by Martha Wilcox
The Virgin Mary
From the very moment that Isaiah uttered the prophecy, “Hear ye now, O house of David; the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa.7:13,14) From that very moment throughout the years, every daughter of Israel not only longed to become the mother of “The Anointed One,” but thought it possible that she might become the mother of “The Anointed One.” Therefore Mary, in common with all Jewish maidens of her period, cherished the hope of becoming the mother of the long expected deliverer of Israel.
The World of Mary’s Day
History tells us that the world of Mary’s day was drowning in its foully materialistic thinking. Rome, the most important city, had set up the worship of the Emperor, the adoration of a human personality, as her religion. In the province of Galilee, where Mary lived, there were many established religions and political parties: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, the Lawyers, and the revolutionists, all waiting the hour to strike Rome.
The conception held by these groups concerning the deliverance of Israel was wholly a material conception. What remained of the morality and spirituality of the Israelites was, at this time, found only among the common people.
A Group of Metaphysical Thinkers
And sacred history tells us that in this province of Galilee, and among the common people, was a little group of metaphysical thinkers. Right in the midst of this dense materialistic thinking of the upper class, was this little group, this remnant of Israel who practiced pure and undefiled religion. They taught and practiced the most beautiful moral precepts. In fact, they were full of light in that black night of materialism. Many of the best literary productions nearest the advent of Jesus, were written in Galilee by these religious thinkers.
This little remnant of Israel was undiscouraged for Israel’s deliverance. Their faith in God was unshaken by the blood ravages of Rome. They worshipped the true God of all the religions of that day; none approached the Hebrew religion in purity of doctrine or cleanness of life as shown forth by this little group of metaphysicians.
Deliverer of Israel
The greater portion of this province of Galilee, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, the Lawyers, and the revolutionists all looked for a materialistic deliverer to save them from the Roman Emperor. But this remnant of Israel, this group of metaphysicians, looked for a deliverer who would purify his people. They realized that Israel’s woes were the result of her false and unrighteous thinking. Hence, this little group looked for a spiritual King who would deliver Israel from its materialistic mode of thought.
According to prophecy, their Deliverer must belong to the highest order of Being. He was to be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and He was to be born of a virgin of the family of David. (Isa. 9:6) His mission would be the salvation of His people and of all mankind. (Isa. 49:6) To Him would be given everlasting dominion, glory, and a kingdom, and all people would serve Him. (Dan. 7:14)
To the Hebrew, his belief in prophecy was wholly beyond the interpretation of man. His beliefs were deeply intrenched in his thought. They had been prophesied by patriarchs and prophets, and handed down as fixed spiritual and mental laws of thought. To the Hebrews, prophecy was a fixed fact. And, too, they had demonstrated so many amazing experiences, that they were confident that a spiritual deliverance would also be their experience.
Since this prophecy was a fixed law to this little remnant of Israel, they made themselves ready for the coming promised deliverer. They purified their thought and made many marvelous demonstrations which logically followed their spiritual thinking.
This little group knew from actual experience that spiritual law set in motion by purified and spiritualized thought, was far more effective than the forcing of political issue through material aggression or human will.
Mary’s Vision of the Deliverer of Israel
Mary belonged to this group. So naturally her vision of the Deliverer or Saviour of Israel was far from that of a mere political restorer who would set up in material splendor the ancient throne of David. Mary knew that this Deliverer or Saviour of Israel, who was awaited not only by Israel, but by the whole world, must be one who would demonstrate Israel; that is, one who would set forth the real man in the image of Spirit. Mary realized that nothing short of an immaculate conception or a deep purity of thought could bring into human visible form, a Being, who for the task before him, must be spiritually endowed, as no human being had ever been endowed before.
Mary was deeply religious, a woman of strong character and super-intelligence. She was far from the “clinging vine” type to which so many have ignorantly assigned her. It is interesting and wonderful to learn how Mary, within herself, prepared for the coming of the Saviour. She was familiar with the Scriptures and knew that an immaculate conception would not just happen. She knew that an immaculate conception could take place only if the purity of the virgin’s thought was sufficiently demonstrated.
Mary knew that the angel of the Lord, the divine idea, the reality of Being, could come to the virgin’s human consciousness in concrete visible demonstration only when that consciousness was prepared and ready both mentally and spiritually. She knew and understood the spiritual law that made invisible spiritual facts become humanly and materially visible to mankind.
Mary was familiar with the miracles of the ancient patriarchs and prophets. She clearly understood why the burning bush was not consumed. (Ex. 3:2) She understood, in some measure, how “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24) She knew why the pot of oil failed not. (II Kings 4) She knew how Elisha’s own mind could say, “Thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.” (II Kings 4:43) She no doubt understood how and why the temple was rebuilt by King Cyrus. (Ezra) How and why there was rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem under Nehemiah.
Mary no doubt prayed and sang the songs of David. To her, the Psalms were the same source of comfort and consolation as they have been to both Christian and Jew alike, down through the ages. Mary knew and understood the demonstration of Zacharius and Elizabeth, and she had seen many more demonstrations of spiritual import wrought out into concrete visible expression.
Mary knew that with God, her own mind, all things were possible. She knew that in all these experiences, the might of God or Mind came to the human consciousness as powerful impressions of Good, and then these mental spiritual impressions were externalized to mankind in concrete visible forms.
Things and Events Do Not Just Happen
Mary knew that all things, circumstances, conditions, and events do not just happen. She clearly understood that any thought held in the mentality tends to express or externalize itself in outward or visible form. Therefore, Mary firmly believed that the longing and the undaunted faith in the certain coming of Israel’s deliverer, would sometime become externalized.
Mary knew that if she, a virgin, were to become the mother of the Saviour, this demonstration could only be made through her spiritual understanding of the Fatherhood of God. Her demonstration made, then indeed, God would be the Father of her child, and her child would truly be the Son of God.
The annunciation, as recorded by Luke, was Mary’s announcement to herself, and to those who looked for Israel’s deliverer, that she was to be the mother of the Saviour, who would save, not only Israel of that day, but all generations to come. This annunciation represents Mary’s own reasoning; her communion with the angel, was her communion with her own inner self. In a larger sense, her annunciation was her communion with God, her own mind. This indeed, was the power and operation of the divine idea in human consciousness.
In this annunciation, Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:46-50) This annunciation by the Virgin Mary, is the greatest poem in Hebrew literature. I will say it is the greatest poem that has ever been written.
Mary Called Her Son, Jesus
Since Mary, herself, was of royal lineage, she knew that God would give to her son, the throne of David. Mary named her son “Jesus,” because Jesus was synonymous with Joshua, a renowned leader in Israel, and Mary’s son would indeed be a leader. The name Jesus also comes from the Greek form of Je-hosh-us which means Jehova, the healer. And why should Mary not attach to her son those qualities which in sacred history were promised to the Son of God.
When the angel, that mighty impression of good, appeared to Mary and said unto her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God,” Mary answered this angel, saying, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:35, 38)
False theology has made the world believe that this statement made by Mary to the angel, was made in a spirit of mere pious resignation on her part, and that Mary had little or at least very little to do with giving a Saviour to the world. But since “The Key to the Scriptures” has unlocked for us the “Science of Mind,” Mary’s statement, “Be it unto me according to thy word,” reveals Mary’s thought as being on a lofty plane of spiritual power and realization. This statement was a confident assertion that nothing, not even the bringing forth of Israel’s deliverer, was impossible with God. Her words were the acknowledgment of spiritual law.
A Fundamental Law in Christian Science
A fundamental law in Christian Science has been revealed to us. This law is, that things do not merely happen. Thought held persistently within our mentality tends toward the externalization of itself in outward and visible forms. The thought of the whole Hebrew nation, a thought born in the Garden of Eden, lay back of Jesus, the Saviour, and forced him into view.
The Virgin Mary’s state of mind was the mighty God, the law of divine Science. This law, set in motion in the consciousness of Mary, gave us a Saviour who saves us from all sin, disease, age, want, war, and death. This law, active in the consciousness of Mary, gave visible proof that the Father of man was not a material personality, but was an all-creative Principle, known to Israel as their God.
Let us review some of the vital points in this lesson.
First: The divine idea or spiritual fact, held persistently within the mentality, will externalize itself in outward and visible forms.
Second: The divine idea , when correctly understood as the Mighty God or as active, powerful, conscious Good, holds within itself the power to demonstrate itself.
Third: Things do not merely happen. There is a divine basis for every human thing, circumstance, condition and event.
Fourth: It is spiritual law, active in human consciousness, that causes spiritual facts to become humanly and materially visible to mankind.
Fifth: The divine idea or Saviour will come to our human consciousness in concrete visible demonstration only when our consciousness is prepared and ready both mentally and spiritually.