Christian Science versus Pantheism/Message to The Mother Church, June, 1900
MESSAGE FOR 1900
MY beloved brethren, methinks even I am touched with the tone of your happy hearts, and can see your glad faces, aglow with gratitude, chinked within the storied walls of The Mother Church. If, indeed, we may be absent from the body and present with the ever-present Love filling all space, time, and immortality — then I am with thee, heart answering to heart, and mine to thine in the glow of divine reflection.
I am grateful to say that in the first year of the twentieth century this first church of our denomination, chartered in 1879, is found crowned with unprecedented prosperity; a membership of over sixteen thousand communicants in unity, with rapidly increasing numbers, rich spiritual attainments, and right convictions fast forming themselves into conduct.
Christian Science already has a hearing and following in the five grand divisions of the globe; in Australia, the Philippine Islands, Hawaiian Islands; and in most of the principal cities, such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Charleston, S. C., Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Montreal, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Pekin. Judging from the number of the readers of my books and those interested in them, over a million of people are already interested in Christian Science; and this interest increases. Churches of this denomination are springing up in the above-named cities, and, thanks to God, the people most interested in this old-new theme of redeeming Love are among the best people on earth and in heaven.
The song of Christian Science is, “Work — work — work — watch and pray.” The close observer reports three types of human nature — the right thinker and worker, the idler, and the intermediate.
The right thinker works; he gives little time to society manners or matters, and benefits society by his example and usefulness. He takes no time for amusement, ease, frivolity; he earns his money and gives it wisely to the world.
The wicked idler earns little and is stingy; he has plenty of means, but he uses them evilly. Ask how he gets his money, and his satanic majesty is supposed to answer smilingly: “By cheating, lying, and crime; his dupes are his capital; his stock in trade, the wages of sin; your idlers are my busiest workers; they will leave a lucrative business to work for me.” Here we add: The doom of such workers will come, and it will be more sudden, severe, and lasting than the adversary can hope.
The intermediate worker works at times. He says: “It is my duty to take some time for myself; however, I believe in working when it is convenient.” Well, all that is good. But what of the fruits of your labors? And he answers: “I am not so successful as I could wish, but I work hard enough to be so.”
Now, what saith Christian Science? “When a man is right, his thoughts are right, active, and they are fruitful;he loses self in love, and cannot hear himself, unless he loses the chord. The right thinker and worker does his best, and does the thinking for the ages. No hand that feels not his help, no heart his comfort. He improves moments; to him time is money, and he hoards this capital to distribute gain.”
If the right thinker and worker's servitude is duly valued, he is not thereby worshipped. One's idol is by no means his servant, but his master. And they who love a good work or good workers are themselves workers who appreciate a life, and labor to awake the slumbering capability of man. And what the best thinker and worker has said and done, they are not far from saying and doing. As a rule the Adam-race are not apt to worship the pioneer of spiritual ideas, — but ofttimes to shun him as their tormentor. Only the good man loves the right thinker and worker, and cannot worship him, for that would destroy this man's goodness.
To-day it surprises us that during the period of captivity the Israelites in Babylon hesitated not to call the divine name Yahwah, afterwards transcribed Jehovah; also that women's names contained this divine appellative and so sanctioned idolatry, — other gods. In the heathen conception Yahwah, misnamed Jehovah, was a god of hate and of love, who repented himself, improved on his work of creation, and revenged himself upon his enemies. However, the animus of heathen religion was not the incentive of the devout Jew — but has it not tainted the religious sects? This seedling misnomer couples love and hate, good and evil, health and sickness, life and death, with man — makes His opposites as real and normal as the one God, and so unwittingly consents to many minds and many gods. This precedent that would commingle Christianity, the gospel of the New Testament and the teaching of the righteous Galilean, Christ Jesus, with the Babylonian and Neoplatonic religion, is being purged by a purer Judaism and nearer approach to monotheism and the perfect worship of one God.
To-day people are surprised at the new and forward steps in religion, which indicate a renaissance greater than in the mediæval period; but ought not this to be an agreeable surprise, inasmuch as these are progressive signs of the times?
It should seem rational that the only perfect religion is divine Science, Christianity as taught by our great Master; that which leaves the beaten path of human doctrines and is the truth of God, and of man and the universe. The divine Principle and rules of this Christianity being demonstrable, they are undeniable; and they must be found final, absolute, and eternal. The question as to religion is: Does it demonstrate its doctrines? Do religionists believe that God is One and All? Then whatever is real must proceed from God, from Mind, and is His reflection and Science. Man and the universe coexist with God in Science, and they reflect God and nothing else. In divine Science, divine Love includes and reflects all that really is, all personality and individuality. St. Paul beautifully enunciates this fundamental fact of Deity as the “Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” This scientific statement of the origin, nature, and government of all things coincides with the First Commandment of the Decalogue, and leaves no opportunity for idolatry or aught besides God, good. It gives evil no origin, no reality. Here note the words of our Master corroborating this as self-evident. Jesus said the opposite of God — good — named devil — evil — “is a liar, and the father of it” — that is, its origin is a myth, a lie.
Applied to Deity, Father and Mother are synonymous terms; they signify one God. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost mean God, man, and divine Science. God is self-existent, the essence and source of the two latter, and their office is that of eternal, infinite individuality. I see no other way under heaven and among men whereby to have one God, and man in His image and likeness, loving another as himself. This being the divine Science of divine Love, it would enable man to escape from idolatry of every kind, to obey the First Commandment of the Decalogue: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me;” and the command of Christ: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” On this rock Christian Science is built. It may be the rock which the builders reject for a season; but it is the Science of God and His universe, and it will become the head of the corner, the foundation of all systems of religion.
The spiritual sense of the Scriptures understood enables one to utilize the power of divine Love in casting out God's opposites, called evils, and in healing the sick. Not madness, but might and majesty attend every footstep of Christian Science. There is no imperfection, no lack in the Principle and rules which demonstrate it. Only the demonstrator can mistake or fail in proving its power and divinity. In the words of St. Paul: “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” — in the true idea of God. Any mystery in Christian Science departs when dawns the spiritual meaning thereof; and the spiritual sense of the Scriptures is the scientific sense which interprets the healing Christ. A child can measurably understand Christian Science, for, through his simple faith and purity, he takes in its spiritual sense that puzzles the man. The child not only accepts Christian Science more readily than the adult, but he practises it. This notable fact proves that the so-called fog of this Science obtains not in the Science, but in the material sense which the adult entertains of it. However, to a man who uses tobacco, is profane, licentious, and breaks God's commandments, that which destroys his false appetites and lifts him from the stubborn thrall of sin to a meek and loving disciple of Christ, clothed and in his right mind, is not darkness but light.
Again, that Christian Science is the Science of God is proven when, in the degree that you accept it, understand and practise it, you are made better physically, morally, and spiritually. Some modern exegesis on the prophetic Scriptures cites 1875 as the year of the second coming of Christ. In that year the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” was first published. From that year the United States official statistics show the annual death-rate to have gradually diminished. Likewise the religious sentiment has increased; creeds and dogmas have been sifted, and a greater love of the Scriptures manifested. In 1895 it was estimated that during the past three years there had been more Bibles sold than in all the other 1893 years. Many of our best and most scholarly men and women, distinguished members of the bar and bench, press and pulpit, and those in all the walks of life, will tell you they never loved the Bible and appreciated its worth as they did after reading “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” This is my great reward for having suffered, lived, and learned, in a small degree, the Science of perfectibility through Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Is there more than one Christ, and hath Christ a second appearing? There is but one Christ. And from everlasting to everlasting this Christ is never absent. In doubt and darkness we say as did Mary of old: “I know not where they have laid him.” But when we behold the Christ walking the wave of earth's troubled sea, like Peter we believe in the second coming, and would walk more closely with Christ; but find ourselves so far from the embodiment of Truth that ofttimes this attempt measurably fails, and we cry, “Save, or I perish!” Then the tender, loving Christ is found near, affords help, and we are saved from our fears. Thus it is we walk here below, and wait for the full appearing of Christ till the long night is past and the morning dawns on eternal day. Then, if sin and flesh are put off, we shall know and behold more nearly the embodied Christ, and with saints and angels shall be satisfied to go on till we awake in his likeness.
The good man imparts knowingly and unknowingly goodness; but the evil man also exhales consciously and unconsciously his evil nature — hence, be careful of your company. As in the floral kingdom odors emit characteristics of tree and flower, a perfume or a poison, so the human character comes forth a blessing or a bane upon individuals and society. A wicked man has little real intelligence; he may steal other people's good thoughts, and wear the purloined garment as his own, till God's discipline takes it off for his poverty to appear.
Our Master saith to his followers: “Bring forth things new and old.” In this struggle remember that sensitiveness is sometimes selfishness, and that mental idleness or apathy is always egotism and animality. Usefulness is doing rightly by yourself and others. We lose a percentage due to our activity when doing the work that belongs to another. When a man begins to quarrel with himself he stops quarrelling with others. We must exterminate self before we can successfully war with mankind. Then, at last, the right will boil over the brim of life and the fire that purifies sense with Soul will be extinguished. It is not Science for the wicked to wallow or the good to weep.
Learn to obey; but learn first what obedience is. When God speaks to you through one of His little ones, and you obey the mandate but retain a desire to follow your own inclinations, that is not obedience. I sometimes advise students not to do certain things which I know it were best not to do, and they comply with my counsel; but, watching them, I discern that this obedience is contrary to their inclination. Then I sometimes withdraw that advice and say: “You may do it if you desire.” But I say this not because it is the best thing to do, but because the student is not willing — therefore, not ready — to obey.
The secret of Christian Science in right thinking and acting is open to mankind, but few, comparatively, see it; or, seeing it, shut their eyes and wait for a more convenient season; or as of old cry out: “Why art thou come hither to torment me before the time?”
Strong desires bias human judgment and misguide action, else they uplift them. But the reformer continues his lightning, thunder, and sunshine till the mental atmosphere is clear. The reformer must be a hero at all points, and he must have conquered himself before he can conquer others. Sincerity is more successful than genius or talent.
The twentieth century in the ebb and flow of thought will challenge the thinkers, speakers, and workers to do their best. Whosoever attempts to ostracize Christian Science will signally fail; for no one can fight against God, and win.
My loyal students will tell you that for many years I have desired to step aside and to have some one take my place as leader of this mighty movement. Also that I strove earnestly to fit others for this great responsibility. But no one else has seemed equal to “bear the burden and heat of the day.”
Success in sin is downright defeat. Hatred bites the heel of love that is treading on its head. All that worketh good is some manifestation of God asserting and developing good. Evil is illusion, that after a fight vanisheth with the new birth of the greatest and best. Conflict and persecution are the truest signs that can be given of the greatness of a cause or of an individual, provided this warfare is honest and a world-imposed struggle. Such conflict never ends till unconquerable right is begun anew, and hath gained fresh energy and final victory.
Certain elements in human nature would undermine the civic, social, and religious rights and laws of nations I will and peoples, striking at liberty, human rights, and self-government — and this, too, in the name of God, justice, and humanity! These elements assail even the new-old doctrines of the prophets and of Jesus and his disciples. History shows that error repeats itself until it is exterminated. Surely the wisdom of our forefathers is not added but subtracted from whatever sways the sceptre of self and pelf over individuals, weak provinces, or peoples. Here our hope anchors in God who reigns, and justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne forever.
Only last week I received a touching token of unselfed manhood from a person I never saw. But since publishing this page I have learned it was a private soldier who sent to me, in the name of a first lieutenant of the United States infantry in the Philippine Islands, ten five-dollar gold pieces snuggled in Pears' soap. Surely it is enough for a soldier serving his country in that torrid zone to part with his soap, but to send me some of his hard-earned money cost me a tear! Yes, and it gave me more pleasure than millions of money could have given.
Beloved brethren, have no discord over music. Hold in yourselves the true sense of harmony, and this sense will harmonize, unify, and unself you. Once I was passionately fond of material music, but jarring elements among musicians weaned me from this love and wedded me to spiritual music, the music of Soul. Thus it is with whatever turns mortals away from earth to heaven; we have the promise that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” — love good. The human sigh for peace and love is answered and compensated by divine love. Music is more than sound in unison. The deaf Beethoven besieges you with tones intricate, profound, commanding. Mozart rests you. To me his composition is the triumph of art, for he measures himself against deeper grief. I want not only quality, quantity, and variation in tone, but the unction of Love. Music is divine. Mind, not matter, makes music; and if the divine tone be lacking, the human tone has no melody for me. Adelaide A. Proctor breathes my thought:—
It flooded the crimson twilight
Like the close of an angel's psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.
In Revelation St. John refers to what “the Spirit saith unto the churches.” His allegories are the highest criticism on all human action, type, and system. His symbolic ethics bravely rebuke lawlessness. His types of purity pierce corruption beyond the power of the pen. They are bursting paraphrases projected from divinity upon humanity, the spiritual import whereof “holdeth the seven stars in His right hand and walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” — the radiance of glorified Being.
In Revelation, second chapter, his messages to the churches commence with the church of Ephesus. History records Ephesus as an illustrious city, the capital of Asia Minor. It especially flourished as an emporium in the time of the Roman Emperor Augustus. St. Paul's life furnished items concerning this city. Corresponding to its roads, its gates, whence the Ephesian elders travelled to meet St. Paul, led northward and southward. At the head of the harbor was the temple of Diana, the tutelary divinity of Ephesus. The earlier temple was burned on the night that Alexander the Great was born. Magical arts prevailed at Ephesus; hence the Revelator's saying: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love . . . and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” This prophecy has been fulfilled. Under the influence of St. Paul's preaching the magical books in that city were publicly burned. It were well if we had a St. Paul to purge our cities of charlatanism. During St. Paul's stay in that city — over two years — he labored in the synagogue, in the school of Tyrannus, and also in private houses. The entire city is now in ruins.
The Revelation of St. John in the apostolic age is symbolic, rather than personal or historical. It refers to the Hebrew Balaam as the devourer of the people. Nicolaitan church presents the phase of a great controversy, ready to destroy the unity and the purity of the church. It is said “a controversy was inevitable when the Gentiles entered the church of Christ” in that city. The Revelator commends the church at Ephesus by saying: “Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” It is written of this church that their words were brave and their deeds evil. The orgies of their idolatrous feasts and their impurities were part of a system supported by their doctrine and their so-called prophetic illumination. Their distinctive feature the apostle justly regards as heathen, and so he denounces the Nicolaitan church.
Alexander the Great founded the city of Smyrna, and after a series of wars it was taken and sacked. The Revelator writes of this church of Smyrna: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” A glad promise to such as wait and weep.
The city of Pergamos was devoted to a sensual worship. There Æsculapius, the god of medicine, acquired fame; and a serpent was the emblem of Æsculapius. Its medical practice included charms and incantations. The Revelator refers to the church in this city as dwelling “where Satan's seat is.” The Pergamene church consisted of the school of Balaam and Æsculapius, idolatry and medicine.
The principal deity in the city of Thyatira was Apollo. Smith writes: “In this city the amalgamation of different pagan religions seems not to have been wholly discountenanced by the authorities of the Judæo-Christian church.”
The Revelator speaks of the angel of the church in Philadelphia as being bidden to write the approval of this church by our Master — he saith: “Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan . . . to know that I have loved thee. . . . Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
He goes on to portray seven churches, the full number of days named in the creation, which signifies a complete time or number of whatever is spoken of in the Scriptures.
Beloved, let him that hath an ear (that discerneth spiritually) hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; and seek thou the divine import of the Revelator's vision — and no other. Note his inspired rebuke to all the churches except the church in Philadelphia — the name whereof signifies “brotherly love.” I call your attention to this to remind you of the joy you have had in following the more perfect way, or Golden Rule: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye.” Let no root of bitterness spring up among you, but hold in your full hearts fervently the charity that seeketh not only her own, but another's good. The angel that spake unto the churches cites Jesus as “he that hath the key of David; that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth;” in other words, he that toiled for the spiritually indispensable.
At all times respect the character and philanthropy of the better class of M.D.'s — and if you are stoned from the pulpit, say in your heart as the devout St. Stephen said: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
When invited to a feast you naturally ask who are to be the guests. And being told they are distinguished individuals, you prepare accordingly for the festivity. Putting aside the old garment, you purchase, at whatever price, a new one that is up to date. To-day you have come to a sumptuous feast, to one that for many years has been awaiting you. The guests are distinguished above human title and this feast is a Passover. To sit at this table of their Lord and partake of what divine Love hath prepared for them, Christian Scientists start forward with true ambition. The Passover, spiritually discerned, is a wonderful passage over a tear-filled sea of repentance — which of all human experience is the most divine; and after this Passover cometh victory, faith, and good works.
When a supercilious consciousness that saith “there is no sin,” has awakened to see through sin's disguise the claim of sin, and thence to see that sin has no claim, it yields to sharp conviction — it sits in sackcloth — it waits in the desert — and fasts in the wilderness. But all this time divine Love has been preparing a feast for this awakened consciousness. To-day you have come to Love's feast, and you kneel at its altar. May you have on a wedding garment new and old, and the touch of the hem of this garment heal the sick and the sinner!
In the words of St. John, may the angel of The Mother Church write of this church: “Thou hast not left thy first love, I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.”
Watch! till the storms are o'er —
The cold blasts done,
The reign of heaven begun,
And love, the evermore.
THE MOTHER CHURCH
MARY BAKER G. EDDY
PASTOR EMERITUS AND AUTHOR OF SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES
Published by Allison V. Stewart
Falmouth and St. Paul Streets
By Mary Baker G. Eddy
All rights reserved
THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.