Proving the Truth of Christian Science in Human Affairs
Ralph Castle, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The physical or material senses
cannot reveal God, but through God-endowed spiritual sense man can discern the grand reality of the
true universe, said Ralph Castle, C.S., last night at The Mother Church, The
First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Christian Science has revealed to this age the scientific nature of spiritual truth - the Science of Christianity - with which we can learn to discard the false and unreal and perceive the true, he said.
The subject of the lecture was "Proving the Truth of Christian Science in Human Affairs.'' Mr. Castle is a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship. He was introduced by Helen Appleton, C.S., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
Tonight, The Mother Church opens wide her arms and welcomes you to this lecture on Christian Science. The subject of the lecture is: "Proving the Truth of Christian Science in Human Affairs."
In the Bible we read: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Tim. 3:16,17) The teachings of Christian Science are based entirely on the spiritual truth of the Scriptures; and we are proving that the daily utilization of such truth is indeed profitable in human affairs.
Our lecturer, Ralph Castle, of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Christian Science has its foundation in the Holy Bible. The books contained in the Bible have been translated many times from the original Hebrew and Greek into the English tongue; and, as we all know, up to a certain point in history, translators faced persecution and martyrdom in their desire to share with the people spiritual truths contained in these writings, without adulteration by the existing church or state.
Eventually, during the reign of James the First, a full translation into English was made available, and this authorized translation, known as the King James Version, is the Bible generally accepted today and is used by Christian Scientists and in Christian Science churches in all English-speaking countries.
Mrs. Eddy Found Healing in Bible
In the year 1866 a spiritually minded woman lay bedridden, condemned to a life of invalidism as the result of an accident. Physicians said there was no hope for her recovery. But she did not accept the verdict. Instead, she asked for her Bible, and pondering again the words and works of the master Physician, Christ Jesus, she became so conscious of the ever-availability of the power of God to heal that she was restored to normal health immediately. She thereupon arose from her bed, dressed, and joined friends and relatives to their utter amazement. That woman was Mary Baker Eddy, known to the world today as the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of Christian Science.
Since childhood, Mrs. Eddy had been an unusually keen Bible student. She also possessed an unwavering faith in the power of God to heal. This instance of spiritual healing was not the first she had experienced, and by now she was firmly convinced that underlying the physical and moral healings recorded in the Bible was a definite rule. And she was equally confident that this rule could be discovered and so made available to present-day humanity.
Through divine revelation and her consecrated labors during the years to follow, she did discover a demonstrable Science with positive rules. Living, as she did, so closely to God, she discerned spiritually that the teachings of Jesus were based on a divine Principle, a Principle which healed, not alone the sick, but the sinful. In this connection she has written on page 26 of her textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief. It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and practised. His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion and worship, but Christian Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love." She named her discovery Christian Science. She, too, was persecuted and maligned because of her spiritual convictions, but today her book, from which I have just read is accepted and used by countless thousands of grateful students.
It is understandable that Christian Scientists love and revere their Leader for what she was, namely, the divinely authorized and fearless revelator to this age of the Christ, Truth, expressed in terms so clear and practical that the commandment of Jesus to his disciples may be obeyed literally, by each and every one of us. I refer to his words as recorded in Matthew 10, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:
freely ye have received, freely give."
Leaderís Faith Fully Justified
Christian Scientists also are profoundly grateful to their Leader, this gentle woman who was yet strong enough to stand against intolerance, ostracism, and even family disownment that she might pursue a divinely inspired mission. And we rejoice in the knowledge that the success of her mission was established while she was with us. Its beneficial effects upon humanity had become apparent, and she was rewarded in some measure for her labors by witnessing the works which so wonderfully justified her faith.
Mrs. Eddy established the Church
of Christ, Scientist, The Mother Church, situated in
A natural question which might arise in the thought of the new student is, "What is meant by the inspired Word?" So before going further let us see if we can come to an understanding. The inspired Word is the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures rather than the mere recital of events. It means the understanding of the spiritual truths revealed to the writers, who could pass along these revelations to others only by the employment of human language. And we all know the human language was, and is still, frequently inadequate to present a profound spiritual fact in its true significance.
Broadly speaking, the inspired Word throughout the entire Bible points to a great spiritual fact, namely, the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of the one God, whom the greatest of all teachers, Jesus the Christ, said to know aright is life eternal. This inspired Word, the Word of God given to mankind through men, requires spiritualized thought in order to be acquired and utilized. It is the utilization of these spiritual truths which constitutes the practice of Christian Science. And how can thought become more spiritualized, and thereby more capable of discerning spiritual facts, and so more able to apply them to everyday experience? By the study of the Bible together with the Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science. Why? Because it has been proved thousands of times and publicly acknowledged that the light which Christian Science throws on the Bible has brought physical healing, comfort, and regeneration to countless persons willing to turn to God, or the inspired Word scientifically understood, for help. You notice I use the word "scientifically." It is not sufficient to turn to God emotionally or even in blind faith. Christian Science, as its title implies, is a science - the Science of Christianity, the Science which Jesus understood and demonstrated and regarding which he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also."
Clear Concept of What Is Real Needed
It is reasonable to think there will be some persons present who are not very familiar with the teachings of Christian Science. To these people part of the terminology used may not accurately convey the meaning intended. Certain words may be used in a sense that seems at variance with the commonly accepted meaning. Two of these words, the meaning of which needs to be clarified, are "real" and "unreal." A knowledge of Christian Science, or the Science of being, as Mrs. Eddy sometimes refers to it, requires a clear concept of what is real and what is unreal; so let us take a few moments to analyze their meaning and arrive at a basis for discussion.
Students of Christian Science find it natural to think and speak in terms which may at first be somewhat difficult to grasp by one not instructed in Christian Science. After a Christian Science lecture in which I, personally, thought the difference between the two words in question had been pretty clearly set forth, a non-Christian Scientist friend wrote, "I can understand Mrs. Eddy's concept of reality as you expressed it, but I have to make a conscious effort to differentiate between that concept and the commonly accepted one." Possibly without realizing it, this friend has expressed in his statement the fundamental requirement for anyone who is desirous to learn more of Christian Science. To distinguish between the scientific conception of what is real and what is unreal most certainly demands a conscious effort, especially at first.
On the first page of the Preface to the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy has said (p. vii), "The time for thinkers has come." What is thinking absolutely but consciousness in action? So the conscious effort of our friend really means an effort to think, and to think correctly. But perhaps I am ahead of myself in making such an assertion prior to having established the reason for it.
The man or woman who thinks about the subject at all will undoubtedly admit that the universe, the heaven and the earth, was created by and consequently must be sustained by some sort of Supreme Being, or governing intelligence. That may be as far as some persons care to go, but it is here that Christian Science makes demands upon its students to think more deeply - to make the conscious effort to determine for themselves what really constitutes creation, who and what they really are and the extent of their capabilities.
We are all familiar with the opening words in the book of Genesis, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." None will deny, I am sure, that God is Spirit. Since God is self-conscious Being, let us name God divine Mind, the source of all intelligence, it follows, therefore, that the origin of heaven and earth was spiritual, that heaven and earth were spiritual concepts, creations of the divine Mind, or intelligence.
Man Reflects Qualities of His Creator
In the twenty-sixth verse of this chapter in Genesis we read, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." We might paraphrase this to read, "Spirit, or divine intelligence said, Let us make man to reflect, or express, intelligence." As the physical or material senses cannot be cognizant of Spirit or intelligence, it is logical to conclude that the physical or material senses cannot be cognizant of the reflection, or expression of intelligence, designated in the first chapter of Genesis as man, man capable only of spiritually expressing, or reflecting, the qualities of his creator. And this leads us to all-important questions: Is the creator real or unreal? also, Is man spiritually perceived as reflecting the attributes and qualities of the creator, real or unreal? Upon our answers depends our grasp of true creation and true being. False education down the centuries is responsible for mankind's misconception of reality. To realize the spiritual fact in the face of false material arguments most certainly demands conscious effort. In other words, it demands alertness to think consistently and accurately.
We cannot think of true creation without thinking in terms of life. So a spiritual creation must include spiritual life. Man, reflecting intelligence, reflects Life - spiritually, of course. Herein lies another important factor in Christian Science, especially from the aspect of healing. Under a subheading or marginal note in the Christian Science textbook entitled "Spiritualized consciousness" are these words (p. 14): "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, - neither in nor of matter, - and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well." I have quoted from page 14, and these encouraging statements follow an enlightening discussion of St. Paul's aim and hope as expressed in his second epistle to the Corinthians, to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. By scientific or correct reasoning we arrive at the conclusion that absence from the body and presence with the Lord is a spiritually mental possibility here and now. This does not mean the attempted desertion of this material body in what mankind calls death. On the contrary, as the citation from Science and Health states, the body ceases to complain, or to be painful because the individual consciousness cannot be cognizant of ease and pain, relief and suffering, at one and the same time. Hence we see that a spiritual perception of what it means to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord is requisite to Christian Science treatment, whether the treatment be in one's own behalf or in behalf of another.
Spiritualized Understanding Attained
I know of a case where one who was working to overcome a condition which had been diagnosed microscopically and pathologically as malignant, and which was unsightly and distressing, enjoyed a complete healing as a result of spiritualized understanding. One night when physical conditions seemed very serious, this student mentally turned his thoughts away from the body and the evidence of the material senses and pondered anew what is known to Christian Scientists as the scientific interpretation or spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer, given on page 16 of the textbook. And by the way, this interpretation must not be thought a substitute for our Lord's Prayer. Its purpose is to set forth the spiritual meaning which the Master left for his followers to discern, in much the same way that he so often taught spirituality by parables and symbols. But to return to the case in point. Let us review a few of the spiritual truths which, specifically applied, brought about this bodily healing. I shall recite the opening lines of the Lord's Prayer and give their spiritual interpretation to which I have just referred:
"Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Enable us to know, - as in heaven, so on earth, - God is omnipotent, supreme."
It was at this point that our friend who had pondered each of these statements at length and from each had extracted such clear spiritual facts relating to God and man that his consciousness was filled, as never before, with the realization of true creation, became utterly unaware of bodily feeling. In this exalted mental state he was actually absent from the body and present with the Lord. He dropped off to sleep, and when he awakened the physical condition showed definite signs of healing. What had been a deep and expanding lesion was entirely healed within a comparatively short time. And in this connection it is not only interesting but most encouraging to those relying solely upon Christian Science for healing to know that a prominent specialist had recommended a course of treatment to be taken for a month without any guarantee of improvement but, rather, had indicated that an operation would still be necessary and that its results would be uncertain.
As previously quoted from Science and Health, "The time for thinkers has come." From the tenor of Mrs. Eddy's writings, there can be only one construction to be placed on the word "thinkers," namely, intelligent thinkers. Reviewing world conditions today, are we not forced to the conclusion that they are hardly the outcome of intelligent thinking on the part of human beings? Are they not, instead, this result of false thinking, of emotions governed by fear, greed, revenge, and domination? In very truth, then, "The time for thinkers has come." And the application of the rules of Christian Science to human affairs by individuals offers the only solution to the difficulties which have seemingly, become more complex with the passing of time.
Christian Science Offers Solution
Christianity has been advanced as a remedy for the ills of the world by spiritually-minded persons all through the course of history but, in the main, it would seem their appeals have fallen upon deaf ears. One reason may be, in part, because the teachings of Jesus have been advanced mainly from the standpoint of their moral or philosophical values. None will dispute these are highly desirable and necessary and have, undoubtedly, been indispensable to the spiritual growth of many individuals. Yet moral and philosophical values alone have been insufficient to stem the tide of national differences which have generally culminated in outbreaks of war and violence. In view of such catastrophes, therefore, may we not ask the question, "Has Christianity ever been given a really fair trial?" The honest answer is a tragic negative. Yet we have here, in the Christian Science textbook, the key to the situation. As the title implies, and as I have said before, it is the Science of Christianity. Not only does Christian Science teach the moral and philosophical elements of Christianity, but it goes much farther, it sets forth in clear and unmistakable terms its Science - the rules of which, when applied correctly to any given set of circumstances, will demonstrate scientifically the solution.
In a letter to a
World Needs to Try New Formula
For the purposes of our discussion, let us say the human race has been engaged in a business enterprise for, call it, five or six thousand years according to our measurement of time. By referring to Biblical records and records of more recent history, we can obtain a fairly clear picture of human relationships over that period. The business in which humanity has been and still is engaged is getting along harmoniously with one another; it is busy with the search for wealth and for health, and in making the world a happier place in which to live. As this business is a going concern, let us look at the balance sheet. What do the books reveal? What does the profit and loss account show for the period? You will agree, I am sure, that the balance sheet is somewhat a disgrace to the management. Despite "red figures" we see that methods adopted thousands of years ago have been adhered to through the centuries, although farsighted individuals at different times in history have openly and vehemently declared such methods are out of date and, if pursued, would bring disaster to the corporation. Nearly every year the books have closed "in the red" - the red occasioned by wars and other forms of human conflict - until today material sense would have us think that man's hand is turned against his brother as in the first record of fratricide when Cain slew Abel.
If methods were followed in our own private business enterprises which, year after year, kept us in the red, would we not take drastic steps to see that such methods were discarded and in their place institute a system which holds promise of successful operation? We might know it would take some time to get the wheels in motion to the point where the new system would be reflected on the books by a profit, yet we would be willing to adopt it after such a glaring failure. Instead, we find mankind generally still trying to live by the old formula, namely, by mass consent to human material conditions - mass consent to peace, to war, to morality. And we find that mass morality has failed, whereas Christianity has hardly been tried. Please do not misunderstand me. I use "morality" in a very broad sense. Furthermore, I am not implying we should dispense with human laws or with human forms of government. Such a plan is unthinkable and would result in confusion worse confounded. We must support law and order. Our revered Leader not only was meticulous herself in the observance of law, but she admonished her followers to be likewise. It is the matter of thinking to which I refer. The Master said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark ). While we obey the laws of the state in every respect, let our thinking be in obedience to God, divine Principle. We do not mentally have to accept as real the inharmonies which confront us.
In this discussion we have already seen that evidence presented by material sense is not real in the Christianly scientific sense of that word. So it must be illusion. On page 495 of Science and Health we find what our Leader tells us we should do with such evidence. "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you," she says, "cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought." A little later on the same page she writes, "Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony." When we allow nothing but God's likeness to abide in our thought, we cannot become mesmerized by what human beings may seem to be expressing. Rather will we accept into our individual consciousness only that which spiritual sense compels us to recognize as God's ideas - the sons and daughters of God, expressing or reflecting God in His attributes and qualities.
Proper Thinking Will Bring Change
Do you say, "That's all very well, but my thinking along such lines does not change the material situation"? Doesn't it? That is where lies a big mistake. Right there is the mesmerism that material sense is real and more powerful than good. We should remember that whatever the evidence of the senses tries to tell us is a lie from the beginning. An individual holding mentally to what he knows to be the truth of being in the face of all odds will find that what he calls the material situation is indeed changed, and that with the betterment of his own conditions he is assisting in putting into effect a new system of operation in this world business of ours. What if it does take time from the human standpoint? Mrs. Eddy foresaw that inevitability. She says on page 233 of the textbook, "The ages must slowly work up to perfection." So let us not feel discouraged if we do not immediately see the demonstration made over the evidence of the material senses nationally or internationally. Demonstrating the truth of being is an individual experience. As the number of individuals who are making this demonstration increases, so the prospect of happier times for all becomes more apparent. As I said just now, the old system has been tried for thousands of years. Let us now work as individuals scientifically to bring joy, peace, and health to mankind. Scientifically, it must start with you and with me and with others, in individual human consciousness. One thing is certain, namely, that as we approach world problems in this way, they become less real and discouraging to us and our individual mental dwelling, or human consciousness, is much happier. Also, it is defended against what the Psalmist called "the terror by night" and "the pestilence that walketh in darkness." Mrs. Eddy saw the far-reaching effect of one's mental attitude upon outward conditions. On page 160 of Miscellany she says, "To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science."
Let us now approach our subject of demonstrating the Christ, the idea of Truth, in human affairs more specifically. For instance, consider the person engaged in business. Increasing numbers of men and women throughout the world are testifying to relief from discordant conditions in business, relief obtained by their adherence to the Christ, the idea of Truth, which demonstrates the omnipresence and omniaction of God, divine Love.
Apparent Inharmony Must Be Mastered
Suppose one should find himself in an environment where sharp practices, greed, anger, and fear seem rampant. If such a one is an employee, the temptation to resign might arise, despite all doubts as to the prospect of reemployment. In Christian Science any inharmonious condition needs to be met and mastered. Withdrawal from the outward evidence of inharmony prior to obtaining individual spiritual mastery and freedom is not the true solution. At best it is but a temporary expedient. Sooner or later, the issue must be faced and destroyed by the scientific understanding of the nothingness of the error and the allness of God.
It is not uncommon to hear inharmony in business attributed to certain personal faults. Unreasonableness, bad temper, even differences of opinion in politics and religion are held responsible for discord and distress. Christian Science makes it plain that such contentions are not true; that such fables of mortal mind are no part of real consciousness. In this connection let me cite two short statements from our textbook. On page 129 Mrs. Eddy has written, "It you wish to know the spiritual fact, you can discover it by reversing the material fable, be the fable pro or con"; and on page 71 are these words: "Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense."
When Jesus asked the impotent man
at the pool of
The remedy for mental confusion or inharmony lies in the glorious realization that there is no place or condition where one can be deprived of the presence of God and of His Christ. The Psalmist said, "If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou [God] art there." Self-pity and self-justification may argue that we have made our bed in hell, but refusing to remain there is entirely within the scope of our demonstration. We find the spiritual fact as we reverse the material fable. We probably would not hesitate to declare of our true self, "I am God's perfect child," and yet the truth of such a declaration is denied when we contend that someone else is lacking in the spiritual qualities we claim for ourselves.
All Godís Ideas Reflect Harmony
A young woman who had been brought up as a Christian Scientist married into a family where the attitude toward her religion was extremely critical. A few months after her marriage she invited several of her in-laws to luncheon. On the morning of the occasion she awakened with a heavy cold, and as it was at the time of an epidemic of influenza, her first thought was to call her husband's relatives and, without mentioning the reason, tell them she was unable to have them. She was then confronted with the thought that they would assume she didn't want them, which would cause further friction. On the other hand, if she explained, she felt she would expose her religion to criticism and they would say that in time of need it was of no value. So she decided the only thing to do was to work out the difficulty before they arrived. She asserted many times that she was the perfect reflection of the perfect Mind, that as a child of God, Truth, she could not manifest error; but even as she worked, conditions grew worse. Suddenly she mentally awakened to what she was doing. Although she was asserting her own perfection, she was attributing to others an inability to recognize that reflection and was seeing in them traits of criticism and intolerance. She promptly reversed her thinking in regard to her relatives. She realized they, too, reflected the same Mind which she claimed to reflect and that they could neither see nor experience any inharmonious condition. The luncheon was a happy occasion, and not until her guests had left did our friend realize the fullness of this demonstration of the power of Truth. No word had been spoken about her physical condition, and for the good reason that she had been entirely healed.
To Principle and its idea, God and His child, there is no evil. Our own demonstration of harmony requires our steadfast recognition that God's law governs our fellow being as well as ourselves. When we claim perfection, and realize our spiritual selfhood as an individual idea of divine Principle, we see the harmony of all God's ideas. God's man is not and cannot be a victim of circumstances or a target for the shafts of error. Any supposed material power is powerless before omnipotence, for divine Love knows nothing of evil. Far from being a target at which missiles of destruction can be aimed, spiritual man manifests the immunity from evil of Mind's qualities; he expresses God, good. In reality, there is no target and no missile of destruction.
By accepting the spirit of Christ into our business relationships and by determined and consistent effort to heed only the voice of Truth concerning our fellowmen, we find that error is stripped of its supposed power and there is nothing left to disrupt our health, our wealth, our equanimity and peace of mind. This scientific procedure enables one to individualize infinite power in "the daily round, the common task," and is a practical contribution toward the Christianization of thought and life.
Talking about the world at large, let us take a minute to compare conditions as they seem today with those recorded in the past. All through history we read of occasions which were regarded with the utmost gravity and as catastrophic by the people and even their leaders. It is always rather interesting to read speeches and statements made pertaining to a nation's affairs years ago and to see how closely they resemble those of today. They seem to apply with equal force to conditions which have passed with the centuries and to current events.
Early Prophet Saw
Somewhere around 600 B.C. the
condition of the world must have appeared to its inhabitants very much the same
as our world looks to us today. Military might acquired by one nation could
spell aggression and cruelty to another. And a vicious circle might be the outcome.
Unable to solve the perplexing difficulties in national affairs in any other
way, the prophet Habakkuk turned his thought directly to God, and he mentally
climbed his tower of faith that he might obtain a better view of his God and receive
from the Almighty inspiration and hope for his people. I refer you to the book
of Habakkuk, chapter two. Incidentally, this story is another good example of
what we might term the "inspired Word of the Bible." One thing was
quite clear to Habakkuk, the need for patience and an unwavering faith in the
ultimate defeat of evil and the triumph of good. He was so sure this condition
ultimately would prevail that he assures, "Though it tarry, wait for it;
because it will surely come." And in verse 14 we read these stirring
words: "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of
the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Habakkuk, from his mount of vision,
saw the inhabitants of the whole earth acknowledging the one God, the one Mind,
the conqueror of the world. And a world empire that is not Babylonian or
Russian, Greek or American, but divine - the kingdom of
The glorious fact is that the
For many purposes the word
"reign" is a good substitute for "kingdom." Mrs. Eddy uses
it in her definition of "New Jerusalem" on page 592 of Science and
Health. ". . . The kingdom of heaven, or reign of harmony," she calls
it. And on page 476 she says, "When speaking of God's children, not the
children of men, Jesus said, 'The kingdom of
" 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!" Christian Scientists do well to ponder these words and to perceive their spiritual significance with freshness and unfoldment with each repetition.
To close, I quote from the Christian Science Hymnal (No. 82):
March we forth in the strength of God
With the banner of Christ unfurled,
That the light of the glorious Gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin,
To set their captives free,
That the earth may be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
[Delivered Feb. 1, 1951, in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 2, 1951.]