Christian Science: The Revelation of the Perfect Man
Albert F. Gilmore, C.S.B., of Boston, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of Thirteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, 10317 Longwood Drive, Tuesday evening, January 28, 1930, by Albert V. Gilmore, C.S.B., of Boston, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The subject of the lecture was, "Christian Science: The Revelation of the Perfect Man." Mr. Gilmore spoke substantially as follows:
The nature of man and his relation to God is a problem to which profound thought has long been given. Man's origin and destiny have been subjects of searching investigation and, for the most part, carried on from a material standpoint. Evidence presented by the physical senses has been accepted as reliable, and the inquiry, therefore, has been limited to outward appearance.
It is the common belief that man's origin is wholly material and that he enters this plane of consciousness only through the gateway of physical birth. Hence it does not seem strange or illogical that the awakening senses of a little child, since they too are material, should bear witness to the most gigantic, the most far-reaching, the most egregious, aye, the most tenacious of all errors, the belief that man is material.
If this wholly erroneous concept of man, accepted in childhood, and entertained and pursued throughout human experience be true, how hopeless would be man's destiny! How encompassed, restricted, and meaningless is life, if it begins in the travail of material birth only to end in misery and death! It is of little wonder that Job of old, while still dwelling amid the mazes of mortal belief, should have cursed the day that he was born. "Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward," was his picturesque characterization of human life. "Woe is me!" must likewise be the anguished cry of all poor mortals who look upon existence as measured by the brief span between the cradle and the grave. It was this false sense of life which led the Psalmist to declare man's days to be few and full of trouble. Of the manifest injustice which seems to befall mortals, of their woes, hardships, and unbearable burdens, the poets have sung ever since the language of poetry was developed.
When Plato described man as a two-legged animal without feathers, Diogenes plucked a cock and threw it into the Academy, saying, "This is Plato's man." Thereupon, Plato added to his description, "with broad flat nails." Viewed from a Christianly scientific standpoint, Diogenes' offering was as near the truth about man as was Plato's with its high-sounding phrase.
When viewed from a material basis alone, human existence is blank and intolerable. But thanks be to God, the Father, the curtain has been lifted, the dark clouds have been rolled away and the eternal peaks of everlasting Life stand revealed, white and glistering before our entranced gaze, beautiful beyond our dearest imaginings, radiant beyond our highest expectancy. Through divine revelation, there unfolds to us what Mrs. Eddy has described in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 264), as "all the glories of earth and heaven and man;" the beauty of holiness, of being in its primal and everlasting grandeur. It is of this Life, the true Life; of this man, the real, the only man, that we are privileged to learn through reason and revelation, as set forth in Christian Science. Through the study of divine Science alone can we lay hold of the truth about man as he really is; of man as the veritable son of God, of the truth about ourselves. Did not John, the beloved of Jesus, declare, "Now are we the sons of God"? Not of our material sense of selfhood did he declare this, but of our true selves, God's likeness.
In this intensive study of man, let us be assured that the physical senses can lend no aid, for neither physical sense nor so-called mortal mind knows aught of the real man. It is only through the spiritual senses that one learns of the real man, the son of God, for only through spiritual sense, the great facts of existence are revealed. This raises the question, What is spiritual sense, what is its use, and how is it developed? Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 298) says of this: "Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality;" and again on page 306, "The myriad forms of mortal thought, made manifest as matter, are not more distinct nor real to the material senses than are the Soul-created forms to spiritual sense, which cognizes Life as permanent."
In view of this statement, how important that we develop spiritual sense! Why? Because in no other way can we learn about God, the Father, and man, the son. Let us then cultivate and develop the intuitive sense, the ability to recognize and receive the messages of divine Mind without the process of reason, to hear the "still small voice" of Truth, and hearing it to heed it; let us cherish hope, a main-spring in our demonstration; understanding, the knowledge which is acquired only through righteous prayer; fruition, the spiritual vision, the purified consciousness which cognizes only the things of God; reality, realization of spiritual perfection into which enters no element, phase, or factor of materiality. Thus we cultivate spiritual sense, which knows only spiritual good, the presence of God and His universe, including perfect man. This way of spiritual sense all must travel in order to gain the true concept of man, the truth about ourselves as the children of God.
With this preliminary, let us turn for a moment to the Christian Science textbook for guidance. The fullest definition of man given in consecutive statement appears on page 475, a definition so complete as to constitute a description. Let us examine it in response to the question, "What is man?" it is stated first of all, what man is not. "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements." How interesting to note that this description begins with a negative! Because mankind is always confronted by an argument on the side of matter, at the very outset, this testimony, which mortal mind is so constantly presenting, is refuted, utterly denied. "Man is not matter" forces the issue at once. The battle is on. Then follows the assertion that the Scriptures inform us that man is made in God's image and likeness, and by no stretch of the imagination can that image be conceived of as material. Why? Since God is Spirit, infinite Spirit, His likeness must be spiritual. How completely and logically does Mrs. Eddy base her argument upon Scriptural authority. The Scriptures say so; hence it must be true. To this devoted disciple of Truth, Scriptural authority is the highest.
It is further stated, "Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science" (ibid., p. 475). In these words, man's spirituality and perfection are conjoined. His spirituality connotes perfection, because the likeness of Spirit can possess no quality or factor unlike Spirit, God, who is infinite perfection. Man is perfect because God is perfect. How impressive! Perfect God and perfect man! Let us not forget that this real man, spiritual and perfect, is our true selfhood, your real self and mine.
Then, in order more thoroughly to describe man, approach is made from another viewpoint. Since God is Mind, infinite Mind, man, God's expression, is idea. How else could Mind, that is, divine consciousness, express itself except in ideas, since idea is that of which Mind is conscious? And man being Mind's full expression must be idea. But the idea of Mind is spiritual. Hence, the inevitable conclusion: "man is not physique;" that is, man possesses no element of corporeality, has no material structure. Man is idea, not a cold abstraction, but the image of divine Love. How beautiful! As idea, not merely intellectual, in the common significance of that word, but as divine idea, man is possessed of all the warmth of infinite Love, the Love which is all-inclusive, all-pervasive, all-compassionate, infinitely kind, giving all and asking nothing in return. How great is God's man! How wonderful! How infinite his possibilities!
In order to grasp something of the deep significance of man as idea, let us examine this word, learn somewhat of its substance and meaning. Substance is that of which a thing is composed, and we learn in Christian Science that Spirit is the only real substance, for Spirit is infinite. The substance of an idea is not matter, we are assured, for Mrs. Eddy informs us that divine Mind creates its likeness in ideas, and that the substance of an idea is very unlike the supposed substance of matter, which is non-intelligent. What, then, is the substance of an idea, as that word is used in Christian Science, in other words, what is the substance of man, God's perfect idea? Webster defines idea thus, "A real likeness, or representation;" also, "an embodiment of the essence of something." How accurately do these definitions describe man as idea, as God's likeness, His perfect representation, because man images forth all the divine qualities. Moreover, man as idea embodies the essence of something and that something is Spirit, for man is Spirit's likeness. To encompass mentally the substance of idea, its essence, is our necessity in order to gain an adequate concept of ourselves, of the perfect man. Urgent is our need to lay hold of the substance of man; to see him as substantial, perfect, coexistent and coeternal with God. In no other way can we obey the injunction of the ancient philosopher, "Know thyself." So important is this, that it is worthy of our utmost seeking, for our success as demonstrators of spiritual truth in no small measure depends upon our grasp of Spirit as the substance of man. Indeed, it is our very salvation, for only as we realize the truth about man shall we see ourselves as free from material restrictions. This is the very process whereby we gain eternal life.
In the definition of man under consideration there follows a statement so sweeping in its significance as to startle mortal mind from its limited sense of man, a statement that no one with a constricted sense of God's creation could have made. Man "is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas." Marvelous statement!
How can man include all right ideas while at the same time each idea of Mind retains its own identity, its own individuality? That each idea, from the least to the greatest, does retain its own identity, we are emphatically assured. Creation is composed of spiritual ideas and their identities, and these ideas are embraced in the infinite Mind, and reflected forever. We also learn that in the range of these spiritual ideas from the infinitesimal, that is from the least, to infinity, the greatest, the highest ideas are men and women, the sons and daughters of God. And we are also assured (Science and Health, p. 70), that divine Mind maintains all its perfect identities, as eternal and distinct, ever identical, even "from a blade of grass to a star." How sure it is that every idea, even the least and most humble, maintains forever its own identity, its own characteristics. It evolves, unfolds, but always in its own line, for it never loses its own individuality. The identity of an idea is permanent. How complete, then, is our assurance of immortality, of the eternal existence of the real man, our true selfhood!
How does man include all right ideas, while each retains its own identity? If we turn to mathematics for convenient illustration, we find that every number above one is made up of units. For example, the number two is made up of two units, two ones, yet each unit or one maintains its own identity, and value. Three is made up of two and one more, or three units; but the fact of their being incorporated in the number three does not destroy their identity as units. The number one thousand derives its value from the intrinsic value of each of the thousand units of which it is compounded. If we count objects of any kind, apples for example, because they are grouped in twos or threes, or thousands, it does not change the identity of each; each is still an apple, yet the number three includes three ones or two and one, that is, all the lesser units which constitute the number; and so the larger numbers even to infinity include the units which constitute them, while each unit retains its own identity and value.
Thus the compound idea, man, includes all right ideas; the greater includes the lesser, that is, all lesser divine ideas: and in the strict sense, since there is no Mind but God, there are none but divine ideas. Christian Science thus corresponds precisely with Scripture. In Genesis we read, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth;" and that the divine plan was carried out we are assured in a later verse, which declares that dominion over the lesser creatures bestowed by God upon man was without limit or qualification.
But to continue our examination of the definition of man. Man, Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 476), is "the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness." Here is a very important statement, one that requires careful study, even profound consideration, if we are to understand the word "reflection" as applied to man, for the word "reflection" is one of great significance in Christian Science. Primarily, from its Latin origin, "reflect" means to turn or throw back; and "reflection," that which is turned or thrown back. By the law of optics, the light rays given off from a specific body by what is known as "radiant reflection" striking a mirroring surface are reflected or thrown back; and the image of that object appears in the reflecting surface. This is because the light rays do not penetrate the opaque substance which serves as a mirror, but are reflected or thrown back, revealing the image of the primary object.
Now, in Christian Science, it is stated distinctly and repeatedly that man is God's reflection; that is, that God expresses Himself in man, is revealed or reflected in His image and likeness. By way of illustration, let us consider a person, that is, a mortal, standing before a mirror. Of the light waves which are radiated by his body in all directions, some strike the mirror and are thrown back, that is, are reflected, and the image or likeness of the person is seen. This likeness corresponds exactly to the person before the mirror, in form, outline, and color; and if he moves, his mirrored reflection precisely imitates his movements. The image does in imitation whatever the person does. If he changes in any particular, the image changes likewise. It is your veritable image and likeness, but it is not you. It is image; and will never be aught else. The image and its primary, yourself, are distinct, and can never commingle. But the image is wholly dependent for its very appearance upon the person before the mirror.
Now, translate this into spiritual terms. Put God in place of the person before the mirror. The mirror is divine Science, which reveals man as God's likeness, His perfect image, inseparable from God, but never God Himself. The distinction between God and man is no less definite than that between your corporeal self and your mirrored image. And while God and His idea, man, constitute a scientific unity, they never coalesce; but remain forever primary and secondary: Principle and its idea, God and man.
Does not the fact that man reflects Mind, manifests Mind's every quality, precisely conform to the words of the Nazarene, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise"? Because man is God's perfect image, Mrs. Eddy can declare (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 183), "Whatever is possible to God, is possible to man as God's reflection."
Now, when we consider what God is, that He is infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, Love, divine Principle, and that man as God's idea, His perfect likeness, expresses all the deific qualities, how marvelous is man! The reflection of infinite Mind is divinely intelligent; is the manifestation of perfect Love; as the expression of divine Life, man exists forever; as the manifestation of Spirit, he is substantial and, governed by divine Principle, is forever harmonious, How wondrous, indeed, is man!
It must be evident even from this brief discussion that one cannot gain an adequate understanding of man unless he has a clear concept of reflection. The substance and character of God's reflection deeply concerns us all, for it involves the age-old problem, What is man? What man is, his origin and destiny, are explained in the understanding of reflection. This understanding fully answers the query of the Persian poet, raised in the long ago as to man's origin and destiny,
"What, without asking,
Hither hurried whence;
And, without asking,
Whither hurried hence?"
We have seen that God is revealed through man; that man is the divine emanation made manifest through divine Science. Man as God's likeness, His veritable image, can reflect, repeat, no quality underived from God. But since God is infinite, All-in-all, is Life, Truth, and Love, man can lack no phase of reality. "All that I have is thine" were the words which Jesus put into the mouth of the prodigal's father. All that God is, is man's by reflection. Man possesses by reflection the infinitude of God and nothing less, for there is nothing in addition to the infinitude of Mind. How necessary, in view of all this, does it become for us to lift thought above all belief in matter as man. Our priceless heritage as the sons of God, precious beyond the power of words to express, can be entered upon only as we lift thought above the false and seeming into the realm of Mind, the universe of Spirit, where all is perfect, sublime, holy. Thus we claim our divine heritage. This may seem to us transcendental, but it is none the less necessary; and our true selfhood, with all the prerogatives which belong to us as the children of God, can be arrived at in no other way. Infinite are the blessings bestowed by our Father-Mother God upon His offspring.
How certain we become that with all his marvelous reality as the son of God, man possesses no life, intelligence, or creative power of his own. Only by reflection does man possess life; and only by reflection does man possess the qualities of God. How important, then, becomes the word "reflection" in our endeavors to gain some adequate understanding of spiritual man!
Returning to our study of man: Mrs. Eddy further states that he is "the conscious identity of being as found in Science." What is "identity of being"? That which reveals God, and identifies Him; that which reveals God and makes Him recognizable. How do we know the sun, that is, how do we establish its identity, except through its emanation, its rays? We learn, for example, to distinguish between the rays of the sun, the moon and stars, and the rays of an artificial light, because of certain peculiarities which characterize them. Likewise, we learn to identify God through the qualities expressed in man. And, humanly, all the good which mortals express has its source primarily in God, and is an emanation from Him. While this good, as we see it expressed humanly, partakes in some measure of materiality and its limitations, nevertheless its source is divine. The compassion which Jesus had toward all humanity; the mother-love manifested toward children; the willing sacrifice which parents make for their offspring; the traditional love which bound David and Jonathan, Damon and Pythias; love which has been manifested between mortals countless times less well known, are but reflections of that Love which is divine, though expressed in terms of human experience. These qualities, even when humanly expressed, identify true Being; they help us to understand God.
Now, as we have seen, identity is that which characterizes an idea and distinguishes it from another. It is the unity and continuity of individuality. Conscious identity is that which is aware of its own existence, which knows itself; then man as conscious identity of being is a divine idea, which is aware of its own existence as the reflection of Mind, of God, which knows itself. The least idea of divine Mind expresses intelligence and is conscious of its own identity, for that of which it is conscious determines its own character. But man, the compound idea, including all right ideas, is conscious of all his constituent ideas. This comprehensive consciousness confers upon man the dominion which is his divine right. God gave it to him, because he is the highest idea of Mind, including all lesser ideas. But only in the mirror of divine Science is this conscious identity of being revealed. Never will it be found through searching, however diligently, in the realm of matter; only in the spiritual realm can it be discovered.
Furthermore, man as the perfect likeness of God, or Mind, is eternal. Why is man eternal? Because man as God's expression and reflection is both coexistent with and coeternal with God. Man eternal! You and I, all men, in their true selfhood, eternal! How little we seem to grasp of this supreme fact! How much of our human experience is postulated upon the contrary supposition that "man . . . is of few days, and full of trouble." How the burdens, fears, and harassments of life dissolve and disappear as we gain even a glimpse of this tremendous fact. Man eternal! That must mean that man is indestructible. Precisely! Can God's handiwork be destroyed? Can Mind's perfect idea ever fall away from its primal state of perfectness? Never! Man coexists with God, is as eternal, as indestructible, as God Himself! How the order of our lives changes when we catch a glimpse of eternal Life! Let us, then, prepare for eternity now. How is this preparation to be carried on? Through changing thought from a material to a spiritual basis. Christ Jesus gave the perfect method when he declared, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Mrs. Eddy phrases it even in briefer language. "Not death, but the understanding of Life, makes man immortal" (Science and Health, p. 485). Man is, always has been, and ever will be immortal. That understanding, however, must be gained by every mortal in order to demonstrate man's immortality.
Here, in words all may understand, is plainly set forth the precise method by which eternal life may be gained - gained here and now. Learning the truth about God and man, gaining an understanding of Life and of man as the expression of Life, reveals man as immortal; it reveals to man his perfect selfhood, as God's likeness, His own image. How definitely is set before us the work we must do in order to live forever! Mortals do not die into heaven and eternal life; rather do they live into eternal existence. They do not, in the parlance of the insurance man, die to win, but live to win man's permanent and eternal glory, the glory bestowed of the Father.
But the mortal sense of man never will become eternal. How, then, is this demonstration to be accomplished? By the process of transformation which Paul enjoined upon the Christians in Corinth. "Be not conformed to this world," that is, cease to accept the testimony of the physical senses as reliable evidence of the truth about man. Cease to believe that material selfhood is man's true state: "but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Transformation is an important factor in the laying hold of eternal life. Now eternal life is not gained by the destruction of our present state of consciousness, for material though it be, it is our present best state of consciousness; and its objectification is the highest sense of man we have yet demonstrated. We live in consciousness, and if we destroy our present state of thought and its embodiment, where shall we dwell? Such destruction would be comparable to the tearing down of the only dwelling we have to shelter us from the inclemency of the weather. Rather let us, in the search for our true selfhood, build over, transform, our dwelling place, our present mental state, little by little, putting a new truth, a true idea, in place of a false belief, of an erroneous thought, until we have developed in consciousness the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Thus not by destroying our present state of consciousness, but by transforming it, do we arrive at our true state as the real man. Not through annihilation of our false sense, but rather through the transformation of it, do we gain eternal life.
Because Mind is infinite, man has no mind separate from God. God as Mind implies divine consciousness, which is infinite, that is, is conscious of all that exists; conscious of its own ideas, infinite in number. Since God is infinite Mind, its manifestation, idea, man, can by no possibility have another mind. There is, there can be, but one infinite Mind. And man, as idea, is its expression. What possibilities of demonstration of divine intelligence rise before us as we contemplate man as the reflection of the infinite, divine consciousness! How unreal seem our limited senses, seen in the light of this revelation! As mankind catches clearer glimpses of this transcendent fact, there will be more so-called intellectual prodigies; moreover, it will then be seen that the prodigy is merely one who is manifesting, perhaps unconsciously, more of his divine prerogative. He is nearer normal than one who accepts a lesser capability. Educational systems based upon the categories of divine Mind, as they surely will be in the fullness of time, will deal with spiritual Science, which reveals the infinite capabilities of man as the reflection of that Mind.
How exclusive is the thought that man has no mind separate from God, and whatever claims another mind than the divine does not exist. Moreover, since there is no mind but God, so there are no ideas but the emanations from God, infinite Mind.
Man derives all his qualities from God. The allness of God precludes another existence expressing itself through man. Man derives his nature in its completeness from the divine Father. He inherits nothing from human parentage, nothing from material ancestry. He possesses no primary power of his own. He does not create but reflects creation. The image in the mirror is not a creator, but the likeness of something; it is that which is created, a creature.
Could any other creator beside God Himself have made man, our true selfhood, so wondrous? Yet, let us never forget that of himself man possesses nothing, can do nothing; has no power, no reality, no being apart from God. So complete was Jesus' comprehension of this that he declared, "I can of mine own self do nothing." And again, "The Father . . . he doeth the works." Yet none other has ever so fully realized the priceless qualities which belong to man as God's beloved son, as did the Galilean. None other has ever so completely reflected them. The greatest capabilities we ever behold in mortals, the most extraordinary genius, the greatest mental attainment, is but a hint, a mere suggestion of what belongs to man, to us as the "well beloved of heaven." Man alone possesses by reflection all the qualities and attributes of God. Man is the supreme expression of God's creative function. So that man alone stands at the summit, as the very summation, of all creation. Is it not wholly logical, in the light of this revelation, that man should have dominion over all lesser ideas?
Man is inseparable from God, Spirit. Man's completeness inheres in God. Divine consciousness without ideas would be incomplete, for ideas are the object of consciousness. The real man, as idea, is inseparable from God, divine Principle (Science and Health, p. 476). That is to say, man is never separate, or apart, from God. How comforting may this thought become when in a time of stress or acute discord, we may know with perfect assurance that error, whatever its name or nature, can never separate man from God; can never change through a belief in imperfection an iota of man's present perfection. Paul was so sure of this that he could declare without qualification, or mental reservation, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." If we are as determined in our endeavor to grasp the Christ, Truth, as was this stalwart citizen of Tarsus, we may gain as assured an understanding as did he of man's inseparableness from his divine Father.
If we search for the perfect Exemplar of man's divine status we find him in the Saviour and Way-shower, Christ Jesus. In greater measure than any other who has appeared on earth, he exemplified the tremendous possibilities resulting from the understanding of God and man. Jesus knew that God is Spirit, infinite Love, the omnipotent Father. He also knew man's perfect status as the son of God. This knowledge enabled him to destroy the false beliefs about man which seem so completely to environ a mortal, the counterfeit of man.
Recall for a moment what this understanding enabled Jesus to do! He said to the tempest-tossed sea, "Peace, be still," and it was still; to the one who was thought to have died, "Come forth," and he came forth from the grave of false belief; to the leper, "Be thou clean," and he was clean; to the blind, who came in full confidence in the Master's ability to restore their sight, "According to your faith be it unto you," and they received their sight; to the impotent man in the porch at Bethesda, "Take up thy bed, and walk," and he took up his bed and walked. These and many other mighty works did Jesus because he knew the truth about man, that man is the son of God, the offspring of omnipotent Love.
Because Christian Science reveals the divine Principle of the universe and the rule and method of its operation, the works of Christ Jesus are in goodly measure repeated today. Understanding of God's omnipotence and of the prerogatives of the perfect man is again enabling mortals to destroy the erroneous beliefs about man which offer themselves for acceptance. As progress is made in gaining knowledge of the perfect man, this potency will increase until man in all his perfection will appear.
Illustration of the results from gaining an understanding of God and of perfect man is found in the innumerable testimonies, both written and spoken by Christian Scientists throughout the world. I joyously recall a testimony given in The Mother Church one evening which appealed to me so greatly that I have since remembered it. The gentleman was a native of my own state of Maine, and perhaps that played its part in fixing his statement in my memory. He told of having been ill, in poverty, friendless, and hopeless, in the very depths of misery and despair. Someone told him of Christian Science. The appeal was immediate and he took up the study and sought the aid of a practitioner, with the result that he was soon healed of disease, was restored to an active business, and his friends returned. In the intervening years he had experienced a fullness and joy of life which he had never known before; and said he, "On more than one occasion so plentiful has been God's bounty, I have been tempted to say, 'Not quite so fast, O Lord; You are giving me more than I can take care of.' " To him the regenerating truth had been revealed; he had seen the perfect man with the result that, in goodly measure, he had come into his own; that is, he was laying hold and making use of the blessings which God has bestowed upon all His beloved sons.
The four Gospels, which contain the biography of Christ Jesus, tell a story, so marvelous, so compelling, and withal so important, that, more than any other biography ever written it has been searched and researched for the minutest detail that would shed additional light upon his wondrous story. And so perfectly is the story told that those who read it in the light of its spiritual significance behold the Father. God was revealed in the life of Christ Jesus, and he who reads that biography understandingly finds God.
As Christ Jesus was the revelator of God to men in that first century of the Christian era, so Mary Baker Eddy is His revelator in this age. This gentle woman with her spiritual vision found God revealed in the Holy Book, and gave to the world her revelation in Christian Science. The revelation of the Master she supplemented and completed, so that all who will may find God, the Father, manifested through Christ, Truth. The true biographer of Mrs. Eddy finds in her life as portrayed in her writings and works convincing proof of the divine source of her revelation. In her high idealism, in her splendid courage coupled with true humility, in her exalted wisdom, in her rare consecration and devotion to her vision, he sees God made manifest.
Adequately to set forth her true character, and properly to evaluate her works, one must, as with the Nazarene, recognize the holy purpose which inspired her. And surely the faithful biographer of her transparent life catches more than a glimpse of the Father. The recorder of her marvelous life story, lifting his gaze far above her mere human experience, recognizes both the divine source of her revelation and her sacred purpose in making the substance of that revelation available to all. Those who look for her outside of her writings fail of their purpose. The story of her life as found in her words and works, sympathetically told, constitutes her true biography, sincere in its portrayal, lofty in its idealism, holy in its purpose. Mrs. Eddy's revelation is the voice of God to this age, and those who receive her divinely inspired words find the real man, man's true selfhood, perfect, and forever blessed.
The same spiritual vision which revealed to her the real man also enabled her to establish the Christian Science movement having for its purpose the bringing of this divine revelation to all prepared to receive it. That it is built upon the eternal Rock, the everlasting Christ, is proved by the fact that it has withstood the assaults of error which have striven in vain to overthrow it. The authority of her Cause, which in her wisdom she posited in The Christian Science Board of Directors, has been maintained in the spirit of Christian brotherhood which she designed. And after years of experience in intimate relationship with the Board, I can bear witness that it is uniformly actuated by the highest motives, by the earnest and constant desire to administer faithfully the great affair placed in its hand. Proof that it has been divinely guided is found in the fact that it has led the movement safely through the reefs and shoals of mortal mind which have so often sought its destruction. The one desire, so far as I have observed, of the members of that Board has been and is to conform its directorship precisely and completely to the behests of Mrs. Eddy, so far as they have been revealed. In the spirit of true humility, in lovingkindness, and in Christian charity, do they seek to promote the establishment of God's kingdom on earth.
The Real Man and the False Concept
We have learned, in our brief consideration of man, that mortals are not the children of God, but rather of the falsehood which declares that man sprang from the dust of the ground, or from a material embryo. What effrontery, what colossal egotism, for a lying belief termed a mortal to call himself the son of God; to parade in the garments of holiness, when in fact his habiliments are but the things of the flesh, today here and tomorrow cast into the oven, gone forever. How poor mortals have permitted themselves to be deceived, utterly duped by this bombastic falsifier! This race of Adam was indeed "conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity." Could any phase of good, of truth, or reality, think you, originate in so unlikely a source as sin and iniquity? Emphatically not! Thus are we prepared for the disposal as a counterfeit of this contumelious impostor who claims to be man. And what is a counterfeit but a cheat, a fraud!
But this "mortality" is to be "swallowed up of life," of immortality. Not utterly wiped out; not utterly destroyed without possibility of redemption, but transformed through the healing influence of the Christ until the false gives place to the true, the unreal to the real, the material to the spiritual. Then shall we awake in God's likeness. What, one may ask, are we mortals to be saved? Not as mortals are we to be saved, but as the children of God; for as His perfect ideas we are saved now. And as we come to grasp the truth about man, belief in a mortal as man will be transformed to a better belief until we arrive at the understanding of man as the Son of God. That is the awakening in His likeness which the Psalmist declared would satisfy him.
In our brief study of man we have also learned that man is not material, has no physical structure, no corporeality; that this real man is the spiritual and perfect idea of divine Mind, substantial, eternal, and indestructible, inseparable from God the Father; that as God's likeness man possesses by reflection all the divine qualities. Now, it is fair to inquire, What practical use can be made of this understanding? This! Knowing the truth about man enables us to deny the false claims about him. We can believe a falsehood only when we do not know the truth. But when once the truth about anything is learned, the falsity is relegated to the realm of nothingness out of which it came.
When we learn of man, of our true selfhood as spiritual and eternal, existing at the standpoint of perfection from which there is no departure, we are healed of belief in a mortal as man to which error in its multifarious forms may attach itself. If believing in disease, we shall be healed through knowing that God's man is never sick. The real man is not in need of healing, for man was never unhealed - God's work was never undone. Man is to be understood, and when understood and his present perfection known, every phase of false belief regarding him will disappear forever. How practical, how priceless, then, is the understanding of man as the son of God! Such understanding, moreover, does vastly more than heal mortals of disease; it heals, of every sense of discord, of every belief in misery, lack, unhappiness, every phase and form of error which so commonly besets our human footsteps. Gaining a clear understanding of the perfect man ushers us into the fullness of the bounty of God wherein abundance, harmony, peace, eternally abide.
How plain it is that we must gain the consciousness of good, in order to grasp the true concept of man. This is accomplished, it seems, only by earnest and prolonged effort. The material senses must be stilled, and thought turned prayerfully to the All-Father, infinite Love, in whom "we live, and move, and have our being." Let us begin to claim our true selfhood, our divine inheritance, sonship with God. The most exalted concept which we can entertain regarding man, regarding ourselves, is vastly less than the marvelous, the most wondrous glory which is his. How pitiful, how tragic, that poor humanity stumbles blindly on, accepting so much less than belongs to the children of the household of God! As mortals we are indeed poor prodigals who have been content to companion with swine, to eat the husks of the carob tree, when there is ready and waiting for us the royal bounty of heaven. Let us hasten, back to our Father's house, the building of God, the house of many mansions, eternal in the heavens, where infinite Love is waiting with open arms to receive us, and forever to cherish us in the holy bonds of pure affection. The poet truly states,
"He holds us perfect in His love,
And we His image bear. "
[Published in The Chicago Leader, Jan. 16, 1931.]