Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1889)/14 Prayer and Atonement

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Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will prevail to make —
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parched grounds refresh as with a shower!
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear;
We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others, that we are not always strong, —
That we are ever overborne with care, —
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?
R. C. Trench.

Downward to earth he came, and, transfigured, thence reascended;
Not from the heart in like wise, for there he still lives in the Spirit, —
Loves and atones evermore. So long as time is, is atonement.
Neither in bread nor in wine, but in the heart that is hallowed
Lieth forgiveness enshrined. The intention alone of amendment,
Fruits of the earth ennobles to heavenly things, and removes all
Sin, and the guerdon of sin. Only Love, with his arms wide extended,

Penitence weeping and praying; the will that is tried, and whose gold flows

Purified forth from the flames; in a word, mankind by atonement

Breaketh atonement's bread, and drinketh atonement's wine cup.

Longfellow, from the Swedish of Tegner.

THOUGHTS unspoken are not unknown to the Divine Mind. Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they transpire in word or deed.

What are the motives of prayer? Do we pray to make ourselves better, or to benefit those who hear us, — to enlighten the ignorance of the Infinite, or to be heard of men? Are we benefited by praying? The desire that goes forth, hungering after righteousness, is blessed of our Father, and does not return unto us void.

God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done; nor can the Infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging Wisdom and Love. How can the All-perfect do more for us because of our petitions, or grant them simply on the ground of lip-service, when He already knows all?

God is Love; can we ask Him to be more? God is Intelligence; can we inform the Infinite Mind, or tell Him anything He does not already comprehend? Do we hope to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which always pours forth more than we can receive? Does spoken prayer bring us nearer the Source of all being and blessedness?

What we most need is the prayer of daily desire, — of deeds, not words. Asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better, higher, and purer, — expressed in daily watchfulness, and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, — this will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness.

The danger from audible prayer is, that it may lead us into temptation. By it we may become involuntary hypocrites, uttering desires which are not real, — consoling ourselves, in the midst of sin, with the recollection that we have prayed over it, or mean to ask forgiveness at some later day. Hypocrisy is fatal to religion.

In public prayer we often go beyond our means, beyond the honest standpoint of fervent and habitual desire. If we are not secretly yearning and openly striving for the accomplishment of all we ask, our prayers are “vain repetitions, such as the heathen use.” If our petitions are sincere, we shall labor for what we ask, and be blessed by “Him who seeth in secret and rewardeth openly.” Can the mere expression of our desires increase them? Do we gain the omnipotent ear sooner by words than by thoughts? If every prayer is sincere, God knows our need before we tell Him about it. If we leave the desire honestly and silently before Him, we shall incur the less risk of exaggerating our real wishes in a torrent of words.

Prayer is sometimes used, like the Roman Catholic confessional, to cancel sin. This error impedes religion. Sin is forgiven only as it is destroyed by Christ. An apostle says that Jesus came “to destroy the works of the Devil.” We cannot escape the penalty due for sin. The Scripture says that, if we deny Jesus, “he will also deny us.”

Sorrow for wrong-doing is but one step towards reform, and the very easiest step. The next and great step required by Wisdom is the test of our sincerity, — reformation. To this end we are placed under the stress of circumstances. The temptation bids us repeat the offence, and the woe comes for what has been done; and so it will ever be, till we learn that there is no discount in the law of justice, that we must pay the uttermost farthing. The measure we mete will be measured to us again and it will be “full and running over.”

Christians and sinners get their full award, but not always in this world. The followers of Christ must drink his cup for centuries to come. Ingratitude and persecution will fill it to the brim; but God pours the riches of joy into the understanding, and gives us strength according to our day. Sinners flourish as the green bay-tree; but, looking farther, the Psalmist could see their end, — namely, destruction.

Prayer cannot change the Science of Being. Goodness alone reaches the demonstration of Truth. A request that another may work for us never does our work. The habit of pleading with the Divine Mind, as one pleads with a human being, perpetuates the belief in God as humanly circumscribed, — an error which impedes spiritual growth.

We reach the Science of Christianity through demonstration; but in this world one's good will “be evil spoken of,” and error will war against Truth.

The Divine Principle corrects and governs man. Person may pardon, but Principle reforms the sinner. God is not separate from the Wisdom He bestows. The talent He gives we must improve. Calling on Him to forgive our work, badly done or left undone, implies the vain supposition that we have nothing to do but ask pardon, and that afterwards we shall be free to repeat the offence.

If prayer nourishes the belief that sin is cancelled, and that man is made better merely because he prays, it is an evil. He is made worse who continues in sin because he thinks himself forgiven. Audible prayer is impressive; it gives momentary solemnity and elevation to thought; but does a state of ecstasy produce any lasting benefit? Looking deeply into these things, I find that “zeal, not according to knowledge,” occasions a reaction unfavorable to spiritual growth, sober resolve, and the wholesome perception of God's requirements.

Personal sense, not Soul, produces these emotions. If spiritual sense guided men at all such times, there would grow out of those ecstatic moments a higher experience and better life, with more self-abnegation and purity. A self-satisfied ventilation of fervent sentiments never makes a Christian. Verbal prayer embraces too much error to greatly forward this work. God is not influenced by man. The “divine ear” is not a personal sense, but the all-bearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each want of man is known, and by whom it will be supplied.

What we desire and ask for, it is not always best for us to receive. In this case Infinite Understanding will not grant the request. In order to pray aright, “enter into the closet and shut the door.” Close the lips, silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings and demands, deny and denounce sin. Resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts, to work, watch, and pray for Wisdom, Truth, and Love. This prayer will be answered, inasmuch as we shall put our desires into practice. The Master's injunction is that we pray in secret, and let our lives attest the sincerity of our petitions.

Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. This expresses more gratitude than speech. By thanking God with the lips, “while the heart is far from Him” who is Divine Truth and Love, we cannot conceal the ingratitude of barren lives; for God knoweth all things.

Gratitude is more than a verbal expression of thanks. We ought to examine ourselves, and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart; for this alone can show us what we honestly are.

How empty are our conceptions of Deity. We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, and omnipresent; and then we try to give information to this Infinite Mind, and we plead for unmerited pardon, and a liberal outpouring of benefactions. If we are ungrateful for Life, Truth, and Love, and yet return wordy thanks to God for them, we are insincere, and incur the sharp censure that our Master pronounces on hypocrites. In such a case the only acceptable prayer is to put our finger on our lips and remember our blessings.

Praying for humility, with whatever fervency of expression, does not always mean a desire for it. If we turn away from the poor, we are not ready to receive the reward of Him who blesses the poor. We confess to having a very wicked heart, and ask that it may be laid bare before us; but do we not already know more of this heart than we are willing our neighbor should see?

If a friend informs us of a fault, do we listen to the rebuke patiently, and credit what is said? Do we not rather give thanks that we are “not as other men”? During many years I have been most grateful for a merited rebuke. The sting lies in the unmerited censure, — the wicked falsehood, that does no one any good.

We faintly hear, we dimly see,
In differing phrase we pray;
But, dim or clear, we own in Thee
The Light, the Truth, the Way.

So writes Whittier, in his poem called, Our Master; and this is the spirit in which all Christians should pray. Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests, by living consistently with our prayer? If selfishness has given place to love, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly, and bless them that curse us; but we shall never meet this great duty by simply asking that it may he done. There is a cross to be taken up before we can enjoy the fruition of our hope.

Do we “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength”? This command includes much, — even the surrender of all sensation, affection, and worship that are merely personal. This is the ultimatum of Christianity. It involves the Science of Life, recognizing only the divine control of Spirit, wherein Soul is our master, and personal sense has no place.

Are you willing to leave all for Christ, for Truth, and be counted with sinners? No! Do you really desire to attain this point? No! Then why make long prayers about it, and ask to be Christ-like; since you care not to tread in the footsteps of our dear Master?

If unwilling to drink his cup, wherefore pray with the lips that you may be partakers of it? Consistent prayer is the desire to do right, so far as we understand right.

Prayer means that we will walk in the light, so far as we receive it, even though with bleeding footsteps, and leave our real desires to be rewarded by Him who seeth in secret.

The world must grow to the understanding of Christianity. If good enough to drink Christ's cup of earthly sorrows, we shall endure them. Until we are thus divinely qualified, and willing to drink his cup, millions of vain repetitions will never pour into prayer the unction of Spirit, in demonstration of power and “with signs following.” Christian Science reveals the necessity of overcoming the world, the flesh, and the evil, and helping to destroy them, as they would destroy us.

One of the forms of worship in Thibet is to carry a praying-machine through the streets, and stop at the doors to earn a penny by grinding out a prayer, as our street Italians grind tunes from barrel-organs; whereas civilization pays for prayers by the clergy, in lofty edifices.

Experience should teach us that we do not always receive the good we ask for in audible prayer. There is some misapprehension of the source and means of all goodness and blessedness, or we should certainly receive what we ask for. The Scriptures say: “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

To cause suffering, as the result of sin, is the divine method of destroying it. Every supposed pleasure of personal sense will furnish more than its equivalent in pain, until the belief in material life and intelligence is destroyed. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we should understand the Divine Principle of Being, which destroys the sinning sense.

Seeking is not sufficient. It is striving that enables us to enter. Spiritual attainments open the door to a higher understanding of the Divine Life.

Petitions only bring mortals the results of their belief. We know that a desire for holiness is requisite to gain it; but if we desire holiness above all else, we shall lay down all for it. We must know our willingness to do this, in order to rely securely on the only practical way of reaching holiness. Prayer cannot change the unalterable Truth, or give us the understanding of it; but a desire to know and do the will of God will bring us into all Truth. Such a desire has little, need of any expression from the lips. Its very best expression is in thought and life.

Asking God to heal the sick has no power to gain more of the divine presence than is always at hand. The only beneficial effect of prayer is on the human mind, making it act more powerfully on the body, through a stronger faith in God. This, however, is one belief casting out another, — a belief in the unknown easting out a belief in sickness. It is not Truth itself that does this; nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle, as manifested in Jesus.

This common method of treatment finds help in blind faith, whereas help should come from the enlightened understanding. Exchanges of belief can go on ad infinitum, for they are the merchandise of human mind, and not the outgrowth of Divine Science.

Does Deity interpose in behalf of one worshipper, and not help another, who offers the same measure of prayer? If the sick recover because they pray, or are prayed for, only petitioners (per se or by proxy) should get well. Now in Science all may avail themselves of God, as “a very present help in trouble.” Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye, and drink.”

Prayer to a personal God affects the sick like a drug, that has no efficacy of its own, but borrows its power from human faith and belief. The drug does nothing, because it has no intelligence. It is faith, not Divine Principle, that causes a drug to apparently heal the sick.

A wordy prayer may afford a sense of quiet and self-justification, though it makes the sinner a hypocrite. We never need despair of an honest heart; but there is little hope for those who only come spasmodically face to face with their wickedness, and always seek to hide it.

Such prayers are indexes which do not correspond with the contents of character. They hold secret fellowship with sin. Such hypocrites are spoken of by Jesus as “whited sepulchres, full of uncleanness.”

If a man, of much apparent fervor and many prayers, is sensual and insincere, what must be the unfavorable comment upon him? If he had reached the altitude of his prayer, such a comment would not be made. If we feel the aspiration, humility, gratitude, and love that our words express, this is enough; and it is wise not to try to deceive ourselves or others, for “nothing is hid that shall not be revealed.” Professions and prayers, I regret to say, “cover a multitude of sins.”

Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and love are constant prayers. Practice, not profession, — understanding, not belief, — gain the ear and right hand of Omnipotence, and they assuredly call down infinite blessings. Trustworthiness is the foundation of enlightened faith. Without a fitness for holiness we cannot receive it, nor adhere faithfully thereto.

“God is Love.” More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look; farther we cannot go. To suppose that he forgives or punishes sin, accordingly as His mercy is sought or unsought, is to misunderstand Love, and make prayer the safety-valve for wrong-doing.

Do we ask Wisdom to be merciful to sin? Then “we ask amiss,” to consume the blessing “on our lusts.” Do we expect God to forgive sin without punishment, thus allowing sin to multiply? Such forgiveness would be neither merciful nor wise.

A magistrate sometimes remits the penalty, but this may be no moral benefit to the criminal; and at best it only saves him from one form of punishment. The moral law, which alone has the right to acquit or condemn, always demands restitution before mortals can “go up higher.” Broken law brings penalty, in order to compel this progress.

Personal pardon — and there is no other, for Principle never pardons either sins or mistakes — leaves the offender free to repeat the offence; if, indeed, he has not already suffered sufficiently from vice to make him turn from it with loathing. Truth bestows no pardon upon error, but wipes it out in the most effectual manner. Jesus suffered for our sins, not to annul the divine sentence against wrong, but to stop the sin, and show that it must bring inevitable suffering.

Asking God to be God is a “vain repetition.” Habitual goodness is unceasing prayer. Its motives are made manifest in the blessings they bring. Whether these arc acknowledged or not, they attest our worthiness to be made partakers of Love. God is “the same yesterday, to-day, and forever;” and He who is immutably right will do right, without being reminded of His duty. The wisdom of man is insufficient to advise God.

Wesley knew the nature and effect of real prayer, as his hymns abundantly prove: —

My prayer hath power with God; the grace
Unspeakable I now receive.
Through faith I see Thee face to face;
I see Thee face to face, and live!
In vain I have not wept and strove;
Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the Principle of mathematics to work out the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution. Shall we ask the Divine Principle of all good to do His work? That work was finished long ago; and we have only to avail ourselves of God's rule, in order to receive the blessing.

The Divine Being must be reflected by man; else man is not the image and likeness of the Patient, Tender, and True, “the one altogether lovely.” To understand God is the work of eternity.

When thou prayest, enter into thy closet; and, when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will reward thee.

So spake Jesus. The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, whose door shuts out sinful sense, but opens to Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa. The Father in secret is unseen to the senses; but He knows all tilings, and rewards according to motives, not according to speech.

The “prayer of the righteous” heals the sick. The relinquishment of sin deprives sense of its false claims. Our Master taught his disciples one brief prayer, which we name after him, the Lord's Prayer. It is the prayer of Soul, not sense. To enter into the spirit of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and matter silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the Divine Principle that destroys sickness, sin, and death.

Apart from the belief and dream of living matter, is the Life that is divine, revealing spiritual understanding, and the consciousness of man's dominion over the whole earth. This understanding, casts out error and heals the sick, and with it you may speak “as one having authority.”

I have taught my students the leadings of true prayer. Let them answer to-day, whether they have followed those leadings. A great sacrifice of material things must precede this advanced spiritual understanding.

The highest prayer is not one of faith merely; it is demonstration. Such prayer heals sickness and sin. It distinguishes between the falsity of sinful sense, and the Soul that is immortal because it is sinless.

Only as we rise above all sensuality and sin can we reach the standpoint of the Lord's Prayer, and instantaneously heal the sick.

If we pray to God as a person, this will prevent us from letting go the human doubts and fears that attend all personality; and so we cannot grasp the wonders wrought by Him, to whom all things are possible. We cannot “serve two masters.”

If we are sensibly with the body, and regard Omnipotence as a person whose ear we would gain, we are not “absent from the body and present with the Lord,” in the demonstration of Spirit.

Become conscious, for a single moment, that Life and Intelligence are purely spiritual, — neither in nor of matter, — and the body will utter no complaint. If in the belief of sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well. Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by Divine Life, Truth, and Love. Hence the hope of the promise Jesus bestows: “The works that I do, ye shall do,” — “because I go to the Father ;” — the Ego is absent from the body, and present with Truth.

To be “present with the Lord” is not to have emotional ecstasy or faith, but to have actual demonstration of the Science of Life. To be “with the Lord” is to be in obedience to the law of God, to have a body governed by Spirit, not by matter.

Our Master said, “After this manner pray ye,” and then he gave that prayer which covers all human needs.

There is indeed some doubt, among Bible scholars, whether the last line is not an addition to the prayer, by a later copyist, but this does not affect its meaning.

In the phrase, “Deliver us from evil,” the original properly reads, “Deliver us from the Evil One.” This change strengthens the scientific meaning of the petition; for Christian Science teaches us that the Evil One, or Satan, is one with material sense.

Here let me give what I understand to be the spiritual interpretation of the Lord's Prayer: —

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Our eternal Supreme Being, all-harmonious.
Hallowed be Thy name.
Forever glorious.
Thy kingdom come;
Ever-present and Omnipotent;
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Thy supremacy appears as matter disappears.
Give us this day our daily bread;
Thou givest to mortals the Bread of Life;
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Thy Truth destroyeth the claims of error.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
And, led by Spirit, mortals are delivered from sickness, sin, and death.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
For Thou art Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, and Man is Thy likeness forever.
So be it.

Atonement is the exemplification of our oneness with God, whereby man reflects Truth, Life, and Love, and not sickness, sin, and death. Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated this oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage and love. His mission was both individual and collective. He did Life's work aright, — not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals; to show them how to do their duty, but not to do it for them, or relieve them of a single responsibility.

Jesus teaches the way of Life in demonstration, that we may understand how its Divine Principle heals the sick, casts out error, and triumphs over death. Jesus presents the ideal of God better than mortals can, whose origin is less spiritual. He demonstrated more spiritually than all others the Principle of Being, by his union with God.

Jesus understood the Science of his own statements: “I am the Truth and Life;” “I and the Father are one.” The Christ is the Principle of the man Jesus, It is the Principle of him that may be called divine, not the man Jesus. Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave him authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to demonstrate the Divine Science of Supreme Being, to prove what God is, and what He does for man.

That Life is God, Jesus demonstrated by his reappearance after the crucifixion, in accordance with his scientific statement, “Though you destroy this temple [body], yet will I [Spirit] build it again.” It is as if he had said: “I — the Life, Substance, and Intelligence of the universe and man — am not in matter, to be destroyed.”

Jesus' parables explain Life as never mingling with sin and death. He laid the axe of Science at the root of material knowledge, ready to cut down the false doctrine of pantheism — that God, or Life, is in or of matter.

Why do those who profess to follow Christ reject the essential Truth which he came to establish? His persecutors made their strongest attack upon this very point, endeavoring to hold him at the mercy of matter, and kill him according to certain assumed laws. To-day this determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter still remains, and is the persecutor of Christian Science.

By some masterly performance a musician demonstrates the music he teaches, in order to show the learner his way, by practice as well as precept. Jesus' demonstration included such a great sacrifice as makes us admit its Principle to be harmony and Love. This was the precious import of our Master's divine, sinless life, and demonstration over death. He proved by his deeds, that Science can destroy sickness, sin, and death.

Though demonstrating for others' benefit, the Teacher by no means relieved them from giving the requisite proof of their own standing in Science. He worked rather for their guidance, that they might demonstrate as he did, and understand his Principle. Implicit faith in the Teacher, all the emotional love we can bestow on him, will never make us imitators of him. We must go and do likewise, or else we are not improving the great blessings which our blessed Master worked and suffered to bestow. The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus.

How well is the helpful purpose of Christianity expressed in some lines by G. L. Banks: —

I live for those who love me,
For those who know me true,
For the heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my Spirit too;
For all human ties that bind me,
For the task by God assigned me,
For the bright hopes left behind me,
And the good that I can do.

Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief. It was a Principle that he revealed. His proof was no form or system of religion and worship, but Divine Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love. Jesus sent a message to John the Baptist, which was to prove beyond a question that the Christ had come: “Go and tell him the things ye see and hear; how the sick are healed, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind see, and to the poor the gospel is preached.” In other words: Tell John what the demonstration of power is, and he will at once perceive that God is the Principle in the Messianic work.

Medicine claimed the ability to heal, and the Pharisees claimed to know and teach the divine will; but they only hindered the success of Jesus' mission. Even many of his students stood in his way. If the Master had never taught a disciple, he would not have been crucified so early in his career.

While I love Jesus' character more than language can tell, and my heart overflows with gratitude for what he has done for mortals, — treading alone his loving pathway up to the throne of glory, in speechless agony exploring the way for me, — yet I cannot see that Jesus spares me one individual experience, if I follow his commands faithfully, or that all will not have the cup of sorrowful effort to drink, in proportion to their demonstration of his Truth.

To keep the commandments of our Master, and follow his example, is our proper return to him, and the only worthy evidence of our gratitude for all that he has done. Personal worship is insufficient to express gratitude, since he has said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Forsake error, and press forward into the realm of Truth and Love. Laying “aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us,” let us press forward to the "high calling of God in Christ," putting aside personal self and sense, and seeking the Divine Principle and Science of all healing.

Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to acknowledge Jesus' atonement for sin, and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he hath little part in the atonement, — in the at-one-ment with God, — for he lacks the practical repentance that reforms the life, and enables one to do the will of Wisdom. None hath part in God, who cannot demonstrate in part the Divine Principle of the teachings and practice of our Master. If living in disobedience to Him, we ought to feel no security, although God is good and man repentant.

If Truth is overcoming error in our daily walk and conversation, we shall finally say, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith,” because I am a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love. Standing still and praying — expecting, because of another's goodness, suffering, and triumph, that we shall reach his harmony and reward — is vain and selfish.

Vibrating, like a pendulum, between sin and the hope of forgiveness, — selfishness and sensuality causing constant retrogression, — our mortal progress will be very slow.

Jesus uncovered and rebuked sin before he cast it out. To the sick he said, “Lo, Satan hath bound thee!” and to Peter he said, “Thou art an offence.” He came teaching and showing how to destroy sin, sickness, and death. He said of the fruitless tree, “Cut it down.”

Waking to Christ's demand, mortals experience suffering. This causes them, even as a drowning man, to make vigorous efforts to save themselves; and, through Christ, these efforts are a success.

“Work out your own salvation,” is the demand of Life and Love; for to this end God worketh with you. “Occupy till I come!” Wait for your reward, “and be not weary in well-doing.” If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race. When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive as you have fought. Love is not hasty to deliver us from temptation, for Love means that we shall be tried and purified.

Divine Science teaches faith in the right, and disbelief in the wrong. It bids us work the more earnestly in times of persecution, because then our labor is more needed. Great is the reward of self-sacrifice, though we may never receive it in this world.

Final deliverance from error — whereby we rejoice in immortality, boundless freedom, and sinless sense — is neither reached through paths of flowers, nor by pinning one's faith to vicarious effort. Whosoever believeth that wrath is righteous, or that divinity is appeased by human suffering, cannot understand God.

Justice requires restitution by the sinner. Mercy cancels only when justice approves, and revenge is inadmissible. Wrath, which is only appeased, is not destroyed, but indulged. Wisdom and Love may require many sacrifices of self, to save us from sin. One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner's part.

That God's wrath should be vented upon His only Son is neither rational nor humane. Such a theory is man-made. This is a hard question in theology; but its more reasonahle explanation is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense, which Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of Love.

Rabbinical lore said, “He that taketh one doctrine, firm in faith, has the Holy Ghost dwelling in him.” This preaching receives a strong rebuke in the Scripture, “Faith without works is dead.”

Faith, if it be mere belief, is as a pendulum swinging between nothing and something, having no fixity. Advanced spiritual understanding, sometimes misnamed faith, is the evidence, gained from Spirit, which rebukes material beliefs, and establishes the claims of God.

In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English, faith has these two definitions, trustfulness and trustworthiness. One kind of faith trusts all to another. The other kind of faith understands how to work out one's “own salvation, with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!” expresses the helplessness of a blind faith; whereas, “Believe, and thou shalt be saved!” demands the self-reliant, trustworthy faith which we need, and includes the understanding that confides in God.

The Hebrew verb to believe means to be firm, or to be constant. This certainly applies to Truth and Love, understood and practised. Firmness in error will never save from sickness, sin, and death.

Acquaintance with the original texts, and willingness to give up human beliefs (established by hierarchies, and instigated sometimes by the worst passions of men), open the way for Christian Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of Life, to mark the healing currents and buoys of Truth.

Publius Lentulus wrote to the authorities at Rome, “The disciples of Jesus believe him the Son of God.” Those taught by Jesus in Science have reached the glorious perception that God is the author of mankind. The virgin-mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus — i. e. Joshua, or Saviour.

The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence material law, and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of man. The Holy Ghost, or Divine Science, overshadowed the pure sense of the virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever as an ideal in the bosom of the Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this idea, though at first faintly developed in the infant form.

Man and woman, as the ideas of Spirit, are the immortal evidences that Spirit is harmonious and man eternal. Jesus was the offspring of Mary's self-conscious communion with God. Hence he could give a more spiritual idea of Life than other men, and could demonstrate the Science of the Divine Principle.

As the individual ideal of Truth, Jesus came to rebuke rabbinical error, and all sin, sickness, and death, — to point out the way of Truth and Life. This ideal was demonstrated throughout the whole earthly career of Jesus, showing the difference between the offspring of Soul and of sense, of Truth and of error.

Jesus acknowledged no ties of the flesh. He said, “Call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, who is in heaven.” Again he asked: “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren, but they who do the will of my Father?” We have no record of his calling any man Father. lie recognized Spirit as the only Being, and therefore as the Father of all.

Referring to the materiality of the age, Jesus said, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth.” Again, foreseeing the persecution that would attend the Science of Spirit, Jesus said: “They will put you out of the synagogues; yea, the hour is coming when every one who killeth you will think that he is offering sacrifice to God; and these things will they do, because they neither know the Father nor me.”

Because of the human ignorance of the Divine Principle, the Father of mortals, on earth and in heaven, is represented as a personal Creator. Hence men recognize themselves as based in person instead of Principle, and are ignorant of the origin of man and his eternal existence. The world of error is blind to the Truth of man, for the world of sense is ignorant of the Life that is Soul.

Neither the origin, the character, nor the work of Jesus was understood. Not a single component part of his being did the material world measure aright. Even his righteousness and purity did not hinder men from saying, “He is a glutton, and a friend of the impure, and Beelzebub is his patron.”

Then remember, thou Christian martyr, it is enough if thou art found worthy to unloose the sandals of thy Master's faith.

To suppose that persecution for righteousness' sake belongs to the past, — and that Christianity to-day is at peace with the world, because it is honored by sects and societies, — is to mistake its very nature. History will repeat itself. The trials encountered by prophet, disciple, and apostle, — “of whom the earth was not worthy,” — always await, in some form, every pioneer of Truth.

A magistrate, who lived in the time of Jesus, left this record: “His rebuke is fearful.” The strong language of our Master confirms that saying. Still stronger evidence, that his reproof was pointed and pungent, is to be found in the necessity there was for such forcible utterance, when Jesus wished to cast out devils and heal the sick.

The only civil word which he had for error was, “Get behind me, Satan.” There is too much animal courage, and not sufficient moral courage, in society. Christians must take up arms against error at home and abroad. They must grapple with sin, in themselves and in others, and continue this warfare until they have finished their course. If they keep the faith, they will have the crown of rejoicing.

If we have triumphed sufficiently over the errors of sense for Soul to hold the control, we shall loathe sin, and rebuke it under every mask. Only in this way can we bless our enemies, though they may not so construe our words. We cannot choose for ourselves, but must work out our own salvation in the way that Jesus taught and demonstrated. In meekness and might he was found preaching the gospel to the poor. A moral coward is unfit to hear the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in his hands.

A member of the Methodist Church said to me: “I hope, when you prepare your work on Christian Science, you will dwell much on the atonement.” If, after reading these pages, the “arm of the Lord is revealed” to her mind, she will “believe our report,” and commence her own work, and pursue it with the unction of primitive Christianity, — healing herself and others. This is regeneration; this is having part in the atonement; this is understanding wherefore Jesus suffered and triumphed.

If all who have ever partaken of the sacrament had really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus, and drank of his cup, they would have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration through material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out error, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, they will speedily establish the millennium.

Are all who eat bread and drink wine in memory of Jesus willing to take his cross, and leave all for the Christ-principle? Then why ascribe this inspiration to a dead rite, instead of showing forth, in the body, that Truth has come to the understanding, by casting out error, healing the sick, and making the body “holy and acceptable?” If Christ, Truth, has come to us in demonstration, no commemoration is requisite, for he is Emmanuel, or “God with us;” and if a friend be with us, why need we memorials of that friend?

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take eat, this is my body.” And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it.”

The true sense is spiritually lost, if the sacrament is confined to the use of bread and wine. The disciples were eating when Jesus prayed, and gave them bread. This would have been improper, in a literal sense; but, in its spiritual signification, it was natural and beautiful. Jesus prayed; that is, he withdrew from the material senses, to refresh his being with brighter views. How truly Dr. Clarke writes, in that little poem called Cana: —

The social talk, the evening fire,
The homely household shrine,
Grow bright with angel-visits, when
The Lord pours out the wine.

His followers, silent, self-forgetful, strong, — anticipating the hour of their Master's betrayal, — partook of the heavenly manna, that of old had fed, in the wilderness, the persecuted followers of Truth. Their bread came down from heaven. It was the great Truth of spiritual being, that healed the sick and cast out error. Their Master had explained it all before; and now this bread was feeding and sustaining them. They had borne this bread from house to house, breaking (explaining) it to others; and now it comforted themselves.

For this Truth their Master was about to suffer violence, to drink the cup of sorrow. He must leave them. Wrapped in the great glory of an everlasting victory, he gave thanks, and said, “Drink ye all of it.”

Christians, are you drinking his cup? Have you shared the blood of the New Covenant, the sufferings and persecutions that attend a new and higher understanding of God? If not, can you then say that you have commemorated Jesus in his cup?

When the human in him struggled with the divine, our great leader said, “Not my will but Thine be done.” What he meant was this: “Let not the flesh, but the Spirit, be represented in me.” This is the new understanding of impersonal Love. It gives all for Christ, or Truth. It blesses its enemies, heals the sick, casts out error, raises the dead from trespasses and sins, and preaches the gospel to the poor.

Rabbi and priest taught the Mosaic law, which said: “An eye for an eye,” and, “Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Not so did Jesus, the new executor of Cod, present the divine law of Love, which blesses even those who curse it.

First, on the list of Christian duties, he taught his followers the healing power of Truth. He attached no importance to dead ceremonies. It is the living Christ, the practical Truth, which makes him the Resurrection and the Life, to all who follow him in deed. Obeying his precious precepts, — following his demonstration, so far as we apprehend it, — we drink of his cup, partake of his deathless body, and are baptized with his purity; and at last we shall sit down with him, in a full understanding of the Divine Principle which was his real Life. For what says Paul: “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come.”

Belief can never do the works of understanding, never follow Jesus in his demonstration. Ritualism and dogma tend to clip the pinions of Love. They materialize worship, hinder the Spirit, and keep man from demonstrating his power over error.

The atonement of Christ reconciles man to God, not God to man; for the Christ-principle is God, and how can the Christ-principle propitiate itself? How can the Christ-heart reach higher than itself, when no fountain can rise higher than its source? Jesus can conciliate no nature above his own, because he is part of the Eternal Life. It was therefore his purpose to atone, or reconcile, man to God, not God to man. Love and Truth are not at war with God's idea, and man is this idea. Man cannot exceed God in Love, and so atone for himself. Even Jesus could not reconcile Truth to error, for they are irreconcilable. Jesus reconciled God to man, only by giving man a true sense of this Divine Principle, in his own life and teachings, which would redeem man from under the law of matter, by this explanation of the law of Spirit.

Does scholastic theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it, and are willing to be forgiven? Does Spiritualism find Jesus' death necessary only for the presentation, after death, of the personal Jesus, as a proof that spirits can return to earth? Then I must differ from both Orthodoxy and Spiritualism.

While respecting all that is good in the Church, or out of it, my later consecration to Christ has been on the ground of demonstration, not profession. In conscience, I cannot hold to my former beliefs. By understanding more of the Divine Principle of the deathless Jesus, I have been raised from hopeless disease, to triumph over sickness and sin as I had never done before.

The efficacy of the crucifixion lies in the practical Truth it demonstrated for mankind. This Truth had been spoken in their midst, but until they saw that it enabled their Master to triumph over the grave, his own disciples could not admit such an event to be possible; but, after the resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to acknowledge how entire was the proof.

Through all the disciples saw they became more spiritual, and could better understand what the Master had taught. His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise others from spiritual dulness, from a blind belief in God, to a faint understanding of infinite possibilities. They needed this quickening, for soon their dear Master would rise again in the spiritual scale of being, and go far beyond their comprehension. As the reward for his faithfulness, he would disappear to material sense, in the change which has since been called the Ascension.

Born of a woman, in the usual course of mortal advent, Jesus inherited in part Mary's earthly condition; while, at the same time, he was endowed with the Divine “Spirit without measure.” This accounts for his struggles in Gethsemane and on Calvary, and this enabled him to be the mediator, or way-shower, between God and men. Had his origin and birth been wholly apart from mortal usage, Jesus would not have been appreciable to mortal mind.

The time is not distant when the ordinary theological views of atonement will undergo a great change, — a change as radical as that which has come over popular opinions about predestination and future punishment.

The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin, when it was shed upon “the accursed tree,” than when it was flowing in his veins, as he went daily about his Father's business. His spiritual flesh and blood were his Life; and they truly eat his flesh and drink his blood who partake of that Life.

The spiritual meaning of blood is sacrifice. The efficacy of Jesus' spirit-offering was infinitely greater than can be expressed by our sense of human blood.

In ancient Rome a soldier was required to swear allegiance to his general. The Latin word for this oath was sacramentum, and our English word “sacrament” is derived from it. Also it was an ancient custom, among the Jews, for the master of a feast to pass to each guest a cup of wine. But the Eucharist neither commemorates a Roman soldier's oath, nor the wine used on convivial occasions and at Jewish rites the cup of our Lord. The cup was to show forth his sufferings, — the cup which he prayed might pass from him, then bowed in holy submission to divine decree.

The Passover that Jesus ate with his disciples in the month Nisan, on the night before his crucifixion, was a mournful occasion, a sad supper, taken at the close of day, in the twilight of a glorious career with shadows fast falling around it; and this supper closed forever his ritualism, or concessions to matter.

What a contrast between our Lord's Last Supper and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples, in the bright morning hours, at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea! His gloom had passed into glory, and his disciples' grief into hope, hearts chastened, and pride rebuked. Convinced of their fruitless toil in the dark, and wakened by their Master's voice, they Kit their nets, turned away from material callings, and east their net on the right side. Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensualisms, or the burial of mind in matter, to newness of life in Christ.

This spiritual meeting with our Lord, in the dawn of a new light, is the morning meal that Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing, and silently commune with the divine Principle thereof. They celebrate their Lord's victory over death, his probation in the flesh after death, its exemplification of human probation, and his final ascension above the flesh, when he rose out of the senses' sight.