Christian Science: Salvation Now
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Perhaps more Christian sermons have been preached on the subject of salvation than any other, yet undoubtedly members of the clergy would rejoice today to see a much greater interest evidenced in it. Why this rather general indifference or apathy toward such an important subject? Surely it is not because men feel that they have already experienced salvation. Perhaps there are some who believe that they have been saved because they are not conscious of sinning. Yet the Bible makes it quite clear that sin brings death; hence when one really has been saved from sin, he must also be saved from death, as well as from sickness and disease.
True salvation must be complete, it cannot be partial. One who has fallen into the sea would not be saved merely by throwing him a life preserver. While this would prevent his drowning, he could not be said truly to have been saved until he had been rescued from the sea. In like manner, one cannot be said truly to have experienced salvation until he has been saved from what the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, refers to as "the surging sea of error" (Science and Health, p. 569), and this involves the overcoming of disease and death, as well as of sin.
In Christian Science, we learn that all evil is merely the belief in the absence of good. Thus sickness is but a belief in the absence of health, sin a belief in the lack of purity and holiness, death a belief in the absence of life, poverty a belief in the lack of abundant supply, and so on. We see, therefore, that salvation from evil really means being saved from the belief in the absence of good, or, to put it another way, it means the realization of the omnipresence of infinite good - of unlimited health, happiness, harmony, holiness, purity, immortality, abundance, et cetera. And surely no one in his right mind desires to postpone the unfolding in his experience of a more abundant sense of good.
Mesmerism Powerless to Delay Salvation
What is it, therefore, that causes one to think of salvation as something pertaining to the more or less distant future? What is it that causes him to postpone experiencing a greater measure of good, when it is the very thing he most desires? Is it not the same kind of thinking that would cause one to believe that an onion has the fragrance of a delightful perfume? Whatever makes one believe something to be quite contrary to its true nature is a phase of mesmerism. And in "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy tells us (p. 51), "All mesmerism is one of three kinds; namely, the ignorant, the fraudulent, or the malicious workings of error or mortal mind."
Some time ago I read an account of an experiment made by a hypnotist on a young soldier, which well illustrated the nature of mesmerism and the way it claims to operate. The hypnotist told this young man, who had agreed to undergo the experiment, that after he was hypnotized he would not be able to stop moving his hand. And so it was. When the soldier was released from the hypnotic state, the hypnotist said to him, "You could not stop moving your hand, could you?" And the soldier's reply brought out an interesting point, "Oh, yes, I could," he said, "but I couldn't want to."
So we see that, even in belief, error or mesmerism cannot dispossess one of his ability in any direction unless he either willingly or ignorantly consents to its claim to rob him of the will to use this ability. Each one has the ability to work out his own salvation now, but he needs to be alert that error in the guise of mesmerism claims to be able to deprive him of the will to use this ability, and in this way to postpone the working out of his salvation. Being alert to this false claim, he can protect himself from it and render it powerless by realizing the great fact revealed by Christian Science that God is the infinite and only Mind, which man in His image and likeness reflects or expresses perfectly. This Mind of man, the Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus," can neither mesmerize nor be mesmerized, and there is no other Mind. Furthermore, man in the likeness of God possesses and expresses only the will of God, and no argument of error can interfere with this divine will or separate man from it.
So we see the importance of breaking the mesmeric claim that would prevent us from working out our salvation now. Paul declares, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Hence salvation now is not only a possibility, it is a divine demand. And we have the assurance that God is with us in working it out.
What Is Salvation?
Let us consider a little further what we are to work out - what salvation really is. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy defines "salvation" as follows (p. 593): "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed." Salvation, therefore, is positive, not negative. It is an attainment, not merely getting rid of something. And when we attain the spiritual understanding of Life, Truth, and Love, and demonstrate it, the elimination of sin, sickness, and death from our conscious experience follows of necessity.
Life, Truth, and Love are Scriptural names for God. When we recognize that Life is God, we see that there is only one divine Life, which is infinite, omnipresent, immortal, self-existent, self-sustained, active, and conscious. Hence the belief that each one has a limited life of his own, subject to birth and death, sin and disease, must be a false or mistaken sense of divine Life, which the true idea corrects. If man really had a life apart from God, beginning and ending, imperfect and discordant, as seems to be the case, this would be the truth about life and nothing could be done to change or improve it. Hence immortality would be a myth. But this is impossible, since God is Life; and there being only one God, there can be but one Life. In the degree that the false concept of divine Life is eliminated from individual human consciousness, its attendant beliefs of sin, disease, and death go out with it. Then one becomes conscious of Life as it really is, and experiences the progressive unfolding of its ever-present qualities of health, newness, and immortality. For as Christ Jesus declared, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
As we recognize that Truth is God, we see that whatever is true must partake of His nature; hence it must be good, spiritual, harmonious, unchangeable, and indestructible. Whatever does not express God or Truth, whatever is evil, material, discordant, changeable, or destructible, was classified by Jesus as "the devil" which "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him . . . for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). Evil or devil, being the father of itself, is merely the lie about or absence of Truth, and so must be unreal, powerless, neither person, place, nor thing. Its every claim to be cause, to have intelligence, power, activity, and effect - its every claim to reality - is but a lie which the truth destroys. And does not everything from which the human consciousness needs to be saved, such as sin, sickness, death, age, lack, unemployment, and so on, fall in the category of that which does not manifest God, good? Surely none of these is of God's creating. And is it not heartening to realize that we do not have to be saved from anything real, intelligent, powerful, and dangerous, but only from a false claim, from nothing's claim to be something - from its claim to be real, intelligent, powerful, active, to be person, place, or thing? While evil is nothing, since it is not of God, and while it is apparent that nothing can never be more or less than nothing, its claims to be something cannot be ignored, consented to, or contended with. For this would make a reality of the claims of evil. They need to be detected and their falsity recognized, and the more quickly this is done, the better, because the nature of truth, according to Jesus is to make us free (John ).
To know that Love is God, the only cause or creator, gives one an entirely new sense of creation - of the universe, including man. For the creation of divine Love is always perfect, beautiful, and satisfying, entirely devoid of any harmful or destructive element. In brief, it manifests the nature of divine Love, since like produces like. There can be in reality no other creation, for as the Bible declares, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Therefore whatever is unlovely, unloving, and unlovable - whatever does not manifest the divine nature - has no cause or creator; it is no part of the infinite and only creation; it simply does not exist. It has no beginning, no continuity, no history, no substance, no intelligence, no power or influence, no activity, no effect, no reality. Again, it is merely nothing claiming to be something; and you and I cannot be made to consent to this false claim or to fear it, for the truth is that we are too intelligent to believe it.
Salvation from Fear
The understanding of the true nature of creation enables one to overcome fear, for he sees that there really is nothing of which to be afraid. In the whole of Love's universe there is no evil, either as cause or effect - no matter, no sin, disease, or death, no lack, no evil person, place, or thing, no destructive or harmful element. Right where these phases of evil claim to be, right there is Love and its idea, man, blessing infinitely and infinitely blessed. The realization of this spiritual fact eliminates fear, replacing it with joy, gratitude, and assurance. And when fear is completely removed, there is healing. As we read in Science and Health (p. 368), "When fear disappears, the foundation of disease is gone." And John tells us: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
The Saving Christ
The true idea of God - the consciousness of Truth, or true consciousness - is the Christ, the Saviour, the one and only way to salvation. Jesus was a human being, born of Mary, but due to her spiritual conception of him, he was the most spiritually-minded man that ever walked the earth.
Referring to the Master, Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 316), "From him mortals may learn how to escape from evil. The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship."
Jesus had such a clear understanding of the Christ, Truth, that he completely identified himself with it, which resulted in his being known as Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus. He demonstrated that the Christ-man, the image and likeness of God, was his true selfhood. He proved that he did not have to die in order to realize this true selfhood or be saved, for he not only healed others of sin, disease, and death, but he overcame death for himself, thus proving that complete salvation is possible here and now. As we read in Science and Health (p. 316), "The Christ-idea, or the Christ-man, rose higher to human view because of the crucifixion, and thus proved that Truth was the master of death. Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs."
Jesus' perfect example remains for each one to follow, and only in the measure that we follow it are we working out our own salvation. The Master did not work out our salvation for us, nor does the mere acknowledgment of his perfect demonstration do so. Salvation is individual; each one must work it out for himself. Since it is the attaining of the understanding of Life, Truth, and Love as supreme over all and demonstrating this in daily life, salvation cannot be vicarious. One cannot work it out for another, although he may lend a helping hand. The Master helped mortals by showing them the way. Mrs. Eddy has shown them how to walk in this way, and the Christian Science practitioner stands ready to aid those needing help with some specific problem. However, each one must follow in the Way-shower's footsteps, "precept upon precept, line upon line," until he proves for himself that Christ is his true and only selfhood, the real and only man.
In all human history, no individual has so blessed his fellowman as has Christ Jesus, and this is because he alone worked out his salvation completely. While he gave men a perfect example to follow, he left no definite rules to go by and his teaching was largely in parables. His disciples and immediate followers understood his teachings to such an extent that they also were able to heal the sick and raise the dead, and this continued to be the case among the early Christians for some three hundred years. Then materialism and worldliness crept into the Christian church, and this resulted in the loss of both the spiritual understanding of the Master's words and works and the power to heal.
The Promised Comforter
Perhaps Christ Jesus foresaw that something of this nature would happen, for he prophesied the coming of a further and final revelation of Truth that would bring his great work to fulfillment. He referred to this as the coming of the Comforter, and of it he said: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." That Christian Science is this final revelation of Truth, all of its true students are thoroughly convinced. Not only does it bring all of the Master's teachings to remembrance, but it also explains, interprets, and amplifies them in such a way that the student may scientifically and successfully demonstrate them for himself, and thus in some measure do the works that Jesus said those who understood his teachings would do.
While Christian Scientists do not claim to have reached the fullness of the Master's demonstration, their works are still sufficiently impressive to prove to the unprejudiced investigator that Christian Science is the promised Comforter. There have been and are today many instances of the healing of all types of disease and deformity pronounced hopeless by the medical profession.
When a boy, I myself was healed of deafness after a specialist had stated I could not possibly regain my hearing. This healing was accomplished through the intensive study of Science and Health on my part, and with the aid of treatments by a Christian Science practitioner. The healing took place quickly and the hearing was perfectly restored. I am personally acquainted with those who have been healed of cancer, tuberculosis, blindness, lameness, paralysis, and many other so-called difficult or incurable diseases.
Inspiring testimonies of healings of all kinds, as well as helpful articles on Christian Science, are to be found each week in the Christian Science Sentinel and every month in The Christian Science Journal. Yes, my friends, there is abundant proof that Christian Science is indeed the promised Comforter.
The Revelation and the Revelator
Strange as it may seem, there are those whose main objection to Christian Science is that its Discoverer and Founder was a woman, Mary Baker Eddy. This unreasoning prejudice - and that is all it ever is - being wholly erroneous, not only hinders one's investigating Christian Science, it may even delay a healing. The latter is illustrated by the experience of a friend of mine. He not only resented Mrs. Eddy's being the revelator of Truth in this age, he even resented there being women practitioners. He was definitely a man's man! But he had a disease the doctors had tried to heal for a long time without success, and it was bothering him greatly. So he decided to try Christian Science, but insisted that he must have a man practitioner. He went to one for some time, then to another, but there seemed to be little improvement in the condition. However, his prejudice was being destroyed, and finally, with much humility, he turned to a woman practitioner. He was then completely healed of this unreasoning prejudice towards Mrs. Eddy, and the physical healing quickly followed. Now he has a deep sense of love and gratitude for Mrs. Eddy, whose great work made his healing possible, and also a keen appreciation of the consecrated work of both men and women practitioners.
There cannot be a revelation
without a revelator, nor can the revelation be separated from the revelator,
although this is what error would try to do. Furthermore, in order to understand and
successfully demonstrate this final revelation, one must clearly understand
Mrs. Eddy's place as revelator - as the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of
Christian Science and its movement. Since
this final revelation was prophesied by the Master and
Mrs. Eddy's work was to discover and give to mankind the rules and laws by which the Master's teachings may be scientifically demonstrated in the working out of one's salvation. The spiritual meaning of the Scriptures was divinely revealed to her, together with the rules for demonstrating these spiritual truths, and she gave this revelation to mankind in her textbook, Science and Health, where it not only is available for all time, but also is set forth in such variety of expression that all types of human thought can grasp and understand it.
This textbook, however, is not the Christian Scientist's Bible, as is sometimes claimed. Our Bible is the King James Version used by most Protestant churches. But the student of Christian Science finds that Science and Health makes the Bible a new book to him, that it is indeed a "Key to the Scriptures," giving them new meaning and making the spiritual truths they contain practical in his daily life. Consequently it is no mere sense of duty that causes him to study the Bible and Science and Health each day. He turns to them because this study definitely enriches his daily life, heals and protects him, and gives him an ever-increasing sense of good; thus enabling him to work out his salvation in some measure each day.
True Repentance Essential to Salvation
The process of working out one's own salvation includes repentance, reformation or regeneration, atonement, resurrection, and ascension. However, these should not be regarded as successive steps or periods in one's life. We do not have a period for repentance, another for reformation, and so on until finally we experience ascension. On the contrary, the individual who is earnestly striving to work out his own salvation should experience all of these in some measure right now. We experience all of them to some extent whenever we have a healing in Christian Science. It may be helpful at this point to consider how we may daily bring more of these into our experience. For example, is each one recognizing the need of more repentance? It is recorded that the Master began his ministry by preaching, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And he also said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Repentance is generally regarded as sorrow for wrongdoing, or penitence, but this was not the full meaning of what Jesus was preaching. The Greek word that is translated "repent" in the New Testament literally means "to think differently" or "to have another mind." So the Master was not merely calling on mortals to be sorry for their sins and mistakes, but rather to change their thinking. This does not mean that penitence or sorrow for wrongdoing is not needed. It is fundamental. But real repentance also involves changing one's thinking from a material to a spiritual basis. This spiritualization of thought enables one here and now to experience in like measure "the kingdom of heaven," which Mrs. Eddy defines as "the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme" (Science and Health, p. 590).
Let us consider the easiest step first - sorrow for wrongdoing. In order to experience this, we must first be aware that we are thinking or doing wrongly, that there is something about which to be sorry. This honest recognition of our sins and mistakes, of our wrong thinking and acting, is thus really the first step of repentance. In "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy states (p. 107): "Three cardinal points must be gained before poor humanity is regenerated and Christian Science is demonstrated: (1) A proper sense of sin; (2) repentance; (3) the understanding of good." And a little farther on she adds, "Without a knowledge of his sins, and repentance so severe that it destroys them, no person is or can be a Christian Scientist." Here Mrs. Eddy not only shows the necessity of repentance, but she also makes it clear how much is required - a "repentance so severe that it destroys" one's sins. If one is not sufficiently sorry for his sins and mistakes to correct them, his sorrow cannot be termed repentance, for it is but a mockery of it.
Salvation from the Belief in Matter
Perhaps someone is thinking at this point, But I am not conscious of thinking or doing wrongly. Such a one is probably thinking of sin as a breach of the moral code as set forth in the Ten Commandments. This is correct as far as it goes, but Paul had a much broader sense of what constitutes sin. In his statement, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace," he indicates that all unspiritual thinking is carnal mindedness, or sin. Christian Science confirms this, defining sin in its broadest aspect as all material thinking. Now, my friend, can you say that you have completely risen above the belief in the reality of matter, above all material thinking? Of course not. So we need to repent primarily of our material thinking; we need to be sorry enough about it to correct it.
In order to do this, we must be convinced of the unreality of matter. On page 468 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy gives in one paragraph, which she has called "the scientific statement of being," the epitome of Christian Science. The individual who is just beginning to study Christian Science will find it most helpful to memorize this wonderful statement, to ponder it, and use it, for it is indeed a powerful declaration of truth, of the unreality of matter and the allness of Spirit. However, it must be used thoughtfully, prayerfully. Merely to repeat it from memory is not the effective way to use it. One should strive to understand it better each time he declares it, strive to realize its meaning more fully. When it is used in this way, healing often results.
When a young student of Christian Science, I had this illustrated in my own experience. I was riding in a car with a friend when he experienced a severe heart attack. In fact, he turned to me with the statement that he was dying, and then proceeded to give every evidence of doing so. This was the first time I had ever been confronted with such an acute situation, and the only thing that came to my thought was "the scientific statement of being." I stopped the car and audibly declared this statement, trying to realize it myself and insisting that my friend repeat it. After going over it in this way several times as vigorously as possible, I noticed a slight movement of his lips. The next time the lips were forming the words, then the voice came, and in a few minutes my friend was quite all right.
The first sentence of this powerful statement is revolutionary: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter." How completely this does away with matter, for if life, truth, intelligence, and substance are taken away from it, what is left? You will do well to think this through for yourselves, my friends, until you see clearly that matter without life, truth, intelligence, or substance is nothing - merely the absence of Spirit. And this absence can be only a supposition, since Spirit is infinite and omnipresent. The infinitude and omnipresence of Spirit exclude and preclude the presence and existence of matter. But it is not enough to say there is no matter, one must be convinced of it.
The reasoning is simple, yet profound. Since Spirit is real and infinite, its opposite, matter, must be unreal and nothing. In the degree that one clearly realizes this fact he is truly repenting of the belief in the reality of matter. This is the first step toward repenting of more specific sins and mistakes, for all of these are the effects of one's belief in the reality of matter. In brief, if one were to repent so thoroughly of his belief in matter as to blot it out completely, he would be altogether spiritually-minded, and there would be nothing further requiring repentance. Every breach of the moral code, as well as the beliefs of sickness and death, are the effects of the belief of life, truth, intelligence, and substance in matter. They have no foundation or existence in Spirit or in spiritual consciousness. So we see the great need of repenting of this material or carnal mindedness - of being sorry enough to correct it by spiritualizing our thinking.
Prayer and Salvation
This spiritualization of thought is brought about through study and prayer. Persistent, earnest study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings is necessary in order to gain an understanding of reality - of God and man in His likeness. This is the knowledge of good which is the third step essential to true regeneration or reformation. It is obvious that one really cannot get rid of a false belief until he gains the true idea. As one gains the understanding of God as Spirit and man as His image and likeness, a spiritually mental being, the false belief of man as physical and corporeal is removed from individual human consciousness, together with its limitations of sin, sickness, and death.
The understanding one gains through studying must be used in order to solve the problems claiming presence in human experience, and prayer is the mode of its utilization. Prayer in Christian Science is not to change God, nor is it to get Him to change His creation, since a perfect creator can create only perfection. But humanly, instead of being conscious of man as perfect, as God's likeness, we seem to be conscious of His opposite or unlikeness - an imperfect man, material instead of spiritual, mortal instead of immortal, lacking instead of complete. Consequently, our thinking needs to be changed by the restoration of our spiritual sense. The false beliefs about man need to be replaced with spiritual facts in order that we may become conscious of man as he is, as he always has been and always will be. In brief, we need to know man as God knows him - complete, harmonious, and well.
The Christian Science prayer or treatment, therefore, starts from the standpoint of perfect God and perfect man as the omnipresent fact of being. The spiritual fact for the case is silently affirmed and the material sense evidence denied until one's thought is corrected and the spiritual idea clearly realized. However, all error is not in one's own consciousness; hence it is often necessary to take cognizance of general mortal belief or the claim of collective mortal mind.
For example, if one were to drink poison believing it something else, his ignorance would not protect him from the effects of the poison as established by collective mortal thought. But the spiritual understanding that all of God's creation reflects the purity of Spirit, that He never made poison, and that in reality there is no general mortal belief that could give poison reality, power, activity, or effect, since God is the one universal Mind - this understanding operates as a law of elimination to the poison and its so-called effects.
Likewise, in healing disease through prayer, not only the individual's fear and false beliefs must be destroyed and replaced with spiritual truth, but also the general mortal belief must be handled along the lines we have mentioned. It is not necessary to know the mortal mind or materia medica laws for a particular case. The need is to realize that God being the one lawmaker, only His law of Life is present and operating. Consequently there is no general mortal belief or law causing disease, transmitting it, or giving it name, nature, development, symptoms, activity, effect or aftereffect. As we read in Science and Health (p. 380), "Every law of matter or the body, supposed to govern man, is rendered null and void by the law of Life, God."
Prayer in Christian Science is the adjusting of one's thought to Principle, divine Mind, so that one reflects God's knowing. The earnest student of this Science strives to do this constantly - to "pray without ceasing." Such prayer not only heals disease and all other discords claiming presence in individual human experience, it also acts as a law of protection. In fact, the protective power of prayer is just as important as its healing effect, and we should be alert to this.
Reformation, Atonement, and Ascension
The realization of the truth of being, the knowledge of good, replacing the false with the true in individual human consciousness, brings about true reformation or regeneration - and this is healing. It is putting off the old man and putting on the new. It is true atonement, or at-one-ment with God. Thus as false beliefs are replaced with spiritual ideas in individual human consciousness, as we know as Mind knows, we bring out man's oneness with divine Mind. As we recognize the nothingness of matter and gain the understanding of Spirit as the infinite and only substance, we bring out man's oneness with Spirit. As the belief in sin is replaced with sinless, divine consciousness, we bring out man's oneness with Soul, for Soul is sinless, divine consciousness. As the belief of material or personal sense is replaced with spiritual sense, we manifest the one government, and thus bring out man's oneness with Principle. As the false beliefs of sickness, disease, and death are replaced with health, completeness, and immortality, we bring out man's oneness with immortal Life. As we become God's witnesses, expressing the facts of being and proving man's freedom from the beliefs of error, we bring out man's oneness with Truth. And as we replace the beliefs of fear, envy, jealousy, hatred, and self-love with fearlessness and calm assurance, kindness, tenderness, forgiveness, and compassion - in short, with unselfed love - we bring out man's oneness with divine Love.
Thus atonement is the bringing out of our true spiritual selfhood, the Christ, and the putting off of everything that does not emanate from and express divine Truth, Life, and Love. It requires that we think from the standpoint of Principle about everything in our daily experience. It requires that instead of knowing or talking about man as God's image, we actually strive to be this man. It therefore requires that we detect and effectively remove from our thinking and acting whatever does not trace back to Principle, for this is no part of the real man.
From the foregoing we see that atonement and resurrection go hand in hand. For Mrs. Eddy defines "resurrection" as (Science and Health, p. 593): "Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding." Hence every day should be a resurrection day for the sincere student of Christian Science. Each day he should put on more of the Mind of Christ and put off carnal mindedness or material thinking, which Paul says is death. In brief, to be lifted out of carnal mindedness or material thinking is truly resurrection from death. This putting off of material thinking and having only the Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus" does not involve gaining something from without one's consciousness, but rather the bringing out of what is already there. As we read in "Miscellaneous Writings"
(p. 154), "It is the purpose of divine Love to
resurrect the understanding, and the
Ascension, as understood in Christian Science, is not the ascending of a material body, but the lifting up of thought to that spiritual altitude where one is conscious only of Life, Truth, and Love. We have many periods of ascension. So did Jesus. Mrs. Eddy refers to what is usually called the ascension as "his spiritual and final ascension above matter, or the flesh, when he rose out of material sight" (Science and Health, p. 35). In brief, Jesus rose so high in the understanding of God as Spirit and of man as His spiritual image and likeness that he no longer was conscious of himself as material, as including any mortal element. At this altitude of thought, the five physical senses could no longer perceive him. This ascension seemed to take place at a certain time, but it was the culmination of his ascending thought, of the ascension he was continuously experiencing. As we read in the textbook (ibid., p. 509), "The periods of spiritual ascension are the days and seasons of Mind's creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness - yea, the divine nature - appear in man and the universe never to disappear." These are the qualities, then, by which we can measure the degree of our spiritual ascension, the degree in which we are truly working out our salvation now. To the extent we bring out these divine qualities, or the divine nature, we experience the kingdom of heaven now, for to this extent we are bringing out our true selfhood, the Christ, which always has been and always will be in heaven.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Nov. 15, 1946.]