Christian Science: The Science of Immortal Man

 

John Ellis Sedman, C.S., of Cambridge, Massachusetts

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

"Christian Science: The Science of Immortal Man" was the subject of the lecture given by John Ellis Sedman, C.S., of Cambridge, Mass., in First Church of Christ, Scientist, Meridian at Twentieth street, Indianapolis, Sunday afternoon. Mr. Sedman is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Mass. The lecture was given under the auspices of First Church and the speaker was introduced by Dayle C. Rowland. The lecture follows in full:

 

Nothing could be more encouraging than the message which Christian Science brings to mankind. Christian Science comes to make known the real nature of God and His eternal creation.  It comes saying good things concerning God's man and God's universe, and only good things. Christian Science draws a clear line of distinction between immortal man, made in the image and likeness of God, and mortal man, who is not the real man, but only the human concept of man. Christian Science makes plain the fact that mortals are not men who have fallen from a former state of perfection which they hope to regain; for all men, as the children of God, exist in the realm of eternal reality, and are spiritual, immortal, immutable, indestructible. God produces everything that has real existence; and everything that God produces is Godlike, and forever remains Godlike.

On page forty-six of her book, "Unity of Good," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes these words: "We do not see much of the real man here, for he is God's man; while ours is man's man." How are we to become acquainted with the real being of man?  God has provided the way through the one who truly declared: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  Suppose there existed a people who dwelt in a place where no sunlight entered. Suppose these people had heard about sunlight, had talked about it, thought about it, read about it, but had never actually beheld clear, unobstructed sunlight. Such a people would be inevitably very ignorant of the real nature of sunlight. Then suppose that through a tiny aperture a single sunbeam should find its way into the presence of those people.   Thereupon there would be afforded to them an opportunity to learn the real essence and quality of that light which comes from the sun. Now that illustrates what Jesus Christ did for mankind. Jesus understood God with an understanding so thorough and complete that he entertained no misconceptions concerning the Supreme Being. Consequently Jesus understood perfectly the essence and quality of true spiritual manhood. Accordingly, when he appeared and gave his teaching, lived the life he did and performed his mighty works, there was exemplified, for the benefit of mankind, the quality of God's eternal being, as forever expressed in the Godlike man.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to overestimate the importance of Jesus' mission. Only as we understand his teaching and His marvelous demonstrations can we learn what God is, and what we actually are. Jesus was not only the world's greatest idealist, he was the most practical individual that ever trod this earth. Only as we understand his spirit and his methods can we learn to solve the great problems that confront us in human experience. On page eighteen of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy writes: "Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man's oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life's work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, - to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility. Jesus acted boldly, against the accredited evidence of the senses, against Pharisaical creeds and practices, and he refuted all opponents with his healing power."

Most thinkers recognize that there can exist but one great primal cause. Christians generally recognize that the one and only cause is the infinite God. God alone exists at the standpoint of causation. Everything else that has actual existence, exists, at the standpoint of effect. There, at the standpoint of effect, man exists, Jesus understood this important fact, and acted upon it at every turn of the way. It constituted the basis of his remarkable humility, his transcendent wisdom, and his mighty power. He declared, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Claiming no ability and no right to act apart from God, Jesus watched, worked, and prayed to do his Father's will. He listened for the voice of God, and carried out the purposes of God. Consequently Jesus had behind him, supporting him in his work, all the wisdom and power there is, the might and wisdom of the one and only cause, the eternal Supreme Being. Consequently his success was natural, inevitable, and uniform.

What an example the Master has furnished.  How deeply we should ponder this lesson he has taught. People generally believe that man can be separated from God, when the fact is that immortal man can never for a moment be separated from his Maker. Mortals are inclined to think of themselves as semi-gods, as finite entities, each one traveling along an orbit of his own devising, each one possessed of a mind of his own, with a will, a way, and a righteousness of his own. From this misconception of being arise the strife and the burden of human existence. In reality, God is the one infinite Mind, which governs, sustains, and blesses all men; and all men have the same Mind as surely as they have the same God. Jesus knew the strength, the freedom, and the peace which come of recognizing man's complete dependence upon God, and the perfect unity and accord which exist between God and man made in God's image. He knew that the burden of human life will roll away as people admit and act upon the divine facts. Hence his compassionate appeal to all mankind: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

 

Coexistence

Immortal man coexists with God and the universe. Whatever is immortal is without beginning and without end. Only mortality begins, and only mortality ends. Spiritual man, made in the image and likeness of God, neither begins nor ends. God is the eternal Cause; and by definition, cause is what produces effect. Since God always has been the one infinite Cause, God must always have produced, and must forever continue to produce the infinite eternal effect, spiritual man and the spiritual universe. Jesus always reckoned himself as without beginning and without end. Referring to his true spiritual self, and contrasting it with the human personality, or human concept, of Abraham, Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." In a similar way, he referred to the eternal glory which he enjoyed with his Father before the material theory, or human concept, of the world began.

Everything that God produces coexists with God. Everything that He produces is, and always has been, essential to Him, otherwise it would not exist.  God, the infinite Mind, could not entertain any temporary concepts, beliefs, or thoughts.  His every thought must be perfect and eternal. The Bible clearly teaches that God's infinite creation is perfect, and that it completely satisfies Him. How could it be otherwise? If there existed a perfect painting, it would contain not a single unnecessary line, nor would it lack any essential line, nor any necessary touch of color. Now of course there is no such thing as a perfect painting. But God is the perfect artist, and His creation is His perfect work. There we all exist, and there we shall all forever continue to exist, each filling his own particular niche in the divine, eternal order. God is forever conscious of His entire creation; and He forever delights in all that He beholds. If God could forget any detail of His creation, that moment it would cease to be; for everything that has actual existence exists as an idea in God, the divine Mind. What a comfort it is to know that now, in our true spiritual being, we all are sons of God, and that God is satisfied with all His children as He knows them, and that He never forgets one of them for a moment. Jesus impressed this point upon his students when he said: "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."

 

God's Man Is Indestructible

Man in God's image is indestructible. Jesus taught and proved this eternal fact. Jesus presented his teaching, by precept and example, to his twelve disciples, whom he carefully prepared for every phase and aspect of their work. Knowing that they would be subjected to the same bitter persecution which was meted out to him, and which later culminated in his crucifixion, he carefully instructed them in that regard. He told them that they would be arrested, brought before the magistrates, and cast into prison. He said the time would even come when those who attempted to kill them would actually believe they were rendering God a service. Yet to this same group of men he said, "There shall not an hair of your head perish." How clearly this statement illustrates the line of distinction which the Master drew between the human corporeal personality, and the eternal indestructible spiritual individuality of man. What comfort there is for every one of us in that great truth which Jesus set forth that not one jot of good, not one iota of what constitutes real being, your real being, or mine, or any one else's, can ever be lost or destroyed, nor in any way injured or changed. Jesus dared to say to those who persistently resisted his teaching, "Destroy this temple (meaning his human body), and in three days I will raise it up." And just that he did. By his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus not only proved that man in God's image is indestructible, but he also established the fact that a human being may comprehend the indestructibility of God's man sufficiently to protect himself from all the attacks of error as, step by step, he advances towards that stage of spiritual growth where mortality forever disappears, "swallowed up of life."

God, being the ever-living God, the man whom God creates is the ever-living man. People think of life as a span, with birth at one end and death at the other. But that concept of life is only an ignorant misconception, which bears no resemblance to real life. Real life is by its very nature eternal, without beginning and without end. God is Life, existing at the standpoint of causation, and producing only eternal life at the standpoint of effect. The individual spiritual man is an eternal manifestation or expression of infinite Life. Only what is Life-giving and eternal can enter the consciousness of man made in God's image and likeness. Commenting on the crucifixion and resurrection of the great Master, Mrs. Eddy makes this statement on page fifty-one of Science and Health: "Jesus could give his temporal life into his enemies' hands; but when his earth-mission was accomplished, his spiritual life, indestructible and eternal, was found forever the same. He knew that matter had no life and that real Life is God; therefore he could no more be separated from his spiritual Life than God could be extinguished."

 

Man's Eternal Faculties

The faculties of man are eternal, indestructible, perfect. Immortal man has no underived faculties; he derives all his faculties from God. They rest upon, and are sustained by, eternal indestructible Spirit. Man knows, because God knows; and man is God's perfect reflection. He hears because God hears, sees because God sees. It is impossible for anything to interfere with man's ability to see, to hear, and to know; for the very reason that it is inconceivable that anything can interfere with the eternal activity of the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting divine Mind. Whenever a person believes that he has lost his ability to see, to hear, or to think, he is always the victim of a delusion based upon the misconception that the ability to hear, to see, to think, and to do rests upon matter. Understanding the indestructibility of the faculties of man made in God's image, Jesus could dispel all human delusions. Accordingly, he enabled the so-called blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the mentally incapacitated to assume their normal and natural freedom. Christian Science has accomplished and is accomplishing those same blessed results in this day and age. I know individuals who have been healed of total blindness and total deafness through the ministrations of Christian Science. Under the marginal heading "Immortal memory" Mrs. Eddy writes on page 407 of Science and Health: "If delusion says, 'I have lost my memory,' contradict it. No faculty of Mind is lost. In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action. Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite.  This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness."

Man in God's image is never weak. He is ever mighty, reflecting the infinite power of the omnipotent God. But as God has within Himself no harmful element, so the individual spiritual man has within himself nothing that can harm any other man. Mortals believe they can harm one another, and sometimes they have the disposition to do so. But Christ Jesus, our Way-shower, never harmed anyone, but was the perfect friend of all men. He came, not to condemn, but to save mankind; and he never swerved, from that sacred beneficent purpose. He came to make known the true nature of his Father, whose love never varies and never changes. He told his disciples that they should entertain and express only good will towards everyone, regardless of what attitude others assumed towards them. He described his heavenly Father as the God who "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." And best of all, the great Master lived what he taught. Nothing in all history surpasses the injustice and cruelty meted out by ignorant mortals to the kindest and best man who ever trod this earth; but Jesus forgave everything, and triumphed in the irresistible might of unselfed love. When Peter whipped out his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, Jesus facing the hardest experience that can be conceived, his experience on the cross, told Peter to put up his sword, and then healed the ear of the servant of the high priest. When he looked down from the cross, there was no resentment in Jesus' heart towards the rabble that mocked him, nor towards those in authority who had brought about his crucifixion. He was proving the true nature of God who is Love, and that man made in God's image expresses at all times God's unchanging love. He was proving that envy, jealousy, malice, and hate are powerless and unreal. They are unknown to God and are never found in God's man. After his resurrection and ascension, Jesus' disciples grasped the great import of his demonstration of God's true nature; and it wrought glorious results for them. It enabled John to see that hatred, being un-Godlike, is always ignorant and blind, that love alone can be intelligent and clear-visioned. Hence John's declaration, "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walked in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." Man is never separated from God; and God's children, existing in the realm of eternal reality, can never be separated from one another. The belief in separation, which obtains in human consciousness, arises from the belief of life in matter. When people think in terms of material things and material beings, then it is natural for them to believe in death and separation. But when people learn to think in terms of Mind and Mind's ideas, then it is possible for them to see that no such thing as death or separation can occur in the realm of eternal reality.

Much of the sting disappears from our human experiences, when we see that death never touches the true being of man, and that it cannot destroy the belief in mortality. Paul was seeing this fact clearly when he said, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" It is a great comfort to know that our friends who have passed on are alive, and that they are blessed and sustained by the same God who loves and blesses us. It is also a wonderful comfort to know that ultimately all belief in death and separation, sickness, sorrow, and pain, will forever vanish away as the nothingness of error becomes apparent in the light of eternal Truth; and then we shall all be happy in the eternal good, dwelling together, understanding God and one another, and having only what is good and beautiful come into our experience. John caught this vision of the eternal reality when he wrote: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Because man's real identity is spiritual it does not follow that the identity, or the individuality, of the spiritual man is less distinct and definite than is the material personality of a mortal. Quite the reverse, indeed, is the case. Matter may be indistinct and indefinite. It is always changeable and illusive. Whatever God produces is definite and distinct, beautiful and perfect. It is indestructible and tangible. It is discernible in all its light and glory to spiritual sense. The beauty of true form, color, and outline, does not belong to matter; it belongs to Mind. On page seventy of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes, "The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal."

When the human race tries to get away from matter and to think in terms of Spirit, it is apt to drift into the realm of the ghostlike or ethereal, which has no resemblance to, nor connection with, true spirituality. People think of the things of Sprit as vague and impalpable, only because they trust material sense, and material sense cannot cognize the things of Spirit. The fact is that the things of Spirit, apparent to spiritual sense, are the eternal things. They are tangible, real, substantial, permanent, everlasting.

When Mrs. Eddy denied the reality and substance of matter, many people immediately concluded that her denial amounted to saying that there are no trees, no flowers, no mountains, no lakes, no rivers. Of course, she said and meant nothing of the kind. She taught, what the Bible teaches, that the matter explanation of man and the universe is false - only a false human theory concerning the universe and man. She taught, as Jesus did, that God is Spirit, and that everything that God creates is spiritual. Does Christian Science then teach that there are real rocks, real lakes and rivers and mountains and trees? It certainly does as clearly as it teaches that there are real men and real animals. We are not going to lose anything by giving up our belief in matter. Instead, we are going to reach the point where we can behold everything in its true grandeur and beauty, from a potato to a planet. On pages twenty-five and twenty-six of her book, "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy writes this striking paragraph: "No human hypotheses whether in philosophy, medicine, or religion, can survive the wreck of time; but whatever is of God, hath life abiding in it, and ultimately will be known as self-evident truth, as demonstrable as mathematics. Each successive period of progress is a period more humane and spiritual. The only logical conclusion is that all is Mind and its manifestation, from the rolling of worlds, in the most subtle ether, to a potato-patch."

 

The Final Revelation

Who is it that knows everything there is to know concerning God, concerning His Christ, concerning the spiritual man and the spiritual universe? Why, obviously, there is only One who knows everything that can be known concerning the infinite Creator and His infinite creation, and that One is God Himself. How are we to proceed intelligently to acquaint ourselves with God? How have men and women undertaken to solve this great problem? Too often by mere human speculation. A creed often represents nothing more than a particular person's speculations concerning the Supreme Being. The cruel doctrines set forth in creeds represent only the cruel tendencies of mortals. They bear no resemblance whatever to the perfect God whom Jesus revealed and whom John beautifully defined when he said, "God is love." We all know that it is time wasted to speculate about a place we have not visited, or a person we have not met. What we always need is correct and accurate information. We may gain that information concerning a person by coming into direct contact with that person, or with someone who knows and understands him. All we correctly know concerning God has come to us through those to whom God revealed His own true nature. Our Bible came to us through inspired workers and writers to whom God revealed Himself. Christian Science has come to this age in the same way.

Jesus came to show the race how to work out its salvation, how to lay aside all misconceptions, how to enter into the enjoyment of that eternal place to which he so often referred. Those who were ready and willing to accept what Jesus taught followed him upward, out of all human discord, into the light of eternal day. How many in the early Christian era availed themselves to the full of Jesus' message, we do not know, but it was doubtless a vast throng. Not only the eleven faithful apostles, but also Philip, Stephen, Paul, and a host of others, marched onward and upward, following in the footsteps of the great Master. Peter showed the earnest heed he was giving to Jesus' loving admonition, "Feed my sheep," when, with John, he healed the lame man at the beautiful gate of the temple, and when he raised Dorcas from the dead. Stephen and Philip did glorious work. Paul proved how rapidly he was growing in his understanding of that true teaching, which he had once resisted and fought, when he healed Eutychus, who fell from the window of an upper chamber, when he shook off a poisonous viper which had fastened itself on his hand and felt no harm, and when he healed the father of Publius, on the island of Melita, and the other sick people on that island who were brought to him for help.

But the world generally was not ready to accept what Jesus taught. It preferred the old false theories, the old dreams, the old ignorance. Gradually Jesus' teaching was lost sight of, and the race drifted into such a state of mental darkness that certain centuries, which followed long after Jesus' ministry, have been referred to by historians as the Dark Ages. But Jesus' teaching never was entirely lost. Here and there it ministered to receptive hearts. Then gradually the race began to work up towards that pure Christianity which Jesus taught and lived. It advanced to a point at last where, in our own time, it was ready for the re-discovery of what Jesus knew, and for the final revelation of eternal truth to mankind.

Christ Jesus revealed the divine fatherhood of God. A woman revealed God's divine motherhood. She discovered and proclaimed that eternal Science which explains Jesus' mission, his words and his works, and which makes plain the fact that God is man's only Parent, the Mother as well as the Father of man. This great task was the work of an American woman, Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy discovered and founded Christian Science because she sought the spiritual solution for the problems of life, and faithfully followed the divine healings that came to her. God fitted her for the great work she did; and when God prepares an individual for a great spiritual task, that individual is adequately prepared. Certain characteristics are absolutely essential in a great spiritual worker and Leader. There must be an intense earnestness, integrity, and steadfastness of purpose. There must be moral courage, and a deep profound love for God and for mankind. All these characteristics were expressed in the character of Mary Baker Eddy, and manifested in the highest degree throughout her service to mankind as the Leader of the Christian Science movement.

Those who are familiar with Mrs. Eddy's life history, know that from earliest girlhood she was affectionate, generous, and unselfish. She was always interested in the welfare of those she knew, and of people generally. As her life broadened and deepened she clearly perceived the real need of the race, and sought to find the means whereby the burdens of sorrow, sin, sickness, poverty, and misery might be lifted from humanity. From her heart there ascended a perpetual prayer, so unselfish, so pure, so profound, so all-embracing, that it was answered in her discovery of Christian Science, which is destined to liberate all mankind from belief in the power and presence of evil.

Besides being richly imbued with the spirit of true Christianity, the Christ-spirit, Mrs. Eddy was a clear, logical, and profound thinker. From early girlhood, the subject of logic appealed to her, and after her discovery of Christian Science, she proclaimed the grand fact that true logic and true revelation are in absolute accord.

A remarkable incident led directly to Mrs. Eddy's great discovery. When, as the result of a serious accident, she seemed to be at death's door, she was healed through reading a portion of the ninth chapter of Matthew. In that wonderful experience she had a striking proof of the vitality and the healing power of that truth which Christ Jesus revealed. Her teaching which is set forth in her book, Science and Health, came to her through revelation. But before she published that wonderful book, she proved the truth of its teaching by healing all sorts of disease, and by teaching others to heal. Guided and inspired by God, she founded her church, and gave to the Christian Science movement the instrumentalities through which the truth she discovered is reaching mankind today. Christian Scientists revere and love Mrs. Eddy. They would be a strange people if they did not. The blessings that have reached them, and that are reaching humanity as a result of her labors, are beyond measure. Christian Scientists recognize in her God's messenger, their God-inspired and God-appointed Leader, whose place no one else can ever fill, any more than anyone else can ever fill the place of the one and only Way-shower, the Master-Christian and the Master-Scientist, Christ Jesus. Through Mrs. Eddy's work the Scriptures have been unlocked, the way that Jesus revealed has been made plain, and all who will may now avail themselves of that Science of Christianity which is here to destroy all sickness, poverty, pain, death, misery, discord of every kind, and to usher in the reign of eternal peace and happiness.

 

Mortals and Their Problems

In order to understand the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy it is necessary to see clearly the difference between man made in God's image and likeness, and mortal man, also the connection between the two. Immortal man is the divine reality, eternal and perfect; while mortal man is the human concept of that reality, and human concepts can be changed and improved. We can be practical Christians, and practical Christian Scientists, only as we understand the needs of mankind, and how those needs can be met. The Bible was written for human beings, to enlighten them; and Science and Health was written to bless and enlighten the human race. We can no more think and talk entirely in terms of absolute truth, and be practical Christian Scientists, than we could think and talk in terms of pure mathematics, while entirely ignoring the practical application of mathematics as seen in mechanics, and be practical engineers.

Down through the centuries, God has been regarded as the author of two creations, one material and temporal, and the other spiritual and eternal.  Both these creations have been regarded as equally real. Christian Science clears away this misconception. It shows that God is the author of only one creation, and that creature is real and eternal, spiritual and perfect. What we are prone to describe as our universe is only our present concept of the universe. In working out our salvation, we are simply laying aside a false theory in order to see things as they are, as they ever have been, and as they ever will be. Jesus clearly taught that all that ails the human race is its ignorance, and that all it needs in order to solve its problems is spiritual enlightenment. He said, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee."

This material mortal sphere has been described as a "vale of tears" and by other hard names. But there is no such thing as a real world which is a "vale of tears," any more than there is an earth or a planet which is flat. When, centuries ago, people believed they were dwelling upon a flat earth, they were cramped and hampered by that false concept. When they found out that the earth was a sphere, they were wiser and freer, but the shape of the earth had not changed. The people had simply given up a false theory. So no change will ever take place in God or in God's universe as the human race advances and works out its salvation. False beliefs will be cast aside for better beliefs, or for the divine reality, and that is the only change that will ever take place.

The New Testament clearly teaches that God is the author of only one kind of man, and that man is immortal man, spiritual and perfect. It clearly teaches that God is not the author of mortal man, and that mortal man, is only the false concept of man, to be laid aside for the eternal reality, by a process of improvement through enlightenment. When John speaks of the man born of God and who cannot sin, he refers to immortal man, the eternal likeness of his perfect Maker. When he declares that God will forgive our sins if we confess them, and that if anyone says he has no sin, he only lies and shows his ignorance of the truth, he is then referring to mortals, and to their need of recognizing and forsaking their false beliefs. In a similar way, Paul referred to immortal man as the new man, and to mortal man as the old man to be put off. When he declared that he died daily, he referred to his human experiences as a mortal, and simply meant that every day he cast aside some false beliefs which he could no longer carry along with him in his human consciousness, because through the light of truth he had seen their utter falsity.

Since mortals are not God's children, but only human concepts of man, a particular mortal is a particular concept of man. Human beings, then, may vary from the most erroneous concept of man that can be entertained in human consciousness, all the way up the scale to the highest concept of man that human consciousness can entertain. The grandest human concept of man that has ever been known in the long history of the race was the human Jesus. The truth can minister to people only when presented in a way that they can comprehend. It was necessary for Jesus to appear in order to make known to mankind the nature of the eternal Christ. Mary caught such a glorious vision of the real nature of God, and of man's relationship to God, that her child was born contrary to the ordinary human theory of conception and birth.  He was born of a virgin mother, and through the operation of divine law and divine power. As a result of this virgin birth, Jesus was a natural Christian, and a natural Christian Scientist. He did not have to be educated away from a material standpoint, in order that he might accept the spiritual outlook. His point of view, from the outset, was spiritual. Always he thought of God as the Father of man, and of men as the sons of God. One page 589 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy thus defines the human Jesus: "The highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea, rebuking and destroying error and bringing to light man's immortality." Jesus referred to his corporeal concept, his human self, when he called himself "the Son of man." He referred to his eternal spiritual selfhood, the Christ-man, when he called himself "the Son of God."

Christian Science points out that mortality is to be overcome, and every member of the race is to be saved by the spiritualization of thought. Someone may ask, Can a human being, when he is not God's image and likeness, actually do something for himself? Can an individual, rid himself of sin, sickness, death, poverty, all discord, and can he come into a state of harmonious being where discord and distress have vanished from his experience? The answer is that he most assuredly can and that he must. Not without God's help can he do these things; but with God's help he can. God's law enters human consciousness to transform and improve it. Christian Science shows that the history of humanity cannot end in death, nor in degradation and sin. The human race must progress Spiritward, upward. Each and every man, sooner or later, must take his place in the procession that is marching Godward. Salvation is universal and every member of the race must work out his salvation. However deep an individual may drop into evil and degradation, sooner or later the pangs of remorse will lay hold upon him, and force him to seek the light of truth, and to find his way into a brighter and better sense of life. On page twenty-two of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, "Waking to Christ's demand, mortals experience suffering. This causes them, even as drowning men, to make vigorous efforts to save themselves; and through Christ's precious love these efforts are crowned with success."

For centuries the race has been kept down by the false teaching that it is natural and necessary for men to be sick and to die, even normal and natural for them to sin. What comfort it is to know the falsity of that doctrine. It is natural for humanity to overcome all belief in sin, sickness, and death; and Christian Science is here to show how this glorious result can be accomplished. People are always thinking something. They may think of either good or evil; but they are free moral agents to think of the good and to bring the good into their experience. Since God and His creation are perfect, what is there to prevent men and women from contemplating God and His perfect creation, and as a result bringing into their experience that which is good and beautiful?

If a human being believes that he is God's man, he advances a step in spiritual progress and enlightenment when he learns that the mortal concept that he entertains of himself is not the man of God's creating, but only his present concept of that man. What is there, then, to prevent him from steadfastly contemplating the nature of man in God's image, as revealed in the life and teaching of Christ Jesus?  Why should he not detect the errors that are common to mortals, and begin to rid himself of those errors, just as an artist who is painting a picture constantly contemplates the object he is portraying, and keeps improving the picture he is making? The picture which the artist paints, though it is never the object, has a very definite relationship to that object. It represents the artist's conception and delineation of that particular object. If the object is beautiful, why should not the artist paint a picture that is beautiful? If he is a complacent and conscientious artist, that is just what he does. So it is with people. Man in God's image is never in bondage. People are the victims of a self-imposed bondage, due to their consent to, and belief in, a false theory concerning God, man, and the universe. Every man has the ability and the right to end this bondage through abandoning this false theory for the truth of being. On page 185 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy says: "Self-renunciation of all that constitutes a so-called material man, and the acknowledgment and achievement of his spiritual identity as the child of God, is Science that opens the very flood-gates of heaven; whence good flows into every avenue of being, cleansing mortals of all uncleanness, destroying all suffering, and demonstrating the true image and likeness. There is no other way under heaven whereby we can be saved, and man be clothed with might, majesty, and immortality."

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, date unknown.]

 

 

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