Miscellaneous Writings (1883-1896) by Mary Baker Eddy
Books by Mary Baker Eddy

"CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS"
page 241


realism of Christianity, that it caused even the publicans
to justify God.  Although clad in panoply of power,
the Pharisees scorned the spirit of Christ in most of its
varied manifestations.  To them it was cant and caricature,
- always the opposite of what it was.  Keen and
alert was their indignation at whatever rebuked hypocrisy
and demanded Christianity in life and religion.  In view
of this, Jesus said, "Wisdom is justified of all her
children."
   Above the fogs of sense and storms of passion, Christian
Science and its art will rise triumphant; ignorance,
envy, and hatred - earth's harmless thunder - pluck
not their heaven-born wings.  Angels, with overtures,
hold charge over both, and announce their Principle and
idea.
   It is most fitting that Christian Scientists memorize
the nativity of Jesus.  To him who brought a great light
to all ages, and named his burdens light, homage is indeed
due, - but is bankrupt.  I never looked on my
ideal of the face of the Nazarite Prophet; but the one
illustrating my poem approximates it.
   Extremists in every age either doggedly deny or frantically
affirm what is what:  one renders not unto Caesar
"the things that are Caesar's;" the other sees "Helen's
beauty in a brow of Egypt."
   Pictures are portions of one's ideal, but this ideal is
not one's personality.  Looking behind the veil, he that
perceives a semblance between the thinker and his thought
on canvas, blames him not.
   Because my ideal of an angel is a woman without
feathers on her wings, - is it less artistic or less


MISC 375


natural?  Pictures which present disordered phases of material
conceptions and personality blind with animality,
are not my concepts of angels.  What is the material ego,
but the counterfeit of the spiritual?
   The truest art of Christian Science is to be a Christian
Scientist; and it demands more than a Raphael to
delineate this art.
   The following is an extract from a letter reverting to
the illustrations of "Christ and Christmas": -
   "In my last letter, I did not utter all I felt about the
wonderful new book you have given us.  Years ago,
while in Italy, I studied the old masters and their great
works of art thoroughly, and so got quite an idea of
what constitutes true art.  Then I spent two years in
Paris, devoting every moment to the study of music and
art.
   "The first thing that impressed me in your illustrations
was the conscientious application to detail, which
is the foundation of true art.  From that, I went on to
study each illustration thoroughly, and to my amazement
and delight I find an almost identical resemblance, in
many things, to the old masters!  In other words, the art
is perfect.
   "The hands and feet of the figures - how many times
have I seen these hands and feet in Angelico's 'Jesus,'
or Botticelli's 'Madonna'!
   "It gave me such a thrill of joy as no words can express,
to see produced to-day that art - the only true
art - that we have identified with the old masters, and
mourned as belonging to them exclusively, - a thing of
the past, impossible of reproduction.
   "All that I can say to you, as one who gives no mean

MISC 376


attention to such matters, is that the art is perfect.  It
is the true art of the oldest, most revered, most authentic
Italian school, revived.  I use the words most authentic
in the following sense:  the face, figure, and
drapery of Jesus, very closely resemble in detail the
face, figure, and drapery of that Jesus portrayed by the

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 (c) Copyright 1998 - Rolf Witzsche
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