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Is There No Sacrificial Atonement?
MARY BAKER EDDY


         Self-sacrifice is the highway to heaven. The sacrifice of our blessed Lord is undeniable, and it was a million times greater than the brief agony of the cross; for that would have been insufficient to insure the glory his sacrifice brought and the good it wrought. The spilling of human blood was inadequate to represent the blood of Christ, the outpouring love that sustains man's at-one-ment with God; though shedding human blood brought to light the efficacy of divine Life and Love and its power over death. Jesus' sacrifice stands preeminently amidst physical suffering and human woe. The glory of human life is in overcoming sickness, sin, and death. Jesus suffered for all mortals to bring in this glory; and his purpose was to show them that the way out of the flesh, out of the delusion of all human error, must be through the baptism of suffering, leading up to health, harmony, and heaven.

         We shall leave the ceremonial law when we gain the truer sense of following Christ in spirit, and we shall no longer venture to materialize the spiritual and infinite meaning and efficacy of Truth and Love, and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, by commemorating his death with a material rite. Jesus said: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." They drink the cup of Christ and are baptized in the purification of persecution who discern his true merit, — the unseen glory of suffering for others. Physical torture affords but a slight illustration of the pangs which come to one upon whom the world of sense falls with its leaden weight in the endeavor to crush out of a career its divine destiny.

         The blood of Christ speaketh better things than that of Abel. The real atonement — so infinitely beyond the heathen conception that God requires human blood to propitiate His justice and bring His mercy — needs to be understood. The real blood or Life of Spirit is not yet discerned. Love bruised and bleeding, yet mounting to the throne of glory in purity and peace, over the steps of uplifted humanity, — this is the deep significance of the blood of Christ. Nameless woe, everlasting victories, are the blood, the vital currents of Christ Jesus' life, purchasing the freedom of mortals from sin and death.

         This blood of Jesus is everything to human hope and faith. Without it, how poor the precedents of Christianity! What manner of Science were Christian Science without the power to demonstrate the Principle of such Life; and what hope have mortals but through deep humility and adoration to reach the understanding of this Principle! When human struggles cease, and mortals yield lovingly to the purpose of divine Love, there will be no more sickness, sorrow, sin, and death. He who pointed the way of Life conquered also the drear subtlety of death.

         It was not to appease the wrath of God, but to show the allness of Love and the nothingness of hate, sin, and death, that Jesus suffered. He lived that we also might live. He suffered, to show mortals the awful price paid by sin, and how to avoid paying it. He atoned for the terrible unreality of a supposed existence apart from God. He suffered because of the shocking human idolatry that presupposes Life, substance, Soul, and intelligence in matter, — which is the antipode of God, and yet governs mankind. The glorious truth of being — namely, that God is the only Mind, Life, substance, Soul — needs no reconciliation with God, for it is one with Him now and forever.

         Jesus came announcing Truth, and saying not only "the kingdom of God is at hand," but "the kingdom of God is within you." Hence there is no sin, for God's kingdom is everywhere and supreme, and it follows that the human kingdom is nowhere, and must be unreal. Jesus taught and demonstrated the infinite as one, and not as two. He did not teach that there are two deities, — one infinite and the other finite; for that would be impossible. He knew God as infinite, and therefore as the All-in-all; and we shall know this truth when we awake in the divine likeness. Jesus' true and conscious being never left heaven for earth. It abode forever above, even while mortals believed it was here. He once spoke of himself (John iii. 13) as "the Son of man which is in heaven," — remarkable words, as wholly opposed to the popular view of Jesus' nature.

         The real Christ was unconscious of matter, of sin, disease, and death, and was conscious only of God, of good, of eternal Life, and harmony. Hence the human Jesus had a resort to his higher self and relation to the Father, and there could find rest from unreal trials in the conscious reality and royalty of his being, — holding the mortal as unreal, and the divine as real. It was this retreat from material to spiritual selfhood which recuperated him for triumph over sin, sickness, and death. Had he been as conscious of these evils as he was of God, wherein there is no consciousness of human error, Jesus could not have resisted them; nor could he have conquered the malice of his foes, rolled away the stone from the sepulchre, and risen from human sense to a higher concept than that in which he appeared at his birth.

         Mankind's concept of Jesus was a babe born in a manger, even while the divine and ideal Christ was the Son of God, spiritual and eternal. In human conception God's offspring had to grow, develop; but in Science his divine nature and manhood were forever complete, and dwelt forever in the Father. Jesus said, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." Mortal thought gives the eternal God and infinite consciousness the license of a short-lived sinner, to begin and end, to know both evil and good; when evil is temporal and God is eternal, — and when, as a sphere of Mind, He cannot know beginning or end.

         The spiritual interpretation of the vicarious atonement of Jesus, in Christian Science, unfolds the full-orbed glory of that event; but to regard this wonder of glory, this most marvellous demonstration, as a personal and material bloodgiving — or as a proof that sin is known to the divine Mind, and that what is unlike God demands His continual presence, knowledge, and power, to meet and master it — would make the atonement to be less than the at-one-ment, whereby the work of Jesus would lose its efficacy and lack the "signs following."

         From Genesis to Revelation the Scriptures teach an infinite God, and none beside Him; and on this basis Messiah and prophet saved the sinner and raised the dead, — uplifting the human understanding, buried in a false sense of being. Jesus rendered null and void whatever is unlike God; but he could not have done this if error and sin existed in the Mind of God. What God knows, He also predestinates; and it must be fulfilled. Jesus proved to perfection, so far as this could be done in that age, what Christian Science is to-day proving in a small degree, — the falsity of the evidence of the material senses that sin, sickness, and death are sensible claims, and that God substantiates their evidence by knowing their claim. He established the only true idealism on the basis that God is All, and He is good, and good is Spirit; hence there is no intelligent sin, evil mind or matter: and this is the only true philosophy and realism. This divine mystery of godliness was the rock of Truth, on which he built his Church of the new-born, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.

         This Truth is the rock which the builders rejected; but "the same is become the head of the corner." This is the chief corner-stone, the basis and support of creation, the interpreter of one God, the infinity and unity of good.

         In proportion as mortals approximate the understanding of Christian Science, they take hold of harmony, and material incumbrance disappears. Having one God, one Mind, one consciousness, — which includes only His own nature, — and loving your neighbor as yourself, constitute Christian Science, which must demonstrate the nothingness of any other state or stage of being.

 

Excerpted from No and Yes
by Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 33-38


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