Humanitys Link with God
Geith A. Plimmer, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
By way of foreword to this lecture, let me say this: I have always loved the Bible. Even when I was very young, I had a sort of intuition that the Bible was my only source of safety. But I never really understood its meaning until I studied the teachings of Christian Science in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. It is right for you to realize this before I give the lecture, because in point of fact, everything I say about the Bible in it I owe to the wonderful link of access to its spiritual meaning given me by Christian Science.
I'm sure you will all agree that links of one kind or another make a very important contribution to human welfare. Light and telephone, water and gas, heat and power, for instance, are available in our homes only because each is linked with its source of supply. The source of supply is of prime importance, but if the connecting link is cut and the supply fails, then we realize more than ever before our dependence on the uniting link.
But there's a link infinitely more important to human welfare than these a link independent of time, space, mechanism, and persons. What I'm referring to is the spiritual link between God and humanity generally known as the Christ that wonderful spirit of divine Truth and Love which in Bible times conveyed such heart-warming courage and comfort, such extraordinary wisdom and vision, such safety and health, to those who reached out for it from God, its source.
This divine link, this Christ-spirit, has in a measure appeared and reappeared throughout all ages. In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has said, "Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, the reflection of God, has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth" (p. 333).
As many of you know, one such individual was Jacob, that spiritual pioneer of early Biblical times. Jacob was a man of aspiring desire and inspiration; but, like many of his impatient kind, he sometimes used crafty calculations to get what he wanted. Finally he stole his brother's birthright. Here was proof that he hadn't yet recognized the Christ, the spiritual link through which the ideas of the divine Mind, God, are available to meet the human need, and through which he could have, and should have, come into his own birthright, as a child of God at one with divine Love.
One night, in the wilderness to which Jacob fled from his brother in lonely guilt, there came to him a first sign of this Christly link. And how consoling to note that Jacob's basic desire to be a good man outweighed his sense of guile and guilt; neither guilt nor guile could prevent the Christ, the supply agent of divine Love, from giving him tangible evidence of the divine link with humanity. It took form, for the Christ always does take form. This is one of its most helpful blessings. In this case, it took the form of a vision; and a very informing vision it was.
In this Christ-bestowed vision Jacob saw the link between God and humanity in the form of a ladder with angels ascending and descending upon it. Here is a case in point where Christian Science reveals the practical spiritual meaning of the Bible. It explains that, as God is infinite Mind, He is the source of all intelligence. It also shows that angels are God's thoughts, pure and perfect. So we see the link between God and humanity is the communion of holy thought. This sacred link can never be severed by sin or devoured by disease, which means that divine power is always available to heal sin or disease in the experience of any one of us.
Now the place where Jacob lay in dread and indecision on the night of his vision was called "Luz." This name "Luz" exactly expresses Jacob's desolate feeling of being disconnected from God; for, according to many scholars, it means "separation." But when Jacob woke, he felt so linked with the all-providing love of God that he said in hushed awe: "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. . . . This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:16,17).
It is a good measure of the first
transforming touch of the Christ on the thought of Jacob that he now gave Luz
the new name "
But the form which the Christ may
take at our first
Jacob felt much better after
Here I want you to observe from
the appearings of the Christ in human history that
its offensive on human ignorance is always threefold. It aims always to
puncture this ignorance with three distinct truths with the truth of God, the
truth of man, and the truth of their relationship with each other. Now this
three-pronged Christly pressure was represented even in Jacob's vision for
there was God, there was the connecting link, and there was a human being. But
please note: whereas Jacob let the vision of God's presence heal his sense of
God's absence; and the ladder heal his sense of having no link with God, yet he
never derived from
Mrs. Eddy has said: "Abraham,
Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or
Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of
Love" (Science and Health, p. 333). However, so far as Jacob was
concerned, this purification was as yet only partial at
At-oneness at Peniel
Some years after
This is confirmed by the fact that, as Jacob wrestled with error and terror, an angel, a thought from God, divine Mind, strengthened him to smite clean through the belief that man is a material mortal at all; and suddenly Jacob beheld God face to face in spiritual Truth, no material sense, no mortal belief, impeding.
It was somewhat as though an image in a mirror, peering through a mist, suddenly beheld the original of itself face to face. Yes, Spirit face to man, and man face to Spirit in the exact likeness of perfect Mind.
No memory of evil there, nor cause for remorse; no greed or guile or guilt; no occasion for dishonesty, nor dread of punishment nor fear of death only spirituality and all things spiritual, harmless, and harmonious. To the one who has glimpsed man's true nature as presented by Christ, there is no other man, no mortal Adam, with which to argue; self-will, self-justification, self-love are melted into sudden silence.
Jacob had broken the Adam barrier, the belief in man as mortal and material, and lo! his spiritual selfhood that original man described in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, God's spiritual likeness. Not two men, now just the true without the false; because the true always supplants the false. To this new man, mortal man is not, nor ever was. So his fellowman is God's man too spiritual in nature, gentle in approval, loving in outlook, cooperative in attitude; not the man of birth and grumbling and death, but the spiritual man of joy-filled devotion to divinity, the man with the kingdom of heaven within him. One moment's vision of this man can move mountains! Jacob, who had believed himself hated by a mortal, now knew himself as in reality loved by a fellow immortal instead; and so he lost his fear, the latent error back of his terror.
"I have seen God face to face," he declared in radiant wonder, softened in heart and sweetened in thought by the spiritual truth of his new view. He knew that there was no hardness of mind to withstand such perception of Truth, so he added confidently, "and my life is preserved" (Gen. 32:30). Here was absolute safety at last fear utterly cast out by Love.
No wonder Jacob was given a new name
to mark his discovery of the new man the uncorrupted man of God's likeness,
new to the struggler who had just discovered him, but not to God with whom he
had coexisted in unity of being before the world was. "
Jacob named the place of this marvelous new vision Peniel. Peniel means "Face of God." It's a name of immense importance to human history. It marks penetration to the Science of God as a possibility for all men. Hence Mrs. Eddy's encouraging statement: "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" (Science and Health, p. 316).
This passage describes exactly what had happened to Jacob and his sense of man. As he later explained to the wronged brother, to whom he now went forward without fear: "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me" (Gen. 33:10). His material sense of himself, his terrified sense of his brother, and his belief in his brother's hateful sense of him, Jacob had surrendered utterly, trustfully, to Spirit's idea of man. He did not wait for his brother to change; he just let the Christ change his own sense of his brother. This it was, this utter surrender of self, of belief in the sins of a mortal self, this freeing of consciousness from belief in a mortal material man with which to wrestle in argument this it was that made complete healing absolutely inevitable. This it is that still makes complete healing inevitable for each one of us.
Vision of this kind constitutes an
Like all the rest of us, Jacob had at first been unwilling or unable to surrender his mortal sense of man to the Christ, Truth. But now at Peniel, he released it with such firm faith in the reality and responsiveness of Spirit's idea of man as the only true idea of man, unhurt and unhurtful, that both he and his brother were instantaneously healed of all that had ever lain between them. This was one of the most wonderful triumphs of divine Mind over threatening physical menace ever known to the human race. But here again Mrs. Eddy provides the spiritual explanation to an important incident in Scripture. She says: "It is only by acknowledging the supremacy of Spirit, which annuls the claims of matter, that mortals can lay off mortality and find the indissoluble spiritual link which establishes man forever in the divine likeness, inseparable from his creator" (Science and Health, p. 491).
Christ Jesus as the "Life-link"
Christian Science lays great stress on the triply divine perception of the Christ, Truth, which came to Jacob at Peniel the truth of God and man and their relationship and on the swift healing that always confirms this perception. Subsequently, Christ Jesus, the most effective healer of all time, began his Christly mission with the same three essential elements of being: God, ever-present Spirit; man, the beloved son of Spirit; and ministering angels, the symbol of the unity of God and man, of their union and communion. To this triple aspect or office of divine Love, the divine Principle of all real being, Jesus now gave the three majestic titles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, meaning thereby not three persons in one, but three expressions of the one divine ever-presence, equal to every emergency, every belief in separation from God.
The Christ, and naught else, was embodied and demonstrated by Jesus. Here's the proof. His understanding of God and man, and their relationship in Spirit, always healed. It was a perfect Messiah to every false belief that physical law, remorse, wretchedness, disease, and death can afflict humanity or determine mankind's experience.
To Jacob the link between God and humanity had been typified by a ladder with angels on it. This was how Jacob glimpsed the Christ. But, later in history, this link, this true sense of the relationship of God and man, was typified in a human life, that of Christ Jesus. Hence Mrs. Eddy speaks of Jesus as the "life-link." The link is no longer typified by a dream and a ladder, but by a human life.
Jesus by his living showed mortals God's idea of man. True to the Christ that had instructed Jacob, he taught that man has the kingdom of heaven within him, because man is the exact likeness, or spiritual reflection, of divine Principle. Jesus' statement, "I and my Father are one" (John ), encourages all men to behold man's oneness with God as reflection with divine substance. "The Son can do nothing of himself," he said, "but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John ).
This is a wonderful declaration of the Science of spiritual reflection. Every moment of Jesus' life proved and still proves that the Christ, Truth, in its varying forms, is humanity's link with divinity, its saving Messiah.
But Jesus never fed people's thought beyond its digestive capacity. Hence his compassionate comment: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John ). The people of his day were ready for an example of Love that heals indeed they were; but they were not ready for the elucidation of the scientific law that accounted for its works. Hence his consoling prophecy of a fuller, a final, explanation to come. "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John ).
So Christian Science teaches that the so-called "second coming" is not a second appearance of Jesus, but the appearance of the full explanation of the divine Truth by which he healed. This will naturally express itself as a second coming, or reappearance, of Christ-healing.
And so we come to the immensely important place of Christian Science in the spiritual evolution of humanity's understanding of the Christ. The threefold essential elements of being so faintly discerned by Jacob, and so triumphantly practiced by Jesus, Christian Science is now explaining scientifically and universally. Herein Father, Son, and Holy Ghost represent the proof that all cause, effect, and law are spiritual, not material.
This is the second coming of
Christ, the dawning in human thought of a recognition of the living but
impersonal spiritual law by which our beloved Master had roused and raised both
the sinful sick and the mournful dead. The following passage from Science and
Health shows the mature way in which Jesus' healing work confirmed the faint
glimpse of the scientific relationship between God and man gained by Jacob
hundreds of years before. Mrs. Eddy writes: "Jesus beheld in Science the
perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.
In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view
of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the
Mrs. Eddy's Discovery
The writer of this remarkably discerning passage was the one chosen of God to receive the second coming a woman a woman certainly numbered among the pure in heart who see God: Mary Baker Eddy of New England. The year of the second coming was 1866; its impulse, the compelling urgency of prophecy. The preparation for its coming was divine grace in the life of its Discoverer; the mode of its coming was by divine revelation and reason, supported by demonstration. And the form of its coming? In the explanation of the Christ Science given in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, and in the founding by her of the Church of Christ, Scientist, with all its worldwide activities.
Between her birth in 1821 in the
modest township of Bow, New Hampshire, and her revolutionary discovery nearly
forty-five years later of the Christ Science by which Jesus healed, Mrs. Eddy
had learned only too poignantly in her own life just what it must have meant to
Jacob when the sun had set in the desolate wilderness at Luz the belief that
matter is all there is to life. "The senses could not prophesy sunrise or
starlight" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 23), Mrs. Eddy said of her
own darkest hour. But she had known
By this I mean that Mrs. Eddy began gradually to discern, through Christly bestowal, that the spiritual concepts of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which the Master held in thought when healing heartsick sinners of their physical ills were scientific, not personal in other words, that Jesus was obeying Principle, not imploring person, when he raised the dismal dead. Step by step she discovered this Principle, this infinite Mind or Person called God, to be Father, infinite Life and Love, to whom sin and sickness are eternally unknown. Correspondingly, the Son she discerned to be, not a person, but the full, lively, and lovely manifestation of infinite Spirit, including the spiritual identity of each one of us, as well as of Jesus. And the Holy Ghost she gradually discerned to be the divine Science by which the Son reflects the Father as perfect effect reflects its perfect cause.
Mrs. Eddy was actually under threat of death herself, from an accident, when she gained her first glimpse of these spiritual ideas ascending and descending in the thought of the Son of man. She called for her Bible. "As I read," she writes later, "the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed." Then she adds: "That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24).
Mrs. Eddy now beheld with awe why Jesus never used matter as a healing agent. To him, ignorance of the truth of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is, ignorance of spiritual cause, effect, and curative power, was the source of all moral and physical ills. This, she now saw clearly, was why he healed through divine Mind not matter, through Christliness not chemistry, through prayer not physics.
Mrs. Eddy was healed without process of time, space, surgery, or medicine, because the only man known to the Christ, Truth, which was baptizing her thought in Spirit, is the perfect man of God's creation. On this man mortality has no claim, medicine finds nothing in him to cure, and priestcraft naught to condemn or forgive. So identifying her true selfhood with this perfect man, Mrs. Eddy could say, as Jacob said at Peniel: "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (Gen. 32:30).
But now she went very much further. In accord with her Christly calling, she devoted years of Bible research to discovering the spiritual Science by which individuals were healed by her, by Jacob and the prophets, and by Jesus and his disciples.
The result of this research into humanity's link with God was the publication of Science and Health, which in every sense contains the Key to the Scriptures.
Matter a Bar, Not a Link
This book says forthrightly: "Matter cannot connect mortals with the true origin and facts of being, in which all must end" (Science and Health, p. 491). But why is matter not a link with Truth? When Mrs. Eddy's thought started to undergo total immersion in Spirit at the time of her own healing, she discovered that in reality God's creation includes no matter, either as cause, effect, or curative agent. With the genius of spirituality, she recognized matter as merely material thought, or ignorance of Spirit, externalized not that which opens the door to Spirit, but that which shuts it out. In her healing in 1866 Mrs. Eddy began to see clearly that suppositional ignorance of Spirit, or material thinking, and its expression of itself as matter, are one and the same delusion never a link, only a liar. But this let me illustrate.
I once came under strain from overwork. To this unspiritual belief, I added fear, self-pity, and worry. In accord with the explanation just given, these inflammatory phases of mental neglect of spiritual Truth suddenly evolved their subjective false sense of substance as inflamed matter.
In other words, a painful lump suddenly appeared on my body. This was nothing but externalized mortal thought, but it now seemed so vividly to my belief a fixed condition of painful matter, that it well nigh shut me clean out from the true sense of Spirit. Worse still, so successful was the lump as a make-believe hideout for material thinking that I was even tempted to believe that, to get rid of the lump, I ought to do something about the lump rather than the tightened and frightened thinking of which it was the visible evidence.
Detecting this miserable frame-up I fought to keep my thought clear and to see that life is really only in and of Spirit; also that only Spirit's idea of comfort, the law of Christ, my relationship with God, could destroy the unspiritual beliefs leading me such a lively dance behind that lump.
But what about
that third element of being man or manifestation? I had not realized
it, but here, like Jacob at
The Healing Link of the Christ
Finally at about on the third night of my wrestling with all this error, I was suddenly aroused by an angel thought on the ladder of Science, that I should be more grateful. Here was a call of the Christ for an increase in ascending angels, more generosity toward the facts of spiritual creation. Hitherto, I had been pretty mean, I must confess.
Now I turned from my wretched suffering and my foolish longing for human pity, and instead began to be really grateful first for God and then for man all this, in spite of the pain. It was the truth of man I needed man who in Truth is never a problem child in his own or anyone else's sight! I saw him to be God's child, Truth's idea, at peace in his reflection of the good and already well-ordered universe of God.
As these angel ideas scientifically
identified me as divine Mind's idea or manifestation, I passed swiftly from
But the significant thing was this: as the holy influx of spiritual ideas washed in and around the roots of my thought, melting all agitated untruths into unreality, the lump was left with nothing of which it could any longer make a pretense of being a manifestation. Soon afterwards, therefore, it dissolved and disappeared.
This was because the Christ had finally induced me, like Jacob, to include the Son, the divine truth of man and manifestation, in my baptism by Spirit; and so I was completely healed. That lump had never been anything all along but solidified self-pity, needing only Love to dissolve it.
Mrs. Eddy shows the exact identity between Christian Science healings of this kind and the method of our beloved Master, when she writes in her book "Rudimental Divine Science": "Jesus' healing was spiritual in its nature, method, and design. He wrought the cure of disease through the divine Mind, which gives all true volition, impulse, and action; and destroys the mental error made manifest physically, and establishes the opposite manifestation of Truth upon the body in harmony and health" (p. 3).
So we see that the purpose of humanity's link with God through the Christ isn't for us to inform God of error, but for us to be informed by divine Love of spiritual truth, wherein is no error. Prayer, Christian Science teaches, is not for communicating error, but for entertaining the divine truths that make belief in the error no longer possible.
Transforming Power of Christ
A Christian Scientist once desperately needed to find work in a country where three and a half million people were unemployed. He was a stranger in a strange land, without financial reserves, and it was winter. Like Jacob at Luz, he seemed very unlinked to any comfort. Nevertheless, he began the solution of his problem with the triumphant prayer: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (John ). This was a wonderful ascending angel the best one indeed with which to begin solving any problem. The best method to think one's way to harmony is always to thank one's way to it.
Yes, every day, despite the ghastly gloom of human circumstance, this man thanked God that, as His reflection, he already expressed in Truth and through Truth the right ideas of employment, supply, home, and companionship. He recognized them as part of the kingdom of divine ideas already within him. In proof of this, in addition to denying the contrary evidences of the material senses with hearty vigor, he gave lively employment to gratitude, appreciation, cheerfulness, and thoughtfulness for others wherever he went and whenever he could. He saw with particular gratitude that economic conditions can never keep God's qualities out of employment, that God's influence within one is always sufficient to provide human openings for him, that the divine Mind makes no mistakes, and that there's no competition or displacement in infinite Truth.
Everything seemed locked as by an iron door against his ever finding work, supply, or assured home; but he recognized that there is in reality no mind or law apart from God to resist the power of the Christ, humanity's link with God, to meet every human need. Therefore, he was patient, persistent, and persevering in thanking God, the divine Principle of his life that Love had already provided for him. This was living human life, don't you see, not according to the evidence of the physical senses, but according to the Science of Christ. Error simply could not withstand it!
Suddenly, the forbidding and foreboding iron door swung open, and there lay worthwhile work, adequate payment, a satisfactory home, and trustworthy friends, right where none of these had before seemed even remotely possible.
This was a wonderful proof that the Christ, which reveals all needed ideas as already in the possession of man by spiritual reflection, is able to translate every one of them into just such human forms as perfectly supply all human needs. This is the scientific means by which the divine Spirit, although it knows not matter, is yet able to minister to every problem apparently involving material needs. Similarly divine Truth, although it knows not error, is yet able by being Truth to remove the ill effects of error.
In her book "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy states: "In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity's needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart" (p. 370).
The Christ is humanity's link with
God, a link that never fails, that is always adapted to each one's need in
every age. Those in the dark loneliness of Jacob's Luz, who have believed that
matter is all there is to life, it awakens to the presence and practical power
of Spirit. Those who already hope in Spirit, God, at
None of us can ever be grateful enough for the Christ, the divine truth of God and man, now fully and scientifically revealed in Christian Science for the salvation of all men. No matter how desperate our problems, we can now mentally challenge as unreal and untrue everything about them that seems to deny the kingdom of heaven already within us. Then, from the evidence of God's love finally manifest in our human lives through the Christ, each one of us can say with the same certainty as Jacob: "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. . . . This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:16,17).
©1964 Geith A. Plimmer