25 May Neville Goddard Lecture: “Feed My Sheep” (1956)
by Neville Goddard 7/1/1956
FEED MY SHEEP by Neville Goddard 7/1/1956 T his morning’s subject is “Feed My Sheep.” This is simply saying: practice the truths you have heard, for it means to shepherd the thoughts of the mind. For most of us, our thoughts are like rambling sheep that have no shepherd. We are called upon now to rule the thoughts, to rule the mind.
As you know, the kingdom of heaven is as a man starting into a far country, and he calls unto himself his servants and gives them his property, his goods. To one he gives five talents, to another he gives two, and to another he gives one – “every man according to his several ability.” And when he returned he asked for a reckoning. The one who had five traded and produced another five. He was highly commended and told as he was faithful over a few things he would now be ruler over many. The one who had two, he too traded and produced four, and he too was highly commended and told to enter into the joy of the Lord. But the one who had one was afraid because his master – so he thought – was a hard man, and so he buried his talent in the earth and did not expand it. But I think you know the story. He was condemned for his misuse of the talent. It was taken from him and given to the one who had the most, the one who had ten.
Well, now you have received talents in the last few days or few weeks, each one according to his ability. Some of us came with more prejudice to overcome, with more superstition, some with other beliefs that did not quite coincide with what we heard from the platform, and many of us had to overcome certain things before we could accept others. So, some got one talent, some two, some five, some maybe more. Now, a talent that is not exercised, like a muscle that is not exercised, finally sleeps, and as far as we are concerned, it atrophies. It doesn’t really die, but it goes so sound asleep, it might just as well not be part of ours. We must practice what we have heard, for without practice the most profound understanding in the world will not produce the desired results. So a little talent (call it a talent now) if you really expand it, if you exercise it, will be far more profitable than many talents that you do not exercise.
This morning we will just take one or two of the talents that we offer you. I can’t force them upon you – “we offer you.” Here is a statement from the Book of Amos: “I will sift the House of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” I will sift him and scatter him all over the nations of the world, but not the least grain shall fall upon the earth. Do you know who Israel is? Who this Jacob is? The Israel means “Is Real.” You can’t find it on the earth – don’t look for it on the earth, and yet you must find him, for ” formed him in the womb to be my servant and to bring Jacob – which is Israel – again unto me.” [Isaiah 49:5] So you and I were formed from the womb to be the servant and to bring Jacob unto the Lord. He is scattered all over the world but you will not find him – no, not the smallest grain – upon the earth. But you will find him within yourself, for the cue is given in Jacob. Jacob is the smooth-skinned lad. He is not like his brother Esau, who has hair, which means something external. So the Israel you are looking for this day is the thing you want to realise in the world. Do not look out and hope to find it or even to be encouraged that you will find it, by judging after the appearances of things. Do you seek health for a friend? That’s Israel scattered, but not on earth. In all the nations of the world I have scattered the house of Israel, but do not look into the eyes of a doctor for hope. Do not look into the eyes of the patient for hope of his recovery because you will not find him on earth. Not the least grain has fallen upon the earth.
So do you know what you want in this world? If you know exactly what you want, where do you see it? You see it in the mind of yourself. So when you know what you want, here is a part of Israel scattered, and you didn’t see him on earth. You saw him in the kingdom within you, for the Kingdom of God is within. So you saw a piece of Israel, now go bring him. I formed you from the womb to be my servant and to bring Jacob again unto me. You take that thing you have seen in the mind’s eye, which to make it practical, we will think of as a friend in need. It may be physical need, maybe he is unwell, or it could be he needs a job. Well, now you be the one who will decide what part of Israel you will bring to the Lord and prove to the Lord you are a perfect servant. For the promise is that when you prove you are the perfect servant, then you will no longer be called servant; he will call you his friend. “I no longer call you servant for now I call you friend for you do whatsoever I command you and, therefore, if you do what I command you, you are no longer my servant, you are my friend.” And now we will commune as a man to a friend, face to face. Another “you” has had this association for a while, for that is the purpose of it: to move from the servant to the friend; and after we become the friend of God for a while, then we turn to that of the Son. We no longer are the friend. We become his Son, but we cannot recognize the Sonship of God until we first prove ourselves as a servant. So the servant is to bring Israel, i.e., imagine lovingly and believe in your imaginal activity.
Now, we come back to the friend in need. Represent him to yourself as though he now embodied the state you want him to realise in this world. If it is a job, see him gainfully employed, take your imaginary hand, which is Jacob’s hand, and put it into his imaginary hand. Leave it in that imagined state until it takes on the tones of reality. When it seems to you real, that you are actually touching him, clothe it with all the reality of the external world. So Jacob clothed himself in the skins of Esau to deceive his father into believing that he, Jacob, was Esau. So you take the Jacob within you, which is the smooth-skinned lad, which is simply now the wish.
You want to congratulate him. You want to hear his voice. You want to hear him tell you he has never been so happy in a job in his life, he has never been so gainfully employed, that he loves going to work, he just loves everything about his job. You actually hear him as though you heard him. Now you clothe it with all the tones of reality. If you have two talents, give it two; if you have five, give it five. Begin to make it more and more real. The day will come, maybe this day, you will so clothe your Israel with the skins of Esau that you can actually bring it as an objective fact to your Father and prove you are a servant. For he formed you from the womb to actually be his servant. And what is the servant to do? To bring Jacob unto me again. So here Jacob is, scattered – lost in all the minds of men. You won’t find him on the earth. You will only find him if you know where to look. Now to prove you know where to look, to prove you are a good servant, go bring me Jacob. So when you bring Jacob, you bring Jacob clothed in your own mind’s eye as though you heard what you want to hear, as though you touched and you witnessed what you would like to touch and see in this world. And when you remain faithful to your vision, the vision will make for itself that perfect body in which to abide. Then you will see an objective corresponding fact, but it is not there. It is all within your own mind. It is there where he scattered it; it is there where he sustains it. He will simply project it for you onto the screen of space that you may have tangible evidence that you do know how to find and bring Jacob. If I know how to go searching for my Israel, if I know how to go looking for him and how to clothe him and give him the appearance of reality and I don’t do it, then I am not the good servant who took the five talents and expanded them; I am the one who buried it.
Now, some of us are almost afraid to test it because we are comforted if we can believe this without quite putting it to the test; for if we put it to the test and we fail, then we have no faith. We cannot go back to the former comfort that we enjoyed, say, in a more orthodox meeting. We thought we would find it here, and if I don’t test it and prove it to my own satisfaction, then I have neither the old comfort of the orthodox concept nor the comfort that I enjoyed here, for I disproved it. So I invite you to attempt, if you will, to disprove it. You can’t disprove it, but if you go out knowing where to look for your Israel, knowing why you are fashioned from the womb to be a servant, that is the first stage. Until you test yourself, until you prove you can do it, you are not a servant, not a servant of the Lord. But as you become a servant of the Lord, he will make you his friend. Then the relationship will be on a higher level. You will commune with your Father as a man does with a friend, face to face. You will not see him as an object in space, but you will actually know how to bring about a wished-for state of mind – bring it about at will. As you can bring about a wished-for state of mind, you have made of the deep – which is your Father – a friend, and you will actually know that companionship between the deep of self and you, the being that is really a wonderful imagination. Then the day will come, having been a wonderful friend of God, the seal will be broken and you will be revealed as the being you really are, which is the Son of God and the Father. Every person in the world is the child of God believing itself to be a man born of man.
I have tried in the past two weeks to convince you that your origin is God. It is not what the world would tell you – a little bug. For if you were a little bug, a little spermatozoa, though you seem to embody yourself and expand in the form of a man, your end will be a little spermatozoa, for all ends run true to origins. So whatever the origin, you can determine the end. I tell you your origin is God, therefore, your end is God. But to arrive at that end, you pass through the stages of the servant, then the friend, then God, which is the Son of God. For I and my Father are one, yet my Father is greater than I. Yes, I do not claim that this union, this oneness, entitles me to the same identical feeling of being Father. I and my Father are one, but my Father is greater than I. For the thing symbolised that bears witness of this unseen state is not really as great as that which it symbolises. So we are one and I will know it, and I will see my Father and see that he and I look alike, yet we are Father and Son relationship. But before I can get near it, I must prove I am a good servant.
Now, you take it this morning. We invite you to try it for a friend. We ask you to try it for yourself. We have given you many angles how to test it, how to think of what you want first and see in your mind’s eye – Israel. For when I know clearly in my mind’s eye what I want, I am actually looking at Israel, something that is real. It is real, but I must clothe it now in what the world calls reality by giving it external tones. But the thing was real long before it became a visible fact in the world. I see it in my mind’s eye by making as vivid and as lifelike a representation as possible of what I would see and what I would do and what I would actually hear, were I physically present in such a situation now. When I see it clearly I am looking into the eyes of Israel, and I found him scattered in the world – but not on the earth, for it is not on earth that I see him. I see him in my mind. Now I am looking at it, and thinking of it, but the secret is to think from it, to occupy that state and get into it. When I get into it I will clothe it with reality. I can think of a place and then close my eyes and assume that I am in that place. When I assume I am in the place, I am clothing it with what the world calls reality. It was real before I clothed it – when I saw it clearly this was Israel – but he wants me to bring him, and the only way I can test that I can bring him and prove that I am the servant, is to occupy the state. So, I occupy the feeling of my wish fulfilled. When I get into the feeling of the wish fulfilled and remain faithful to that state, then I am walking in my vision and – as we are told – if one would only advance confidently in the direction of his dream and endeavor to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected. Let me remain faithful to my vision by occupying my vision – don’t just see it. He demands that I bring him, bring Jacob again unto the Lord.
So Jacob is not a man who walked the face of the earth thousands of years ago, and Israel is not a nation now gathered together on the shores of Africa. He scatters the house of Israel in all the nations of the world. You might have been taught to believe that the person who calls himself a Jew in the presence of a nation is scattered Israel. Don’t believe it. Everyone in the world is that which actually contains and holds Israel. As you think of something and desire it to be a reality in your world, you are seeing Israel. Now he wants you to bring him and he wants you to prove that you can bring him and become the perfect servant of the Lord. Don’t be afraid to be the servant; become the perfect servant of God and then become his friend, and then realise you are his Son.
Let us go out determined that we will take the requests brought in here this morning There were a hundred odd that came in, but there are many more. Maybe you do not know them; you can take them collectively. But you can take an individual friend, a member of your family, and decide this day you are going to bring about some blessing in the individual’s life, you have it – you have the power to bless; for the power to confer reality on your wish for the friend is the power to bless that friend. If your friend is not well and you want the friend to be well, you simply assume that you and he (or she) are carrying on a conversation from a premise which you establish now, and the premise is that he or she never felt better in their lives, and you hear it and you witness it. Take your hand, your imaginary hand, and embrace them. Tell them what you feel about them, actually feel it. And then you do nothing outwardly to make it so, for things that you are going to see are not made of things that do appear. So you do not prescribe anything for them. You do not change their physical diet. You don’t offer any recommendation as to what they should do. You simply assume that they are already the embodiment of the state you desire for them, so you don’t start prescribing. Leave that out completely. You simply walk faithful to your image of the friend and you transform that image in your own mind’s eye.
You do it and see if you can bring him, because if you can’t do that and prove it to yourself, you have not yet proven you are a servant; therefore, the friendship is far removed from you. Everyone must prove that he is first a servant, as we read in Isaiah 49: “I formed you from the womb to be my servant and to bring Jacob again unto me.” Then I am told: even though Israel is not altogether gathered I am blessed. The individual who does it, he doesn’t have to bring the whole body of Israel. If he brings Jacob – one individual transformed – and proves he can transform him, he is blessed and receives a certain glory long before the body of Israel is collected and brought back.
So here you wonder why he is called “the king of Israel.” Why is he called the king? People thought it meant a man who looked out upon a small little nation and thought he was king, or they thought he was king (or even in irony when they said it). He isn’t that. The individual who becomes Son is truly king of the whole vast world of Israel, or [of] the ideas floating in the mind of man. For he is their shepherd, he is their king. He can command any idea to clothe itself in form. That is the king of Israel. That is the one that can make real a state that is only a wish. “Is Real” is the true Israel. Here, long before we become that – lifted up – we must start to discipline the mind to become the perfect servant.
There is no better time to start than now. If you are afraid to try it, then I wouldn’t know what to tell you, because in this place you must test it. They do not have a religion where you just come here and sit on Sundays and gather together and form a nice little friendship this way. This is not that kind of a religion at all. This is all to awaken the mind of man and make him a shepherd, make him something that rules. In fact, the very word translated “feed” in John 21 is translated many times in the Bible as “shepherd,” as “rule.” In Matthew 2, one shall come from Bethlehem; he shall have dominion over Israel. Well, in that one (he shall rule Israel) the word translated “rule” is the same word translated in John 21 as “feed.” So don’t take it literally. It simply means to take this mind of yours and discipline the whole mind by gathering things together and walking faithful to an invisible state, for Jacob is invisible. You thought he was a man who was a smooth-skinned lad. That is the way the mystic has of telling you this is a subjective state, and that you must learn to clothe [it] with objectivity. You walk faithful to the subjective state, and then in time it takes on the tones and the appearance of something external. The moment you detach your mind from that state – though at the moment of detachment it had some corresponding external witness – it will begin to fade. If you detach your mind from success in the midst of success, success as a reality outside of you fades and vanishes from your world. And then whatever you put your mind on, it takes the place of, proving success was not on the outside at all; it was within you. You clothed it for a moment and gave it the appearance of reality. But the day you are not faithful to the consciousness of being successful, the seeming solid reality of success vanishes from your world, proving itself to be the shadow it always was, and the reality – the light of success – was the idea in you with which you were identified. So if I assume that I am _____ (and I name it) and I remain faithful to it, it comes out and makes itself seemingly real. If I cease to assume it and sustain it, it slowly vanishes from my world, and if it vanishes I might think the reality was there. I have forgotten how to bring Jacob. I have forgotten how to bring him to the Lord.
So here let us remember where Israel is. It’s not in the Near East. Israel is scattered in all the nations of the world, in your mind – that is where he is. And now you have a purpose in this world and if you really love the teaching (as the words are: “Lovest thou me?”) you say you are faithful. “Peter do you love me?” He doesn’t call him Peter by the way, he calls him Simon. He never calls him Peter in any parts of the Bible; He is referred to as Peter, but whenever he is addressed by the central figure of the gospels, he always calls him Simon, and Simon means to hear, it means to listen. Well, have you heard, have you really heard, Simon? Yes. Then do you love what you have heard? Lovest thou me, or what I have told you that I am? I am the thing that I teach, so do you love me? Then feed my sheep. Become ruler of this mind of yours and prove you really love the thing you tell me you have heard. If you have heard it, then you are Simon; and if you have really heard it to the point of acceptance, prove you have accepted it by taking the talent received and expand it. Don’t let the shepherd come and when he asks you for the talent, you say you were afraid and you buried it. Let us not be afraid to actually test the truth of the principles we try to explain here.
So, all these are our truths that we have accepted. Now, some got one, some two, some got five. We have done our best in the past two weeks to give you all that we could within two weeks, unfolded from the Bible. We showed you the Bible as a mystery, that all your members are buried, not in one little book, but in all the books. They are all telling you the story about yourself. How God became you that you may become God. How God died to become man in the sense of forgetting that he was God, as he awoke as man. Man walking the earth has no knowledge he is God, and the individual who dares to claim that he is, and tells you that you are, is usually condemned by those who appoint themselves as teachers. That is the blind leading the blind, and they will call you arrogant if you dare to even demonstrate the power of the mind. And they will tell you that’s not right – you are taking back from God the thing that belonged to God. You see, they are sound asleep. They don’t realise that God became man for one purpose, that he may have the companionship of sons as Gods. So man must awaken and realise who he really is, and he realises that by starting first as a servant.
I have given you, I think, a perfect technique to prove that you are a servant. Try it today! If you succeed in the simplest little way of taking an invisible state and making it become a reality, like the job for a friend or even the getting of a hat, or even the finding of the proper apartment, or even the getting of some little thing – you try it. If you lost something, “Nothing is lost in all my holy mountain,” sayeth the Lord, for if it isn’t lost it is scattered now in Israel. Prove that it isn’t lost. What is it that you have lost? Well, take it in your own mind’s eye and then mentally touch it and mentally appropriate it and feel that you have it, that it is yours now, and remain faithful to that assumption and see if the thing returns. If the thing is recovered, you have proved that you have found Israel (a portion of him anyway) and you know how to take him and clothe him in such tones of reality that you can bring him to the Lord, for the Lord is your own wonderful consciousness. When you say: “I AM,” that is the Lord. Go tell them I AM hath sent you. So when you walk in the feeling “I am so and so,” it is not seen as yet, but that is something you are bringing to the Lord, and the more you feel it to be real, the more natural it becomes. Then it clothes itself in external facts, but the external fact is not the truth of it. Truth and fact oppose each other. Truth does not depend upon fact. Truth depends upon the intensity of your imagination. Therefore, if I actually am intense about it, that is true. I might tomorrow find a corresponding fact to bear witness – but, as I said earlier, let me not continue in that assumption and the fact will fade, proving it was not reality at all. Reality was in my assumption, and so truth depends not upon fact, but upon the intensity of imagination.
Then you will understand the drama when truth faces what is called fact or reason, and when asked: what is the truth – truth remains silent. He would not answer because fact or reason thinks that a true judgement must conform to the external reality to which it relates. If I say: “Aren’t these lovely” and I mention something that no one present can see, you say my judgement isn’t true, for if it isn’t on something on the outside. Then what I say has no reality. I must be suffering from some illusion. If I persist in it, and you cannot see it, then it is hallucination. But I know from experience that I can take an illusion, and through the medium of an illusion I can relate myself to reality or “Is Real” by walking faithful to what you call my illusion. I simply assume a state knowing I have found it; it is scattered in the nations of the world and finding it in myself as a desirable state, I appropriate it. Walking faithful to my appropriated state I gradually become it. Disentangling myself from that state eventually, I cease to be it, for that which requires a state of consciousness to embody itself cannot be embodied without such a state of consciousness.
When I know that the whole thing depends upon my appropriation of the parts of Israel to bring Jacob to my Father, then I will start to do it, and then my talents will run from five to ten and to twenty, and finally when I have all these talents I will be worthy of being a friend. When I have been faithful in a few things, he will make me Lord over much. Then he will tell me: I no longer call you servant. I call you friend, for you did what I commanded you. Now, having done what I commanded you, you are my friend indeed. We will walk in that association for a while, communing with the deep, knowing the deep of self is my real being that men call God. I won’t see him as another. I will commune with him as though he were another, and he and I will talk across that invisible state just as though man spoke face to face with a friend. For after this invisible state when I commune with the deep is reached to a point of complete satisfaction, the last seal will be broken. He will break the seal and reveal me as his son, and when I see him and look into his face he will be just like me and I will be like him. Then you will know the mystery of the Epistle of John: “Beloved what manner of love.”
Just imagine what love God has bestowed upon us that we should be called the Sons of God. And then, although at this moment, that I feel it from the deep, I don’t quite know what I am like or what he is like, yet I do know this much: that when I see him I will know him. And why will I know him? Because I’ll be like him. I will look right into the mirror of my own being, and realise it was for that purpose that I, the Father, embodied myself as man, hoping that eventually he would awaken and become a conscious being, moving completely from a passive reflector to a conscious cooperator in my kingdom. So, man gradually moves from the passive state to the active state, and the process is the servant, the friend, the Son.