Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1898)/07 Marriage
Whom therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven.
WHEN our great Teacher came to him for baptism, John was astounded. Reading his thoughts, Jesus added: “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” His concessions to material methods were for the advancement of spiritual good.
Marriage is the only legal and moral provision for generation among human kind. Until the spiritual Marriage arrangements. Creation is discerned, and the union of male and female apprehended as in the vision of the Apocalypse, — where its spiritual sense was revealed from Heaven, — this union should continue, under such moral regulations as will secure increasing virtue. Infidelity to the marriage covenant is the social scourge of all races, “the pestilence that walketh in darkness, . . . the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” The commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is no less imperative than the other, “Thou shalt not kill.”
Chastity is the backbone of civilization and progress. Without it there is no stability in society, and it would be impossible to attain the Science of Life.
Union of the masculine and feminine qualities in man constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches Sex elements. a higher tone by communion with the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength by communion with the masculine. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness. Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong. The attraction between native qualities will be perpetual only as it is pure and true, bringing seasons of renewal, like the returning spring.
Beauty, wealth, and fame are incompetent to meet the demands of the affections, and should never weigh Affection's demands. against the better claims of intellect, goodness, and virtue. Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.
Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, Help and discipline. enlarging, purifying, and elevating it. The wintry blasts of earth may uproot the flowers of affection, and scatter them to the winds; but this severance of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world, and begins to unfold its wings for Heaven.
Marriage is unblest or blest, according to the disappointments it involves or the hopes it fulfils. To happify existence, by constant intercourse with those adapted to elevate it, should be the motive for society. Unity of spirit gives new pinions to joy, or else joy's drooping wings trail in dust.
Ill-arranged notes produce discord. Tones of the human mind may be different, but they should be Discord. concordant, in order to blend properly. Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, these different elements of the human mind, meeting and mingling, constitute true happiness. In such union there is strength and permanence.
There is moral freedom in Soul's unity. Never contract the horizon of a worthy outlook, by the selfish Freedom. exaction of all another's time and thoughts. With additional joys, benevolence should grow more diffusive. The narrowness and jealousy which would confine a wife or husband forever within four walls will not promote the sweet interchange of confidence and love; but, on the other hand, a wandering desire for incessant amusement, outside the home circle, is a poor augury for the happiness of wedlock. Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections.
Said the peasant bride to her lover: “Two eat no more together than they eat separately.” This is a hint A useful suggestion. that a wife ought not to court vulgar extravagance or stupid ease, because another supplies her wants. Wealth may obviate the necessity for toil and ill-nature in the marriage relation, but nothing can abolish its cares.
“She that is married careth for her husband, how she may please him,” says the Bible; and this is the pleasantest thing to do. Matrimony should never be entered into without a full recognition of its enduring obligations Differing duties. on both sides. There should be the most tender solicitude for each other's happiness, and mutual approbation should wait on all the years of married life.
Mutual compromises will often maintain a compact which might otherwise become unbearable. Man should not be required to participate in all the annoyances and cares of domestic economy, nor should woman be expected to understand political economy. Fulfilling the different demands of their united spheres, their sympathies may blend in sweet confidence and cheer, each partner sustaining the other, — thus hallowing the union of interests and affections, wherein the heart finds peace.
Tender words, and unselfish care in what promotes the welfare and happiness of your wife, will prove more Trysting. salutary than stolid indifference or jealousy, in prolonging her smiles and health. Husbands, hear this, and remember how slight a word may renew the old trysting-times.
After marriage it is too late to grumble over incompatibility of disposition. A mutual understanding should exist before this union, and continue ever after. Deception is fatal to happiness.
The nuptial vow should never be annulled, so long as its moral obligations are kept intact; but the frequency Divorce. of divorce shows the sacredness of this relation to be losing its strength, and that most fatal mistakes are undermining its foundations. Separation never should take place; and it never would, if the husband and wife were Christian Scientists. Science inevitably lifts one's being higher in the scale of harmony and happiness.
Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent Permanency. companionship. The beautiful in character is also the good, welding indissolubly the links of affection. A mother's affection cannot be weaned from her child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal. Therefore maternal affection lives on, under whatever difficulties.
From the logic of events we learn that selfishness and impurity alone are fleeting, and that Wisdom will ultimately put asunder what she hath not joined together.
Marriage should improve the human species, becoming a barrier against vice, a protection to woman, Advantages and obstacles. strength to man, and a centre for the affections. This, however, in a majority of cases, is not its present tendency, and why? Because the education of the higher nature is neglected, and other considerations, — passion, frivolous amusements, personal adornment, display, and pride — occupy thought.
An ill-attuned ear calls discord harmony, not appreciating concord. So physical sense, not discerning the Harmony. true happiness of Being, places it on a false basis. Science will correct the discord, and teach us Life's sweeter harmonies.
Soul hath infinite resources, wherewith to bless mankind; and happiness would be more readily attained, and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the limits of wealth or fame.
The good in human affections must have ascendency over the evil, and the spiritual over the animal, or Progeny. happiness will never be won. The attainment of this celestial condition would improve our progeny, diminish crime, give higher aims to ambition. Every valley of sin must be exalted, and every mountain of selfishness be brought low, that the highway of our God may be prepared in Science. The offspring of heavenly-minded parents inherit more intellect, better balanced minds, and sounder constitutions.
If some fortuitous circumstance places spiritual children in the arms of gross parents, these beautiful children often early droop and die, like tropical flowers born amid Alpine snows. If perchance they live to become parents in their turn, they may reproduce, in their own helpless little ones, the grosser traits of their ancestors. What hope of happiness, what noble ambition, can inspire the child who inherits propensities that must either be overcome, or reduce him to a loathsome wreck?
Is not the propagation of the human species a greater responsibility, a more solemn charge, than the culture of your garden, or raising stock to increase your flocks and herds? Nothing unworthy of perpetuity should be transmitted to children.
The formation of mortals must greatly improve, to advance mankind. The Scientific morale of marriage is spiritual unity. If the propagation of a higher human species is requisite to reach this goal, then its material conditions can only be permitted for the purpose of generating, the fœtus must be kept mentally pure, and the period of gestation have the sanctity of virginity.
The entire education of children should be such as will form habits of obedience to moral and spiritual law, whereby they may meet and master that belief in so-called physical laws which breeds disease.
If parents create in their babes a desire for incessant amusement, to be always fed, rocked, tossed, or talked Inheritance. to, those parents should not, in after years, complain of their children's fretfulness or frivolity, which they have themselves occasioned. Taking less “thought for the body, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink,” will do much more for the health of the rising generation than you dream of. Children should be allowed to remain children in knowledge, and become men and women only through growth in the understanding of man's spiritual existence.
We must not attribute more and more intelligence to matter, but less and less, if we would be wise and The Mind creative. healthy. Mind, which forms the bud and blossom, will care for the human body, even as it clothes the lily; but let no mortal interfere with God's government, by thrusting in the laws of human belief.
The higher nature of man is not governed by the lower. This would reverse the order of Wisdom. Our Government. false views of life hide eternal harmony, and produce the ills of which we complain. Because mortals believe in material laws, and reject the Science of Mind, this does not make materiality true, or the so-called laws of sense superior to the law of Soul. You would never think that flannel is better than the controlling Mind, for warding off pulmonary disease, if you understood the Science of Being.
Man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like Origin. that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of Being, and God is his Father.
Civil law establishes very unfair differences between the rights of the two sexes. Christian Science furnishes The rights of woman. no precedent for such injustice, and civilization mitigates it in some measure. Still, it is a marvel why usage should accord woman less honor than does either Christian Science or civilization.
Our laws are not impartial, to say the least, in their discrimination as to the person, property, and parental Unfair laws. claims of the two sexes. If the elective franchise for women will remedy the evil, without encouraging difficulties of greater magnitude, let us hope it will be granted. A very feasible as well as rational means of improvement, at present, is the improvement of society in general, and the achievement of a nobler race for legislation.
If a dissolute husband deserts his wife, certainly the wronged and, perchance, impoverished woman should be allowed to collect her own wages, enter into business agreements, hold real estate, deposit funds, and hold her children free from his interference.
Want of social equality is a crying evil, occasioned by the selfishness of the world. Our forefathers exercised their faith in the direction taught by the Apostle James, when he said: “Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, — to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Pride, envy, or jealousy seems, on most occasions, to be the master of ceremonies, ruling out primitive Christianity. Hindrances. When a man lends a helping hand to some noble woman, struggling alone with adversity, his more prudent wife is apt to say, “It is never well to interfere with your neighbor's business.” A wife is sometimes debarred, by a covetous domestic tyrant, from giving the ready aid her sympathy and charity would afford.
The time cometh when marriage will be a union of hearts, when husbands and wives will love one another Progressive generation. more sincerely than at present. Furthermore, the time also cometh of which Jesus spake, when he declared that in the resurrection there should be no more marrying or giving in marriage, but man should be as the angels. Then shall Soul rejoice in its own, wherein passion hath no part. Then white-robed purity shall unite masculine Wisdom and feminine Love in spiritual understanding and perpetual union.
Until it is learned that generation rests on no sexual basis, let marriage continue, and let us permit no such disregard of law as may lead to a worse state of society than now exists. Honesty and virtue ensure the stability of the marriage covenant. Spirit will ultimately claim its own, and the voices of physical sense be forever hushed.
Marriage should be the school of virtue, and man's The wine and water. offspring should be the germ of his highest nature. May Christ, Truth, be present at every bridal altar, to turn the water into wine, and give to human life an inspiration whereby man's spiritual origin and existence may be discerned.
If the foundations of human affection are consistent with progress, they will be strong and enduring. Foundations. Divorces should warn the age of some fundamental error in the marriage state. The union of the sexes suffers fearful discord. To gain Christian Science, and consequently the harmony of this relation, it should be more metaphysically regarded, and less physically.
The broadcast powers of evil, so conspicuous to-day, show themselves in the materialism and sensualism of Powerless promises. the age, struggling against the advancing spiritual era. Beholding the world's lack of Christianity, and the powerlessness of vows to make good husbands and wives, the human mind will at length demand a higher affection.
There will ensue a fermentation over this, as over many other reforms, until we get at last the clear straining Fermentation. of Truth, and impurity and error are left among the lees. The fermentation, even of fluids, is not pleasant. An unsettled, transitional stage is never desirable on its own account. Matrimony, which was once a fixed fact among us, must lose its present slippery footing, and find permanence in a more spiritual adherence.
The mental chemicalization, which has brought conjugal infidelity to the surface, will assuredly throw off this evil, and marriage will become purer when the scum is gone.
Thou art right, immortal Shakespeare, — great poet of humanity:
|Sweet are the uses of adversity,|
|Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,|
|Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.|
Trials teach mortals not to lean on an earthly staff, — a broken reed, which pierces the heart. We do not half Salutary sorrow. remember this in the sunshine of joy and prosperity. Sorrow is salutary. Through great tribulation we enter into the kingdom. Trials are proofs of God's care. Spiritual development germinates not from seed sown in the soil of earthly hopes; but when these decay, Soul propagates anew the higher joys of Spirit, which have no taint of earth. Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love.
Amidst gratitude for conjugal felicity, it is well to remember how fleeting are human joys. Amidst conjugal infelicity, it is well to hope, and wait patiently on the Lord.
Husbands and wives should never separate, if there is no Christian demand for it. It is better to await the Xantippe. logic of events, than for a wife precipitately to leave her husband, or a husband his wife. If one is better than the other, as must always be the case, the other pre-eminently needs good company. Socrates considered patience salutary under such circumstances, making his Xantippe a discipline for his philosophy.
Sorrow has its reward. It never leaves us where it found us. The furnace separates the gold from the The gold and dross. dross, that the precious metal may be graven with the image of God. The cup our Father hath given, shall we not drink it, and learn the lessons He teaches?
If the ocean is stirred by a storm, the clouds lower, the wind shrieks through the tightened shrouds, and Sunshine and storm. waves lift themselves into mountains. We ask the helmsman: “Do you know your course? Can you steer safely amid the storm?” He answers nobly; but the brave, dauntless seaman is not sure of his fate. Nautical science is not equal to the Science of Mind; yet, acting up to his highest understanding, firm at the post of duty, the mariner works on, and awaits the issue. Thus should we deport ourselves on the seething ocean of sorrow. Hoping and working, we should stick to the wreck, until an irresistible propulsion precipitates our doom, or sunshine gladdens the sea.
The notion that animal natures can possibly give force to character is too absurd for consideration, when we Animality. remember that our Lord and Master healed the sick, raised the dead, and commanded even the winds and waves to obey him, through spiritual ascendency. Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods.
The manifest lack of spiritual power, in the limited demonstration of popular Christianity, puts to shame the labor of centuries. Corporeal consciousness is not so much needed as spiritual. Think of thyself as the orange just eaten, of which only the pleasant idea is left.
Religious and medical systems perpetuate the necessity of physical pains and pleasures, but Jesus banishes Evil perpetuation. the belief in any such pains or pleasures. The epoch approaches when this understanding will be the basis of true religion. At present we live ridiculously, for fear of being thought ridiculous. We are slaves to fashion, appetite, and sense. In the future we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, creates men and women who are too good to be blotted out. We ought to weary of the fleeting and false, and cherish nothing which hinders one's highest selfhood.
Frugality, as well as affection, is essential to domestic prosperity; but to silence the voice of conscience, in order to gain wealth, is to trade without profit.
The genius of woman shrinks from controversy with a knave or a fool.
A true man respects the character of a woman, but a mouse will gnaw in the dark at a spotless garment.
Culture and refinement are not adjuncts of the toilet, but things of the head and heart.
Innocence is a gem, worn in utter unconsciousness of pickpockets.
Husbands who try to dissipate care in the convivial club are poor stock for the matrimonial market. A husband is either his wife's best friend or worst enemy.
“Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised,” saith the proverb.
A bad woman is a human leper, dangerous to all who approach her.
In marriage, avoid disparities in age, taste, culture, and morals. Always choose those qualities which wear well.
Jealousy is the grave of affection. The presence of mistrust, where confidence is due, touches with its mildew the flowers of Eden, and scatters love's petals to decay.
The bridal altar is the verge of a new existence, wherein the old is fading out, and the new coming in. Two mortals are to unite in one hope, one freedom, one joy, walking the long path together.
Be not in haste to take the vow, “until death do us part.” Consider well its obligations, its responsibilities, and its relations to your own growth and your influence on other lives; but when your vows are taken, preserve them stainless.