A CHRISTMAS SERMON
Delivered in Chickering Hall, Boston, Mass., on the Sunday before Christmas, 1888
SUBJECT: The Corporeal and Incorporeal Saviour
TEXT. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. – ISAIAH ix. 6.
To the senses, Jesus was the son of man: in Science, man is the son of God. The material senses could not cognize the Christ, or Son of God: it was Jesus’ approximation to this state of being that made him the Christ – Jesus, the Godlike, the anointed.
The prophet whose words we have chosen for our text, prophesied the appearing of this dual nature, as both human and divinely endowed, the personal and the impersonal Jesus.
The only record of our Master as a public benefactor, or personal Saviour, opens when he was thirty years of age; owing in part, perhaps, to the Jewish law that none should teach or preach in public under that age. Also, it is natural to conclude that at this juncture he was specially endowed with the Holy Spirit; for he was given the new name, Messiah, or Jesus Christ, – the God-anointed; even as, at times of special enlightenment, Jacob was called Israel; and Saul, Paul.
The third event of this eventful period, – a period of such wonderful spiritual import to mankind! – was the advent of a higher Christianity.
From this dazzling, God-crowned summit, the Nazarene stepped suddenly before the people and their 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 emblem of Jesus’ history; while the central point of his Messianic mission was peace, good will, love, teaching, and healing.
Clad with divine might, he was ready to stem the tide of Judaism, and prove his power, derived from Spirit, to be supreme; lay himself as a lamb upon the altar of materialism, and therefrom rise to his nativity in Spirit.
The corporeal Jesus bore our infirmities, and through his stripes we are healed. He was the Way-shower, and suffered in the flesh, showing mortals how to escape from the sins of the flesh.
There was no incorporeal Jesus of Nazareth. The spiritual man, or Christ, was after the similitude of the Father, without corporeality or finite mind.
Materiality, worldliness, human pride, or self-will, by demoralizing his motives and Christlikeness, would have dethroned his power as the Christ.
To carry out his holy purpose, he must be oblivious of human self.
Of the lineage of David, like him he went forth, simple as the shepherd boy, to disarm the Goliath. Panoplied in the strength of an exalted hope, faith, and understanding, he sought to conquer the three-in-one of error: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Three years he went about doing good. He had for thirty years been preparing to heal and teach divinely; but his three years mission was a marvel of glory: its chaplet, a grave to mortal sense dishonored – from which sprang a sublime and 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 arrant hypocrite and to dull disciples he explained the Word of God, which has since ripened into interpretation through 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 in 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 the basis of divine liberty, the medium of Mind, the hope of the race.
Only three years a personal Saviour! yet the foundations he laid are as eternal as Truth, the chief cornerstone.
After his brief brave struggle, and the crucifixion of the corporeal man, the incorporeal Saviour – the Christ or spiritual idea which leadeth into all Truth – must needs come in Christian Science, demonstrating the spiritual healing of body and mind.
This idea or divine essence was, and is, forever about the Father’s business; heralding the Principle of health, holiness, and immortality.
Its divine Principle interprets the incorporeal idea, or Son of God; hence the incorporeal and corporeal are distinguished thus: the former is the spiritual idea that represents divine good, and the latter is the human presentation of goodness in man. The Science of Christianity, that has appeared in the ripeness of time, reveals the incorporeal Christ; and this will continue to be seen more clearly until it be acknowledged, understood, – and the Saviour, which is Truth, be comprehended.
To the vision of the Wisemen, this spiritual idea of the Principle of man or the universe, appeared as a star. At first, the babe Jesus seemed small to mortals; but from the mount of revelation, the prophet beheld it from the beginning as the Redeemer, who would present a wonderful manifestation of Truth and Love.
In our text Isaiah foretold, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
As the Wisemen grew in the understanding of Christ, the spiritual idea, it grew in favor with them. Thus it will continue, as it shall become understood, until man be found in the actual likeness of his Maker. Their highest human concept of the man Jesus, that portrayed him as the only Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and Truth, will become so magnified to human sense, by means of the lens of Science, as to reveal man collectively, as individually, to be the son of God.
The limited view of God’s ideas arose from the testimony of the senses. Science affords the evidence that God is the Father of man, of all that is real and eternal. This spiritual idea that the personal Jesus demonstrated, casting out evils and healing, more than eighteen centuries ago, disappeared by degrees; both because of the 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 Truth will be a wholly spiritual idea of God and of man, without the fetters of the flesh, or corporeality. This infinite idea of infinity will be, is, as eternal as its divine Principle. The daystar of this appearing is the light of Christian Science – the Science which rends the veil of the flesh from top to bottom. The light of this revelation leaves nothing that is material; neither darkness, doubt, disease, nor death. The material corporeality disappears; and individual spirituality, perfect and eternal, appears – never to disappear.
The truth uttered and lived by Jesus, who passed on and left to mortals the rich legacy of what he said and did, makes his followers 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. His goodness and grace purchased the means of mortals’ redemption from sin; but, they never paid the price of sin. This cost, none but the sinner can pay; and accordingly as this account is settled with divine Love, is the sinner ready to avail himself of the rich blessings flowing from the teaching, example, and suffering of our Master.
The secret stores of wisdom must be discovered, their treasures reproduced and given to the world, before man can truthfully conclude that he has been found in the order, mode, and virgin origin of man according to divine Science, which alone demonstrates the divine Principle and spiritual idea of being.
The monument whose finger points upward, commemorates the earthly life of a martyr; but this is not all of the philanthropist, hero, and Christian. The Truth he has taught and spoken lives, and moves in our midst a divine afflatus. Thus it is that the ideal Christ – or impersonal infancy, manhood, and womanhood of Truth and Love – is still with us.
And what of this child? – “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.”
This child, or spiritual idea, has evolved a more ready ear for the overture of angels and the scientific understanding of Truth and Love. When Christ, the incorporeal idea of God, was nameless, and a Mary knew not how to declare its spiritual origin, the idea of man was not understood. The Judaean religion even required the Virgin-mother to go to the temple and be purified, for having given birth to the corporeal child Jesus, whose origin was more spiritual than the senses could interpret. Like the leaven that a certain woman hid in three measures of meal, the Science of God and the spiritual idea, named in this century Christian Science, is leavening the lump of human thought, until the whole shall be leavened and all materialism disappear. This action of the divine energy, even if not acknowledged, has come to be seen as diffusing richest blessings. This spiritual idea, or Christ, entered into the minutiae of the life of the personal Jesus. It made him an honest man, a good carpenter, and a good man, before it could make him the glorified.
The material questions at this age on the reappearing of the infantile thought of God’s man, are after the manner of a mother in the flesh, though their answers pertain to the spiritual idea, as in Christian Science:
Is he deformed?
He is wholly symmetrical; the one altogether lovely.
Is the babe a son, or daughter?
Both son and daughter: even the compound idea of all that resembles God.
How much does he weigh?
His substance outweighs the material world.
How old is he?
Of his days there is no beginning and no ending.
What is his name? Christ 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 are his brethren.
Is he heir to an estate?
“The government shall be upon his shoulder!” He has dominion over the whole earth; and in admiration of his origin, he exclaims, “I thank Thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes!”
Is he wonderful?
His works thus prove him. He giveth power, peace, and holiness; he exalteth the lowly; he giveth liberty to the captive, health to the sick, salvation from sin to the sinner – and overcometh the world!
Go, and tell what things ye shall see and hear: how the blind, spiritually and physically, receive sight; how the lame, those halting between two opinions or hobbling on crutches, walk; how the physical and moral lepers are cleansed; how the deaf- those who, having ears, hear not, and are afflicted with “tympanum on the brain” – hear; how the dead, those buried in dogmas and physical ailments, are raised; that to the poor – the lowly in Christ, not the manmade rabbi – the gospel is preached. Note this: only such as are pure in spirit, emptied of vainglory and vain knowledge, receive Truth.
Here ends the colloquy; and a voice from heaven seems to say, “Come and see.”
The nineteenth-century prophets repeat, “Unto us a son is given.”
The shepherds shout, “We behold the appearing of the star!” – and the pure in heart clap their hands. (Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellaneous Writings, p.161-168