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THE PERSONAL AND THE IMPERSONAL SAVIOUR

From the February 1889 issue of The Christian Science Journal

This article was later republished in Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896: Mis. 161:1-168:20


The following is the part handed to us for publication, of the sermon delivered in Chickering Hall, the Sabbath before Christmas, by Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy, Pastor of the Church of Christ (Scientist). Text, Isaiah 9:6."For unto us," etc.

In the senses Jesus was the Son of Man; in Science he was the Son of God. It was his approximation to this state of being that made him the Christ Jesus, the God-like, the anointed.

The prophet prophesied of the appearing of this dual nature, as both human and divine, the personal and the impersonal Saviour. The only record of Jesus as a public benefactor, or personal Saviour, commenced at thirty years of age, owing in part, perhaps, to the Jewish law, that no one should preach or teach in public under that age. Also, it is natural to conclude that at this juncture he was endowed especially with the Holy Spirit, for he was given the new name Messiah, or Christ Jesus — the God anointed; even as Jacob was called Israel, and Saul, Paul, at times of special enlightenment.

The third event of this eventful period, a period of such wonderful spiritual import to mankind, was the advent of Christian Science.

From this dazzling God-crowned summit, the Nazarene stepped suddenly before the people, and schools of philosophy — Gnostic, Epicurean, and Stoic. He must stem these rising angry elements, and walk serenely over their fretted, foaming billows.

Here the cross became the central emblem of Christ Jesus' history, while the central point of his Messianic mission was teaching and healing.

Clad with divine might he was ready to be offered, and his hour drew nigh.

In the person of Jesus he bore our iniquities, and through his stripes we are healed. He was the way, and must suffer in the flesh, to show mortals how to escape from the sins of the flesh through suffering.

There was no spiritual Jesus of Nazareth. The spiritual Jesus is after the similitude of the Father, without personality or finity.

One taint of worldliness, human pride, or self-will, by demoralizing his motives would have dethroned his power.

To carry out his holy purpose he must be oblivious of self.

Of the lineage of David, like him he went forth simple as the shepherd boy to disarm the Goliath. Panoplied with the strength of an exalted hope, faith, and understanding, he conquered the three in one of error—the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Three years he went about doing good. He had been thirty years preparing to heal and teach, but his three years' mission was a marvel of glory—and its chaplet a grave, to mortal sense dishonored, but,—from which sprang a sublime success, an everlasting victory. He who dated time, The Christian Era, and spanned eternity, was the meekest man on earth. He healed, and taught by the wayside, in humble homes, to itching ears, and to dull disciples, the word of God that has ripened into interpretation by Science.

His words were articulated in the language of a declining race, and committed to the providence of God. In no one thing seemed he less human and more divine than his unfaltering faith in the immortality of Truth.

Referring to this he said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away!" and they have not; they still live, and are to-day the basis of liberty, the cement of society, the hope of the race.

Only three years a personal Saviour, yet what did he not accomplish?

After the crucifixion of the personal man, the impersonal Saviour—even the divine idea which leadeth into all Truth —must needs come in Christian Science, impersonal healing.

This idea, or essence of being, is forever about the Father's business, heralding the Principle of health, holiness, and immortality.

This divine Principle interprets the impersonal idea, or Son of God. Here the impersonal and personal are distinguished thus: one is the idea that represents God, good, and the other is a belief of goodness. The Science of Truth has appeared in the ripeness of time, and this impersonal Truth or Christ will continue and be seen more clearly until it is acknowledged, understood, and the impersonal Saviour is comprehended.

To the vision of the wise men, this spiritual idea appeared as a babe. At first it seemed very small to mortals, but from the mount of revelation the prophet beheld it as the Son of God, a wonderful and eternal power.

Isaiah said, "His name shall be called wonderful, the mighty counsellor, the everlasting Father, the prince of Peace."

As the wise men grew in the understanding of this spiritual idea, it grew in favor with them. And their highest human concept of the man Jesus portrayed him as the only son of God, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and Truth.

But this limited view of God's offspring arose from the testimony of the senses. Science affords the evidence that God is the Father of all that is worthy to be named man, of all that is real and eternal. This spiritual idea that the personal Jesus presented, casting out evils and healing, over eighteen centuries ago, disappeared by degrees, both because of the final ascension of Jesus, in which it was seen that he had grown beyond the human sense of him, and because of the corruption of the church.

The last appearing of Christ, Truth, will be a wholly spiritual sense of God and of Man without the fetters of flesh or personality. This idea of God and Man will be as eternal as its divine Principle. The day star of this appearing is Christian Science, which rends the veil of flesh from the top to the bottom. It leaves nothing of matter. The material personality disappears, and the spiritual individual, perfect and eternal, appears, never to disappear.

The truth uttered and lived by the Martyr Jesus, who passed on and left to mortals the legacy of what he said and did, makes mortals the heirs to his example, but they can neither appreciate nor appropriate his treasures of Truth and Love until lifted to these by their own growth and experiences.

The secret stores of wisdom are discovered, their treasures reproduced and given to the world before we can truthfully conclude that they have been found in the order, mode, and virgin origin of Science, which alone demonstrates the divine Principle and spiritual idea of being.

The monument whose white finger points upward commemorates the life of a personal martyr, but this is not all that is left of the philanthropist, hero, and Christian. The truth they have taught and spoken lives and moves in our midst a divine afflatus.  Thus the ideal Jesus and impersonal infancy of Truth and Love are still with us.

And what of this Child? "For unto us a Child is born, a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders."

This period has a more ready ear for the overture of angels and the impersonal birth of Truth and Love than when this child was nameless, and Mary feared to declare its spiritual origin and give its name. The Judean religion even required her to go to the Temple and be purified for giving birth to this highest ideal of God that the senses could take in at that period.

Like the leaven that a certain woman hid in three measures of meal, the Truth of being and Science of God, and His idea, which in this century is named Christian Science, is leavening the lump of human thought until the whole shall be leavened, and all materialism shall finally disappear.

This action of the divine energy, even if it is not acknowledged, has come to be seen as diffusing blessings infinite. This spiritual idea entered into the minutiae of the life of the personal Jesus. It made him honest and a good carpenter, a good man, before it could make him the glorified Son of God.

Permit me here to repeat the material questions at the reappearing of the spiritual babe, and answer them for its mother.

Is he deformed? He is wholly symmetrical and the one altogether lovely.

Is The Babe a son or daughter? Both son and daughter, the full idea of all that resembles God.

How much does he weigh? His substance outweighs the universe.

How old is he? Of his days there is no beginning and no ending.

What is his name? Christianity and Science.

Who are his parents, brothers and sisters? His Father and mother are divine Life, Truth, and Love, and they who do the will of his Father and mother are his brethren.

Is he heir to an estate? "The government shall be upon his shoulders." He has dominion over the whole earth, and in adoration to his Father he exclaims, "I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes."

Is he wonderful? His works will prove him thus. He giveth power, peace, and holiness, he exalteth the lowly, giveth liberty to the captive, health to the sick, salvation from sin, and overcometh the world.

Go tell what things ye shall see and hear. How the blind spiritually and physically receive their sight, the lame,— those who are halting between two opinions and hobbling on crutches,—walk, the physical and moral lepers are cleansed, the deaf,—those who having ears hear not, and with tympanum on the brain—hear, the dead,—those who are buried in dogmas and physical ailments,—are raised, and to the poor,—the lowly in Christ and not the man-made Rabbi,—the gospel is preached. Note this: only such as are poor in spirit, emptied of vain knowledge, receive truth.

Here the colloquy ends, and a voice from heaven seems to say, "Come and see "; and the nineteenth century prophets say, "For unto us a son is given"; and the shepherds shout, "We behold the appearing of the star "; and the pure in heart clap their hands.

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