Christian Science: The Revelation of the Christ

 

William D. Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Michigan

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

William Duncan Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Mich., lectured on "Christian Science: The Revelation of the Christ," Tuesday evening in the Murat Theater under the auspices of the Second Church of Christ, Scientist. Mr. Kilpatrick is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. The lecturer was introduced by Richard K. Sommer. His lecture follows substantially as it was given:

 

The refinements of time made manifest in the advancement of the human race from a plane of existence slightly above that of the animal to its present mental and spiritual level, is proof conclusive of the gradual and eternal redemptive influence of the invisible and impersonal Christ in the consciousness of men. Throughout the ages this ever-present spiritual force has guided and influenced thought even though mortals were unaware of the divine presence thus shaping their destinies.

At every crisis in the history of the world God has provided that which would not only save from the impending disaster but which would also elevate the race a little higher in moral perception and spiritual achievement. A crisis now confronts mankind. A state of almost universal chaos and desperation reaches out for that which will guide and comfort. The old supports no longer offer much hope. They have been tried and found wanting. Men find little in the old theories and superstitions, religious or otherwise, to which they can cling.

War is not the product or natural subsequent of Christianity. God and His Christ do not include the consciousness and recognition of war, strife, or conquest. War and all that goes with it is the result of man's abandonment of the spirit of the Christ and his return to the fleshpots of mammon. Something spiritually vital and virile must animate the consciousness of men, that they may make amends, not for the failure of Christianity, but rather for their own abandonment of its saving and guiding influence. Christianity has never failed men, but men have sadly failed in their devotion and allegiance to the Christ. Hence war and confusion on the earth.

Now is the time to seek that which, as in times past, God has provided to meet the need of this people and to lift them to that safe haven which is vouchsafed all who trust in Him. If that which men have looked to by way of spiritual support and succor has failed to save from the disasters of war and revolution, we may rest assured that God in His infinite beneficence is now present to provide men that which the old theories have failed to provide and which must be had to meet their needs.

There is nothing of a casual nature in God's great plan for the salvation of men. Things spiritual and timely do not just happen. They are preordained of God, and it is not a mere accident that Christian Science with its saving and redemptive mission has come at this fateful period to offer to the world that which can be forthcoming from no other source.

Christian Science, in its spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures as given to the world by Mary Baker Eddy in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" and other writings, reveals to men that spiritual influence and understanding which pierces the mists of ignorance and superstition and brings God and heaven down to earth as the eternal Comforter prophesied and promised by Jesus the Christ. Herein, and herein alone, lies the world's solution for all of its ills, be they mental, physical, or moral. There is not a problem of an individual, national, or international nature that is not subject to correct and immediate solution through the ministrations of Christian Science.

Civilization, today, stands at the crossroads. It is confronted with the grave and momentous necessity of making choices upon which depends the fate of mankind. The responsibility is great – greater than that ever before faced by men. The safety and stability of all society hang in the balance. Upon the wisdom, integrity, and sanity of those upon whom the burden of decision rests, the future of the world depends. A wrong step here or mistaken motives and misguided judgment there may terminate in disaster, or, at best, destructive delay. Selfishness, personal ambition, greed, reprisals, hatred, revenge, and avarice must have no place in the negotiations looking to a permanent and successful world peace if true Christianity is to govern the minds of those in whom this greatest of all trusts is placed.

Reconstruction is the watchword of the day, but reconstruction may be a misguided and futile effort unless undertaken on the broad platform of Christian ethics upon which democracy is supposed to be builded. The underlying Principle of Christianity is God, and a full and demonstrable understanding of Him is requisite to right motives and action. Reconstruction, to fulfill the true meaning of that term along the lines of Christian democracy, must have as its foundation God and the Christ-principle expounded and lived by the man Jesus. No other foundation can be laid than that upon which Jesus the Christ wrought all of his wonderful works.

 

False Theory and Practice Must Be Abandoned

The day has arrived in the history of mankind when a theoretical and chimerical sense of religion must be abandoned for the demonstrable and practical Christianity which Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated, if humanity is hereafter to live in peace and security. No true, lasting, or scientific reconstruction can be forthcoming except as a result of the application of the teachings enunciated and proved by the Master; and, therefore, to attempt the solution of the world's gravest problems with aught but a pure Christian platform for thought and action will assure failure at the outset. This is so because the catastrophic events of the immediate past are due to the activities and processes of the anti-Christ throughout the world and also to the failure on the part of so-called Christians to follow the precepts of true Christianity as directed by the Master.

 

Lessons to Be Learned

There is a necessary lesson to be learned by the peoples of the Christian nations now allied in opposition to what has been termed a common enemy, but that lesson will never be learned or appreciated while we attempt to place the onus of guilt completely on the shoulders of others and fail to recognize the influence of our own shortcomings and delinquencies. To assume the position of "holier than thou," in the face of our own present moral deficiencies would be quite unfair. Human wickedness does not confine itself to national boundaries, and a war which engulfs all mankind is but evidence of the predominance of sin and wickedness in human consciousness.

Men must learn sooner or later that they cannot trifle with Principle. That is one of the stern and exacting lessons which must come to us if this war is not to be fought in vain and the peace thereafter is to be a lasting one. To name the name of Christ and then to desert the cause is fraught with vastly more serious consequences than never to have looked to the God of Christianity as the Saviour of men. Lack of unity between God and men brings wars, calamities, and destruction, and it were well if each and every one of us were to take stock of himself to determine to just what extent he may be responsible for present conditions.

 

Who Shall Write the Peace?

Naturally and obviously a Christian background for the deliberation of any problem could not come from those not grounded in the Christian faith. Democracy is postulated upon the basis of pure Christianity. Who then shall write into the pages of the peace settlement the terms upon which the world must hereafter conduct and maintain itself? What man can understand the democratic way who is not a Christian? Pomp, form, fustian, and ceremony deny and belittle the Christ-spirit and defeat the processes and purpose of true Christianity. Christianity is of the heart and includes no ritualistic restrictions, observations, or forms.

 

Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy, and the Bible

The teachings and modes of a true religion founded upon the precepts of Jesus the Christ are best explained by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in her comprehensive work entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Christian Science textbook. Through spiritual inspiration gained from her lifelong study of the Bible, together with a deep and innate spiritual sense, Mrs. Eddy was enabled to interpret for all humanity the deeper import and intent of Holy Writ. Her life of sacrifice, purity, and devotion to a holy purpose is well known, and her place among the world's greatest benefactors has long since been acknowledged and assured. The important role which the Bible plays in the presentation to the world of Christian Science is revealed in the words of Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health, as follows:

"In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science" (p. 107).

"In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook. The Scriptures were illumined; reason and revelation were reconciled, and afterwards the truth of Christian Science was demonstrated. No human pen nor tongue taught me the Science contained in this book, Science and Health; and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it" (p. 110).

"The Bible has been my only authority. I have had no other guide in the straight and narrow way of Truth" (p. 126).

Through the inspiration and revelation thus divinely bestowed upon the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and given to the world in the Christian Science textbook and other writings of Mrs. Eddy, humanity is given access to impregnable defense against the influences and attacks of evil of every nature. The study, research, sacrifices, and spirituality which culminated in Mrs. Eddy's explanation of Christian Science in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" brought to the world an explanation of God which is not only revolutionizing, stabilizing, and rationalizing popular thought in respect to the divine Being, but which also provides a foundation upon which may be builded in human consciousness that superstructure of spirituality and scientific understanding against which all the wiles of evil and materiality can never prevail.

 

Christian Science and the Business Man

Through Christian Science men learn how to apply an understanding of God to the everyday affairs of human existence. Thus are the activities of men freed from the limitations of human incapacity and all the influences of the carnal or mortal mind which subject one's affairs to uncertainty, chance, reversal, and failure. Human endeavors resulting from the activity of Truth in the individual human consciousness are under the constant protection, guidance, and direction of an intelligence which is free from all human limitations, opinions, and influences.

To realize that the government is on God's shoulders and to know God well enough to be able to place all of our affairs under His care and guidance is to endow our every activity with the assurance, certainty, and success which characterize God's unerring rule. In the Lord's Prayer we are taught to repeat. "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." This implies and emphasizes the fact that through the correct concept of God and its correct application to human affairs, the intelligence, wisdom, and unerring foresight of divine Mind can be brought to bear in our every activity.

All limitation comes from the belief that man is an individual entity separate and apart from God, and that for that reason he is subject to all the human limitations and incapacity which that conviction implies and invites. On the other hand, man's understanding of God and the application of that understanding in individual consciousness relieves one of the menace of human limitations, responsibility, and incapacity and endows one's activities with an intelligence and vision devoid of all human hindrances.

Alluding to this particular feature of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy writes, in Science and Health (p. 128); "The term Science, properly understood refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity.

The human mind, imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose. A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity."

What a foresight of human freedom and divine care this message brings to mortals! What the understanding of God means to the man of business is equally available to you and me in whatever position we may find ourselves. It is equally applicable to the statesman and diplomat upon whom must rest the burdens and responsibility of postwar reconstruction and rehabilitation. Needless to say that without this God-bestowed ability, perspicacity, and judgment, any negotiations looking to a postwar order will be in grave danger of selfish influences. Let us all pray daily that this Christ, this fuller and demonstrable understanding of God in the human consciousness, will sit at each conference table in the momentous negotiations which confront us and that no element of injustice, unrighteousness, greed, selfishness, reprisal, or hate will be present there.

 

Sin Its Own Executioner

And in connection with negotiations and deliberations looking to a righteous and lasting peace it might be well to weigh, to some extent, the application of the divine law of justice to malefactors. Sin brings punishment just as certainly as purity and holiness bring joy and peace and happiness, and for a sinner to escape punishment would not be in accord with the law of God. God knows no sin, to be sure, but as sin is its own worst enemy, sin, itself, punishes sin. As goodness brings its own reward, so sin imposes its own penalties and, therefore, for the sinner to escape punishment would not be in accord with Principle.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy has written (p. 386), "Let us remember that the eternal law of right, though it can never annul the law which makes sin its own executioner, exempts man from all penalties but those due for wrongdoing." On page 36 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy again writes: "To remit the penalty due for sin, would be for Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God's government,

since justice is the handmaid of mercy." On page 37 of the same book she says: "Does not Science show that sin brings suffering as much to-day as yesterday? They who sin must suffer. 'With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.' " On pages 10 and 11 Science and Health we find the following: "Do you ask wisdom to be merciful and not to punish sin? Then 'ye ask amiss.' Without punishment, sin would multiply."

Now, these statements by Mrs. Eddy do not express simply a human opinion as to sin and its punishment. They are expositions of an inviolable law of God. If a man believes that twice five is twenty he is bound to suffer from the operation of the unchanging law, or principle, of mathematics, just as long as he entertains the false belief about twice five. That error is its own punishment. No human being is the author of the penalties to which his own mistaken beliefs subject him. Thus it is with sin. Mrs. Eddy's statement to the effect that sin is its own executioner is not an expression of her human opinion; she is setting forth a fact.

In her book "Retrospection and Introspection" Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 64): "Sin ultimates in sinner, and in this sense they are one. You cannot separate sin from the sinner, nor the sinner from his sin. The sin is the sinner." Thus we see that man is a sinner as long as he sins and that the moment he ceases to sin he ceases to be a sinner. Therefore, as soon as a man ceases to sin he ceases to be the object of that law which says that sin punishes itself. If sin brings punishment, then as long as a man sins he is subject to that law which says that sin must be punished. And man never escapes from that law until he ceases to sin. So you see there is no cheating in the divine order of just compensation either for sin or for righteousness.

 

The Reward of Righteousness

Just as sin and the sinner are one, so righteousness and God's law of just compensation are one and inseparable. Righteousness brings its own reward. The reward accompanies the motive or the act. For that reason the inexorable law of God brings reward to the righteous just as sin brings penalty to the sinner. The reward of righteousness accompanies the act or the consciousness of righteousness. The consciousness of right and the reward are one.

The rewards of righteousness do not constitute the objectives for which the Christian strives. Righteousness, itself, is his goal, because he knows that the rewards thereof are inevitable and assured. This is most definitely and clearly assured us in the twenty-second chapter of Revelation, where we read: "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." A Christian Scientist is interested only in demonstrating righteousness. Righteousness brings its own reward.

 

Examples

Many times in the career of Jesus he brought to the attention of his students and patients the fact that their suffering was but the penalty incurred by their own wrong thinking. On more than one occasion he said to those whom he had healed of some physical difficulty, "Go, and sin no more," which emphasized not only the fact that their physical condition was the result of their sin but which also emphasized the fact that, while he could heal them of their present difficulty, their future freedom from the same or some other disorder depended upon their own willingness to refrain from sin. Sin, in its last analysis, is always mental.

A thief has to think his deed before he can accomplish it. The scientific fact that one ceases to become the victim of sin and the penalty due therefore the moment he ceases, in consciousness, to sin, removes the fear of eternal punishment with which some mortals struggle, and thus does the past bury itself in itself. Without the fear of penalty for sins outgrown and abandoned one is free to soar in the fetterless realm of infinite spiritual consciousness without the earth weights of guilt and remorse as constant hindrances.

One of the most faithful companions and followers of Jesus was Mary Magdalene. Her spiritual reformation so completely released her from the burden of past sins and the fear of punishment therefore that her example of Christian purity has for centuries been a guiding light to many a weary and discouraged soul who has found peace and comfort in her example. St. Paul's conversion to the Christian faith after his cruel and vengeful persecution of the Master and the religion that he taught furnishes comforting conviction that sin is punished only so long as sin lasts and that the most ardent sinner may become a most fruitful laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.

In "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 328): "Whatever obstructs the way, – causing to stumble, fall, or faint, those mortals who are striving to enter the path, – divine Love will remove; and uplift the fallen and strengthen the weak. Therefore, give up thy earthweights; and observe the apostle's admonition, 'Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those which are before.' Then, loving God supreme1y and thy neighbor as thyself, thou wilt safely bear thy cross to the throne of everlasting glory."

 

The Hidden Recesses of Crime

A clear realization of the scientific background of all of this is forthcoming with an understanding of God as divine Mind or consciousness, which the man of God's creating expresses and reflects. St. Paul refers to that Mind which was in Christ Jesus, implying that the animating influence of the Master was divine Mind, or God. All that we have had to say about sin and its punishment has to do with that opposite so-called mind which St. Paul terms the carnal. Thinking constitutes one's consciousness. The entertainment of carnal thoughts in the human consciousness results in sin, and, contrariwise, the entertainment of divine ideas in the human consciousness has its manifestation in righteousness.

More sin lies in individual consciousness, or thinking, than in what the world calls overt acts. An overt act is the externalized or outward manifestation of thought – good or bad. The source of crime and corruption finding expression in overt acts is usually easily traceable, but the source of crime and confusion resulting from mental manipulation or the projection and direction of thought through the operation of the carnal in the human consciousness is not readily discernible. Therein lies its subtlety and danger.

In fact, the most prolific source of crime and criminal influences of present times lies in hidden and secret mental manipulation on the part of individuals and organizations. Throughout the world many schools of instruction are teaching the use of mental power to influence the thought and actions of men and nations. And any country or nation on the face of the globe that thinks to avoid such influences without the positive and practical use of Christianity as taught by Jesus will find itself quite unable to escape the snares and pitfalls of these occult methods.

Writing and warning of this particular instrument of sinful and occult manipulation, Mrs. Eddy says, in Science and Health (p. 570): "The march of mind and of honest investigation will bring the hour when the people will chain, with fetters of some sort, the growing occultism of this period. The present apathy as to the tendency of certain active yet unseen mental agencies will finally be shocked into another extreme mortal mood, – into human indignation; for one extreme follows another."

 

The Anti-Christ of Regimentation and Restriction

Now, of all times, should men and nations not only become aware of the dangers of this mental method of secret and unseen manipulation and influence but most of all should they become aware that the only remedy or instrument of protection from such influences lies in the teachings and practice of true Christianity as expounded in Christian Science. Too long has the Christian world dwelt in blissful ignorance of the hidden and unseen forces of occultism and evil. Altogether too long has the operation of the Christ in the human consciousness been limited by the bonds of ecclesiastical ignorance, bigotry, form, and superstition. Too long has a personal and limited sense of God, Christ, and man, bound to earth the enlightening and liberating influences of reason and revelation. If this world is to approach a realization of the greater and more abundant life it must open its eyes to the demands and teachings of true Christianity.

Christianity means freedom not only for the man who practices it but for the nation whose citizens proclaim and live it. A nation can demonstrate and put into practice only as much of the truth taught by Jesus as is understood and known by its citizenry, and until a full and clear sense of the teachings of Jesus, as outlined in Christian Science, is understood by men, there can be no full, complete, and satisfactory example of true democratic government. In Christianity as outlined by Jesus, the only limitations that reveal themself to the earnest and honest student are those limitations which prohibit and penalize acts of moral turpitude on the part of men and nations.

There is nothing in all the teachings of the Master that would justify the regimentation, supervision, and control of one individual human mind by another individual human mind. There is nothing in the moral law – and the moral law must be the law of all nations sooner or later – that prevents a man from making a mistake. Men are as often taught and instructed by the mistakes as they are by their successes, and to deprive an individual of the lessons and benefits of his own mistakes by legislative enactment which imposes upon him the whims and theories of some other individual just as capable of being mistaken, is taking the Christ out of the democratic order.

Every man should be free to conduct his affairs from the standpoint of his own individual demonstration and communion with God and anything that takes away that right is unchristian and undemocratic. Human regimentation, restriction, and planning whereby one individual becomes the tool and victim of another's idea of how the victim should govern himself, leaves God out of the question completely and places one human consciousness under the control of another human consciousness.

The Christian nations of the world are now united in one stupendous struggle to insure to humanity the security, the peace, and the freedom which the Christ always brings to those who love and obey the dictates of God. A mighty war is being waged that you and I may escape the horrors of a totalitarian order whereby governmental paternalism is substituted for individual independence and freedom.

A mighty war is being fought that you and I may conduct our affairs according to the dictates of our own conscience. A war is being fought that men may worship the God of their own choosing without the interference of state or ecclesiasticism. A war is being fought that men may sow, reap, and harvest as God may direct and not at the instance of bureaucratic dictation. A war is being fought that labor and industry may enjoy the fruits of their own efforts and that one shall not become the victim of the other. A war is being fought that will insure the profits of righteous effort without the threat of confiscatory statutes. A war is being fought to insure to all mankind the benefits of individual initiative and endeavor. A war is being fought that the vision of the Puritan fathers may again possess the consciousness of men and that the state may reassume its position as a creature of the people rather than that the people become the vassals and pawns of the state. God grant that this war be not fought in vain.

 

God and Individual Salvation

To bring God into the affairs of men as a divine, operating force and influence it must be realized that God is not a localized, materialized, or personalized being. It must be recognized that God is Mind – divine Mind – or, in other words, divine infinite intelligence. A mind, be it divine or otherwise, expresses itself in thoughts. The divine Mind, or God, finds expression in divine or spiritual ideas. As you and I express in thought divine ideas, pure thoughts, we are expressing God and thus becoming Godlike. As you and I express in thought aught but the divine we are manifesting God's opposite, or the carnal – the devil. The human consciousness, that is, your and my individual thinking, is the medium through which you and I express and become conscious of either the divine or the carnal. If we think spiritually we are advancing heavenward. If we think carnally, or materially, we are "of the earth, earthy."

Now, the consciousness which is responsible for and is cognizant of our world of materiality, St. Paul tells us, is carnal. Consciousness is either carnal or divine. You and I, for instance, in our thinking, express one of two things. We express either the carnal or the divine. Either the carnal or divine must dominate individual thought. If the carnal dominates our thinking, and it must be at our own volition if it does so, the conscious result is a material sense of universe. If the divine dominates individual thought, the result is a spiritual universe and a spiritual existence.

Inasmuch as you and I seem to be living in a material body and a material world with material surroundings it is but logical to conclude that the carnal dominates our thinking. Christianity, as explained through Christian Science, is for the purpose of providing a conscious foundation whereby we can change thought from the material to the spiritual in a full and comprehensive manner and thus relieve ourselves of the material bondage which our own wrong thinking imposes.

As consciousness is individual, the manifestations of consciousness must be individual. If one's world is included in individual consciousness, it necessarily follows that one's salvation from the bondage of a material existence, with all the problems this involves, must be individual and must lie in individual consciousness. If the carnal in our thinking is responsible for our alleged material world with all of its sin, its sickness, its poverty and unhappiness, naturally the carnal, itself, could not include the remedy for any of our problems. Only the opposite of the carnal could reverse the creations of the carnal.

The divine Mind, or God, admitted to individual consciousness, is the only remedy for matter and its problems. If matter were not a mental phenomenon, and an erroneous mental phenomenon at that, all the prayer in the world could never heal the sick or reclaim the sinner, but when it is realized that matter is the manifestation of wrong thinking, it can readily be seen that matter, with all of its problems, can be changed and corrected by right thinking. And this right thinking, this substitution of the divine in individual consciousness for the carnal, is true prayer.

When existence becomes too materially complicated and the problems of human living crowd in on the individual, he has, relatively speaking, the choice of replacing the carnal in consciousness with the divine. The divine which unfolds to consciousness comes direct from God, or divine Mind or intelligence, and constitutes the Christ. Through the influx of the divine, or the Christ, into consciousness the arguments of limitation, restriction, localization, sickness, and poverty are met and destroyed. To divest the carnal of any sense of reality, power, authority, or influence one must realize that it was never created of God. There is not much comfort or relief to be had through the mental process of belittling the carnal mind and at the same time fearing it or being unable satisfactorily to explain to oneself its counterfeit nature.

You and I do not need to protect ourselves from a carnal mind. All we need to do is to protect ourselves from our own belief in a carnal mind. In Science and Health (p. 187) Mrs. Eddy says, "The beliefs of the human mind rob and enslave it." Thus we find that the only penalties there are to the belief of a carnal, or material existence, are the penalties which the human consciousness imputes to its own misconceptions, and thus does individual material existence resolve itself into a state of self-hypnosis, or self-mesmerism. So, all that has to be healed in handling any problem of inharmony is not the carnal mind but, rather, the human belief in a carnal mind, or a mind opposed to God. With the carnal mind relegated to the realm of illusion, it is not difficult to see how the manifestation of the carnal mind –sickness, inharmony, poverty, and the like – are destroyed through the influence of the divine Mind, or God, in consciousness.

 

 

 

Spiritualizing Individual Existence

As God, or divine Mind, intelligence, is consciousness, and the only real consciousness there is, mortals approach God through individual consciousness. In fact, that is the only approach to God there is – through individual consciousness or thinking. Mortals not only approach God through consciousness but they also unite themselves with God through consciousness and reflect God through consciousness. As the divine consciousness, which we must substitute in our thinking for the carnal if we would become Godlike, does not include the recognition of matter, naturally, as we shift consciousness from the carnal to the divine, we gradually spiritualize individual existence. The ascension of Jesus, after his resurrection, was the culmination of his constant practice of substituting the divine in consciousness for the carnal. The instant the last vestige of the carnal, or material, in his consciousness was eliminated by the substitution therefore of the divine; matter, to him, ceased to exist. The elimination of all materiality in the individual consciousness of Jesus constituted the ascension. The ascension was not the elevation or glorification of matter; it was, rather, its subjugation and elimination. This experience and example of Jesus proved to the world, and for the world, that matter is but material or carnal thought objectified to the human consciousness, and that matter disappears with the individual consciousness of the divine.

 

Matter Not Eliminated Through Death

That matter is but the manifestation of mortal thought and that man does not lose his conscious material state of embodiment through the experience of death was also proved by Jesus by his resurrection. In fact, after his resurrection one of the things that Jesus said to those about him who were undoubtedly under the mistaken impression that death performs some sort of a material or spiritual change, should dispel for all time the illusion that death and heaven have anything in common.

You will recall that on an occasion after the resurrection, the disciples of Jesus were alone together discussing the events which had transpired at their various meetings with the Master after his advent from the tomb and that, to quote, "as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."

Nothing in the career and practice of Jesus was spectacular. Everything that Jesus said or did was for the instruction and benefit of everyone of us here. When he reappeared to men after his crucifixion and resurrection with the same body which was his at the time of his incarceration in the tomb he proved to you and to me that death does not alter the condition of mortal man, and that heaven, or the realization of complete spiritual existence, comes only through individual mental purification and regeneration, here as well as hereafter.

 

Beliefs

As mortals approach God only through individual consciousness, so mortals separate themselves from God and His protecting care and guidance through individual consciousness, and the farther individual thought strays from the divine the farther men get from God. The more of the carnal which possesses individual thought, the more material becomes individual existence. As matter is but the manifestation of carnal thinking, Mrs. Eddy has designated material manifestations as "beliefs" in contradistinction to divine ideas which constitute the realities of spiritual existence. The emanations of any mind must be the thoughts or ideas of that mind. The emanations of the divine Mind, or Good, must be God's ideas.

When individual consciousness is constituted only of divine ideas, man, as the image and likeness of God, is revealed and materiality ceases to be a part of conscious existence. Contrariwise, when individual consciousness is impregnated with carnal thoughts, man, as material, sick, sinning, and dying, becomes the object of belief. Everything expressed as matter is simply a false belief of the human consciousness. For instance, that which manifests itself as the human body through the influence of carnal thinking is a false belief. Now, if that human body, through the permission of the human consciousness which claims to include it, takes to itself a condition of sickness or inharmony of any nature, instead of one belief of the carnal mind present, we have two beliefs, the material body and the argument of sickness – a belief about a belief. But both beliefs, it must be remembered, are the manifestations of the one so-called carnal mind operating through individual human consciousness. The human consciousness which beholds and is responsible for the belief of an individual material body is also responsible for the belief of sickness manifesting itself on that body.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says (p. 442): "An improved belief cannot retrograde. When Christ changes a belief of sin or of sickness into a better belief, then belief melts into spiritual understanding, and sin, disease, and death disappear." A well and harmonious human body as such is a better belief than a sick body. The well body is no more spiritual because of the healing of sickness than it was before, but it is less discordant. Some degree of materiality has been eliminated from the thought of the individual through the spiritual healing of sickness. In Science and Health it is written (p. 493), "If Jesus awakened Lazarus from the dream, illusion, of death, this proved that the Christ could improve on a false sense."

 

The Christ

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 271), "Christ's Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God." This "chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages" is the Christ operative in the human consciousness; and while, for periods, it may have been obscured from human perception by the pretenses of idolatry, false theology, ritualism, form, and ceremony, yet down the long corridors of time this golden "chain" of Truth has been guiding and shaping the destinies of men and will ever continue to do so until the last vestige of materiality and sin disappears and the kingdom of heaven is realized.

The Christ is the truth about God and man which comes to the human consciousness to bring peace, comfort, and assurance to the world-weary, the sick, and the sinning. The Christ, like God, has existed throughout all time and has guided the human race from the lowest plane of human thought up through the dark clouds of material thinking to its present mental and spiritual state. The Christ comes to your consciousness and to mine as divine or pure ideas enlightening our paths and giving us that strength of Spirit which knows no opposition and which turns every trial of our faith into a spiritual triumph. "The Christ," Mrs. Eddy tells us in Science and Health (p. 583), is "the divine manifestation of   God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error."

As a sense of flesh, or a corporeal existence, lies wholly in the human consciousness, when the Christ enters the human consciousness it, of necessity, comes to the flesh. Thus is incarnate error, or the errors which seem to have become a part of material existence, destroyed. When error is destroyed in the human consciousness it is destroyed in the flesh, because the human consciousness and the flesh are one. The Christ, entering the human consciousness, as divine or pure ideas, unites God and man in one holy bond. This is so beautifully and precisely explained by Mrs. Eddy where she says in Science and Health (p. 561): "John saw the human and divine coincidence, shown in the man Jesus, as divinity embracing humanity in Life and its demonstration, – reducing to human perception and understanding the Life which is God. In divine revelation, material and corporeal selfhood disappear, and the spiritual idea is understood." The spiritual idea is the Christ.

The Christ, which was so forcefully and consistently explained and demonstrated by Jesus in the few brief years of his earthy career, constitutes that golden thread of truth which is spun throughout the fabric of all Bible history and which appears in all ages to lift human thought to loftier and holier heights. The Christ is that which uttered itself to Noah warning him of dangers to come and preparing him for safety. The Christ is that which guided the children of Israel for forty years in the desert of human hopes and despair and brought them at length to the promised land of peace and plenty.

The same Christ that held back the waters of the Red Sea that the Israelites might pass through on dry land enabled Jesus, centuries later, to walk the waves, still the tempest, and calm the troubled waters. The same Christ that furnished the manna in the wilderness enabled Jesus to feed the multitude on the shore of the Galilean sea. That Christ is here today standing at the threshold of every human consciousness awaiting admission. Through it the sick are healed, the sorrowing comforted, and the sinner is released from the bondage of his own pitiful misconceptions.

To quote once more from Science and Health, where Mrs. Eddy has written (p. 224): "A higher and more practical Christianity, demonstrating justice and meeting the needs of mortals in sickness and in health, stands at the door of this age, knocking for admission. Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh in the quiet of meekness, as he came of old to the patriarch at noonday."

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Jan. 7, 1944.]

 

 

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