Chapter 4 — Christian Science versus Spiritualism
From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
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- Pages 70 to 86
- Pages 86 to 97
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, And unto wizards that peep and that mutter; Should not a people seek unto their God? — ISAIAH.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. — JOHN.
The infinite one Spirit
MORTAL existence is an enigma. Every day is a mystery. The testimony of the corporeal senses cannot inform us what is real and what is delusive, but the revelations of Christian Science unlock the treasures of Truth. Whatever is false or sinful can never enter the atmosphere of Spirit. There is but one Spirit. Man is never God, but spiritual man, made in God’s likeness, reflects God. In this scientific reflection the Ego and the Father are inseparable. The supposition that corporeal beings are spirits, or that there are good and evil spirits, is a mistake.
Real and unreal identity
The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal. The questions are: What are God’s identities? What is Soul? Does life or soul exist in the thing formed?
Nothing is real and eternal, — nothing is Spirit, — but God and His idea. Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.
The identity, or idea, of all reality continues forever; but Spirit, or the divine Principle of all, is not in Spirit’s formations. Soul is synonymous with Spirit, God, the creative, governing, infinite Principle outside of finite form, which forms only reflect.
Close your eyes, and you may dream that you see a flower, — that you touch and smell it. Thus you learn that the flower is a product of the so-called mind, a formation of thought rather than of matter. Close your eyes again, and you may see landscapes, men, and women. Thus you learn that these also are images, which mortal mind holds and evolves and which simulate mind, life, and intelligence. From dreams also you learn that neither mortal mind nor matter is the image or likeness of God, and that immortal Mind is not in matter.
When the Science of Mind is understood, spiritualism will be found mainly erroneous, having no scientific basis nor origin, no proof nor power outside of human testimony. It is the offspring of the physical senses. There is no sensuality in Spirit. I never could believe in spiritualism.
The basis and structure of spiritualism are alike material and physical. Its spirits are so many corporealities, limited and finite in character and quality. Spiritualism therefore presupposes Spirit, which is ever infinite, to be a corporeal being, a finite form, — a theory contrary to Christian Science.
There is but one spiritual existence, — the Life of which corporeal sense can take no cognizance. The divine Principle of man speaks through immortal sense. If a material body — in other words, mortal, material sense — were permeated by Spirit, that body would disappear to mortal sense, would be deathless. A condition precedent to communion with Spirit is the gain of spiritual life.
So-called spirits are but corporeal communicators. As light destroys darkness and in the place of darkness all is light, so (in absolute Science) Soul, or God, is the only truth-giver to man. Truth destroys mortality, and brings to light immortality. Mortal belief (the material sense of life) and immortal Truth (the spiritual sense) are the tares and the wheat, which are not united by progress, but separated.
Perfection is not expressed through imperfection. Spirit is not made manifest through matter, the antipode of Spirit. Error is not a convenient sieve through which truth can be strained.
God, good, being ever present, it follows in divine logic that evil, the suppositional opposite of good, is never present. In Science, individual good derived from God, the infinite All-in-all, may flow from the departed to mortals; but evil is neither communicable nor scientific. A sinning, earthly mortal is not the reality of Life nor the medium through which truth passes to earth. The joy of intercourse becomes the jest of sin, when evil and suffering are communicable. Not personal intercommunion but divine law is the communicator of truth, health, and harmony to earth and humanity. As readily can you mingle fire and frost as
Spirit and matter. In either case, one does not support the other.
Spiritualism calls one person, living in this world, material, but another, who has died to-day a sinner and supposedly will return to earth to-morrow, it terms a spirit. The fact is that neither the one nor the other is infinite Spirit, for Spirit is God, and man is His likeness.
The belief that one man, as spirit, can control another man, as matter, upsets both the individuality and the Science of man, for man is image. God controls man, and God is the only Spirit. Any other control or attraction of so-called spirit is a mortal belief, which ought to be known by its fruit, — the repetition of evil.
If Spirit, or God, communed with mortals or controlled them through electricity or any other form of matter, the divine order and the Science of omnipotent, omnipresent Spirit would be destroyed.
The belief that material bodies return to dust, hereafter to rise up as spiritual bodies with material sensations and desires, is incorrect. Equally incorrect is the belief that spirit is confined in a finite, material body, from which it is freed by death, and that, when it is freed from the material body, spirit retains the sensations belonging to that body.
It is a grave mistake to suppose that matter is any part of the reality of intelligent existence, or that Spirit and matter, intelligence and non-intelligence, can commune together. This error Science will destroy. The sensual cannot be made the mouthpiece of the spiritual, nor can the finite become the channel of the infinite. There is no communication between so-
called material existence and spiritual life which is not subject to death.
To be on communicable terms with Spirit, persons must be free from organic bodies; and their return to a material condition, after having once left it, would be as impossible as would be the restoration to its original condition of the acorn, already absorbed into a sprout which has risen above the soil. The seed which has germinated has a new form and state of existence. When here or hereafter the belief of life in matter is extinct, the error which has held the belief dissolves with the belief, and never returns to the old condition. No correspondence nor communion can exist between persons in such opposite dreams as the belief of having died and left a material body and the belief of still living in an organic, material body.
The caterpillar, transformed into a beautiful insect, is no longer a worm, nor does the insect return to fraternize with or control the worm. Such a backward transformation is impossible in Science. Darkness and light, infancy and manhood, sickness and health, are opposites, — different beliefs, which never blend. Who will say that infancy can utter the ideas of manhood, that darkness can represent light, that we are in Europe when we are in the opposite hemisphere? There is no bridge across the gulf which divides two such opposite conditions as the spiritual, or incorporeal, and the physical, or corporeal.
In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown. The so-called dead and living cannot commune together, for they are in separate states of existence, or consciousness.
This simple truth lays bare the mistaken assumption that man dies as matter but comes to life as spirit. The so-called dead, in order to reappear to those still in the existence cognized by the physical senses, would need to be tangible and material, — to have a material investiture, — or the material senses could take no cognizance of the so-called dead.
Spiritualism would transfer men from the spiritual sense of existence back into its material sense. This gross materialism is scientifically impossible, since to infinite Spirit there can be no matter.
Raising the dead
Jesus said of Lazarus: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died, not by an admission that his body had died and then lived again. Had Jesus believed that Lazarus had lived or died in his body, the Master would have stood on the same plane of belief as those who buried the body, and he could not have resuscitated it.
When you can waken yourself or others out of the belief that all must die, you can then exercise Jesus’ spiritual power to reproduce the presence of those who have thought they died, — but not otherwise.
Vision of the dying
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.
Real Life is God
When being is understood, Life will be recognized as neither material nor finite, but as infinite, — as God, universal good; and the belief that life, or mind, was ever in a finite form, or good in evil, will be destroyed. Then it will be understood that Spirit never entered matter and was therefore never raised from matter. When advanced to spiritual being and the understanding of God, man can no longer commune with matter; neither can he return to it, any more than a tree can return to its seed. Neither will man seem to be corporeal, but he will be an individual consciousness, characterized by the divine Spirit as idea, not matter.
Suffering, sinning, dying beliefs are unreal. When divine Science is universally understood, they will have no power over man, for man is immortal and lives by divine authority.
The sinless joy, — the perfect harmony and immortality of Life, possessing unlimited divine beauty and goodness without a single bodily pleasure or pain, – constitutes the only veritable, indestructible man, whose being is spiritual. This state of existence is scientific and intact, — a perfection discernible only by those who have the final understanding of Christ in divine Science. Death can never hasten this state of existence, for death must be overcome, not submitted to, before immortality appears.
The recognition of Spirit and of infinity comes not
suddenly here or hereafter. The pious Polycarp said: “I cannot turn at once from good to evil.” Neither do other mortals accomplish the change from error to truth at a single bound.
Existence continues to be a belief of corporeal sense until the Science of being is reached. Error brings its own self-destruction both here and hereafter, for mortal mind creates its own physical conditions. Death will occur on the next plane of existence as on this, until the spiritual understanding of Life is reached. Then, and not until then, will it be demonstrated that “the second death hath no power.”
A dream vanishing
The period required for this dream of material life, embracing its so-called pleasures and pains, to vanish from consciousness, “knoweth no man . . . neither the Son, but the Father.” This period will be of longer or shorter duration according to the tenacity of error. Of what advantage, then, would it be to us, or to the departed, to prolong the material state and so prolong the illusion either of a soul inert or of a sinning, suffering sense, — a so-called mind fettered to matter.
Progress and purgatory
Even if communications from spirits to mortal consciousness were possible, such communications would grow beautifully less with every advanced stage of existence. The departed would gradually rise above ignorance and materiality, and Spiritualists would outgrow their beliefs in material spiritualism. Spiritism consigns the so-called dead to a state resembling that of blighted buds, — to a wretched purgatory, where the chances of the departed for improvement narrow into nothing and they return to their old standpoints of matter.
The decaying flower, the blighted bud, the gnarled oak, the ferocious beast, — like the discords of disease, sin, and death, — are unnatural. They are the falsities of sense, the changing deflections of mortal mind; they are not the eternal realities of Mind.
How unreasonable is the belief that we are wearing out life and hastening to death, and that at the same time we are communing with immortality! If the departed are in rapport with mortality, or matter, they are not spiritual, but must still be mortal, sinning, suffering, and dying. Then why look to them — even were communication possible — for proofs of immortality, and accept them as oracles? Communications gathered from ignorance are pernicious in tendency.
Spiritualism with its material accompaniments would destroy the supremacy of Spirit. If Spirit pervades all space, it needs no material method for the transmission of messages. Spirit needs no wires nor electricity in order to be omnipresent.
Spirit is not materially tangible. How then can it communicate with man through electric, material effects? How can the majesty and omnipotence of Spirit be lost? God is not in the medley where matter cares for matter, where spiritism makes many gods, and hypnotism and electricity are claimed to be the agents of God’s government.
Spirit blesses man, but man cannot “tell whence it cometh.” By it the sick are healed, the sorrowing are comforted, and the sinning are reformed. These are the effects of one universal God, the invisible good dwelling in eternal Science.
Thought regarding death
The act of describing disease — its symptoms, locality, and fatality — is not scientific. Warning people against death is an error that tends to frighten into death those who are ignorant of Life as God. Thousands of instances could be cited of health restored by changing the patient’s thoughts regarding death.
A scientific mental method is more sanitary than the use of drugs, and such a mental method produces permanent health. Science must go over the whole ground, and dig up every seed of error’s sowing. Spiritualism relies upon human beliefs and hypotheses. Christian Science removes these beliefs and hypotheses through the higher understanding of God, for Christian Science, resting on divine Principle, not on material personalities, in its revelation of immortality, introduces the harmony of being.
Jesus cast out evil spirits, or false beliefs. The Apostle Paul bade men have the Mind that was in the Christ. Jesus did his own work by the one Spirit. He said: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” He never described disease, so far as can be learned from the Gospels, but he healed disease.
The unscientific practitioner says: “You are ill. Your brain is overtaxed, and you must rest. Your body is weak, and it must be strengthened. You have nervous prostration, and must be treated for it.” Science objects to all this, contending for the rights of intelligence and asserting that Mind controls body and brain.
Mind-science teaches that mortals need “not be weary in well doing.” It dissipates fatigue in doing good. Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us.
We have strength in proportion to our apprehension of the truth, and our strength is not lessened by giving utterance to truth. A cup of coffee or tea is not the equal of truth, whether for the inspiration of a sermon or for the support of bodily endurance.
A denial of immortality
A communication purporting to come from the late Theodore Parker reads as follows: “There never was, and there never will be, an immortal spirit.” Yet the very periodical containing this sentence repeats weekly the assertion that spirit-communications are our only proofs of immortality.
I entertain no doubt of the humanity and philanthropy of many Spiritualists, but I cannot coincide with their views. It is mysticism which gives spiritualism its force. Science dispels mystery and explains extraordinary phenomena; but Science never removes phenomena from the domain of reason into the realm of mysticism.
It should not seem mysterious that mind, without the aid of hands, can move a table, when we already know that it is mind-power which moves both table and hand. Even planchette — the French toy which years ago pleased so many people — attested the control of mortal mind over its substratum, called matter.
It is mortal mind which convulses its substratum, matter. These movements arise from the volition of human belief, but they are neither scientific nor rational. Mortal mind produces table-tipping as certainly as table-setting, and believes that this wonder emanates from spirits and electricity. This belief rests on the common conviction that mind and matter cooperate both visibly and invisibly, hence that matter is intelligent.
Poor post-mortem evidence
There is not so much evidence to prove intercommunication between the so-called dead and the living, as there is to show the sick that matter suffers and has sensation; yet this latter evidence is destroyed by the Mind-science. If Spiritualists understood the Science of being, their belief in mediumship would vanish.
No proof of immortality
At the very best and on its own theories, spiritualism can only prove that certain individuals have a continued existence after death and maintain their affiliation with mortal flesh; but this fact affords no certainty of everlasting life. A man’s assertion that he is immortal no more proves him to be so, than the opposite assertion, that he is mortal, would prove immortality a lie. Nor is the case improved when alleged spirits teach immortality. Life, Love, Truth, is the only proof of immortality.
Mind’s manifestations immortal
Man in the likeness of God as revealed in Science cannot help being immortal. Though the grass seemeth to wither and the flower to fade, they reappear. Erase the figures which express number, silence the tones of music, give to the worms the body called man, and yet the producing, governing, divine Principle lives on, — in the case of man as truly as in the case of numbers and of music, — despite the so-called laws of matter, which define man as mortal. Though the inharmony resulting from material sense hides the harmony of Science, inharmony cannot destroy the divine Principle of Science. In Science, man’s immortality depends upon that of God, good, and follows as a necessary consequence of the immortality of good.
That somebody, somewhere, must have known the deceased person, supposed to be the communicator, is
evident, and it is as easy to read distant thoughts as near. We think of an absent friend as easily as we do of one present. It is no more difficult to read the absent mind than it is to read the present. Chaucer wrote centuries ago, yet we still read his thought in his verse. What is classic study, but discernment of the minds of Homer and Virgil, of whose personal existence we may be in doubt?
If spiritual life has been won by the departed, they cannot return to material existence, because different states of consciousness are involved, and one person cannot exist in two different states of consciousness at the same time. In sleep we do not communicate with the dreamer by our side despite his physical proximity, because both of us are either unconscious or are wandering in our dreams through different mazes of consciousness.
In like manner it would follow, even if our departed friends were near us and were in as conscious a state of existence as before the change we call death, that their state of consciousness must be different from ours. We are not in their state, nor are they in the mental realm in which we dwell. Communion between them and ourselves would be prevented by this difference. The mental states are so unlike, that intercommunion is as impossible as it would be between a mole and a human being. Different dreams and different awakenings betoken a differing consciousness. When wandering in Australia, do we look for help to the Esquimaux in their snow huts?
In a world of sin and sensuality hastening to a greater development of power, it is wise earnestly to
consider whether it is the human mind or the divine Mind which is influencing one. What the prophets of Jehovah did, the worshippers of Baal failed to do; yet artifice and delusion claimed that they could equal the work of wisdom.
Science only can explain the incredible good and evil elements now coming to the surface. Mortals must find refuge in Truth in order to escape the error of these latter days. Nothing is more antagonistic to Christian Science than a blind belief without understanding, for such a belief hides Truth and builds on error.
Miracles are impossible in Science, and here Science takes issue with popular religions. The scientific manifestation of power is from the divine nature and is not supernatural, since Science is an explication of nature. The belief that the universe, including man, is governed in general by material laws, but that occasionally Spirit sets aside these laws, — this belief belittles omnipotent wisdom, and gives to matter the precedence over Spirit.
It is contrary to Christian Science to suppose that life is either material or organically spiritual. Between Christian Science and all forms of superstition a great gulf is fixed, as impassable as that between Dives and Lazarus. There is mortal mind-reading and immortal Mind-reading. The latter is a revelation of divine purpose through spiritual understanding, by which man gains the divine Principle and explanation of all things. Mortal mind-reading and immortal Mind-reading are distinctly opposite standpoints, from which cause and effect are interpreted. The act of reading mortal mind investigates and touches only human beliefs.
Science is immortal and coordinate neither with the premises nor with the conclusions of mortal beliefs.
The ancient prophets gained their foresight from a spiritual, incorporeal standpoint, not by foreshadowing evil and mistaking fact for fiction, — predicting the future from a groundwork of corporeality and human belief. When sufficiently advanced in Science to be in harmony with the truth of being, men become seers and prophets involuntarily, controlled not by demons, spirits, or demigods, but by the one Spirit. It is the prerogative of the ever-present, divine Mind, and of thought which is in rapport with this Mind, to know the past, the present, and the future.
Acquaintance with the Science of being enables us to commune more largely with the divine Mind, to foresee and foretell events which concern the universal welfare, to be divinely inspired, — yea, to reach the range of fetterless Mind.
The Mind unbounded
To understand that Mind is infinite, not bounded by corporeality, not dependent upon the ear and eye for sound or sight nor upon muscles and bones for locomotion, is a step towards the Mind-science by which we discern man’s nature and existence. This true conception of being destroys the belief of spiritualism at its very inception, for without the concession of material personalities called spirits, spiritualism has no basis upon which to build.
All we correctly know of Spirit comes from God, divine Principle, and is learned through Christ and Christian Science. If this Science has been thoroughly learned and properly digested, we can know the truth more accurately than the astronomer can read
the stars or calculate an eclipse. This Mind-reading is the opposite of clairvoyance. It is the illumination of the spiritual understanding which demonstrates the capacity of Soul, not of material sense. This Soul-sense comes to the human mind when the latter yields to the divine Mind.
Value of intuition
Such intuitions reveal whatever constitutes and perpetuates harmony, enabling one to do good, but not evil. You will reach the perfect Science of healing when you are able to read the human mind after this manner and discern the error you would destroy. The Samaritan woman said: “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”
It is recorded that Jesus, as he once journeyed with his students, “knew their thoughts,” — read them scientifically. In like manner he discerned disease and healed the sick. After the same method, events of great moment were foretold by the Hebrew prophets. Our Master rebuked the lack of this power when he said: “O ye hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
Both Jew and Gentile may have had acute corporeal senses, but mortals need spiritual sense. Jesus knew the generation to be wicked and adulterous, seeking the material more than the spiritual. His thrusts at materialism were sharp, but needed. He never spared hypocrisy the sternest condemnation.. He said: “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The great Teacher knew both cause and effect, knew that truth communicates itself but never imparts error.
Jesus once asked, “Who touched me?” Supposing this inquiry to be occasioned by physical contact alone, his disciples answered, “The multitude throng thee.” Jesus knew, as others did not, that it was not matter, but mortal mind, whose touch called for aid. Repeating his inquiry, he was answered by the faith of a sick woman. His quick apprehension of this mental call illustrated his spirituality. The disciples’ misconception of it uncovered their materiality. Jesus possessed more spiritual susceptibility than the disciples. Opposites come from contrary directions, and produce unlike results.
Images of thought
Mortals evolve images of thought. These may appear to the ignorant to be apparitions; but they are mysterious only because it is unusual to see thoughts, though we can always feel their influence. Haunted houses, ghostly voices, unusual noises, and apparitions brought out in dark seances either involve feats by tricksters, or they are images and sounds evolved involuntarily by mortal mind. Seeing is no less a quality of physical sense than feeling. Then why is it more difficult to see a thought than to feel one? Education alone determines the difference. In reality there is none.
Portraits, landscape-paintings, fac-similes of penmanship, peculiarities of expression, recollected sentences, can all be taken from pictorial thought and memory as readily as from objects cognizable by the senses. Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees. It feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts. Pictures are mentally formed before the artist can convey them to canvas. So is it
with all material conceptions. Mind-readers perceive these pictures of thought. They copy or reproduce them, even when they are lost to the memory of the mind in which they are discoverable.
It is needless for the thought or for the person holding the transferred picture to be individually and consciously present. Though individuals have passed away, their mental environment remains to be discerned, described, and transmitted. Though bodies are leagues apart and their associations forgotten, their associations float in the general atmosphere of human mind.
The Scotch call such vision “second sight”, when really it is first sight instead of second, for it presents primal facts to mortal mind. Science enables one to read the human mind, but not as a clairvoyant. It enables one to heal through Mind, but not as a mesmerist.
The mine knows naught of the emeralds within its rocks; the sea is ignorant of the gems within its caverns, of the corals, of its sharp reefs, of the tall ships that float on its bosom, or of the bodies which lie buried in its sands: yet these are all there. Do not suppose that any mental concept is gone because you do not think of it. The true concept is never lost. The strong impressions produced on mortal mind by friendship or by any intense feeling are lasting, and mind-readers can perceive and reproduce these impressions.
Memory may reproduce voices long ago silent. We have but to close the eyes, and forms rise before us, which are thousands of miles away or altogether gone from physical sight and sense, and
this not in dreamy sleep. In our day-dreams we can recall that for which the poet Tennyson expressed the heart’s desire, –
the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still.
The mind may even be cognizant of a present flavor and odor, when no viand touches the palate and no scent salutes the nostrils.
Illusions not ideas
How are veritable ideas to be distinguished from illusions? By learning the origin of each. Ideas are emanations from the divine Mind. Thoughts, proceeding from the brain or from matter, are offshoots of mortal mind; they are mortal material beliefs. Ideas are spiritual, harmonious, and eternal. Beliefs proceed from the so-called material senses, which at one time are supposed to be substance-matter and at another are called spirits.
To love one’s neighbor as one’s self, is a divine idea; but this idea can never be seen, felt, nor understood through the physical senses. Excite the organ of veneration or religious faith, and the individual manifests profound adoration. Excite the opposite development, and he blasphemes. These effects, however, do not proceed from Christianity, nor are they spiritual phenomena, for both arise from mortal belief.
Trance speaking illusion
Eloquence re-echoes the strains of Truth and Love. It is due to inspiration rather than to erudition. It shows the possibilities derived from divine Mind, though it is said to be a gift whose endowment is obtained from books or received from the impulsion of departed spirits. When eloquence proceeds from the belief that a departed spirit is speaking, who
can tell what the unaided medium is incapable of knowing or uttering? This phenomenon only shows that the beliefs of mortal mind are loosed. Forgetting her ignorance in the belief that another mind is speaking through her, the devotee may become unwontedly eloquent. Having more faith in others than in herself, and believing that somebody else possesses her tongue and mind, she talks freely.
Destroy her belief in outside aid, and her eloquence disappears. The former limits of her belief return. She says, ” I am incapable of words that glow, for I am uneducated.” This familiar instance reaffirms the Scriptural word concerning a man, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If one believes that he cannot be an orator without study or a superinduced condition, the body responds to this belief, and the tongue grows mute which before was eloquent.
Mind is not necessarily dependent upon educational processes. It possesses of itself all beauty and poetry, and the power of expressing them. Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent. We are all capable of more than we do. The influence or action of Soul confers a freedom, which explains the phenomena of improvisation and the fervor of untutored lips.
Matter is neither intelligent nor creative. The tree is not the author of itself. Sound is not the originator of music, and man is not the father of man. Cain very naturally concluded that if life was in the body, and man gave it, man had the right to take it away. This incident shows that the belief of life in matter was “a murderer from the beginning.”
If seed is necessary to produce wheat, and wheat to
produce flour, or if one animal can originate another, how then can we account for their primal origin? How were the loaves and fishes multiplied on the shores of Galilee, — and that, too, without meal or monad from which loaf or fish could come?
Mind is substance
The earth’s orbit and the imaginary line called the equator are not substance. The earth’s motion and position are sustained by Mind alone. Divest yourself of the thought that there can be substance in matter, and the movements and transitions now possible for mortal mind will be found to be equally possible for the body. Then being will be recognized as spiritual, and death will be obsolete, though now some insist that death is the necessary prelude to immortality.
In dreams we fly to Europe and meet a far-off friend. The looker-on sees the body in bed, but the supposed inhabitant of that body carries it through the air and over the ocean. This shows the possibilities of thought. Opium and hashish eaters mentally travel far and work wonders, yet their bodies stay in one place. This shows what mortal mentality and knowledge are.
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 towards immortality. The understanding and recognition of Spirit must finally come, and we may as well improve our time in solving the mysteries of being through an apprehension of divine Principle. At present we know not what man is, but we certainly shall know this when man reflects God.
The Revelator tells us of “a new heaven and a new earth.” Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom?
Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth.
Man’s genuine being
It is difficult for the sinner to accept divine Science, because Science exposes his nothingness; but the sooner error is reduced to its native nothingness, the sooner man’s great reality will appear and his genuine being will be understood. The destruction of error is by no means the destruction of Truth or Life, but is the acknowledgment of them.
Absorbed in material selfhood we discern and reflect but faintly the substance of Life or Mind. The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man’s spiritual and eternal individuality, and destroys the erroneous knowledge gained from matter or through what are termed the material senses.
Certain erroneous postulates should be here considered in order that the spiritual facts may be better apprehended.
The first erroneous postulate of belief is, that substance, life, and intelligence are something apart from God. The second erroneous postulate is, that man is both mental and material.
The third erroneous postulate is, that mind is both evil and good; whereas the real Mind cannot be evil nor the medium of evil, for Mind is God.
The fourth erroneous postulate is, that matter is in-
telligent, and that man has a material body which is part of himself.
The fifth erroneous postulate is, that matter holds in itself the issues of life and death, — that matter is not only capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, but also capable of imparting these sensations. From the illusion implied in this last postulate arises the decomposition of mortal bodies in what is termed death. Mind is not an entity within the cranium with the power of sinning now and forever.
Knowledge of good and evil
In old Scriptural pictures we see a serpent coiled around the tree of knowledge and speaking to Adam and Eve. This represents the serpent in the act of commending to our first parents the knowledge of good and evil, a knowledge gained from matter, or evil, instead of from Spirit. The portrayal is still graphically accurate, for the common conception of mortal man — a burlesque of God’s man — is an outgrowth of human knowledge or sensuality, a mere offshoot of material sense.
Uncover error, and it turns the lie upon you. Until the fact concerning error — namely, its nothingness appears, the moral demand will not be met, and the ability to make nothing of error will be wanting. We should blush to call that real which is only a mistake. The foundation of evil is laid on a belief in something besides God. This belief tends to support two opposite powers, instead of urging the claims of Truth alone. The mistake of thinking that error can be real, when it is merely the absence of truth, leads to belief in the superiority of error.
The age’s privilege
Do you say the time has not yet come in which to
recognize Soul as substantial and able to control the body? Remember Jesus, who nearly nineteen centuries ago demonstrated the power of Spirit and said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also,” and who also said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,” said Paul.
Logic and revelation
Divine logic and revelation coincide. If we believe otherwise, we may be sure that either our logic is at fault or that we have misinterpreted revelation. Good never causes evil, nor creates aught that can cause evil.
Good does not create a mind susceptible of causing evil, for evil is the opposing error and not the truth of creation. Destructive electricity is not the offspring of infinite good. Whatever contradicts the real nature of the divine Esse, though human faith may clothe it with angelic vestments, is without foundation.
Derivatives of spirit
The belief that Spirit is finite as well as infinite has darkened all history. In Christian Science, Spirit, as a proper noun, is the name of the Supreme Being. It means quantity and quality, and applies exclusively to God. The modifying derivatives of the word spirit refer only to quality, not to God. Man is spiritual. He is not God, Spirit. If man were Spirit, then men would be spirits, gods. Finite spirit would be mortal, and this is the error embodied in the belief that the infinite can be contained in the finite. This belief tends to becloud our apprehension of the kingdom of heaven and of the reign of harmony in the Science of being.
Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself, — of Spirit, not of matter. Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love. The nature of man, thus understood, includes all that is implied by the terms “image” and “likeness” as used in Scripture. The truly Christian and scientific statement of personality and of the relation of man to God, with the demonstration which accompanied it, incensed the rabbis, and they said: “Crucify him, crucify him . . . by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
The eastern empires and nations owe their false government to the misconceptions of Deity there prevalent. Tyranny, intolerance, and bloodshed, wherever found, arise from the belief that the infinite is formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion, and impulse.
Ingratitude and denial
The progress of truth confirms its claims, and our Master confirmed his words by his works. His healingpower evoked denial, ingratitude, and betrayal, arising from sensuality. Of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, but one returned to give God thanks, — that is, to acknowledge the divine Principle which had healed him.
Our Master easily read the thoughts of mankind, and this insight better enabled him to direct those thoughts aright; but what would be said at this period of an infidel blasphemer who should hint that Jesus used his incisive power injuriously? Our Master read mortal mind on a scientific basis, that of the omnipresence of Mind. An approximation of this discernment indicates spiritual growth and union with the infinite capacities of the one Mind. Jesus could injure no one by his Mind-reading.
The effect of his Mind was always to heal and to save, and this is the only genuine Science of reading mortal mind. His holy motives and aims were traduced by the sinners of that period, as they would be to-day if Jesus were personally present. Paul said, “To be spiritually minded is life.” We approach God, or Life, in proportion to our spirituality, our fidelity to Truth and Love; and in that ratio we know all human need and are able to discern the thought of the sick and the sinning for the purpose of healing them. Error of any kind cannot hide from the law of God.
Whoever reaches this point of moral culture and goodness cannot injure others, and must do them good. The greater or lesser ability of a Christian Scientist to discern thought scientifically, depends upon his genuine spirituality. This kind of mind-reading is not clairvoyance, but it is important to success in healing, and is one of the special characteristics thereof.
We welcome the increase of knowledge and the end of error, because even human invention must have its day, and we want that day to be succeeded by Christian Science, by divine reality. Midnight foretells the dawn. Led by a solitary star amid the darkness, the Magi of old foretold the Messiahship of Truth. Is the wise man of to-day believed, when he beholds the light which heralds Christ’s eternal dawn and describes its effulgence?
Lulled by stupefying illusions, the world is asleep in the cradle of infancy, dreaming away the hours. Material sense does not unfold the facts of existence; but spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth. Humanity advances
slowly out of sinning sense into spiritual understanding; unwillingness to learn all things rightly, binds Christendom with chains.
The darkest hours of all
Love will finally mark the hour of harmony, and spiritualization will follow, for Love is Spirit. Before error is wholly destroyed, there will be interruptions of the general material routine. Earth will become dreary and desolate, but summer and winter, seedtime and harvest (though in changed forms), will continue unto the end, — until the final spiritualization of all things. “The darkest hour precedes the dawn.”
Arena of contest
This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace. The breaking up of material beliefs may seem to be famine and pestilence, want and woe, sin, sickness, and death, which assume new phases until their nothingness appears. These disturbances will continue until the end of error, when all discord will be swallowed up in spiritual Truth. Mortal error will vanish in a moral chemicalization. This mental fermentation has begun, and will continue until all errors of belief yield to understanding. Belief is changeable, but spiritual understanding is changeless.
As this consummation draws nearer, he who has shaped his course in accordance with divine Science will endure to the end. As material knowledge diminishes and spiritual understanding increases, real objects will be apprehended mentally instead of materially.
During this final conflict, wicked minds will endeavor to find means by which to accomplish more evil; but
those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check. They will aid in the ejection of error. They will maintain law and order, and cheerfully await the certainty of ultimate perfection.
In reality, the more closely error simulates truth and so-called matter resembles its essence, mortal mind, the more impotent error becomes as a belief. According to human belief, the lightning is fierce and the electric current swift, yet in Christian Science the flight of one and the blow of the other will become harmless. The more destructive matter becomes, the more its nothingness will appear, until matter reaches its mortal zenith in illusion and forever disappears. The nearer a false belief approaches truth without passing the boundary where, having been destroyed by divine Love, it ceases to be even an illusion, the riper it becomes for destruction. The more material the belief, the more obvious its error, until divine Spirit, supreme in its domain, dominates all matter, and man is found in the likeness of Spirit, his original being.
The broadest facts array the most falsities against themselves, for they bring error from under cover. It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion.
“He uttered His voice, the earth melted.” This Scripture indicates that all matter will disappear before the supremacy of Spirit.
Christianity still rejected
Christianity is again demonstrating the Life that is Truth, and the Truth that is Life, by the apostolic work of casting out error and healing the sick. Earth has no repayment for the persecutions which
attend a new step in Christianity; but the spiritual recompense of the persecuted is assured in the elevation of existence above mortal discord and in the gift of divine Love.
The prophet of to-day beholds in the mental horizon the signs of these times, the reappearance of the Christianity which heals the sick and destroys error, and no other sign shall be given. Body cannot be saved except through Mind. The Science of Christianity is misinterpreted by a material age, for it is the healing influence of Spirit (not spirits) which the material senses cannot comprehend, — which can only be spiritually discerned. Creeds, doctrines, and human hypotheses do not express Christian Science; much less can they demonstrate it.
Revelation of Science
Beyond the frail premises of human beliefs, above the loosening grasp of creeds, the demonstration of Christian Mind-healing stands a revealed and practical Science. It is imperious throughout all ages as Christ’s revelation of Truth, of Life, and of Love, which remains inviolate for every man to understand and to practise.
Science as foreign to all religion
For centuries — yea, always — natural science has not been considered a part of any religion, Christianity not excepted. Even now multitudes consider that which they call science has no proper connection with faith and piety. Mystery does not enshroud Christ’s teachings, and they are not theoretical and fragmentary, but practical and complete; and being practical and complete, they are not deprived of their essential vitality.
Key to the kingdom
The way through which immortality and life are learned is not ecclesiastical but Christian, not human but divine,
not physical but metaphysical, not material but scientifically spiritual. Human philosophy, ethics, and superstition afford no demonstrable divine Principle by which mortals can escape from sin; yet to escape from sin, is what the Bible demands. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” says the apostle, and he straightway adds: “for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians ii. 12, 13). Truth has furnished the key to the kingdom, and with this key Christian Science has opened the door of the human understanding. None may pick the lock nor enter by some other door. The ordinary teachings are material and not spiritual. Christian Science teaches only that which is spiritual and divine, and not human. Christian Science is unerring and Divine; the human sense of things errs because it is human.
Those individuals, who adopt theosophy, spiritualism, or hypnotism, may possess natures above some others who eschew their false beliefs. Therefore my contest is not with the individual, but with the false system. I love mankind, and shall continue to labor and to endure.
The calm, strong currents of true spirituality, the manifestations of which are health, purity, and selfimmolation, must deepen human experience, until the beliefs of material existence are seen to be a bald imposition, and sin, disease, and death give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration of divine Spirit and to God’s spiritual, perfect man.