Chapter 3 — Marriage | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

Chapter 3 — Marriage

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         What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
         asunder. In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given
         in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

1      WHEN our great Teacher came to him for baptism,
         John was astounded. Reading his thoughts, Jesus
3      added: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us
         to fulfil all righteousness.” Jesus’ concessions (in certain
         cases) to material methods were for the advancement of
6      spiritual good.

Marriage temporal

         Marriage is the legal and moral provision for genera-
         tion among human kind. Until the spiritual creation
9      is discerned intact, is apprehended and under-
         stood, and His kingdom is come as in the vision
         of the Apocalypse, — where the corporeal sense of crea-
12    tion was cast out, and its spiritual sense was revealed from
         heaven, — marriage will continue, subject to such moral
         regulations as will secure increasing virtue.

Fidelity required

15    Infidelity to the marriage covenant is the social scourge
         of all races, “the pestilence that walketh in darkness,
         . . . the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”
18    The commandment, “Thou shalt not com-
         mit adultery,” is no less imperative than the one, “Thou
         shalt not kill.”

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1      Chastity is the cement of civilization and progress.
         Without it there is no stability in society, and without it
3      one cannot attain the Science of Life.

Mental elements

         Union of the masculine and feminine qualities consti-
         tutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a
6      higher tone through certain elements of the
         feminine, while the feminine mind gains cour-
         age and strength through masculine qualities. These
9      different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and
         their true harmony is in spiritual oneness. Both sexes
         should be loving, pure, tender, and strong. The attrac-
12    tion between native qualities will be perpetual only as it
         is pure and true, bringing sweet seasons of renewal like
         the returning spring.

Affection’s demands

15    Beauty, wealth, or fame is incompetent to meet the
         demands of the affections, and should never weigh
         against the better claims of intellect, good-
18    ness, and virtue. Happiness is spiritual,
         born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore
         it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to
21    share it.

Help and discipline

         Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even
         though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, en-
24    larging, purifying, and elevating it. The wintry
         blasts of earth may uproot the flowers of affec-
         tion, and scatter them to the winds; but this severance
27    of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to
         God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases
         to sigh over the world and begins to unfold its wings for
30    heaven.

         Marriage is unblest or blest, according to the disap-
         pointments it involves or the hopes it fulfils. To happify

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1      existence by constant intercourse with those adapted to
         elevate it, should be the motive of society. Unity of
3      spirit gives new pinions to joy, or else joy’s drooping
         wings trail in dust.

Chord and discord

         Ill-arranged notes produce discord. Tones of the
6      human mind may be different, but they should be con-
         cordant in order to blend properly. Unselfish
         ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, –
9      these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute in-
         dividually and collectively true happiness, strength, and

Mutual freedom

12    There is moral freedom in Soul. Never contract the
         horizon of a worthy outlook by the selfish exaction of
         all another’s time and thoughts. With ad-
15    ditional joys, benevolence should grow more
         diffusive. The narrowness and jealousy, which would
         confine a wife or a husband forever within four walls, will
18    not promote the sweet interchange of confidence and love;
         but on the other hand, a wandering desire for incessant
         amusement outside the home circle is a poor augury for
21    the happiness of wedlock. Home is the dearest spot on
         earth, and it should be the centre, though not the bound-
         ary, of the affections.

A useful suggestion

24    Said the peasant bride to her lover: “Two eat no more
         together than they eat separately.” This is a hint that
         a wife ought not to court vulgar extravagance
27    or stupid ease, because another supplies her
         wants. Wealth may obviate the necessity for toil or the
         chance for ill-nature in the marriage relation, but noth-
30    ing can abolish the cares of marriage.

Differing duties

         “She that is married careth . . . how she may please
         her husband,” says the Bible; and this is the pleasantest

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1      thing to do. Matrimony should never be entered into
         without a full recognition of its enduring obligations on
3      both sides. There should be the most tender
         solicitude for each other’s happiness, and mu-
         tual attention and approbation should wait on all the years
6      of married life.

         Mutual compromises will often maintain a compact
         which might otherwise become unbearable. Man should
9      not be required to participate in all the annoyances and
         cares of domestic economy, nor should woman be ex-
         pected to understand political economy. Fulfilling the
12    different demands of their united spheres, their sympa-
         thies should blend in sweet confidence and cheer, each
         partner sustaining the other, — thus hallowing the union
15    of interests and affections, in which the heart finds peace
         and home.

Trysting renewed

         Tender words and unselfish care in what promotes the
18    welfare and happiness of your wife will prove more salutary
         in prolonging her health and smiles than stolid
         indifference or jealousy. Husbands, hear this
21    and remember how slight a word or deed may renew the
         old trysting-times.

         After marriage, it is too late to grumble over incompati-
24    bility of disposition. A mutual understanding should
         exist before this union and continue ever after, for decep-
         tion is fatal to happiness.

Permanent obligation

27    The nuptial vow should never be annulled, so long as
         its moral obligations are kept intact; but the frequency
         of divorce shows that the sacredness of this re-
30    lationship is losing its influence, and that fatal
         mistakes are undermining its foundations. Separation
         never should take place, and it never would, if both

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1      husband and wife were genuine Christian Scientists.
         Science inevitably lifts one’s being higher in the scale of
3      harmony and happiness.

Permanent affection

         Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary
         to the formation of a happy and permanent companion-
6      ship. The beautiful in character is also the
         good, welding indissolubly the links of affec-
         tion. A mother’s affection cannot be weaned from her
9      child, because the mother-love includes purity and con-
         stancy, both of which are immortal. Therefore maternal
         affection lives on under whatever difficulties.
12    From the logic of events we learn that selfishness
         and impurity alone are fleeting, and that wisdom will
         ultimately put asunder what she hath not joined
15    together.

Centre for affections

         Marriage should improve the human species, becoming
         a barrier against vice, a protection to woman, strength to
18    man, and a centre for the affections. This,
         however, in a majority of cases, is not its
         present tendency, and why? Because the education of
21    the higher nature is neglected, and other considerations,
         — passion, frivolous amusements, personal adornment,
         display, and pride, — occupy thought.

Spiritual concord

24    An ill-attuned ear calls discord harmony, not appreciat-
         ing concord. So physical sense, not discerning the true
         happiness of being, places it on a false basis.
27    Science will correct the discord, and teach us
         life’s sweeter harmonies.

         Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind,
30    and happiness would be more readily attained and would
         be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul. Higher
         enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal

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1      man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the
         limits of personal sense. The senses confer no real
3      enjoyment.

Ascendency of good

         The good in human affections must have ascendency
         over the evil and the spiritual over the animal, or happi-
6      ness will never be won. The attainment of
         this celestial condition would improve our
         progeny, diminish crime, and give higher aims to ambi-
9      tion. Every valley of sin must be exalted, and every
         mountain of selfishness be brought low, that the highway
         of our God may be prepared in Science. The offspring
12    of heavenly-minded parents inherit more intellect, better
         balanced minds, and sounder constitutions.

Propensities inherited

         If some fortuitous circumstance places promising chil-
15    dren in the arms of gross parents, often these beautiful
         children early droop and die, like tropical
         flowers born amid Alpine snows. If perchance
18    they live to become parents in their turn, they may re-
         produce in their own helpless little ones the grosser traits
         of their ancestors. What hope of happiness, what noble
21    ambition, can inspire the child who inherits propensities
         that must either be overcome or reduce him to a loath-
         some wreck?

24    Is not the propagation of the human species a greater
         responsibility, a more solemn charge, than the culture of
         your garden or the raising of stock to increase your flocks
27    and herds? Nothing unworthy of perpetuity should be
         transmitted to children.

         The formation of mortals must greatly improve to
30    advance mankind. The scientific morale of marriage is
         spiritual unity. If the propagation of a higher human
         species is requisite to reach this goal, then its material con-

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1      ditions can only be permitted for the purpose of gener-
         ating. The foetus must be kept mentally pure and the
3      period of gestation have the sanctity of virginity.

         The entire education of children should be such as to
         form habits of obedience to the moral and spiritual law,
6      with which the child can meet and master the belief in so-
         called physical laws, a belief which breeds disease.

Inheritance heeded

         If parents create in their babes a desire for incessant
9      amusement, to be always fed, rocked, tossed, or talked
         to, those parents should not, in after years,
         complain of their children’s fretfulness or fri-
12    volity, which the parents themselves have occasioned.
         Taking less “thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or
         what ye shall drink”; less thought “for your body what
15    ye shall put on,” will do much more for the health of the
         rising generation than you dream. Children should be
         allowed to remain children in knowledge, and should
18    become men and women only through growth in the
         understanding of man’s higher nature.

The Mind creative

         We must not attribute more and more intelligence
21    to matter, but less and less, if we would be wise and
         healthy. The divine Mind, which forms the
         bud and blossom, will care for the human
24    body, even as it clothes the lily; but let no mortal inter-
         fere with God’s government by thrusting in the laws of
         erring, human concepts.

Superior law of Soul

27    The higher nature of man is not governed by the lower;
         if it were, the order of wisdom would be reversed.
         Our false views of life hide eternal harmony,
30    and produce the ills of which we complain.
         Because mortals believe in material laws and reject the
         Science of Mind, this does not make materiality first and

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1      the superior law of Soul last. You would never think
         that flannel was better for warding off pulmonary disease
3      than the controlling Mind, if you understood the Science
         of being.

Spiritual origin

         In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beauti-
6      ful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is
         not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor
         does he pass through material conditions prior
9      to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ulti-
         mate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the
         law of his being.

The rights of woman

12    Civil law establishes very unfair differences between the
         rights of the two sexes. Christian Science furnishes no
         precedent for such injustice, and civilization
15    mitigates it in some measure. Still, it is a
         marvel why usage should accord woman less rights than
         does either Christian Science or civilization.

Unfair discrimination

18    Our laws are not impartial, to say the least, in their
         discrimination as to the person, property, and parental
         claims of the two sexes. If the elective fran-
21    chise for women will remedy the evil with-
         out encouraging difficulties of greater magnitude, let us
         hope it will be granted. A feasible as well as rational
24    means of improvement at present is the elevation of
         society in general and the achievement of a nobler
         race for legislation, — a race having higher aims and
27    motives.

         If a dissolute husband deserts his wife, certainly the
         wronged, and perchance impoverished, woman should be
30    allowed to collect her own wages, enter into business
         agreements, hold real estate, deposit funds, and own her
         children free from interference.

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1      Want of uniform justice is a crying evil caused by the
         selfishness and inhumanity of man. Our forefathers
3      exercised their faith in the direction taught by the Apostle
         James, when he said: “Pure religion and undefiled before
         God and the Father, is this, To visit the fatherless and
6      widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted
         from the world.”

Benevolence hindered

         Pride, envy, or jealousy seems on most occasions to
9      be the master of ceremonies, ruling out primitive Chris-
         tianity. When a man lends a helping hand
         to some noble woman, struggling alone with
12    adversity, his wife should not say, “It is never well to
         interfere with your neighbor’s business.” A wife is
         sometimes debarred by a covetous domestic tyrant from
15    giving the ready aid her sympathy and charity would

Progressive development

         Marriage should signify a union of hearts. Further-
18    more, the time cometh of which Jesus spake, when he
         declared that in the resurrection there should
         be no more marrying nor giving in marriage,
21    but man would be as the angels. Then shall Soul re-
         joice in its own, in which passion has no part. Then
         white-robed purity will unite in one person masculine wis-
24    dom and feminine love, spiritual understanding and per-
         petual peace.

         Until it is learned that God is the Father of all, mar-
27    riage will continue. Let not mortals permit a disregard
         of law which might lead to a worse state of society than
         now exists. Honesty and virtue ensure the stability of
30    the marriage covenant. Spirit will ultimately claim its
         own, — all that really is, — and the voices of physical
         sense will be forever hushed.

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Blessing of Christ

1      Experience should be the school of virtue, and human
         happiness should proceed from man’s highest nature.
3      May Christ, Truth, be present at every bridal
         altar to turn the water into wine and to give to
         human life an inspiration by which man’s spiritual and
6      eternal existence may be discerned.

Righteous foundations

         If the foundations of human affection are consistent
         with progress, they will be strong and enduring. Divorces
9      should warn the age of some fundamental error
         in the marriage state. The union of the sexes
         suffers fearful discord. To gain Christian Science and its
12    harmony, life should be more metaphysically regarded.

Powerless promises

         The broadcast powers of evil so conspicuous to-day
         show themselves in the materialism and sensualism of
15    the age, struggling against the advancing
         spiritual era. Beholding the world’s lack of
         Christianity and the powerlessness of vows to make home
18    happy, the human mind will at length demand a higher

Transition and reform

         There will ensue a fermentation over this as over many
21    other reforms, until we get at last the clear straining of
         truth, and impurity and error are left among
         the lees. The fermentation even of fluids is
24    not pleasant. An unsettled, transitional stage is never
         desirable on its own account. Matrimony, which was once
         a fixed fact among us, must lose its present slippery foot-
27    ing, and man must find permanence and peace in a more
         spiritual adherence.

         The mental chemicalization, which has brought con-
30    jugal infidelity to the surface, will assuredly throw off
         this evil, and marriage will become purer when the scum
         is gone.

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         Thou art right, immortal Shakespeare, great poet of
3               Sweet are the uses of adversity;
              Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
              Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

Salutary sorrow

6      Trials teach mortals not to lean on a material staff, –
         a broken reed, which pierces the heart. We do not
         half remember this in the sunshine of joy
9      and prosperity. Sorrow is salutary. Through
         great tribulation we enter the kingdom. Trials are
         proofs of God’s care. Spiritual development germi-
12    nates not from seed sown in the soil of material hopes,
         but when these decay, Love propagates anew the higher
         joys of Spirit, which have no taint of earth. Each suc-
15    cessive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine
         goodness and love.

         Amidst gratitude for conjugal felicity, it is well to re-
18    member how fleeting are human joys. Amidst conjugal
         infelicity, it is well to hope, pray, and wait patiently on
         divine wisdom to point out the path.

Patience is wisdom

21    Husbands and wives should never separate if there
         is no Christian demand for it. It is better to await the
         logic of events than for a wife precipitately
24    to leave her husband or for a husband to
         leave his wife. If one is better than the other, as must
         always be the case, the other pre-eminently needs good
27    company. Socrates considered patience salutary under
         such circumstances, making his Xantippe a discipline for
         his philosophy.

The gold and dross

30    Sorrow has its reward. It never leaves us
         where it found us. The furnace separates
         the gold from the dross that the precious metal may

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1      be graven with the image of God. The cup our Father
         hath given, shall we not drink it and learn the lessons
3      He teaches?

Weathering the storm

         When the ocean is stirred by a storm, then the clouds
         lower, the wind shrieks through the tightened shrouds,
6      and the waves lift themselves into mountains.
         We ask the helmsman: “Do you know your
         course? Can you steer safely amid the storm?” He
9      answers bravely, but even the dauntless seaman is not
         sure of his safety; nautical science is not equal to the
         Science of Mind. Yet, acting up to his highest under-
12    standing, firm at the post of duty, the mariner works on
         and awaits the issue. Thus should we deport ourselves
         on the seething ocean of sorrow. Hoping and work-
15    ing, one should stick to the wreck, until an irresistible
         propulsion precipitates his doom or sunshine gladdens
         the troubled sea.

Spiritual power

18    The notion that animal natures can possibly give force
         to character is too absurd for consideration, when we
         remember that through spiritual ascendency
21    our Lord and Master healed the sick, raised
         the dead, and commanded even the winds and waves to
         obey him. Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other
24    means and methods.

         The lack of spiritual power in the limited demonstration
         of popular Christianity does not put to silence the labor
27    of centuries. Spiritual, not corporeal, consciousness is
         needed. Man delivered from sin, disease, and death
         presents the true likeness or spiritual ideal.

Basis of true religion

30    Systems of religion and medicine treat of physical pains
         and pleasures, but Jesus rebuked the suffering from any
         such cause or effect. The epoch approaches when the

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1      understanding of the truth of being will be the basis of
         true religion. At present mortals progress slowly for
3      fear of being thought ridiculous. They are
         slaves to fashion, pride, and sense. Some-
         time we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, has
6      created men and women in Science. We ought to weary
         of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which
         hinders our highest selfhood.

9      Jealousy is the grave of affection. The presence of
         mistrust, where confidence is due, withers the flowers
         of Eden and scatters love’s petals to decay. Be not
12    in haste to take the vow “until death do us part.”
         Consider its obligations, its responsibilities, its rela-
         tions to your growth and to your influence on other
15    lives.

Insanity and agamogenesis

         I never knew more than one individual who believed
         in agamogenesis; she was unmarried, a lovely charac-
18    ter, was suffering from incipient insanity, and
         a Christian Scientist cured her. I have named
         her case to individuals, when casting my bread upon
21    the waters, and it may have caused the good to ponder
         and the evil to hatch their silly innuendoes and lies, since
         salutary causes sometimes incur these effects. The per-
24    petuation of the floral species by bud or cell-division is
         evident, but I discredit the belief that agamogenesis
         applies to the human species.

God’s creation intact

27    Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion;
         it manifests no material growth from molecule to mind,
         but an impartation of the divine Mind to man
30    and the universe. Proportionately as human
         generation ceases, the unbroken links of eternal, har-
         monious being will be spiritually discerned; and man,

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1      not of the earth earthly but coexistent with God, will
         appear. The scientific fact that man and the universe
3      are evolved from Spirit, and so are spiritual, is as fixed in
         divine Science as is the proof that mortals gain the sense
         of health only as they lose the sense of sin and disease.
6      Mortals can never understand God’s creation while believ-
         ing that man is a creator. God’s children already created
         will be cognized only as man finds the truth of being.
9      Thus it is that the real, ideal man appears in proportion
         as the false and material disappears. No longer to marry
         or to be “given in marriage” neither closes man’s con-
12    tinuity nor his sense of increasing number in God’s in-
         finite plan. Spiritually to understand that there is but
         one creator, God, unfolds all creation, confirms the Scrip-
15    tures, brings the sweet assurance of no parting, no pain,
         and of man deathless and perfect and eternal.

         If Christian Scientists educate their own offspring
18    spiritually, they can educate others spiritually and not
         conflict with the scientific sense of God’s creation. Some
         day the child will ask his parent: “Do you keep the First
21    Commandment? Do you have one God and creator, or
         is man a creator?” If the father replies, “God creates
         man through man,” the child may ask, “Do you teach
24    that Spirit creates materially, or do you declare that
         Spirit is infinite, therefore matter is out of the ques-
         tion?” Jesus said, “The children of this world marry,
27    and are given in marriage: But they which shall be ac-
         counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resur-
         rection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in
30    marriage.”

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Love is the liberator.