Association 2012: What Cannot God Do
christmas 2011 letter
The Christmas season is upon us!
Thanksgiving is behind us and now we must contends with the demands of Christmas. We know that this means a great deal more than merely not pepper spraying those in line before you in the Walmart electronics aisle; more than finding the perfect gifts, hosting harmonious holiday gatherings, or engaging in some seasonal charity.
Christmas, of course, isn't a seasonal thing at all. This excerpt from Mrs. Eddy's Christmas letter gives us a sense of the perpetual spiritual demand of Christmas:
"My heart has many rooms: one of these is sacred to the memory of my students. Into this upper chamber, where all things are pure and of good report, — into this sanctuary of love, — I often retreat, sit silently, and ponder. In this chamber is memory's wardrobe, where I deposit certain recollections and rare grand collections once in each year. This is my Christmas storehouse. Its goods commemorate, — not so much the Bethlehem babe, as the man of God, the risen Christ, and the adult Jesus. Here I deposit the gifts that my dear students offer at the shrine of Christian Science, and to their lone Leader. Here I talk once a year, — and this is a bit of what I said in 1890: "O glorious Truth! O Mother Love! how has the sense of Thy children grown to behold Thee! and how have many weary wings sprung upward! and how has our Model, Christ, been unveiled to us, and to the age!" (Mis 159:11-27)
Mrs. Eddy identified the spiritual sense of Christmas with the revelation of Christian Science itself. The first paragraph of the first page of Science and Health speaks of the "prophet-shepherds" and the "Bethlehem babe, the human herald of Christ, Truth," and goes on to promise that "across a night of error should dawn the morning beams and shine the guiding star of being." (S&H vii:4) Christ Jesus embodied divine Truth and showed us the way to live in its light. Mary Baker Eddy revealed the Science of Christianity, the inspired and practical basis of the First Commandment that Jesus lived. And now, as we said in class, the next thing is.... us.
The first part of our Association assignment was for November. Thanks to those of you who sent in thoughts and fruitage on living the First Commandment (you can find these in the Fruitage section of the website). Three offerings is indeed a blessing, but there is more room in the "Christmas storehouse" for the fruits of our Association!
This year, instead of responding to the Association assignment in May, we are responding on a monthly basis regarding the work we are taking up with S&H 340:16. Last month we set ourselves to keeping a daily record of our thinking and praying with the First Commandment (the idea was to consciously put ourselves in the way of Truth and more consistently begin with God instead of with material sense). As our Leader tells us, "Understanding is the line of demarcation between the real and unreal. Spiritual understanding unfolds Mind, — Life, Truth, and Love, — and demonstrates the divine sense, giving the spiritual proof of the universe in Christian Science." (S&H 505:21) Spiritual understanding and Reality is what we want more of and we have it in proportion to how much we recognize God and His spiritual qualities as primary, always present, and most powerful. We think we are living "our" lives, but really, we have the life that is God. Do take up this work and let us know what happens when you do!
As we commemorate the birth of Jesus this month, let's anticipate and work for more than a humanly merry Christmas. Let us "let that mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus;" put God first and reckon reality by the spiritual qualities that we can identify and respond to. In the Christmas spirit, let us come face to face with the heart's yearning for Love and see how Love itself meets every need. And then DO share with us what that spiritual seeing and living is doing! We'll expect a response to this part of the assignment by New Year's.
p.s. Remember, your contribution need not involve a particular healing (though these are, of course, most welcome and natural side-effects of living the First Commandment). Any thoughts on or fruitage from the activity of putting God first and beginning with spiritual sense are appropriate and welcome!
post christmas 2011 letter
I had a friend who, on the morning of December 26th, would get up, put away all the holiday decorations, haul the tree to the curb and spring clean her house. "Thank heaven that's over with," was her comment on the day.
Our tree stays up until January 6th when we exchange "Three Kings Day" gifts, but I completely understand the impulse.
After the last present has been unwrapped and all the toys played with, there is something anti-climactic about Christmas Day. The long build-up with anticipation of childhood joys and visits with family and friends winds down by Christmas afternoon and the sudden lack of busyness is stunning. With my "to-do before Christmas" list all checked off and those activities behind, I find myself feeling strangely aimless.
Of course, the "aim" of Christmas isn't getting through those "to-dos". The whole gift-giving, shopping, partying, light show that starts Thanksgiving weekend and culminates on December 26th has nothing whatever to do with the birth of Jesus. And it is debatable whether the birth of Jesus has anything to do with the end of December beyond the way it has been institutionalized as Christmas. The day represents a spiritual event, which, though associated with a moment in time, is a revelation for all time.
"Keep Christ in Christmas," say the lawn signs and bumper stickers, but the nativity of Christ Jesus was never a story meant to be reserved for any single season. If you want to celebrate the incarnation of Christ, the Word of God that takes away the sins of the world, it seems clear from Jesus' teachings that the best way to do so would be to acknowledge the power of divine Love every day in what you think and do.
The Christmas season can be a lovely time because it does focus us on doing for others and coming together. But what will we do with that focus? It can dissipate all too quickly in the practicality of working out what things we need to do when businesses and stores open back up, new semesters begin, and a world in a hurry to get back to business as usual dominates the landscape.
I find encouragement from the first page of Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The opening paragraph briefly recounts the story of Jesus' birth; "the human herald of Christ," and explains Christmas day as a focus of spiritual light that, with Jesus' birth, has begun to shine so brightly that it cannot be ignored. The Wise Men had the wit to follow the star and the suggestion is that we must likewise follow in our understanding of the light of Truth and Love. It's the next sentence that I find most arresting: "The time for thinkers has come."
That's a very December 26th kind of thought.
It really won't do to let the spiritual significance of Christmas fade when the New Year begins. And to stay awake and alive to those things we love about the season - the connectedness and generosity and affection for each other - we're going to have to think more deeply and clearly so that they don't get thrown under the bus of business as usual. The passage continues: "Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away. Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal. (S&H vii: 13)
The world has become a great deal more materialistic and life has become commercialized to an extent probably hard to imagine when those words were written. Agnosticism and atheism are at all-time highs. And yet, when you look beneath the surface, the words ring truer than ever. We are less content than ever with inhumanity, less satisfied with the novels of technology, and less inclined to go along with conventional, perfunctory expressions of spirituality.
The strain I notice at each the Christmas season; the yearning for what is lasting and real while surrounded by so much that is not, is actually cause for hope. Perhaps we're not changing as fast or as dramatically as we would like. We have a way to go before our towns look like "One Day," the You Tube clip about boomeranging acts of kindness, but there is evidence that we're grappling with the spiritual demand to put into practice what is written in our hearts. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwAYpLVyeFU)
Thinking is our way forward. Thoughts that start with Love that doesn't run out, with the Truth that we're all in this together, with Life as a gift and opportunity for good will lead us forward into a more lasting sense of purpose and light. Those thoughts are good hypotheses to test in the laboratory of Christian Science.
Let us know how your experiments are going!
2012 assignment letter
A recent study of religious beliefs shows that more and more people "make up God as they go". A USA Today article reported that "Religion statistics expert George Barna says, with a wry hint of exaggeration, America is headed for '310 million people with 310 million religions.' 'We are a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs - our clothing, our food, our education,' he says. Now it's our religion."
As usual, Mrs. Eddy anticipated and answered the dilemma of individual spiritual growth vs. institutional church. From the first chapter of Science and Health she makes it clear that perfunctory worship and doctrine-driven church are insufficient to meet the demands of Spirit. She defines church as an active expression of God's own qualities rather than a human organization. Real church, she tells us, is "that institution which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick." (S&H 583:14).
It is interesting to note that the first definition of "institution," as found in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, is not a noun, but a verb: "institution: the act of establishing". Think for a moment of church not as a materially organized human form so much as the activity of establishing God's kingdom come, the institution of His laws; what a difference!
The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, and its branches, is not, primarily, a human organization. Instead of a set of human beliefs, Christian Science is an understanding of how life actually works. It is what Jesus knew and lived, it is the divine law underlying all good in human experience.
There is no ecclesiastical hierarchy to approve or disapprove of your practice. Your active engagement with Christian Science is its own confirmation and reward. If you are applying the laws of Science consistently, you already know the blessedness of living the First Commandment which includes that divine expression called "church".
The study mentioned above noted the steadily diminishing number of people who attend church or identify with a religion. In a world of increasing atheism and politicized, commercialized religion, we might feel concern for the future of church and wonder how to keep our own Field from shrinking. That would be mortal mind's translation of what's going on.
The real question is not how do we save church, or how do we make church more responsive to individual needs, it is: "Are you practicing?".
Mrs. Eddy tells us that "Mortal man is a kingdom divided against itself. With the same breath he articulates truth and error. We say that God is All, and there is none beside Him, and then talk of sin and sinners as real. We call God omnipotent and omnipresent, and then conjure up, from the dark abyss of nothingness, a powerful presence named evil. We say that harmony is real, and inharmony is its opposite, and therefore unreal; yet we descant upon sickness, sin, and death as realities.
With the tongue "bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the similitude [human concept] of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." (James iii. 9, 10.) Mortals are free moral agents, to choose whom they would serve. If God, then let them serve Him, and He will be unto them All-in-all. (Un: 59)
As ever, our Leader points us to the inescapable fact of God's all-ness and the unreality of merely human concepts. That is the starting point of Christian Science. When we think honestly and clearly, we can see that the difference between Reality and its suppositional opposite is stark and Mrs. Eddy's logic is irresistible. How could we want less than the real thing?
There is not really any question about which way to go or how to progress. You can choose not to follow the leadings of Christian Science. Or, you can attempt to pick and choose the parts of Mrs. Eddy's revelation that you like, cafeteria style. But then, like a rocket launched with slightly tweaked coordinates, you may find your trajectory taking you away from the results you desire. Our practice starts with God; not because of any human rule, but because divine Law demands it.
Our assignment this year is all about getting, and consistently living in relation to God's law.
From now until our meeting in May, read (in context), study, and put into action these statements the Bible and from Science and Health: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) and "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, "Love thy neighbor as thyself;" annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,--whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed. " (S&H 340:23)
Mrs. Eddy remarked that every day was, to her, an experiment in Christian Science. Let's be more active in our lab work! To help us keep aligned with God's law, please keep a daily record of your work with the First Commandment and its Scientific demonstration. Send in your fruitage at the end of each month. I'll expect your first harvestings at the end of November!
April 2012 letter and Association Day information
Spring has come to Madison and all these early "floral apostles" bring to thought the spiritual idea of rebirth. Association time is time to be "born again of the spirit". Love beckons us home to its open fount which is our Association meeting. There is much good to look forward to!
Humanly reckoned, each year is a mortal measurement, filled with adversity or pleasant events, as the case may be. The Christian sense of the year is that it is "space for repentance," through which we approach the spiritual sense of time: "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years II Peter iii. 8). In challenging times, it is helpful to remember that the year Jesus was crucified, that James and Stephen were martyred, and that Peter was imprisoned, a spiritual understanding of God's love and unconquerable goodness began to spread so powerfully and irresistibly that we are still feeling the effect of that divine good. The mortal, material picture is not the end of the story - in fact, it's never even the right or real story. There is a spiritual account that must be reckoned with and when we allow for the logic of Soul's calculus, we will find that in every case, seeming loss is very real and blessing gain. Association is a time to gain the exalted view and let it nourish us so that we can go forward from a real and divinely authorized basis.
This year we have been working to make the First Commandment our more consistent basis. Approaching your practice of Christian Science as a day by day, step by step experiment; gaining inspiration in study and prayer and then applying that spiritual sense to thought throughout the day begins to awaken us to God's presence and control. The assignment can be thought of as a remedy for the tendency of mortal mind to drag us into the rut of materially based thought and action. Bring thought home to God, to His supremacy, divinity, and incorporeal infinitude and the human view changes for good.
Some of you have sent fruitage (which can be viewed on the website). These postcards from the path have been both practical and inspiring. Now is the time to set down your assessments of how the assignment has gone so far and what you might do to extend its benefits. What happened on those days when you let your 7:00 a.m. spiritual inspiration guide you at 11:00 a.m., and at 3:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m.? What helped you maintain your spiritual altitude? What seemed to hinder you? Send responses and further fruitage as soon as possible for inclusion in our Association day activities. This is also the time to send any questions you would like addressed - it is greatly appreciated if you could submit these sooner than later!
Our address this year is titled: What Cannot God Do? Study citations will be sent soon.
We will meet on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 9:15a.m. in the large meeting room at the Christian Science
Student Organization at 315 N. Mills Street, in Madison. Guests may join us after the business meeting (about 9:30 a.m.). Please send or bring your Association dues of $25. Guests are asked to contribute the same amount to the Association.
Parking is available in the University lot on Brooks St. The meeting will be over at approximately 3:30 p.m. Lunch from Panera will be available as in years past.
As usual, the text of the 2011 address will available to read at the Center on Friday afternoon from noon until 5p.m. Please contact me if you would like to do this. The text of the 2012 address will be available to read on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. If you would like an appointment to speak to me after Association, let us know.
If you are interested in staying in a room at the Center, please be in touch with Bob Ayres: email@example.com
Association 2012 Study Citations
What Cannot God Do?
Introduction: Saw Ye My Savior?
Science affords the evidence that God is the Father of man, of all that is real and eternal.
When apparently near the confines of mortal existence, standing already within the shadow of the death-valley, I learned these truths in divine Science: that all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever-present; that the opposite of Truth, — called error, sin, sickness, disease, death, — is the false testimony of false material sense, of mind in matter; that this false sense evolves, in belief, a subjective state of mortal mind which this same so-called mind names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit.
Perchance some one of you may say, "The evidence of spiritual verity in me is so small that I am afraid. I feel so far from victory over the flesh that to reach out for a present realization of my hope savors of temerity. Because of my own unfitness for such a spiritual animus my strength is naught and my faith fails." O thou "weak and infirm of purpose." Jesus said, "Be not afraid"!
"What if the little rain should say, 'So small a drop as I Can ne'er refresh a drooping earth, I'll tarry in the sky.'"
Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically number one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed and protected by his divine Principle, God? You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle. A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ's little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer's declaration true, that "one on God's side is a majority."
Whence came to me this heavenly conviction, — a conviction antagonistic to the testimony of the physical senses? According to St. Paul, it was "the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power." It was the divine law of Life and Love, unfolding to me the demonstrable fact that matter possesses neither sensation nor life; that human experiences show the falsity of all material things; and that immortal cravings, "the price of learning love," establish the truism that the only sufferer is mortal mind, for the divine Mind cannot suffer.
My conclusions were reached by allowing the evidence of this revelation to multiply with mathematical certainty and the lesser demonstration to prove the greater, as the product of three multiplied by three, equalling nine, proves conclusively that three times three duodecillions must be nine duodecillions, — not a fraction more, not a unit less.
Progress is born of experience. It is the ripening of mortal man, through which the mortal is dropped for the immortal. Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind, and regenerate material sense and self.
Acts 9:1, 3-6
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, and then we try to give information to this infinite Mind. We plead for unmerited pardon and for a liberal outpouring of benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.
Matt. 18:3 Verily
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Saw ye my Saviour? Heard ye the glad sound?
Felt ye the power of the Word?
'Twas the Truth that made us free,
And was found by you and me
In the life and the love of our Lord.
Mourner, it calls you, — "Come to my bosom,
Love wipes your tears all away,
And will lift the shade of gloom,
And for you make radiant room
Midst the glories of one endless day."
Sinner, it calls you, — "Come to this fountain,
Cleanse the foul senses within;
'Tis the Spirit that makes pure,
That exalts thee, and will cure
All thy sorrow and sickness and sin."
Strongest deliverer, friend of the friendless,
Life of all being divine:
Thou the Christ, and not the creed;
Thou the Truth in thought and deed;
Thou the water, the bread, and the wine.
Section 1: How firm a foundation...
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus xx. 3.) The First Commandment is my favorite text. It demonstrates Christian Science.
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Christian Science begins with the First Commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Mis. 28:21-29:2 What
What meaneth this Me, — Spirit, or matter? It certainly does not signify a graven idol, and must mean Spirit. Then the commandment means, Thou shalt recognize no intelligence nor life in matter; and find neither pleasure nor pain therein. The Master's practical knowledge of this grand verity, together with his divine Love, healed the sick and raised the dead. He literally annulled the claims of physique and of physical law, by the superiority of the higher law; hence his declaration, "These signs shall follow them that believe; . . . if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
The prophets, Jesus, and the apostles, demonstrated a divine intelligence that subordinates so-called material laws; and disease, death, winds, and waves, obey this intelligence. Was it Mind or matter that spake in creation, "and it was done"? The answer is self-evident, and the command remains, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Finite belief can never do justice to Truth in any direction. Finite belief limits all things, and would compress Mind, which is infinite, beneath a skull bone. Such belief can neither apprehend nor worship the infinite; and to accommodate its finite sense of the divisibility of Soul and substance, it seeks to divide the one Spirit into persons and souls.
Through this error, human belief comes to have "gods many and lords many." Moses declared as Jehovah's first command of the Ten: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me!" But behold the zeal of belief to establish the opposite error of many minds. The argument of the serpent in the allegory, "Ye shall be as gods," urges through every avenue the belief that Soul is in body, and that infinite Spirit, and Life, is in finite forms.
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.
Jesus said a lie fathers itself, thereby showing that God made neither evil nor its consequences.
Acts 5:29-35 Peter, 38 I, 39
Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. ¶When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
James 3:11, 12
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Ask thyself, Do I enter by the door and worship only Spirit and spiritually, or do I climb up some other way? Do I understand God as Love, the divine Principle of all that really is, the infinite good, than which there is none else and in whom is all? Unless this be so, the blind is leading the blind, and both will stumble into doubt and darkness, even as the ages have shown. To-day, if ye would hear His voice, listen to His Word and serve no other gods.
It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established. Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ.
I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration. The revelation of Truth in the understanding came to me gradually and apparently through divine power.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word.
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who to God for your refuge have fled:
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand;
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
Section 2: The First Commandment: A sure basis
SH 340:17-20 2nd It
It inculcates the tri-unity of God, Spirit, Mind; it signifies that man shall have no other spirit or mind but God, eternal good, and that all men shall have one Mind.
Creator. Spirit; Mind; intelligence; the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good; self-existent Life, Truth, and Love; that which is perfect and eternal; the opposite of matter and evil, which have no Principle; God, who made all that was made and could not create an atom or an element the opposite of Himself.
SH 465:16-17 Is
Is there more than one God or Principle?
Answer. — There is not.
Our Master understood that Life, Truth, Love are the triune Principle of all pure theology; also, that this divine trinity is one infinite remedy for the opposite triad, sickness, sin, and death.
You must learn to acknowledge God in all His ways. It is only a lack of understanding of the allness of God, which leads you to believe in the existence of matter, or that matter can frame its own conditions, contrary to the law of Spirit.
Late in the nineteenth century I demonstrated the divine rules of Christian Science. They were submitted to the broadest practical test, and everywhere, when honestly applied under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible, this Science showed that Truth had lost none of its divine and healing efficacy, even though centuries had passed away since Jesus practised these rules on the hills of Judaea and in the valleys of Galilee.
We cannot deny that Life is self-sustained, and we should never deny the everlasting harmony of Soul, simply because, to the mortal senses, there is seeming discord. It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony. Truth will at length compel us all to exchange the pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul.
Remember that mankind must sooner or later, either by suffering or by Science, be convinced of the error that is to be overcome.
If the student goes away to practise Truth's teachings only in part, dividing his interests between God and mammon and substituting his own views for Truth, he will inevitably reap the error he sows.
Man's existence is a problem to be wrought in divine Science. What progress would a student of science make, if, when tired of mathematics or failing to demonstrate one rule readily, he should attempt to work out a rule farther on and more difficult — and this, because the first rule was not easily demonstrated? In that case he would be obliged to turn back and work out the previous example, before solving the advanced problem. Mortals have the sum of being to work out, and up, to its spiritual standpoint. They must work out of this dream or false claim of sensation and life in matter, and up to the spiritual realities of existence, before this false claim can be wholly dispelled.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. ¶And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
If the five corporeal senses were the medium through which to understand God, then palsy, blindness, and deafness would place man in a terrible situation, where he would be like those "having no hope, and without God in the world;" but as a matter of fact, these calamities often drive mortals to seek and to find a higher sense of happiness and existence.
Love is not hasty to deliver us from temptation, for Love means that we shall be tried and purified.
Shall we ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God's rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation.
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 interprets God as divine Principle, — as Life, represented by the Father; as Truth, represented by the Son; as Love, represented by the Mother.
The epoch approaches when the understanding of the truth of being will be the basis of true religion. At present mortals progress slowly for fear of being thought ridiculous. They are slaves to fashion, pride, and sense. Sometime we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, has created men and women in Science. We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood.
II Cor. 10:3-5 though
though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
To be "with the Lord" is to be in obedience to the law of God, to be absolutely governed by divine Love, — by Spirit, not by matter.
We should measure our love for God by our love for man; and our sense of Science will be measured by our obedience to God, — fulfilling the law of Love, doing good to all; imparting, so far as we reflect them, Truth, Life, and Love to all within the radius of our atmosphere of thought.
Immortals, or God's children in divine Science, are one harmonious family; but mortals, or the "children of men" in material sense, are discordant and ofttimes false brethren.
The falsehood, ingratitude, misjudgment, and sharp return of evil for good — yea, the real wrongs (if wrong can be real) which I have long endured at the hands of others— have most happily wrought out for me the law of loving mine enemies. This law I now urge upon the solemn consideration of all Christian Scientists.
I enjoin it upon my students to hold no controversy or enmity over doctrines and traditions, or over the misconceptions of Christian Science, but to work, watch, and pray for the amelioration of sin, sickness, and death.
It is true that the mistakes, prejudices, and errors of one class of thinkers must not be introduced or established among another class who are clearer and more conscientious in their convictions; but this one thing can be done, and should be: let your opponents alone, and use no influence to prevent their legitimate action from their own standpoint of experience, knowing, as you should, that God will well regenerate and separate wisely and finally; whereas you may err in effort, and lose your fruition.
Hoping to pacify repeated complaints and murmurings against too great leniency, on my part, towards some of my students who fall into error, I have opposed occasionally and strongly — especially in the first edition of this little work — existing wrongs of the nature referred to. But I now point steadfastly to the power of grace to overcome evil with good. God will "furnish a table in the wilderness" and show the power of Love.
Hymn 229:2 1st The
The rule of Love beyond all law,
The Life o'ercoming death and sin,
O shine on us with light which glowed
Upon the waiting shepherds' way,
Who saw the darkness overflowed
With tides of everlasting day.
Section 3: Scientific thought is demonstration
The divine Principle of the First Commandment bases the Science of being, by which man demonstrates health, holiness, and life eternal.
For God, immortal Principle,
Is with us everywhere;
He holds us perfect in His love,
And we His image bear.
SH viii:3-8 to
to reach the heights of Christian Science, man must live in obedience to its divine Principle. To develop the full might of this Science, the discords of corporeal sense must yield to the harmony of spiritual sense, even as the science of music corrects false tones and gives sweet concord to sound.
Stating the divine Principle, omnipotence (omnis potens), and then departing from this statement and taking the rule of finite matter, with which to work out the problem of infinity or Spirit, — all this is like trying to compensate for the absence of omnipotence by a physical, false, and finite substitute.
With our Master, life was not merely a sense of existence, but an accompanying sense of power that subdued matter and brought to light immortality, insomuch that the people "were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
II Cor. 10:7 (to 2nd ,)
Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again,
No advancing modes of human mind made Jesus; rather was it their subjugation, and the pure heart that sees God.
SH x:25-27, 30-32
The unbiased Christian thought is soonest touched by Truth, and convinced of it.
No intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner, but sound morals are most desirable.
It is a question to-day, whether the ancient inspired healers understood the Science of Christian healing, or whether they caught its sweet tones, as the natural musician catches the tones of harmony, without being able to explain them. So divinely imbued were they with the spirit of Science, that the lack of the letter could not hinder their work; and that letter, without the spirit, would have made void their practice.
If thought is startled at the strong claim of Science for the supremacy of God, or Truth, and doubts the supremacy of good, ought we not, contrariwise, to be astounded at the vigorous claims of evil and doubt them, and no longer think it natural to love sin and unnatural to forsake it, — no longer imagine evil to be ever-present and good absent? Truth should not seem so surprising and unnatural as error, and error should not seem so real as truth. Sickness should not seem so real as health. There is no error in Science, and our lives must be governed by reality in order to be in harmony with God, the divine Principle of all being.
Mis. 96:8-15 (to ;)
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;
How much more should we seek to apprehend the spiritual ideas of God, than to dwell on the objects of sense! To discern the rhythm of Spirit and to be holy, thought must be purely spiritual.
Acts 14:8-15, 19-22
¶And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
¶And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.
I first proved to myself, not by "words," — these afford no proof, — but by demonstration of Christian Science, that its Principle is divine. All must go and do likewise.
Christian Science demands order and truth. To abide by these we must first understand the Principle and object of our work, and be clear that it is Love, peace, and good will toward men. Then we shall demonstrate the Principle in the way of His appointment, and not according to the infantile conception of our way; as when a child in sleep walks on the summit of the roof of the house because he is a somnambulist, and thinks he is where he is not, and would fall immediately if he knew where he was and what he was doing.
The generous liver may object to the author's small estimate of the pleasures of the table. The sinner sees, in the system taught in this book, that the demands of God must be met. The petty intellect is alarmed by constant appeals to Mind. The licentious disposition is discouraged over its slight spiritual prospects. When all men are bidden to the feast, the excuses come. One has a farm, another has merchandise, and therefore they cannot accept.
Hymn 298:3 'Tis
'Tis the Spirit that makes pure,
That exalts thee, and will cure
All thy sorrow and sickness and sin."
It is possible, — yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, — to follow in some degree the example of the Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness.
Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself, — of Spirit, not of matter. Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love. The nature of man, thus understood, includes all that is implied by the terms "image" and "likeness" as used in Scripture.
Love giveth to the least spiritual idea might, immortality, and goodness, which shine through all as the blossom shines through the bud. All the varied expressions of God reflect health, holiness, immortality — infinite Life, Truth, and Love.
Gen. 1:31 (to 1st .)
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
Section 4: Our Father: God's universal parenthood
SH 340:23-25 (to ;)
One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, "Love thy neighbor as thyself;
Matt. 6:9 our
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science. The supposed existence of more than one mind was the basic error of idolatry. This error assumed the loss of spiritual power, the loss of the spiritual presence of Life as infinite Truth without an unlikeness, and the loss of Love as ever present and universal.
Life is the law of Soul, even the law of the spirit of Truth, and Soul is never without its representative.
In Science there is no fallen state of being; for therein is no inverted image of God, no escape from the focal radiation of the infinite. Hence the unreality of error, and the truth of the Scripture, that there is "none beside Him." If mortals could grasp these two words all and nothing, this mystery of a God who has no knowledge of sin would disappear, and the eternal, infinite harmony would be fathomed.
Matt. 7:9-11 what
what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Mis 81:25-29 In (to 2nd .)
In the desolation of human understanding, divine Love hears and answers the human call for help; and the voice of Truth utters the divine verities of being which deliver mortals out of the depths of ignorance and vice. This is the Father's benediction.
"In Him we live, and move, and have our being;" consequently it is impossible for the true man — who is a spiritual and individual being, created in the eternal Science of being — to be conscious of aught but good.
Acts 16:19 when, 22-34
when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. ¶And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
SH 518:15-17 (to ;)
The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father;
If we pray to God as a corporeal person, this will prevent us from relinquishing the human doubts and fears which attend such a belief, and so we cannot grasp the wonders wrought by infinite, incorporeal Love, to whom all things are possible.
Since God is Love, and infinite, why should mortals conceive of a law, propound a question, formulate a doctrine, or speculate on the existence of anything which is an antipode of infinite Love and the manifestation thereof? The sacred command, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," silences all questions on this subject, and forever forbids the thought of any other reality, since it is impossible to have aught unlike the infinite.
Having one God, one Mind, unfolds the power that heals the sick, and fulfils these sayings of Scripture, "I am the Lord that healeth thee," and "I have found a ransom."
Love one another, — word of revelation;
Love frees from error's thrall, — Love is liberation.
Love's way the Master trod;
He that loves shall walk with God.
Love is the royal way.
Love knows no evil, neither shade of sadness;
Love casts out every fear, lifts the heart to gladness.
Love heals our every ill,
All the law does love fulfill.
Love is our answered prayer.
Love now is dawning over every nation;
Showing true brotherhood, publishing salvation,
Love bids all discord cease.
Conquering hate, enthroning peace,
Love, Love alone is power.
The last appearing of Truth will be a wholly spiritual idea of God and of man, without the fetters of the flesh, or corporeality. This infinite idea of infinity will be, is, as eternal as its divine Principle. The daystar of this appearing is the light of Christian Science — the Science which rends the veil of the flesh from top to bottom. The light of this revelation leaves nothing that is material; neither darkness, doubt, disease, nor death. The material corporeality disappears; and individual spirituality, perfect and eternal, appears — never to disappear.
Section 5: Divine Economy not human bureaucracy
SH 340:25-27 annihilates (to ;)
...annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes;
Zech. 4:6 This
This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
SH 467:3-7 Thou
Thou shalt have no other gods before me." This me is Spirit. Therefore the command means this: Thou shalt have no intelligence, no life, no substance, no truth, no love, but that which is spiritual.
The superiority of spiritual power over sensuous is the central point of Christian Science.
Jer. 10:3-5 1st the
the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
Throughout the first chapter of Genesis and in three verses of the second, — in what we understand to be the spiritually scientific account of creation, — it is Elohim (God) who creates. From the fourth verse of chapter two to chapter five, the creator is called Jehovah, or the Lord. The different accounts become more and more closely intertwined to the end of chapter twelve, after which the distinction is not definitely traceable. In the historic parts of the Old Testament, it is usually Jehovah, peculiarly the divine sovereign of the Hebrew people, who is referred to.
The idolatry which followed this material mythology is seen in the Phoenician worship of Baal, in the Moabitish god Chemosh, in the Moloch of the Amorites, in the Hindoo Vishnu, in the Greek Aphrodite, and in a thousand other so-called deities.
It was also found among the Israelites, who constantly went after "strange gods." They called the Supreme Being by the national name of Jehovah. In that name of Jehovah, the true idea of God seems almost lost. God becomes "a man of war," a tribal god to be worshipped, rather than Love, the divine Principle to be lived and loved.
Judaism, enjoining the limited and definite form of a national religion, was not more the antithesis of Christianity than are our finite and material conceptions of Deity. Life is God; but we say that Life is carried on through principal processes, and speculate concerning material forces. Mind is supreme; and yet we make more of matter, and lean upon it for health and life. Mind, that governs the universe, governs every action of the body as directly as it moves a planet and controls the muscles of the arm. God grant that the trembling chords of human hope shall again be swept by the divine Talitha cumi, "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise." Then shall Christian Science again appear, to light our sepulchres with immortality . We thank our Father that to-day the uncremated fossils of material systems, already charred, are fast fading into ashes; and that man will ere long stop trusting where there is no trust, and gorging his faith with skill proved a million times unskilful.
The great Galilean Prophet was, is, the reformer of reformers. His piety partook not of the travesties of human opinions, pagan mysticisms, tribal religion, Greek philosophy, creed, dogma, or materia medica. The divine Mind was his only instrumentality in religion or medicine. The so-called laws of matter he eschewed; with him matter was not the auxiliary of Spirit. He never appealed to matter to perform the functions of Spirit, divine Love.
Question. — Is materiality the concomitant of spirituality, and is material sense a necessary preliminary to the understanding and expression of Spirit?
Answer. — If error is necessary to define or to reveal Truth, the answer is yes; but not otherwise.
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.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
SH 216:22-32 (to ;)
If the decision were left to the corporeal senses, evil would appear to be the master of good, and sickness to be the rule of existence, while health would seem the exception, death the inevitable, and life a paradox. Paul asked: "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" (2 Corinthians vi. 15.)
When you say, "Man's body is material," I say with Paul: Be "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." Give up your material belief of mind in matter, and have but one Mind, even God;
Acts 10:9-16 Peter
Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Glad to get away from my own poor thoughts, I opened the "little book" and began to read. I had read only a short time when such a wonderful transformation took place! I was renewed; born again. Mere words cannot tell the story of the mighty uplifting that carried me to the very gates of heaven. When I began to read the book, life was a burden, but before I had finished reading it the first time, I was doing all my housework and doing it easily; and since that glorious day I have been a well woman. My health is splendid, and I am striving to let my light so shine that others may be led to the truth. There have been some mighty struggles with error, and I have learned that we cannot reach heaven with one long stride or easily drift inside the gate, but that the "asking" and the "seeking" and the "knocking" must be earnest and persistent.
Emerge gently from matter into Spirit. Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth.
If "faithful over a few things," we shall be made rulers over many; but the one unused talent decays and is lost. When the sick or the sinning awake to realize their need of what they have not, they will be receptive of divine Science, which gravitates towards Soul and away from material sense, removes thought from the body, and elevates even mortal mind to the contemplation of something better than disease or sin. The true idea of God gives the true understanding of Life and Love, robs the grave of victory, takes away all sin and the delusion that there are other minds, and destroys mortality.
Mortal error will vanish in a moral chemicalization. This mental fermentation has begun, and will continue until all errors of belief yield to understanding.
The scientific, healing faith is a saving faith; it keeps steadfastly the great and first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" — no other than the spiritual help of divine Love.
How is the healing done in Christian Science?
This answer includes too much to give you any conclusive idea in a brief explanation. I can name some means by which it is not done.
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 to 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.
Church. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.
The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.
The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man.
Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine.
Mis. 260:27-30 (to ;)
The spirit, and not the letter, performs the vital functions of Truth and Love. Mind, imbued with this Science of healing, is a law unto itself, needing neither license nor prohibition;
The letter of Science plentifully reaches humanity to-day, but its spirit comes only in small degrees. The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love. Without this, the letter is but the dead body of Science, — pulseless, cold, inanimate.
The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.
SH 35:19-25 2nd Our
Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are new-born of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, — casting out error and healing the sick.
Arise ye people, take your stand,
Cast out your idols from the land,
Above all doctrine, form or creed
Is found the Truth that meets your need.
Christ's promise stands: they that believe
His works shall do, his power receive.
Go forward then, and as ye preach
So let your works confirm your speech,
And prove to all with following sign
The Word of God is power divine.
In love and healing ministry
Show forth the Truth that makes men free.
O Father-Mother God, whose plan
Hath given dominion unto man,
In Thine own image we may see
Man pure and upright, whole and free.
And ever through our work shall shine
That light whose glory, Lord, is Thine.
Section 6: In Christ there is no male nor female
SH 340:28 equalizes (only, to ;)
...equalizes the sexes;
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
To emphasize this momentous thought, it is repeated that God made man in His own image, to reflect the divine Spirit.
SH 508:13-14, 17-25
God determines the gender of His own ideas. Gender is mental, not material.
Gender means simply kind or sort, and does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or femininity. The word is not confined to sexuality, and grammars always recognize a neuter gender, neither male nor female. The Mind or intelligence of production names the female gender last in the ascending order of creation. The intelligent individual idea, be it male or female, rising from the lesser to the greater, unfolds the infinitude of Love.
Let us accept Science, relinquish all theories based on sense-testimony, give up imperfect models and illusive ideals; and so let us have one God, one Mind, and that one perfect, producing His own models of excellence.
Let the "male and female" of God's creating appear.
With a single command, Mind had made man, both male and female. How then could a material organization become the basis of man? How could the non-intelligent become the medium of Mind, and error be the enunciator of Truth?
The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love.
Look long enough, and you see male and female one — sex or gender eliminated; you see the designation man meaning woman as well, and you see the whole universe included in one infinite Mind and reflected in the intelligent compound idea, image or likeness, called man, showing forth the infinite divine Principle, Love, called God, — man wedded to the Lamb, pledged to innocence, purity, perfection.
Acts 18:1-4 Paul, 18, 19, 24-28
Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
¶And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
¶And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
II Cor. 6:16 ye
ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
II Cor. 5:1 1st we
we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
II Cor. 5:6-8 1st we
we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
The prominent laws which forward birth in the divine order of Science, are these: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me;" "Love thy neighbor as thyself." These commands of infinite wisdom, translated into the new tongue, their spiritual meaning, signify: Thou shalt love Spirit only, not its opposite, in every God-quality, even in substance; thou shalt recognize thyself as God's spiritual child only, and the true man and true woman, the all-harmonious "male and female," as of spiritual origin, God's reflection, — thus as children of one common Parent, — wherein and whereby Father, Mother, and child are the divine Principle and divine idea, even the divine "Us" — one in good, and good in One.
O Father-Mother God, whose plan
Hath given dominion unto man,
In Thine own image we may see
Man pure and upright, whole and free.
And ever through our work shall shine
That light whose glory, Lord, is Thine.
Section 7: Bought with a price
SH 340:28 annuls (only, to ,)
...annuls the curse on man,
The Science of creation is the universe with man created spiritually. The false sense and error of creation is the sense of man and the universe created materially.
Gen. 3:9 (to 2nd ,), 11-19 Who
And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him,
Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
(You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow. - The Message)
By the law of opposites, after the truth of man had been demonstrated, the postulate of error must appear. That this addendum was untrue, is seen when Truth, God, denounced it, and said: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow." "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The opposite error said, "I am true," and declared, "God doth know . . . that your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods," creators. This was false; and the Lord God never said it. This history of a falsity must be told in the name of Truth, or it would have no seeming.
Truth is indeed "the way."
Hea. 9:17-20 1st God
God never cursed man, His own image and likeness. God never made a wicked man; and man made by God had not a faculty or power underived from his Maker wherewith to make himself wicked.
Here you stand face to face with the laws of infinite Spirit, and behold for the first time the irresistible conflict between the flesh and Spirit. You stand before the awful detonations of Sinai. You hear and record the thunderings of the spiritual law of Life, as opposed to the material law of death; the spiritual law of Love, as opposed to the material sense of love; the law of omnipotent harmony and good, as opposed to any supposititious law of sin, sickness, or death. And, before the flames have died away on this mount of revelation, like the patriarch of old, you take off your shoes — lay aside your material appendages, human opinions and doctrines, give up your more material religion with its rites and ceremonies, put off your materia medica and hygiene as worse than useless — to sit at the feet of Jesus. Then, you meekly bow before the Christ, the spiritual idea that our great Master gave of the power of God to heal and to save. Then it is that you behold for the first time the divine Principle that redeems man from under the curse of materialism, — sin, disease, and death. This spiritual birth opens to the enraptured understanding a much higher and holier conception of the supremacy of Spirit, and of man as His likeness, whereby man reflects the divine power to heal the sick.
Acts 27:1, 9-11, 13-15 loosing, 20-25, 37, 40-44
And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
In the illusion of life that is here to-day and gone to-morrow, man would be wholly mortal, were it not that Love, the divine Principle that obtains in divine Science, destroys all error and brings immortality to light. Because man is the reflection of his Maker, he is not subject to birth, growth, maturity, decay.
The Christianization of mortals, whereby the mortal concept and all it includes is obliterated, lets in the divine sense of being, fulfils the law in righteousness, and consummates the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." All Christian faith, hope, and prayer, all devout desire, virtually petition, Make me the image and likeness of divine Love.
Divine Science deals its chief blow at the supposed material foundations of life and intelligence. It dooms idolatry. A belief in other gods, other creators, and other creations must go down before Christian Science.
Paul says in his epistle to the Romans: "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you."
Section 8: Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty
SH 340:28-29 and
...and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.
I Cor. 12:31 yet
yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
I Cor. 13:1-12
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Man's refuge is in spirituality, "under the shadow of the Almighty."
The true theory of the universe, including man, is not in material history but in spiritual development. Inspired thought relinquishes a material, sensual, and mortal theory of the universe, and adopts the spiritual and immortal.
Un. 41:3-6, 7-10
In order to reach the true knowledge and consciousness of Life, we must learn it of good. Of evil we can never learn it, because sin shuts out the real sense of Life, and brings in an unreal sense of suffering and death.
Knowledge of evil, or belief in it, involves a loss of the true sense of good, God; and to know death, or to believe in it, involves a temporary loss of God, the infinite and only Life.
Suffering, sinning, dying beliefs are unreal. When divine Science is universally understood, they will have no power over man, for man is immortal and lives by divine authority.
Question. — What is substance?
Answer. — Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance, as the Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Spirit, the synonym of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance. The spiritual universe, including individual man, is a compound idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.
Mind's control over the universe, including man, is no longer an open question, but is demonstrable Science. Jesus illustrated the divine Principle and the power of immortal Mind by healing sickness and sin and destroying the foundations of death.
A blundering despatch, mistakenly announcing the death of a friend, occasions the same grief that the friend's real death would bring. You think that your anguish is occasioned by your loss. Another despatch, correcting the mistake, heals your grief, and you learn that your suffering was merely the result of your belief. Thus it is with all sorrow, sickness, and death. You will learn at length that there is no cause for grief, and divine wisdom will then be understood. Error, not Truth, produces all the suffering on earth.
Question. — What is error?
Answer. — Error is a supposition that pleasure and pain, that intelligence, substance, life, are existent in matter. Error is neither Mind nor one of Mind's faculties. Error is the contradiction of Truth. Error is a belief without understanding. Error is unreal because untrue.
If Soul could sin, Spirit, Soul, would be flesh instead of Spirit. It is the belief of the flesh and of material sense which sins. If Soul sinned, Soul would die. Sin is the element of self-destruction, and spiritual death is oblivion. If there was sin in Soul, the annihilation of Spirit would be inevitable. The only Life is Spirit, and if Spirit should lose Life as God, good, then Spirit, which has no other existence, would be annihilated.
SH 497:9-11 We
We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal.
Rev. 21:1-5 (to 1st .)
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
The Revelator tells us of "a new heaven and a new earth." Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom?
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, material 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.
SH 573:15-28 God
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.
In divine Science, the universe, including man, is spiritual, harmonious, and eternal.
Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression. Slavery is not the legitimate state of man. God made man free. Paul said, "I was free born." All men should be free. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Be Thou, O God, exalted high;
And as Thy glory fills the sky,
So let it be on earth displayed,
Till Thou art here and now obeyed.
post 2012 letter
After the Association address so many of you expressed a desire to have another go at the assignment that we are extending it for the summer. You were inspired, as I was, by the implications of living the First Commandment.
Please keep a journal of your work; your inspiration, your revelations of Truth, your application of First Commandment thinking and any fruitage that you have. Keep it real - begin with what you honestly do understand of God and let that expand and grow. We will post your responses and let this work serve as the foundation of the next Association assignment.