Christian Science: Its Reinstatement of Primitive Christianity and Spiritual Healing

 

Ralph Castle, C.S., of San Francisco, California

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Delivered in Convention Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Monday evening, March 6, 1950, under the auspices of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, in Tulsa. The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Eliza Newlin, who said:

 

The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Eliza Newlin, who said:

 

Introduction

Good evening, friends.

Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city extends a warm welcome to you this evening to hear a lecture on Christian Science entitled "Christian Science: Its Reinstatement of Primitive Christianity and Spiritual Healing."

We read in the Holy Bible how Jesus healed by Spirit, for instance, the man at the pool who had been in that condition thirty and eight years. Jesus' clear spiritual understanding of man's true identity with God enabled him to heal the man instantly. Not only did Jesus heal by Spirit but he taught his followers to heal likewise. We have many accounts of the healing work of the apostles.

Our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 302), "The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged." These truths our Leader learned from the Bible and gave to the world a solution or rule for eliminating human suffering. She further states in her textbook (p. 147), "They were submitted to the broadest practical test, and everywhere, when honestly applied under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible, this Science showed that Truth had lost none of its divine and healing efficacy, even though centuries had passed away since Jesus practised these rules on the hills of Judaea and in the valleys of Galilee."

One of the many avenues which our Leader provided for proving primitive Christianity to the world today is through the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. Our speaker for the evening, Mr. Ralph Castle, C.S., of San Francisco, California, is a member of that Board. It is now my sacred privilege to present him at this time. Mr. Castle.

 

The Lecture

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

As our introducer said, we are here to discuss primitive Christianity. We are not going to talk about Christianity as it may be too generally accepted a Christianity somewhat difficult to define because of religious opinions which involve creeds, doctrines, and denominations. Instead, our purpose is to review the Christianity which Jesus, who bore the title of the Christ, taught and practiced, and to remind ourselves that these teachings are applicable in our world of today as they were in the time of the Master. And the application of the teachings of Jesus in our daily lives is the primary, nay, the sole purpose of Christian Science.

Before proceeding further there is a point which should be made quite clear. While many of those present may be students of Christian Science, there are undoubtedly others who are not yet very familiar with its teachings. We welcome these visitors most heartily. At the outset let it be understood that Christian Science has its foundation in the Holy Bible and that Christian Scientists accept without mental reservation the word and works of Jesus as setting forth true Christianity. And this, of course, includes healing the sick, regenerating the sinful, and raising the dead.

Reviewing briefly the life of our Master, there are two of his particular characteristics on which I should like to touch. The first was his realization of complete at-one-ment with God, or, as he expressed it, his inseparability from the Father.

We are all familiar with the story in the Gospel of Luke of the child Jesus in the midst of the doctors in the temple, discussing with them the Holy Scriptures. We remember the writer's comment that they "were astonished at his understanding and answers." Then we recall that, when he was questioned by his mother concerning the incident, he replied, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

 

Christ Jesus' Inseparability from God

In this first recorded saying of Jesus, the reply of a little boy of twelve to an anxious parent, lies the prerequisite to the practice of Christianity. This marks the first recorded acknowledgment by Jesus of the realization of his inseparability from his heavenly Father. Prophecy was being fulfilled, and this little boy was becoming conscious of a ministry which, through his spiritual perception, he later showed to be that of the Messiah, or Saviour.

Although there is no authentic record of Jesus' experiences during the following eighteen years, it is not unreasonable to assume that he lived what we would call a normal family life, obtaining his education and, for a time, following the trade of Joseph, that of a carpenter. We do have good reason to assume that he devoted much time to study, to pondering the question of life who and what he was, in reality, and his purpose on earth. And in these periods of reflection he was becoming more and more conscious of real selfhood, of his spiritual at-one-ment with "the Father," as he termed God. The record of his later years confirms this opinion; and the record also indicates clearly that he must have made a deep study of the Scriptures, for he proved to be very familiar with them. The first of many Biblical indications of this is in what has been termed "the temptation in the wilderness." In addition to quoting from the Scriptures often, the Bible indicates that on certain occasions he read publicly from the scrolls.

Incidentally, there seems to be an impression, popular among certain groups of persons, that Jesus was a poor man. Yet there is positively nothing in the Biblical record which would indicate this to have been the case. On the contrary, there is good reason to believe that Jesus did not lack any of the so-called necessities of life. He wore good clothes. This fact is recorded in the Gospels. At the time of the crucifixion, you remember, it says the soldiers cast lots for his garments; and his coat was of particularly fine quality, for it was without seam. John records that it was "woven from the top throughout." Some authorities think that Jesus owned the farm of his famous ancestor, Boaz, on the plains of Bethlehem, where Ruth gleaned. This, however, is all by the way, but it does help us better to understand the humanity of the Saviour.

 

Distinction between Jesus and the Christ

In Christian Science the original distinction is retained which existed between the name Jesus and the word Christ. Jesus was a man's name and is still used in some countries. Christ was a title meaning the Anointed, or the Messiah. Originally, the Master was referred to as Jesus, the Christ, but gradually the article was dropped until he became commonly spoken of as Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus. The fact remains, however, that his entire ministry established his claim to the Messiahship. It was concerned solely with his Father's, that is, with God's business. To cite one of his many statements to this effect: "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38).

Jesus was actually God's representative on earth, doing nothing, as he said, in his own power or strength, but accomplishing all things healing the sick, raising the dead, regenerating sinners, even bringing his own body back from the tomb through the knowledge of man's at-one-ment with the Father, the divine Spirit, with which he was endowed without measure. On page 482 of the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: "Jesus was the highest human concept of the perfect man. He was inseparable from Christ, the Messiah, the divine idea of God outside the flesh." Jesus was inseparable from Christ, because he knew through spiritual perception that he was inseparable. And herein lies an important factor in the teachings of Christian Science and in its healing efficacy.

As human beings, we are apt to think we are definitely separated from the Christ, that is, from the true idea of God as demonstrated by Jesus, or we entertain serious doubts as to our inseparability from it. The great discovery which our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, made, through divine revelation and her consecrated study of the Scriptures especially the teachings of Jesus is that you and I, in reality, enjoy the same inseparability from Christ, Truth, as was realized by the Master. Please note the words "in reality," which will be amplified a little later.

 

Keynote of Christian Science

In considering the subject of Christian Science there is a phrase in Science and Health which may be regarded as a keynote. It is found on page 269, where Mrs. Eddy says, "Metaphysics is above physics." Let us carry this thought through our discussion; but I am going to read the entire sentence of which these four words are a part: "Metaphysics is above physics, and matter does not enter into metaphysical premises or conclusions." The next sentence reads, "The categories of metaphysics rest on one basis, the divine Mind." Jesus was the master Metaphysician, and we look to his teaching and accept his promises, one of which reads, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John 14:12). Jesus was not referring to himself as a human being when he said, "He that believeth on me." The "me" to which he had reference was the Christ, the idea of God, which, as we have already seen, he realized was inseparable from him and constituted his true spiritual nature. It is the conviction, born of spiritual understanding, that the Christ, or true idea, is ever present in our own individual consciousness, which constitutes that believing, the outward manifestation of which is seen by works, or signs following; in other words, the healing of sickness and sin.

For nearly three hundred years after Jesus' ministry, his promises were accepted literally by thousands of believers and were proved by spiritual healings and the raising of the dead. Then, for about sixteen hundred years, scientific, spiritual healing was virtually forgotten at least, we have little record that it was practiced by members of the Christian church. In other words, the healing element of Christianity, so strongly emphasized by Jesus, was lost or disregarded for centuries, until discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866.

 

Element of Healing Discovered

A natural question which might arise in the thought of the newcomer to Christian Science is: "How was this lost element of healing found? You say, Mrs. Eddy discovered it, but how?" This is a fair question.

As just mentioned, Christian Science was discovered in 1866. That was when Mrs. Eddy became fully convinced that divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love govern man and the universe. To understand her ability to arrive at this conclusion, we need to know certain facts pertaining to events which happened previously, during the years in which our Leader was being prepared, by her own realization of God's influence, for this final spiritual revelation. That the new student, or one who is just looking into Christian Science, may understand the full significance of her experience during these years, let us review briefly some of these incidents. You will agree that the revelator cannot be separated from the revelation, and if one is to understand the teachings of Christian Science, he must feel a oneness and sympathy with the life purpose of its Discoverer and Founder. One cannot separate Christianity from Jesus the Christ, neither can one separate Christian Science from Mary Baker Eddy.

Let us picture a scene in a Congregational church in Tilton, New Hampshire, about the year 1832. It is the occasion when applicants for membership are to be examined to determine whether their understanding of the accepted doctrine of this church warrants their admittance. The pastor, a kindly but firm religionist, is conducting the examination, and the elders of the church are present, probably sitting in judgment. Attention is focused on a child of twelve this time it is a little girl. She answers the questions put to her with humility and respect. Soon she is questioned concerning the doctrine of predestination, but she does not give the prescribed and expected replies. She dares to doubt the opinion and religious convictions of pastor, elders, and even of her own father. Despite appeals from the minister and her father, she declines to be shaken in her faith in a God of love and justice. Tearfully, she quotes the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

This little girl's earnestness and humility are so apparent that the acceptance of predestination is waived, and she, together with her protests, is lovingly admitted to church membership. Many years later Mrs. Eddy wrote concerning this experience as follows: "My connection with this religious body was retained till I founded a church of my own, built on the basis of Christian Science, 'Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone' " (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 15).

 

Mrs. Eddy's Early Healings

Just prior to this examination Mary Baker had received an instantaneous physical healing through her own prayers through her spiritual perception of God's love. So her own spiritual-mindedness could not reconcile the thought of anger or punishment with God. How could Love become hate? How could a God who is Love, and Love alone, make distinction between His children, favoring some and being indifferent to the welfare of others even predestinating them to unhappiness and suffering? We must remember that Mary Baker was a keen student of the Bible despite her youth. Not only was she forming her own individual concept of God, but she was courageous enough to defend that concept against doctrines which, to her, seemed inconsistent and humanly evolved.

Mary Baker was not only a student of the Bible; she proved herself a capable scholar in the classics and in her studies of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. One has only to read some of the writings of Mary Baker Eddy to appreciate the breadth of her education and culture.

Students of Christian Science are familiar with an incident that occurred some years later. Mrs. Eddy had a severe fall on the ice and was badly injured. Her physician said she would never recover, but his verdict proved to be merely a challenge to her understanding of God and of God's love. Again she turned to her Bible to the teachings and works of Jesus and her spiritual realization of the ever-present Christ resulted in instantaneous healing. So impressed was she with this further proof of the power of God to heal that she virtually withdrew from society and devoted herself to a still deeper search of the Scriptures, confident that she would discover the rules underlying the spiritual healing recorded in the Bible, including the miracles, so called, of Jesus and his early followers. She had known what it meant to be ill, to be discouraged, and to be given up as a hopeless invalid. In gratitude to the divine Healer, and in her loving desire to share this spiritual help with others, she persisted in her quest despite ridicule and desertion by friends and relatives. For her spiritual convictions she endured privation and hardship, but she never swerved from what by then she knew to be a God-inspired mission. Let me read what she wrote in later years regarding her work at this time. On page 226 of Science and Health she says, "I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind." Here let it be said that Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science included the realization that God is infinite, divine Mind, and in the passage just quoted Mind is used as a synonym for God. Now we read on, but note the love for mankind and the God given courage which underlie the words: "The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who to-day, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged."

 

Conclusive Evidence

Mrs. Eddy's receptivity to spiritual truths pertaining to God and man resulted in her arriving at definite conclusions regarding spiritual healing, which she submitted to the broadest possible tests. These furnished conclusive evidence that it is a spiritual understanding of God and of the real man's inseparability from Him that results in the "signs following," namely, physical healings and moral regeneration. She was then ready to share her discovery with mankind, a discovery she named Christian Science.

You will notice that we have returned to the inseparability of the real man from God; so now let us determine what is meant by the real man, the real you and the real me, the you and me made in the image of God, after His likeness, according to the twenty-sixth verse in the first chapter of Genesis. This real man is individual spiritual consciousness, which expresses or reflects the attributes and qualities of the creator, whom we call God or Spirit. God, Spirit, and His spiritual creation are indestructible; therefore, they alone are real. You will agree that reality implies permanence. We have sufficient evidence to prove that nothing of which the physical senses are cognizant is permanent. Hence, all testimony furnished by material or physical sense must be unreal in the scientific meaning of the word. Conversely, that only is real which is spiritually perceived as God and His image and likeness, man.

Jesus recognized his true, spiritual identity as distinct from the fleshly form which bore his name. Our understanding of what true selfhood means is, therefore, of paramount importance. We say we recognize a person when we see him; we recognize his face, his stature, his mannerisms. This recognition, however, is confined to mere physical perception. To recognize oneself or another in terms of qualities requires a mental recognition; and here, again, we need to distinguish between that which is materially mental and that which is spiritually mental. Let me explain. You will agree that all we can know about ourselves or about others is what we think or, if you will, what we accept as thoughts in our individual consciousness. Reasoning is a human faculty. Mrs. Eddy calls reason the most active human faculty. So it is reasoning correctly or erroneously which is responsible for all that is going on in our world today. Every single human experience is traceable to thinking. Take this belief of separability. You notice the term "belief." That is because it is not true in the scientific meaning of the word. You see we are proceeding from the premise that God and man are inseparable. We have established the fact that God and His likeness, or manifestation, alone are real; so everything unlike God can be only a belief, a belief based on a misconception of reality.

 

Christian Science Treatment

At this point it is well to mention something about prayer in Christian Science, or, as it is frequently termed, Christian Science treatment. Spiritually mental perception of what is real, as distinct from what is termed belief, is the basis of Christian Science prayer, or treatment. In this discussion we have already devoted some time to the spiritual fact of the real man's inseparability from God, but there are many other aspects which need to be recognized and to be examined in the light of God's omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. It follows, therefore, that efficacious prayer demands a perpetual unfoldment to us, individually, of the true nature of God, His attributes and qualities. Only as God is thus revealed, do we find the truth concerning man as His reflection. Carried a step farther, the realization of truths pertaining to God and man can be considered as applying specifically to our own true selfhood as well as to the true selfhood of another. Reasoning in this way, from the basis of spiritual causation, we discard as scientifically unreal all testimony of the physical or material senses. The mental denial of false, mortal beliefs and the steadfast adherence to the truths of creation bring physical healing, comfort, and regeneration into human experience.

It would be encouraging to think that what has been said may have aroused sufficient interest in the thought of any newcomer here to make him desire to read more about this great discovery. So I refer seekers for the truth of Christian Science and a knowledge of its Leader to the published writings of Mary Baker Eddy and to authorized biographies of her, which may be read, borrowed, or purchased in Christian Science Reading Rooms. In many public libraries the works of Mrs. Eddy may be read and borrowed.

 

Purpose in Organizing Church

Properly to present this discussion entitled, "Christian Science: Its Reinstatement of Primitive Christianity and Spiritual Healing," we should recall an incident which occurred in 1879, when a group of twenty-six persons, members of what was known as the Christian Scientist Association, met with their Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, to consider the formation of a church, the purpose of which was to forward the understanding and demonstration of Christian Science. A motion made by Mrs. Eddy, and duly carried, resulted in the founding of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. The motion read as follows: "To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Church Manual, p. 17).

Let us pause for a moment and analyze the purpose of this motion more clearly. There is no period after the word "Master." It does not read, "To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master." We might say that all Christian denominations rightly claim that as their intention. Mrs. Eddy went much farther. She stated the form in which the commemoration should be made: namely, that this church "should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." This may prompt a question in the thought of the newcomer to what extent is this healing being accomplished? I should like to mention one or two of the many healings with which I am familiar. But before doing so, let me draw your attention to the fact that each issue of authorized monthly and weekly Christian Science publications contains accounts of numerous authenticated instances of Christian Science healing testimonies to the fact that the so-called lost element of Christianity, spiritual healing, is again being effectively practiced.

 

Instantaneous Healing

Let me tell you a story of a deeply religious Christian woman whose daughter, her only child, lay dying. Nine doctors had done all they could for her, but their skill and care had been unavailing. For many days the young woman had remained unconscious and had eaten no food. Some time previously she had lost her sight. One day a friend asked the mother if she had ever considered trying Christian Science. Despite the strong convictions of her own denomination, this mother consented to ask for help in Christian Science. A Christian Science practitioner was called on the telephone, but was obliged to say she could not visit them until the next day. The practitioner did consent to work for the daughter that is, to give absent Christian Science treatment and told the mother to hold to the thought that Life is eternal. Within a few hours the daughter's condition improved. She opened her eyes and found her sight had been restored. She then asked to be given some milk, all to the consternation of a nurse who had been in attendance and who could not grasp what had happened. The patient began to eat normally, and when the doctor, who had not been informed of what had taken place, made his customary visit, he could only regard the healing as a miracle.

Picture the gratitude of this mother whose only child had been literally restored to life through the application of a Science about which she knew nothing. With humility she began to read the textbook, and, because she was a devout church woman, it was natural that she read the Tenets of Christian Science as given in that book. Mother and daughter pondered these articles of faith one by one, and to each they decided they could conscientiously subscribe. Membership in a Christian Science church followed in natural sequence, and for many years this daughter has been in the public practice of the Science which actually raised her from what was expected to be her deathbed.

 

Divine Protection

Here is another example of how the application of the rules of Christian Science brings comfort, assurance, and healing in times of great stress.

In the early days of my wartime ministry I was asked to visit a young man stationed at one of the big bombing bases. This lad's mother was an earnest Christian Scientist, and he had attended a Christian Science Sunday School. Although he expressed appreciation for my visit, and we had several subsequent talks, he did not seem to evince much interest in continuing his studies of Christian Science. He was then shipped to the Philippines. Soon after the fall of Bataan his mother received word, officially, that he was missing in action. She promptly declared the fact that God protects and governs His own ideas and refused to accept mentally the report that he had been killed. She felt, however, that if she could only hear that in his extremity her son had turned to the truths he had learned in the Christian Science Sunday School and from her, that alone would bring her a sense of peace and assurance. A Christian Science practitioner to whom she had voiced this thought realized the rightness of the mother's desire and that it could be satisfied scientifically, despite the fact that, from the human standpoint, this might seem unlikely.

In the August following the fall of Bataan the mother received a water-stained letter from her son which had been written and mailed six months previously, and which had recently been picked up, with others, in a sack found floating on the Pacific Ocean. In this letter the young man said he felt God was with them constantly and that His goodness and guidance would lead them. He also said that with each day his faith grew deeper. Here, indeed, was an answer to prayer.

For nearly a year nothing more was heard, but the mother held fast to what she knew to be the truth of being, asserting many times each day the spiritual facts pertaining to the government and love of God and mentally working from the basis of promises contained in the ninety-first and twenty-third Psalms. One morning, while she was repeating the twenty-third Psalm and specifically applying the assurances to her own son, all sense of anxiety was dispelled. She was happy and free and was so convinced that all was well that she telephoned her daughter to say she knew word would soon be received which would confirm the knowledge that her boy was safe. The very next morning a telegram came from Washington that her son was alive and was a prisoner of the Japanese. He spent four years in a prison camp and endured many hardships, but the truths pertaining to God and the real man which he had learned in his boyhood brought him through these hard experiences without any sense of resentment, and he suffered no harm that has not since been remedied.

It was a happy occasion when my wife and I met this soldier immediately upon his return to this country, for it was apparent from his mental attitude that he had been sustained throughout by his knowledge of Christian Science although, as I said, for a time it had seemed his interest had waned. His wife was so impressed with his appearance and conduct that she expressed an earnest desire to know something of the religion which had been proved so practical.

 

Church Membership

It seems timely to say a few words about church membership, especially in the light of recent activities in the world of Protestantism, namely, the assembly of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam. In a report of the proceedings it was stated that the delegates adjourned, unable even to agree on a definition of the word "church." Yet we have here, in the Christian Science textbook, a definition of church which should appeal to the honest, sincere Christian as describing, as clearly as human language permits, the church of pure Christianity. This definition of church reads, in part. "The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick" (Science and Health, p. 583). Borrowing Mrs. Eddy's words, it is the church which is built upon divine Principle, Love. And as she says on page 35 of the textbook, "We can unite with this church only as we are new-born of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, casting out error and healing the sick." Can the church of primitive Christianity be defined in more beautiful or more simple terms?

Archbishop William Temple of Canterbury is quoted as saying: "It is not by contrivance and adjustment that we can unite the Church of God. It is only by coming closer to Him that we come nearer to one another." Christian Scientists agree with the Archbishop's remarks, for contrivance and adjustment without spiritual inspiration and the recognition of divine guidance are but human footsteps too often taken at the instance of human will or opinion. At this stage of progress we must take the right human footsteps in order to obey the Master's command to go into all the world, preach the gospel, and heal the sick; but to do so we need to understand his teachings and his methods in other words, the rules of the Science of his Christianity, the application of which resulted in the miracles, or mighty works, recorded in the New Testament.

 

Restoring Spiritual Healing

We have already seen that primitive Christianity and Christian Science are fundamentally the same. In the Bible, groups of Christians in various places, teaching and preaching the words of Jesus, are referred to as churches. So today certain groups of Christians who are meeting regularly to learn more of Jesus' words and works and are seeking especially to restore and re-establish the element of spiritual healing to Christianity are known as Churches of Christ, Scientist. Membership in a Church of Christ, Scientist, is a blessed privilege in that it enables the individual to promote the healing work of the Master to a much greater extent and more effectively than could be accomplished single handedly. Alliance with others in such a cause contributes to their spiritual and moral support, and, of course, we in turn are likewise blessed. And this brings us back to our beloved Leader's intent in the motion which resulted in the founding of the Church of Christ, Scientist. As this action of the Founder was based upon a purely unselfish desire to bring healing, comfort, and regeneration to suffering humanity, so does alliance with her Church, by those similarly desirous, assist in furthering this purpose.

At the beginning of this talk, I mentioned there were two of the Christly characteristics, or qualities of Jesus, which would be discussed in connection with our subject. The first was his realization of man's inseparability from God, and this we have covered. The second is compassion. Even casual readers of the Gospels cannot fail to be impressed by the recurrence of the fact that Jesus had compassion on the sick or on the multitude before he healed and fed them.

 

Compassion Requisite to Healing

According to Young's Concordance of the Bible, the word compassion as used in connection with these works of Jesus differs somewhat in meaning from that which it has in other Biblical accounts. Compassion, as Jesus displayed it, conveys ineffable tenderness. It is more than ordinary pity, kindliness, or mercy. It is a deep desire to do good to others, a feeling which preceded the actual physical healings. Today this same sense of compassion toward our fellow beings is requisite to Christian Science healing. Hear what Mrs. Eddy has to say on the subject. On page 367 of her textbook she writes, "The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them art better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love." And on page 365 she states, "If the Scientist reaches his patient through divine Love, the healing work will be accomplished at one visit, and the disease will vanish into its native nothingness like dew before the morning sunshine."

Every earnest student of Christian Science desires to obey the Master's command to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead, and a deep sense of compassion for the sick and sorrowing is seen to be prerequisite to this ministry.

The time allotted for a Christian Science lecture does not permit even a brief discussion of many Godlike or Christlike qualities, yet the study of Christian Science awakens the individual to an ever-increasing realization of them, also to the fact that, as a Christian Scientist, he must seek to reflect them in everyday affairs. Hence we find that the practice of this Science of Christianity is based upon reflection or expression of Christlike qualities. Conversely, to the extent that these qualities are missing, or are unexpressed, we fall short of true Christianity. Without compassion, for instance, our practice is not Christianly scientific, though our thinking may be correct in many other respects. In this particular we can apply the wonderful yardstick of love which St. Paul gives us in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, and with which we are all familiar. I quote it in part:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity" (and "have not love," as the Revised Version gives it), "I am become as sounding brass." "Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching," our Leader tells us in Science and Health (p. 454),

 

God's Ways Not Human Ways

It is sometimes asserted that Christian Scientists are unsympathetic because they deny the reality of suffering. But God's ways are not human ways. In order to help and heal, it is necessary for the Christian Scientist to prove that suffering of all kinds is an illusion of the material senses. In this way he defends his own thought against the acceptance of a lie and is able to correct the belief of the one who turns to him for help in times of seeming pain and sorrow. If a mother, called to the bedside of her child and finding him in the throes of a nightmare, were to lie down beside him and dream a similar dream, of what benefit would this be to the child? Or if she merely stood helplessly beside the bed with a heart full of pity for him, in what way would he be helped? How much better to awaken the child and gently assure him that the experience is unreal a dream and nothing more.

The fact that Jesus wept when he was informed of the death of Lazarus is often used to bring out the point that our Master was not unsympathetic to the sorrows of those around him. But the student of Christian Science knows that, had he allowed himself to be mesmerized by human sympathy, he could not have raised Lazarus from the grave. Rather may we infer that he wept because those who had so often listened to his words of truth and seen so many proofs of God's omnipotence still failed to realize the eternality of Life and so continued to believe suffering and death to be real. But Jesus' thoughts were raised so far above the currents of mortal mind that he saw the divine reality and thus was able to express gratitude to God and to present Lazarus alive.

At no time, perhaps, in the history of the world have men and women been in greater need of compassion than they are today. In order to console others, however, it is necessary that we realize our own at-one-ment with God, from whom alone emanates all good. Without this understanding, we can do little for them. But when our own thoughts are filled with confidence in the power of good, we are able to assure others of the blessing that lies in readiness to relieve them from their seemingly hard experiences. If we would comfort others, we must ourselves reflect the Comforter, or "Spirit of truth," in which is no consciousness of pain or sorrow. Before we can hope to bring consolation to the sorrowing, we must first realize the unreality of the error that has caused a sense of grief.

We can all follow the example of our Master and of our Leader, who so frequently refers to Jesus as the Wayshower. Knowing that true compassion emanates from divine Love, we are assured of infinite resources from which we may draw and so may bring solace to those who seem to be suffering from pain and grief. Turning to God, the ever-present Mind, for inspiration, we shall be given the truths wherewith to bless each one according to his need.

 

 

[Published in The West Tulsa News, Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 10, 1950.]

 

 

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