Faith in the living Gospel; the direct and immediate experience of Presence.

I am the living liquid that flows in and through each moment in your life. I am both the chalice and the liquid itself. In all things turn your mind to my presence and it will be renewed and transformed by my light candling your conscious and conscience.I am the living Word that the abstracted mind rejects in favor of outward ideas, conceptual frameworks, and insitutions.

I am non-conceptual. I am not an object ... I am life eternal experienced directly. I am in the living present, not in the idols of past or future outward ideas. I am within you and without you. I am the mystery of a consciousness anchored in and a conscience informed by my abiding presence. To know this mystery is to experience me directly and immediately in all things and under all circumstances. This is the faith of the living gospel; to turn mind and heart to me, thereby awakening into eternal being/Being through the workings of my presence transforming the very nature of your consciousness and conscience. I am salvation and light; in my presence is eternal life.

Take up the new garment of righteousness that is of my making through my abiding presence within you and you will live the peace and freedom of a consciousness and conscience gathered in my presence.

If you would know me; I will come to you in patient intentional quite. Attending to my presence is the Living Gospel; it is living the great story directly rather than reading about it or putting faith in the outward witness of another. I am the living Gospel ... the living Witness.

"For I also did believe and expect great things in a church-state and way of worship; and in simplicity of heart did I enter into it, and walk in it, and was not without knowledge, warmth, and experiences there. But all this the Lord broke down by a strong hand, in one moment; and hath taught me since to throw away all my gains here, and elsewhere, and to count them but dross and dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord. And having tasted, having seen, having felt, having handled, I cannot but commend the life ; and dissuade all men from all knowledge, all worship, all religion, all ways, and practices (though ever so taking, pleasant, and promising), out of the life. And this is to know Christ; namely, to know the life: and this is to obey Christ, to obey the life: and this is the kingdom of Christ which is to come, to have the life reign in power and great glory. But the knowing or believing of a history concerning Christ, this is not the knowledge or the faith: antichrist all along the apostasy, in all his various forms and dresses, hath known and believed thus: and this kind of knowledge must pass away, further than it can find a place and service in the life. Be not angry at my testimony; it flows from pure love, and comes forth in great good-will to your souls."

Source: The Works of Isaac Penington: A Minister of the Gospel in the Society of Friends : Including His Collected Letters, Volume 1 pgs. 241-243

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Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 8th mo. 4, 2014 at 2:08pm

Practical philosophy, or the practice of the virtues, is effectuated by fear, devotion and spiritual knowledge. Natural contemplation in the Spirit is achieved through strength, counsel and understanding. Mystical theology is granted only by divine wisdom.  (From the Philokalia, vol. 2, p.255; Maximos's Fourth Century of Various Texts #80)

Keith, I understand your emphasis on the importance of participating in Christ, the wisdom of God, but I think that  there's a place for ideas derived from natural contemplation (as the term is used by Maximos and others). Isn't the danger of idolizing ideas and thought averted if one knows their auxilliary place? After all, the early Quakers realizing that Scriptures were the words - not the Word - of God still valued, used, and considered them secondarily authoritative. Isn't thought, like Scripture, valid when rightly evaluated?  

Forming ideas, it seems to me, is neutral - neither inherently wrong or right; rather, one's evaluation of thinking is wrong if one mistakes it for our highest capacity to discern.  All ideas are inferior in power and quality to heavenly wisdom. 

I don't think that the mind necessarily rejects participation in Christ in favor of ideas. It's that the mind isn't always "accelerated" to the degree necessary to receive Christ. The friction of distractions slow it down to where it's not ready lift off the earth and enter the heavens. Ideas can be generated in the slower, earthly speed, all the while realizing the great discrepancy between that of thinking and that of participating in Christ, the heavenly one.

I think that the quotation from Maximos listing three activities implies an ascending progress toward perfection. Through the inclusion of the first two items, he validates activity that is at least in part a function of natural human power: thought and will.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 5, 2014 at 12:57pm

My presence is suffcient support. I am the auxillary place behind all places and circumstances. To seek support in places other than me is idolatry. Give all things over to me. When all thoughts and ideas are forfeit in me, even in the midst of their clamour, there is my Presence and there is the Life Eternal. I am the activity of thinking behind the thoughts and ideas that enchant the mind ... seek me in the activity and there I am. To seek me in thoughts is the bewitching of the mind ... to seek me in the activity through which they manifest is Life and Peace.

Do not contemplate the outward wood ... cleave the wood and there I am. Do not seek me by resting on the stone ... move it out of the way and you will find me ... the true Rest. 

See the Gospel of Thomas #77


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