Christian Science:

The Letter and the Spirit of its Healing Message

 

Herschel P. Nunn, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

"Man has vast spiritual possibilities which are revealed by the understanding and practice of pure Christianity in daily life," declared Herschel P. Nunn of Portland, Oregon, in a lecture last Sunday in Concord at the Christian Science Church. Mr. Nunn is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. He was introduced by Saville R. Davis, American News Editor of the Christian Science Monitor and spoke on the subject "Christian Science: The Letter and the Spirit of its Healing Message." He spoke substantially as follows:

 

The Letter and the Spirit

Let us consider what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." Was not this an admonition that the letter of Christianity without the spirit could be of little avail to redeem men from the errors of material belief from sin, sickness, discord, unhappiness? But was not Paul also giving us an invitation to partake of the enriching, life-giving waters of the spirit of Truth those healing waters that cleanse and heal humanity and enable us to recognize ourselves as the sons of God?

The letter of Christianity points the way of redemption; the spirit lights the way and enables us to walk in it. The letter describes exactly the footsteps we must take; the spirit brings this spiritual illumination, the divine ideas and guidance, the abiding sense of God's protecting watch over our spiritual progress.

We have the letter of Christianity set forth in the Scriptures and in the teachings of Christian Science, which elucidate the spiritual meaning of the Scriptural Word. We have the spirit of Truth exemplified in the deeds of the prophets, the disciples, and the Master, and in the Christly way of life which Christian Science shows us how to make practical. For, my friends, Christian Science is a way of life the way to live the truth Jesus taught, so that it illumines and transforms human experience, bringing healing, protection, heavenly inspiration, even the understanding of man's perfection as the son of God and, in consequence, his vast spiritual possibilities.

The age-old process of salvation taught by scholastic theology starts with a miserable sinner, striving to make him less and less of a sinner until finally he becomes a son of God. Christian Science turns this process squarely around. It starts with John's dynamic statement, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God," and demands that this great fact be demonstrated in daily living.

Christian Science starts from perfection, perfect God and perfect man. This is because perfect man is the only kind of man that could be the image and likeness of a perfect God.

Think you if God made us sinners we could ever be obedient to the command of Christ Jesus, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect"? It is because we are in reality perfect, as the image and likeness of God, that we can demand perfection of ourselves right now, and through the revelation of pure Christianity discover and progressively demonstrate man's divine perfection.


Sometimes the evidence of this perfection to human view requires time to bring about, even struggles, strong decisive stands for truth and right, prayerful, searching thought. However, a clear, radiant light shines down this path of progress; it is the truth-lighted

thought that no matter what evidence to the contrary the testimony of the senses may present, the spiritual reflection of infinite Mind, the divine idea of God, the perfect man, is the only man there really is. The man who seems to need redemption, who seems to be in need of healing, of spiritual awakening or regeneration, is only the false human concept of that perfect man, the dream creation, the mortal who needs to be awakened from his dream.

 

Awakening from the Mortal Dream

Since this false concept of man is only a dream, the awakening from the dream may come quickly. It does not always require time to see a mistake as a mistake. It does not require much time to prove to a child that the rails which seem to be converging in the distant perspective are the same distance apart way out there as they are right here, where he stands.

To illustrate this fact let me tell you of the first healing in Christian Science of a friend who has been for many years an active Christian Science practitioner in one of our large cities. She went to a practitioner, one of Mrs. Eddy's early students, seeking to be healed of nervous indigestion. All of her life, up to that time, she had been indulged, first by her family, then by her husband, in a human failing she was never on time for an appointment, many times keeping others waiting a half an hour, yes, even an hour. Also she had no sense of order with her personal belongings. Everything was piled together in her bureau drawers, everything out of place in her clothes closet.

She was healed of her indigestion in one treatment. When she came home she took everything out of her bureau drawers and carefully replaced her things in perfect order. She did the same with her clothespress. After a week or two her husband spoke of the fact that not once during that time had she kept him waiting for an appointment. From that time on, order and promptness were definite qualities of her thought and character.

Here is clear evidence of a healing vividly expressing the spirit of the divine Christ. The practitioner knew nothing of those human frailties, but he saw so clearly perfect God and perfect man that "now are we the sons of God" that the mortal faults of character were healed as well as the physical discord. The fact of perfection immediately dispelled the lie of imperfection. Here was time measured not by hours, days, or months, but by the unfoldment of good spirituality instantly replacing phases of materiality.

This does not mean that my friend did not have other overcoming to accomplish in the years of her progress in spiritual growth as a Christian Scientist, but her experience clearly illustrates the basic process of Christian Science healing not starting with a sick or sinning mortal to be healed, but starting with the perfect man of God's creating, whose status of perfection is ever operative as a law of annihilation to the false belief that man is a mortal, subject to the sins, discords, and diseases of mortal belief.

 

Spiritual Recognition of What God Is

Through the ages, theology has taught that man is made in the image and likeness of God. But because the theologians had the letter and not the real spirit of that great fact, they also taught there was another man, perhaps more real to them than the man made in God's image, a man made of the dust of the ground. Here certainly "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

The letter of the Bible teaches that God is Spirit, God is Life, God is Love, God is Mind. But when clear spiritual perception reveals the depth of meaning in those terms, we see that the only man who could be the image and likeness of a God who is Spirit would be a wholly spiritual man; the only man who could be the image and likeness of a God who is Life would be a forever living man, an immortal man; the only man who could be the image and likeness of a God who is Love would be a man altogether harmonious; the only man who could be the image and likeness of a God who is infinite, divine Mind would be a spiritually intelligent, divinely controlled, divinely directed man, the divine idea of infinite Mind, God.

In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the revered and beloved Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, answers the question, "How can I progress most rapidly in the understanding of Christian Science?" with the statement: "Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit. Adhere to the divine Principle of Christian Science and follow the behests of God, abiding steadfastly in wisdom, Truth, and Love" (p. 495).

Sometimes it seems much easier to study the letter than it does to imbibe the spirit. This is explained by what follows in Mrs. Eddy's statement. To "adhere to the divine Principle of Christian Science and follow the behests of God," means just what it says to adhere and to follow. It does not mean to stick to divine Principle, to follow God's direction, when it is convenient and comfortable to do so, and then run off on a tangent and follow the suggestions of materiality and worldliness when it is not so convenient. The only possible way to abide "steadfastly in wisdom, Truth, and Love" is to put Principle first, put God first, to listen for God's behests and follow those behests even though with bleeding footsteps. Only thus can be won the great rewards of Christliness.

One can study the letter and not necessarily have to live the letter but one can never in a thousand years imbibe the spirit of Christian Science without living Christian Science. It is the spiritual recognition and understanding of the great, vital absolute truths of Christian Science which illumine our thought with the spirit of Christian Science. But unless these truths are made evident in daily living, unless they are put into practice, the bright shining of the spirit soon fades out. This is because Christian Science is not a mere philosophy, a mere theory; it is the Christ-way of living. Without the undeviating daily practice of its precepts, it is not genuine Christian Science.

 

"Ye must be born again"

In the third chapter of John's Gospel we hear of Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. No doubt this man was well versed in the letter of the law, as were other Pharisees; but Nicodemus saw beyond the letter as he witnessed the healing work of Christ Jesus. He must have caught a glimpse of the spirit, of the divine Christ evident in the man Jesus, for he "came to Jesus by night," seeking knowledge of what he had glimpsed. He said to Jesus, "We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

Christ Jesus, recognizing his quest of the spirit, said to him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." How literally Nicodemus heard these words, wholly unaware of the spirit of the Master's message! "Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. . . . Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

Could the ruler of the Jews have perceived the spiritual meaning of those words, he would indeed have been born again. For to be born of water and of the Spirit so that one may enter the kingdom of God means vastly more than appears to the average human thought. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of infinite Spirit, divine Mind. It is therefore wholly spiritual, wholly mental. To enter this kingdom, one must not only be born of water cleansed of the belief of life, substance, and intelligence in matter but he must be born also of the Spirit; he must become spiritually conscious of what life, substance, and intelligence really are, the reflection of God, Life, Truth, Love, infinite divine Principle.

To know the letter of Christian Science that there is no life nor intelligence in matter, no substance to it, that matter is an illusion; in other words, to know there is no matter is necessary equipment for the Christian Scientist. But that is not enough. He must imbibe the spirit, he must gain an inward, spiritual perception of this great fact, through his own demonstration of that basic truth. He must know there is no matter because of his spiritual clear-sightedness, his awareness that there is no matter in the divine Mind, therefore there is no matter in his individual reflection of that one Mind. That which Mind does not know man does not know. That which Mind does not know, does not exist in the universe of divine Mind's creating. That is why there is no matter.

What was Nicodemus searching for? Not, at that time, to be born again, not for the discipline of casting off false beliefs and the spiritual searching for divine ideas. Christ Jesus knew at once what he wanted he wanted what every one of us here this hour wants now, or did want before he found Christian Science. He wanted to enter the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Spirit, of good, of the substance of true being. He wasn't satisfied with the letter of the pharisaical law; he wanted the spirit of the Christ, Truth, which he saw evident in Jesus' healing works.

 

Mary Baker Eddy's Presentation of the New Birth

Two very much loved articles by Mary Baker Eddy in her work, "Miscellaneous Writings," help us to understand the deep spiritual import of Jesus' reply to Nicodemus. One is titled, "The New Birth;" the other, "Pond and Purpose." In the first of these Mrs. Eddy says; "The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 15).

"Ye must be born again." Is not Christ Jesus saying this to you and me today? We must have "moments of surrender to God." We must know that childlike trust, that joyful adoption of good, if we would be born again, if we would imbibe the spirit. Moments of self-abnegation must silence the clamor of self-sufficiency, self-love, and self-will. Moments self-consecration must sweep away false trusts, must purify motives, must clarify thought into deeper, holier, conception of the nothingness of matter and the allness of our Father-Mother God.

 

 

Following the Leader's Example

In The Christian Science Journal of May, 1950, appears a testimony in which the writer says that for years before becoming interested in Christian Science she was prejudiced against Mrs. Eddy. After taking up the study of Christian Science, she thought Christian Scientists made too much of Mrs. Eddy's personality. This thought, however, did not keep her from joining the hundreds who accepted Mrs. Eddy's invitation to visit Pleasant View, Mrs. Eddy's home in Concord, New Hampshire, in June, 1903.

The writer of the testimony says: "Several thousand persons were there, and we waited opposite the house until the gates were opened. Then we went into the grounds and gathered under the second-floor balcony. We sang the hymn from Mrs. Eddy's poem 'Feed My Sheep' (Poems, p. 11). Then Mrs. Eddy walked out to the corner of the balcony with outstretched arms and a sweet smile on her face, and you felt she was enfolding the whole world. This is the scene that we have in the photograph of her on the balcony, which was taken that day. She spoke for only a few minutes." What she said may be found in the book "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pages 170 and 171. Mrs. Eddy's address closed with the words: "In parting I repeat to these dear members of my church: Trust in Truth, and have no other trusts. To-day is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.' "

The testifier continues: "Following these words Mrs. Eddy started back, then turned and came forward again with such graciousness, love, and humility that all my antagonism and prejudice toward her was healed. We all sang another of Mrs. Eddy's hymns with much feeling and gratitude for what this consecrated woman had given us. Each one in that vast audience had found inspiration and healing from what she had written.

"Now what had happened in this experience? I had been brought up to believe that intellectuality was the key to the kingdom of heaven. Consequently I placed much emphasis on creed and dogma. The fruits of this belief and faith in intellectuality were, inevitably, bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and blindness to the truth. Mrs. Eddy's love and humility, poured out so impersonally, opened the door of my thought to the truth: namely, that it is through spirituality and not intellectualism that revelation comes. This healing truth, being accepted, banished ignorance and bigotry from my thought. What I saw at that moment changed my whole sense of things. I perceived that it was her spiritual discernment of the truths of the Bible that had healed Mrs. Eddy. But that had not been enough for her. When she saw the density of material thought in regard to the Bible, she had pressed on, studying day and night for years, striving unselfishly to give to the world the spiritual sense of the Bible that would heal all mankind of its sickness and its sin, and lift it out of the dense darkness into the light of spiritual revelation. She had found the healing Christ in her study of the Bible, which all the intellectual research going on for centuries had never been able to discover. And each one of us there had shared in that revelation, according to the spiritual awakening in his consciousness.

"It was a great privilege to see Mrs. Eddy, but I find that as I continue to study faithfully and make use of what she has given us, I appreciate her more and have learned to know her better than by personal contact."

"Ye must be born again"! The world has been experiencing a new birth in its thought about the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. As our friend said in her testimony, "It is through spirituality and not intellectualism that revelation comes." No fair-minded individual who appraises Mrs. Eddy's life and work from the standpoint of recognition of her radiant spirituality can remain in a mental position of prejudice or hate toward this great woman. He could not fail to see that Mrs. Eddy's life, from the hour of her first discovery of the Christ-way of healing the sick to her last glorious expression of her mission, was an experience of the new birth, which "begins with moments, and goes on with years; . . . moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love."

Her followers pray that they may daily, hourly, be born again. They see in that inspiring article, "The New Birth," not only a portrayal of their Leader's spiritual pilgrimage, but her setting forth of the pattern for their own progress Spiritward.

The mesmerism of antagonism and prejudice of our friend toward our Leader was instantly broken by Mrs. Eddy's outpouring of love and humility. The world today is largely under a mesmerism of fear that a false doctrine can destroy our civilization the doctrine that a redistribution of material things and wealth can bring permanent happiness and contentment. Who can measure the power of the outpouring of humility and love from the hearts of Christian Scientists who are daily and hourly knowing that the law of divine Love is all-powerful to break this mesmerism of false belief, reveal the source of abundant supply as the substance of spiritual good, and forever establish the reign of divine Truth and Life infinite Principle?

 

Oneness of God and Man

As we prayerfully study our Leader's message to us in the article, "The New Birth," we learn of footsteps in human experience to be taken in furthering the new birth. We also find presented the very highest point of spiritual attainment the recognition and realization of the oneness of God and man, divine Principle and divine idea, which Mrs. Eddy speaks of here as the divine "Us."

God and man are not at one in the sense that God is man, or man God, but in the sense that God and man are one in being. God is Life. Man is at one with this eternal, infinite Life. Therefore man is deathless, indestructible, immortal forever and forever showing forth the activity of Spirit, God, divine Mind. God is Truth. Man in his oneness with Truth is at one with true substance, with the divine positiveness of spiritual good. God is Principle. Mrs. Eddy tells us in our textbook (p. 465), "Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe." In this glorious pronouncement of the oneness of Being, God and His reflection, man and the universe, are shown as divine Principle and its idea. This Principle and its idea is one, not are one not a plural verb because not a plural subject; not two separate entities, Principle and idea, but the one infinite entity, God, divine Principle, and His reflection, man and the universe.

To be deeply, vitally, vividly conscious of this oneness of Being is to find one's true selfhood and find freedom from the false sense of self: from self-exaltation as much as from self-depreciation; from self-importance as much as from self-consciousness; from the superiority complex so called, as much as from the inferiority complex. Thus it is that Christian Science shows the individual how to free himself from the bondage of self-depreciation, self-consciousness, selfishness, and inferiority complex, or any of the so-called neuroses so fashionable, in modern times, and to find his glorious liberty as the son of God.

Man does not have a mind or consciousness of his own, because there is but one Mind, the divine Mind, God. Man is the reflection of this Mind. For that reason an individual would not feel self-important because of some mental accomplishment, nor self-conscious because of believing that he was not as mentally bright as someone else. It wouldn't be a matter of self at all, but of Mind in reflection, an entirely unselfed position of thought. Paul gave the remedy for intellectual egotism as well as for self-depreciation of mental ability when he said, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

A verse from one of the hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal reads (Hymn No. 16):

"I sing my way today,

My heart is joyous, free,

For what is Thine is ever mine,

I find myself in Thee.

"I find myself in Thee." Find your true selfhood in divine Mind. Realize that there is but one Mind and that Mind is your Mind. Know that in the divine oneness of being you are at one with divine Principle, the Principle of good. You are at one with infinite intelligence, forever and always reflecting this intelligence, therefore never reflecting or expressing erroneous thinking, never jealous, never hating, never fearful, never angry, but always poised at the position of mental dominion; thinking from the standpoint of the one Mind because you are the outcome of that Mind.

 

Freedom from Hereditary Beliefs

"Ye must be born again"! To be born of the Spirit is to set aside the belief that you were once born of matter or the flesh. Is anyone here laboring under the crushing belief of so-called hereditary law? Does he believe that because his grandfather had poor eyes or stomach trouble or arthritis he must have them? What kind of Christian Science treatment would heal such a case? Not one which merely handled the bodily beliefs connected with such diseases, but one which wrested the individual from the belief of having an ancestor with such a claim or condition.

To experience the new birth is to be free of the old birth, free of its laws and its limitation. It is then that you are born again, because you have found out what you really are: the infinite, always and forever existing, never having begun, never ending, eternal, divine idea of God.

Do you want to be healed of the belief, the fear, the dread, that because your great-grandfather had arthritis, you are going to have it someday? A Christian Science lecturer said many years ago that you cannot go and fight it out with your grandfather! Of course not, but you can fight it out with that impossible, ridiculous belief, that God, the divine Father-Mother of us all, could ever have enacted a law of hereditary evil. When the second commandment of the Decalogue says, "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments," it is not stating a law of heredity that the sins and sufferings of the fathers shall continue through the generations. Rather is it a showing forth of the consequences of hating God.

Those who hate God, who refuse to know and understand Him, to come under His beneficent law of health, harmony, and happiness, will come under the beliefs of law which go with hating, with ignorance of good, with lack of spiritual understanding. These beliefs, as long as they are entertained, are objectified in the same diseases, the same old sins and faults of disposition, the same conditions of dissatisfaction with life, the same unhappiness that their great-great-grandfather experienced if he likewise was a hater of God.

Our God who is Life, our God who is Love, is indeed a God showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments.

The later prophets of Israel discerned this truth. The prophet Ezekiel says, "The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?"

Positively, vigorously, make a demand upon your thinking right now that you are not under any such vicious law as that of heredity, You are not suffering because of such a law, nor because of your belief in it or anyone's belief in it, nor even because of almost everyone's belief in it. There is no such universal belief. It does not exist in all the divine universe. You are not born of matter, but you are born of water and of the Spirit. "Ye must be born again."

In the other article in "Miscellaneous Writings, "Pond and Purpose," Mary Baker Eddy sets forth three steps in spiritual baptism, steps in the new birth the birth of water and of the Spirit. The first step is the baptism of repentance, the second the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the third the baptism of Spirit.

 

Baptism of Repentance

Do we ever reach the state of spiritual growth where we do not need the baptism of repentance? Have any of us reached a state of absolute perfection, where we never do wrong, never utter an unkind or thoughtless word, never think an erroneous thought? Certainly we shall reach that glorious position of the Christ consciousness one day, and in reality we are there now, because "now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). However, until we evidence that perfection, fully, completely, without a flaw, in our daily living, there is need of error being seen as error, as untrue and unreal, need of decisive turning from error, in order that there may be such full recognition of good alone as real that the error is self-seen and so destroyed.

Let me tell you of a very simple illustration of this from my own life. My wife and I were driving in a large city to the home of a friend where we had been invited for Saturday night supper. She had recently moved, but gave me careful directions for finding her apartment. I did not make a note of her directions, however, and got lost. I was on the right street, but had failed to drive far enough in the right direction. Then I began to look for a place to telephone our friend. I was like a little boy who had wandered away from his back yard and said to a passing gentleman, "I'm losted; will you find me, please?"

As we drove along we came to an apartment, but it did not seem to answer the description my friend had given. My wife said: ''Why don't you turn in here? you might call from here, and this might be the place." But you see, I was driving the car. I was the male member of the family at the wheel. That is quite a combination sometimes, quite fertile ground for self-will to assert itself. So I drove on a block or two to a hotel where I phoned. We turned around and drove right back to the apartment where my wife had wanted me to turn in. Our friend had been standing at the door waiting for us.

That night before I dropped to sleep I mentally reviewed that experience. We were fifteen minutes late for our friend's delicious supper, for which her cook had prepared a special dish which should have been served the moment it was done, just because I had let self-will rob me of the listening attitude of thought which is ready for helpful assistance. I didn't dismiss that picture with a shrug, nor did I make a reality of it, but I did earnestly, honestly repent of it. I saw the error for what it was, lack of appreciation for the feminine, intuitive quality of thought which so often knows the right thing to do. I can honestly say that that short period of repentant self-examination has helped me immeasurably in meeting subsequent suggestions of self-will or self-justification, thus saving me from being robbed of much good. You know there is a great deal of difference between backseat driving, and side-by-side front-seat driving! Of course, it is a poor rule which does not work both ways. I have been told, from time to time, of some very lovely creatures in the universe who could just possibly repent of some back-seat driving!

How often should we repent? Just as often as we find something in our thinking to repent of! Mrs. Eddy says in our textbook, "Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality" (p. 242). The baptism of repentance silences self-will, self-love, self-justification, qualities of mortal thought which Mrs. Eddy describes as the adamant of error. The baptism of repentance does not lead to healing if one holds in thought the belief that he is a sinning mortal repenting of his sin; but it does lead to healing when one sees mortality as a dream from which he is being awakened by that very act of repentance. He must see that in his real being he never was in a dream, is not in it now, and never will be in it. The true baptism of repentance rejoices in that truth.

 

Baptism of the Holy Ghost

The second step is the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is Christian Science, the spirit of the Christ, Truth, that divine influence which is ever outshining the human or mortal sense of existence, but at the same time touching our thought with its truth, so that the so-called human is redeemed, blessed, healed, made abundantly happy by it.

Christian Science, the Holy Ghost, is the promised Comforter. Christ Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth." When the Spirit of truth accompanies a good, sound, workable knowledge of the letter of Christian Science, the individual finds his progress in spiritual understanding satisfactory, certain, and ofttimes, swift.

Mrs. Eddy expresses in one cogent paragraph this second step in spiritual baptism, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, this coming of the Christ to human experience that the human may be released from the discords, diseases, and disappointments of material sense. In this paragraph our Leader says: "We must learn how mankind govern the body, whether through faith in hygiene, in drugs, or in will-power. We should learn whether they govern the body through a belief in the necessity of sickness and death, sin and pardon, or govern it from the higher understanding that the divine Mind makes perfect, acts upon the so-called human mind through truth, leads the human mind to relinquish all error, to find the divine Mind to be the only Mind, and the healer of sin, disease, death. This process of higher spiritual understanding improves mankind until error disappears, and nothing is left which deserves to perish or to be punished" (Science and Health, p. 251).

When we note carefully those phrases, "the divine Mind makes perfect, acts upon the so-called human mind through truth, leads the human mind to relinquish all error," we find a comprehensive statement of the process by which the Christ comes to our present human sense of existence to heal, bless, and save. It is the true sense of being showing itself forth so clearly as to displace the false sense of being. It is the human, the material, the mortal, dethroned; the divine, the spiritual, the infinite, enthroned.

The divine Mind acts not upon a reality, but upon the so-called human mind, a myth, a misconception of mind. This is because there is but one Mind, the divine Mind, God. Healing occurs because the Christ is Truth displacing and replacing error, light dispelling darkness, fact replacing fiction. It is lack replaced by abundance, sickness replaced by health, undisciplined, disordered thinking by wisdom, foresight, inspiration, spontaneity, the spiritual understanding that heals.

 

Jesus' Demonstration of the Christ

Jesus was the human man who showed forth the Christ. His spiritual individuality evidenced or expressed his divine nature, the godliness of him, so radiantly, so completely, that he was known as the Messiah, the Wayshower, revealing the way of salvation for mankind. Mrs. Eddy says in our textbook (Science and Health, p. 333), "Jesus referred to this unity of his spiritual identity thus: 'Before Abraham was, I am;' 'I and my Father are one;' 'My father is greater than I.' "

She adds, "By these sayings Jesus meant, not that the human Jesus was or is eternal, but that the divine idea or Christ was and is so, and therefore antedated Abraham." Christian Science teaches that only that which is eternal is real; so we see the human Jesus was the human concept of the divine idea, the Christ, a human concept which was completely relinquished in the ascension, when the human disappeared, overshadowed and replaced by the divine.

The immaculate Jesus, tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin, walked the shores of Judea expressing the divine Christ in its fullness. To the carnally-minded priest and rabbis he was just another human whom they thought they could destroy and so end his influence and mission. But to those who had eyes to see, he was the Messiah, for they saw expressed in radiant completeness the Christ appearing as the sinless human, until in the ascension the human gave place to the divine.

Jesus showed forth the divine to such a degree to human comprehension that one could well speak of his consciousness as a God-bestowed human consciousness. That would not mean that the human became divine, but rather, that the human was so constantly being outshone by the divine that finally in the ascension the human disappeared altogether.

Into the darkest hour before dawn the light of day begins to appear, and gradually comes the grayness of the dawn. Then at last in the full light of day the darkness and the grayness of the dawn disappear altogether. Just before the grayness is entirely outshone by the light of day it would seem to human sight that there was no grayness there at all. So with the God-bestowed human consciousness of the man Jesus, there was such a radiancy of the divine revealed in his daily walk among men that his followers were much more aware of his words, his heaven-sent message, than they were of his human personality.

Those who received Mary Baker Eddy's inspired instruction sometimes spoke of the fact that it was difficult to describe her person. They were so fully engrossed with her message as to be quite unaware of her personality.

In following their Wayshower, Christ Jesus, and their leader, Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Scientists become less and less aware of their humanness and more and more aware of the divinity of their true selfhood as the son of God, It is then that they experience the third phase of baptism of the water and Spirit given to us in "Pond and Purpose." Mrs. Eddy says of this (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 205): "The baptism of Spirit, or final immersion of human consciousness in the infinite ocean of Love, is the last scene in corporeal sense. This omnipotent act drops the curtain on material man and mortality. After this, man's identity or consciousness reflects only Spirit, good, whose visible being is invisible to the physical senses: eye hath not seen it, inasmuch as it is the disembodied individual Spirit-substance and consciousness termed in Christian metaphysics the ideal man forever permeated with eternal life, holiness, heaven."

Would you today, now, enter the kingdom of God? Would you find a new joy in life, a new sense of happiness that does not fade, a closer walk with God, an ability to prove His presence, His power, His beneficent law of good in your daily life? Then, in the words of the Discoverer of Christian Science (Science and Health, p. 495): "Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit. Adhere to the divine Principle of Christian Science and follow the behests of God, abiding steadfastly in wisdom, Truth, and Love." And in the words of the Master (John 3:3, 5,7): "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. . . . Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

 

[Published in The Concord (New Hampshire) Journal, June 5, 1952.]

 

 

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