Science and Health (1881)/07 Imposition and Demonstration
IMPOSITION AND DEMONSTRATION.
Phenomena not understood surround us, every day is a mystery, while we are pecking our shells to learn somewhat of our surroundings and to enter the vast laboratory of the real.
That which accomplishes a sinister purpose that harms our neighbors, or that creeds need to pardon, is unknown in the realm of Life, Truth, and Love; and there is no other realm of the real.
As metaphysical science is learned, spiritualism and mediumship will be seen beliefs, that neither originate with “spirits” nor in heaven, but on earth and with mortals. They are beliefs that proceed from person, and have no principle, products of mortal and erring minds, not the immortal Mind, and are error instead of Truth. The origin of these beliefs is material instead of spiritual; and all theories proceeding from such a source are the offspring of sense instead of science. They have either a material basis or a limited one; they start from what is supposed to be a material body or a finite form, supposed to have a soul inside of it; and both these starting-points are inadmissible in science.
Blind to the impossibility that the sensual can be the medium of the spiritual, and the finite the medium of the infinite, spiritualists reason as incorrectly as to say that Stygian darkness emits a sunbeam. When we become Spirit we shall have but one mind, for there is no room for more if that One is infinite. Do we yet understand that saying, “I and Father are one”? We must reckon the I from the stand-point of a Principle, and leave the form, as it is the reflection of life and intelligence. The identity or idea of all that really is continues, but there is no Soul or Principle in the idea. Close your eyes and dream you see a flower; then learn that a flower is a product of mind, one of the forms of thought. Close them again, and see a man and woman, and learn therefrom that they also are the images that mind holds and evolves, and the image has no Life or intelligence of its own in any case, and there can be no material manifestation of Mind. Every creation of immortal mind has its distinct identity, order, and character, from the blade of grass to a star. The question to-day is, whether the “I” is Principle or person, Soul and body, God and man; and whether Life is in the flower or the creative and governing Principle outside of it.
A suffering, sinning, and dying condition, such as must ever remain while the belief of Soul in body and intelligence in man or materiality remains, cannot be preferable to the sinless joy and perfect harmony that a recognition of Life as Spirit confers; possessing all beauty and good, and yet without a single pleasure or pain of body. This state is attainable only through science; death can never hasten it, and death must be overcome before we can arrive at it. Rejecting a personal God, to make a God of persons, is equally fatal to the science of being. That persons are “spirits” is a mistake, for Spirit is God, and there is but one God. A belief in “spirits” belongs to the darker ages. There is no evil in Spirit. Nothing is real or eternal but good, or the idea of goodness. Evil has neither identity nor individuality, and is a belief.
Charles Sumner's unswerving adherence to right made him present more than others the true idea, and less than others the beliefs of man. His professions were few, his acts colossal.
Science never caused a retrograde step or a return to positions outgrown. To conclude that the so-called dead and living commune together, is to decide their unfitness for separate states of existence, and lays bare the mistaken belief that a man dies as matter, and then comes to life again as Spirit, alias God. The so-called dead must appear to the senses as tangible and material as ever they were, or the senses can take no cognizance of them. Any midway to those states is a myth. Absolute Truth is only true; and absolute error is more readily corrected than the half-way positions of mortal mind. Spiritualism assigns to the dead a state of transition resembling blighted buds or mortal mildew, a poor purgatory, where their chances for something narrow into nothing, and they must return to the old stand-points.
Jesus said, “He is not dead but sleepeth,” and brought back Lazarus's former sense of things with his own understanding that he never died. If you could waken yourself and others from the belief of the death of man, you might lay claim to spirituality, and the actual presence of those you say have died. When the imaginary correspondence between the departed, called “spirits,” and the individual here, supposed to be a spirit in matter, is found a myth, error will have less of a life-lease, and humanity a more profitable and rational field of labor. When being is understood spiritually, Life will be recognized as neither material nor personal, but found only in God, universal good, and the belief that life or mind was ever in a finite form will be destroyed; then it will be understood that Spirit never entered, or was resurrected from dust. Thus advanced to the understanding of Spirit, man can no more commune with matter than a tree can return to the soil and seed.
The period required for this dream of life in matter, embracing the so-called pleasures and pains of the body, to vanish, “no man knoweth, not the Son but the Father.” It will be of longer or shorter duration, according to the tenacity of error. What advantage, then, would it be to us or to the departed to prolong that state, and so prolong the error or belief of Spirit in a form, the infinite in finites, Soul in sense, and Mind confined by its own belief, or mortal sense.
There is not as much evidence of intercommunion between the so-called dead and living as the sick have that matter or the body suffers, has sensation, etc.; and this evidence science destroys. When the so-called medium understands even in part the science of being, his belief of mediumship is gone, and he can no longer produce the manifestations said to originate with departed “spirits,” but which are contingent on his own finite and material sense.
Scientific phenomena are based on a demonstrable principle, and should be explained by science; interpreted by a belief or ism, they cannot be understood, and are subject to gross abuses. Error is a network of mystery that cannot be linked with Truth and immortality; the gulf is impassable that separates the belief of life in matter from the great fact of eternal Life not subject to death. The natural result of an attempt to unite such opposites as Spirit and matter, the infinite and finite, is discord, seen in sin, sickness, and death, and the mischief and mistake of mediumship. As soon think to mingle fire and frost as Spirit and matter, for in either case one belief would destroy the other, for there is but one. That immortal Mind or Spirit communes with mortal mind through electricity, or a sinner, is ridiculous, and if it were true it would destroy the order and harmony of bliss. If communion were possible between the so-called dead and living, the departed would have to go backward in the scale of being, like the oak returning to its primitive acorn, and the so-called medium advance to Life independent of matter, like the acorn, becoming instantaneously an oak. Again, if a person was on communicable terms with Spirit, there would be no appearance of finite life, no action, animal or organic, in the body, and to restore that material condition would be as impossible as to restore an acorn absorbed into a germ and risen above soil and seed. The seed that has germinated higher has given place to a new form and state of existence; and when the belief of life in matter has given birth to a new germination, it has left the old condition, never to return to it. No correspondence or communion exists between the two opposite beliefs of having died and never having died.
There is but one possible moment when the so-called dead and living commune together, — the moment called death, when the common link between their beliefs is being clasped. In this vestibule of awakening from one dream to another dream, they hear the glad welcome of those gone before them, and the departing sometimes breathe aloud their vision, naming the face that smiles on them and the hand beckoning them; even as man standing at the Falls of Niagara, with eyes only for that wonder, whispers aloud his rapture, forgetful of other scenes. The recognition of Life as it is, namely, Spirit, and that Spirit is infinite, comes not at once beyond the grave, where existence is but a continued belief of personal sense and matter, until the science of being is reached and Spirit is understood. Error brings its own self-destruction on that plane as well as this; for mind makes the conditions of the body, and death will occur until life is learned aright, and the second death hath no power. There is but one spiritual existence, and this is the Life of which personal sense can take no cognizance. What are termed “spirits” are but other forms of personal sense conjured up by material beliefs. A shock could not be felt, or sensation remain a moment in the body, if in reality you communed with Spirit. The only Principle of man speaks to and through immortal sense, and if the body or mortal sense was permeated by this Principle it would disappear; and as light destroys darkness, and in its place all is light, Soul is the only truthful communicator, and mortal belief and immortal truth are the tares and wheat that progress separates instead of unites. Credulity, misguided faith, jugglery, or fraud are the foundations of what is termed mediumship. That all things are possible to Truth is a scientific statement; that nothing is possible to error ought to be equally apparent. The so-called mediums make their way into the confidence of those who mourn the loss of friends, when the sorrows of bereavement stir their minds like a fermenting fluid to a chemical change, and they are receptive of the hope that their friends commune with them. This error gains a foothold in mortal mind by coming at the hour of human yearnings, clad with the drapery of heaven, — a mystery and marvel, its phenomenon not understood: and what needeth it more for the foundation of a new belief? But perfection is not expressed through imperfection; therefore Spirit is not made manifest through matter. There are no temporary sieves that can strain Truth through error. In the belief of mediumship, the imitation of whoever the individual believes is controlling her can be produced by mesmerism.
Darkness and light, infancy and manhood, sickness and health, are distinct and separate beliefs that never blend. Then wherefore say that infancy is uttering the ideas of manhood, that darkness can represent light, or that we are in Europe when we are on the opposite hemisphere? Logic cannot bridge over conditions thus distinct; and they are not more unlike than the conditions of those having believed they once died and have come to life again, and those who never believed they died. You call one individual matter and the other spirit, when the fact remains that neither is that. That matter is a reality, or that Spirit and matter ever unite on any ground, or can hold communion, is the error that progress and science are destroying.
That one man is spirit, and controls another man that is matter, while both remain in those opposite states; that bodies material return to dust and rise up spiritual bodies, experiencing sensations and desires material; that immortal Mind, or God, is mesmerizing mortal minds and bodies; that shadow is tangible to touch, and imparts electricity, is too absurd to last another quarter of a century. God is not needed in this medley, for the reason that person is supposed to take care of itself, and mediumship take the place of God and Science. Who that has witnessed mediumship would say it was science and Truth, or that science and Truth are electricity? God controls man, and is the only Mind. Any other control, attraction, or so-called “spirit,” is a belief and error that ought to be known by its fruits. The caterpillar transformed into an insect of beauty is no longer a worm, and to push the conclusion that a butterfly returns again to affinitize with or to control the worm, is taking mesmerism to befool reason. Change controlled by Principle is science; but the spiritualistic beliefs prevent the perception of science. Progress is the evermore of being; but nothing save science reveals being, here or hereafter.
Our only resignation to a new ism or a new disease is the hope that another stir in the waters of belief will help to show their muddy foundations.
The telegraphy of mind speaking to mind should claim no electricity and need no wires. Metaphysical science acknowledges no matter or electricity; but spiritualism would preserve those to destroy spiritual harmony and the supremacy of Spirit. Truth pervades all space, needing no material method of transmitting its messages; we only know it blesses man, but “cannot tell whence it cometh.” The sick are healed by it, the sorrowing comforted, and the sinner reformed. But these are the results of Principle not person, of science and not mediumship. Soul sends despatches everywhere, but the electric wire can only carry to Europe a submarine whisper, foreshadowing metaphysical science. Little by little thought must give up its materiality, and become spiritual; even mortal mind is expanding beyond its fetters, and science is pushing onward the centuries.
Spirit is never in limits or limbo, and before we commune with Spirit the belief of death must be destroyed. What would be said of an English scholar unacquainted with the classics to claim that he understood Greek? You would say he was either an impostor or laboring under some hallucination. What, then, shall be thought of the belief that we are wearing out life, and hastening towards death, communing with immortality? If the departed are in rapport with mortality, they are sinning, suffering, and dying still, in which case wherefore look to them for proofs of immortality and accept them as oracles? Communications gathered from ignorance are pernicious in their tendencies. Describing disease, its symptoms, locality, fatality, etc., makes the disease; according to metaphysics, warning people of death frightens them into it. This obnoxious practice ought to cease. Many instances could be cited of death from fright, produced by a belief in post-mortem evidence. The very belief that metaphysics must destroy, in order to heal the sick, mediumship strengthens and perpetuates.
Jesus cast out “spirits,” the beliefs in other gods, or more than one Mind, did his own work, explained the One Spirit, and never described disease, but healed it. If the sick are made more comfortable through error of process, they are tenfold more the victims of disease in the end. Mysticism gives force to the so-called medium's words of doom. A mental method not understood does more than drugs to produce sickness. Fear, doubt, and conjecture are the mental elements of all disease, and science must go over the whole ground and uproot every seed of their sowing to destroy this faith in disease. A belief is all the medium has to rely on, while science removes belief with understanding, and rests on Principle, instead of person, to explain and reveal immortality, and bring out the harmony of being.
At one time a medium said to us: “You are ill; the brain is overtasked, and you must have rest.” To this we filed a vigorous objection, contending for the rights of Intelligence, saying that mind controls body and brain, and the views she insisted on were the very ones to be rid of, in order to be well. She stopped the conversation, exclaiming, “Dr. Rush is present, and says you must use valganism” (meaning,undoubtedly, galvanism), “and rest, or be sick.” But even this oracular warning failed to convince us, and the consequence was we continued in a good state of health, having strong doubts that fifty years of post-mortem experience had so demoralized the orthography of that learned man, or perpetuated his old beliefs of life in matter. Thousands of our church members, who are rational on other topics, are sustaining and believing such mummery as that, yet send forth a cry against science as dangerous to Christianity. In the summer of 1869 it was stated, in the “Banner of Light,” published in Boston, that the late Theodore Parker said, through a medium, “There never was, and there never will be, an immortal spirit.” Yet that paper was repeating, weekly, that spirit communications are our only proofs of immortality. While we entertain no doubt of the humanitarianism of many spiritualists, we have proof of the incorrect views of spiritualism. A man's assertion that he is immortal is no more proof of this than of the opposite condition were he to say, “I am mortal”; but Theodore Parker was beyond such a vague hypothesis. Life, Love, and Truth are immortal, and until man is governed by them he will think himself mortal. Science is the only medium of Truth or Life.
Though the grass seemeth to wither, and the flowers to fade, they reappear; erase the figures that express numbers, shut out the tones of music, give to the worms the body called man, yet the Principle reproducing these lives on, despite the so-called laws of matter, that would make them mortal. If the inharmony of belief hides the harmony of Truth, it cannot destroy the Principle; it cannot mar the one Mind “that doeth according to His own will in the army of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest thou?” But have you ever ruminated on this Heaven and earth inhabited by man controlled alone by supreme Wisdom? Did you understand there is no other, you would be reaching sooner that which is real. The imaginary line called the equator is not substance; the earth's action and position are sustained alone by intelligence. Even the simple planchette is made to testify to the control that mind has over its lower substratum, called matter, and is no longer a mystery or marvel.
The point to be determined is, Shall we allow science to explain all action and phenomena, or leave these to speculative belief? To admit one's self Soul instead of body sets us free to master the infinite idea, shuts the door on death, and opens it wide on immortality.
Divest your belief of substance in matter, and the movements and transitions possible to mind would be found just as possible to the body. Then Spirit would identify being, and death, that we say must occur before immortality, would be obsolete. The final understanding and recognition of but one Spirit must come, and we might as well improve our time in solving the mysteries of being on this principle. At present we know not what we are; but this is certain, that we shall be Love, Life, and Truth, when we understand them. Do you say the time has not yet come in which to recognize Soul as the only substance, and to gain our entire control over the body? Then we refer you to Jesus, who demonstrated this over eighteen centuries ago, and said, “The works that I do, ye shall do; and, “Behold the time cometh and now is, when they who worship the Father shall worship Him in Spirit and in Truth”; but this method of understanding God and doing good was not electricity, materia medica, mesmerism, or mediumship.
Matter is neither intelligence nor a creator; the tree is not the author of itself; sound is not the originator of music, and man is not the father of man. If seed produces wheat, and wheat produces flour, and one animal originates another, who made Mind? and how were the loaves and fishes multiplied without meal or monad?
Miracles are impossible; they are phenomena not understood, but which their Principle could explain, and we must all reach this explanation to understand it. The decaying flower, the withering grass, blighted bud, gnarled oak, and ferocious beast, together with all discords, including sickness, sin, and death, were never produced by supreme Wisdom; they are the falsities of sense, and not the reality of things, the changing images of mortal mind, that are not in reality substance, or Life, but only beliefs.
Eloquence is inspiration not contingent on erudition; it is a scientific phenomena, showing that all things are possible to Mind; but eloquence misinterpreted is a supposed gift, or a knowledge obtained from books, or the utterances of “spirits.” When eloquence proceeds from the belief that a departed “spirit” is speaking, and can say what the so-called medium is incapable of uttering, or of knowing, alone, the fetters of mortal mind are unclasped, and, forgetting her ignorance by believing others are speaking for her, she becomes eloquent beyond her usual self, and because she thinks something besides herself is helping her. Now, destroy this belief of foreign aid, and the eloquence disappears, and the old limits that her belief imposes return, and she says, I am incapable of “words that glow,” being uneducated; showing that “as a man thinketh, so is he.” Believing she cannot be eloquent without book-learning, her body responds to this, and the tongue grows mute that before was eloquent, loosened on the scientific basis that Mind is not confined to development or educational processes, but possesses primarily all beauty and poetry, together with the power to express them. The fact is sometimes caught by the so-called medium, through mind-reading, and always dependent on it. Soul can better be heard when sense is silent; and we all are capable of more than we do.
The beliefs called personal senses, or Soul in body, limit mortal mind. The emotions from Soul give this mind more freedom, which explains the phenomena of impromptu poets and uneducated orators. The belief moves what is called matter; but the volition of a belief is not from science or understanding. Science removes phenomena from mysticism into the hands of interpretation. It is no mystery that mind moves a table without a hand, when it primarily moves the hand, and secondarily the table, in obedience to the belief that the only method of doing that is by seizing hold of it with the hand. Mortal mind produces this table-tipping either through the belief that “spirits” do it, or that electricity causes it, else the more common thought that muscular power produces the result; in other words, that what we term matter moves itself, openly or covertly. Likenesses of individuals, landscape views, fac-similes of penmanship, certain forms of expression that belonged to the departed, sentences of their saying, etc., may be taken as directly from mortal mind as from objects cognizant to the so-called personal senses. This so-called mind sees what it embraces, even as the sense of feeling feels it, and hearing hears it. Nor is it necessary that the thought embracing the picture or paragraph be present with the clairvoyant. Any mental link, though the bodies are leagues apart, is sufficient to reproduce the facts to the mind. If the individuals have passed away, their aroma of thought is left, which is mentally scented and described. Mind has senses sharper than the body.
Mediumship removes phenomena from rationalism into mysticism, and gives intelligence to what we term matter. Pictures are formed mentally before the artist conveys them to canvas; and thus it is that material mind-readers, perceiving the pictures of thought, copy or reproduce them, even when lost to the recognition of the mind whence they are taken. The strong impressions that friendship or any intense feeling leave on mortal minds remain, and others can perceive and reproduce them. Clairvoyance is simply mind-reading, whereas science reveals Truth through the understanding, by which we gain the principle and explanation of phenomena. These are distinctly opposite stand-points whence to obtain information, and the right interpretation of cause and effect belongs to science. Clairvoyance reaches only the fancied realities of mortal thought, whereas science admits neither the premises nor conclusions of mortality, but destroys them all. We can do good to our neighbor through the science of being, but through it we cannot do evil. Clairvoyance can do evil, accuse wrongfully, and err in every possible direction. The sensual may be clairvoyant, but cannot be scientific, and the scientific are not sensual. If we foresee, from a spiritual stand-point of our own, that is prophetic, and accords with the ancient worthies.
When advanced in science sufficiently to blend with the Truth of being, we are seers and prophets involuntarily, but not because we are controlled by “spirits,” gods, as in mythology, but by Spirit, which is purity, righteousness, and Omnipotence. To know the past, present, and future is the office of intelligence; yea, it is the ever-present Truth. To understand that mind is not pent up within the boundaries of a personal man, confined to the car and eye for sound and sight, or to muscles, bones, etc., for locomotion, is metaphysical science, whereby we discern man's real being. The science of being enables us to read mind, to foretell events that concern the universal good, to record Truth, and receive inspiration from God, but not from idle curiosity, or to work evil, or to dip into the experiences of the dead, and attempt to explain, through erring and mortal belief, the divine Principle and its phenomena.
In science we read mind from the stand-point of God, Principle, and with more accuracy than the astronomer calculating the eclipses. This mind-reading is the opposite of clairvoyance; it is spiritual understanding, Soul, and not sense, and possessed by individuals highly spiritual. Such intuitions come from Spirit, and reveal what constitutes and continues harmony, enabling us to heal the sick. We shall reach the science of healing when able to read mind after this manner, and discern the error we would destroy. The Samaritan woman said: “He told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?” The Scripture informs us that, as Jesus journeyed with his students, he understood their thoughts. He did this through spiritual understanding, whereby he healed the sick, etc. Events of great moment, relating to the Christian era and the history of the world, were foretold by the prophets through spiritual discernment. Our Master rebuked the lack of spiritual discernment when he said: “Ye hypocrites, that can discern the face of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of these times”; in other words, whose belief of personal sense is acute, but whose spiritual sense is wanting. He knew it was a wicked and adulterous generation, that, seeking material signs, lost the spiritual. His cut at materialism was pungent, but requisite, and he never spared hypocrisy the sternest condemnation. Again, he said: “Ye do the things ye ought not to do, and leave undone those ye should have done.” The great Teacher of Christian science knew that a good tree sendeth not forth evil fruit; that Truth communicates Truth, and never error.
It is more frequently in company with those who believe in mediumship that the so-called medium narrates something of the departed, describes them personally, etc.; showing it is mortal mind on this plane acting on them that produces this result, and the information imparted comes from the living instead of the dead.
That some one knew the individual deceased is evident, and it is not more difficult to read mortal mind far away than near. We think of an absent individual as easily as of one present; hence the equal ease to discern the absent mind that we read. The demand to talk of the dead proceeds from the mind of the living, who, believing in this process or yearning for this communion, mentally call for it, and this call reaches the mind of the so-called medium and brings on the mood.
It follows not that in sleep we communicate with the dreamers at our side because of the proximity of the individual, or because both are dreamers wandering through the mazes of belief. If Life that is God hath been won by the departed, they cannot return to the material and Godless; and if they are at our side, and life goes on with them the same as before, we are not in their conscious existence, nor they in ours; hence we are debarred intercommunion; our dreams being distinct, they cannot blend if we are side by side. That those we call departed have gained a better understanding of us, or seek aid from us, is but a belief and error. When wandering in Australia, are you seeking or giving support to another dwelling in the snow-caverns of the Esquimaux? Different dreams or different wakenings separate consciousness. In an age of sin and sensuality, hastening to greater development of mental power, it is wise to consider what mind is influencing you. Only as you are guided by metaphysical science, honesty, and understanding, will you steer clear of the fearful shoals on the unexplored coast of mental phenomena. The peril of Salem witchcraft is not past until that error is overcome by Truth mastered through science and not the gibbet. Metaphysics must be allowed to explain the incredible good done by mind and the opposite evil attempted. An evil mind at work mesmerically is an agent of mischief little understood. We must find refuge in Soul to escape the error of the latter days, and mediumship or mesmerism more than all else contribute to a terrible development of discord. We should strongly insist on the majesty of Truth and its control over error, denying right or reality to be aught but God and the true idea; and thus break up the reign of error and let the world of harmony and Truth reappear. If spirit returns were possible, they would grow beautifully less at every advanced stage of existence, for the departed would be passing away from ignorance and materiality, and the medium from her belief of mediumship. We welcome the increase of knowledge because knowledge must have its day, and we want that day over. St. Paul learned that to be present with Truth we must be absent to the body; whereas Cain concluded, and very naturally, that if Life is in the body, and man gave it, he had the right to take it away, showing that the belief of Life in matter was an error from the beginning.
Midnight foretells the dawn. Beholding a solitary star, a single ray amid the darkness, the Wise Men of old were led by spiritual vision to foretell the hour of Truth. But what shepherd-sage to-day, beholding the light, dare tell of it? The world is asleep, lulled by stupefying beliefs, in the cradle of infancy dreaming away the hours. Entering upon an unknown eternity of Spirit, material sense would be like an outlaw escaping to a foreign land where he is doomed to an unlooked-for death. The footsteps of belief have not advanced man a single league toward immortality, and the unwillingness to learn man and God of science hold Christendom in chains. So much hypocrisy swells the catalogue of society that honesty or the demonstration of Truth is not desired and incurs the enmity of mankind. What the prophets did anciently, the worshippers of Baal failed to do; yet artifice and belief claimed the work of wisdom. Mind evolves images of thought, and these may appear like apparitions to the ignorant; but it is not more mysterious, only because it is less common for us to see than to feel a thought. To see the mind's images of departed friends, we think, is to see the friends. These two equal senses, seeing and feeling, we would separate in power and results. There are those who believe they feel the pains of others. The sick may not have seen them or spoken on the subject, and yet they will tell the locality of their pains or diseases through sympathy, — the same as yawning is produced. Seeing is no less a tiling of personal sense or belief than feeling: then why is it more difficult to see a thought than to feel it? Education alone determines the difference, and in reality there is none. Haunted houses, unusual noises, voices, apparitions, dark seances, etc., are tricks produced by tricksters, else they are images and sounds evolved involuntarily by mortal mind on this plane. The question is, How can we determine the ideas of Truth from beliefs? By learning their origin. Emanations from Spirit are ideas. Thoughts supposed to proceed from the brain, or matter, are beliefs. The former proceed from spiritual sense, and are harmonious; the latter are the so-called senses of matter, and are a supposed substance at one time and “a spirit” at another. To love our neighbor as ourself is an idea of Soul, and this idea personal sense can neither see, feel, nor understand. Excite the organ of veneration or the religious tone of belief, and the individual manifests the most profound adoration; then excite the opposite development, and he blasphemes; but neither of those results are Christianity, but the effects of belief.
Nothing can be more antagonistic to science than belief without understanding; it hides Truth and builds on the basis of error. Soul and science have nothing to do with mediumship. Spiritualism consents to the belief that life is in matter and a nervo-vital fluid, that mortal mind in another sphere is an outlaw, ready to recommit crimes in this, and to prophesy of sickness, sin, and death on the reversed plan of spiritual metaphysics. There is a deep gulf fixed between science and mediumship. Vitalized matter is a grave mistake. The nearer error simulates Truth, and what is termed matter approaches its essence, mortal mind, the more potent it becomes as an agent of evil. The lightning is fierce and the electric despatch swift. The more ethereal matter becomes, according to accepted theories, the more destructive it is, until it becomes mortal mind, which contains all that we name evil. The nearer a belief approaches Truth, without passing the boundary where it is no longer a belief, but understanding, the more plausible and dangerous it becomes. The more material a man is, the more mesmerism he possesses: but science destroys at length all materiality of mortal thought, and man is found the idea of Spirit.
The history of the Chinese Empire derives its antiquity and renown from the Buddhist's conception of Deity being in advance of the tyranny, intoleration, and bloodshed included in the belief that the great Jehovah is formed after the pattern of mortal man. St. Paul was not one of Jesus's students, and yet he tested the Master's teachings, and demonstrated their principle in healing, etc. To conclude that man and the universe are governed in general by material law, but occasionally that Spirit walks over this law, and controls all things, is to divide the capacity of Omnipotence and Wisdom with matter, and to give the latter the more general claim. Alas! that man should take a material thought and call it a sword to slay error with, when the two-edged sword of Truth destroys it so much more effectually. Our nameless theories lose their power for good or evil when man loses his belief in them and makes Life its own proof of harmony and God. When Truth shall lay her hand on the hour, spiritualization will follow, for Truth is Spirit; but before the final disappearance of error there will be interruptions in what is called the order of nature. Earth will become dreary and desolate; not that summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, shall utterly cease before the final spiritualization of all things, but that their order will be interrupted, owing to the changes in mortal beliefs.
The first and last step of metaphysics is to learn that Mind is supreme, and governs all. In dreams we fly, meet a far-off friend, and have our body with our mind, carrying it through the air, or over the ocean; and this dream of sleep is nearer our being in science than the waking dream of Life in matter, and because the belief of personal sense governs it less. The scientific statement that all is mind gains its first proofs by healing the sick on this Principle. A single demonstration of this is important evidence. A lady having an internal tumor, and greatly fearing a surgical operation, called on us. We conducted her case metaphysically, never touched her person or used a drug or an instrument, and this tumor was wholly removed in two days.
Jesus mastered the belief that matter is something in and of itself, and something to be feared. His kingdom was not of this world. He understood that being is Soul, and not body; therefore he triumphed over the flesh, the senses, over sickness, sin, and death. He came to teach and fulfil the facts of being, that should establish the kingdom of heaven, the reign of harmony on earth. The demonstrations that he gave of Life, harmonious and continuous, are the strongest proofs that divine science produces a perfect man, and brings out Life without death, and holiness without sin. This science reveals the possibility of meeting the command, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven (the Principle of man) is perfect.” Let us, then, yield the belief that man is a separate intelligence from God, and obey the unerring Principle of our being, Life and Love not in matter. Jesus stood boldly up in the face of all the accredited evidence of the senses, of Pharisaical creeds, etc., and refuted them all with his healing. We never read of his saying that a creed or a prayer heals the sick, or makes a Christian, or of his searching into disease to learn of discord something, and then ask if it is acute or chronic; of his recommending laws of health, giving drugs, and asking the will of God regarding the continuance of man's life; that he already understood, for he knew that God made man immortal, and never gave him two lives, one to be destroyed and the other to be eternal. Jesus reckoned sickness, sin, and death “liars from the beginning,” and destroyed them with the self-evident Truth of being, his only physician. He kept the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” While Jesus rendered to Cæsar the things that were Cæsar's, he also rendered to God the things that are God's, for he ascribed to Spirit alone Intelligence, Life, and Love. Jesus paid no homage to diplomas, to forms, pharisaical worship, and theories of man, but acted and spake as he was moved by Spirit, not “spirits,” but Truth and Love. To the believing Rabbi and Pharisee he said: “Even the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you.” He scoffed not at Christianity, but he knew there is no Spirit in mere forms of religion; that a man can be baptized, partake of the sacrament, support the clergy, observe the Sabbath day according to rule, and make long prayers, when he is even a sensualist and hypocrite. But forms of worship are only wrong when they hinder the Spirit. To be a hypocrite in metaphysics or Christian science is morally impossible where Christianity is based on demonstration or proof, and heals the sick and destroys error; yet many will come falsely in the name of Truth, as was predicted. Jesus established his church and his explanations of Christianity on the foundation of healing. He taught his followers that Christianity, based on its Principle, God, casts out error and heals the sick. But instead of our believing that Christ is a person, and planting our hopes on pardon, he explained Christ as Truth and Life, and said: “I and Father are one.” He claimed no separate intelligence, action, or Life, from God, and, despite the persecution this claim brought down upon him from a Pharisee, he wrought out, on its divine principle, the proof of harmonious and deathless being.
The question was then, as now, at issue with mankind, How did Jesus, through Christ, Truth, heal the sick? He answered this question in the explanation that the world rejects. He appealed to his students, thinking they would better understand him, and asked: "Whom do men say that I am?" referring to Life, Love, and Truth, with which he was identified in his healing and casting out error. And they replied: “Some say Elias, others Jeremias, etc.”; but these men had died, according to their own admissions, hence their reply signified that some people believed then, as now, that Jesus was a medium, and was controlled, mesmerized, by John, unseen to human eye. Herod gave the same definition of Jesus's healing, saying: “John the Baptist has come back, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.” That a wicked king and debauched husband had gained no higher interpretation of divine science, or the great work of our Master, was not surprising: a sinner could not comprehend divine science when the disciples did not fully understand it. They comprehended their Master's spiritual meanings, or metaphysics, better than others did; but the Spirit must give the full understanding thereof. Jesus patiently persisted in teaching and demonstrating to them the Truth of being, and they saw it heal the sick, cast out error, and raise the dead; but this result, and its divine science, was not fully understood by his students until after the crucifixion, when their great Teacher stood before them, the victor, not only over sickness and sin, but over death. In secret yearnings to be better understood the Master turned in confidence to Peter, saying: “But whom sayest thou that I am?” This inquiry was again, Who, or what is it, that casts out error and heals the sick? And because he turned from the answer already given, and put anew the question to Peter, it plainly showed that he eschewed the folly of their remark indicating the opinions that he was a medium, and reiterated the solemn statement, “I and Father are one.” Peter's reply also admitted that great fact when he said, “Thou art Christ,” Truth, that heals the sick and casts out error; and again this reply elicted the answer from Jesus: “Our Father in Heaven [the Principle of being] hath shown thee this.” The great fact that the divine Principle, and not person, heals the sick, was evident to Peter; also it must have been equally clear that man, as the offspring of God, instead of man, presents the better idea of the Principle of Jesus. On this spiritual and scientific basis Jesus wrought his so-called miracles, showing that neither person nor medicine heals, but Truth and Love; that matter controls not matter, but Spirit controls the errors of mortal mind, and this heals the sick. This interpretation of God and man, and the supremacy of Spirit, was the rock, or foundation, of his congregated ideas, that were likened to a church; and the superstructure reared thereon was the demonstration of Truth, healing and cleansing, against which the gates of error could not prevail. But neither a creed nor a rite entered into this statement of his church and of himself, and mediumship was plainly excluded. To be Christlike we must triumph over sickness, sin, and death, and open the prison doors to the captive; in other words, break the fetters of belief, that would imprison mind in matter, and give to being full scope and recompense.
The first statement of error is evidently this: Substance, Life, and Intelligence are in and of something besides God; and man is material, a sinner, and mortal. The second, that man is both mind and matter. Third, that mind is both evil and good, and God is the author of it, and the body of this mind feels pleasure and pain, and is the centre of life and death. From this last false admission dates the destruction of mortal bodies; hence the so-called pains of matter are productive of less error than its pleasure, although both are unreal because they are untrue. To break the spell of this mortal error we must gain the idea of the divine Principle of all that really is, and governs harmoniously the universe and man. This idea is understood slowly, and the interval, filled with approaches to it through beliefs, is attended with doubts and discords.
The material world at a future date will be full of disorder and dismay in one case, and of science and peace in the other. There will be convulsions of mortal mind, and consequently of what is termed matter, spasms of error, earthquakes, famines, and pestilence; sickness will become more acute, and death more sudden. But whoever has reached the science of his course in metaphysics will have the advantage of physics; to him harmony and immortality will be near, even at the door. As material knowledge diminishes and metaphysics gains ground, Spirit will be found the only basis of generation. As that period approaches, phenomena will be evolved more spiritually and consciously, for God will be understood in part. Those who discern metaphysics and live it, will hold crime in check, support those letting go of old opinions, and maintain law and order, awaiting cheerfully the certainty, in science, of final justice. The truly scientific are a law to themselves. They do violence to no man, neither accuse falsely. Sin will make deadly thrusts at the scientist, as penal codes give place to higher law. But science will ameliorate the malice of mortal mind, unlike the history of religious persecutions, and turn back violence.
What we need is Christ and him crucified, Truth and trials, self-denials and victories, until we put all error under our feet. Too many religions, and not enough Christianity, is the history of all ages. To steal in private, and give in public, is political, not Christian, economy. Because a man has uttered the ten commandments to fashionable audiences, it does not follow that he is a Christian. A cup of coffee or tea to inspire a sermon is not equal to Truth, and we are not made weary in well doing; the science of Christianity takes away fatigue. In the service of our Maker, giving does not impoverish or withholding enrich. We have more strength in proportion to our Truth, and no loss for having given utterance to Truth. Because a man has obtained a high social and public position, must we conclude that he is a good man? The soft palm upturned to a lordly salary, and architectural skill making dome and spire tremulous with beauty, that turn the poor and the stranger from its gate, shut the door on Christianity. It is the skeleton of religion that requires a doctor of physic to save the body and a doctor of divinity to save — what? Soul, alias God. A fashionable religion has never complied with the Scripture that “Christ be in you the hope of glory.” The manger and cross tell in vain their story to pride and fustian. Taking wealth, popularity, and sensuality in the right hand, lets go of God, and palsies that right hand. The pulpit should be the rostrum of Truth. Creeds and pride need to be whipped out of the synagogues to-day, and humility and the divine science of Christianity let in. Those strong cords, scientific arguments, that Jesus twisted together, are needed to scourge out of the synagogues all traffic in worldly policies, and make them temples of Truth.
The prophet of to-day beholds in the mental horizon the signs of these times, even the approaching Christianity that heals the sick and destroys error, “And no other sign shall be given.” But Christianity is a phenomenon misinterpreted by the material age in which it appears. It is the healing influences of Spirit that the material senses cannot comprehend. It must be understood and spiritually discerned. Creeds, doctrines, and beliefs do not express it, much less can they demonstrate its Divine power to heal and save. Over eighteen centuries ago the mere religionist would hail God as a person with pomp and sceptre: but such is not the manner of Truth's appearing. The modern scourge laid on the idea of Truth is less material but equally cutting. But the cold disdain and stubborn resistance that close the doors of the churches and the columns of the press against metaphysics, cannot hold forever back this winged message of the Most High. The Christianity of Jesus destroyed sickness, sin, and death, because it was metaphysics; and denied personal sense, bore the cross, and reached the right hand of a perfect Principle.
Meekly, and yet a victor, the Master met the mockery of his self-conscious God-being. “He maketh himself as God” was the foundation of all accusations against him. The indignities he met his followers must meet until Truth is better understood. He won eternal honors; he overcame the material world, sin, sickness, and death, and proved their nothingness; he taught, in the science of being, a full salvation, the triumph of Truth over all error, and established the proof thereof. But every good word and work of our Master evoked denial, ingratitude, and betrayal, from sensualism and malice. Of the ten lepers he healed, but one returned to give God thanks, to acknowledge the Principle that healed him, and interpret his healing aright; yet Jesus abated not his efforts to bless his enemies. He felt their sicknesses, the errors of their beliefs; but he bore their infirmities, that through his stripes they might be healed. Despised and rejected of men, returning blessings for cursings, he taught them metaphysics, the nature of God; but when error felt the overcoming power of Truth, the scourge and cross awaited Jesus. The Man of Sorrows was not in danger from salaries or popularity. Deserving the homage of the world, and sharing pre-eminently the approval of God, brief was his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and followed by the desertion of all save a few mourners at his cross. This is the earthly cost of spirituality in the eyes of materialism. The great moral distance between Christianity and sensualism precludes the favor of the worldling. But if sense approves, Soul condemns, and when man praises, God receives no thanks.
Feeling a momentary weakness when reached by material thought, Jesus asked “Who hath touched me?” His students, thinking this inquiry occasioned by contact with his body, answered, “The people throng thee.” But Jesus knew it was not matter, but mortal mind, that touched him in its call for aid. And so he repeated his inquiry, and was answered by the sick woman. His quick apprehension of this mental call arose from his spirituality, or metaphysics; and their misconception of it, from their materiality and physics. Not that he shared less the advantages of adroitness because of goodness; but possessing more of Soul, he had less personal sense. Opposites come from opposite directions and produce opposite results. The treasures of our Master were laid up in Spirit; for he well knew matter is a belief, and not the reality of existence. Christianity turns from sense to Soul as naturally as the flower from darkness to light. The things that “eye hath not seen or ear heard” Christianity appropriates. Paul and the spiritual John had a very clear sense of the science of being; they knew that mortal man achieves not worldly honors except he labors for them, and lays a sacrifice upon the altar of Mammon, giving his affections to the world, instead of leaving all for Christ, Truth, that comes from opposite affections, motives, and aims.
A man walks in the direction he is looking, and “where his treasure is, there is his heart also.” If our hopes and affections are spiritual, we are not looking or yearning for material things, but will wear the “image and likeness of God” at every worldly cost. We are coming out from the world and being separated from it, as the necessity of having grown away from it. Sectarianism, the pride of life, and mad Ambition flee before Christianity when Wisdom crowns her brow.
If my friends are going to Europe while I am en route for California, we are no longer journeying together; we have separate time-tables to consult, different routes to pursue; our paths have parted, and we have no opportunity to help each other on. But if they pursue my course, we have the same railroad guide and mutual interests; or, if I will take theirs, they will help me on, and our companionship will continue. Thus the Christian scientist must choose his course, and be honest, act consistent with that choice. He acknowledges that his route is not with the world of matter and error; and if he continues to gravitate thitherward, he is like a man steering his course west, because it is a fashionable route, the company alluring, and its pleasures exciting, and journeying six days westward; but the seventh day he turns easterly, and is satisfied to say, because of one day's journey, that he is going due east and in one direction. Beholding his zigzag course when he presents the passport of some toil-worn pilgrim, and with that would make his passage, you know he is climbing up some other way, and the same is a thief and a robber. Unless a man is advancing spiritually, looking away from the things of sense to those of Soul, he is not scientific. If he is honest, he starts in earnest, and so journeys in one direction, advancing a little every day; then, however long he is in reaching the goal, he will finish his course with joy.
Students, starting with the letter of metaphysics, and thinking to succeed without the Spirit, will make shipwreck and be turned out of their course. We must not only seek, but strive to pursue, the straight and narrow path of metaphysics; for broad is the opposite road that leadeth to death, and many go in thereat. Jesus experienced few of the pleasures of the so-called personal senses, but “he bore our infirmities,” his sufferings were the fruits of other people's sins, not his own; but Christ, Soul, never suffered. Jesus mapped out the path for others, he unveiled the unselfish Love that is God; and to those buried in the belief of sin and self, living alone for pleasure or the gratification of the senses, he said, “Having eyes ye see not, and ears ye hear not, that ye might understand and be converted and I might heal you.” Their material beliefs shut out communication with Truth and the power of its healing. Jesus was unselfish, and this his spirituality, that hath separated him from sensualism and caused the selfish materialist, to hate him, enabled him to heal the sick and raise the dead. His affections were pure, theirs were carnal; his senses took in spiritual evidence, theirs material; his Life and Love were Truth, theirs error. Their imperfections and impurity felt his perfections and purity an ever-present rebuke; hence the world's hatred of the just and perfect Jesus, and the prophet's foresight of the reception it gave him. The world could not interpret the uncomfortableness he gave it, and the spiritual blessings flowing therefrom. The chemical changes that Truth produces on error, interpreted in science, show the great distance of the individual from Truth. Were all like Peter, they would weep at the warning and no more deny Truth. But in our ignorance we disregard the facts of ourselves, and see not the lifelong sacrifice the good make for the evil.
He bore their sins in his own person; he knew all the mortal error that constitutes the body material, and through this consciousness he could destroy it. The Master had not utterly conquered the belief of Life in matter when he felt their infirmities, for he had not risen to his final demonstration. Again, had he partaken equally with the world of its sensuous beliefs, he would not have suffered from it. Through the magnitude of his life he could demonstrate Life; from the amplitude of his love he could explain Love; and with the affluence of Truth he could vanquish error. The world could not acknowledge his righteousness, for it saw it not; yet it needed the harmony that his glorified being introduced, the blessings that Truth brought it. But who would take up their cross to obtain them after the manner that Jesus taught? They must plant their feet on another's foundations, because they had none of their own; but they wanted not to own it was another's. He had suffered and experienced to pour liberally into their empty storehouses his dear-bought treasures, for he presented only the facts and proofs of his own practice of Truth and Love, whereas they claimed his proofs without practice. They neither understood him nor his works, and would not accept his meek interpretations thereof, or pattern his perfect love.
Anomalous though it seems at this age, Jesus was called a pestilent fellow at the period of his labors, the stirrer up of seditions, etc., and was followed only by a few unpretentious Christians, whose spirituality was not a name, but so vital it enabled them to understand the Nazarene and the glory of his Life. The cup of bitterness that the world presented him, through its representatives, he drained to the dregs. He also spake of those who followed him drinking of his cup, and history confirms his words. Alas! if that man of immortal meanings was personally on earth to-day, he would be scoffed, ruled out of pulpit and press, denied the rights of person and property, and made the steady aim of superstition, sensualism, and malice.
Having seen the reception the nineteenth century affords the Truth that Jesus uttered and demonstrated over eighteen centuries ago, healing the sick, casting out error, and raising the dead, we may conclude that the dawn of the Christian era did him little less injustice than its advancing centuries will repeat. The bigoted, barbarous tribunals of this period, leaping forth in legal attire, would meet the glorified Nazarene as he was met of yore, and put to the modern rack that man of God. What more can we expect of robed authority that silences a woman who dares, for conscience' sake, quote in meekness those words of her Master to all of God's children: “Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel, heal the sick,” and “He that believeth in me shall not see death.” But when this glorious gospel of healing is ready to be preached, what pulpit will permit the unhallowed tread of its messenger on its soft carpets, or defer having a lottery under its sacred sanction, to give room to Truth? and what newspaper will herald that sermon, even though, as aforetime, it should heal the sick and cast out error?
In vain we stretch our weary wings to the realization of that happy day when all shall know Him, when all shall recognize the Truth that Jesus taught; but we know that promise will be fulfilled; and the coming of our Lord will not be in person, but the divine Principle that he introduced. Until that reappearing to all, whosoever shall triumph over personal sense, and lay down his earthly all on the altar of Christian science, shall drink in part of his cup, and be baptized with his baptism, the purification of their lives. Then shall Christianity again demonstrate, in part, the Life that is Truth and the Truth that is Life, and result, as in the time of the apostles, in healing the sick and casting out error. Earth has no recompense for the persecutions that attend this higher understanding of God, but its recompense is sure, for it lifts our earthly life above mortal discord, and gives it immortal harmony.
A person may reward unjustly, but the divine Principle and Intelligence that we name God cannot change His immortal law of justice and mercy. That we receive all the punishment we deserve before the change named death is quite as impossible as that we have all our rewards here. Is toil and sacrifice bearing the cross, only to see our motives mocked and trials multiply, sufficient from the hand of Love? Do the wicked suffer here all they have to experience, and, gloating in sin and succeeding in villanies up to the moment they pass suddenly from sight in all this loathsomeness, are they pardoned, and pushed straight into glory? The design of Love is to reform the sinner; and if his punishment here has been insufficient to reform him, the good man's Heaven would be to him a hell. They can never find bliss in purity, Truth, and Love, to whom those are the very opposite of themselves. Wisdom prevents not the necessity, in science, for sin to suffer sufficiently, before or after death, to stop sinning. To destroy the penalty due to sin would be for Truth to pardon error, in which case the sinner is no wiser for what he has experienced. If sin escapes the punishment it deserves, it is not according to God's government, where justice is the handmaid of mercy. For sin to produce suffering is the only way to destroy sin. Believing in the pleasures of sin, who will stop sinning?
When mortal man admits there is no pleasure in evil he will turn away from it. Remove error from thought and you will prevent the act. Contemplating history from all moral data down to the present, we learn that faith in Christ, Truth, which caused our martyrs to be burned and the rights of man christened on a gallows, has the same fate to-day. History repeats itself in the just suffering for the unjust; then God has not pardoned sin, and we all shall suffer who sin, and must, until divine science destroys all error.
Did the martyrdom of John Brown make one of Jefferson Davis's crimes less, or less deserving its reward? The God-inspired walk with bleeding footprints here, but calmly on, and in the Hereafter reap what they have sown; but the pampered hypocrite has his laurel here and the thorns hereafter.
The demonstration that Jesus gave of God, Truth, casting out error and healing the sick did more for the world than was ever done before. The Grecian schools of philosophy never taught the race the divine demonstration of Life, Truth, or Love, and the history of Christianity lost early the divine element that heals mind and body.
The martyrs are links in being, from the human to the divine, the luminaries of the ages, that, like the sun, go down to personal sense, to reappear in all the amplitude of their lives. Self-conscious right brings its own reward; but not amid the smoke of battle is the right seen or appreciated.
The belief that Spirit is a personality instead of Principle has darkened the whole history of the human race. It renders Spirit finite, therefore mortal, and the personal error that the belief of Soul in body includes. This error of belief crucified Jesus, and to-day it is shutting out the kingdom of heaven, the reign of harmony, and the science of being. Jesus knew there is but one God, that God is Mind, and Mind made man the image and likeness of Mind, the reflection of Truth, Life, and Love, and not of personality; hence his divine logic that the “I and Father are one.” But this scientific statement, and the demonstration it brought out, incensed the rabbis, and they said: “Crucify him! He maketh himself as God, and what further witness need we against him?” This divine science is too much for the sinner; it reduces him to nothingness too soon, he thinks; but we think the sooner he is reduced, the more prospect he has of becoming something. To destroy error is not the destruction of Truth or Life, but its virtual acknowledgment.
Bigots are too much absorbed in material selfhood to discern the reflection of Substance, Life, and Intelligence, and to own these are God, and to see that, because man is not God, he is not this one Mind, and because there is but one God, there is no evil or mortal mind, and but one reality, namely, God and man, Principle and its idea, — Principle infinite, including in itself all, and its idea, man, embracing all ideas, and the infinite reflector of them all. This scientific statement understood enables man to cast out error and heal the sick; but it cuts off right hands and plucks out right eyes; denying material selfhood, it lays the axe at the root of the tree, and cuts down that forbidden tree, even the knowledge gained from belief, or what is termed the evidence of the senses. God being perfect, if we admit no other Intelligence or Mind, we can have no imperfect mind or body, no sin, sickness, or death. The only way to annihilate the sense of error is divesting it of supposed mind, never to admit it an intelligence, power, pain, or pleasure. To admit aught but the good intelligence lays the foundation of evil, and goes to support two powers, namely, God and devil, Truth and error; and to conclude that error is an intelligence when it is the absence of it, and to attribute superiority and success to error more frequently than Truth. The belief in a personal Satan is on the wane; at present his Satanic Majesty is not deemed so much a distinct individual as a universal power. The next step is to learn there is no evil power; that evil or error is not a power; that it has neither life nor intelligence. Divine logic and revelation coincide: if we find this not so, it is because we have misinterpreted revelation. Good never made evil, or aught that could make it, and only Good, God, is self-existent. Evil is nothing but a belief of mortal mind: destroy the belief, and the evil disappears. And because ind is immortal, there is no mortal mind; hence, destroy the belief of mortal mind, and there is no evil. Jesus stripped all disguise from error had he only been understood; he explained the impossibility of a good tree bearing evil fruit, etc., and he demonstrated this great fact, that sin, sickness, or death is but a belief, by healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out error, through his effect on mind. God destroys Satan, sin, instead of creating another mind to make sin. The material belief that man is both mind and matter, a wicked mind and a material body, God never created. That mind comprehends, feels, and exists, an entity beneath the cranium, and sins and suffers ad libitum, is the only personal devil there is, and the one to be cast out as a belief, and not a person.
Error is not the result of brains, but a belief that brains are intelligent; in other words, that God is in matter. Error is by no means mind. Error is not a product of mind, but a belief that mind is a product. Anatomy and materia medica would have two intelligences, one Mind, the other matter, then put Mind into matter, the larger into the lesser, and call that error man.
This belief is human knowledge, represented in scriptural metaphor by a tree with a serpent coiled around it, — a subtle lie introducing other lies, even the beliefs of sin, sickness, and death.
A lie is all the Satan there is, and, observing its results, we gain this proof. All the discords of earth are the effects of a lie, not of Truth, and in themselves are falsities; they are not the realities either of God or man, for they proceed not from Truth. Uncover a lie, and, snake-like, it turns to give the lie to you. Until this Truth concerning error, that exposes its nothingness, appears, the moral demand, and the ability to make no reality of error, will not appear. When error is found out and acknowledged to be nothing, it will introduce new light, and make philosophers loath to call that real which is a mistake and proves itself a delusion. But the largest fact arrays the most falsities against it, and brings lies from under cover. The higher Truth utters her voice the louder error tries to be heard above her, until error's uncertain sound is forever silenced. “He uttered His voice, the earth melted.”
Jesus taught his students Christian science, and they reached the demonstration thereof in healing only as they followed implicitly its divine rules. It was of no importance to him whether his self-abnegation and faithfulness met their reward in the present or future; he knew their recompense was sure. There must be a going out of the so-called material appetites, pursuits, and joys, and the spiritual be taking their place to demonstrate the science of Christian healing, whereby we gain the impersonal sense of Omnipotence. Jesus proved the reception his metaphysics meets before it is understood, but the malice that error aims at Truth hindered him not; he must fulfil his Soul-mission, and triumph over death, before he could sit down at the right hand of the Father, find peace in Life, the Principle of this problem of being. Persecuted from city to city, Jesus went about doing good, for which he was maligned and stoned. He taught and proved in divine science that God is Love; but priest and rabbi affirmed that God is a person, who loves and hates, and gives no proof of Love as an unchanging Principle. The Truth he taught was shunned because it demanded more than they were willing to practise. Simply believing in a personal Deity never made a Christian. All belief will go down in a moral chemical, that has already begun, and will continue until God is admitted impersonal Spirit, and the only Soul and Life of man, and belief has yielded to understanding.
The basis of all health, sinlessness, and immortality, is Truth understood; but it was for promulgating Truth that the great Teacher of divine science was martyred.
Was it just for Jesus to suffer? No; but it was inevitable in this sensual world, where the good are supposed to suffer because of the evil, while the evil derive their only blessings from the good. That Jesus sent forth seventy students of Christian science, and eleven only have left a desirable history of themselves, indicates the great distance between the metaphysics of Jesus and the religion of that age and of this. It requires more cross-bearing to be a Christian demonstrator than a professor. Few in the past or present accept or adhere to the divine science of healing; hence the Scripture, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
The final crucifixion of the great demonstrator of the Principle that is God drew near that hour of triumph over all personal and material beliefs, and all the pangs they afford, — an hour that gave the highest proof of divine science ever recorded, and proofs so important to mortals. Judas conspired against Jesus, taking advantage of the world's ingratitude and the ruler's hatred of that just man to betray him into the hands of his enemies for thirty pieces and the smile of a Pharisee. Warily the pitiful traitor chose his time when the world was in mystery concerning Jesus and his teachings. Judas knew the period was approaching that must reveal the infinite distance between them. He knew it was the great goodness of his Master that enabled him to heal beyond his students, and it rebuked him as nothing else could. The great moral and spiritual distance between them inflamed his envy, and the greed of gold strengthened his ingratitude. He never doubted but the sensuous world would love a Judas better than a Jesus, and his betrayal of a just man would raise him in the people's estimation. But his dark schemes fell to the ground, and took the traitor with them. Judas had the world's weapons, Jesus none of them, so he chose not to defend himself before those who understood not that defence, and he “opened not his mouth.” The greatest demonstrator of Truth and Love that earth has ever known silent before error and hate. They with whom he had walked meekly, and to whom he had given the highest proofs of divine power, called him a “pestilent fellow,” saying deridingly, “He maketh himself as God.” They “who turn aside the rights of a man before the face of the Most High” esteemed him stricken and smitten of God, “brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep dumb before her shearers”; and “who shall declare his generation?” who should decide whence cometh Truth, and what is Truth?
Pilate, pale in the presence of his own momentous question, “What is Truth?” little knew that his cruel decision against human rights and justice was helping on the glorious proof of what Truth is, and what it does for man, and the future would send back his reply in thunder tones. The women at the cross could have answered Pilate's question. They knew that Truth inspires our devotions, wings our faith, opens the eyes of the understanding, heals the sick, casts out error, and caused the disciples of old to say, “Even devils are subject unto us through thy name.” But where were those seventy whom he sent forth? Were all conspirators save eleven? Had they forgotten his years of toil and privation, his divine patience and courage, his unrequited love, and could not they have given him a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, and met his last human yearnings for one proof of their fidelity? From early boyhood he had been about his Master's business, and they about theirs, but their pursuits were far apart; his master was Spirit, theirs matter; one served God, the other Mammon. Jesus had suffered and experienced for them to pour his dear-bought bounty into their barren hearts, and what was the reward? Forsaken of all save the women who bent in woe at the foot of the cross. Peter would have smitten the enemies of his master, but he bade him put up the sword, and take not the world's weapons to defend Truth, disdaining artifice or animal courage. If Truth spared him not the false accusation, Jesus would submit to a felon's death. His purpose was to vindicate a Principle, not a person, while their mad ambition was seen in envy, cruelty, or revenge exercised toward a person.
Jesus could have withdrawn himself from his enemies. He had power both to lay down his supposed life in matter and to take it up again. But he permitted them the opportunity to destroy his mortal body or life, according to their belief, that he might furnish the proof of an immortal body, showing them they could neither kill him spiritually nor destroy his material body, until he chose to lay it down when his earth-mission was accomplished. He knew that all Life is God, good; that evil has no life. He understood that God was his Life, and they could no more separate him from Life and its phenomenon than from God, Truth, and Love. The belief that man has a separate Soul and Life from God is the error that he came to destroy. Because he understood this great fact of being, neither sickness nor the cross, temptation nor sin, could destroy Jesus. Let them think to kill the body whose Life is acknowledged Mind, and after that he would show them this body the same as before, proving they could not harm his body when mind held it in the understanding that Life is God. His disciples better understood his metaphysics, the divine science of the Life that is God. He had shown them its principle in casting out error, healing the sick, and raising the dead; but his last proof of the eternal principle of man was the highest, and most convincing to all, and his students profited by it. The unsatisfied malignity of his foes, the failure of his betrayer, and its results in his own self-destruction, all demonstrated what Jesus had taught, that “the measure you mete shall be measured to you again.” Their hatred, overruled by the divine Love, established Jesus' teachings, and perpetuated for a time the Christian era. They who wanted to kill him, to stop his influence, only extended it by what they did, and Jesus rose higher in his demonstration because of it. Our Master sought not the protection of law from their barbarity. Human law afforded him no succor, but condemned him, even when the higher law sustained him in their presence against all odds, and in defiance of their fell purpose to disgrace and kill him. The divine mastered the human at every point. The Truth he had taught and lived enabled him to triumph over all the beliefs of personal sense of Life or substance in matter and the power of hate to harm.
Alone, the meek demonstrator of God and highest instructor of man met his fate: no eye to pity, no human arm to save, forsaken of all he had blessed, the faithful sentinel of God. He stood at a higher post of honor, accepting a grander trust in defence of Truth, and ready to be transformed by its renewing. He had taught what he was about to prove, namely, that Life is God, therefore it is superior to all conditions of matter, above the wrath of man, and able to triumph not only over sickness and sin but death.
In the garden night-walk, — that hour of gloom and glory, — the utter error of a belief of Life in matter, all its pangs, ignorance, bigotry, malice, and hatred, touched him. His students slept, but he said unto them, “Can you not watch with me one hour?” Then he who had held uncomplaining guard to bless others received no response to his human yearning, and turned forever away from earth to Heaven and from sense to Soul. The final triumph of Spirit over matter, of the divine over the human, Jesus reached in that supreme hour of mockery, desertion, and crucifixion, and it all aided his highest demonstration. Viewing the magnitude of that moment to the world for its example and proof of divine science, and burdened with the sins of others, he momently exclaimed, “Hast thou forsaken me?” Had this appeal been made to a person, we might have doubted the justice or affection of that father who for an instant could withhold the clear recognition of his presence to sustain and bless so faithful a son. But it was not made to a person. He called on God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus; he appealed to Truth and Love, asking himself if they had forsaken him, knowing that he must abide in them to meet that hour of the world's error and hate. If his recognition of scientific being should yield for a moment to the evidences of the senses, under stress of circumstances, what would his accusers say? Even what they did, — that Jesus' teachings were false, and all evidence of their truth was destroyed in his death. The burdens of that hour were beyond human conception. The throng of mortal minds disbelieving the purpose of his mission weighed heavily. The world's hatred of Truth was the ponderous cross he bore up the hill of grief. Not the spear or cross wrung from his faithful lips the cry, “Eloi lama sabacthani.” All the good he did, a life that was Love, met their earthly reward, a cup of gall! Beholding that sweat of agony falling in holy benediction on the grass of Gethsemane, could the meekest and the mightiest follower of his example expect to escape the world's malice? Truth bestows few palms until we reach through demonstration full triumph over error. Love must triumph over hate, and Truth and Life over error and death, before the thorns are laid off for a more befitting crown, and the “Well done, good and faithful,” bestows immortal honors.
After our Master had demonstrated the divine science of Life for the enlightenment and salvation of the whole world, he was found talking with his disciples three days after the burial of the body. The rabbis thought to hide in a sepulchre immortal Truth that to-day is acknowledged God. The Truth that Jesus was identified with that he abided in, taught, and demonstrated over eighteen centuries ago, that has spoken to all in the inspired word, and is revealed to the heart, is again found casting out error and healing the sick. Those who saw the final proof that Jesus gave of all he had taught, misconstrued it. His disciples called him a “spirit,” and believed his body had been killed; but his reply to this was, “Spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
Jesus told them plainly that person is not Spirit, and proved to their personal sense that his body was not changed materially until he rose higher in the understanding of Life, and he caused Thomas to examine the prints of the nails and spear to convince him thereof. Jesus had a short experience of the unchanged state after death, for his fidelity to Truth had purchased a more glorified being, and final ascension or triumph over all materiality. When will it be seen by his faithful followers that they will pass from earth to heaven, from matter to Spirit, sooner if they triumph over death? But those who consented to the martyrdom of a righteous man made a doctrinal platform out of that sacred history. His students, not sufficiently advanced before the crucifixion of their Master to understand his triumph over the grave, performed not their wonderful works until they saw him again and knew he never had died or changed in the least. This convinced them of all that he had taught, and his earth work was done; therefore he went beyond their knowledge in his next demonstration, and they said he rose out of their sight, and the historian named that the Ascension. Here their record of Jesus stopped. After his final demonstrations, his students received the Holy Ghost, the spiritual interpretation or discernment of his teachings, and the faint conception of the Life that is God, good. As they came nearer the understanding of metaphysics, even the example of their glorified Saviour in healing, they leaned no longer on a person, but the divine Principle of his work.
The reappearing of Jesus was not the return of a “spirit,” but the presentation of the same material body that he had before the crucifixion. The divine Principle of that demonstration, and not a person, interprets that phenomenon; neither mediumship nor doctrines, but science, must declare its meaning to man. The Man of Sorrows best understood the nothingness of this supposed life in matter, and the substance of Life, Truth, and Love. And this man, the highest representative of God that earth hath ever known, when speaking of the world of sense, said to his disciples, “You hath it loved, but me hath it hated.”
Herod and Pilate laid aside old feuds to unite in putting to derision and death the best man that ever trod the globe. Against the exponent of Truth they had common cause. Both hated Truth, and were united in their malicious aims at him who loved it. The accusations of the Pharisee against Jesus were as self-contradictory as his religion. The bigot, braggart, or hypocrite called him a glutton, a wine-bibber, etc., saying: “He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, and is the friend of sinners.” This last saying was the only correct one. There never lived a man at such a remove from appetites or passions as the Nazarene, and because he was the friend of sinners he failed not to rebuke them pointedly and unflinchingly. He was the foe to error only because he was the friend of Truth. The opinions entertained of Jesus were the very opposite of the man. They understood not his excellence, inasmuch as they could not practise it. He was at work in science, and they knew not the Principle thereof. We have very few today who understand the great Truth that Jesus taught and proved, healing the sick, casting out error, raising the dead. But it is possible, and the privilege of all Christendom, to follow the example of our master, and just what they claim to do. And yet the imperative commands, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect,” “Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel,” “Heal the sick,” etc., have little inspiration to nerve Christian effort.
When the science of being's purity again confronts the impurity of sense, and Truth lifts her voice above all error, the blows fall liberally on science; imposition and malice will smite their destroyer in the present as in the past.
To the advanced thinker, perceiving the scope and
tendency of Truth, we look for support, while others
shall say to metaphysics: “Go thy way for this time;
when we have a convenient season we will call for thee.”
May the age soon learn that the only medium through
which immortality and Life is learned profitably and
permanently is metaphysics, not physics. Human opinions,
doctrines, and beliefs afford no demonstrable principle
whereby man can work out his own salvation, and understand
God, the divine Principle thereof. Jesus' teachings
and demonstrations furnish the only key to the kingdom,
but we must drink of his cup, partake of his sorrows, and
be baptized into his purity before we rise to the higher
proofs of the divine Principle of scientific being. The
very nature of Christianity is peace and blessedness, but
its joys and triumphs are not mundane; they anchor our
hopes beyond the vale, taking them away from earth to
heaven. The imposition of mental quackery in repeat
the letter and omitting the Spirit is by no means
science, seen in the gradual going out of the pleasures
and pains of personal sense, and harmony, purity, and
Love coming in to our experiences, until the beliefs of
life in matter yield to the consciousness that Life is
Spirit, and Spirit is God, the divine Principle of the
demonstration of metaphysics.