Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (1) (Summary)
Clarence A. Buskirk of South Bend, Indiana
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement, was a profound and far-seeing thinker, an earnest humanitarian, a close student of the Bible, a noble Christian woman. She created a new epoch in religious thinking.
Logic Shows In Writing
All her writings are distinguished by their high moral and religious atmosphere, by their relentless logic, and by their inspiring honesty of utterance which never falters nor swerves aside from its straight path in order to compromise or propitiate.
Her blest reward the millions who are won
To happier lives, the work which she hath done
Hath carved her name among the earth's immortals,
Beloved Chief, whose work hath just begun!
The text-book of Christian Science is Mrs. Eddy's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The right study of its pages, whether the reader accepts or declines its teachings, is sure to broaden, to elevate, and to purify one's horizon of thinking.
Energy Amazes World
In its brief history the Christian Science movement has shown a vital energy which has amazed the world. It has had no help from outside sources: it has confronted the relentless opposition, of several institutions and businesses; it has made no appeals to the fears or excitable emotions of mankind. Its appeals are made to its indisputable array of facts, to man's highest reason and spiritual discernment, and to the confirmation found in the Bible. [Thoughtful observers, outside of its followers, have been led to frequent comment on the significance of the fact that there is surely something in Christian Science which makes towards righteousness and higher citizenship in the lives and homes of its adherents.]
What is the meaning of the fact that in less than 40 years the beneficiaries and followers of Christian Science are already numbered by accumulating hundreds of thousands and to be found throughout the earth? It means that its doctrine and practice have stood the difficult test and have been found to be dependable, and for the betterment of our race. It means that its students have found some thing which has proven itself to be a practical help in their lives, and which lessens their pains and sorrows and brings more light and gladness into their homes. The grateful witnesses of its healing works in the overcoming of sin and sickness are now to be found everywhere throughout the civilized earth. [Is it not plain that the beneficent mission of Christian Science has really just begun its redemptive work? Already its evidence surpasses both in quantity and quality, the evidence to be heard in any courtroom in the most solemn and important issues. This evidence stands wholly unimpeached. It proves overwhemingly that the Christ way of healing sin and sickness is a restored benefaction to the world, and that the promises of Jesus are being verified daily — for example, his promise, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also."]
Way Shown for All Time
The proven facts in the history of the Christian Science movement show convincingly that the way which was taught by Jesus for overcoming sin and sickness was, as his own utterances indicate, for all mankind throughout the centuries. For what he said was true, whether by promise or admonition or command to his followers, and once true, always true. A truth never changes nor perishes. When Jesus said to his followers, to you and me included, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," he meant all, and not just a convenient part, of his command to his followers, made with no restriction or limitation in respect to country or century, in his plain and unmistakable words: "Preach the gospel," "Heal the sick."
Jesus gave this commandment to his followers in order that his gospel might spread, and, what was still more important, that his gospel might be preserved. The great importance which Jesus attached to healing the sick as well as preaching his gospel is shown by the fact, that he was not content with the preaching only, but sought to prove what he preached by evidential facts wherever he went, to persuade mankind of the truth of his teachings. This is also shown by his words: "Though ye believe not me, believe the works." And one of his apostles declared: "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
[Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He also explained that his works were the works of God, and that of Himself he could do nothing. These utterances repudiate the notion that his works could only be accomplished because of the greater power residing in his personality as the son of God. His words show that Jesus regarded the works in overcoming sin and sickness as capable of being done according to the divine laws which govern us. These laws are the same now as they were nineteen centuries ago. The statement made sometimes as an attempted excuse for disobedience to the command to heal the sick according to the Christ example, that the days of the miracles have passed, is without any Scriptural authority whatever. That statement was first made about the beginning of the fourth century, when the pagan dogma of the divine origin of sickness and death had found its first place in Christianity, introduced by the multitudes of Greek and Roman converts about that time. Those Greeks and Romans had believed that there are evil deities and that they send sickness, death, and other ills upon mankind. The result of this dogma of the deific origin of physical discords has been the failure to heal the sick as Jesus taught for about fifteen centuries, until Christian Science denied and refuted the dogma. Jesus, when he taught and proved by his works that the truth makes us free, showed us that from his viewpoint neither sin nor sickness was the truth of man's being, and that therefore they were not of divine causation but human in their origin. For Jesus could not have meant that the truth frees us from what is true. It is impossible for those to heal the sick according to the Christian way therefor who believe that sickness and death are "mysterious dispensations of divine Providence." The early Christians were able to heal the sick as Jesus promised until the pagan dogma which has been described found its way into Christian theology.]
Comprehension Not Necessary
Many questions are asked nowadays in respect to the process by which the sick are healed in Christian Science. How is it done? If you can understand or explain how Jesus and his followers have overcome sin, you thereby answer how Jesus and his followers overcome sickness; for Jesus employed the selfsame process to overcome all mental and physical discords, as the Bible shows. If a fact is once fully proven, then similar facts can no longer be rejected as impossible or improbable. Any failure to comprehend a proven and established fact or process does not tend to invalidate or falsify such fact or process. [The supremacy of the mind over the body is constantly to be observed. Solomon said that as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he." Paul said, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Our thoughts affect our breathing, our nerves, the circulation of the blood, in brief, all the bodily functions and activities — our good thoughts to better them and our bad thoughts to harm them. The truth delivers us from the bondage of our bad thinking. Falsehood surely cannot free us, for we know that falsehood only forges and rivets our chains.]
Truth is the sole remedy, and therefore the best and most dependable resource. One of the immediate apostles of Jesus said: "The prayer of faith shall save the sick." These words show the way of reaching and attaining the truth which delivers us. Prayer brings us nearer to divine truth — indeed, it is the only effectual way known to human experience. It is true, as Tennyson wrote:
More things were wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.
Prayer is communing with divine truth and thereby we assimilate more than in any other way the truth which frees and saves. Prayer is a mental and not a physical attitude. Prayer is to change and better man; that can be done. Prayer is not to change or better God's ways or programme: that, of course, cannot be done. Jesus admonished not to pray amiss. Also, he promised us that true prayer is always answered.
We pray amiss, and words are naught;
But when we rightly pray,
Men cannot measure with their thought
The wonders of God's way.
First, count the myriad stars on high,
Proud man, before you dare,
With all your vaunted tools, to try
To map the realm of prayer.
[Published in The Morning Oregonian of Portland, Oregon, Sept. 20, 1915. The bracketed portions come from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan. 25, 1915, which closely follows the Oregonian's text.]