Neville Goddard Influential New Thought Teacher (1905-1972)
Joseph Murphy, a writer and lecturer, who studied with Neville in New York City, said of him: “Neville may eventually be recognized as one of the world’s great mystics,”
Born on Barbados in the British West Indies, Neville was the fourth child in a family of nine boys and one girl. One day some of them were playing near an old wind-swept hut by the sea. A seer lived in the hut and told them their fortunes, The older sons would go into the professions, into medicine, into business. The predictions for them came true. The Goddard family is one of the most prominent and influential families on the island.
“Do not touch the fourth one,” the seer said, pointing to Neville, “he has a special mission to perform in the world – from God.” And to Neville, “You will journey to a distant land and spend your life there.” This prediction also came true. As a young man he went to America and worked in some of the department stores in New York City. Later, he worked in the theatre with the Schubert’s.
Under unusual circumstances, he met a black Jew, named Abdullah, who lectured on Christianity. Neville went to hear him, somewhat under protest, to satisfy the constant urging of a friend, “Whose judgment I did not respect,” Neville said, “because he made such poor financial investments.”
Neville said he was seated in the auditorium waiting for the lecture to begin, when the speaker – who had never met Neville came down the aisle from the rear of the auditorium to the stage.
“You are late, Neville!” Abdullah said, “six months’ late! I have been told to expect you.” From this introduction, Neville studied with Abdullah seven days a week for seven years.
“Abdullah taught me Hebrew, he taught me The Kabbalah, and he taught me more about real Christianity than anyone I ever met,” Neville declared.
Neville originally came to the United States to study drama at the age of seventeen. In 1932 he gave up the theater to devote his attention to his studies in mysticism when he began his lecture career in New York City. After traveling throughout the country, he eventually made his home in Los Angeles where, in the late 1950’s, he gave a series of talks on television, and for many years, lectured regularly to capacity audiences at the Wilshire Ebell Theater. In the 1960’s and early ‘70s, he confined most of his lectures to Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
Neville once said that if he was stranded on an island and was allowed one book, he would choose, The Bible, without hesitation. If he could squeeze in more, he would add Charles Fillmore’s Metaphysical Dictionary of Bible names, William Blake, (“… Why stand we here trembling around, Calling on God for help, and not ourselves, in whom God dwells?”) and Nicoll’s Commentaries. These were the books he recommended at his lectures.
In his lectures and books, Neville dealt solely with The Law until the year 1959, “For I did not know of The Promise until I began to experience it and have it unfold within me beginning that summer and continuing during the next three-and-one-half years. And this is Scriptural,” he would say, “read it in the of Book of Daniel where it is referred to as ‘a time, times, and a half.’ It comes to 1260 days in your experience of it.”
In his use of The Law, he related how he made a sea voyage from New York to see his family in Barbados during the Depression, without any money of his own. He related how, by the use of imaginal power, he was honorably discharged from military service to continue his lectures during World War 11. He gave his audiences in San Francisco in the 1950’s and ‘60s accounts of how others had made use of The Law. He discussed it on television in the Los Angeles area, “Learn how to use your imaginal power, lovingly, on behalf of others, for Man is moving into a world where everything is subject to his imaginal power,” he taught.
In the latter part of the 1960’s and early ‘70’s Neville gave more emphasis to The Promise after he had experienced it. The use of imaginal power can change circumstances, but it is all temporary, “– and will vanish like smoke,” he asserted with another sweep of his hand. “Oh. – you can use it to make a fortune, to become known in the world – all these things are done – but your true purpose here is to fulfill Scripture,” so he subordinated it and became as eager to hear accounts by those who had experienced The Promise, and sharing such accounts, as he had of those with The Law.
In the last years of his life he said, “I know my time is short. I have finished the work I have been sent to do and I am now eager to depart. I know I will not appear in this three-dimensional world again for The Promise has been fulfilled in me. As for where I go, I will know you there as I have known you here, for we are all brothers, infinitely in love with each other.”
This discovery Neville called God’s “Promise.” There is nothing any person can do to earn it. It is sheer Grace and comes in its own good time.
If you do not experience it in this life, then what?
“You pass through a door — that’s all that death is,” Neville said, “and — you are restored to life instantly in a world like this — just this world,” he was fond of saying to his audiences with a sweep of his hand, “and you go on there with the same problems you had here with no loss of identity – not old, not blind, not crippled, if you depart this life that way, but young. They grow, and they marry, and they die there, too, with all the fear of death that we have here. And if they die there without experiencing The Promise, they are restored to life again and again in a place best suited to the work yet to be done on them. And it continues until ‘Christ be formed in you’ and as ‘sons of The Resurrection’ you leave this world of death never to enter it gain.”
“You are born once through the womb of woman, once from above,” Neville insists you don’t go through any womb again.
What about the fear many have of eternal hell and damnation? In response to this often asked question, Neville replied with a quote from Scriptures, “’Not one shall be lost in all my holy mountain.’ You are God and how could God eternally condemn Himself?”
Until we awaken and make this discovery, we are privileged to use a Law, given by God, to “cushion the blows of life.” The Law, stated succinctly is this, In Neville’s words: “Imagining creates reality,”
Neville spoke without notes and followed his lectures with questions and answers. When he was asked if he had tapes of his lectures for sale, he replied, “I have no tapes. Others here are making tapes for their own use, Perfectly all right. But I have no tapes.”
There are many tapes of his lectures In Los Angeles and San Francisco circulating, thanks to the loyalty and dedication of many of Neville’s students and friends who have preserved much of What he said. His books are also in print.
Neville departed from the Earth plane on October 1, 1972, in Los Angeles.
Although Neville’s career peaked in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, his message continues to find a place in the hearts of spiritual readers throughout the world today.
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Neville him self speak that there is no such thing like new thought.