Tokens of Divine Love
From the Christian Science Journal, April 3, 1915 by Luman A. Field
When our revered Leader ordained the Bible and Science and Health as the pastor of the Christian Science church, she in due time also provided a series of Lesson-Sermons calculated to give to the world, through the light of revelation and reason, a more perfect knowledge of the way of salvation. We are told in the Sentinel of March 2, 1899, that the subjects chosen follow the order our Leader was accustomed to employ in teaching her classes; and our text-book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” gives the fundamentals of these sermons in the chapter entitled Recapitulation.
The first of these Lesson-Sermons, very fittingly and of necessity, has “God” as its subject. The second one, “Sacrament,” may not seem to be closely connected with the first, but a little study shows that it is the bugle-call to us to declare our fidelity to God, to walk uprightly and work righteousness, thus preparing ourselves for a larger unfoldment of the truth to be presented in the succeeding lessons. The following six sermons, “Life,” “Truth,” “Love,” “Spirit,” “Soul,” “Mind,” unfold in varying ways a fuller concept of the ever-living I am. The next two, “Christ Jesus” and “Man,” deal with the divine idea: its presentation to mankind by Jesus, and the revelation that the divine idea or image is the spiritual man.
The succeeding five sermons, “Substance,” “Matter,” “Reality,” “Unreality,” “Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?” explain spiritual reality and its mortal mind counterfeits, and as if to refute the human belief that such experiences as sin, disease, and death are to be classified as realities, the last named challenges this baseless assertion.
The following six sermons, “Doctrine of Atonement,” “Probation after Death,” “Everlasting Punishment,” “Adam and Fallen Man,” “Mortals and Immortals,” and “Soul and Body,” take up some of the perplexing doctrines of scholastic theology and clearly explain them in the light of Christian Science. The first one reveals unmistakably what is required of us in order to come into at-one-ment with God, and the second unfolds the fact that after the transitional experience called death there still remains the necessity of continuing the work of attaining at-one-ment with God, “till we all come … unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” In the third sermon of this group we learn that punishment continues only while sin continues, or we might say that punishment ceases as we come into the realization of man’s at-one-ment with God. The fourth discloses the fact that God’s man never fell from perfection, and therefore that the real man’s at-one-ment with God is forever indestructible and unchangeable, an unimpeachable fact of eternal history. As if more fully to explain this subject, the fifth sermon shows beyond question that God’s man is pure and unfallen, while the sixth is a fitting climax, dealing with the great thought of God and His spiritual reflection as coexistent, eternal, and perfect.
The sermon, “Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced,” is the only one in the series which has as its specific object the exposure of error,—its subtlety, its powerlessness, and its utter nothingness. Some Christian Scientists labor under the mistaken impression that they do not like this sermon, yet we all should realize that its teachings are very vital, else it would not have been given us. Its importance may be discerned to some extent if we will but remember that Mrs. Eddy was not able to publish the first edition of Science and Health until she had prepared the chapter on Animal Magnetism, as we read in “Retrospection and Introspection” (pp. 37, 38). On page 64 of this same work Mrs. Eddy states, “It is scientific to abide in conscious harmony, in health-giving, deathless Truth and Love,” but she immediately points out that “to do this, mortals must first open their eyes to all the illusive forms, methods, and subtlety of error, in order that the illusion, error, may be destroyed;” adding the significant warning, “if this is not done, mortals will become the victims of error.” This sermon exposes error and its “illusive forms, methods, and subtlety,” to the end that error may be destroyed, its nothingness made plain to us, and we saved from becoming its victims.
The next three sermons, “God the Only Cause and Creator,” “God the Preserver of Man,” and “Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?” may be conveniently grouped together, the last one dealing with the materialistic theory of creation in contradistinction to the two preceding ones, which unfold the great fact that the universe, including man, is evolved and preserved by infinite Mind.
The last sermon of the series is entitled “Christian Science,” the “divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love,” or the laws governing “the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” (Science and Health, pp. 107, 583), the laws whereby we can demonstrate man’s scientific unity or at-one-ment with God. Thus do the Lesson-Sermons become “God’s love-tokens,” as we read in the Sentinel of March 9, 1899, and they “bring rest to the heavy-laden, life to the dying, and light and joy to all.”