Reply to Mr. Stokes

The Worcester (Mass.) Spy

Dear Sir :— In your issue of June first you published a letter from James Stokes, which contains some claims that I desire to consider. He makes the statement, "After the death of the last individual on whom the apostles had laid their hands, miracles could not exist, and as a writer of half a century ago remarked, 'All pretences to them now therefore are of necessity characterized by falsehood and imposture.' It is the divine nature — the nature of the risen and glorified Jesus — which God is now seen to be engaged in propagating." With the latter part of this statement I heartily agree, and I would add that the propagation of the nature of the risen Jesus must of necessity improve not only the moral and spiritual condition of those who labor in this line, but their bodily condition in the same proportion. It is impossible for one to improve spiritually without improving physically. The best man that ever trod the globe was also the healthiest. Throughout out the practice of Jesus among men, we find him healing the sick as well as the sinner. Indeed, he healed the sick man by destroying his sins, and he made no distinction between sickness and sin. He said, "For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" He also said on one occasion, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee," clearly setting forth the idea that sin is the seed which produces sickness. Here it should be understood that the word sin means perhaps more than its most commonly accepted sense, and includes all the mistaken and ignorant acts of mortals as well as the wilful wrongs. It is true, many of the best people are sick — not because of their goodness, however, but because with all their goodness they are not yet good enough to escape the discords of life. Some of this class are more conscientious than the indifferent, wilful sinner, and fear more because of their little wrongs than the hardened sinner because of his greater wrongs, and this timidity is not a protection against disease, but rather renders them more liable thereto. On the other hand, oftentimes the wilful sinner seems to fare the best, and to be at present without suffering. Nevertheless, we can truthfully say the good man is on the way to harmony, though he may not yet have reached it; while the sinner is on the way to suffering, though he may not yet have found it.

If the day of healing the sick through divine influence is past, the day for preaching the gospel is also past, for we find these two statements given together in the Scriptures, "Preach the gospel" and "Heal the sick." We also find this: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," which is equivalent to the statement, "He who understands what I understand and who practises what I practise, shall be followed by the same results." In the latter part of St. Mark we read: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Just previous to this statement, we find our Master's words, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." The same who are to be batized and saved are to be followed by "signs." Those who were merged into divine grace sufficiently to merit their own salvation or immunity from sin and suffering were to be able to help others out of sin and disease. If it is true that these signs of our belief will cease, then it is also true that the day of salvation will cease. The statement is nowhere to be found in the teachings of our Master or of his disciples that the time will come when mortals must cease to look to divine power for health, and must depend upon their own or the power of material remedies. Our critic asks some one to give the name of the beast referred to in Revelation. They are the various means and methods which claim to be divine and real, and yet are directly opposite to the genuine method which Jesus practised. The true method of healing recognizes no power but divine Love.

About Christian Science
September 13, 1900

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