In the prophecy of Isaiah we read, "Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; ... thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; ... and the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." In the year A.D. 177, when Marcus Aurelius was emperor at Rome, there arose a storm of persecution against the Christians, which extended to Gaul, where the greatest cruelty was practised by the enemies of Christianity upon its followers. It is related of a certain deacon of Vienne, named Sanctus, that he remained inflexible under torture, and that when redhot plates of metal were being applied to his body he would make no other statement than merely "I am a Christian!" The letter describing the whole occurrence, written at the time, states what a proof this was "that there is nothing terrible where the Father's love is, and nothing painful where there is Christ's glory." Having failed to extract any other statement from him, the tortures were renewed a few days later, and as his body could not bear to be touched it was expected that he would at once succumb. Instead, to the astonishment of all, he stood erect, and the letter goes on to say, "The second torture became, through the grace of Christ, not his torment, but his cure." The wonderful calmness of Sanctus under physical torture and the healing which resulted from his fearless adherence to the truth is evidence of his detachment from material sense.

What is it that material sense sees? Is it not resentment, hatred, and jealousy! "For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal?" said Paul; but Sanctus saw not these things. His eyes (spiritual sense) were fixed on the "quiet habitation," and he literally saw not "a fierce people." "Can you see an enemy," Mrs. Eddy asks, "except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception?" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 8).

Sanctus must have known that the malice which was directed at him as a witness of Truth was only the hatred of the carnal mind—the belief in matter as substantial and intelligent, and that as such it could not hurt or destroy the real man, God's man. Jesus' triumphant proof of man's immortality in Life was a very real thing of Christians in those days—perhaps everything. A little later, however, it became the fashion to make death and the cross the central feature of his teaching, notwithstanding that he had said, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." It is significant that as this fashion increased its hold, the healing which was the key-note of Jesus' mission became blurred and finally disappeared altogether.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

January 11, 1908

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.