Christian Science: Its Protest against Evil
W. Stuart Booth, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was
given under the auspices of Sixteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago,
in the church edifice,
The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Bertha Gray Cole, Second Reader, as follows:
In Isaiah we find this invitation, - it is universal, it includes all, - "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways."
Christian Science is revealing to an ever-increasing number the practical value of the Christ-teaching. The real worth of the Master's teaching and example is recognized and acknowledged because through Christian Science positive proof is obtained.
Truth is universal in its appeal. Mrs. Eddy defines Christian Science as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony" (Rudimental Divine Science, page 1).
Our lecturer this evening is qualified, as a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, to state this law and help us to understand its application.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: Its Protest against Evil." Mr. Booth spoke substantially as follows:
Christian Science, as the revelation of God's law, has come into the world proclaiming the omnipotence and omnipresence of Spirit, divine Truth, Life and Love, and coincidently presenting its logical and practical protest against all evil, against all error, against all materialism, against all hate and fear, and against death. The remarkable progress of Christian Science, beginning as it did in 1866 with one Christian Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, while today it is a world encircling movement, attests the validity and effectiveness of its teachings. For the Christian Science affirmation that sickness is both unnecessary and illegitimate because sickness is not from God, results in the manifestation of health; the Christian Science protest against the false belief that sin is attractive and powerful reverses the claims of sin, breaks the mesmeric influence of its seeming attractiveness, and lifts the ban of condemnation from the erstwhile sinner.
Lessons of History
When Moses recognized that the
enslavement of the children of
The divine protest against the errors and sins of the people was expressed in the Ten Commandments; for we see that the moral law must be obeyed before absolute spiritual law can be discerned and demonstrated. However, when Moses came down from the mount of revelation where he had been inspired to indite the commandments, he became so incensed at the idolatry and gross materialism of the people that he angrily shattered the tablets on which the commandments were written. It is significant that the commandments were not given to him again until his discernment of God as Love was expressed in his prayer for forgiveness, displacing the thought of condemnation which he had entertained. This same sense of God as Love enabled Moses to pray so effectually for Miriam, when she was handled by jealousy and was stricken with leprosy, that she was cleansed.
Protestations Based on Love
Since that time it has been found invariable that the most effective protest against error and evil, against sin and sickness, is that protest which is inspired by and operates because of Love. Job was healed of both his bodily and business troubles when he humbly accepted the spiritual admonition and advice of the youthful Elihu and prayed for his three friends, whose unavailing counsel and caustic criticism had stirred his pride into self-justification and resentment.
Christ Jesus, the greatest and grandest protestant of all time against the claims of evil, based all of his protesting precepts and practice upon divine Love, even that perfect Love which, according to Paul, is expressed humanly in long-suffering or patience, kindness, hope; that Love which "thinketh no evil," and "never faileth" (I Cor. 13). Christ Jesus was able to overcome that phase of human belief of life in matter called death, because his reflection of divine Love or expression of Love's qualities failed not nor faltered. On the cross his prayer was, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." It is noteworthy, and of great importance to mankind in every age, that Christ Jesus' protests against sin whereby the sinners were released and reformed, coincided with his healing of their physical discords and deformities. After healing the man at the pool of Bethesda who had had an infirmity for thirty-eight years, Jesus said to him, "Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14).
At this point let me call your attention to the fact that Christ Jesus came, as he said, to do God's will; and it is evident that he knew God's will, lived in conformity to God's will, and demonstrated God's will or law better than anyone who ever trod this earth. Therefore, we should never accept the mistaken assertion that sin and sickness, disaster and death, are expressions of God's will. Christ Jesus healed all manner of disease, - he proved that there is no incurable disease; he reversed the claims of sin; he stilled the storm because he saw that extreme condition as an expression of human belief only; he overcame the belief in death for Lazarus and others, and later for himself; and all of Christ Jesus' works were done in witness of and because of the will of God, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (Jas. 1:17).
Christly Works Continuous
That these wonderful works of our Master were not limited as to time, place, or people was clearly and repeatedly stated by him. Could anything be more definite than his unequivocal promise recorded by John (): "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also"? The Greek word here translated as believe implies much more than a blind faith; it denotes understanding. Surely, then, Christ Jesus meant that he who understands the Christ, the truth about God, as it was preached and practiced by Jesus, - he will be enabled by the Christ, Truth, to do the same works which evidenced the power and presence of the Christ with Jesus.
Because the children of
A large proportion of Christ Jesus' personal followers deserted him because his expression of the Messiah transcended their material personalized sense of human problems, because they thought personally or physically while he thought, taught, and practiced metaphysically, that is, above or beyond the physical. He dealt with the mental noumenon or cause that is back of and responsible for every phenomenon or effect, which made his work both scientific and Christian. A mere handful of faithful men and women glimpsed, even though faintly, mayhap, the true nature of the Christ as the incorporeal, continuing spiritual manifestation and power of God; and they remained true to this ideal, "And they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:20).
Although Gibbon was not a believer in Christianity he records the fact in his History of Rome that the early Christians, as late as the third century, healed the sick and even raised the dead by prayer. However, when Emperor Constantine, a pagan, professedly embraced Christianity and introduced material beliefs, rituals, and rites into the church, this ever-present healing power was lost sight of. During the following centuries a number of zealous, intrepid, and sometimes inspired men voiced vigorous protest against imposed ignorance, cramping creeds, and wrong practices. The world owes a debt of gratitude to such men as Wycliff, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and the Wesleys. Christian Scientists appreciate the fact that the work of these reformers helped make it possible for Christian Science to be brought to the world during this age.
Mrs. Eddy's Discovery
From childhood Mrs. Eddy's desire for spiritual realities and her keen sense of justice caused her to challenge some generally accepted theological theories. When, as a child she was examined for membership in the Congregational Church she stoutly refused to accept the "horrible decree" of predestination, as John Calvin rightly called his own tenet. Writing of this experience, Mrs. Eddy says that the good clergyman's heart melted and "He received me into their communion, and my protest with me" (Ret. and Int. p. 15).
Mrs. Eddy had an insatiable desire to know God, for Christ Jesus had stated as a prerequisite to freedom, "ye shall know the truth," meaning, of course, the truth about God and man. So Mrs. Eddy was not satisfied with a mere belief in or about God; she must know Him.
For twenty years before her discovery of Christian Science, she had been endeavoring to trace all effects and phenomena to a mental cause, and at the same time she had delved deep into the study of the Scriptures. Because she was thus prepared, Mrs. Eddy in 1866 experienced a healing through spiritual power and means alone, which proved to her that the healing and saving law of God is as available and applicable now as it was during the time of Christ Jesus and the early Christians. Her subsequent study of the Bible in the light of this spiritual illumination, and the tests to which she submitted her discovery, whereby all manner of disease was healed, led her to find that the "knowledge of salvation" referred to by Luke (1:77) is an exact, demonstrable Science, based on divine Principle and law.
It is interesting to note that Wycliff's translation of the New Testament renders this passage as "science and health" instead of "knowledge of salvation." This fact was not known to Mrs. Eddy for several years after she had written and named the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The belief that the Bible is a sealed book, which is to be believed but not understood, has been denied and disproved by this "Key to the Scriptures." This fact is attested by thousands of Christian Scientists who gratefully testify that "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" has revealed the Bible to them so that it is their constant companion and guide, instead of being only a parlor ornament, as it has previously been with many.
The inspired teachings of Science and Health constitute an irresistible protest against ignorance of God, against false concepts of God, and against mere blind belief in God. For, as Mrs. Eddy has stated, "God is understandable, knowable, and applicable to every human need" (My. 238:21). Taking the words and works of Christ Jesus and the correlative teachings of the Scriptures as her guide, and depending upon her sense of reason and spiritual intuition, Mrs. Eddy saw and stated the fact that God, the Father, the creator and governor of all that is real and true, is omnipresent and omnipotent Truth, Life, and Love; that God is also the one infinite, omniscient Mind, and is therefore the origin and expressor of all true ideas. Since the Latin word, omni means "all," it also must mean the only. And so Mrs. Eddy deduced the fact that God, good, being omnipotent, is the only power, and hence evil has no inherent power; that God, Mind, being omniscient or all-knowing is the only source of true, potent thoughts or ideas; that since God, Truth, Life, and Love is omnipresent, or the only presence, there can be no room in the realm of reality for error, death, fear, and hate. Hence, although these exist to our human sense, they should not be regarded as part of God's creation, but as expressions of erring human belief, which are to be displaced by spiritual desire and applied spiritual understanding. For, as we read in Science and Health (276:17), "If God is admitted to be the only Mind and Life, there ceases to be any opportunity for sin and death. When we learn in Science how to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect, thought is turned into new and healthy channels, - towards the contemplation of things immortal and away from materiality to the Principle of the universe, including harmonious man."
Discord and Disease Unreal
Christian Science definitely rebukes and repudiates the educated belief that disease and discord are inevitable and are to be expected and prepared for. This clear statement of fact from Science and Health illumines the subject of discord with proven logic: "Harmony is produced by its Principle, is controlled by it and abides with it. Divine Principle is the Life of man. Man's happiness is not, therefore, at the disposal of physical sense. . . . Harmony in man is as beautiful as in music, and discord is unnatural, unreal" (p. 304). What a glorious, liberating statement of truth! When a student of music expresses discord in his practice he knows that discord is no part of the music; he knows that discord has no principle, no law to govern and enforce its expression; and he eliminates discord by turning his thought more definitely and confidently to the harmony, knowing that as he conforms his thinking and his practice to the harmony the sense of discord will be displaced and so proved unreal.
Similarly Christian Science teaches and proves that, "Harmony in man is as beautiful as in music, and discord is unnatural, unreal." Unlike medical practitioners who are taught to study diseases in order to cure them. Christian Scientists do not study discords manifested as sickness, for exactly the same reason that a musician does not study discords. Christian Scientists gain their freedom from discords called sickness by obeying the oft-repeated Scriptural injunction, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:22). In other words we look to the divine Principle of harmony to eliminate all discords of human experience.
It may be helpful to pause for a moment to see just how discord manifested as sickness can be healed by looking to God, divine Mind. Any honest doctor of medicine will acknowledge that the material body is governed by thought to a very large extent; in fact, one physician told me that he had proved in his practice and experiments that there is not a single gland in the body but responds to the human emotions, while another told me that it has been proved that anger and fear affect adversely even the chemical properties of the blood. Now if the mere human emotions, which have no Principle back of them and no law to govern and enforce them, seem to produce discord on the body of the one who may accept and express these emotions, think what must be the harmonizing, stimulating, normalizing, purifying effect of the activity of the spiritual ideas which originate in, proceed from, and express divine Mind, God, and which are therefore in harmony with divine Principle and are supported and enforced by omnipotence. Herein may be seen both the Christian and scientific nature of Christian Science practice, for Christian Science deals with mental causes instead of physical effects, and it corrects false beliefs from the standpoint of the omnipresence and omnipotence of God, the divine Mind who governs all.
The Bible states that God made man in His own image and likeness, "and God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:27,31). And in John (1:3) we read, "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made." This must have been the basis of Christ Jesus' teachings and works, for he overcame, annulled, and disproved sin, sickness, sorrow, and death, - everything unlike God and His good creation.
Jesus was enabled to perform his marvelous works because of his understanding of and expression of the Christ, which is defined by Mrs. Eddy as "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (S. & H. p. 583). Jesus stated the eternality of the Christ, the spiritual idea of God, when he said, ''Before Abraham was, I am," and also when he foretold the coming of Christian Science as the Comforter, "the spirit of truth," who is to abide with men forever, according to the promise of our Master (John 14:16, 17).
In Science and Health (p. 476:32) we read, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." It is important to note that Jesus beheld the perfect man, the likeness of God, Mind, in Science, not in sense or the realm of matter. Jesus knew that man is not material, but rather that man, made in the likeness of God, Spirit, divine Mind, is an individual consciousness, a spiritually mental being, forever conscious of and expressing the qualities of God, such as intelligence, health or wholeness, harmonious activity, purity, and perfection. "And this correct view of man healed" or corrected the sick or incorrect view of man. When this correct view of man enabled Jesus to say to the wailing mourners that Jairus' daughter was not dead they laughed at him scornfully. Yet the fact that he was right and they were wrong in their view was proved when the maid arose. Critics of Christian Science who have not investigated and tested its spiritual precepts, would do well to remember this incident when they likewise would deride Christian Science, because they believe material sense testimony which claims that sin and sickness, discord, disease, disaster, and death are more true, real, and powerful than God, divine Mind. A well known bishop recently said, that, "Those who obey the laws of Christianity are the only ones capable of judging the ultimate truth of it." Those who criticize Christian Science are they who have not understood, obeyed, and applied the law of healing which was preached and practiced by Christ Jesus and which has been reinstated by Christian Science.
Thus Christian Science protests against the erroneous teaching that man, God's image, fell from his high and harmonious state. The false assumption that man, God's image, has fallen, furnishes the excuse and justification for all of mankind's discords and derelictions: whereas the truth that man is ever God's perfect child or expression denies, displaces, and corrects these discords and discrepancies. By way of illustration, let us suppose that someone had never seen any mirror other than one that was curved, and which therefore indicated a grotesque caricature of him who looked into it. Quite naturally such a person would have a wrong impression or sense of himself, which false sense is to be corrected by means of a straight, true mirror, wherein he can see his image as he is and was. Now Christian Science is the mirror wherein and whereby we are enabled to see God aright, and thus to learn the truth about God's image and likeness, man.
Just as the person who had long regarded himself erroneously because he had looked into a curved mirror, later learned by looking into a true straight mirror that the distorted picture he had beheld was not the truth about him, so we find as we consistently look into the mirror of Christian Science that the discords, diseases, and discrepancies which we had formerly associated with ourselves were never true of man, but were apparent solely because of the distorting mirror of material sense. To a person who does not understand Christian Science and who sees sickness manifested physically, Christian Science does not say that he does not see the manifestation of sickness any more than you would tell one who was looking into a curved mirror that he did not see a ludicrous distortion. Christian Science, being the Science of Christianity which was preached and practiced by Christ Jesus, teaches us to "judge not according to the appearance, but to judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24); that is, to judge all things according to the divine standard of perfection, perfect God, perfect man, as did Christ Jesus.
Christian Science Treatment
A Christian Science treatment is judging righteous judgment in connection with the problem presented, following the example of Christ Jesus. When a man with a withered hand came to Jesus he did not judge according to the appearance which testified to the seeming reality of impairment and inability. Jesus saw that condition as an indication of some withering fear, sin, or other error; and since the basis of Jesus' thinking and acting was the omnipotence of God, good, he saw evil and disease as unreal and powerless, - he judged them righteously. The effectiveness of this right judging was shown when, in obedience to Jesus' command, "Stretch forth thine hand," the man unhesitatingly complied, and "it was restored whole, like as the other" (Matt. ).
At one time I saw a man who, because he was suffering with delirium tremens, was greatly troubled with snakes. One who told him that no snakes were there was told by the sufferer that he was crazy. Of course no practitioner of any school would have treated that man for snakes, although they were what he begged to be saved from. A Christian Science treatment is a prayer of scientific affirmation and grateful acknowledgment of God, divine Love, as the infinite, all-knowing, all-creating, all-controlling divine Mind, together with a consistent protest against and denial of everything unlike God, good, such as fear, pain, disease, and all sin, including evil and enslaving desires and habits. In his book, "The Electron" (p. 7), Robert Andrews Millikan, Director Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics, California Institute of Technology, writes: "But after all, the evidence of our eyes is about the least reliable kind of evidence which we have. We are continually seeing things which do not exist, even though our habits are unimpeachable."
Thanks to the true mirror of Christian Science, we do not have to accept as real and veritable anything which Christ Jesus would not believe, for Christian Science enables us also to base our thinking upon the harmonious and harmonizing truth about God and His good creation, as Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated. Thus the Christian Science protest against delirium tremens is such a Christianly scientific prayer that the desire for alcoholic liquor is replaced with the true desire for that which is good, pure and uplifting. After one has felt the quickening, healing influence of Christian Science, his desire to know God and express divine Mind's qualities displaces the false desire for alcohol and tobacco, just as dishonesty, selfishness, envy, fear, and human will yield to God's government as seen and shown in honesty, unselfishness, compassion, humility, and confidence in God.
Healing in Business
Because some people have believed that religion is an impractical theory or belief, it is thought by these persons that religion and business do not mix. Now because Christian Science is the same practical religion which was preached and proved by Christ Jesus, this false belief regarding the relationship between religion and business has received a definite rebuke and reversal by Christian Science. For Christian Science protests against any belief which tends to limit man's sense of the scope and application of God's universal law of harmony. The field of business, like every field of human activity, certainly needs the healing and harmonizing influence of God's law of abundant good, stabilizing, correcting justice, and perfect control.
Christ Jesus, the Exemplar for all men and for all time, said that he was about his Father's business, which was of course a good and successful business. Christian Science shows us in a very simple, understandable way how we can each of us be about our Father's business, yes, how we can have our Father as the directing, governing influence in our business. Any business man would deem it a great privilege if he could freely consult and advise with some of those who are accounted as leaders in business, men of good, sound judgment. That privilege fades into insignificance in comparison with the invaluable opportunity afforded by Christian Science for each of us to not only desire and seek, but receive the unerring guidance of divine Mind in all of our right aims and activities. Surely these words of Solomon are applicable to business as to all else, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5,6). Since all that we do is but the activity and expression of thinking it is evident that our ways are mental. Therefore Solomon meant that we should not depend upon the human sense of intelligence which errs because it is human, but that in all our thinking we should acknowledge God as the one omnipresent, all-governing Mind. And, according to Solomon's promise, this consistent acknowledgment of God results in our receiving divine direction in all our ways.
It is of inestimable value to us to learn through Christian Science that no circumstance or condition, no person or power, can interfere with nor deprive us of our work. For no matter where we may be employed, whether in a factory or on a farm, in an office or at home, our work consists in reflecting divine Mind or expressing the qualities of divine Mind, such as intelligence, intuition, initiative, wisdom, kindness, gentleness, courage, alertness, honesty, and justice. As we acknowledge God as the one perfect Mind, omnipresent and all powerful, and prove that fact by expressing the qualities of perfect Mind, we are about our Father's business. There is always employment for one who manifests these qualities of God, and success inevitably rewards his endeavors as his motives are right.
The Christian Science teaching as to the illegitimacy and inherent impotence of fear has been found to be practically helpful by many business men and women, who have been tempted to be afraid of, anticipate, and even expect evil and discord to come into their business experiences. Christian Science shows us that we are each and all of us dealing with thoughts alone, never with men, matter, nor money. And Christian Science enables us to see that any thought of evil, such as lack, injustice, or dishonesty, is untrue, because it is not from God, Truth; therefore, such evil thoughts need not be accepted and feared. A so-called financial panic or depression is but a state of thought objectified; and as you apply the divine rules of Christian Science to your individual thinking and living you will keep the panicky fear out of your consciousness, and thus your business will be protected from it, because your business is embraced in and expresses your thought.
Thus also, each of us may be about our Father's business as we make it our daily and hourly business to rule fear, selfishness, greed, envy, and injustice out of our motives and thoughts by means of the accession and activity of such spiritual ideas as peace, confidence in God, unselfishness, and love, which speak to us, and through us to others, of our loving Father-Mother God. Thus will Mrs. Eddy's words in Miscellaneous Writings (p. 307) be verified, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies."
In Science and Health (p. 391) Mrs. Eddy gives this excellent advice: "When the body is supposed to say, 'I am sick,' never plead guilty. Since matter cannot talk, it must be mortal mind which speaks; therefore meet the intimation with a protest. If you say, 'I am sick,' you plead guilty. Then your adversary will deliver you to the judge (mortal mind), and the judge will sentence you. Disease has no intelligence to declare itself something and announce its name. Mortal mind alone sentences itself. Therefore make your own terms with sickness, and be just to yourself and to others."
If a person were to be placed in jail charged with an offense of which he was innocent, he would not plead guilty because he was in jail. He would not fight the jailor or kick at the bars; but he would appeal to the law, plead not guilty consistently, establish an alibi, and gain his rightful freedom. Similarly, following Mrs. Eddy's wholesome spiritual advice, when the body is supposed to say, "I am sick," we do not plead guilty, nor do we fear and fight against matter. By appealing to God's law, Christian Science, we are enabled to scientifically establish our alibi and gain our freedom. For Christian Science both posits and proves the Scriptural teaching that in God, divine Mind, "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts, ). Why should men cling to the material belief of life and mind in matter, with which all of humanity's troubles are associated, when these troubles can be displaced by looking into the mirror of Christian Science wherein we find God, divine Mind, as Life, Truth, and Love, the one infinite all-embracing spiritual consciousness, in whom "we live, and move, and have our being"?
But people have been taught that they live in non-intelligent clay instead of in consciousness; they have been taught that life is in breathing instead of in right thinking or true knowing, although Jesus stated explicitly, "this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
Incidentally, however, it may be stated that the knowledge of God and His Christ, as gained through Christian Science, very naturally heals and harmonizes abnormal breathing by correcting the fear or other false beliefs which occasion it.
Because people's thought about life has been directed to matter instead of to divine Mind, most of us, before we learned of Christian Science, have been quite fearful of and for our material bodies. Some men are afraid they will not get sufficient food for their bodies. Others, after obtaining an abundance of food are afraid to partake of it. Some men are fearful if they do not exercise their bodies in certain ways, while others are afraid to use their bodies even normally. These enslaving fears are dispelled by the knowledge that man lives because God is Life. Through Christian Science, fear of matter is displaced by faith in God, not a blind faith, but faith born of and supported by spiritual understanding.
Simplicity of Christian Science
The Christian Science rules for right thinking and right living are so simple and logically appealing that children readily apprehend and apply them. In fact, the child-like thought, the humility, honesty, and responsiveness to good which characterize normal children are prerequisite to spiritual understanding, even as Christ Jesus stated.
As we are thus true to the loving precepts and liberating practice of Christ Jesus as they are clearly exemplified by Christian Science, these words of Mrs. Eddy will be happily verified. "Intrepid, self-oblivious Protestants in a higher sense than ever before, let us meet and defeat the claims of sense and sin, regardless of the bans or clans pouring in their fire upon us; and white-winged charity, brooding over all, shall cover with her feathers the veriest sinner" (Misc. 172:6).
[From a Chicago area newspaper clipping, May 27, 1932.]