Sermon by the Sea
The Final Sermon, “Sermon by the Sea”, by Ernest Holmes
Having had the privilege of starting Religious Science, I would wish, will, and desire above all things else that the simplicity and purity of our teaching could never be violated. There is a purpose of simplicity, a consciousness of unity, a straight-line thinking in our philosophy that has never appeared before in the world outside of the teachings of men like Jesus and Emerson.
There was nothing obscure in the teaching of Jesus. He just said that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Why don’t you take it? He said that there is nothing but God. Why don’t you believe it? He was the last of the great Jewish prophets, the greatest line of emotional prophets the world has ever known.
We also find a great intellectualism in Emerson, who never contradicted himself. He gave us the most simple statement of intellectual spiritual perception, probably, that has ever been put into print. As that of Jesus, it was most simple, direct, meaningful, and feelingful. We inherit this.
It would be my desire that simplicity and purity and directness, that straight thinking, should never depart from the techniques of our practitioners, or instructions of our teachers, or understanding of our lay people. It is the most direct impartation of Divine Wisdom that has ever come to the world, because it incorporates the precepts of Jesus and Emerson and Buddha and all the rest of the wise. And I would desire that in our teaching there should never be any arrogance, for it always indicates spiritual immaturity to me. Others will arise who will know more than we do; they won’t be better or worse, they will be different and know more than we do. Evolution is forward.
I would that we should not build, out of the body of our simplicity and grandeur and beauty, other creeds loaded with superstition, a fear of the unknown, and a dread of the unseen. We have discovered a pearl of great price, we have discovered the rarest gem that has ever found setting in the intellect of the human race—complete simplicity, complete directness, a freedom from fear and superstition about the unknown and about God.
And we have rediscovered that which the great, the good, and the wise have sung about and thought about—the imprisoned splendor within ourselves and within each other—and have direct contact with it. Whether we call it the Christ in us, or the Buddha, or Atman, or just the Son of God the living Spirit, makes no difference. You and I are witness to the divine fact and we have discovered an authority beyond our minds, even though our minds utilize it. Out of this we have prepared ourselves, I think, I hope, I pray and believe.
Find me one person who is for something and against nothing, who is redeemed enough not to condemn others out of the burden of his soul, and I will find another savior, another Jesus, and an exalted human being.
Find me one person who no longer has any fear of the universe, or of God, or of man, or of anything else, and you will have brought to me someone in whose presence we may sit and fear shall vanish as clouds before the sunlight.
Find me someone who has redeemed his own soul, and he shall become my redeemer.
Find me someone who has given all that he has in love, without morbidity, and I will have found the lover of my soul. Is not this true? Why? Because he will have revealed to me the nature of God and proved to me the possibility of all human souls.
This is what Religious Science stands for. It is not a new dogmatism, it is not a new authority generated from a new alleged revelation of the God who never revealed anything to anybody, as such, else he could not have revealed all things to all people. There is no special dispensation of Providence, but there is a specialized dispensation which the great and good and wise and just have known, even though they knew it intuitively.
Find me one person who can get his own littleness out of the way and he shall reveal to me the immeasurable magnitude of the universe in which I live.
Find me one person who knows how to talk to God, really, and I shall walk with him through the woods and everything that seems inanimate will respond—the leaves of the trees will clap their hands, the grass will grow soft under him.
Find me one person who communes with cause and effect, and in the evening, the evening star will sing to him and the darkness will turn to light. Through him, as the woman who touched the hem of the garment of Christ was healed, shall I be healed of all loneliness forever.
Find me someone who is no longer sad, whose memory has been redeemed from morbidity, and I shall hear laughter.
Find me someone whose song is really celestial, because it is the outburst of the cosmic urge to sing, and I shall hear the music of the spheres.
Find me one person who no longer doubts, no longer wavers. But not one who with a proclamation of superiority says: “Look at me, I have arrived!” I will not listen to that. Only that which reveals me to myself can be a message to me; only that which gives me back to myself can save me; only that which leads me to the God within myself can reveal God. And only that person can do it to whom the vision has come through his own efforts, through the gift of God. Of course, the grace of God abounds by divine givingness. God has forever hung himself upon the cross of men’s indifference; God has forever, but without suffering, given himself but we have not received the gift.
Find me one person who has so completely divorced from himself all arrogance, and you will have discovered for me an open pathway to the kingdom of God here and now. Up until now the search has been in far-off corners of the earth and we have knelt upon a prayer rug and been wafted away, in our morbid and fearful imagination, over ethers of nothingness to places that have no existence, the temples of our unbelief, and we have come back empty. “What went ye out into the wilderness for to see?…”
Find me somebody who has detached his emotional and psychological ego from the real self, without having to deny the place it plays in the scheme of things and without slaying any part of himself because the transcendence is there also, and I will have discovered the Ineffable in this individual and a direct pathway for the communion of my own soul.
We have come to Asilomar, spent this wonderful week together in love for each other and adoration for the God we believe in. Many wonderful things have happened that would seem miracles if we didn’t know about them. And now we meet for this fond farewell after the spiritual bath of peace, the baptism of the spirit. Not through me, but you to me and I to you through each other—the revelation of the self to the self—we go back into the highways and byways of life with something so great that never again will anything be quite the same. A little more light shall come, a little greater glory added to the glory that we already possess, a deeper consciousness, a higher aspiration, a broader certainty of the mind.
You are Religious Science. I am not. I am only the one who put something together. I do not even take myself seriously, but I take what I am doing seriously. You are Religious Science—our ministers, our teachers, our practitioners, our laymen. You find me one thousand people in the world who know what Religious Science is and use it, and live it as it is, and I’ll myself live to see a new world, a new heaven, and a new earth here. There is a cosmic Power wrapped up in a cosmic Consciousness and Purposiveness that is equal to the vision which releases it.
What I am saying is this: There is a Law that backs up the vision, and the Law is immutable. “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” There is a Power transcendent beyond our needs, our little wants. Demonstrating a dime is good if one needs it, or healing oneself of a pain is certainly good if one has it, but beyond that, at the real feast at the tabernacle of the Almighty, in the temple of the living God, in the banquet hall of heaven, there is something beyond anything that you and I have touched.
Find one thousand people who know that, and use it, and the world will no longer be famished. How important it is that each one of us in his simple way shall live from God to God, with God, in God, and to each other. That is why we are here, and we are taking back with us, I trust, a vision and an inspiration, something beyond a hope and a longing, that the living Spirit shall through us walk anew into its own creation and a new glory come with a new dawn.