Miscellaneous Writings/Chapter 06
A Christmas Sermon
Delivered in Chickering Hall, Boston, Mass., on the Sunday before Christmas, 1888.
Subject: The Corporeal and Incorporeal Saviour.
Text: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. — Isaiah ix. 6.
TO the senses, Jesus was the son of man: in Science, man is the son of God. The material senses could not cognize the Christ, or Son of God: It was Jesus' approximation to this state of being that made him the Christ-Jesus, the Godlike, the anointed.
The prophet whose words we have chosen for our text, prophesied the appearing of this dual nature, as both human and divinely endowed, the personal and the impersonal Jesus.
The only record of our Master as a public benefactor, or personal Saviour, opens when he was thirty years of age; owing in part, perhaps, to the Jewish law that none should teach or preach in public under that age. Also, it is natural to conclude that at this juncture he was specially endowed with the Holy Spirit; for he was given the new name, Messiah, or Jesus Christ, — the God-anointed; even as, at times of special enlightenment, Jacob was called Israel; and Saul, Paul.
The third event of this eventful period, — a period of such wonderful spiritual import to mankind! — was the advent of a higher Christianity.
From this dazzling, God-crowned summit, the Nazarene stepped suddenly before the people and their schools of philosophy; Gnostic, Epicurean, and Stoic. He must stem these rising angry elements, and walk serenely over their fretted, foaming billows.
Here the cross became the emblem of Jesus' history; while the central point of his Messianic mission was peace, good will, love, teaching, and healing.
Clad with divine might, he was ready to stem the tide of Judaism, and prove his power, derived from Spirit, to be supreme; lay himself as a lamb upon the altar of materialism, and therefrom rise to his nativity in Spirit.
The corporeal Jesus bore our infirmities, and through his stripes we are healed. He was the Way-shower, and suffered in the flesh, showing mortals how to escape from the sins of the flesh.
There was no incorporeal Jesus of Nazareth. The spiritual man, or Christ, was after the similitude of the Father, without corporeality or finite mind.
Materiality, worldliness, human pride, or self-will, by demoralizing his motives and Christlikeness, would have dethroned his power as the Christ.
To carry out his holy purpose, he must be oblivious of human self.
Of the lineage of David, like him he went forth, simple as the shepherd boy, to disarm the Goliath. Panoplied in the strength of an exalted hope, faith, and understanding, he sought to conquer the three-in-one of error: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Three years he went about doing good. He had for thirty years been preparing to heal and teach divinely; but his three-years mission was a marvel of glory: its chaplet, a grave to mortal sense dishonored — from which sprang a sublime and everlasting victory!
He who dated time, the Christian era, and spanned eternity, was the meekest man on earth. He healed and taught by the wayside, in humble homes: to arrant hypocrite and to dull disciples he explained the Word of God, which has since ripened into interpretation through Science.
His words were articulated in the language of a declining race, and committed to the providence of God. In no one thing seemed he less human and more divine than in his unfaltering faith in the immortality of Truth. Referring to this, he said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away!” and they have not: they still live; and are the basis of divine liberty, the medium of Mind, the hope of the race.
Only three years a personal Saviour! yet the foundations he laid are as eternal as Truth, the chief cornerstone.
After his brief brave struggle, and the crucifixion of the corporeal man, the incorporeal Saviour — the Christ or spiritual idea which leadeth into all Truth — must needs come in Christian Science, demonstrating the spiritual healing of body and mind.
This idea or divine essence was, and is, forever about the Father's business; heralding the Principle of health, holiness, and immortality.
Its divine Principle interprets the incorporeal idea, or Son of God; hence the incorporeal and corporeal are distinguished thus: the former is the spiritual idea that represents divine good, and the latter is the human presentation of goodness in man. The Science of Christianity, that has appeared in the ripeness of time, reveals the incorporeal Christ; and this will continue to be seen more clearly until it be acknowledged, understood, — and the Saviour, which is Truth, be comprehended.
To the vision of the Wisemen, this spiritual idea of the Principle of man or the universe, appeared as a star. At first, the babe Jesus seemed small to mortals; but from the mount of revelation, the prophet beheld it from the beginning as the Redeemer, who would present a wonderful manifestation of Truth and Love.
In our text Isaiah foretold, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
As the Wisemen grew in the understanding of Christ, the spiritual idea, it grew in favor with them. Thus it will continue, as it shall become understood, until man be found in the actual likeness of his Maker. Their highest human concept of the man Jesus, that portrayed him as the only Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and Truth, will become so magnified to human sense, by means of the lens of Science, as to reveal man collectively, as individually, to be the son of God.
The limited view of God's ideas arose from the testimony of the senses. Science affords the evidence that God is the Father of man, of all that is real and eternal. This spiritual idea that the personal Jesus demonstrated, casting out evils and healing, more than eighteen centuries ago, disappeared by degrees; both because of the ascension of Jesus, in which it was seen that he had grown beyond the human sense of him, and because of the corruption of the Church.
The last appearing of Truth will be a wholly spiritual idea of God and of man, without the fetters of the flesh, or corporeality. This infinite idea of infinity will be, is, as eternal as its divine Principle. The daystar of this appearing is the light of Christian Science — the Science which rends the veil of the flesh from top to bottom. The light of this revelation leaves nothing that is material; neither darkness, doubt, disease, nor death. The material corporeality disappears; and individual spirituality, perfect and eternal, appears — never to disappear.
The truth uttered and lived by Jesus, who passed on and left to mortals the rich legacy of what he said and did, makes his followers the heirs to his example; but they can neither appreciate nor appropriate his treasures of Truth and Love, until lifted to these by their own growth and experiences. His goodness and grace purchased the means of mortals' redemption from sin; but, they never paid the price of sin. This cost, none but the sinner can pay; and accordingly as this account is settled with divine Love, is the sinner ready to avail himself of the rich blessings flowing from the teaching, example, and suffering of our Master.
The secret stores of wisdom must be discovered, their treasures reproduced and given to the world, before man can truthfully conclude that he has been found in the order, mode, and virgin origin of man according to divine Science, which alone demonstrates the divine Principle and spiritual idea of being.
The monument whose finger points upward, commemorates the earthly life of a martyr; but this is not all of the philanthropist, hero, and Christian. The Truth he has taught and spoken lives, and moves in our midst a divine afflatus. Thus it is that the ideal Christ — or impersonal infancy, manhood, and womanhood of Truth and Love — is still with us.
And what of this child? — “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.”
This child, or spiritual idea, has evolved a more ready ear for the overture of angels and the scientific understanding of Truth and Love. When Christ, the incorporeal idea of God, was nameless, and a Mary knew not how to declare its spiritual origin, the idea of man was not understood. The Judæan religion even required the Virgin-mother to go to the temple and be purified, for having given birth to the corporeal child Jesus, whose origin was more spiritual than the senses could interpret. Like the leaven that a certain woman hid in three measures of meal, the Science of God and the spiritual idea, named in this century Christian Science, is leavening the lump of human thought, until the whole shall be leavened and all materialism disappear. This action of the divine energy, even if not acknowledged, has come to be seen as diffusing richest blessings. This spiritual idea, or Christ, entered into the minutiæ of the life of the personal Jesus. It made him an honest man, a good carpenter, and a good man, before it could make him the glorified.
The material questions at this age on the reappearing of the infantile thought of God's man, are after the manner of a mother in the flesh, though their answers pertain to the spiritual Idea, as in Christian Science: —
Is he deformed?
He is wholly symmetrical; the one altogether lovely.
Is the babe a son, or daughter?
Both son and daughter: even the compound idea of all that resembles God.
How much does he weigh?
His substance outweighs the material world.
How old is he?
Of his days there is no beginning and no ending.
What is his name?
Who are his parents, brothers, and sisters?
His Father and Mother are divine Life, Truth, and Love; and they who do the will of his Father are his brethren.
Is he heir to an estate?
“The government shall be upon his shoulder!” He has dominion over the whole earth; and in admiration of his origin, he exclaims, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes!”
Is he wonderful?
His works thus prove him. He giveth power, peace, and holiness; he exalteth the lowly; he giveth liberty to the captive, health to the sick, salvation from sin to the sinner — and overcometh the world!
Go, and tell what things ye shall see and hear: how the blind, spiritually and physically, receive sight; how the lame, those halting between two opinions or hobbling on crutches, walk; how the physical and moral lepers are cleansed; how the deaf — those who, having ears, hear not, and are afflicted with “tympanum on the brain” — hear; how the dead, those buried in dogmas and physical ailments, are raised; that to the poor — the lowly in Christ, not the man-made rabbi — the gospel is preached. Note this: only such as are pure in spirit, emptied of vainglory and vain knowledge, receive Truth.
Here ends the colloquy; and a voice from heaven seems to say, “Come and see.”
The nineteenth-century prophets repeat, “Unto us a son is given.”
The shepherds shout, “We behold the appearing of the star!” and the pure in heart clap their hands.
Editor's Extracts from Sermon
Text: Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. Matt. xxii. 29.
The Christian Science Journal reported as follows: —
The announcement that the Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy would speak before the Scientist denomination on the afternoon of October 26, drew a large audience. Hawthorne Hall was densely packed, and many had to go away unable to obtain seats. The distinguished speaker began by saying: —
Within Bible pages she had found all the divine Science she preaches; noticing, all along the way of her researches therein, that whenever her thoughts had wandered into the bypaths of ancient philosophies or pagan literatures, her spiritual insight had been darkened thereby, till she was God-driven back to the inspired pages. Early training, through the misinterpretation of the Word, had been the underlying cause of the long years of invalidism she endured before Truth dawned upon her understanding, through right interpretation. With the understanding of Scripture-meanings, had come physical rejuvenation. The uplifting of spirit was the upbuilding of the body.
She affirmed that the Scriptures cannot properly be interpreted in a literal way. The truths they teach must be spiritually discerned, before their message can be borne fully to our minds and hearts. That there is a dual meaning to every Biblical passage, the most eminent divines of the world have concluded; and to get at the highest, or metaphysical, it is necessary rightly to read what the inspired writers left for our spiritual instruction. The literal rendering of the Scriptures makes them nothing valuable, but often is the foundation of unbelief and hopelessness. The metaphysical rendering is health and peace and hope for all. The literal or material reading is the reading of the carnal mind, which is enmity toward God, Spirit.
Taking several Bible passages, Mrs. Eddy showed how beautiful and inspiring are the thoughts when rightly understood. “Let the dead bury their dead; follow thou me,” was one of the passages explained metaphysically. In their fullest meaning, those words are salvation from the belief of death, the last enemy to be overthrown; for by following Christ truly, resurrection and life immortal are brought to us. If we follow him, to us there can be no dead. Those who know not this, may still believe in death and weep over the graves of their beloved; but with him is Life eternal, which never changes to death. The eating of bread and drinking of wine at the Lord's supper, merely symbolize the spiritual refreshment of God's children having rightly read His Word, whose entrance into their understanding is healthful life. This is the reality behind the symbol.
So, also, she spoke of the hades, or hell of Scripture, saying, that we make our own heavens and our own hells, by right and wise, or wrong and foolish, conceptions of God and our fellow-men. Jesus interpreted all spiritually: “I have bread to eat that ye know not of,” he said. The bread he ate, which was refreshment of divine strength, we also may all partake of.
The material record of the Bible, she said, is no more important to our well-being than the history of Europe and America; but the spiritual application bears upon our eternal life. The method of Jesus was purely metaphysical; and no other method is Christian Science. In the passage recording Jesus' proceedings with the blind man (Mark viii.) he is said to have spat upon the dust. Spitting was the Hebrew method of expressing the utmost contempt. So Jesus is recorded as having expressed contempt for the belief of material eyes as having any power to see. Having eyes, ye see not; and ears, ye hear not, he had just told them. The putting on of hands mentioned, she explained as the putting forth of power. “Hand,” in Bible usage, often means spiritual power. “His hand is not shortened that it cannot save,” can never be wrested from its true meaning to signify human hands. Jesus' first effort to realize Truth was not wholly successful; but he rose to the occasion with the second attempt, and the blind saw clearly. To suppose that Jesus did actually anoint the blind man's eyes with his spittle, is as absurd as to think, according to the report of some, that Christian Scientists sit in back-to-back seances with their patients, for the divine power to filter from vertebræ to vertebræ. When one comes to the age with spiritual translations of God's messages, expressed in literal or physical terms, our right action is not to condemn and deny, but to “try the spirits” and see what manner they are of. This does not mean communing with spirits supposed to have departed from the earth, but the seeking out of the basis upon which are accomplished the works by which the new teacher would prove his right to be heard. By these signs are the true disciples of the Master known: the sick are healed; to the poor the gospel is preached.
Extract from a Sermon delivered in Boston, January 18, 1885
Text: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. — Matt. xiii. 33.
Few people at present know aught of the Science of mental healing; and so many are obtruding upon the public attention their ignorance or false knowledge in the name of Science, that it behooves all clad in the shining mail to keep bright their invincible armor; to keep their demonstrations modest, and their claims and lives steadfast in Truth.
Dispensing the Word charitably, but separating the tares from the wheat, let us declare the positive and the negative of metaphysical Science; what it is, and what it is not. Intrepid, self-oblivious Protestants in a higher sense than ever before, let us meet and defeat the claims of sense and sin, regardless of the bans or clans pouring in their fire upon us; and white-winged charity, brooding over all, shall cover with her feathers the veriest sinner.
Divine and unerring Mind measures man, until the three measures be accomplished, and he arrives at fulness of stature; for “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
Science is divine: it is neither of human origin nor of human direction. That which is termed “natural science,” the evidences whereof are taken in by the five personal senses, presents but a finite, feeble sense of the infinite law of God; which law is written on the heart, received through the affections, spiritually understood, and demonstrated in our lives.
This law of God is the Science of mental healing, spiritually discerned, understood, and obeyed.
Mental Science, and the five personal senses, are at war; and peace can only be declared on the side of immutable right, — the health, holiness, and immortality of man. To gain this scientific result, the first and fundamental rule of Science must be understood and adhered to; namely, the oft-repeated declaration in Scripture that God is good; hence, good is omnipotent and omnipresent.
Ancient and modern philosophy, human reason, or man's theorems, misstate mental Science, its Principle and practice. The most enlightened sense herein sees nothing but a law of matter.
Who has ever learned of the schools that there is but one Mind, and that this is God, who healeth all our sickness and sins?
Who has ever learned from the schools, pagan philosophy, or scholastic theology, that Science is the law of Mind and not of matter, and that this law has no relation to, or recognition of, matter?
Mind is its own great cause and effect. Mind is God, omnipotent and omnipresent. What, then, of an opposite so-called science, which says that man is both matter and mind, that Mind is in matter? Can the infinite be within the finite? And must not man have preexisted in the All and Only? Does an evil mind exist without space to occupy, power to act, or vanity to pretend that it is man?
If God is Mind and fills all space, is everywhere, matter is nowhere and sin is obsolete. If Mind, God, is all-power and all-presence, man is not met by another power and presence, that — obstructing his intelligence — pains, fetters, and befools him. The perfection of man is intact; whence, then, is something besides Him that is not the counterpart but the counterfeit of man's creator? Surely not from God, for He made man in His own likeness. Whence, then, is the atom or molecule called matter? Have attraction and cohesion formed it? But are these forces laws of matter, or laws of Mind?
For matter to be matter, it must have been self-created. Mind has no more power to evolve or to create matter than has good tor produce evil Matter is a misstatement of Mind; it is a lie, claiming to talk and disclaim against Truth; idolatry, having other gods; evil, having presence and power over omnipotence!
Let us have a clearing up of abstractions. Let us come into the presence of Him who removeth all iniquities, and healeth all our diseases. Let us attach our sense of Science to what touches the religious sentiment within man. Let us open our affections to the Principle that moves all in harmony, — from the falling of a sparrow to the rolling of a world. Above Arcturus and his sons, broader than the solar system and higher than the atmosphere of our planet, is the Science of mental healing.
What is the kingdom of heaven? The abode of Spirit, the realm of the real. No matter is there, no night is there — nothing that maketh or worketh a lie. Is this kingdom afar off? No: it is ever-present here. The first to declare against this kingdom is matter. Shall that be called heresy which pleads for Spirit — the All of God, and His omnipresence?
The kingdom of heaven is the reign of divine Science: it is a mental state. Jesus said it is within you, and taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come;” but he did not teach us to pray for death whereby to gain heaven. We do not look into darkness for light. Death can never usher in the dawn of Science that reveals the spiritual facts of man's Life here and now.
The leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, is Divine Science; the Comforter; the Holy Ghost that leadeth into all Truth; the “still, small voice” that breathes His presence and power, casting out error and healing the sick. And woman, the spiritual idea, takes of the things of God and showeth them unto the creature, until the whole sense of being is leavened with Spirit. The three measures of meal may well be likened to the false sense of life, substance, and intelligence, which says, I am sustained by bread, matter, instead of Mind. The spiritual leaven of divine Science changes this false sense, giving better views of Life; saying, Man's Life is God; and when this shall appear, it shall be “the substance of things hoped for.”
The measure of Life shall increase by every spiritual touch, even as the leaven expands the loaf. Man shall keep the feast of Life, not with the old leaven of the scribes and Pharisees, neither with “the leaven of malice and wickedness; but the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Thus it can be seen that the Science of mental healing must be understood. There are false Christs that would “deceive, if it were possible, the very elect,” by instituting matter and its methods in place of God, Mind. Their supposition is, that there are other minds than His; that one mind controls another; that one belief takes the place of another. But this ism of to-day has nothing to do with the Science of mental healing which acquaints us with God and reveals the one perfect Mind and His laws.
The attempt to mix matter and Mind, to work by means of both animal magnetism and divine power, is literally saying, Have we not in thy name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works?
But remember God in all thy ways, and thou shalt find the truth that breaks the dream of sense, letting the harmony of Science that declares Him, come in with healing, and peace, and perfect love.
Sunday Services on July Fourth
The great theme so deeply and solemnly expounded by the preacher, has been exemplified in all ages, but chiefly in the great crises of nations or of the human race. It is then that supreme devotion to Principle has especially been called for and manifested. It is then that we learn a little more of the nothingness of evil, and more of the divine energies of good, and strive valiantly for the liberty of the sons of God.
The day we celebrate reminds us of the heroes and heroines who counted not their own lives dear to them, when they sought the New England shores, not as the flying nor as conquerors, but, steadfast in faith and love, to build upon the rock of Christ, the true idea of God — the supremacy of Spirit and the nothingness of matter. When first the Pilgrims planted their feet on Plymouth Rock, frozen ritual and creed should forever have melted away in the fire of love which came down from heaven. The Pilgrims came to establish a nation in true freedom, in the rights of conscience.
But what of ourselves, and our times and obligations? Are we duly aware of our own great opportunities and responsibilities? Are we prepared to meet and improve them, to act up to the acme of divine energy wherewith we are armored?
Never was there a more solemn and imperious call than God makes to us all, right here, for fervent devotion and an absolute consecration to the greatest and holiest of all causes. The hour is come. The great battle of Armageddon is upon us. The powers of evil are leagued together in secret conspiracy against the Lord and against His Christ, as expressed and operative in Christian Science. Large numbers, in desperate malice, are engaged day and night in organizing action against us. Their feeling and purpose are deadly, and they have sworn enmity against the lives of our standard-bearers.
What will you do about it? Will you be equally in earnest for the truth? Will you doff your lavender-kid zeal, and become real and consecrated warriors? Will you give yourselves wholly and irrevocably to the great work of establishing the truth, the gospel, and the Science which are necessary to the salvation of the world from error, sin, disease, and death? Answer at once and practically, and answer aright!
The editor of The Christian Science Journal said that at three o'clock, the hour for the church service proper, the pastor, Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy, accompanied by Rev. D. A. Easton, who was announced to preach the sermon, came on the platform. The pastor introduced Mr. Easton as follows: —
Friends: — The homesick traveller in foreign lands greets with joy a familiar face. I am constantly homesick for heaven. In my long journeyings I have met one who comes from the place of my own sojourning for many years, — the Congregational Church. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and of Andover Theological School. He has left his old church, as I did, from a yearning of the heart; because he was not satisfied with a manlike God, but wanted to become a God-like man. He found that the new wine could not be put into old bottles without bursting them, and he came to us.
Mr. Easton then delivered an interesting discourse from the text, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col iii. 1), which he prefaced by saying: —
“I think it was about a year ago that I strayed into this hall, a stranger, and wondered what sort of people you were, and of what you were worshippers. If any one had said to me that to-day I should stand before you to preach a sermon on Christian Science, I should have replied, ‘Much learning’ — or something else — hath made thee mad.’ If I had not found Christian Science a new gospel, I should not be standing before you: if I had not found it truth, I could not have stood up again to preach, here or elsewhere.”
At the conclusion of the sermon, the pastor again came forward, and added the following: —
My friends, I wished to be excused from speaking to-day, but will yield to circumstances. In the flesh, we are as a partition wall between the old and the new; between the old religion in which we have been educated, and the new, living, impersonal Christ-thought that has been given to the world to-day.
The old churches are saying, “He is not here;” and, “Who shall roll away the stone?”
The stone has been rolled away by human suffering. The first rightful desire in the hour of loss, when believing we have lost sight of Truth, is to know where He is laid. This appeal resolves itself into these questions: —
Is our consciousness in matter or in God? Have we any other consciousness than that of good? If we have, He is saying to us to-day, “Adam, where art thou?” We are wrong if our consciousness is in sin, sickness, and death. This is the old consciousness.
In the new religion the teaching is, “He is not here; Truth is not in matter; he is risen; Truth has become more to us, — more true, more spiritual.”
Can we say this to-day? Have we left the consciousness of sickness and sin for that of health and holiness?
What is it that seems a stone between us and the resurrection morning?
It is the belief of mind in matter. We can only come into the spiritual resurrection by quitting the old consciousness of Soul in sense.
These flowers are floral apostles. God does all this through His followers; and He made every flower in Mind before it sprang from the earth: yet we look into matter and the earth to give us these smiles of God!
We must lay aside material consciousness, and then we can perceive Truth, and say with Mary, “Rabboni!” — Master!
In 1866, when God revealed to me this risen Christ, this Life that knows no death, that saith, “Because he lives, I live,” I awoke from the dream of Spirit in the flesh so far as to take the side of Spirit, and strive to cease my warfare.
When, through this consciousness, I was delivered from the dark shadow and portal of death, my friends were frightened at beholding me restored to health.
A dear old lady asked me, “How is it that you are restored to us? Has Christ come again on earth?”
“Christ never left,” I replied; “Christ is Truth, and Truth is always here, — the impersonal Saviour.”
Then another person, more material, met me, and I said, in the words of my Master, “Touch me not.” I shuddered at her material approach; then my heart went out to God, and I found the open door from this sepulchre of matter.
I love the Easter service: it speaks to me of Life, and not of death.
Let us do our work; then we shall have part in his resurrection.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. — John i. 12, 13.
Here, the apostle assures us that man has power to become the son of God. In the Hebrew text, the word “son” is defined variously; a month is called the son of a year. This term, as applied to man, is used in both a material and a spiritual sense. The Scriptures speak of Jesus as the Son of God and the Son of man; but Jesus said to call no man father; “for one is your Father,” even God.
Is man's spiritual sonship a personal gift to man, or is it the reality of his being, in divine Science? Man's knowledge of this grand verity gives him power to demonstrate his divine Principle, which in turn is requisite in order to understand his sonship, or unity with God, good. A personal requirement of blind obedience to the law of being, would tend to obscure the order of Science, unless that requirement should express the claims of the divine Principle. Infinite Principle and infinite Spirit must be one. What avail, then, to quarrel over what is the person of Spirit,—if we recognize infinitude as personality,—for who can tell what is the form of infinity? When we understand man's true birthright, that he is “born, not . . . of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” we shall understand that man is the offspring of Spirit, and not of the flesh; recognize him through spiritual, and not material laws; and regard him as spiritual, and not material. His sonship, referred to in the text, is his spiritual relation to Deity: it is not, then, a personal gift, but is the order of divine Science. The apostle urges upon our acceptance this great fact: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Mortals will lose their sense of mortality—disease, sickness, sin, and death—in the proportion that they gain the sense of man's spiritual preexistence as God's child; as the offspring of good, and not of God's opposite,—evil, or a fallen man.
John the Baptist had a clear discernment of divine Science: being born not of the human will or flesh, he antedated his own existence, began spiritually instead of materially to reckon himself logically; hence the impossibility of putting him to death, only in belief, through violent means or material methods.
“As many as received him;” that is, as many as perceive man's actual existence in and of his divine Principle, receive the Truth of existence; and these have no other God, no other Mind, no other origin; therefore, in time they lose their false sense of existence, and find their adoption with the Father; to wit, the redemption of the body. Through divine Science man gains the power to become the son of God, to recognize his perfect and eternal estate.
“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh.” This passage refers to man's primal, spiritual existence, created neither from dust nor carnal desire. “Nor of the will of man.” Born of no doctrine, no human faith, but beholding the truth of being; even the understanding that man was never lost in Adam, since he is and ever was the image and likeness of God, good. But no mortal hath seen the spiritual man, more than he hath seen the Father. The apostle indicates no personal plan of a personal Jehovah, partial and finite; but the possibility of all finding their place in God's great love, the eternal heritage of the Elohim, His sons and daughters. The text is a metaphysical statement of existence as Principle and idea, wherein man and his Maker are inseparable and eternal.
When the Word is made flesh,—that is, rendered practical,—this eternal Truth will be understood; and sickness, sin, and death will yield to it, even as they did more than eighteen centuries ago. The lusts of the flesh and the pride of life will then be quenched in the divine Science of being; in the ever-present good, omnipotent Love, and eternal Life, that know no death. In the great forever, the verities of being exist, and must be acknowledged and demonstrated. Man must love his neighbor as himself, and the power of Truth must be seen and felt in health, happiness, and holiness: then it will be found that Mind is All-in-all, and there is no matter to cope with.
Man is free born: he is neither the slave of sense, nor a silly ambler to the so-called pleasures and pains of self-conscious matter. Man is God's image and likeness; whatever is possible to God, is possible to man as God's reflection. Through the transparency of Science we learn this, and receive it: learn that man can fulfil the Scriptures in every instance; that if he open his mouth it shall be filled—not by reason of the schools, or learning, but by the natural ability, that reflection already has bestowed on him, to give utterance to Truth.
“Who hath believed our report?” Who understands these sayings? He to whom the arm of the Lord is revealed; to whom divine Science unfolds omnipotence, that equips man with divine power while it shames human pride. Asserting a selfhood apart from God, is a denial of man's spiritual sonship; for it claims another father. As many as do receive a knowledge of God through Science, will have power to reflect His power, in proof of man's “dominion over all the earth.” He is bravely brave who dares at this date refute the evidence of material sense with the facts of Science, and will arrive at the true status of man because of it. The material senses would make man, that the Scriptures declare reflects his Maker, the very opposite of that Maker, by claiming that God is Spirit, while man is matter; that God is good, but man is evil; that Deity is deathless, but man dies. Science and sense conflict, from the revolving of worlds to the death of a sparrow.
The Word will be made flesh and dwell among mortals, only when man reflects God in body as well as in mind. The child born of a woman has the formation of his parents; the man born of Spirit is spiritual, not material. Paul refers to this when speaking of presenting our bodies holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service; and this brings to remembrance the Hebrew strain, “Who healeth all thy diseases.”
If man should say of the power to be perfect which he possesses, “I am the power,” he would trespass upon divine Science, yield to material sense, and lose his power; even as when saying, “I have the power to sin and be sick,” and persisting in believing that he is sick and a sinner. If he says, “I am of God, therefore good,” yet persists in evil, he has denied the power of Truth, and must suffer for this error until he learns that all power is good because it is of God, and so destroys his self-deceived sense of power in evil. The Science of being gives back the lost likeness and power of God as the seal of man's adoption. Oh, for that light and love ineffable, which casteth out all fear, all sin, sickness, and death; that seeketh not her own, but another's good; that saith Abba, Father, and is born of God!
John came baptizing with water. He employed a type of physical cleanliness to foreshadow metaphysical purity, even mortal mind purged of the animal and human, and submerged in the humane and divine, giving back the lost sense of man in unity with, and reflecting, his Maker. None but the pure in heart shall see God, — shall be able to discern fully and demonstrate fairly the divine Principle of Christian Science. The will of God, or power of Spirit, is made manifest as Truth, and through righteousness, — not as or through matter, — and it strips matter of all claims, abilities or disabilities, pains or pleasures. Self-renunciation of all that constitutes a so-called material man, and the acknowledgment and achievement of his spiritual identity as the child of God, is Science that opens the very flood-gates of heaven; whence good flows into every avenue of being, cleansing mortals of all uncleanness, destroying all suffering, and demonstrating the true image and likeness. There is no other way under heaven whereby we can be saved, and man be clothed with might, majesty, and immortality.
“As many as received him,” — as accept the truth of being, — “to them gave he power to become the sons of God." The spiritualization of our sense of man opens the gates of paradise that the so-called material senses would close, and reveals man infinitely blessed, upright, pure, and free; having no need of statistics by which to learn his origin and age, or to measure his manhood, or to know how much of a man he ever has been: for, “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God."
And so it is written. The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was wade a quickening spirit. — 1 Cor. xv. 45.
When reasoning on this subject of man with the Corinthian brethren, the apostle first spake from their standpoint of thought; namely, that creation is material; he was not at this point giving the history of the spiritual man who originates in God, Love, who created man in His own image and likeness. In the creation of Adam from dust, — in which Soul is supposed to enter the embryo-man after his birth, — we see the material self-constituted belief of the Jews as referred to by St. Paul. Their material belief has fallen far below man's original standard, the spiritual man made in the image and likeness of God; for this erring belief even separates its conception of man from God, and ultimates in the opposite of immortal man, namely, in a sick and sinning mortal.
We learn in the Scriptures, as in divine Science, that God made all; that He is the universal Father and Mother of man; that God is divine Love: therefore divine Love is the divine Principle of the divine idea named man; in other words, the spiritual Principle of spiritual man. Now let us not lose this Science of man, but gain it clearly; then we shall see that man cannot be separated from his perfect Principle, God, inasmuch as an idea cannot be torn apart from its fundamental basis. This scientific knowledge affords self-evident proof of immortality; proof, also, that the Principle of man cannot produce a less perfect man than it produced in the beginning. A material sense of existence is not the scientific fact of being; whereas, the spiritual sense of God and His universe is the immortal and true sense of being.
As the apostle proceeds in this line of thought, he undoubtedly refers to the last Adam represented by the Messias, whose demonstration of God restored to mortals the lost sense of man's perfection, even the sense of the real man in God's likeness, who restored this sense by the spiritual regeneration of both mind and body, — casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead. The man Jesus demonstrated over sin, sickness, disease, and death. The great Metaphysician wrought, over and above every sense of matter, into the proper sense of the possibilities of Spirit. He established health and harmony, the perfection of mind and body, as the reality of man; while discord, as seen in disease and death, was to him the opposite of man, hence the unreality; even as in Science a chord is manifestly the reality of music, and discord the unreality. This rule of harmony must be accepted as true relative to man.
The translators of the older Scriptures presuppose a material man to be the first man, solely because their transcribing thoughts were not lifted to the inspired sense of the spiritual man, as set forth in original Holy Writ. Had both writers and translators in that age fully comprehended the kter teachings and demonstrations of our human and divine Master, the Old Testament might have been as spiritual as the New.
The origin, substance, and life of man are one, and that one is God, — Life, Truth, Love. The self-existent, perfect, and eternal are God; and man is their reflection and glory. Did the substance of God, Spirit, become a clod, in order to create a sick, sinning, dying man? The primal facts of being are eternal; they are never extinguished in a night of discord.
That man must be evil before he can be good; dying, before deathless; material, before spiritual; sick and a sinner in order to be healed and saved, is but the declaration of the material senses transcribed by pagan religionists, by wicked mortals such as crucified our Master, — whose teachings opposed the doctrines of Christ that demonstrated the opposite, Truth.
Man is as perfect now, and henceforth, and forever, as when the stars first sang together, and creation joined in the grand chorus of harmonious being. It is the translator, not the original Word, who presents as being first that which appears second, material, and mortal; and as last, that which is primal, spiritual, and eternal. Because of human misstatement and misconception of God and man, of the divine Principle and idea of being, there seems to be a war between the flesh and Spirit, a contest between Truth and error; but the apostle says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
On our subject, St. Paul first reasons upon the basis of what is seen, the effects of Truth on the material senses; thence, up to the unseen, the testimony of spiritual sense; and right there he leaves the subject.
Just there, in the intermediate line of thought, is where the present writer found it, when she discovered Christian Science. And she has not left it, but continues the explanation of the power of Spirit up to its infinite meaning, its allness. The recognition of this power came to her through a spiritual sense of the real, and of the unreal or mortal sense of things; not that there is, or can be, an actual change in the realities of being, but that we can discern more of them. At the moment of her discovery, she knew that the last Adam, namely, the true likeness of God, was the first, the only man. This knowledge did become to her “a quickening spirit;” for she beheld the meaning of those words of our Master, “The last shall be first, and the first last.”
When, as little children, we are receptive, become willing to accept the divine Principle and rule of being, as unfolded in divine Science, the interpretation therein will be found to be the Comforter that leadeth into all truth.
The meek Nazarene's steadfast and true knowledge of preexistence, of the nature and the inseparability of God and man, — made him mighty. Spiritual insight of Truth and Love antidotes and destroys the errors of flesh, and brings to light the true reflection: man as God's image, or “the first man,” for Christ plainly declared, through Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
The supposition that Soul, or Mind, is breathed into matter, is a pantheistic doctrine that presents a false sense of existence, and the quickening spirit takes it away: revealing, in place thereof, the power and perfection of a released sense of Life in God and Life as God. The Scriptures declare Life to be the infinite I AM, — not a dweller in matter. For man to know Life as it is, namely God, the eternal good, gives him not merely a sense of existence, but an accompanying consciousness of spiritual power that subordinates matter and destroys sin, disease, and death. This, Jesus demonstrated; insomuch that St. Matthew wrote, “The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” This spiritual power, healing sin and sickness, was not confined to the first century; it extends to all time, inhabits eternity, and demonstrates Life without beginning or end.
Atomic action is Mind, not matter. It is neither the energy of matter, the result of organization, nor the outcome of life infused into matter: it is infinite Spirit, Truth, Life, defiant of error or matter. Divine Science demonstrates Mind as dispelling a false sense and giving the true sense of itself, God, and the universe; wherein the mortal evolves not the immortal, nor does the material ultimate in the spiritual; wherein man is coexistent with Mind, and is the recognized reflection of infinite Life and Love.
And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake. — Luke xi. 14.
The meaning of the term “devil” needs yet to be learned. Its definition as an individual is too limited and contradictory. When the Scripture is understood, the spiritual signification of its terms will be understood, and will contradict the interpretations that the senses give them; and these terms will be found to include the inspired meaning.
It could not have been a person that our great Master cast out of another person; therefore the devil herein referred to was an impersonal evil, or whatever worketh ill. In this case it was the evil of dumbness, an error of material sense, cast out by the spiritual truth of being; namely, that speech belongs to Mind instead of matter, and the wrong power, or the lost sense, must yield to the right sense, and exist in Mind.
In the Hebrew, “devil” is denominated Abaddon; in the Greek, Apollyon, serpent, liar, the god of this world, etc. The apostle Paul refers to this personality of evil as “the god of this world;” and then defines this god as “dishonesty, craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully.” The Hebrew embodies the term “devil” In another term, serpent, — which the senses are supposed to take in, — and then defines this serpent as “more subtle than all the beasts of the field.” Subsequently, the ancients changed the meaning of the term, to their sense, and then the serpent became a symbol of wisdom.
The Scripture in John, sixth chapter and seventieth verse, refers to a wicked man as the devil: “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” According to the Scripture, if devil is an individuality, there is more than one devil. In Mark, ninth chapter and thirty-eighth verse, it reads: “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name.” Here is an assertion indicating the existence of more than one devil; and by omitting the first letter, the name of his satanic majesty is found to be evils, apparent wrong traits, that Christ, Truth, casts out. By no possible interpretation can this passage mean several individuals cast out of another individual no bigger than themselves. The term, being here employed in its plural number, destroys all consistent supposition of the existence of one personal devil. Again, our text refers to the devil as dumb; but the original devil was a great talker, and was supposed to have out-talked even Truth, and carried the question with Eve. Also, the original texts define him as an “accuser,” a “calumniator,” which would be impossible if he were speechless. These two opposite characters ascribed to him could only be possible as evil beliefs, as different phases of sin or disease made manifest.
Let us obey St. Paul's injunction to reject fables, and accept the Scriptures in their broader, more spiritual and practical sense. When we speak of a good man, we do not mean that man is God because the Hebrew term for Deity was “good,” and vice versa; so, when referring to a liar, we mean not that he is a personal devil, because the original text defines devil as a “liar.”
It is of infinite importance to man's spiritual progress, and to his demonstration of Truth in casting out error, — sickness, sin, disease, and death, in all their forms, — that the terms and nature of Deity and devil be understood.
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. — John xiv. 12.
Such are the words of him who spake divinely, well knowing the omnipotence of Truth. The Hebrew bard saith, “His name shall endure forever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun.” Luminous with the light of divine Science, his words reveal the great Principle of a full salvation. Neither can we question the practicability of the divine Word, who have learned its adaptability to human needs, and man's ability to prove the truth of prophecy.
The fulfilment of the grand verities of Christian healing belong to every period; as the above Scripture plainly declares, and as primitive Christianity confirms. Also, the last chapter of Mark is emphatic on this subject; making healing a condition of salvation, that extends to all ages and throughout all Christendom. Nothing can be more conclusive than this: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” This declaration of our Master settles the question; else we are entertaining the startling inquiries, Are the Scriptures inspired? Are they true? Did Jesus mean what he said?
If this be the cavil, we reply in the affirmative that the Scripture is true; that Jesus did mean all, and even more than he said or deemed it safe to say at that time. His words are unmistakable, for they form propositions of self-evident demonstrable truth. Doctrines that deny the substance and practicality of all Christ's teachings cannot be evangelical; and evangelical religion can be established on no other claim than the authenticity of the Gospels, which support unequivocally the proof that Christian Science, as defined and practised by Jesus, heals the sick, casts out error, and will destroy death.
Referring to The Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, of which I am pastor, a certain clergyman charitably expressed it, “the so-called Christian Scientists.”
I am thankful even for his allusion to truth; it being a modification of silence on this subject, and also of what had been said when critics attacked me for supplying the word Science to Christianity, — a word which the people are now adopting.
The next step for ecclesiasticism to take, is to admit that all Christians are properly called Scientists who follow the commands of our Lord and His Christ, Truth; and that no one is following his full command without this enlarged sense of the spirit and power of Christianity. “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do,” is a radical and unmistakable declaration of the right and power of Christianity to heal; for this is Christlike, and includes the understanding of man's capabilities and spiritual power. The condition insisted upon is, first, “belief;” the Hebrew of which implies understanding, How many to-day believe that the power of God equals even the power of a drug to heal the sick! Divine Science reveals the Principle of this power, and the rule whereby sin, sickness, disease, and death are destroyed; and God is this Principle. Let us, then, seek this Science; that we may know Him better, and love Him more.
Though a man were begirt with the Urim and Thummim of priestly office, yet should deny the validity or permanence of Christ's command to heal in all ages, this denial would dishonor that office and misinterpret evangelical religion. Divine Science is not an interpolation of the Scriptures, but is redolent with love, health, and holiness, for the whole human race. It only needs the prism of this Science to divide the rays of Truth, and bring out the entire hues of Deity, which scholastic theology has hidden. The lens of Science magnifies the divine power to human sight; and we then see the supremacy of Spirit and the nothingness of matter.
The context of the foregoing Scriptural text explains Jesus' words, “because I go unto my Father.” “Because” in following him, you understand God and how to turn from matter to Spirit for healing; how to leave self, the sense material, for the sense spiritual; how to accept God's power and guidance, and become imbued with divine Love that casts out all fear. Then are you baptized in the Truth that destroys all error, and you receive the sense of Life that knows no death, and you know that God is the only Life.
To reach the consummate naturalness of the Life that is God, good, we must comply with the first condition set forth in the text, namely, believe; in other words, understand God sufficiently to exclude all faith in any other remedy than Christ, the Truth that antidotes all error. Thence will follow the absorption of all action, motive, and mind, into the rules and divine Principle of metaphysical healing.
Whosoever learns the letter of Christian Science but possesses not its spirit, is unable to demonstrate this Science; or whosoever hath the spirit without the letter, is held back by reason of the lack of understanding. Both the spirit and the letter are requisite; and having these, every one can prove, in some degree, the validity of those words of the great Master, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”
It has been said that the New Testament does not authorize us to expect the ministry of healing at this period.
We ask what is the authority for such a conclusion, the premises whereof are not to be found in the Scriptures. The Master's divine logic, as seen in our text, contradicts this inference, — these are his words: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.” That perfect syllogism of Jesus has but one correct premise and conclusion, and it cannot fall to the ground beneath the stroke of unskilled swordsmen. He who never unsheathed his blade to try the edge of truth in Christian Science, is unequal to the conflict, and unfit to judge in the case; the shepherd's sling would slay this Goliath. I once believed that the practice and teachings of Jesus relative to healing the sick, were spiritual abstractions, impractical and impossible to us; but deed, not creed, and practice more than theory, have given me a higher sense of Christianity.
The “I” will go to the Father when meekness, purity, and love, informed by divine Science, the Comforter, lead to the one God: then the ego is found not in matter but in Mind, for there is but one God, one Mind; and man will then claim no mind apart from God. Idolatry, the supposition of the existence of many minds and more than one God, has repeated itself in all manner of subtleties through the entire centuries, saying as in the beginning, “Believe in me, and I will make you as gods;” that is, I will give you a separate mind from God (good), named evil; and this so-called mind shall open your eyes and make you know evil, and thus become material, sensual, evil. But bear in mind that a serpent said that; therefore that saying came not from Mind, good, or Truth. God was not the author of it; hence the words of our Master: “He is a liar, and the father of it;” also, the character of the votaries to “other gods” which sprung from it.
The sweet, sacred sense and permanence of man's unity with his Maker, in Science, illumines our present existence with the ever-presence and power of God, good. It opens wide the portals of salvation from sin, sickness, and death. When the Life that is God, good, shall appear, “we shall be like Him;” we shall do the works of Christ, and, in the words of David, “the stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner,” because the “I” does go unto the Father, the ego does arise to spiritual recognition of being, and is exalted, — not through death, but Life, God understood.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. — Acts xvi. 31.
The Scriptures require more than a simple admission and feeble acceptance of the truths they present; they require a living faith, that so incorporates their lessons into our lives that these truths become the motive-power of every act.
Our chosen text is one more frequently used than many others, perhaps, to exhort people to turn from sin and to strive after holiness; but we fear the full import of this text is not yet recognized. It means a full salvation, — man saved from sin, sickness, and death; for, unless this be so, no man can be wholly fitted for heaven in the way which Jesus marked out and bade his followers pursue.
In order to comprehend the meaning of the text, let us see what it is to believe. It means more than an opinion entertained concerning Jesus as a man, as the Son of God, or as God; such an action of mind would be of no more help to save from sin, than would a belief in any historical event or person. But it does mean so to understand the beauty of holiness, the character and divinity which Jesus presented in his power to heal and to save, that it will compel us to pattern after both; in other words, to “let this Mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. ii. 5.)
Mortal man believes in, but does not understand life in, Christ. He believes there is another power or intelligence that rules over a kingdom of its own, that is both good and evil; yea, that is divided against itself, and therefore cannot stand. This belief breaks the First Commandment of God.
Let man abjure a theory that is in opposition to God, recognize God as omnipotent, having all-power; and, placing his trust in this grand Truth, and working from no other Principle, he can neither be sick nor forever a sinner. When wholly governed by the one perfect Mind, man has no sinful thoughts and will have no desire to sin.
To arrive at this point of unity of Spirit, God, one must commence by turning away from material gods; denying material so-called laws and material sensation, — or mind in matter, in its varied forms of pleasure and pain. This must be done with the understanding that matter has no sense; thus it is that consciousness silences the mortal claim to life, substance, or mind in matter, with the words of Jesus: “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.” (John viii. 44.)
When tempted to sin, we should know that evil proceedeth not from God, good, but is a false belief of the personal senses; and if we deny the claims of these senses and recognize man as governed by God, Spirit, not by material laws, the temptation will disappear.
On this Principle, disease also is treated and healed. We know that man's body, as matter, has no power to govern itself; and a belief of disease is as much the product of mortal thought as sin is. All suffering is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of both good and evil; of adherence to the “doubleminded” senses, to some belief, fear, theory, or bad deed, based on physical material law, so-called as opposed to good, — all of which is corrected alone by Science, divine Principle, and its spiritual laws. Suffering is the supposition of another intelligence than God; a belief in self-existent evil, opposed to good; and in whatever seems to punish man for doing good, — by saying he has overworked, suffered from inclement weather, or violated a law of matter in doing good, therefore he must suffer for it.
God does not reward benevolence and love with penalties; and because of this, we have the right to deny the supposed power of matter to do it, and to allege that only mortal, erring mind can claim to do thus, and dignify the result with the name of law: thence comes man's ability to annul his own erring mental law, and to hold himself amenable only to moral and spiritual law, — God's government. By so doing, male and female come into their rightful heritage, “into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. — 2 Cor. xii. 10.
The miracles recorded in the Scriptures illustrate the life of Jesus as nothing else can; but they cost him the hatred of the rabbis. The rulers sought the life of Jesus; they would extinguish whatever denied and defied their superstition. We learn somewhat of the qualities of the divine Mind through the human Jesus. The power of his transcendent goodness is manifest in the control it gave him over the qualities opposed to Spirit which mortals name matter.
The Principle of these marvellous works is divine; but the actor was human. This divine Principle is discerned in Christian Science, as we advance in the spiritual understanding that all substance, Life, and intelligence are God. The so-called miracles contained in Holy Writ are neither supernatural nor preternatural; for God is good, and goodness is more natural than evil. The marvellous healing-power of goodness is the outflowing life of Christianity, and it characterized and dated the Christian era.
It was the consummate naturalness of Truth in the mind of Jesus, that made his healing easy and instantaneous. Jesus regarded good as the normal state of man, and evil as the abnormal; holiness, life, and health as the better representatives of God than sin, disease, and death. The master Metaphysician understood omnipotence to be All-power: because Spirit was to him All-in-all, matter was palpably an error of premise and conclusion, while God was the only substance, Life, and intelligence of man.
The apostle Paul insists on the rare rule in Christian Science that we have chosen for a text; a rule that is susceptible of proof, and is applicable to every stage and state of human existence. The divine Science of this rule is quite as remote from the general comprehension of mankind as are the so-called miracles of our Master, and for the sole reason that it is their basis. The foundational facts of Christian Science are gathered from the supremacy of spiritual law and its antagonism to every supposed material law. Christians to-day should be able to say, with the sweet sincerity of the apostle, “I take pleasure in infirmities,” — I enjoy the touch of weakness, pain, and all suffering of the flesh, because it compels me to seek the remedy for it, and to find happiness, apart from the personal senses. The holy calm of Paul's well-tried hope met no obstacle or circumstances paramount to the triumph of a reasonable faith in the omnipotence of good, involved in its divine Principle, God: the so-called pains and pleasures of matter were alike unreal to Jesus; for he regarded matter as only a vagary of mortal belief, and subdued it with this understanding.
The abstract statement that all is Mind, supports the entire wisdom of the text; and this statement receives the mortal scoff only because it meets the immortal demands of Truth. The Science of Paul's declaration resolves the element misnamed matter into its original sin, or human will; that will which would oppose bringing the qualities of Spirit into subjection to Spirit. Sin brought death; and death is an element of matter, or material falsity, never of Spirit.
When Jesus reproduced his body after its burial, he revealed the myth or material falsity of evil; its powerlessness to destroy good, and the omnipotence of the Mind that knows this: he also showed forth the error and nothingness of supposed life in matter, and the great somethingness of the good we possess, which is of Spirit, and immortal.
Understanding this, Paul took pleasure in infirmities, for it enabled him to triumph over them, — he declared that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death;” he took pleasure in “reproaches” and “persecutions,” because they were so many proofs that he had wrought the problem of being beyond the common apprehension of sinners; he took pleasure in “necessities,” for they tested and developed latent power.
We protect our dwellings more securely after a robbery, and our jewels have been stolen; so, after losing those jewels of character, — temperance, virtue, and truth, — the young man is awakened to bar his door against further robberies.
Go to the bedside of pain, and there you can demonstrate the triumph of good that has pleasure in infirmities; because it illustrates through the flesh the divine power of Spirit, and reaches the basis of all supposed miracles; whereby the sweet harmonies of Christian Science are found to correct the discords of sense, and to lift man's being into the sunlight of Soul.
|“||The chamber where the good man meets his fate|
|Is privileged beyond the walks of common life,|
|Quite on the verge of heaven.”|