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About the Author
Joel Goldsmith (1892-1964), one of America's great mystics, spent his life lecturing on "The Infinite Way" his personally developed principles of spirituality. He is the author of more than 30 books, including The Art of Spiritual Healing, Living the Infinite Way, and The Thunder of Silence.
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The Two Convents
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. . . .
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Galatians 4:22-24, 26
In our humanhood, we are sons of the bondwoman, in subjection to the flesh and its claims, in bondage to the things, thoughts, and activities of the flesh, whether it be this flesh of the body or the flesh called money or other forms of human living. Living in and through the flesh as the off-spring of the bondwoman, we are under the laws of matter, the laws of economics, and the laws of race, religion, and nationality -under the covenant "which gendereth to bondage." The other covenant is that of our spiritual adoption, which comes through a conscious activity within our own consciousness and at a time when we are prepared for that transition, because the transition from hurmanhood to spiritual sonship is made only by Grace.
When a person says that he would like to be a child of God and be free of the burdens of the flesh, usually he does not really mean it. What be means is that he would like to be free of the burdens of the flesh, but retain the pleasures and the profits of the flesh. It is for this reason that as human beings we cannot choose to be -children of God.
But there does come a time in the consciousness of every one of us-withsome now and with some many lifetimes from now-when, through an inner Grace, we are able and willing not only to be rid of the ills of the flesh, but also of the pleasures and profits of the flesh, and to become acquainted with our spiritual identity or Selfiood, with that new creature-not the old one made healthy, not the old one made honorable, but a new creature which is born of the Spirit. This is the transitional experience.
To be born of the Spirit means to be reborn through a transition of consciousness, and this rebirthing can occur while we are on this very plane of consciousness known as the earth, or it can take place after we have left this sphere. It is well to remember that if we fail to make the transition here, there will always be the opportunity for us to make it hereafter because in the kingdom of God there is no time. There it is always now, and this now is always presenting itself to us with fresh opportunities.
This moment is now. This moment-this now-we have the opportunity to reject our humanness and accept the divinity of our being. But if it is beyond our immediate capacity to do that at this moment, later on tonight we shall discover that it is also now, and in that nowness, we are again face to face with the opportunity to accept or reject the divinity of our being. If we are not prepared to receive it then, there will be tomorrow afternoon, next year, or the year after; and each time that the opportunity to realize our divine sonship comes to our thought, it will be now. A hundred years from now, it will be now to us.
Now is always the time to accept our divinity, but while that now may come to us at this moment, to some it may have come years ago and to some it may come years hence. Whether or not it comes at this particular hour of the clock or some other hour, whenever it comes, it will be now. Each of us has to face every moment of every day unto eternity, and those of us who, for one reason or another, are not able at this particular time to accept the covenant of our liberty, the liberty wherewith we are "clothed upon" when we accept Christhood, will still have a new and fresh opportunity throughout all ages.
Those who have gone on before us as human beings and have left our visible sight, some in gross spiritual darkness and some in actual sin and degradation, also exist now, and they, too, have the same opportunity now that they bad when they rejected it here on earth, only now they may have developed a greater capacity to accept it.
What does it mean to accept the spiritual dispensation in our experience? Unless we understand what it is that constitutes this spiritual dispensation, we cannot be prepared to accept it.
Regardless of the fact that the majority of people pay lip service to a belief in God, many of them do not believe in God. True, they may believe that there is a God or have a belief about God, but they have no faith, no realization, no conviction, because the nature of the bondman is to be in bondage to effect-to love, worship, and fear anything that has form, that is visible as effect. It may be bodily healththe heart, liver, or lungs-or it may be dollar bills, investments, or home, but the love and devotion and fear of most human beings are always directed at someone or something in the visible realm.
The son of the bondwoman is in bondage as long as some thought, thing, or person is necessary, and that is what constitutes humanhood. The new covenant of the new creature begins in the moment when we realize, "'I and my Father are one,' and all that the Father has is mine. I look in no other direction than to the Infinite Invisible. Then what appears from within, I share gloriously, freely, joyously."
The transition into divine sonship brings about that change from faith in the visible to faith in the Infinite Invisible, in that which can never be seen, heard, tasted, touched, smelled -or even thought or reasoned. There has to be a faith with...Thunder of Silence. Copyright © by Joel S. Goldsmith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.