Christian Science: The Religion of Now
The Hon. William E. Brown, C.S.B., of Los Angeles, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
While listening to the gracious words of the kind friends whose duty and privilege it is to extend welcome to the guests at a Christian Science lecture, there comes frequently to me that beautiful passage of Scripture which reads, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord."
And why this gladness? Because in this hour we shall receive an inkling, at least, of the Science of Christianity, which, when understood, will answer satisfactorily perplexing questions concerning the problem of living. Weary with fruitless search for the truth concerning human existence, confused and troubled, mortals have felt as did Pope, who wrote of mortal man,
"Chaos of thought and passion, all confused; . . .
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled, —
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world."
This sentiment is also vividly expressed in the words of a modern humorous philosopher,
"All our dreaming
Since the days of yore,
Seem to land us just precisely
Where we were before."
The Bible sums up this condition by declaring that "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."
In addition to wondering what it is all about, a tendency of mortals is to be afraid — afraid of many things: the weather, their food, their clothes, their business, their children, and their health. Then if occasionally they have a few minutes of peace they are apt to wonder what is wrong with them and immediately proceed to find something about which to worry. You are doubtless familiar with the story of one whose brother had contracted the habit of needless worry, and who, observing this brother one day brooding by the fire, said, "Come, come, you have nothing to worry about now; what is wrong?" His brother replied, "I was just a thinkin' about the national debt."
After a few years of wonder, worry, and disappointment, mortals try to console themselves with the belief that they may receive happiness and reward in a postmortem experience. But, when the time for this expected happiness and joy is apparently drawing nigh, every endeavor is made to postpone this experience.
To this miserable and apparently hopeless situation come the glad tidings of Christian Science to those who are listening for Truth, giving them the ability to solve these perplexing problems and assuring them that they may attain, here and now, the spiritual understanding which will enable them to declare with rejoicing that it is a pleasure and a privilege to live. Here and now this understanding may be gained, and so I have entitled this lecture, "Christian Science: The Religion of Now." My warrant for this is the teaching of the New Testament, which declares that the day of salvation is now. As correlative of this Mrs. Eddy writes on page 39 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "'Now,' cried the apostle, 'is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,' — meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life."
It is, of course, self-evident that in the brief time allotted to this lecture it would be impossible to answer fully and satisfactorily all the questions which may arise; but this I can do, I can point the way and show you how to begin. And if you care to observe the fundamental requirements, and be consistent and continuous in your endeavor, I am sure that you will have the proof that this way is the right way, and that all of the questions ultimately will be answered to your satisfaction. The procedure which is essential to obtain this proof was outlined by Jesus, who said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." So, if you will approach this subject with open mind, you will know for yourself whether this doctrine be of God or of man.
To understand the Science of Christianity, the most important discovery of this age, it will be well to bear in mind that the Bible is the source from which came this discovery. Here let me brush aside several misconceptions which might act as a deterrent in acquiring this correct understanding of Christian Science. The charge has been made that Christian Science is something apart from the Bible. Let me dispose of this by reading to you the first tenet of the Christian Science church, as contained in the Manual of The Mother Church, written by Mrs. Eddy (p. 15). "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life."
Now let us consider another very erroneous statement — that Christian Scientists do not believe in Christ. This falsehood is forever exposed by the fourth tenet, which reads as follows, "We acknowledge Jesus' atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Christ Jesus the Wayshower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming. sin and death."
Then there is a hackneyed saying, uttered frequently by those who are opposed to Christian Science; namely, that Christian Scientists are a prayerless people. It is inconceivable how this particular error ever presented itself, because nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is — and this may be proved easily — Christian Scientists devote more time to prayer than they did before they learned of Christian Science; and they see more clearly what the apostle meant when he said "Pray without ceasing." This question of prayer is one of the most important we shall discuss this evening, and, indeed, is of vital importance to all Christians everywhere and all the time. This is so because prayer is the process whereby we are are delivered from all mortal ills and is the spiritual passport so beautifully referred to in one of our hymns,
"Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air:
His watchword overcometh death —
He enters heaven with prayer."
In further considering the question of prayer you are probably aware that the Bible refers to two methods of prayer, one of which is answered and one of which is not. The reason for the latter is clearly defined by the Scriptural verse, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss." Here the question may occur to some to wonder how Christian Scientists know that they are praying aright. The answer is, Because they prove it in healing the sick, redeeming the sinner, and destroying the power of death in the same manner as did Jesus and his disciples. The extent of this work is limited only by the degree of spiritual understanding scientifically applied. It is self-evident that the simplest case of healing occurring through the application of the divine Principle underlying Christianity prophesies and guarantees greater works as this Principle is more fully understood. This truth was clearly illustrated in the experience of the disciples when they failed to heal the demoniac boy. You will recall the story — how the father brought his son to Jesus for healing and, when this was accomplished, how his disciples asked him privately why they could not heal him; and how the Master told the cause of their failure in the following words, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting," clearly indicating a lack of spirituality on the part of the disciples.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the Science of Christian healing is comparatively recent, and yet Christian Science has proved its ability to heal all manner of disease and discord. From what has been said about the Bible and the practice of Christian Science, it will be clear that Christian Science is not a new religion and that its practice is strictly in accordance with the teachings and practice of Christ Jesus, and that it uses the same dear old Bible of our forefathers; that what has been termed Mrs. Eddy's religion is simply the religion of Jesus. Now that we have corrected these misconceptions we may proceed to build on the stable foundation laid by the master Workman, Christ Jesus, and we learn from Bible study that this is the only foundation which, in truth, has been or can be laid.
As Christ Jesus is the founder and great expositor of Christianity, and since his religion is the sole foundation of Christian Science, it will be helpful to consider the nature of his teaching and practice. In this connection Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 269): "The testimony of the material senses is neither absolute nor divine. I therefore plant myself unreservedly on the teachings of Jesus, of his apostles, of the prophets, and of the testimony of the Science of Mind." The mission of Christ Jesus is best set forth in his own words, "To this end was I born, and for the cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." It remained for Mrs. Eddy to interpret the spiritual meaning of this text and to show mortals how to apply this truth in the destruction of sin, disease, and death. This, indeed, is the mission of the Christian Science textbook, to set forth and explain the words and works of the Master. It does not attempt to teach a new religious doctrine nor to improve and change in any way the teachings of Christ Jesus. It is a spiritual searchlight on the Scriptures, making plain the spiritual import of the Master's teachings and stressing the point that his way is the only way.
A careful reading of the words of Jesus clearly indicates two helpful things; first, he made it quite plain that he of himself could do nothing and that his ability to abolish mortal discord came through a spiritual understanding of God: and then he made it equally plain that all who desire to follow him must acquire his understanding and use it as he did. Of this he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." Christian Science does not regard Jesus as the "man of sorrows;" indeed, Christian Science stresses rather the joyous view which Jesus himself emphasized in his declaration, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you."
One of the most important problems which has ever confronted mankind is that of healing, or as the word clearly indicates, to be made whole. Logically, the first question to be considered is, Is there any disease in reality? And then, What is the cause of disease? Let us see what the Bible says of this. The Psalmist plainly declared as a cause of disease the following, "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted." You will recall the significant declaration of Jesus to the man whom he had healed at the pool of Bethesda, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."
In turning to this same authority, the Bible, we find the remedy for all disease stated as follows: "Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." In other words, much of the discord experienced by mortals, in a general way, may be summed up by the term "disobedience to God." By this I do not mean that all disease is directly caused by conscious or willful disobedience, for frequently mortals ignorantly disobey, or are at variance with God's laws, and broken law always brings trouble of some kind. The remedy, of course, is to know God's laws and obey them, or, as the Bible puts it, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee." Right here let me correct an erroneous impression that because Christian Science insists that sin is not of God, unreal, it removes the necessity for overcoming sin. The utter absurdity of this fallacy is immediately disclosed by the self-evident proposition that one could not make sin unreal by indulging it. Of this Mrs. Eddy teaches that only he who forsakes sin can prove it unreal and thus escape its torment.
With clear and convincing logic Mrs. Eddy points out that the seeming cause of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin, and then she offers humanity her demonstrable remedy, Christian Science. This Science teaches mortals how to overcome fear, ignorance, and sin through an understanding of infinite Love, intelligence, and law.
The question is often asked how healing is done in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy has answered this question wisely and clearly, and I shall read of this to you from the Preface of her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. xi). "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation."
Now I am quite aware that this teaching as to the cause and cure of disease is not accepted by the carnal mind, which ever seeks to mislead mortals and thus to prevent escape, even as the tyrants of Egypt held the children of Israel in captivity. This carnal mind, which Jesus declared is a liar and the father of it, insists that disease is caused by varying phases of materiality and that consequently only matter can restore harmony. The fallacy of this theory may be illustrated by the following experience of a friend. This friend became afflicted with a very serious stomach disorder and adopted the usual material methods which promised relief. After a prolonged trial, receiving no help he was induced to try Christian Science. In analyzing his case the practitioner learned that he was given to fits of anger and of irritability; this, in his case evidently, caused the stomach trouble. When through the help of Christian Science this friend learned how to overcome these errors and to think correctly his stomach trouble disappeared. Now it is quite clear that he might have journeyed throughout the world seeking without avail a medicine which would have cured anger or a plaster which would have extracted irritability.
This false and mistaken theory as to the material cause of disease is the very thing which prevents mortals from knowing how to recover. When one learns through Christian Science that all disease has a mental origin, he is in a position to correct his thinking and thus to begin to recover, because its nothingness has been revealed. Since the Bible declares that iniquity causes disease it is plain that righteousness is its only cure. Let me amplify this matter and show you very simply just how disobedience to God's law causes disease and how obedience to God's law becomes the remedy. It should be conceded by all that since God is infinite, harmonious Mind, the full expression of this Mind must be infinite harmony. It is also evident that if one expressed only this Mind he would manifest only harmony or health. But let us suppose that one expressed these divine qualities only part of the time and in the intervals he expressed the qualities of the carnal mind, the logical result would be confusion or discord. From this it will be seen clearly that, primarily, all disease may be said to have the same seeming cause — the belief in a mind apart from God, infinite Mind; for it is quite evident that if we express only the qualities of this Mind we shall be whole. So, when the student of Christian Science suffers from disease of any sort, mental or physical, he asks himself, "What is there in my consciousness which is unlike the Mind of Christ?" If he is sincere in the search he soon detects and casts out the offending errors and thus recovers his normal condition of harmony.
Since Christian Science is an exact Science there can be no failure when Principle is understood and consistently applied. Any seeming failure is always due to a lack of understanding of Christian Science, and not to Christian Science itself. If a patient who had been benefited by Christian Science should seem to suffer from a temporary relapse, this might be due to lack of understanding, or failure to apply its teachings correctly. It is also helpful to know that there is no such thing, in reality, as an incurable disease; this term merely indicates that material systems have confessed that they are unable to cope with the situation. Probably eighty per cent of those who call upon Christian Science come, in the first place, because they have exhausted material systems; for, as a rule, invalids do not turn to Christian Science for aid until all other means have failed them.
It is held by some that God sends sickness for some reason which is generally described as inscrutable. It is indeed inscrutable! For such a theory is entirely without foundation. It is evident that if God sends disease for some purpose of His own it is right to be sick; and it would not be our privilege to attempt to frustrate God's will by using material remedies. And you will recall that the diseases healed by Jesus were referred to by him as the works of the devil. Among the truths taught by Jesus and emphasized by Mrs. Eddy is the fact that God does not send sin, disease, nor death, and that He is not the author of any kind of trouble; for it is self-evident that God, infinite good, could not create evil.
The varying concepts of God and His power have resulted in mortals grouping themselves into about one hundred and fifty Christian sects; and it may be asked, Which one is right? Manifestly all cannot be. How, then, are we to know? Through proof and proof alone. In speaking of the duplication of his work the Master declared, "These signs shall follow them that believe."
After one has been convinced of the truth of that which has been said concerning the cause and cure of disease, one may be under the erroneous impression that all that is necessary is a resolution to obey God. But one soon finds that this plan will not suffice for two reasons: first, one cannot overcome the proclivities of the carnal mind through will-power; and, second, one must understand the nature of God and that which constitutes obedience to God. Sinful activities cannot be destroyed by mere resistance of the human will, but by knowing their falsity. This understanding can only be gained through spiritual consciousness, and this can only be acquired through the teachings of Christian Science.
A glimpse of the fact that real consciousness is spiritual and that man abides ever in this consciousness, as revealed in Christian Science, enables the student to begin the work of correcting a belief in a false or material consciousness. Just as the truth about anything dispels the misconception about that thing, just so does the realization of the truth about real consciousness expose the falsity of mortal consciousness.
Spiritual consciousness, therefore, is the way out of all mortal discord. Before one is instructed by Christian Science, he seemingly dwells in a state of mortal consciousness; and that of which he is aware seems substantial and real. But the inability of mortal consciousness to apprehend that which is really true is emphasized by the Scriptural declaration, "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."
Here the question may be profitably asked, If a spiritualized consciousness is requisite to escape the evils of materiality, how is it to be cultivated? Of this Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 201): "The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love. Christian perfection is won on no other basis."
Since the world we live in is an expression of human consciousness, the most important thing is to safeguard our consciousness. Consequently, if we are wise, we shall avoid all which will becloud or contaminate consciousness. Unwittingly we permit many things to do this, such as unwholesome plays, sensational newspapers and periodicals, and gossip concerning the imperfect and impure. Protection is assured by closing the door of our mentalities on this evil brood. This practice gives us mental protection from the arguments and suggestions of evil of all kinds. Mrs. Eddy admonishes us thus (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210): "Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them."
This protection of human consciousness is emphasized in the Bible as protecting the city. In Bible metaphor, the word "city" stands for a state of consciousness, and its walls as the walls of salvation. In the Old Testament accounts of war, graphic descriptions are given of the endeavors of the hosts of evil to capture the city, and of the spiritual warnings which were sounded to build the walls, restore the breach, hang the gates, and set the watchman in the tower. Mrs. Eddy puts it another way when she writes (Science and Health, p. 392): "Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously." It has well been said that it is our double-mindedness which keeps us in the crucible, and James reminds us that "a double minded man is unstable in all his ways;" and he further says that this type of man need not think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. So, then, we must strive constantly to let Truth improve and purify our consciousness; and we must emulate Abraham who, it is written in Hebrews, "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
Before we leave this subject of consciousness it will be helpful to realize that the teaching of Christian Science declaring matter, or flesh, to be a state of false consciousness, is strictly in accord with Bible teaching. In Romans we read: "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you."
The fact that all activities have a mental origin is easily recognizable by anyone willing to give this matter sufficient consideration. In passing let me give you a simple illustration of this. Tonight we are assembled in this building, which is but the architect's conception expressed; the electric lights which are ministering to our comfort are but the result of the thought-processes of the electrician; while the various objects of furniture which surround us are but the result of similar activity. In other words, the primal source of all the various human creations is thinking; and this condition is well expressed by a modern philosopher, "We live in a world of thought." When one perceives this fundamental idea the way of escape from mortal discord begins to be discernible. For it is evident that, if we live in a world of thought, wrong or material thinking will produce discord; and, contrariwise, right or spiritual thinking will restore harmony, or, as Paul maintained, that "to be spiritually minded is life and peace," while "to be carnally minded is death."
To enjoy full protection from earthly discord we must abide in spiritual consciousness continuously. I have pointed out to you this impregnable home of refuge, but it is evident that the strongest castle in the world would afford little protection if the owner insisted on dodging in and out in the face of a besieging foe. To change the figure, we must keep in touch and maintain our contact with infinite Mind. To illustrate: Suppose we have a circle of electric bulbs, one of which becomes loose and its light goes out. Now we might spray this bulb, wrap a porous plaster carefully around it, or give it a thorough massaging; it is plain that such treatment would not restore the light. Only by screwing the bulb down and putting it in contact with the current could the light be restored. The blessings which flow from this constant abiding, or keeping in contact with the divine Mind, are comfortably portrayed by the Psalmist, who said, "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High. thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."
The observation is frequently made by those not yet interested in Christian Science (I say "not yet" advisedly, because all must finally come to an understanding of the truth) that an outstanding characteristic of the follower of Christian Science is that he uses his religion seven days every week. When the question is asked why this is so, and why the Christian Scientist is to persistently consecrated, the answer is easy, and it is this: When the student of Christian Science becomes convinced by experience that his health, harmony, and prosperity are dependent on his character — upon his thinking — he is not foolish enough to think against himself. He is not like the one whom James describes as a man beholding his face in a glass, "For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.'' The consistent Christian Scientist never loses sight of the fact that now is he the son of God, and that it is his business to prove it.
What a parody on genuine Life is the unreal experience which we call mortal existence! It has been described aptly as not life at all, but a preparation for death. It is unquestionably true that much time is devoted to the supposed necessity for growing old and passing on, and it is more or less generally conceded to be in accordance with prudence and foresight to acquire health insurance, accident policies, and cemetery lots.
When one considers the average human experience; its multitudinous fears; its seeming inability to find contentment; its vain reaching out for wealth, fame, and position, only to have these turn to ashes when they are acquired: its futile effort to circumvent old age and decrepitude; its constant fear of death, one is not surprised that such experience should find graphic description in the Spanish poet's verse quoted by our Leader:
"What is life? 'Tis but a madness.
What is life? A mere illusion,
Fleeting pleasure, fond delusion,
Short-lived joy, that ends in sadness,
Whose most constant substance seems
But the dream of other dreams."
It is with a spirit of profound gratitude that I am enabled to say to you that Christian Science brings to us a way of escape from this nightmare of materiality. It shows and, moreover, proves, that this dream of madness referred to by the poet is truly a dream or unreal mortal medley which God neither creates nor knows.
To suppose that an infinitely good and wise creator would or could create a mad medley of this kind is entirely unthinkable To accept such a theory would be to place Christ Jesus and his mission at variance with God; for the Master said that he came to destroy the works of the devil, and he spent a goodly portion of his three years healing the sick. If we are still inclined to believe in the reality of this discordant dream, then it becomes necessary to provide another creator who is opposed to an omnipresent God; and this is just as unthinkable as the first theory, that God is the author of mortal discord.
Through the revelation of Christian Science we learn that Life is God, infinite, self-existent, indestructible; forever expressing itself in changeless beauty, wisdom, and harmony. We also learn that individual, real man is forever manifesting this spiritual life without mortal interruption.
This divine relationship which eternally exists between Life and its ideas has seemingly been obscured by the false belief in a self-existence apart from God; and it is the mission of Christian Science to show mortals how to banish this perverted sense of life, so that all may express genuine Life. Moreover, it emphasizes the fact that the only way to accomplish this is through the medium of a corrected life, and not through the experience called physical death. It has well been said that one cannot die into immortality, one must live into it. This possibility and the way of its accomplishment is made clear in the teaching of Mrs. Eddy.
The premise of Christian Science is that God is All, and Christian Science remains consistently faithful to its premise. From the first word of the Christian Science textbook to its last, Mrs. Eddy's teaching does not depart one iota from this premise of the allness of God. All which partakes of the nature of God and proceeds from Him she emphasizes as the only real and permanent, and insists that all which is unlike God is unreal and temporal.
Life is a question of knowing — knowing the truth — the truth that from God's viewpoint all is, and ever has been, the expression of infinite perfection. Of this the Bible declares, "Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish."
When Truth is sufficiently understood there will be no excuse nor necessity for passing through the experience of old age, decrepitude, and death. For instance, the Bible tells us that death is the wages of sin. It would follow from this, then, that as we overcome sin we lessen the liability to die. And so it is with all of the world's troubles, we overcome them in the proportion that we understand the truth.
What is progress? A few years ago one of the world's foremost literary men, a thinker, poet, and philosopher, came to America and was being enthusiastically escorted through one of our large cities by one who constantly called his attention to skyscrapers, elevated roads, huge hotels, etc. The distinguished visitor remained silent throughout the trip and was finally asked by his guide, "Do you not think all of this wonderful progress?" Instantly the reply came: "This does not constitute real progress; real progress does not consist in erecting buildings, hotels, and railroads. Real progress lies wholly and exclusively in the development of character." It was Theodore Roosevelt who said in substance that the progress of a nation could only be measured by the spiritual development of its citizens. This view of progress is in strict accord with Christian Science, which emphasizes the fact that genuine progress can only be acquired through building on the foundation laid by Christ Jesus. To attempt to build on any other foundation is to duplicate the experience of the foolish man who built his house on the sand.
In all of our daily business transactions we are consciously or unconsciously seeking to determine whether our business associates are operating from Principle or not; and what better thing can be said of one than that he is a man of principle? Such a one is welcome in our midst, entitled to credit and confidence; whereas one branded as unprincipled is avoided and shunned. One of the definitions of God given by Mrs. Eddy is Principle; and as men begin to know and express this Principle all real achievement conforms to this Principle, and thus they, too, become expressions of Principle. In the last analysis there is only one thing about which to be concerned, and that is the character of the individual. If this is as it should be, all which follows may be characterized as real progress.
In contemplating the wonderful discovery of Christian Science one realizes that Isaiah's description of the appearance of Truth is applicable: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful." Christian Science is the fulfillment of the latent hope of humanity. In a letter to Dr. Priestly, dated February 8, 1780, Benjamin Franklin wrote as follows: "The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried in a thousand years the power of man over matter. . . . All diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured, not excepting even that of old age, and our lives lengthened at pleasure, even beyond the antediluvian standard." We see the fulfillment of this prophecy of Benjamin Franklin made possible by the discovery of Christian Science.
As the sublimity and magnitude of the Christian Science revelation dawns upon thought one is naturally interested in its discoverer or revelator and its method of coming. At this time nearly all thinking and investigating persons are aware that Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and that this revelation came to her through a spiritual understanding of the Bible, which so vitalized the healing promises of Christ Jesus that the result was immediate recovery from that which was declared by physicians to be a fatal injury.
Many of you are familiar with the subsequent history: how, through demonstration, she proved that the healings of the Bible are available to this age; how she imparted this understanding to others; how they, in turn, proved and are proving today the practical aid of her teaching. Many of you know the attempt of the carnal mind, or anti-Christ, to deprive the world of practical Christianity by claiming that Mrs. Eddy is not the author of her wonderful book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and that this attempt was frustrated by a decision of the United States courts, which established for all time Mrs. Eddy's authorship. Finally, you have witnessed in recent years another attempt of the anti-Christ to disrupt the Church of Christ, Scientist, and know that this question was also settled for all time by decree of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. The failure to destroy again the Christ-idea in our own age is due to the fact that the Church of Christ, Scientist, is founded upon the spiritual Rock, Christ, and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
With all of this you are more or less familiar, and this history of the coming of Christian Science to this age is of vital importance; but the thing which I desire to impress upon you most indelibly is the fact that Christian Science is identical with Christianity. Its premise, wholly and completely. is based upon the revelation of Christ Jesus. It does not depart from this in any way; no, it does not deviate in the slightest particular. Consequently, when Christian Science is erroneously referred to by its opponents as Mrs. Eddy's religion they are really referring to Jesus' religion, for they are identical. One of the mistaken notions which has prevented many worthy persons from enjoying the blessings and freedom conferred upon mortals by Christian Science is the erroneous impression that by looking into this subject they will be departing in some manner from the way of the Master, and that they will be doing something queer and unusual, and that some of their friends may possibly consider them peculiar or spiritually lost. Because of such unfounded fears and misconceptions many who have been healed and blessed in Christian Science are today secretly studying its textbook. Failing to come out and take a public stand for Christian Science they are being deprived of the many blessings which flow from cooperation with fellow Christians. All this is, of course, unnecessary, because of the fact already stated, that Christian Science is wholly and purely the Christianity of Jesus.
It may be said in one respect that Mrs. Eddy stands in the same relation as did Paul, who, though not being a personal disciple of Jesus, was enabled through revelation to become one of his most faithful followers. In this connection a strange inconsistency is frequently manifested by the critics of Christian Science. Certain people who violently object to Mrs. Eddy's name being mentioned hear Paul's name mentioned with equanimity. Misconceptions of this sort are but as smoke screens sent forth by the carnal mind to prevent mortals from knowing the truth which the Master said would set them free.
Mrs. Eddy was absorbed by a single purpose, namely, that of bringing to suffering and discordant mortals the glad tidings that the teachings of the Master are as potent now to save and redeem as they were in the first century. She sought not wealth, fame, nor adulation. As an illustration of this, the Manual of The Mother Church contains a provision which forbade sending, on special occasions, gifts or congratulatory messages to Mrs. Eddy, its Pastor Emeritus. Elsewhere Mrs. Eddy told her students that the only gift she desired was evidence of their growth in Christian character.
Christian Science is not in the business of proselyting nor condemning other religious beliefs or systems of healing. Its sole mission is to emphasize the fact that the Principle of Christianity is eternally and continually available. Furthermore, it provides adequate instruction, which enables all students to utilize the teachings of Christ Jesus in overcoming sin, disease, poverty, failure, and death.
Through Mrs. Eddy's discovery and life-experience thousands of mortals who had lost all hope of recovery, and who were convinced that the only way out of their misery was to die out, have been restored to lives of usefulness and harmony and have had proof that salvation is an ever-present possibility and available to all who are ready to receive and utilize the practical and demonstrable rules of Christian Science. That this is not just an idle statement but one full of vital import to humanity is proved by a testimony of healing which appeared in a copy of the Christian Science Sentinel; and here, by way of parenthesis, let me tell you that the Sentinel does not publish testimonies of healing until they have been verified in every particular. The one whose experience was thus recorded was healed of cancer, and this healing is convincing proof of the efficacy of Christian Science. One of the significant results of the publication of this testimony was the receipt of more than three hundred letters, fifty of which contained accounts of healings of the same disorder through Christian Science.
Now that I have corrected some of the mistaken views and showed you that its teachings are identical with those of Christ Jesus, there is no longer any obstacle to your acquiring a demonstrable knowledge of practical Christianity. In leaving this matter with you for your consideration may I be permitted to impress upon you indelibly that Christian Science is teaching and proving that the religion of Jesus is truly the religion of now, and that now is the day of salvation from all that is unlike God.
"Now is the time approaching,
By prophets long foretold,
When all shall dwell together,
One shepherd and one fold.
Now Jew and Gentile, meeting
From many a distant shore,
Around one altar kneeling,
One common Lord adore."