203BELOVED STUDENTS: — In thanking you for your gift of the pretty pond contributed to Pleasant View, in Concord, New Hampshire, I make no distinction between my students and your students; for here, thine becomes mine through gratitude and affection.
From my tower window, as I look on this smile of Christian Science, this gift from my students and their students, it will always mirror their love, loyalty, and good works. Solomon saith, “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
The waters that run among the valleys, and that you have coaxed in their course to call on me, have served the imagination for centuries. Theology religiously bathes in water, medicine applies it physically, hydrology handles it with so-called science, and metaphysics appropriates it topically as type and shadow. Metaphysically, baptism serves to rebuke the senses and illustrate Christian Science.
First: The baptism of repentance is indeed a stricken state of human consciousness, wherein mortals gain severe views of themselves; a state of mind which rends the veil that hides mental deformity. Tears flood the eyes, 204agony struggles, pride rebels, and a mortal seems a monster, a dark, impenetrable cloud of error; and falling on the bended knee of prayer, humble before God, he cries, “Save, or I perish.” Thus Truth, searching the heart, neutralizes and destroys error.
This mental period is sometimes chronic, but oftener acute. It is attended throughout with doubt, hope, sorrow, joy, defeat, and triumph. When the good fight is fought, error yields up its weapons and kisses the feet of Love, while white-winged peace sings to the heart a song of angels.
Second: The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the spirit of Truth cleansing from all sin; giving mortals new motives, new purposes, new affections, all pointing upward. This mental condition settles into strength, freedom, deep-toned faith in God; and a marked loss of faith in evil, in human wisdom, human policy, ways, and means. It develops individual capacity, increases the intellectual activities, and so quickens moral sensibility that the great demands of spiritual sense are recognized, and they rebuke the material senses, holding sway over human consciousness.
By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiæ of human affairs. It brings with it wonderful foresight, wisdom, and power; it unselfs the mortal purpose, gives steadiness to resolve, and success to endeavor. Through the accession of spirituality, God, the divine Principle of Christian Science, literally governs the aims, ambition, and acts of the Scientist. The divine ruling gives prudence and energy; it banishes forever all envy, rivalry, evil thinking, evil speaking and acting; and mortal 205mind, thus purged, obtains peace and power outside of itself.
In mortal experience, the fire of repentance first separates the dross from the gold, and reformation brings the light which dispels darkness. Thus the operation of the spirit of Truth and Love on the human thought, in the words of St. John, “shall take of mine and show it unto you.”
Third: The baptism of Spirit, or final immersion of human consciousness in the infinite ocean of Love, is the last scene in corporeal sense. This omnipotent act drops the curtain on material man and mortality. After this, man’s identity or consciousness reflects only Spirit, good, whose visible being is invisible to the physical senses: eye hath not seen it, inasmuch as it is the disembodied individual Spirit-substance and consciousness termed in Christian metaphysics the ideal man — forever permeated with eternal life, holiness, heaven. This order of Science is the chain of ages, which maintain their obvious correspondence, and unites all periods in the divine design. Mortal man’s repentance and absolute abandonment of sin finally dissolves all supposed material life or physical sensation, and the corporeal or mortal man disappears forever. The encumbering mortal molecules, called man, vanish as a dream; but man born of the great Forever, lives on, God-crowned and blest.
Mortals who on the shores of time learn Christian Science, and live what they learn, take rapid transit to 206heaven, — the hinge on which have turned all revolutions, natural, civil, or religious, the former being servant to the latter, — from flux to permanence, from foul to pure, from torpid to serene, from extremes to intermediate. Above the waves of Jordan, dashing against the receding shore, is heard the Father and Mother’s welcome, saying forever to the baptized of Spirit: “This is my beloved Son.” What but divine Science can interpret man’s eternal existence, God’s allness, and the scientific indestructibility of the universe?
The advancing stages of Christian Science are gained through growth, not accretion; idleness is the foe of progress. And scientific growth manifests no weakness, no emasculation, no illusive vision, no dreamy absentness, no insubordination to the laws that be, no loss nor lack of what constitutes true manhood.
Growth is governed by intelligence; by the active, all-wise, law-creating, law-disciplining, law-abiding Principle, God. The real Christian Scientist is constantly accentuating harmony in word and deed, mentally and orally, perpetually repeating this diapason of heaven: “Good is my God, and my God is good. Love is my God, and my God is Love.”
Beloved students, you have entered the path. Press patiently on; God is good, and good is the reward of all who diligently seek God. Your growth will be rapid, if you love good supremely, and understand and obey the Way-shower, who, going before you, has scaled the steep ascent of Christian Science, stands upon the mount of holiness, the dwelling-place of our God, and bathes in the baptismal font of eternal Love.
As you journey, and betimes sigh for rest “beside the 207still waters,” ponder this lesson of love. Learn its purpose; and in hope and faith, where heart meets heart reciprocally blest, drink with me the living waters of the spirit of my life-purpose, — to impress humanity with the genuine recognition of practical, operative Christian Science.