How Christian Science Can Help You

 

Charles M. Carr, C.S.B., of New York, New York

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

The spiritual view of man is actually the most scientific, Charles M. Carr, C.S.B., of New York, told an audience in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, last night.

"There's a spiritual law," Mr. Carr said, "based on the universal presence called God," which can be known, obeyed, and applied to humanity's problems - even to the healing of incurable disease.

"This law is universal. It's available to everybody, just like the air we breathe."

The basic truth is, he said, that there's only one God, or creator, and consequently there can be only one creation. And this creation "would have to be entirely Godlike - entirely spiritual, entirely good. This is true of you, me, everyone," he declared.

Holding to this view - despite any contrary outward appearance - is the highest kind of love, and it can transform people's lives, Mr. Carr continued.

"The greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to the world," he said, "is the gift of the Christly point of view that recognizes nothing but the perfection of God and His creation as real."

Mr. Carr, a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, is currently on tour throughout the United States and Canada. He was introduced to his audience by Noel D. Bryan-Jones, First Reader of The Mother Church.

A partial text of the lecture, titled "How Christian Science Can Help You," follows:

 

Need for enlightenment

There's a story about a traveler who was lost in a terrific thunderstorm. It was a very dark night and he kept struggling along through the mud. He was on a horse, but finally his horse gave out. There he stood in the middle of the road all by himself with the thunder roaring and crashing. One clap seemed to shake the earth and it brought him to his knees. Now he wasn't a praying man, but he did make a petition, and it was short and to the point. He said:

"O Lord, if it's all the same to You, give us a little more light and a little less noise."

Well, we all need more light and less noise, don't we? We need to be enlightened, not frightened. This is where Christian Science can help us. How? By giving each of us a better understanding of what good really is. By showing us that good is present everywhere - in everyone - and is available to all.

This was brought out in the experience of a friend of mine who spent nearly a year traveling around the world. What struck her most was that just about everybody responded to the good she expressed - kindness, friendliness, goodwill, happiness.

People everywhere are searching for a better concept of things. This is a start in the right direction. But in order to really get anywhere, we have to see that there's an ever-present law of good that's based on the universal presence called God. That actually there's a Science of good that everyone can know by gaining a spiritual understanding of God.

Without this understanding, or spiritualization of thought, no matter how long we search for a satisfying way of life, we just won't find it. Why? Because we've been believing that good is material rather than spiritual. This kind of believing is groping in the dark like the traveler with a lot of noise and no light. The noise, the darkness of a material sense of good, would obscure the spiritual, the only reality.

Jesus recognized the need for light when he said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). What is this light and how can it help us? It's the understanding of the true spiritual nature of good. This understanding helps us turn from materialism and its troubles and attain spirituality - the consciousness of Spirit, God.

 

Good is not material

Understanding the spiritual nature of good is our first goal. But this isn't enough. We need to see just why good isn't material - why materiality isn't the ultimate good. Then, after that, we need to use this understanding in our lives.

There's a story I like about Paderewski. Somebody said to him one time, "Oh, Mr. Paderewski, you must have had a world of patience to learn to play the piano the way you do." He said, "It's not that at all. I have no more patience than anybody else. It's just that I use mine." Well, it's the same way with all of us. We need to understand the law of good first. But we can't stop there. We have to use it.

Understand the law of good, exchange material beliefs about life for spiritual truths, use the law - these are our three tasks. We need to answer, then, three questions: What is the nature of good? Why are notions of material good, materiality inadequate? How can we use our understanding of the nature of good?

Let's first bring to light what we know about the nature of good. The Bible says in the first chapter of Genesis, "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (1:31). This inspired verse contains the basic truth of Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy its Discoverer and Founder, states it very simply in her book, "Unity of Good," "God, good, is the one creator" (p. 25). And in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she amplifies this point, "There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause" (p. 207).

This means that from one cause or God, we can have just one effect or creation. What is this creation like? Well, it would have to be entirely Godlike - entirely good. That is just what the scripture in Genesis says.

Since there's only one God, there can be only one creation - that means only one kind of man, all spiritual and all Godlike. How can we have two kinds of creation, two kinds of man, one spiritual and the other material, one good and one bad, when there's only one creator and He's infinite Spirit, infinite good? We can restate very simply this basic truth: There's only one God and therefore only one creation, only one kind of man, the spiritually good one. This is true of you, me everyone. It's basic to healing, to good health - to life itself. We can see how true it is by the fact that it works.

 

Christian Science given credit

A young girl I know was suffering from ulcerative colitis. She went from 110 pounds down to 65. She had medical treatment from one of the finest hospitals in the country but it didn't help her. Finally, her doctor said he and his staff couldn't do any more, that her condition was incurable, and she had just a short time to live. This verdict was so alarming that her parents brought her home and, at the suggestion of a helpful neighbor, they asked for Christian Science treatment. Several months later, the girl was fully restored. She had her normal weight back and the tissues that'd been destroyed were completely renewed.

The doctor learned of her healing and wrote several very gracious letters to the girl's parents. I'd like to read from two of them. "It certainly is very thrilling to hear of her miraculous cure. There is no doubt in my mind, despite the fact that I am an MD, that all the credit can be given to Christian Science." "All of us of the medical profession are open-mouthed in wonder. Of all the patients I know with that particular ailment she is the only one who has had such a complete return to normal."

This healing, as well as many thousands of others accomplished through Christian Science, is proof - and encouragement - that you and I can practice Christian Science successfully. Anybody can. How? Through the application of the law of God, good. Through the realization - the persistent realization - that there's only one God, and He's infinite Spirit, infinite good. So there's only one creation, only one kind of man - all spiritual and all good. So the only man there is is God's image and likeness. And this man - this is the important point - this man is right where matter, flesh, disease appear to be.

 

Misconception eradicated

Then what was this appearance of mortality? What was this disease that seemed so real? Just a false statement about man, a misconception, therefore unreal. The Christian Science practitioner on this case refused to be fooled by any such misconception. She realized that the only reality is God and His all spiritual idea, man. She really stuck to this truth. We all have to stick to what we know is true, don't we?

When I use the word, "stick," it makes me think of a dog I used to have - a bull terrier. He loved to play with a bone and have me try to get it away from him. I could lift him off his feet and whirl him round and round, but he still held onto that bone. Practically nothing would keep him from sticking to the bone. Well, suppose you and I stick to the truth of man in the image and likeness of God as wholly spiritual, wholly good - the way that dog stuck to his bone, with as much tenacity. If we do this, we'll never let go of the fact that there's nothing but God, the only cause, and perfect man, the only effect. But the dog did let go of the bone several times when I diverted his attention by throwing a ball. Then he tried to hold onto the bone and go after the ball, too. Soon his hold on the bone weakened. I was able to get it away from him. But before long I couldn't fool him any more. He held onto the bone no matter what I did. Well, let's hold on tenaciously to the fact that God, good, is All. And His allness includes His infinite, spiritual idea, man. Let's not be diverted, or fooled, by the belief that there's any other reality but God and His creation.

And another thing about the dog. He enjoyed sticking to the bone! Let's enjoy sticking to the happy fact that God, Spirit, is All and the only Life, therefore material belief, or matter, with its troubles and limitations, is no part of existence as creator or creation. And this is practical, just as we've seen in the healing of the young girl.

As we really stick to our understanding of God's goodness and allness, we'll see only God's true "likeness and reflection everywhere." This phrase about God's "true likeness and reflection" being "everywhere" is from Science and Health. Let me read the whole statement. It's basic to an explanation of Christian Science. And it's fundamental to its practice. "The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere" (p. 516).

As we really stick to the spiritual fact that man in God's likeness reflects the substance, Life, and Love that is God, we learn to subordinate any material seeming to this truth. Because God is All, because He is infinite good, infinite Spirit - the only cause - all effect or creation must be spiritual and good.

We are now in a position to answer the question: Just why is good not material, why is materiality not the ultimate reality? If all creation is spiritual, then matter with its troubles and limitations is not creation or any part of it. It's the falsity not the fact of existence. What seems to be material is simply a misconception of reality; a misconception of creation in the likeness of God divine Mind or infinite good.

But to understand fully that matter is the falsity not the fact of existence we have work to do. We have to subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the spiritual facts. Are the senses in matter? We say that a stone feels smooth. But this is only a manner of speaking; stones don't feel smoothness; we feel the smoothness. It is obvious that the physical body without mind or consciousness, can't see, hear, feel, smell, or taste any more than a stone can.

 

Sense testimony rejected

Then what is it that feels and smells and senses? Isn't it the human mind basing its thoughts on these material observations, these misconceptions of reality? But what these thoughts claim to be existence is just a blind belief of life in matter. We have to learn not to be fooled by these material observations. Why? Because they're false testifiers. Instead, let's accept the facts - that there's nothing but God and His all spiritual idea, man.

If we're climbing a mountain and know there's a beautiful valley below, we don't deny this just because we see nothing but fog, do we? You and I know that, as the fog disappears, we'll see the beautiful landscape right where it has been all along.

We must put the fog, or belief in the reality of corporeal sense testimony, out of our thinking, whether it's material premise or material conclusion, material good or material bad. We must be willing to stick to the truth of the wholly spiritual and wholly good nature of God and man. And not reach for, or fear, the misconception, or matter sense of creator and creation. Then we'll see God and His creation, the only creation, in all its glory and perfection everywhere.

You know, when we see creation as wholly spiritual everywhere, with no mental reservations, when we stay perfectly calm and don't let ourselves be disquieted by the physical evidence - this kind of praying leads to healing and health. Let me tell you about a woman - a friend of mine - who was suffering from a distressing growth. The practitioner asked her how she was praying and she said, "Oh, I acknowledge that I'm all spiritual because God is all Spirit. I thank God that I am not made of matter, either sick matter or well matter. I know that I'm the perfect image of a perfect God." "Then what?" the practitioner asked. "Well," she said, "the next day I guess I take a look to see how I'm doing."

He said, "You've been disobeying a rule in the rule book, Science and Health. It says, 'Observe mind instead of body, lest aught unfit for development enter thought' " (p. 419). The word "mind" in this instance is spelled with a small "m," so it refers to the human mind. The practitioner pointed out that she should observe her thought, or mind, rather than her body. She should ask herself, Am I more Christlike today than yesterday? More loving? More grateful? More spiritually minded? She began to see that she shouldn't struggle to change sick matter into well matter, but that she should recognize that she was a completely spiritual idea of God, now, having nothing to do with matter, bad or good.

 

Divine likeness recognized

She brought her thinking into accord with the example of Paul. Remember he said, "Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood" (Gal. 1:16). She realized that she must not confer with matter, since it's not substance or reality. Matter, she discerned, is only a mental mistake, a wrong way of looking at man. It's a lie about man. She concluded that it was impractical to consult what's not, to find out what is. She obediently surrendered her anxiety for physical healing. She realized that there's only God and His "true likeness and reflection everywhere," nothing else. This likeness was her true being and included qualities of God, like vitality, joy, love, perfection, uprightness. She really stuck to this truth. And she enjoyed it. The result? She was healed.

An important turning point in her healing came when she put her desire to know more about God ahead of her desire for physical healing. She found Jesus' words true and practical, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).

How often we seek the things first - physical healing, maybe, more business, better relationships at home or at school, wider opportunities.

Then we ask God to hurry up and help us straighten these things out. We begin with the problem. We rationalize incorrectly from what we believe is the problem's reality. Then afterwards we feel perhaps burdened, frustrated, because of our own falsely drawn conclusions. Well, thank God, such goings-on don't have to be. We solve our problems from the standpoint of God, not from the standpoint of the problems.

We read in Science and Health, "The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, - that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle" (p. 275). Note this, we start with God and not with a problem. Do we bring God to a problem? No, never. God or good is there already, in place of what appears to be a problem, because He's everywhere. And where God is is His everywhere manifestation. Where God is are all of His qualities fully and perfectly expressed - qualities like wisdom, loving-kindness, truthfulness. Our work - and we have to be very friendly to spiritual work - our work is to see God's "true likeness and reflection everywhere," in terms of spiritual qualities and attributes of God, and not conditions or manifestations of matter, so-called.

 

Mrs. Eddy experienced healing

And Christian Science, or the Science of good, the Science of the present spiritual perfection of God and man, brings the light that helps us to see creation spiritually as it really is. Then, as a result of this true seeing, an increased sense of good comes into our human experience. That's how Christian Science helps us, why it's so practical.

Over a hundred years ago Mary Baker Eddy was struggling with the problems of human existence. It's a matter of public record that the first forty-five years of her life were filled with ill health, loneliness, a sense of insufficiency, even severe want at times. But she early developed a growing awareness of God's infinite goodness, of His nearness and dearness and of His loving care for His creation. For many years she searched for a deeper understanding of God. You know we all have to make that search. She had a strong belief in God's ability to heal mankind. This grew to a solid conviction when she was healed of severe injuries herself - injuries that threatened her life.

This healing came about, as many of you know, through her prayerful reading of the account of Jesus' healing of the man sick of the palsy (Mat 9:2-8). She saw that her life was in and of Spirit, or God, instead of in and of body, or physicality. She was healed. As she studied the Bible she began to see that Jesus had a unfailing method of healing - a scientific method. She saw, as she says in Science and Health, "There is a law of God applicable to healing, and it is a spiritual law instead of material" (p. 463).

She began to see how Jesus had healed. She put it this way in Science and Health, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" (p. 476). The correct view heals the incorrect view. Always. That's all that needs to be healed. There's no incurable problem because there's no incurable point of view.

We have to see this perfect spiritual man - the way Jesus did - in place of the material belief about man. We can't make any compromise. We can't see man as partly spiritual and partly material. We have to see him - know him - as wholly spiritual. This is the law of God - the very basis of the Science of good. This understanding is the Christ, Truth, Jesus taught and practiced.

We have to stick to this understanding. We have to persist with the truth, or Christly point of view, and not persist with the material, or problem point of view. As we've seen, we have to subordinate the evidence of the material senses to the facts of Science - that there's nothing but God and His wholly good, all-spiritual creation.

We can't accept the material belief about man - that he's material, the image of matter. Instead, we must see man through spiritual understanding as he really is - as the image of God, good, the image of Spirit. When a builder lays the foundation of a house he uses a level to establish a horizontal line. He doesn't just go by his eye. So, in establishing our concept of ourselves and others, we have to be guided by spiritual law - by spiritual understanding - rather than by material belief, or the matter sense of man.

What are the uses of the Science of good? What good does it do us to understand that man is spiritual when we live in a world where most people believe in the reality of matter? The uses of the Science of good are infinite. By sticking to the understanding that there's only one God, one creation, one effect, one kind of man, many people are learning to solve their problems - not to worry about their problems, or file them.

 

Higher concept of business

One problem that Science can help us with is getting along with each other. How? By teaching us to think of ourselves and others in terms of the spiritual qualities or attributes of God, instead of in terms of physicalities or matter. By giving everyone full credit for being God's image and likeness - full credit. By seeing the real qualities of man as loving and lovable. By being Christlike always and destructively critical never.

The love you and I manifest for our fellowman indicates the extent of our love for God. We want to be sure that our Christianity, our practice of Science, always is warm with the sunshine of Love. That we're not trapped in the deep-freeze of denominational beliefism - religious belief without practice - and popular materialism.

In business today - and we're all in the business of living - of reflecting God, there's a tremendous opportunity for us to apply the spiritual law of good - another use of the Science of good. Let me tell you how a friend of mine applied this law in his business. He'd been located for years with a large electrical company, and he'd worked industriously and faithfully. But he began to feel that this business was his god. It was pushing him around. He thought of looking for another position. But changing jobs didn't seem practical. His age, for one thing, and he'd lose his pension rights.

Now what was his basic need? To reflect the light of spiritual understanding, not to be pushed around by material-mindedness and fear. How? By acknowledging that there's only one God, therefore only one creation. That this creation includes all activity - all business - as God's expression of Himself. His business, therefore, was spiritual in nature, abundant, unrestricted. It was the expression of the spiritual attributes and qualities of God - intelligence, originality, helpfulness, consideration, integrity.

His primary business, then, wasn't the buying and selling of matter, nor the making, distributing, or servicing of it. His primary business was seeing man and all creation correctly - as the spiritual reflection, or effect, of infinite good, God. He had to see Godís "true likeness and reflection everywhere" - even where a matter business - either materially good or materially bad - seemed to be.

 

No struggle in reflection

He had to stick to the Science of good - and not stick to the problems of materiality - tenaciously, joyously. The Science that reveals there's only infinite God, good, and His infinite perfect manifestation. This was the truth about everyone, everything, about his business.

You see, he had to break away from the matter concept - from a false, limited, material way of looking at himself and his business. He realized that he couldn't afford to see himself - or anyone - wrongly as a struggling matter man, in a struggling matter business, controlled by matter laws and restrictions. He saw that the more he reflected God, or Spirit, the less he'd have to struggle with matter, which was just a spiritually uneducated point of view. In other words, in reflection there's no struggling.

You know, a material business is a body. It's a corporate body. So it's no more scientific to see one's self in a material business, a material profession, or some other material activity, than it is to see one's self in a material body. Man dwells only in God as an infinite spiritual idea embodying or reflecting God's own infinite goodness. This is the law of good. When applied, the effect humanly is that business will be prosperous and the body harmonious. As we serve God, good, business and body will serve us - instead of the other way around.

As my friend gained a more spiritual concept of business, he was inspired and encouraged to look for a new position. He soon relocated in a related field where his opportunities to help mankind have greatly increased. The joy of the job was his, as well as a satisfying reward in the form of salary and worldwide travel. His specific use of spiritual law, or the Science of good, broke down some of the limitations associated with his business. I stress the use, because, as a student of Christian Science, he went beyond the reading and studying stage. He used what he'd learned. He held to the spiritual point of view just as the dog held onto his bone.

Sticking to the truth healed a man who was suffering from heart trouble. Healing is another use of the Science of good. This man had great difficulty in breathing and he'd lost his natural color. The practitioner kept sticking to the truth of God's allness. He prayed something like this: "Dear God, I know that You are All. Because You are All, You are All-presence; so You're everywhere. And where You are is Your beloved image and likeness. This son of Your creating You're well pleased with. He's all spiritual because You are all Spirit. He's all Godlike because You are all good. He's perfect in all respects and particulars because You are the center and circumference and perfect Life of all manifestation. He's always harmoniously active because You are his divine Principle eternally. He's subject only to the law of Love, therefore he's forever complete and whole, satisfied, abundantly provided for."

 

Effect of spiritual reasoning

Then the practitioner reasoned that because God is Mind and Mind is All, there's no mortal mind to be aware of heart trouble, and no material mentality to fear it. Because God is Soul, and Soul is All, there's no physicality to experience organic or functional disease or disorder. Because God is Love, and Love is All, there's no disease, no fear, no evil, sin, or mortal law of any kind, to have any place as creator or creation, or any power to interfere. Then he thanked God for being the infinitely good source and substance of His beloved image and likeness here and everywhere, now and always.

The man was healed quickly. He discovered that heart trouble is not tenacious, but that abounding health is tenacious. Oh, another thing. The man received a bonus! He was healed of the smoking habit, too.

What a change it can make in our lives to stop believing blindly in the testimony of the senses. We've seen that this testimony doesn't make the facts of Science. When we learn this, we'll see God's "true likeness and reflection everywhere." When we stick to this truth, courageously, tenaciously, joyously, we'll see man and the universe as God made them - entirely good because entirely spiritual.

As this great light of truth permeates and spiritualizes our thinking, we'll find health and healing. We'll see our real relationship with one another. We'll develop new opportunities for helpfulness in our business or profession - in life itself. These are the proofs of the Science of good - the proofs of God's love.

 

© 1964 Charles M. Carr

All rights reserved

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 19, 1967, under the headline "Law of Spiritual Healing is Available to Everyone".]

 

 

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