Christian Science: The Science of True Consciousness
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 recent poem by Francis Thompson entitled "In No Strange Land" has these opening lines:
"O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!"
Contrast these lines with Herbert Spencer's characterization of God as "the Great Unknowable." Apparently something has happened in the last half century. Something has indeed happened, something of great importance in the revelation through Christian Science of the divine nature. Definite knowledge of what God is, and how to apply this knowledge to the solution of our daily problems, is the contribution of Christian Science to this age. Surely, nothing can be of greater importance.
The search for a Supreme Being is as old as human existence. From the very beginnings of history mortals have sought to identify themselves with some being, with some power apart from and higher than themselves. Realization of the ultimate helplessness and hopelessness of material existence has made searchers of mortals, searchers for some power apart from human life, for existence less temporal, for assurance of a better state, where escape might be had from the hardships and trials, the limitations and uncertainties, of human experience. This search for Truth, this yearning for something higher and holier, has inspired poet and philosopher, sage and prophet, to explore the realms of consciousness for a satisfactory answer to the riddle of the universe, at once the most puzzling and most important of all quests.
The ancients attempted to satisfy this longing with various crude concepts — peopling their imagination with a galaxy of gods as fantastic and as unmoral as their own poor lives. This search for the truth of being tended upward from its early beginnings, through a long line of crude beliefs, from worship of Isis and Baal, of Chemosh and Moloch, of Vishnu and Buddha, of Zeus and Jupiter, to recognition and worship of the one God, Jehovah, creator of the universe, ruler of heaven and earth, the rewarder of righteousness, the punisher of sins and wickedness.
This long quest, however, was not complete in the Hebrew concept of Deity. This concept of God was still anthropomorphic; that is, it conceived of God in terms of human qualities. Its Deity still partook strongly of mortal limitations. The caustic comment of Voltaire, the French Cynic, "God made man in His likeness and man returned the compliment," well describes the effort of the chosen people to grasp the nature and character of Deity. But, in the fullness of time, there appeared one who, because of his exalted birth, was able to reveal the true concept of God as the Father of us all.
Jesus' simple words spoken one day to a humble woman of the despised Samaritan race, at the well of Sychar, revolutionized mankind's concept of Deity. From that moment a manlike God ceased to satisfy the followers of the greatest of all prophets and the door was opened to true worship, worship of God "in spirit and in truth." How meaningless is the worship of a false concept of God, of a deity who does not exist! Failure of prayer rises out of a false concept of God. If there is no God like the one we pray to, how can our prayer be answered? Successful prayer must above all be based upon understanding of the nature and character of God to whom we pray. How important, then, becomes accurate knowledge of God!
Jesus' revelation of God as Spirit did not represent the fullness of God's nature. John added to the Master's characterization of Deity the incomparable word "Love," a concept without which no adequate idea of Deity is possible, for love is the essential quality of the divine nature. While Jesus revealed all the people of that time were ready to accept, yet further revelation was needed to unveil the allness of God, the divine completeness in which inheres all reality, all truth; and it remained for Mary Baker Eddy to supplement the revelation, to furnish a definition and exposition of Deity which should represent God in the fullness of His infinite qualities and attributes, His nature and characteristics; and to make better known the divine selfhood in terms comprehensible to mortals.
Mrs. Eddy saw as the purport of Jesus' teaching concerning God that He is Spirit, that He is Love; that He is Life, self-existent Being; that God is Soul, the essence of reality; Principle, that is, both the first and only cause and also the source of all law, the perfect ruler of the universe; Mind, divine intelligence, which knows all, is conscious of all; Truth, the all-inclusive truth of existence, of all reality, of all that is, in short, the All-in-all of Being. Nothing exists or has being apart from God and His universe. Those seven synonyms of Deity define the complete Godhead; they include all the divine attributes, qualities, and functions. They describe the all-inclusive, infinite, self-existent, all-knowing, and almighty God — the God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
Now it is especially with the aspect of God as Mind that I wish to deal; with Mind and its ideas, which constitute the universe, all existence, all reality. If you should ask, why describe God as Mind, the answer is, "Look about you." Could a universe so orderly, so responsive to law, be conceived of unless there were an intelligence behind it, infinite in its capacity? How understandingly did the Psalmist exclaim, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork."
To borrow an illustration: If you should lay an artist's blank canvas on the floor of your library when you retired at night, and if in the morning you should find that while you had slept a beautiful landscape had been painted upon it, and if upon inquiring of the household the name of the artist you should be told that the house cat had produced it, would you believe it? Would you be satisfied with such an answer? Or would you be thoroughly convinced that some intelligence higher, vastly higher than that possessed by yon feline friend, had produced a work of such merit? Can we, then, behold the marvelous, the incomparable, beauties of nature, of the starry heavens, of the radiant earth, of the ever-changing sea, without an unshakable conviction that back of all the eye beholds lies an intelligence, infinite and supreme?
No reasoning, however subtle or sophisticated, can deny that the intelligence which created the universe was an all-seeing and all-knowing Mind. Tolstoi's translation of the opening of the fourth gospel illuminates the subject: "In the beginning was divine intelligence and divine intelligence was with God and divine intelligence was God." How near he came to the mark! While intelligence is a quality of Mind, it is not Mind itself; and so it remained for Christian Science to reveal the exact truth. God, divine Mind, is the self-existent Being, cause and creator of a universe which co-exists with and is co-eternal with God. Mrs. Eddy's concise and comprehensive assertion (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 468), "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all," perfectly states the case. This sentence from the "scientific statement of being" defines and characterizes both creator and creation. Surely nothing could be more important, more significant, than this. To find what God is and what He does has been the quest of the ages; it is time's Holy Grail, the greatest of all enterprises. The determination that God is infinite Mind arrived at, there naturally follows the query, What precisely is the nature of the universe which God, Mind, creates? Does it not follow that Mind's creation must of necessity partake of its own nature; that is, it must manifest intelligence?
God as Mind implies an infinite and divine consciousness which knows all. Infinite Mind implies infinite consciousness. Of what, then, is God, Mind, conscious? Of its own ideas, infinite in number. Ideas are the objects of consciousness, are that of which Mind is conscious. The universe, then, consists of ideas, infinite in number; and, since God is Spirit as well as Mind, these ideas must express Spirit; that is, God's ideas are spiritual, and, furthermore, since Spirit is infinite and the only substance, indestructible, and permanent, these ideas are substantial.
Let us go a step farther. The ideas of God must also express Life, the eternal Life which is God: that is, they exist eternally. They are also true, and are governed by divine Principle, unchanging law. Thus we have, as the only true creation, a universe of spiritual and perfect ideas, co-existent and co-eternal with God, with divine Mind, with Life harmoniously governed by unerring law.
And furthermore, since God is "All-in-all," God and His universe constitute all creation. Nothing exists, has entity or being, apart from "infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation;" that is, apart from God and this universe of spiritual and perfect ideas. What, then, is man? What place is assigned to him in this perfect and permanent universe? In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 591) man is defined as "The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spiritual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind." Thus the nature of man is definitely established; man is spiritual idea, the likeness or image of God, who fully represents divine Mind. Surely the position assigned to man lacks nothing in magnitude or importance!
Let us examine this definition of man in his relation to Mind. We have seen that the consciousness which is divine and infinite is conscious of all existence, of its own ideas, infinite in number, that is, is conscious of the entire universe. Then each idea, from the least to the greatest, in varying degree, reflects that consciousness. Each has its distinct office, and each maintains its own place in the infinitude of Mind. It cannot be misplaced or displaced, and its identity is permanent. Man, the compound idea, as we have seen, expresses all the qualities of Deity; represents God fully; represents all the attributes and functions of the infinite Mind; and includes all the lesser divine ideas. How? Through consciousness. Consciousness is the divine state of knowing. To be conscious is to be in a state of knowing, that is, of reflecting the divine consciousness. And furthermore, since God is Life, to be conscious is to live. Therefore,, to reflect the divine consciousness is to live forever, to co-exist with God. But the divine consciousness which man, all ideas, reflect, is perfect. Must it not follow, then, that perfection is also a quality of the divine idea, man? Thus, divine idea, man, is substantial, perfect, eternal, orderly, governed by divine law, all-loving, and wholly true.
Man, co-existent with God, is conscious of and expresses all the divine qualities, is conscious of all the lesser ideas, of all the qualities of divine consciousness. Thus man's possession, his perfection, is through consciousness, since consciousness is the primal and eternal stain of divine Mind. As we have seen, this state of consciousness, which man by reflection possesses, encompasses all the lesser ideas, the identities of which, however, remain in the one Mind; that is to say, as compound idea, man possesses, by reflection, all the lesser ideas; and this possession through consciousness constitutes the dominion which God gives to man, to His highest ideas, the sons and daughters of God. Thus Christian Science reveals the relation of Mind to its universe of spiritual ideas, of which man is the highest. This fact established, that man's possession is through the reflection of divine consciousness, let us inquire as to the part this plays in the practical application of Christian Science, in the healing of false states of consciousness termed sickness and sin.
To pursue this inquiry, we have to deal with another state of consciousness, a false sense to be sure, but a state of belief which, as mortals, we cannot safely ignore. If all is "infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation," is perfect and good, whence came another creation, the seeming realm of materiality, with all its attendant evil, including a false sense of man, termed a mortal? In reality, there is no such universe, no such man. His seeming existence is only in belief, false belief. And since this false universe is not real, it never had a cause or a beginning. It belongs wholly to the realm of delusion, to the imaginary. But these mists of falsity must be swept away in order that the facts of existence may appear. This is the priceless service which Christian Science is rendering to the world. Through its teachings the false beliefs about man and the universe are being destroyed, thus enabling mortals in some degree to claim the state of selfhood implied in Jesus' urgent command to be perfect.
Mortal existence at the most is a delusion. The supposititious opposite to divine Mind, the so-called mortal or carnal mind, claims existence and reality — claims all the prerogatives of divine Mind, even to that of creator. But its claims are false. Its seeming state of consciousness deals with falsity — with a concept of man which is wholly false, a counterfeit. This false state of consciousness is conscious only of a material sense of creation, of a universe of matter, having no foundation in fact; it is wholly erroneous, a house built upon the sands, the shifting sands of mortal mind, without stability or permanence. This false sense of mind and its manifestations, the seeming universe of materiality, because it opposes the divine prerogative in every particular, is in appearance a denial of God's allness. Paul declared this carnal mind to be, "enmity against God." It seems to challenge God's goodness and power, His allness; but nothing can in fact oppose or impair omnipotence.
If this so-called mortal mind is false, what seems to give it power? False belief, nothing more. In this false belief, this belief of life and intelligence in matter, in this counterfeit consciousness, lies the complete round of misery, of lack, of sickness, of sin, to which as morals we seem to be subjected. Is there no way of escape from this delusion? There is, and Christian Science points the way to this escape, to a salvation full and complete. It is of this escape, this salvation from misery in its every form, that I would speak. Let us be assured that no more important subject has ever been discussed, and Christian Science furnishes the complete solution to the problem.
As mortals, we suffer from sin and sickness, from lack and limitation, solely because of the false beliefs regarding man and the universe which we entertain, that is, from a false state of consciousness. The remedy is, then, to supplant this false state of thought with truth, to exchange false beliefs for facts, to improve our consciousness. If we are entertaining a sense of sickness, of disease, let us know, first of all, that God and His universe of perfect ideas is the only presence. Is not God, infinite good, the only presence? Can God be both infinite and good, and at the same time can there be something evil, something not good? Is not God ever present, everywhere? How and where, then, can evil, termed sickness or sin, or want, be present? The answer is obvious: only in our false belief, in a false consciousness. Our false belief about what? About reality, about man! Are we bound to this false belief called sickness, and its attendant suffering? By no means! Mrs. Eddy assures us that as evil presents its claims, asks of us power, we give it the only reality it ever seems to have. Evil in its various guises possesses no power what ever apart from the beliefs which constitute a false state of consciousness. Plain it is, then, that the solution of the problem lies wholly in changing our belief in sickness, in evil, in suffering, to a sense of health and strength, of harmony and well-being.
If we are conscious of man's perfection as lasting and permanent, of good as infinite and ever present — of God — how can we believe, to the contrary, that God is not infinite, is absent, that good is not present, and that man is sick and suffering? The answer is, that we cannot believe simultaneously in both conditions, in light and darkness, in health and sickness. We cannot serve two masters at the same time. Jesus told us the truth: we cannot serve God, infinite good, and Mammon, the god of materiality — of sin, of sickness, and of death — at one and the same time. It is inevitable that, if we undertake this double service, we shall "hate the one, and love the other;" or "hold to the one, and despise the other." To which concept are we holding? to which state of consciousness? Are we loving good and holding to it; or are we allowing ourselves to believe in evil, expressed in divers forms of misery? The First Commandment is very definite, "Thou shall have no other gods before me," and that to which we hold as reality is what we serve. Paul queried, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Shall we serve evil or good? Let us examine our thought and determine what we serve — what is our God. We can scarcely expect to enjoy the blessings of good if we hold to evil as real, as real as good. This choice is ours to make and to choose one road or the other is imperative.
The healing of human consciousness, which results from the application of Christ, Truth, is a process of transformation, the changing of false material beliefs for spiritual truth, the truth about God and man. This transforming Christ changes consciousness from a material to a spiritual basis. Mrs. Eddy's words on page 573 of Science and Health perfectly state the case. "The testimony of Holy Writ," she declares, "sustains the fact in Science, that the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material." And there follows the assurance that what we term matter and spirit represent "states and stages of consciousness." Which state of consciousness are we claiming? Are we holding to matter or spirit as reality? Is our concept of man spiritual or material? The answers to these questions determine whether we are in the heaven of Spirit, or the hell of materiality. Both are states of consciousness.
The problem resolves itself, then, into states of consciousness. Of what are we conscious? If we hold to matter as real and to human life as true existence, of necessity we are subject to the conditions which accompany such beliefs. So long as we believe in life born into matter, supported by matter and dying out of matter, we shall be subject to the penalties which attach themselves to such beliefs — to sin and sickness, and to the wages of sin, which Paul declared to be death. But these untoward conditions are no part of God's plan of His children. They have no relation to the real man, God's likeness. The real man, your true selfhood, knows no material birth, maturity, or decay, but exists forever at manhood's "eternal noon" (Science and Health, p. 246), at the standpoint of perfection.
We are then confronted by two distinct propositions; the one true, the other false. So long as we hold to the true, to the unchanging facts of being, we shall escape the penalties which follow the acceptance of the wrong course, the false sense of man. Consciousness constructs ts own concept of man. A mortal, material consciousness, holding to man as mortal and material, objectifies, that is, creates, in belief a mortal. But that seeming creation is in belief only, for the mortal or carnal mind, having no basis of truth, of reality, has no prerogative as creator; hence its belief in a creation of which it is the creator is a myth, a falsity. God is the only creator, and His creation alone has entity — has reality.
How, then, are we to escape from this seeming thraldom, from the false state of consciousness, in which is embodied all that encumbers, limits, and harasses mankind? The answer is very simple. By changing our belief about man and existence; by correcting consciousness. Let us examine some of the false beliefs that seem to harass mortals. Since mortal existence is based upon a false assumption, it is in its very nature uncertain, unstable. Its conditions are constantly changing. Recognition of this constant flux of human experience inspires fear, fear of harmful experiences that may befall us. Fear is mankind's greatest enemy. It is the most constricting and harmful of all mental states. Mrs. Eddy recognizes its baneful effects when she writes as a marginal heading in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health, p. 135), "Fear and sickness identical." How significant! "Fear and sickness identical"! Without fear, then, there would be no sickness, no misery, no lack, no inharmony, no suffering. How potent an enemy is fear! To mortals fear is a false state of consciousness which grows out of a belief that evil is real, as real as good. But evil is not real, it has no place in God's creation, has no basis in truth. Why? Because the allness of Mind, of God, who is infinite and all good, preclude the existence of evil in any of its multifarious claims, as reality. And belief in the reality of evil lies at the very bottom of all fear. The antidote for fear, the perfect remedy, lies in holding firmly and unwaveringly to the allness and all-presence of good. Where infinite good is, evil cannot be. If good is the only presence, evil can have no presence, and we are assured and reassured, both in the sacred Scriptures and the teachings of Christian Science, that God, good, is All-in-all, the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being. Faith in God is the perfect antidote for fear.
In the light of this understanding, what becomes of the belief in the reality of evil? It disappears into nothingness. John's declaration that "perfect love casteth out fear" is wholly scientific and therefore indubitably true. Why does perfect love destroy fear? Because since divine Love is conscious only of man's present and eternal perfection, Love can know nothing of evil or its manifestation as fear. Love, God, knows all — creates all — includes all. Surely evil can have no place, no reality, in the universe of Love and its perfect reflection. Love is, indeed, the liberator, and Love never fails. How wonderful, how assuring, to know that perfect Love, ever present, all powerful, and ever available is ever at hand to sustain, comfort, and protect us, to guide us in the paths of righteousness, "for his name's sake"!
Could any other fact be so comforting, so reassuring? How little do we avail ourselves of this precious truth! How little do we appreciate the depth of its significance! And when we realize that in the fullness of the realization of Love's, God's, constant presence lies full and complete salvation from all human woes, — including our archenemy fear, — how tragic becomes the failure to recognize and make use of this pearl without price! We can well understand the anguish of heart that brought tears to the eyes of the gentle Jesus when from the slopes of Olivet he looked upon Jerusalem. Thoroughly aware as he was of the presence of the loving Father who is ready and available through His Christ to meet mankind's every need, poignant, indeed, must have been his grief when he contemplated the misery, suffering, and squalor into the very depths of which humanity was plunged.
Jesus showed the perfect way out of this miasma of materiality, into the fullness of joy and blessedness which belongs to the sons and daughters of God. But then, as now, humanity clung to its false beliefs, hugged its soiled and tattered garments about it, through fear of casting them aside for the robes of spotless white which eternally enshroud the children of light. What tragedy! What a defeat of divine purpose — defeat, however, only in appearance. In reality, God's plan and purpose for His beloved can never be thwarted. It is permanent, eternal, and will be revealed — brought into human experience — when mortals are ready to cast aside the outworn garments of materiality for the garb of the blessed; when we are ready to transform consciousness from a material to a spiritual basis. In the light of our Master's revelation, supplemented and completed by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, shall we continue our way of suffering, or shall we change our false beliefs and counterfeit consciousness for the healing Christ, the truth about God and man? In the language of the day, "If ultimately, why not now?" Did not the prophet assure us that all "shall be taught of God"? All are destined to come into the consciousness of man's present and eternal perfection.
How logically may we declare, "My life is hid with Christ in God," that is, in divine consciousness, where man as God's idea eternally exists, blessed beyond the possibility of our present comprehension? In the face of these incontrovertible facts why, oh, why, should we continue, to harbor the demon fear? Demon, robber, thief it is; for fear would maliciously and wickedly rob us of peace of mind, of the happiness and well-being which is ours by divine right. "Perfect love casteth out fear;" and as we more fully reflect the divine Love, as we become more loving in all our thoughts and ways, divine Love will so inspire us with the consciousness of God's holy presence that fear can no longer hold us in bondage.
But there are other foes to our happiness than fear to be overcome, other evil beliefs to be destroyed. In another illuminating sentence (Science and Health, p. 411) Mrs. Eddy says, "The procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin." We have dealt with fear; let us deal with the other children of darkness, ignorance and sin. Ignorance may well be characterized as darkness, since ignorance is absence of the true light, the light of understanding! In Christian Science we discover that however learned one may be in the affairs of the world, however well versed in the subjects generally included in the curricula of the schools, unless this education be grounded upon and based in spiritual truth, it is indeed, but "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." It is of little avail in winning salvation from the enslavement of the carnal mind. Why? Because it is based upon belief in a false sense of mind called the human intellect, and human intellect, unillumined by spiritual light, has no foundation in truth, knows nothing of the ultimate and all-inclusive Mind which is God, and of His Christ, God's infinite ideal, true consciousness.
Merely human intellect, without spiritual illumination, may become the servant of the purpose of evil as well as of good. Without divine direction it may become evil's most potent instrument. But divinely directed, illumined by the ineffable light of Love, intellect may become a very potent instrument in the service of the highest human purpose, the establishment of God's kingdom, the kingdom of good.
The assertion sometimes uttered with pride by a mistaken mortal, "I am a self-made man," loses its significance when once knowledge of the true creation is gained, for it is learned that the so-called self-made man was, in fact, never made. He is a nonentity, a counterfeit of the real man, God's likeness. When once this fact is grasped or even glimpsed, one's pride in being self-made goes to the scrapheap of things that never were. Two men were discussing a mutual acquaintance about whose character they did not agree. The partisan of the absent one, to clinch his argument, declared with great gusto, "At any rate he is self-made." To this the other quietly replied, "I am delighted indeed to have God relieved of such responsibility." He was firmly convinced that God makes a better man.
Ignorance of God and of man in his true character is a great factor in all our difficulties. This is corrected by learning the truth about man as God's likeness, perfect, eternal, all-loving, expressing all the qualities and all the attributes of God. When this concept of man is gained, of necessity there disappears all belief in man as a mortal to which error may attach itself. Then the darkness of ignorance gives place to the light of truth and man in all his eternal perfection stands forth, the perfect handiwork of God, His highest representative. Obviously, ignorance thus overcome can no longer serve as a procuring cause of disease. Being destroyed it can no longer be the channel through which evil assails mankind.
The third of the procuring causes of sickness is sin. This, too, is a false mental state which violates the moral and spiritual law. It is the belief of pain and pleasure in matter. It is a false state of consciousness to be corrected by uncovering its true character. Sin is invariably allied with materiality, with a false sense of man and the universe. It is indissolubly associated with a material state of consciousness, a state which has its roots deep set in the belief of life and intelligence, in matter.
The remedy for sin, as for sickness, is Christ, Truth. Sin is forgiven, through its destruction, through changing false consciousness for the truth. Sinful beliefs held to as real and indulged, veil and obscure true vision, the true concept, of God and His glory. We cannot progress spiritually while indulging in sin. And the so-called mortal or carnal mind is the culprit. Spiritualization of the mental state, of our consciousness, is the one sure remedy for sin. Mrs. Eddy assures us (Science, and Health, p. 497) that "belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts." Into the purified consciousness, reflecting the divine, sinful beliefs cannot enter.
Through overcoming the false mental states, fear, ignorance, and sin, mortals are set free from the restrictions termed sickness and death. Sickness is wholly a mental state, an assumed consciousness, false in every particular. Can a falsehood persist in the face of truth? Assuredly not! Then let us hold firmly to the conviction that, as we correct our mental state with the truth about God and man, we are freed from the seeming bondage which finds expression in disease of various forms. In order to destroy these false claims firmness is necessary — firmness born of understanding. Half-heartedness will not meet the need. Full faith, faith founded in knowledge of God, of the divine nature, of God as eternal and never changing Love, is our need. Just how are we going to bring these divine qualities into human experience, how make them practical? By thinking them, holding mentally to the facts of being, the truth about God and His universe. This is the gaining of the Mind of Christ. It is claiming man's true selfhood. It is reflecting the true consciousness. It is, in short, the present realization of man's eternal perfection as the child of God.
Jesus admonished his disciples, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Would our blessed Master have uttered such words if they had not been possible of present accomplishment? Such an exhortation, if impossible of demonstration, were worse than idle. We claim our true selfhood as God's children by holding to the qualities which characterize that selfhood. Hear Mrs. Eddy's words: "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus" (Science and Health, p. 25). Jesus' true selfhood, the Christ, was through him expressed in such terms as mortals could see and comprehend. Jesus was claiming his true selfhood and manifesting, that is, demonstrating, it.
Mrs. Eddy also states (Science and Health, p. 516) that "Life is reflected in existence, Truth in truthfulness, God in goodness," etc. Are we manifesting Life, the Life which is eternal? Are we holding to, claiming, and expressing Christ, Truth, the truth about man, his present and eternal perfection? Are we manifesting Love, the love which loves one's neighbor as one's self? These experiences are possible only as we see man at-one with the Christ, his true selfhood. We are not separated from our brother, but are one with him in Christ. We are indissolubly associated with him, with our brother, with all men in the fullness of Christ, the divine ideal. The love which we reflect, he reflects. All that is ours is his. He is conscious of us as we are conscious of him. There is no exclusion. All are one, are included in Christ, in the divine sonship. All that we are God made us, and the image or reflection of God possesses no quality underived from God. The quality of sonship inheres in the Godhead, else man would be in possession of something unknown to God, manifestly an impossibility.
Claiming man's true selfhood, then, is our necessity, our obligation. In this way only do we win salvation, freedom from bondage, which the so-called mortal or carnal mind would impose upon us. It is in fact our resurrection. The true resurrection takes place whenever we are lifted out of the material sense of life and existence into the spiritual, the divine. We need not wait until the belief of death has seized us to enter upon the resurrection. In truth man never dies, is never laid in the grave. It is false belief that seems to die, nothing more. And as we become sufficiently conscious of God as man's only life, the false belief termed death will cease to appear as a necessity, aye, even as a possibility. When, we cease to believe in mortal history as the true history of man we shall cease to believe that man is born into matter and must therefore die out of it. Ceasing to believe in any false experience as real liberates us from the bondage of that belief.
Jesus' clear understanding of God as Life resurrected him. Through death alone we do not awaken in God's image and likeness. But false, material beliefs must be destroyed, transformed, put off, until the last vestige of error disappears; then shall we awake in God's likeness, in the kingdom of heaven. Both time and place are unknown in the divine consciousness, where man, the real man, eternally abides. Death is swallowed up of Life, and man's perfect state as the son of God becomes manifest. Death, then, like every erroneous belief, is a falsehood to be overcome, destroyed, by the demonstration of Life as man's divine Principle.
How contrary to this truth about life and death is the common belief about it! What, think you, would happen if mankind as a whole, should hold to the fact that God is man's only life? What would become of the belief in death? We can scarcely hold to the truth about anything while at the same time believing a falsehood — a misrepresentation of the fact to which we would hold. It is impossible to believe that two and two are four and five at the same time. Is it not plain, then, that there is need for much correction of thought, of consciousness, if we are to demonstrate continuous life? When, through holding to the truth about Life, we abandon all belief that death is a necessity, then shall we begin on our immediate resurrection from the grave of false beliefs, the only grave from which resurrection is necessary. In that incomparable statement of the Master's, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," is the promise, the perfect assurance, of the resurrection of all mortals, through the understanding of the Christ as man's true selfhood, of man as the son of God.
When the earth turning on its axis produces the phenomenon of sunrise, the highest mountain peaks first catch the light of the new day. So, in human history, the states of consciousness most receptive are the first to be illumined with the rays of eternal Truth. It was Jesus' exalted mental state that caught the glow of this transforming light nineteen centuries ago. It is Mary Baker Eddy, with consciousness purified and exalted through much tribulation, who has caught the holy effulgence of this healing ray in our present day. And this never fading light, whose source is the infinite Mind, in its all-embracing love, is shedding its transforming rays over the whole world, and, through revealing the eternal peaks of everlasting Life, is dispelling the dark shadows of doubt and fear. How blessed are those who choose to bask in this redeeming light; What gratitude do we owe those who have made this experience possible — Christ Jesus the Way-shower; Mary Baker Eddy, the revelator to this age of the rule and operation of divine law, the law of the spirit of Life which, as the Master proved, does destroy all belief in sickness and sin, even the belief in death itself.
A beautiful story is told of a little boy who lived far up on the western slope which overlooked a broad valley. He was an imaginative little follow, and keenly alive to the world about him. Among many interesting sights which he beheld was one that piqued his curiosity above all others. Every day, when the skies were clear, and the long rays of the setting sun lay level across the valley, all at once the windows in a house standing high up on the eastern rim shone with all the brilliance of burnished gold. Day after day he witnessed the strange spectacle, and in his childish imagination an overwhelming desire seized him to visit this house. Would not a habitation, with such brilliant windows be filled with priceless treasures? And would not the people living in it be most wonderful, beautiful to look upon, and kindly of heart? These questionings so possessed him that, finally he resolved to investigate for himself — he would go and see. So, having made all arrangements for the journey, he set out one morning at an early hour to cross the wide valley. But the way was long, longer than he had anticipated, and there were streams to cross and dense thicket to penetrate. On and on he struggled, across the floor of the valley, and up the long eastern slope, until finally he came to the house, the goal of his heart's desire, the house with the golden windows. But when he arrived it was dark, and he could see the house only dimly. In response to his timid knock, a sweet-faced woman opened the door. To his anxious query, was this the house with golden windows, her negative reply quite saddened him. But she, quickly taking in the situation, asked him in, assuring him that on the morrow she would show him the house he was looking for. A very tired little boy supped, and went to bed, filled with expectancy. In the early morning he was awakened and told to dress quickly if he would see what he had come for. He hurried out, and far across the valley, high up on the western slope, stood a house the windows of which were all aglow in the morning sun. He rubbed his eyes. Could it be? Yes, it was his own home, with windows shining like burnished gold. As he pondered the strange phenomenon, the explanation dawned upon him, and he went to his breakfast with the satisfactory sense of having made a wonderful discovery.
Dear friends, how truly does each one of us live in a house with golden windows, in true consciousness, which reflects with ineffable beauty the never failing light of perfect love. Do we keep our windows bright, clean from all obstructive error, from the darkness of fear, ignorance, and sin? If so, consciousness becomes the perfect reflector of that holy light which transforms all within its radius. Like the little boy, we must learn that, after all, it is our own house, our own consciousness, which forever radiates the perfect light of love; the love which knows neither sunrise nor sunset; the love which is conscious only of God's eternal perfection and unfading glory. If our windows are bright and clean, if our own consciousness is the purified reflector of the healing truth, then shall we fulfill the injunction of the Master, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."