The Truth of Christian Science
Archibald Cary, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Archibald Carey, C.S.B., of
The lecturer was introduced by Georgina Tennant, C.S., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
"On behalf of The Mother
Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
"Our church edifice, where we are tonight, is evident proof that Christian Science has made thousands grateful through healing and regeneration. This edifice was built in gratitude to the Discoverer of Christian Science and in love for many who, like ourselves, would be gathered together to hear potent truths of Christian Science expounded.
"It is good sometimes when we are about to hear of God and His goodness and the efficacy of His message brought to this age by His beloved messenger, Mary Baker Eddy, to pause awhile and remember the victories over difficulties of all kinds already accomplished; the quick healings and the slow healings; and the ever-widening stream of gratitude for the truth revealed by our Leader. In remembering, we may have confidence, whether we are here for the first time or after many years as students of Christian Science, that this lecture holds effective help and further inspiration for us.
"It gives me great
pleasure to present to you our lecturer, Archibald Carey of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
In Christian Science we begin all our reasoning, all our prayers, all our treatments, with God. So let us start with God.
The term "God" means
many different things to different people. In order to make sure that we are
all thinking about the same thing, perhaps we should first of all agree on just
what we mean when we use the term "God." In Christian Science we have
a textbook, called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by
Mary Baker Eddy, which accurately defines the terms which we use in speaking or
writing of this Science. Another book by the same author, entitled the Church
Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Mrs. Eddy Studied Jesus' Healings
The teachings of these two books, and the organization which is an outgrowth of these teachings, have had a profound influence on the thinking of mankind, and we are naturally interested in their author.
Mary Baker Eddy grew up in the atmosphere of godly intelligence
that characterized the best
She thought deeply on this, and investigated ancient and modern philosophies and different schools of thought. But her questions still persisted. One of the subjects that especially interested her was the healing of disease by Jesus. She could not accept the explanation that this was due to supernatural interference by an unpredictable God, and that such healings as those performed by Jesus and his apostles were possible only at that time and by certain persons. Her investigation of this subject was brought to an abrupt climax when she met with an accident that was expected to prove fatal. She called for her Bible and studied the account of the healing by Jesus of a palsied man. She caught a glimpse of the fact that such a phenomenon must be due to the operation of law, and that the same law of God which was present in Jesus' time must be operative in her time. This revelation of the unchanging truth of the law of God made such an impression upon her thought that a most remarkable thing took place. Her body was instantly healed.
She saw immediately that this was a clue to the method of healing used by Jesus. She recognized what a boon to mankind it would be if Jesus' method of healing could be discovered. So she dropped all other activities and devoted her entire attention to a study of the Bible. By applying to Christianity the scientific method which looks for facts and laws instead of emphasizing the supernatural and miraculous, she discovered the laws that Jesus had used and the methods of applying them practically to human needs. This method, Mrs. Eddy has stated in Science and Health (p. 275) as follow: "Truth, spiritually discerned, is scientifically understood. It casts out error and heals the sick." This was truly the Science of Christianity, and she called her discovery Christian Science.
God's Revelation Given to World
After broad practical tests of this scientific method of healing, she felt ready to give to the world God's revelation to her. This she has done in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." As she saw the great human need for the spiritual teachings contained in this book, her loving desire to help mankind yearned to make this healing truth available as quickly as possible to the great numbers who were ready for it. Those who had been benefited by her teachings gladly joined with her in this effort, and the result was the development under her guidance of the Christian Science movement. The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, with its branches and its Christian Science Publishing Society, as well as all the activities of The Mother Church provided for in its Manual, were established through the vision, foresight, and inspiration of this remarkable woman.
The more one examines and understands what she accomplished, the greater becomes one's admiration for her ability and intelligence. The more you experience the benefits that come as a result of the application of her teachings, the more gratitude and love you naturally feel toward the spiritually-minded woman who labored so earnestly and lovingly that this good might be available to you.
Anyone who studies her teachings knows that Mary Baker Eddy would be the first to repudiate any suggestion that her followers should worship her, but those who have received healing and happiness through Christian Science naturally feel deep gratitude and loving appreciation toward the one who has made this possible. So Christian Scientists recognize Mrs. Eddy as the Discoverer of Christian Science, as the Founder of the movement through which this Science is reaching the world, and as the Leader through whose spiritual insight and inspiration the world can be led to heights of freedom, harmony, success, and happiness which have hitherto been unknown.
The more we understand and live Christian Science the better we know and appreciate Mary Baker Eddy, who devoted herself to explaining, exemplifying, and living Christian Science. The ancient prophets, who caught fragmentary glimpses of this scientific knowledge of God's laws, were enabled to foresee to some extent what would be the nature of this full appearing of Truth. The fulfillment of their prophecies came when Mary Baker Eddy discovered and established Christian Science, and restored the lost element of Christian healing.
The Nature of God
In considering our subject, "The Truth of Christian Science," let us begin with its most fundamental and far-reaching teaching, that is, the nature of God. The Bible uses several words to describe the nature of Deity, such as Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, and Love. In the teachings of Christian Science they are invariably capitalized when used as synonyms for God. Another word that is capitalized in Christian Science and used as a synonym for God is Principle. The divine Principle describes the unchanging nature of God in its Science; Mind indicates the complete intelligence or understanding of God; Love characterizes the tender and affectionate attitude of God toward a good creation which He has established; Life reveals God to be the source of all life; Spirit designates the unlimited, ever-present activity of God; Soul brings out the oneness and immortality of God, from whom emanates all spiritual sense. Thus all His power, wisdom, and substance are seen to be available wherever one is; Father-Mother describes the tender individual relationship between God and His children.
However, in considering our subject at this time, let us deal particularly with Truth as a synonym for God.
What does it mean to use the word "Truth" as a synonym for God? It means that we must refuse to accept as belonging to God anything that is not absolutely true. Someone may say with Pilate, " 'What is Truth?' How do we know what is true? Especially, how can we know what is true about God? Does anyone really know anything about God?" We may even hear the question, "How do we really know that there is a God? No one has ever seen Him!" Must we accept the existence of God on faith alone, or can we test the conclusions of Christian Science on the basis of logic and reasoning, just as we would test the conclusions of any other science?
In the Christian Science textbook (p. 115) God is referred to as "divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind." If that is what Christian Science means by the term "God," can one choose to believe or disbelieve, or are we dealing with an inescapable reality?
In ordinary human affairs there are certain standards of truth which we use, and perhaps these may be helpful to us in approaching the teachings of Christian Science. For example, no one doubts or denies that two times two equals four, that three times three equals nine. It is a law of mathematics that two times two must always equal four, and it is equally a law that three times three must always equal nine. Moreover the law that two times two must equal four has always existed and always will. In the same way there never was a time when three times three did not equal nine, and this law will never change. These eternal and unchanging laws are not in conflict with each other or with any other laws.
It would not be possible for two laws to be in conflict, because, if they were, one of them would have to yield to the other. The one which yielded would not only cease to be law, but the fact that it had ceased to be law would establish the fact that it never had been a law. If two or more laws are to continue to operate without conflict – and this is necessary to their very existence – they must be maintained in this relationship of harmonious coexistence by some superior law or principle, just as the principle of mathematics governs all the laws of mathematics and maintains their harmony. It is essential to the existence of laws that there be such a principle.
Principle Controls Laws of Universe
Therefore the laws of the universe must be maintained in their harmonious operation by the one great Principle which controls and governs all. There could not be two independent principles, each with its set of laws, because, if there were, the two different sets of laws might conflict. No, there must be one final, supreme, ultimate Principle harmonizing the laws of the universe, if we are to have laws upon which we can rely.
That there are reliable laws in which we can trust, is accepted by scientific investigators and research departments, because their efforts are devoted to the discovery and demonstration of such laws. If there are such laws there must be a supreme Principle governing and controlling them all. That there are such laws nobody questions when their existence is proved. It logically and inescapably follows that there must be one great Principle which we find is necessary to the continued existence and operation of these laws. Therefore we can record it as a fact which is not subject to successful denial or doubt, that there is one supreme Principle or God controlling all the laws of the universe.
There are other things that must also be true about this Principle. Inasmuch as it completely controls an intelligible, understandable universe, including intelligent man, and governs the laws of intelligence by which you and I understand and comprehend this intelligible universe, this Principle could hardly be less than intelligent. Being intelligent it must comprehend the laws and facts which are based upon it.
Because divine Principle is all-intelligent, it conceives and recognizes the only creation as good and harmonious. It is the nature of love to discern and appreciate. And Christian Science teaches that divine Principle is Love. Let us remember that the more we appreciate good, the more we love it. For example, the more we understand and appreciate music, the more we love it. In like manner, we may have a growing appreciation of the Godlike qualities of a friend, until we learn to love that friend.
There can then be no doubt as to the existence of God as He is described in Christian Science; "Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind." In testing the truth of Christian Science, therefore, we find that its teachings in regard to the nature of God are not based on dogma, or a desire to believe, but are scientifically accurate conclusions which follow from an intelligent consideration of the facts.
Truth Revealed in Christian Science
On the very first page of the Preface of the Christian Science textbook we find these words: "The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity." As we search for the truth, honestly and without prejudice, we find it revealed in Christian Science.
Another teaching of Christian Science is that matter is unreal. This too can be subjected to the test of truth. The first step is of course to find out what the term "matter" means. At the time when the Christian Science textbook was written and during the following years when it was being revised by its author to meet the changing development of human thought, the term "matter," as used in the natural sciences, had a definite meaning. It referred to a supposed ultimate physical substance which was described as consisting of indivisible, indestructible, and unchangeable atoms. The atom, of which all substance was supposed to be made up, was defined as the smallest indivisible particle of matter.
Matter, with its indivisible atoms and unchanging elements, was thought of as having an existence that did not depend in any way on energy. This theory of matter, which was accepted as truth in those days, has of course, been completely wiped out by modern investigation. The atom has been broken down and divided, one element has been changed into another until it is believed that there is no material substance independent of energy.
This whole theory of matter which was supposed to be real is dealt with very summarily and completely in the Christian Science textbook where Mrs. Eddy says (p. 277), "Matter is an error of statement." Long before the physicists had recognized the mistaken concept of material substance which was designated as matter, Mary Baker Eddy, through her clear vision of what is true and actual, had recognized that matter is self-destroyed, and therefore unreal. It follows that all the limitations and discords that are connected with these false concepts about matter can therefore be broken down and destroyed. Christian Science shows us that the divine Principle, governing all law and action, is ultimate substance.
That evil is unreal is a fundamental teaching of Christian Science. If we accept the premise that the universe is under the government of divine Principle, anything that seems to be, but is not in harmony with this Principle, must be a mistake. It could not be real. And being unreal, a mistake or error, it can be corrected and destroyed by the truth.
Every Claim of Evil Destroyed
The statement that five plus two equals nine is a mistake. It is not true. No one ever experienced it. No one ever received five dollars and two dollars and as a result had nine dollars.
But the error, five plus two equals nine, if undiscovered and uncorrected, can make a great deal of trouble. Do you remember figuring your income tax? An error cannot be ignored, for it seems to have power to interfere with important matters, and yet all the time it is unreal, and must yield up its seeming reality as power as soon as the truth is discerned. If you discover a mistake in your checkbook you know that it is unreal. This encouraged you to apply the truth persistently until the truth uncovers the mistake and corrects it.
We find that this utilization of the power of Truth over error is capable of a much broader application than that in mathematics. Because evil is necessarily opposed to the ultimate reality which is good, it must be unreal, and we learn through Christian Science how to apply the specific truth that is necessary to correct and destroy every claim of evil.
Any scientific research department operates on the assumption that if sufficient intelligence can be applied to any human situation it can be improved. In Christian Science we go farther. Instead of relying on a blind hope that in some way intelligence will help us, we work with the certainty that because we understand the nature of perfect Mind to be intelligence, and how to demonstrate it, we can prepare ourselves scientifically to receive from Mind the right ideas that will overcome and destroy anything that is violating deific law or interfering with the progress of mankind or any individual. We do not ignore evil, but we do recognize its unreality. Then we effectively and practically apply the truth that is needed until the evil, like a mistake in mathematics, is overcome and destroyed and the truth is established in its place.
Christian Science Proves Sickness Unreal
Would it not be a wonderful thing if we should find that sickness is as unreal as a mistake in addition, and that we can get rid of it as easily as we can a mathematical mistake, by applying the truth that is needed to correct it? This is what Christian Science teaches and proves.
From a physiological point of view, all disease requires action. If you replace diseased action by the kind of action which contains no element of discord or decay, you have healed the disease. This applies not only to the maladies which physicians classify as functional, but also to the diseases which they classify as organic.
We are told that through the action of metabolism bodily tissue is constantly being torn down and replaced with new material, so that any organ or part of the body is continually being rebuilt. The action of an organ, as well as its substance, is thus considered as dependent entirely upon what are called the bodily processes. If these are controlled by disease they are supposed to produce not only functional but organic disorder. If all the bodily processes were harmoniously governed, there could be no disease, organic or functional.
What controls these processes? Not just the automatic action of food, because two people can eat the same things and one be well and the other be sick. Not climate or environment, because two people can live in the same surroundings and one be sick and the other well. Not germs or contagion, because two people can be equally exposed and one will have sufficient resistance to be unaffected while the other may succumb. How can man successfully resist and throw off disease? This is exactly what Christian Science teaches us.
A basic mistake that has interfered with the progress of the art of healing has been the assumption that man lives in a physical body. A well-informed individual generally knows that the physical body is being constantly torn down and replaced. If you are your body and your body is you, every time you replace the body, which physiologists say takes about eleven months, you would be another individual. But no one believes that the individuality really is changed when the body is replaced. If you went to a bank to draw out money that you had deposited a year before, you would be very much surprised if the bank refused to honor your check because physiologists say you have not the same body.
Why does your signature at the bank look so much like the one that you used when you made the deposit a year before? You used the same mental pattern for your signature. If you find your handwriting is getting illegible, you correct your mental pattern and your handwriting improves. If you find your physical body is manifesting something less than the health and harmony and perfection that are right and normal, try correcting some of your mental concepts with Christian Science and watch the effect on the body. We find that even the physical body is, in the last analysis, a manifestation of thought. As we correct thought, the body is controlled by and included in that correction.
Is not this a great improvement in the art of healing? In the use of drugs we find variable results with different people or with the same individuals at different times, as well as the bad after effects that so often follow. In Christian Science, on the other hand, we work directly with the mental condition which is responsible for the body. As we strengthen, correct, and heal it by applying the fundamental truths about God and man, we find that a mistaken thought-model of a disease-process, like a mistaken mental concept in arithmetic, can be overcome and destroyed, thus healing the body. Moreover, this method heals all kinds of disease.
A young woman who was totally blind in one eye and had lost most of the sight of the other was told by specialists whom she consulted that medical science could do nothing for her sight, and she went to a Christian Science practitioner for help. He saw this was an opportunity for the healing power of God, Principle, to be utilized. If Truth can correct a mistake in mathematics, can it not correct a mistake about man?
In a few minutes conversation it became apparent that the patient was blind also to many other things that are important to happiness. She evidently saw no good in anyone, saw no opportunities to make others happy, and overlooked most of the things that make life worth living.
She did not see them because she did not look for them. She saw little to be grateful for – and is not ingratitude a form of blindness to good and its source?
Gratitude Opens Door to Healing
The practitioner saw clearly that a child of God, perfect, intelligent expression of the divine Being, could not be kept from seeing the beauty, harmony, and goodness of His creation – that she naturally saw and gratefully appreciated all the good that was there to be seen.
After a short conversation about these things and a few minutes of silent prayer, the patient left. Treatment in Christian Science continued for some days, and a great change appeared. Instead of a sad, unkind, ungrateful object of pity, wearing dark glasses both literally and figuratively, with a repellent expression of self-pity and discontent, there began to appear a radiantly happy, alert, grateful young woman whose expression was so kindly and friendly that people spoke to her about it. The dark glasses were gone, and her physical vision gave her no concern.
The physician who had last examined her eyes before she turned to Christian Science, and had told her that her case was hopeless, met her on the street. She was so changed that he inquired to make sure that she was the same one who had consulted him. He was astounded at her ability to see and asked permission to examine her eyes to satisfy himself that what she told him was true. After a careful examination he told her that the sight of the eye which had been totally blind was perfect, and that the sight of the other eye was practically normal.
The body does not control itself, nor maintain any condition of disease or defect, but as the thought that is expressed by the body is corrected and healed through the truth about God and man, the body naturally responds.
The testimonials of Christian Science healing which are published in the chapter entitled Fruitage in our textbook, Science and Health, and other testimonies of healing published in The Christian Science Journal and Sentinel, as well as those which are given in Christian Science churches every Wednesday evening, show the results which follow. Not only are minor ailments quickly and easily healed by Christian Science, but diseases that are considered complicated or incurable, organic as well as functional, yield to this logical and Christian method of treatment.
When we take up the study of the Bible in the light of Christian Science, we realize why the words "Key to the Scriptures" are included in the title of the textbook. Science and Health unveils the real meaning of the Bible, which has been obscured by mistaken dogmas and ignorance. We find a golden vein of Truth running through the Bible from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation. At some points it is richer and deeper than at others. The ancient prophets glimpsed this truth in varying degrees and the disciples saw it in larger measure in the words and works of Christ Jesus.
Promise of Salvation Fulfilled
Christian Science teaches that there is a distinction between the Christ, which Mrs. Eddy defines in the Christian Science textbook (p. 583) as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error," and Jesus, defined as "the highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea, rebuking and destroying error and bringing to light man's immortality" (p. 589). Because the human Jesus exemplified the eternal Christ, he was known as Christ Jesus.
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to understand the nature of the Christ as the Way-shower is to think of him as the way of living – the perfect way of living. The Christian Science textbook speaks of the Christ as the Way (p. 332), because he declared himself to be "the way" (John 14:6), and we do much to bring the Christ into our experience as our way of living approaches more and more the divine manifestation of God. The salvation which comes through an acceptance of the Christ then becomes part of our daily life. We are not looking forward to a future-world salvation, but we recognize that we are saved, and protected, and strengthened, and healed by the power of divine Love now. This is true salvation in all its completeness and eternal reality. Christian Science fulfills the words of the Bible, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" (Rev. 12:10).
As you look into the teachings of Christian Science for yourself, you will find that the same inescapable truth, which has been so apparent in the few points that we have had time to discuss, characterizes all of the teachings of Christian Science. And because this Science is true, it carries with it the tremendous power that divine Truth exercises over error. Naturally now the question arises, "How can I make the best practical use of this power of God?"
Because God is Mind, the great source of all right ideas, the way to receive these right ideas is through communication or communion with this Mind. Communion with God is prayer, and Christian Science gives a great deal of attention to this important subject. The first chapter in our textbook, Science and Health, is devoted to it.
Proper Prayer Brings Benefits
If prayer is thought of as an effort to get an infinitely wise and loving God to change His good plans because of the urging of some limited mortal, then prayer cannot be successful. For God to be less than loving and wise in response to such a request would be contrary to the nature of God. Such prayer would benefit neither God nor the one who prayed. On the other hand, if prayer is thought of as communion with infinite Love and wisdom by which one gratefully, lovingly, and intelligently turns to God to learn how to be more kind, wise, and actively Godlike, results are sure to follow. Into this receptive consciousness will flow right ideas from infinite Mind. As these ideas are accepted and utilized, there will naturally appear in the experience of the individual who entertains them greater health, harmony, freedom, abundance, and success.
We can develop our capacity to talk or commune with God as we would talk with a kindly, wise friend. As we not only talk to God in prayer, but also listen in prayer for the right ideas which He will give us, we find that His loving wisdom guides us and leads us to recognize and accept the opportunities which He always provides to bring His children the fullest degree of happiness. Our Father-Mother God loves you individually, and it is His purpose that you should be well and happy and successful.
The Apostle James has said, "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James ). As you learn to utilize the complete prayer of Christian Science, which includes listening and responding, talking to God and affirming His mighty truths, as you are governed by His love and wisdom, you will find that His great power is working with you and through you to produce results that seem marvelous and miraculous to those who do not comprehend the possibilities of working with God in this way.
A friend of mine had a very practical demonstration of how Christian Science works. He was a successful businessman, but in the depression a few years ago he found himself in a desperate situation. He went to a Christian Science practitioner and said: "Only a miracle can save my business. I need thirty thousand dollars right away. I have tried every avenue I can think of, and there doesn't seem to be the slightest possibility of getting it,"
Together, he and the practitioner turned to God in silent prayer – the understanding, confident communion with God of which Christian Science teaches us. Despair, fear, worry began to lift, in the realization of God's great power and goodness, of His love for each of His children. In this free, undisturbed atmosphere of thought, right ideas, which have their source in God and are always available to man, naturally began to appear.
This man had not discharged any of his employees or reduced their wages, and because of depression conditions he was operating at a loss. Now his surplus was gone, and he could not continue to do this. He had been outlining a course of conduct which seemed right and kind, but now something more than human benevolence was needed. Otherwise the business would close and all his employees would be out of work.
As he turned to God for broader wisdom, the thought came to him to call in his employees and discuss the situation with them. He did so, and found they were as worried about their jobs as he had been about the business, because they could see that the concern could not continue to operate as it had been. Rather than have the business close, they offered to reduce their wages during the emergency and each do more work than before in order to keep things going. In this spirit of grateful, courageous cooperation the business improved most remarkably in production, economy of operation, better contacts with customers, and also in volume. A few unusual advertising plans, inexpensive but very effective, next appeared. Shortly, the business was not only meeting competition but offering such a good product and rendering such outstanding service that it was growing in spite of the depression.
Right Ideas Meet Human Needs
The thought then came to this man to go to his creditors and talk to them. He had been avoiding them because he had run out of excuses as well as money. When they saw the change in his business and realized that it was operating at a profit, they gladly gave him credit for his current needs and agreed to defer payment of their old balances until the business could meet them out of earnings. Soon better working conditions could be provided for the employees, the debts were paid, and the operation showed a good profit.
The business was saved, and the owner was again operating successfully. What he needed was not thirty thousand dollars, but right ideas. As he learned how to commune with God in the efficacious prayer of Christian Science, he received these ideas and they met his needs. The author of the Christian Science textbook, in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 307), has said, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies."
May I add just a word as to means that may be useful in making practically and quickly available to you the benefits of Christian Science? You will find it helpful to get a copy of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, which can be purchased or borrowed at any Christian Science Reading Room. Read the first chapter on "Prayer" and see how much of it you already agree with. You will enjoy the eighth chapter, beginning on page 201, called "Footsteps of Truth," and the chapters that follow. Then read the whole book from the beginning of the Preface to the end of the testimonies. The author of the book advises us to read it "from beginning to end" (p. 559). You may find it easier not to try to get the full meaning of every sentence as you begin to read. Just accept what comes to you naturally, and let a fuller understanding of the meaning come as you go through the book again.
It is helpful to study the Bible in the light of Christian Science. To aid you in doing this, a copy of the Christian Science Quarterly is useful, because it contains citations from the Bible to be studied in connection with passages from Science and Health. Another aid to progress is attendance at the Christian Science church services not only on Sunday but also on Wednesday evening, when the meetings include testimonies of healing in Christian Science. You will find them most interesting.
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 1949.]