Going to Heaven

In the light of reason and revelation the thought of going to a far distant heaven is no longer entertained as in the past. While Christian Science has already worked a radical change in the minds of many relative to the nature of the heavenly kingdom, there are still not a few persons who cling to the belief in a far-away place where all good people are supposed to go after what is called death. Because their ancestors believed in such a heaven they believe in it, and they get no farther until mentally aroused to the fact that heaven is not a material abode, but a state of spiritual consciousness, the consciousness of good, and good only. In Science and Health (p. 242) we read: "There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in divine Science shows us this way. It is to know no other reality—to have no other consciousness of life—than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses."

The moment individual thought is aroused to the nature and requirements of the kingdom of heaven, one begins to "put off the old man," who is constantly looking forward to post-mortem achievements, and to "put on the new man," the understanding of spiritual creation. The spiritual man, God's image and likeness, can have no consciousness of material environment or limitation. Did not the great Teacher of mankind distinctly say, "My kingdom is not of this world"? In spite of popular belief, does not his ascension signify an exalted state of consciousness which transcends all mortal thinking? The wonderful story of Jesus ascending into heaven but expresses the spiritual exaltation which marked the closing scene of the Master's final demonstration of Truth over error. This demonstration should be an incentive to all mankind to begin the all-important work of so purifying human consciousness that it may become worthy of experiencing the joys of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

To wait for a post-mortem transformation, or renewal of the mind, is little else than a license to think as one pleases on earth, with the expectation of an inexplicable future atonement for wrong thinking and doing. Who could read Jesus' parables descriptive of the kingdom of heaven and for one moment imagine heaven to be a far-off abode? Is the stickler for a literal interpretation of the Scriptures satisfied to be told that the heavenly kingdom "is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field"? Does this point to a very commodious place somewhere in space for saints to inhabit? Is it any more comforting to him to be told that "the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind"? Do not these very parables, as well as the others pertaining to the kingdom, reveal unmistakably the thought of separation in individual consciousness between the tares and the wheat, of a mental purification, growth, development, and preparation for a present-day enjoyment of spiritual things? Do they not emphasize the fact that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand"? that it is something to be realized here and now, and that it is "within" and not without?

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Testing Time
April 11, 1914

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