Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1889)/08 Imposition and Demonstration
IMPOSITION AND DEMONSTRATION.
I have turned your attention to this sublimely affecting subject, of our vital connection with God, not for the purpose of awakening temporary fervor, but that we may feel the urgent duty of cherishing these convictions. If this truth becomes a reality to us, we shall be conscious of having received a new Principle of Life. — Channing.
|Never the Spirit was born; the Spirit shall cease to be never;|
|Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!|
|Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the Spirit forever;|
|Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!|
|Edwin Arnold's translation of Bhagavad-Gitâ.|
|And when they shall say to you,|
|“Inquire of the necromancers and the wizards,|
|That chirp and that murmur;”|
|(Then say ye) Should not a people inquire of their God?|
|Should they inquire of the dead for the living?|
|Men saw the thorns on Jesus' brow,|
|But angels saw the roses.|
|Julia Ward Howe.|
MORTAL life is an enigma. Every day is a mystery. The testimony of the senses cannot inform us what is reality and what is delusion; but the revelations of Science unlock the treasures of Truth. Whatever is false or sinful can never enter the atmosphere of Spirit.
In proportion as Mental Science is understood, spiritual mediumship (so called) will be found erroneous, having no origin or government outside of itself. It is a phantom confined to earth, and regards mortals as the offspring, not of Science, but of sense. Person is the basis of Spiritualism; and this person is regarded as either a limited spirit or a material spirit. In either case the spirit is supposed to be a finite form, having Soul inside of it. Such opinions are inadmissible, because Principle, not person, is the basis of Science.
Blind to the impossibility of the sensual being made the medium of the spiritual, or the finite being the medium of the Infinite, the notion of gaining light from spiritualistic philosophy is, in the main, like expecting Stygian darkness to emit a sunbeam.
Spirit is God, and there is no room for more than One Infinite. Man is never God, but reflects Him, as the idea reflects its Principle, wherein the Ego and Father are one, in the sense of scientific inseparability.
The identity, or idea, of all reality continues, but the Soul, or Principle, of all is not in its formations. Close your eyes and you may dream that you see a flower, that you touch and smell it. Thus you learn that a flower is the product of mind, a formation of thought, rather than of matter. Close them again, and you may see landscapes, or men and women; and therefrom you learn that these also are images, which mortal mind holds and evolves, reflecting Mind, Life, and Intelligence. From dreams also you may learn that matter is not the image or likeness of Mind, and that Mind is not in matter.
The Divine Mind maintains all identity as distinct and eternal, from a blade of grass to a star. The question is, What are God's identities? What is Soul, and what are its reflections? Is Life, or Soul, in the thing formed? or is it the creative, governing Infinite Principle (outside of finite form) which all form but reflects?
Our suffering, sinning, dying conditions — that remain as long as the belief remains of Soul in body, or Intelligence in form — prove this material belief to be unnatural; while the sinless joy, the perfect harmony and immortality of Life (possessing unlimited divine beauty and goodness, without a single bodily pleasure or pain) constitute the only veritable being. This state of existence is scientific and intact, — a perfection attainable by those who have faith in Divine Science. Death can never hasten it, for death must be overcome, not yielded to, before mortals become immortals.
Rejecting a personal God, only to make a God of persons, is equally fatal to the Science of Being. The supposition that persons are spirits is a mistake, since Spirit is God, and there is but One. The belief in good or evil spirits belongs to the dark ages. There is no evil in Spirit. Nothing is real or eternal but God and His idea. Evil has no identity. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief and delusion. Unswerving adherence to right presents the true idea of manhood and womanhood. The pious Polycarp said, “I cannot turn at once from good to evil.” Neither do other mortals accomplish the change at a single bound.
Science never causes a retrograde step, a return to positions outgrown. If the so-called dead and living commune together, they are unfit for separate states of existence. This simple truth lays bare the mistake that man dies as matter, but comes to life as Spirit, or God. The so-called dead must reappear to the physical senses, tangibly and materially, or these lower senses can take no cognizance of them.
Absolute Truth only is true; and absolute error is more readily corrected than beliefs that are partly true and partly false.
Spiritualism assigns the dead to a state resembling that of blighted buds; to a poor purgatory, where their chances of improvement narrow into nothing, and they return to the old standpoints of matter. Men are transformed from the spiritual sense of existence, back to its material sense. This is scientifically impossible, since to Spirit there can be no matter.
Jesus said, “He is not dead but sleepeth.” This restored Lazarus, by the understanding that he had never died, not by an admission that he died and was raised again. Had Jesus believed that Lazarus was dead, he would have been standing on the same plane of belief with those who buried the body, instead of resuscitating it.
If you can waken yourself, or others, out of the belief that all must die, you may claim Jesus' spiritual power, to reproduce the presence of those who you say have died, — but not otherwise. Longfellow's lines are true: —
|There is no Death! What seems so is transition.|
|This life, of mortal breath,|
|Is but a suburb of the Life elysian,|
|Whose portal we call Death.|
When the imaginary intercourse between ourselves and the departed is found to be a myth, error will have a shorter life-lease, and humanity a more profitable and rational field of labor. When being is understood, Life will be recognized neither as material nor finite, but as infinite, — as God, universal good; and the belief that Life, or Mind, was ever in a finite form, or good in evil, will be destroyed. Then it will be understood that Spirit never entered matter, and was therefore never resurrected from it. Thus advancing to scientific being and the understanding of Spirit, man can no longer commune with matter; nor can he return to it, any more than a tree can return to its seed.
The period required for this dream of material life to vanish, embracing its so-called pleasures and pains, “no man knoweth, not the Son, but the Father.” It will be of longer or shorter duration, according to the tenacity of its error. What advantage, then, would it be to us, or to the departed, to prolong the material state, so prolonging the illusion of Soul in sense, and Mind fettered to matter.
There is not as much evidence of any intercommunion between the so-called dead and the living, as there is to the sick that matter suffers and has sensation; and this latter evidence is destroyed by Science. If the so-called mediums understood in part the Science of Being, their belief in mediumship would be gone. They could no longer produce the manifestations contingent on their own finite and material senses, although said to originate with spirits.
Scientific results are based on a demonstrable Principle, explained in Science. Phenomena produced by belief are destitute of Principle and Science. Error is a network of mystery that cannot be united with Truth or Immortality. The gulf is impassable that separates material belief from Life that is not subject to death.
To unite in belief such opposites as Spirit and matter, the Infinite and finite, leads to the error seen in sin, sickness, and death, and exemplified in the mischief and mistake of mediumship. As readily can you mingle fire and frost as Spirit and matter; in either case one must destroy the other. To suppose that Spirit, or God, communes with mortal mind through electricity, or matter, is ridiculous. If this were true it would destroy the divine order and Science of Mind.
If communion were possible between the so-called dead and the living, either the departed must necessarily go backward in the scale of being, like the oak returning to the acorn; or the so-called medium must immediately advance to Life that is independent of matter, like the acorn becoming instantaneously an oak.
Persons on communicable terms with Spirit would have no organic body; and the restoration of that material condition would be as impossible as the restoration of the acorn, already absorbed into a sprout which has risen above the soil. The seed that has germinated higher has a new form and state of existence. When the belief of life in matter is broken, it leaves the old condition, and never returns to it. No correspondence or communion can exist between persons in opposite dreams, such as the belief of having died and of never having died.
There is but one possible moment when the dead and the living can commune together; and that is the moment called death, which forms a link between their opposite beliefs. In the vestibule through which we pass from one dream to another dream, or when we wake from earth's sleep to the grand verities of Life, the departing hear the glad welcome of those gone before. The dying may whisper this vision, name the face that smiles on them, and the hand beckoning them; as one at Niagara, with eyes open only to that wonder, forgets all else, and breathes aloud his rapture.
The recognition of Life, Spirit, and Infinity comes not suddenly, here or hereafter. Existence continues to be a belief of personal sense, until the Science of Being is reached. Error brings its own self-destruction on that plane, as well as on this, for mind makes the conditions of the body. Death will repeatedly occur until Life is understood. Then “the second death” hath no power.
There is but one spiritual existence, even the Life of which personal sense can take no cognizance. Spirits are but personal forms of belief. If in reality one communed with Spirit, a shock could not be felt; nor could there be sensation in the body, or any return to the body.
The Principle of man speaks through immortal sense, and if a body — alias mortal sense — were permeated by Principle, that body would disappear to the senses. As light destroys darkness, and in its place all is light, so Soul is the only truthful communicator. Mortal belief and Immortal Truth are the tares and wheat, which are not united by progress, but separated.
Credulity, misguided faith, jugglery, fraud, are the foundations of mediumship. That all things are possible to Truth, is a scientific statement. That nothing is possible to error, ought to be equally apparent.
The so-called medium makes his way into the confidence of those mourning the loss of friends, when sorrow stirs the mind like a fermenting fluid, till it is ready for any change. Great desire renders the sorrowful receptive of the belief that the departed can commune with them. “The wish is father to the thought.” This error gains its foothold in mortal mind by coming, clad with the drapery of heaven, at the hour of human yearning. It is a mystery and marvel. The mental phenomena are not understood. What, more than ignorance and superstition, are needed as the foundation-stones of such a belief?
Perfection is not expressed through imperfection. Spirit is not made manifest through matter. There are no convenient sieves that can strain Truth through error. The medium imitates whomsoever he believes to be controlling him, producing a sort of self-mesmerism.
Darkness and light, infancy and manhood, sickness and health, are separate beliefs that never blend. Who would say that infancy can utter the ideas of manhood, that darkness can represent light, that we are in Europe when we are in the opposite hemisphere? Logic cannot bridge over the gulf between two such opposite conditions — as the state of those you believe to have died and come to life again, and the state of those whom you believe never to have died.
You call one individual (the living) matter; and the other (the dead) you call spirit; when the fact is that neither is Spirit. That matter is the Truth of existence, or that Spirit and matter, Intelligence and non-intelligence, can ever commune together, is an error that progress and Science will destroy. The notion that one man, as spirit, can control another man, as matter, upsets both the individuality and science of man. The notion that material bodies return to dust, hereafter to rise up as spiritual bodies, with all the material sensations and desires, is absurd. So is the notion that God, Spirit, is mesmerizing mortal minds and bodies.
Shadow is not tangible. No more is Spirit, How then can Spirit communicate with man through electric material effects? The supposition is too ludicrous for serious argument. God is not in this medley, where matter cares for matter, and mediumship takes the place of Science, making God's government contingent on mesmerism and electricity.
God controls man, and is the only Spirit. Any other control, attraction, or so-called spirit, is a belief, an error that ought to be known by its fruits. The caterpillar, transformed into a beautiful insect, is no longer a worm, nor does it return to fraternize with or control the worm; but such a backward transformation would be as sensible as allowing mediumship to befool reason. The Divine Principle of Science is unfolding higher forms of thought, but it never turns thought backward.
Our only resignation at the rise of a new ism, or a new disease, is the hope that another stir in the waters of belief will help to expose their muddy undercurrents.
Spirit needs no wires or electricity, in order to be omnipresent. Spiritualism, with its material accompaniments, would destroy the supremacy of Spirit. Truth pervades all space, and needs no material method for the transmission of messages. Spirit blesses man, but he “cannot tell whence it cometh.” The sick are healed by it, the sorrowing comforted, and the sinner reformed. These are the effects of one universal Cause, and that Cause is the Principle, not the person, of Science.
Soul sends despatches everywhere. The electric wire, carrying to Europe a submarine word, foreshadows the Science of Mind. Little by little thought is forsaking materiality, and becoming more spiritual, while Science pushes the centuries onward.
Spirit is never in limits or limbo. What of the belief that we are wearing out life, and hastening to death, while at the same time we are communing with immortality? If the departed are in rapport with mortality, or matter, they must still be mortal, sinful, suffering, and dying. Then wherefore look to them for proofs of immortality, and accept them as oracles? Communications gathered from ignorance are pernicious in their tendencies.
The act of describing disease — its symptoms, locality, and fatality — itself makes the disease. Warning people against death frightens them into it. This obnoxious practice ought to cease. Many instances could be cited of death from fright. Mediumship helps to strengthen and perpetuate the very belief that must be destroyed in order to heal the sick — namely, the illusion of death.
Jesus cast out spirits, or false beliefs. The apostle bade men have the Mind that was in Christ. Jesus did his own work, and explained the One Spirit. He never described disease, but he healed it. If the sick are made more comfortable by error, this shows them to be all the more the victims of disease.
Mysticism gives force to so-called mediumship. An unscientific mental method is more fatal than drugs, and produces more sickness. Fear, conjecture, and dismay are the mental elements of all disease. Science must go over the whole ground, and dig up every seed of their sowing. A spirit-medium relics on belief. Science removes belief with understanding; and it rests on Principle, instead of person, for the revelation of immortality and the introduction of the harmony of being.
A medium said to me: “You are ill. The brain is overtasked, and you must have rest.” I interposed a vigorous objection, contending for the rights of Intelligence, and asserted that Mind controls body and brain. The views she insisted upon (as I told her) were the very ones to be rid of, in order to be well. She exclaimed, “Dr. Rush is present, and says you must use valganism [meaning, undoubtedly, galvanism] and rest, or you will be sick.” Even this oracular warning failed to convince me, and so I continued in a good state of health. Indeed I had strong doubts whether fifty years of post-mortem experience could so demoralize the orthography of a learned man, or would so perpetuate his old medical beliefs. People who are rational on other topics sustain and believe such mummery as this, while at the same time they loudly admonish the world against Christian Science as dangerous.
A communication, purporting to come from the late Theodore Parker, read as follows: “There never was, and there never will be, an immortal spirit.” Yet the very periodical containing this sentence repeats weekly the assertion that spirit-communications are our only proofs of immortality.
I entertain no doubt of the humanity and philanthropy of many Spiritualists, but I cannot coincide with their views.
A man's assertion that he is immortal no more proves him to be so, than the opposite assertion, that he is mortal, would prove immortality a lie. Nor is the case improved when a returned spirit teaches immortality. At the very best, on its own theories, Spiritualism can only prove that certain individuals have a continued existence after death, and maintain their affiliation with mortal flesh; but Spiritualism affords no certainty of a life that shall last forever. Life, Love, and Truth are the only evidences of immortality.
Man, in the likeness of God, cannot help being immortal. Though the grass seemeth to wither and the flower to fade, they reappear. Erase the figures that express number, shut out the tones of music, give to the worms the body called man; yet the producing Principle lives on, despite so-called laws of matter, that would make man mortal. Though the inharmony of human belief hides the harmony of Science, it cannot destroy the Principle.
The One Mind cannot be marred, for it “doeth according to His own 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?” Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by men under the control of supreme Wisdom?
The earth's orbit, and the imaginary line called the equator, are not substance. The earth's motion and position are sustained alone by Mind. Even the simple Planchette (the toy so popular fifteen years ago) attested the control of mortal mind over its lower substratum, called matter.
The point to be determined is, Shall Science explain all cause and effect, or shall these be left open to mere speculative thought? The admission to one's self that one is Soul instead of body, sets man free to master the infinite idea. This conviction shuts the door on death, and opens it wide towards immortality.
Divest yourself of the thought that there can ever be Substance in matter, and then the movements and transitions, now possible for the mind, will be found to be just as possible for the body. Then being will be recognized as spiritual, and death will be obsolete; though now we insist that death is the necessary prelude of immortality.
The understanding and recognition of Spirit must finally come, and we might as well improve our time in solving the mysteries of being on this Principle. At present we know not fully what we are; but this is certain, that we shall be Love, Life, and Truth, when we understand them.
Do you say the time has not yet come, in which to recognize Soul as substantial, and able to control the body? Remember Jesus, who, over eighteen centuries ago, demonstrated the power of Spirit, and said, “The works that I do, ye shall do;” and who also said, “Behold the hour cometh, and now is, when they who worship the Father shall worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.”
Matter is neither intelligent nor creative. The tree is not the author of itself. Sound is not the originator of music, and man is not the father of man. If seed could really produce wheat, and wheat could produce flour, or one animal could originate another, how then could we account for the origin of Mind? How were the loaves and fishes multiplied on the shores of Galilee; and that, too, without grain or monad, from which loaf and fish could come?
Miracles are impossible in Science. The highest manifestation of Life or Truth is divine, — not supernatural or preternatural, since Science is nature explicated.
The decaying flower, the blighted bud, the gnarled oak, the ferocious beast, — like the discords of sickness, sin, and death, — are unnatural. They are the falsities of sense, the changing reflections of mortal mind, and not the realities of Soul.
Eloquence reverberates with the strains of Truth and Love. It is inspiration, more than erudition. It shows the possibilities of Mind; though it is said to be a gift, whose endowment is obtained from books or derived from the impulsion of departed spirits. When eloquence proceeds from the belief that a departed spirit is speaking, who can tell what the unaided medium is incapable of uttering or knowing, this shows that the fetters of mortal mind are loosed. Forgetting her ignorance, in the belief that another mind is speaking through her, she may become unwontedly eloquent. Because she thinks somebody else possesses her tongue and mind, she talks freely.
Destroy her belief in outside aid, and her eloquence disappears. The former limits of her belief return. She says, “I am incapable of words that glow, for I am uneducated.” This familiar instance reaffirms the Scriptural word, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” If one believes that he cannot be an orator without study, the body responds to this belief; and the tongue grows mute, that before was eloquent.
Mind is not necessarily confined to the development of educational processes, but it possesses all beauty and poetry, with the power of expressing them.
Soul is heard when sense is silent. All of us are absolutely capable of more than we do. The emotions of Soul confer a freedom which explains the phenomena of improvisation, and the fervor of untutored lips.
Mortal mind convulses matter. This movement is the volition of belief, but it is neither Science nor Understanding. Science removes mystery and interprets extraordinary phenomena. It should not seem mysterious that mind, without hands, can move a table, when we already know that it is mind-power that moves both table and hand. Mortal mind produces table-tipping, through the belief that this wonder emanates from spirits and electricity; or through the common belief that matter acts upon matter, both openly and covertly.
Portraits, landscape-paintings, fac-similes of penmanship, peculiarities of expression, recollected sentences, can all be taken from pictorial thought and memory, as readily as from objects cognizant to the senses. Mortal mind sees what it believes, even as it can feel and hear its own thoughts.
Memory may reproduce voices long since silent. We answer to the call of our names, when no one has uttered a sound. We have but to close the eyes, and forms rise before us that are thousands of miles away, or altogether gone from personal sight and sense, — and this not in dreamy sleep. Wide awake, we recall
|the touch of the vanished hand,|
|And the sound of the voice that is still.|
The mind may even be cognizant of a present flavor and odor, when no viand touches the palate, and no scent salutes the nostrils.
It is needless that the thought or the personality, holding the transferred picture, should be individually and consciously present. Though bodies are leagues apart, and the circumstances forgotten, they float in the general atmosphere of human mind.
The Scotch call such vision Second Sight; when really it is first sight instead of second, for it presents primal facts to the mind.
Though individuals have passed away, their mental environment remains, to be discerned and described. Mediumship would remove spiritualistic phenomena from the domain of reason into the realm of mysticism. Why? Pictures are mentally formed, before the artist can convey them to canvas. So is it with all material conceptions. Mind-readers perceive these pictures of thought. They copy or reproduce them, even when lost to the recognition of the mind where they are discoverable.
The mine knows naught of the emeralds within its rocks; the sea is ignorant of the pearls within its caverns, of the corals of its sharp reefs, of the tall ships which float on its bosom, or whose carcasses lie buried in its sands; yet these are all there. Think not that a mental concept is lost because you do not think of it. The true concept is never lost. The strong impressions produced on mortal mind by friendship, or any intense feeling, are lasting, and mind-readers can perceive and reproduce these impressions.
Clairvoyance is simply mortal mind-reading, whereas the Science of Mind is an immortal revealing of divine purpose, through the understanding, by which we gain the Principle and explanation of things. These are distinctly opposite standpoints, whence to interpret cause and effect. Clairvoyance investigates and influences mortal thought only. Science is co-ordinate neither with the premises nor conclusions of mortal belief.
In Science we can do good, but not evil. Clairvoyance can do evil, can accuse wrongfully, and err in every direction. The sensual may be clairvoyant, but not scientific. The scientific cannot be sensual. Foresight, from a spiritual standpoint, is in accord with the prophetic character of the ancient worthies; but we foreshadow evil, and so bring it to pass, when we predict the future from a groundwork of error.
When sufficiently advanced in Science to blend with the Truth of Being, we become seers and prophets involuntarily, controlled not by demons, spirits, or demigods, but by the One Spirit, or God. It is the prerogative of ever-present Truth to know the past and present, and foreknow the future. It is a step towards Mind Science, whereby we discern man's real personality, to understand that Mind is not bounded by person, not dependent upon the ear and eye for sound and sight, or upon muscles and bones for locomotion.
Acquaintance with the Science of Being enables us to commune more largely with the One Mind, to foretell events that concern the universal good, to record Truth, to receive inspiration, to reach the range of fetterless Mind. Man cannot scan the works of God, or do well his own work, out of mere curiosity to know evil, or dive into the experiences of the dead.
All we correctly know of Mind comes from God, or Principle, and is learned through Christian Science. If this Science has been deeply learned and properly digested, we can read mind more accurately than the astronomer can read the stars and calculate an eclipse. This mind-reading is the opposite of clairvoyance. It is the illumination of understanding that approximates a capacity of Soul, not sense. It is possessed only by the highly spiritual.
Such intuitions reveal whatever constitutes and perpetuates harmony, enabling one to do good, but not evil. You will reach the perfect Science of Healing when able to read the human mind after this manner, and discern the error you would destroy. The Samaritan woman said: “He told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?”
It is recorded once that Jesus, as he journeyed with his students, knew their thoughts, — discerned them spiritually. In like manner he read disease and healed the sick. After the same method, events of great moment were foretold by the Hebrew prophets. Our Master rebuked the lack of this power, when he said: “Ye hypocrites, who know how to judge of the face of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times.”
Their personal senses were acute, but in spiritual sense they were wanting. Jesus knew the generation to be wicked and adulterous, seeking the material and losing the spiritual. His thrust at materialism was sharp but requisite. He never spared hypocrisy the sternest condemnation. He said, “Ye do the things ye ought not to do, and leave undone those ye ought to have done.” The great Teacher of Christian Science knew that a good tree cannot send forth evil fruit, — that Truth communicates Truth, but never imparts error.
In the company of those who believe in Spiritualism, the medium is more apt to repeat something about departed friends, and to describe them personally; thereby showing that it is mortal mind, acting on this earth-plane, that produces the effect, and that the communications come from the living rather than from the dead.
That somebody, somewhere, must have known the deceased communicator is evident, and it is as easy to read distant thoughts as near. We think of an absent friend as easily as we do of one present. It is no more difficult to read the absent mind. Chaucer wrote centuries ago, yet we read his thought in his verse. What are classic studies, but so much discernment of the minds of Homer and Virgil, of whose very existence we may be in doubt?
The demand for intercourse with the dead proceeds from the minds of the living, who believe in this process. Yearning for this communion, they mentally call for it. This call reaches the mind of the medium, and brings on the mood called mediumship, expressed in trance, by impression, or by motion.
In sleep we do not communicate with the dreamer at our side, despite this proximity, — nor because both are dreamers, wandering through the different mazes of belief. If spiritual Life is won by the departed, they cannot return to the material.
Even if our departed friends are beside us, and they are in as conscious a state of existence as before the change, still their state is different from ours. We are not in their state, nor are they in the realm wherein we dwell. Communion between them and us is prevented by this difference. The mental planes are so unlike, that intercommunion is as difficult as it would be between a mole and a human being.
It is but an illusion to suppose that death has given the departed a better understanding of ourselves, so that they can help us if we seek their aid. When wandering in Australia, do we look for help to the Esquimaux in their snow huts? Different dreams and different awakenings betoken differing consciousness.
In an age of sin and sensuality, hastening to a greater development of power, it is wise to consider whether it is the human mind or the Divine Mind that is influencing you. Only as you are guided by divine power, through Science and understanding, will you steer clear of the fearful shoals on this unexplored coast. The error which inaugurated the Salem Witchcraft delusion will not be over until that error is met and overcome, not by the gibbet, but by Truth.
Science must be allowed to explain the incredible good and evil elements now coming to the surface. An evil mind, at work mesmerically, is an agent of mischief little understood. Mortals must find refuge in Soul, in order to escape the error of these latter days. Mediumship and mesmerism are instigating a terribly discordant development.
Let us insist on the majesty of right, and its control over wrong, and deny the reality of aught but God and God's true idea. Thus shall be overthrown the reign of error, while the world of harmony and Truth shall reappear like the green hills after the deluge.
Even if spirit-communications were possible, they would grow beautifully less with every advanced stage of existence. The departed would gradually pass away from ignorance and materiality, and the medium would outgrow her belief in mediumship.
We welcome the increase of knowledge, even though it lead to evil, because sinful human invention must have its day, and we want that day over.
Paul learned that in order to be “present with the Lord,” or Truth, we must be “absent from the body,” — that is, from material evidence.
Cain concluded, very naturally, that if Life was in the body, and man gave it, man had the right to take it away. This incident shows that the belief of Life in matter was a murderer from the beginning.
Midnight foretells the dawn. Led by a solitary star, amid the darkness, the magii of old foretold the Messiahship of Truth. What sage to-day, beholding this light, is believed when he describes its effulgence?
Lulled by stupefying illusions, the world is asleep in the cradle of infancy, dreaming away the hours. Entering upon the heretofore unknown eternity of Spirit, material sense, like an outlaw escaping to a foreign land, is doomed to an unlooked-for death.
Humanity advances out of belief into Science, but it advances slowly, because unwillingness to learn clogs the mind and loads Christendom with chains. So much hypocrisy swells the catalogue of social ills, that the demands and demonstration of Truth are held undesirable, and they even incur the enmity of mankind.
What the prophets of Judah did, the worshippers of Baal failed to do; yet artifice and delusion claimed that they could equal the work of Wisdom. So mediumship and clairvoyance claim to work the same cures as Christian Science.
Mind evolves images of thought. These may appear to the ignorant to be apparitions; but they are mysterious only because it is unusual to see thoughts, though we can always feel them. One may think it is the same thing to see the mental images of departed friends, as it is to see them personally, but it is not. Seeing and hearing, though equal senses, are made unequal in power and effect, when you believe that, though you can feel the mental pain of minds here, you cannot see their images of thought. The sick may not have seen the images of disease, or spoken on the subject to anybody, yet the mind-reader can tell the locality of the pain. Through sympathy yawning is reproduced. So are sickness and tale-bearing.
Seeing is no less an attribute of personal sense than feeling is. Then why is it more difficult to see a thought than to feel it? Education alone determines the difference. In reality there is none. Haunted houses, ghostly voices, unusual noises, apparitions, dark seances, either involve feats by tricksters, or they are images and sounds evolved involuntarily by mortal mind.
How are veritable ideas to be distinguished from illusions? By learning their origin. Ideas are emanations of Spirit. Thoughts, proceeding from the brain or from matter, are beliefs. Ideas are spiritual, harmonious, and eternal. Thoughts proceed from the material senses, at one time supposed to be substance, at another called Spirit.
To love one's neighbor as one's self is an idea of Soul; but physical sense can never see, feel, or understand this idea. Excite the organ of veneration, religious faith, and the individual manifests profound adoration. Excite the opposite development, and he blasphemes. Neither of these results, however, is from Christianity, for both are but the effects of belief.
Nothing is more antagonistic to Science than belief without understanding. It hides Truth and builds on error. Spirit, or Science, has nothing to do with mediumship. It is preposterous to suppose that Life is material, that it is a nervo-vital fluid. It is equally absurd to suppose that mortal mind, in another sphere of being, can intermeddle profitably with this. There is a great gulf fixed between Science and mediumship, like that between Dives and Lazarus.
The more closely error simulates Truth, and so-called matter resembles its essence (mortal mind), the more potent error becomes as an evil belief. The lightning is fierce and the electric despatch swift, yet how invisible is the flight of one and the blow of the other. The more ethereal matter becomes, the more destructive is it in belief, until it reaches its mortal ultimatum in mortal mind, the source of all evil. The nearer a belief approaches Truth, without passing the boundary where it ceases to be an illusion (having been corrected by the understanding), the more plausible and dangerous it becomes. The more material the belief, the more obnoxious it is, until Divine Science, supreme in its domain, destroys it, and man is found in the likeness of Spirit.
The Chinese Empire owes its peculiarities and renown to the ancient conceptions of Deity there prevalent. Tyranny, intolerance, and bloodshed arise from the belief that the Infinite is formed after the pattern of mortal passions and impulses.
The belief that man and the universe are governed in general by material law, but that occasionally Spirit sets aside this law, belittles the capacity of Omnipotent Wisdom, giving to matter the general precedence; yet this is the popular view of Christians, as well as of other religionists, who believe in miracles, and such supernatural interferences.
Mortals try in vain to slay error with the steel, when it falls only before the sword of Spirit. Our various theories will never lose their imaginary power, for good or evil, until we lose our belief in them, and make Life its own proof of harmony and God.
Truth will finally mark the hour of harmony; and spiritualization will follow, for Truth is Spirit. Before error is wholly destroyed, there will be interruptions to the general material routine. Earth will become dreary and desolate; but summer and winter, seedtime and harvest (though in changed forms) will continue unto the end, — until the final spiritualization of all things.
Mrs. Hemans has touched a faith-chord in her lines —
|We know that the bowers are green and fair|
|In the light of that summer shore;|
|And we know that the friends we have lost are there, —|
|They are there, and we weep no more!|
In dreams we fly to Europe, and meet a far-off friend. One person sees the body in bed, another carries it through the air or over the ocean. This sleeping dream is nearer the actuality of man's scientific being than is the waking dream of material life, because the belief of personal sense governs it less. The scientific statement that all is Mind gains its simplest proofs from dreams, and from the healing of the sick by Mind.
A lady having an internal tumor, and greatly dreading a surgical operation, called on me. I conducted her case metaphysically, never touching her, never using a drug or an instrument, and yet the tumor was wholly removed in two days.
Jesus triumphed over the belief that matter is anything in and of itself, or has any authority over man. His kingdom was not material but spiritual. He understood both Soul and body. He conquered the flesh and the devil. He was the master of sense, sickness, sin, and death. He came teaching and fulfilling the law of being, so establishing the kingdom of heaven, the reign of harmony on earth. His demonstration of Life is the strongest proof of Divine Science — of perfect manhood, of a Life without death, and holiness without sin. He not only taught, but exemplified, the possibility of meeting the command, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven [the Principle of man] is perfect.”
Theodore Parker has a remarkable essay on Naturalism, Supernaturalism, and Spiritualism, using the term spiritualism, not in its modern, narrow, sectarian and material sense, but in its primitive and proper sense, as indicative of that spiritualism which is the opposite of materialism. In this essay, speaking of the power of divine faith and Spirit, he says with much force: —
It is no vulgar superstition to say men are inspired in such times. They are the seedtime of life. Then we live whole years through in a few moments; and afterwards, as we journey on in life, cold and dusty and travel-worn and faint, we look to that moment as a point of light; the remembrance of it comes over us like the music of our home, heard in a distant land. Like Elisha . . . we go long years in the strength thereof. It travels with us, a great wakening light, — a pillar of fire in the darkness, to guide us through the lonely pilgrimage of life. These hours of inspiration, like the flower of the aloe-tree,}} may be rare, but are yet the celestial blossoming of man, — the result of the past, the prophecy of the future.
Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is a separate intelligence from God, and obey this unerring Principle of Life and Love. Jesus acted boldly against the accredited evidence of the senses, against Pharisaical creeds and practices. He refuted all opponents with his healing power.
We never read that Jesus made a diagnosis of a disease, in order to discover some means of healing it. He never asked if it were acute or chronic. He never recommended attention to laws of health, never gave drugs, never prayed to know if God were willing that man should live. He understood man to be an immortal, whose Life is in God, — not that man has two lives, one to be destroyed and the other to be made indestructible.
The ancient Hindoo philosophers understood something of this Principle, when they said in their Celestial Song, according to an old prose translation: —
The wise neither grieve for the dead nor for the living. I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the Soul, in this mortal frame, findeth infancy, youth, and old age; so in some future frame will it find the like. One who is confirmed in this belief is not disturbed by anything that may come to pass. The sensibility of the faculties giveth heat and cold, pleasure and pain; which come and go, and are transient and inconstant. Bear them with patience; for the wise man, whom these disturb not, and to whom pain and pleasure are the same, is formed for immortality.
Jesus kept the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” He rendered “unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's.” He paid no homage to forms of doctrine or theories of man, but acted and spake as he was moved, not by spirits, but by Spirit.
To the ritualistic priest and hypocritical Pharisee he said, “Even the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you.” He unwittingly gave a date to the Christian era, but established no form of worship. He knew that men can be baptized, partake of the eucharist, support the clergy, observe the Sabbath, make long prayers, and all the while be sensual and hypocritical.
Jesus established his church, and maintained his mission, on the basis of Christian healing. He taught his followers that his religion had a Principle that could cast out error, and heal both the sick and sinful. He claimed no intelligence, action, or life separate from God. Despite the persecution this brought upon him, he used his divine power to save men both bodily and spiritually.
The question then, as now, was, How did Jesus heal the sick? His answer to this question the world rejected. He appealed to his students, “Whom do men say that I am?” — that is, Who or what is it that is thus identified with casting out demons and healing the sick? They replied, “Some say Elias, others John the Baptist, others Jeremiah.” These prophets were dead, and this reply may indicate that some of the people believed that Jesus was a medium, controlled by the spirit of John or Elisha.
This ghostly fancy was even repeated to Herod himself. That a wicked king and debauched husband should have no high appreciation of Divine Science, and the great work of the Master, was not surprising, for how could such a sinner comprehend what the disciples did not fully understand? But even Herod did not believe Jesus to be the dead preacher come to life; and he simply answered, “John have I beheaded, but who is this?” and desired to see the new Teacher.
The disciples comprehended their Master better than did others; but they did not understand him wholly, or they would not have questioned him so often. Jesus patiently persisted in teaching and demonstrating the Truth of Being. His students saw this power heal the sick, cast out evil, raise the dead; but the Science of this wonderful work was not spiritually discerned, even by them, until after the crucifixion, when their immaculate Teacher stood before them, the victor over sickness, sin, and death.
Yearning to be understood, the Master repeated, “But whom say ye that I am?” This inquiry again meant, Who or what is it that is able to do the work, so mysterious to the popular mind? In his rejection of the answer already given, and his renewal of the question, it is plain that Jesus eschewed the opinion implied in their citation of the common report, that he was a necromancer, a spirit-raiser, or a medium.
Peter, with his usual impetuosity, replied for his brethren, and his reply expressed the great fact, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;” that is, Thou art the Truth that heals mental and physical ailments. This assertion elicited from Jesus the benediction, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood have not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in Heaven;” that is, the Principle of Being hath shown thee the way of Life.
Then Jesus added: “And on my part I say to thee, that thou art Peter, a rock [the meaning of the Greek word petros], and on this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell [hades, the underworld, or the grave] shall not prevail against it.” In other words, Jesus the Christ purposed the foundation of his society, not on the personal Peter, as a mortal man, but on the Soul-power which lay behind his confession of the Messiah.
It was evident to Peter that the Divine Principle, and not a person, was the healer of the sick. On this spiritually scientific theory Jesus explained that which was a miracle to outsiders, showing it to be neither person nor medicine that heals, but Truth and Love. The Divine Spirit cures disease by controlling the errors of mortal mind and body. The supremacy of Spirit was the rock on which Jesus built. His sublime summary points to a solid superstructure of Intelligence and Love.
Neither creed, rite, nor mystery entered into his methods. Through Mind alone he triumphed over sickness, sin, and death. By this power he opened the prison doors to the captive, unchained the fetters of belief that imprisoned mind in matter, and gave to immortal being its full scope and recompense.
The first erroneous postulate of belief is that Substance, Life, and Intelligence are something apart from God.
The second erroneous postulate is that man is both mind and matter.
The third erroneous postulate is that mind is both evil and good; when really Mind cannot be evil, since God is Mind.
The fourth erroneous postulate is that matter is intelligent, and that man has a material body, which is part of himself.
The fifth erroneous postulate is that matter holds in itself the issues of life and death; that it is not only capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, but also of imparting these sensations to mind. From the illusion implied in this last postulate arises the decomposition of mortal bodies in what is termed Death.
The so-called pains of matter are productive of less error than are its pleasures; although both are unreal, because they are impossible. To break this earthly spell mortals must get the true idea and Divine Principle of all that really is, and governs the universe and man harmoniously. This idea is apprehended slowly, and the interval before its attainment is attended with doubts and defeats as well as triumphs.
At no distant date this material world will be the arena of conflicting forces. On one side will be discord and dismay; on the other, Science and peace. In the latter days earth will be convulsed with error, famine, and pestilence. Sickness will assume more acute phases, and death become more sudden. These disturbances will continue until the end, when all material discord is swallowed up in spiritual harmony.
He who hath shaped his course scientifically before that period, will then find harmony at the very doors of his life. As material knowledge diminishes and spiritual understanding increases, every sensible object will be mentally evolved and understood, instead of materially. Those who discern Christian Science will then hold crime in check. They will aid this dismissal of old opinions. They will maintain law and order, and cheerfully await the scientific certainty of final perfection.
The scientific man reflects the divine law, thus becoming a law unto himself. He does violence to no man, neither does he accuse any one falsely.
Sin will make deadly thrusts at the Scientist, when ritualism and creed are summoned to give place to higher law; but Science will ameliorate mortal malice.
Reforms have commonly been attended with bloodshed and persecution, even when the end was brightness and peace; but this reform (old, but yet new) will teach men to patiently and wisely stem the tide of sectarian bitterness.
We need “Christ, and him crucified.” We must have trials and self-denials, as well as Truth and victories, until all error is destroyed. Too many sects, and not enough Christianity, is the record of nineteen centuries.
To publicly give and privately steal has been deemed politic, but it is neither politic nor right.
A cup of coffee or tea is not equal to Truth, for the inspiration of a sermon.
Mortals need “not be weary in well doing.” Mental Science dissipates such fatigue. Giving does not impoverish, in the service of our Maker; neither does withholding enrich. We have strength in proportion to our Truth, and our strength is not lessened by giving utterance to Truth.
If the soft palm, upturned to a lordly salary, — and architectural skill, making dome and spire tremulous with beauty, — turn the poor and stranger from the gate, they shut the door on progress. Body cannot be saved apart from Mind. In vain do the manger and cross tell their story to pride and fustian. Sensuality palsies the right hand, and causes the left to let go its divine grasp.
As in Jesus' days, tyranny and pride need to be whipped out of the Temple, while humility and Divine Science are welcomed in. The strong cords of scientific argument, twisted by Jesus, are still needed to purge the synagogues of their shocking traffic in worldly policy, and make them temples meet for Truth.
The prophet of to-day beholds, in the mental horizon, the signs of these times, the approaching Christianity that heals the sick and destroys error; “and no other sign shall be given.” This Christianity is misinterpreted by this material age; for it is the healing influence of Divine Spirit, which the material senses cannot comprehend, and it must be spiritually discerned. Creeds, doctrines, and beliefs do not express it, much less can they demonstrate it.
Centuries ago the religionist was ready to hail a personal God, and array his vicegerent with pomp and sceptre. This is not the manner of Truth's appearing. Of old the cross was Truth's central figure. The modern lash may be less material than the Roman scourge, but is equally cutting.
Cold disdain, stubborn resistance, opposition by church and press, are croaking heralds of the full-orbed appearing of Truth.
Meekly our Master met the common mockery of his unconscious grandeur. The indignities he received, his followers must endure, until his religion triumphs. He won eternal honors. He overcame the world, the flesh, and all error, thus proving their nothingness. He wrought a full salvation from sin, sickness, and death.
“Now,” cried the apostle, “is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation;” meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation, in Spirit and Life.
The progress of Truth confirmed its claims. From sensuality and sin, every good word and work of our Master evoked denial, ingratitude, and betrayal.
Of the ten lepers that Jesus healed, but one returned to give God thanks, — that is, to acknowledge the Principle that healed him.
Jesus bore our infirmities and felt the error of human belief, and “through his stripes we are healed.” “Despised and rejected of men,” returning blessing for cursing, he taught mortals the opposite of themselves, even the nature of God; and when error felt the power of Truth, the scourge and cross awaited the Teacher.
The Man of Sorrows was in no peril from salary or popularity. Deserving the homage of the world, meriting pre-eminently the approval of God, his brief triumphal entry into Jerusalem was followed by the desertion of all save a few friends, who followed mourning to the foot of the cross. The earthly price of spirituality in a material age, and the great moral distance between Christianity and sensualism, preclude Science from finding favor with the million.
These lines by F. W. Myers touch the solitude of Truth in the world: —
|Safe to the hidden house of Thine abiding,|
|Carry the weak ones and the heart that faints.|
|Shield from the scorn, and cover from the chiding;|
|Give the world joy, but patience to the saints.|
Once, when touched by material thought, Jesus asked, “Who hath touched me?” Supposing this inquiry to be occasioned by some physical contact, his students answered, “The people throng thee.” Jesus however knew, better than others knew, that it was not matter, but mortal mind, whose touch called for aid. Repeating his inquiry he was answered by the faith of a sick woman. His quick apprehension of this mental call illustrated his spirituality. The disciples' misconception of it betrayed their materiality. He possessed more spiritual and less material susceptibility than the disciples. Opposites come from contrary directions, and produce opposite results.
Christianity causes men to turn from sense to Soul, as naturally as the flower turns from darkness to light. It appropriates those things which “the eye hath not seen nor the ear heard.” Paul and the spiritual John had a clear apprehension that, as mortal man achieves no worldly honors except by sacrificing for them, so he must gain heavenly riches by forsaking all else. Then he will have nothing in common with the worldling's affections, motives, and aims.
Man walks in the direction towards which he looks, and “where his treasure is, there will his heart be also.” If our hopes and affections are spiritual they come from above, not from beneath, and they bear, as of old, the fruits of the Spirit.
Judge not the future advance of Christianity by the few steps already taken, lest ye be condemned for failing to take the first step. Christian learners must always feel the pressure of the apostolic command to come out from the world and be separate. Oppression and the pride of life must be renounced. Christianity must be the Queen of Life, with the crown of Love upon her brow.
If my friends are going to Europe, while I am en route for California, we are not journeying together. We have separate time-tables to consult, different routes to pursue. Our paths have parted at the very outset, and we have little opportunity to help each other. On the contrary, if they pursue my course we have the same railroad-guides, and our mutual interests are identical. If I take up their line of travel, they will help me on, and our companionship may continue.
The Christian Scientist must choose his course, and be honest and consistent in following the leadings of Mind. He must practically acknowledge Jesus' way, as the only one whereby mortals are saved.
In sympathy with matter, the worldly man is at the beck of error, and will be attracted thitherward. He is like a traveller going westward for a fashionable trip. The company is alluring, and the pleasures exciting. After following the sun for six days, he turns east on the seventh, satisfied if he can only imagine himself drifting in one direction. By-and-by, ashamed of his zigzag course, he perhaps steals the passport of some wiser pilgrim, as a help to finding and following the right road once more.
If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he constantly turns away from sense, and looks towards Spirit. If honest, he would be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he would finish his course with joy.
Students who start with the letter of Christian Science, and think to succeed without its Spirit, will either make shipwreck of their faith, or be turned sadly awry. They must not only seek, but strive to enter the narrow path of Life; for “broad is the road that leads to death, and many go in thereat.”
Jesus experienced few of the pleasures of personal sense; but his sufferings were the fruits of other people's sins, not of his own. The eternal Christ never suffered. Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Divine Love. To those buried in the belief of sin and self, living only for pleasure, or the gratification of the senses, he said, “Having eyes ye see not, and having ears ye hear not, lest ye should understand and be converted, and I might heal you.” Sensualism shuts out Truth and its healing power.
Jesus was unselfish. His spirituality, separating him from sensualism, caused the selfish materialist to hate him; but this spirituality enabled Jesus to heal the sick, cast out evil, and raise the dead. His affections were pure, theirs were carnal. His senses drank in the spiritual evidence of health, holiness, and Life; their senses absorbed the material evidence of sin, sickness, and death.
Their imperfections and impurity felt his perfections and purity as an ever-present rebuke. Hence the world's hatred of the just and perfect Jesus, and the prophetic foresight of the reception error must give him. “Despised and rejected of men,” was Isaiah's graphic word concerning the coming Prince of Peace.
The world could not interpret aright the discomfort he inspired, and the spiritual blessings that might flow therefrom. Science shows the cause of the shock often produced by Truth — namely, that it arises from the great distance between the individual and Truth. Like Peter, we should weep over the warning, and no longer ignorantly deny the Truth, or mock the lifelong sacrifice that goodness makes for evil.
Jesus bore our sins in his own person. He knew all the mortal error that constitutes the material body, and could destroy that error; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities he had not conquered the belief in material life, nor had he risen to his final demonstration of spiritual power.
Had he shared the sensuous beliefs of others he would not have suffered from those beliefs. Through the magnitude of his human life he demonstrated the Divine Life. Out of the amplitude of his love he defined Love. With the affluence of Truth he vanquished error. The world acknowledged not his righteousness, seeing it not; but earth needed the harmony his glorified example introduced, and the blessings he brought.
Who is ready to follow his teaching and example? Yet all must plant their feet in Christ sooner or later.
That he might liberally pour his dear-bought treasures into empty human storehouses, was the purpose of Jesus' great suffering and intense experience. He presented the proof that Truth and Love can heal the sick, and that mentally; and this was the highest proof he could offer. His hearers neither understood his words nor his works. They would not accept his meek interpretation of Life, nor follow his practice. They called him “a pestilent fellow,” “a stirrer-up of seditions.” There adhered to him only a few unpretentious friends, whose religion was something more than a name.
Their religion was so vital that it enabled them to understand the Nazarene, and share the glory of his Life. His earthly cup of bitterness was drained to the dregs. He said that those who followed him should drink of his cup, and history confirms the prediction.
If that divinely glorified man was personally on earth to-day, it is very possible that those who now profess to love him would reject him. They would even deny him the rights of personality, if he entertained any other than their sense of personality. Even the enlightened Nineteenth Century subjects the idea of Christian healing, enjoined by Jesus, to unchristian comment and usage.
Perhaps the early Christian era did Jesus no more personal injustice than the advancing centuries bestow upon the ideal Christ. When the gospel of healing is again preached by the wayside, will the pulpit scorn the message? Shall that curative mission, which presents the Saviour in a clearer light than mere words can possibly do, be ruled out of the synagogue?
Christ's immortal ideal is sweeping down the centuries, gathering beneath his wings the sick and sinning. In vain I stretch my weary hope, to realize that happy day when all shall know his appearing, and love their neighbors as themselves, recognizing the healing power of Divine Love in what it has done and can do for mankind. The promises will be fulfilled. The reappearing of this divine idea of healing is at hand. Whosoever lays his earthly all on the altar of Christian Science shall drink of Christ's cup and be baptized with his baptism.
Then shall Christianity again demonstrate the Life that is Truth, and the Truth that is Life, by the apostolic work of casting out error and healing the sick. Earth has no reward for the persecution that attends a new step in Christianity; but its spiritual recompense is sure, lifting Life above mortal discord, and giving immortal harmony to being.
A personal or limited mind may be unjust, but the unlimited Divine Mind is the immortal law of justice as well as mercy. It is quite as impossible that mortals should receive their full punishment this side the grave, as that this world should bestow on them their full reward. The hand of Love is not satisfied with giving us only toils, sacrifices, cross-bearings, multiplied trials, and mockery of our motives. It is absurd to suppose that the wicked gloat over their offences up to the last moment, and are then suddenly pardoned, and pushed into heaven.
The design of Love is to reform the sinner. If his punishment here has been insufficient to reform him, the good man's heaven must be to him a hell. They who know not purity and Love by experience, can never find bliss in purity, Truth, and Love, simply by being translated into another sphere. Science reveals the necessity of sufficient suffering, either before or after death, to quench the love of sin. The remission of the penalty due for sin would be for Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God's government, in which justice is the handmaid of mercy.
Who will stop sinning, so long as he believes in the pleasures of sin? When mortals admit that evil confers no pleasure, they turn from it. Remove error from thought, and you prevent the error.
History is full of records of suffering. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” The word martyr in the Greek meant witness; but those who testified for Truth were so often persecuted unto death, that at length the word martyr was narrowed in its significance, and came to mean always one who dies for his convictions. A new faith in Christ, Truth, caused men to be burned, and the rights of man to be christened with the gallows. History repeats itself in the suffering of the just for the unjust. Does God therefore overlook sin? Does not sin necessitate suffering as much to-day as ever before? They should suffer who sin. “Whatsoever measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
Divine Science adjusts the balance as Jesus adjusted it. Science removes penalty, only by first removing the sin which incurs the penalty. Another's suffering cannot lessen our own liability. Did the martyrdom of Savonarola make the crimes of his implacable enemies any the less?
The God-inspired walk calmly on, though it be with bleeding footprints, and hereafter they shall reap what they have sown. The pampered hypocrite may have a flowery pathway here, but he has the sharper thorns hereafter. This is my sense of divine pardon, or God's method of destroying sin.
If the saying be true, “While there's life there's hope,” its opposite is also true, “While there's sin there's doom.”
The demonstration that Jesus gave of Truth and Love, by casting out error and healing the sick, did all for the world that can be done. No ancient school of philosophy ever taught or demonstrated the Divine Science of Life, Truth, and Love. In the Christian Church this demonstration of healing was early lost, about three centuries after the crucifixion.
Martyrs are human links, connecting one stage with another in the history of religion. They are luminaries that sink below the horizon of personal sense, but reappear in the amplitude of Soul. Consciousness of right brings its own reward; but not amid the smoke of the battle is merit seen or appreciated. The right spirit is expressed in Miss Coolidge's poem: —
|If I were told that I must die to-morrow,|
|That the next sun|
|Which sinks should bear me past all fear and sorrow|
|For any one, —|
|All the fight fought, all the short journey through, —|
|What should I do?|
|I do not think that I should shrink or falter,|
|But just go on,|
|Doing my work, nor change nor seek to alter|
|Aught that is gone;|
|But rise and move and love and smile, and pray|
|For one more day.|
The belief that Spirit is finite instead of infinite has darkened all history. Finite spirit would be mortal, and this is the physical error included in the belief that the Infinite can be contained in the finite. This belief tends to becloud the apprehension of the coming of the kingdom of heaven, in the reign of harmony and Science of Being.
Jesus taught but One God, One Spirit. Spirit made man in the image and likeness of Himself — that of Spirit, not of matter; and man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love. This nature of man includes more than is implied by the term person.
From this comes Jesus' divine logic, expressed by the words “I and the Father are one.” This truly scientific statement of personality and the relation of man to God, with the demonstration that accompanied it, incensed the rabbis, and they said: “Crucify him! He maketh himself as God. What further witness need we against him?”
This Divine Science seems too much for the sinner. It exposes his nothingness. But the sooner error is reduced to its native nothingness, the sooner man's great reality will appear, and the Truth of his genuine being will be understood. The destruction of error is by no means the destruction of Truth or Life, but their virtual acknowledgment.
Absorbed in material selfhood, we discern and reflect the substance of Life, or Mind, but faintly. The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man's spiritual and eternal individuality. It cuts down erroneous knowledge, gained from matter, or through what is termed the evidence of the material senses.
God is perfect. If we admit no other Mind but His, we cannot have imperfect minds or bodies, and there can be no sin, sickness, or death. Getting rid of sin, through Science, is to divest it of any supposed mind, — never admitting that sin can have intelligence or power, pain or pleasure. You conquer it by denying its verity.
The foundation of evil is laid on a belief in aught save the good. This belief tends to support two opposite powers, instead of urging the claims of Truth alone. The mistake of thinking that error can be Mind, when it is really the absence of Truth, occasions the belief in the superiority of error. The belief in a personal Satan, as a distinct individual, is yielding to the conviction that he is simply a superstitious personification of evil. The next lesson to learn is that, rightly understood, there is no evil.
Divine logic and revelation coincide. If we find this to be otherwise, we may be sure that we have misinterpreted revelation. Good itself never made evil, nor created aught else that could make evil; and Good, or God, is the only self-existent Creator. Evil is a belief. Destroy the belief, and the evil disappears. Because Mind is immortal, there can be no mortal mind. Therefore if we destroy mortal belief, there remains no evil.
Jesus would have stripped all disguise from error, had he been fully understood. By parable and argument he explained the impossibility of good producing evil; and he scientifically demonstrated this great fact, showing that sin, sickness, and death are illusive errors, which Truth, Life, and Love will destroy.
God, or Good, has not created a mind susceptible of creating evil, for evil is the opposing error, and not the Truth of creation.
As I understand it, the only evil, or devil, in the universe is made up of such erroneous beliefs as these: that man is a compound of both mind and matter; that a wicked mind can exist in a material form, and both form and mind can be created by the Divine Mind; that God is the author of sin, sickness, and death; and that Mind can be an entity within the cranium, with power to sin ad libitum. In other words, Satan is not a person, but an illusion.
It is pantheistic to suppose that brains are intelligent, or, in other words, that Mind is material. Pantheism is neither Christian nor scientific. The belief that Mind is a product of matter is absurd. Common medical theories would have two intelligences, one mental, the other material. They would put Mind into matter. They would enclose the larger within the smaller, and call that error a man.
In old Scriptural pictures we see the Tree of Knowledge with a Serpent coiled around it, with uplifted crest, speaking to Adam and Eve. This represents the Serpent in the act of commending to our first parents the knowledge of good and evil, a knowledge gained from matter instead of Spirit. The portrayal is still graphically accurate, for the common conception of manhood is an outgrowth of human knowledge on a low plane, the offshoot of the material senses.
A lie is the only Satan there is, as results prove. All the discords of earth are lies, and falsehood cannot proceed from Truth. In and of itself discord is a falsity. It does not represent the fact relative to God or man. Uncover error, and it turns the lie on you, if possible.
Until the fact concerning error — namely, its nothingness — appears, the moral demand will not be met, and the ability to make nothing of error will be wanting. The discovery that error is nothing will introduce new light. It will diminish sickness and death, and finally extinguish them. Philosophers should blush to call that real which is but a mistake.
The broadest fact arrays the most falsities against itself, for it brings error out from under cover. It requires courage to utter Truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced, smothered in oblivion.
“He uttered His voice, the earth melted.” This Scripture indicates that all falsity, termed matter, will disappear before the supremacy of Spirit.
Jesus foresaw the reception the Science of Mind must receive before it would be understood, but this coldness hindered him not. He fulfilled his Soul-mission, and then sat down at the right hand of the Father. Persecuted from city to city, he still went about doing good deeds, for which he was maligned and stoned. His life proved, divinely and scientifically, that God is Love; whereas priest and rabbi affirmed God to be a person who loves and hates. The Jewish theology gave no evidence of unchanging Love.
The truth Jesus taught, the elders scoffed at. Why? Because it demanded more than they were willing to practise. It was enough for them to believe in a personal Deity, but that belief never made a Christian.
Mortal belief will vanish in a moral chemicalization. This chemicalization has begun, and will continue until belief yields to understanding. The basis of all health, sinlessness, and immortality is Truth, not believed merely, but understood. Belief may change, but understanding is spiritually changeless.
Was it just for Jesus to suffer? No; but it was inevitable, for not otherwise could he show forth the power of Truth and Love.
Jesus sent forth seventy students at one time, but only eleven left a desirable historic record. Tradition credits him with two or three hundred other disciples, who have left no name. “Many are called but few are chosen.” Either they fell away from grace, or never truly understood their Master's instruction.
This indicates the distance between the theological and ritualistic religion of that age, and the Science preached by Christ. More than profession is required for Christian demonstration. Few understand or will adhere to his divine precepts for healing. Why? Because his precepts require the disciple to cut off the right hand and pluck out the right eye, — that is, to set aside cherished beliefs and practices.
The crucifixion of the great demonstrator of God drew near. This was his final triumph over body and matter, and gave the full evidence of Divine Science, evidence so important to mortals. Judas conspired against Jesus. The world's ingratitude, and the ruling hatred towards that just man, effected this betrayal, and the price paid was thirty pieces of silver and the smile of a Pharisee. The pitiful traitor chose a time when the world was in doubt concerning Jesus' teachings.
Judas knew a period to be approaching that must reveal the infinite distance between student and Master. He knew that the great goodness of that Master enabled him to heal better than his students, and this fact rebuked Judas as nothing else could. This spiritual distance inflamed the Iscariot's envy. The greed of gold strengthened his ingratitude, and for a time silenced the pangs of remorse. He knew that the sensuous world loves a Judas better than a Jesus, and so plotted the betrayal of a just man, in order to raise himself in popular estimation. His dark plot fell to the ground, and carried the traitor with it.
Judas had the world's weapons. Jesus had not one of them, and chose not the world's means of defence. “He opened not his mouth.” The great demonstrator of Truth and Love was silent before error and hate. They with whom he had walked meekly, and to whom he had given the highest proofs of divine power, called him a “pestilent fellow,” saying derisively, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” They who turned “away the rights of man from before the face of the Most High” esteemed Jesus as “stricken and smitten of God.” He was brought “as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep dumb before the shearers.” “Who shall declare his generation?” Who shall decide what Truth and Love are?
Pilate — pale in the presence of his own momentous question, “What is Truth?” blind to the consequences of his awful decision against human rights and divine Love, ignorant that he was aiding the final proof of what Truth is, and what it does for man — was lured into acquiescence.
The women at the cross could have answered Pilate's question. They knew what inspired their devotion, winged their faith, opened the eyes of their understanding, healed the sick, and cast out evil, and what caused the disciples to say to their Master, “Even devils are subject unto us through thy name.”
But where were the seventy whom Jesus sent forth? Were all conspirators save eleven? Had they forgotten their Teacher's toils, privations, and sacrifices, his divine patience and sublime courage, his unrequited and immaculate love? Could they not have given him a cup of cold water for remembrance's sake, and gratified his last human yearning for one proof of fidelity?
From early boyhood he was “about his Father's business.” His pursuits lay far apart from theirs. His master was Spirit. Their master was matter. He served God; they served Mammon.
Jesus endured hardship that he might pour his dear-bought bounty into barren lives; and what was his earthly reward? He was forsaken by all save a few women, bowed in silent woe beneath the shadow of his cross. Peter would have smitten the enemies of his Master; but Jesus forbade him, disdaining artifice or animal courage. He said, “Put up the sword.”
If a life so great and good could not avert a felon's fate, better submit peacefully to human brutality, and enter divine honor through the gate of martyrdom.
His consummate example was for the salvation of us all, through doing such healing works as he did. His purpose was not personal. It was in vindication of his Divine Principle. He was inspired by Life, Truth, and Love. Their motives were pride, envy, cruelty, and vengeance, exercised toward the personal Jesus.
Jesus could have withdrawn himself from his enemies. He had power to lay down a temporal life, and power to take up again his spiritual identity, in the likeness of the Infinite. But he afforded men opportunities to destroy his mortal body, or life, if they could, in order that he might furnish the proof of an immortal body and Life. Nothing could kill this Life of his; but he could give it into his enemies' hands, when his earth-mission was accomplished, and then resume it again. He knew that Life is God, or good, that evil has no Life, and that therefore they could no more separate him from Life than they could extinguish God.
The belief that man has a life or mind separate from God is the error that dies. This error Jesus met with Divine Science, proving its nothingness. Because of the wondrous glory that God bestows on man, temptation, sickness, and death had no terror for Jesus. Let men think they could kill the body! Afterwards he would show them his body unchanged. This should demonstrate that the body is governed by good, not by evil, and is therefore immortal. Jesus taught his disciples the Science of this proof. They must test his hitherto uncomprehended saying, “The works that I do, ye shall do also.” They must understand more fully — even as they did understand after his bodily departure — his Life-principle, in casting out error, healing the sick, raising the dead.
The magnitude of his work, his material disappearance before their eyes, his reappearance in idea, enabled the disciples to understand what Jesus had said. Heretofore they had only believed. Now they understood; and this caused the descent of the Holy Ghost, — that influx of Divine Science, which so illuminated the Pentecostal Day, and is now repeating its ancient history.
His last proof was the highest, the most convincing; and his students were the most profited by it. The unsatisfied malignity of his foes, the failure and suicide of his betrayer, were overruled by Divine Love, to the eternal honor of the man who had been mocked and slain. The final demonstration of the truth Jesus had taught, and for which he had been crucified, gave the world a new era. They who slew him, wishing to stay his influence, only extended it thereby.
Jesus rose higher in demonstration because of the cup of bitterness he drank. He sought no protection from personal barbarity. Human law condemned him; but it was the higher law which he obeyed, in defiance of matter or mortality, and that law sustained him.
The divine must overcome the human at every point. The Science Jesus taught and lived must triumph over all material beliefs about Life, Substance, and Intelligence, — over the power of evil and death.
The meek demonstrator, the highest Instructor and Friend of man, met his fate alone. No human eye was there to pity, no arm to save. Forsaken by all whom he had blessed, this faithful sentinel of God, at the highest post of honor, — accepting the grandest trust of Truth and Love, — was ready to be transformed by the renewing of Infinite Spirit. He was to prove that man, in Divine Science, is superior to all material conditions, is above the reach of human wrath, is able to triumph over sin, sickness, and death.
During his night of gloom and glory in the garden, he understood eminently the utter error of the notion of any possible material intelligence. The pangs of neglect and the staffs of bigoted ignorance smote him sorely. His students slept. He said unto them, “Can you not watch with me one hour?” He held uncomplaining guard, watching, waiting, struggling, in voiceless agony, but he received no response to that human yearning; and then he turned forever away from earth to Heaven, from sense to Soul.
The last supreme moment of mockery, desertion, torture, a sense of the magnitude of his work, wrung from his lips the awful cry, “Why hast Thou forsaken me?”
This despairing appeal, if made to a human being, would impugn the justice or love of that father, who could withhold a clear token of his presence to sustain and bless so faithful a son. The appeal of Jesus was made both to the Divine Principle, the God who is Love, and to himself. Had Life, Truth, and Love forsaken him in his highest demonstration of them? They must abide in him and he in them, or this hour would be shorn of its mighty blessing for his enemies.
If his full recognition of eternal being for a moment gave way before the evidence of the bodily senses, even under such awful stress of circumstances, what would his accusers say? Even what they did say, — that Jesus' teachings were false, and that all evidence of their truth was destroyed by his death.
The burden of that hour was heavy beyond human conception. The distrust of mortal minds, disbelieving the purpose of his mission, was a million times sharper than the thorns that pierced his flesh. The ponderous cross, which he bore up the hill of grief, was the world's hatred of Truth and Love. Not the spear or cross wrung from his faithful lips the plaintive cry, Eloi, eloi, lama sabacthani. He was moved by the possible loss of something more important than mortal life, the possible failure of the sublimest influence of his career. This dread added the drop of gall to his cup.
Remembering the sweat of agony, which fell in holy benediction on the grass of Gethsemane, shall the humblest or mightiest disciple murmur when he drinks from the same cup; or think to escape the world's terrible misjudgment? Truth and Love bestow few palms before the consummation of a life-work.
Love must triumph over hate. Truth and Life must seal the victory over error and death, before the thorns can be laid aside for a crown, and the “Well done, good and faithful servant,” convey a sense of immortal honors.
Our Master fully and finally demonstrated Divine Science, for the enlightenment and salvation of the whole world. Three days after his bodily burial he talked with his disciples. The persecutors failed to hide immortal Truth and Love in a sepulchre.
In the walk to Emmaus, Jesus was known to his friends in the words which made their hearts burn within them, and in the breaking of bread. The Spirit which identified Jesus thus, over eighteen centuries ago, has since spoken to us in the inspired Word. It is revealed to the heart. It is again seen, casting out error and healing the sick.
Those who saw him after the resurrection, and beheld the final proof of all Jesus had taught, misconstrued that event. His disciples called him a personal spirit, ghost, or spectre, for they believed his body to be dead. His reply was, “Spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
The sacred precincts of the tomb gave Jesus refuge from his foes, long enough to solve the great problem of being. His three days' work in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He proved Life to be deathless, and Love to be the master of hate. He met and settled all the claims of medicine, surgery, and hygiene with the power of Mind, and mastered them on this basis.
He took no drugs to allay inflammation. He did not depend upon food or pure air to resuscitate his wasted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms, and bind up his wounded side and lacerated feet, in order that he might use those hands to remove the napkin and winding-sheet, and use his feet to walk forth from the tomb.
Can this be called supernatural, when the God of nature sustained Jesus in his proof of man's derived power? Was it not a method of surgery beyond material art? It was not a supernatural act, but one divinely natural, when divinity brought to humanity the understanding of the Christ-healing, and revealed a method infinitely above human inventions.
His disciples believed Jesus dead; whereas he was alive, testing, within the narrow tomb, the power of Spirit to destroy all human material sense. There were rock-bound walls in the way, and a great stone must be rolled from the cave's mouth. But Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, and stepped forth from his gloomy resting-place, wrapped in the glory of a sublime success.
Glory to God, peace to the struggling nations. Jesus hath rolled away the stone from the door of understanding, and elevated mortals through his revelation and demonstration of Divine Science.
Jesus said plainly that person was not Spirit; and he proved, to the personal senses, after his resurrection, that his body was not changed until he rose even higher in the understanding of Spirit. To convince Thomas of this, he caused him to examine the prints of the nails, and the spear wound. His unchanged physical condition, after what seemed to them death, was followed by a more exalted condition, which revealed a probationary and progressive state beyond the grave.
When will his followers learn to emulate Jesus in all his ways, and imitate his mighty works? Those who procured the martyrdom of that righteous man turned his sacred career into a doctrinal platform. Let Christians of this century learn the more practical import of that career.
Christ's students, not sufficiently advanced to fully understand their Master's triumph, did not perform many wonderful works until they saw him after his crucifixion, and learned that he had not died. This convinced them of the truthfulness of all he had taught.
In his next demonstration he went altogether beyond their personal knowledge, and rose out of human sight. The biographer calls this event the Ascension; and with it the earthly record of Jesus closes.
His students received the Holy Ghost. By all they had witnessed and suffered they were roused to a quickened sense of Divine Science, to the spiritual interpretation and discernment of his teachings, to a faint conception of the Life that is God. They no longer measured man by personal sense. After gaining a true sense of their glorified Saviour, they became better healers, leaning no longer on a person, but on the Divine Principle of their work. The influx of light was sudden. It was sometimes an overwhelming power, as on the Day of Pentecost.
Jesus and his students gave the divine demonstration of Mind-healing. The malpractice or misinterpretation of Christian Mind-healing, in sickness or sin, is imposition.
The reappearing of Jesus was not the return of a spectre. He presented the same body that he had before his crucifixion, and so glorified the supremacy of Mind.
Our Heavenly Father, the Divine Principle of that demonstration, demands that we do as Jesus did, and not merely that we worship his personality. Beyond the false premise of mediumship, above the grasp of creeds, the divine demonstration of Mind-healing stands as a revealed and practical reality, imperative throughout all ages — a method for every man to understand and practise.
The Man of Sorrows best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence, and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive Mind. These are the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science. The highest earthly representative of God, speaking of human ability to reflect divine power, prophetically said to his disciples, “The works that I do, shall ye do also.”
Herod and Pilate laid aside old feuds to unite in putting to shame and death the best man that ever trod the globe. To-day, as of old, error and evil make common cause against the leading exponent of Truth.
The accusations of the Pharisees were as self-contradictory as their religion. The bigot, the debauchee, the hypocrite, called Jesus a glutton and a wine-bibber. They said, “He casteth out devils through Beelzebub,” and is the “friend of sinners.” The latter accusation was true, but not in their meaning. So too Jesus was no ascetic. He did not fast, as did the Baptist's disciples. Yet there never lived a man so far removed from appetites and passions as the Nazarene. If he rebuked sinners pointedly and unflinchingly, it is because he was their friend.
The reputation of Jesus was the very opposite of his character. Why? Because neither the Principle nor practice of Jesus was understood. He was at work in the Science of God. His words and works were unknown to the world, because contrary to the world's religious sense. Men believed in God as a person, but not in the Divine Principle.
Science, as connected with Christianity, is an obsolete word. Mystery enshrouds religion, which is made a theory, rather than a practice.
All revelation (such is the popular thought) must come from the schools, and along the line of scholarly and ecclesiastical descent, as kings are crowned from a royal dynasty. The great Truth elaborated by Jesus, in healing the sick and sinful, was the Principle of the man, — the Christ, that governed the personal Jesus. Outsiders did not then, and do not now, understand this Principle, or Christ, and they cannot demonstrate its healing power. Neither can the person of Christ be understood, until its Principle is explained in Divine Science.
It is possible — it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman — to follow in some degree the example of the Master. This is just what Christians claim to do; but do they follow him as they might? No! Hear these imperative commands: “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect;” “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;” “Heal the sick.”
Why have these demands so little inspiration to spur us to Christian effort? Because men are assured that these commands were addressed to only a select number of followers. This teaching is more pernicious than the old doctrine of foreordination, the election of a few to be saved in heaven, while the rest are damned in hell; and so it will be considered when the demands of Divine Science break this lethargy of mortal belief.
Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” Who believes him? He was addressing his disciples, yet he did not say, “These signs shall follow you,” but them — “them that believe,” in all time to come. At another time he prayed not for the twelve only, but for as many as should believe “through their word.”
The advanced thinker and devout Christian, perceiving its scope and tendency, will support Christian healing and its Science. Others will say, “Go thy way for this time; when we have a more convenient season we will call for thee.”
The medium through which Immortality and Life are learned is not human but divine, not physical but metaphysical, not material but spiritual.
Human philosophy, doctrines, ethics, and theories afford no demonstrable Principle, whereby man can work out his own salvation; yet this is what the Bible demands. Jesus has furnished this key to the kingdom, and the treasury of Truth is closed to all other keys. None may pick the lock, or enter by some other door.
The nature of Christianity is peace and blessedness; but the joys and triumphs, as well as the afflictions of the righteous, must place the anchor of hope beyond the vail of matter, in the Shekinah into which Jesus passed before us. Like him, we must get away from material sense, into the spiritual sense of all things.
Imposition is mental quackery, a mistaken mind-cure of some sort, a patent medicine, or a patent error of mortal mind. Using the letter of healing, but omitting the Spirit, is by no means the Science of Mind-healing, which is seen in a gradual outgrowing of the pleasures and pains of personal sense. The calm, strong, currents of harmony, purity, and love must channel human experience, until the belief of material life is seen to be a bald imposition, and a result of helpless fear; and materiality gives everlasting place to the demonstration of Christian Science.