Atonement is the exemplification of man's unity
with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love. Jesus of Nazareth
taught and demonstrated man's oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him
endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life's
work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, - to show
them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a
single responsibility. Jesus acted boldly, against the accredited evidence of
the senses, against Pharisaical creeds and practices, and he refuted all
opponents with his healing power.
The atonement of Christ reconciles man to God,
not God to man; for the divine Principle of Christ is God, and how can God
propitiate Himself? Christ is Truth, which reaches no higher than itself. The
fountain can rise no higher than its source. Christ, Truth, could conciliate
no nature above his own, derived from the eternal Love. It was therefore
Christ's purpose to reconcile man to God, not God to man. Love and Truth are
not at war with God's image and likeness. Man cannot exceed divine Love, and
so atone for himself. Even Christ cannot reconcile Truth to error, for Truth
and error are irreconcilable. Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving
man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus' teachings, and this
truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the
law of Spirit, - the law of divine Love.
The Master forbore not to speak the whole
truth, declaring precisely what would destroy sickness, sin, and death,
although his teaching set households at variance, and brought to material
beliefs not peace, but a sword.
Every pang of repentance and suffering, every
effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand
Jesus' atonement for sin and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to
pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he has little part in the atonement, - in
the at-one-ment with
God, - for he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and
enables man to do the will of wisdom. Those who cannot demonstrate, at least
in part, the divine Principle of the teachings and practice of our Master have
no part in God. If living in disobedience to Him, we ought to feel no
security, although God is good.
sinless career 19
Jesus urged the commandment, "Thou shalt
have no other gods before me," which may be rendered: Thou shalt have no
belief of Life as mortal; thou shalt not know evil, for there is one Life, -
even God, good. He rendered "unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's;
and unto God the things that are God's." He at last paid no homage to
forms of doctrine or to theories of man, but acted and spake as he was moved,
not by spirits but by Spirit.
To the ritualistic priest and hypocritical
Pharisee Jesus said, "The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom
of God before you." Jesus' history made a new calendar, which we call the
Christian era; but he established no ritualistic worship. He knew that men can
be baptized, partake of the Eucharist, support the clergy, observe the
Sabbath, make long prayers, and yet be sensual and sinful.
Jesus bore our infirmities; he knew the error
of mortal belief, and "with his stripes [the rejection of error] we are
healed." "Despised and rejected of men," returning blessing for
cursing, he taught mortals the opposite of themselves, even the nature of God;
and when error felt the power of Truth, the scourge and the cross awaited the
great Teacher. Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order
and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to
of the cross 20
Material belief is slow to acknowledge what the
spiritual fact implies. The truth is the centre of all religion. It commands
sure entrance into the realm of Love. St. Paul wrote, "Let us lay aside
every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with
patience the race that is set before us;" that is, let us put aside
material self and sense, and seek the divine Principle and Science of all
If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk
and conversation, you can finally say, "I have fought a good fight . . .
I have kept the faith," because you are a better man. This is having our
part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love. Christians do not continue to
labor and pray, expecting because of another's goodness, suffering, and
triumph, that they shall reach his harmony and reward.
If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is
striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks
towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest
from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at
last he finishes his course with joy.
If my friends are going to Europe, while I am en
route for California,
we are not journeying together. We have separate time-tables to consult,
different routes to pursue. Our paths have diverged at the very outset, and we
have little opportunity to help each other. On the contrary, if my friends
pursue my course, we have the same railroad guides, and our mutual interests
are identical; or, if I take up their line of travel, they help me on, and our
companionship may continue.
Being in sympathy with matter, the worldly man
is at the beck and call of error, and will be attracted thitherward. He is
like a traveller going westward for a pleasure-trip. The company is alluring
and the pleasures exciting. After following the sun for six days, he turns
east on the seventh, satisfied if he can only imagine himself drifting in the
right direction. By-and-by, ashamed of his zigzag course, he would borrow the
passport of some wiser pilgrim, thinking with the aid of this to find and
follow the right road.
Vibrating like a pendulum between sin and the
hope of forgiveness, - selfishness and sensuality causing constant
retrogression, - our moral progress will be slow. Waking to Christ's demand,
mortals experience suffering. This causes them, even as drowning men, to make
vigorous efforts to save themselves; and through Christ's precious love these
efforts are crowned with success.
"Work out your own salvation," is the
demand of Life and Love, for to this end God worketh with you. "Occupy
till I come!" Wait for your reward, and "be not weary in well
doing." If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no
present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race.
When the smoke of battle clears away, you will
discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving. Love
is not hasty to deliver us from temptation, for Love means that we shall be
tried and purified.
not vicarious 22
Final deliverance from error, whereby we
rejoice in immortality, boundless freedom, and sinless sense, is not reached
through paths of flowers nor by pinning one's faith without works to another's
vicarious effort. Whosoever believeth that wrath is righteous or that divinity
is appeased by human suffering, does not understand God.
and substitution 22
Justice requires reformation of the sinner.
Mercy cancels the debt only when justice approves. Revenge is inadmissible.
Wrath which is only appeased is not destroyed, but partially indulged. Wisdom
and Love may require many sacrifices of self to save us from sin. One
sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The
atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner's part. That God's
wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural. Such a
theory is man-made. The atonement is a hard problem in theology, but its
scientific explanation is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense which
Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the
feet of everlasting Love.
and faith 23
Rabbinical lore said: "He that taketh one
doctrine, firm in faith, has the Holy Ghost dwelling in him." This
preaching receives a strong rebuke in the Scripture, "Faith without works
is dead." Faith, if it be mere belief, is as a pendulum swinging between
nothing and something, having no fixity. Faith, advanced to spiritual
understanding, is the evidence gained from Spirit, which rebukes sin of every
kind and establishes the claims of God.
and confidence 23
In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English, faith
and the words corresponding thereto have these two definitions, trustfulness
One kind of faith trusts one's welfare to others. Another kind of faith
understands divine Love and how to work out one's "own salvation, with
fear and trembling." "Lord, I believe; help thou mine
unbelief!" expresses the helplessness of a blind faith; whereas the
injunction, "Believe . . . and thou shalt be saved!" demands
self-reliant trustworthiness, which includes spiritual understanding and
confides all to God.
The Hebrew verb to
believe means also to
be firm or to be
constant. This certainly applies to Truth and Love understood
and practised. Firmness in error will never save from sin, disease, and death.
healing currents 24
Acquaintance with the original texts, and
willingness to give up human beliefs (established by hierarchies, and
instigated sometimes by the worst passions of men), open the way for Christian
Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of life, where the
buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out.
He to whom "the arm of the Lord" is
revealed will believe our report, and rise into newness of life with
regeneration. This is having part in the atonement; this is the understanding,
in which Jesus suffered and triumphed. The time is not distant when the
ordinary theological views of atonement will undergo a great change, - a
change as radical as that which has come over popular opinions in regard to
predestination and future punishment.
of crucifixion 24
Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of
Jesus chiefly as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it and
are willing to be forgiven? Does spiritualism find Jesus' death necessary only
for the presentation, after death, of the material Jesus, as a proof that
spirits can return to earth? Then we must differ from them both.
The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the
practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind. The truth had
been lived among men; but until they saw that it enabled their Master to
triumph over the grave, his own disciples could not admit such an event to be
possible. After the resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to
acknowledge how complete was the great proof of Truth and Love.
flesh and blood 25
The spiritual essence of blood is sacrifice.
The efficacy of Jesus' spiritual offering is infinitely greater than can be
expressed by our sense of human blood. The material blood of Jesus was no more
efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon "the accursed
tree," than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his
Father's business. His true flesh and blood were his Life; and they truly eat
his flesh and drink his blood, who partake of that divine Life.
Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration,
that we may understand how this divine Principle heals the sick, casts out
error, and triumphs over death. Jesus presented the ideal of God better than
could any man whose origin was less spiritual. By his obedience to God, he
demonstrated more spiritually than all others the Principle of being. Hence
the force of his admonition, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Though demonstrating his control over sin and
disease, the great Teacher by no means relieved others from giving the
requisite proofs of their own piety. He worked for their guidance, that they
might demonstrate this power as he did and understand its divine Principle.
Implicit faith in the Teacher and all the emotional love we can bestow on him,
will never alone make us imitators of him. We must go and do likewise, else we
are not improving the great blessings which our Master worked and suffered to
bestow upon us. The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity
While we adore Jesus, and the heart overflows
with gratitude for what he did for mortals, - treading alone his loving
pathway up to the throne of glory, in speechless agony exploring the way for
us, - yet Jesus spares us not one individual experience, if we follow his
commands faithfully; and all have the cup of sorrowful effort to drink in
proportion to their demonstration of his love, till all are redeemed through
The Christ was the Spirit which Jesus implied
in his own statements: "I am the way, the truth, and the life;"
"I and my Father are one." This Christ, or divinity of the man
Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him. Divine Truth,
Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission
was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He
does for man.
A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music
he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as
precept. Jesus' teaching and practice of Truth involved such a sacrifice as
makes us admit its Principle to be Love. This was the precious import of our
Master's sinless career and of his demonstration of power over death. He
proved by his deeds that Christian Science destroys sickness, sin, and death.
Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or
belief. It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and
practised. His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion and
worship, but Christian Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love.
Jesus sent a message to John the Baptist, which was intended to prove beyond a
question that the Christ had come: "Go your way, and tell John what
things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the
gospel is preached." In other words: Tell John what the demonstration of
divine power is, and he will at once perceive that God is the power in the
That Life is God, Jesus proved by his
reappearance after the crucifixion in strict accordance with his scientific
statement: "Destroy this temple [body], and in three days I [Spirit] will
raise it up." It is as if he had said: The I - the Life, substance, and
intelligence of the universe - is not in matter to be destroyed.
Jesus' parables explain Life as never mingling
with sin and death. He laid the axe of Science at the root of material
knowledge, that it might be ready to cut down the false doctrine of pantheism,
- that God, or Life, is in or of matter.
Jesus sent forth seventy students at one time,
but only eleven left a desirable historic record. Tradition credits him with
two or three hundred other disciples who have left no name. "Many are
called, but few are chosen." They fell away from grace because they never
truly understood their Master's instruction.
Why do those who profess to follow Christ
reject the essential religion he came to establish? Jesus' persecutors made
their strongest attack upon this very point. They endeavored to hold him at
the mercy of matter and to kill him according to certain assumed material
The Pharisees claimed to know and to teach the
divine will, but they only hindered the success of Jesus' mission. Even many
of his students stood in his way. If the Master had not taken a student and
taught the unseen verities of God, he would not have been crucified. The
determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter is the persecutor of Truth
While respecting all that is good in the Church
or out of it, one's consecration to Christ is more on the ground of
demonstration than of profession. In conscience, we cannot hold to beliefs
outgrown; and by understanding more of the divine Principle of the deathless
Christ, we are enabled to heal the sick and to triumph over sin.
Neither the origin, the character, nor the work
of Jesus was generally understood. Not a single component part of his nature
did the material world measure aright. Even his righteousness and purity did
not hinder men from saying: He is a glutton and a friend of the impure, and
Beelzebub is his patron.
Remember, thou Christian martyr, it is enough
if thou art found worthy to unloose the sandals of thy Master's feet! To
suppose that persecution for righteousness' sake belongs to the past, and that
Christianity to-day is at peace with the world because it is honored by sects
and societies, is to mistake the very nature of religion. Error repeats
itself. The trials encountered by prophet, disciple, and apostle, "of
whom the world was not worthy," await, in some form, every pioneer of
There is too much animal courage in society and
not sufficient moral courage. Christians must take up arms against error at
home and abroad. They must grapple with sin in themselves and in others, and
continue this warfare until they have finished their course. If they keep the
faith, they will have the crown of rejoicing.
Christian experience teaches faith in the right
and disbelief in the wrong. It bids us work the more earnestly in times of
persecution, because then our labor is more needed. Great is the reward of
self-sacrifice, though we may never receive it in this world.
Fatherhood of God 29
There is a tradition that Publius Lentulus
wrote to the authorities at Rome: "The disciples of Jesus believe him the
Son of God." Those instructed in Christian Science have reached the
glorious perception that God is the only author of man. The Virgin-mother
conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus - that is,
Joshua, or Saviour.
The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put
to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her
child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men. The
Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of the Virgin-mother
with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an
idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman
perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed.
Man as the offspring of God, as the idea of
Spirit, is the immortal evidence that Spirit is harmonious and man eternal.
Jesus was the offspring of Mary's self-conscious communion with God. Hence he
could give a more spiritual idea of life than other men, and could demonstrate
the Science of Love - his Father or divine Principle.
the way-shower 30
Born of a woman, Jesus' advent in the flesh
partook partly of Mary's earthly condition, although he was endowed with the
Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure. This accounts for his struggles in
Gethsemane and on Calvary, and this enabled him to be the mediator, or way-shower,
between God and men. Had his origin and birth been wholly apart from mortal
usage, Jesus would not have been appreciable to mortal mind as "the
Rabbi and priest taught the Mosaic law, which
said: "An eye for an eye," and "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by
man shall his blood be shed." Not so did Jesus, the new executor for God,
present the divine law of Love, which blesses even those that curse it.
As the individual ideal of Truth, Christ Jesus
came to rebuke rabbinical error and all sin, sickness, and death, - to point
out the way of Truth and Life. This ideal was demonstrated throughout the
whole earthly career of Jesus, showing the difference between the offspring of
Soul and of material sense, of Truth and of error.
If we have triumphed sufficiently over the
errors of material sense to allow Soul to hold the control, we shall loathe
sin and rebuke it under every mask. Only in this way can we bless our enemies,
though they may not so construe our words. We cannot choose for ourselves, but
must work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught. In meekness and might, he
was found preaching the gospel to the poor. Pride and fear are unfit to bear
the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in such hands.
ties temporal 31
Jesus acknowledged no ties of the flesh. He
said: "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father,
which is in heaven." Again he asked: "Who is my mother, and who are
my brethren," implying that it is they who do the will of his Father. We
have no record of his calling any man by the name of father.
He recognized Spirit, God, as the only creator, and therefore as the Father of
First in the list of Christian duties, he
taught his followers the healing power of Truth and Love. He attached no
importance to dead ceremonies. It is the living Christ, the practical Truth,
which makes Jesus "the resurrection and the life" to all who follow
him in deed. Obeying his precious precepts, - following his demonstration so
far as we apprehend it, - we drink of his cup, partake of his bread, are
baptized with his purity; and at last we shall rest, sit down with him, in a
full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death. For what
says Paul? "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show
the Lord's death till he come."
Referring to the materiality of the age, Jesus
said: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Again, foreseeing the
persecution which would attend the Science of Spirit, Jesus said: "They
shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever
killeth you will think that he doeth God service; and these things will they
do unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me."
In ancient Rome a soldier was required to swear
allegiance to his general. The Latin word for this oath was sacramentum,
and our English word sacrament
is derived from it. Among the Jews it was an ancient custom for the master of
a feast to pass each guest a cup of wine. But the Eucharist does not
commemorate a Roman soldier's oath, nor was the wine, used on convivial
occasions and in Jewish rites, the cup of our Lord. The cup shows forth his
bitter experience, - the cup which he prayed might pass from him, though he
bowed in holy submission to the divine decree.
"As they were eating, Jesus took bread,
and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take,
eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to
them saying, Drink ye all of it."
The true sense is spiritually lost, if the
sacrament is confined to the use of bread and wine. The disciples had eaten,
yet Jesus prayed and gave them bread. This would have been foolish in a
literal sense; but in its spiritual signification, it was natural and
beautiful. Jesus prayed; he withdrew from the material senses to refresh his
heart with brighter, with spiritual views.
sad repast 32
The Passover, which Jesus ate with his
disciples in the month Nisan on the night before his crucifixion, was a
mournful occasion, a sad supper taken at the close of day, in the twilight of
a glorious career with shadows fast falling around; and this supper closed
forever Jesus' ritualism or concessions to matter.
His followers, sorrowful and silent,
anticipating the hour of their Master's betrayal, partook of the heavenly
manna, which of old had fed in the wilderness the persecuted followers of
Truth. Their bread indeed came down from heaven. It was the great truth of
spiritual being, healing the sick and casting out error. Their Master had
explained it all before, and now this bread was feeding and sustaining them.
They had borne this bread from house to house, breaking
(explaining) it to others, and now it comforted themselves.
For this truth of spiritual being, their Master
was about to suffer violence and drain to the dregs his cup of sorrow. He must
leave them. With the great glory of an everlasting victory overshadowing him,
he gave thanks and said, "Drink ye all of it."
When the human element in him struggled with
the divine, our great Teacher said: "Not my will, but Thine, be
done!" - that is, Let not the flesh, but the Spirit, be represented in
me. This is the new understanding of spiritual Love. It gives all for Christ,
or Truth. It blesses its enemies, heals the sick, casts out error, raises the
dead from trespasses and sins, and preaches the gospel to the poor, the meek
Christians, are you drinking his cup? Have you
shared the blood of the New Covenant, the persecutions which attend a new and
higher understanding of God? If not, can you then say that you have
commemorated Jesus in his cup? Are all who eat bread and drink wine in memory
of Jesus willing truly to drink his cup, take his cross, and leave all for the
Christ-principle? Then why ascribe this inspiration to a dead rite, instead of
showing, by casting out error and making the body "holy, acceptable unto
God," that Truth has come to the understanding? If Christ, Truth, has
come to us in demonstration, no other commemoration is requisite, for
demonstration is Immanuel, or God with
us; and if a friend be with us, why need we memorials of that
If all who ever partook of the sacrament had
really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of his cup, they would
have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration through
material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and
preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, - the receptive thought, - they will
bring in the millennium.
with Christ 34
Through all the disciples experienced, they
became more spiritual and understood better what the Master had taught. His
resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves
and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception
of infinite possibilities. They needed this quickening, for soon their dear
Master would rise again in the spiritual realm of reality, and ascend far
above their apprehension. As the reward for his faithfulness, he would
disappear to material sense in that change which has since been called the
What a contrast between our Lord's last supper
and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the bright morning
hours at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea! His gloom had
passed into glory, and his disciples' grief into repentance, - hearts
chastened and pride rebuked. Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in
the dark and wakened by their Master's voice, they changed their methods,
turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side.
Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise
somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into
newness of life as Spirit.
This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the
dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists
commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing
and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love. They celebrate their
Lord's victory over death, his probation in the flesh after death, its
exemplification of human probation, and his spiritual and final ascension
above matter, or the flesh, when he rose out of material sight.
Our baptism is a purification from all error.
Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this
church only as we are newborn of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth
and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, - casting
out error and healing the sick. Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the
one God. Our bread, "which cometh down from heaven," is Truth. Our
cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master
drank and commended to his followers.
The design of Love is to reform the sinner. If
the sinner's punishment here has been insufficient to reform him, the good
man's heaven would be a hell to the sinner. They, who know not purity and
affection by experience, can never find bliss in the blessed company of Truth
and Love simply through translation into another sphere. Divine Science
reveals the necessity of sufficient suffering, either before or after death,
to quench the love of sin. To remit the penalty due for sin, would be for
Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God's
government, since justice is the handmaid of mercy.
of error 36
Jesus endured the shame, that he might pour his
dear-bought bounty into barren lives. What was his earthly reward? He was
forsaken by all save John, the beloved disciple, and a few women who bowed in
silent woe beneath the shadow of his cross. The earthly price of spirituality
in a material age and the great moral distance between Christianity and
sensualism preclude Christian Science from finding favor with the
A selfish and limited mind may be unjust, but
the unlimited and divine Mind is the immortal law of justice as well as of
mercy. It is quite as impossible for sinners to receive their full punishment
this side of the grave as for this world to bestow on the righteous their full
reward. It is useless to suppose that the wicked can gloat over their offences
to the last moment and then be suddenly pardoned and pushed into heaven, or
that the hand of Love is satisfied with giving us only toil, sacrifice,
cross-bearing, multiplied trials, and mockery of our motives in return for our
efforts at well doing.
Religious history repeats itself in the
suffering of the just for the unjust. Can God therefore overlook the law of
righteousness which destroys the belief called sin? Does not Science show that
sin brings suffering as much to-day as yesterday? They who sin must suffer.
"With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
History is full of records of suffering.
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Mortals try in
vain to slay Truth with the steel or the stake, but error falls only before
the sword of Spirit. Martyrs are the human links which connect one stage with
another in the history of religion. They are earth's luminaries, which serve
to cleanse and rarefy the atmosphere of material sense and to permeate
humanity with purer ideals. Consciousness of right-doing brings its own
reward; but not amid the smoke of battle is merit seen and appreciated by
When will Jesus' professed followers learn to
emulate him in all his
ways and to imitate his mighty works? Those who procured the martyrdom of that
righteous man would gladly have turned his sacred career into a mutilated
doctrinal platform. May the Christians of to-day take up the more practical
import of that career! It is possible, - yea, it is the duty and privilege of
every child, man, and woman, - to follow in some degree the example of the
Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness.
Christians claim to be his followers, but do they follow him in the way that
he commanded? Hear these imperative commands: "Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect!" "Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature!" "Heal
teaching belittled 37
Why has this Christian demand so little
inspiration to stir mankind to Christian effort? Because men are assured that
this command was intended only for a particular period and for a select number
of followers. This teaching is even more pernicious than the old doctrine of
foreordination, - the election of a few to be saved, while the rest are
damned; and so it will be considered, when the lethargy of mortals, produced
by man-made doctrines, is broken by the demands of divine Science.
Jesus said: "These signs shall follow them
that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall
recover." Who believes him? He was addressing his disciples, yet he did
not say, "These signs shall follow you,"
but them - "them
that believe" in all time to come. Here the word hands
is used metaphorically, as in the text, "The right hand of the Lord is
exalted." It expresses spiritual power; otherwise the healing could not
have been done spiritually. At another time Jesus prayed, not for the twelve
only, but for as many as should believe "through their word."
Jesus experienced few of the pleasures of the
physical senses, but his sufferings were the fruits of other people's 'sins,
not of his own. The eternal Christ, his spiritual selfhood, never suffered.
Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Christ, the spiritual
idea of divine Love. To those buried in the belief of sin and self, living
only for pleasure or the gratification of the senses, he said in substance:
Having eyes ye see not, and having ears ye hear not; lest ye should understand
and be converted, and I might heal you. He taught that the material senses
shut out Truth and its healing power.
of truth 39
Meekly our Master met the mockery of his
unrecognized grandeur. Such indignities as he received, his followers will
endure until Christianity's last triumph. He won eternal honors. He overcame
the world, the flesh, and all error, thus proving their nothingness. He
wrought a full salvation from sin, sickness, and death. We need "Christ,
and him crucified." We must have trials and self-denials, as well as joys
and victories, until all error is destroyed.
The educated belief that Soul is in the body
causes mortals to regard death as a friend, as a stepping-stone out of
mortality into immortality and bliss. The Bible calls death an enemy, and
Jesus overcame death and the grave instead of yielding to them. He was
"the way." To him, therefore, death was not the threshold over which
he must pass into living glory.
cried the apostle, "is the accepted time; behold, now
is the day of salvation," - meaning, not that now men must prepare for a
future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to
experience that salvation in spirit and in life. Now is the time for so-called
material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal,
because impossible in Science. To break this earthly spell, mortals must get
the true idea and divine Principle of all that really exists and governs the
universe harmoniously. This thought is apprehended slowly, and the interval
before its attainment is attended with doubts and defeats as well as triumphs.
Who will stop the practice of sin so long as he
believes in the pleasures of sin? When mortals once admit that evil confers no
pleasure, they turn from it. Remove error from thought, and it will not appear
in effect. The advanced thinker and devout Christian, perceiving the scope and
tendency of Christian healing and its Science, will support them. Another will
say: "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will
call for thee."
Divine Science adjusts the balance as Jesus
adjusted it. Science removes the penalty only by first removing the sin which
incurs the penalty. This is my sense of divine pardon, which I understand to
mean God's method of destroying sin. If the saying is true, "While
there's life there's hope," its opposite is also true, While there's sin
there's doom. Another's suffering cannot lessen our own liability. Did the
martyrdom of Savonarola make the crimes of his implacable enemies less
Was it just for Jesus to suffer? No; but it was
inevitable, for not otherwise could he show us the way and the power of Truth.
If a career so great and good as that of Jesus could not avert a felon's fate,
lesser apostles of Truth may endure human brutality without murmuring,
rejoicing to enter into fellowship with him through the triumphal arch of
Truth and Love.
and worship 40
Our heavenly Father, divine Love, demands that
all men should follow the example of our Master and his apostles and not
merely worship his personality. It is sad that the phrase divine
service has come so generally to mean public worship instead
of daily deeds.
the veil 40
The nature of Christianity is peaceful and
blessed, but in order to enter into the kingdom, the anchor of hope must be
cast beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed
before us; and this advance beyond matter must come through the joys and
triumphs of the righteous as well as through their sorrows and afflictions.
Like our Master, we must depart from material sense into the spiritual sense
thorns and flowers 41
The God-inspired walk calmly on though it be
with bleeding footprints, and in the hereafter they will reap what they now
sow. The pampered hypocrite may have a flowery pathway here, but he cannot
forever break the Golden Rule and escape the penalty due.
early lost 41
The proofs of Truth, Life, and Love, which
Jesus gave by casting out error and healing the sick, completed his earthly
mission; but in the Christian Church this demonstration of healing was early
lost, about three centuries after the crucifixion. No ancient school of
philosophy, materia medica,
or scholastic theology ever taught or demonstrated the divine healing of
Jesus foresaw the reception Christian Science
would have before it was understood, but this foreknowledge hindered him not.
He fulfilled his God-mission, and then sat down at the right hand of the
Father. Persecuted from city to city, his apostles still went about doing good
deeds, for which they were maligned and stoned. The truth taught by Jesus, the
elders scoffed at. Why? Because it demanded more than they were willing to
practise. It was enough for them to believe in a national Deity; but that
belief, from their time to ours, has never made a disciple who could cast out
evils and heal the sick.
Jesus' life proved, divinely and
scientifically, that God is Love, whereas priest and rabbi affirmed God to be
a mighty potentate, who loves and hates. The Jewish theology gave no hint of
the unchanging love of God.
in death 42
The universal belief in death is of no
advantage. It cannot make Life or Truth apparent. Death will be found at
length to be a mortal dream, which comes in darkness and disappears with the
The "man of sorrows" was in no peril
from salary or popularity. Though entitled to the homage of the world and
endorsed pre-eminently by the approval of God, his brief triumphal entry into
Jerusalem was followed by the desertion of all save a few friends, who sadly
followed him to the foot of the cross.
The resurrection of the great demonstrator of
God's power was the proof of his final triumph over body and matter, and gave
full evidence of divine Science, - evidence so important to mortals. The
belief that man has existence or mind separate from God is a dying error. This
error Jesus met with divine Science and proved its nothingness. Because of the
wondrous glory which God bestowed on His anointed, temptation, sin, sickness,
and death had no terror for Jesus. Let men think they had killed the body!
Afterwards he would show it to them unchanged. This demonstrates that in
Christian Science the true man is governed by God-by good, not evil - and is
therefore not a mortal but an immortal. Jesus had taught his disciples the
Science of this proof. He was here to enable them to test his still
uncomprehended saying, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do
shall he do also." They must understand more fully his Life-principle by
casting out error, healing the sick, and raising the dead, even as they did
understand it after his bodily departure.
The magnitude of Jesus' work, his material
disappearance before their eyes and his reappearance, all enabled the
disciples to understand what Jesus had said. Heretofore they had only
believed; now they understood. The advent of this understanding is what is
meant by the descent of the Holy Ghost, - that influx of divine Science which
so illuminated the Pentecostal Day and is now repeating its ancient history.
Jesus' last proof was the highest, the most
convincing, the most profitable to his students. The malignity of brutal
persecutors, the treason and suicide of his betrayer, were overruled by divine
Love to the glorification of the man and of the true idea of God, which Jesus'
persecutors had mocked and tried to slay. The final demonstration of the truth
which Jesus taught, and for which he was crucified, opened a new era for the
world. Those who slew him to stay his influence perpetuated and extended it.
Jesus rose higher in demonstration because of
the cup of bitterness he drank. Human law had condemned him, but he was
demonstrating divine Science. Out of reach of the barbarity of his enemies, he
was acting under spiritual law in defiance of matter and mortality, and that
spiritual law sustained him. The divine must overcome the human at every
point. The Science Jesus taught and lived must triumph over all material
beliefs about life, substance, and intelligence, and the multitudinous errors
growing from such beliefs.
Love must triumph over hate. Truth and Life
must seal the victory over error and death, before the thorns can be laid
aside for a crown, the benediction follow, "Well done, good and faithful
servant," and the supremacy of Spirit be demonstrated.
the tomb 44
The lonely precincts of the tomb gave Jesus a
refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problem of being.
His three days' work in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He
proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate. He met and
mastered on the basis of Christian Science, the power of Mind over matter, all
the claims of medicine, surgery, and hygiene.
He took no drugs to allay inflammation. He did
not depend upon food or pure air to resuscitate wasted energies. He did not
require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms and bind up the wounded
side and lacerated feet, that he might use those hands to remove the napkin
and winding-sheet, and that he might employ his feet as before.
deific naturalism 44
Could it be called supernatural for the God of
nature to sustain Jesus in his proof of man's truly derived power? It was a
method of surgery beyond material art, but it was not a supernatural act. On
the contrary, it was a divinely natural act, whereby divinity brought to
humanity the understanding of the Christ-healing and revealed a method
infinitely above that of human invention.
His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while
he was hidden in the sepulchre, whereas he was alive, demonstrating within the
narrow tomb the power of Spirit to overrule mortal, material sense. There were
rock-ribbed walls in the way, and a great stone must be rolled from the cave's
mouth; but Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of
matter, and stepped forth from his gloomy resting-place, crowned with the
glory of a sublime success, an everlasting victory.
over the grave 45
Our Master fully and finally demonstrated
divine Science in his victory over death and the grave. Jesus' deed was for
the enlightenment of men and for the salvation of the whole world from sin,
sickness, and death. Paul writes: "For if, when we were enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the [seeming] death of His Son, much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Three days after his bodily
burial he talked with his disciples. The persecutors had failed to hide
immortal Truth and Love in a sepulchre.
stone rolled away 45
Glory be to God, and peace to the struggling
hearts! Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and
faith, and through the revelation and demonstration of life in God, hath
elevated them to possible at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of man and his
divine Principle, Love.
the resurrection 45
They who earliest saw Jesus after the
resurrection and beheld the final proof of all that he had taught,
misconstrued that event. Even his disciples at first called him a spirit,
ghost, or spectre, for they believed his body to be dead. His reply was:
"Spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." The
reappearing of Jesus was not the return of a spirit. He presented the same
body that he had before his crucifixion, and so glorified the supremacy of
Mind over matter.
Jesus' students, not sufficiently advanced
fully to understand their Master's triumph, did not perform many wonderful
works, until they saw him after his crucifixion and learned that he had not
died. This convinced them of the truthfulness of all that he had taught.
In the walk to Emmaus, Jesus was known to his
friends by the words, which made their hearts burn within them, and by the
breaking of bread. The divine Spirit, which identified Jesus thus centuries
ago, has spoken through the inspired Word and will speak through it in every
age and clime. It is revealed to the receptive heart, and is again seen
casting out evil and healing the sick.
and Spirit 46
The Master said plainly that physique was not
Spirit, and after his resurrection he proved to the physical senses that his
body was not changed until he himself ascended, - or, in other words, rose
even higher in the understanding of Spirit, God. To convince Thomas of this,
Jesus caused him to examine the nail-prints and the spear-wound.
Jesus' unchanged physical condition after what
seemed to be death was followed by his exaltation above all material
conditions; and this exaltation explained his ascension, and revealed
unmistakably a probationary and progressive state beyond the grave. Jesus was
"the way;" that is, he marked the way for all men. In his final
demonstration, called the ascension, which closed the earthly record of Jesus,
he rose above the physical knowledge of his disciples, and the material senses
saw him no more.
His students then received the Holy Ghost. By
this is meant, that by all they had witnessed and suffered, they were roused
to an enlarged understanding of divine Science, even to the spiritual
interpretation and discernment of Jesus' teachings and demonstrations, which
gave them a faint conception of the Life which is God. They no longer measured
man by material sense. After gaining the true idea of their glorified Master,
they became better healers, leaning no longer on matter, but on the divine
Principle of their work. The influx of light was sudden. It was sometimes an
overwhelming power as on the Day of Pentecost.
traitor's conspiracy 47
Judas conspired against Jesus. The world's
ingratitude and hatred towards that just man effected his betrayal. The
traitor's price was thirty pieces of silver and the smiles of the Pharisees.
He chose his time, when the people were in doubt concerning Jesus' teachings.
A period was approaching which would reveal the
infinite distance between Judas and his Master. Judas Iscariot knew this. He
knew that the great goodness of that Master placed a gulf between Jesus and
his betrayer, and this spiritual distance inflamed Judas' envy. The greed for
gold strengthened his ingratitude, and for a time quieted his remorse. He knew
that the world generally loves a lie better than Truth; and so he plotted the
betrayal of Jesus in order to raise himself in popular estimation. His dark
plot fell to the ground, and the traitor fell with it.
The disciples' desertion of their Master in his
last earthly struggle was punished; each one came to a violent death except
St. John, of whose death we have no record.
During his night of gloom and glory in the
garden, Jesus realized the utter error of a belief in any possible material
intelligence. The pangs of neglect and the staves of bigoted ignorance smote
him sorely. His students slept. He said unto them: "Could ye not watch
with me one hour?" Could they not watch with him who, waiting and
struggling in voiceless agony, held uncomplaining guard over a world? There
was no response to that human yearning, and so Jesus turned forever away from
earth to heaven, from sense to Soul.
Remembering the sweat of agony which fell in
holy benediction on the grass of Gethsemane, shall the humblest or mightiest
disciple murmur when he drinks from the same cup, and think, or even wish, to
escape the exalting ordeal of sin's revenge on its destroyer? Truth and Love
bestow few palms until the consummation of a life-work.
Judas had the world's weapons. Jesus had not
one of them, and chose not the world's means of defence. "He opened not
his mouth." The great demonstrator of Truth and Love was silent before
envy and hate. Peter would have smitten the enemies of his Master, but Jesus
forbade him, thus rebuking resentment or animal courage. He said: "Put up
Pale in the presence of his own momentous
question, "What is Truth," Pilate was drawn into acquiescence with
the demands of Jesus' enemies. Pilate was ignorant of the consequences of his
awful decision against human rights and divine Love, knowing not that he was
hastening the final demonstration of what life is and of what the true
knowledge of God can do for man.
The women at the cross could have answered
Pilate's question. They knew what had inspired their devotion, winged their
faith, opened the eyes of their understanding, healed the sick, cast out evil,
and caused the disciples to say to their Master: "Even the devils are
subject unto us through thy name."
Where were the seventy whom Jesus sent forth?
Were all conspirators save eleven? Had they forgotten the great exponent of
God? Had they so soon lost sight of his mighty works, his toils, privations,
sacrifices, his divine patience, sublime courage, and unrequited affection? O,
why did they not gratify his last human yearning with one sign of fidelity?
The meek demonstrator of good, the highest
instructor and friend of man, met his earthly fate alone with God. No human
eye was there to pity, no arm to save. Forsaken by all whom he had blessed,
this faithful sentinel of God at the highest post of power, charged with the
grandest trust of heaven, was ready to be transformed by the renewing of the
infinite Spirit. He was to prove that the Christ is not subject to material
conditions, but is above the reach of human wrath, and is able, through Truth,
Life, and Love, to triumph over sin, sickness, death, and the grave.
The priests and rabbis, before whom he had
meekly walked, and those to whom he had given the highest proofs of divine
power, mocked him on the cross, saying derisively, "He saved others;
himself he cannot save." These scoffers, who turned "aside the right
of a man before the face of the Most High," esteemed Jesus as
"stricken, smitten of God." "He is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his
mouth." "Who shall declare his generation?" Who shall decide
what truth and love are?
A cry of
The last supreme moment of mockery, desertion,
torture, added to an overwhelming sense of the magnitude of his work, wrung
from Jesus' lips the awful cry, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
This despairing appeal, if made to a human parent, would impugn the justice
and love of a father who could withhold a clear token of his presence to
sustain and bless so faithful a son. The appeal of Jesus was made both to his
divine Principle, the God who is Love, and to himself, Love's pure idea. Had
Life, Truth, and Love forsaken him in his highest demonstration? This was a
startling question. No! They must abide in him and he in them, or that hour
would be shorn of its mighty blessing for the human race.
Science misunderstood 50
If his full recognition of eternal Life had for
a moment given way before the evidence of the bodily senses, what would his
accusers have said? Even what they did say, - that Jesus' teachings were
false, and that all evidence of their correctness was destroyed by his death.
But this saying could not make it so.
The burden of that hour was terrible beyond
human conception. The distrust of mortal minds, disbelieving the purpose of
his mission, was a million times sharper than the thorns which pierced his
flesh. The real cross, which Jesus bore up the hill of grief, was the world's
hatred of Truth and Love. Not the spear nor the material cross wrung from his
faithful lips the plaintive cry, "Eloi,
Eloi, lama sabachthani?" It was the possible loss of
something more important than human life which moved him, - the possible
misapprehension of the sublimest influence of his career. This dread added the
drop of gall to his cup.
Jesus could have withdrawn himself from his
enemies. He had power to lay down a human sense of life for his spiritual
identity in the likeness of the divine; but he allowed men to attempt the
destruction of the mortal body in order that he might furnish the proof of
immortal life. Nothing could kill this Life of man. Jesus could give his
temporal life into his enemies' hands; but when his earth-mission was
accomplished, his spiritual life, indestructible and eternal, was found
forever the same. He knew that matter had no life and that real Life is God;
therefore he could no more be separated from his spiritual Life than God could
for our salvation 51
His consummate example was for the salvation of
us all, but only through doing the works which he did and taught others to do.
His purpose in healing was not alone to restore health, but to demonstrate his
divine Principle. He was inspired by God, by Truth and Love, in all that he
said and did. The motives of his persecutors were pride, envy, cruelty, and
vengeance, inflicted on the physical Jesus, but aimed at the divine Principle,
Love, which rebuked their sensuality.
Jesus was unselfish. His spirituality separated
him from sensuousness, and caused the selfish materialist to hate him; but it
was this spirituality which enabled Jesus to heal the sick, cast out evil, and
raise the dead.
From early boyhood he was about his
"Father's business." His pursuits lay far apart from theirs. His
master was Spirit; their master was matter. He served God; they served mammon.
His affections were pure; theirs were carnal. His senses drank in the
spiritual evidence of health, holiness, and life; their senses testified
oppositely, and absorbed the material evidence of sin, sickness, and death.
Their imperfections and impurity felt the
ever-present rebuke of his perfection and purity. Hence the world's hatred of
the just and perfect Jesus, and the prophet's foresight of the reception error
would give him. "Despised and rejected of men," was Isaiah's graphic
word concerning the coming Prince of Peace. Herod and Pilate laid aside old
feuds in order to unite in putting to shame and death the best man that ever
trod the globe. To-day, as of old, error and evil again make common cause
against the exponents of truth.
The "man of sorrows" best understood
the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of
all-inclusive God, good. These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing,
or Christian Science, which armed him with Love. The highest earthly
representative of God, speaking of human ability to reflect divine power,
prophetically said to his disciples, speaking not for their day only but for
all time: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do
also;" and "These signs shall follow them that believe."
The accusations of the Pharisees were as
self-contradictory as their religion. The bigot, the debauchee, the hypocrite,
called Jesus a glutton and a wine-bibber. They said: "He casteth out
devils through Beelzebub," and is the "friend of publicans and
sinners." The latter accusation was true, but not in their meaning. Jesus
was no ascetic. He did not fast as did the Baptist's disciples; yet there
never lived a man so far removed from appetites and passions as the Nazarene.
He rebuked sinners pointedly and unflinchingly, because he was their friend;
hence the cup he drank.
and character 53
The reputation of Jesus was the very opposite
of his character. Why? Because the divine Principle and practice of Jesus were
misunderstood. He was at work in divine Science. His words and works were
unknown to the world because above and contrary to the world's religious
sense. Mortals believed in God as humanly mighty, rather than as divine,
The world could not interpret aright the
discomfort which Jesus inspired and the spiritual blessings which might flow
from such discomfort. Science shows the cause of the shock so often produced
by the truth, - namely, that this shock arises from the great distance between
the individual and Truth. Like Peter, we should weep over the warning, instead
of denying the truth or mocking the lifelong sacrifice which goodness makes
for the destruction of evil.
our sins 53
Jesus bore our sins in his body. He knew the
mortal errors which constitute the material body, and could destroy those
errors; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities, he had not conquered
all the beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life, nor had he risen
to his final demonstration of spiritual power.
Had he shared the sinful beliefs of others, he
would have been less sensitive to those beliefs. Through the magnitude of his
human life, he demonstrated the divine Life. Out of the amplitude of his pure
affection, he defined Love. With the affluence of Truth, he vanquished error.
The world acknowledged not his righteousness, seeing it not; but earth
received the harmony his glorified example introduced.
of sacrifice 54
Who is ready to follow his teaching and
example? All must sooner or later plant themselves in Christ, the true idea of
God. That he might liberally pour his dear-bought treasures into empty or
sin-filled human storehouses, was the inspiration of Jesus' intense human
sacrifice. In witness of his divine commission, he presented the proof that
Life, Truth, and Love heal the sick and the sinning, and triumph over death
through Mind, not matter. This was the highest proof he could have offered of
divine Love. His hearers understood neither his words nor his works. They
would not accept his meek interpretation of life nor follow his example.
His earthly cup of bitterness was drained to
the dregs. There adhered to him only a few unpretentious friends, whose
religion was something more than a name. It was so vital, that it enabled them
to understand the Nazarene and to share the glory of eternal life. He said
that those who followed him should drink of his cup, and history has confirmed
to the Saviour 54
If that Godlike and glorified man were
physically on earth to-day, would not some, who now profess to love him,
reject him? Would they not deny him even the rights of humanity, if he
entertained any other sense of being and religion than theirs? The advancing
century, from a deadened sense of the invisible God, to-day subjects to
unchristian comment and usage the idea of Christian healing enjoined by Jesus;
but this does not affect the invincible facts.
Perhaps the early Christian era did Jesus no
more injustice than the later centuries have bestowed upon the healing Christ
and spiritual idea of being. Now that the gospel of healing is again preached
by the wayside, does not the pulpit sometimes scorn it? But that curative
mission, which presents the Saviour in a clearer light than mere words can
possibly do, cannot be left out of Christianity, although it is again ruled
out of the synagogue.
Truth's immortal idea is sweeping down the
centuries, gathering beneath its wings the sick and sinning. My weary hope
tries to realize that happy day, when man shall recognize the Science of
Christ and love his neighbor as himself, - when he shall realize God's
omnipotence and the healing power of the divine Love in what it has done and
is doing for mankind. The promises will be fulfilled. The time for the
reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth
his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now,
and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing.
In the words of St. John: "He shall give
you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."
This Comforter I understand to be Divine Science.