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SCIENCE AND HEALTH
KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES
MARY BAKER EDDY
First digital edition 2017 by Gianluca Ruffini
CHAPTER 1. PRAYER
CHAPTER 2. ATONEMENT AND EUCHARIST
CHAPTER 3. MARRIAGE
CHAPTER 4. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE VERSUS SPIRITUALISM
CHAPTER 5. ANIMAL MAGNETISM UNMASKED
CHAPTER 6. SCIENCE, THEOLOGY, MEDICINE
CHAPTER 7. PHYSIOLOGY
CHAPTER 8. FOOTSTEPS OF TRUTH
CHAPTER 9. CREATION
CHAPTER 10. SCIENCE OF BEING
CHAPTER 11. SOME OBJECTIONS ANSWERED
CHAPTER 12. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTICE
CHAPTER 13. TEACHING CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
CHAPTER 14. RECAPITULATION
CHAPTER 15. GENESIS
CHAPTER 16. THE APOCALYPSE
CHAPTER 17. GLOSSARY
CHAPTER 18. FRUITAGE
To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings. The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day. So,shone the pale star to the prophet shepherds; yet it traversed the night, and came where, in cradled obscurity, lay the Bethlehem babe, the human herald of Christ, Truth, who would make plain to benighted understanding the way of salvation through Christ Jesus, till across a night of error should dawn the morning beams and shine the guiding star of being. The Wisemen were led to behold and to follow this daystar of divine Science, lighting the way to eternal harmony. The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away. Ignorance of God is no longer the steppingstone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal. Though empires fall,“the Lord shall reign forever.”A book introduces new thoughts, but it cannot make them speedily understood. It is the task of the sturdy pioneer to hew the tall oak and to cut the rough granite. Future ages must declare what the pioneer has accomplished.
Since the author’s discovery of the might of Truth in the treatment of disease as well as of sin, her system has been fully tested and has not been found wanting; but to reach the heights of Christian Science, man must live in obedience to its divine Principle. To develop the full might of this Science, the discords of corporeal sense must yield to the harmony of spiritual sense, even as the science of music corrects false tones and gives sweet concord to sound.
Theology and physics teach that both Spirit and matter are real and good, whereas the fact is that Spirit is good and real, and matter is Spirit’s opposite. The question,whatis Truth, is answered by demonstration, by healing both disease and sin; and this demonstration shows that Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men. On thisbasis,Christian Science will have a fair fight. Sickness has been combated for centuries by doctors using material remedies; but the question arises, Is there less sickness because of these practitioners? A vigorous“No”is the response deducible from two connate facts,the reputed longevity of the Antediluvians, and the rapid multiplication and increased violence of diseases since the flood.
In the author’s work, RETROSPECTION AND INTROSPECTION, may be found a biographical sketch, narrating experiences which led her, in the year 1866, to the discovery of the system that she denominated Christian Science. As early as 1862 she began to write down and give to friends the results of her Scriptural study, for the Bible was her sole teacher; but these compositions were crude, the first steps of a child in the newly discovered world of Spirit.
She also began to jot down her thoughts on the main subject, but these jottings were only infantile lispings of Truth. A child drinks in the outward world through the eyes and rejoices in the draught. He is as sure of the world’s existence as he is of his own; yet he cannot describe the world. He finds a few words, and with these he stammeringly attempts to convey his feeling. Later, the tongue voices the more definite thought, though still imperfectly. So was it with the author. As a certain poet says of himself, she“lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.”Certain essays written at that early dateare still in circulation among her first pupils; but they are feeble attempts to state the Principle and practice of Christian healing, and are not complete nor satisfactory expositions of Truth. To-day, though rejoicing in some progress, she still finds herself a willing disciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of Christ.
Her first pamphlet on ChristianScience was copyrighted in 1870; but it did not appear in print until 1876, as she had learned that this Science must be demonstrated by healing, before a work on the subject could be profitably studied. From 1867 until 1875, copies were, however, in friendly circulation.
Before writing this work, SCIENCE AND HEALTH, she made copious notes of Scriptural exposition, which have never been published. This was during the years 1867 and 1868. These efforts show her comparative ignorance of the stupendous Life-problem up to that time, and the degrees by which she came at length to its solution; but she values them as a parent may treasure the memorials of a child’s growth, and she would not have them changed.
The first edition of SCIENCE AND HEALTH was published in 1875. Various books on mental healing have since been issued, most of them incorrect in theory and filled with plagiarisms from SCIENCE AND HEALTH. They regard the human mind as a healing agent, whereas this mind is not a factor in the Principle of Christian Science. A few books, however, which are based on this book, are useful.
The author has not compromised conscience to suit the general drift of thought, but has bluntly and honestly given the text of Truth. She has made no effort to embellish, elaborate, or treat in full detail so infinite a theme. By thousands of well-authenticated cases of healing, she and her students have proved the worth of her teachings. These cases for the most part have been abandoned as hopeless by regular medical attendants. Few invalids will turn to God till all physical supports have failed, because there is so little faith in His disposition and power to heal disease.
The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth. Its purpose is good, and its practice is safer and more potent than that of any other sanitary method. The unbiased Christian thought is soonest touched by Truth, and convinced of it. Onlythose quarrelswith her method who do not understand her meaning, or discerning the truth, come not to the light lest their works be reproved. No intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner, but sound morals are most desirable.
Many imagine that the phenomena of physical healing in Christian Science present only a phase of the action of the human mind, which action in some unexplained way results in the cure of disease. On the contrary, Christian Science rationally explains that all other pathological methods are the fruits of human faith in matter, faith in the workings, not of Spirit, but of the fleshly mind which must yield to Science.
The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus’time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or“Godwith us,”a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,
To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense], And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised.
When God called the author to proclaim His Gospel to this age, there came also the charge to plant and water His vineyard.
The first school of Christian Science Mind-healing was started by the author with only one student in Lynn, Massachusetts, about the year 1867. In 1881, she opened the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston, under the seal of the Commonwealth, a law relative to colleges having been passed, which enabled her to get this institution chartered for medical purposes. No charters were granted to Christian Scientists for such institutions after 1883, and up to that date, hers was the only College of this character which had been established in the United States, where Christian Science was first introduced.
During seven years,over four thousand students were taught by the author in this College. Meanwhile she was pastor of the first established Church of Christ, Scientist; President of the first Christian Scientist Association, convening monthly; publisher of her own works; and (for a portion of this time) sole editor and publisher of the Christian Science Journal, the first periodical issued by Christian Scientists. She closed her College, October 29, 1889, in the height of its prosperity with a deep-lying conviction that the next two years of her life should be given to the preparation of the revision of SCIENCE AND HEALTH, which was published in 1891. She retained her charter, and as its President, reopened the College in 1899 as auxiliary to her church. Until June 10, 1907, she had never read this book throughout consecutively in order to elucidate her idealism.
In the spirit of Christ’s charity, as one who“hopeth all things, endureth all things,”and is joyful to bear consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick, she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth.
MARY BAKER EDDY
CHAPTER 1. PRAYER
For verily I say unto you,thatwhosoever shall say unto this mountain,bethou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.Therefore,I say unto you,whatthings soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him. - CHRIST JESUS.
THE prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love. Regardless of what another may say or think on this subject, I speak from experience. Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind. 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 take form in words and in deeds.
What are the motives for prayer? Do we pray to make ourselves better or to benefit those who hear us, to enlighten the infinite or to be heard of men? Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it 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. We can do more for ourselves by humble fervent petitions, but the All-loving does not grant them simply on the ground oflip service, for He already knows all.
Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it. Goodness attains the demonstration of Truth. A request that God will save us is not all that is required. The mere habit of pleading with the divine Mind, as one pleads with a human being, perpetuates the belief inGod as humanly circumscribed,an error which impedes spiritual growth.
God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? Do we expect to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept? The unspoken desire does bring us nearer the source of all existence and blessedness.
Asking God to be God is a vain repetition. God is“the same yesterday, and today, and forever;”and He who is immutably right will do right without being reminded of His province. The wisdom of man is not sufficient to warrant him in advising God.
The spiritual mathematics
Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve 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 goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation.
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;”but to understand God is the work of eternity, and demands absolute consecration of thought, energy, and desire.
How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, and then we try to give information to this infinite Mind. We plead for unmerited pardon and for a liberal outpouring of benefactions. 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. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.
If we are ungrateful for Life, Truth, and Love, and yet return thanks to God for all blessings, we are insincere and incur the sharp censure our Master pronounces on hypocrites. In such a case, the only acceptable prayer is to put the finger on the lips and remember our blessings. While the heart is far from divine Truth and Love, we cannot conceal the ingratitude of barren lives.
What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds. To keep the commandments of our Master and follow his example, is our proper debt to him and the only worthy evidence of our gratitude for all that he has done. Outward worship is not of itself sufficient to express loyal and heartfelt gratitude, since he has said:“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer. Its motives are made manifest in the blessings they bring,blessings which, even if not acknowledged in audible words, attest our worthiness to be partakers of Love.
Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness. We reach the Science of Christianity through demonstration of the divine nature; but in this wicked world goodness will“be evil spoken of,”and patience must bring experience.
Audible prayer can never do the works of spiritual understanding, which regenerates; but silent prayer, watchfulness, and devout obedience enable us to follow Jesus’example. Long prayers, superstition, and creeds clip the strongopinionsof love, and clothe religion in human forms. Whatever materealizesworship hinders man’s spiritual growth and keeps him from demonstrating his power over error.
Sorrow and reformation
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, - namely, reformation. To thisend,we are placed under the stress of circumstances. Temptation bids us repeat the offence, and woe comes in return for what is done. So,it will ever be, till we learn that there is no discount in the law of justice and that we must pay“the uttermost farthing.”The measure ye mete“shall be measured to you again,”and it will be full“and running over.”
Saints and sinners get their full award, but not always in this world. The followers of Christ drank his cup. Ingratitude and persecution filled it to the brim; but God pours the riches of His love into the understanding and affections, giving us strength according to our day. Sinners flourish“like a green bay tree;”but, looking farther, thePsalmist could see their end,the destruction of sin through suffering.
Cancellation of human sin
Prayer is not to be used as a confessional to cancel sin. Such an error would impede true religion. Sin is forgiven only as it is destroyed by Christ,Truth and Life. If prayer nourishes the belief that sin is cancelled, and that man is made better merely by praying, prayer is an evil. He grows worse who continues in sin because he fancies himself forgiven.
An apostle says that the Son of God [Christ] came to“destroy the works of the devil.”We should follow our divine Exemplar, and seek the destruction of all evil works, error and disease included.
We cannot escape the penalty due for sin. The Scriptures say, that if we deny Christ,“he also will deny us.”
Pardon and amendment
Divine Love corrects and governs man. Men may pardon, but this divine Principle alone reforms the sinner. God is not separate from the wisdom He bestows. The talents 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 to ask pardon, and that afterwards we shall be free to repeat the offence.
To cause suffering as the result of sin, is the means of destroying sin. Every supposed pleasure in sin will furnish more than its equivalent of pain, until belief in material life and sin is destroyed. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the divine Principle of being.
Mercy without partiality
“God is Love.”More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go. To suppose that God forgives or punishes sin according as His mercy is sought or unsought, is to misunderstand Love and to make prayer the safety-valve for wrong-doing.
Jesus uncovered and rebuked sin before he cast it out. Of a sick woman,he said that Satan had bound her, and to Peter he said,“Thou art an offence unto me.”He came teaching and showing men how to destroy sin, sickness, and death. He said of the fruitless tree,“[It] is hewn down.”
It is believed by many that a certain magistrate, who lived in the time of Jesus, left this record:“His rebuke is fearful.”The strong language of our Master confirms this description.
The only civil sentence which he had for error was,“Get thee behind me, Satan.”Still stronger evidence that Jesus’reproof was pointed and pungent is found in his own words,showing the necessity for such forcible utterance, when he cast out devils and healed the sick and sinning. The relinquishment of error deprives material sense of its false claims.
Audible prayer is impressive; it gives momentary solemnity and elevation to thought. But does it produce any lasting benefit? Looking deeply into these things, we find that“a zeal . . . not according to knowledge”gives occasion for reaction unfavorable to spiritual growth, sober resolve, and wholesome perception of God’s requirements. The motives for verbal prayer may embrace too much love of applause to induce or encourage Christian sentiment.
Physical sensation, not Soul, produces material ecstasy and emotion. If spiritual sense always guided men, there would grow out of ecstatic moments a higher experience and a better life with more devout self-abnegation and purity. A selfsatisfied ventilation of fervent sentiments never makes a Christian. God is not influenced by man. The“divine ear”is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied.
Danger from audible prayer
The danger from prayer is that it may lead us into temptation. By it we may become involuntary hypocrites, uttering desires which are not real and 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.
A wordy prayer may afford a quiet sense of selfjustification, though it makes the sinner a hypocrite. We never need to despair of an honest heart; but there is little hope for those who come only spasmodically face to face with their wickedness and then seek to hide it. Their prayers are indexes which do not correspond with their character. They hold secret fellowship with sin, and such externals are spoken of by Jesus as“like unto whited sepulchres . . . full . . . of all uncleanness.”
Aspiration and love
If a man, though apparently fervent and prayerful, is impure andTherefore,insincere, what must be the comment upon him? If he reached the loftiness of his prayer, there would be no occasion for comment. If we feel the aspiration, humility, gratitude, and love which our wordsexpress, -this God accepts; and it is wise not to try to deceive ourselves or others, for“there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.”Professions and audible prayers are like charity in onerespect,they“cover the multitude of sins.”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 to have our neighbor see?
Searching the heart
We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are. If a friend informs us of a fault, do we listen patiently to the rebuke and credit what is said? Do we not rather give thanks that we are“not as other men”? During manyyears,the author has been most grateful for merited rebuke. The wrong lies in unmerited censure,in the falsehood which does no one any good.
Summit of aspiration
The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old selfish- ness, 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 kindness, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly, and bless them that curse us; but we shall never meet this great duty simply by asking that it may be done. There is a cross to be taken up before we can enjoy the fruition of our hope and faith.
Dost,thou“love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”? This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship. This is the El Dorado of Christianity. It involves the Science of Life, and recognizes only the divine control of Spirit, in which Soul is our master, and material sense and human will have no place.
The chalice sacrificial
Are you willing to leave all for Christ, for Truth, and so be counted among sinners? No! Do you really desire to attain this point? No! Then why make long prayers about it and ask to be Christians, since you do not care to tread in the footsteps of our dear Master? If unwilling to follow his example, why pray with the lips that you may be partakers of his nature? Consistent prayer is the desire to do right.
Prayer means that we desire to walk and will walk in the light so far as we receive it, even though with bleeding footsteps, and that waiting patiently on the Lord, we will leave our real desires to be rewarded by Him.
The world must grow to the spiritual understanding of prayer. If good enough to profit by Jesus’cup of earthly sorrows, God will sustain us under these sorrows. Until we are thus divinely qualified and are willing to drink his cup, millions of vain repetitions will never pour into prayer the unction of Spiritin demonstration of power and“with signs following.”Christian Science reveals a necessity for overcoming the world, the flesh, and evil, and thus destroying all error.
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.
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. But the advance guard of progress has paid for the privilege of prayer the price of persecution.
Experience teaches us that we do not always receive the blessings we ask for in prayer. There is some misapprehension of the source and means of all goodness and blessedness, or we should certainly receive that for which we ask. The Scriptures say:“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”That which we desire and for which we ask, it is not always best for us to receive. In thiscase,infinite Love will not grant the request. Do you ask wisdom to be merciful and not to punish sin? Then“ye ask amiss.”
Without punishment, sin would multiply. Jesus’prayer,“Forgive us our debts,”specified also the terms of forgiveness. When forgiving the adulterouswoman,he said,“Go, and sin no more.”
Remission of penalty
A magistrate sometimes remits the penalty, but this may be no moral benefit to the criminal, and at best, it only saves the criminal from one form of punishment. The moral law, which 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.
Truth annihilates error
Mere legal pardon (and there is no other, for divine Principle never pardons our sins or mistakes till they are corrected) 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 for an individual’s sin, but because sin brings inevitable suffering.
Desire for holiness
Petitions bring to mortals only the results of mortals’own faith. We know that a desire for holiness is requisite in order to gain holiness; but if we desire holiness above all else, we shall sacrifice everything for it. We must be willing to do this, that we may walk securely in the only practical road to holiness. Prayer cannot change the unalterable Truth, nor can prayer alone give us an understanding of Truth; but prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us into all Truth. Such a desire has little need of audible expression. It is best expressed in thought and in life.
Prayer for the sick
“The prayer of faith shall save the sick,”says the Scripture. What is this healing prayer? A mere request that God will heal the sick has no power to gain more of the divine presence than is always at hand. The beneficial effect of such prayer for the sick is on the human mind, making it act more powerfully on the body through a blind faith in God. This, however, is one belief casting out another,a belief in the unknown casting out a belief in sickness. It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth,of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love.
Prayer to a corporeal God affects the sick like a drug, which 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 a mortal belief, not divine Principle or Love, which causes a drug to be apparently either poisonous or sanative.
The common custom of praying for the recovery of the sick finds help in blind belief, whereas help should come from the enlightened understanding. Changes in belief may go on indefinitely, but they are the merchandise of human thought and not the outgrowth of divine Science.
Love impartial and universal
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 audibly, only petitioners (per se or by proxy) should get well. In divine Science, where prayers are mental, 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 to the waters.”
In public prayer,we often go beyond our convictions, beyond the honest standpoint of fervent 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 labor for what we ask; and our Father, who seeth in secret, will reward us openly. Can the mere public expression of our desires increase them? Do we gain the omnipotent ear sooner by words than by thoughts? Even if prayer is sincere, God knows our need before we tell Him or our fellow-beings about it. If we cherish the desire honestly and silently and humbly, God will bless it, and we shall incur less risk of overwhelming our real wishes with a torrent of words.
If we pray to God as a corporeal person, this will prevent us from relinquishing the human doubts and fears which attend such a belief, and so we cannot grasp the wonders wrought by infi- nite, incorporeal Love, to whom all things are possible. Because of human ignorance of the divine Principle, Love, the Father of all is represented as a corporeal creator; hence men recognize themselves as merely physical, and are ignorant of man as God’s image or reflection and of man’s eternal incorporealexistence. The world of error is ignorant of the world of Truth,blind to the reality of man’s existence, - for the world of sensation is not cognizant of life in Soul, not in body.
If we are sensibly with the body and regard omnipotence as a corporeal, material person, whose ear we would gain, we are not“absent from the body”and“present with the Lord”in the demonstration of Spirit. We cannot“serve two masters.”To be“present with the Lord”is to have, not mere emotional ecstasy or faith, but the actual demonstration and understanding of Life as revealed in Christian Science. To be“with the Lord”is to be in obedience to the law of God, to be absolutely governed by divine Love,by Spirit, not by matter.
Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, neither in nor of matter,and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well. Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love. Hence the hope of the promise Jesus bestows:“He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; . . . because I go unto my Father,”[because the Ego is absent from the body, and present with Truth and Love.] The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer of Soul, not of material sense.
Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life 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 can speak“as one having authority.”
“When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Fatherwhich is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
So spake Jesus. The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense butlet’sin Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa. The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses, but He knows all things and rewards according to motives, not according to speech. To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error.
In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God’s allness. We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love. We must“pray without ceasing.”Such prayer is answered, in so far as we put our desires into practice. The Master’s injunction is, that we pray in secret and let our lives attest our sincerity.
Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection 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 holiness.
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 must destroy sin and death. It distinguishes between Truth that is sinless and the falsity of sinful sense.
The prayer of Jesus Christ
Our Master taught his disciples one brief prayer, which we name after him the Lord’s Prayer. Our Master said,“After this mannerTherefore,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 the meaning of the prayer itself.
In the phrase,“Deliver us from evil,”the original properly reads,“Deliver us from the evil one.”This reading strengthens our scientific apprehension of the petition, for Christian Science teaches us that“the evil one,”or one evil, is but another name for the first lie and all liars.
Only as we rise above all material sensuousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord’s Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick.
Here let me give what I understand to be the spiritual sense of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven, Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,
Hallowed be Thy name. Adorable One.
Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Enable us to know,as in heaven, soon earth,God is omnipotent, supreme. Give us this day our daily bread; Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And Love is reflected in love;
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All.
Chapter 2. Atonement And Eucharist
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the fleshwith the affections and lusts.PAUL.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.PAUL.
For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, untilthe kingdom of God shall come.JESUS.
ATONEMENT is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love. Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man’s oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. 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 theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility. Jesus acted boldly, against the accredited evidence of the senses, against Pharisaical creeds and practices, and he refuted all opponents with his healing power.
The atonement of Christ reconciles man to God, not God to man; for the divine Principle of Christ is God, and how can God propitiate Himself? Christ is Truth, which reaches no higher than itself. The fountain can rise no higher than its source. Christ, Truth, could conciliate no nature above his own, derived from the eternal Love. It wasTherefore,Christ’s purpose to reconcile man to God, not God to man. Love and Truth are not at war with God’s image and likeness. Man,cannot exceed divine Love, and so atone for himself. Even Christ cannot reconcile Truth to error, for Truth and error are irreconcilable. Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus’teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit,the law of divine Love.
The Master forbore not to speak the whole truth, declaring precisely what would destroy sickness, sin, and death, although his teaching set households at variance, and brought to material beliefs not peace, but a sword.
Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’atonement for sin and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he haslittle part in the atonement, in the at-one-ment with God,for he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and enables man to do the will of wisdom. Those who cannot demonstrate, at least in part, the divine Principle of the teachings and practice of our Master have no part in God. If living in disobedience to Him, we ought to feel no security, although God is good.
Jesus urged the commandment,“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,”which may be rendered: Thou shalt have no belief of Life as mortal; thou shalt not know evil, for there is oneLife, -even God, good. He rendered“unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”He at last paid no homage to forms of doctrine or to theories of man, but acted and spake as he was moved, not by spirits but by Spirit.
To the ritualistic priest and hypocritical Pharisee Jesus said,“The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”Jesus’history made a new calendar, which we call the Christian era; but he established no ritualistic worship. He knew that men can be baptized, partake of the Eucharist, support the clergy, observe the Sabbath, make long prayers, and yet be sensual and sinful.
Jesus bore our infirmities; he knew the error of mortal belief, and“with his stripes [the rejection of error] 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 the cross awaited the great Teacher. Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness.
Behest of the cross
Material belief is slow to acknowledge what the spiritual fact implies. The truth is the centre of all religion. It commands sure entrance into the realm of Love. St. Paul wrote,“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us;”that is, let us put aside material self and sense, and seek the divine Principle and Science of all healing.
If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say,“I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,”because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love. Christians do not continue to labor and pray, expecting because of another’s goodness, suffering, and triumph, that they shall reach his harmony and reward.
If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy.
If my friends are going to Europe, while I amin route for California, we are not journeying together. We have separate time-tables to consult, different routes to pursue. Our paths have diverged at the very outset, and we have little opportunity to help each other. On the contrary, if my friends pursue my course, we have the same railroad guides, and our mutual interests are identical; or, if I take up their line of travel, they help me on, and our companionship may continue.
Being in sympathy with matter, the worldly man is at the beck and call of error, and will be attracted thitherward. He is like a traveller going westward for a pleasure-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 the right direction. Byand-by, ashamed of his zigzag course, he would borrow the passport of some wiser pilgrim, thinking with the aid of this to find and follow the right road.
Vibrating like a pendulum between sin and the hope of forgiveness,selfishness and sensuality causing constant retrogression,our moral progress will be slow. Waking to Christ’s demand, mortals experience suffering. This causes them, even as drowning men, to make vigorous efforts to save themselves; and through Christ’s precious love these efforts are crowned with success.
Wait for reward
“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 according to your deserving. Love is not hasty to deliver us from temptation, for Love means that we shall be tried and purified.
Deliverance not vicarious
Final deliverance from error, whereby we rejoice in immortality, boundless freedom, and sinless sense, is not reached through paths of flowers nor by pinning one’s faith without works to another’s vicarious effort. Whosoever believeth that wrath is righteous or that divinity is appeased by human suffering, does not understand God.
Justice and substitution
Justice requires reformation of the sinner. Mercy cancels the debt only when justice approves. Revenge is inadmissible. Wrath which is only appeased is not destroyed, but partially 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 HisBelovedSon, is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made. The atonement is a hard problem in theology, but its scientific 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 everlasting Love.
Doctrines and faith
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. Faith,advanced to spiritual understanding, is the evidence gained from Spirit, which rebukes sin of every kind and establishes the claims of God.
Self-reliance and confidence
In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English, faith and the words corresponding thereto have these two definitions, trustfulness and trustworthiness. One kind of faith trusts one’s welfare to others. Another kind of faith understands divine Love and how to work out one’s“own salvation, with fear and trembling.”“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!”expresses the helplessness of a blind faith; whereas the injunction,“Believe . . . and thou shalt be saved!”demands self-reliant trustworthiness, which includes spiritual understanding and confides all to God.
The Hebrew verb to believe means also to be firm or to be constant. This certainly applies to Truth and Love understood and practised. Firmness in error will never save from sin, disease, and death.
Life’s healing currents
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, where the buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out.
He to whom“the arm of the Lord”is revealed will believe our report, and rise into newness of life with regeneration. This is having part in the atonement; this is the understanding, in which Jesus suffered and triumphed. 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 in regard to predestination and future punishment.
Purpose of crucifixion
Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus chiefly 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 material Jesus, as a proof that spirits can return to earth? Then we must differ from them both.
The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind. The truth had been lived among men; 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. After the resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to acknowledge how complete was the great proof of Truth and Love.
True flesh and blood
The spiritual essence of blood is sacrifice. The efficacy of Jesus’spiritual offering is infinitely greater than can be expressed by our sense of human blood. 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 flowingin his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business. His true flesh and blood were his Life; and they truly eat his flesh and drink his blood, who partake of that divine Life.
Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration, that we may understand how this divine Principle heals the sick, casts out error, and triumphs over death. Jesus presented the ideal of God better than could any man whose origin was less spiritual. By his obedience to God, he demonstrated more spiritually than all others the Principle of being. Hence the force of his admonition,“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”Though demonstrating his control over sin and disease, the great Teacher by no means relieved others from giving the requisite proofs of their own piety. He worked for their guidance, that they might demonstrate this power as he did and understand its divine Principle. Implicit faith in the Teacher and all the emotional love we can bestow on him, will never alone make us imitators of him. We must go and do likewise, else we are not improving the great blessings which our Master worked and suffered to bestow upon us. The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus.
While we adore Jesus, and the heart overflows with gratitude for what he did for mortals,treading alone his loving pathway up to the throne of glory, in speechless agony exploring the way for us, - yet Jesus spares us not one individual experience, if we follow his commands faithfully; and all have the cup of sorrowful effort to drink in proportion to their demonstration of his love, till all are redeemed through divine Love.
The Christ was the Spirit which Jesus implied in his own statements:“I am the way, the truth, and the life;”“I and my Father are one.”This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him. Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man.
Proof in practice
A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as precept. Jesus’teaching and practice of Truth involved such a sacrifice as makes us admit its Principle to be Love. This was the precious import of our Master’s sinless career and of his demonstration of power over death. He proved by his deeds that Christian Science destroys sickness, sin, and death.
Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief. It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and practised. His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion and worship, but Christian Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love.
Jesus sent a message to John the Baptist, which was intended to prove beyond a question that the Christ had come:“Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel ispreached.”In other words: Tell John what the demonstration of divine power is, and he will at once perceive that God is the power in the Messianic work.
That Life is God, Jesus proved by his reappearance after the crucifixion in strict accordance with his scientific statement:“Destroy this temple [body], and in three days I [Spirit] will raise it up.”It is as if he had said: The I--the Life, substance, and intelligence of the universeis 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, that it might be ready to cut down the false doctrine of pantheism,that God, or Life, is in or of matter.
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.”They fell away from grace because they never truly understood their Master’s instruction.
Why do those who profess to follow Christ reject the essential religion he came to establish? Jesus’persecutors made their strongest attack upon this very point. They endeavored to hold him at the mercy of matter and to kill him according to certain assumed material laws.
Help and hindrance
The Pharisees claimed to know and to 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 not taken a student and taught the unseen verities of God, he would not have been crucified. The determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter is the persecutor of Truth and Love.
While respecting all that is good in the Church or out of it, one’s consecration to Christ is more on the ground of demonstration than of profession. In conscience, we cannot hold to beliefs outgrown; and by understanding more of the divine Principle of the deathless Christ, we are enabled to heal the sick and to triumph over sin.
Neither the origin, the character, nor the work of Jesus was generally understood. Not a single component part of his nature did the material world measure aright. Even his righteousless and purity did not hinder men from saying: He is a glutton and a friend of the impure, and Beelzebub is his patron.
Remember, thou Christian martyr, it is enough if thou art found worthy to unloose the sandals of thy Master’s feet! 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 mistakethe very nature of religion. Error repeats itself. The trials encountered by prophet, disciple, and apostle,“of whom the world was not worthy,”await, in some form, every pioneer of truth.
There is too much animal courage in society and not sufficient moral courage. 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.
Christian experience 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.
The Fatherhood of God
There is a tradition that Publius Lentulus wrote to the authorities at Rome:“The disciples of Jesus believe him the Son of God.”Those instructed in Christian Science have reached the glorious perception that God is the only author of man. The Virgin-mother conceived this idea of God, and gaveto her ideal the name of Jesusthat is, 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 men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of the Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed.
Man,as the offspring of God, as the idea of Spirit, is the immortal evidence that Spirit is harmonious and man eternal. Jesus was the offspring of Mary’sself-consciouscommunion with God. Hence,he could give a more spiritual idea of life than other men, and could demonstrate the Science of Love--his Father or divine Principle.
Jesus the way-shower
Born of a woman, Jesus’advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary’s earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, 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 as“the way.”
Rabbi and priest taught the Mosaic law, which said:“An eye for an eye,”and“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”Not so did Jesus, the new executor for God, present the divine law of Love, which blesses even those that curse it.
As the individual ideal of Truth, Christ Jesus came to rebuke rabbinical error and all sin, sickness, anddeath, -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 material sense, of Truth and of error.
If we have triumphed sufficiently over the errors of material sense to allow 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 salvation in the way Jesus taught. In meekness and might, he was found preaching the gospel to the poor. Pride and fear are unfit to bear the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in such hands.
Fleshly ties temporal
Jesus acknowledged no ties of the flesh. He said:“Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”Again,he asked:“Who is my mother, and who are my brethren,”implying that it is they who do the will of his Father. We have no record of his calling any man by the name of father. He recognized Spirit, God, as the only creator, andTherefore,as the Father of all.
First in the list of Christian duties, he taught his followers the healing power of Truth and Love. He attached no importance to dead ceremonies. It is the living Christ, the practical Truth, which makes Jesus“the resurrection and the life”to all who follow him in deed.Obeying his precious precepts,following his demonstration sofar as we apprehend it,we drink of his cup, partake of his bread, are baptized with his purity ; and at last we shall rest, sit down with him, in a full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death. For what says Paul?“As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”
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 perse- cution which would attend the Science of Spirit, Jesus said:“They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service; and these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me.”
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. Among the Jews it was an ancient custom for the master of a feast to pass each guest a cup of wine. But the Eucharist does not commemorate a Roman soldier’s oath, nor was the wine, used on convivial occasions and in Jewish rites, the cup of our Lord. The cup shows forth his bitter experience,the cup which he prayed might pass from him, though he bowed in holy submission to the divine decree.
“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 had eaten, yet Jesus prayed and gave them bread. This would have been foolish in a literal sense; but in its spiritual signification, it was natural and beautiful. Jesus prayed; he withdrew from the material senses to refresh his heart with brighter, with spiritual views.
The Passover, which 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; and this supper closed forever Jesus’ritualism or concessions to matter.
His followers, sorrowful and silent, anticipating the hour of their Master’s betrayal, partook of the heavenly manna, which of old had fed in the wilderness the persecuted followers of Truth. Their bread indeed came down from heaven. It was the great truth of spiritual being, healing the sick and casting 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 of spiritual being, their Master was about to suffer violence and drain to the dregs his cup of sorrow. He must leave them. With the great glory of an everlasting victory overshadowing him, he gave thanks and said,“Drink ye all of it.”
The holy struggle
When the human element in him struggled with the divine, our great Teacher said:“Not my will, but Thine, be done!”- that is,letnot the flesh, but the Spirit, be represented in me. This is the new understanding of spiritual 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, the meek in heart.
Christians, are you drinking his cup? Have you shared the blood of the New Covenant, the persecutions which attend a new and higher understanding of God? If not, can you then say that you have commemorated Jesus in his cup? Are all who eat bread and drink wine in memory of Jesus willing truly to drink his cup, take his cross, and leave all for the Christ-principle? Then why ascribe this inspiration to a dead rite, instead of showing, by casting out error and making the body“holy, acceptable unto God,”that Truth has come to the understanding? If Christ, Truth, has come to us in demonstration, no other commemoration is requisite, for demonstration is Immanuel, or God with us; and if a friend be with us, why need we memorials of that friend?
If all who ever partook of the sacrament had really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of his cup, they would have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration throughmaterial symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preachChrist, or Truth, to the poor, the receptive thought,they will bring in the millennium.
Fellowship with Christ
Through all the disciples experienced, they became more spiritual and understood better what the Master had taught. His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities. They needed this quickening, for soon their dear Master would rise again in the spiritual realm of reality, and ascend far above their apprehension. As the reward for his faithfulness, he would disappear to material sense in that change which has since been called the ascension.
The last breakfast
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 repentance,hearts chastened and pride rebuked. Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in the dark and wakened by their Master’s voice, they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side. Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit.
This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love. They celebrate their Lord’s victory over death, his probation in the flesh after death, its exemplification of human probation, and his spiritual and final ascension above matter, or the flesh, when he rose out of material sight.
Our baptism is a purification from all error. Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are newborn of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love,casting out error and healing the sick. Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread,“which cometh down from heaven,”is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers.
The design of Love is to reform the sinner. If the sinner’s punishment here has been insufficient to reform him, the good man’s heaven would be a hell to the sinner. They, who know not purity and affection by experience, can never find bliss in the blessed company of Truth and Love simply through translation into another sphere. Divine Science reveals the necessity of sufficient suffering, either before or after death, to quench the love of sin. To remit the penalty due for sin, would be for Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God’s government, since justice is the handmaid of mercy.
Jesus endured the shame, that he might pour his dear-bought bounty into barren lives. What was his earthly reward? He was forsaken by all save John, the beloved disciple, and a few women who bowed in silent woe beneath the shadow of his cross. The earthly price of spirituality in a material age and the great moral distance between Christianity and sensualism preclude Christian Science from finding favor with the worldlyminded.