The Science of Being Unafraid

 

Noel D. Bryan-Jones, C.S., of Worthing, Sussex, England

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

"Fear is just too bad to be true," a Christian Science lecturer told a large audience in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, last night.

Each individual has the God-given ability to end fear of any kind – fear of disease, disaster, war, or poverty – said Noel D. Bryan-Jones, C.S., of Worthing, Sussex, England. Mr. Bryan-Jones, who is a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, spoke on "The Science of Being Unafraid."

He defined fear as a mistaken sense of what is really going on. "Most of the crime, the bloodshed, the misery in the world can be traced to this false, mistaken sense, a failure to realize that God, the loving Father and divine Principle, gives all good, and that because of this man has all good," Mr. Bryan-Jones said.

The lecturer was introduced by William H. Waite, First Reader of The Mother Church.

A partial text of the lecture follows:

 

Ability lies within everyone

Did any of you ever learn to ride a bicycle? If you did, you'll no doubt remember how you wobbled fearfully about, one foot ready to cling to the ground at the slightest lurch! Why? Because you were afraid – afraid that you might lose your balance, fall off and hurt yourself. And if your experience was anything like mine you probably did – more than once.

Then one day you finally made it. You found that all you had to do was to mount the machine and pedal fearlessly and energetically forward. You found, in fact, that all the time you'd really had within yourself the ability to ride. How simple it would have been for you to have got rid of that fear at the outset by a knowledge of the science – if I might call it that – of bicycle riding.

There were, of course, certain laws and rules involved – of gravity, balance, locomotion, and so on – but these didn't actually give you the ability to ride. You already had that. You just needed to learn how to put that ability into practice scientifically, and so bring it out.

Any ability you or I may have, even though perhaps we haven't discovered it yet, is already within us, waiting to be developed. If you'd known this from the start, you'd never have suffered from fear of falling off. In fact, you'd probably never have fallen off!

My purpose in this lecture is to show that fear, fear of anything, of disease, disaster, war, poverty, anything at all, can be cured. That we have the ability given us by God to do this scientifically. And by "scientifically" I mean according to established and provable law. I'm referring specially to the Science of Christianity, which has a single, basic Principle, divine Love, and logical rules for the application of this divine Principle to human affairs and problems. The word "Principle" means the basis of law or rule applied in solving a problem.

Christianity, as you may know, accepts one God, who is infinitely good, all-powerful, and ever-present. And Christian Science rests on the nature of God as unchanging Love, the divine Principle.

 

God’s power never fails

The understanding of God's unfailing love and power, present and active within ourselves as the divine Principle, Love, is what we're particularly concerned with tonight. And it's this wholly good activity of God's law which scientifically heals fear, and all the results of fear.

So let's consider three basic questions. What is the nature of God as divine Principle, Love? How does an understanding of this nature destroy fear? How can this understanding be applied to a very common fear, fear of disease?

When I was a small boy, a text, "God is Love," hung on my bedroom wall. And I used to think vaguely that someone had made a mistake, that it was a grammatical error, and that it should read either "God does love" or "God is loving."

Strangely enough, it wasn't for many years that I seriously thought about the matter, not, in fact, until I took up the study of Christian Science. Then I learned that in the Bible there are a number of names for God which depict His nature. One of these is Love – and in considering how fear is scientifically healed by an understanding of God, Love is the most important name for us to think about.

Looking back on my early study of Christian Science, I find that what really attracted me to it, and has continued to impress me, is its practical logic. I wasn't asked to believe anything which couldn't be proved once I had accepted the basic Principle – Almighty, ever-present, all-knowing, ever-active God, who is Love, infinitely good.

A child in school has first to accept the simple basic rules of arithmetic, and then work out from these. I had been taught as a Christian child, like most other Christian children, that God was my loving Father. Now I began to learn that, even though I was grown up, divine Fatherhood wasn't removed from me. On the contrary, it became clearer, more real, more precious, as I learned to perceive God as divine Principle, Love. And God is also Mind, Truth, Life, Spirit; for these are some of the other names used or implied in the Bible for God.

 

Mind is basis of all right ideas

And we can see why. For instance, God is shown as all-wise, therefore He must be divine Mind. Principle as Mind is that which bases all thought, all right ideas. Then because Principle is also Love, all divine Mind's ideas start from Love. And man, governed by the law of divine Principle, Mind, couldn't be other than the expression of loving, intelligent thought, and this divine thought is ever active.

Have you ever tried to stop thinking? It you have, I'm sure you've found that you're just thinking about trying to stop thinking!

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered that Christianity is Science, spent 20 years in trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause. Eventually, through her own healing of injuries beyond medical or surgical aid, she found her mistake in searching for a cause in the human mind. She made the great scientific discovery that God, divine Love, is the only Mind, and the only cause of every real effect.

Besides Mind, Christian Science, like the Bible, defines divine Principle, Love, as Truth. Truth is ever-present and available, just as God is. It's unopposable, just as God is. Divine Principle, Love, is also Life, because God is deathless.

God is ever-present Life, Mind with us, Truth with us, Love with us, right here and now. Life – the only real Life any one of us can ever know – is Love and is expressed here and now.

But God, the divine Principle, Love, is not only Mind and Truth and Life: the Bible also says God is Spirit. So the true identity of man is spiritual. This spiritual identity – your true nature and mine – is never outside the orbit of God's conscious care; and God has never withdrawn His Fatherhood from man. So, "Fear thou not."

Because divine Principle, Love, is also Mind, Truth, Life, and Spirit, our lives are governed by laws of Love, of sound intelligence, of unfailing and unerring Truth, and of vital spiritual attraction and control.

 

Man’s true nature is loving

Now the best, most intimate place to look for this infinite nature of God is within ourselves, within our consciousness. The Founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth, said, "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).

So right here, within ourselves, we can discover the love of God, the Love which is God. He expresses in man His own nature, for we read in the Bible that man is the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:27). Therefore the true spiritual nature of man is a loving nature, not a fearful nature, and anything which seems to indicate the contrary is a mistaken sense of man, which would naturally arise from a mistaken sense of God.

Christ Jesus taught and fully proved the nature of God as Love and as the Father of all. He said confidently, "The Father loveth the Son" (John 5:20). And his student John writes clearly and at some length on this subject in the first Epistle, where he twice makes that statement, "God is love" (I John 4:8,16).

Mrs. Eddy had always accepted God as Love, but after her discovery she came step by step to see Him not only as a loving Father but scientifically as the divine Principle, Love. And she refused to believe that man, created in His likeness, is anything but the receiver and the expression of Love.

She was, in her life and work, a great example of fearless living and loving. Those who knew her personally have testified to this. One of her students writes of her: "I always feel that the secret of her great achievements could be explained on no other basis than her at-one-ment with God and her boundless spirit of universal love for all mankind. . . . The way Mrs. Eddy said the word Love made me feel that she must have loved even a blade of grass under her feet" ("We Knew Mary Baker Eddy," First Series, pp. 74,75).

Divinely impelled to establish her discovery of scientific Christianity for all mankind, she never wavered until she found she was able to heal as she had been healed and that, through her teaching and writing, she could enable others to do the same. She proved in her healing work, in her inspired writings, and in her founding of the Christian Science movement, this great fact: that because the Principle of Christian Science is Love there can he no place for fear in man's experience.

Mrs. Eddy states this basic law of scientific Christianity in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She writes, "God is the Principle of divine metaphysics. As there is but one God, there can be but one divine Principle of all Science; and there must be fixed rules for the demonstration of this divine Principle." And later she adds, "The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love" (pp. 112, 113). So you see that Christian Science isn't cold or abstract. It's warm and practical. It's alive and kindly.

I wonder if, as youngsters, you ever went in for one of those competitions in which we were given a picture containing several mistakes – a man with two left feet, a car without wheels, and so on – and were asked to say "What's wrong with this picture?" Well, we were only able to win a prize if we knew what should have been right with it – that a man

has a right and a left foot, and that a car must have wheels.

In the same way, when we're faced with some trouble or disease, we can know, quite as confidently, that it is wrong, not according to divine fact. Why? Because we know what the divine fact is – that God, Love, created all perfect, like Himself, and has never changed that perfect creation. It we are ever deceived, or made fearful, by evil, it isn't because error is true. It's because we are not clear enough in our thought that only God, only good, is true.

Isn't it logical, then, to conclude that what appears to be fear is the result of a mistaken sense of what is really going on. It comes from not knowing that in reality there is only divine Principle, Love, going on, only Love present at any time. Fear experienced shows that Love is unrecognized.

God is Love, and fear is a sense of the absence of Love. And this mistaken sense is corrected by a proper understanding of Love, of God.

 

Divine power instantly at hand

But in order to understand how the divine Principle, Love, gets rid of fear we must also understand the nature of fear. With this in mind, let's look at the wrong pictures presented by fear which are given in the definition of "Fear" in Science and Health: "Heat; inflammation; anxiety; ignorance; error; desire; caution" (p. 586). Let's just spend a little time in carefully considering these wrong pictures from the standpoint that fear is nothing but a wrong, negative sense, and that Love is the true, positive presence right there.

Heat and inflammation, whether considered as physical or mental, arise from failure to recognize the regulating presence of divine Love, the Principle which governs the universe and man in perfect order. The recognition of the presence of Love, right where heat or inflammation seems to be, regulates temperature as required.

Either divine Principle is infinite, all-powerful, ever-present Love, or there is no divine Principle, no God. Of course there's a God, and He's right here, the divine Mind, the Life, the Truth, the Love which we can find within ourselves, within our own spiritual consciousness. Just think of it – every moment of every minute of every day, and night – the mighty power of God is instantly at hand to cast out fear and its results.

I can speak with authority on this subject, because many years ago my first healing through Christian Science came instantaneously. During 1918 we in England experienced an appalling epidemic of Spanish influenza. My gradual recovery from this disease under medical care left me in an extremely weak physical condition.

I was sent to recover in the home of a relative who was a Christian Scientist. He suggested that I turn to Christian Science for healing. I refused, saying that nothing and nobody could possibly help me. But fortunately for me he persisted, denying every argument I put forward, gently but firmly leading me to see that what I was really suffering from was a mistaken sense of a selfhood other than the man God created, the spiritually perfect expression of dominion and freedom.

This argument went on for five hours, until finally I began to glimpse something of God as Love, and the fact that I had no right to doubt my own dominion and freedom as His son. I began to feel grateful for this, realizing that gratitude had been foreign to me for some time. Like a child I turned wearily but confidently to God, divine Love, acknowledging Him as my heavenly Father, and went to bed. I slept peacefully through the night, something I hadn't done for many months, and awoke next morning perfectly healed.

 

Love’s presence melts belief of anxiety

Up to that time I'd always been a fearful, anxious individual, thin and delicate, always ready to take on any diseases or complaints which happened to be going around – even a few which weren't! But since then, apart from the fact that nobody could truthfully call me either thin or delicate today, Christian Science has proved equal to meeting scientifically every need which has arisen. It has given me a deep, deep sense of the presence of God – of the divine Principle, Love – within me, always, sufficient to dispel fear whenever it arises.

Anxiety was a thing which had always been very much part of my human makeup. Even if there was nothing specific to be anxious about, I'd be likely to think something up! But I learned through that healing that there had never been a real cause for anxiety, and never would be. Right where anxiety would try to rear its head, there was the certainty of Love's presence waiting to be acknowledged and experienced through faith.

The Christianly scientific healing of fear is obtained through absolute faith in God, based on an understanding of Him as divine Principle, Love. There's a text on the mantel of an old hotel in England, "Fear knocked at the door, faith answered, and no one was there."

Now let's go back to the distorted pictures fear presents. We've dealt with heat, inflammation, and anxiety. The next is "ignorance." Since the divine Principle, Love, is all-knowing, infinite Mind, where could ignorance have a place in this infinity of all-knowing? Nowhere, of course!

Fear is always of the unknown, an ignorant dread of what might happen, such as falling off that bicycle. But when one knows, really knows, the sustaining power of Love, and when one knows that there is no other power, one can't be troubled by ignorant doubts. We can claim our unity with this all-knowing Love right here.

 

Fearlessness is better than courage

The next word for fear is "error." Truth, which you'll remember is another name for God, is ever-present and ever-available. Error, which is a term freely used in Christian Science, serves to indicate that which does not express Truth – just a mistake. When we've scientifically accepted God, infinite Truth, as infinitely available, we can't be misled by a mistake.

For instance, if you were to see written on a blackboard that two and two are five, you wouldn't be disturbed. Because you know that two and two are four, such an error would only serve to remind you of the truth. You'd say, "That's wrong," because you'd know what is right.

The sixth wrong picture presented by fear is "desire," an unsatisfied, incomplete sense of reaching out for something one hasn't got. This sense of lacking, yearning for something to satisfy, is born of a fearful sense that man is missing something good.

Most of the crime, the bloodshed, the misery in the world can be traced to this false, mistaken sense, a failure to realize that God, the loving Father and divine Principle, gives all good, and that because of this man has all good. He doesn't have to go out and get it from somewhere; he has it already within himself, as a condition of his spiritual nature.

You see, man, as the Bible says, is the image of God – like your image reflected in a mirror. When you gee that mirrored image, you don't expect it to form gradually – in fact, you'd be very startled if it did! So man, who is the son of God, doesn't have to wait to get the divine likeness from his Heavenly Father; he has it now. All of it! Man, as the son of God, is already a state of complete blissful satisfaction. This is the true picture. And as we realize that, right where desire seems to be there is our heavenly Father's loving provision, we find our complete nature as sons and daughters of God, as individual expression of the divine Principle, Love.

Finally in our show of fear-produced pictures, we have "caution," which may be said to be an uncertain sense of Love's availability, Caution claims to be wisdom, but can it ever be said to be wise to doubt Love's care and protection? You know, it's caution which says, "I don't think it's wise to do that – at your age!"

In proportion as we trust divine intelligence to guide every step in our lives – at any age – these steps can be taken fearlessly, resolutely, confidently, joyously, and with certainty of success. Chance plays no part in our lives if we are certain of God's protection and guidance.

There is, you know, an important difference between fearlessness and courage. Courage is a good human quality, but it implies the belief that there is something to be afraid of but we're facing up to it. But God has made nothing of which man can be afraid – and therefore He has made man fearless.

The scientific destruction of the wrong pictures of fear is accomplished by positive, prayerful, reverent recognition of the presence of divine Love, divine Principle, right where fear seems to be.

There's nothing and nobody in the whole wide world which can make you afraid when you have the love of God in your heart, expressing the divine Principle, Love.

Christian Science accepts as fact that God, Love, is the only cause or creator. Every cause must have an effect, or it wouldn't be cause. Every effect must have a cause or it wouldn't be an effect. That's logical, isn't it? Moreover, every effect expresses the nature of its cause. Therefore all that is created by God must of necessity have the perfect qualities of God, the effect being like the cause.

So man, who is the creation of divine Principle, Love, is and must always be the perfect evidence of Love's loving. Accept the basic Principle, divine Love, and you can prove the rule.                 

Christian Science tackles fear on this positive basis. It doesn't first admit that fear is something and then set to work to destroy its somethingness. It accepts completely that "God is Love" and "There is no fear in love" (I John 4:18). There is no fear in the presence of God; and as man is the image of God, there is no fear in man. This is logical, scientific reasoning which heals.

 

Physical effect traced to fearful thinking

In no area is this proved more clearly than in the healing of disease. Fear is admitted by many doctors to be a basic cause of disease; and so it's clear that, when we destroy the sense of fear, we can heal disease.

You see that a mental fear has a physical effect when it causes the blood to drain from your face and the heart to start pounding.

I want to stress this point because it's an important one. What we are apt to think of as physical experiences are primarily, even wholly, mental. True substance is the expression of divine Mind, God. What we regard as matter or physicality is always a mistake, the expression of mortal material thinking.

So in the healing of disease Christian Science doesn't deal primarily with a physical condition but with the ignorant fear which bases that condition. When fear caused you to fall off that bicycle, you didn't say the fault was in the bicycle. You didn't decide to do something to the bicycle – get an extra wheel or something! And when fear upsets the balance of our bodily health, we shouldn't ignore the fear and just dose the physical body, or operate on it.                       

Fear is ignorance of the power of Love to heal. And this mental ignorance has a physical effect. Therefore, fear is what needs to be healed – and doing this will in turn correct what has appeared as a physical condition. If we saw a cat arching its back in fear of a dog, we wouldn’t want to treat it for curvature of the spine! We'd just know it was scared – and probably remove the dog!

 

Jesus’ dictum: ‘Be not afraid’

Christ Jesus in his ministry often approached one needing healing with the words, "Fear not!" or "Be not afraid." In his love and compassion for a leper he fearlessly touched him, which was thought to be a fatal thing to do. But in doing this he showed that leprosy was something not to be afraid of but to be destroyed through love. Then the leper was healed.

On this same basis of fearless compassion he healed blindness, lameness, all kinds of disease. He wasn't afraid to visit with known sinners and heal them with his expression of divine Love, raising them to a more spiritual concept of themselves. In that perfect spiritual being which is your true being and mine, there is no fear.

In her book "Retrospection and Introspection" Mrs. Eddy makes this arresting and powerful statement: "Science saith to fear, 'You are the cause of all sickness; but you are a self-constituted falsity, – you are darkness, nothingness. You are without "hope, and without God in the world." You do not exist, and have no right to exist, for "perfect Love casteth out fear" ' " (p. 61).

Let me give you a practical example of this. A young friend of ours was on vacation with her mother. One day the girl returned to the house where they were staying with alarming symptoms. Because of small children in the house, it was felt right to call a doctor. He took a very grave view of the case and said it was polio; he would have to report it to the medical officer of health, who would call later.    

The mother, at her daughter's request, called a Christian Science practitioner (that is one who gives his time to healing and helping others through Christian Science) on the telephone and asked for Christian Science treatment to be given.

She said later that the practitioner talked with her about the situation something like this: "Listen, let us rejoice that in the whole of God's kingdom there has never been a single case of polio. Polio is the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetrated on mankind. First it claims to have a power it can't possibly possess because all power belongs to God. Secondly it claims to act through fear in the presence of the all-embracing divine Love, God."

 

Citizen of heaven immune to polio

Then he went on to say, "That girl is a citizen in the kingdom of heaven, into which kingdom there has never entered anything which causes evil or disease. Because of her divine citizenship she is immune from all evil. She doesn't have to be immunized by the injection of serum; she is already immune by the inspiration of Spirit." Greatly comforted, the mother trustingly returned to her household duties.

When the medical officer called later in the day, the girl was already so greatly improved that he expressed some doubt as to whether it was a polio case, but it looked like it, and he said he would call the next day. By the next morning, however, the girl was completely well, and went on a journey of about 60 miles.

There are two interesting things which followed this healing. Just in case it might have been thought that the doctor had made a mistake, his secretary, who is a friend of ours, and knew our interest in the patient, told me that on the record the word "polio" appeared, without any expression of doubt whatever. The other interesting point is that the medical officer never called again! It was as though the whole thing had been wiped out of his thought.

Since Mrs. Eddy reinstated in Christian Science the Christ method of healing disease through divine Principle, Love, thousands of individuals have had the joy of proving its efficacy. And so can you. No matter what the disease is called, no matter what the prophecy of its future may be, because disease is based on ignorance and fear you can denounce it as powerless and lawless.

Evil of every kind is against the law of God. The only law governing man is the law of divine Principle, Love. Whenever fear, disease, unhappy human relationships, crime – any wrong picture is presented to you – you can declare, "There's a law against that!"            

There's no disease, fear, no hate, no misunderstanding which can't be scientifically healed by a sense of God as divine Principle, Love. Such a sense of Love is expressed in genuine affection, understanding, compassion, and healing.          

Love in the home, or around the conference table, either in politics or in business, to be effective is not a sentimental gush; it's an expression of divine Principle, Love. It's a deep-seated well-wishing, a sincere desire for the greatest good to all concerned, for the will of God to be seen and done.

 

Power of Love is universal

Universal Love may be seen where international fear seems to be. The expression of it rejects the claims of personal domination, political so-called power, and establishes harmony in our human affairs, bringing to light the kingdom of heaven on earth.

As you and I become more conscious of the nature and infinite presence of God as divine Principle, Love, we'll find new ways of expressing love in our daily lives. A mother was telling her small son that we are all in this world to help others. After some serious thought he asked, "What are the others here for?" But our concern, yours and mine, is with our own individual expression of Love. To the others we are "the others!"

As you and I fulfill our God-given purpose to love as the expression of divine Principle, Love, the scientific law operates to destroy fear and fear's results. Instead it brings untold blessings to us, blessings which are never in disguise.

The healing power of Christian Science lies in the operation of the law of God, the divine Principle, Love. It destroys fear. It flows through every avenue of your conscious being removing whatever needs to be removed. It relieves whatever needs to be relieved. It reveals whatever needs to be revealed, and it heals whatever needs to be healed. This scientific healing power is available to each one of you as you consciously live love in your daily round, expressing freely your knowledge that there is nothing to fear in the presence of the divine Principle, Love. There's nothing as blinding as fear, and nothing so illuminating as Love. Fear is just too bad to be true!

What wonderful reassurance we have in the Bible! "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7). This is the Science of being – the Science of being unafraid.

 

Σ1968 Noel D. Bryan-Jones

All rights reserved

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 1969, under the headline "God’s Help Enables Man to Prove Fear Unfounded".]

 

 

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