The United States of America — The Ark and Cradle of Christian Science
by Paul R. Smillie
Moses’s simple ark of bulrushes and Christ Jesus’ cradle in the manger, symbolize the protection given the pure and humble Christ-like thought. The protection afforded by the cradle and ark enabled the child-like thought to grow into the fullness of the stature of the Christ. This was the ushering forth of the perfect idea. Moses and Jesus were sheltered by humble environments which protected the eventful births. In both instances the maliciousness of mortal mind sought out the human herald in an attempt to destroy the Christ which was to be brought forth. Jesus and Moses were to become such great leaders of men that even before they were born, malicious animal magnetism was conniving means and methods to rid the world of their usefulness and examples. However, mortal mind was not to have its way. God protects that which serves His purpose.
In every era there is always one individual who is nearer to the fullness of the Christ-like love. Through that individual the Truth speaks most plainly to that age. This great fact is true of nations as well, for one nation must always express more of the perfect Principle than do the neighboring nations. Does it seem so irregular and unnatural that Christian Science should be discovered in a country whose beginnings were established upon the humble Christ-like purity of infinite Principle, Love? When we understand this, then we can perceive that the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are the ark and cradle of the impersonal Christ which, manifested as a nation, is America. This is why Mrs. Eddy speaks about believing strictly in the Monroe Doctrine and the Constitution.
Christian Science develops in other countries too, but it could only have been discovered in America, because America was the only nation which would protect the Babe of Christian healing. Remember, it was the two wings of the eagle, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, which took the woman, Mary Baker Eddy, into the wilderness to bring forth her discovery. Therefore Christian Science was not discovered in Russia, China, Germany, England or Africa. The impersonal Christ idea must have an impersonal Christ principle to protect it. Without it, mortal passions would soon blot out the light of Truth. The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are the impersonal ark protecting the impersonal Christ or Christian Science.
The so called scholarly and erudite nations of the world scoffed at the impertinence or insurrection, as some of them saw it, of America’s humble beginnings. Kings, potentates, priests and pope saw its bright promise and sought to destroy it and still do. No nation can now scoff at it for the ideas brought forth, for the establishment of our Nation have been tested and found true.
No American can ever misconstrue or doubt the principles and truths for which the Founding Fathers fought, and for the ideas and purposes they held most dear in their hearts. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 176 of Miscellaneous Writings: “When first the Pilgrims planted their feet on Plymouth Rock, frozen ritual and creed should forever have melted away in the fire of love which came down from heaven. The Pilgrims came to establish a nation in true freedom, in the rights of conscience.” Also on line 18 of the same page, she says: “to build upon the rock of Christ.” Christian Science had a meek and humble entry into this world, and it was this meekness which exalts it. This humbleness will enable Christian Science to inherit the earth, not in cowardly acts of submission and conciliation to error, but by destroying error with the strength of Mind. True meekness will not allow error to trample upon it or degrade its purposes. America was the only nation whose founding was on spiritual principles. It is the nearest concept of the national idea to Mind, and being so close, it must remain separate from “entangling alliances” as Washington said, just as a good Christian Scientist would not marry a good Roman Catholic.
“The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Is not America a marvelous sight to the eyes? Has she not developed because her basis is Christianity? In the foregoing quoted statement we find a principle that can be applied to all activities that build upon the Christ. It underlies all true foundations. Then this statement holds true for our nation.
In the Christian Science Sentinel of October 3, 1936, the following statements are made: “In the early laws framed by the Massachusetts General Court, the Bible is constantly cited as the authority. In 1741 John Cotton, the greatest of the first generation of New England preachers, drew up a proposed code of laws for Massachusetts in which marginal references to the Bible are given in support of each of the suggested laws. When the New Haven Colony was formed in 1639, all the free planters, we are told, assembled to consult about settling civil government, and the first question was: ‘Whether the Scripture do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men as well as in the government of families and commonwealth as in matters of the Church.’ This was answered in the affirmative, and it was voted unanimously that ‘the Word of God shall be the rule to be attended unto in ordering the affairs in government in this plantation.” The Christian idea of man was accepted as a legitimate building block for man’s government.
The pagan idea of man asserts that man is created for the State and for its use alone. His worth is measured according to his usefulness to the State; whereas the Christian idea of man states that his government is brought forth for his use and God’s glory. He controls it. It is brought forth and created solely for his protection, and he has a right to dictate its proceedings in accord with law. The State is not to be used as an instrument of those inflamed with mad ambition. No crown, no royal head, centralized power, socialism, communism or tyranny or any kind can dictate to the individual, for they are the anti-Christ.
When this idea was promulgated by the greatest thinkers of early America and accepted by its inhabitants as truth, a Nation was brought forth to protect mankind’s noblest desire – freedom in the choice of government and religion. This idea brought forth the government necessary for the protection and inception of Christian Science. The Christian idea for man is set forth in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. These documents embody the concepts of liberty our Founding Fathers derived from constant study of the Bible. Impersonal law became the protection of all Americans and eventually enabled the babe of Christian healing its birth in our blessed Nation.
On page 200 of Miscellany, Mrs. Eddy says: “Religious liberty and individual rights under the Constitution of our nation are rapidly advancing, avowing and consolidating the genius of Christian Science.” If Mrs. Eddy accords to the Constitution such importance, it should be important for her students to understand its history, its spirit and provisions. No other form of government has been accorded this recognition. We can accurately assume that Christian Science would only grow while the Constitution was intact. It is not growing. Our government has become centralized as the Eastern empires and nations. She knew our Textbook was for the use of individuals the world over. Unless it is a guide for the rest of the world and for Americans of future generations, to speak of our government in this manner, it would have been considered an affront to Christian Scientists in other lands. The genius of Christian Science can be destroyed when centralization creeps into our form of government. It is the destruction of our protection. It is the pagan idea of man being brought forth once again to destroy the good which has already been established. The protective purity of the cradle and the conscious safety of the ark must be accepted and understood before we can bring God’s kingdom to earth. This is “the kingdom within”, individual worth. A centralized government suppresses this individual kingdom and promotes the steady growth of that kingdom without, or centralized government. Pray for the protection and the reinstatement of the principles of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
The American system of republican government, as the impersonal cradle of the impersonal Christ Science, must be understood by Christian Scientists. “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” It is obvious that unless a nation expresses the Christ it cannot be an example and lead unto heavenward. It cannot bring God’s kingdom to earth. Our nation must return to its child-like innocence before it can point the way nationally to salvation. We must guard jealously that which constitutes and protects the purity of the Christ in this age. We must strive to reveal the cradle-thought, then the original purity and protective nature of the ark and cradle will be seen and demonstrated. We must see our primitive and ultimate nature in Christ. It naturally follows that we must understand America’s rich history and see the purity that brought her forth, or we cannot see the importance of America today. If we no longer understand the cradle-thought, we lose the babe. This will occur when the babe is unprotected because of indifference or ignorance. If we lose sight of the original meaning of America as the cradle of Christian Science, we lose the babe of Christ healing, for it is no longer protected in our human experience. Centralized government is the enemy of Christian Science. It denies the freedom that brought forth Christian Science. Error grows malicious in its assaults upon freedom when we give up our claim to freedom, and then error struggles to gain complete control. An understanding of our heritage as individuals and as a nation is paramount to survival. Christian Science will not survive in a socialistic welfare state.
The ark in the bulrushes and the cradle in the manger brought forth unprecedented thought and activity, some of the most fearless and enlightening the world has ever witnessed. Jesus and Moses were witnessing to God’s government. No one man, men or organizations could destroy the protection of the ark and cradle without first changing our form of government.
America is wholly unique. In a letter to Mrs. William P. McKinley, wife of the President, March 30, 1898, Mrs. Eddy said in speaking of Cuba: “The question is grave – does God require the best government on earth to disturb its peace by war to give Cuba her independence when other nations offer no help? Foreign nations are allied but the United States stands alone in her glory.” Mrs. Eddy knew that glorious America’s purpose could be accomplished in her own – never allied with foreign nations. Mrs. Eddy believed “strictly in the Monroe Doctrine” and our “Constitution”. Can we enter a world government if we stand alone in “our glory”? Jesus put aside his swaddling clothes (material sense of birth) in the sepulchre. When will we as a nation? Must we as a nation go to what he did to overcome the claims of tyranny? Christian Scientists must lift on high the true birth of this nation or we will!
The great Christian luminaries of America, such as Washington, Adams and Lincoln, etc., were preparing and readying the manger – the world’s thinking, and the courts and hierarchies, for the revelation of Christian Science. They gathered the bulrushes and pitched the ark. They cut the wood and fashioned the cradle. Today, Americans and Christian Scientists in particular, are asleep in the cradle. They are not growing. They are being tossed to and fro in the ark without calming the waters and are being lost in the bulrushes. The ark has many holes in it and is ready to sink.
On page 10 of Pulpit and Press, Mrs. Eddy says: “Rome’s fallen fanes and silent Aventine is glory’s tomb; her pomp and power lie low in dust. Our land, more favored, had its Pilgrim Fathers. On shores of solitude, at Plymouth Rock, they planted a nation’s heart, – the rights of conscience, imperishable glory. No dream of avarice or ambition broke their exalted purpose; theirs was the wish to reign in hope’s reality – the realm of Love.” It is avarice and “mad ambition” that centralizes government. It comes from a lack of love – the hatred of self and mankind.
The Christ, as has been said, comes through those individuals with the consciousness clear enough to perceive its message, and listen for guidance. The less opaque object will enable more light to be diffused through it than the more opaque object. History furnishes us proof of this. We have the example of Moses and the prophets, Jesus, the disciples, the apostles, Wycliffe, Locke, Luther, Calvin and many more luminaries up to the settling of the New England shores. These individuals brought forth more of the Christian idea of man and government, therefore, their work and examples are invaluable as stepping stones to the revelation of divine Mind. The crowning event of history became manifest when God’s womanhood could be established and protected. Then and only then was Christian Science discovered. The lodestar which brought the shepherds to the manger, and which enabled the Founding Fathers to establish a Christian form of government, was the same star which enabled Mary Baker Eddy to discover Christian Science. It was the Bible, “the Word, the polar magnet of Revelation.”
“Come out from among them and be ye separate” must be America realizing the importance of its national destiny. If we continue to think of America as just another nation in the world, we have already added to the danger confronting our demonstration. This lethargic thought will destroy America and Christian Science with it. Look in the Christian Science Journal and see if you can find many Christian Science churches in any of the communistic countries? This tells the story quite clearly. The birthplace of Christian Science should be respected as unique, not only by Americans, but by all mankind. We know it will be in the near future if Christian Scientists rally to their country’s defense. We have religious freedom because we are a Christian Nation, and many other parts of the globe have it only because America is here. If America were not here to stand, religious freedom would be a nonentity. All is Principle and Principle expressed nationally is the United States of America. We can never let America become “second rate” because America expresses the highest sense of the national aspects of Principle in this age.
Patriotism is the love of Principle because it loves what He has provided for the protection of His children. America must stand as an example to the world. America cannot be amalgamated with other nations. America and Christian Science must lift their neighbors up to their standards of other nations and religions. America and Christian Science are as unique as roses in a garden of bachelor buttons. Mortal mind would have us believe America is the same as other nations. In this way America would have no unique purpose, nor any destiny. Mortal mind would also relish the idea of Mary Baker Eddy as being thought of as a little old grey-haired lady, or of Jesus as just another prophet, or Moses as just another man among many. However, we know each is unique and fulfills a part of God’s infinite plan. They all have a place in God’s disposal of events, for their demonstrations are still with us.
More constructive thinking has been produced in America’s history than in all other combined centuries of the human story. It might also be noted that more has been done in the least amount of time.
Dr. Jedediah Morse wrote: “Our dangers are of two kinds; those which affect our religion and those which affect our government. They are, however, so closely allied, that they cannot with propriety, be separated. The foundations which support the interests of Christianity are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. In all those countries where there is little or no religion, or a very gross and corrupt one, as in Mohammedan and pagan countries, there you will find, with scarcely a single exception, arbitrary and tyrannical governments, gross ignorance and wickedness, and deplorable wretchedness among the people. To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. I hold this to be truth confirmed by experience. if so, it follows, that all efforts made to destroy the foundations of our holy religion ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.” The administration of our Republic must not be thought of in a casual or apathetic manner, for our government insures that the freedom of religion will continue to be preserved without being violated as long as the principles embodied in our national framework remain. It might be pointed out that almost all of them have already been altered. This is an attack on Christian Science.
The science of constitutional government must be understood by all Christian Scientists, for it is based upon principle, law. A government of law guarantees that man is not subject to the whims, machinations or personal caprice of men or their type of relative thinking. Law is government – not oppressive measures of gradual centralization.
Mrs. Eddy states on page 94 of Science and Health: “The Eastern empires and nations owe their false government to the misconception of Deity there prevalent.” Therefore, it is also true that America owes her form of government to the correct concept of Deity. If this is the case, Christian Scientists had better stand up and be counted because America has been following the political practices of the Eastern empires during the past 45 years.
The pagan thought of hierarchy should never have a place in the political structure of America. It is as foreign to our political framework and institutions, as error is to Truth. We cannot let our freedom erode away.
There are two forms of revolutions, although we commonly think of revolution in connection with bloodshed and violence. But it can be more subtle because the principles of a cause, people or government are broken down “bit by bit” until there is no longer a vestige of principle worth acknowledging. This same form of revolution took place when Constantine declared himself the head of the church. He could never have obtained control of the church or maintained it had the church not already decayed sufficiently for his takeover. The same can be said of Rome. It was internal decay that was its downfall, and which eventually led to its destruction by the Huns and Vandals. Someone once said that it was like an egg that had its insides rotten away. Then all that was needed for destruction was for the egg to be crushed. Why shouldn’t it be? What purpose does a hollow egg serve?
The checks and balances, separation of powers, the dual form of government (national and local government), and their various spheres of action, limited powers, and representative government, are the beneficial results of Christianity applied to government. The Founding Fathers knew human nature and its greed for power, so they established a government of law with limitations and checks upon mortal impulses. The Christ idea could then grow rather than be buried again beneath the rubble of oppressive tyrannies. We hear much about streamlining government and making it more effective. However, if the Truth were known, it is a few men seeking to destroy the checks and balances which would enable them to grab power. We must be very grateful for our form of government for there are those who would destroy our institutions to gratify their own passions and greed. This is the anti-Christ in its most aggressive, yet most subtle form. We do not cast aside moral standards and laws for the sake of expediency. Moral decay cannot be forced upon us if we are alert.
Christian Science is built upon the rock of Truth, as is our beloved nation. No ecclesiastical or political despotism can dwell in the shadow of this great rock until we lose sight of the rock’s significance. The attempt of despotic alliances and totalitarian governments to subjugate individuals and nations into a regimented mass destroys individuality and makes man subservient to mortal planning and will power. Then man will no longer have a right to determine his own identity. It will be decided for him. Human planning must never subvert the Christ-like revelation, for it cannot take its place. An individual’s freedom is based upon a knowledge of God and His government as manifest in our human experience.
Mrs. Eddy says on page 227 of Science and Health: “Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression.” Oppression is that which seeks to captivate and impose burdens upon, especially those that are free. Error’s nature is oppressive in all its forms. Independence and liberty without reason and self-government force us to become pawns upon the gaming table of malicious hoaxers whether they are called friends or enemies, relatives or neighbors, governors, priests, presidents, popes, scholars, teachers or professors. Malicious animal magnetism will always find avenues to work through us and usually in the most unsuspected areas.
Our nation is fast destroying its armaments because Christian Scientists are fast letting down their arguments against the evils confronting our nation. Our nation is fast becoming dictatorial and centralized because Christian Scientists are relying on an external God (practitioner) instead of the subjective demonstration of oneness. There is too little self-government in the Christian Science Movement. Americans are lethargic and listless because Christian Scientists are lethargic and listless about our Nation’s divine purpose. Our Nation is languishing in opulence and ease because Christian Scientists are using Science for pleasure in matter instead of for a destruction of materiality. Our Nation’s economy is bankrupt because her people are spiritually bankrupt and Christian Scientists talk of the letter without corresponding demonstrations. Inflated money is inflated talk, nothing to back it up. Christian Science through Christian Scientists must be guiding this Nation because our mental work should be leavening the corrupt influences and erroneous practices of its citizens and officials and destroying their false power. The proper mental work is not being done for our beloved Nation.
Mary Baker Eddy directed that the Concord, New Hampshire Church of Christ, Scientist, should ring its bells every Thanksgiving, every Christmas and every Fourth of July – Thanksgiving for the beautiful Nation which is animated by the ark and the cradle; Christmas bells ring out to proclaim the birth of the human herald whose teachings and principles are woven into the ark and cradle; Fourth of July bells ring out for the liberty brought forth by the ark and cradle, a tribute to those brave and patriotic gentlemen of the 1700’s who brought this Nation to the door of Christian Science.
God clearly stated in the Bible that Israel would be named a new name in the latter days. Only one nation has fulfilled the Biblical promises that would follow that nation – America. America remained waiting until a Christian people were ready to occupy her and remained a refuge for them until millions of Christians were ready to make her a Christian nation. It stands today for a Christianly scientific people to rescue her from the jealousy of one-world government. There are many similarities between ancient Israel and the United States. It is as if history were repeating itself.
- The Israelites crossed the sea to get rid of bondage as did the Christians coming to America.
- At the destruction of the Egyptian tyrant’s forces, Israel decreed general thanksgiving to God. When the modern Pharaoh was defeated, a general Thanksgiving was decreed by Congress.
- It is said that the number of Israelites escaping from bondage were 3,000,000 and the number of people in the revolution colonies in 1776 was about 3,000,000.
- The sea was frozen when the Israelites reached the safe side, and the Pilgrim Fathers found a frozen sea and snow covered shore.
- Israelites were organized as a confederacy of 13 tribes and the 13 colonies providentially organized into a Christian confederacy.
- The Israelite Confederacy was organized into a “more perfect union” after the exodus by adopting a written democratic constitution, and so was ours.
- The Israelite’s constitution was submitted to the tribes for ratification, so was ours to the colonies.
- Our two countries are known to be the only two nations to have adopted written constitutions at their birth prior to 1776.
- Church and state were disunited by the Israelite’s constitution and placed in the relation of associates. The church was debarred as a church from exercising direct control in civil affairs and so, too, in the U.S. Constitution.
- The Israelite was responsible only to God and to the ecclesiastical law of the church, and was in no way responsible to civil authority for his spiritual conduct.
- Political offices of the Israelites were elective, so are ours.
- The people of Israel chose God as their King and renounced allegiance to all other monarchs by acclamation, and so do the people of the United States.
- The Israelites’ constitution forbids foreigners from ever becoming supreme magistrates, and so does ours.
- The Israelites’ constitution provided for the naturalization of foreigners, and so does ours.
- The Israelite nation fell when they yelled “Nay we will have a king over us.” We will too if we continue to deny God as our King and Christ as the head of all principality and power.
Mrs. Eddy says: “But if our nation’s rights or honor were seized, every citizen would be a soldier and woman would be armed with power girt for the hour.” (Miscellany 277:22) If Mrs. Eddy meant metaphysically girting, she would have said men and women, but this statement denotes an unusual position for women for such a time. This would mean being armed with weapons of war as well as Truth. Women would not be spared the necessity of fighting physically as well as mentally if our nation were seized by armed intruders. Mrs. Eddy knows the importance of the ark and the cradle! Evidently she saw the future of our nation.
In the Manual of the Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy says: “The chief cornerstone whereof is, that Christian Science, as taught and demonstrated by our Master, casts out error, heals the sick, and restores the lost Israel: for the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.” Christian Science is restoring the literal sense of Israel manifest as a nation, or America, for the spiritual Israel could never be spoken of by Mrs. Eddy as being lost. Mrs. Eddy recognized America as the country, which more closely than all others, carries the national banner of spiritual Israel. Christian Science reveals this to be so, and Christian Scientists must see that it is done. The spiritual must be manifested to the eyes, or the spiritual cannot be appreciated or accepted. In her poem to Great Britain, Mrs. Eddy says:
“Lord of the main and manor!
Thy palm, in ancient day,
Didst rock the country’s cradle
That wakes thy laureate’s lay.”
In other words, England’s blessings will come when America is seen to have a divine purpose. All mankind will be blessed with this recognition of America as the national herald of Truth. The cradle has the laureates (Christian Science) in it. The whole poem is timely. Those who take the time to study it will derive a great deal of inspiration from it.
As Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph, was given the blessing of the older son, Manasseh, so was America given the blessing over the older Great Britain, though both share in the blessing, for both are brothers of “the self-same spirit”.
The spirituality of this nation was able to bring forth Mary Baker Eddy, and through her we were given Christian Science, the impersonal Christ idea. The country which enabled God’s womanhood to be revealed and protected was America. It is America which has Christian Science in its keeping today.
The Master’s parable of The Prodigal Son foretold the reception Truth would have in this age. It quite closely resembles the state of affairs in our Nation. It seems that we are just about ready to get out of the dirt and see what our rich heritage is, and stop this ridiculous maelstrom called “riotous living”. America must return to the house of her Father. She must return to the cradle and ark for there and only there is her destiny protected. Only through adherence to her original compacts – the ark and the cradle – can she survive. Man can only see perfection when he beholds the original and casts away the counterfeit.
All the metaphysical work we do for our Nation will be useless unless we repair the badly damaged ark and cradle. Its purpose has been mistreated and abused by petty politicians, vicious opportunists, those mad with ambition, pseudo-intellectuals, and those self-acknowledged destroyers of Christianity. They are destroying the ark and cradle, some ignorantly and some with malicious intent. Our mental work must stop this erosion immediately. “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (II Cor. 3:17)