Christian Science:

The Understanding and Practice of God’s Allness

 

Jules Cern, C.S., of New York City

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

A large audience was present Sunday afternoon, January 17, to hear this lecture in the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Newton. The Lecturer was introduced by Carl H. Baesler, First Reader, who said:

 

Friends:

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Newton, is indeed glad to extend to you a warm welcome to hear a lecture entitled, "Christian Science: The Understanding and Practice of God's Allness."

We all are seeking a better understanding of God, and in this search we can rely upon this message of comfort and promise which has been shining for centuries in the Book of Proverbs: "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. . . Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace . . . Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee." (Proverbs 3:13,17; 4:6)

Our lecturer is Jules Cern of New York City. He is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. It is my pleasure to present him to you, Mr. Cern:

 

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

Almost every religion that worships God agrees on one basic truth, and that is: God is All. However, the full import, the complete meaning of God's allness, eluded mankind, until Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, revealed how absolutely All, God is. Through the teachings of Christian Science, the assertion, "God is All," is not only a reverent declaration but a divine revelation. God's allness is not an emotional theory, but a devotional Science.

Christian Science reveals that God, as the Bible declares, is Spirit, infinite Spirit, omnipresent Spirit, All; filling all space, not just all the space that matter leaves over, but all the space that matter seems to occupy, but never really does. Spirit would not be All if it were merely all around matter, or in matter, or underlying matter, or beyond matter. But Spirit is All - instead of matter. This does not eliminate man and the universe; it illuminates man and the universe. Because Spirit is All, man and the universe are seen in their true light, as all-spiritual. That which appears to be physical man and physical universe is seen to be a misconception, or false belief about man and the universe.

Since Spirit is All, all that is real is spiritual, perfect, harmonious, and eternal, abiding in the allness of Spirit. The Apostle Paul states it in these words in the Bible (Acts 17:28): "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Thus, we may realize that in Spirit - not in matter - we live perfectly, move harmoniously, and have our eternal being.

Those of you who are getting your first glimpse of Christian Science may appreciate its teachings even more if you know how its discovery came about.

Mary Baker Eddy always had supreme faith in God. Before her discovery of Christian Science she went through many tribulations, including grief, financial plights, and physical sufferings. Nevertheless, her faith in God never wavered. Then one day, in the year 1866, while walking on an icy street, she had a severe fall. For three days her friends, relatives, and the attending  physician awaited her predicted death.

On the third day she asked for her Bible, and turning to the ninth chapter of Matthew she read the account of Jesus healing the man sick of the palsy. She must have read it many times previously, but on this occasion the impact of its significance permeated her consciousness. In her own words, recorded by her in "Miscellaneous 'Writings," on page 24, she relates: "As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence."

Through her healing, Mrs. Eddy discovered the divine Principle, or spiritual cause, which made that healing possible. She was not content to make herself the sole beneficiary of her spiritual understanding. Her fervent prayer was to share her discovery and its attendant blessings with others. Mrs. Eddy lifted the common conception of spiritual healing out of the realm of blind faith into its true status of normal, natural, demonstrable, divine Science.

The King James Version of the Bible which is used by all Christian Scientists in English-speaking countries, supplies clear evidence that Christ Jesus, his disciples, the apostles, and the prophets before them, had healed others through spiritual means only. Since they used no physical means in the accomplishment of those results, Mrs. Eddy became fully aware that they beheld God and man with a spiritual apprehension that completely abandoned matter as a basis of reasoning. Why? Because their spiritual-mindedness certainly nullified all theories of life based on matter. People were healed where matter indicated that they would die. And people whom matter indicated that they were already dead were restored to life. Mrs. Eddy had seen, in her own experience, the nullification of material beliefs about life and health. Through the spiritualization of her own thought, she had suddenly changed from a picture of utter despair to one of complete harmony.

If the power and allness of God could be demonstrated in Biblical times and could be demonstrated in her time, then Mrs. Eddy knew that it must be ever present to be demonstrated at all times. All that was needed was the spiritual understanding of God’s allness to assure the practice and demonstration of it. To this spiritual perception Mrs. Eddy devoted every moment, and the discovery of the exact Science of God's allness, which she named Christian Science, flooded her receptive consciousness.

Writing of her discovery, Dr. Lyman Powell, an Episcopal minister, states in his biography of Mrs. Eddy: "She discovered Christian Science in a larger sense than ever Columbus discovered America. Hers was no peep at a new world and then a scuttling back to the old. Hers was that real discovery which consists of finding an age-old truth, settling in it, sharing it with others, and making the most of it for the redemption of the world from sickness, sin, and death." (Mary Baker Eddy: A Life Size Portrait, p. 101.)

Man does not exist in matter, as matter, or because of matter. Man exists instead of matter. He exists in and because of God. Even though the truth about man does not refer to a physical body, yet it does refer to you, your real and only identity, your true selfhood. This true selfhood is not something you are going to be, or hope to be, or used to be, or should be. Your true selfhood is what you are: wholly spiritual. It is who you are: divine idea. It is how you are: all-harmonious, yesterday, and today, and forever.

But what about the physical body? Let us consult the Bible again. In Isaiah (2:22) we read, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" In other words, cease believing, stop dreaming, that a physical body is your identity - or anyone else's - even temporarily. Stop thinking that man has a selfhood unlike infinite Spirit. God never created anything unlike Himself; and He made all that was made, perfectly, harmoniously, and spiritually.

The Bible admonition is far-reaching. Cease believing that there is a mortal - you or anyone else - and you will cease believing that there is a sick mortal - you or anyone else. Stop believing that there is youthful and alive matter, and you will stop believing that there is aging, decaying, or dead matter. Let go of the belief that there is an abundance of matter, and you will stop believing that there is a lack of matter. Drop the belief that there is pleasant sensation in matter, and you will stop believing that there is pain in matter. Writing on page 368 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy states: "Admit the existence of matter, and you admit that mortality (and therefore disease) has a foundation in fact. Deny the existence of matter, and you can destroy the belief in material conditions." These are unqualified statements, dear friends.

Mrs. Eddy refused to adulterate her divine revelation by excluding bad matter and keeping good matter. She saw so clearly that if one did not believe that there was good matter to begin with, he would not have a belief of bad matter to contend with. On page 120 of Science and Health, she says, "Any conclusion pro or con, deduced from supposed sensation in matter or from matter's supposed consciousness of health or disease, instead of reversing the testimony of the physical senses, confirms that testimony as legitimate and so leads to disease."

No one ever suffers in mathematics from two and two being five, but he may suffer from believing it to be five. Likewise, no one ever suffers from being a mortal, which he is not, but he may suffer from believing himself and others to be mortal.

One may protest: "But I can see physicality! I can touch it and feel it!" You can? No one really sees two and two as five, even when it is written. No one really hears two and two as five, even when it is voiced. No one can really feel two and two as five, even if it is carved in wood. All that he might see, hear, and feel in such a case is a false thought that two and two are five. It could not appear to be five unless it were first thought to be. But it never is five, even while it appears to be. The appearance of two and two as five is merely the objectification of a false thought about two and two. Regardless of how firmly convinced one may be that two and two are five, it does not make it true; it is never happening. What is more, no one is considered queer if, in the face of two and two appearing to be five, he denies its reality, even though it may be seen, heard, and felt.

In like manner, no one ever sees, hears, or feels mortality. No one ever sees man as a mortal. All that appears to be physicality in any form is but the objectification of a false thought about man and, creation. Man and the universe would not appear to be material unless they were first thought to be so. Regardless of how firmly convinced one may be that identity is physical, it does not make it true; it is never happening. Why, then, should it be considered queer or fantastic when, in the face of the appearance of mortality, one fearlessly stands up to it and denies its reality, even though it seems to be seen, heard, and felt?

Mrs. Eddy declares in Science and Health on page 86: "Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees. It feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts." Consequently, no one is ever contending with matter, but only with the false thought that there is matter. No one is ever contending with mortal mind, but only with the false thought that there is mortal mind. The grateful awareness that man's identity is and always will be, completely spiritual abiding forever in the allness of divine Mind, nullifies the false thought that identity is a combination of a mortal mind in a material body. This has the effect of harmonizing and healing what is thought to be discordant physical conditions, including so-called incurable diseases.

Since matter is merely the objectification of the false mortal thought that there is matter, disease is merely the objectification of discordant mortal thought about matter. The belief that there is disease is all there is to there being disease. Since there is no such thing as incurable belief, there can be no such thing as an incurable disease. If one is not consumed with a false belief of matter, he cannot be consumed by a false belief of matter. Matter has no more reality than the mortal thought believing it; therefore matter is neither internal nor external. We may be tempted to symbolize it, spiritualize it, analyze it, and rationalize it; but we have not gained our dominion over the false thought that there is matter until we “nothingize” it. It cannot be explained. In the light of the allness of Spirit, matter can only be explained away as impossible. There is no explaining how two and two became five; it never did. There is no explaining how man became a mortal; he never did. There is no explaining how mortal mind ever happened; it never did. That which never had existence can offer no resistance.

Christian Science practice is not mortal mind over matter; it is the humble acceptance of the allness of divine Mind - instead of matter. The truth of being, that there is only one Mind and its universe of perfect, limitless, eternal, all-spiritual ideas, calms and harmonizes so-called mortal thought.

The more harmonious the mortal thought, the more harmonious the mortal objectifications, or human concepts. It is like ice and water. Ice is but solidified water. If you have pure water in the first place, you will have pure ice in the second place. If you have muddy water to begin with, you wind up with muddy ice. The ice always reflects the quality of the water.

Similarly, matter always reflects the quality of the thought believing that there is matter. That is why it is healthy to think and act harmoniously, lovingly, kindly, honestly, purely, generously, gratefully, joyfully, and fearlessly. That is why it is unhealthy to think inharmoniously, unlovingly, enviously, dishonestly, lustfully, ungenerously, ungratefully, bitterly, and fearfully. Can you imagine what kind of results these ingredients would make in one's experience?

The Bible says, in Proverbs (3:6), "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." In corroboration, Christian Science says: In all thy thoughts acknowledge the allness of Spirit, instead of matter; the allness of Love, instead of hate; the allness of Mind, instead of mortal mind; the allness of Soul, instead of physical bodies; the allness of Truth, instead of false belief; the allness of Life, instead of death; the allness of Principle, instead of any other power; and, assuredly, acknowledge your and everyone's all-spiritual identity, instead of physicality.

The mental relinquishment of a mortal sense of ourselves and of others does not imply self-annihilation, but self-appreciation. Just as washing a film of dirt from a window does not annihilate the window; it only eliminates that which obstructs the clear view. Erasing the thought of ourselves and of others as physical does not destroy our identity; it clarifies our vision of it. This is not self-extinction, but self-distinction. On page 265 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, "This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace."

It would be logical to inquire at this point, "If Spirit is All, and man is all-spiritual, how is it practiced or applied in human experience?" It may be helpful to realize that we use pencil and paper to illustrate mathematical truth. But mathematical truth exists without the pencil and paper. We merely use the pencil and paper to serve our awareness of what is mathematically true. In like manner, the truth about God and man exists without mortality. We merely use that which appears to be mortality, to serve our awareness of divine Truth. Unless this spiritual awareness is attained, that which appears to be mortality might influence one adversely. For example, one believing that identity is physical might be tempted to use his home to dominate his family; to use them as targets for all of his pet grievances. He might take the family car for a selfish week end, leaving them to take a bus to do the marketing or to go to church. Believing that life is a battle of mortals, he might practice a few underhanded methods in his work or in filling out his income tax form; and, in general, he might think of nothing but his own desires.

However, let that same man open his thought to the truth of being, that there is only one Mind, that it is all-loving, infinite good, the only power, the only Principle, and realize that man is not a mortal at all, but is the beloved idea of divine Mind; then that individual may begin to express in his home more of the government of infinite Mind. His home may then become a center of loving consideration, co-operation, honesty, and justice. He will have week-end diversions, but his wife and children will be included. He may play golf, or go to a ball game, but he may also find that his family enjoys such things too. In any case, he may see to it that he does some of the things they enjoy. The family car will serve all of them, not just himself. He might even go to the movie that his wife would like to see, instead of the one that he prefers. The quality of unselfishness, which he uses to serve divine Love, he carries across the fence to his neighbor, he takes it to his work; he shares it with all, yes, even with his national government. No longer does he look to matter for his good, but to God. Instead of matter being his principle, it becomes submissive to Principle.

This has been an imaginary example. Now let us take an actual occurrence. Let us see how one man used his business affairs to express divine Principle.

While in the Army, he became interested in Christian Science, and after World War II, he returned to his position with an advertising agency. One of his accounts was the manufacturer of a very well known medicine. The more he studied Christian Science, the more restless he became over the idea of promoting the sales of a medicine. He wanted to give up the account, but in his line of work it was like giving up one's income. However, he finally decided, come what may, he could no longer be a party to magnifying a belief in a power apart from God.

He went to the president of the advertising agency and asked to be relieved of the medicine account. He calmly explained that he was a student of Christian Science, and that its teachings were incompatible with medicine. The president replied: "I can appreciate your feelings. My wife and mother-in-law are both Christian Scientists." Then he added, "I'll be glad to take you off the medicine account, but you will have to tell them yourself of your withdrawal."

The Christian Scientist was delighted to be freed of the account, but the prospect of facing the president of the medical company was still before him. However, he went to see him and told him his story. The president was silent for a moment and then said: "You know, I admire anyone who stands up for his religious convictions. You see, my wife is very much interested in Christian Science." The Christian Scientist sat there speechless. He just never realized that divine Principle works so harmoniously when one abides by it. Surely, he had experienced the fact that the one divine Mind could be expressed on both sides of the desk.

Within a few days, the agency gave him two new accounts. But that is not all that happened. A short while later, the president of the medical company informed him that they had taken on another product that had nothing to do with medication at all. He said, "If you will handle the advertising campaign for our new venture, I promise you that, in the executive meetings with you, we will not even bring up the subject of anything of a medicinal nature at all." Since the new product was wholesome and its sale was not contrary to his sense of Principle, the young man gladly accepted.

He had been willing to give up his job for divine Principle, but by using his human affairs to express Principle, the Principle of infinite good, he demonstrated good. It unfolded in human terms more business than he had ever had. Substance took on new meaning to him. He had previously measured substance in dollars and cents and material possessions. But now he understood more clearly that substance is infinite Spirit and cannot be measured by anything material. He had his first demonstration of God as infinite good; and divine good is not expressed in dribbles. When it is thought of as anything material, it is being thought of in

dribbles.

The devotion of thought to the allness of God assures the ability to demonstrate it. Demonstration follows consecration. There are no short cuts. Daily, consistent, humble study of the inspired writings of Mrs. Eddy, together with the Bible, is indispensable to progress. One may have the finest automobile made, but it makes very little headway unless he pauses for fuel.

The divine revelation of Christian Science dispels the false, diffused picture of man as a mortal and brings into sharp focus his true identity as the all-spiritual idea of God. In this respect, it reveals the distinction between Jesus and the Christ. Jesus is seen to have been the perfect human example of the divine idea of God. He exemplified true identity as completely as it is possible to do with human means. On the other hand, the Christ is true identity. It is everyone's true being, without human pattern or condition.

The Christ is the spiritual manifestation of all the qualities of God. It is pure, because it is the expression of divine Love. It is eternal, because it is the manifestation of infinite Life. It is the liberator from mortal misconceptions, because it reflects divine Truth, the only reality there is.

On page 332 in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, "The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual, - yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death." Thus we see that the Christ is not a person, but the manifestation to human perception of the divine Principle of being, the reality of existence. The coming of the Christ is the dawning of reality in one's thought.

Jesus was so constantly aware of the presence of the Christ, Truth, that it became part of his name as well as being his nature. How frequently he is called Christ Jesus! He was a temporal manifestation of the eternal Christ. He was sensitive to humanity's needs, but insensitive to its false beliefs. He was loving in his ministrations, but he was metaphysically ruthless with the suggestion that there is any power but divine Mind.

The great mission of Jesus was to illustrate the allness of divine Love. He was prompted by Love, not by a love of matter. He had great compassion in rousing mankind from its self-imposed beliefs in matter, just as a mother has great compassion for her child when she arouses it from a nightmare. She has no love for the dream, but she does have loving tenderness for the dreamer.

In his endeavor to awaken mankind, Jesus declared (John 8:32), "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Free of what? Free of the false thought that physicality is reality. The truth, not about mortality, but in place of mortality, is all there is to know. Jesus knew the truth about man - not about a physical body. He knew the truth about Life - not about disease. He knew the truth about harmony - not about discord. He knew the truth about abundance - not about lack. He knew the truth about activity - not about unemployment. He knew the truth about eternality - not about death. He was wide awake to the fact that there is no truth about any phase of what appears to be mortality. There is only Truth - instead.

One can mentally belabor himself trying to know the truth about physicality, but the only truth about physicality is its unreality. Liberation and healing do not come about by trying to see a mortal as the image and likeness of God, but by seeing the image and likeness of God instead of a mortal. Mrs. Eddy perceived that this is exactly what Jesus did in his healing work. Writing on pages 476 and 477 in Science and Health, she explains: "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."

Through the spiritual understanding of the words and works of Christ Jesus, Christian Science reveals that infinite Spirit already fills space where there seems to be matter. Perfect Life already fills space where there seems to be disease. Infinite Mind already exists where there seems to be a universe of mortal minds. How can there possibly be any reality to that which has no place in the allness of God?

Life is not in mortality. Life is All. Life does not course upward, downward, nor through anything. It already fills all place - perfectly. Life is not pumped, generated, filtered, famished, or fattened. It can neither be dissipated nor contaminated. Life is God, and that settles the issue of there being any other.

The purpose of Christian Science is not to reveal what kind of a mortal one is, or what kind of a material body one has, but to reveal what a perfect spiritual idea of God man is and has always been. True salvation, then, is not the saving of a mortal from a devil. It is the liberation of thought from the false belief that identity is mortal, or that there is a devil. The only devil is the false belief that Spirit, divine Mind, is not absolutely all. The allness of divine Mind leaves no room for any other power or mind. Salvation is not a fluctuating struggle with another power. It is not a journey from one plane of existence to another. God's allness is the only true plane of existence there is. Salvation is not the education of human belief; it is the relinquishment of

false human belief. Time is no factor in that which always is, namely, the allness of God and the perfection of man. Writing in Science and Health on page 39, Mrs. Eddy declares: “'Now, cried the apostle, is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,’ - meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life. Now is the time for so-called material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal, because impossible in Science."

It should be fairly evident at this point that the highest sense of prayer in Christian Science is the humble and joyous affirmation of the absolute allness of God. True prayer does not try to enlighten God; it enlightens us. True prayer is not petitioning God to do something; it is the refreshing of thought with what God has already done. The true prayer of petition is not an appeal to God to follow our directing; it is the humble desire to follow Him, to do His will. His will is always to bless. It does not take years to practice and demonstrate the allness of God. It only takes humility, the childlike acceptance of the allness of Spirit - instead of what appears to be mortality.

Let us see what part humility played in the experience of a young student of Christian Science.

A friend told him about a porter who worked for a large corporation and who had collapsed while at work. It was discovered that he had been going without food in order to send money to his relatives in a distant state. He had apparently so weakened himself that he was taken to a city hospital, suffering from what was described as lobar pneumonia in its fatal stage. The hospital was the same one in which the young man distributed Christian Science literature; and the friend asked him it he would call on the porter, although the man was not a Christian Scientist.

When he arrived at the hospital, he found the porter in a turbulent delirium, and was told by the nurse that his condition was hopeless. At this moment the patient's wife arrived, and the Christian Scientist asked if he might speak to her. It was no occasion to mince words or to be timid about the help of God, which the patient needed and which Christian Science could understandingly give.

Now, Christian Science does not claim to have a monopoly on God. It joyfully acknowledges that God is omnipresent and available to everyone, everywhere. But Christian Science is the Science of understanding God and man's relationship to Him. When called to the bedside of the sick, it does not bring God with it; it brings the spiritual understanding that God is already there and that He is ALL that is there. This awareness of God’s allness, which includes spiritual man, dispels the illusion, or mortal thought, that man is less than spiritual and less than perfect.

After the Christian Scientist explained why he was there, he was told by the man's wife that she would be very grateful if he would give her husband Christian Science help, because the doctors had given him up and were giving him no medication at all.

This was the first time that the young man had ever been called upon to help someone else through Christian Science treatment. You may be sure that he turned to God with all the humility he could summon. The guiding inspiration of these words of Mrs. Eddy's came to him from Science and Health on page 492. They are as follows: "For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence." He noted particularly that Mrs. Eddy did not say there should be many factors before the thought, but just “one fact." He knew then that it did not matter how many physical factors human thought believed were involved; the truth about existence involved but one fact, that all is Spirit and that man is spiritual, all-harmonious, and all-perfect.

Fortified with the assurance that all that he had to do was to stick uncompromisingly to the allness of Spirit, he affirmed the truth somewhat in this manner: "Father-Mother God, you are already completely all. Your allness is now completely established, perfectly and harmoniously. You fill all space, even the space where there seems to be a material body, even the space where there seem to be diseased organs; your allness and perfection are already there; not in mortality, but in place of mortality. You are all Life, uncongested, unweakened, boundless, fearless, all-powerful Life. No part of your allness and no part of your beloved idea is in danger. You are all the Mind there is, and there can be no other. All is Spirit, and all is well, forever." In addition to affirming this he understood its spiritual meaning.

You may imagine the joy of this young student when he called the hospital a short while later and was told by an exuberant nurse that there had been a remarkable change. The man had come out of a coma and asked for food. The healing was rapid and complete, and when the man left the hospital, the doctors told him that he was the sickest man to ever enter that hospital and go out of it alive. They had kindly fed and cared for him and had given him no medical treatment at all.

Is it any wonder that Christian Scientists are filled with gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for sharing with all mankind the complete understanding of God's allness and how to practice it? Her appreciation for what God had revealed to her knew no limits, and she poured out her gratitude in this little verse, to be found in the very front of Science and Health. It reads:

 

"Oh! Thou hast heard my prayer;

And I am blest!

This is Thy high behest: -

Thou here, and everywhere.”

 

[Published in The Newton Villager and Transcript, January 21, 1954. Also printed in the Largo [FL] Sentinel, Jan. 20, 1955.]

 

 

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