Miscellaneous Writings/Chapter 09
THE FRUIT OF SPIRIT
PICTURE to yourself “a city set upon a hill,” a celestial city above all clouds, in serene azure and unfathomable glory: having no temple therein, for God is the temple thereof; nor need of the sun, neither of the moon, for God doth lighten it. Then from this sacred summit behold a Stranger wending his way downward, to where a few laborers in a valley at the foot of the mountain are working and watching for his coming.
The descent and ascent are beset with peril, privation, temptation, toil, suffering. Venomous serpents hide among the rocks, beasts of prey prowl in the path, wolves in sheep's clothing are ready to devour; but the Stranger meets and masters their secret and open attacks with serene confidence.
The Stranger eventually stands in the valley at the foot of the mountain. He saith unto the patient toilers therein: “What do ye here? Would ye ascend the mountain, — climbing its rough cliffs, hushing the hissing serpents, taming the beasts of prey, — and bathe in its streams, rest in its cool grottos, and drink from its living fountains? The way winds and widens in the valley; up the hill it is straight and narrow, and few there be that find it.”
His converse with the watchers and workers in the valley closes, and he makes his way into the streets of a city made with hands.
Pausing at the threshold of a palatial dwelling, he knocks and waits. The door is shut. He hears the sounds of festivity and mirth; youth, manhood, and age gayly tread the gorgeously tapestried parlors, dancing-halls, and banquet-rooms. But a little while, and the music is dull, the wine is unsipped, the footfalls abate, the laughter ceases. Then from the window of this dwelling a face looks out, anxiously surveying him who waiteth at the door.
Within this mortal mansion are adulterers, fornicators, idolaters; drunkenness, witchcraft, variance, envy, emulation, hatred, wrath, murder. Appetites and passions have so dimmed their sight that he alone who looks from that dwelling, through the clearer pane of his own heart tired of sin, can see the Stranger.
Startled beyond measure at beholding him, this mortal inmate withdraws; but growing more and more troubled, he seeks to leave the odious company and the cruel walls, and to find the Stranger. Stealing cautiously away from his comrades, he departs; then turns back, — he is afraid to go on and to meet the Stranger. So he returns to the house, only to find the lights all wasted and the music fled. Finding no happiness within, he rushes again into the lonely streets, seeking peace but finding none. Naked, hungry, athirst, this time he struggles on, and at length reaches the pleasant path of the valley at the foot of the mountain, whence he may hopefully look for the reappearance of the Stranger, and receive his heavenly guidance.
The Stranger enters a massive carved stone mansion, and saith unto the dwellers therein, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But they understand not his saying.
These are believers of different sects, and of no sect; some, so-called Christian Scientists in sheep's clothing; and all “drunken without wine.” They have small conceptions of spiritual riches, few cravings for the immortal, but are puffed up with the applause of the world: they have plenty of pelf, and fear not to fall upon the Stranger, seize his pearls, throw them away, and afterwards try to kill him.
Somewhat disheartened, he patiently seeks another dwelling, — only to find its inmates asleep at noontide! Robust forms, with manly brow nodding on cushioned chairs, their feet resting on footstools, or, flat on their backs, lie stretched on the floor, dreaming away the hours. Balancing on one foot, with eyes half open, the porter starts up in blank amazement and looks at the Stranger, calls out, rubs his eyes, — amazed beyond measure that anybody is animated with a purpose, and seen working for it!
They in this house are those that “provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert.” Away from this charnel-house of the so-called living, the Stranger turns quickly, and wipes off the dust from his feet as a testimony against sensualism in its myriad forms. As he departs, he sees robbers finding ready ingress to that dwelling of sleepers in the midst of murderous hordes, without watchers and the doors unbarred!
Next he enters a place of worship, and saith unto them, “Go ye into all the world; preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead; for the Scripture saith the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made you free from the law of sin and death.” And they cast him out.
Once more he seeks the dwelling-place of mortals and knocks loudly. The door is burst open, and sufferers shriek for help: that house is on fire! The flames caught in the dwelling of luxury, where the blind saw them not, but the flesh at length did feel them; thence they spread to the house of slumberers who heeded them not, until they became unmanageable; fed by the fat of hypocrisy and vainglory, they consumed the next dwelling; then crept unseen into the synagogue, licking up the blood of martyrs and wrapping their altars in ruins. “God is a consuming fire.”
Thus are all mortals, under every hue of circumstances, driven out of their houses of clay and, homeless wanderers in a beleaguered city, forced to seek the Father's house, if they would be led to the valley and up the mount.
Seeing the wisdom of withdrawing from those who persistently rejected him, the Stranger returned to the valley; first, to meet with joy his own, to wash their feet, and take them up the mountain. Well might this heavenly messenger exclaim, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, . . . Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”
Discerning in his path the penitent one who had groped his way from the dwelling of luxury, the Stranger saith unto him, “Wherefore comest thou hither?”
He answered, “The sight of thee unveiled my sins, and turned my misnamed joys to sorrow. When I went back into the house to take something out of it, my misery increased; so I came hither, hoping that I might follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
And the Stranger saith unto him, “Wilt thou climb the mountain, and take nothing of thine own with thee?”
He answered, “I will.”
“Then,” saith the Stranger, “thou hast chosen the good part; follow me.”
Many there were who had entered the valley to speculate in worldly policy, religion, politics, finance, and to search for wealth and fame. These had heavy baggage of their own, and insisted upon taking all of it with them, which must greatly hinder their ascent.
The journey commences. The encumbered travellers halt and disagree. They stoutly belay those who, having less baggage, ascend faster than themselves, and betimes burden them with their own. Despairing of gaining the summit, loaded as they are, they conclude to stop and lay down a few of the heavy weights, but only to take them up again, more than ever determined not to part with their baggage.
All this time the Stranger is pointing the way, showing them their folly, rebuking their pride, consoling their afflictions, and helping them on, saying, “He that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it.”
Obstinately holding themselves back, and sore-footed, they fall behind and lose sight of their guide; when, stumbling and grumbling, and fighting each other, they plunge headlong over the jagged rocks.
Then he who has no baggage goes back and kindly binds up their wounds, wipes away the blood stains, and would help them on; but suddenly the Stranger shouts, “Let them alone; they must learn from the things they suffer. Make thine own way; and if thou strayest, listen for the mountain-horn, and it will call thee back to the path that goeth upward.”
Dear reader, dost thou suspect that the valley is humility, that the mountain is heaven-crowned Christianity, and the Stranger the ever-present Christ, the spiritual idea which from the summit of bliss surveys the vale of the flesh, to burst the bubbles of earth with a breath of heaven, and acquaint sensual mortals with the mystery of godliness, — unchanging, unquenchable Love? Hast not thou heard this Christ knock at the door of thine own heart, and closed it against Truth, to “eat and drink with the drunken”? Hast thou been driven by suffering to the foot of the mount, but earth-bound, burdened by pride, sin, and self, hast thou turned back, stumbled, and wandered away? Or hast thou tarried in the habitation of the senses, pleased and stupefied, until wakened through the baptism of fire?
He alone ascends the hill of Christian Science who follows the Way-shower, the spiritual presence and idea of God. Whatever obstructs the way, — causing to stumble, fall, or faint, those mortals who are striving to enter the path, — divine Love will remove; and uplift the fallen and strengthen the weak. Therefore, give up thy earth-weights; and observe the apostle's admonition, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those which are before.” Then, loving God supremely and thy neighbor as thyself, thou wilt safely bear thy cross up to the throne of everlasting glory.
Voices of Spring
Mine is an obstinate penchant for nature in all her moods and forms, a satisfaction with whatever is hers. And what shall this be named, a weakness, or a — virtue?
In spring, nature like a thrifty housewife sets the earth in order; and between taking up the white carpets and putting down the green ones, her various apartments are dismally dirty.
Spring is my sweetheart, whose voices are sad or glad, even as the heart may be; restoring in memory the sweet rhythm of unforgotten harmonies, or touching tenderly its tearful tones.
Spring passes over mountain and meadow, waking up the world; weaving the wavy grass, nursing the timid spray, stirring the soft breeze; rippling all nature in ceaseless flow, with “breath all odor and cheek all bloom.” Whatever else droops, spring is gay: her little feet trip lightly on, turning up the daisies, paddling the watercresses, rocking the oriole's cradle; challenging the sedentary shadows to activity, and the streams to race for the sea. Her dainty fingers put the fur cap on pussy-willow, paint in pink the petals of arbutus, and sweep in soft strains her Orphean lyre. “The voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” The snow-bird that tarried through the storm, now chirps to the breeze; the cuckoo sounds her invisible lute, calling the feathered tribe back to their summer homes. Old robin, though stricken to the heart with winter's snow, prophesies of fair earth and sunny skies. The brooklet sings melting murmurs to merry meadows; the leaves clap their hands, and the winds make melody through dark pine groves.
What is the anthem of human life?
Has love ceased to moan over the new-made grave, and, looking upward, does it patiently pray for the perpetual springtide wherein no arrow wounds the dove? Human hope and faith should join in nature's grand harmony, and, if on minor key, make music in the heart. And man, more friendly, should call his race as gently to the springtide of Christ's dear love. St. Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” And why not, since man's possibilities are infinite, bliss is eternal, and the consciousness thereof is here and now?
The alders bend over the streams to shake out their tresses in the water-mirrors; let mortals bow before the creator, and, looking through Love's transparency, behold man in God's own image and likeness, arranging in the beauty of holiness each budding thought. It is good to talk with our past hours, and learn what report they bear, and how they might have reported more spiritual growth. With each returning year, higher joys, holier aims, a purer peace and diviner energy, should freshen the fragrance of being. Nature's first and last lessons teach man to be kind, and even pride should sanction what our natures need. Popularity, — what is it? A mere mendicant that boasts and begs, and God denies charity.
When gentle violet lifts its blue eye to heaven, and crown imperial unveils its regal splendor to the sun; when the modest grass, inhabiting the whole earth, stoops meekly before the blast; when the patient corn waits on the elements to put forth its slender blade, construct the stalk, instruct the ear, and crown the full corn in the ear, — then, are mortals looking up, waiting on God, and committing their way unto Him who tosses earth's mass of wonders into their hands? When downtrodden like the grass, did it make them humble, loving, obedient, full of good odor, and cause them to wait patiently on God for man's rich heritage, — “dominion over all the earth”? Thus abiding in Truth, the warmth and sunlight of prayer and praise and understanding will ripen the fruits of Spirit, and goodness will have its spring-tide of freedom and greatness.
When the white-winged dove feeds her callow brood, nestles them under her wings, and, in tones tremulous with tenderness, calls them to her breast, do mortals remember their cradle hymns, and thank God for those redemptive words from a mother's lips which taught them the Lord's Prayer?
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour;
Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night.
Midst the falling leaves of old-time faiths, above the frozen crust of creed and dogma, the divine Mind-force, filling all space and having all power, upheaves the earth. In sacred solitude divine Science evolved nature as thought, and thought as things. This supreme potential Principle reigns in the realm of the real, and is “God with us,” the I am.
As mortals awake from their dream of material sensation, this adorable, all-inclusive God, and all earth's hieroglyphics of Love, are understood; and infinite Mind is seen kindling the stars, rolling the worlds, reflecting all space and Life, — but not life in matter. Wisely governing, informing the universe, this Mind is Truth, — not laws of matter. Infinitely just, merciful, and wise, this Mind is Love, — but not fallible love.
Spring is here! and doors that closed on Christian Science in “the long winter of our discontent,” are open flung. Its seedtime has come to enrich earth and enrobe man in righteousness; may its sober-suited autumn follow with hues of heaven, ripened sheaves, and harvest songs.
“Where Art Thou?”
In the allegory of Genesis, third chapter and ninth verse, two mortals, walking in the cool of the day midst the stately palms, many-hued blossoms, perfume-laden breezes, and crystal streams of the Orient, pondered the things of man and God.
A sense of evil is supposed to have spoken, been listened to, and afterwards to have formed an evil sense that blinded the eyes of reason, masked with deformity the glories of revelation, and shamed the face of mortals.
What was this sense? Error versus Truth: first, a supposition; second, a false belief; third, suffering; fourth, death.
Is man the supposer, false believer, sufferer?
Not man, but a mortal — the antipode of immortal man. Supposing, false believing, suffering are not faculties of Mind, but are qualities of error.
The supposition is, that God and His idea are not all-power; that there is something besides Him; that this something is intelligent matter; that sin — yea, selfhood — is apart from God, where pleasure and pain, good and evil, life and death, commingle, and are forever at strife; even that every ray of Truth, of infinity, omnipotence, omnipresence, goodness, could be absorbed in error! God cannot be obscured, and this renders error a palpable falsity, yea, nothingness; on the basis that black is not a color because it absorbs all the rays of light.
The “Alpha and Omega” of Christian Science voices this question: Where do we hold intelligence to be? Is it in both evil and good, in matter as well as Spirit? If so, we are literally and practically denying that God, good, is supreme, all power and presence, and are turning away from the only living and true God, to “lords many and gods many.”
Where art thou, O mortal! who turnest away from the divine source of being, — calling on matter to work out the problem of Mind, to aid in understanding and securing the sweet harmonies of Spirit that relate to the universe, including man?
Paul asked: “What communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?” The worshippers of Baal worshipped the sun. They believed that something besides God had authority and power, could heal and bless; that God wrought through matter — by means of that which does not reflect Him in a single quality or quantity! — the grand realities of Mind, thus to exemplify the power of Truth and Love.
The ancient Chaldee hung his destiny out upon the heavens; but ancient or modern Christians, instructed in divine Science, know that the prophet better understood Him who said: “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?”
Astrology is well in its place, but this place is secondary. Necromancy has no foundation, — in fact, no intelligence; and the belief that it has, deceives itself. Whatever simulates power and Truth in matter, does this as a lie declaring itself, that mortals' faith in matter may have the effect of power; but when the whole fabrication is found to be a lie, away goes all its supposed power and prestige.
Why do Christian Scientists treat disease as disease, since there is no disease?
This is done only as one gives the lie to a lie; because it is a lie, without one word of Truth in it. You must find error to be nothing: then, and only then, do you handle it in Science. The diabolism of suppositional evil at work in the name of good, is a lie of the highest degree of nothingness: just reduce this falsity to its proper denomination, and you have done with it.
How shall we treat a negation, or error — by means of matter, or Mind? Is matter Truth? No! Then it cannot antidote error.
Can belief destroy belief? No: understanding is required to do this. By the substitution of Truth demonstrated, Science remedies the ills of material beliefs.
Because I have uncovered evil, and dis-covered for you divine Science, which saith, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” and you have not loved sufficiently to understand this Golden Rule and demonstrate the might of perfect Love that casteth out all fear, shall you turn away from this divine Principle to graven images? Remember the Scripture: —
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
“And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
“The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
“And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.”
One mercilessly assails me for opposing the subtle lie, others charge upon me with full-fledged invective for, as they say, having too much charity; but neither moves me from the path made luminous by divine Love.
In my public works I lay bare the ability, in belief, of evil to break the Decalogue, — to murder, steal, commit adultery, and so on. Those who deny my wisdom or right to expose error, are either willing participants in wrong, afraid of its supposed power, or ignorant of it.
The notion that one is covering iniquity by asserting its nothingness, is a fault of zealots, who, like Peter, sleep when the Watcher bids them watch, and when the hour of trial comes would cut off somebody's ears. Such people say, “Would you have me get out of a burning house, or stay in it?”
I would have you already out, and know that you are out; also, to remember the Scripture concerning those who do evil that good may come, — “whose damnation is just;” and that whoso departeth from divine Science, seeking power or good aside from God, has done himself harm.
Mind is supreme: Love is the master of hate; Truth, the victor over a lie. Hath not Science voiced this lesson to you, — that evil is powerless, that a lie is never true? It is your province to wrestle with error, to handle the serpent and bruise its head; but you cannot, as a Christian Scientist, resort to stones and clubs, — yea, to matter, — to kill the serpent of a material mind.
Do you love that which represents God most, His highest idea as seen to-day? No!
Then you would hate Jesus if you saw him personally, and knew your right obligations towards him. He would insist on the rule and demonstration of divine Science: even that you first cast out your own dislike and hatred of God's idea, — the beam in your own eye that hinders your seeing clearly how to cast the mote of evil out of other eyes. You cannot demonstrate the Principle of Christian Science and not love its idea: we gather not grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles.
Where art thou?
What is it but another name for Christian Science, the cognomen of all true religion, the quintessence of Christianity, that heals disease and sin and destroys death! Part and parcel of Truth and Love, wherever one ray of its effulgence looks in upon the heart, behold a better man, woman, or child.
Science is the fiat of divine intelligence, which, hoary with eternity, touches time only to take away its frailty. That it rests on everlasting foundations, the sequence proves.
Have I discovered and founded at this period Christian Science, that which reveals the truth of Love, — is the question.
And how can you be certain of so momentous an affirmative? By proving its effect on yourself to be — divine.
What is the Principle and rule of Christian Science?
Infinite query! Wonder in heaven and on earth, — who shall say? The immaculate Son of the Blessed has spoken of them as the Golden Rule and its Principle, God who is Love. Listen, and he illustrates the rule: “Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, . . . Whosoever . . . shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Harmony is heaven. Science brings out harmony; but this harmony is not understood unless it produces a growing affection for all good, and consequent disaffection for all evil, hypocrisy, evil-speaking, lust, envy, hate. Where these exist, Christian Science has no sure foothold: they obscure its divine element, and thus seem to extinguish it. Even the life of Jesus was belittled and belied by personalities possessing these defacing deformities. Only the devout Marys, and such as lived according to his precepts, understood the concrete character of him who taught — by the wayside, in humble homes, to itching ears and to dull disciples — the words of Life.
The ineffable Life and light which he reflected through divine Science is again reproduced in the character which sensualism, as heretofore, would hide or besmear. Sin of any sort tends to hide from an individual this grand verity in Science, that the appearing of good in an individual involves the disappearing of evil. He who first brings to humanity some great good, must have gained its height beforehand, to be able to lift others toward it. I first proved to myself, not by “words,” — these afford no proof, — but by demonstration of Christian Science, that its Principle is divine. All must go and do likewise.
Faith illumined by works; the spiritual understanding which cannot choose but to labor and love; hope holding steadfastly to good in the midst of seething evil; charity that suffereth long and is kind, but cancels not sin until it be destroyed, — these afford the only rule I have found which demonstrates Christian Science.
And remember, a pure faith in humanity will subject one to deception; the uses of good, to abuses from evil; and calm strength will enrage evil. But the very heavens shall laugh at them, and move majestically to your defense when the armies of earth press hard upon you.
|“||Thou must be true thyself,|
|If thou the truth wouldst teach;|
|Thy soul must overflow, if thou|
|Another's soul wouldst reach;|
|It needs the overflow of heart,|
|To give the lips full speech,|
|“||Think truly, and thy thoughts|
|Shall the world's famine feed;|
|Speak truly, and each word of thine|
|Shall be a fruitful seed;|
|Live truly, and thy life shall be|
|A great and noble creed.”|
If people would confine their talk to subjects that are profitable, that which St. John informs us took place once in heaven, would happen very frequently on earth, — silence for the space of half an hour.
Experience is victor, never the vanquished; and out of defeat comes the secret of victory. That to-morrow starts from to-day and is one day beyond it, robes the future with hope's rainbow hues.
In the battle of life, good is made more industrious and persistent because of the supposed activity of evil. The elbowing of the crowd plants our feet more firmly. In the mental collisions of mortals and the strain of intellectual wrestlings, moral tension is tested, and, if it yields not, grows stronger. The past admonishes us: with finger grim and cold it points to every mortal mistake; or smiling saith, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things.”
Art thou a child, and hast added one furrow to the brow of care? Art thou a husband, and hast pierced the heart venturing its all of happiness to thy keeping? Art thou a wife, and hast bowed the o'erburdened head of thy husband? Hast thou a friend, and forgettest to be grateful? Remember, that for all this thou alone canst and must atone. Carelessly or remorselessly thou mayest have sent along the ocean of events a wave that will some time flood thy memory, surge dolefully at the door of conscience, and pour forth the unavailing tear.
Change and the grave may part us; the wisdom that might have blessed the past may come too late. One backward step, one relinquishment of right in an evil hour, one faithless tarrying, has torn the laurel from many a brow and repose from many a heart. Good is never the reward of evil, and vice versa.
There is no excellence without labor; and the time to work, is now. Only by persistent, unremitting, straight-forward toil; by turning neither to the right nor to the left, seeking no other pursuit or pleasure than that which cometh from God, can you win and wear the crown of the faithful.
That law-school is not at fault which sends forth a barrister who never brings out a brief. Why? Because he followed agriculture instead of litigation, forsook Blackstone for gray stone, dug into soils instead of delving into suits, raised potatoes instead of pleas, and drew up logs instead of leases. He has not been faithful over a few things.
Is a musician made by his teacher? He makes himself a musician by practising what he was taught. The conscientious are successful. They follow faithfully; through evil or through good report, they work on to the achievement of good; by patience, they inherit the promise. Be active, and, however slow, thy success is sure: toil is triumph; and — thou hast been faithful over a few things.
The lives of great men and women are miracles of patience and perseverance. Every luminary in the constellation of human greatness, like the stars, comes out in the darkness to shine with the reflected light of God.
Material philosophy, human ethics, scholastic theology, and physics have not sufficiently enlightened mankind. Human wrong, sickness, sin, and death still appear in mortal belief, and they never bring out the right action of mind or body. When will the whole human race have one God, — an undivided affection that leaves the unreal material basis of things, for the spiritual foundation and superstructure that is real, right, and eternal?
First purify thought, then put thought into words, and words into deeds; and after much slipping and clambering, you will go up the scale of Science to the second rule, and be made ruler over many things. Fidelity finds its reward and its strength in exalted purpose. Seeking is not sufficient whereby to arrive at the results of Science: you must strive; and the glory of the strife comes of honesty and humility.
Do human hopes deceive? is joy a trembler? Then, weary pilgrim, unloose the latchet of thy sandals; for the place whereon thou standest is sacred. By that, you may know you are parting with a material sense of life and happiness to win the spiritual sense of good. O learn to lose with God! and you find Life eternal: you gain all. To doubt this is implicit treason to divine decree.
The parable of “the ten virgins” serves to illustrate the evil of inaction and delay. This parable is drawn from the sad history of Vesta, — a little girl of eight years, who takes the most solemn vow of celibacy for thirty years, and is subject to terrible torture if the lamp she tends is not replenished with oil day and night, so that the flame never expires. The moral of the parable is pointed, and the diction purely Oriental.
We learn from this parable that neither the cares of this world nor the so-called pleasures or pains of material sense are adequate to plead for the neglect of spiritual light, that must be tended to keep aglow the flame of devotion whereby to enter into the joy of divine Science demonstrated.
The foolish virgins had no oil in their lamps: their way was material; thus they were in doubt and darkness. They heeded not their sloth, their fading warmth of action; hence the steady decline of spiritual light, until, the midnight gloom upon them, they must borrow the better-tended lamps of the faithful. By entering the guest-chamber of Truth, and beholding the bridal of Life and Love, they would be wedded to a higher understanding of God. Each moment's fair expectancy was to behold the bridegroom, the One “altogether lovely.”
It was midnight: darkness profound brooded over earth's lazy sleepers. With no oil in their lamps, no spiritual illumination to look upon him whom they had pierced, they heard the shout, “The bridegroom cometh!” But how could they behold him? Hear that human cry; “Oh, lend us your oil! our lamps have gone out, — no light! earth's fables flee, and heaven is afar off.”
The door is shut. The wise virgins had no oil to spare, and they said to the foolish, “Go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” Seek Truth, and pursue it. It should cost you something: you are willing to pay for error and receive nothing in return; but if you pay the price of Truth, you shall receive all.
“The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light;” they watch the market, acquaint themselves with the etiquette of the exchange, and are ready for the next move. How much more should we be faithful over the few things of Spirit, that are able to make us wise unto salvation! Let us watch and pray that we enter not into the temptation of ease in sin; and let us not forget that others before us have laid upon the altar all that we have to sacrifice, and have passed to their reward. Too soon we cannot turn from disease in the body to find disease in the mortal mind, and its cure, in working for God. Thought must be made better, and human life more fruitful, for the divine energy to move it onward and upward.
Warmed by the sunshine of Truth, watered by the heavenly dews of Love, the fruits of Christian Science spring upward, and away from the sordid soil of self and matter. Are we clearing the gardens of thought by uprooting the noxious weeds of passion, malice, envy, and strife? Are we picking away the cold, hard pebbles of selfishness, uncovering the secrets of sin and burnishing anew the hidden gems of Love, that their pure perfection shall appear? Are we feeling the vernal freshness and sunshine of enlightened faith?
The weeds of mortal mind are not always destroyed by the first uprooting; they reappear, like devastating witch-grass, to choke the coming clover. O stupid gardener! watch their reappearing, and tear them away from their native soil, until no seedling be left to propagate — and rot.
Among the manifold soft chimes that will fill the haunted chambers of memory, this is the sweetest: “Thou hast been faithful!”
True Philosophy and Communion
It is related of Justin Martyr that, hearing of a Pythagorean professor of ethics, he expressed the wish to become one of his disciples. “Very well,” the teacher replied; “but have you studied music, astronomy, and geometry, and do you think it possible for you to understand aught of that which leads to bliss, without having mastered the sciences that disengage the soul from objects of sense, so rendering it a fit habitation for the intelligences?” On Justin's confessing that he had not studied those branches, he was dismissed by the professor.
Alas for such a material science of life! Of what avail would geometry be to a poor sinner struggling with temptation, or to a man with the smallpox?
Ancient and modern philosophies are spoiled by lack of Science. They would place Soul wholly inside of body, intelligence in matter; and from error of premise would seek a correct conclusion. Such philosophy can never demonstrate the Science of Life, — the Science which Paul understood when he spoke of willingness “to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.” Such philosophy is far from the rules of the mighty Nazarene Prophet. His words, living in our hearts, were these: “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein.” Not through astronomy did he point out the way to heaven and the reign of harmony.
We need the spirit of St. Paul, when he stood on Mars' hill at Athens, bringing Christianity for the first time into Europe. The Spirit bestows spiritual gifts, God's presence and providence. St. Paul stood where Socrates had stood four hundred years before, defending himself against the charge of atheism; in the place where Demosthenes had pleaded for freedom in immortal strains of eloquence.
We need the spirit of the pious Polycarp, who, when the proconsul said to him, “I will set the beasts upon you, unless you yield your religion,” replied: “Let them come; I cannot change from good to bad.” Then they bound him to the stake, set fire to the fagots, and his pure and strong faith rose higher through the baptism of flame.
Methinks the infidel was blind who said, “Christianity is fit only for women and weak men;” but even infidels may disagree. Bonaparte declared, “Ever since the reign of Christianity began the loftiest intellects have had a practical faith in God.” Daniel Webster said, “My heart has always assured and reassured me that Christianity must be a divine reality.”
To turn the popular indignation against an advanced form of religion, the pagan slanderers affirmed that Christians took their infants to a place of worship in order to offer them in sacrifice, — a baptism not of water but of blood, thus distorting or misapprehending the purpose of Christian sacraments. Christians met in midnight feasts in the early days, and talked of the crucified Saviour; thence arose the rumor that it was a part of Christian worship to kill and eat a human being.
Really, Christianity turned men away from the thought of fleshly sacrifice, and directed them to spiritual attainments. Life, not death, was and is the very centre of its faith. Christian Science carries this thought even higher, and insists on the demonstration of moral and spiritual healing as eminent proof that God is understood and illustrated.
Origin of Evil
The origin of evil is the problem of ages. It confronts each generation anew. It confronts Christian Science. The question is often asked, If God created only the good, whence comes the evil?
To this question Christian Science replies: Evil never did exist as an entity. It is but a belief that there is an opposite intelligence to God. This belief is a species of idolatry, and is not more true or real than that an image graven on wood or stone is God.
The mortal admission of the reality of evil perpetuates faith in evil; and the Scriptures declare that “to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are.” This leading, self-evident proposition of Christian Science, that, good being real, its opposite is necessarily unreal, needs to be grasped in all its divine requirements.
Truth versus Error
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” It is a rule in Christian Science never to repeat error unless it becomes requisite to bring out Truth. Then lift the curtain, let in the light, and countermand this first command of Solomon, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.”
A distant rumbling and quivering of the earth foretell the internal action of pent-up gas. To avoid danger from this source people have to escape from their houses to the open space. A conical cloud, hanging like a horoscope in the air, foreshadows a cyclone. To escape from this calamity people prepare shelter in caves of the earth.
They who discern the face of the skies cannot always discern the mental signs of these times, and peer through the opaque error. Where my vision begins and is clear, theirs grows indistinct and ends.
There are diversities of operation by the same spirit. Two individuals, with all the goodness of generous natures, advise me. One says, Go this way; the other says, Take the opposite direction! Between the two I stand still; or, accepting the premonition of one of them, I follow his counsel, take a few steps, then halt. A true sense not unfamiliar has been awakened. I see the way now. The guardians of His presence go before me. I enter the path. It may be smooth, or it may be rugged; but it is always straight and narrow; and if it be uphill all the way, the ascent is easy and the summit can be gained.
God is responsible for the mission of those whom He has anointed. Those who know no will but His take His hand, and from the night He leads to light. None can say unto Him, What doest Thou?
The Christian Science Journal was the oldest and only authenticated organ of Christian Science up to 1898. Loyal Scientists are targets for envy, rivalry, slander; and whoever hits this mark is well paid by the umpire. But the Scientists aim highest. They press forward towards the mark of a high calling. They recognize the claims of the law and the gospel. They know that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap. They infringe neither the books nor the business of others; and with hearts overflowing with love for God, they help on the brotherhood of men. It is not mine but Thine they seek.
When God bids one uncover iniquity, in order to exterminate it, one should lay it bare; and divine Love will bless this endeavor and those whom it reaches. “Nothing is hid that shall not be revealed.”
It is only a question of time when God shall reveal His rod, and show the plan of battle. Error, left to itself, accumulates. Hence, Solomon's transverse command: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”
To quench the growing flames of falsehood, once in about seven years I have to repeat this, — that I use no drugs whatever, not even coffea (coffee), thea (tea), capsicum (red pepper); though every day, and especially at dinner, I indulge in homœopathic doses of Natrum muriaticum (common salt).
When I found myself under this new régime of medicine, the medicine of Mind, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity as to the effect of drugs on one who had lost all faith in them. Hence I tried several doses of medicine, and so proved to myself that drugs have no beneficial effect on an individual in a proper state of mind.
I have by no means encouraged students of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College to enter medical schools, and afterwards denied this and objected to their entering those schools. A student who consulted me on this subject, received my consent and even the offer of pecuniary assistance to take lessons outside of my College, provided he received these lessons of a certain regular-school physician, whose instructions included about twelve lessons, three weeks' time, and the surgical part of midwifery. I have students with the degree of M. D., who are skilful obstetricians. Such a course with such a teacher would not necessitate essential materialization of a student's thought, nor detract from the metaphysical mode of obstetrics taught in my College.
This student had taken the above-named course in obstetrics when he consulted me on the feasibility of entering a medical school; and to this I objected on the ground that it was inconsistent with Christian Science, which he claimed to be practising; but I was willing, and said so, that, notwithstanding my objection, he should do as he deemed best, for I claim no jurisdiction over any students. He entered the medical school, and several other students with him. My counsel to all of them was in substance the same as the foregoing, and some of these students have openly acknowledged this.
In answer to a question on the following subject, I will state that I preached four years, and built up the church, before I would accept the slightest remuneration. When the church had sufficient members and means to pay a salary, and refused to give me up or to receive my gratuitous services, I accepted, for a time, fifteen dollars each Sunday when I preached. I never received more than this; and the contributions, when I preached, doubled that amount. I have accepted no pay from my church for about three years, and believe that I have put into the church-fund about two thousand dollars of my own contributions. I hold receipts for $1,489.50 paid in, and the balance was never receipted for.
I temporarily organized a secret society known as the P. M., the workings whereof were not “terrible and too shocking to relate.” By and with advice of the very student who brings up the question of this society, it was formed. The P. M. (Private Meeting) Society met only twice. The first subject given out for consideration was this: “There is no Animal Magnetism.” There was no advice given, no mental work, and there were no transactions at those meetings which I would hesitate to have known. On the contrary, our deliberations were, as usual, Christian, and like my public instruction. The second P. M. convened in about one week from the first. The subject given out at that meeting was, in substance, “God is All; there is none beside Him.” This proved to be our last meeting. I dissolved the society, and we have not met since. If harm could come from the consideration of these two topics, it was because of the misconception of those subjects in the mind that handled them. An individual state of mind sometimes occasions effects on patients which are not in harmony with Science and the soundness of the argument used. Hence it prevents the normal action, and the benefit that would otherwise accrue.
I issue no arguments, and cause none to be used in mental practice, which consign people to suffering. On the contrary, I cannot serve two masters; therefore I teach the use of such arguments only as promote health and spiritual growth. My life, consecrated to humanity through nameless suffering and sacrifice, furnishes its own proof of my practice.
I have sometimes called on students to test their ability and meet the mental malpractice, so as to lift the burdens imposed by students.
The fact is, that for want of time, and for the purpose of blessing even my enemies, I neglect myself. I never have practised by arguments which, perverted, are the weapons of the silent mental malpractice. I have no skill in occultism; and I could not if I would, and would not if I could, harm any one through the mental method of Mind-healing, or in any manner.
The late much-ado-about-nothing arose solely from mental malicious practice, and the audible falsehood designed to stir up strife between brethren, for the purpose of placing Christian Science in the hands of aspirants for place and power. These repeated attempts of mad ambition may retard our Cause, but they never can place it in the wrong hands and hold it there, nor benefit mankind by such endeavors.
Fallibility of Human Concepts
Evil counterfeits good: it says, “I am Truth,” though it is a lie; it says, “I am Love,” — but Love is spiritual, and sensuous love is material, wherefore it is hate instead of Love; for the five senses give to mortals pain, sickness, sin, and death, — pleasure that is false, life that leads unto death, joy that becomes sorrow. Love that is not the procurator of happiness, declares itself the antipode of Love; and Love divine punishes the joys of this false sense of love, chastens its affection, purifies it, and turns it into the opposite channels.
Material life is the antipode of spiritual life; it mocks the bliss of spiritual being; it is bereft of permanence and peace.
When human sense is quickened to behold aright the error, — the error of regarding Life, Truth, Love as material and not spiritual, or as both material and spiritual, — it is able for the first time to discern the Science of good. But it must first see the error of its present erroneous course, to be able to behold the facts of Truth outside of the error; and, vice versa, when it discovers the truth, this uncovers the error and quickens the true consciousness of God, good. May the human shadows of thought lengthen as they approach the light, until they are lost in light and no night is there!
In Science, sickness is healed upon the same Principle and by the same rule that sin is healed. To know the supposed bodily belief of the patient and what has claimed to produce it, enables the practitioner to act more understandingly in destroying this belief. Thus it is in healing the moral sickness; the malicious mental operation must be understood in order to enable one to destroy it and its effects. There is not sufficient spiritual power in the human thought to heal the sick or the sinful. Through the divine energies alone one must either get out of himself and into God so far that his consciousness is the reflection of the divine, or he must, through argument and the human consciousness of both evil and good, overcome evil.
The only difference between the healing of sin and the healing of sickness is, that sin must be uncovered before it can be destroyed, and the moral sense be aroused to reject the sense of error; while sickness must be covered with the veil of harmony, and the consciousness be allowed to rejoice in the sense that it has nothing to mourn over, but something to forget.
Human concepts run in extremes; they are like the action of sickness, which is either an excess of action or not action enough; they are fallible; they are neither standards nor models.
If one asks me, Is my concept of you right? I reply, The human concept is always imperfect; relinquish your human concept of me, or of any one, and find the divine, and you have gained the right one — and never until then. People give me too much attention of the misguided, fallible sort, and this misrepresents one through malice or ignorance.
My brother was a manufacturer; and one day a workman in his mills, a practical joker, set a man who applied for work, in the overseer's absence, to pour a bucket of water every ten minutes on the regulator. When my brother returned and saw it, he said to the jester, “You must pay that man.” Some people try to tend folks, as if they should steer the regulator of mankind. God makes us pay for tending the action that He adjusts.
The regulator is governed by the principle that makes the machinery work rightly; and because it is thus governed, the folly of tending it is no mere jest. The divine Principle carries on His harmony.
Now turn from the metaphor of the mill to the Mother's four thousand children, most of whom, at about three years of scientific age, set up housekeeping alone. Certain students, being too much interested in themselves to think of helping others, go their way. They do not love Mother, but pretend to; they constantly go to her for help, interrupt the home-harmony, criticise and disobey her; then “return to their vomit,” — world worship, pleasure seeking, and sense indulgence, — meantime declaring they “never disobey Mother”! It exceeds my conception of human nature. Sin in its very nature is marvellous! Who but a moral idiot, sanguine of success in sin, can steal, and lie and lie, and lead the innocent to doom? History needs it, and it has the grandeur of the loyal, self-forgetful, faithful Christian Scientists to overbalance this foul stuff.
When the Mother's love can no longer promote peace in the family, wisdom is not “justified of her children.” When depraved reason is preferred to revelation, error to Truth, and evil to good, and sense seems sounder than Soul, the children are tending the regulator; they are indeed losing the knowledge of the divine Principle and rules of Christian Science, whose fruits prove the nature of their source. A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God.
Instead of relying on the Principle of all that really exists, — to govern His own creation, — self-conceit, ignorance, and pride would regulate God's action. Experience shows that humility is the first step in Christian Science, wherein all is controlled, not by man or laws material, but by wisdom, Truth, and Love.
Go gaze on the eagle, his eye on the sun,
Fast gathering strength for a flight well begun,
As rising he rests in a liberty higher
Than genius inflated with worldly desire.
No tear dims his eye, nor his pinions lose power
To gaze on the lark in her emerald bower —
Whenever he soareth to fashion his nest,
No vision more bright than the dream in his breast.
The present stage of progress in Christian Science presents two opposite aspects, — a full-orbed promise, and a gaunt want. The need, however, is not of the letter, but the spirit.
Less teaching and good healing is to-day the acme of “well done;” a healing that is not guesswork, — chronic recovery ebbing and flowing, — but instantaneous cure. This absolute demonstration of Science must be revived. To consummate this desideratum, mortal mind must pass through three stages of growth.
First, self-knowledge. The physician must know himself and understand the mental state of his patient. Error found out is two-thirds destroyed, and the last third pierces itself, for the remainder only stimulates and gives scope to higher demonstration. To strike out right and left against the mist, never clears the vision; but to lift your head above it, is a sovereign panacea. Mental darkness is senseless error, neither intelligence nor power, and its victim is responsible for its supposititious presence. “Cast the beam out of thine own eye.” Learn what in thine own mentality is unlike “the anointed,” and cast it out; then thou wilt discern the error in thy patient's mind that makes his body sick, and remove it, and rest like the dove from the deluge.
“Physician, heal thyself.” Let no clouds of sin gather and fall in mist and showers from thine own mental atmosphere. Hold thy gaze to the light, and the iris of faith, more beautiful than the rainbow seen from my window at the close of a balmy autumnal day, will span thy heavens of thought.
A radiant sunset, beautiful as blessings when they take their flight, dilates and kindles into rest. Thus will a life corrected illumine its own atmosphere with spiritual glow and understanding.
The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom.
My students, with cultured intellects, chastened affections, and costly hopes, give promise of grand careers. But they must remember that the seedtime is passed, the harvest hour has come; and songs should ascend from the mount of revelation, sweeter than the sound of vintage bells.
The seed of Christian Science, which when sown was “the least of all seeds,” has sprung up, borne fruit, and the birds of the air, the uplifted desires of the human heart, have lodged in its branches. Now let my faithful students carry the fruit of this tree into the rock-ribbed nests of the raven's callow brood.
The second stage of mental development is humility. This virtue triumphs over the flesh; it is the genius of Christian Science. One can never go up, until one has gone down in his own esteem. Humility is lens and prism to the understanding of Mind-healing; it must be had to understand our textbook; it is indispensable to personal growth, and points out the chart of its divine Principle and rule of practice.
Cherish humility, “watch,” and “pray without ceasing,” or you will miss the way of Truth and Love. Humility is no busybody: it has no moments for trafficking in other people's business, no place for envy, no time for idle words, vain amusements, and all the et cetera of the ways and means of personal sense.
Let Christian Scientists minister to the sick; the school-room is the dernier ressort. Let them seek the lost sheep who, having strayed from the true fold, have lost their great Shepherd and yearn to find living pastures and rest beside still waters. These long for the Christlikeness that is above the present status of religion and beyond the walks of common life, quite on the verge of heaven. Without the cross and healing, Christianity has no central emblem, no history.
The seeds of Truth fall by the wayside, on artless listeners. They fall on stony ground and shallow soil. The fowls of the air pick them up. Much of what has been sown has withered away, but what remaineth has fallen into the good and honest hearts and is bearing fruit.
The third stage of mental growth is manifested in love, the greatest of all stages and states of being; love that is irrespective of self, rank, or following. For some time it has been clear to my thought that those students of Christian Science whose Christian characters and lives recommend them, should receive full fellowship from us, no matter who has taught them. If they have been taught wrongly, they are not morally responsible for this, and need special help. They are as lambs that have sought the true fold and the great Shepherd, and strayed innocently; hence we should be ready and glad to help them and point the way.
Divine Love is the substance of Christian Science, the basis of its demonstration, yea, its foundation and superstructure. Love impels good works. Love is greatly needed, and must be had to mark the way in divine Science.
The student who heals by teaching and teaches by healing, will graduate under divine honors, which are the only appropriate seals for Christian Science. State honors perish, and their gain is loss to the Christian Scientist. They include for him at present naught but tardy justice, hounded footsteps, false laurels. God alone is his help, his shield and great reward. He that seeketh aught besides God, loseth in Life, Truth, and Love. All men shall be satisfied when they “awake in His likeness,” and they never should be until then. Human pride is human weakness. Self-knowledge, humility, and love are divine strength. Christ's vestures are put on only when mortals are “washed in the blood of the Lamb;” we must walk in the way which Jesus marked out, if we would reach the heaven-crowned summit of Christian Science.
Be it understood that I do not require Christian Scientists to stop teaching, to dissolve their organizations, or to desist from organizing churches and associations.
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College, the first and only College for teaching Christian Science Mind-healing, after accomplishing the greatest work of the ages, and at the pinnacle of prosperity, is closed. Let Scientists who have grown to self-sacrifice do their present work, awaiting, with staff in hand, God's commands.
When students have fulfilled all the good ends of organization, and are convinced that by leaving the material forms thereof a higher spiritual unity is won, then is the time to follow the example of the Alma Mater. Material organization is requisite in the beginning; but when it has done its work, the purely Christly method of teaching and preaching must be adopted. On the same principle, you continue the mental argument in the practice of Christian healing until you can cure without it instantaneously, and through Spirit alone.
St. Paul says: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” Growth is restricted by forcing humanity out of the proper channels for development, or by holding it in fetters.
For Jesus to walk the water was scientific, insomuch as he was able to do this; but it is neither wisdom nor Science for poor humanity to step upon the Atlantic until we can walk on the water.
Peter's impetuosity was rebuked. He had to learn from experience; so have we. The methods of our Master were in advance of the period in which he personally appeared; but his example was right, and is available at the right time. The way is absolute divine Science: walk ye in it; but remember that Science is demonstrated by degrees, and our demonstration rises only as we rise in the scale of being.
Science and Philosophy
Men give counsel; but they give not the wisdom to profit by it. To ask wisdom of God, is the beginning of wisdom.
Meekness, moderating human desire, inspires wisdom and procures divine power. Human lives are yet uncarved, — in the rough marble, encumbered with crude, rude fragments, and awaiting the hammering, chiselling, and transfiguration from His hand.
Great only as good, because fashioned divinely, were those unpretentious yet colossal characters, Paul and Jesus. Theirs were modes of mind cast in the moulds of Christian Science: Paul's, by the supremely natural transforming power of Truth; and the character of Jesus, by his original scientific sonship with God. Philosophy never has produced, nor can it reproduce, these stars of the first magnitude — fixed stars in the heavens of Soul. When shall earth be crowned with the true knowledge of Christ?
When Christian Science has melted away the cloud of false witnesses; and the dews of divine grace, falling upon the blighted flowers of fleeting joys, shall lift every thought-leaflet Spiritward; and “Israel after the flesh,” who partaketh of its own altars, shall be no more, — then, “the Israel according to Spirit” shall fill earth with the divine energies, understanding, and ever-flowing tides of spiritual sensation and consciousness.
When mortal mind is silenced by the “still, small voice” of Truth that regenerates philosophy and logic; and Jesus, as the true idea of Him, is heard as of yore saying to sensitive ears and dark disciples, “I came from the Father,” “Before Abraham was, I am,” coexistent and coeternal with God, — and this idea is understood, — then will the earth be filled with the true knowledge of Christ. No advancing modes of human mind made Jesus; rather was it their subjugation, and the pure heart that sees God.
When the belief in material origin, mortal mind, sensual conception, dissolves through self-imposed suffering, and its substances are found substanceless, — then its miscalled life ends in death, and death itself is swallowed up in Life, — spiritual Life, whose myriad forms are neither material nor mortal.
When every form and mode of evil disappear to human thought, and mollusk and radiate are spiritual concepts testifying to one creator, then, earth is full of His glory, and Christian Science has overshadowed all human philosophy, and being is understood in startling contradiction of human hypotheses; and Socrates, Plato, Kant, Locke, Berkeley, Tyndall, Darwin, and Spencer sit at the feet of Jesus.
To this great end, Paul admonished, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” So shall mortals soar to final freedom, and rest from the subtlety of speculative wisdom and human woe.
God is the only Mind, and His manifestation is the spiritual universe, including man and all eternal individuality. God, the only substance and divine Principle of creation, is by no means a creative partner in the firm of error, named matter, or mortal mind. He elucidates His own idea, wherein Principle and idea, God and man, are not one, but are inseparable as cause and effect. If one, who could say which that “one” was?
His ways are not as our ways. The divine modes and manifestations are not those of the material senses; for instance, intelligent matter, or mortal mind, material birth, growth, and decay: they are the forever-existing realities of divine Science; wherein God and man are perfect, and man's reason is at rest in God's wisdom, — who comprehends and reflects all real mode, form, individuality, identity.
Scholastic dogma has made men blind. Christ's logos gives sight to these blind, ears to these deaf, feet to these lame, — physically, morally, spiritually. Theologians make the mortal mistake of believing that God, having made all, made evil; but the Scriptures declare that all that He made was good. Then, was evil part and parcel of His creation?
Philosophy hypothetically regards creation as its own creator, puts cause into effect, and out of nothing would create something, whose noumenon is mortal mind, with its phenomenon matter, — an evil mind already doomed, whose modes are material manifestations of evil, and that continually, until self-extinguished by suffering!
Here revelation must come to the rescue of mortals, to remove this mental millstone that is dragging them downward, and refute erring reason with the spiritual cosmos and Science of Soul. We all must find shelter from the storm and tempest in the tabernacle of Spirit. Truth is won through Science or suffering: O vain mortals! which shall it be? And suffering has no reward, except when it is necessary to prevent sin or reform the sinner. And pleasure is no crime except when it strengthens the influence of bad inclinations or lessens the activities of virtue. The more nearly an erring called mind approaches purity, the more conscious it becomes of its own unreality, and of the great reality of divine Mind and true happiness.
The “ego” that claims selfhood in error, and passes from molecule and monkey up to man, is no ego, but is simply the supposition that the absence of good is mind and makes men, — when its greatest flatterer, identification, is piqued by Him who compensateth vanity with nothingness, dust with dust!
The mythology of evil and mortality is but the material mode of a suppositional mind; while the immortal modes of Mind are spiritual, and pass through none of the changes of matter, or evil. Truth said, and said from the beginning, “Let us [Spirit] make man perfect;” and there is no other Maker: a perfect man would not desire to make himself imperfect, and God is not chargeable with imperfection. His modes declare the beauty of holiness, and His manifold wisdom shines through the visible world in glimpses of the eternal verities. Even through the mists of mortality is seen the brightness of His coming.
We must avoid the shoals of a sensual religion or philosophy that misguides reason and affection, and hold fast to the Principle of Christian Science as the Word that is God, Spirit, and Truth. This Word corrects the philosopher, confutes the astronomer, exposes the subtle sophist, and drives diviners mad. The Bible is the learned man's masterpiece, the ignorant man's dictionary, the wise man's directory.
I foresee and foresay that every advancing epoch of Truth will be characterized by a more spiritual apprehension of the Scriptures, that will show their marked consonance with the textbook of Christian Science Mind-healing, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Interpreting the Word in the “new tongue,” whereby the sick are healed, naturally evokes new paraphrase from the world of letters. “Wait patiently on the Lord, and He will renew your strength.” In return for individual sacrifice, what a recompense to have healed, through Truth, the sick and sinful, made the public your friend, and posterity your familiar!
Christian Science refutes everything that is not a postulate of the divine Principle, God. It is the soul of divine philosophy, and there is no other philosophy. It is not a search after wisdom, it is wisdom: it is God's right hand grasping the universe, — all time, space, immortality, thought, extension, cause, and effect; constituting and governing all identity, individuality, law, and power. It stands on this Scriptural platform: that He made all that was made, and it is good, reflects the divine Mind, is governed by it; and that nothing apart from this Mind, one God, is self-created or evolves the universe.
Human hypotheses predicate matter of Spirit and evil of good; hence these opposites must either cooperate or quarrel throughout time and eternity, — or until this impossible partnership is dissolved. If Spirit is the lawgiver to matter, and good has the same power or modes as evil, it has the same consciousness, and there is no absolute good. This error, carried to its ultimate, would either extinguish God and His modes, or give reality and power to evil ad infinitum.
Christian Science rends this veil of the temple of gods, and reproduces the divine philosophy of Jesus and Paul This philosophy alone will bear the strain of time and bring out the glories of eternity; for “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,” which is Christ, Truth.
Human theories weighed in the balances of God are found wanting; and their highest endeavors are to Science what a child's love of pictures is to art. The school whose schoolmaster is not Christ, gets things wrong, and is ignorant thereof.
If Christian Science lacked the proof of its goodness and utility, it would destroy itself; for it rests alone on demonstration. Its genius is right thinking and right acting, physical and moral harmony; and the secret of its success lies in supplying the universal need of better health and better men.
Good health and a more spiritual religion form the common want, and this want has worked out a moral result; namely, that mortal mind is calling for what immortal Mind alone can supply. If the uniform moral and spiritual, as well as physical, effects of divine Science were lacking, the demand would diminish; but it continues, and increases, which shows the real value of Christian Science to the race. Even doctors agree that infidelity, bigotry, or sham has never met the growing wants of humanity.
As a literature, Christian metaphysics is hampered by lack of proper terms in which to express what it means. As a Science, it is held back by the common ignorance of what it is and of what it does, — and more than all else, by the impostors that come in its name. To be appreciated, it must be conscientiously understood and introduced.
If the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” had in our schools the time or attention that human hypotheses consume, they would advance the world. True, it requires more study to understand and demonstrate what they teach than to learn the doctrine of theology, philosophy, or physics, because they contain and offer Science, with fixed Principle, given rule, and unmistakable proof.
The Scriptures give the keynote of Christian Science from Genesis to Revelation, and this is the prolonged tone: “For the Lord He is God, and there is none beside Him.” And because He is All-in-all, He is in nothing unlike Himself; and nothing that worketh or maketh a lie is in Him, or can be divine consciousness.
At this date, poor jaded humanity needs to get her eyes open to a new style of imposition in the field of medicine and of religion, and to “beware of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees,” the doctrines of men, even as Jesus admonished. From first to last, evil insists on the unity of good and evil as the purpose of God; and on drugs, electricity, and animal magnetism as modes of medicine. To a greater or less extent, all mortal conclusions start from this false premise, and they necessarily culminate in sickness, sin, disease, and death. Erroneous doctrines never have abated and never will abate dishonesty, self-will, envy, and lust. To destroy sin and its sequence, is the office of Christ, Truth, — according to His mode of Christian Science; and this is being done daily.
The false theories whose names are legion, gilded with sophistry and what Jesus had not, namely, mere book-learning, — letter without law, gospel, or demonstration, — have no place in Christian Science. This Science requires man to be honest, just, pure; to love his neighbor as himself, and to love God supremely.
Matter and evil are subjective states of error or mortal mind. But Mind is immortal; and the fact of there being no mortal mind, exposes the lie of suppositional evil, showing that error is not Mind, substance, or Life. Thus, whatever is wrongfully-minded will disappear in the proportion that Science is understood, and the reality of being — goodness and harmony — is demonstrated.
Error says that knowing all things implies the necessity of knowing evil, that it dishonors God to claim that He is ignorant of anything; but God says of this fruit of the tree of knowledge of both good and evil, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” If God is infinite good, He knows nothing but good; if He did know aught else, He would not be infinite. Infinite Mind knows nothing beyond Himself or Herself. To good, evil is never present; for evil is a different state of consciousness. It was not against evil, but against knowing evil, that God forewarned. He dwelleth in light; and in the light He sees light, and cannot see darkness. The opposite conclusion, that darkness dwelleth in light, has neither precedent nor foundation in nature, in logic, or in the character of Christ.
The senses would say that whatever saves from sin, must know sin. Truth replies that God is too pure to behold iniquity; and by virtue of His ignorance of that which is not, He knoweth that which is, and abideth in Himself, the only Life, Truth, and Love, — and is reflected by a universe in His own image and likeness.
Even so, Father, let the light that shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not, dispel this illusion of the senses, open the eyes of the blind, and cause the deaf to hear.
|“||Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.|
|Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,|
|Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.”|
We regret to be obliged to say that all are not metaphysicians, or Christian Scientists, who call themselves so. Charlatanism, fraud, and malice are getting into the ranks of the good and pure, sending forth a poison more deadly than the upas-tree in the eastern archipelago. This evil obtains in the present false teaching and false practice of the Science of treating disease through Mind. The silent address of a mental malpractitioner can only be portrayed in these words of the apostle, “whisperers,” and “the poison of asps is under their tongue.”
Some of the mere puppets of the hour are playing only for money, and at a fearful stake. Others, from malice and envy, are working out the destinies of the damned. But while the best, perverted, on the mortal plane may become the worst, let us not forget that the Lord reigns, and that this earth shall some time rejoice in His supreme rule, — that the tired watchmen on the walls of Zion, and the true Christian Scientist at the foot of the mount of revelation, shall look up with shouts and thanksgiving, — that God's law, as in divine Science, shall be finally understood; and the gospel of glad tidings bring “on earth peace, good will toward men.”
The Cry of Christmas-tide
Metaphysics, not physics, enables us to stand erect on sublime heights, surveying the immeasurable universe of Mind, peering into the cause which governs all effects, while we are strong in the unity of God and man. There is “method” in the “madness” of this system, — since madness it seems to many onlookers. This method sits serene at the portals of the temple of thought, while the leaders of materialistic schools indulge in mad antics. Metaphysical healing seeks a wisdom that is higher than a rhubarb tincture or an ipecacuanha pill. This method is devout enough to trust Christ more than it does drugs.
Meekly we kneel at our Master's feet, for even a crumb that falleth from his table. We are hungry for Love, for the white-winged charity that heals and saves; we are tired of theoretic husks, — as tired as was the prodigal son of the carobs which he shared with the swine, to whom he fed that wholesome but unattractive food. Like him, we would find our Father's house again — the perfect and eternal Principle of man. We thirst for inspiring wine from the vine which our Father tends. We crave the privilege of saying to the sick, when their feebleness calls for help, “Rise and walk.” We rejoice to say, in the spirit of our Master, “Stretch forth thy hand, and be whole!”
When the Pharisees saw Jesus do such deeds of mercy, they went away and took counsel how they might remove him. The antagonistic spirit of evil is still abroad; but the greater spirit of Christ is also abroad, — risen from the grave-clothes of tradition and the cave of ignorance. Let the sentinels of Zion's watch-towers shout once again, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”
In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity's needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart.
What figure is less favorable than a wolf in sheep's clothing? The braying donkey whose ears stick out is less troublesome. What manner of man is it that has discovered an improvement on Christian Science, a “metaphysical healing” by which error destroys error, and would gather all sorts into a “national convention” by the sophistry that such is the true fold for Christian healers, since the good shepherd cares for all?
Yes; the good Shepherd does care for all, and His first care is to separate the sheep from the goats; and this is among the first lessons on healing taught by our great Master.
If, as the gentleman aforesaid states, large flocks of metaphysicians are wandering about without a leader, what has opened his eyes to see the need of taking them out of the care of the great Shepherd, and behold the remedy, to help them by his own leadership? Is it that he can guide Christian Scientists better than they, through the guidance of our common Father, can guide themselves? or is it that they are incapable of helping themselves thus?
I as their teacher can say, They know far more of Christian Science than he who deprecates their condition appears to, and my heart pleads for them to possess more and more of Truth and Love; but mixing all grades of persons is not productive of the better sort, although he who has self-interest in this mixing is apt to propose it.
Whoever desires to say, “good right, and good wrong,” has no truth to defend. It is a wise saying that “men are known by their enemies.” To sympathize in any degree with error, is not to rectify it; but error always strives to unite, in a definition of purpose, with Truth, to give it buoyancy. What is under the mask, but error in borrowed plumes?
“Christ and Christmas”
An Illustrated Poem
This poem and its illustrations are as hopelessly original as is “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” When the latter was first issued, critics declared that it was incorrect, contradictory, unscientific, unchristian; but those human opinions had not one feather's weight in the scales of God. The fact remains, that the textbook of Christian Science is transforming the universe.
“Christ and Christmas” voices Christian Science through song and object-lesson. In two weeks from the date of its publication in December, 1893, letters extolling it were pouring in from artists and poets. A mother wrote, “Looking at the pictures in your wonderful book has healed my child.”
Knowing that this book would produce a stir, I sought the judgment of sound critics familiar with the works of masters in France and Italy. From them came such replies as the following: “The illustrations of your poem are truly a work of art, and the artist seems quite familiar with delineations from the old masters.” I am delighted to find “Christ and Christmas” in accord with the ancient and most distinguished artists.
The Christian Science Journal gives no uncertain declaration concerning the spirit and mission of “Christ and Christmas.”
I aimed to reproduce, with reverent touch, the modest glory of divine Science. Not by aid of foreign device or environment could I copy art, — never having seen the painter's masterpieces; but the art of Christian Science, with true hue and character of the living God, is akin to its Science: and Science and Health gives scopes and shades to the shadows of divinity, thus imparting to humanity the true sense of meekness and might.
One incident serves to illustrate the simple nature of art.
I insisted upon placing the serpent behind the woman in the picture “Seeking and Finding.” My artist at the easel objected, as he often did, to my sense of Soul's expression through the brush; but, as usual, he finally yielded. A few days afterward, the following from Rotherham's translation of the New Testament was handed to me, — I had never before seen it: “And the serpent cast out of his mouth, behind the woman, water as a river, that he might cause her to be river-borne.” Neither material finesse, standpoint, nor perspective guides the infinite Mind and spiritual vision that should, does, guide His children.
One great master clearly delineates Christ's appearing in the flesh, and his healing power, as clad not in soft raiment or gorgeous apparel; and when forced out of its proper channel, as living feebly, in kings' courts. This master's thought presents a sketch of Christianity's state, in the early part of the Christian era, as homelessness in a wilderness. But in due time Christianity entered into synagogues, and, as St. Mark writes, it has rich possession here, with houses and lands. In Genesis we read that God gave man dominion over all things; and this assurance is followed by Jesus' declaration, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” and by his promise that the Christlike shall finally sit down at the right hand of the Father.
Christian Science is more than a prophet or a prophecy: it presents not words alone, but works, — the daily demonstration of Truth and Love. Its healing and saving power was so great a proof of Immanuel and the realism of Christianity, that it caused even the publicans to justify God. Although clad in panoply of power, the Pharisees scorned the spirit of Christ in most of its varied manifestations. To them it was cant and caricature, — always the opposite of what it was. Keen and alert was their indignation at whatever rebuked hypocrisy and demanded Christianity in life and religion. In view of this, Jesus said, “Wisdom is justified of all her children.”
Above the fogs of sense and storms of passion, Christian Science and its art will rise triumphant; ignorance, envy, and hatred — earth's harmless thunder — pluck not their heaven-born wings. Angels, with overtures, hold charge over both, and announce their Principle and idea.
It is most fitting that Christian Scientists memorize the nativity of Jesus. To him who brought a great light to all ages, and named his burdens light, homage is indeed due, — but is bankrupt. I never looked on my ideal of the face of the Nazarite Prophet; but the one illustrating my poem approximates it.
Extremists in every age either doggedly deny or frantically affirm what is what: one renders not unto Cæsar “the things that are Cæsar's;” the other sees “Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.”
Pictures are portions of one's ideal, but this ideal is not one's personality. Looking behind the veil, he that perceives a semblance between the thinker and his thought on canvas, blames him not.
Because my ideal of an angel is a woman without feathers on her wings, — is it less artistic or less natural? Pictures which present disordered phases of material conceptions and personality blind with animality, are not my concepts of angels. What is the material ego, but the counterfeit of the spiritual?
The truest art of Christian Science is to be a Christian Scientist; and it demands more than a Raphael to delineate this art.
The following is an extract from a letter reverting to the illustrations of “Christ and Christmas”: —
“In my last letter, I did not utter all I felt about the wonderful new book you have given us. Years ago, while in Italy, I studied the old masters and their great works of art thoroughly, and so got quite an idea of what constitutes true art. Then I spent two years in Paris, devoting every moment to the study of music and art.
“The first thing that impressed me in your illustrations was the conscientious application to detail, which is the foundation of true art. From that, I went on to study each illustration thoroughly, and to my amazement and delight I find an almost identical resemblance, in many things, to the old masters! In other words, the art is perfect.
“The hands and feet of the figures — how many times have I seen these hands and feet in Angelico's ‘Jesus,’ or Botticelli's ‘Madonna’!
“It gave me such a thrill of joy as no words can express, to see produced to-day that art — the only true art that we have identified with the old masters, and mourned as belonging to them exclusively, — a thing of the past, impossible of reproduction.
“All that I can say to you, as one who gives no mean attention to such matters, is that the art is perfect. It is the true art of the oldest, most revered, most authentic Italian school, revived. I use the words most authentic in the following sense: the face, figure, and drapery of Jesus, very closely resemble in detail the face, figure, and drapery of that Jesus portrayed by the oldest of the old masters, and said to have been authentic; the face having been taken by Fra Angelico from Cæsar's Cameo, the figure and garments from a description, in The Galaxy, of a small sketch handed down from the living reality. Their productions are expressionless copies of an engraving cut in a stone. Yours is a palpitating, living Saviour engraven on the heart. You have given us back our Jesus, and in a much better form.”
Sunrise at Pleasant View
Who shall describe the brave splendor of a November sky that this morning burst through the lattice for me, on my bed? According to terrestrial calculations, above the horizon, in the east, there rose one rod of rainbow hues, crowned with an acre of eldritch ebony. Little by little this topmost pall, drooping over a deeply dazzling sunlight, softened, grew gray, then gay, and glided into a glory of mottled marvels. Fleecy, faint, fairy blue and golden flecks came out on a background of cerulean hue; while the lower lines of light kindled into gold, orange, pink, crimson, violet; and diamond, topaz, opal, garnet, turquoise, and sapphire spangled the gloom in celestial space as with the brightness of His glory. Then thought I, What are we, that He who fashions forever such forms and hues of heaven, should move our brush or pen to paint frail fairness or to weave a web of words that glow with gladdening gleams of God, so unapproachable, and yet so near and full of radiant relief in clouds and darkness!