THIS BLOG on the HOLY CITY or FOURSQUARE
is followed by a special
SUPPLEMENT on the BIBLE LESSON SUBJECTS
by the Compiler of the SCA
In Christian Science, the spiritual quality of one’s thought is significant in demonstrating and healing successfully. The concept of foursquare, relating to thought and reflecting Truth, is based on the structure of the Holy City as recorded in Rev. 21:14 where John describes the four equal sides of the city. It isn’t really a city at all, but a symbol of a mental habitation, of divine Mind with its full array of qualities and ideas. In the marginal heading, Mrs. Eddy refers to it as “this city of our God” (SH 577:12).
The spiritual meaning of city is an established communal habitation because we are all children of one Father-Mother God, together in one spiritual family. Not one of us is isolated or separated, rather each is an integral part of the whole. As a single raindrop sends rings of ever-expanding ripples over an ocean, converging with the ripples of millions of other raindrops, so the thoughts released from one’s own mental habitation impact the mental abode of others. Will our thoughts benefit or harm? Will they be an influence for good? Will they heal?
The Holy City of John’s Revelation isn’t a literal city, but a spiritual symbol of absolute Mind put into words and metaphor so we can better understand Him, as well as being an illustration of how one’s own mental habitation should be.
A SKETCH OF THE HOLY CITY
Briefly, the Holy City is a four-sided pyramid (the superstructure) which rises from a square foundation (substructure). From an engineering and architectural standpoint, the pyramid is the most stable, strong, and solid structure ever built, having withstood earthquakes and the elements for 4600 years, consequently it is a perfect symbol for the ideal mental habitation.
Each of the four walls includes three gates, twelve in all. These specific figures point to another important factor to be aware of – each of the four walls forms a triangle. The three sides of the four triangles each have one gate (three gates per wall).
3 gates x 4 walls = 12 gates (Rev 21:12, 13)
Had the walls been square, each would have four gates, totaling 16. The advantage of triangular walls is that they can withstand a multitude of pressures, again making this the perfect symbol for the ideal mental habitation.
The Holy City or Foursquare being a metaphoric depiction of a mental abode, the Spiritual Concepts Approach (SCA) defines its points or gates as entries of thought. There are three entries of thought per side, each triad representing Life, Truth, and Love – LTLv.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GATES
It is important to remember that we are describing a higher spiritual mental habitation and not a literal building. In discussing the gates, therefore, these need to be seen as entry points for thought. What kind of thought? Spiritual thoughts only, that which reflects Life, Truth, and Love!
Mrs. Eddy confirms this when she describes the “Spiritual sanctuary” which one enters in prayer,
“The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love.” (SH 15:3-5 The)
SPIRITUAL NUMBER CONCEPTS IN THE HOLY CITY
Reading further in Rev. 21, one discovers the twelve number concepts! In verses 19 and 20, they are found “garnishing” the twelve foundations (Rev. 21:14) with precious stones. Each number concept is represented by a precious stone, signifying each concept is precious and priceless.
The next verse, 21, describes each of the twelve gates as a pearl. Mrs. Eddy’s interpretation of these gates adds insightful meaning to this discussion of the highest mental habitation.
“The gates thereof he declared were inlaid with pearl, — likening them to the priceless understanding of man’s real existence, to be recognized here and now” (Mis. 30:12-15). The pearls of great price!
TEACHING BY SYMBOLS
Mrs. Eddy has written more about the symbol of the holy city or foursquare than any other symbol. Her account spreads across pages 575 to 577 in SH. In these pages that she declares,
*”Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols.” (575:13-14)
* [This statement underscores the spiritual number concepts being shown on this blog. Each concept is the symbol of one or more spiritual truths. A new addition to the “Overview of the Twelve Number Concepts” (right click on this link) blog has been added which shows how each number concept translates into a spiritual law. Please take a look. It will make sharing the number concepts with others, especially in testimonies, easier for the listeners to grasp, understand and accept. God’s Law of Completeness, for example, might seem more familiar to a hearer than the Concept of Ten.]
Focusing on (SH 577:12), one reads her description of this “holy habitation” as having no boundary or limit because it is spiritual, and its cardinal points, similar to those on a compass, are the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science. Each side or point matches a synonym of God. Comparing the clockwise order of the foursquare city in three different locations in SH: 575:17-20, 26-2; and 577:12-19, we find the four sides representing the synonyms LTLvP as follows:
Word expresses Principle (MW 363:22-25; My 225: 27-30)
Christ is Truth, (which also includes Mind) (SH 316:7; 473:10; 567:18-23)
Christianity aligns with Life, (which also includes Spirit) (SH 97:29-32; 353:31; 426:23-28)
Divine Science is Love, (which also includes Soul) (SH 326:30; 366:3; 412:13-14)
In essence, it is the allness of God – LTLvP.
In the ideal mental habitation, these attributes of God are present and active. They are not restricted to a specific location or side because they are everywhere as is God, Mind. Showing them singly on each side merely points them out so the reader knows they are there. Likewise, this mental abode is everywhere and the clockwise directions of N, E, S, W merely indicate it is available from every place and any direction. This symbolic city foursquare appears in our Pastor and enables the reader to identify spiritual concepts, understand truths, gain spiritual sense and spiritual growth, and heal.
FOURSQUARE IS THE IDEAL MENTAL HABITATION for oneness with God
Following her description and exegesis of the Holy City, Mrs. Eddy has presented Ps. 23 and a spiritual interpretation. The final line reveals to me that this Psalm is a glimpse into the ideal mental habitation, a model for dwelling at one with God. The four walls are indicated in red beside goodness, mercy, life, and house or consciousness.
“Surely Lv goodness and T mercy shall follow me all the days of my L life; and I will dwell in the P house [the consciousness] of [Love] for ever.” (SH 578:16-18)
This ideal mental abode is man’s true spiritual consciousness. It doesn’t need to be attained, but rather, only to be acknowledged. When thought is pure, it is filled with these four cardinal, spiritual realities: the immaculate Word of God flowing clearly and constantly, the Christ with its transforming consciousness, Christianity actively lived and expressed, and Love’s healing presence of divine Science. Even though we are not aware of the outer walls comprising our homes, they are constantly present. We rely on them for comfort and safety, yet take them for granted. It is the purpose of the SCA to take nothing for granted in our textbook and the KJV Bible, and to point out every spiritual concept.
This allegorical city, the gates (entries for thought) of which are always open, is perpetually lighted by Love (SH 577:19-21). Anyone can enter, but nothing “which defileth, … or maketh a lie” (SH 577:26). Why? Because the gates are spiritual (SH 575: 17). Doesn’t this remind the reader of Jesus’ beholding “the perfect man … God’s own likeness … which healed the sick” (SH 476:32-4)? The reason he healed immediately, as did our Leader, is because he beheld the perfect man, so the imperfect never had an opportunity to enter thought. That which defileth never took hold because it wasn’t allowed through their mental gates.
HABITATION OF LIGHT
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Rev. 21:23)
- Sun – primary thought of apprehending
- Moon – secondary thought of apprehending
- Shine – reveal
- Light – understanding
- Darkness – lack of understanding
This spiritual mental place of thinking and dwelling is filled with divine light (divinely revealed understanding—divine revelation), “lighted by the Sun of Righteousness” (SH 576:3). Instead of a physical sun as the source of light, it is God’s glory, the divine Sun as described by Mrs. Eddy:
“Sun The symbol of Soul governing man, — of Truth, Life, and Love.” (SH 595:1-2)
Always illumined with spiritual light (understanding) that fills all space, having no beginning, end, or fluctuation, this mental habitation is a model for our own. When we think of someone, they have entered our mental abode. Is our thought so pure, flowing with the Christ consciousness, that they are healed upon entering? Will they leave our consciousness healed? We must stand porter at the entry of thought. (SH 392:24 only)
FOURSQUARE IN THE BIBLE
Foursquare is found woven into the pages of the KJV Bible as well as our textbook. A citation will reflect or express the four sides of foursquare as Word, Christ, Christianity, divine Science, or the three Omnis plus Principle: Life, Truth Love, Principle (LTLvP).
Word = Principle
Christ = Truth
Christianity = Life
Divine Science = Love
Abbreviated, these are LTLvP.
JESUS IS THE BEST MODEL
for this foursquare mental habitation:
“And Jesus P went forth, and T saw a great multitude, and L was moved with compassion toward them, and he Lv healed their sick.” M (Matt. 14:14)
Through this verse, we glimpse Jesus’ mental dwelling (which our exemplar is showing us also to emulate.) His thought includes all four Synonyms of Foursquare. To identify a foursquare citation, one first looks at the verbs to find the pattern of four as shown in verse 14 above in bold font and underlined. Then one identifies each verb with a Synonym. The reasoning goes like this:
PRINCIPLE is identified as the coverall synonym because it covers or includes the other Omnis. (My. 225:27-30)
TRUTH conveys thought or decision.
LIFE is the most active or permanent one.
LOVE is usually related to healing and loving.
Can one be surprised that Jesus’ thought included all four? He did things in threes but most effectively healed with these four (true spiritual habitation or dwelling) (269:11-13). He thought in fours! He healed in fours (Matt. 8:13 to 1st . ; 9:2 and; 6 then)! One can also heal effectively like Jesus by dwelling in the spiritual and not accepting the material. This spiritual habitation/dwelling is a very powerful place to be for healing.
Jesus was so at one with God that his healing work was natural, an outcome of his constant communing with His Father-Mother. This is a wonderful illustration to define what being at one with God is: it is thinking in the spiritual habitation of the city foursquare! As our way shower and exemplar, we look to him to show us the way—the way to the city New Jerusalem—the kingdom of heaven. One can see Principle as the Word directing him, where to go, what to do, how to do it, resulting in his constant ability to heal. God through His Word is similarly directing us. We must just listen and obey.
We need the spiritual foundation of Principle, the recognition of the ever-presence of Life, the acknowledgment of Omniscience Truth and the omnipotent power of Love, all demonstrated by Jesus, to overcome that which is not love.
Jesus, illustrating the spiritual foundation of Principle, saw through the lens of the healing power of the Christ – Truth, sifting truth from error. His compassion moved him into action – Life. And wherever he went, his calling card was healing – Love.
Another foursquare example from the Bible shows the pattern is with the nouns.
“Then shall thy T light break forth as the morning, and thine Lv health shall spring forth speedily: and thy L righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy P rereward.” S (Isa. 58:8)
Discerning the spiritual sense of this text rather than the literal, light is a symbol of Truth. A search in a concordance or on Concord will quickly show that Truth and light are closely related in Mrs. Eddy’s writings, Science and Health (SH) in particular (591:23), and she is the ultimate authority on the spiritual sense of words. What better Bible reference book is there when one wants the spiritual meaning and interpretation than SH?
- Light = TRUTH
- Health is similar to healing in this passage, and so is a quality of LOVE.
- Righteousness reflects LIFE.
- The remaining rereward has to be PRINCIPLE.
(Rereward is the rear guard of an army. Principle being the rereguard, covers all. God, the all-seeing, protects our seeming blind spots, covers our backs.)
Light, health and righteousness are all qualities of thought, and when these fill consciousness, our defense is secure. When thought is aligned with God, it is filled with the light of the Christ-consciousness, the health of a Love-centered mind, active right thinking, and an awareness of the presence of the protective Principle, our rereward all around. (SH 496:18 divine Principle)
FOURSQUARE IN WITNESSES of Jesus’ healing power
Matthew gives a glimpse into the mental habitation of those who have just witnessed Jesus’ amazing power to heal when the palsied man who, lying on a bed, had been carried to Jesus, stood up and walked home. Maybe he ran!
“But when the multitudes T saw it, they Lv marvelled, and L glorified God, which had P given such power unto men.” S (Matt. 9:8)
- SAW – and have seen the Christ presence – TRUTH (Christ)
- MARVELLED – and are loving the healing they witnessed – LOVE (Love is always healing.)
- GLORIFIED – and are actively giving God the glory – LIFE (the most active)
- GIVEN – and are acknowledging God as the source of this power which is given to all – PRINCIPLE. (P covers, flows over, all three.)
The spiritual awakening in their collective thought must have been tangibly felt by everyone. They would never forget it.
But what about Jesus and his ability to heal instantly? He must have been keenly aware of his spiritual mental habitation encompassed by the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science. As perfect spiritual ideas of God, we reflect the same Principle, and the same spiritual, whole, holy mental habitation. We include all qualities of the Christ-consciousness, all right ideas, the full manifestation of Mind that John beheld, the seamless expression of LTLvP. Let’s claim it!
“Hold thought P steadfastly (constant) to the L enduring, the Lv good, and the T true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (SH 261:4-7)
FOURSQUARE IN SCIENCE AND HEALTH
One can see in this next sentence by our Leader that the topic relates to thought.
P “Having faith in the divine Principle of health and spiritually T understanding God, Lv sustains man under all circumstances; whereas the lower appeal to the general faith in material means (commonly called nature) L must yield to the all-might of infinite Spirit.” S (SH 319:7)
Both faith and understanding are mental. What has to yield, to move? Thought—specifically MATERIAL thought. Beside the four verbs are the correct Synonyms relating to each in red. Faith in God and spiritual understanding are sustaining. A take-away is that the presence of LTLvP are true attraction, drawing one spiritually higher. This counters the mesmeric pull, attraction and influence of the five material senses which are the seeming reasons for sickness and the distractions from spiritual sense.
To appreciate the spiritual magnitude of this next short sentence, one needs to read the one which precedes it. (SH 323:9-10) It tells us to first pause and “wait on God.” Then comes the reward. Again the pattern is in the four verbs. Thought is mentioned, so it is likely to fit with the form of foursquare.
“Then we P push onward, until boundless thought T walks enraptured, and conception unconfined Lv is winged L to reach the divine glory.” M (SH 323:9)
- walks = Truth because it is thought that walks
- is = Love because of the word conception
- to reach = Life because it is the most active
- push = Principle because it covers the other three Omnis
As a metaphysical and instructional sentence, (indicated by the M at the end of the sentence), it can be turned into a treatment. An easy way is to follow the wording very closely: What kind of Treatment? It can be for oneself, for another, or for a group.
I push (one pushes, or let us push) onward with boundless thought, dwelling gloriously, with concepts winged to reach the spiritual habitation—the glory of being at one with God in the kingdom of harmony.
Or one can elaborate on it a bit more:
I pray (one prays, or let us pray) to see Truth’s tasks for us, that we all pause and wait for God to give us direction. Then we can move ahead, knowing thought is now boundless with ideas, enraptured with gratitude, unconfined, free, and winged for success.
DEFENDING OUR CITADEL
Since we are dealing with things mental in Foursquare or the Holy City, it wouldn’t be complete without some guidance on defending our mental habitation. Mrs. Eddy has written extensively on guarding thought, on handling animal magnetism, aggressive mental suggestion and to do so daily (248:17-21; Man. Art. VIII: Sect. 6). Every class-taught student of CS should have had specific and thorough instruction on this topic.
“Indispensable defence” (marginal heading)
P “Instruct him how L to bar the door of his thought against this seeming power, — a task not difficult, when one T understands that evil Lv has in reality no power.” M (451:30–3)
One can turn this metaphysical statement into a self-treatment. This one can be used by every reader.
I am constantly alert to know and affirm that there is only one power, omnipotent Love. I acknowledge and understand the reality and allness of Good, God now.
Mrs. Eddy wrote a very important article on guarding thought and handling a.m. in Ways that Are Vain in My. p. 210:18 – 213:26. In the last paragraph of the article are four metaphysical sentences which together conform to Foursquare.
- P “Be ever on guard against this enemy.” M
- T “Watch your thoughts, and see whether they lead you to God and into harmony with His true followers.” M
- Lv “Guard and strengthen your own citadel more strongly.” M
- “Thus L you will grow wiser and better through every attack of your foe, and the Golden Rule will not rust for lack of use or be misinterpreted by the adverse influence of animal magnetism.” S (My. 213:19)
With the Daily Prayer in which Mrs. Eddy declares is the duty of every member to prayer each day, foursquare is a supporting pattern as indicated by the red fonts. It establishes one’s mental habitation by declaring the presence of LTLv which rule out all sin (SH 473:31). Then the Word, Principle, blesses, enriches and governs all who enter our mental habitation: LTLvP.
“It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: “Thy kingdom come;” let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy P Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” M (Man. 41:19 It)
AS A SELF-TREATMENT:
Because God is here and ever-present, Life, Truth and Love are established with me, around me, and within thought. My consciousness is filled with purity, holiness and goodness. God’s Word that speaks to me is communing with each of His ideas, enriching their love for themselves and others, and governing them and all.
FALSE FOURSCORE TO TRUE
From a human perspective, it is considered normal and even expected for persons to be seen as the underlined adjectives indicate: fallen, sick, sinning, dying. This is the inverted, counterfeit, mortal view of foursquare. (285:7-11)
“The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, — thoughts which presented man as p fallen, t sick, lv sinning, and l dying.” S (SH 259:6-11)
Each of these conditions line up with the mortal sense of life, truth, love and principle. Hence they have small letters beside them. They show the false, material habitation of thought. The solution to this false view is with Christian Science: to see man as “unfallen, upright, pure, free.”
“Through discernment of the spiritual opposite of materiality, even the way through Christ, Truth, man will reopen with the key of divine Science the gates of Paradise which human beliefs have closed, and will find himself P unfallen, T upright, Lv pure, and L free, not needing to consult almanacs for the probabilities either of his life or of the weather, not needing to study brainology to learn how much of a man he is.” S (SH 171:4)
The underlined attributes are those of God’s ideal, spiritual man who we should declare ourselves to be. We must think rightly, spiritually, to be right and spiritual. “The gates of Paradise,” are these not “the royally divine gates” of the Holy City which only to material sense seem shut (SH 575:22 marginal heading)? In reality, they are always open. (575:17-20)
The following citation illustrates the corrective nature of foursquare. It is under the marginal heading of “The demonstration lost and found.” Thought is what needs to be corrected or adjusted.
“But this power P was lost sight of, and must again be spiritually Lv discerned, T taught, and L demonstrated according to Christ’s command, with “signs following.”” M (SH 110:26-29)
Self-treatment: The power of Christian Science is effectual. I discern it, am being taught it daily by my study and practice, can demonstrate it, and testify to it.
This is how the identification was determined:
- Lost sight of must be reversed, then it becomes remembered, seen. It is over (or it includes) all the other Omnis, and so is PRINCIPLE.
- Discerned is Love because spiritual discernment is necessary for healing. Healing is always LOVE.
- Taught is a mental activity, so it is TRUTH.
- Demonstrated, with signs following, is the most active, so it is LIFE.
Now I would like to return to the Bible to a story I have always taken literally until learning how to interpret passages with the Spiritual Concepts Approach (SCA). This short citation in Ecclesiastes relates to Foursquare, a mental abode, and the spiritual sense of city, which isn’t a construct of buildings and people at all. It is a mental habitation or dwelling!
“There p was a little city, and few men within it; and there t came a great king against it, and lv besieged it, and l built great bulwarks against it:” RH (Eccl. 9:14)
As another type of Foursquare, this verse denotes a false or inverted sense. The “little city” is an inattentive, untended kind of mental habitation with few spiritual ideas with which to defend it. Unguarded, it is attacked and surrounded by aggressive mental suggestion or animal magnetism (a great king – a ruler of this material world). Besieged and bulwarks (nets, snares; coverts of ambush) illustrate what happens when one neglects to stand at the door of thought and defend oneself daily against aggressive mental suggestion. (Church Manual p. 42:4)
The ensuing verse shows the saving result of actively defending oneself.
“Now there Lv was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom L delivered the city; yet no man T remembered that same poor man.” RH (Eccl. 9:15)
Who was that “poor wise man”? Since the city is a mental habitation, it is astute thought that is spiritually receptive (poor) (SH 34:16 only) to the revelation of the wisdom of the Word continuously pouring forth from God (SH 275:17), from Life, Truth, and Love which counters the attack of a.m. and saves the city. Thought is transformed, strengthened, and a.m. suggestions countered, neutralized and eliminated. No man (mortal mind) is replaced by the receptive spiritual wisdom which fills the mental habitation so that no belief of error can enter. How important it is to keep thought fixed constantly on LTLvP in order to handle a.m.!
By now, those who have been following this blog will realize there are distinct concepts in passages that the SCA brings to one’s attention. There are many more elements to be seen, noticed, discerned and understood than one has previously been aware of. Studying the details in this way is what Mrs. Eddy refers to when she writes about eating the book. (SH 599:16) We must eat daily and the SCA provides a wonderful variety of spiritual concepts meals, daily bread or manna.
- All these foursquare citations relate to TRUTH, the only Cause.
- The Love’s Four (link) passages from the previous blog relate to LOVE.
- The next blog on Omni-action will show passages that relate to LIFE.
This establishes the fact that the three GATES on each side of the Holy City, our mental habitation, are LTLv. By imbibing our textbook, our spiritual sense grows, and our perception is enhanced, our understanding raised so that the book’s leaves/pages become richer as hidden treasures are revealed and realized. (SH 264:13-15; 507: 15-18)
NEXT BLOG: FOUR OMNIS or OMNI-ACTION
(Concept of Four – Part 5)
(C) 2015 MARY WALLS KUHL
Supplement on the Bible Lesson Subjects
by Guines Wiley-Nieves, CS
Throughout this Lesson, we will be discussing the concept of the Bible Lesson subjects for the benefit of the new students and a reminder for the current SCA students. This discussion will point out the value of the concept of Four which is not as prevalent as the concept of Three, but is a higher thought and has more of a divine application for the metaphysician—the coincidence of the human and divine or about Immanuel.
The 27 Bible Lesson Subjects are subject to the Concept of Four grouped at least three ways:
1. They reflect the idea of the City Foursquare—our ideal and ultimate mental habitation. Law of Dwelling (T)
2. The Four Main Headings of the grouping are: A. God. Christian or Divine Science C. Man or the Christ idea D. Christian Doctrines or Christianity. (Lv)
3. The four citation levels on which S&H is based and not just on the two levels one hears spoken of by Teachers of CS. (L)
These BL Subjects are metaphysical issues no other religion has as its key topics for a sermon.
There are three groupings of the four which pertain to our Lesson Sermon Subjects and also represent LTLv. The groupings of the Lesson Subjects are not in order except for the sub-group for the Synonyms for God. The four Main groups are:
1. God – these nine (number concept 9 – representing the need for spiritualizing thought.) are all about the synonyms for God plus subjects that pertain to God:
A. God (Principle)
H. God the only Cause and Creator
I. God the Preserver of Man
2. Man – (Christ) These six (number concept 6 – represents the Christ) Subjects pertain to the correct study of man and the ideal man:
A. Christ Jesus
C. Adam and Fallen Man
D.Mortals and Immortals
E. Soul and body
F. Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?
3. Christian Doctrines – These seven (number concept 7 – represents the Synonyms and completeness, perfection) deal directly towards correcting key or main misconceptions regarding Christianity:
B. Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?
C. Doctrine of Atonement
D. Probation After Death
E. Everlasting Punishment
F. Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced
4. Science – These five (number concept 5 – represents the five senses) subjects are designed to counter the belief of the five senses:
E. Christian Science
As sincere students of CS, we can also conclude these four represent the four sides of the City Foursquare which covers all spiritual dwelling as explained on pages 275-277 in S&H. (Why does the Compiler write S&H rather than SH? Because the “and” represents Life, Science represents Truth, and Health represents Love. S&H = Truth, Life, Love.)
1. God subjects represent the Word or Principle.
2. Man subjects represent the correct and true idea of Christ.
3. Christian Doctrines subjects represent Christianity.
4. Science subjects exclusively pertain to CS or Divine Science.
© 2015 Guines Wiley-Nieves