Chapter Thirty One: The Simplicity of Salvation
1 How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now and never will be. The impossible has not occurred and can have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is false cannot be true, and what is true cannot be false? You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other and just what to do if you become confused. Why then do you persist in learning not such simple things?
2 There is a reason. But confuse it not with difficulty in the simple things salvation asks you learn. It teaches but the very obvious. It merely goes from one apparent lesson to the next in easy steps which lead you gently from one to another with no strain at all. This cannot be confusing, yet you are confused. For somehow you believe that what is totally confused is easier to learn and understand. What you have taught yourselves is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible. But you accomplished it because you wanted to and did not pause in diligence to judge it hard to learn, or too complex to grasp.
3 No one who understands what you have learned, how carefully you learned it, and the pains to which you went to practice and repeat the lessons endlessly in every form you could conceive of them could ever doubt the power of your learning skill. There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by it and even now depends on nothing else. The lessons you have taught yourselves have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you, and even you are someone else.
4 Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy? Yet you have learned more than this. You have continued, taking every step, however difficult, without complaint until a world was built that suited you. And every lesson that makes up the world arises from the first accomplishment of learningan enormity so great the Holy Spirit's Voice seems small and still before its magnitude. The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourselves the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you!
5 Learning is an ability you made and gave yourselves. It was not made to do the Will of God but to uphold a wish that It could be opposed, and that a will apart from It was yet more real than It. And this has learning sought to demonstrate, and you have learned what it was made to teach. Now does your ancient overlearning stand implacable before the Voice of truth and teach you that Its lessons are not true, too hard to learn, too difficult to see, and too opposed to what is really true. Yet you will learn them, for their learning is the only purpose for your learning skill the Holy Spirit sees in all the world. His simple lessons in forgiveness have a power mightier than yours because they call from God and from your Self to you.
6 Is this a little Voice, so small and still It cannot rise above the senseless noise of sounds which have no meaning? God willed not His Son forget Him. And the power of His Will is in the Voice that speaks for Him. Which lesson will you learn? What outcome is inevitable, sure as God, and far beyond all doubt and question? Can it be your little learning, strange in outcome and incredible in difficulty, will withstand the simple lessons being taught to you in every moment of each day, since time began and learning had been made?
7 The lessons to be learned are only two. Each has its outcome in a different world. And each world follows surely from its source. The certain outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety you can make that ever will succeed. There is no joy that you can seek for here and hope to find. Yet this is not the only outcome which your learning can produce. However much you may have overlearned your chosen task, the lesson which reflects the love of God is stronger still. And you will learn God's Son is innocent and see another world.
8 The outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft, eternal calling of each part of God's creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.
9 There is no living thing which does not share the universal will that it be whole and that you do not leave its call unheard. Without your answer is it left to die, as it is saved from death when you have heard its calling as the ancient call to life and understood that it is but your own. The Christ in you remembers God with all the certainty with which He knows His love. But only if His Son is innocent can He be Love. For God were fear indeed if he whom He created innocent could be a slave to guilt. God's perfect Son remembers his creation. But in guilt he has forgotten what he really is.
10 The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God's love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world! You do not understand Who calls to you beyond each form of hate, each call to war. Yet you will recognize Him as you give Him answer in the language that He calls. He will appear when you have answered Him, and you will know in Him that God is Love.
11 What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn and have an outcome that you do not want? It is the recognition that it is a state of mind unwanted that becomes the means whereby the choice is reassessed; another outcome seen to be preferred. You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. Hear not the call for this within yourself. But listen, rather, to the deeper call beyond it that appeals for peace and joy. And all the world will give you joy and peace. For as you hear, you answer. And behold! Your answer is the proof of what you learned. Its outcome is the world you look upon.
12 Let us be still an instant and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception which we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away. Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do we know him not. But you are free to learn of him and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live, as you are free because an ancient learning passed away and left a place for truth to be reborn.