Christian Science: The Way to Life, Peace and Joy

 

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

 

If it were possible to make a composite word picture of those qualities most desired by mankind, this picture would contain the majestic words, life, peace, and joy.

Inasmuch, as we are to spend an hour together in the endeavor to learn how to obtain this life, peace, and joy, and the liberty which these qualities confer upon us, it is essential that we should start out together with some measure of agreement as to the source of these most necessary and desirable qualities. Is not this source God?

In Mrs. Eddy's definition of God, she gives us two synonyms which are very helpful in acquiring a right conception of Deity. The first of these is infinite Mind. A right conception of this comprehensive term immediately accomplishes two very important things: it dispels the incorrect concept of a personal and limited God and simultaneously gives us an understandable idea of an omnipresent God. When one perceives that God is infinite Mind, the omnipresence of God is naturally and logically established. The second is the term which until understood, is thought by some to seem cold or distant, that is, divine Principle. The moment it is understood that this term is employed to signify or emphasize the unchanging character of God, it immediately loses its seeming coldness or abstractnees, and the joy of understanding that God's life, love, and mercy are changeless, forever the same, illumines consciousness.

Christian Science gives mortals a clear, understandable, and demonstrable knowledge of God. It is the voice of Paul on Mar's Hill again declaring, "Whom, therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you."

 

Applied Christianity

With this brief exposition of the Christian Science concept of God as infinite, changeless good, the divine Principle of life and existence, we may now go forward to consider the problem of existing in harmony with God, so that we may express the divine Life and character in daily living.

Throughout the Bible the results of obedience and disobedience are graphically set forth, and the complete story of cause and effect is simply and directly portrayed in the earthly experiences of Enoch and Asa. Of the former we are told in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, fifth verse, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

Of Asa it is declared, "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great; yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign." The story of Enoch shows that blessing which results from turning to God, while the evil resulting from turning to matter for help is plainly brought forth in the sad story of Asa.

Before one can seek or turn to God for deliverance from all earthly discords it is necessary to have a correct concept of God to know where "he may be found." Before Christian Science was given to the world God was very generally considered as a localized person, who was responsible for, or at least permitted, all of earth's activities; who sometimes answered prayer but more often did not. When the prayer was not answered the patient sufferer tried to bear his cross without complaining, dwelling under the mistaken notion that God, for some unknown reason, was disciplining him in order to bring him closer to himself. It is difficult, however, to conceive of one tormented with rheumatism or suffering from constant pain and in fear of death to have much time left for anything but self-consciousness and misery misery, a condition which extends itself to all the members or his household as well. Moreover, in this frame of mind the old-fashioned religious sentiment, "I'd like to be a saint and shine in glory," does not strongly appeal. Such a one usually has but one central desire and that is to recover.

 

Life

The great Master of men declared that he came that mankind might not only have life but that they might have it more abundantly. Christian Science teaches with faultless logic that since we are ever conscious of life and existence, it is impossible to escape living, and since this is so, it behooves us to learn as quickly as possible how to live harmoniously.

Frequently we hear the remark that one is not afraid to die, and this recalls the conversation between a Christian Science practitioner and a patient who made this declaration. Said the practitioner, "I am not particularly interested in what you say about not fearing to die, but I can say this to you, that it is your business to live, and to live a happy, harmonious life, becoming active in your endeavor to help others live similar lives. It is no more creditable to say you are not afraid to die than to say you are not afraid to steal, for, from the standpoint of absolute Truth, both are activities of the carnal mind."

What is commonly termed life, beginning with birth and ending with death, is graphically described by Job when he says, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble," and if one were to judge by the evidence from the material senses it would be difficult to disagree with our patient ancestor. Mortals come into this existence without being consulted as to their wishes, and soon find themselves striving to maintain a sense of existence which they believe may be terminated unexpectedly at any time. Here Christian Science comes to the rescue, and declares that this view of existence is entirely wrong, simply a mortal illusion which may be dispelled through a correct, or spiritual view of things. Even our afflicted friend, Job, finally saw the light, for he tells us, "Yet in my flesh shall I see God."

 

Christ Jesus

Christian Science shows clearly that the mission of Christ Jesus was to aid mortals in dispelling the false conception of life so that they might understand true life and have it more abundantly.

That death is abnormal is clearly taught by Christ Jesus and by many Scriptural writers. The Master emphasized the fact that the process of death is unnecessary and not in accord with God's will. He pointed out the way of escape by declaring, "and this is life eternal" or life continuous "to know thee." The Bible also refers to death as an enemy to be overcome, while the Revelator declares that "there shall be no more death." Aside from all this unquestioned authority it can be proved logically that death is an abnormal condition, without any reference to the Bible, by the following simple bit of logical reasoning: If what we term death were a part of God's harmonious creation it would be a normal condition, and man would go to his grave as naturally as he does to his couch at night, for man accepts the inevitable as he does the change of seasons. The fact that he rebels at and fears death, that he has ever hoped to escape and overcome it, proves its abnormality.

In looking over the pages of history we find that there has always existed in the hearts of men a latent hope that the way to elude death would finally be discovered. This hope has expressed itself in expeditions to find the fount of eternal youth, or in research activities of medicine and theology, all of which have failed in their chimerical pursuit. Yet the actual solution of this fearsome problem has always been with us. Listen! The great Master declared, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."

The Master not only taught the way to overcome death, but he proved it. Prior to his crucifixion he had been teaching this great truth to his disciples, and in the crucifixion he found an opportunity to prove it. Of his experience on the cross he said in substance, of my own self I lay down my life, then he tells us why "that I might take it again."

The function of the Christ, so well demonstrated by Jesus, is comprehensively set forth on page 316 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which reads as follows: "Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs. Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth."

The teachings of Christian Science show us how to acquire this Christ knowledge of the allness of God and how to utilize it in the demonstration of life eternal, or life continuous, without the change called physical death. In this connection the Bible declared, "I am . . . not the God of the dead, but of the living," and the prophet said, "The grave can not praise thee, death can not celebrate thee."

 

Peace

What I have said about Life and living will doubtless be concurred in by all, but it will also be very apparent that merely to live, or exist, would not be entirely satisfactory. To enjoy living it must necessarily be peaceful living, a peace so well outlined by the Psalmist, who declared "Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them." Herein is also indicated the source of all genuine and permanent peace, namely, obedience to God. It is an easy matter to point out this sovereign panacea; it has been pointed out for centuries; but the necessary question follows, What is it to know God? Once again Christian Science comes to our aid, and with simple, direct and comprehensive language which even children readily understand, shows every sincere thinker how to begin immediately to obey God, and to enjoy immediately a measure of peace, a measure limited only by the degree of one's obedience.

Unlike the operation of the life insurance company, one does not have to die to win, but, on the contrary, begins to win here and now. The thing which opposes obedience to divine will, Christian Science defines as self-will, an activity of the supposititious carnal mind, which in operation and nature is wholly opposed to the will of the divine Mind. So, when these opposing thought activities are admitted to consciousness, the result is confusion, restlessness and unhappiness.

 

The Remedy

From what has just been said of the cause of confusion, or of the absence of peace, the remedy is obvious the exclusion from consciousness, of all mental activities which are opposed to divine activity. Christian Science assures us, and moreover proves, that we have the ability to refuse admission to all carnal thoughts through a simple process described by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 392), as standing "porter at the door of thought." By this process, not only are the thoughts which destroy peace excluded. but also those thoughts which create sin, disease and death.

Christian Science, reasoning from the Scriptural premise of the allness of God, or infinite Mind, logically maintains that there is but one Mind, and that its supposed opposite, which Christian Science designates as mortal mind, is unreal, hence all its supposed thoughts are likewise unreal.

The beginner or student of Christian Science therefore commences to object to the entrance into his consciousness of all thoughts or arguments which do not proceed from God. The student is greatly aided in this effort by the knowledge that such thought is unreal in its origin or existence. While it is comparatively easy to make this start, it requires, as Mrs, Eddy puts it, persistent effort, when she says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 340): "Only by persistent, unremitting, straightforward toil; by turning neither to the right nor to the left, seeking no other pursuit or pleasure than that which cometh from God, can you win and wear the crown of the faithful." In speaking of genuine peace, the Master declared, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

A story is told of two artists who were commissioned to paint their conception of peace. One submitted a picture of a beautiful lake, hidden in the mountains, without a ripple upon its placid surface. The other submitted a picture of a roaring waterfall, beating itself to foam and spray on the rocks beneath. Perched on the limb of a tree which overhung the tumbling waters, a robin had built her nest and there was rearing her family, undisturbed by the noise of the water. The committee which passed on the comparative merits of these two paintings decided that the picture of the lake did not portray peace, but rather stagnation; while the other picture indicated true peace, a condition of consciousness which could not be disturbed by external sights and sounds.

 

Material Existence

In surveying the inconsistent and transitory medley known as material existence, one is impressed with the universal conviction that no one is completely satisfied or happy, and that in the last analysis all mortal effort is directed toward the goal of achieving satisfaction and happiness. The plans advocated and championed are legion. Some have been in vogue since time began to be measured, and new methods are always in the making.

After uncounted centuries of application these mortal plans have failed to give the effect intended; so in helplessness and despair, mortals are crying in the wilderness, "Is there no balm in Gilead?" To this cry for help Christian Science, with the calmness and assurance born of spiritual revelation, answers, Yes! On page 227 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy says, "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right."

To this challenge the carnal mind, with the arrogance of darkness and ignorance, replies: What! have you the audacity to discredit the human wisdom of the ages? To this Christian Science simply points to its only guide and authority, the Bible, which declares: "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." There is but one way out of the devastating influence of the carnal mind, and Isaiah simply and comprehensively declares it in Isaiah 32:17, "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."

In my own early experience a great spiritual truth was impressed upon me which has never lost its brightness and glory. In substance it was this: If there is any hope for the creature it must consist in the creature living in harmony with his creator. Now all thinking people will agree that this is a perfectly logical proposition and if it is truly logical it is susceptible of proof.

Having conceded this, then one naturally inquires, How is one to go about the business of living in harmony with God? The answer to this question, all religions claim to possess, but the fact that the fruits life, peace, and joy are lacking, clearly indicates that the way, the way of the Master, who declared that his religion would bring to men "rest unto (their) souls," has not yet been generally understood nor accepted.

Here Christian Science steps into the breach and teaches mortals the true nature of God and His laws; it also shows explicitly how these laws are to be obeyed and the promises fulfilled.

It emphasizes and illumines the reason given by the Master for his dominion over all evil, namely, "I and my Father are one"; in other words, I am the perfect expression of God, infinite Mind. It is this unity which he prayed the Father might be established in all. This thought is clearly set forth in the simple and profound prayer, "that they may be one, even as we are one." In this beautiful and comforting prayer the Master again emphasizes the indisputable fact that from God's viewpoint all are equally the "sons of God," and that it was Jesus' task to bring this great truth to the consciousness of mortals.

 

The Practicability of the Bible

We owe everlasting gratitude to Christian Science for many things, and among them is the fact that Mrs. Eddy has given us a method whereby each one of us can prove that the teachings of the Bible are in every way practicable and usable in all the affairs of everyday life.

It has been generally conceded that if the teachings of Christ Jesus were practicable, the affairs of earth would be very much improved. Whenever this question arises the materialists and so-called hard-headed, common-sense individuals dismiss it with the statement that while these teachings are beautiful and idealistic, they are entirely impracticable, and that the world must look to other sources for the remedy for world evils. Concerning this, Mrs. Eddy writes on page 9 of her work entitled "Unity of Good": "The talent and genius of the centuries have wrongly reckoned. They have not based upon revelation their arguments and conclusions as to the source and resources of being its combinations, phenomena, and outcome, but have built instead upon the sand of human reason. They have not accepted the simple teaching and life of Jesus as the only true solution of the perplexing problem of human existence." It is true that when considered from a material standpoint, the teaching of the Master regarding the Golden Rule and the brotherhood of man does seem impossible of practical application, but when viewed through the lens of Christian Science its intense and wholly practical nature is immediately disclosed; not only this, but one is instantly convinced that there is no other solution of the world's problems.

As the mortal or carnal mind is inherently and basically wrong, or, as Jesus said of it, it "is a liar, and the father of it," and the evils which it seeks to remedy are its own blunders. It naturally can not see any virtue in a plan which seeks to abolish all evils by annihilating their source; or, in other words, itself.

With straightforward and simple logic and directness of method, Christian Science insists that the work at hand is to abolish the cause of all mortal discord and not to fight its illusionary effects, the method employed by ecclesiastical workers for centuries past with but negative results fighting darkness without light, as it were.

If one were to enter a room which had been dark for centuries, a room in which the darkness was so intense that it might be felt, as the familiar phrase goes, it would not avail anything if one were to install windmills, electric fans, or any anti-dark devices which might be invented, to blow away the dark.

Suppose such a situation existed and that for centuries these fallacious methods had been employed, of course bringing no relief from the darkness; would not one think it high time to try some radically different method, raising the window curtain, for instance?

So it is with the religious and medical beliefs and theories; we still see the false machinery vainly puffing at the darkness, and we still see valiant Don Quixotes charging the thick darkness with the broadswords of false theology and material remedies. When it is suggested to the modern Don Quixotes that raising the window curtains of spiritual understanding might dispel the darkness of the carnal mind and its effects, sin, disease, and death, the recommendation is met with ridicule and persecution. To such the voice of truth still cries in the words of Jesus, "Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?"

 

Divine Guidance

A spiritual understanding of the Bible is a very practical guide and mentor in our everyday affairs bringing us life, peace, and joy. All the activities of life are mental, and since this is true it follows that as our own lives are attuned to the divine Mind, all our actions become more and more harmonious and intelligent, and this of course means the progressive elimination of ignorance, misjudgment, and mistakes.

One of the most practical and helpful sayings of the Master occurs in his admonition to his followers, prior to their going forth to carry to a stricken world his message of freedom. In enumerating the difficulties which they would encounter, he warned them that they would be taken before magistrates, but he counseled them not to premeditate what they should say, for, "It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak," he said. One of the most wonderful and helpful passages in the Scriptures! What comforting and reassuring knowledge is this, to know that it is possible so to live in harmony with infinite Mind that we have this infinite source of all good upon which to draw! What relief and deliverance from the supposed necessity of anxious and fearful outlining! Said David. "Thou art my hiding place; thou shall preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."

This understanding is the only thing in the world which will permit and enable one to do the thing which thinkers and philosophers are agreed upon as one of the greatest of human achievements that is, to live one day at a time. "It shall be given you in that same hour," understood through spiritual thinking and living, will enable one to do whole-heartedly and efficiently the duties of today, and thus calmly face the future with the assurance of practical aid from God, infinite Mind. This condition is well portrayed by Isaiah, who writes, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it."

This relationship not only brings peace of mind, with its divine calm, but also supplies the intelligence and judgment which make all one's acts productive of success, and bless all who may be connected with one under this divine guidance. This desirable mental attitude is described by Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 204) a "deep-toned faith in God," and makes life indeed sweet and satisfying.

 

Anxiety and Worry

I well recall my visit a number of years ago to a Christian Science practitioner when in search of relief from business worry and anxiety. I went, a tired and discouraged business man, weary with ceaseless planning and outlining. I believe that I must have been one of the world's most adept planners. Every move was carefully scheduled, and if a day now and then worked out fairly close to the premeditated plan the day seemed quite satisfactory. However, a majority of the days did not work out as planned and this invariably resulted in confusion and dissatisfaction. After explaining all this to my very patient and loving practitioner, she said, "You must know the truth about your business." To this I replied, "That is perfectly ridiculous; I have not the time to sit down and know the truth about it; I must do something practical."

I shall never forget her answer, because it embodies a great truth. Said she, "I perceive your trouble; you think you must have two minds, one with which to know the truth and one with which to transact business." She further remarked that if I would consent to let God run the universe and to look to Him for guidance I would find peace and success.

This advice sounded practical and logical, and so I told her I would try it, but asked her to please be specific with me. "For instance," I queried, "what shall I do tomorrow morning?" My practitioner was equal to the occasion and said, "Go to your office, and do that which awaits your attention and do it well, without anxious thought for the coming hours. When this task is completed, respond to the next duty which presents itself, and give it similar attention. You need not worry," said she, "tasks or duties will surely present themselves for your consideration and it is your duty to do them, 'as to the Lord, and not unto men'." Moreover, she counseled me further, to look constantly to divine Mind for guidance, and assured me that I would find my business calls being made where my services were desired, and thus would be eliminated chance, uncertainty, and failure.

All this is, of course, a detailed explanation of how to trust God and live one day at a time in peace and plenty. But the crux of all this is that I found by experience that the method outlined by my practitioner was a practicable, workable method, and all who so desire may duplicate my experience. David said, "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever be doeth shall prosper."

 

Joy

I believe that we are all in agreement with what has been said concerning the great desirability of permanent life and peace: yet the picture is not complete, for it is not sufficient to possess peaceful life, for to be truly satisfying it must be joyous life as well.

What a beautiful word is joy! How it instantly brings up the gladness of living, and causes its possessor to say, "I'm glad that I'm alive." This is the joy the Master described as being "a well of water springing up into everlasting life." This gladness and joy is what Mrs. Eddy refers to in Science and Health (p. 121) as "bird and blossom were glad in God's perennial and happy sunshine." To one who is becoming conscious of God's presence, the very trees clap their hands with joy.

How often we have recalled the joyousness of trusting childhood and wished it were possible to return to this state, and yet there awaits us a perpetual joy through the teachings of Christian Science; indeed we may in some measure begin to express this joy at once.

Consider for a moment the effect upon a community of one who expresses joy in daily life. It is expressed in speech; in manner; in one's attitude toward his daily tasks. His words are as "celestial melody and as spoken sunshine." His joy is contagious and he infects all who are exposed to him; he is like a sunbeam chasing away the shadows of the night. In the language of Isaiah he exchanges "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."

Let me tell you the story of a little girl who brought this quality of joy into expression. Traveling in the far West, many years ago. when Christian Science was little known, she chanced to be coming through the desert on a record-breaking hot day. A fellow passenger came to her section and asked her if she would come and talk to his wife in the other end of the car. Mindful of parental admonition not to talk to strangers when unaccompanied, she asked why he wished her to talk to his wife. His tribute to Christian Science was so undoubted that she rose and followed him to his seat, for he said, "I want you to explain the philosophy of life which you have, that makes you happy and comfortable when everybody else in the car is suffering and cross." She told him of Science and Health, which had brought health and happiness to her mother, who had born an invalid, and he was so interested that he declared his intention of purchasing one as soon as he returned to his home.

I think you will agree that I have not overdrawn nor exaggerated the power of joy, not only to make its possessor, or rather its reflector for that is what he really is happy and well, but to benefit all those with whom he comes in contact.

Spiritual joy is permanent, changeless, and indestructible, a "pearl of great price," and yet it may be acquired "without money and without price." The method of gaining this true joy is set forth in the teachings of Christian Science and the way is open to any true seeker. For centuries the world has been seeking for life, peace, and joy in the wrong direction, but in this age the words of Isaiah are being fulfilled, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.'' Now that this light has shined upon us there is no longer any excuse for depriving ourselves of joyous living. The way is open to all, and whosoever will, let him come.

Those of us who have received this invitation ought eagerly to accept it, not only for our own sakes. but for the sake of others who are still groping blindly in the wrong direction. In such practical Christian activity we are, in addition to making life worth while to our neighbor, increasing our own happiness in its highest and best sense, dedicating one's self to the brotherhood of man, displacing a sorrowing and discordant sense of life with a joyous and spiritual sense.

It is sometimes perplexing to consider how loth mortals are to seek life, peace, and joy in the one and only direction in which they are to be found. All thinking and reasoning people will concede the truth of the statement made in the first part of this discourse, namely, that if there is any hope for the creature it must consist in the creature living in harmony with his Creator.

Now comes Christian Science showing us clearly, simply, and exactly how to live in harmony with our Creator, to the sublime end that the great spiritual fact, "now are we the sons of God," may be understood and demonstrated in daily living.

 

Liberty

The consideration of life, peace, and joy leads naturally to that universal goal, liberty. Liberty! What endless panoramas of struggle, self-sacrifice, and heroism the word conjures up! Liberty! the desire to be free! The pages of history are laden with glorious records of national and individual efforts to be free; yet, like all other great and desirable goals, it can only be found in a spiritual understanding of God. The Bible declares, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Liberty, like all else that is worth while, is primarily expressed by the individual, and it is self-evident that when a sufficient number are expressing liberty, then groups or nations will be free. Nations do not become truly free when they simply change forms of government, through war or otherwise; true freedom comes only through individual obedience to God. When the individual becomes obedient to God's law, his every endeavor will be to improve, build up, and conserve all that is best in human activities.

The freedom, or liberty, which comes to one as a result of acquiring "the spirit of the Lord," is far greater than the mortal or human conception of the word, and one begins to express one's own individuality entirely free from the entanglements of mortal ties and domination. In other words, each individual has his own place in the divine economy and each expresses divine activity, abundance, and completeness; hence there is in reality no strife, competition, envy, jealousy, nor covetousness.

Now, as the individual begins to acquire "the spirit of the Lord," he begins to express his true self and its spiritual activities, and this relationship with God, freeing him from all earthly or material fetters, is indeed freedom in the largest sense.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

Briefly I have pointed out to you the way to obtain life, peace and joy. The way is simple, is it not? This way has always existed. The great Master clearly set it forth, but as centuries have gone by, this way had been lost to consciousness until an American woman of great spiritual attainments, pondering the Scriptures as to life and peace, suddenly discovered, through a revelation which brought simultaneously a healing, the way which had been lost.

Rejoicing in the glimpse of Spirit which had brought to her this instantaneous healing from what was pronounced to be a fatal injury, she immediately began preparations to give her discovery to the world. In contemplating this Mrs, Eddy said (Science and Health, p, 226): "I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind. The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who today, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage."

The outcome of Mrs. Eddy's earnest desire to share her discovery with the world's suffering and discordant multitudes is the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She published this work in 1875; in it she sets forth in plain, simple and logical language the fundamentals of Christian Science. So clearly stated are the instructions in this book that any honest seeker can understand and begin to put them into practice.

Little children frequently grasp the truths of Christian Science and perform notable acts of healing; foreigners, with a limited knowledge of English, soon acquire a demonstrable knowledge through study of this book, enabling them to overcome sin and disease.

When considering the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy's great gift to discordant humanity, let me call your attention to that portion of its title which reads, "With Key to the Scriptures." For centuries there has been securely locked within the pages of the Bible the remedy for all human ills; then in our age Mary Baker Eddy, with the key of spiritual understanding, opened wide the treasure chest and gave to us the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures. Time will not permit an extended consideration of this subject, but the following illustration will suffice to show the vital importance of discerning the true, or spiritual, meaning of Bible teaching.

The helpfulness of this spiritual interpretation is clearly set forth in the story of Noah's experience with the ark. In the chapter entitled "Glossary" of the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health, p. 581), which contains the metaphysical interpretation of Bible terms, the word ark is defined in part as "safety; . . . the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter."

Of Noah the Bible declares, "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." Turning to the glossary again (Science and Health, page 592), we find that the name Noah is defined in part as "knowledge of the nothingness of material things and of the immortality of all that is spiritual."

These definitions clearly portray the important spiritual message contained in the story of Noah; namely, that Noah's spiritual understanding enabled him to dwell in the consciousness of the allness of God described in Bible metaphor as the Ark. This ark rode with safety the troubled waters of material existence and finally rested upon the mountain, which, spiritually interpreted, stands for spiritual inspiration and strength.

In our age, through the understanding of Christian Science, we too may enter the ark of spiritual consciousness and ride safely over the sea of error, until we arrive on the mountain top where the Revelator declares, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: . . . And there was no more sea."

As a result of Mrs. Eddy's spiritual understanding and demonstration, the Church of Christ, Scientist, stands triumphant in every land, silently and majestically announcing that God's Christ is again tabernacled with men, and that the Comforter promised by the Master, is indeed with us. Truly, "the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light."

Among the many important blessings conferred upon a race in bondage to mortality is a daily newspaper called The Christian Science Monitor. This is something apart from the ordinary newspaper, inasmuch as it is international in its scope, and its mission is clean and beneficent journalism.

I wonder if we even faintly grasp what this means to the human family? In speaking of the modern inventions which are supposed to improve human living, a writer recently said, "Why, we no longer need to think about public matters, because the modern newspaper does the thinking for us." There is far greater significance in this humorous statement than is apparent on the surface; criminologists tell us that, after a crime has been chronicled, minutely and graphically, by the press, the crime is repeated by those abnormally impressed. In like manner, epidemics of disease are caused by "scare" headlines relating to a few isolated and unimportant cases.

Now comes The Christian Science Monitor, dedicated to the task of demonstrating the beneficial and protective nature of clean and truthful journalism. The success of the Monitor is convincing journalists that clean journalism is worth while and that, moreover, the best thinking people want it. Not only is the Monitor aiding the lessening of crime and disease throughout the world, but it is an educational activity of the very highest type. By its truthful and accurate news items and editorials concerning worldwide affairs, it broadens the vision and causes one actually to think in terms of hemispheres in place of states and countries. Such education and enlightenment is vitally necessary today, as the importance of cementing the nations of the world into one harmonious family is conceded by all. The Monitor actively is one of the greatest blessings ever bestowed upon humanity, and yet it is only one of Mrs. Eddy's achievements.

Mrs. Eddy did not discover or found a new religion, nor create a new Bible. What she did accomplish, and this accomplishment is the greatest of all events since the time of Jesus, was to discern spiritually the true import of his teaching, which re-established in this age practical Christianity, which all may understand and prove in the healing of sickness and sin.

All her teaching is based on the Scriptural assertion that God is All and there is none else. In her own life-practice she proved through the healing of the sick and the redemption of the sinner that she understood the teaching of the Master, and she furthermore imparted this understanding to unnumbered thousands who are in turn repeating, in this age, the works of Jesus and his apostles.

 

Christian Science Practice

It is sometimes said that Christian Science practise is unsympathetic in its nature because it does not mourn with the patient over his troubles. As practical, thinking people I should like to ask you which you would prefer, some one to mourn with you or some one to heal you? Is it not evident that healing is the most practical kind of sympathy?

Treatment in Christian Science is synonymous with healing through prayer, as practiced by Jesus and his disciples. In emphasizing this method of healing as the only correct method, Christian Science is in strict accordance with the Bible and the commands of the Master.

When Mrs. Eddy discovered and put into practice this true method of prayer, she clearly set forth that true prayer does not seek to conform God to man's needs and desires, but, on the contrary, shows mortals how to conform to God and his will, that they may enjoy the resultant blessings. The prayer which seeks to mold the will of God is the one which is not answered. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss."

Now in this brief discourse you have received in a measure, I trust, the true idea of God, infinite Mind, in which resides the qualities named as the theme for the evening life, peace and joy. It has been shown that these qualities are to be obtained through true prayer, or spiritual understanding, and we have the Christian Science textbook to instruct us now to conform our lives in accordance with the divine will, so that we may enjoy these qualities. Finally we have the Master's loving invitation, whosoever will, let him come. It is clear, is it not, where the responsibility lies? In "Miscellaneous Writings" our Leader quotes:

 

"When from the lips of Truth one mighty breath

Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze

The whole dark pile of human mockeries;

Then shall the reign of Mind commence on earth,

And starting fresh, as from a second birth,

Man in the sunshine of the world's new spring,

Shall walk transparent like some holy thing."

 

[1926.]

 

 

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