THE ancient Greek looked longingly for the Olympiad. The Chaldee watched the appearing of a star; to him, no higher destiny dawned on the dome of being than that foreshadowed by signs in the heavens.The meek Nazarene, the scoffed of all scoffers, said, “Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” — for he forefelt and foresaw the ordeal of a perfect Christianity, hated by sinners.
To kindle all minds with a gleam of gratitude, the new idea that comes welling up from infinite Truth needs to be understood. The seer of this age should be a sage.
Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity. The mounting sense gathers fresh forms and strange fire from the ashes of dissolving self, and drops the world. Meekness heightens immortal attributes only by removing the dust that dims them. Goodness reveals another scene and another self seemingly rolled up in shades, but brought to light by the evolutions of advancing thought, whereby we discern the power of Truth and Love to heal the sick.
Pride is ignorance; those assume most who have the least wisdom or experience; and they steal from their neighbor, because they have so little of their own.
The signs of these times portend a long and strong determination of mankind to cleave to the world, the flesh, and evil, causing great obscuration of Spirit. When we remember that God is just, and admit the total depravity of mortals, alias mortal mind, — and that this Adam legacy must first be seen, and then must be subdued and recompensed by justice, the eternal attribute of Truth, — the outlook demands labor, and the laborers seem few. To-day we behold but the first faint view of a more spiritual Christianity, that embraces a deeper and broader philosophy and a more rational and divine healing. The time approaches when divine Life, Truth, and Love will be found alone the remedy for sin, sickness, and death; when God, man's saving Principle, and Christ, the spiritual idea of God, will be revealed.
Man's probation after death is the necessity of his immortality; for good dies not and evil is self-destructive, therefore evil must be mortal and self-destroyed. If man should not progress after death, but should remain in error, he would be inevitably self-annihilated. Those upon whom “the second death hath no power” are those who progress here and hereafter out of evil, their mortal element, and into good that is immortal; thus laying off the material beliefs that war against Spirit, and putting on the spiritual elements in divine Science.
While we entertain decided views as to the best method for elevating the race physically, morally, and spiritually, and shall express these views as duty demands, we shall claim no especial gift from our divine origin, no supernatural power. If we regard good as more natural than evil, and spiritual understanding — the true knowledge of God — as imparting the only power to heal the sick and the sinner, we shall demonstrate in our lives the power of Truth and Love.
The lessons we learn in divine Science are applicable to all the needs of man. Jesus taught them for this very purpose; and his demonstration hath taught us that “through his stripes” — his life-experience — and divine Science, brought to the understanding through Christ, the Spirit-revelator, is man healed and saved. No opinions of mortals nor human hypotheses enter this line of thought or action. Drugs, inert matter, never are needed to aid spiritual power. Hygiene, manipulation, and mesmerism are not Mind's medicine. The Principle of all cure is God, unerring and immortal Mind. We have learned that the erring or mortal thought holds in itself all sin, sickness, and death, and imparts these states to the body; while the supreme and perfect Mind, as seen in the truth of being, antidotes and destroys these material elements of sin and death.
Because God is supreme and omnipotent, materia medica, hygiene, and animal magnetism are impotent; and their only supposed efficacy is in apparently deluding reason, denying revelation, and dethroning Deity. The tendency of mental healing is to uplift mankind; but this method perverted, is “Satan let loose.” Hence the deep demand for the Science of psychology to meet sin, and uncover it; thus to annihilate hallucination.
Thought imbued with purity, Truth, and Love, instructed in the Science of metaphysical healing, is the most potent and desirable remedial agent on the earth. At this period there is a marked tendency of mortal mind to plant mental healing on the basis of hypnotism, calling this method “mental science.” All Science is Christian Science; the Science of the Mind that is God, and of the universe as His idea, and their relation to each other. Its only power to heal is its power to do good, not evil.
A Timely Issue
At this date, 1883, a newspaper edited and published by the Christian Scientists has become a necessity. Many questions important to be disposed of come to the College and to the practising students, yet but little time has been devoted to their answer. Further enlightenment is necessary for the age, and a periodical devoted to this work seems alone adequate to meet the requirement. Much interest is awakened and expressed on the subject of metaphysical healing, but in many minds it is confounded with isms, and even infidelity, so that its religious specialty and the vastness of its worth are not understood.
It is often said, “You must have a very strong will-power to heal,” or, “It must require a great deal of faith to make your demonstrations.” When it is answered that there is no will-power required, and that something more than faith is necessary, we meet with an expression of incredulity. It is not alone the mission of Christian Science to heal the sick, but to destroy sin in mortal thought. This work well done will elevate and purify the race. It cannot fail to do this if we devote our best energies to the work.
Science reveals man as spiritual, harmonious, and eternal. This should be understood. Our College should be crowded with students who are willing to consecrate themselves to this Christian work. Mothers should be able to produce perfect health and perfect morals in their children — and ministers, to heal the sick — by studying this scientific method of practising Christianity. Many say, “I should like to study, but have not sufficient faith that I have the power to heal.” The healing power is Truth and Love, and these do not fail in the greatest emergencies.
Materia medica says, “I can do no more. I have done all that can be done. There is nothing to build upon. There is no longer any reason for hope.” Then metaphysics comes in, armed with the power of Spirit, not matter, takes up the case hopefully and builds on the stone that the builders have rejected, and is successful.
Metaphysical therapeutics can seem a miracle and a mystery to those only who do not understand the grand reality that Mind controls the body. They acknowledge an erring or mortal mind, but believe it to be brain matter. That man is the idea of infinite Mind, always perfect in God, in Truth, Life, and Love, is something not easily accepted, weighed down as is mortal thought with material beliefs. That which never existed, can seem solid substance to this thought. It is much easier for people to believe that the body affects the mind, than that the mind affects the body.
We hear from the pulpits that sickness is sent as a discipline to bring man nearer to God, — even though sickness often leaves mortals but little time free from complaints and fretfulness, and Jesus cast out disease as evil.
The most of our Christian Science practitioners have plenty to do, and many more are needed for the advancement of the age. At present the majority of the acute cases are given to the M. D.'s, and only those cases that are pronounced incurable are passed over to the Scientist. The healing of such cases should certainly prove to all minds the power of metaphysics over physics; and it surely does, to many thinkers, as the rapid growth of the work shows. At no distant day, Christian healing will rank far in advance of allopathy and homœopathy; for Truth must ultimately succeed where error fails.
Mind governs all. That we exist in God, perfect, there is no doubt, for the conceptions of Life, Truth, and Love must be perfect; and with that basic truth we conquer sickness, sin, and death. Frequently it requires time to overcome the patient's faith in drugs and material hygiene; but when once convinced of the uselessness of such material methods, the gain is rapid.
It is a noticeable fact, that in families where laws of health are strictly enforced, great caution is observed in regard to diet, and the conversation chiefly confined to the ailments of the body, there is the most sickness. Take a large family of children where the mother has all that she can attend to in keeping them clothed and fed, and health is generally the rule; whereas, in small families of one or two children, sickness is by no means the exception. These children must not be allowed to eat certain food, nor to breathe the cold air, because there is danger in it; when they perspire, they must be loaded down with coverings until their bodies become dry, — and the mother of one child is often busier than the mother of eight.
Great charity and humility is necessary in this work of healing. The loving patience of Jesus, we must strive to emulate. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” has daily to be exemplified; and, although skepticism and incredulity prevail in places where one would least expect it, it harms not; for if serving Christ, Truth, of what can mortal opinion avail? Cast not your pearls before swine; but if you cannot bring peace to all, you can to many, if faithful laborers in His vineyard.
Looking over the newspapers of the day, one naturally reflects that it is dangerous to live, so loaded with disease seems the very air. These descriptions carry fears to many minds, to be depicted in some future time upon the body. A periodical of our own will counteract to some extent this public nuisance; for through our paper, at the price at which we shall issue it, we shall be able to reach many homes with healing, purifying thought. A great work already has been done, and a greater work yet remains to be done. Oftentimes we are denied the results of our labors because people do not understand the nature and power of metaphysics, and they think that health and strength would have returned naturally without any assistance. This is not so much from a lack of justice, as it is that the mens populi is not sufficiently enlightened on this great subject. More thought is given to material illusions than to spiritual facts. If we can aid in abating suffering and diminishing sin, we shall have accomplished much; but if we can bring to the general thought this great fact that drugs do not, cannot, produce health and harmony, since “in Him [Mind] we live, and move, and have our being,” we shall have done more.
Love Your Enemies
Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation?
Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good, — that blesses infinitely one and all?
Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect. Whatever purifies, sanctifies, and consecrates human life, is not an enemy, however much we suffer in the process. Shakespeare writes: “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Jesus said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; . . . for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
The Hebrew law with its “Thou shalt not,” its demand and sentence, can only be fulfilled through the gospel's benediction. Then, “Blessed are ye,” insomuch as the consciousness of good, grace, and peace, comes through affliction rightly understood, as sanctified by the purification it brings to the flesh, — to pride, self-ignorance, self-will, self-love, self-justification. Sweet, indeed, are these uses of His rod! Well is it that the Shepherd of Israel passes all His flock under His rod into His fold; thereby numbering them, and giving them refuge at last from the elements of earth.
“Love thine enemies” is identical with “Thou hast no enemies.” Wherein is this conclusion relative to those who have hated thee without a cause? Simply, in that those unfortunate individuals are virtually thy best friends. Primarily and ultimately, they are doing thee good far beyond the present sense which thou canst entertain of good.
Whom we call friends seem to sweeten life's cup and to fill it with the nectar of the gods. We lift this cup to our lips; but it slips from our grasp, to fall in fragments before our eyes. Perchance, having tasted its tempting wine, we become intoxicated; become lethargic, dreamy objects of self-satisfaction; else, the contents of this cup of selfish human enjoyment having lost its flavor, we voluntarily set it aside as tasteless and unworthy of human aims.
And wherefore our failure longer to relish this fleeting sense, with its delicious forms of friendship, wherewith mortals become educated to gratification in personal pleasure and trained in treacherous peace? Because it is the great and only danger in the path that winds upward. A false sense of what constitutes happiness is more disastrous to human progress than all that an enemy or enmity can obtrude upon the mind or engraft upon its purposes and achievements wherewith to obstruct life's joys and enhance its sorrows.
We have no enemies. Whatever envy, hatred, revenge — the most remorseless motives that govern mortal mind — whatever these try to do, shall “work together for good to them that love God.”
Because He has called His own, armed them, equipped them, and furnished them defenses impregnable. Their God will not let them be lost; and if they fall they shall rise again, stronger than before the stumble. The good cannot lose their God, their help in times of trouble. If they mistake the divine command, they will recover it, countermand their order, retrace their steps, and reinstate His orders, more assured to press on safely. The best lesson of their lives is gained by crossing swords with temptation, with fear and the besetments of evil; insomuch as they thereby have tried their strength and proven it; insomuch as they have found their strength made perfect in weakness, and their fear is self-immolated.
This destruction is a moral chemicalization, wherein old things pass away and all things become new. The worldly or material tendencies of human affections and pursuits are thus annihilated; and this is the advent of spiritualization. Heaven comes down to earth, and mortals learn at last the lesson, “I have no enemies.”
Even in belief you have but one (that, not in reality), and this one enemy is yourself — your erroneous belief that you have enemies; that evil is real; that aught but good exists in Science. Soon or late, your enemy will wake from his delusion to suffer for his evil intent; to find that, though thwarted, its punishment is tenfold.
Love is the fulfilling of the law: it is grace, mercy, and justice. I used to think it sufficiently just to abide by our State statutes; that if a man should aim a ball at my heart, and I by firing first could kill him and save my own life, that this was right. I thought, also, that if I taught indigent students gratuitously, afterwards assisting them pecuniarily, and did not cease teaching the wayward ones at close of the class term, but followed them with precept upon precept; that if my instructions had healed them and shown them the sure way of salvation, — I had done my whole duty to students.
Love metes not out human justice, but divine mercy. If one's life were attacked, and one could save it only in accordance with common law, by taking another's, would one sooner give up his own? We must love our enemies in all the manifestations wherein and whereby we love our friends; must even try not to expose their faults, but to do them good whenever opportunity occurs. To mete out human justice to those who persecute and despitefully use one, is not leaving all retribution to God and returning blessing for cursing. If special opportunity for doing good to one's enemies occur not, one can include them in his general effort to benefit the race. Because I can do much general good to such as hate me, I do it with earnest, special care — since they permit me no other way, though with tears have I striven for it. When smitten on one cheek, I have turned the other: I have but two to present.
I would enjoy taking by the hand all who love me not, and saying to them, “I love you, and would not knowingly harm you.” Because I thus feel, I say to others: Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, throughout time and beyond the grave. If you have been badly wronged, forgive and forget: God will recompense this wrong, and punish, more severely than you could, him who has striven to injure you. Never return evil for evil; and, above all, do not fancy that you have been wronged when you have not been.
The present is ours; the future, big with events. Every man and woman should be to-day a law to himself, herself, — a law of loyalty to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The means for sinning unseen and unpunished have so increased that, unless one be watchful and steadfast in Love, one's temptations to sin are increased a hundredfold. Mortal mind at this period mutely works in the interest of both good and evil in a manner least understood; hence the need of watching, and the danger of yielding to temptation from causes that at former periods in human history were not existent. The action and effects of this so-called human mind in its silent arguments, are yet to be uncovered and summarily dealt with by divine justice.
In Christian Science, the law of Love rejoices the heart; and Love is Life and Truth. Whatever manifests aught else in its effects upon mankind, demonstrably is not Love. We should measure our love for God by our love for man; and our sense of Science will be measured by our obedience to God, — fulfilling the law of Love, doing good to all; imparting, so far as we reflect them, Truth, Life, and Love to all within the radius of our atmosphere of thought.
The only justice of which I feel at present capable, is mercy and charity toward every one, — just so far as one and all permit me to exercise these sentiments toward them, — taking special care to mind my own business.
The falsehood, ingratitude, misjudgment, and sharp return of evil for good yea, the real wrongs (if wrong can be real) which I have long endured at the hands of others have most happily wrought out for me the law of loving mine enemies. This law I now urge upon the solemn consideration of all Christian Scientists. Jesus said, “If ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.”
Scholastic theology elaborates the proposition that evil is a factor of good, and that to believe in the reality of evil is essential to a rounded sense of the existence of good.
This frail hypothesis is founded upon the basis of material and mortal evidence — only upon what the shifting mortal senses confirm and frail human reason accepts. The Science of Soul reverses this proposition, overturns the testimony of the five erring senses, and reveals in clearer divinity the existence of good only; that is, of God and His idea.
This postulate of divine Science only needs to be conceded, to afford opportunity for proof of its correctness and the clearer discernment of good.
Seek the Anglo-Saxon term for God, and you will find it to be good; then define good as God, and you will find that good is omnipotence, has all power; it fills all space, being omnipresent; hence, there is neither place nor power left for evil. Divest your thought, then, of the mortal and material view which contradicts the everpresence and all-power of good; take in only the immortal facts which include these, and where will you see or feel evil, or find its existence necessary either to the origin or ultimate of good?
It is urged that, from his original state of perfection, man has fallen into the imperfection that requires evil through which to develop good. Were we to admit this vague proposition, the Science of man could never be learned; for in order to learn Science, we begin with the correct statement, with harmony and its Principle; and if man has lost his Principle and its harmony, from evidences before him he is incapable of knowing the facts of existence and its concomitants: therefore to him evil is as real and eternal as good, God! This awful deception is evil's umpire and empire, that good, God, understood, forcibly destroys.
What appears to mortals from their standpoint to be the necessity for evil, is proven by the law of opposites to be without necessity. Good is the primitive Principle of man; and evil, good's opposite, has no Principle, and is not, and cannot be, the derivative of good. Thus evil is neither a primitive nor a derivative, but is suppositional; in other words, a lie that is incapable of proof — therefore, wholly problematical.
The Science of Truth annihilates error, deprives evil of all power, and thereby destroys all error, sin, sickness, disease, and death. But the sinner is not sheltered from suffering from sin: he makes a great reality of evil, identifies himself with it, fancies he finds pleasure in it, and will reap what he sows; hence the sinner must endure the effects of his delusion until he awakes from it.
The New Birth
St. Paul speaks of the new birth as “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The great Nazarene Prophet said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Nothing aside from the spiritualization — yea, the highest Christianization — of thought and desire, can give the true perception of God and divine Science, that results in health, happiness, and holiness.
The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love.
Time may commence, but it cannot complete, the new birth: eternity does this; for progress is the law of infinity. Only through the sore travail of mortal mind shall soul as sense be satisfied, and man awake in His likeness. What a faith-lighted thought is this! that mortals can lay off the “old man,” until man is found to be the image of the infinite good that we name God, and the fulness of the stature of man in Christ appears.
In mortal and material man, goodness seems in embryo. By suffering for sin, and the gradual fading out of the mortal and material sense of man, thought is developed into an infant Christianity; and, feeding at first on the milk of the Word, it drinks in the sweet revealings of a new and more spiritual Life and Love. These nourish the hungry hope, satisfy more the cravings for immortality, and so comfort, cheer, and bless one, that he saith: In mine infancy, this is enough of heaven to come down to earth.
But, as one grows into the manhood or womanhood of Christianity, one finds so much lacking, and so very much requisite to become wholly Christlike, that one saith: The Principle of Christianity is infinite: it is indeed God; and this infinite Principle hath infinite claims on man, and these claims are divine, not human; and man's ability to meet them is from God; for, being His likeness and image, man must reflect the full dominion of Spirit — even its supremacy over sin, sickness, and death.
Here, then, is the awakening from the dream of life in matter, to the great fact that God is the only Life; that, therefore, we must entertain a higher sense of both God and man. We must learn that God is infinitely more than a person, or finite form, can contain; that God is a divine Whole, and All, an all-pervading intelligence and Love, a divine, infinite Principle; and that Christianity is a divine Science. This newly awakened consciousness is wholly spiritual; it emanates from Soul instead of body, and is the new birth begun in Christian Science.
Now, dear reader, pause for a moment with me, earnestly to contemplate this new-born spiritual altitude; for this statement demands demonstration.
Here you stand face to face with the laws of infinite Spirit, and behold for the first time the irresistible conflict between the flesh and Spirit. You stand before the awful detonations of Sinai. You hear and record the thunderings of the spiritual law of Life, as opposed to the material law of death; the spiritual law of Love, as opposed to the material sense of love; the law of omnipotent harmony and good, as opposed to any supposititious law of sin, sickness, or death. And, before the flames have died away on this mount of revelation, like the patriarch of old, you take off your shoes — lay aside your material appendages, human opinions and doctrines, give up your more material religion with its rites and ceremonies, put off your materia medica, and hygiene as worse than useless — to sit at the feet of Jesus. Then, you meekly bow before the Christ, the spiritual idea that our great Master gave of the power of God to heal and to save. Then it is that you behold for the first time the divine Principle that redeems man from under the curse of materialism, — sin, disease, and death. This spiritual birth opens to the enraptured understanding a much higher and holier conception of the supremacy of Spirit, and of man as His likeness, whereby man reflects the divine power to heal the sick.
A material or human birth is the appearing of a mortal, not the immortal man. This birth is more or less prolonged and painful, according to the timely or untimely circumstances, the normal or abnormal material conditions attending it.
With the spiritual birth, man's primitive, sinless, spiritual existence dawns on human thought, — through the travail of mortal mind, hope deferred, the perishing pleasure and accumulating pains of sense, — by which one loses himself as matter, and gains a truer sense of Spirit and spiritual man.
The purification or baptismals that come from Spirit, develop, step by step, the original likeness of perfect man, and efface the mark of the beast. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth;” therefore rejoice in tribulation, and welcome these spiritual signs of the new birth under the law and gospel of Christ, Truth.
The prominent laws which forward birth in the divine order of Science, are these: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me;” “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” These commands of infinite wisdom, translated into the new tongue, their spiritual meaning, signify: Thou shalt love Spirit only, not its opposite, in every God-quality, even in substance; thou shalt recognize thyself as God's spiritual child only, and the true man and true woman, the all-harmonious “male and female,” as of spiritual origin, God's reflection, — thus as children of one common Parent, — wherein and whereby Father, Mother, and child are the divine Principle and divine idea, even the divine “Us” — one in good, and good in One.
With this recognition man could never separate himself from good, God; and he would necessarily entertain habitual love for his fellow-man. Only by admitting evil as a reality, and entering into a state of evil thoughts, can we in belief separate one man's interests from those of the whole human family, or thus attempt to separate Life from God. This is the mistake that causes much that must be repented of and overcome. Not to know what is blessing you, but to believe that aught that God sends is unjust, — or that those whom He commissions bring to you at His demand that which is unjust, — is wrong and cruel. Envy, evil thinking, evil speaking, covetousness, lust, hatred, malice, are always wrong, and will break the rule of Christian Science and prevent its demonstration; but the rod of God, and the obedience demanded of His servants in carrying out what He teaches them, — these are never unmerciful, never unwise.
The task of healing the sick is far lighter than that of so teaching the divine Principle and rules of Christian Science as to lift the affections and motives of men to adopt them and bring them out in human lives. He who has named the name of Christ, who has virtually accepted the divine claims of Truth and Love in divine Science, is daily departing from evil; and all the wicked endeavors of suppositional demons can never change the current of that life from steadfastly flowing on to God, its divine source.
But, taking the livery of heaven wherewith to cover iniquity, is the most fearful sin that mortals can commit. I should have more faith in an honest drugging-doctor, one who abides by his statements and works upon as high a basis as he understands, healing me, than I could or would have in a smooth-tongued hypocrite or mental malpractitioner.
Between the centripetal and centrifugal mental forces of material and spiritual gravitations, we go into or we go out of materialism or sin, and choose our course and its results. Which, then, shall be our choice, — the sinful, material, and perishable, or the spiritual, joy-giving, and eternal?
The spiritual sense of Life and its grand pursuits is of itself a bliss, health-giving and joy-inspiring. This sense of Life illumes our pathway with the radiance of divine Love; heals man spontaneously, morally and physically, — exhaling the aroma of Jesus' own words, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”