From Death Unto Life
From the Christian Science Sentinel,October 25, 1924, by Albert F. Gilmore
No phase of Jesus’ teaching was more emphatic than the need to love God and one’s fellow-men. The two commandments which he declared to be the greatest of all proclaimed this necessity in language so direct and withal, so forceful, as to be unmistakable. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” leaves no doubt in the thought of the reader as to the Master’s meaning. So to love God, good, as to exclude affection for all unlike Him was the standard he set for mortals! “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” is equally direct and unequivocal. The obligation upon mortals to love God and one’s fellow-men completely occupied Jesus’ thought, and was so frequently upon his lips that its spirit pervades his entire teachings.
The disciples, too, profound students of their beloved Master, emphatically expressed the need always to manifest love toward all men under all circumstances, always and invariably. So impressed was John with this need that he wrote, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” Startling statement! We pass “from death unto life” because we love our fellow-men. Transcendent truth! Loving the brethren, then, is the great necessity, for thereby do we overcome as a necessary experience the belief termed death; and this victory is won in proportion as we gain that spiritual understanding of God and man wherein Life is revealed as perfect, eternal, changeless.
What the consequences are of failing to love the brethren, the apostle declares in the concluding sentence of the verse above quoted: “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” Could words more definitely convey the serious results of failing to manifest love toward mankind? Failure to love our fellow-men even brings death. Under the searchlight of spiritual truth these passages take on a profound significance. The importance of their messages is laid bare, and the way is made plain in Christian Science whereby they may become practicable as the guide of daily life.
Since God is Love and God is Life, to love is to live, that is, to love is to reflect the Life in which death has no part. Moreover, to express Life is to reflect Love; and conversely, to express Love’s supposed opposite, hate, seems to give a semblance of reality to that which has no true existence, to a belief which is death and in which it appears to end. In the light of the teachings of Christ Jesus and his disciples upon this subject, it seems quite inexplicable that the succeeding generations of mankind have given so little attention to their deep meaning. Mankind, to a great extent, it seems, has gone blindly on, striving to win, through the futile ways of mortal mind, the goal of material accomplishment, the goal toward which men have always struggled, regardless of the consequences. With the example of the generations of humanity before them, they have paid little heed to the inevitable consequences which Christ Jesus so impressively described. But with the discovery of Christian Science and its revelation of Truth, there came an awakening which has stirred the thought of vast numbers of men. Under the shadowless illumination of Christian Science, John’s message likewise stands out in startling significance.
Why does hatred bring death? Christian Science declares that hatred implies existence apart from God; and, manifestly, since God is Life, infinite and ever present, the suggestion of life apart from God is a myth, an impossibility which inevitably ends in the belief of death, that is, oblivion. Hatred, then, no less than any other phase of so-called mortal mind beliefs, has no foundation in fact, no substance to which it may attach itself. It has no true existence, not even a passing phase; and goes whither? Into that seeming state of nothingness out of which it has come. How marked the contrast of this condition with the expression of Life, God!
To love is to lift one’s self in some degree out of the sense of selfishness. To love one’s neighbor as one’s self is so to recognize the allness of God as infinite Love as to cease all sense of selfishness, seeing man’s perfect selfhood as the child of God. This necessitates recognition of the perfect man, in itself the true healing process. Our beloved Leader thus sets forth the signal necessity of keeping the commandments which Jesus called the greatest. On page 340 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” in speaking of the need to fear God and keep His commandments, she says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; love God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man in His image and likeness.” How could our Leader have phrased more emphatically the importance of this observance? To love more is the great necessity. Into the mentality filled to overflowing with love for all God’s creation, there can enter no slightest suggestion of hatred. Insurance against hate and its untoward result, the belief in death, is found in never ceasing love for the brethren.