Christian Science: The Angelic Message
M. Ethel Whitcomb, C.S.B., of Boston, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Miss M. Ethel Whitcomb, C.S.B., of Boston, Mass., gave the lecture entitled, "Christian Science: The Angelic Message," Tuesday, January 13, at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, and Sunday, January 18 at Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. C. E. Applegate introduced Miss Whitcomb Tuesday and Miss Margaret Fiesel introduced her Sunday. Miss Whitcomb is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. The lecture follows in full:
In Luke's Gospel it is written, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." This wondrous chorus of angels is still singing, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Do any of you question, What are the good tidings that the angels are singing today? Christian Science answers that these tidings of great joy, these angelic messages, are nothing less than a revelation of the demonstrable fact that the same spiritual Truth which healed through Jesus of Nazareth is here today, bidding the dumb to speak, the lame to walk, the blind to see. Christian Science has already healed its unnumbered thousands and sent them on their way singing with the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." It is a divine fact that all that anyone can need to make him whole, to set him free from poverty, pain, defeat, sin, and what is termed old age, is the angelic message of the true understanding of God and of the real man, and to apply it.
What is an angel? To a Christian Scientist an angel is not a celestial personality with feathered wings, but an exalted idea from divine Mind, an inspirational thought-visitant. Do angels really speak? Yes, they forever come with their messages, and guide and heal and light our way. If this be so, what deafens us that we do not hear their call? Is it not the love of material things, the love of self, of purse, of praise? When do we hear these angel messengers? When the heart bathed in humility, and yearning to be used by God, whispers, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." Then is consciousness made ready to receive God's impartation of ideas which forever pass in angelic processions from Him to man.
Mrs. Eddy defines angels in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" on page 581, as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality." Who is not stirred by the mighty truth that God pours forth His spiritual thoughts to man? Every moment of inspiration, intuition, goodness, gratitude, purity, or selflessness is a moment with the angels. Let us listen that we may hear them as they pass to us. There is not a person in this audience who has not at some time been conscious of an angel. An angel has brought each one of us here tonight, because every least desire for good is an angel visitant.
Great characters of Scripture, in the midnight of human woe, were strengthened and inspired by angels, were delivered from dungeons by angels, were led on to holy tasks and grand achievements by angels. Abraham knew the angels. Jacob in his struggle at Peniel was transformed by an angel. Moses entertained angels and in the wilderness declared, "And when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt." Daniel, standing unharmed in the den of lions, said unto the king, "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lion's mouths, that they have not hurt me." Paul, when the storm was raging and shipwreck was at hand, assured those with him in the ship of their deliverance by the power of God. "For," he said, "there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul." And it is further recorded, "And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." Jesus knew God's angels better than did any man, and walked in companionship with them. So real was their presence to him that when his enemies came to take him he was able to say to one of his followers, "Put up again thy sword into his place. . . . Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
Actually to expect to hear the angels - impartations from divine good - and to be guided, inspired, and guarded by them as were these men of old, we must know God as He is. Christian Science satisfies the heart with its glorious views of God as Mind, incorporeal Mind, the all-knowing, the all-present, divine, infinite intelligence, and this Mind, Love, tender, living, available Love in whom man lives and breathes as individual consciousness, for this Mind is the very life of all, the sole governor of the universe and man. From this Mind proceeds the only law - the divine edict of good, forever operating for, not against humanity, a law of renewal, invigoration, and eternal unfoldment to man.
Man draws from this divine Mind, this infinite Life, his vitality, energy, health, all that enables him to comprehend, to act, to be. God actually talks with man, as the Scriptures say, in the sense that He imparts to them His own thoughts and spiritual afflatus. Such messages were named by early prophets, "angels." They come to you and to me today, this hour. God speaks and man can hear.
"What is man," queried David, "that thou art mindful of him? . . . For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor." Had David's thought risen another step in inspiration he might have said, Thou hast made man as the angels. All Christians accept the basic statement of Scripture that God created man in His own likeness. Like the infinite Father, is the real man, or spiritual idea, in quality, nature, and essence. Christian Science teaches us to look away from the hateful, sinning, and warped deflection, or mortal, to become acquainted with the reflection of God - the man who reflects the qualities of divine Mind in the radiance of right thinking.
We can never obey Scripture and put off "the old man with his deeds," the old human concept of man with his stubborn disposition, nervous temperament, and weak character and constitution - all unloveliness - until we catch glorious glimpses of our identity in the likeness of divine Love, and maintain it, thereby refusing to express a thought, motive, or desire that springs not from the heart of God.
Man is the activity of God's thoughts, a pure, spiritual, boundless idea in Mind, an idea that cannot be separated from the light and loveliness of divine Mind throughout eternity. How can the man who knows that right ideas are passing to him from divine Mind every hour of the day and of the night be sorrowful, lonesome, or homesick? He is at home in the Mind that holds him, is forever in the company of God's ideas, hearing, and joyfully following their leadings through the activities of every day.
New inspiration and zeal come to the businessman who learns that he can draw from God intelligent ideas to solve his every problem. From this point of vision he responds to the law of divine achievement. The work of the writer, the musician, the inventor, will immediately improve when they see that man, of himself, does not create, but rather hears and expresses inspired ideas which pass continually from God to man. When this is realized there will be no lapse from inspiration. Through Christian Science thousands are learning of the coming of God's ideas, are depending upon them in the office, in the workshop, in the kitchen, in the schoolroom; and thereby are doing bigger and grander things than they have ever done. The function of divine Mind is to impart and the function of man is to receive and express, for man is God's expression.
In Scripture we read that Elijah was in the wilderness - the wilderness of fear, depression, and terror. "And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat." The angel that touched Elijah and called him to arise and eat was inspiration from divine Love which flooded his thought. Is anyone here in a wilderness of human experience, asleep under a juniper tree of discouragement or self-condemnation, feeling that he is a failure or perhaps responding to hatred because of some bitter wrong? Awake! for an angel thought from God is touching you, calling you to arise from dreams of sense and eat the strengthening bread of inspired ideas. We sometimes hear people say that they have a touch of cold, of rheumatism, of depression, or even feel, perhaps, an hypnotic touch, but we should know that God's man is sensitive only to the touch of angels, and is responsive to no other. In her book, "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy says (p. 306): "When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts. Oh, may you feel this touch - it is not the clasping of hands, nor a loved person present; it is more than this; it is a spiritual idea that lights your path!" "We know their presence by the love they create in our hearts." Whenever, then, a loving longing to bless others sings in our hearts, whenever a selfless deed is done, we entertain an angel. When ever a spiritual idea lights our path, bringing the answer to our problem or inspiring us with new purpose, new desires, new views of God and of our brother, we may know that we are with an innumerable company of angels - are feeling their holy touch. We are then thinking God's thoughts after Him. Such thinking heals the sick.
Many people come to Christian Science, seeking, as did I, to understand how to pray aright to the infinite, unseen Father. The yearning to approach Him who holds the universe in the hollow of His hand, is a deep longing that will come at some time to every heart. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss," are the Scriptural words that arouse the awakening thought to ask, How can I pray aright? I asked and received not because I asked amiss in an hour of great need. I was a young girl at this time. My mother was in dire distress, for she had been desperately ill with what the physicians pronounced a dangerous disease of the lungs. As a result she was left in such a state that for months she had lain almost lifeless. With all my heart I asked God to heal her. Many times upon my knees I prayed such a prayer of supplication, but I received no answer. At the end of five months, after two doctors had been in consultation, they told us that our mother was in a most dangerous condition. At this time we sent to Chicago for her sister, who was the wife of a physician. We knew that she had been healed through Christian Science of an eye trouble that had been pronounced incurable and which had made her almost blind. Even this healing had aroused no interest in our thought toward Christian Science. As my aunt entered my mother's room she seemed to bring with her a flood of hope and light. My mother said to her, "Take my medicine away. Help me through Christian Science." I recall how filled with terror I was when the family doctor came in about an hour and I told him that mother had turned to Christian Science. He said, "This is a very serious affair. Christian Science is a beautiful religion, but what can it do for diseased lungs? Your mother is in a most critical condition. You will have no hope left if she turns from medical treatment." I was panic-stricken and implored my mother to continue with the doctor's help. Her thought was firm as she said, "I have lain here helpless for months. You must let me have what I wish." It seemed the most intense struggle that I had ever had, to trust her to God, in spite of the Scriptural declaration that He healeth all our diseases. In deep emotion I said to my aunt, "Tell me something that I can do to help." With steadfast faith in the availability of the law of God to deliver and save, she said to me, "Take your Bible and hold to the first verse in Psalm 46. Every word is true and can be proved true. When you read the first word, 'God,' in the promise, know that this God is man's Life and that in this Life your mother lives and breathes in freedom." I went to my room, took my Bible, and for hours read, wrote, and reread this promise, seeking to know the meaning of each word. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." How much nearer God appeared as I thought of Him as Life itself in whom we live and move! "God is" - not was, not will be; is today our refuge, our shelter, and protection from danger and distress. How forceful that word, "is"! "Strength" - the next word in the promise. "God is our refuge and strength." What could bring greater comfort! For the first time I looked away from matter to find my mother's true strength and began to feel certain that the impartation of divine energy was renewing her "A very present help in trouble." "Present" - not absent; here, not there; today, not tomorrow, our help, our divine assistance. She does not have to die that she may find Life, I thought, for here, in this hour, God, Life, is her refuge, her strength, her present help. Christian Science had begun to illumine the Bible for me and through its divine light I commenced to catch a faint glimpse of the prayer that appropriates instead of pleads for the things of God. I saw, though dimly, why I had formerly asked and received not. I had implored God to give my mother what He had never failed to give to her and to everyone - even His strength, His life, His help, His all of good. During that night my aunt sat by my mother's bed in silent prayer. What was the result of this prayer? That which to us was a veritable miracle. My mother was able to sit up the next day. The fifth day she took my aunt to ride, she herself driving the horse. The doctor who witnessed this healing often told people that no one who had seen my mother's case could doubt that Almighty God healed her.
We believe that it is a vain request to ask God who is Love itself for more love, or to implore the divine Mind which is never absent from man to come closer. Can a mother whose heart is beating in tenderest love for her child give more because the child implores her? Is it not recognition, acceptance, and thankfulness which the child needs? Christian Science teaches us as older children to recognize the Mother-love of God, ever present, every hour, everywhere, and to accept through the prayer of perception, utilization, and thanksgiving God's perpetual outpouring of health and goodness. Jesus prayed the prayer of recognition and thanksgiving before he raised Lazarus from the dead, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always."
A physician once said to me, "Doctors often classify disease under two heads - curable and incurable. Do Christian Scientists classify disease?" I replied, "Yes, but all under one class - curable." We base our conviction of this mighty truth on the Biblical facts that God, the only creator, formed man and the universe as the expression or reflection of His own substance, perfection, and glory, and that they remain forever intact. As a little Christian Scientist of seven once said, "God made man out of Love because He did not have anything else to make him of." This child voiced sublime logic. He who is all good has only good out of which to create His likeness. He who sees no evil and knows no evil can impart no evil. Man, then, who is the very reflection of perfect Mind sprang from perfection itself and cannot be diseased nor impaired. What, then, is sick? and how does Christian Science heal?
I once passed a veiled statue that was waiting to be uncovered. I knew the statue to be very beautiful, but how ugly it looked that day, covered with its grimy veil! Then my thoughts, or inward eyes, turned to the real man, the beautiful, pure, and fair image of God. That which to the outward eye appears to be sick and impure man, I now realized is merely the veil which covers the real. The Christian Science treatment or prayer tears away, through its divine impulsion, the veil, and reveals man in all his God-given wholeness. The veil, then, not man, is the patient, which veil, Paul says, "is done away in Christ." We cannot love the veil, but with eyes of spiritual knowing we can look through it and behold and reverence the man whom the infinite sculptor has chiseled. In the language of Christian Science, "unveil" might be a synonym for "heal." Another synonym for "heal" might be "correct." God's thoughts, or angels, come through treatment or prayer, to correct the mistaken belief of life in matter with the sublime fact of life in God; to correct the fear of body, of food, of climate, of human inheritance, of limited capacities, of material laws, to correct evil appetites and false attractions with the true understanding of the God who is Love, impartial and universal, and of man's indissoluble unity with this all-satisfying Love. As this divine correction takes place in thought, erroneous beliefs give place to right ideas, and the body springs into spontaneous freedom.
A woman, whom I know, who had been severely injured in an accident attended a Christian Science church, several weeks after, assisted by friends. During the hour she was completely healed. I talked with her after this service; her face was wet with tears of thankfulness as she told me of her healing. What had taken place? Simply this: her God-given freedom, forever intact, had been unveiled to her thought through the truth that flowed from God at that service. This explains how people are so often healed during Christian Science lectures. They grasp an idea - an angel - from God which illumines consciousness and corrects their false thinking. Time has no part in the healing work of Christian Science. Whenever the false thought-processes of which the seeming disease is made gives way to spiritual ideas, behold, healing takes place. It may be in a day, a week, a month, but correction of thought will be followed by the removal of the discordant effects.
Many years ago a man, lame from birth, spoke to Peter and John at the gate Beautiful. They voiced to him the life-giving word of Truth, and it is written that "immediately his . . . ankle bones received strength." The spiritual correction and its results upon the body were instantaneous. Let no one be disheartened if he has silently declared what is divinely true about the perfection of God and His real man and has denounced bravely the imperfections of sense and self, but has not yet felt the touch of liberty. This minute, or perhaps the next, false education and erroneous thinking may give way before the angelic vision, the Christly corrective, and you rise in your God-given dominion.
As sons of God we should know at all times that we can hear and appropriate spiritual ideas from God that will enable us to be efficient workers in the world. All that anyone can ever need to deliver him from pain or poverty, from vice or crisis, is an idea from God. Forget not that the angel idea, the enlightening and saving idea, is ever at the gate of consciousness, waiting for your acceptance. These mighty facts are healing seeds of Truth which when sown in receptivity and affirmation grow into realization and bloom in exaltation and demonstration.
Centuries ago multitudes in pain and misery gathered about Jesus of Nazareth on the hillside of Judea, to hear the marvelous word of Life. The sublime truth which he spoke corrected the falseness of their material thinking, and they went away whole, glorifying the God of Israel. The life and works of Christ Jesus mean everything to Christian Scientists, for they recognize him as their Way-shower, the one who has shown them the divine and definite way to work out every problem of human life. They strive to follow in the very thought-steps of this God-inspired Teacher. They endeavor to serve as he served, to bless as he blessed, and to conquer materiality with spirituality at every point, as did he.
This greatest of all metaphysicians defined evil as both "liar" and "lie," and corrected the lie with the force of omnipotent Truth. Because he knew that sin, fear, sorrow, disease, and torment were no part of God's creation, and hence were not true, he abolished them with a word. Because evil in every form is a lie about the all-good and all-perfect creator and creation, how can it be banished from the earth except by refusing assent to its claims and by maintaining the truth about our creator and His creation? Was a lie ever vanquished in any other way? Jesus never bowed before so-called laws of nature resulting in disaster, disease, and death; but, with victorious understanding of God's law of harmony and perfection, he annulled their spurious claims as falsehoods. As Christian Scientists follow their Way-shower, they steadfastly endeavor to preserve the vision of reality - a God who is too good to create evil and a man who is too pure and perfect to express evil. They consider it a spiritual duty to mankind to recognize and silently hold the glorious spiritual opposite of every lie of animality and imperfection which confronts them. To them a lie is never final. Truth itself is final. Therefore in the presence of the lie of disease they stick to the truth of God-given health. In the presence of the lie of sin, they maintain the reality of God-imparted purity. Thus they stand with their thinking identified with the divinely true, the Christ Science, and as they stand humanity wins.
Jesus never claimed that his mighty works were done through his own power. Did he not say, "I can of mine own self do nothing"? He affirmed to those who listened that the same works which he did could be accomplished throughout the ages by those who understand and believe in the living, present Christ, the divine manifestation of God, which he promised should be with men "even unto the end of the world."
Christian Scientists acknowledge Christ Jesus as the Way-shower, recognizing that Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life." Over the surging sea of human discord the Christ, Truth, forever comes on its healing mission, saying to each suffering one, "It is I, be not afraid."
People who are striving to live progressive lives are recognizing that our thinking makes us what we are. Because of this they know that thoughts which would neither beautify nor edify their mental homes must not be spoken nor given a moment's hearing. Sooner or later every thought that is unlike God must be detected and mastered by good. No one can be excused from this divine demand. Matthew writes, "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend." Some of the false suggestions that must be gathered out of our mental kingdom are those that beget sameness, smallness, and sourness. Sameness, or staleness, comes from doing one's work, whatever it may be, as a duty instead of as a privilege, with mere motion instead of inspired action. Fresh health and gladness invigorate thought as one goes to his work each day, lifting up his sense of his work until he sees it in the light of divine service. Then he will love to work and work to love. It is not so much new jobs that are needed, as new views of the old ones; not so much a change of environment, as a change of viewpoint. "O sing unto the Lord a new song," cried the Psalmist. He who sings in his heart a new song of purpose and thanksgiving as he works, joins in the overture of the angels, and everything he touches shines in the sunlight of inspiration.
Smallness is expressed in suggestions that lead to the contemplation of trifles instead of the bigness and beauty of good. Smallness is expressed in all that is ingrowing, instead of outpouring; in that which is self-centered instead of humanity-centered. He who is living in cramped spaces of thought, dwelling upon and talking about what someone else is doing, or is not doing, needs to break through his finite boundaries, to think in terms broader than hemispheres. Every moment of the day our thinking is either shrinking or expanding. How we need expansion!
Sourness, bitterness, hatefulness, if not overcome, crush out the very essence of health and life. John realized this when he wrote, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." He who passes from the deadness of hate into the vitalizing compassion of love for mankind is touching the Life that is God. We live only as we unselfishly love. Life is not too short for hate, but too sublime.
Speaking of a certain eminent statesman, a morning newspaper wrote, "He will be able, through his Christian character, to overcome suggestive mesmerism." The race needs and longs to rise superior to suggestive mesmerism. Christian Science has come to teach us that God is giving man, through the importation of His own thoughts, or angel messages, the ability and inspiration to master victoriously the mesmerism which would hinder his highest endeavor.
If we are stumbling in the valley road of depressed and unworthy thought, we are but listening to unreal, mesmeric suggestions. If we are steadfastly climbing the mountain path of inspired and progressive consciousness, we are making friends with angels, our Father's thoughts.
It is a mighty fact that each time an evil suggestion seems to speak, an angel - a message from God - is at the door of thought to counteract and destroy it. Jesus proved this in the wilderness when the devil of suggestion, trying to turn him from his holy mission of healing and purifying mankind, showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said unto him, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." In the majesty of unsurpassed consecration Jesus replied, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." What irresistible armor has the man who can say in his heart, "Him only shalt thou serve"! To such the angels forever minister. These angel thoughts from God are his companions, and by them he is enlarged, enlightened, enriched, and encircled.
Among the many errors of thought that dull one's hearing to the angel messages none is more pronounced than human will with all its resistance and strong opinions. This element of the human mind responds easily to aggressive evil suggestions. To want one's own way at home, in business, or in one's church is to close the shutters of the window through which God's sunlight pours. Jesus, who obeyed exactly the rules of life's divine Principle, said at the hour before his crucifixion, "Not my will, but thine, be done." "And," it is written, "there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." Each time our human sense of will falls at the feet of Love's sweet will, an angel of inspiration strengthens us.
Christian Science, was discovered and founded by a woman, made spiritually ready for such a holy trust by lessons learned from every event of her life, by human struggles, desperate privations, heroic overcomings, and deepest longings to know and to take the things of God and give them to mankind. Some people live for a few, some for many, but Mary Baker Eddy actually thought, prayed, and lived for all mankind. In an hour when she was in the valley of the shadow of death, she lifted her heart to God and turned as she had done since childhood to her Bible for help. With such spiritual readiness and purity of vision did she read its pages that lo, she touched, as did the woman of old, the garment's hem and through the power of the same Christ, she rose confidently and walked! Now she beheld through the lens of Spirit the universe of God in all its perfection and glory. Now she felt the operation of the law she had not known before, -the healing, purifying, saving law of God. As soon as she could find her way in this new universe of light her heart, so aglow with divine Love, was flooded with compassion for all those bewildered and bound by sin and pain. For their sakes she must know the divine Principle on which her marvelous healing was based, so that they too could drop their fetters at the feet of Christ. With this one star leading her on she withdrew from society with the Bible for her textbook. Here in the seclusion of prayer, she studied and worked for three years, learning in childlike simplicity from prophets and apostles. Through inspiration Mrs. Eddy received and recorded the revelation of scientific Christianity as it unfolded to her consecrated, Love-inspired consciousness. Of herself she has said that she was a "scribe under orders" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 311). The spiritual, undeviating, indestructible facts of Truth that appeared to her God-prepared heart at that time, she elucidated in words known as the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," - a book that is waking men of every nation from the midnight of despair to behold the morning light of hope and holier living. Her reason for writing this book she makes plain in these words which appear in court records: '"I turned to God in prayer and said, Just guide me to the Mind which was also in Christ, and I took the Bible and opened to the words, 'Now go write it in a book.' I then commenced writing my consciousness of what I had seen and I found that human will was the cause of disease instead of its cure; that the divine Mind was the healer." Thus was made and given to mankind the discovery which has shaken the very foundation of material systems and awakened thought to realize that Spirit and the things of Spirit are real, operative, present, and available to men.
I have heard Mrs. Eddy speak many times. Her words live in memory as holy messages from God. She abode with angels, - God's sublime thoughts, - and brought them close to those who heard her.
I love to tell of the time when Mrs. Eddy arranged for a group of Scientists, of whom I was one, to go through her home in Concord, New Hampshire, while she was out driving. As the one in charge of the house took us about, we came to Mrs. Eddy's sleeping room. Over her bed I noticed a slip of paper on which something was written in her handwriting, I asked if I might read it and was given permission. What volumes I found in this simple stanza:
"When others hate, oppose, ignore,
Help me, dear Lord, to love them more."
In prayerful silence I went over to her window, and looking out upon the hills so precious to our Leader, I repeated again and again:
"When others hate, oppose, ignore,
Help me, dear Lord, to love them more."
She who had given herself to show befogged humanity the way of escape from sin and torture, had been hated, opposed, and ignored by the world that knew her not, that could not understand her devotion and prayers; but despite it all her heart grew ever more aglow with love. As I stood there I thought of how she had given back kindness for every hate, forgiveness for every cruelty; in fact, had loved more than anyone since the days of Jesus; and yet had written these lines and placed them over her bed to remind her still to love more. As I thought of it all I felt a heavenly baptism of Love for now I could see a new and deeper meaning in the line from her hymn (Poems, p. 4), "Wait, and love more for every hate." Why, I thought, it is a definite positive rule for action; a rule that must be obeyed by all who would understand real Life! No one who is not a humanity helper, a world thinker and worker, who does not live to draw from God and give to man through selfless service, is truly a follower of Mary Baker Eddy.
In Acts it is written that Herod oppressed certain of the church, casting Peter into prison. At night, as, bound by chains, he slept between two soldiers, an angel, an impartation from Spirit, came to his thought lighting the prison with the revelation of God's power. The angel spoke to Peter, saying, in the words of Scripture, "Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. . . . And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. . . . When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord. . . . And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me."
Peter's experience illustrates the power of the saving law of Almighty God which operates instantly and constantly in behalf of man in every age.
Christian Science, the angelic message, enters the mental prisons where men are bound in chains of temptation and torment and lights the prisons with the glory of divine Love. It says to earth-burdened prisoners, sentenced by common opinion and not by the decree of God, "Cast thy garments of hope about thee and follow me." This scientific Christianity with its holy influx from God leads the prisoners forth through the gate of opportunity into the city of spiritual understanding and freedom. Thousands, who, like myself, have been so liberated, are saying as did Peter, "Now I know of a surety, that God hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me."
John wrote, "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Each exalted thought is an angel from heaven, and our earth, our human experience, is lightened with its glory. To dwell in the radiance of spiritual consciousness where angels are heard, we must separate all evil from our thought of man. If man is God's image - and he is - then that which misrepresents and misjudges, that which is jealous and envious and hateful, is not man at all, but merely a false concept - the veil. He who knows this divine fact will be able to look through the veil of materiality and see his brother at all times as he is, shining in the light of God-likeness, unspotted and untouched by sin. There will be no unhappy or disrupted homes or broken friendships when the earth is lightened with the glory of this angel idea. Separating error from our sense of man is a vital part of working out our own salvation and of helping others to work out theirs. We cannot be saved from pain, restlessness, or sin until we begin to see ourselves divinely, in the purity of God-likeness, and express this selfhood. It is impossible to know ourselves aright unless we are striving with all our hearts to recognize our brothers as God sees them.
I was put to this test one day when a maid in our home admitted an intoxicated man who came to beg. When she told me what she had done I went into the library and found a young man in a drunken sleep. My first thought was to telephone to the police and have him removed. Then I thought, I will see if I cannot rouse him. I shook his arm and said, "Awake, you are a son of God and can act as one." He opened his eyes and asked in a dazed way what I had said. I repeated, "You are a son of God and can act as one." Pathetically he said, "You are the first one that ever called me anything but a sinner. I have a wife and three children but they have left me because I'm a sinner." I stood by his chair and told him again and again that God made him in His own likeness, which means like Him in character, moral strength, and purity, and that the veil of materiality that was covering him was the sinner and could be torn away, and then his true self would come to light. As the idea of his spiritual sonship with God broke upon this man's thought a changed expression came over his face and he began to repeat, "I am a son of God and can act as one." At this moment he touched the robe of the saving Christ and his purification began. An angel had come down from heaven and the earth was lighted with his glory. I did not offer this man a Christian Science treatment but I gave him some Christian Science literature and he went away. Through it he was cleansed and was reunited with his family. The angel thought that came to him that day awakened him to recognize his sonship with God and he followed it through the gate of opportunity into the city of the redeemed of God. Through the same gate each man may pass to know his spiritual sonship and behold the redemption of divine Love. Yes, each one! Not one need wait outside in weary condemnation, or pierced with pain.
It is a mighty fact that the gates of opportunity are flung wide for all to enter and behold the grandeur and glory of Life stretching out before us in an eternity of boundless good, and find man's place in the presence of our God, here to understand and follow his Father's holy messages. In God's hallowed now, in heaven's golden light of divine possibilities and pardons, we hear the angels whisper, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
As we think of it all we lift up our hearts as did our Leader, and in her words we pray (Miscellany, p. 354),
And the song of songs."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Jan. 23, 1931.]