Christian Science: The Law of True Dominion
Herbert W. Beck, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Herbert W. Beck, C.S.B., of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
What is true dominion? In the first chapter of Genesis are these words: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth."
True dominion is naturally based on power, on the presence of God to support that power. Divine Love, omnipotent Truth, has sovereignty, which is the consciousness of true dominion, and all may turn thereto and use its authority to demonstrate the presence and dominion of God. Therefore true dominion is spiritual authority.
God has dominion because evil has naught with which to oppose that dominion. Good is supreme because it is the only power. It is not a question of Truth being superior to error, holding the balance of power, but of Truth's law of dominion revealing good as the only power and presence, the only real, motivating force in the universe.
Man's God-granted Dominion
Man's God-bestowed, reflected sense of dominion should be cherished by us always, kept as our great heritage, and we should never allow it to fall into disuse. Man's God-given birthright is dominion; therefore man is not in slavery or in subjection to matter and its many phases of belief.
We have the ability to reflect power; we have the right to express God's allness and dominion. God did not express His image to be supine without stamina; rather did He make man conscious of good, active in using good, which is always dominant in God's realm. These qualities governed the thoughts and actions of our Master. He was always conscious of his heritage from the Father. Individual men and women should claim their God-given right to that same dominion over all the earth and its hosts. Let us always remember that we reflect spiritual dominion.
Jesus' hearers were startled "because he taught them as one having authority." Using this authority which was given to him by his heavenly Father, he was able, through the Christ, to give to his disciples "power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases." Pray that your thoughts will be open to accept the truth about yourself. Recognize the glory of God's man as your radiant, individual consciousness, and take to humanity this glory of man.
Prayer awakens hope, strengthens faith, blesses endeavor, and places us in the path which leads to spiritual unfoldment. Prayer swings open the gate to the realization of God's blessings, so that the pilgrim is lifted above the ills of the flesh to rejoice in freedom.
Prayer is that sacred communion through which man talks with God, expresses gratitude for blessings received, and becomes obedient to the law of God. Prayer makes one conscious of the protection of God's love and care and lifts him above the threats of evil to the assurance of man's oneness with the divine Mind.
It is a provable fact that there is only one God, one true power - hence His dominion is expressed by real creation. This dominion is always constructive, protective, and loving.
A proper sense of our God-given dominion gives us the ability to heal the sick and reform the sinner. We have the dominion to be kind; we have the dominion always to love in the face of hatred. We have the dominion to be just and not wrongly critical. We have the dominion to be tolerant; we have the dominion to be healthy; we have the dominion to live forever. We have the dominion to recognize that we are God's image, because we are made that way. There is no power in existence that can take from us the dominion which God has given to the real man, and which God maintains. We walk with dominion; we live with dominion; God's dominion controls us, and that dominion is good.
We demonstrate dominion through correcting thought, through spiritualizing consciousness. Our demonstration of Christian Science is to express harmony, and to make use of the dominating power of Truth which enables us to overcome wrong conditions and to realize peace.
Oh! To let go our limitations, our fears, our false beliefs, and let the great power of God's presence bless us with its true dominion!
The Wrong Concept of Dominion
As humans, we are all conversant with what is called domination - the control of one individual over another, or the power exercised by one nation over another for the advantage of the aggressive person or nation. But this physical domination is a perversion of right power.
This wrong sense of dominion has gone on for centuries and will be broken only as every aggressive individual or nation realizes that what he believes to be power or freedom is really bondage, hatred, and defeat. Wrong domination will cease when the Golden Rule is accepted, lived, and demonstrated as the governing impulse of the individual or of the nation. "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise" prevents any unkindness, brutality, or selfishness. Mortal mind has rejected this true and good rule of behavior because it was afraid that it would lose something of value.
The scope and activity of true power supports and sustains spiritual dominion. As true, spiritual dominion is demonstrated or put to practical application, we are able to destroy the wrong sense of dominion as having place, power, prestige, or victim, for God, the only ever-present creator, never made a wrong, perverted sense of dominion. So to destroy the impulse as well as the evidence of a physical, maddened sense of dominion, the allness and presence of good should be demonstrated continually by us who know what true power is and to whom it belongs. It is possible through the understanding of the spiritual sense of dominion, which Christian Science gives to mankind, to demonstrate that evil has no authority, no place to sustain its self-accredited sense of dominion.
A Christian Scientist found employment in a large corporation. In a few days it was apparent that another employee was endeavoring to dominate the Christian Scientist's living and thinking. Soon there appeared also a sense of hatred towards the student of Christian Science because of the religious background of the other, and the situation became very tense between the two employees.
At first the Christian Scientist was tempted to resist and resent the intrusion upon her rights, but she recognized the desire to give way to resentment as a temptation to lower her high standard of thinking. Naturally she prayed over the situation, but the relationship grew worse as the days went by. Continuing to pray there came a light to the student, for she remembered that she had been given dominion over all evil, and over the bad situation in the office. Immediately she pondered over the use of that dominion and she realized that it could be applied only through love. A great peace flooded her thought, resentment faded away, and in a day or two the other worker began to express kindness, and shortly asked if they could not be friends.
This attempt of one person to dominate another was completely healed and brought blessings to both through advancement in the office.
Demonstrating Our Dominion
What are we doing about demonstrating dominion in our human affairs? The dominion of good over evil is demonstrable and can be successfully proved by any earnest seeker for Truth.
Basically, all the troubles of the human race are due to sin. Sin brings unhappiness, sickness, death, all sorrow, and inharmony. In the Ten Commandments we have certain sins mentioned specifically, yet sin covers a wide field - it is the breaking of the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." We sin when we accept the belief of any other power than God. Can this prevalent sin of believing in other gods be destroyed? Certainly! And when it is, then all the train of evil following sin will be destroyed also. This can be done with increasing ease as we use our reflected power of God's omnipotence, our dominion.
One may express his dominion and refuse to seek the approval of the world by indulging in the use of tobacco or in social drinking. The effect of intoxicating liquor is the same whether taken through desire or under the guise of sociability. Such indulgence leads away from freedom and towards sensuality, away from Spirit and towards material bondage.
Sin is wrong thinking, wrong believing; it is the acceptance of the mesmeric suggestion which tries to implant the belief of other gods, other powers than the one God. Since sin is a condition of thought, and thought is easily changed, then what is termed sin can be overcome with the understanding of the truth about God and His man. Why is this change of thought possible of accomplishment? Because man, the real you, expresses dominion and is able, not only to call a halt to sin's encroachments, but to destroy sin itself
In the healing work of Christian Science, we work primarily with the law of health and purity to destroy sin. If a healing is delayed, perhaps quiet prayer will uncover to one that his effort has been to heal sickness instead of destroying the error which caused the sickness. In Science and Health we find these words (p. 270): "If sin makes sinners, Truth and Love alone can unmake them. It a sense of disease produces suffering and a sense of ease antidotes suffering, disease is mental, not material. Hence the fact that the human mind alone suffers, is sick, and that the divine Mind alone heals."
Christian Science gives to us the needed understanding of truth so that we can use it humanly and approach our problems as masters. Evil has only the power we grant it, so it is wise to bestow upon it no fear or belief that it can act or destroy. As we put love in the place of hate, faith in God in place of fear, spiritual understanding in place of ignorance of God's presence, all phases of inharmony will disappear.
What does your God-given dominion do for you? It makes you strong in grace, fearless regarding evil, always able and willing to express good and to be good: it enables you to be kind and gentle without weakness; to be honest, brave, and truthful without fear of consequences; it enables you to meet and destroy the insidious approach of evil with its claims to reality; to heal the sick and reform the sinner instantaneously; for you have the
dominion to know what is real and to practice and demonstrate what you know.
A young man of potential ability, though lacking in business experience, was elevated quickly to the board of directors of a large mining and manufacturing corporation and also to the management of the home office. He was conscious many times of his lack of experience, yet he prayed continuously for understanding, for the ability to use his God-given dominion over ignorance. Many problems which seemed knotty and difficult because of lack of information and experience would start to unravel as ideas came one after another showing how the work could be done efficiently. These ideas came in answer to his prayer for intelligence, wisdom, and receptivity to God's guidance to show him what to do. He accepted the guidance and filled the position satisfactorily. All problems of business, health, home, community, and nation can be solved through the practice of Christian Science, which teaches the student how to apply God's law.
We have dominion to do what is right, and as we are controlled by that fact we shall realize that in Truth we do not have the ability or the desire to do wrong.
We need the spiritual awakening to
be aware of what we now possess as God's children. The Bible relates that the
It is of advantage to note that Elisha did not pray for a sense of protection for the city of Dothan or for himself; rather he prayed that the film of ignorance might drop from the sight of the servant so that he could behold the actual, ever-present dominion of good which is always available to be demonstrated in destroying enemy attacks. The omnipotent power of good exists; we only need to be conscious of it and to make use of it.
Error is always easily destroyed if we are conscious of the dominion of good. One popular affirmation of evil is that the passage of time makes a condition hard to heal. This is not true, for time as expressed in years cannot make an error true. The Master proved this fact when he healed the woman who had been bowed together for eighteen years.
Christian Science uncovers the machinations of animal magnetism as expressed in malpractice, sin, sickness, and inharmony. This uncovering does not bring evil to the surface as a reality but exposes the complete emptiness or nothingness of animal magnetism and malpractice. One need not fear any phase of evil if he remains conscious of God's presence. This may be illustrated as follows: If one were in a lighted room, would he be fearful of the darkness in the next room if he opened the door between? Would the darkness from the other room enter his room and put out the light? Rather, the light would penetrate the darkness. So, it is wise to stay within the light of God's dominion of good and there will be no evil to fear.
In our healing work we should use our spiritual knowledge of true dominion to the complete eradication of evil. One is apt to say, "I have had a hard time and it has left its mark." Evil cannot leave its mark without our consent or ignorance. When the sinner is healed, his thought purified, there is neither scar nor mar left on him. When the sick are healed through the energizing power of the Christ, there can be no evidence of weakness or disability. Christian Science has come to the world to remove the false belief that evil of any name or nature can leave a blemish or the mark of the beast, for the Christ reveals man as pure, upright, and free.
In the First World War a physician who examined a Christian Scientist remarked that the soldier had certain scars which indicated that at one time he had had a serious physical condition. The student of Christian Science prayed about this, because he knew that evil did not have the power or intelligence to leave a scar as proof that it had once claimed to be real; he realized that evil had nothing to leave behind, because evil is not a creator. Later when discharged from the army, no scars could be found by the examining physician. The prayers of the soldier had been answered.
Dominion over Bad Traits of Character
Christian Science gives us the understanding of God's law by means of which we overcome bad traits of character. We all know of the mental and physical suffering inflicted upon others by thoughtlessness, carelessness, ill temper, criticism, and the like. There is hardly a person who has not some house cleaning to do regarding undesirable traits of character, and he should be willing to exchange them for the spiritual qualities already possessed by his real self, such as thoughtfulness, charitableness, patience, gratitude, and joyfulness.
Because of false teaching regarding heredity, habit, and inherent weaknesses, many persons believe that they are helpless to overcome unlovely traits of character. Christian Science teaches that the only law of heredity is the one which causes man to inherit or express the spiritual qualities of the divine creator, God.
No bad trait of character is eternal, but is at the point of instantaneous destruction, because the truth about man's real character is present to release in human consciousness the truth which destroys error. We are not using our dominion if we believe that it takes time or many Christian Science treatments to overcome undesirable traits of disposition. Any error is weak, powerless, possessing no ability to control human activity, except through fear, sinful desire, or ignorance.
Resentment, hatred, bitterness, and the like may cause a person many heartaches as well as much physical suffering. These expressions or manifestations of evil can and will be destroyed as the individual decides to discipline his thinking in accordance with divine Principle. There is always a vulnerable spot in evil, and the truth will find that spot and destroy the erroneous condition. Many Christian Science practitioners have been led through prayer to uncover the vulnerable spot and release the patient from the bondage of sickness, resentment, fear, hatred, or sin.
One such case occurred as follows: A man living in an eastern state had become paralyzed on one side. As a last resort, his physician ordered him to go to a southwestern state, hoping that the climate there might help to improve his physical condition. As he was being wheeled from one train to another in a southern city, a woman approached him and said: "You do not need to be in a wheel chair. You can be healed." He was interested in her remark and the positive way in which she said it, so he asked her how he could be healed. She related her healing of cancer through Christian Science treatment. The man was greatly impressed and decided to ask for help in Christian Science as soon as he reached his destination, which he did. There was no response to the first three treatments, and the practitioner knew that God would guide her to uncover the apparent cause so that the patient could receive his healing. So she asked him if he was still resentful and bitter over his daughter's marriage, and his reply was so vigorous and explosive that she knew she had found the vulnerable spot of the error. Then she proceeded to show him how he should think about the marriage if he wished his healing, and she very firmly showed him that his present physical condition followed his acceptance of hatred and bitterness. She also told him that the releasing law of forgiveness would free him from paralysis. He objected at first, but in a few minutes he accepted the truth so completely that he was healed, then and there. This healing proves the releasing power of forgiveness. In proportion to our acceptance and love of Godlike qualities are we freed from physical suffering.
It is safe to make the statement
that many readers of the Bible have longed to know how Jesus performed the
miracles and healings which are recorded in the Gospels. Many have sought out
some mysterious power to him as if God had given our Master a special
understanding that no one else could ever have. It is true that Christ Jesus
did have a special power but it is available to all mankind. He unveiled the truth
when he said "The
Tomorrow as you approach your office, or take up your home duties, or perhaps go on with military training, pray that you will remember that the Christ is present to bless you, to give you wisdom, energy, compassion, cooperation, and all other Godlike qualities. You stand in the presence of the healing power of the Christ. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 316), "Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth."
The Christ unveils God's love to us, which destroys all error. The Christ, Truth, is power; it holds us safe in His presence. The Christ is the ever-action of Truth which makes or sets us free. There is no need of fervent prayer to put Truth into action, for Christ is always with us, ever tenderly guiding us out of wars into the way of peace, out of sin and sickness into the freedom and joy belonging to the sons and daughters of God.
The Christ made Jesus the Saviour of men. The same Christ is present to motivate our lives, our thoughts, our actions so that we may become "fishers of men."
Any true impulse which you may express, by which good may come to another, is the Christ, which enables you to manifest spiritual manhood. The desire to be better Christian Scientists, to do better healing work, to be more alert to help others, is the Christ entering in to abide with you. Oh, welcome this guest into your consciousness so that the reflected glory of your life may bless the ones hungering for the kingdom of heaven to come on earth. The Christ expresses the activity of God's omnipotence; and is the outpouring of God's love by which creation is expressed and maintained in perfection.
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science, and later founded the great movement known as the Christian Science church. The importance of this discovery is evaluated by the good which has been accomplished in the world by this church, for sinners have been reformed, the sick have been healed of all types of disease, and many who have been considered incurable have been restored to health. The recipients of these blessings have been made happy through release from suffering and they express true gratitude for the spiritual healing and awakening which followed the healings. This spiritual healing has given to thousands a demonstrable understanding of God's omnipotent law of good. Mrs. Eddy has certainly blessed the ages through her discovery of the scientific understanding of Christianity, so that religion is no longer based upon opinion or dogma, but upon the demonstration of divine Principle. Well may the generations of the human race rise in gratitude and call her blessed.
Mrs. Eddy came of a long line of God-loving ancestors, and her childhood was surrounded by a religious atmosphere. Her early years held much sickness and sorrow, which caused her to turn to God for comfort and relief. This daily, even hourly, custom of praying to God made it natural for her, when a great emergency arose and she was given but a few hours to live, to turn once again to God. Inspired by Christ Jesus' healing of the palsied man recorded in the Bible, her prayer was immediately answered and she was healed. Right then was born to the world a new idea, a discovery later named Christian Science.
But there was much for Mrs. Eddy to do to understand her discovery. For years her Bible had been carefully studied; now it became her textbook, for it answered her questions as to how she was healed. What an answer to her hours of prayerful waiting and watching! She had touched the borders of the greatest discovery ever given to mankind - Christian Science. She writes in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 23): "Thus it was when the moment arrived of the heart's bridal to more spiritual existence. When the door opened, I was waiting and watching; and, lo, the bridegroom came! The character of the Christ was illuminated by the torches of Spirit. My heart knew its Redeemer. . . . I had touched the hem of Christian Science,"
Almost immediately following her
discovery Mrs. Eddy was invited to fill certain pulpits in
This spirituality enabled her to receive the guidance of divine Mind so that she was able to found her church, guide and strengthen it through stormy years when the human mind was determined to destroy it and cast into oblivion this new appearing of the Comforter.
Loving, gentle, strong in the understanding of God's allness, Mrs. Eddy became the Leader of her church, which is going forward under that Leadership to awaken men out of material thinking to the freedom belonging to them as God's children.
Following her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy confidently expected the churches of the land to accept and welcome the great truth revealed to her. When her offer was rebuffed again and again, she lovingly turned away to found her own church. It was necessary to do this or let the discovery sink into forgetfulness. But Mrs. Eddy realized that she was ordained as God's messenger to fulfill prophecy and give the final revelation of Truth, and so with courage she founded a church that at first astonished and then aroused bitterness, religious hatred, and intolerance. However, the Christian Science church is winning its place in the respect of the world.
Our church offers the spiritual good which the world is struggling in a material way to obtain. If the religious people of the age would realize what Christian Science is, and not what they think it is, our churches would be crowded. It rests with us to demonstrate what we know of Christian Science so that others will be awakened to its usable, practical, and healing mission.
An important activity of our church is the Sunday school, for there the children are taught the simple truths about Christian Science. Our little ones need what the Sunday school has to offer, for they are given the basic teaching of God's allness and man's spiritual perfection. This teaching will enable them to combat successfully the present trend to scoff at religion and all things that are pure and good.
That Christian Science is simple is attested by the children who make use of their understanding, and the demonstrations of healing which follow are at times almost startling. In an editorial appearing in one of our Christian Science periodicals it is told of a little boy brought up in the teachings of Christian Science who was asked if he were not afraid of catching a prevalent infectious ailment. He replied firmly, "No. I never take anything that doesn't belong to me."
A deep responsibility rests upon the officers and teachers of our Sunday school, for the children must be properly taught and their interests aroused, so that they will use more frequently the truth that frees.
How much of practical, loving understanding are we giving them? Are we convincing them that Christian Science is what they need to offset the sinful, alluring temptations which cross their paths?
At one time Mrs. Eddy sent for one of the associate editors of our periodicals and asked her to take a class in The Mother Church Sunday School. The editor asked to be excused because of many demanding activities, and suggested that a younger student be given the opportunity. Whereupon Mrs. Eddy answered: "I want the best thought possible in my Sunday school." And so this loyal worker, in spite of the growing demands of many years, took her post in the Sunday school.
If the pupil is in school, college, or the business world, he should be taught to turn always to God for guidance. Christian Science gives the pupil the understanding of spiritual law by means of which he is able to solve his problems with as much assurance as he works out his problems in arithmetic. If the problem is difficulty with school examinations, the pupil can prove his dominion over fear and lack of memory by turning to God for understanding; if ill he can declare with assurance that God made him perfect and keeps him so, and as he holds to this truth, the error disappears. The pupil can always awaken to the spiritual truth about himself, and this understanding of God's law will flood his consciousness and destroy whatever error is disturbing him.
Our Missionary Work
The Christian Scientist of today has an unsurpassed opportunity to awaken the world to the practical value of Christian Science, and to convince the suffering that the Christian Science church points the way of Life, the way of peace. We need to have a better appreciation of our opportunities to become more active, more willing to sacrifice our leisure and our ease in matter, and to go forth as missionaries to extend the truth to a world torn with problems of every kind.
Pray that you can express a kindly word or deed here and there, and that the kingdom of heaven is touching the consciousness of everyone. The suggestion may come to you that the world does not wish Christian Science, but "the harvest truly is plenteous." Let us be ready to thrust in the sickle, to gather the grain into God's storehouse. What wonders a smile will do, a word of comfort, a little consideration, and it has been known that just a "Thank you" has lighted up another's face. In all these ways we "preach the gospel," and as opportunity affords, we tell the waiting one of the good which Christian Science has for him. Open the door to the kingdom of heaven and let the weary one see the joy and freedom awaiting him as the beloved of God.
The world is burdened with the greatest problem it has ever had to face. If we have a low visibility of this turmoil, it will leave us in the maze of conflicting views and emotions, and desperate indeed will be the affairs of men if we cannot lift ourselves above that level.
But there is a way out of this maze of human suffering, and it is the way of the Christ. This way leads us to the realization of God's allness, which, when understood, will prove true the words of Isaiah, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness."
Alertness to the value of prayer, of a spiritual awakening to the power of God, is being emphasized to all of us, whether at home or performing our work on foreign soil. The mesmerism of evil cannot abide in the consciousness of a person who realizes the presence of good. Sincere prayer for courage, fortitude, and confidence is always answered.
Christian Science does not ignore the problems of anyone, but brings to that one healing and peace. If sadness has come into some of our homes, thought must be lifted to divine Love to find comfort. True compassion says, "See your dear one as God's image and so keep him forever in the realm of immortality." Let this thought heal you, bless you, comfort you.
The real man's dominion is secure - based upon the rock eternal. It never fails him. So it is our privilege to identity ourselves with what is already true of our real selves and demonstrate the omnipotence of our reflected dominion. The opportunity is priceless; the results blessed with the healing of the sick, sinful, and sorrowful. Let our hearts sing a chorus of gratitude to our God, who has made man "a little lower than the angels" and has "crowned him with glory and honour."
Mrs. Eddy, in her book "Miscellaneous Writings,'' blesses us with this benediction (p. 152): "Thus founded upon the rock of Christ, when storm and tempest beat against this sure foundation, you, safely sheltered in the strong tower of hope, faith, and Love, are God's nestlings; and He will hide you in His feathers till the storm has passed. Into His haven of Soul there enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition which guides you safely home."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, April 6, 1945.]