Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. — REVELATION.
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.
The new Evangel This angel or message which comes from God, clothed with a cloud, prefigures divine Science. To mortal sense Science seems at first obscure, abstract, and dark; but a bright promise crowns its brow. When understood, it is Truth’s prism and praise. When you look it fairly in the face, you can heal by its means, and it has for you a light above the sun, for God “is the light thereof.” Its feet are pillars of fire, foundations of Truth and Love. It brings the baptism of the Holy Ghost, whose flames of Truth were prophetically described by John the Baptist as consuming error.
559Truth’s volume This angel had in his hand “a little book,” open for all to read and understand. Did this same book contain the revelation of divine Science, the “right foot” or dominant power of which was upon the sea, — upon elementary, latent error, the source of all error’s visible forms? The angel’s left foot was upon the earth; that is, a secondary power was exercised upon visible error and audible sin. The “still, small voice” of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, “as when a lion roareth.” It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear. It arouses the “seven thunders” of evil, and stirs their latent forces to utter the full diapason of secret tones. Then is the power of Truth demonstrated, — made manifest in the destruction of error. Then will a voice from harmony cry: “Go and take the little book. . . . Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.” Mortals, obey the heavenly evangel. Take divine Science. Read this book from beginning to end. Study it, ponder it. It will be indeed sweet at its first taste, when it heals you; but murmur not over Truth, if you find its digestion bitter. When you approach nearer and nearer to this divine Principle, when you eat the divine body of this Principle, — thus partaking of the nature, or primal elements, of Truth and Love, — do not be surprised nor discontented because you must share the hemlock cup and eat the bitter herbs; for the Israelites of old at the Paschal meal thus prefigured this perilous passage out of bondage into the El Dorado of faith and hope.
To-day’s lesson The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, or Revela560tion of St. John, has a special suggestiveness in connection with the nineteenth century. In the opening of the sixth seal, typical of six thousand years since Adam, the distinctive feature has reference to the present age.
True estimate of God’s messenger Heaven represents harmony, and divine Science interprets the Principle of heavenly harmony. The great miracle, to human sense, is divine Love, and the grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man. This goal is never reached while we hate our neighbor or entertain a false estimate of anyone whom God has appointed to voice His Word. Again, without a correct sense of its highest visible idea, we can never understand the divine Principle. The botanist must know the genus and species of a plant in order to classify it correctly. As it is with things, so is it with persons.
Persecution harmful Abuse of the motives and religion of St. Paul hid from view the apostle’s character, which made him equal to his great mission. Persecution of all who have spoken something new and better of God has not only obscured the light of the ages, but has been fatal to the persecutors. Why? Because it has hid from them the true idea which has been presented. To misunderstand Paul, was to be ignorant of the divine idea he taught. Ignorance of the divine idea betrays at once a greater ignorance of the divine Principle of the idea — igno561rance of Truth and Love. The understanding of Truth and Love, the Principle which works out the ends of eternal good and destroys both faith in evil and the practice of evil, leads to the discernment of the divine idea.
Espousals supernal Agassiz, through his microscope, saw the sun in an egg at a point of so-called embryonic life. Because of his more spiritual vision, St. John saw an “angel standing in the sun.” The Revelator beheld the spiritual idea from the mount of vision. Purity was the symbol of Life and Love. The Revelator saw also the spiritual ideal as a woman clothed in light, a bride coming down from heaven, wedded to the Lamb of Love. To John, “the bride” and “the Lamb” represented the correlation of divine Principle and spiritual idea, God and His Christ, bringing harmony to earth.
Divinity and humanity John saw the human and divine coincidence, shown in the man Jesus, as divinity embracing humanity in Life and its demonstration, — reducing to human perception and understanding the Life which is God. In divine revelation, material and corporeal selfhood disappear, and the spiritual idea is understood.
Spiritual sunlight The woman in the Apocalypse symbolizes generic man, the spiritual idea of God; she illustrates the coincidence of God and man as the divine Principle and divine idea. The Revelator symbolizes Spirit by the sun. The spiritual idea is clad with the radiance of spiritual Truth, and matter is put under her feet. The light portrayed is really neither solar nor lunar, but spiritual Life, which is “the light of men.” In the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel it is written, “There was a man sent from God . . . to bear witness of that Light.”
Spiritual idea revealed John the Baptist prophesied the coming of the im562maculate Jesus, and John saw in those days the spiritual idea as the Messiah, who would baptize with the Holy Ghost, — divine Science. As Elias presented the idea of the fatherhood of God, which Jesus afterwards manifested, so the Revelator completed this figure with woman, typifying the spiritual idea of God’s motherhood. The moon is under her feet. This idea reveals the universe as secondary and tributary to Spirit, from which the universe borrows its reflected light, substance, life, and intelligence.
Spiritual idea crowned The spiritual idea is crowned with twelve stars. The twelve tribes of Israel with all mortals, — separated by belief from man’s divine origin and the true idea, — will through much tribulation yield to the activities of the divine Principle of man in the harmony of Science. These are the stars in the crown of rejoicing. They are the lamps in the spiritual heavens of the age, which show the workings of the spiritual idea by healing the sick and the sinning, and by manifesting the light which shines “unto the perfect day” as the night of materialism wanes.
Travail and joy Also the spiritual idea is typified by a woman in travail, waiting to be delivered of her sweet promise, but remembering no more her sorrow for joy that the birth goes on; for great is the idea, and the travail portentous.
563The dragon as a type Human sense may well marvel at discord, while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal. We may well be astonished at sin, sickness, and death. We may well be perplexed at human fear; and still more astounded at hatred, which lifts its hydra head, showing its horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness? The great red dragon symbolizes a lie, — the belief that substance, life, and intelligence can be material. This dragon stands for the sum total of human error. The ten horns of the dragon typify the belief that matter has power of its own, and that by means of an evil mind in matter the Ten Commandments can be broken.
The sting of the serpent The Revelator lifts the veil from this embodiment of all evil, and beholds its awful character; but he also sees the nothingness of evil and the allness of God. The Revelator sees that old serpent, whose name is devil or evil, holding untiring watch, that he may bite the heel of truth and seemingly impede the offspring of the spiritual idea, which is prolific in health, holiness, and immortality.
Revelation xii. 4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Animal tendency The serpentine form stands for subtlety, winding its way amidst all evil, but doing this in the name of good. Its sting is spoken of by Paul, when he refers to “spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is the animal instinct in mortals, which would impel 564them to devour each other and cast out devils through Beelzebub.
As of old, evil still charges the spiritual idea with error’s own nature and methods. This malicious animal instinct, of which the dragon is the type, incites mortals to kill morally and physically even their fellow-mortals, and worse still, to charge the innocent with the crime. This last infirmity of sin will sink its perpetrator into a night without a star.
Malicious barbarity The author is convinced that the accusations against Jesus of Nazareth and even his crucifixion were instigated by the criminal instinct here described. The Revelator speaks of Jesus as the Lamb of God and of the dragon as warring against innocence. Since Jesus must have been tempted in all points, he, the immaculate, met and conquered sin in every form. The brutal barbarity of his foes could emanate from no source except the highest degree of human depravity. Jesus “opened not his mouth.” Until the majesty of Truth should be demonstrated in divine Science, the spiritual idea was arraigned before the tribunal of so-called mortal mind, which was unloosed in order that the false claim of mind in matter might uncover its own crime of defying immortal Mind.
Doom of the dragon From Genesis to the Apocalypse, sin, sickness, and death, envy, hatred, and revenge, — all evil, — are typified by a serpent, or animal subtlety. Jesus said, quoting a line from the Psalms, “They hated me without a cause.” The serpent is perpetually close upon the heel of harmony. From the beginning to the end, the serpent pursues with hatred the spiritual idea. In Genesis, this allegorical, talking serpent typifies mortal mind, “more subtle than any beast of the 565field.” In the Apocalypse, when nearing its doom, this evil increases and becomes the great red dragon, swollen with sin, inflamed with war against spirituality, and ripe for destruction. It is full of lust and hate, loathing the brightness of divine glory.
The conflict with purity Led on by the grossest element of mortal mind, Herod decreed the death of every male child in order that the man Jesus, the masculine representative of the spiritual idea, might never hold sway and deprive Herod of his crown. The impersonation of the spiritual idea had a brief history in the earthly life of our Master; but “of his kingdom there shall be no end,” for Christ, God’s idea, will eventually rule all nations and peoples — imperatively, absolutely, finally — with divine Science. This immaculate idea, represented first by man and, according to the Revelator, last by woman, will baptize with fire; and the fiery baptism will burn up the chaff of error with the fervent heat of Truth and Love, melting and purifying even the gold of human character. After the stars sang together and all was primeval harmony, the material lie made war upon the spiritual idea; but this only impelled the idea to rise to the zenith of demonstration, destroying sin, sickness, and death, and to be caught up unto God, — to be found in its divine Principle.
566Spiritual guidance As the children of Israel were guided triumphantly through the Red Sea, the dark ebbing and flowing tides of human fear, — as they were led through the wilderness, walking wearily through the great desert of human hopes, and anticipating the promised joy, — so shall the spiritual idea guide all right desires in their passage from sense to Soul, from a material sense of existence to the spiritual, up to the glory prepared for them who love God. Stately Science pauses not, but moves before them, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, leading to divine heights.
If we remember the beautiful description which Sir
Walter Scott puts into the mouth of Rebecca the Jewess
in the story of Ivanhoe, —
When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out of the land of bondage came,
Her fathers’ God before her moved,
An awful guide, in smoke and flame, —we may also offer the prayer which concludes the same hymn, —
And oh, when stoops on Judah’s path
In shade and storm the frequent night,
Be Thou, longsuffering, slow to wrath,
A burning and a shining light!
Revelation xii. 7, 8. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Angelic offices The Old Testament assigns to the angels, God’s divine messages, different offices. Michael’s characteristic is spiritual strength. He leads the hosts of heaven against the power of sin, Satan, and 567fights the holy wars. Gabriel has the more quiet task of imparting a sense of the ever-presence of ministering Love. These angels deliver us from the depths. Truth and Love come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God. The Gabriel of His presence has no contests. To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death. Against Love, the dragon warreth not long, for he is killed by the divine Principle. Truth and Love prevail against the dragon because the dragon cannot war with them. Thus endeth the conflict between the flesh and Spirit.
Revelation xii. 9. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Dragon cast down to earth That false claim — that ancient belief, that old serpent whose name is devil (evil), claiming that there is intelligence in matter either to benefit or to injure men — is pure delusion, the red dragon; and it is cast out by Christ, Truth, the spiritual idea, and so proved to be powerless. The words “cast unto the earth” show the dragon to be nothingness, dust to dust; and therefore, in his pretence of being a talker, he must be a lie from the beginning. His angels, or messages, are cast out with their author. The beast and the false prophets are lust and hypocrisy. These wolves in sheep’s clothing are detected and killed by innocence, the Lamb of Love.
Warfare with error Divine Science shows how the Lamb slays the wolf. 568Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error. Ever since the foundation of the world, ever since error would establish material belief, evil has tried to slay the Lamb; but Science is able to destroy this lie, called evil. The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse typifies the divine method of warfare in Science, and the glorious results of this warfare. The following chapters depict the fatal effects of trying to meet error with error. The narrative follows the order used in Genesis. In Genesis, first the true method of creation is set forth and then the false. Here, also, the Revelator first exhibits the true warfare and then the false.
Revelation xii. 10–12. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Pæan of jubilee For victory over a single sin, we give thanks and magnify the Lord of Hosts. What shall we say of the mighty conquest over all sin? A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love sends forth her primal and everlasting strain. Self-abnegation, by which we lay down all for Truth, or Christ, in our warfare against error, is a rule in Christian Science. This rule clearly 569interprets God as divine Principle, — as Life, represented by the Father; as Truth, represented by the Son; as Love, represented by the Mother. Every mortal at some period, here or hereafter, must grapple with and overcome the mortal belief in a power opposed to God.
The robe of Science The Scripture, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many,” is literally fulfilled, when we are conscious of the supremacy of Truth, by which the nothingness of error is seen; and we know that the nothingness of error is in proportion to its wickedness. He that touches the hem of Christ’s robe and masters his mortal beliefs, animality, and hate, rejoices in the proof of healing, — in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love. Alas for those who break faith with divine Science and fail to strangle the serpent of sin as well as of sickness! They are dwellers still in the deep darkness of belief. They are in the surging sea of error, not struggling to lift their heads above the drowning wave.
Expiation by suffering What must the end be? They must eventually expiate their sin through suffering. The sin, which one has made his bosom companion, comes back to him at last with accelerated force, for the devil knoweth his time is short. Here the Scriptures declare that evil is temporal, not eternal. The dragon is at last stung to death by his own malice; but how many periods of torture it may take to remove all sin, must depend upon sin’s obduracy.
570Apathy to occultism The march of mind and of honest investigation will bring the hour when the people will chain, with fetters of some sort, the growing occultism of this period. The present apathy as to the tendency of certain active yet unseen mental agencies will finally be shocked into another extreme mortal mood, — into human indignation; for one extreme follows another.
Revelation xii. 15, 16. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood, after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Receptive hearts Millions of unprejudiced minds — simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert — are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name, and never fear the consequences. What if the old dragon should send forth a new flood to drown the Christ-idea? He can neither drown your voice with its roar, nor again sink the world into the deep waters of chaos and old night. In this age the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood. Those ready for the blessing you impart will give thanks. The waters will be pacified, and Christ will command the wave.
Hidden ways of iniquity When God heals the sick or the sinning, they should know the great benefit which Mind has wrought. They should also know the great delusion of mortal mind, when it makes them sick or sinful. Many are willing to open the eyes of the people to the power of good resident in divine Mind, but they are 571not so willing to point out the evil in human thought, and expose evil’s hidden mental ways of accomplishing iniquity.
Christly warning Why this backwardness, since exposure is necessary to ensure the avoidance of the evil? Because people like you better when you tell them their virtues than when you tell them their vices. It requires the spirit of our blessed Master to tell a man his faults, and so risk human displeasure for the sake of doing right and benefiting our race. Who is telling mankind of the foe in ambush? Is the informer one who sees the foe? If so, listen and be wise. Escape from evil, and designate those as unfaithful stewards who have seen the danger and yet have given no warning.
The armor of divinity At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.
Pure religion enthroned Through trope and metaphor, the Revelator, immortal scribe of Spirit and of a true idealism, furnishes the mirror in which mortals may see their own image. In significant figures he depicts the thoughts which he beholds in mortal mind. Thus he rebukes the conceit of sin, and foreshadows its doom. With his spiritual strength, he has opened wide the gates of glory, and illumined the night of paganism with the sublime grandeur of divine Science, outshining sin, sorcery, lust, and hypocrisy. He takes away mitre and sceptre. He enthrones pure and undefiled religion, and lifts on 572high only those who have washed their robes white in obedience and suffering.
Native nothingness of sin Thus we see, in both the first and last books of the Bible, — in Genesis and in the Apocalypse, — that sin is to be Christianly and scientifically reduced to its native nothingness. “Love one another” (I John, iii. 23), is the most simple and profound counsel of the inspired writer. In Science we are children of God; but whatever is of material sense, or mortal, belongs not to His children, for materiality is the inverted image of spirituality.
Fulfilment of the Law Love fulfils the law of Christian Science, and nothing short of this divine Principle, understood and demonstrated, can ever furnish the vision of the Apocalypse, open the seven seals of error with Truth, or uncover the myriad illusions of sin, sickness, and death. Under the supremacy of Spirit, it will be seen and acknowledged that matter must disappear.
Man’s present possibilities The Revelator had not yet passed the transitional stage in human experience called death, but he already saw a new heaven and a new earth. Through what sense came this vision to St. John? Not through the material visual organs for seeing, for optics are inadequate to take in so wonderful a scene. Were this new heaven and new earth terrestrial or celestial, mate573rial or spiritual? They could not be the former, for the human sense of space is unable to grasp such a view. The Revelator was on our plane of existence, while yet beholding what the eye cannot see, — that which is invisible to the uninspired thought. This testimony of Holy Writ sustains the fact in Science, that the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material. This shows unmistakably that what the human mind terms matter and spirit indicates states and stages of consciousness.
Nearness of Deity Accompanying this scientific consciousness was another revelation, even the declaration from heaven, supreme harmony, that God, the divine Principle of harmony, is ever with men, and they are His people. Thus man was no longer regarded as a miserable sinner, but as the blessed child of God. Why? Because St. John’s corporeal sense of the heavens and earth had vanished, and in place of this false sense was the spiritual sense, the subjective state by which he could see the new heaven and new earth, which involve the spiritual idea and consciousness of reality. This is Scriptural authority for concluding that such a recognition of being is, and has been, possible to men in this present state of existence, — that we can become conscious, here and now, of a cessation of death, sorrow, and pain. This is indeed a foretaste of absolute Christian Science. Take heart, dear sufferer, for this reality of being will surely appear sometime and in some way. There will be no more pain, and all tears will be wiped away. When you read this, remember Jesus’ words, “The kingdom of 574God is within you.” This spiritual consciousness is therefore a present possibility.
Vials of wrath and consolation This ministry of Truth, this message from divine Love, carried John away in spirit. It exalted him till he became conscious of the spiritual facts of being and the “New Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven,” — the spiritual outpouring of bliss and glory, which he describes as the city which “lieth foursquare.” The beauty of this text is, that the sum total of human misery, represented by the seven angelic vials full of seven plagues, has full compensation in the law of Love. Note this, — that the very message, or swift-winged thought, which poured forth hatred and torment, brought also the experience which at last lifted the seer to behold the great city, the four equal sides of which were heaven-bestowed and heaven-bestowing.
Spiritual wedlock Think of this, dear reader, for it will lift the sackcloth from your eyes, and you will behold the soft-winged dove descending upon you. The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares. Then thought gently whispers: 575“Come hither! Arise from your false consciousness into the true sense of Love, and behold the Lamb’s wife, — Love wedded to its own spiritual idea.” Then cometh the marriage feast, for this revelation will destroy forever the physical plagues imposed by material sense.
The city foursquare This sacred city, described in the Apocalypse (xxi. 16) as one that “lieth foursquare” and cometh “down from God, out of heaven,” represents the light and glory of divine Science. The builder and maker of this New Jerusalem is God, as we read in the book of Hebrews; and it is “a city which hath foundations.” The description is metaphoric. Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols. Did not Jesus illustrate the truths he taught by the mustard-seed and the prodigal? Taken in its allegorical sense, the description of the city as foursquare has a profound meaning. The four sides of our city are the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science; “and the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” This city is wholly spiritual, as its four sides indicate.
The royally divine gates As the Psalmist saith, “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” It is indeed a city of the Spirit, fair, royal, and square. Northward, its gates open to the North Star, the Word, the polar magnet of Revelation; eastward, to the star seen by the Wisemen of the Orient, who followed it to the manger of Jesus; southward, to the genial tropics, with the Southern Cross in the skies, — the Cross of Calvary, which binds human society into solemn union; westward, to the grand realization 576of the Golden Shore of Love and the Peaceful Sea of Harmony.
Revelation’s pure zenith This heavenly city, lighted by the Sun of Righteousness, — this New Jerusalem, this infinite All, which to us seems hidden in the mist of remoteness, — reached St. John’s vision while yet he tabernacled with mortals.
The shrine celestial There was no temple, — that is, no material structure in which to worship God, for He must be worshipped in spirit and in love. The word temple also means body. The Revelator was familiar with Jesus’ use of this word, as when Jesus spoke of his material body as the temple to be temporarily rebuilt (John ii. 21). What further indication need we of the real man’s incorporeality than this, that John saw heaven and earth with “no temple [body] therein”? This kingdom of God “is within you,” — is within reach of man’s consciousness here, and the spiritual idea reveals it. In divine Science, man possesses this recognition of harmony consciously in proportion to his understanding of God.
Divine sense of Deity The term Lord, as used in our version of the Old Testament, is often synonymous with Jehovah, and expresses the Jewish concept, not yet elevated to deific apprehension through spiritual transfiguration. Yet the word gradually approaches a higher meaning. This human sense of Deity yields to the divine 577sense, even as the material sense of personality yields to the incorporeal sense of God and man as the infinite Principle and infinite idea, — as one Father with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love. The Lamb’s wife presents the unity of male and female as no longer two wedded individuals, but as two individual natures in one; and this compounded spiritual individuality reflects God as Father-Mother, not as a corporeal being. In this divinely united spiritual consciousness, there is no impediment to eternal bliss, — to the perfectibility of God’s creation.
The city of our God This spiritual, holy habitation has no boundary nor limit, but its four cardinal points are: first, the Word of Life, Truth, and Love; second, the Christ, the spiritual idea of God; third, Christianity, which is the outcome of the divine Principle of the Christ-idea in Christian history; fourth, Christian Science, which to-day and forever interprets this great example and the great Exemplar. This city of our God has no need of sun or satellite, for Love is the light of it, and divine Mind is its own interpreter. All who are saved must walk in this light. Mighty potentates and dynasties will lay down their honors within the heavenly city. Its gates open towards light and glory both within and without, for all is good, and nothing can enter that city, which “defileth, . . . or maketh a lie.”
In the following Psalm one word shows, though faintly, 578the light which Christian Science throws on the Scriptures by substituting for the corporeal sense, the incorporeal or spiritual sense of Deity: —