67Sin existed as a false claim before the human concept of sin was formed; hence one’s concept of error is not the whole of error. The human thought does not constitute sin, but vice versa, sin constitutes the human or physical concept.
Sin is both concrete and abstract. Sin was, and is, the lying supposition that life, substance, and intelligence are both material and spiritual, and yet are separate from God. The first iniquitous manifestation of sin was a finity. The finite was self-arrayed against the infinite, the mortal against immortality, and a sinner was the antipode of God.
Silencing self, alias rising above corporeal personality, is what reforms the sinner and destroys sin. In the ratio that the testimony of material personal sense ceases, sin diminishes, until the false claim called sin is finally lost for lack of witness.
The sinner created neither himself nor sin, but sin created the sinner; that is, error made its man mortal, and this mortal was the image and likeness of evil, not of good. Therefore the lie was, and is, collective as well as individual. It was in no way contingent on Adam’s thought, but supposititiously self-created. In the words of our Master, it, the “devil” (alias evil), “was a liar, and the father of it.”
68 This mortal material concept was never a creator, although as a serpent it claimed to originate in the name of “the Lord,” or good, — original evil; second, in the name of human concept, it claimed to beget the offspring of evil, alias an evil offspring. However, the human concept never was, neither indeed can be, the father of man. Even the spiritual idea, or ideal man, is not a parent, though he reflects the infinity of good. The great difference between these opposites is, that the human material concept is unreal, and the divine concept or idea is spiritually real. One is false, while the other is true. One is temporal, but the other is eternal.
“In reality there is no mortal mind, and consequently no transference of mortal thought and will-power. Life and being are of God. In Christian Science, man can do no harm, for scientific thoughts are true thoughts, passing from God to man” (pp. 103, 104).
“Man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like 69that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being” (p. 63).
“The parent of all human discord was the Adam-dream, the deep sleep, in which originated the delusion that life and intelligence proceeded from and passed into matter. This pantheistic error, or so-called serpent, insists still upon the opposite of Truth, saying, ‘Ye shall be as gods;’ that is, I will make error as real and eternal as Truth. . . . ‘I will put spirit into what I call matter, and matter shall seem to have life as much as God, Spirit, who is the only Life.’ This error has proved itself to be error. Its life is found to be not Life, but only a transient, false sense of an existence which ends in death” (pp. 306, 307).
“When will the error of believing that there is life in matter, and that sin, sickness, and death are creations of God, be unmasked? When will it be understood that matter has no intelligence, life, nor sensation, and that the opposite belief is the prolific source of all suffering? God created all through Mind, and made all perfect and eternal. Where then is the necessity for recreation or procreation?” (p. 205).
“Above error’s awful din, blackness, and chaos, the voice of Truth still calls: ‘Adam, where art thou? Consciousness, where art thou? Art thou dwelling in the belief that mind is in matter, and that evil is mind, or art thou in the living faith that there is and can be but one God, and keeping His commandment?’” (pp. 307, 308).
70 “Mortal mind inverts the true likeness, and confers animal names and natures upon its own misconceptions. Ignorant of the origin and operations of mortal mind, — that is, ignorant of itself, — this so-called mind puts forth its own qualities, and claims God as their author; . . . usurps the deific prerogatives and is an attempted infringement on infinity” (pp. 512, 513).
We do not question the authenticity of the Scriptural narrative of the Virgin-mother and Bethlehem babe, and the Messianic mission of Christ Jesus; but in our time no Christian Scientist will give chimerical wings to his imagination, or advance speculative theories as to the recurrence of such events.
No person can take the individual place of the Virgin Mary. No person can compass or fulfil the individual mission of Jesus of Nazareth. No person can take the place of the author of Science and Health, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.
The right teacher of Christian Science lives the truth he teaches. Preeminent among men, he virtually stands at the head of all sanitary, civil, moral, and religious reform. Such a post of duty, unpierced by vanity, exalts a mortal 71beyond human praise, or monuments which weigh dust, and humbles him with the tax it raises on calamity to open the gates of heaven. It is not the forager on others’ wisdom that God thus crowns, but he who is obedient to the divine command, “Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Great temptations beset an ignorant or an unprincipled mind-practice in opposition to the straight and narrow path of Christian Science. Promiscuous mental treatment, without the consent or knowledge of the individual treated, is an error of much magnitude. People unaware of the indications of mental treatment, know not what is affecting them, and thus may be robbed of their individual rights, — freedom of choice and self-government. Who is willing to be subjected to such an influence? Ask the unbridled mind-manipulator if he would consent to this; and if not, then he is knowingly transgressing Christ’s command. He who secretly manipulates mind without the permission of man or God, is not dealing justly and loving mercy, according to pure and undefiled religion.
Sinister and selfish motives entering into mental practice are dangerous incentives; they proceed from false convictions and a fatal ignorance. These are the tares growing side by side with the wheat, that must be recognized, and uprooted, before the wheat can be garnered and Christian Science demonstrated.
72 In the practice of Christian Science one cannot impart a mental influence that hazards another’s happiness, nor interfere with the rights of the individual. To disregard the welfare of others is contrary to the law of God; therefore it deteriorates one’s ability to do good, to benefit himself and mankind.
The Psalmist vividly portrays the result of secret faults, presumptuous sins, and self-deception, in these words: “How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.”