Christian Science: The Revelation of Universal Good

 

Helen Appleton, C.S., of Boston, Massachusetts

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

You will all doubtless agree with me when I say that your and my greatest need, in fact the greatest need of the world today, is higher understanding and proof of good. The many ills under which the world is staggering − war, fear, hatred, envy, jealousy, malice, revenge, discontent, distrust, lack, lack of food, lack of home − we may well analyze as a lack of good. So is not our greatest need to know more and more of good? And why? Because God is good; and we all need to know more about God. When we say that good is the greatest need of the world and of the individual, the greatest universal need, we are really saying that what we all must know is more about God. What we know about God determines what we are. The more we know of God as good only, the more good we manifest, and in return the more we are blessed, the higher the revelation of good universally.

In the Bible (book of books that has an answer for every human need) we are assured that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Surely we concur in the thought that much that the world has expressed, especially in the last decade, cannot be classed as invariable good. All experiences of lack of good, called by whatever name, are entirely outside the realm of God, good. Because these experiences are without God's consent or knowledge, they actually never happen. Obviously good, in order to be good and remain good, cannot have any real relationship with evil.

Jesus established for all time the source of good when he said, "There is none good but one, that is, God" (Matt. 19:17). Let us then for a moment think about God as He is known and loved through the teachings of Christian Science. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in the Glossary, Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, illuminatingly defines God (p. 587): "God. The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Believing, knowing, understanding this great definition, we begin to solve problems from the indisputable premise of God as the "I AM." We certainly have faith to believe that no problem is too difficult for the all-knowing, all-acting, all-loving God, good. And what the All-loving does for one, He certainly does for all. God is universal good.

I believe I may say that, in general, Christendom accepts in theory the allness of God, His omnipresence and omnipotence. The teachings of Christian Science emphasize and make practical and beneficial this concept in human experience. From Jesus' statement that God is good, we naturally infer that good possesses all the same grand qualities that God possesses. Because there is no variableness with God − God being the same yesterday, today, and forever − there is no variableness with good; there is no time when good is not potent, present, active, omniscient. Because of God's omnipresence, good, right activity, is omnipresent and omnipotent, as Christian Science teaches. God meets our need whether we are here or there, in the farthest corners of the globe. As the Psalmist sang: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Ps. 139:7-10).

God, good, being ever present, good does not come and go, blessing some and harming others, here today and gone tomorrow. Because God is present, good is present, always. Because God is, good is, always. Let us never forget this most important and fundamental truth: good is! This fact remains true no matter what vicissitudes we and the world may meet. And not only must we remember this transcendent fact that good is, but we must also hold to it and we must rejoice in it. Joy is one of the signs of the Spirit; it is one of the effects of our being aware of God's presence and love. David prayed, "Let all those that put their trust in thee [God, good] rejoice: let them ever shout for joy" (Ps. 5:11).

 

Christian Science Defined

Considering universal good as revealed by Christian Science, let us, as our first step toward understanding and demonstrating this Science, note the words "Christian" and "Science." "Christian" is defined (Webster) as "pertaining to Christ or the religion based on Christ's teachings." And "science" is defined as, "knowledge; any department of systematized, ordered, classified knowledge; art or skill." These two definitions lead us very naturally to the definition, in Webster, of Christian Science: "A religion and system of healing disease of mind and body which teaches that all cause and effect is mental, and that sin, sickness, and death will be destroyed by a full understanding of the Divine Principle of Jesus' teaching and healing."

From these definitions we can clearly see that any statement based on the teachings of Christian Science is ordered knowledge pertaining to the teachings by Christ Jesus concerning the divine Principle, God. Christian Science is the revelation, the revealing, the uncovering, of good. It ascribes to God, and to God only, all power, all presence, and all reality. Christian Science accepts without equivocation Jesus' teaching that God is good. It reveals Him as the source of all right activity and of all true Science. In the words of Mrs. Eddy in "Rudimental Divine Science," one of her shorter writings, Christian Science is "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony" (p. 1).

"Universal harmony"! What an arresting, heartening, satisfying thought. Christian Science teaches that heaven is harmony. Then heaven, harmony, is universal, even as good is universal. We know from Jesus' teachings that heaven is not a locality or a place; it is not "lo here! or, lo there!" (Luke 17:21.) It is within us − within our consciousness, within our ability to grasp and to understand! Through the teachings of Christian Science we prove that heaven, harmony, is universal.

 

 

 

Evil Not a Reality

One then might very naturally ask, If heaven, harmony, is universal and if God's creation is invariable good, how can one account for what is so unlike good, for evil? Evil is to be classified just as a mistake in mathematics is classified, as a wrong concept, a lack of knowledge. Because a child says, even writes down, that three times three is seven, is this true? Has this incorrect statement altered in any way the fundamental fact that now and forever three times three is nine? What if one says, "But I can see right here on this paper the figures three and three making seven"? Even seeing it as well as thinking it can never make it true. One sees with the human eye many things that education and understanding have proved to be false. The eye believes that the sun moves through the sky from east to west, believes that the earth stands still, whereas just the reverse is true. One holds a counterfeit fifty cent piece in one's hand. To the uninitiated it has all the appearance of worth and value; but the expert sees it immediately for what it is − unreality posing as reality; "nothing claiming to be something" (Science and Health, p. 591). No matter how long the spurious half dollar has been in circulation, no matter how many have accepted it as genuine, it has never been worth one penny. Just as soon as one sees its unreality, the coin loses any value claimed for it.

Just so must we see the spurious claims of evil as utterly devoid of truth or power, the claims that say intelligence and life are in matter, that evil is as real and powerful as good, that man is created both materially and spiritually and is subject to human laws and doctrines. These and all other materialistic beliefs are false. They are based upon the erroneous assumption that there is a creative, governing power other than the one God, infinite good. The omnipresence and universality of good preclude any presence and universality of evil. Clearly and concisely the disciple John states the truth about creation: "All things were made by him [God]; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). This enlightening doctrine is being daily proved by those accepting and understanding the teachings of Christian Science based upon the statement in Science and Health (p. 468), "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all."

 

Jesus the Christ

You will recall that in the definition of God, previously quoted from Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy uses the word "Mind" as one of the synonyms for God. This word, spelled with a capital M, is not to be confused with the commonly accepted use of the word mind, spelled with a small m, and meaning brain, human thought. The Apostle Paul admonishes us, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). What counsel for us today! On first contemplation this demand may seem like a very large admonition. And it is! Indeed, if we think of adding to a physical brain such an understanding as Christ Jesus possessed, it would be too large. Small wonder that down through the ages men have been baffled, considering Paul's counsel impossible of fulfillment. The easier way was to think that an understanding such as Jesus possessed was a special dispensation − that it was for him alone. But here again Christian Science comes to our rescue. Turning to Science and Health we find that Mind, spelled with a capital M, besides being a synonym for God is defined as "not that which is in man, but the divine Principle, or God, of whom man is the full and perfect expression" (p. 591). How clearly and helpfully this definition restates Paul's demand! We are asked to have the same understanding of God as Jesus had, and are shown that it is spiritually natural for us to have it. We begin to see that it is possible for us to put this understanding into practice as Jesus did; to make God the basis of every thought and action, to attribute all power and all presence to God. To the degree that we have the Mind in us which was in Christ Jesus we continually prove God's presence and power.

The teachings of Christian Science clarify not only our thinking, but also the thought of the whole world. The world needs to draw a very definite distinction between the man Jesus and Christ, the spiritual idea of God. Jesus was the son of the Virgin Mary. His spiritual origin enabled him to embody more fully than all others the Christ-idea, the Word of universal good coming from God to the human consciousness. Jesus was the name of the man; Christ is the divine title signifying Messiah, Saviour. Never had there been, nor has there been, such a marvelous combination of the human and the divine as expressed by Jesus.

It was the Christ-spirit, Jesus' divine understanding of the omnipotence of God, good, which enabled him to speak the word of God, which healed, regenerated, all with whom he came in contact. To the man with the withered hand he said, "Stretch forth thy hand," and it was restored whole. To Lazarus, whom his family and friends had mourned four days as dead, Jesus, refusing to accept the false evidence of death, said, "Lazarus, come forth." The word of God prevailed, and Lazarus came forth. To the woman whom the Pharisees and scribes claimed they had taken in the very act of adultery and whom they condemned to stoning, Jesus, healing her of sin, lovingly said, "Go, and sin no more."

This same healing Christ, Truth, is present today; here today healing mentally, morally, and physically. It is confined to no time, no rule, no place. Science and Health (p. 141) states that "there is no dynasty, no ecclesiastical monopoly," for the divine Principle. God's law of love extends to each one who will accept it, exemplifying the universality of good. The Bible tells us (Isa. 61:1-3) that the office of the Christ is "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, . . . to comfort all that mourn, . . . to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." The Christ-healing is for all mankind, "without money and without price."

 

Man a Spiritual Idea

The basis, the cardinal point, of Christian Science teaching is perfect God and perfect man − man the reflection of the one God, the One "altogether lovely." The Bible is our authority for this teaching. In the first chapter of Genesis we have the true and complete history of all creation. "God said" and "it was so." There is nothing to be added to this perfect creation nor anything that can be taken from it. The outstanding climax of this first chapter of Genesis is the creation of man, man in God's own likeness, man having dominion "over all the earth." This man is the real man, the real you, the real I. We are, whether we know it or not, in our true selfhood, this real man. This fact Christian Science helps us to demonstrate.

How the world has distorted and confused the understanding about man. It has tried hard to reconcile the statement that man is the image and likeness of God with the material, bodily concept of man. But it has failed utterly. The world has decreed that man here and now is subject to the laws of the flesh and must necessarily and inevitably experience discord and disease. The world belief is that at some future time man may possibly attain his God-bestowed freedom; meanwhile man is mortal, and all is chance, change, uncertainty.

But like a drink of pure, cold water to the thirsty comes the teaching of Christian Science on this point. We learn that man is "never more nor less than man" (Science and Health, p. 244). Because man is the reflection of God, it would be necessary for God to change in order for His reflection, man, to change. God being Spirit, eternal good, man, His image and perfect reflection, must be spiritual and eternally good. Christian Science makes clear that man is not physique; he is a spiritual idea of divine Mind, hence subject only to the intelligence and understanding bestowed by Mind, God. In Science and Health (p. 475) we learn that man is "that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker." Spiritual reflection is man's God-given heritage. Could we ask or desire a more glorious heritage?

In human experience a claim of legal right must be established to receive the benefits of a legacy. Even so, to receive our spiritual inheritance, we must establish in our understanding our relationship to the one God, good. How useless it is for us to expect to receive good while thinking, believing, and talking of evil as having any place or relationship with man. Always we must argue on the side of good, the side we wish to win. Let us remember the Biblical teaching (Prov. 23:7), "As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he." As a man thinketh good in his heart, so is he good. So does he experience that which is good.

Such thinking brought health to a young woman who believed herself suffering from a nervous breakdown. She had reached the point where no material living seemed worth while. But as she became, with the help of a Christian Science practitioner, more and more conscious of her true, unbroken kinship with God, good, as she saw herself as God was forever seeing her, His beloved child, whole, complete, happy, every material symptom of ill-health disappeared, and she was free.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

This same woman has expressed many times her gratitude to Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, for bringing to a needy world this glorious, life-giving understanding of God, of universal good.

How truly the familiar proverb (Prov. 22:6), "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it," applies to Mrs. Eddy's experience. All her home training stressed the value and necessity of spiritual knowing and living. From early childhood she was taught to turn to God in prayer to meet her every need. We have many records of the help she received from prayer, even while she was a very young child.

This background of right thinking made it possible in later life for Mrs. Eddy to receive the revelation of God's healing power. She was raised from what was supposed to be her deathbed to immediate, full, and active health. She saw, as she read the healing of the palsied man by Christ Jesus in the ninth chapter of Matthew, second verse, that the divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love are practical and available for all at all times. Mrs. Eddy saw God as Life, saw God as her life, and she was healed.

After much study, research, and proof and in obedience to the divine demand, she gave this sacred revelation to the world. Today it is here to bless and to heal all who will receive it. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" contains Mrs. Eddy's revelation and teaching. This book and the Bible are the textbooks of Christian Scientists, the books they love and study. Christian Science, like all sciences, to be usable must be studied and practiced. Study and practice will open the way to a larger understanding of the universality of God's love and goodness to every wholehearted seeker.

Mrs. Eddy founded the Christian Science church, the Church of Christ, Scientist. She was the founder of all the Christian Science periodicals, including that great international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. The Monitor is doing so much to leaven and unite the thought of the whole world. Science and Health together with the Bible and all Christian Science literature, may be found in the Christian Science Reading Rooms, which all Christian Science churches maintain and which are havens of rest and peace, where all are welcomed.

One's love and gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for her unselfish contribution to all the world grows in ever-increasing measure as one understands and practices more of Christian Science.

 

Knowing versus Believing

For us to avail ourselves of God's healing and saving power we must understand God, good. Merely to believe in God is not enough; we must know God. When we really understand, no amount of evidence to the contrary can shake our faith and trust. The world down through the centuries has, in a large measure, believed in God. But belief in so many instances has proved woefully inadequate. Faith is easily shaken, often abandoned, when confronted by the disturbing, arrogant claims of evil. Such faith is far from the understanding that Jesus urged when he said, "Know the truth."

Mathematics serves again as an illustration, because mathematics is perhaps the most universally believed science, acknowledged as unalterable and exact. No one of us would be in the least confused or troubled if we heard an uninformed student of mathematics say that two times twenty is fifty. Would we believe it? Would we ever think that the principle of mathematics is in any way interfered with or that our own ability to demonstrate the right answer is weakened by the incorrect statement? We should understand that an error has been made, but that the error is untrue, unreal, therefore unable to affect in any way our understanding or disturb our peace of mind. Why should we be able to stand so firmly? Because we know that two times twenty is forty.

All of us, who wish to face and conquer the world's lying claim to a power and a presence apart from God, good, must take this attitude of knowing. We must know without a shadow of doubt that because God is good, good is the only truth about ourselves and about all mankind. Thus we establish in consciousness the truth Jesus taught and practiced, the truth that makes free.

 

 

True Prayer

Such knowing is true prayer, prayer without ceasing; prayer that is never informative, never telling God, the all-knowing Mind, something He should or should not do. Such prayer is conforming to the will of God. Mrs. Eddy reminds us that God "who is immutably right will do right without being reminded of His province" (Science and Health, p. 3). Prayer is affirmative; it is thankful acknowledgment of God's ever-surrounding love, care, and protection. Prayer is the constant desire to know God, good; and this desire we must evidence by putting into practice the two great commandments of loving God with all our heart and with all our mind and of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus said (Matt. 22:40), "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

True prayer necessitates the giving up of all reliance upon material ways and means. It necessitates shutting out from consciousness the clamor of world beliefs that claim sickness, unhappiness, contagion, fear as any part of God's man, the only true man. It necessitates substituting in the place of negative beliefs positive knowing that Love is eternal, present.

 

"Everlasting arms of Love

Are beneath, around, above;

God it is who bears us on,

His the arm we lean upon."

(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 53)

 

With such prayer we enter the kingdom.

One of the final admonitions of Jesus to his disciples was, "Watch and pray" (Matt. 26:41). He gave this admonition in the garden of Gethsemane after he saw how easy it was for his disciples to be lulled to sleep by the mesmerism of human, material thinking − hatred of the Christ. Today the seeming forces of evil are even more strongly arrayed against making the Christ, Truth, a practical part of living and teaching. May we be ever more and more "watchful, sober, and vigilant" (Science and Health, p. 324); may we pray without ceasing, with courage and fervor, for the understanding of God's universal good to be expressed in our lives.

True prayer, right acknowledgment and understanding of God, Life, and Love, is the only way to salvation, to preservation from all evil. The Bible affords innumerable instances of man's God-given salvation, when men put God first in their thinking and acting. When the children of Israel feared that they were to be either drowned in the Red Sea or annihilated by the Egyptians, Moses said to them (Ex. 14:13), "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." We might say: "Stop! Still the clamoring, fearing, doubting beliefs of the physical senses, and you will see God's protecting love as ever present and ever available to save you in ways of which you know not. And how wonderfully and how unexpectedly the deliverance of the children of Israel came! Surely no human planning could have devised such freedom. The same saving power awaits each one of us, each one who wholeheartedly and unreservedly understands and acknowledges God, universal good, as the all-knowing, the all-seeing. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (I Cor. 2:9,10). This assurance from Paul comes to us as a comforting, reassuring thought, based upon his abundant, fruitful experience. May we all remember and claim, through our obedience to divine Love, our right to deliverance from sin, sickness, sorrow, and death − our right to full salvation.

 

Health a Spiritual Quality

By thus working and watching we establish in thought, consequently in body, our completeness − our health. Never too strongly can we maintain that good health is a direct outcome of good thinking, or spiritual thinking, so often spoken of in the Bible as "righteousness." In Science and Health (p. 120) we are reminded that "health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind;" Mind spelled with a capital M, synonymous with God. It is God who supplies health just as He does every good and right condition. Because there is no separation between God and man, man being God's reflection, there is no separation between man and health. Because God is Spirit; health is a spiritual quality. God, Spirit, being ever present and ever active, health is present and active. Health is not something to be added to one or applied to one from the outside. Jesus taught (Matt. 15:11), "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." Again he warned against making clean only the outside of the cup and the platter (see Luke 11:39). How clearly these graphic illustrations point to the necessity of correct, right thinking and living. What a man thinks, what he is living in consciousness, is the determining factor in all of his human experiences.

We must never forget that because God is, good is. And we add to this fundamental truth by saying that because God is, health is. Health is not something to be manufactured, not something to be debated or theorized about. Health is a normal, divine state of consciousness belonging to man, the image, the reflection, of God; belonging to him because of his inseparability from his Father-Mother, God.

As we recognize God as Father-Mother we are no longer in subjection to the human beliefs concerning heredity. Man, as the child of a compassionate, loving, and tender Parent, God, can inherit only Godlike qualities. Man, living, moving, and having his being in God, Mind, does not fear material laws concerning environment or contagion. Man, the child of God, is ever protected against aggressive claims of contagion. Mrs. Eddy assures us (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 229), "A calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventive of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method; and the 'perfect Love' that 'casteth out fear' is a sure defense."

This statement was proved true in a family of Christian Scientists I know when two of its younger members were overtaken by what is known as scarlet fever. These two young girls attended a large public school where great fear was expressed that the other children who had been associating with the Christian Science children would in all probability experience the same disease. This fear was reported to the practitioner who was helping the family see the utter falsity of the claim that disease is in any way a necessary part of the child of God.

The practitioner saw so clearly that because God is the source and center of all good and right activity, evil, disease, being without Principle or reality, cannot (to use Mrs. Eddy's words) "go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence" (Science and Health, p. 235).

This "strong defence" was established. Not one child in the school manifested any sign of the disease, and the young patients were well in three days.

Slowly, but surely, the leavening effect of the teachings of Christian Science is creeping into all phases of human thinking. One of England's great physicians in an address before the British Medical Association said: "The best medicine which my practice has discovered is prayer. The exercise of prayer in those "who habitually practice it must be regarded as the most adequate and normal of all the pacifiers of the mind and calmers of the nerves. . . ; Such a habit does more . . . than any other therapeutic agency known to man." How this coincides with Mrs. Eddy's statement, written many years before (Science and Health, p. 4), "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds."

May we all be ever more alert to prove in any time of crisis, be it within our own family circle or in the community, that the "perfect love" that "casteth out fear" is a "sure defense." Such alertness will bring due reward. It assures us of Love's protecting, care, expressed in health, joy, and a sweet and comforting sense of the peace of God that passeth all human understanding. Another verse from the hymn previously quoted, reads:

 

"From earth's fears and vain alarms

Safe in His [God's] encircling arms,

He will keep us all the way,

God, our refuge, strength and stay."

 

The Fruits of the Spirit

The qualities of thought that are expressed in "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" the Apostle Paul tells us are "the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22,23). They are the inevitable fruitage that comes when we understand that God, Spirit, is the only presence and power, and that man, having no mind apart from the one perfect Mind, God, to guide him, can express and experience only good.

The first "fruit of the Spirit" is love − love for God and man. To truly love our fellow man, we must see through and beyond the human frailties that pose as man and see man as God sees him − a completely harmonious, happy expression of infinite Love, God. Such loving is not too difficult when, through the study and practice of the teaching of Christian Science, we gain an understanding of God as utterly and unalterably good and an understanding of man, a reflection of God's goodness.

It is interesting to note that joy is the second "fruit of the Spirit" mentioned by Paul. To maintain a full and happy experience, joy is such an important and necessary quality. Joy is not at the mercy of human conditions or circumstances; not at the mercy of place or person or thing. It comes to us as a result of the abiding conviction that God's love is present, that it is potent and available to protect and sustain us always. Because joy is a spiritual quality, we can always be certain that joy breaks the mesmerism of material happenings. How many times and in how many ways the Bible urges us to rejoice!

Jesus said (Matt. 5:12), "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." It is interesting to remember that in this joyous command Jesus tells us not only to rejoice and be glad, but also to be "exceeding glad." As exceeding means extraordinary, over and above the ordinary, we realize that rejoicing is not perfunctory; it is a conscious effort to look "towards the imperishable things of Spirit," to use Mrs. Eddy's words in Science and Health (p. 21). In looking towards the glorious things of Spirit we see reason for rejoicing and gain an ability to rejoice.

The world at large gives little encouragement for rejoicing. The world is still believing that man is a material creature, subject to the laws of matter; that God knows and permits evil in all its diabolical forms, and that sickness, sin, war, hate are necessary and inescapable. But even in the midst of these human entanglements we can begin to rejoice, yes, to be "exceeding glad." We can be exceeding glad because we are confident that God is good, universal good, therefore He neither knows nor permits evil in any form. We can be exceeding glad that God, Love, is the only creator, and His creation, like Himself, is good, unchanging, invariable good. In one of Mrs. Eddy's writings, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," she gives us a reason for following Jesus' command to rejoice. She writes (p. 139), "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for so doth the divine Love redeem your body from disease; your being from sensuality; your soul from sense; your life from death." Surely this reward is the reward promised by Jesus if we rejoice and be exceeding glad.

The next fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions is "peace." Peace! How the world is longing, hoping, watching, and waiting for peace! But peace is a quality of Spirit; therefore it can be attained only by spiritual means. Through unselfish loving of our neighbor as ourselves we begin the attainment of peace. Peace is not merely a cessation of war; it is the maintenance of good, of love. Peace requires the beating of "swords into plowshares" and "spears into pruninghooks" (Mic. 4:3). In other words, it requires the replacing of warlike thoughts − envy, revenge, malice, fear, pride, lust, sloth, all forms of aggression − with thoughts of love, kindness, unselfishness, peace. Thoughts of destruction must be supplanted by thoughts of construction. Peace is an active, spiritual force; it is not a passive submission to evil, not a pacifism that cries, "Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14). Peace is not so much antiwar as it is pro-God. Peace is the spiritual understanding and utilization of the laws of universal good, the laws of God, Father-Mother of all.

 

"How beauteous on the mountains

The feet of him that brings,

Like streams from living fountains,

Good tidings of good things;

That publishes salvation;

From error gives release

To every tribe and nation:

God's reign of joy and peace."

(Hymnal, No. 120)

 

How well Paul knew that this most desirable and longed for state of spiritual living comes not suddenly, but requires "longsuffering" − patient endurance under hardship, strong and enduring realization that good alone is power. Such realization requires "gentleness" − grace and kindliness; it requires "goodness" − the excellence and virtue of right living; it requires "faith" − allegiance and fidelity to the one God; it requires "meekness" − the patience, coupled with the strength and sincerity of thought that heals; it requires "temperance" − the abstaining from all belief that there is, that there can be, any reality apart from God, good. Against these qualities, "the fruit of the Spirit," there is no law.

May all that has been said about good in this talk, its universality, its presence, power, and availability, fill each heart with a song of gratitude. God's great purpose for each one of His children is that they shall express Him infinitely and reflect His great goodness with which He constantly endows His creation. Christ Jesus demonstrated this divine purpose and sonship, that he might show us the way. Christ Jesus is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9). He gave abundant proof of God's love and goodness toward all. With God all things good are possible for all. May we say with Job (42:2), "I know that thou [God] canst do every thing." This healing, regenerating faith and understanding is available to all. It comes as a reward to those accepting and utilizing the glorious truths revealed to us through the study of Christian Science.

With confidence and assurance let us lift our hearts and pray, as did David of old (I Chron. 29:11,13): "Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above, all. . . . Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name."

 

[March 12, 1950.]

 

 

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