History repeats itself. The Pharisees of old warned the people to beware of Jesus, and contemptuously called him "this fellow." Jesus said, "For which of these works do ye stone me?" as much as to ask, Is it the work most derided and envied that is most acceptable to God? Not that he would cease to do the will of his Father on account of persecution, but he would repeat his work to the best advantage for mankind and the glory of his Father.
There are sinners in all societies, and it is vain to look for perfection in churches or associations. The life of Christ is the perfect example; and to compare mortal lives with this model is to subject them to severe scrutiny. Without question, the subtlest forms of sin are trying to force the doors of Science and enter in; but this white sanctuary will never admit such as come to steal and to rob. Through long ages people have slumbered over Christ's commands, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel;" "Heal the sick, cast out devils;" and now the Church seems almost chagrined that by new discoveries of Truth sin is losing prestige and power.
The Rev. Dr. A. J. Gordon, a Boston Baptist clergyman, said in a sermon: "The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and it is doing it to-day; and as the faith of the Church increases, and Christians more and more learn their duty to believe all things written in the Scriptures, will such manifestations of God's power increase among us." Such sentiments are wholesome avowals of Christian Science. God is not unable or unwilling to heal, and mortals are not compelled to have other gods before Him, and employ material forms to meet a mental want. The divine Spirit supplies all human needs. Jesus said to the sick, "Thy sins are forgiven thee; rise up and walk!" God's pardon is the destruction of all "the ills that flesh is heir to."
All power belongs to God; and it is not in all the vain power of dogma and philosophy to dispossess the divine Mind of healing power, or to cast out error with error, even in the name and for the sake of Christ, and so heal the sick. While Science is engulfing error in bottomless oblivion, the material senses would enthrone error as omnipotent and omnipresent, with power to determine the fact and fate to being. It is said that the devil is the ape of God. The lie of evil holds its own by declaring itself both true and good. The path of Christian Science is beset with false claimants, aping its virtues, but cleaving to their own vices. Denial of the authorship of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" would make a lie the author of Truth, and so make Truth itself a lie.
A distinguished clergyman came to be healed. He said: "I am suffering from nervous prostration, and have to eat beefsteak and drink strong coffee to support me through a sermon." Here a skeptic might well ask if the atonement had lost its efficacy for him, and if Christ's power to heal was not equal to the power of daily meat and drink. The power of Truth is not contingent on matter. Our Master said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Truth rebukes error; and whether stall-fed or famishing, theology needs Truth to stimulate and sustain a good sermon.
A lady said: "Only He who knows all things can estimate the good your books are doing."
A distinguished Doctor of Divinity said: "Your book leavens my sermons."
The following extract from a letter is a specimen of those received daily: "Your book Science and Health is healing the sick, binding up the broken-hearted, preaching deliverance to the captive, convicting the infidel, alarming the hypocrite, and quickening the Christian."
Christian Science Mind-healing is dishonored by those who take it up from mercenary motives, for wealth and fame, or think to build a baseless fabric of their own on another's foundation. They cannot put the "new wine into old bottles;" they can never engraft Truth into error. Such students come to my College to learn a system which they go away to disgrace. Stealing or garbling my statements of Mind-science will never prevent or reconstruct the wrecks of "isms" and help humanity.
Science often suffers blame through the sheer ignorance of people, while envy and hatred bark and bite at its heels. A man's inability to heal, on the Principle of Christian Science, substantiates his ignorance of its Principle and practice, and incapacitates him for correct comment. This failure should make him modest.
Christian Science involves a new language, and a higher demonstration of medicine and religion. It is the "new tongue" of Truth, having its best interpretation in the power of Christianity to heal. My system of Mind-healing swerves not from the highest ethics and from the spiritual goal. To climb up by some other way than Truth is to fall. Error has no hobby, however boldly ridden or brilliantly caparisoned, that can leap into the sanctum of Christian Science.
In Queen Elizabeth's time Protestantism could sentence men to the dungeon or stake for their religion, and so abrogate the rights of conscience and choke the channels of God. Ecclesiastical tyranny muzzled the mouth lisping God's praise; and instead of healing, it palsied the weak hand outstretched to God. Progress, legitimate to the human race, pours the healing balm of Truth and Love into every wound. It reassures us that no Reign of Terror or rule of error will again unite Church and State, or reenact, through the civil arm of government, the horrors of religious persecution.
The Rev. S. E. Herrick, a Congregational clergyman of Boston, says: "Heretics of yesterday are martyrs to-day." In every age and clime, "On earth peace, good will toward men" must be the watchword of Christianity.
Jesus said: "I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
St. Paul said that without charity we are "as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal;" and he added: "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; . . . doth not behave itself unseemly, . . . thinketh no evil, . . . but rejoiceth in the truth."
To hinder the unfolding truth, to ostracize whatever uplifts mankind, is of course out of the question. Such an attempt indicates weakness, fear, or malice; and such efforts arise from a spiritual lack, felt, though unacknowledged.
Let it not be heard in Boston that woman, "last at the cross and first at the sepulchre," has no rights which man is bound to respect. In natural law and in religion the right of woman to fill the highest measure of enlightened understanding and the highest places in government, is inalienable, and these rights are ably vindicated by the noblest of both sexes. This is woman's hour, with all its sweet amenities and its moral and religious reforms.
Drifting into intellectual wrestlings, we should agree to disagree; and this harmony would anchor the Church in more spiritual latitudes, and so fulfil her destiny.
Let the Word have free course and be glorified. The people clamor to leave cradle and swaddling-clothes. The spiritual status is urging its highest demands on mortals, and material history is drawing to a close. Truth cannot be stereotyped; it unfoldeth forever. "One on God's side is a majority;" and "Lo, I am with you alway," is the pledge of the Master.
The question now at issue is: Shall we have a practical, spiritual Christianity, with its healing power, or shall we have material medicine and superficial religion? The advancing hope of the race, craving health and holiness, halts for a reply; and the reappearing Christ, whose life-giving understanding Christian Science imparts, must answer the constant inquiry: "Art thou he that should come?" Woman should not be ordered to the rear, or laid on the rack, for joining the overture of angels. Theologians descant pleasantly upon free moral agency; but they should begin by admitting individual rights.
The author's ancestors were among the first settlers of New Hampshire. They reared there the Puritan standard of undefiled religion. As dutiful descendants of Puritans, let us lift their standard higher, rejoicing, as Paul did, that we are free born.
Man has a noble destiny; and the full-orbed significance of this destiny has dawned on the sick-bound and sin-enslaved. For the unfolding of this upward tendency to health, greatness, and goodness, I shall continue to labor and wait. MBE