Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1889)/15 The Apocalypse

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Thy Christ hath reached his heavenly seat,
Through sorrow and through scars;
The golden lamps are at his feet,
And in his hand the stars.N. L. Frothingham.
O Lord, who seest, from yon starry height,
Centred in one the future and the past
Fashioned in Thine own image, —
Celestial King! Oh let Thy presence pass
Before my Spirit, and an image fair
Shall meet that look of mercy from on high,
As the reflected image in a glass
Doth meet the look of him who seeks it there,
And owes its being to the gazer's eye.
Longfellow, from the Spanish.

MY attention is specially called to the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, — or Revelation of Saint John, — on account of its suggestiveness in connection with this nineteenth century. In the opening of the Sixth Seal there is one distinctive feature which has special reference to the present age, and the establishment of Christian Science in this period.

Revelation xii. 1. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, — a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

Heaven is harmony, and Science brings out harmony. The greatest miracle to human sense is the wonder of divine Love. One of the grand necessities in Science is to gain the true idea of God, and this can never be reached while we entertain a false estimate of the individual who voices this idea. Without a clear and correct sense of the idea, you can never assimilate its divine Principle. The botanist must know the genus and species of a plant, in order to classify it correctly; and as it is with the plant, so is it with man.

Abuse of the motives and character of Paul hid from view the remarkable nature of the apostle, which made him equal to so great a mission. Persecution not only obscured the light of the ages, but was fatal to the persecutor. Why? Because it hid the true idea that Paul presented of God. To misunderstand Paul was to be ignorant of the divine idea he taught; and this lesser ignorance betrayed at once a greater ignorance as to its Principle, — ignorance of the proper life, that leads to its discernment, that works out the ends of eternal good, and destroys the belief in evil, and the practice of it.

The great naturalist, Agassiz, through his microscope, saw the sun in an egg, at the spot of so-called embryotic life. The Revelator beheld the spiritual idea from the very mount of vision. Because of his more spiritual vision, he saw an “angel in the sun:” purity was the symbol of Life and Love. He saw also the spiritual ideal — woman clothed in light, a bride coming down from heaven, grown impersonal and wedded to Wisdom. To him the Pride and the Lamb represented the correlation of Principle and its pure idea, bringing harmony to mortal sense.

John saw the human and divine coincidence as seen in the man Jesus, — divinity embracing humanity, in Life and its demonstration. Yea, John beheld Divine Science, reducing to human perception and understanding the Life that is God. In this divine revelation men grow out of material and personal selfhood, into the spiritual ideal, and become their original selves, all sin, sickness, and death being destroyed.

The Woman in the Apocalypse is the vignette, and stands for the spiritual idea, which illustrates the Science of God and man, — Divine Principle and its divine idea. The Revelator symbolizes Spirit by the sun. The Woman is clad with the radiance of spiritual Truth, and matter is put under her feet. The light portrayed is neither solar nor lunar, but spiritual Life which is “the light of men,” shining in darkness, and comprehended not. In the first chapter of the fourth Gospel it is written, “There was a man sent from God . . . to bear witness of this light.”

John the Baptist prophesied the coming of the immaculate Jesus, and declared that this spiritual idea was the Messiah who would baptize with the Holy Ghost, — Divine Science. The Son of the Blessed represents the Fatherhood of God; and the Revelator completes this figure with the woman, or type of God's Motherhood.

The moon is under her feet. The spiritual idea reveals the universe and man as secondary, and tributary to Spirit, from which they borrow their reflected Substance, Life, and Intelligence, — Spirit not being material.

The quintessence of the spiritual idea may be summarized as follows: There is no matter; there is one Mind, or God; Mind is infinite, supplying all intelligence; the universe and man are individualized divine ideas, reflecting the One Father and Mother, or Divine Principle, and illustrating purity and brotherly love; all things are subordinate to the Infinite One.

Upon the Woman's head is a crown of twelve stars. The twelve tribes of Israel, and all mankind, — separated by belief from their divine origin and their true spiritual being, — shall return, through the spiritual idea, to their Divine Principle, and dwell in the harmony of Science. These are the stars in her crown of rejoicing. Like lamps in the spiritual heavens of this age are the workings of this ideal, healing the sick and the sinner, manifesting the light that shall shine “unto the perfect day,” when the night of materialism shall flee before the millennial dawn.

Revelation xii. 2. And she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

The spiritual idea, typified by the waiting Woman, weeps as in human pain, to be delivered of its sweet promise; and she remembereth no more her sorrow, for joy that the birth goes prosperously on. So big is the idea, the travail is so portentous, that the birth must be slow and the pangs unspeakable, but still she waiteth with motherly patience.

Revelation xii. 3. And there appeared another wonder in heaven: and behold, a great red Dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Human sense may well marvel at discord; while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal. You may well be astonished at sin, sickness, and death. You may well be perplexed at human fear. You may be still more astounded at Hatred, which lifts his hydra head, showing his horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness? The great red Dragon symbolizes the belief that Substance, Life, and Intelligence can be material. This Dragon stands for the sum total of human belief, called Animal Magnetism, — belief that organic animal life produces sin, sickness, and death.

The Revelator lifts the veil from this embodiment of all evil, and beholds its character. He sees a great red Dragon at the couch of the ideal deliverer of this present age, causing her sore travail. The Revelator sees that old Serpent whose name is Devil, or Evil, holding untiring watch, that he may bite the heel of Truth, and devour the offspring of the spiritual Woman, who is prolific in health, holiness, and immortality.

Revelation xii. 4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. And the Dragon stood before the Woman, which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The ten horns of the Dragon typify the belief that matter has a mind of its own, and that by means of this mind it can break the Ten Commandments. The serpentine form stands for subtlety, winding its way throughout all evil, but doing this in the name of good. Its sting is spoken of by Paul, when he refers to “spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is the animal power of mortal minds over each other, casting out devils through Beelzebub.

As of old, evil still charges the loving Master with its own nature and methods. This malicious animal-power (of which the Dragon is the type) seeks to kill his fellow-mortals, morally and physically, and then to charge the innocent with his crimes. This last infirmity of sin will sink in a night without a star.

I am solemnly convinced that the accusations against Jesus of Nazareth, and even his crucifixion, were instigated by the criminal power here described — namely, animal magnetism. The Revelator speaks of Jesus as the Lamb of God, and of the Dragon warring against innocence. Since Jesus must be tempted in all points, he, the immaculate, must meet and conquer sin in every form. The brutal barbarity of his foes could emanate from no other source except the highest degree of human depravity, which is to be found in this propulsive will-power, or animal magnetism.

Jesus “opened not his mouth.” Justice had no appeal from the tribunal of mortal mind, let loose to secretly meet the Immortal Mind with open defiance, — until the majesty of His all-creative power should be illustrated in the nothingness of sin.

From Genesis to the Apocalypse, sin, sickness, and death, envy, hatred, and revenge, — all evil, — are typified by the Serpent, existing without a cause.

Jesus said, quoting from the Psalms, “They have hated me without cause.” The Serpent is close upon the heel of harmony. He pursues the Woman, the spiritual ideal, from the beginning to the end.

In Genesis mortal belief is the common Serpent “more subtle than any other beast of the field.” In the Apocalypse, when nearing its doom, the evil power becomes the great red Dragon, swollen with sin, hoary, ripe for destruction. He is inflamed with war against Spirit. He is full of lust and hate, loathing the brightness of divine glory.

Revelation xii. 5. And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.

Led on by the grossest clement of mortal mind, Herod decreed the death of every male child, that the man Jesus (the masculine embodiment of the spiritual idea) might never hold sway, and so leave Herod uncrowned. The spiritual idea had a brief history in the earthly life of our blessed Master; but “of his kingdom there shall be no end,” for God's ideal shall eventually rule all nations and peoples — imperatively, absolutely, finally — with Divine Science. This immaculate offspring of the Woman shall baptize with fire; and the fiery baptism shall burn up the chaff of error with the fervent heat of Truth and Love, melting and purifying even the gold of human character. Ever since the stars sang together, the Dragon has made war upon the spiritual ideal; but this has compelled this ideal to rise higher, to the very zenith of demonstration, until caught up unto God, — whence it came, that it might destroy sin, sickness, and death.

Revelation xii. 6. And the Woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God.

As the Children of Israel passed triumphantly through the Red Sea, the dark ebbing and flowing tides of human fear, — as they journeyed through the wilderness, walking wearily through the great desert of human hopes, and anticipating the promised joy, — so shall the spiritual idea guide all Christians, in their mortal passage from sense to Soul, — from a material sense of existence to the spiritual, — up to the glory prepared for them that love God. Stately Science pauses not, but moves before them, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, leading up to divine heights.

If we remember the beautiful description which Sir Walter Scott puts into the mouth of Rebecca the Jewess, in Ivanhoe, —

When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out from the land of bondage came,
Her fathers' God before her moved,
An awful guide in smoke and flame, —

we may also offer the prayer which concludes the same hymn: —

And oh, when gathers on our path,
In shade and storm, the frequent night,
Be Thou long-suffering, slow to wrath,
A burning and a shining light.

Revelation xii. 7, 8. And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

The Old Testament assigns to the angels — that is, divine messengers — different offices. Michael's characteristic is spiritual strength. He leads the hosts of heaven against the power of Satan, and fights the holy wars. Gabriel has the more quiet task of imparting a sense of the presence of ministering Love to mortals These angels deliver us from the depths.

Truth and Love come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith, or spiritual strength, wrestles and prevails, through the understanding of God. The Gabriel of His presence has no contests. To ever-present Truth there is no error — no sin, sickness, or death. Against such the Dragon warreth not long, for he is killed by the divine impulse, Truth and Love prevail against the Dragon, because the Dragon cannot war with them.

Revelation xii. 9. And the great Dragon was east out, — that old Serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Animal magnetism — that ancient belief of Mind in matter, that old Serpent whose name is Devil, evil, claiming intelligence and power to harm man and deceive mortals, — is this delusion; and it is cast out by Christ, Truth, and the spiritual idea, and so proven to be powerless. The words “cast down to the earth” show the Dragon to be speechless matter, dust to dust, and as a talker it must have been a lie from the beginning. His angels, or messages, are cast out with the author. The beast and the false prophets are lust and hypocrisy. Those wolves in sheep's clothing are killed by the Lamb.

Divine Science shows how the Lamb slays the wolf. Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error. Ever since the foundation of the world, ever since error would establish material belief, evil has tried to slay the Lamb; but Science is able to destroy evil.

The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse typifies the divine method of warfare in Science, and its glorious results. The following chapters depict the results of trying to meet error with error. The spiritual interpretation is obscure, but I have discovered it. It follows the order that is used in Genesis. First the true method of creation is set forth in Genesis, and then the false. Here, also, the Revelator first exhibits the true warfare, and then the false.

Revelation xii. 10-12. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven: “Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives, unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he kuoweth that he hath but a short time.”

For victory over a single sin we give thanks, and magnify the Lord of Hosts. Then what shall we say of the mighty conquest over all sin? A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love sends forth her primal and everlasting strain.

Self-abnegation — by which we lay down all for Truth, or Christ, in our warfare against error — is a rule in Christian Science. Every mortal at some period, here or hereafter, must grapple with and overcome the belief in vital fluids, and the power of evil called Animal Magnetism. The rule to ensure the victory for Science is this: Bear faithful testimony to the action of animal magnetism as an evil belief, which must be met and mastered. A denial of the action of this false belief prevents your victory over it.

This is the difference between the treatment of sin and sickness, both of which are Animal Magnetism. Sin, or malicious magnetism, should be exposed, — we are forbidden to cover iniquity, — and annihilated by Truth and Love: while the less culpable magnetism of sickness should be destroyed without affirming its presence.

Remember the Scripture, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many.” If faithful in bearing testimony against this error of animal magnetism, — not running from it, but handling the Serpent scientifically, as the Scripture demands, — you will have all power over error, and learn that its nothingness is in proportion to its wickedness.

He that touches the hem of Christian Science, and masters the mortal belief in animality and hate, rejoices in the principle of healing, — in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love. Alas for those who break faith with Divine Science, and fail to strangle the Serpent of sin, as well as of sickness. They are dwellers still in the deep darkness of belief. They are in the surging sea of error, not trying to lift their heads above the drowning wave.

What must the end be? They must eventually expiate, through suffering, this fatal folly. The sin, which one has made his bosom companion, comes back to him at last with accelerated force, for evil knoweth its time is short. Here the Scriptures declare that evil is temporal, not eternal. The Dragon is at last stung to death by his own malice; but how many periods of self-torture it may take to remove all sin, must depend upon its obduracy.

Revelation xii. 13. And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the Woman which brought forth the man-child.

The march of mind and honest investigation will bring the hour when the people will chain, with fetters of some sort, the growing occultism and mesmerism of this period. The duty of all Scientists is to expose this red Dragon, that he may be the sooner subdued.

Revelation xii. 15, 16. And the Serpent east out of his mouth water as a flood, after the Woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the Woman; and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the Dragon cast out of his mouth.

When the sick or the sinful are healed, they know the great good that Mind has wrought. They should also know the great evil done by mortal mind, when it makes them sick or sinful. Many are willing to open the eyes of the people to the divine power of good resident in Immortal Mind; but they are not as willing to point out the power of human belief to do evil, and expose its hidden means of accomplishing it.

Why this backwardness, since exposure is necessary to ensure the avoidance of the evil? Because people like you better when you tell them their virtues, than when you tell them their vices. It requires the spirit of our blessed Master to tell a man his faults, and so risk human displeasure, for the sake of doing good. Who is telling mankind of their foe in ambush? Is the informer one who sees the foe? If so, listen and be wise. Escape from evil, and call those unfaithful stewards, who have seen the danger and yet have not cried out.

Millions of unprejudiced minds — simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert — are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ's name, and never fear the consequences. What if the old Dragon sends forth a new flood, to drown the Woman? He can neither drown your voice with its roar, nor sink the world again in the deep waters of chaos. In this age the earth will help the Woman, and the spiritual idea will be understood. Those ready for the good you impart will give thanks. The waters will be pacified, for Christ will command a calm.

At all times, and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, you will find human hatred helpless to harm you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the One Divinity.

Through trope and metaphor, the Revelator — immortal scribe of Spirit, and of a true idealism — furnishes the mirror in which mortal mind may see its own image. In significant figures he depicts the thoughts which he beholds in mortal mind. Thus he rebukes the conceit of sin, and foreshadows its doom.

He has opened wide the gates of glory with his strength, and illumined the night of paganism with the sublime grandeur of Christian Science, which outshines the sorcery of sin, idolatry, and hypocrisy. He takes away mitre and sceptre. He enthrones pure and undefiled religion, and lifts on high only those who have washed their robes white in obedience and suffering.

Thus we see, in both the first and last books of the Bible, — in Genesis and in the Apocalypse, — that sin is to be scientifically reduced to its native nothingness.

“Little children, love one another,” is the most simple and profound saying of the inspired writer. We are children of God; but mortals are very small, when compared with the stature of Christ. Love fulfils the law in Science, and nothing short of this Divine Principle, understood and demonstrated, can ever furnish the vision of the Apocalypse, open the seven seals of error with Truth, or uncover the myriad illusions of sin, sickness, and death. Under the supremacy of Spirit it will be seen and acknowledged that matter must disappear, for “there will be no night there,” and “no more sea.”

And the angel who showed me these things saith unto me: “Seal not the saying of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand.” (Revelation xxii. 10.)