From the platform of the Monday lectureship in Tremont Temple, on Monday, March 16, 1885, as will be seen by what follows, Reverend Mary Baker G. Eddy was presented to Mr. Cook’s audience, and allowed ten minutes in which to reply to his public letter condemning her doctrines; which reply was taken in full by a shorthand reporter who was present, and is transcribed below.
I am not, and never was. I understand the impossibility of intercommunion between the so-called dead and living. There have always attended my life phenomena of an uncommon order, which spiritualists have miscalled mediumship; but I clearly understand that no human agencies were employed, — that the divine Mind reveals itself to humanity through spiritual law. And to such as are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body,” Christian Science reveals the in96finitude of divinity and the way of man’s salvation from sickness and death, as wrought out by Jesus, who robbed the grave of victory and death of its sting. I understand that God is an ever-present help in all times of trouble, — have found Him so; and would have no other gods, no remedies in drugs, no material medicine.
I believe in God as the Supreme Being. I know not what the person of omnipotence and omnipresence is, or what the infinite includes; therefore, I worship that of which I can conceive, first, as a loving Father and Mother; then, as thought ascends the scale of being to diviner consciousness, God becomes to me, as to the apostle who declared it, “God is Love,” — divine Principle, — which I worship; and “after the manner of my fathers, so worship I God.”
It is not one mind acting upon another mind; it is not the transference of human images of thought to other minds; it is not supported by the evidence before the personal senses, — Science contradicts this evidence; it is not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. It is Christ come 97to destroy the power of the flesh; it is Truth over error; that understood, gives man ability to rise above the evidence of the senses, take hold of the eternal energies of Truth, and destroy mortal discord with immortal harmony, — the grand verities of being. It is not one mortal thought transmitted to another’s thought from the human mind that holds within itself all evil.
Our Master said of one of his students, “He is a devil,” and repudiated the idea of casting out devils through Beelzebub. Erring human mind is by no means a desirable or efficacious healer. Such suppositional healing I deprecate. It is in no way allied to divine power. All human control is animal magnetism, more despicable than all other methods of treating disease.
Christian Science is not a remedy of faith alone, but combines faith with understanding, through which we may touch the hem of His garment; and know that omnipotence has all power. “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.”
The Scriptures inform us that man was made in the image and likeness of God. I commend the Icelandic translation: “He created man in the image and likeness of Mind, in the image and likeness of Mind created He him.” To my sense, we have not seen all of man; he is more than personal sense can cognize, who is the image and likeness of the infinite. I have not seen a perfect man in mind or body, — and such must be the personality of him who is the true likeness: the lost image is not this personality, and corporeal man is this lost image; hence, it doth not appear what is the real personality of man. The only cause for making this 98question of personality a point, or of any importance, is that man’s perfect model should be held in mind, whereby to improve his present condition; that his contemplation regarding himself should turn away from inharmony, sickness, and sin, to that which is the image of his Maker.
The National Christian Scientist Association has
brought us together to minister and to be ministered
unto; mutually to aid one another in finding ways and
means for helping the whole human family; to quicken
and extend the interest already felt in a higher mode of
medicine; to watch with eager joy the individual growth
of Christian Scientists, and the progress of our common
Cause in Chicago, — the miracle of the Occident. We
come to strengthen and perpetuate our organizations
and institutions; and to find strength in union, — strength
to build up, through God’s right hand, that pure and
undefiled religion whose Science demonstrates God and
the perfectibility of man. This purpose is immense,
and it must begin with individual growth, a “consummation devoutly to be wished.” The lives of all reformers attest the authenticity of their mission, and call
the world to acknowledge its divine Principle. Truly
is it written: —
“Thou must be true thyself, if thou the truth would’st teach;
Thy heart must overflow, if thou another’s heart would’st reach.”
99 Science is absolute and final. It is revolutionary in its very nature; for it upsets all that is not upright. It annuls false evidence, and saith to the five material senses, “Having eyes ye see not, and ears ye hear not; neither can you understand.” To weave one thread of Science through the looms of time, is a miracle in itself. The risk is stupendous. It cost Galileo, what? This awful price: the temporary loss of his self-respect. His fear overcame his loyalty; the courage of his convictions fell before it. Fear is the weapon in the hands of tyrants.
Men and women of the nineteenth century, are you called to voice a higher order of Science? Then obey this call. Go, if you must, to the dungeon or the scaffold, but take not back the words of Truth. How many are there ready to suffer for a righteous cause, to stand a long siege, take the front rank, face the foe, and be in the battle every day?
In no other one thing seemed Jesus of Nazareth more divine than in his faith in the immortality of his words. He said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away;” and they have not. The winds of time sweep clean the centuries, but they can never bear into oblivion his words. They still live, and to-morrow speak louder than to-day. They are to-day as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight God’s paths; make way for health, holiness, universal harmony, and come up hither.” The grandeur of the word, the power of Truth, is again casting out evils and healing the sick; and it is whispered, “This is Science.”
Jesus taught by the wayside, in humble homes. He 100spake of Truth and Love to artless listeners and dull disciples. His immortal words were articulated in a decaying language, and then left to the providence of God. Christian Science was to interpret them; and woman, “last at the cross,” was to awaken the dull senses, intoxicated with pleasure or pain, to the infinite meaning of those words.
Past, present, future, will show the word and might of Truth — healing the sick and reclaiming the sinner — so long as there remains a claim of error for Truth to deny or to destroy. Love’s labors are not lost. The five personal senses, that grasp neither the meaning nor the magnitude of self-abnegation, may lose sight thereof; but Science voices unselfish love, unfolds infinite good, leads on irresistible forces, and will finally show the fruits of Love. Human reason is inaccurate; and the scope of the senses is inadequate to grasp the word of Truth, and teach the eternal.
Science speaks when the senses are silent, and then the evermore of Truth is triumphant. The spiritual monitor understood is coincidence of the divine with the human, the acme of Christian Science. Pure humanity, friendship, home, the interchange of love, bring to earth a foretaste of heaven. They unite terrestrial and celestial joys, and crown them with blessings infinite.
The Christian Scientist loves man more because he loves God most. He understands this Principle, — Love. Who is sufficient for these things? Who remembers that patience, forgiveness, abiding faith, and affection, are the symptoms by which our Father indicates the different stages of man’s recovery from sin and his entrance into Science? Who knows how the feeble lips 101are made eloquent, how hearts are inspired, how healing becomes spontaneous, and how the divine Mind is understood and demonstrated? He alone knows these wonders who is departing from the thraldom of the senses and accepting spiritual truth, — that which blesses its adoption by the refinement of joy and the dismissal of sorrow.
Christian Science and the senses are at war. It is a revolutionary struggle. We already have had two in this nation; and they began and ended in a contest for the true idea, for human liberty and rights. Now cometh a third struggle; for the freedom of health, holiness, and the attainment of heaven.
The scientific sense of being which establishes harmony, enters into no compromise with finiteness and feebleness. It undermines the foundations of mortality, of physical law, breaks their chains, and sets the captive free, opening the doors for them that are bound.
If God is All, and God is good, it follows that all must be good; and no other power, law, or intelligence can exist. On this proof rest premise and conclusion in Science, and the facts that disprove the evidence of the senses.
A corporeal God, as often defined by lexicographers and scholastic theologians, is only an infinite finite being, an unlimited man, — a theory to me inconceivable. If the unlimited and immortal Mind could originate in a limited body, Mind would be chained to finity, and the infinite forever finite.
God is like Himself and like nothing else. He is universal and primitive. His character admits of no degrees of comparison. God is not part, but the whole. In His individuality I recognize the loving, divine Father-Mother God. Infinite personality must be incorporeal.
God’s ways are not ours. His pity is expressed in modes above the human. His chastisements are the manifestations of Love. The sympathy of His eternal Mind is fully expressed in divine Science, which blots out all our iniquities and heals all our diseases. Human pity often brings pain.
Science supports harmony, denies suffering, and destroys it with the divinity of Truth. Whatever seems material, seems thus only to the material senses, and is but the subjective state of mortal and material thought.
Science has inaugurated the irrepressible conflict between sense and Soul. Mortal thought wars with this sense as one that beateth the air, but Science outmasters it, and ends the warfare. This proves daily that “one on God’s side is a majority.”
Science defines omnipresence as universality, that which 103precludes the presence of evil. This verity annuls the testimony of the senses, which say that sin is an evil power, and substance is perishable. Intelligent Spirit, Soul, is substance, far more impregnable and solid than matter; for one is temporal, while the other is eternal, the ultimate and predicate of being.
Mortality, materiality, and destructive forces, such as sin, disease, and death, mortals virtually name substance; but these are the substance of things not hoped for. For lack of knowing what substance is, the senses say vaguely: “The substance of life is sorrow and mortality; for who knoweth the substance of good?” In Science, form and individuality are never lost, thoughts are outlined, individualized ideas, which dwell forever in the divine Mind as tangible, true substance, because eternally conscious. Unlike mortal mind, which must be ever in bondage, the eternal Mind is free, unlimited, and knows not the temporal.
Neither does the temporal know the eternal. Mortal man, as mind or matter, is neither the pattern nor Maker of immortal man. Any inference of the divine derived from the human, either as mind or body, hides the actual power, presence, and individuality of God.
Jesus’ personality in the flesh, so far as material sense could discern it, was like that of other men; but Science exchanges this human concept of Jesus for the divine ideal, his spiritual individuality that reflected the Immanuel, or “God with us.” This God was not outlined. He was too mighty for that. He was eternal Life, infinite Truth and Love. The individuality is embraced in Mind, therefore is forever with the Father. Hence the Scripture, “I am a God at hand, saith the Lord.” Even while 104his personality was on earth and in anguish, his individual being, the Christ, was at rest in the eternal harmony. His unseen individuality, so superior to that which was seen, was not subject to the temptations of the flesh, to laws material, to death, or the grave. Formed and governed by God, this individuality was safe in the substance of Soul, the substance of Spirit, — yea, the substance of God, the one inclusive good.
In Science all being is individual; for individuality is endless in the calculus of forms and numbers. Herein sin is miraculous and supernatural; for it is not in the nature of God, and good is forever good. According to Christian Science, perfection is normal, — not miraculous. Clothed, and in its right Mind, man’s individuality is sinless, deathless, harmonious, eternal. His materiality, clad in a false mentality, wages feeble fight with his individuality, — his physical senses with his spiritual senses. The latter move in God’s grooves of Science: the former revolve in their own orbits, and must stand the friction of false selfhood until self-destroyed.
In obedience to the divine nature, man’s individuality reflects the divine law and order of being. How shall we reach our true selves? Through Love. The Principle of Christian Science is Love, and its idea represents Love. This divine Principle and idea are demonstrated, in healing, to be God and the real man.
Who wants to be mortal, or would not gain the true ideal of Life and recover his own individuality? I will love, if another hates. I will gain a balance on the side of good, my true being. This alone gives me the forces of God wherewith to overcome all error. On this rests the 105implicit faith engendered by Christian Science, which appeals intelligently to the facts of man’s spirituality, individuality, to disdain the fears and destroy the discords of this material personality.
On our Master’s individual demonstrations over sin, sickness, and death, rested the anathema of priesthood and the senses; yet this demonstration is the foundation of Christian Science. His physical sufferings, which came from the testimony of the senses, were over when he resumed his individual spiritual being, after showing us the way to escape from the material body.
Science would have no conflict with Life or common sense, if this sense were consistently sensible. Man’s real life or existence is in harmony with Life and its glorious phenomena. It upholds being, and destroys the too common sense of its opposites — death, disease, and sin. Christian Science is an everlasting victor, and vanquishment is unknown to the omnipresent Truth. I must ever follow this line of light and battle.
Truth destroys error. Nothing appears to the physical senses but their own subjective state of thought. The senses join issue with error, and pity what has no right either to be pitied or to exist, and what does not exist in Science. Destroy the thought of sin, sickness, death, and you destroy their existence. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Christian Science and Christian Scientists will, must, have a history; and if I could write the history in poor
parody on Tennyson’s grand verse, it would read
Traitors to right of them,
M.D.’s to left of them,
Priestcraft in front of them,
Volleyed and thundered!
Into the jaws of hate,
Out through the door of Love,
On to the blest above,
Marched the one hundred.
Friends and Brethren: — Your Sunday Lesson, composed of Scripture and its correlative in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” has fed you. In addition, I can only bring crumbs fallen from this table of Truth, and gather up the fragments.
It has long been a question of earnest import, How shall mankind worship the most adorable, but most unadored, — and where shall begin that praise that shall never end? Beneath, above, beyond, methinks I hear the soft, sweet sigh of angels answering, “So live, that your lives attest your sincerity and resound His praise.”
Music is the harmony of being; but the music of Soul affords the only strains that thrill the chords of feeling and awaken the heart’s harpstrings. Moved by mind, your many-throated organ, in imitative tones of many 107instruments, praises Him; but even the sweetness and beauty in and of this temple that praise Him, are earth’s accents, and must not be mistaken for the oracles of God. Art must not prevail over Science. Christianity is not superfluous. Its redemptive power is seen in sore trials, self-denials, and crucifixions of the flesh. But these come to the rescue of mortals, to admonish them, and plant the feet steadfastly in Christ. As we rise above the seeming mists of sense, we behold more clearly that all the heart’s homage belongs to God.
Three cardinal points must be gained before poor humanity is regenerated and Christian Science is demonstrated: (1) A proper sense of sin; (2) repentance; (3) the understanding of good. Evil is a negation: it never started with time, and it cannot keep pace with eternity. Mortals’ false senses pass through three states and stages of human consciousness before yielding error. The deluded sense must first be shown its falsity through a knowledge of evil as evil, so-called. Without a sense of one’s oft-repeated violations of divine law, the individual may become morally blind, and this deplorable mental state is moral idiocy. The lack of seeing one’s deformed mentality, and of repentance therefor, deep, never to be repented of, is retarding, and in certain morbid instances stopping, the growth of Christian Scientists. Without a knowledge of his sins, and repentance so severe that it destroys them, no person is or can be a Christian Scientist.
To allow sin of any sort is anomalous in Christian Scientists, claiming, as they do, that good is infinite, All. Our Master, in his definition of Satan as a liar from the beginning, attested the absolute powerlessness — yea, nothingness — of evil: since a lie, being without foundation in fact, is merely a falsity; spiritually, literally, it is nothing.
Not to know that a false claim is false, is to be in danger of believing it; hence the utility of knowing evil aright, then reducing its claim to its proper denominator, — nobody and nothing. Sin should be conceived of only as a delusion. This true conception would remove mortals’ ignorance and its consequences, and advance the second stage of human consciousness, repentance. The first state, namely, the knowledge of one’s self, the proper knowledge of evil and its subtle workings wherein evil seems as real as good, is indispensable; since that which is truly conceived of, we can handle; but the misconception of what we need to know of evil, — or the conception of it at all as something real, — costs much. Sin needs only to be known for what it is not; then we are its master, not servant. Remember, and act on, Jesus’ definition of sin as a lie. This cognomen makes it less dangerous; for most of us would not be seen believing in, or adhering to, that which we know to be untrue. What would be thought of a Christian Scientist who believed in the use of drugs, while declaring that they have no intrinsic quality and that there is no matter? What should be thought of an individual believing in that 109which is untrue, and at the same time declaring the unity of Truth, and its allness? Beware of those who misrepresent facts; or tacitly assent where they should dissent; or who take me as authority for what I disapprove, or mayhap never have thought of, and try to reverse, invert, or controvert, Truth; for this is a sure pretext of moral defilement.
Examine yourselves, and see what, and how much, sin claims of you; and how much of this claim you admit as valid, or comply with. The knowledge of evil that brings on repentance is the most hopeful stage of mortal mentality. Even a mild mistake must be seen as a mistake, in order to be corrected; how much more, then, should one’s sins be seen and repented of, before they can be reduced to their native nothingness!
Ignorance is only blest by reason of its nothingness; for seeing the need of somethingness in its stead, blesses mortals. Ignorance was the first condition of sin in the allegory of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Their mental state is not desirable, neither is a knowledge of sin and its consequences, repentance, per se; but, admitting the existence of both, mortals must hasten through the second to the third stage, — the knowledge of good; for without this the valuable sequence of knowledge would be lacking, — even the power to escape from the false claims of sin. To understand good, one must discern the nothingness of evil, and consecrate one’s life anew.
Beloved brethren, Christ, Truth, saith unto you, “Be not afraid!” — fear not sin, lest thereby it master you; but only fear to sin. Watch and pray for self-knowledge; since then, and thus, cometh repentance, — and your superiority to a delusion is won.
Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!
My Beloved Students: — Weeks have passed into months, and months into years, since last we met; but time and space, when encompassed by divine presence, do not separate us. Our hearts have kept time together, and our hands have wrought steadfastly at the same object-lesson, while leagues have lain between us.
We may well unite in thanksgiving for the continued progress and unprecedented prosperity of our Cause. It is already obvious that the world’s acceptance and the momentum of Christian Science, increase rapidly as years glide on.
Faithfully, as meekly, you have toiled all night; and at break of day caught much. At times, your net has been so full that it broke: human pride, creeping into its meshes, extended it beyond safe expansion; then, losing hold of divine Love, you lost your fishes, and possibly blamed others more than yourself. But those whom God makes “fishers of men” will not pull for the shore; like Peter, they launch into the depths, cast their nets on the right side, compensate loss, and gain a higher sense of the true idea. Nothing is lost that God gives: had He filled the net, it would not have broken.
Leaving the seed of Truth to its own vitality, it propagates: the tares cannot hinder it. Our Master said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away;” and Jesus’ faith in Truth must not exceed that of Christian Scientists who prove its power to be immortal.
The Christianity that is merely of sects, the pulpit, and fashionable society, is brief; but the Word of God abideth. Plato was a pagan; but no greater difference existed between his doctrines and those of Jesus, than to-day exists between the Catholic and Protestant sects. I love the orthodox church; and, in time, that church will love Christian Science. Let me specially call the attention of this Association to the following false beliefs inclining mortal mind more deviously: —
The belief in anti-Christ: that somebody in the flesh is the son of God, or is another Christ, or is a spiritually adopted child, or is an incarnated babe, is the evil one — 112in other words, the one evil — disporting itself with the subtleties of sin!
Even honest thinkers, not knowing whence they come, may deem these delusions verities, before they know it, or really look the illusions in the face. The ages are burdened with material modes. Hypnotism, microbes, X-rays, and ex-common sense, occupy time and thought; and error, given new opportunities, will improve them. The most just man can neither defend the innocent nor detect the guilty, unless he knows how to be just; and this knowledge demands our time and attention.
The mental stages of crime, which seem to belong to the latter days, are strictly classified in metaphysics as some of the many features and forms of what is properly denominated, in extreme cases, moral idiocy. I visited in his cell the assassin of President Garfield, and found him in the mental state called moral idiocy. He had no sense of his crime; but regarded his act as one of simple justice, and himself as the victim. My few words touched him; he sank back in his chair, limp and pale; his flippancy had fled. The jailer thanked me, and said, “Other visitors have brought to him bouquets, but you have brought what will do him good.”
This mental disease at first shows itself in extreme sensitiveness; then, in a loss of self-knowledge and of self-condemnation, — a shocking inability to see one’s own faults, but an exaggerating sense of other people’s. Unless this mental condition be overcome, it ends in a total loss of moral, intellectual, and spiritual discernment, and is characterized in this Scripture: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” This state of mind is the exemplification of total depravity, and the result 113of sensuous mind in matter. Mind that is God is not in matter; and God’s presence gives spiritual light, wherein is no darkness.
If, as is indisputably true, “God is Spirit,” and Spirit is our Father and Mother, and that which it includes is all that is real and eternal, when evil seems to predominate and divine light to be obscured, free moral agency is lost; and the Revelator’s vision, that “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name,” is imminent.
Whoever is mentally manipulating human mind, and is not gaining a higher sense of Truth by it, is losing in the scale of moral and spiritual being, and may be carried to the depths of perdition by his own consent. He who refuses to be influenced by any but the divine Mind, commits his way to God, and rises superior to suggestions from an evil source. Christian Science shows that there is a way of escape from the latter-day ultimatum of evil, through scientific truth; so that all are without excuse.
Already I clearly recognize that mental malpractice, if persisted in, will end in insanity, dementia, or moral idiocy. Thank God! this evil can be resisted by true Christianity. Divine Love is our hope, strength, and shield. We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven.
The systematized centres of Christian Science are life-giving fountains of truth. Our churches, The Christian Science Journal, and the Christian Science Quarterly, are prolific sources of spiritual power whose intellectual, moral, and spiritual animus is felt throughout the land. 114Our Publishing Society, and our Sunday Lessons, are of inestimable value to all seekers after Truth. The Committee on Sunday School Lessons cannot give too much time and attention to their task, and should spare no research in the preparation of the Quarterly as an educational branch.
The teachers of Christian Science need to watch incessantly the trend of their own thoughts; watch that these be not secretly robbed, and themselves misguided, and so made to misteach others. Teachers must conform strictly to the rules of divine Science announced in the Bible and their textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” They must themselves practise, and teach others to practise, the Hebrew Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the understanding and enunciation of these according to Christ.
They must always have on armor, and resist the foe within and without. They cannot arm too thoroughly against original sin, appearing in its myriad forms: passion, appetites, hatred, revenge, and all the et cetera of evil. Christian Scientists cannot watch too sedulously, or bar their doors too closely, or pray to God too fervently, for deliverance from the claims of evil. Thus doing, Scientists will silence evil suggestions, uncover their methods, and stop their hidden influence upon the lives of mortals. Rest assured that God in His wisdom will test all mankind on all questions; and then, if found faithful, He will deliver us from temptation and show us the powerlessness of evil, — even its utter nothingness.
The teacher in Christian Science who does not specially instruct his pupils how to guard against evil and its silent modes, and to be able, through Christ, the liv115ing Truth, to protect themselves therefrom, is committing an offense against God and humanity. With Science and Health for their textbook, I am astounded at the apathy of some students on the subject of sin and mental malpractice, and their culpable ignorance of the workings of these — and even the teacher’s own deficiency in this department. I can account for this state of mind in the teacher only as the result of sin; otherwise, his own guilt as a mental malpractitioner, and fear of being found out.
The helpless ignorance of the community on this subject is pitiable, and plain to be seen. May God enable my students to take up the cross as I have done, and meet the pressing need of a proper preparation of heart to practise, teach, and live Christian Science! Your means of protection and defense from sin are, constant watchfulness and prayer that you enter not into temptation and are delivered from every claim of evil, till you intelligently know and demonstrate, in Science, that evil has neither prestige, power, nor existence, since God, good, is All-in-all.
The increasing necessity for relying on God to defend us against the subtler forms of evil, turns us more unreservedly to Him for help, and thus becomes a means of grace. If one lives rightly, every effort to hurt one will only help that one; for God will give the ability to overcome whatever tends to impede progress. Know this: that you cannot overcome the baneful effects of sin on yourself, if you in any way indulge in sin; for, sooner or later, you will fall the victim of your own as well as of others’ sins. Using mental power in the right direction only, doing to others as you would have them 116do to you, will overcome evil with good, and destroy your own sensitiveness to the power of evil.
My Beloved Students: — This question, ever nearest to my heart, is to-day uppermost: Are we filling the measures of life’s music aright, emphasizing its grand strains, swelling the harmony of being with tones whence come glad echoes? As crescendo and diminuendo accent music, so the varied strains of human chords express life’s loss or gain, — loss of the pleasures and pains and pride of life: gain of its sweet concord, the courage of honest convictions, and final obedience to spiritual law. The ultimate of scientific research and attainment in divine Science is not an argument: it is not merely saying, but doing, the Word — demonstrating Truth — even as the fruits of watchfulness, prayer, struggles, tears, and triumph.
Obeying the divine Principle which you profess to understand and love, demonstrates Truth. Never absent from your post, never off guard, never ill-humored, never unready to work for God, — is obedience; being “faithful over a few things.” If in one instance obedience be lacking, you lose the scientific rule and its reward: namely, 117to be made “ruler over many things.” A progressive life is the reality of Life that unfolds its immortal Principle.
The student of Christian Science must first separate the tares from the wheat; discern between the thought, motive, and act superinduced by the wrong motive or the true — the God-given intent and volition — arrest the former, and obey the latter. This will place him on the safe side of practice. We always know where to look for the real Scientist, and always find him there. I agree with Rev. Dr. Talmage, that “there are wit, humor, and enduring vivacity among God’s people.”
Obedience is the offspring of Love; and Love is the Principle of unity, the basis of all right thinking and acting; it fulfils the law. We see eye to eye and know as we are known, reciprocate kindness and work wisely, in proportion as we love.
It is difficult for me to carry out a divine commission while participating in the movements, or modus operandi, of other folks. To point out every step to a student and then watch that each step be taken, consumes time, — and experiments ofttimes are costly. According to my calendar, God’s time and mortals’ differ. The neophyte is inclined to be too fast or too slow: he works somewhat in the dark; and, sometimes out of season, he would replenish his lamp at the midnight hour and borrow oil of the more provident watcher. God is the fountain of light, and He illumines one’s way when one is obedient. The disobedient make their moves before God makes His, or make them too late to follow Him. Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance.
118 Human will must be subjugated. We cannot obey both God, good, and evil, — in other words, the material senses, false suggestions, self-will, selfish motives, and human policy. We shall have no faith in evil when faith finds a resting-place and scientific understanding guides man. Honesty in every condition, under every circumstance, is the indispensable rule of obedience. To obey the principle of mathematics ninety-nine times in one hundred and then allow one numeral to make incorrect your entire problem, is neither Science nor obedience.
However keenly the human affections yearn to forgive a mistake, and pass a friend over it smoothly, one’s sympathy can neither atone for error, advance individual growth, nor change this immutable decree of Love: “Keep My commandments.” The guerdon of meritorious faith or trustworthiness rests on being willing to work alone with God and for Him, — willing to suffer patiently for error until all error is destroyed and His rod and His staff comfort you.
Self-ignorance, self-will, self-righteousness, lust, covetousness, envy, revenge, are foes to grace, peace, and progress; they must be met manfully and overcome, or they will uproot all happiness. Be of good cheer; the warfare with one’s self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you, — and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory. Every attempt of evil to harm good is futile, and ends in the fiery punishment of the evil-doer.
Jesus said, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, 119this defileth a man.” If malicious suggestions whisper evil through the mind’s tympanum, this were no apology for acting evilly. We are responsible for our thoughts and acts; and instead of aiding other people’s devices by obeying them, — and then whining over misfortune, — rise and overthrow both. If a criminal coax the unwary man to commit a crime, our laws punish the dupe as accessory to the fact. Each individual is responsible for himself.
Evil is impotent to turn the righteous man from his uprightness. The nature of the individual, more stubborn than the circumstance, will always be found arguing for itself, — its habits, tastes, and indulgences. This material nature strives to tip the beam against the spiritual nature; for the flesh strives against Spirit, — against whatever or whoever opposes evil, — and weighs mightily in the scale against man’s high destiny. This conclusion is not an argument either for pessimism or for optimism, but is a plea for free moral agency, — full exemption from all necessity to obey a power that should be and is found powerless in Christian Science.
Insubordination to the law of Love even in the least, or strict obedience thereto, tests and discriminates between the real and the unreal Scientist. Justice, a prominent statute in the divine law, demands of all trespassers upon the sparse individual rights which one justly reserves to one’s self, — Would you consent that others should tear up your landmarks, manipulate your students, nullify or reverse your rules, countermand your orders, steal your possessions, and escape the penalty therefor? No! “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even 120so to them.” The professors of Christian Science must take off their shoes at our altars; they must unclasp the material sense of things at the very threshold of Christian Science: they must obey implicitly each and every injunction of the divine Principle of life’s long problem, or repeat their work in tears. In the words of St. Paul, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Beloved students, loyal laborers are ye that have wrought valiantly, and achieved great guerdons in the vineyard of our Lord; but a mighty victory is yet to be won, a great freedom for the race; and Christian success is under arms, — with armor on, not laid down. Let us rejoice, however, that the clarion call of peace will at length be heard above the din of battle, and come more sweetly to our ear than sound of vintage bells to villagers on the Rhine.
I recommend that this Association hereafter meet triennially: many of its members reside a long distance from Massachusetts, and they are members of The Mother Church who would love to be with you on Sunday, and once in three years is perhaps as often as they can afford to be away from their own fields of labor.
Friends and Brethren: — The Biblical record of the great Nazarene, whose character we to-day commemorate, is scanty; but what is given, puts to flight every doubt as to the immortality of his words and works. Though 121written in a decaying language, his words can never pass away: they are inscribed upon the hearts of men: they are engraved upon eternity’s tablets.
Undoubtedly our Master partook of the Jews’ feast of the Passover, and drank from their festal wine-cup. This, however, is not the cup to which I call your attention, — even the cup of martyrdom: wherein Spirit and matter, good and evil, seem to grapple, and the human struggles against the divine, up to a point of discovery; namely, the impotence of evil, and the omnipotence of good, as divinely attested. Anciently, the blood of martyrs was believed to be the seed of the Church. Stalled theocracy would make this fatal doctrine just and sovereign, even a divine decree, a law of Love! That the innocent shall suffer for the guilty, is inhuman. The prophet declared, “Thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel.” This is plain: that whatever belittles, befogs, or belies the nature and essence of Deity, is not divine. Who, then, shall father or favor this sentence passed upon innocence? thereby giving the signet of God to the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of His beloved Son, the righteous Nazarene, — christened by John the Baptist, “the Lamb of God.”
Oh! shameless insult to divine royalty, that drew from the great Master this answer to the questions of the rabbinical rabble: “If I tell you, ye will not believe; and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.”
Infinitely greater than human pity, is divine Love, — that cannot be unmerciful. Human tribunals, if just, borrow their sense of justice from the divine Principle thereof, which punishes the guilty, not the innocent. The Teacher of both law and gospel construed the substitution 122of a good man to suffer for evil-doers — a crime! When foretelling his own crucifixion, he said, “Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”
Would Jesus thus have spoken of what was indispensable for the salvation of a world of sinners, or of the individual instrument in this holy (?) alliance for accomplishing such a monstrous work? or have said of him whom God foreordained and predestined to fulfil a divine decree, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”?
The divine order is the acme of mercy: it is neither questionable nor assailable: it is not evil producing good, nor good ultimating in evil. Such an inference were impious. Holy Writ denounces him that declares, “Let us do evil, that good may come! whose damnation is just.”
Good is not educed from its opposite: and Love divine spurned, lessens not the hater’s hatred nor the criminal’s crime; nor reconciles justice to injustice; nor substitutes the suffering of the Godlike for the suffering due to sin. Neither spiritual bankruptcy nor a religious chancery can win high heaven, or the “Well done, good and faithful servant, . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Divine Love knows no hate; for hate, or the hater, is nothing: God never made it, and He made all that was made. The hater’s pleasures are unreal; his sufferings, self-imposed; his existence is a parody, and he ends — with suicide.
The murder of the just Nazarite was incited by the 123same spirit that in our time massacres our missionaries, butchers the helpless Armenians, slaughters innocents. Evil was, and is, the illusion of breaking the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me:” it is either idolizing something and somebody, or hating them: it is the spirit of idolatry, envy, jealousy, covetousness, superstition, lust, hypocrisy, witchcraft.
That man can break the forever-law of infinite Love, was, and is, the serpent’s biggest lie! and ultimates in a religion of pagan priests bloated with crime; a religion that demands human victims to be sacrificed to human passions and human gods, or tortured to appease the anger of a so-called god or a miscalled man or woman! The Assyrian Merodach, or the god of sin, was the “lucky god;” and the Babylonian Yawa, or Jehovah, was the Jewish tribal deity. The Christian’s God is neither, and is too pure to behold iniquity.
Divine Science has rolled away the stone from the sepulchre of our Lord; and there has risen to the awakened thought the majestic atonement of divine Love. The at-one-ment with Christ has appeared — not through vicarious suffering, whereby the just obtain a pardon for the unjust, — but through the eternal law of justice; wherein sinners suffer for their own sins, repent, forsake sin, love God, and keep His commandments, thence to receive the reward of righteousness: salvation from sin, not through the death of a man, but through a divine Life, which is our Redeemer.
Holy Writ declares that God is Love, is Spirit; hence it follows that those who worship Him, must worship Him spiritually, — far apart from physical sensation such as attends eating and drinking corporeally. It is 124plain that aught unspiritual, intervening between God and man, would tend to disturb the divine order, and countermand the Scripture that those who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit. It is also plain, that we should not seek and cannot find God in matter, or through material methods; neither do we love and obey Him by means of matter, or the flesh, — which warreth against Spirit, and will not be reconciled thereto.
We turn, with sickened sense, from a pagan Jew’s or Moslem’s misconception of Deity, for peace; and find rest in the spiritual ideal, or Christ. For “who is so great a God as our God!” unchangeable, all-wise, all-just, all-merciful; the ever-loving, ever-living Life, Truth, Love: comforting such as mourn, opening the prison doors to the captive, marking the unwinged bird, pitying with more than a father’s pity; healing the sick, cleansing the leper, raising the dead, saving sinners. As we think thereon, man’s true sense is filled with peace, and power; and we say, It is well that Christian Science has taken expressive silence wherein to muse His praise, to kiss the feet of Jesus, adore the white Christ, and stretch out our arms to God.
The last act of the tragedy on Calvary rent the veil of matter, and unveiled Love’s great legacy to mortals: Love forgiving its enemies. This grand act crowned and still crowns Christianity: it manumits mortals; it translates love; it gives to suffering, inspiration; to patience, experience; to experience, hope; to hope, faith; to faith, understanding; and to understanding, Love triumphant!
In proportion to a man’s spiritual progress, he will 125indeed drink of our Master’s cup, and be baptized with his baptism! be purified as by fire, — the fires of suffering; then hath he part in Love’s atonement, for “whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” Then shall he also reign with him: he shall rise to know that there is no sin, that there is no suffering; since all that is real is right. This knowledge enables him to overcome the world, the flesh, and all evil, to have dominion over his own sinful sense and self. Then shall he drink anew Christ’s cup, in the kingdom of God — the reign of righteousness — within him; he shall sit down at the Father’s right hand: sit down; not stand waiting and weary; but rest on the bosom of God; rest, in the understanding of divine Love that passeth all understanding; rest, in that which “to know aright is Life eternal,” and whom, not having seen, we love.
Then shall he press on to Life’s long lesson, the eternal lore of Love; and learn forever the infinite meanings of these short sentences: “God is Love;” and, All that is real is divine, for God is All-in-all.
Beloved Brethren, Children, and Grandchildren: — Apart from the common walks of mankind, revolving oft the hitherto untouched problems of being, and oftener, perhaps, the controversies which baffle it, Mother, thought-tired, turns to-day to you; turns to her dear church, to tell the towers thereof the remarkable achievements that have been ours within the past few years: the rapid transit from halls to churches, from un126settled questions to permanence, from danger to escape, from fragmentary discourses to one eternal sermon; yea, from darkness to daylight, in physics and metaphysics.
Who hath not learned that when alone he has his own thoughts to guard, and when struggling with mankind his temper, and in society his tongue? We also have gained higher heights; have learned that trials lift us to that dignity of Soul which sustains us, and finally conquers them; and that the ordeal refines while it chastens.
Perhaps our church is not yet quite sensible of what we owe to the strength, meekness, honesty, and obedience of the Christian Science Board of Directors; to the able editors of The Christian Science Journal, and to our efficient Publishing Society.
No reproof is so potent as the silent lesson of a good example. Works, more than words, should characterize Christian Scientists. Most people condemn evil-doing, evil-speaking; yet nothing circulates so rapidly: even gold is less current. Christian Scientists have a strong race to run, and foes in ambush; but bear in mind that, in the long race, honesty always defeats dishonesty.
God hath indeed smiled on my church, — this daughter of Zion: she sitteth in high places; and to deride her is to incur the penalty of which the Hebrew bard spake after this manner: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”
127 Hitherto, I have observed that in proportion as this church has smiled on His “little ones,” He has blessed her. Throughout my entire connection with The Mother Church, I have seen, that in the ratio of her love for others, hath His love been bestowed upon her; watering her waste places, and enlarging her borders.
One thing I have greatly desired, and again earnestly request, namely, that Christian Scientists, here and elsewhere, pray daily for themselves; not verbally, nor on bended knee, but mentally, meekly, and importunately. When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone, — but more grace, obedience, and love. If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into it the “river of His pleasure,” the tributary of divine Love, and great growth in Christian Science will follow, — even that joy which finds one’s own in another’s good.
To love, and to be loved, one must do good to others. The inevitable condition whereby to become blessed, is to bless others: but here, you must so know yourself, under God’s direction, that you will do His will even though your pearls be downtrodden. Ofttimes the rod is His means of grace; then it must be ours, — we cannot avoid wielding it if we reflect Him.
Wise sayings and garrulous talk may fall to the ground, rather than on the ear or heart of the hearer; but a tender sentiment felt, or a kind word spoken, at the right moment, is never wasted. Mortal mind presents phases of character which need close attention and examination. The human heart, like a feather bed, needs often to be stirred, 128sometimes roughly, and given a variety of turns, else it grows hard and uncomfortable whereon to repose.
The lessons of this so-called life in matter are too vast and varied to learn or to teach briefly; and especially within the limits of a letter. Therefore I close here, with the apostle’s injunction: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”