This lesson of Christ and the blind man includes the whole Christian doctrine of salvation. It takes in the Christian teachings of all the Christians before the time of Jesus and since His time. Christ means truth, so all truth speaking is Christian teaching. Here in this lesson is the whole scheme of salvation by works, faith, and atonement. The pious Dervish and the modern churchman are trying to get into heaven by appeasing their deity with "works." But there is nothing heavenly about the lot or looks of either of these types of workers for salvation. It is only one side of the triangle of religious law. Incompleteness is always unsatisfactory.
The trial at salvation from evil, by the practice of the mind called faith is also unsatisfactory as heretofore demonstrated. It is only another side of the triangle and is not complete doctrine. Jesus Christ preached "works", as, "If I do not the works of the Father believe Me not." "Have faith in God." "Have the faith of God." But He lived and demonstrated atonement or the unity of His mind with the mind that is God. "I and the Father are One."
The effects of the practice of faith are remarkable, almost attracting one to study to have faith. There are two kinds of faith practiced, active and passive. An earnest young man gave all his fortune to the support of the poor, believing that his unseen God would provide for him. He charged nothing for arduous labors, verily believing in a sure sustenance, which, with all that belongs to human necessities, was actually provided always after intense assurances before his unseen God of his unshakable faith. A woman who had no faith but had been told what wonder might be wrought through faith sat down and deliberatly determined to learn it. She sat down in the midst of her poverty and loneliness with her little children about her and practiced learning. She seemed shiftless to her neighbors, but it was astonishing what "luck" that woman always had. Something good was always "turning up." Her children were all talented, beautiful, prosperous.
Yet there was something lacking. Incompleteness is unsatisfactory. Neither the man or woman type pleased their neighbors by its demonstration well enough to practice it. Faith is a state of mind dependent on the will. Works may be quite external. Faith is mental. Atonement is the understanding and experience of the actual Oneness of the Spirit that is God; of the mind of man with the Mind that is God.
This lesson teaches the whole doctrine of salvation according to Jesus Christ, as to his own duty and experience and the effect of such doctrine in toto upon all who receive it. He took a man "born blind" and healed him. Such blindness was considered incurable then as now by material methods. His disciples ask Him, "Who hath sinned, this man or his parents?" What made them put the man before his parents in the matter of responsibility for that blindness? Why that was the much-talked-of doctrine of reincarnation, whereby a man was not considered new at the time of birth in the flesh, but old from having lived some previous existence and who now deliberately chose certain people for his parents to demonstrate prolonged existence by an experience with earth life.
Jesus Christ promptly denied the whole theory, "Neither hath this man sinned." Whatever of eternal life the man as a sinless spiritual being might have realized, mortal ways were desired and the reincarnation of sin rejected.
In Christian science* we always recognize humanity as spiritual and deny the claim of sin in the individual and his ancestors just as Jesus Christ did. We do not believe in an inheritance of sin. "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents." We believe in an inheritance from G6d alone. "Hath not His hand fashioned me?" "Thou knowest that I am not wicked." "Call no man upon earth your Father."
As it makes a mighty difference to our health what we believe, of course you can see that it is much better to believe that God is our Father than that any other being could hand us down an inheritance. It was a common belief in those days, as now, that we have what we have of disease and pain as a consequence of sin.
But Jesus Christ, who told us to be sure and keep His words and be in a state of mind exactly like His, said, "Of all that Thou hast given Me, I have lost none save the son of perdition." "Son" means idea, speaking metaphysically, and since "the flesh profiteth nothing" we will not speak any other way. So "son of perdition" means idea of sin and its history. I drop no idea except the idea of sin; that I reject; for in a universe created by the Good, governed by the Good, occupied by the Good, and tolerating only the Good, there is no reality in sin, so there is no place for sin.
It will cause an appearance of blindness and deafness to hold the idea that there is any reality in evil of any kind. It is a limitation of powers and faculties. "I set before you an open door." There is universal freedom with ideas of universal Good.
To keep the mind fixed to a prejudice has a limited effect upon some function of the body. This lesson is about dropping limitations and receiving light. Our missionaries to foreign lands ought to take their mind from looking at the natives through the idea that they are all to be damned if they don't know the history of the man Jesus of Nazareth. That idea has hidden the sight of their eyes and their children's eyes. They do not destroy the sight, but they hide it by an idea.
Milton hid his eyesight by thinking the false idea that there was a Satan in Paradise. We hide our vision by trying to put limitations on our fellow men.
We see a man who says things of God in a laughing, hilarious fashion and we immediately think he ought to be hushed up, but how do we know but that he is a demonstration of the text, "The Lord laugheth in the heavens?" Man can do only one thing for his neighbor- give him his freedom. To throw around you an atmosphere of freedom will make men good- rather, give them a chance to show forth their inherent goodness.
Keep hold of this idea of the righteousness of freedom and you will find other faculties of sight and hearing opening up. I do not mean intuition; I mean a present sight as definite as your sight of that book mark and the page you wish to place it in. You have the hidden faculty of seeing what that missing link is, which, if you will look at it, will set your affairs right in an instant, cure the imbecile man at once, make a healthy artist of your consumptive daughter, and all such practical things. All these powers are natural, inherent, waiting to break forth as the morning. Only one door closes against them. That door is a false notion. Drop the false notion and the faculty is free in an instant, whether it is a hunch back, a short leg, or a congenital blindness. The saying, "I believe in universal freedom" will start you on the right road.
The pecularity of the blind man at the temple gate was his obedient spirit. There were throngs of blind men at those gates, but Jesus Christ saw that one who was willing to be the laughing stock of a city street by running through it with two clots of mud on his face in obedience to the command of the only mind that carried any possible hope in its tones.
Obedience was his characteristic. They had told him that some of God's children must be beggars and he believed it. They told him he was blind, and he believed it. But he sprang like a bird from the snare of her fowlers when a loving heart said, "I deny these statements."
As an idea that gets possession has such remarkable effects, you had better be careful to get the idea of unlimited Good. You had better be meek enough to obey this law even though it be broached to you by a Christian scientist. Obedience to principle in spite of the comments of your neighbors will do as marvelous things for you as for this blind man.
"Who follow Truth though men deride,
In Her strength shall be strong;
Shall see their shame before their pride,
And share Her triumph Song."
Martin Luther was of an obedient mind and so was chosen to be the reformer instead of the far abler Melanchthon. Melanchthon was more careful of "an intelligent public opinion." Saul of Tarsus was obedient to the highest ideal he realized and so was chosen to convert the gentiles and preach the Holy Spirit. Remember that the "intelligent public" is never a friend to the seeker for Truth till after it has "thrust him out," as the Jews did this blind man, and his cause has worked like leaven to gain the respect and love of the bold and fearless.
Jesus here speaks of the necessity for works, or the significance they bear to the power of a man's doctrine. Such cases as this must not be going around, he said, "I must work the works of the Good." All healing by your doctrine is evidence of the spiritual power thereof. "While it is day," He said. He meant that span of duties laid in the pathway of all who are walking over this planet. Each one of us meets just such a set of affairs as we are perfectly capable of setting into right relations. We must not refuse any one of these duties. Do our highest best by every one of them, with no slighting of any task. Nothing is impossible. "As thy day is, so shall thy strength be." If you will take notice the greatest foe your mind has in its realm is the belief in limitation. It is sometimes called doubt. Jesus Christ said He would do His faith-work, or show what an idea in faith would work, and then let their night-ways or doubt-ways deal with the world for a while.
It has been these night-ways or doubt-reign since the crucifixion, but now the morning of understanding breaks. Health springs forth speedily. Our joy no man taketh from us. Christ has come again. We will not believe that there is any power in an evil idea. We do not believe that GOD intended or permits blindness, pain, poverty. These things are but the false teachings of men who have insisted, as Beecher did, that "suffering is a part of the divine idea." We hurl this lie from our mind, and lo, here is a new strength. Here is the ability to throw away our spectacles. They were only our externalization into works of our belief in suffering as part of God's plan.
Jesus Christ made clay and annointed the eyes. He took this same old curative preparation and made it work to show how it was the difference in His state of mind from theirs. They had used it many times on this same man while they believed in the law of sin and death as part of God's plan. He knew better, and His state of mind took the same stuff and had a different effect. Everything you touch will be successful when you drop your "son of perdition," or idea of the badness of God.
"Go wash," just as this blind man did; that is, deny or reject your old notions, "in the pool of Siloam," in the waters of pure Goodness.
"By cool Siloam's shady rill
How sweet the lily grows."
You are by nature the lily of Siloam. If you speak these words you will prove it: "I drop my belief in the law of sin."
Then when the blind man saw, they "put him out." Of course, "in the world ye shall have tribulation." But you are not expected to mix with the world. You are to triumph over every one of its beliefs by rejecting them, no matter if the greatest orators give them credence. "I am the light of the world." Any man who tells Truth is a light. Any man who announces a principle is a light.
You must announce five things with great vehemence. These they are:
God is the unending, changeless life of the universe.
God is the undefilable, unchanging health of the universe.
God is the unfailing, irresistible strength of the universe.
God is the unfailing, ever present support of the universe.
God is the immovable defense of the universe.
These principles have not been announced till now. They have always been hidden by the words, "death, disease, weakness, poverty, danger."
A word is a great thing. "For the lightest word there is account." Keep these last words out of your vocabulary in simple mercy. Wash clean in the holy Siloam of these words:
"I do not believe in an inheritance of sin.
I do not believe in the race experience of sin.
I do not believe in the contagion of sin.
I do not believe in myself as a sinner.
I believe I am a child of God."
"How sweet the lily grows." Now, you can deny blindness in the same washing words, can't you? Try it. No matter who taught you of an inheritance of failing vision, say, "I deny it." Do you remember the prophecy John made, that the old dragon" should be destroyed in the last days by the testimony of the saints? The old dragon is the belief in sin. You are one of the saints to stand before the throne and shout your testimony. "I testify that I know that God is all, and in Him is no darkness of sin." After the testimony the man was received into union with Christ by thinking the same thoughts Christ thought. Think Plato's thoughts and get one cold mind with him. Thank Aristotle and get away from home and honor with him. Think Jesus Christ and step into your Father's house. "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." How? Why, by thinking his thoughts. He made no mistakes. Leave Fenelon, a Kempis, and Guyon out of your ideals. They believed in the atonement by suffering. They were mistaken. There is no suffering whatsoever connected with marriage with the Spirit. Atonement is uniting or marriage. Be united to God only, the Holy Spirit. "Thy maker is thine husband." "I have set My Name upon thee." "I have espoused thee." "The Spirit and the bride say, come." Fold yourself round with the glory of Truth till you do not see any evil in all your universe, for you have given that testimony which has destroyed it, or rather has caused the eternal day of God to break over. See, the dark corners of earth wait your testimony.
Then thou shalt have no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to give light unto thee, for "The Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning are ended." Testimony will break down the middle walls of partition and be an open sesame into this fair kingdom that lies around us. People have hidden God's kingdom by accusations against Him.
We make it visible by refusing to believe in those accusations. We take the words of Truth and are at one mind with God. "I and the Father are One."
*The term "Christian Science" as used in these lessons stands for the scientific teaching of Jesus Christ as understood by Emma Curtis Hopkins.
September 13th, 1891