Speaking of the heresy of death-worship as having supplanted the doctrine of the resurrection with very many Christian believers, a prominent American clergyman is reported to have said recently: "The Scripture teaches that 'we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; but it does not therefore thrust its writ of ejection into our hands as our greatest consolation. ... 'Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life,' is the inspired testimony of the highest hope of existence. The redemption of this body not its dissolution, resurrection not death, is set before us in the gospel as the goal of virtue."

This exceedingly interesting statement speaks for the prophetic significance of the drift of thought toward the teaching of Christian Science, that spiritual progress is gained not through death, but by the overcoming of death and all that leads thereto. Christ Jesus could not have raised the dead, and instructed his followers to continue his work, had he regarded it as divinely ordered and essential to the attainment of spiritual supremacy. He treated death as an enemy which is not to be consented to, but resisted. He honored life, and acquired his command over death even as we are to acquire ours, by knowing the spiritual truths which mean life, and unknowing the material beliefs which mean death. Christian Science adheres strictly to the Master's teaching that resurrection from the death-embrace of materiality is our present privilege and duty. It is generally maintained that physical dissolution is natural and inevitable, that it cannot be escaped from, however fully sin, its cause, may be forgiven. The average Christian believer looks upon death as the door through which he is to find freedom from materiality and enter into the glory of an angelic state. Christian Science declares that "perfection is gained only by perfection," that sin alone "kills the sinner and will continue to kill him so long as he sins" (Science and Health, pp. 290, 203).

Christian belief claims that man, being body and soul, comes to his appointed end as do all other material creatures. Christian Science avers that man is wholly spiritual, that death can come to that only which has no divine warrant or permission to live. Christian belief leads men to think of preparation for death as a stimulus to religious activity, but since people, especially the young, naturally associate it with an indefinite future, they are correspondingly tempted to defer the cultivation of the spiritual life. Christian Science leads men to think of immediate preparation for life, that deathless life upon which, in awakening to the truth of being, they have entered. They are to know no death save that death to sin which ultimates in the state described by the Master when he said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The only death to which Christian Science consents is the death to error, all false belief, and Emerson may have glimpsed this thought when he said that nothing divine can die. To the Christian Scientist there is nothing to be feared but submergence in materiality; this is the death from which we are to awaken. Our resurrection is not to await physical dissolution as though that were an antecedent necessity. We are to interdict this catastrophe by the attainment of a deathless consciousness. Death finds its place in a world of evil, since it is necessarily self-destructive; but it has no place in the world of good, the world of God and His creations, in which infinite Life is the life of all.

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September 21, 1912

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