Immortality Brought to Light
by Dorothy Rieke
Click here to play the audio as you read:
Read by Karen Marshall
I shall never forget the illumination and the joy which flooded my consciousness when it was first revealed to me that I was an immortal child of God, and not a mortal, material creature. This revelation took place during a Christian Science lecture when I was a very new student. Allow me to share with you the story which first brought immortality to light in my experience.
The story is told of a young prince who, when a very small child, became separated from his nurse and wandered into some woods where roamed a gypsy band. The gypsies carried the little fellow away with them, and brought him up as one of their own. Living in the great outdoors with his captors, before many years he became nearly as swarthy and brown as his gypsies. He wore gypsy clothes, spoke the gypsy tongue, and was given a gypsy name. To all intents and purposes, he was a gypsy. He certainly looked like one, and thought he was one.
When he arrived at manhood’s estate, the gypsy band again roved the woods near the palace. A dear friend of the king, who had never ceased seeking for the prince, saw him. He was struck by the youth’s strong resemblance to the king. And in spite of the gypsy appearance, the old courtier was immediately convinced that there was the king’s son. Knowing some of the gypsy tongue, he asked the young man, “Do you know who you are?”
The other regarded him with a puzzled look. “Do I know who I am?” he answered, “Of course I do.” And he gave a gypsy name.
“Ah,” said the friend, “but that is not your real name. For the truth about you is that you are the son of the king.”
The young man shook his head. “You are mistaken,” said he. “I am not the king’s son. I am a gypsy.”
“I know that you seem to be,” said the friend, “but the fact is you are not. You are really the son of the king.”
“If that is true,” replied the other, “there must be two of me, this gypsy here and the son of the king. I don’t know where the son of the king is.”
“No,” persisted the friend, “there is only one of you, and I am telling you about that one. That one is the son of the king.”
“Then,” said the young man, and he confidently expected that his question would settle the matter, “if I really am the son of the king, where did the gypsy come from?”
The friend replied that there really was no gypsy — there only appeared to be. He further explained that all the evidence that the young man was a gypsy, was a lie about him, and could never change the fact that he was truly the son of the king. In fact, the only place the gypsy seemed to exist was in his ignorance, his misconception as to his origin, for all the time he had been the son of the king.
At this point the lecturer rejoiced, “Isn’t it wonderful that all the time this boy never really was a gypsy, but was always the son of the king?” He emphasized that regardless of all the lying, material sense evidence, the speech, clothes, mannerisms, swarthy complexion, and so on — the boy was not a gypsy, but actually the king’s son. And he pointed to the audience and said, “You too are the sons and daughters of the king. You are the children of God. It makes no difference that the lying material sense piles up the evidence that you are a mortal, material creature, a child of material parents, with aches and pains, lacks and limitations — you are really the immortal children of God, and that is what you have been all the time.”
But it wasn’t enough for the old courtier just to convince the boy that he was the king’s son, the young man had to go with his friend to the king himself, identify himself, and claim his heritage. The prince did so. This time he did not say, “Look at me, I look like a gypsy.” Rather, he said, “Look at my strong resemblance to the king. I am the image and likeness of my father. I am the king’s son, and all that my father has is mine.” Of course, the prince was recognized as the true son and heir, and he came into his inheritance.
The lecturer pointed out that we too must come boldly to the throne of grace, identify ourselves as the children of God, His exact image and likeness, and claim our inheritance. Claim health, success, happiness, employment. As we steadfastly maintain our true identity, and claim our heritage, we too come into our inheritance of all that is wonderful and good.
I left that lecture rejoicing that there were not two of me, that I’d never really been a gypsy, never really a mortal, but always the daughter of the king, the immortal child of God. I determined to claim my true heritage consistently. I shall never cease to be grateful that immortality was brought to light so early in my study of Christian Science.
I have selected the subject of “immortality” for this discussion, because I feel that all Christian Scientists should be more aware of their immortality, have a clearer understanding of it, and do far more rejoicing concerning it.
We are told in II Timothy that Christ Jesus abolished death and brought immortality to light through the Gospel. Mary Baker Eddy writes in our textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that God destroys sickness and death, and brings to light immortality. Let it be our prayer that the same Mind be in us as was in the Master and in our Leader, that we may have the same clear concept of immortality that they had, so that we too may heal, preach, and teach as they did. What better text could we use in seeking to bring immortality to light in our consciousness than the one found in Miscellany. This paragraph is literally the basis of this address. It was written by Mrs. Eddy in response to a letter which had been written to her. Permit me first to read the letter that was sent to Mrs. Eddy. “Last evening I was catechized by a Christian Science practitioner because I referred to myself as an immortal idea of the one divine Mind. The practitioner said that my statement was wrong because I still lived in the flesh. I replied that I did not live in my flesh, that my flesh lived or died according to the belief I entertained about it.” Here is Mrs. Eddy’s reply as it was published in the Christian Science Sentinel: “You are scientifically correct in your statement about yourself. You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal and understand that you are so. Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it; it is at this point and must be practiced therefrom. Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no
Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration. By this I do not mean that mortals are the children of God, — far from it. In practicing Christian Science you must state its Principle correctly, or you forfeit your ability to demonstrate it.”
Concerning the letter and the reply, the Trustees who published the it in Miscellany made this statement: “We are glad to have the privilege of Publishing an extract from a letter to Mrs. Eddy, from a Christian Scientist in the West, and Mrs. Eddy’s reply thereto. The issue raised is an important one, and one upon which there should be absolute and correct teaching. Christian Scientists are fortunate to receive instruction from their leader on this point.”
I often say that if I were cast upon a desert island and could have only one paragraph of all of Mrs. Eddy’s writings, this is the paragraph I would choose, for it tells us exactly how to practice Christian Science. In fact, how to live it. As the Trustees pointed out, Mrs. Eddy is really teaching us with this reply. Are we not fortunate then to have such a paragraph as the basis of today’s revelation of immortality brought to light?
From the statement, “You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal,” we receive our first assignment — namely, to declare ourselves to be immortal. As pointed as this command is, yet how many of us have even once today declared we are immortal. Early in our study of Science, we learn the importance of claiming all good. An excellent example of how to work in Science is brought out in Christian Healing. “If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and will win or lose according to your plea.”
We are the attorneys for the case of immortality now, by declaring that we are so. Mrs. Eddy tells us in the textbook, “The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea. This conviction shuts the door on death, and opens it wide toward immortality.” If such can be accomplished by mere admission, how much more rapid will be our progress if we argue for, claim, declare, affirm, our immortality now? The prayer of affirmation is the highest, most powerful form of prayer. Thus let our first waking thought in the morning and the last at night be one of affirmation and rejoicing that we are immortal. A hundred times a day, let us tune in on the infinite, and thank our heavenly Father that we are His immortal children.
Rejoice that you are not a mortal housewife washing windows, polishing floors. How wonderful that you are the immortal daughter of the king, living in God’s house, serving with gladness, and reflecting all of His qualities to the fullest. Rejoice that you are not a mortal newspaper man, depicting the shortcomings of a mortal concept of the universe. How wonderful that you are the immortal son of the king, divinely employed to bear witness to the truth about God’s spiritual kingdom. Declare that you are not a weary business man with too many problems and a feeling of inadequacy in working them out. Rejoice that you are divinely employed, that the infinite Mind is forever imparting to you His thoughts and judgments, and causing every event in your career to unfold in perfect order and success. Rejoice that you are not a mortal teacher seeking to teach a lot of mortals that you might think are not very receptive. Rather you are the divinely anointed one, a divinely appointed one, to bring the truth of being to God’s immortal children, who are always receptive to the one infinite Mind. There isn’t one of us who cannot find opportunities throughout the day to deny material existence and to rejoice in immortality.
In so doing, are we not then like the prince, identifying ourselves as the son of the king, and claiming our true heritage of immortality?
Our second assignment in this wonderful paragraph is to understand that we are immortal. Before we even contemplate what constitutes immortality, let us claim an understanding of it. Following the statement in which Mrs. Eddy pointed out that the admission that man is God’s own likeness opens the door wide towards immortality, she continues by saying, “The understanding and recognition of Spirit must finally come.” Thus again was our Leader encouraging us to claim now that which is right and good. And by so doing, we are truly opening the door for greater understanding. So, even though we are going to be scientific researchers and dig deep into the subject of immortality, we are going to admit, claim, declare, that we understand it now. Claiming that we understand immortality on the basis that divine understanding is our understanding, is again claiming our true heritage and leaves the way open for immortality to be brought to light in our consciousness. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines immortality as a “quality or state of being immortal; unending existence.” An immortal being is described as not mortal, not perishable; therefore not subject to death.
Christ Jesus consistently preached immortality. He often spoke of his spiritual origin with statements such as, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world.” Jesus was aware of his preexistence when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” He expressed his knowledge of spiritual existence with, “I and my Father are one.” He cognized the continuing of life after his sojourn on earth, when he said, “I ascend unto my Father and to my God.” Jesus never saw anyone dead, but sleeping. He said of Jairus’ daughter, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” And of Lazarus, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” In both instances, he proved the nothingness of death, and the reality and immortality of Life.
Mrs. Eddy also is consistent in teaching that man is immortal. What could better summarize her understanding that man’s origin is God, his life is spiritual and eternal, than a postulate which Mrs. Eddy calls one of the chief cornerstones in the temple of Christian Science: “ . . . that Life is God, good, and not evil; that Soul is sinless, not to be found in body; that Spirit is not, cannot be, materialized; that Life is not subject to death; that the spiritual real man has no birth, no material life, and no death.”
It is with the postulate that the spiritual man has no birth that we are going to start our contemplation or research on the subject of immortality. Certainly we should begin with the fact that man never has been born into matter. Too many people, including Christian Scientists, are working to keep from passing on. Aren’t they starting from the wrong end of the problem? If they were rejoicing that they had never experienced material birth, they would be realizing that that which was never born can never die. The greatest, most erroneous lie there is about man is that he has a material origin. Should we not be denying this lie more than any other?
In the textbook, Mrs. Eddy gives a remarkable spiritual interpretation of these verses in Revelation: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth.” Of this interesting vision, she writes:
“This angel had in his hand a little book open for all to read and understand. Did this same book contain the revelation of divine Science, the ‘right foot’ or dominant power of which was upon the sea, — upon elementary, latent error, the source of all error’s visible forms? The angel’s left foot was upon the earth: that is, a secondary power was exercised upon visible error and audible sin.”
Let us take heed lest we place our foot only upon visible error and audible sin. When we deny the aches, the pains, the sickness, the sin, our work is less than half done — we must not forget to handle, reduce to nothingness through a clear realization of God’s allness, the elementary, latent error, the source of all error’s visible forms. What is that elementary error? It can be nothing else but the belief that man was born into matter. Remember that the angel felt it important to place the right foot, or dominant power, upon the source of all error’s visible forms, that of material birth. If the angel were to stand on one foot only, he had better stand on the right foot, for if there were no latent, elementary error — that of man having been born into matter — there could never be any visible error. There would be no physical body to have disease, no material sense to feel pain, no mortals with whom to be in conflict, no matter to accumulate error, no mortal mind to be worried or fearful. How well is the right foot of omnipotent Truth placed upon the latent error of material birth when we know that man is immortal and understand he is so.
Mrs. Eddy has many wonderful statements to point out that man has never been born. One such statement brought me healing and helped me to see that, because I had never been mortalized or materialized, I couldn’t be involved in an accident. I had fallen from a great height upon a sharp rock. In turning to God for help, I remembered this statement: “Man cannot fall from his high estate.” Upon finding this statement in the textbook, I learned that it was only because I had never been born that it was impossible for me to fall. You are probably familiar with the passage which reads: “Never born and never dying, it were impossible for man, under the government of God in eternal Science, to fall from his high estate.”
What would it be like never to have been born, never to have had a material conception? I questioned. The answer came as if it were God speaking: “Your seventeenth sister was never born. “ At first I was a little startled by that reply, but as I thought about it, I could see clearly that because my seventeenth sister had never been born into matter, she had no physical body to fall, and there was no force to cause a fall. I realized that she had never left heaven for earth, never been mortalized or materialized. She was still living in God; she could never fall. Her being was spiritual, and therefore immune to injury or bruise. The only substance that ever touched her was Spirit. Therefore, there was no cause for injury.
And then I rejoiced that what was true of my seventeenth sister was also true of me, for I too had never been born into matter. This spiritual illumination as to my true identity was further supported by Mrs. Eddy’s reference to immortality in Science and Health: “Divine Science rolls back the clouds of error with the light of Truth, and lifts the curtain on man as never born and never dying, but as coexistent with his creator.” Naturally the healing was instantaneous and complete. What better description could we find of a man as immortal than is given in Hebrews: “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the son of God.” Through the illumination of Christian Science, you can understand it, claim it, rejoice in it.
This letter to the Hebrews brings up an important question. Are we going to deny mortal parentage as the apostle suggests? We must, if we are going to be consistent in claiming immortality. How can we say we are the children of God, and then say we are born of material parents? Remember that there cannot be two of us — both the son of the king and the gypsy. There is only one identity, and that one is the son of God. Jesus set the example for us of denying earthly parents. He claimed God as his Father at the early age of twelve, when he told Mary and Joseph that he had been about his Father’s business. He disclaimed all human relationships when he said: “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? . . . Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Are we being cold, cruel, unloving, when we deny that those dear ones whom we have called our parents are our parents, and deny them as the source of our being? No, rather we are blessing them. Instead of seeing them as mortals born into mortality, giving birth to mortality, subject to sin and disease, we are blessing them as immortal children of God, spiritual, perfect, subject only to the laws of God. Women have been healed in Science from displaced organs, varicose veins, and other problems due to childbirth by denying themselves as mortals giving material birth, but rejoicing that their children were immortal expressions of God’s being, having no other source. Problems of eczema, asthma, diabetes, are far less likely to develop in families where children and parents alike accept God as the only parent, the only creator. Love is not lacking — in fact, there is an awareness of the presence of greater Love, the Love that is the liberator. All that is lacking is the smothering, the binding, the restricting of a human sense of love.
A healing law for any problem of heredity, whether it be a disease or a dispositional trait, is the truth that God is the only parent. Never born of material parents, man cannot inherit qualities or conditions of a mortal race. Born only of God, he can inherit only the qualities and conditions derived from Deity. A man brought healing for himself, his father and his son, when he disclaimed all mortal relationship with his father or son. He realized that, because all three were children of God, they could inherit only the qualities of God. This meant that he had not inherited asthma from his father, nor had his son inherited it from him. He reasoned that no one of the three had inherited the human tendencies of fear, frustration, emotional conflict, which might contribute to a belief of asthma. Moreover, he saw that because there was no such thing as mortal relationships, there could be no smothering sense of love, which so often is the claim in connection with asthma. He rejoiced that each one reflected the generous, freeing love of God. The long sought healing was realized quickly by the application of the simple truth that God is our only source and creator, our only Father-Mother. Seeing each other as children of God, hence all brothers and sisters in one spiritual universe, parents will never be a burden upon children, nor children upon parents. All will be wholly and completely dependent upon God, independent of each other as far as false responsibilities and attachments are concerned and thus happily and harmoniously related.
By the way, how old are you? Were I to put each of you on the witness stand right now, make you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, what would your answer be? How wonderful that you are ageless; never having been born, you cannot be a day old, much less thirty, forty, or fifty years of age. How old is your seven-
teenth sister? Never having been born, does she have any days or years to count? No. Neither do you. The truth about man’s age is that he is forever brand new. He is forever, immediately and instantaneously the effect of God’s being. Just as the sun’s ray — although it may have existed millions of years — right at this instant is just what the sun caused it to be, so man, the reflection of God, the expression of God’s being, is right at this instant just what God caused him to be. No wonder that man is eternal! He, like the sun’s ray, is forever being created brand new. Even though man is immediate and instantaneous, he is mature, the complete, perfect image and likeness of God, reflecting all of God’s qualities to the fullest, and in perfect balance.
This is what Mrs. Eddy meant when she compares life to the sun, and manhood to its eternal noon. There is no noontide of an accumulation of years, but only the fullness, the completeness of reflection. How better could our true spiritual birth be expressed than this wonderful quotation from Science and Health: “Creation is ever appearing and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source.”
Having no age, it is impossible for man to pay the penalties connected with age. The fundamental truth of no birth closes the door on childhood diseases. Is there a receptive thought to measles and chicken pox when a family is rejoicing that man is ageless, when parents are not thinking of their little ones as infants or tiny tots, but as mature ideas of God? Skin problems connected with adolescence yield readily to the glorious truth that man, never having been born, is not one day old, much less seventeen years old. Certainly one who rejoices consistently that he is immortal and understands that he is so, cannot possibly undergo any penalty for change of life. Never having been born, he is not one day old, much less fifty years old. Knowing that Life is God, changeless, ageless, he must necessarily demonstrate changeless perfection and harmony.
Even the problems which come with sixty-five years of age are readily solved when ageless immortality is claimed. A friend of mine was quite concerned because her father was forced to retire at the age of sixty-five. He had been a very active man in his work, and she was fearful the inactivity would result in problems. When it was brought to her attention that man is immortal, and therefore ageless, she rejoiced along these lines. Realizing that he had never been born, and therefore could not possibly be sixty-five years of age, she knew that it was inconceivable that her father would have to pay a penalty for that which did not exist. Moreover, she could see that God never retires His children, but He is forever employing them to the fullest. One day the father met a friend. The friend asked him how he was getting along. The father replied that he was getting along well, but, of course, he would rather be working. The friend said, “Why, I know any number of people who would love to employ a man like you.” Within a week’s time, the father was employed doing precision work. Even though he had been the head of a department of a large organization for which he had worked for years, he was making more money on his new job. It was only three weeks till Christmas, but at Christmas time, along with other employees, he received a gift from the company — the first he had ever received from any company.
Aren’t we grateful that, because we know and understand immortality, that we do not have to accept any penalty for age? How wonderful that none of us ever have to grow old! We are now, and ever will be, the immediate expression of God’s being, manifesting His freedom, His strength, His intelligence, His divine activity to the fullest, for we are immortal and we understand it. What then shall we do with birthdays? Mrs. Eddy tells us in Science and Health: “The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age.” She says that we should never record ages, that time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood.
Let us be consistent about this business of never having been born. Instead of saying in one breath, “We cannot pay penalties for birth since it never happened,” and then in the next breath claiming a birthday, or wishing someone else a happy one. Why celebrate that which never occurred? Allow me to put some questions to you, just as Mrs. Eddy does in Miscellany: Is God infinite? Yes. Did God make man? Yes. Did God make all that was made? He did. Is God Spirit? He is. Did infinite Spirit make that which is not spiritual? No. Who or what made matter? Matter as substance or intelligence was never made. Is mortal man a creator, is he matter or spirit? Neither one. Why? Because Spirit is God and infinite; hence there can be no other creator and no other creation. Man is but His image and likeness. Are you a Christian Scientist? I am. Do you adopt as truth the above statements? I do. Then why this meaningless commemoration of birthdays, since there are none?
People often ask, “What about birthday presents? Presents are an expression of love.” We are all happy to give gifts, and we love the thought that prompts someone else to give them, but why attach the stigma of fiction, unreality, a lie to a gift? Why help dig the grave by attaching the word birthday to a gift? Some say, “I don’t think of the age part, that day is just my special day.” Certainly we are all deserving of a special day if we want one, but why select the one called a birthday? Why not select another day and make it yours?
One couple I know is certainly unaware of birthdays. Those days just flit by without any recognition, much less celebration. Instead they celebrate Valentine’s Day. That is a day of expressing love anyway. So they plan celebration events, give gifts, and really make that day a special one for both of them. Have you ever realized how easy it is to see your fellow man as perfect when you were conscious of the fact that he has never been born?
There was just once in my experience when it seemed impossible for me to see the unreality of the unlovely qualities of an individual, and see only the qualities of God. Then I found the citation in Science and Health that Science “lifts the curtain on man as never born.” So I pulled down the curtain on the picture of a jealous, selfish, lying mortal, and faced the picture that Science presented. When my fellowman was revealed as still in God, it was easy to see him loving, fearless, compassionate, and generous. I lived with that concept, and needless to say, the relationship became harmonious.
Let me suggest that if there is anyone in your experience that it is difficult to see as perfect, pull the curtain down on the mortal image, and let Science lift the curtain on man as never born. I can guarantee you will see the individual, not as a gypsy, but as the son of the king.
In realizing that we have never been born, we have to accept the glorious fact that we have never left heaven for earth. We are still living and moving and having our being in God. Therefore our universe is the universe of divine consciousness. Our history is the eternal history of “all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation.” This powerful truth reveals that there is nothing to affect us, or influence us, but God. In the kingdom of consciousness where we dwell, there is not even an Adam and Eve story to place a curse on us. There is no chaos, no destruction, no lack, no limitation, no conflict, to harm us.
There is no false theology to curse us or interfere with our welfare — whether we call it Catholicism, Lutheranism, or Communism. There are no medical laws to imprison us. Above all there is no mortal mind to fear, hate, worry, tempt, envy, connive, lie, mis- represent, and so on. Since there is no mortal mind, there can be no mesmerism, animal magnetism, hypnotism, to control us. All the unlovely destructive forces con-nected with a material universe and mortal history, are completely wiped out, revealed as non- existent, with the immortal truth that man has never been born into matter.
It is good to realize that not only are we immortal now, we have always been so. There has never been a beginning to immortality. There has never been an interruption in immortality with a material existence. In answer to God’s question to Job, “Where wast thou when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” we can answer, “We were there singing with the morning stars, and we were among those sons of God shouting for joy.”
Jesus was conscious of his spiritual preexistence when he uttered the grand prayer, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” How easy it is to see that there could be no sickness, no sin, not even a belief in birth, before the world was. God was the only source, the only creator. He was glorifying man with His own selfhood, His own reality, His own substance, His own consciousness, His own being and action, His own law, His own reality, His own love, His own knowledge and understanding.
The same thing is true today, for there never has been a material world or a story of material existence to interrupt immortality. Mrs. Eddy writes that it was Jesus’ “steadfast and true knowledge of preexistence, of the nature and inseparability of God and man” which made him mighty. Again she states: “Mortals will lose their sense of mortality — disease, sickness, sin and death — in the proportion that they gain the sense of man’s spiritual preexistence as God’s child; as the off-spring of good, not of God’s opposite, — evil, or a fallen man.”
It is important to be very sure, when we use the term preexistence, we are not thinking of a spiritual life preceding a material one, or a material life preceding a material one. Many orthodox religions teach that we left heaven for earth, thus lived spiritually before this material existence. Others teach a material existence before and a material existence now. Science disproves these misconceptions with the truth of uninterrupted immortality, spiritual existence now, just as spiritual existence before the world was. Never anything but spiritual existence. Therefore, the only preexistence must be spiritual. Before coming into Science, I had been quite certain that we must have lived before. My concept of preexistence was a material one. I was willing to accept immortality, life eternal, but I felt that there must be periods of mortality too. At the close of my class instruction, each of us was permitted to ask our teacher, John Randall Dunn, one question. He had stressed the point that the only preexistence was spiritual. I still wasn’t convinced. My question was, “If we haven’t had a material existence before this, why is it that Dorothy Rieke was born in America, has the privilege of education, finds Christian Science, and is even blessed with class instruction? Whereas a Hindu, born in India, lives in poverty and filth, never rises above his caste system, much less is educated or even hears of Christian Science? If we have had no previous human experience to influence the status of our present experience, why should there be such a difference in our circumstances?”
Mr. Dunn’s answer was a wise one: “They are both just dreams.” Then I could see that my reasoning concerning preexistence had been faulty because it had not been based upon the scientific fact. I had reasoned that because we are experiencing material existence now, surely then preexistence must have been material. “For right reasoning,” Mrs. Eddy says, “there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence. In reality there is no other existence, since life cannot be united to its unlikeness, mortality.” When I denied the present dream of mortal existence, I could really see that our preexistence was the same as now —spiritual, perfect, uninterrupted immortality. All the time, both the Hindu and I had no material history. All the time, neither of us had ever been a gypsy. All the time, we both had been living in God, both boundlessly blessed by all of His infinite resources, and both fully aware of our spirituality and immortality and our oneness with the Father. In order to be sure we would receive the right impression of uninterrupted immortality when speaking of preexistence, Mrs. Eddy linked it with the word “coexistence.” Let us hear the inspirational way is which she used the term: “Science reverses the evidence of material sense with the spiritual sense that God, Spirit, is the only substance; and that man, His image and likeness, is spiritual, not material. This great truth does not destroy but substantiates man’s identity, — together with his immortality and preexistence, or his spiritual coexistence with his Maker.”
Having agreed that we are immortal now and always have been, then is not the term of coexistence a better one to use? Rather that suggestion of a past, a present, and a future, coexistence brings out the uninterrupted immortality of the eternal now. Having agreed that we are immortal now, and always have been, let us contemplate the fact that we always shall be immortal. Here is where most Christian faiths agree, that our future holds immortality. But they differ from Christian Science in this respect: they feel that they must die in order to find immortality; whereas, we understand that we must go on living in order to continue demonstrating immortality. Since Life is God and God is the only Life, that Life is our Life; that Life knows no death — not even a phase called passing on.
Christ Jesus taught, preached, and lived the truth that life is eternal, and there is no death. It is in the story of Lazarus that we hear the glorious promise, “I am the resurrection and the life: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Jesus’ resurrection from death and his ascension were overwhelming proofs that man is eternal. Over and over in her writings, our Leader brings out the unreality, the complete non- existence of the death process. Countless are the times she makes the statement, “There is no death.” Certainly then we should neither fear death as an enemy nor welcome it as a friend — only regard it as absolutely nothing, hence completely non-existent. How wonderful it is to know that our spiritual understanding, our health, our immortality, is not aided by a friend called death, hence no false friend to welcome. Our health, spiritual understanding, and immortality, is of God, and will ever continue to appear from that inexhaustible source.
Have you been regarding death as a friend, as an enemy, or as absolute nothingness? There appeared in the Reader’s Digest of February, 1952, a condensation of the book The Will to Live by Dr. Arnold A. Hutchnecker. Much that this gentleman advocated was scientific in approach. I was greatly impressed that everything this enlightened physician had to say pointed to the fact that no one ever passes on unless he has planned it. What are you planning? Are you planning on living, or planning on dying? Be careful. Sometimes the planning can be very subtle. You stoutly declare, “I shall never die!” but have you bought your cemetery lot? Have you made a will? Do you carry life insurance? Do you have your house in order so that if you pass on you won’t be embarrassed with the condition in which others will find it? Dr. Hutchnecker makes this significant observation: “How often we find the victim of a sudden and unheralded heart attack has been consulting his lawyer about his will or has recently taken out a new life insurance policy.”
Not long ago I caught myself on this one: “I don’t think I will ever see another war.” “Now wait a minute,” I said. “What are you thinking? That you will never live to see another war, or that there just won’t be any more wars?” Because I am planning on living, I could not possibly admit that I might pass on before another war occurred in a material universe. I had to rejoice that there could be no wars in the realm of divine con- sciousness where I live eternally.
I know of a case where, in spite of the help given by a devoted, sincere, consecrated practitioner, the individual passed on. When friends called at the mortuary, the family proudly displayed a letter that the patient had written several months before passing on. It is true, the letter was beautifully written, and some sweet sentiments were expressed. But this patient planned so surely on death that she had written a letter to that effect. Everyone else thought it was a wonderful letter. I didn’t. I felt the patient could have made far better use of her time co-operating with the practitioner, and planning on living, rather than dying.
Sometimes you hear the statement, “What’s the matter with practitioners? Why are so many Scientists passing on?” Here is one answer. Too many are planning on dying. Let all of us right here and now start planning to live and live abundantly. Quit saving your money so you can leave it to your children. Isn’t that another subtle bit of planning? Live now. Use your resources now, and know that the same loving, heavenly Father will continue to provide for you abundantly and boundlessly and for all your children, just as He did before the world was.
In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy speaks of death as “but another phase of the dream that existence can be material.” Therefore death is nothing. It is illusion. It is only a part of the Adam and Eve story that man can be born into matter, live in matter, and die in matter. But a story it is, and only a story. We can relegate all phases of life in matter to the realm of pure fiction; but even in the realm of fiction death is nothing, no thing. Even those who think they have passed on in the Adam dream of existence, would be the first to tell you that nothing really happened.
It was my privilege to participate in a panel discussion at Indiana University during Religion in Life Week a couple of years ago. Included in these were a Jewish Rabbi and a Methodist minister. I had made the statement to the effect that God really intended for us to be happy. The Jewish Rabbi objected seriously. He felt that there were times when we should be very unhappy; in fact, mournful. He felt that it was God’s will that we be so. He gave an example of the possibility of a man dying during the time he was erecting a magnificent building. He made the point of how awful it was that the man would never be able to finish what he had started. He asked us, “Shouldn’t the acquaintances and the friends and the family of this man mourn for him?” I did not even have to give the answer, for the Methodist minister spoke up with these words: “No, I don’t agree with you. I can not help but feel that man would go right on building.” The bell rang and there was no further opportunity for discussion. But I was certainly grateful to have the discussion end on that note. Here was a minister of the Gospel who was willing to indicate the nothingness of death to the extent that an individual could go right on with the task at hand.
Mrs. Eddy points out that passing on introduces no radical change in man’s ex- perience, and that he goes right on with his work. She spoke of the passing of Joseph Armstrong, “The late lamented Christian Scientist brother and the publisher of my books, Joseph Armstrong, C.S.D., is not dead, neither does he sleep nor rest from his labors in Divine Science; and his works do follow him. Evil has no power to harm, to hinder, or to destroy the real spiritual man. He is wiser today, healthier and happier, than yesterday. The mortal dream of life, substance, or mind in matter, has been lessened, and the reward of good and punishment of evil will end in harmony, — evil powerless, and God, good, omnipotent and infinite.”
In the archives of The Mother Church, there is a letter known as “The Riley Letter.” It is a response to a family by the name of Riley who had lost a child. In the letter to Mrs. Eddy, they stated that they realized there was but one Life, that Life had no beginning and no ending; but what seemed to happen to an individual when he passed on? In sharing the contents of Mrs. Eddy’s reply, I am not quoting exactly, but I know that my statements are all correct, and almost word for word as they appear in the letter. “Suppose two people were sitting and talking together. An archer comes to the window and shoots an arrow through one. According to the other, the individual slumps back on the chair dead, and there is a body to dispose of. This, however, is only his human concept of what happened. That is not at all the concept of the one who was shot by the arrow — he goes right on talking to his friend. When he sees that he can no longer communicate with him, he takes with him his human concept of himself and goes to find those with whom he can communicate. If he were to turn around and look at the chair in which he had been sitting, it would be empty.” Does not this letter make it clear that nothing very drastic happens in the experience of the dream called passing on?
In my own experience, there were several instances of individuals who had passed on and been revived. I am choosing to share with you just one of these instances. I have selected it because of the many important points we gain from it. All the rest corroborate this one instance.
A young woman had lost her mother many years before. In the spring, she had lost a baby. Now it was fall and to all appearances to those at the bedside, she had passed on. This was her experience: When she could no longer talk to those at the bedside, she arose from the bed, walked over to the window, and there in the garden below, looking years younger than when she last saw her, was her mother holding the baby. More than anything, she had ever done, this young woman wanted to go down to the mother and child. But it was at that point that she realized that this is what is called passing on. She had been taught very definitely by her teacher never to consent. She realized that if she went down to the dear ones in the garden, she would be consenting. Then she heard Mr. Dunn’s words, “Never consent! Never consent!” She said the most difficult thing she had ever done in her life was to turn around and walk back to the bed. But she was obedient to what she had been taught. She returned to the bed, and it was then that those praying were able to revive her.
May I make some observations from these examples and from Mrs. Eddy’s writings? But in making these observations, I wish to make it clear that all is for the purpose of emphasizing that death is nothing. Nothing really happens in the phase of the Adam and Eve story called passing on, and therefore we cannot stand in awe of it.
First, who really won the victory over death in the second example? Of course, those who were doing their work at the bedside were to be commended. But was it not the fact that the patient herself was willing to stay and refused to consent to passing on. Was it not that fact which made it possible for those at the bedside to revive her? She wasn’t planning on passing on. She wasn’t planning on consenting. If we claim our immortality, rejoice that we understand it, and refuse to recognize death as something, much less planning on it and consenting to it, we cannot die.
Second, it would appear that as the individual finds that he can no longer talk to those about him, and seeks those with whom he can talk, he finds loved ones who have gone on before him. I gave as a reference Mrs. Eddy’s poem, “Meeting of My Departed Mother and Husband,” to bring to your attention the meeting of loved ones, for Mrs. Eddy surely expected her mother, who had gone on before, to greet Dr. Asa Eddy. She again develops this point in the textbook: “There is one possible moment, when those living on the earth and those called dead, can commune together, and that is the moment previous to the transition, the moment when the link between their opposite beliefs is being sundered. In the vestibule through which we pass from one dream to another dream, or when we awake from earth’s sleep to the grand verities of Life, the departing may hear the glad welcome of those who have gone before. The ones departing may whisper this vision, name the face that smiles on them and the hand which beckons them, as one at Niagara, with eyes open only to that wonder, forgets all else and breathes aloud his rapture.”
Third, man awakens with the same mortal concept (body), he had when he passed on. Mrs. Eddy develops this point in the textbook when she uses the popular proverb, “‘As the tree falls, so it must lie.’ As man falleth asleep, so shall he awake. As death findeth mortal man, so shall he be after death, until probation and growth shall effect the needed change.”
That man still has a concept of a physical body after death and the same one he had before, is certainly in contradistinction to the old orthodox belief that man becomes spiritual the instant he dies.
You will recall that in both illustrations used, the one who passed on took with him his mortal concept of body. Remember how explicit Mrs. Eddy was on this point when she wrote in the Riley letter that if the one passing on were to turn around and look at the chair in which he had been sitting, he would find it empty. She supports this conclusion in the textbook with the statement, “Mortals waken from the dream of death with bodies unseen by those who think they bury the body.” Notice she does not say they bury the body, but that they think that they bury the body. Further, in speaking of the body after death, she says, “. . . the human mind still holds in belief a body, through which it acts and which appears to the human mind to live, — a body like the one it had before death. This body is put off only as the mortal, erring mind yields to God, immortal Mind, and man is found in His image.” Certainly the point that in the dream of passing on, man takes with him his human concept of body, emphasizes the nothingness of death. Should we not then be putting off the mortal sense of body now by rejoicing in our spirituality, in our immortality?
Fourth, those who have passed on waken to know there is no death. In the textbook we read, “Thought will waken from its own material declaration, ‘I am dead,’ to catch the trumpet word of Truth, ‘There is no death, no inaction, diseased action, over-ac- tion, nor reaction.’” Does not this very fact that one takes with him his mortal concept of body, make it easy to realize he is not dead? Mrs. Eddy states, “Waking from the dream of death, proves to him who thought he died that it was a dream, and that he did not die.”
Fifth, this last quotation continues and includes another fact — that a healing can come about quickly after passing on. The entire quotation is given in answer to the question, “If one has died of consumption, and he has no remembrance of that disease or dream, does that disease have any more power over him?” Mrs. Eddy answered that when he realized he did not die, “then he learns that consumption did not kill him. When the belief in the power of disease is destroyed, disease cannot return.” Is it not reasonable to believe that man, having lost his fear of death, cannot help but see the nothingness of that which was supposed to have caused it? Without any fear or belief in death or disease, would not man naturally experience healing?
Sixth, where have these loved ones gone? They haven’t gone any place. Where is there for them to go? Do we not all live and move and have our being in the one Mind? Where could one ever be except in the realm of Mind? It is only our false human concept that a loved one is capable of leaving our sight, that there are states, stages, and planes of existence that would seem to separate them from us.
Concerning the passing of Edward A. Kimball, Mrs. Eddy said, “My beloved Edward A. Kimball, whose clear, correct teaching of Christian Science has been and is an inspiration to the whole field, is here now as veritably as when he visited me a year ago. If we could awaken to this recognition, we should see him here and realize he had never died; thus demonstrating the fundamental truth of Christian Science.” Let us begin now to rejoice in the fact that we have no misconceptions whatsoever about life never ending. We don’t even have a belief that man is capable of passing on or going anywhere. We don’t even recognize death as a dream or illusion. Because we know that death is non- existent, we are awake to the recognition of all the children of God in the one Mind, immortal, perfect. Thus we do not experience the heartbreak of separation for there is no separation.
Seventh, one of the beliefs put off after awakening to the unreality of death is the belief of age. Isn’t it reasonable that when one is convinced there is no birth or death, he cannot help but demonstrate that he is ageless?
Eighth, the awakening to the unreality of death would be so inspirational, so revealing of immortality, that certainly one would experience rapid spiritual growth.
In Unity of Good, Mrs. Eddy supports this thought with the statement, “The dying — if they die in the Lord — awake from a sense of death to a sense of Life in Christ, with a knowledge of Truth and Love beyond what they possessed before.” You will remember that she said of Joseph Armstrong after his passing, that he is wiser today, healthier and happier than yesterday, and that the mortal dream of life has been lessened. I have received much inspiration upon the subject of immortality from an editorial by John Randall Dunn entitled, “The Spring Song of Christian Science.” When I first learned that
Mr. Dunn had passed on, I was finding it difficult to keep my thought joyous in the metaphysical work I was doing for my patients. I had been working with a copy of The Christian Science Journal. As I glanced at the book, the thought came to me, “I wonder if there is a message here for me from Mr. Dunn.” I opened to the editorials, and there was this wonderful message concerning immortality. It was as if he were talking to me. What a comfort, what a joy, sent my thought soaring upward when I read these words, “Certainly the Christian Scientist whom we do not see, has awakened to a better, happier, freer sense of things.” I could readily see that Mr. Dunn would not have me grieve over his departure when I read these words: “Many grief-stricken men and women awaken in Science to see how intensely selfish is sorrow, for when one is hugging to himself a sense of his own loss or anguish, he is not at that moment rejoicing in the freedom and harmony, the spiritual awakening, unfolding in the experience of the Christian Scientist gone beyond his vision. So the Easter message of Christian Science to the sorrowing is, rejoice, for man lives, he loves, he knows no sadness, no separation.”
But do we have to go through a dream of death in order to be healed, in order to know there is no death, in order to grow spiritually, in order to demonstrate agelessness? No! No! Christian Science teaches so clearly and unmistakably the immortality of man, that we do not have to pass on in order to understand and demonstrate it. We know now who we are, thanks to the Christ, Truth. We know what we are, and we know what is truly going on. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that never having been born, we are spiritual and perfect and will never die. We know death as utter impossibility because of its complete non-existence. Now are we the sons and daughters of the king, already perfect in being, in thinking, in demonstrating; and we don’t have to die to find it out, understand it, or demonstrate it.
One of the most powerful truths in establishing the unreality of death is the truth that God, the one divine and eternal Life, knows nothing about death. Old orthodoxy indicates that God knows a lot about death, and many Christian Scientists have not been radical enough in their repudiation of that old theology. In many old funeral services you hear the statement, “God gives and God takes away.” No greater lie has ever been stated than that God takes people in death.
One very good Christian Scientist I was talking with during the past year said, “When it is my turn to go, when God is ready to take me, I am ready.” That would indicate that God has knowledge of this thing called death. So ingrained is this in the thinking of some people that they are unwilling to give up the knowledge of death for the true knowledge of eternal Life. Many believe, “Only two things we know for certain, and that is death and taxes.” The very moment people stop knowing this and begin recognizing the fact that God has no knowledge of death, that very moment they will begin to demonstrate over death. In the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jewish rulers were trying to prove that he had a knowledge of evil and specifically of death. Through his resurrect- tion, I am sure he recognized that God, his heavenly Father-Mother Principle, knew nothing about death. He saw himself at-one with that divine Principle, and therefore he knew none of the experiences that were related to death. It was this fact, of course, that enabled him to walk forth from the tomb and demonstrate his dominion over what people called death.
It is never God’s will that anyone should die. In Ezekiel, we read, “I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” God not only has no pleasure in the death of him that dies, but He has no knowledge of death. How could He when He is Life everlasting? How could light have a knowledge of darkness, or good have a knowledge of evil?
Very often people say, “You can’t tell me there isn’t death. I have seen people die. In fact, everyone has to die sometime.” Most people almost claim that they are connoisseurs on the subject of death, and through that false knowledge, of course, they are digging their own grave. Let’s face the eternal facts. Enoch did — he walked with God. He acknowledged the simple fact that his creator knew nothing about death. He associated with his creator, and he was translated that he should not taste of death. He united his thought with that of the one divine Mind that knows no death. He too triumphed and proved that the knowledge of eternal Life freed him from the belief in death. Christ Jesus knew that God had no knowledge of death. He said that those who believed in him shall not taste of death. He said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” If Jesus had thought for a moment that his creator knew something about death, he by reflection would have known it and would not have had the resurrection.
As he stood at the grave of Lazarus, he knew that God had not taken his friend. He knew that God knew nothing about what others had called the death of Lazarus, and he knew his heavenly creator, his divine Mind, was so dynamic in His presence, power and glory, that there could be no knowledge of death in the consciousness or experience of anyone. Therefore, he told the people to loose Lazarus and let him go. He told Martha that there was virtually nothing but the knowledge of Life there. As a result, Lazarus walked forth free.
When he was at the home of Jairus, there were those in the waiting room who were claiming a knowledge of death and what death could do and had done. Jesus saw clearly that the eternal creator has no knowledge of death, has no knowledge of an end of anything. He therefore could walk into the room and say, “Talitha cumi; . . . Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” He knew that there was no knowledge of death or false effects from such false knowledge.
Since God knows nothing about death, it certainly follows that He knows nothing about the states and stages of consciousness. The eternal Life does not think of us as passing from one state or stage of consciousness to another.
As far as God, eternal Life, is concerned, we are all in that divine understanding which reigns, and there is no other consciousness. The heavenly, eternal Mind knows no chance nor change. Sometimes Christian Scientists would accept the thought, “Well, of course there is no death — we shall live on forever; but God takes us from this stage or state of consciousness and moves us into another one.” That would indicate that God knows something about what people have called death or passing on. If you believe this, of course, you will not be demonstrating eternal Life as Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus demonstrated it. Eternal Life knows no death, no passing on, no change. We can, therefore, be free from the foolish fear that we shall all have to die sometime.
I wish you would affirm with me out loud that God, my eternal Life, knows nothing about death. And since you are His image and likeness, you have no knowledge of anything pertaining to death. God knows only the beautiful unfoldment of good, with no suggestion of decay. Let us acknowledge our oneness with this eternal Truth that knows no error, and this divine Mind which knows no evil.
Well, if you don’t pass on, are you ever going to ascend? Be careful — that’s a tricky question. You would be amazed at the number of Christian Scientists who readily agree that they are going to ascend sometime. Often they feel a little guilty in claiming so much for themselves, but they feel it is scientific, and therefore they will consent in a retiring, embarrassed, self-effacing fashion, that they are going to ascend. They look a little elated, when hiding behind a Christian Science Hymnal, they sing, “From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me.”
Turning back to our text for this address, how could that which is already immortal ascend? Where would it ascend to? Then how could that which is already at the point of perfection — not approaching it, but right at that point — ascend? It is only in the belief that man is a mortal that we can find any possibility of ascension. The mortal hopes eventually to ascend into immortality. But this is not the scientific approach. We are told to claim immortality now. How then can we in one breath rejoice that we are immortal, and in the second ascend out of immortality into immortality. Remember, you have never left heaven for earth. You have never been mortalized or materialized. You have never been born into matter.
In No and Yes, Mrs. Eddy points out, concerning Jesus teachings, “Jesus came announcing Truth, and saying not only ‘the kingdom of God is at hand,’ but ‘the kingdom of God is within you.’ Hence there is no sin, for God’s kingdom is everywhere and supreme, and it follows that the human kingdom is nowhere, and must be unreal.” Then she has this most significant thing to say of our Master, “Jesus’ true and conscious being never left heaven for earth. It abode forever above, even while mortals believed it was here. He once spoke of himself as the son of man which is in heaven.” We too are the children of God, immortal, perfect, abiding forever in God’s heavenly kingdom. From this one and only state of existence, we cannot descend to it, we cannot ascend. We are there now, claiming it, understanding it, and rejoicing in it.
During this last year, there was included in one of our lessons the story of the transfiguration of Jesus. You will remember that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up into a high mountain and was transfigured before them, “and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here.” And where are we? We too can see Jesus, Moses, Elias, in Science the perfect man, never born, never dying, forever like unto the son of God. We too can hear the voice of God saying to us as he did to the disciples on that occasion, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” The light of Truth has revealed to us that this statement is true not only for Jesus, but of Moses, Elias, and all of God’s children. Standing on the mountain top with Peter, Moses, Elias, and Jesus, it is so easy to see all of our fellowmen each as the beloved, immortal child of God, hence perfect. Let us resolve here and now, literally to stay on that mountain top of divine understanding and revelation. Let us never waiver in our resolution to see our fellowmen, our whole universe, right there in the company with the immortal Moses, Elias, and Jesus. Will we not then be seeing the universe, including man, as God sees it — immortal, hence perfect? Is this not truly immortality brought to light?
I ask myself the following questions daily. I am going to request that you answer them. Answer them just as you would if you were on the witness stand and required to tell the truth: When did you enter Russia? How long have you lived under Russian rules and regulations? How many injustices and indignities have you suffered in Russia? What taxes and additional penalties have you had to pay in Russia? How many unhappy, discouraged, fearful days have you experienced in Russia? When are you going to take a train out of Russia? Isn’t it clear that because you have never entered Russia, you could not have suffered there, nor could you leave a place in which you have never been?
Now let us answer some more questions with the same positive approach, with the same scientific certainty. When did you enter the kingdom of matter, or in other words, when were you born? How long have you lived under material rules or regulations? How often have you sinned in matter? How many aches and pains have you suffered in matter? How many unhappy, discouraged, fearful days have you spent in the state of matter? When are you going to take a train, so to speak, and pass on or die out of matter? When are you going to take an airplane, so to speak, and ascend out of matter? Thus it is not understandable that, because none of you ever lived in matter, you cannot sin or suffer in it. You cannot worry, fret, or stew in it. You cannot die out of it, nor can you ascend out of something into which you never descended.
I love this simple little exercise because it is so easy for me to see, never having entered Russia, I can’t pay any penalties or ever get out of Russia. It is just that easy to see, never having entered matter or mortality, I can’t pay any penalties in it, nor do I ever have to leave it.
Now that we are being obedient to the first two commands of our text, to claim we are immortal and understand that we are so, it is truly easy to be obedient to the third assignment. Namely, that we practice our Christian Science from the point of perfection. How specific Mrs. Eddy is about practicing Christian Science only from the point of perfection. She states, “Christian Science is absolute: it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it; it is at this point and must be practiced therefrom.” It is not strange that in this important paragraph of instruction, Mrs. Eddy includes both claiming immortality and arguing from perfection. In fact, the two ideas go hand in hand. It is because man is immortal that he is perfect and has the right to claim, argue, and testify only to perfection. On the other hand, as man claims his perfection and seeks to live that life approaching the supreme good, he must recognize his own true selfhood and comprehend his immortality with this salient statement from Science and Health, “The Science of being furnishes the rule of perfection, and brings immortality to light.”
We are now going to demonstrate the rule of perfection which Science furnishes us, and thereby truly experience the reward of further inspiration and further illumination as regards our immortality. Let us assume that I am placing all of you on the witness stand. I am asking each of you to testify only in accord with the absolute truth about yourself. Your testimony must be the very testimony God Himself would have concerning you. May I remind you, before you start testifying, that only insofar as you state the absolute truth are you practicing Christian Science. May I also remind you that, in stating the scientific facts about yourself, you are being obedient to our Leader’s command. And may I finally remind you that in so testifying, you are bringing immor- tality to light in your experience.
Series of questions:
Have some of you felt a little self-conscious, a little guilty, a little hypocritical, in claiming such perfection for yourself? Don’t back down from your argument for perfection one iota — remember, you are not approaching perfection, you are not this side of it, but you are at that point now. Again, Mrs. Eddy emphasizes that we must take a radical stand for perfection when she says, “Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration.”
Realizing that we are not dishonest in so testifying, that we are not hypocritical, for we are telling the truth about God’s immortal man, and we dare not testify in any other way, let us proceed with further questions:
Have you noticed that in answering your questions, your answers have to be absolute, without compromise, without qualifications? Have you ever heard of this type of testimony: Oh, yes, I am really perfect, but I don’t seem to be. Yes, I am one of the best Christian Scientists in the universe, but I don’t always demonstrate it. Yes, I know I am really perfect, but I have got to prove it. Of course, I am the immortal child of God, hence perfect, but I surely wish I felt like it. I am one of the most honest men in the universe, but everyone doesn’t think that way about me. My family is perfect, but we live in a terrible neighborhood. I am perfect, but some of those church members — and so on and so on. Do you realize that every time the word but is attached to a statement of truth, there follows a compromising statement that is not truth? And what happens to our demonstration of perfection when we say, “Yes, I am God’s perfect child, but I wish I looked like it.” Aren’t we actually closing the door on the manifestation of perfection?
In my own efforts to stand steadfast in arguing only from the point of perfection, I have found great help in a Journal editorial. When this article was published, it was so well received that when I sought to find an extra copy, I wrote to Boston for another copy and there was none to be had. Evidently I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the positive, absolute approach which this editorial presented. The title of it is “Accepting Demonstration.” It is written by Margaret Morrison, and appeared in The Christian Science Journal, February 1947. Miss Morrison brings out in this editorial that real demonstration is spiritual, mental — in fact, the very testimony that we have been giving here this afternoon is the true demonstration. Any manifestation that might take place in our human experience as a result of this demonstration of Truth is but an added thing. In other words, rejoicing in perfect God, perfect universe, and perfect man, is the demonstration. The right job coming our way, the physical problem healed, the finding of a home, the manifestation of supply, are but the added things. I like the way she emphasizes that if we testify consistently as regards what is actually true, we leave the door wide open for the added things. However, if we attach to our demonstration of Truth the word but and add a negative thought, we close the door on the added things. Of course, the added things are pleasant in our experience. Why not leave the door wide open, so that these added things can flow into our everyday living in abundance by steadfastly testifying only to Truth without any compromising “if’s” or “but’s” or “maybe so’s”?
Another way to be a door closer on the added things, is to look for evidence in matter. One who testifies that God is the health of his countenance, and that he lifts up his face without spot, that he is the perfect reflection of the perfect God, and then turns to the mirror to see whether the Truth has healed that facial blemish, is certainly not keeping a single eye on Spirit; rather he is being doubleminded; he is trying to use Spirit to heal matter, and he is looking at matter to see if it is healed.
One who is arguing consistently from the point of perfection, will claim all these wonderful, glorious, spiritual truths about himself, and then face the reality about himself, and see that they are actually the truth now — that now he lifts up his face without spot, now he is the perfect, pure, holy image and likeness of God. There is no place else for him to turn to find out what is his condition. There is no matter in which there can be a manifestation. There is no mortal mind to report a condition. There is no material sense to testify as to man’s appearance. Let us rejoice here and now that we are not approaching perfection, but are at that point.
A wonderful example of one who claimed perfection and kept a single eye on the spiritual evidence, was given as a testimony in the Sentinel a few years ago. A woman was in an automobile accident. The car in which she was riding was hit so forcefully that she was thrown to the pavement, then was run over by a truck. When she was picked up, it was said that she would never walk again. But she walked within a week. Was the fact she walked so soon the demonstration? Indeed not. The walking was the added thing. The demonstration is found in a statement she made. “Healing isn’t changing anything — it is simply facing reality.” Thus, instead of accepting a broken physical body, trying to use Science to heal it, and then watching the results in that physical body, she argued, claimed, rejoiced consistently for the Truth. She argued only on the side of perfection, never accepting the belief of accident, or broken body. There was no room for “ifs” or “buts” in her testimony. Moreover, she kept a single eye on the evidence that God gave that she was His perfect image and likeness. Because the door was kept so wide open by constant argument only from the point of perfection, how could our friend help but walk? A young lady from an Eastern state wrote to me asking for help in regard to work.
Nothing was right about her present position. The place she was working was excessively hot and dirty. The people employed there were bad tempered and uncooperative. The hours were long and the pay meager. The organization was located in a section of town through which she feared to pass. Her employer was uncouth in manner and language. In my letter of reply, I reversed every error and told her the spiritual truth about herself. I pointed out that God was her only employer, and asked her to rejoice in His perfection, majesty, dignity, fairness, and justice. Because she lived and moved and had her being in God, it was impossible for her ever to find herself in an unlovely or dangerous spot. Dwelling in the atmosphere of Soul, her surroundings could not be hot or unlovely, but always beautiful and harmonious. Moreover, she wasn’t working with difficult mortals, but with, cooperative, lovable, immortal children of God. Also, God rewards His children in unrestricted measure for the work we do for Him.
But when she wrote to me again, she was telling me how nothing had improved and how terrible was her job from every point of view. Back and forth went the corre- spondence. My letters kept testifying from the point of perfection, whereas hers gave only the unreliable, lying report of the testimony of material sense. Finally she wrote saying she wished we would make our demonstration. I replied that I had already made my demonstration. I knew who she was, where she worked, who her employer was, with whom she worked, what her record was, and so on. I asked her if she wouldn’t write me the kind of letter I had been writing her, in which she would keep a single eye on the spiritual Truth about herself and tell me only that to which God testifies. When her letter came it was not the type I had requested. She said the job had been so terrible she had to quit. She just couldn’t write the letter that I wanted with things as awful as they were. But someday, just because I had been so patient and loving with her, she would write the letter.
In about a week’s time, here it came, thirteen pages long, written on both sides of the paper. She said that when she had started to write the truth about herself, the words flowed. She was thrilled with the results. Truly the letter was beautiful and completely accurate in expressing a scientific sense of employment. She had certainly kept a single eye on Spirit, and had testified only from the point of perfection in composing the letter. Two days later, I received another letter in which she announced finding a perfectly wonderful job in a most unexpected manner. Everything about the new position was in accord with the testimony she had given concerning her true employment. Was the new employment the demonstration in the case? Absolutely not! It was merely the added thing which must necessarily follow when one is really demonstrating in consciousness the truth about the situation. The letter, full of scientific sense of employment, full of testimony from the point of perfection, was the real demonstration.
In my own testimony from the point of perfection, I like to do a little extra opening of doors for the added things by supporting my statement of perfection with such arguments as “I know it. I understand it. I accept it. I am grateful for it. I am thrilled with it. I am demonstrating it. I am satisfied with it. And everyone sees the perfect demonstration. Exclamation mark, period, full stop.” This kind of testimony doesn’t leave any opportunity for the negative “buts” or “ifs” to introduce any compromising statements. Let us have a few more testimonies from the witness stand, supporting our argument for the point of perfection with these positive claims.
Before we leave this text, I would love to point out to you what an excellent teacher was our Leader, Mrs. Eddy. In this one little paragraph, she has told us just exactly how to practice Christian Science when she gives us an opportunity to use the truth by presenting us with a problem to solve. Following her directions, we find this statement, “By this I do not mean that mortals are the children of God, — far from it,” Isn’t that a challenge? What are you going to do with a statement like that? Are you going to slump back in your chair and say, “Oh, well, I’m just a mortal, so this does not apply to me”? You can’t do that, for Mrs. Eddy has already told you that you must claim that you are immortal. Then are you going to agree that you are immortal, but probably some of your neighbors, some of your friends, or some of the individuals in your business organization are mortals? Certainly you can’t do that, or you would not be arguing from the point of immortality and perfection.
Nowhere in your universe can there be any imperfection ever. How wonderful it is that we can so rapidly come to the conclusion that because God is the only creator, there is no such thing as a mortal. Certainly we agree that Mrs. Eddy never meant that a mortal, material, lying story about man is the child of God, but how grateful we are that we know and understand that there can’t even be a lying material story about man, for there is no mortal to tell it.
We know that this is the conclusion Mrs. Eddy would have had us come to, for in the concluding statement of the paragraph, she says, “In practicing Christian Science you must state its Principle correctly, or you forfeit your ability to demonstrate it.” Certainly no promise was ever correct that included in it even a belief of mortality.
Remember that when I contrasted my own human experience with that of the Hindu’s, Mr. Dunn pointed out that both experiences were nothing but dreams. We often hear mortality referred to as a dream. Many Christian Scientists really agree that they are truly immortal children of God right now, but — there’s that negative “but” again — but they are having a dream of life in matter. They agree that they will awaken some day to the nothingness, the unreality of the dream, and they will enjoy true spirituality, true immortality. Most of them plan to awaken after they pass on. Isn’t it ridiculous to go on dreaming? Isn’t it foolish to postpone awakening from a dream? To knowingly postpone the awakening to the dream will even include passing on. I know all of you love, as I do, the beautiful hymn found in our Christian Science Hymnal. “O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking, O captive, rise and sing, for thou art free; The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking, unloosing bonds of all captivity.”
The promise of healing and freedom are inspirational. But in addition to the beauty and inspiration of this lovely hymn, there is included a specific command for each and every one of us — “Leave thy dreams for joyful waking.” It does not suggest that we postpone the leaving of the dreams and the awakening; rather, it points out that the Christ is here now, breaking the dreams of error now and unloosing the bonds of captivity now.
Not long ago I had an experience that showed me the importance of leaving a dream immediately. I dreamed I was on the second floor of a two-story building. As I glanced out of the window, I saw a little boy playing high in a tree. As I watched him, the branch upon which he was playing broke. The branch didn’t break off completely, but it was still attached to the tree. The little boy clung desperately to the branch, swinging back and forth. I rushed to the window, threw it open and called out to him, “Do not be afraid, you cannot fall, you are in the arms of Love! God loves you! He holds you! He protects you! You cannot fall!” No sooner had I finished calling out these reassuring truths, than the branch pulled free of the tree and carried the little boy with it to the ground. I rushed downstairs and out of the building to see what I could do to be of help. I was greatly disturbed with the condition of the child as he lay upon the ground. Then I awakened.
O how grateful I was that this experience wasn’t true. I thanked God that it had only been a dream. Then I rolled over to go back to sleep. But I didn’t go back to sleep. I kept seeing the picture of the little boy falling. I wished he hadn’t climbed so high. I felt a great concern over the injury he had suffered as a result of the fall. Finally, I actually found myself wondering why Christian Science had failed to save him from falling. It was then I realized what I was doing. You see, I hadn’t left the dream. I had recognized it as a dream, but that hadn’t been enough. I truly needed to leave it. Here I had been worrying about something that had never happened. I had been concerned about a boy who was never up in a tree, much less had fallen from one. I had been disturbed from the effects of a fall that had never taken place. Wasn’t it ridiculous that I had gone on living in the dream, even after I had awakened and recognized it as nothing but a dream? But, of course, the height of my folly was wondering why the Truth hadn’t worked in a situation that had never taken place. No, it wasn’t enough just to see the experience for what it appeared to be — just a dream. I needed to go beyond that in my thinking, see it as nothing, absolutely non-existent, and then leave it as such. Thus I rejoiced that there never had been a dream, for there was no mortal mind to dream one. I fell asleep.
The next morning I couldn’t help but draw some conclusions from this experience. Very early in our study of Christian Science, we learned to recognize problems as unreal. We call lack, sickness, death, accident, and so forth, error, illusion, a dream, mesmerism. But do we treat the problem as a dream or an illusion? Don’t we often go on thinking about it, wondering what caused it? Don’t we worry about it, speculate on what others think about it? Sometimes aren’t we even guilty of wondering why Christian Science hasn’t worked?
In dealing with physical problems, Mrs. Eddy has taught us to leave the dream by taking thought away from the body and turning our full attention to Truth and Love. You will remember the experience of the woman who had been in a serious accident and been run over by a truck. She left her dream by facing reality. Isn’t one who denies the error and keeps a single eye on God’s testimony, and argues only from the point of perfection, successfully leaving the dream?
One of the most significant and powerful truths which enables us to leave the dream and awaken to reality, is the simple truth that there is no mortal mind to dream a dream. Where does a dream come from anyway? You say it is a product of mortal mind. But what is mortal mind? Since God is the only Mind, can there be another? Over and over we are taught that God is the only Mind, the most commonly used statement to that effect being the one used in the ‘Scientific Statement of Being’: “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.” Over and over we are taught that God being the only Mind, there can be no other Mind, hence no mortal mind. My favorite statement as to the non-existence of mortal mind comes from the textbook: “Scientifically speaking, there is no mortal mind out of which to make mortal beliefs, springing from illusion.” Thus our conclusion must logically be that, because there is no mortal mind to dream, there can be no dream.
What then should we be doing about the dream of mortality? There is no more truth in your being a mortal than there is in a little boy being up a tree. There is no more truth in your suffering penalties in mortality than there was in a little boy falling from a tree. There is no more truth in your failing to get results from the application of Christian Science than there was in the failure of Truth to save a little boy from falling from the tree. Then are you satisfied to call mortality a dream and go on living in it? Indeed not. We are going to leave the dream for joyful waking now. Moreover, it is easy to leave the dream because we know that even the dream of mortality does not exist — for there is no mortal mind to dream it. Our joyful waking has been the glorious experience of immor- tality brought to light in our consciousness. We are going to face the reality of immortality and rejoice in it and live it.
Then there are those who say we are really immortal, but man is mesmerized, or hypnotized into believing that he has been born into matter, lives a material existence, and will die or ascend out of matter. But how can there be mesmerism or hypnotism when there is no mortal mind to hypnotize or to be hypnotized? We are told in the Church Manual to defend ourselves daily against aggressive mental suggestion. What more aggressive suggestion is there than the belief of a life apart from God? We should be denying consistently the error of material history? As has already been brought out, if the angel in Revelation were to stand on but one foot, he had better stand on the foot which holds in subjection the subtle belief that man has ever experienced a material birth. A sure and certain way of destroying any mesmeric belief is the understanding that there is but one Mind, God, and that the infinite Mind is our Mind, yours, mine, the Mind of the whole universe. Where then is there a mortal mind to mesmerize? Mrs. Eddy makes it clear in all her writings that the sure destruction of hypnotic suggestion comes with the application of the Truth that God is the only Mind and there is no other.
When Mrs. Eddy felt that it was time to establish a second church in New York City, she asked her good worker, Laura Lathrop, to do the job. Since there were those who were adamant that there should be no second church in New York City, some of Mrs. Lathrop’s friends were fearful that if she attempted this assignment, she would be malpracticed upon. Mrs. Eddy gave Mrs. Lathrop this prayer to protect herself from aggressive mental suggestion: “There is no other mind to tempt me, harm me or control me. I spiritually understand this and am master of the occasion.” Isn’t that powerful? Notice how Mrs. Eddy supports the truth that there is no other mind with, “I spiritually understand this.” Not, I am going to attempt to understand it, or someday I will understand it — she claims that understanding now. I use this little prayer often, but I like to start out by rejoicing, “God is the only Mind. That Mind is my Mind, and the Mind of my fellowman.” Then I follow with Mrs. Eddy’s words, “There is no other mind to tempt me, harm me, or control me. I spiritually understand this and am the master of the occasion.” Isn’t that a perfect defense against aggressive suggestion? It completely annihilates the possibility of any such thing by knowing the allness of the one Mind, God, and the absolute non-existence of any other mind. It not only eliminates mortal mind as a power, but also as a presence.
Isn’t it wonderful that you are the master of the occasion? Because you spiritually understand that God is your Mind and there is no other, you are not mesmerized into believing you are a mortal. You are wide awake and alert as to the truth of being. You know who you are, and what is going on. Let us rejoice often during the day that we are not mesmerized mortals; but wide awake immortals. You are not even tempted to believe that you are Napoleon. You know who you are. You are not even tempted to believe you are a mortal. You know you are the sons and daughters of the King, and you are awake to your true identity. You are not tempted to think you are material, physical, corporeal. You know what you are. You know that you are “the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person.” You are not even tempted to think, much less be mesmerized into believing, that you live in a material universe. You know where you are. You know that you live and move and have your being in God, and therefore your universe is spiritual, the universe of Mind. You are not hypnotized into believing that sickness, lack, inharmonious relationships, accidents and so on, are going on about you. You are wide awake to the fact that only wonderful things are taking place. You see, hear, feel, and rejoice in a scientific sense of health, harmonious relationships, divine order, peace, prosperity, and life in abundance — because all that is going on is God expressing Himself, and the results have to be good.
Isn’t it thrilling to be a wide awake immortal, knowing who you are, what you are, and what is going on? Accept it, acknowledge it, consistently claim it, and rejoice in it.
I shall always be inspired by the experience of a woman in one of the Nazi dominated countries during the last war. One day without any warning whatsoever the enemy soldiers took her from her home, along with several other women from her community, and placed them in a prison camp. Already this woman’s husband was in a concentration camp. She had been forced to leave behind in her home two little boys who were really too young to take care of themselves. Immediately she took the attitude that she was not going to be mesmerized or hypnotized into believing that something terrible was happening. She saw clearly that God was her Mind, and she realized that divine Mind was certainly awake as to who she was, where she was, and what was going on. Never for an instant did she allow herself to be mesmerized into thinking she was a mortal in an enemy prison. She mentally insisted that she was the immortal child of God, boundless, free, dwelling in safety, in the secret place of the Most High; never for an in- stant did she allow herself to be hypnotized into believing that awful things were being done at the hands of wicked mortals. She saw the enemy soldiers scientifically, as the perfect man of God’s creating, expressing only the loving, considerate qualities of God. She even reached out beyond the prison walls and refused even to be tempted to think that there was a war-torn universe where little boys were alone needing care, and man was in a concentration camp. Rather, she rejoiced that she was wide awake to the truth that in the universe of Mind, the only universe, wonderful things were happening to all of God’s children.
As a result, one morning an enemy soldier came, opened wide the prison doors, and told all the women to go home. There was no explanation for this act. No situation had changed in the war. The enemy camp was still located at that place. No other prisoners were released at that time from any other prison camp. This woman alone knew why freedom had come to her and her companions. She had been master of the occasion. Because knowing that God was the only Mind, she had refused to be mesmerized. You will be interested in knowing that shortly after she was taken prisoner, a neighbor took the little boys into her home and cared for them. Very shortly after her return, her husband won his freedom too. We too can see freedom from mortality for ourselves and others if we will deny that we are mesmerized into believing we are mortals in a material universe, and rejoice that we are wide awake immortals in a spiritual universe, alert to the knowledge that we are children of God, hence perfect. Remember the significant story I told you about the son of the King who never really was a gypsy? As much as I love that story, and as much as I have gained from it in understanding, yet it is not the story about you. May I have the privilege of relating your true history?
There was once a son of a King. Because he was obedient to his Father, he never wandered into the woods. He never was kidnapped by a band of gypsies. He never grew to look like a gypsy, nor did he take a gypsy name, nor speak the gypsy tongue. He never had to have it revealed to him that he was not a gypsy, but the son of the king. And he never had to be persuaded that he must identify himself in order to gain that which was rightfully his. Instead of wandering off into mortality, you have always stayed in immortality. Instead of growing old in mortality, you have remained ageless in immortality. Instead of having to be awakened to the truth about yourself, you have always known you were the child of God. Instead of learning anew of your Father, you have always known Him, loved Him, worshiped and adored Him, and understood your relationship to Him. Rather than having to identify yourself anew as His child, you simply continue to be His beloved son in whom He is well pleased, sitting on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. Instead of having to claim anew your inheritance, you have never ceased to be aware that all of God’s blessings are naturally and necessarily yours. This description of Jesus is truly your description, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like the son of God.”