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Christian Science and the Church
FRANK MASON, CSB


         We all remember what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, who talked with him at the well: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth."

         That Christian Science is in advance of the popular churches of today, no one who has ever read, without prejudice, the wonderful revelations and indisputable truths of Science and Health can fail to admit. This bold announcement casts no reflection upon the churches. The intent of the churches points heavenward, like their spires. In the onward march of Christianity, thought must advance beyond human limit, and away from natural phenomena.

         Creeds and ritualistic modes of worship retard spiritual advance. The mass of churchgoers acquiesce in these manmade forms and ceremonies, leaning upon them for support. Creeds are to churches what crutches are to lame men. A lame man can never walk without his crutch, until able to abandon it. This is equally true of church creeds and dogmatic assumptions.

         The Church of Christ, Scientist, of Boston, is composed largely of members whose names were once enrolled on the books of other denominations; but their thought burst the bonds of ritualism, just as a rose bursts open the confining bud, and blossoms in the sunshine.

         Our beloved Teacher and Pastor followed faithfully and devoutly the requirements of the Orthodox belief, up to the very portal of Heaven. Then Christ, hearing her knock for admittance, opened to her a vision of spiritual realities, of which mortals had heretofore been ignorant. That spiritual vision is depicted in celestial pictures in Science and Health, whose "leaves are for the healing of the nations."

         John the Revelator saw this hour. He saw the "great wonder which appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet; and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." Who can doubt John's revelation is fulfilled today? Surely our Pastor is clothed with the sunlight of divine light and love. Moreover, the twelve stars, or lights, correspond to the twelve pearly gates of the New Jerusalem, gates which will open to the twelve tribes of Israel, — not the Israel after the flesh, but Israel after the Spirit.

         The churches of today hold the same relation to Christian Science that the Law of Moses held to Jesus. Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, — an elevation of thought. Coming down from the mount, bearing the tables, he saw the idolatry of his people, that their God was in matter.

         The first commandment was already broken, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." Seeing this departure from godliness, Moses cast the tablets from his hands, shattering them at the foot of the mount.

         Belief in other gods hides the light of the only Supreme Ruler, of which man is the expression. On the Horeb-height of spiritual discernment God's law is unbroken, but the instant we descend to the world's level the commandments are shattered. We can not keep them from the world's contagion, except through the elevation of our concepts to God's realm. Idolatry and worldliness strip us of our consciousness of God's loving presence; and, like the children of Israel, we find ourselves naked. Creeds and forms will not keep the commandments for us. We must lean wholly on God. God's law can only be maintained by an elevation of mind above physical evidence. Descent in thought, away from the presence of the Most High, breaks God’s commandments. Coming down from the exhilarating atmosphere of the mountains of God's presence, into the foggy and damp valley of the breath of error, we lose our spiritual consciousness. We must remain in the clear, pure atmosphere of Truth, if we would retain our spiritual possessions.

         How truly nature tells the same story today. This is one of the signs of the times. In California, from the mountain peaks, one may see objects a hundred miles away with great distinctness, so clear is the upper atmosphere. Equally clear is the atmosphere of God. From the mount of spiritual elevation one may see, with divine clearness, the all-in-all of Spirit, and the nothingness of matter. Let us abide on this mount of God's presence. Let us "lift our eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh our help."

         Jesus did not break one of the Ten Commandments. He did not break that about the Sabbath, as many suppose; he kept it in spirit, not in the letter. Why? Because he never descended from the Mountain of Holy Assurance. God's presence was an ever-abiding consciousness with him. He never for an instant lost sight of his eternal oneness with the Father. Jesus knew a crown of everlasting glory awaited him in his Father's Kingdom; but the world gave him a crown of thorns. Thorns may encircle lower belief, but Life and Love surround the consciousness of eternal intelligence.

         Jesus said: "Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all who are in the house." Christ is the candle, the light of the Law of Moses. Christian Science is the light of Christ.

         It is the clear, open, divine Light, above church ceremonies and forms, so prevalent today. Our whole consciousness is illumined with the light of Christ. The beacon of understanding casts a flood of light which shames the tattered garments of materiality.

         In Holland the storks destroy the insects undermining the dykes which protect from overflow the rich fields of the Netherlands. These birds are considered almost sacred, and are protected by law. Jesus' words protect all from an inundation of error, which would undermine our consciousness, deluging us with a tidal wave of destruction.

         The church of today occupies a similar position to that of the Jews toward the old Mosaic Law, — a worldly position. Belief in matter as intelligent, belief in a present life which terminates in death, belief that God either creates sin or permits it to exist, belief that matter, rather than Spirit, heals the sick, — such were the foundations of the old Mosaic Law. Christian Science has but one Principle, one eternal circle of evidence.

         The candlestick referred to by Jesus is the Law of Moses. The candle, which Jesus said should be put into the candlestick, to give light to all who are in the house, is Christ, spiritual light, which Christian Science reveals, — the only light which shines upon the Mosaic Law, to reveal the spiritual interpretation thereof.

         The relation of the church to Christian Science is also typified by the relation of John the Baptist to Jesus. John the Baptist was cast into prison by Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. John was incarcerated in the castle of Machaerus, near the Dead Sea. Herod lived in this same castle. Tyrant and prisoner were under the same roof. While here John sent two of his disciples to inquire of Jesus if he was the Messiah, or if they should look for another. At this time Jesus was a hundred miles away, healing under the clear, open canopy of heaven. He returned this message by the delegates: "Go and show John the things ye do hear and see. The blind receive their sight. The lame walk. The lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear. The dead are raised, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them." If John the Baptist is a figure of the Church, Herod represents the ruling mortal thought, the belief that Life, Substance, and Intelligence are resident in matter. John was confined under the same roof with Herod. The churches of today are beneath the same roof, fettered with the false beliefs and claims which constitute materiality.

         Is not Christian Science the clear, open thought, free from materialism? Is it not out in the clear atmosphere of God, where there is not a cloud to obscure the sunlight of His radiant glory? Is it not healing under the canopy of heaven? Many messengers the Church has sent to us. Many followed creed and ritual, until they crossed the threshold of Christian Science. Many have returned to the Church to tell their "glad tidings of great joy," only to meet opposition. The olden message has again gone out to the Church: Behold the cures which are wrought! The spiritually blind receive their sight, gazing with new rapture upon celestial visions. The lame walk with new vigor the way Christ leads, no longer depending on the crutch of materialism for support. Sin's leprosy is cleansed. Deaf ears open to spiritual understanding. The dead in materialistic belief rise to living understanding. The poor in spirit have the Gospel of Christ preached to them.

         Jesus speaks in the highest terms of John, or the Church. "What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? A man clothed in soft raiment? A prophet? Yea, and more than a prophet; for this is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.’ Verily, I say unto you, Among them that are born of woman there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. Notwithstanding, he that is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. “

         Admirable illustration! Beautiful testimony to the Church! And in Jesus' own words; as if he anticipated the time when this relationship would be made known, and his words would save contention. Jesus says the Church is not a flimsy reed, bowed with every breeze. It is not planted in a boggy marsh, but in the solid soil of morality, standing firm for Christ, — from its standpoint of thought. Neither is the Church clad in soft raiment, but in the robes of honest toil. Self-abnegation alone can make a true follower of any sect. Soft clothing, which denotes ease and comfort, can not we found in the wardrobe of any church which pretends to follow Christ. The Church is the messenger which prepares the way for Christ to manifest himself. It is the forerunner of Truth. The Church is more than a prophet; because its teachings, rightly lived, not only foretell higher manifestations, but are the heralds of Christian Science. The Church is the highest and greatest thought born out of materiality. The least in the Kingdom of Heaven, however, is greater than John. A slight conception of Christian Science, as taught by our Pastor, is more valuable than all the religious forms born of worldliness. The Church is the stepping-stone from error into the fullest glory of the Immortal Son of God.

         The Trinity of Spirit is Life, Truth, Love. The Trinity of error is sin, sickness, death. The Church only attempts to handle one of these errors, — sin. The Church destroys sin by elevating mankind above it, but the sick are sent to the doctor, and men are taught that they must die; but Jesus said, "He that believeth my sayings shall never see death." Christian Science, guided by God its Principle, follows in the footsteps of Jesus, destroying all forms of error with Truth.

         John the Baptist was beheaded. We must behead, or cut off, even the highest thought of mortal mind, and lean wholly on God, Immortal Mind. We must look only to God for our support, and at once and forever turn from the world and its contagion, and worship only "in Spirit and in Truth."

 

"Christian Science and the Church" by Frank Mason, CSB
The Christian Science Journal, June, 1888
 

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