Christian Science: The Way of Salvation Through Christ
James G. Rowell, C.S., of Kansas City, Missouri
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." These, my friends, are the words of the Christ, the "Spirit of truth," as recorded by John, the beloved disciple. And these words were the inspiration for the artist's conception of the famous picture, "The Light of the World." He depicts, you remember, the Christ as the man, Jesus, standing before a closed door with a lantern in his hand. The light from this lantern casts a bright but mellow glow over all, revealing that the door in front of him is covered with a network of vines, the parent stem of which is very heavy and strong. Within all is darkness. It is said that the artist was once criticized because there is no knob or handle on the outside with which to open the door. He quickly replied, "Ah! but this door can be opened only from within."
Friends, this door is the door of human consciousness. No one can open your door for you. You must open your own door to the precious light of Truth. The inspiration comes from the Christ, Truth, ever calling, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Would you break the entangling vines of fear, ignorance and sin? Would you open your door to this messenger of God? Then there must be conscious effort on your part. Your very presence here to-night is evidence to the fact that you are endeavoring to hear his voice, to open your mental door to the light of Truth, and perhaps, when you have gained a clearer view of Christian Science, you will step forth to follow the Christ, Truth.
Discoverer and Founder
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," heard the "still small voice," the Christ, Truth, calling to her as it calls to everyone.
At her mother's knee little Mary Baker had learned to love God and to believe that He could heal the sick. But how the healing was accomplished and why it did not always follow fervent prayer was not clear. She grew up a faithful, earnest student of the Bible. Added years brought trials, losses, and lingering invalidism. These experiences taught her the utter emptiness of human means and methods, the impossibility of satisfying even human needs by human means. Her spiritual longings led her at last to a glimpse of the Christ, Truth. In the beautiful language of the Bible, she supped with him and he with her. In the light of Truth, her thought was transformed and she was healed. Like the patriarch of old, she clung to her "angel visitant" until her "name was changed" (Science and Health, pp. 324, 308), her nature transformed, and she was enabled to give to the world the result of her communion with God, Christian Science. Could it have been over this revelation that she was yearning when she wrote (Hymnal, p. 240):
"O gentle presence, peace and joy and pow'r, —
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling's falt'ring flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night."
In sweet assurance of God's presence and protection she penned the second stanza as if in answer to her prayer:
"Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all."
Blessed indeed is he who recognizes the ever-present and available Christ, the truth about God and His infinite creation, and opens wide the door of human consciousness to let in the light of this Christ, Truth. This is the beginning of wisdom, the unfolding of "life, without beginning and without end" (Science and Health, p. 253). This is coming to God in the way of His appointing, for Christ Jesus said, "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
It may be asked, "What is this Christ, Truth?" On page 583 of the Christian Science textbook, Mrs Eddy defines Christ as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." It has been mistakenly said that Christian Science does not teach the divinity of Christ. "Divine manifestation of God!" This definition alone makes it plain that Christian Science does teach the divine nature of Christ. But if by "the divinity of the Christ" (Science and Health, p. 25) is meant that the corporeal Jesus, born of Mary, is God, or is the eternal Christ, and is divine, then Christian Science does teach a different concept of the divinity of Christ. Christian Science reveals the fact that nothing finite or material is or ever has been divine. Jesus had a material body not unlike those around him. It is true that he was the son of a virgin. On page 25 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy explains his extraordinary birth as follows: "The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men." There is, however, a vital distinction between the bodily Jesus and the divine, ever-present, ever available, eternal, spiritual Christ. Jesus was the most Godlike man that ever walked the earth, while the Christ which he revealed is "the divine manifestation of God."
Christ, God's idea, spiritual, perfect, and eternal, was always present before and after Jesus' time, and was just as available to all prepared to accept it before and after Jesus' earthly span of existence as it was during that time.
Christian Scientists do not fail to appreciate Jesus' complete renunciation of a human sense of selfhood apart from God and the sacrifices that were required of him to maintain his true spiritual selfhood. In this way Jesus identified himself with the Christ, he proved his at-one-ment with God.
Christian Scientists have accepted Christ Jesus as their Way-shower out of sinning sense into the kingdom of heaven, and, consistent with their profession, they trust the Christ, Truth, to lead them out of all human ills — ills of the flesh as well as of the mind. Would not all Christians trust him as far as do Christian Scientists if they but knew him as well as the ever present "divine manifestation of God"?
Christian Science derives this concept of the divinity of Christ from the Bible, and finds it substantiated throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Christian Science is based wholly upon the Bible. Reason and revelation uncovered the true spiritual sense of the Scriptures to Mrs. Eddy, because she was spiritually minded enough to discern it, and to discover that true Christianity is scientific. She found a golden thread of spiritual truth running from Genesis to Revelation, and saw in the many healings related in the Bible, not miracles that infringed divine law, but scientific results of the application of Truth to human problems.
Christian Scientists love the Bible. They study it prayerfully. The first religious tenet of Christian Science as stated in its textbook reads "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health p, 497). Christian Scientists know that any interpretation of the Bible made upon the basis of belief in the substantiality of matter is erroneous. The spiritual interpretation of the sacred pages of the Scriptures is the basis of Christian Science, That this interpretation is correct is proved through reason and by healing the sick and sinful through Bible truths.
All mortals untaught by Christ, Truth, in divine Science, are laboring under a false impression as to what matter really is.
The thoughts in a dream are accepted by the dreamer as real persons and things. They have reality and substantiality to him while the dream lasts. Just so the deceiving material senses interpret to mortals the ideas of God, divine Mind, in terms of matter and mortality. Its false concept of substance, material sense calls substance because it is ignorant of the fact that real substance is Spirit, which is, as Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health (p. 468), "eternal and incapable of discord and decay." This falsity will eventually yield place to the truth about substance. Matter will then be recognized to be merely a false concept and not substance itself. To think of matter as substance and to look to it for the cause of any thing or condition is idolatry.
Only through Christ, Truth, can the liar and its lie, mortal mind, and its subtle objectification, matter, be exposed as unreal, and God, divine Mind, be enthroned as the Father and Mother of all His eternal, harmonious spiritual creation.
Because matter is but a false mental concept and because Christ, Truth, is the ever present "divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error," spiritual healing is just as possible and just as practical to-day as it was two thousand years ago. The practice of Christian Science is proving this true for thousands daily.
As in Jesus' time, so in our own, the presence of Christ, Truth, in human consciousness, is shown by signs following. Its coming is an awakening, which always makes apparent an improved state of existence. It is the action of this divine Christ, Truth, on human consciousness that gives it freer breath as it approaches the real and that so improves its beliefs that disease gives place to health; sin, to holiness; fear, to confidence; and lack, to abundance, — just as they did in the days of Jesus. The Christ frees the human mind from its limitations, its ignorance, its superstitions, its false desires, its faith in matter. It transforms human consciousness, supplanting hatred with compassion, driving out disease by establishing the spiritual status of health, and exchanging torment and terror for praise and peace.
Abiding in divine Mind, Christ Jesus was enabled to heal all manner of sickness, reform the sinner, raise the dead, and finally to ascend out of materiality altogether. And yet, so truly humble was this faithful messenger of God that he could say, "I can of mine own self do nothing"; . . . "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
Jesus' ability and attainments are traceable in part to his unparalleled origin, and in part to his faithful, persistent communion with God through Christ, Truth. His absorption in the things of God, of Spirit, is shown when he was but twelve years old. His family departed from Jerusalem without him. Returning two days later to seek him, they found him in the temple, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions." It is recorded that "all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers." To his mother's chiding he replied, "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
Through his tireless striving for more of the Christ understanding and through faithful practice of that which he had already gained, Jesus was enabled to so live and so demonstrate Christ, the ideal man, that the title "the Christ" was conferred upon him by those who knew him best. Later he became known to the world as Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus.
Jesus detected the worship of his personality in the thought of those about him. He saw that human thought was attributing the healing of sin, disease, and death, which he accomplished, to his human personality. Jesus knew that God was the "healer of all thy diseases," as the Bible declares. The Christ, his spiritual selfhood, had revealed God to him as the one omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient Being, the creator and preserver of all that really exists.
A certain woman who had suffered for twelve years, entertained the belief that if she could but touch Jesus' clothes, she would be healed. She put her thought into action, she touched his clothes, and she was instantly healed. Jesus read the woman's thought and saw in the occurrence an opportunity to rebuke the erroneous theory that the power to heal sin and sickness was inherent in his material personality, and even in his clothing, He saw that this theory ignored the presence and power of God, divine Mind, and blinded one to the availability of His Christ. which Jesus came to demonstrate. Knowing that healing was a spiritually mental phenomenon and not a material one, and that the only power to heal truly and permanently was in God, divine Mind, Spirit and not in matter, Jesus brought home a helpful lesson to all those in the throng when he said, compassionately, "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole."
Jesus recognized that his own disciples were looking to, and depending upon, his personality instead of upon divine Mind, which he was striving so faithfully to get them to understand. He knew that the understanding of God as divine Mind, Principle, was vital to their progress and to the practical proof of what he taught. Of his human personality Jesus said: "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you. . . . Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." Thus Jesus revealed to all those interested in Christian progress, throughout all time, the one unmistakable way to gain the Comforter, the Christ, the "Spirit of truth," who, as Jesus said, "will guide you into all truth." To look beyond human personality to the spiritual, right idea, the Christ, and to strive to understand his divine Principle, God; this is the way.
In one who addressed him as "Good Master," Jesus detected an attempt to exalt human personality instead of God, of whom his real spiritual nature was but a reflection. He grasped the opportunity to teach another lesson in real values when he replied, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God."
Jesus was aware of the significance and value of his dally life to all mankind. He knew that he was living the Christ, the "Spirit of truth," without measure, and that what he had grasped of the truth of being, and had lived and demonstrated among men, would remain a convincing example for all mankind. He knew that his example would inspire men to live and to demonstrate in their own lives the same Christ, the same "Spirit of truth."
Mistaking the human personality of Jesus for the Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life," is the exact opposite of what Jesus himself taught; and this error is responsible for the prevalent ignorance of God, Spirit, and for the inability of professing Christians to heal by spiritual means. Entertaining a mistaken or false sense of Christ, God's divine manifestation, one has neither a true sense of God nor of His creation, and therefore shuts himself out from God's ever-present goodness and power through his own blindness and ignorance.
For more than fifty years the textbook of Christian Science has been in general circulation, informing those who are ready how to find the Christ, and how through him to commune with God. Thousands have taken advantage of Mrs. Eddy's discovery, and are proving by healing all manner of sickness, and by overcoming sin, that Christ, Truth, is present and operative here and now.
Thus through "the divine energies" (Science and Health, p. 186) of Christ, Truth, human consciousness will finally be instructed out of belief in itself, out of its beliefs in chance and change, into the understanding that there is but one Mind, God, who forever maintains His eternal, infinite, harmonious creation, the spiritual universe, including spiritual man.
Everyone believes in some cause or creator of the universe of which he finds himself a part. Christians, those who trust Christ Jesus as their Wayshower, accept Scriptural authority for thinking of the first great cause or creator as God, as Spirit, Life, Truth and Love. As the fruit of years of consecrated study of the Bible in its spiritual import, Mrs. Eddy gave to hungering humanity the inspired scientific definition of God found on page 465 of Science and Health, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." A few lines farther on she tells us that these are synonymous terms and are "intended to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity."
We note in this definition that God is incorporeal. Jesus defined God thus when he said, "'God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." In the year 1530 there was written by "the gentle Malancthon" and approved by Luther what is known as the Augsburg Confession of Faith. In it God was expressly defined as incorporeal. This same truth was later re-stated in the Westminster Confession of 1647, which clearly set forth the views of John Calvin, the great reformer. The Westminster confession reads in part, "There is but one living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts or passions."
Where but in the mist of falsity could have originated the belief that God is a physical personality; that He is a glorified man like creature in a far-off place called heaven? It sounds like mythology, doesn't it? In truth, it is — just that.
Before Christ, Truth, appears to a mortal, he lives in a world of myth and of mystery. He sees as the Bible says, "through a glass darkly." The clouded lens of material sense, with its many angles, leads mortals to see and to believe in countless inverted images, grotesque counterfeits of the one perfect God and His perfect, changeless universe. One believes the first great cause or creator to be a super mortal governed by passions like those entertained by his fellows. Another accepts as first great cause an unintelligent, material force which begins in the lowest forms of matter and rises from non-intelligence to intelligence. One worships blindly a graven image, another the sun, another an imaginary power or influence exerted by the stellar universe over the earth and its inhabitants. Not until the truth about God and His creation is found out and accepted can one render intelligent obedience to the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Christ, Truth, alone can awaken mortals to true apprehension of God as Spirit, divine Mind, and reveal His spiritual universe, including spiritual man. Through the clear lens of spiritual sense, the awakened mortal sees God as He is, always has been, and always will be, the divine, all-loving Mind. Then he catches a glimpse of his own true immortal selfhood, the image and likeness of the one perfect Father Mother, God.
"For right reasoning," Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 492) "there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence."
Christian Science teaches that the nature, quality, and attributes of God are expressed and that the name or designation for all that expresses God, for the full and complete reflection of God, is man, Man is predestined to express in infinite variety the good, which is God; to be loving, just, and affectionate; to be honest, truthful, and pure; to be intelligent and active. Each individual must sooner or later fulfill God's ideal of man. Christian Science reveals that the real man, spiritual, harmonious and eternal, the reflection of his Father-Mother God, who is Spirit, is the only man there is. Material sense or the so-called mortal or carnal mind pictures another man, a dishonest, fearful, sick, and hateful material man, or perhaps a so-called exemplary mortal, who believes fully in the substantiality of matter and accepts sin and sickness as if they were God provided agencies for producing good. Neither of these is the man God created in His own likeness.
Christian Science teaches us to correct our false beliefs about God's man, for it shows us logically that man is God-like, therefore spiritual, harmonious and eternal. This man is not just a nebulous ideal to be realized far off in the distant future. It is the true nature of your neighbor, your child, your enemy, yourself, right now.
No one has ever understood the real man more fully or more clearly than did Jesus. That he did not depend upon the testimony of the material senses for his concept of the real man is shown when he healed the withered hand, when he raised Lazarus from the grave. When he was trying to make clear to his disciples his own true selfhood, he said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," Christian Science points out that Jesus' spiritual senses had been fully awakened. He had learned that it is only the false material sense of things that needs to be changed in order to bring out health, harmony, and dominion. In Jesus' experience this false sense of things had yielded to reason and revelation, and the true sense of God and His perfect universe had been enthroned in his thought. Mrs. Eddy spoke of Jesus' advanced spiritual understanding as follows: "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" (Science and Health, pp. 476 and 477). Every effort to see the perfect man helps one's self and all mankind.
John said, "now are we the sons of God." Fellow Christians, there is no power on earth that can keep us from realizing this fact right here and now, and proving it. The arousing words of Paul are full of meaning for you and for me: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
Until one does behold in Science the perfect man and the perfect universe, one seems to be lost in the dream world of material sense, where such opposites as good and evil, life and death, love and hate, spirit and matter are supposed to unite and to cooperate, and where chance and change hold sway.
Today is truly the harvest time spoken of by Jesus in one of his parables, and the reapers must follow their instructions: "Gather ye together first the tares [false beliefs] and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat [right ideas] into my barn." Christian Science bids us behold the perfect man and be at peace. To do so, one must open his door, let in the Christ, and sup with him. The change is to take place wholly within one's own individual consciousness. The real man will be found to have been forever the unchanging expression of God, of Life, Truth, and Love.
Mortals and Immortals
Christian Science makes a very clear distinction between mortals and immortals. It reveals a mortal to be a falsely mental concept, the objectification of a supposititious mortal mind; and an immortal to be a divinely mental idea, an individual reflection or expression of the one divine Mind, God. A mortal is mortal mind's perverted image of the immortal or real man. An immortal, from the very nature of his being, has no beginning. Mortality, therefore, is not the prior state of an immortal. The unreal counterfeit nature of a mortal must be detected before the real man begins to dawn upon human thought.
Let us examine, in the light of Truth, one of the experiences of mortals. Take for illustration the experience called suffering. Christian Science reveals the fact that mortals suffer pain by reason of a conscious or an unconscious belief in or fear of pain and not on account of the condition of their material bodies. Christian Science shows that the way in which suffering is destroyed is mental, not physical. It is through changing or destroying in mortal consciousness the belief in or fear of suffering, and not through doing anything to the body. Christian Science reveals that every healing that mortal man experiences outside of the practice of Christian Science, no matter what means are employed, is a faith healing and is brought about mentally, not physically. Apparent physical healing may result from blind faith in a drug, in a person, in air, in exercise, in diet, etc. The change takes place first in thought, quickly or slowly, and is followed by a corresponding change in the body. But unless the healing is brought about through faith in God, advanced to spiritual understanding, the last state of that man is worse than the first, because he is still the servant of blind belief, a belief more powerful in his thought than the one which he has given up.
Mortal mind is ignorant of the control it exercises over the material body. It believes that the mortal material body is changed through some law of matter and that afterward this change becomes apparent to mortal consciousness. This belief ignores the fact that the material body, with every one of the changes for ease or disease which takes place in it, is the explicit expression of mortal mind itself. Non-intelligent matter is neither a law maker nor a law enforcer, and it is clear that the so-called law to which the body responds has its origin and operation wholly within this same mortal mind. In Science it is learned that the mortal material body is but a substratum of mortal mind, and is the obedient objectification of this mind, whether it expresses disease or so-called health and dominion. Disease is an effect, which has its origin in this mind, and it is never really healed until mortal mind is corrected scientifically by God, divine Mind. The practice of Christian Science goes to the root of the difficulty, and eradicates the trouble at the point of cause and not that of effect.
Christian Science shows that cause is never in matter. Those who think that they find the cause either of disease or of pleasure in matter are being deceived. Neither sensation nor its cause is to be found in matter. Matter is plainly a false belief about substance entertained by the so-called mortal or carnal mind. In truth and in fact, God, divine Mind, is the only cause, and all that results from this one great cause is, like Him, wholly spiritual, wholly good. When healing is accomplished by divine Mind in Christian Science, the patient's false beliefs are displaced and supplanted by a scientific, spiritual understanding of the real, which is always harmonious, and never subject to chance or change. This healing activity operates again and again in individual consciousness until the mortal concept is finally dropped for the immortal and the spiritual man of God's creating stands revealed — the only man.
"Desire is prayer," Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 1), But not every desire is righteous prayer. The desire to forsake evil of every kind is righteous prayer. To reach the realization of spiritual existence is the goal of all true prayer. The earnest desire to prove yourself to be the man God created you to be; the willingness to do what He intended you to do; this is prayer. In this true sense of prayer, all nature is found praying. The tree lifts up its limbs and leaves to the sun for strength to be a perfect specimen of its kind, the spring bulbs brave the snow and cold of March to praise unending Life.
Sustained by faith in the infinite power of God, good, and crowned with the joy of spiritual understanding, prayer will "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." True prayer means to see and to experience the perfect will of God, good, as the only will, and to refuse belief in any will apart from that of good.
To improve the quality of our prayers, our desires, should enlist the honest endeavor of every one of us. We must stop praying "my will be done" and learn to desire God's will done. The will of God for us surpasses, beyond all human comprehension, every possible wish or hope or plan which we may be entertaining for ourselves. We must learn to lay down our worldliness, our fleshliness, and to desire God's will done, the reign of Spirit supreme.
It is not the purpose of true prayer to inform the infinite Mind, or to petition divine Love to pardon sins or to forgive mistakes. The real purpose of prayer is to spiritualize consciousness by letting in the Christ, Truth. This destroys sin and heals sickness as it leads one into realization of his real selfhood as a child of God.
Christian Science recognizes many kinds of prayer; the prayer of spiritual aspiration or desire, the prayer of praise, of rejoicing, the prayer of faith and of holy unselfed purpose, the prayer of gratitude, and finally, the prayer of spiritual understanding expressed in affirmation. "Deep and conscientious protests of Truth" (Science and Health, p. 12) correct our false views of life and establish in thought the truth of being, the realization that the universe, including man, is not material, but spiritual, and that, in God's universe, everything, from the least to the greatest, is just as God intended it to be and does exactly what He created it to do.
Mrs. Eddy has given back to the world and established in the Christian Science Church the form of prayer that Jesus commended to his followers in these words: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Only through silent prayer can the deceiving material senses be shut out and communion with God be established through spiritual sense.
If you really desire to progress, let nothing keep you from praying to God. Let nothing keep you from enjoying today more of God's goodness, purity, freedom from fear, sickness, and sorrow. The argument may come to you that you do not know how to pray aright; that you will do so when you learn how. Perhaps it will tell you that you should be better before praying to God; that you will pray as soon as you become better. Perhaps you confess that you believe fully in prayer, but that you are too busy now and that when you are not so busy you will pray. These arguments, my friends, with many others, are impersonal evil's cunningly devised and disguised shackles with which to bind mortal man in slavery to the material senses. Remember that whenever you do not pray to God, divine Love, you are the complacent slave of mortal sense, not lifting a protesting hand in your own defense. We must learn to turn naturally to God for divine direction. This will bring more of health, harmony, and dominion into our daily lives, and will speed our journey "from sense to Soul" (Science and Health, p. 566).
All about us are those who are learning to apply through prayer this revealed knowledge of God and His Christ to their daily affairs. A simple case in point is that of a young man who testified in a Wednesday evening meeting which I attended. Things had been going from bad to worse for him in his business for some time. After running about a great deal and working very hard, he arrived at length at a place where he had had no sales or collections for two weeks. Then he sought a Christian Science practitioner. When he had stated his case, she asked him what his real business was. He said that he knew enough about Christian Science to know what answer was expected, so he said, "My real business is to reflect God." Then the practitioner continued: "Are you attending closely to that business; are you loving your customer, your competitor, your fellow worker? Are you absolutely honest and truthful in regard to the thing which you are selling? Are you just to yourself as well as to your customer? Are you alert to opportunity; keen to detect unfairness? and to know its powerlessness? Are you rejoicing in the fact that God supplies your every need through His perfect law of reflection? and that the man who reflects God has no need?" "Fortunately," he said, "she asked the questions so fast that I was spared the humiliation of reply." These questions, however, set him to thinking, to praying, to communing with God; with the result that that month's business exceeded what he had done in any previous month, although he had lost fully ten days of right activity at its beginning. When the young salesman realized that God is divine Mind and put to use his reflected intelligence instead of dashing around as fear had suggested; when he acknowledged divine Mind to be Principle, and Principle to be the source of all right activity, he proved that Principle to be Love, for his every need was met.
Jesus taught and demonstrated the atonement of Christ, and thus became "the way, the truth, and the life" to all those seeking the Father and the Father's house. Christian Science teaches that individual salvation rests upon no other basis than the atonement of Christ, as exemplified in the life of Christ Jesus. Christ does not reconcile God, divine Mind, to mortals, alias mortal mind. The purpose of the Christ is to present to human consciousness the allness, the completeness, the desirability of divine Mind, so winningly, so convincingly that human consciousness will abandon its claim to being mind and will yield to Spirit, God, the only Mind. This is the reconciliation which took place in Jesus' thought; this is the atonement of Christ which all of us must sooner or later demonstrate; this is also God's forgiveness of sin — the destruction of sin.
Through Jesus' right thinking, his sacrifices, and his sufferings he gave up all belief in material life — its false pleasures and pains — and gained the consciousness of Life eternal, ever peaceful and harmonious. Thus Jesus worked out his own salvation. His human consciousness was exchanged for the divine. This experience of Jesus did not change the individual thinking of others and therefore does not of itself provide salvation to those who simply believe in the name of Jesus. Our salvation depends upon a change in our own consciousness from a material to a spiritual basis. In the way Jesus worked out his own salvation, we are shown how to work ours. Each one of us, to be saved, must overcome evil with good, hatred with love, ignorance with intelligence, belief in matter with the understanding of true substance, — until he demonstrates that he is conscious of but one Mind, one God, creating, governing, and directing all.
Salvation is individual. We are thinking our way into the kingdom of heaven. We are not awaiting a final judgment-day, but our thinking is judged hourly by the standard of perfect God and perfect man, When the last mortal fault is destroyed in individual consciousness, then, for that one, will end forever the conflict between Spirit and the flesh, between real Mind and the counterfeit mortal mind, and he will find himself in the kingdom of heaven. That one has attained salvation, through experiencing in his thinking reconciliation to God through Christ.
This, my friends, is a glorious program of accomplishment, one to appeal to all that is right and just and noble in us. Mrs. Eddy tells us (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 118) that "the warfare with one's self is grand." We should keep in mind the promise, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
In the words of an inspiring hymn (Hymnal, p. 14):
"Run the straight race thro' God's good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize."
[Delivered Feb. 21, 1929, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Peekskill, New York, in the church edifice at the corner of Washington Street and Hudson Avenue, and published in The Highland Democrat of Peekskill, Feb. 22, 1929.]