The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany/Chapter 2.03
AT a time of contagious disease, Christian Scientists endeavor to rise in consciousness to the true sense of the omnipotence of Life, Truth, and Love, and this great fact in Christian Science realized will stop a contagion.
In time of religious or scientific prosperity, certain individuals are inclined to cling to the personality of its leader. This state of mind is sickly; it is a contagion — a mental malady, which must be met and overcome. Why? Because it would dethrone the First Commandment, Thou shalt have one God.
If God is one and God is Person, then Person is infinite; and there is no personal worship, for God is divine Principle, Love. Hence the sin, the danger and darkness of personal contagion.
Forgetting divine Principle brings on this contagion. Its symptoms are based upon personal sight or sense. Declaring the truth regarding an individual or leader, rendering praise to whom praise is due, is not a symptom of this contagious malady, but persistent pursuit of his or her person is.
Every loss in grace and growth spiritual, since time began, has come from injustice and personal contagion. Had the ages helped their leaders to, and let them alone in, God's glory, the world would not have lost the Science of Christianity.
“What went ye out for to see?” A person, or a Principle? Whichever it be, determines the right or the wrong of this following. A personal motive gratified by sense will leave one “a reed shaken with the wind,” whereas helping a leader in God's direction, and giving this leader time and retirement to pursue the infinite ascent, — the comprehending of the divine order and consciousness in Science, — will break one's own dream of personal sense, heal disease, and make one a Christian Scientist.
Is not the old question still rampant? “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” But when may we see you, to get some good out of your personality?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (St. John). This great truth of God's impersonality and individuality and of man in His image and likeness, individual, but not personal, is the foundation of Christian Science. There was never a religion or philosophy lost to the centuries except by sinking its divine Principle in personality. May all Christian Scientists ponder this fact, and give their talents and loving hearts free scope only in the right direction!
I left Boston in the height of prosperity to retreat from the world, and to seek the one divine Person, whereby and wherein to show others the footsteps from sense to Soul. To give me this opportunity is all that I ask of mankind.
My soul thanks the loyal, royal natures of the beloved members of my church who cheerfully obey God and steadily go on promoting the true Principle of Christian Science. Only the disobedient spread personal contagion, and any imaginary benefit they receive is the effect of self-mesmerism, wherein the remedy is worse than the disease.
Letter to a Clergyman
My Dear Sir: — I beg to thank you for your most excellent letter. It is an outpouring of goodness and greatness with which you honor me.
In a call upon my person, you would not see me, for spiritual sense demands and commands us; hence I seek to be “absent from the body,” and such circumstances embarrass the higher criticism.
The Scripture reads: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” A saving faith comes not of a person, but of Truth's presence and power. Soul, not sense, receives and gives it. One's voluntary withdrawal from society, from furnishing the demands upon the finite to supply the blessings of the infinite, — something impossible in the Science of God and credited only by human belief, by a material and not by the spiritual sense of man, — should come from conscience.
The doctrine of Buddha, which rests on a heathen basis for its Nirvana, represents not the divinity of Christian Science, in which Truth, or Christ, finds its paradise in Spirit, in the consciousness of heaven within us — health, harmony, holiness, entirely apart from limitations, which would dwarf individuality in personality and couple evil with good. It is convenient for history to record limitations and to regard evil as real, but it is impossible in Science to believe this, or on such a basis to demonstrate the divine Principle of that which is real, harmonious, and eternal — that which is based on one infinite God, and man, His idea, image, and likeness.
In Science, we learn that man is not absorbed in the divine nature, but is absolved by it. Man is free from the flesh and is individual in consciousness — in Mind, not in matter. Think not that Christian Science tends towards Buddhism or any other “ism.” Per contra, Christian Science destroys such tendency. Mary of old wept because she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre — looked for the person, instead of the Principle that reveals Christ. The Mary of to-day looks up for Christ, away from the supposedly crucified to the ascended Christ, to the Truth that “healeth all thy diseases” and gives dominion over all the earth. The doubting disciple could not identify Christ spiritually, but he could materially. He turned to the person, to the prints of the nails, to prove Christ, whereas the discharged evidence of material sense gave the real proof of his Saviour, the veritable Christ, Truth, which destroys the false sense with the evidence of Soul, immortality, eternal Life without beginning or end of days.
Should I give myself the pleasant pastime of seeing your personal self, or give you the opportunity of seeing mine, you would not see me thus, for I am not there. I have risen to look and wait and watch and pray for the spirit of Truth that leadeth away from person — from body to Soul, even to the true image and likeness of God. St. John found Christ, Truth, in the Word which is God. We look for the sainted Revelator in his writings, and there we find him. Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me. I hope and trust that you and I may meet in truth and know each other there, and know as we are known of God.
Accept my gratitude for the chance you give me to answer your excellent letter. Forgive, if it needs forgiveness, my honest position. Bear with me the burden of discovery and share with me the bliss of seeing the risen Christ, God's spiritual idea that takes away all sin, disease, and death, and gives to soul its native freedom.