church teaching, and you’ll find that in order to bring yourself under spiritual law, all the time you spend going to church to pray for your friends is of very little avail, even though it gives you a wonderful sense of self righteousness, it is still of little avail according to the Master: Praying for your friends availeth little. Yes, the Scribes and the Pharisees they pray for their friends. What good does it do? Ye must pray for your enemies. You must forgive seventy times seven. You must pray for those who persecute you and despitefully use you, and there you are.
And there again, too, the Master has a great passage in the place where he tells us, I believe in Luke, that I was in prison and ye comforted me. I was sick and ye ministered unto me. I was naked and ye clothed me. When? When did all this happen? When? We don’t remember that you were in prison, or sick, or naked. Ah, but then, as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
And then, you see, there are people who say, “I love God,” of course I don’t love man so much. I love God. Oh no, if you say that you love God, but do not love man, you are a liar, according to scripture, just a plain liar. You can’t love God unless you love man because there is no God separate and apart from man. All the God there is in the world is made manifest as your individual being and mine, and we are only serving God as we serve each other, and if we think there’s some God up there that we’re serving in our ignoring of each other, in our withholding from each other, we’re praying amiss.
And so you see, there are specific laws, specific rules for bringing ourselves under spiritual law and avoiding those very discords and inharmonies that afterwards you say, “How did they happen?” And if someone were to say to you: well they violated spiritual law. What? I should say not—they went to church four times a week and seven times on Easter. That has nothing to do with it—nothing to do with it.
And another thing too—there’s another violation of spiritual law that can do nothing but bring trouble on those who indulge it, and this is very prevalent in church circles, very prevalent, and it’s sad to watch and sad to relate.
According to many theological teachings, death is a reality and not only a reality but a very pleasant one, a very pleasant one, because God’s going to do lots for you after you’re dead, and so we have hymns, and we have solos glorifying death, and telling us how sweet it is, and how our friends and relatives are waiting for us on the other shore, waiting to welcome us, sometimes poetic, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes sad, but be assured of this—always one step further toward killing you, toward leading you on to your destruction.
You see, if you were to follow the Master, Christ Jesus, you would learn something very, very interesting that death is an enemy, and that it must be overcome, and that there’s nothing nice about it, there’s nothing pleasant about it, and chances are nobody’s waiting for you to give you a pleasant greeting.
If it’s an enemy there isn’t anything nice or pleasant about it, and if it is to be overcome—that’s the Master’s orders, and he knew it’s to be overcome—not to be welcomed, not to be glorified, not to be looked forward to, not to be set up and worshiped or sing hymns about. Heavens no!
If you study the Master’s ministry you will find that every time, and there’s no exception to it, every time he was faced with an appearance of death he overcame it. He submitted to the crucifixion only to prove to you that there is no death. He could also have sung hymns about how his friends and relatives were waiting for him on the other side. Instead of that, he said there is no other side. I’m going to show you that you can’t send me on any other side. This is the side, and here’s where I’m remaining, even if you crucify me; so don’t try to show me how pleasant it is over there. I tell you that side is to be overcome.
And so don’t you see that in a million ways when you ask why did so and so die? They were so religious. Sure, their religion half killed them—gave them the belief that death was something good, something to be looked forward to. They were going to meet somebody on the other side. You’re just violating spiritual law, that’s all and expecting to live harmoniously and healthfully while accepting the belief of death as something pleasant. That doesn’t mean that everybody has to stay on this plane of existence. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate transitions from this plane of consciousness to another. That is quite another story. That is just a matter of development and unfoldment—not of death.
There are times in our experience, since we have lived since before Abraham, that we have progressed from one state of unfoldment to another, and in each state of unfoldment or development we have something to do—some mission, spiritual mission, once you look out at life from a spiritual standpoint, and as that mission is accomplished, others lie before us, and we go to them.
It may be that to our friends behind, it may appear that we died, that we left a body for burial. It isn’t true. The person who once catches the spiritual glimpse never dies even though they may pass from our human sight. They never die and their experience is never even interrupted for a second. They go right on as the child does from grammar school to high school, or high school to college without dying in between or having periods of unconsciousness in between. It is a passing from glory to glory as it was with the Master, Christ Jesus, who went from lying in a tomb with a broken body, to walking the earth afterward with a half broken body, and then finally ascending in the fullness of his spiritual existence. So it is with us.
To appearances we may go through an experience showing a dead body, or we may go through an experience of just sleeping away, and walking into our next existence, or as in the case with some of our ancient prophets, and undoubtedly some of our modern ones, they just pick up their body and walk on and become invisible.
How it happens is not the important thing. The important thing to remember is this: death must be overcome. There must be no thought permitted in the mind that someday, at some age death is inevitable. That must never be permitted and one must never permit themselves to think thoughts of joy and pleasure at the experience of going yonder, or whatever the term may be. Let us understand that. This is a spiritual universe and God is the life and soul and mind of our being, and we are eternal and we are immortal. Life must be glorified. Life must be understood to be the ever present reality, and when I say life, I mean youthful life, vital life, harmonious life, healthful life—but not from a physical standpoint—from a spiritual standpoint manifested to the world as what we call the right physical form and energy.
Now, when the question is asked then, “Why do these things happen?” Watch, and you’ll soon find the violation of spiritual law that was involved. Watch this person whom you think to be very religious, counting their calories or counting their vitamins or counting their minerals, placing their faith in something out here, and then when something happens to it, don’t wonder about it and say how spiritual they were. They weren’t spiritual. They were only spiritual if they were living not by the outer bread, not by the symbol of life, but by the realities of life.