Christian Science versus Pantheism | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

Christian Science versus Pantheism

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1      PASTOR’S MESSAGE TO THE MOTHER
         CHURCH, ON THE OCCASION OF THE
3      JUNE COMMUNION, 1898

         SUBJECT: Not Pantheism, but Christian Science
         BELOVED brethren, since last you gathered at the
6      feast of our Passover, the winter winds have come
         and gone; the rushing winds of March have shrieked and
         hummed their hymns; the frown and smile of April, the
9      laugh of May, have fled; and the roseate blush of joyous
         June is here and ours.
         In unctuous unison with nature, mortals are hoping and
12    working, putting off outgrown, wornout, or soiled gar-
         ments — the pleasures and pains of sensation and the
         sackcloth of waiting — for the springtide of Soul. For
15    what a man seeth he hopeth not for, but hopeth for what
         he hath not seen, and waiteth patiently the appearing
         thereof. The night is far spent, and day is not distant in
18    the horizon of Truth — even the day when all people
         shall know and acknowledge one God and one Christianity.


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1      CHRISTIAN SCIENCE NOT PANTHEISM
         At this period of enlightenment, a declaration from the
3      pulpit that Christian Science is pantheism is anomalous to
         those who know whereof they speak — who know that
         Christian Science is Science, and therefore is neither
6      hypothetical nor dogmatical, but demonstrable, and
         looms above the mists of pantheism higher than Mt.
         Ararat above the deluge.

9      ANALYSIS OF “PANTHEISM”
         According to Webster the word “pantheism” is de-
         rived from two Greek words meaning “all” and “god.”
12    Webster’s derivation of the English word “pantheism” is
         most suggestive. His uncapitalized word “god” gives
         the meaning of pantheism as a human opinion of “gods
15    many,” or mind in matter. “The doctrine that the uni-
         verse, conceived of as a whole, is God; that there is no
         God but the combined forces and laws which are mani-
18    fested in the existing universe.”
         The Standard Dictionary has it that pantheism is the
         doctrine of the deification of natural causes, conceived as
21    one personified nature, to which the religious sentiment is
         directed.
         Pan is a Greek prefix, but it might stand, in the term
24    pantheism, for the mythological deity of that name; and
         theism for a belief concerning Deity in theology. How-
         ever, Pan in imagery is preferable to pantheism in theology.


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1      The mythical deity may please the fancy, while pantheism
         suits not at all the Christian sense of religion. Pan, as a
3      deity, is supposed to preside over sylvan solitude, and is a
         horned and hoofed animal, half goat and half man, that
         poorly presents the poetical phase of the genii of forests.(1)
6      My sense of nature’s rich glooms is, that loneness lacks
         but one charm to make it half divine — a friend, with
         whom to whisper, “Solitude is sweet.” Certain moods
9      of mind find an indefinable pleasure in stillness, soft,
         silent as the storm’s sudden hush; for nature’s stillness
         is voiced with a hum of harmony, the gentle murmur of
12    early morn, the evening’s closing vespers, and lyre of bird
         and brooklet.
         “O sacred solitude! divine retreat!
15    Choice of the prudent! envy of the great!
         By thy pure stream, or in thy evening shade,
         We court fair wisdom, that celestial maid.”
18    Theism is the belief in the personality and infinite mind
         of one supreme, holy, self-existent God, who reveals Him-
         self supernaturally to His creation, and whose laws are
21    not reckoned as science. In religion, it is a belief in one
         God, or in many gods. It is opposed to atheism and
         (1) In Roman mythology (one of my girlhood studies), Pan stood
24    for “universal nature proceeding from the divine Mind and provi-
         dence, of which heaven, earth, sea, the eternal fire, are so many mem-
         bers.” Pan was the god of shepherds and hunters, leader of the
27    nymphs, president of the mountains, patron of country life, and guar-
         dian of flocks and herds. His pipe of seven reeds denotes the celestial
         harmony of the seven planets; his shepherd’s crook, that care and
30    providence by which he governs the universe; his spotted skin, the
         stars; his goat’s feet, the solidity of the earth; his man-face, the
         celestial world.


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1      monotheism, but agrees with certain forms of pantheism
         and polytheism. It is the doctrine that the universe owes
3      its origin and continuity to the reason, intellect, and will of
         a self-existent divine Being, who possesses all wisdom,
         goodness, and power, and is the creator and preserver of
6      man.
         A theistic theological belief may agree with physics and
         anatomy that reason and will are properly classified as
9      mind, located in the brain; also, that the functions of
         these faculties depend on conditions of matter, or brain,
         for their proper exercise. But reason and will are human;
12    God is divine. In academics and in religion it is patent
         that will is capable of use and of abuse, of right and wrong
         action, while God is incapable of evil; that brain is matter,
15    and that there are many so-called minds; that He is the
         creator of man, but that man also is a creator, making
         two creators; but God is Mind and one.

18    GOD — NOT HUMAN DEVICES — THE PRESERVER
         OF MAN
         God, Spirit, is indeed the preserver of man. Then, in
21    the words of the Hebrew singer, “Why art thou cast down,
         O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope
         thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health
24    of my countenance, and my God. . . . Who forgiveth
         all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” This
         being the case, what need have we of drugs, hygiene, and
27    medical therapeutics, if these are not man’s preservers?
         By admitting self-evident affirmations and then contra-


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1      dicting them, monotheism is lost and pantheism is found
         in scholastic theology. Can a single quality of God,
3      Spirit, be discovered in matter? The Scriptures plainly
         declare, “The Word was God;” and “all things were
         made by Him,” — the Word. What, then, can matter
6      create, or how can it exist?

         JESUS’ DEFINITION OF EVIL
         Did God create evil? or is evil self-existent, and so
9      possessed of the nature of God, good? Since evil is not
         self-made, who or what hath made evil? Our Master
         gave the proper answer for all time to this hoary query.
12    He said of evil: “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the
         lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from
         the beginning, and abode not in the truth [God], because
15    here is no truth [reality] in him [evil] . When he speaketh
         a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father
         of it [a lie].”
18    Jesus’ definition of devil (evil) explains evil. It shows
         that evil is both liar and lie, a delusion and illusion. There-
         fore we should neither believe the lie, nor believe that it
21    hath embodiment or power; in other words, we should
         not believe that a lie, nothing, can be something, but deny
         it and prove its falsity. After this manner our Master cast
24    out evil, healed the sick, and saved sinners. Knowing
         that evil is a lie, and, as the Scripture declares, brought
         sin, sickness, and death into the world, Jesus treated the
27    lie summarily. He denied it, cast it out of mortal mind,
         and thus healed sickness and sin. His treatment of evil


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1      and disease, Science will restore and establish, — first,
         because it was more effectual than all other means; and,
3      second, because evil and disease will never disappear in
         any other way.
         Finally, brethren, let us continue to denounce evil as the
6      illusive claim that God is not supreme, and continue to
         fight it until it disappears, — but not as one that beateth
         the mist, but lifteth his head above it and putteth his foot
9      upon a lie.

         EVIL, AS PERSONIFIED BY THE SERPENT
         Mosaic theism introduces evil, first, in the form of a
12    talking serpent, contradicting the word of God and thereby
         obtaining social prestige, a large following, and changing
         the order and harmony of God’s creation. But the higher
15    criticism is not satisfied with this theism, and asks, If God
         is infinite good, what and where is evil? And if Spirit
         made all that was made, how can matter be an intelligent
18    creator or coworker with God? Again: Did one Mind,
         or two minds, enter into the Scriptural allegory, in the
         colloquy between good and evil, God and a serpent? — and
21    if two minds, what becomes of theism in Christianity? For
         if God, good, is Mind, and evil also is mind, the Christian
         religion has at least two Gods. If Spirit is sovereign, how
24    can matter be force or law; and if God, good, is omnipo-
         tent, what power hath evil?
         It is plain that elevating evil to the altitude of mind gives
27    it power, and that the belief in more than one spirit, if


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1      Spirit, God, is infinite, breaketh the First Commandment
         in the Decalogue.
3      Science shows that a plurality of minds, or intelligent
         matter, signifies more than one God, and thus prevents the
         demonstration that the healing Christ, Truth, gave and
6      gives in proof of the omnipotence of one divine, infinite
         Principle.
         Does not the theism or belief, that after God, Spirit, had
9      created all things spiritually, a material creation took
         place, and God, the preserver of man, declared that man
         should die, lose the character and sovereignty of Jehovah,
12    and hint the gods of paganism?

         THEISTIC RELIGIONS
         We know of but three theistic religions, the Mosaic, the
15    Christian, and the Mohammedan. Does not each of these
         religions mystify the absolute oneness and infinity of God,
         Spirit?
18    A close study of the Old and New Testaments in con-
         nection with the original text indicates, in the third chap-
         ter of Genesis, a lapse in the Mosaic religion, wherein
21    theism seems meaningless, or a vague apology for con-
         tradictions. It certainly gives to matter and evil reality
         and power, intelligence and law, which implies Mind,
24    Spirit, God; and the logical sequence of this error is idol-
         atry — other gods.
         Again: The hypothesis of mind in matter, or more than
27    one Mind, lapses into evil dominating good, matter govern-
         ing Mind, and makes sin, disease, and death inevitable,


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1      despite of Mind, or by the consent of Mind! Next, it
         follows that the disarrangement of matter causes a man to
3      be mentally deranged; and the Babylonian sun god, moon
         god, and sin god find expression in sun worship, lunacy,
         sin, and mortality.
6      Does not the belief that Jesus, the man of Galilee, is
         God, imply two Gods, one the divine, infinite Person, the
         other a human finite personality? Does not the belief
9      that Mary was the mother of God deny the self-existence
         of God? and does not the doctrine that Mohammed is
         the only prophet of God infringe the sacredness of one
12    Christ Jesus?

         SCIENTIFIC CHRISTIANITY MEANS ONE GOD
         Christianity, as taught and demonstrated in the first
15    century by our great Master, virtually annulled the so-
         called laws of matter, idolatry, pantheism, and polytheism.
         Christianity then had one God and one law, namely,
18    divine Science. It said, “Call no man your father upon
         the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”
         Speaking of himself, Jesus said, “My Father is greater
21    than I.” Christianity, as he taught and demonstrated it,
         must ever rest on the basis of the First Commandment and
         love for man.
24    The doctrines that embrace pantheism, polytheism, and
         paganism are admixtures of matter and Spirit, truth and
         error, sickness and sin, life and death. They make man
27    the servant of matter, living by reason of it, suffering be-
         cause of it, and dying in consequence of it. They con-


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1      stantly reiterate the belief of pantheism, that mind “sleeps
         in the mineral, dreams in the animal, and wakes in man. “
3      “Infinite Spirit” means one God and His creation, and
         no reality in aught else. The term “spirits” means more
         than one Spirit; — in paganism they stand for gods; in
6      spiritualism they imply men and women; and in Christian-
         ity they signify a good Spirit and an evil spirit.
         Is there a religion under the sun that hath demonstrated
9      one God and the four first rules pertaining thereto, namely,
         “Thou shalt have no other gods before me;” “Love thy
         neighbor as thyself;” “Be ye therefore perfect, even as
12    your Father which is in heaven is perfect;” “Whosoever
         liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John xi. 26.)
         What mortal to-day is wise enough to do himself no
15    harm, to hinder not the attainment of scientific Chris-
         tianity? Whoever demonstrates the highest humanity, —
         long-suffering, self-surrender, and spiritual endeavor to
18    bless others, — ought to be aided, not hindered, in his
         holy mission. I would kiss the feet of such a messenger,
         for to help such a one is to help one’s self. The demon-
21    stration of Christianity blesses all mankind. It loves one’s
         neighbor as one’s self; it loves its enemies — and this
         love benefits its enemies (though they believe it not), and
24    rewards its possessor; for, “If ye love them which love you,
         what reward have ye?”
         MAN THE TRUE IMAGE OF GOD
27    From a material standpoint, the best of people some-
         times object to the philosophy of Christian Science, on the


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1      ground that it takes away man’s personality and makes
         man less than man. But what saith the apostle? — even
3      this: “If a man think himself to be something, when he is
         nothing, he deceiveth himself.” The great Nazarene
         Prophet said, “By their fruits ye shall know them :” then,
6      if the effects of Christian Science on the lives of men
         be thus judged, we are sure the honest verdict of hu-
         manity will attest its uplifting power, and prevail over the
9      opposite notion that Christian Science lessens man’s in-
         dividuality.
         The students at the Massachusetts Metaphysical Col-
12    lege, generally, were the average man and woman. But
         after graduation, the best students in the class averred
         that they were stronger and better than before it. With
15    twelve lessons or less, the present and future of those stu-
         dents had wonderfully broadened and brightened before
         them, thus proving the utility of what they had been taught.
18    Christian Scientists heal functional, organic, chronic, and
         acute diseases that M.D.’s have failed to heal; and,
         better still, they reform desperate cases of intemperance,
21    tobacco using, and immorality, which, we regret to say,
         other religious teachers are unable to effect. All this is
         accomplished by the grace of God, — the effect of God
24    understood. A higher manhood is manifest, and never
         lost, in that individual who finds the highest joy, — there-
         fore no pleasure in loathsome habits or in sin, and no
27    necessity for disease and death. Whatever promotes
         statuesque being, health, and holiness does not degrade
         man’s personality. Sin, sickness, appetites, and passions,
30    constitute no part of man, but obscure man. Therefore it


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1      required the divinity of our Master to perceive the real
         man, and to cast out the unreal or counterfeit. It caused
3      St. Paul to write, — “Lie not one to another, seeing that
         ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put
         on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after
6      the image of Him that created him.”
         Was our Master mistaken in judging a cause by its
         effects? Shall the opinions, systems, doctrines, and dog-
9      mas of men gauge the animus of man? or shall his stature
         in Christ, Truth, declare him? Governed by the divine
         Principle of his being, man is perfect. When will the
12    schools allow mortals to turn from clay to Soul for the
         model? The Science of being, understood and obeyed,
         will demonstrate man to be superior to the best church-
15    member or moralist on earth, who understands not this
         Science. If man is spiritually fallen, it matters not what
         he believes; he is not upright, and must regain his native
18    spiritual stature in order to be in proper shape, as certainly
         as the man who falls physically needs to rise again.
         Mortals, content with something less than perfection —
21    the original standard of man — may believe that evil de-
         velops good, and that whatever strips off evil’s disguise be-
         littles man’s personality. But God enables us to know that
24    evil is not the medium of good, and that good supreme de-
         stroys all sense of evil, obliterates the lost image that
         mortals are content to call man, and demands man’s un-
27    fallen spiritual perfectibility.
         The grand realism that man is the true image of God,
         not fallen or inverted, is demonstrated by Christian Science.
30    And because Christ’s dear demand, “Be ye therefore


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1      perfect,” is valid, it will be found possible to fulfil it. Then
         also will it be learned that good is not educed from evil,
3      but comes from the rejection of evil and its modus operandi.
         Our scholarly expositor of the Scriptures, Lyman Abbott,
         D.D., writes, “God, Spirit, is ever in universal nature.”
6      Then, we naturally ask, how can Spirit be constantly pass-
         ing out of mankind by death — for the universe includes
         man?

9      THE GRANDEUR OF CHRISTIANITY
         This closing century, and its successors, will make strong
         claims on religion, and demand that the inspired Scriptural
12    commands be fulfilled. The altitude of Christianity open-
         eth, high above the so-called laws of matter, a door that no
         man can shut; it showeth to all peoples the way of escape
15    from sin, disease, and death; it lifteth the burden of sharp
         experience from off the heart of humanity, and so lighteth
         the path that he who entereth it may run and not weary,
18    and walk, not wait by the roadside, — yea, pass gently on
         without the alterative agonies whereby the way-seeker
         gains and points the path.
21    The Science of Christianity is strictly monotheism, —
         it has ONE GOD. And this divine infinite Principle,
         noumenon and phenomena, is demonstrably the self-
24    existent Life, Truth, Love, substance, Spirit, Mind, which
         includes all that the term implies, and is all that is real and
         eternal. Christian Science is irrevocable — unpierced
27    by bold conjecture’s sharp point, by bald philosophy, or
         by man’s inventions. It is divinely true, and every hour


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1      in time and in eternity will witness more steadfastly to its
         practical truth. And Science is not pantheism, but Chris-
3      tian Science.
         Chief among the questions herein, and nearest my
         heart, is this: When shall Christianity be demonstrated
6      according to Christ, in these words: “Neither shall they
         say, Lo, here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of
         God is within you”?

9      EXHORTATION
         Beloved brethren, the love of our loving Lord was never
         more manifest than in its stern condemnation of all error,
12    wherever found. I counsel thee, rebuke and exhort one
         another. Love all Christian churches for the gospel’s
         sake; and be exceedingly glad that the churches are united
15    in purpose, if not in method, to close the war between
         flesh and Spirit, and to fight the good fight till God’s will
         be witnessed and done on earth as in heaven.
18    Sooner or later all shall know Him, recognize the great
         truth that Spirit is infinite, and find life in Him in whom
         we do “live, and move, and have our being” — life in
21    Life, all in All. Then shall all nations, peoples, and
         tongues, in the words of St Paul, have “one God and
         Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in
24    you all.” (Ephesians iv. 6.)
         Have I wearied you with the mysticism of opposites?
         Truly there is no rest in them, and I have only traversed
27    my subject that you may prove for yourselves the unsub-


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1      stantial nature of whatever is unlike good, weigh a sigh,
         and rise into the rest of righteousness with its triumphant
3      train.
         Once more I write, Set your affections on things above;
         love one another; commune at the table of our Lord in one
6      spirit; worship in spirit and in truth; and if daily adoring,
         imploring, and living the divine Life, Truth, Love, thou
         shalt partake of the bread that cometh down from heaven,
9      drink of the cup of salvation, and be baptized in Spirit.

         PRAYER FOR COUNTRY AND CHURCH
         Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her vic-
12    tory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue
         to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all
         nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and
15    bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his execu-
         tive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress
         wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His
18    righteousness.
         In your peaceful homes remember our brave soldiers,
         whether in camp or in battle.(1) Oh, may their love of coun-
21    try, and their faithful service thereof, be unto them life-
         preservers! May the divine Love succor and protect
         them, as at Manila, where brave men, led by the dauntless
24    Dewey, and shielded by the power that saved them, sailed
         victoriously through the jaws of death and blotted out the
         Spanish squadron.
27    Great occasion have we to rejoice that our nation, which
         (1) This refers to the war between United States and Spain for
         the liberty of Cuba.


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1      fed her starving foe, — already murdering her peaceful
         seamen and destroying millions of her money, — will be
3      as formidable in war as she has been compassionate in
         peace.
         May our Father-Mother God, who in times past hath
6      spread for us a table in the wilderness and “in the midst
         of our enemies,” establish us in the most holy faith, plant
         our feet firmly on Truth, the rock of Christ, the “substance
9      of things hoped for” — and fill us with the life and under-
         standing of God, and good will towards men.
                                      MARY BAKER EDDY




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