Christian Science: How Everyone Can Practice Christian Healing
Peter B. Biggins, C.S.B., of Seattle, Washington
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:
The healing work of Christian Science has now become so widespread that a very large number of the world's millions have either experienced this healing or know of one or more who have been so blessed. The universal appeal made by the prophet Isaiah, who invited all men everywhere to enjoy the blessings of spiritual inspiration, is seen to have a fuller, higher meaning in the light of Christian Science, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters" (55:1).
When Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she provided a means whereby the healing truth which she discovered could be understood and practiced by an ever-increasing number of persons. Thus she revived and made available the healing method practiced by Christ Jesus.
God's Nature is Expressed by the Real Man
Referring to the healing work of the Master, the Apostle John wrote "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). This is firsthand evidence that Jesus taught his immediate disciples that God is light. This fits in perfectly with the synonyms which Mrs. Eddy uses in defining God, namely, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. (See Science and Health, p. 465.) We can and do speak of the light of divine Mind, the light of Spirit, and we can use the term light as related to all these other synonyms for God. As we grasp more and more the vital meaning of these synonyms, we are awakened to see the true nature of God. We see that God is one, and that He is All, filling all space. We are able to understand the Bible as never before and to put its precepts into practice. Mrs. Eddy writes in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 (p. 3): "Christian Science stills all distress over doubtful interpretations of the Bible; it lights the fires of the Holy Ghost, and floods the world with the baptism of Jesus. It is this ethereal flame, this almost unconceived light of divine Love, that heaven husbands in the First Commandment."
The proper sense of God as the one divine Mind is expressed by man in true intelligence. The understanding of God as Truth is manifested in truthfulness. The true sense of God as Soul is expressed in true feeling. The proper apprehension of God as divine Principle is seen in obedience to spiritual law. The correct understanding of God as Spirit is apparent in spirituality, in alertness, in purity. The true sense of God as divine Life is seen in true living, in vitality, in moral and spiritual vigor. The understanding of God as divine Love is seen in spiritual affection, in humanity, in tenderness and forgiveness. Right thinking and right acting are the proof — the only valid proof — of our understanding of God.
Christian Science Heals Supposedly Incurable Disease
The following healing of an acquaintance of mine is typical of what is taking place as a result of the application of Christian Science, as taught and demonstrated by Mrs. Eddy. Like many others, this man first heard the gospel of Christian Science preached at a lecture. Six months before, he had been discharged from service in the Army, certified as suffering from valvular heart disease. He had been examined by many doctors, including an eminent specialist, and had spent the larger part of a year having treatment at a number of cardiac hospitals; but he was finally told that he was incurable and warned by the medical board that only by taking great care and avoiding all exercise or excitement could he be expected to live long.
As he left the lecture he received some free Christian Science periodicals. The reading of this literature led him to borrow a copy of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy. After reading this book about half-way through, he said to his wife, "If half of what this book states is true, there is some hope for me after all."
This was the first glimmer of hope that had come to him. He now realized the possibility of being healed. He continued to study the textbook and Mrs. Eddy's other writings, and in six months he was healed. Thereafter he continued to rely on Christian Science. Later, on four different occasions, when business requirements made physical examinations unavoidable, doctors pronounced him to be in perfect physical condition. Christian Science thus saved him from what threatened to be a life of chronic invalidism. He has been able to lead a happy, normal life, to take part in sports and other outdoor exercises, and to be helpful to his fellow men as a public practitioner of Christian Science.
This man came to realize that disease is but a dream from which divine Truth awakens us, and that, once one is awakened, there is no need to be deceived again into accepting its claim to reality.
You will note that, like many others who have been healed in Christian Science, this man was cured by reading the textbook. Those of you who have already made a practice of reading Science and Health continually know how beneficial this is, and naturally continue to use this effective means of solving your problems. In Science and Health (p. 422) Mrs. Eddy lovingly counsels those who are seeking health, "Continue to read, and the book will become the physician, allaying the tremor which Truth often brings to error when destroying it."
The reading of this book enables us to practice the truth which has brought the healing. Throughout its pages we find helpful statements of Truth which serve as a model in practicing this Science. They are a guide to right thinking, leading to the appropriate affirmation and denial needed in each specific instance. Those who thus become active practitioners of this Science are equipped to help many others, thus supporting them until they learn better how to pray.
Through This Study We Can Practice Christian Healing
A student of Christian Science, who one day sprained the muscles of one foot, proved the efficacy of this teaching. He quickly applied the truth which he had learned in Christian Science. He recalled what Mrs. Eddy has written in the chapter in Science and Health entitled "Christian Science Practice" (p. 385): "If you sprain the muscles or wound the flesh, your remedy is at hand. Mind decides whether or not the flesh shall be discolored, painful, swollen, and inflamed."
By refusing to admit or accept the suggestions and fears which assailed him and by affirming the spiritual perfection of man in God's likeness, he quickly got rid of this difficulty. He continued to walk about in the performance of his daily duties; and within three days all swelling and pain disappeared, and he was completely free. This was in striking contrast with a former experience of a similar nature, when he was in athletic training, before learning of Christian Science. On that earlier occasion he had been attended by a physician; embrocations, liniments, and massage were employed; and he had been unable to put his foot to the ground for three weeks. The later healing through Christian Science was a further proof — gratifyingly convincing to this student — of the efficacy of the method of practice which Mrs. Eddy has outlined in the chapter to which reference has already been made.
On page 390 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy gives this specific instruction as to how to apply the healing power of Truth: "When the first symptoms of disease appear, dispute the testimony of the material senses with divine Science." Do exactly as she says. She shows also how to meet each phase of error with powerful declarations of Truth; to blot out false images from thought; to contradict every complaint from the body; to exercise divine authority over the belief in disease; to be firm in the God-given understanding thus made available.
Mrs. Eddy as Discoverer and Founder
The healings accomplished by Mrs. Eddy in her own practice have set a high standard for her followers. Her own instantaneous healing in 1866 from the effects of an injury resulting from a fall was the beginning of a new stage in her remarkable career, for which she had been fittingly trained throughout her entire life. It awakened her to see what can be accomplished through divine power. In order to understand what took place in Mrs. Eddy's own experience, it is helpful to consider some of the influences which led to the result she has attained.
The Congregational Church to which Mary Baker belonged as a child, and in which she was brought up, had departed to a large extent from ritual and creed. Her ancestors had come to America in search of religious freedom. This ideal of freedom in the practice of the Christian religion was very pronounced in Mrs. Eddy's character. When this is seen clearly it explains why it became possible for her to do what she did, why she was so perfectly equipped to accomplish this epoch-making work.
She herself sheds a light on the early teaching which influenced her thought and prepared her to discover Christian Science. In her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 she tells of the leaders of religion with whom she came in contact as a child and who played an important part in the development of her Christian character. She continues (p. 32), "Such churchmen and the Bible, especially the First Commandment of the Decalogue, and Ninety-first Psalm, the Sermon on the Mount and St. John's Revelation, educated my thought many years, yea, all the way up to its preparation for and reception of the Science of Christianity."
Some time ago a popular magazine, widely read, published an article telling of the immense value of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The author, a well-known penologist, brought out the fact that obedience to the precepts in this great sermon has a wonderful curative effect, acknowledged in the healing of organic as well as functional disorders. The significance of this article lies in the fact that it echoes what Mrs. Eddy through her writings has been proclaiming for the past eighty-five years or more. Gradually what she has declared and proved is being acknowledged by an ever-increasing number of thoughtful people. In order that this healing power may be demonstrated to the full, however, the student needs to see the absolute scientific certainty brought out in the teaching of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy was guided by God to adopt the form of church government best suited to the carrying on of the Church which she established. Throughout her ministry she followed closely the example of the prophets, of Jesus and his apostles, and she has embodied this, as stated in the Manual of The Mother Church, in her Church government. The requirements of the Manual throughout exemplify the practical living of love, the exercise of the fullest charity, wisdom, patience, strength, and forgiveness.
Happiness is Found by Reading the Textbook
The infinite provision of divine Love is so fully expressed in Science and Health that individuals who catch even a glimpse of these unlimited possibilities in reading it are instantly blessed thereby. This is illustrated in the following experience.
A woman of our acquaintance who was living on a fruit ranch in California was rather discontented with her surroundings and with her lot in general. She felt lonely, far away from the active world which she loved. Her adobe house seemed very drab, her life humdrum.
One day a friend left a book in her home. She read in this book — which proved to be "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy — and came to these words on page 13: "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals." This woman had little or no knowledge of the Bible or of religion; but this statement in Science and Health reminded her of these words of Jesus which someone had read to her from the Bible when she was a child, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). This awakening to the universality of divine Love brought to her a sense of gratitude and gladness. It worked an immediate change in her entire outlook, a change which she explained in a poem which she was inspired to write. The following words of her poem bring out this newly awakened sense:
"I was immersed in gladness; it was like
A fine, soft rain on the unwatered ground.
With quickened ear I heard the mock-bird's song
In the high branches of the deodar,
The laughter of the children at their play,
The strong, clear voices of the men at work,
Calling to one another in the field:
With seeing eyes I looked upon my home.
Though plain, indeed, it was, as one might say,
A comfort-giving house."
She had awakened to the fact that
"heaven is all about us!
As I spoke
Our son came running from the lower field,
Waving, exultant, called to me, 'The men
Who came to bore a well, at last have found
A vein of water near the alder trees!'"
New possibilities had opened up for this woman and her family, and she expressed this fact very graphically in the closing words of this poem, which came straight from a grateful heart, inspired by the bounty of divine Love,
"I went within the house
To light my lamps and call the children in,
And joyfully prepared the evening meal;
Within my grateful heart a song of praise:
As mountains round about Jerusalem,
The Lord is ever round about His own."
(Christian Science Sentinel,
November 21, 1925.)
We moderns are continually profiting by the discoveries and inventions which minister to our comfort, convenience, and general well-being. We enter a dark room of an evening. We turn an electric switch, and immediately the room is illuminated. We step into our automobile. We turn on the ignition and press our foot on the accelerator, and we are off. Comparatively few of us know very much about electricity or about the gasoline engine, but we use these and other inventions without difficulty and with remarkable results. We know enough to obey a few rules, to observe a few simple fundamental requirements.
Science and Health Explains How to Heal
Through the opportunity to read, one of the most valuable means of enjoying the blessings of Christian Science healing is immediately available to us. Read the Christian Science textbook with an open mind. Continue to read it, even though it may conflict with your present sense of things. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 559): "Mortals, obey the heavenly evangel. Take divine Science. Read this book from beginning to end. Study it, ponder it." You will find that by obeying this instruction you will have good results in healing, as you read this book with an earnest desire to understand it and as you thoughtfully apply what you read to the need at hand. Gradually, as you grow in understanding, you will learn how this book has healed you. At the same time you are learning how to practice the truth it contains. This has been the experience of countless thousands of people. It can be your experience too. Studying Science and Health lifts us out of the false material sense of self with its seeming limitations and enables us to utilize in increasing measure the infinite resources of Spirit. The one Mind, God, gives true understanding to all who seek it, replacing the false beliefs which mortals have seemed to acquire from error, or so-called mortal mind.
Many people today are making a practice of dwelling in thought on God, infinite divine Truth and Love, seeking to realize God's presence, power, and allness. During the present hour devoted to this lecture we are doing just that, in accordance with the wholesome advice which Eliphaz the Temanite gave to the patriarch Job, "Acquaint now thyself with him [God], and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21). What is taking place today through Christian Science is the progressive realization of the truth contained in these words of the Psalmist: "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Ps. 90:1).
Jesus in His Healing Work Demonstrated the Eternal Christ
The teaching of Jesus of Nazareth is simple and beautiful. He taught and demonstrated the all-power and all-presence of God. He healed the sick and overcame temptation on this basis and taught us how to do the same. As the problems of humanity become more and more urgent, the need of divinity, wherewith to meet these demands, is ever more pressing. It is this pure divinity, meeting the demands of humanity, that is so perfectly exemplified in the life, teaching, and example of Christ Jesus. Mrs. Eddy has written in Science and Health (p. 25), "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus."
Let us consider for a few moments a striking incident which took place during the healing ministry of Jesus. He had told the people around him the reason for the coming of the Christ. "I am come" — these are his own words — "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). A short time before he uttered these words, he had healed through the Christ power a man who had been born blind. Following this healing a heated dispute had arisen among the people, led by the Pharisees, but the man who was healed dismissed all controversial arguments pro or con, with the unanswerable declaration, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see" (John 9:23).
The victory over temptation won by Jesus and his healing work were proofs of the omnipotence of Christ, Truth. Jesus, as a human man, had to work out the problem of being. He did it perfectly through the understanding of Truth.
His spiritual selfhood, the Christ, was above human limitations and temptations, but Jesus had to demonstrate this fact. In thus proving the power of Christ, Truth, Jesus gave us the example whereby to work out our salvation.
Through True Prayer We Find Salvation
The only power there is, is the creative power of God, the one omnipotent divine Mind; and man as God's image is ceaselessly conscious of this omnipotent, ever-impelling, and all-controlling power. The real man is ever yielding full, absolute, and complete obedience to this saving power, is wholly controlled by it, and therefore is perpetually free. The realization of this fact brings an ever-increasing sense of freedom into our human experience.
There is a familiar saying to the effect that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." The proof of the potency, the vitality of the Christ-power, lies in the healing. In Science and Health (p. 144) Mrs. Eddy has written, "When the Science of being is universally understood, every man will be his own physician, and Truth will be the universal panacea." This prophecy is hastening to fulfillment today. It is reasonable that every man, woman, and child on earth who is able to read and think — everywhere — should be benefited by the truths taught in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy and in the King James Version of the Bible and learn to practice the truth of being.
Witchcraft, sorcery, and all occult practices were condemned by the early prophets, by Christ Jesus, by his disciples, and by their immediate students. The clear line of distinction between the activities of the divine Mind, God — the realities of being — and the seeming activities of the so-called carnal mind — the unrealities — drawn by Christianity, and now clarified in Christian Science, had been lost sight of during what have been called the Dark Ages and even later. The distinction between that which is real and that which is unreal was not preserved with sufficient clearness. It has remained for Christian Science to restore this clear sense. The great fact that God is one Mind, infinite good, includes all that we need to know in order to overcome step by step the multitudinous suggestions of the one evil.
The Bible Has Perpetuated the Light of Truth
The divine light of Truth has been preserved by means of the Scriptures. We can be extremely thankful that, while the application of Christianity throughout the centuries has left much to be desired, one grand and far-reaching result was achieved. Before the downfall of genuine Christianity, which took place in the early part of the fourth century, the canon of the Bible had been largely settled, mainly as a result of common usage. The canonical writings which now comprise our Bible had been practically established before that time. This was a great step toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31).
The way in which Mrs. Eddy in this age conquered the difficulties which beset her illustrates her practical use of the divine law in Christian Science, as revealed in the Bible. She overcame the seeming handicap of ill-health; she triumphed over financial lack; she met victoriously the opposing elements which seem to beset every worthy purpose in life.
When understood and demonstrated, Christian Science, teaching that God is one Mind, relieves the pressures and tensions which seem to beset humanity in these modern times. It not only relieves strains and stresses in one's immediate experience, but it keeps one awake to detect current trends of thought.
The Mother Church Promotes This Healing Power
Some of the activities made possible by our Leader's organization of The Mother Church may here be briefly touched upon. We have our priceless Lesson-Sermons, which countless thousands are faithfully studying every day. We have our Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings, our Sunday Schools, our helpful periodicals, our Reading Rooms, and Christian Science lectures.
Some time ago, while in London, England, I felt led to tell at a Wednesday evening meeting of the healing of a friend of mine of the drug and liquor habits. These healings were accomplished when he read Science and Health in a Christian Science Reading Room. Immediately after I had spoken, a woman arose and told of her own healing through Christian Science of the desire to use liquor and drugs. The sincerity with which she spoke, the obvious gratitude and humility with which she told of this healing, left no doubt as to the truthfulness of her testimony.
Reference has already been made to a healing through Christian Science of a supposedly incurable physical disease. The entire time devoted to this lecture could be filled with the relation of instances, within my own immediate knowledge, of healings accomplished by Christian Science where ordinary medical methods have failed.
Everyone Can Practice This Healing
So well has Christian Science met the need of many people for better health, a fuller sense of security and general well-being, that the growth of the Church of Christ, Scientist, since first it was organized in 1879 has been phenomenal. In Science and Health (p. 98) Mrs. Eddy has written: "Beyond the frail premises of human beliefs, above the loosening grasp of creeds, the demonstration of Christian Mind-healing stands a revealed and practical Science. It is imperious throughout all ages as Christ's revelation of Truth, of Life, and of Love, which remains inviolate for every man to understand and to practise."
Note these words: "for every man to understand and to practise." It is plain that Jesus expected that everyone would come eventually to the understanding and acceptance of the truths which he taught. He made it quite clear that it was available for anyone and everyone who sought to live it. He said: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:16,17). In the book of Revelation the Christ is represented as saying, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (3:20).
In her book "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 178) Mrs. Eddy tells of an interesting incident which took place in April, 1891. The Christian Science textbook lay in a burning building. When a Christian Scientist recovered it from the flames, the covers of the book had been burned up, and also the table on which it lay, but not one word of the book was effaced. She goes on to say, "If the world were in ashes, the contents of 'Science Health with Key to the Scriptures' would remain immortal."
Through Watchfulness We Are Acknowledging the Reign of Christ
Christ Jesus said when he found his disciples asleep, "Could ye not watch with me one hour?" (Matt. 26:40.) It is plain that the watchfulness which he demanded is that alertness which detects and dismisses the doubts and fears which seem to beset humanity.
We have seen in this hour which we are devoting to this lecture, this time spent in considering the allness, oneness, and omnipotence of God, how disease, believed to be ineradicable, has been healed, how supposedly incurable vicious habits have been rectified, disappearing like dew before the morning sunshine, how loneliness and discontent have been replaced by joy and harmony.
In fact, every experience in the life of every one of us presents the opportunity to utilize the law of God. It affords the occasion to see perfect God and perfect man, to express with alertness one's true spiritual individuality, to demonstrate justice, wisdom, patience, and love, and so to practice Christian healing.
Young people at school have the opportunity to learn in the light of Christian Science that true education is more than intellectual training; that it is the unfolding in consciousness of the spiritual idea of God, the development of God-like qualities in obedience to the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Those in the home learn that our true home is the abiding consciousness of God's presence. Thus they express and enjoy the sweet companionship, the mutual understanding, and tender care that accompany true affection. The businessman learns that true business is the Father's business, right activity in serving God, in honesty, usefulness, and unselfishness. He finds that his supply comes direct from God, and since it is in reality spiritual, it is always adequate and abundant. Those serving in the ministry of Christian healing are helping to bring to everyone the sacred, saving message of the Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "He [Christ, Truth] must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (I Cor. 15: 25). As we subdue in our experience the elements which make for strife, we are taking steps to abolish war and ensure peace. We are helping to establish the reign of Christ by the consistent practice of Christian healing. Mrs Eddy has written in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 278): "The government of divine Love is supreme. Love rules the universe, and its edict hath gone forth: 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' and 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' Let us have the molecule of faith that removes mountains, — faith armed with the understanding of Love, as in divine Science, where right reigneth."