From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
In view of the fact that in the Scriptures we find both the primitive and the ultimate of man, it is quite fitting that a greater unfoldment of the spiritual understanding of the Scriptures should have a place in the day’s work of our annual association.
Where is the Science of Life to be found, if not in the Scriptures? Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) Again he said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matt. 22:29)
And on the way to Emmaus after the resurrection, we find Jesus teaching the disciples the importance of understanding the Scriptures in order that they might have a proper attitude of thought and action towards the experiences of that hour. He said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25, 27) And it is only through an understanding of the Scriptures that we can have the proper attitude of thought and action towards the trying experiences of this hour, this hour when the Son of Man is coming in greater power. Who is able to see and abide his coming?
For three years Mrs. Eddy withdrew from the world to meditate and pray and search the Scriptures, and she enjoined all students of Christian Science to study the Scriptures and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures habitually. And we should value daily our study before everything else, for this study promotes the individualization of the Science of Life. The Scriptures, when understood in the light of the revelation of our textbook, become fundamental and very sacred to the student of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy says, “the Bible was written in order that all peoples, in all ages, should have the same opportunity to become students of the Christ, Truth, and thus become God-endued, with power (knowledge of divine law) and with ‘signs following’.” (My. 190:23-27)
Mrs. Eddy also says, “The central fact of the Bible is the superiority of spiritual over physical power.” (S&H 131:10) And this great fact of the superiority of spiritual power over physical power, is emphasized and exemplified in the lives of all great characters of Biblical history.
We should clearly understand that the Scriptures are a record of the evolution of the concept of God in the human mind, from its first inception down to the present time. The Scriptures set forth the rise and fulfillment in the human consciousness from the first conception of God as a person, up to the conception of God in our time as Mind or impersonal Truth, and it also sets forth the demonstration thereof.
All progress in so-called civilization is the unfoldment of Spirit in human consciousness. This unfoldment of Spirit is the only evolution, and this evolution has been the unveiling in human consciousness of the everlasting established fact of God and man as one Being.
The rise and fulfillment in human consciousness of the true conception of God and man, that is, that God and man is one Being, is the immaculate conception. The immaculate conception has always existed. The immaculate conception is the Christ or God’s complete idea of Himself, which was before Abraham was. The immaculate conception, discerned in the human consciousness, either in the days of Abraham or in our present day, is the same perception of the Truth of Being which Mary perceived and presented to the world in the concrete form of Jesus.
The perception in my human consciousness or in your human consciousness of the fact that “I and my Father are one,” or that “God and man is one Being,” is the immaculate conception in me or in you, to be fulfilled and presented to the world as our “true humanhood.”
The Chain of Spiritual Existence Appearing
The Scriptures record the eternal chain of spiritual and scientific existence or the Science of Life, as it appears through the ages; that is, the Scriptures record the Immaculate Conception or the self-revealing Christ from its first dawn in the human consciousness of the patriarchs, up to its full disclosure in Divine Science or Christian Science; thus “uniting all periods in the design of God.” (S&H 271:4)
The Line of Divine Light
Last year in our lesson on this subject, I did not hesitate to say, that in order to find the Science of Life and to come into its Principle and Law (through which we enter the kingdom), we must be able to follow the line of divine light through the ages to its culmination in “Science and Health.” We should recognize that in the “design of God” we are now in the period of Divine Science, all prophecies having been fulfilled. And under this dispensation of Divine Science, we are “all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13)
The patriarchs and prophets stand for something far greater than mere human beings, or just good personalities. These glorious characters exemplified the unfoldment and the development of the immaculate conception. They showed forth or exemplified the Science of Life, or the self-revealing Christ which was their reality.
These characters need to be understood correctly, for in no other way shall we understand ourselves correctly. Deity, Divinity, was manifested in the humanity of these spiritually minded men of that day. God was their Mind.
We find that Enoch worked out his salvation in his day through a right knowledge of God and man, for it is recorded that “Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24) Enoch knew what must be known by every individual; that God or Spirit is One, that Spirit is the only creator, and that all creation is the being of Spirit. Enoch knew that all evil, matter, sin, disease, and death are like the mist that seemed to arise at dawn to oppose the sun; but which, when the sun appears, dissolves and is no more.
Enoch, because grounded in immortal Truth, overcame the false beliefs that limit mankind, and he so focused the rays of immortal truth upon his seeming self that the seeming self dissolved. Enoch walked with God; he passed, without death, into a consciousness of eternal life. Thus all mankind must do to live.
We find that Noah was the first person to give special attention to the immaculate conception. He gave special attention to perceiving the spiritual concept of God and man as one Being. Noah saw the wickedness of mankind at its very height, but he saved the world through his faint perception of the Science of Life. It was the mesmerism of evil that swept away human civilization in Noah’s day, and we of this day, like Noah, need to take refuge in the Ark of Truth, and rise above the turbulent mesmerism of error.
After Noah’s trying experiences, there came into view many patriarchs who perceived that spiritual existence is a scientific fact. One of the greatest patriarchs was Abraham.
The immaculate conception of God and man as one Being had already been revealed in human consciousness, and now we find Abraham putting forth every effort to exemplify in his daily life this immaculate conception or the self-revealing Christ, which was all there was to him. We read that Abraham left his father’s house; that is, he left the prevalent modes of thought of that day, and went out into a strange country. To Abraham, this strange country, or this mode of thought, was life in Spirit or his true understanding of God and man. In Hebrews (11:10) we read, Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
In Abraham we find a type of obedience, and Christian Scientists know that without obedience, we can never see God, never find the Science of Life. Obedience implies sacrifice, but we are not to sacrifice material things, or others; we sacrifice only a false sense of things and a false sense of others.
Abraham, through his effort and willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, learned that the offering of human sacrifice was a mistake. Through his perception of the immaculate conception, he now understood that he was to give up only his material concepts, even the material concept of his beloved son. He perceived that every material concept must be replaced with the spiritual concept of God and man as one Being. With such an understanding of Spirit, and with such obedience to Truth, is it any wonder that all nations were to be blessed in Abraham?
Because Abraham was faithful and obedient to his glimpse of truth that God, Spirit, is One and All, he was made Heir to the Word or Heir to the spiritual concept of God and man, and was rewarded with the promise that he should become the father of many nations. And because of Abraham’s fidelity and obedience to truth, the whole material concept of sin, lack, disease, and death will be abolished from the earth, and the spiritual concept of man will be fully revealed.
It was at least ten years after Abraham left his father’s house before he found Melchizedek, the Christ, or the perfect concept of God and man, that delivered him from the hand of all his enemies. He was assailed by temptation and fear, by loss, and besieged by enemies. At Bethel he separated from his beloved Lot, that Lot might have the richest of the pasture lands.
But during all these years, while gaining an understanding, Abraham was proving his faith in the only living and true God. Abraham knew he was a witness to the stupendous truth which was destined ultimately to conquer every false system of worship, and form the basis of one demonstrable religion, that God is One and All.
Abraham knew that in order to find the city that hath foundations, which is the true understanding of God, he could not be wanting in patience and obedience and fidelity. He knew he could not gain this understanding by fleeing when evil pursued him. He knew that evil, when undestroyed, would pursue him, because God or Truth does not let evil rest until it is entirely destroyed. A false peace is no peace.
Abraham made mighty demonstrations through his faith in God, and through his fidelity to his vision that God is One.
Many of us, when wrestling with the problems of this day, receive much comfort and courage from the narrative where the Assyrian armies swooped down upon Abraham and his tribes, and were shouting their cries of victory, when Melchizedek, the Prince and Priest of the Most High, appeared in the distance with the supposed army.
The Assyrian armies, when they beheld the oncoming host of Melchizedek, which appeared to them to be as numerous as the sand of the desert with their shields and spears glistening in the sun, turned back their armies in such haste and confusion as to fall on their own spears, and were thus self-destroyed.
The enemies of Abraham fled when the host of Melchizedek burst upon their sight; but Melchizedek came not with arms nor with great numbers, just Melchizedek and a few attendants; but Abraham’s enemies, mortal mind as always, saw its own concept and fears personified, and fled before what was, in reality, the vision of Omnipotence.
Likewise, we learn slowly but surely that our enemies are but our own concepts, human thoughts and fears that are personified. These seeming enemies are turned back and self-destroyed, when once Melchizedek, the Prince and Priest of the Most High, the understanding that is absolute Truth, becomes our consciousness and demonstrates the everpresent fact that God, Truth, is supreme power.
What a grand character was Melchizedek. There is some question about who Melchizedek was humanly, but we know the reality of the Christ was all there was of him. He was without human father or mother, without beginning or end of days. In the days of Abraham, there dwelt on the earth sacred and mysterious kings of righteousness and peace, and the greatest of these was Melchizedek. He was a spiritually minded servant of the One God; he was a great administrator of justice, and such as he believed God, Himself, would be.
Melchizedek subdued Egypt and overthrew their idolatry, and did it without bloodshed or strife. How was this done? Through his understanding of God as One. He knew that materiality, personified evil, has no power to interfere or defeat that which is spiritual fact. Melchizedek was the type of that greater Priest who was to come as a sinful world’s Messiah. I often think of those who dwell on earth today, who move among us as a divine afflatus, invisible to us, because our eyes are holden.
The great Prince and Priest of the Most High alone can lead us to that city which hath foundations; and we shall find that city when we seek the spiritual alone; when we abandon the belief that things are matter; when we cease to fear that evil has presence and power; when the belief in evil ceases to contest our faith in God as All. Our Most High Priest is always at hand. Our Redeemer liveth, and He stands upon the earth today as our Great Deliverer.
Next in the line of the spiritual appearing of spiritual existence came Moses. Moses came nearer fulfilling the immaculate conception than anyone, save Jesus. It was his lack of love that prevented Moses from being the anointed.
With the exception of Jesus, Moses is considered the greatest character in history. When we see Moses leading the people triumphantly through the Red Sea, providing manna in the wilderness, and water to drink from the rock, we realize to what extent he was endued with the might, the Mind of Spirit.
But Jesus stands alone as having made the complete demonstration of the oneness of God and man. It was when Moses tried to harmonize his understanding of Truth with humanity’s needs, that he failed to demonstrate his vision of man’s oneness with God.
Moses was commanded not to smite the rock; that is, not to have as fact both evil and good, and then to endeavor to overcome the error in consciousness with the good in consciousness. Moses sacrificed the Christ concept by accepting the false suggestion that the Israelites were apart and separate from God: he saw them sinful and disobedient, sick and lacking, and he saw himself a personal Saviour.
We, like Moses, may rise to Pisgahs in our vision, and yet fail woefully because we do not demonstrate our vision out in life’s experiences. At the age of eighty, Moses began his great life work, and continued it until his 120th year. At that time it was recorded of him that his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. The appearing Christ or Saviour in the human consciousness of Moses became the seed of a great nation worshipping God, a nation that ceased to worship idols, and worshipped the One God.
Elijah and Elisha
After Moses, Elijah and Elisha followed in succession in the divine development of the immaculate conception. Elijah and Elisha brought in the dispensation of spiritual healing. Each of these prophets raised a child from the dead, multiplied the oil for the widow, and divided the river Jordan that they might pass over dry shod. These prophets set out, or established, the method or technique for all metaphysical healing throughout all time.
The technique of healing used by Elijah in raising the widow’s son in the city of Zarapath is clearly portrayed. The narrative tells us that the son of the widow fell ill and there was no breath left in him; and Elijah said unto her, “Give me thy son,” and took him out of her bosom and carried him up into a loft where he abode. (See I Kings 17:17-19)
Now, bosom means the within or secret thought, and Elijah took the lad out of his mother’s thought, which was the thought of death, and took him up into his own thought which was the thought of life, abode there, and he stretched himself upon the child three times; another translation tells us that he measured himself upon the child; that is, Elijah estimated the child according to the spiritual fact of man, which was the standard or measure of himself and others.
Today we use the same standard for measuring our patients or our problems as was used by the prophet Elijah. And like Elijah, we should measure ourselves upon our problems three times; that is, we should measure or evaluate our problem until, in our ascending scale of realization, we see perfection. This is what Elijah did, for the narrative tells us that Elijah delivered the child to his mother and said, “See, thy son liveth.” (I Kings 17:23)
Our standard of measure is always perfection or the truth of Being. God or Mind is the standard of man. We should persist in maintaining this standard until, with Paul, we come “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) The healing of our patients or problems depends upon our demand that they measure up to the standard of the spiritual man in God’s likeness. (This is to stretch ourselves upon the child.)
We find that the prophet Elisha, too, measured himself upon the lad in the case of raising the Shunammite’s son from the dead. The record states that, as a result of this measuring process, the child sneezed seven times and the child opened his eyes. (See II Kings 4:35) Now, sneezed comes from a word meaning originally to diffuse or to scatter; so Elisha, when measuring himself upon the child, caused the error in the child’s thought to be scattered or destroyed.
These two narratives exemplified that insistence upon the facts of being is requisite, and we find that in measuring ourselves upon the problem, insistence is always requisite. Mrs. Eddy says, “Mentally insist that harmony is the fact.” Again she says, “Insist vehemently on the great fact which covers the whole ground, that God, Spirit, is all, and that there is none beside Him. There is no disease.” (S&H 412:23; 421:15-18)
The Appearing of the Christian Era
Mrs. Eddy tells us that these patriarchs and prophets “caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ,” and if this exalted view that they obtained had been retained, “man would be in the full consciousness of his immortality and eternal harmony.” (S&H 333:23; 598:25)
One often wonders why it was, the Christian era did not appear at the time of the patriarchs and prophets, with men of such high vision and power with God. This was the reason: Christ was appearing in his maturity to these men of old. These patriarchs and prophets had an exalted view which could not be retained by the less spiritually minded; a view that was beyond the human comprehension of mortals. The general thought of that time was not prepared to receive the Christ. Prepared thought is the doorway through which revelation comes. Truth is withheld from those who cannot comprehend it.
It remained for Isaiah to perceive that in order for Christ or Truth to be retained, this coming of the Christ, or this immaculate conception, must take place within the consciousness of each individual. Each one must, himself, be the individual Christ, and all men the Christ universal. Isaiah understood that this immaculate conception, or the individual Christ, must first come as a little child; must be understood as a child; and grow into maturity. He understood that each one must grow into the fullness of the stature of the Christ. (See Eph. 4:13)
Because of Isaiah’s prophecy, Isaiah’s perception of the form in which Christ would some day appear, for hundreds of years many Hebrew maidens felt and hoped that they might become the mother of the anointed, and bring forth their concept of the immaculate conception.
Down the ages, the dawn of ideas unfolded the Christ, or Saviour, to men in various ways and fuller degrees until, in the fullness of time, the Christ who was to herald the Christian era, as foretold by the prophets, appeared.
The Christ appeared in the highest form possible to human conception, and appeared to the most courageous and purest thought of that time. The Christ appeared to the Virgin Mary, a woman communing with God. Jesus was born of Mary, and Mrs. Eddy tells us that, “Jesus represented Christ, the true idea of God.” (S&H 316:12)
Not Enough to Perceive and Present the Christ
But it was not enough just to perceive and present the Christ through Jesus, as was done by Mary. In order to complete the scientific reason for the appearing of the immaculate conception to the patriarchs, it was necessary that one more step should be taken.
The Positive Rule
This further step was that this Truth, or Christ, must be set down in writing; a positive rule must be given humanity, by means of which all mankind could demonstrate the divine Principle. Bible scholars assert that the roll spoken of in several places in the Bible, is scriptural symbolism for the written word of God. This roll is spiritual, scriptural references to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Jesus did not give the whole truth to the world. Not because he did not have the whole truth, but he said, “Ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13)
Comforter Is Divine Science
The Spirit of truth or the Comforter, is Divine Science. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, given to the world through Mary Baker Eddy’s perception of the Christ, has explained Divine Science, and this Comforter will lead all humanity into all truth.
All Prophecy Is Fulfilled
All prophecy has been fulfilled. The Christ, as impersonal truth, appeared in Mrs. Eddy’s consciousness and she has given it to us through her writings. Nothing further is required to guide us into all truth. Mrs. Eddy typifies the “woman clothed with the sun,” spoken of in Revelation, whose babe, Divine Science, is to rule all nations. (See Rev. 12:5)
Christian Science originated in the first chapter of Genesis, and has been on its way until, in an age promised by Christ Jesus (this present age), this immaculate conception or Christ or Truth has appeared in its fullness and completeness as Divine Science.
At this time, the coming of the Christ, or Saviour, heralded a purely spiritual type or model, and it came to the spiritualized consciousness of a woman. This woman, Mary Baker Eddy, is not only the Discoverer and Founder of the Christian Science Movement, but when correctly estimated, she is the Leader of this movement throughout all time.
Mary Baker Eddy, like Abraham and Moses, the patriarchs and the prophets, stands for something far greater than a good personality, or a good human being. When correctly understood, Mary Baker Eddy stands for the full and complete revelation of divine Science; she stands for the full Egoistic consciousness, the revealed Christ.
The truth that we have today, is the same truth that appeared to Abraham and Moses, only in complete revelation. It was not a new truth or a new phase of truth that some thought Christ Jesus to be; it was the same Christ that revealed himself in the days of the patriarchs. Neither is it a new truth, nor a phase of truth, that we are receiving through Mrs. Eddy, the transparency of this age.
Our real self-hood has appeared on the horizon of our thought. The question is, what are we as individual students of this Science going to do with this revelation?
Each individual here today is individually the Christ or is Egoistic consciousness. We, too, are fixed stars in the heaven of Soul. Shall we, like the patriarchs, the prophets, Jesus, and Mrs. Eddy, let this self-revealing Christ fulfill itself within us and swallow up the personal and mortal misconception of ourselves?
Let us have the moral courage and insistence upon the facts of being, which alone will give us the power and glory of the Christ within us.
The following was given at an Association Meeting by Mrs. Wilcox. These things were taught her by Mrs. Eddy while she was in Mrs. Eddy’s home.