Christian Science Bible Lesson
Original date: November 16, 1919
Current date: November 18, 2018
Subject: MORTALS AND IMMORTALS
Golden Text: John 8:34, 35. Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Responsive Reading: — Jeremiah 17:5-8, 10-14.
5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.
14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
The following Citations comprise our Sermon.
The Holy Bible
King James Version
(1) Gen 4:3-8, 16
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
by Mary Baker Eddy
Cain is the type of mortal and material man, conceived in sin and “shapen in iniquity;” he is not the type of Truth and Love. Material in origin and sense, he brings a material offering to God.
The erroneous belief that life, substance, and intelligence can be material ruptures the life and brotherhood of man at the very outset.
Error of thought is reflected in error of action. The continual contemplation of existence as material and corporeal — as beginning and ending, and with birth, decay, and dissolution as its component stages — hides the true and spiritual Life, and causes our standard to trail in the dust. If Life has any starting-point whatsoever, then the great I AM is a myth.
Speaking of the origin of mortals, a famous naturalist says: “It is very possible that many general statements now current, about birth and generation, will be changed with the progress of information.” Had the naturalist, through his tireless researches, gained the diviner side in Christian Science, — so far apart from his material sense of animal growth and organization, — he would have blessed the human race more abundantly.
When will the error of believing that there is life in matter, and that sin, sickness, and death are creations of God, be unmasked? When will it be understood that matter has neither intelligence, life, nor sensation, and that the opposite belief is the prolific source of all suffering? God created all through Mind, and made all perfect and eternal. Where then is the necessity for recreation or procreation?
(2) Gen 5:23, 24
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
(3) Heb 11:5-10
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Immortals, or God’s children in divine Science, are one harmonious family; but mortals, or the “children of men” in material sense, are discordant and ofttimes false brethren.
(7) 476:9-13, 28-32
God is the Principle of man, and man is the idea of God. Hence man is not mortal nor material. Mortals will disappear, and immortals, or the children of God, will appear as the only and eternal verities of man. When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you;” that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal.
If Enoch’s perception had been confined to the evidence before his material senses, he could never have “walked with God,” nor been guided into the demonstration of life eternal.
(9) 76:6, 22-26
When being is understood, Life will be recognized as neither material nor finite, but as infinite, — as God, universal good; and the belief that life, or mind, was ever in a finite form, or good in evil, will be destroyed. Then it will be understood that Spirit never entered matter and was therefore never raised from matter. When advanced to spiritual being and the understanding of God, man can no longer commune with matter; neither can he return to it, any more than a tree can return to its seed. Neither will man seem to be corporeal, but he will be an individual consciousness, characterized by the divine Spirit as idea, not matter. The sinless joy, — the perfect harmony and immortality of Life, possessing unlimited divine beauty and goodness without a single bodily pleasure or pain, — constitutes the only veritable, indestructible man, whose being is spiritual.
(4) Gen 6:1-3, 5-8
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Popular theology takes up the history of man as if he began materially right, but immediately fell into mental sin; whereas revealed religion proclaims the Science of Mind and its formations as being in accordance with the first chapter of the Old Testament, when God, Mind, spake and it was done.
In Smith’s Bible Dictionary it is said: “The spiritual interpretation of Scripture must rest upon both the literal and moral;” and in the learned article on Noah in the same work, the familiar text, Genesis vi. 3, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh,” is quoted as follows, from the original Hebrew: “And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not forever rule [or be humbled] in men, seeing that they are [or, in their error they are] but flesh.” Here the original text declares plainly the spiritual fact of being, even man’s eternal and harmonious existence as image, idea, instead of matter (however transcendental such a thought appears), and avers that this fact is not forever to be humbled by the belief that man is flesh and matter, for according to that error man is mortal.
As a cloud hides the sun it cannot extinguish, so false belief silences for a while the voice of immutable harmony, but false belief cannot destroy Science armed with faith, hope, and fruition. What is termed material sense can report only a mortal temporary sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth. To material sense, the unreal is the real until this sense is corrected by Christian Science.
(5) Deut 5:1-7
And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to shew you the word of the Lord: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
Anybody, who is able to perceive the incongruity between God’s idea and poor humanity, ought to be able to discern the distinction (made by Christian Science) between God’s man, made in His image, and the sinning race of Adam.
The lines of demarcation between immortal man, representing Spirit, and mortal man, representing the error that life and intelligence are in matter, show the pleasures and pains of matter to be myths, and human belief in them to be the father of mythology, in which matter is represented as divided into intelligent gods. Man’s genuine selfhood is recognizable only in what is good and true. Man is neither self-made nor made by mortals. God created man.
The universe is filled with spiritual ideas, which He evolves, and they are obedient to the Mind that makes them. Mortal mind would transform the spiritual into the material, and then recover man’s original self in order to escape from the mortality of this error. Mortals are not like immortals, created in God’s own image; but infinite Spirit being all, mortal consciousness will at last yield to the scientific fact and disappear, and the real sense of being, perfect and forever intact, will appear. The manifestation of God through mortals is as light passing through the window-pane. The light and the glass never mingle, but as matter, the glass is less opaque than the walls. The mortal mind through which Truth appears most vividly is that one which has lost much materiality — much error — in order to become a better transparency for Truth. Then, like a cloud melting into thin vapor, it no longer hides the sun.
(6) Ex 15:2, 13
The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
(7) Ex 23:20-25
Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them; nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
(16) 191:8-17, 24
As a material, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misapprehension of existence, the spiritual and divine Principle of man dawns upon human thought, and leads it to “where the young child was,” — even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth on its pinions of light, chasing away the darkness of error. The human thought must free itself from self-imposed materiality and bondage. The Science of being reveals man and immortality as based on Spirit. Physical sense defines mortal man as based on matter, and from this premise infers the mortality of the body.
Human reason and religion come slowly to the recognition of spiritual facts, and so continue to call upon matter to remove the error which the human mind alone has created. The idols of civilization are far more fatal to health and longevity than are the idols of barbarism. The idols of civilization call into action less faith than Buddhism in a supreme governing intelligence. The Esquimaux restore health by incantations as consciously as do civilized practitioners by their more studied methods.
The footsteps of thought, rising above material standpoints, are slow, and portend a long night to the traveller; but the angels of His presence — the spiritual intuitions that tell us when “the night is far spent, the day is at hand” — are our guardians in the gloom.
(8) Rom 6:1, 2, 7, 8, 17, 18
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
(9) Gal 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
(19) 225:1 What
What is it that binds man with iron shackles to sin, sickness, and death? Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free.
If we were to derive all our conceptions of man from what is seen between the cradle and the grave, happiness and goodness would have no abiding-place in man, and the worms would rob him of the flesh; but Paul writes: “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Man undergoing birth, maturity, and decay is like the beasts and vegetables, — subject to laws of decay. If man were dust in his earliest stage of existence, we might admit the hypothesis that he returns eventually to his primitive condition; but man was never more nor less than man. If man flickers out in death or springs from matter into being, there must be an instant when God is without His entire manifestation, — when there is no full reflection of the infinite Mind. Man in Science is neither young nor old. He has neither birth nor death. He is not a beast, a vegetable, nor a migratory mind. He does not pass from matter to Mind, from the mortal to the immortal, from evil to good, or from good to evil.
Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression. Slavery is not the legitimate state of man. God made man free.