Christian Science: Heaven Here and Now
Clarence W. Chadwick, C.S.B., of Omaha, Nebraska
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Before a large audience of Harvard University graduates and students a lecture on Christian Science was delivered on Thursday evening by Clarence W. Chadwick, of Omaha, Nebraska, a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, in Phillips Brooks House, under the auspices of the Christian Science Society of Harvard. The lecturer was introduced by Wallace E. Stearns, who said:
"Fellow students and friends:
"Nearly two thousand years have passed since our beloved Master and Teacher, Christ Jesus, trod upon this earth, — healing the sick, raising the dead, regenerating the sinner and bringing comfort to the sorrowing. When he was ready to give up his earthly labors for the cause of humanity, he told his disciples, 'My Father shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever.'
"The modern world has now for nearly half a century been benefited by the re-birth and resurrection of the teachings and healings of Christ Jesus through the discovery made in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy, the author of 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures' and founder of the religion of Christian Science. The Christ Truth — that eternal comforter promised by Christ Jesus — is today healing and regenerating countless thousands of afflicted people all over the world.
"As young men in a great university we who are fortunate enough to have but touched the hem of the understanding of this Truth possess a priceless legacy that will enable all of us to do our share toward making the world — whether business or professional — a better place in which to dwell. To the young generation, as well as the old, this Truth offers unlimited opportunities.
"Our society this evening is particularly fortunate to have with us a gentleman who is admirably qualified to give a clear exposition of Christian Science. In behalf of the Christian Science Society of Harvard University, it is my pleasure to present to you Mr. Clarence W. Chadwick, C.S.B., of Omaha, Nebraska, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts."
(Mr. Chadwick delivered substantially this same address on Friday evening, in Arlington Town Hall, Arlington Center, under the auspices of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city.)
Why do people congregate to hear a Christian Science lecture? Is it not because they want to know more about good? Fortunately for humanity there is an influence ever operative in human consciousness which sooner or later compels this reaching out for the good. No one could possibly live a life of absolute selfishness. There comes a time when he wants something better than what he has; when the heart yearns for something more satisfying than belief in evil, sin, pain, and sorrow; when he begins to think less of self and more of others.
What of this self which for a time imagines that it is satisfied with earthly things, and treats with disdain the spiritual? Evidently it is a false state of consciousness, else the great Wayshower, Christ Jesus, would never have assured us that this false selfhood must be denied or corrected, if one would become an active follower of the Master.
The revelation of Christian Science to this age uncovers the mythical nature of this false self, which Paul refers to when he says, "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God." A complete statement of Christian Science may be found in its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
It is the inspired teaching of this book that is opening the eyes of countless thousands to behold the unreal nature of this so-called self. False theology has tried to get this self into the kingdom of heaven, while Christian Science shows us that this false self is nothing more nor less than the "flesh and blood" referred to in Scripture, which we are assured does not "inherit the kingdom of God." Self is only another name for the so-called carnal mind, or mind of the flesh, which Paul says is "enmity against God."
It is not the purpose of this lecture to dwell at length upon the unreal; but it is impossible to present Christian Science to the world in a thoroughly practical manner without referring incidentally to that which Paul designates as the "enemy of all righteousness." How to conquer self does not at first interest mortals, but a spiritual awakening finally comes when they find themselves willing to admit the existence of something entirely apart from self.
Going to Heaven
Old Theology has had much to say about going to heaven, but it has signally failed to provide humanity with any satisfactory explanation of heaven. The designation of heaven as a far-distant abode where all good people are to congregate after the so-called death of the body, has failed to give satisfaction. The thought of doubt and the possibility, if not the probability, of finding the way to a place called by an entirely different name, has caused untold suffering. Christian Science has come to deliver those "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Healing has often resulted from destroying the patient's unhappy belief in the fear of death and in the uncertainty of heaven.
Christian Science teaches us to look for the kingdom of heaven here and now, and to be assured that we shall find it just to the extent that we separate the tares from the wheat in our own thinking. The obstacle standing between us and the kingdom of heaven is the belief in a false selfhood claiming another creator than God, while calling itself God's child.
There is nothing on earth that should interest us more than the experience of finding heaven. Whatever trouble we may experience, however heart-weary or sin-burdened we may be, our one and only remedy is the application of a right understanding of the kingdom of heaven. If we are in the depths of darkness, nothing short of the heavenly vision will dispel such darkness.
The kingdom of heaven is not a place; it is a mental state, a divine harmonious state of consciousness. We are finding heaven, then, daily and hourly as we enter this pure state of consciousness. In the Christian Science Hymnal, page 101, we find this sentiment: —
Our heav'n is ev'rywhere,
If we but love our God,
Unswerving tread the narrow way,
And ever shun the broad.
Wherever truth abides,
Sweet peace is ever there;
If we but love and serve the Lord,
Our heav'n is ev'rywhere.
Mortals may fancy that the kingdom of heaven is an experience of the future, and that no human footsteps are necessary to attain it: that all that is needed is to wait for death to overtake them, that then all will be well. But when Christian Science knocks at the door of thought they immediately begin to look for the kingdom within, to lose self and to find something far more desirable in its place. This spiritual awakening is soon evidenced in an improved state of human thought or consciousness, which cannot be lost or destroyed, but which can be transformed or purified until nothing mortal or human remains.
The native state of the mortal or carnal mind is one of depravity, and can neither be saved nor regenerated. It is made up of all manner of evil beliefs, — such as malice, envy, hatred, lust, dishonesty, sin, disease, and death, — none of which can enter the kingdom of heaven. They are to be lost, swallowed up of spiritual life. Dishonesty never becomes honesty, but when dishonesty is corrected or destroyed, honesty takes its place. Disease never becomes health, but when disease is obliterated from mind and body, health is found in its place. Death never turns into life, but when belief in death is destroyed we find Life to be God here and now.
Christian Scientists are most grateful for all improved transitional mental states, recognizing them as human footsteps to higher spiritual attainments. They do not ignore such improved beliefs; in other words, they do not ignore the moral law of growth and unfoldment in their effort to reach the goal of spirituality. Improved moral conditions always precede the understanding of spiritual things. The Ten Commandments are not brushed aside by Christian Scientists as nonessentials. It is often said that to obey the First Commandment is to keep all of them. In one sense this is true, but this should not excuse one from becoming acquainted with the other nine and from complying with their demands. One who does not obey the law of Moses is not equipped to discourse on spiritual law or to become a follower of Christ, Truth; in other words, he is not prepared to enter the kingdom of heaven here and now. Whoever tries to find a royal road leading from material or human conditions to perfect or spiritual conditions will fail to grasp the practical side of Christian Science for himself or to make it available to others. There is a long bridge between the material and the spiritual, which can be crossed only through definite human footsteps, through strict obedience to the moral law, observance of the Golden Rule, and loving one's neighbor as one's self.
The man who is healed of sickness in Christian Science has taken but one step along the road leading heavenward, — he has had his thought lifted above matter; but there is another important step to be taken. He must now be willing to turn away from a thousand and one theories and opinions of men and to recognize their utter powerlessness to get him into the spiritual kingdom. If he hears the call of the Master, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me," and recognizes his material selfhood as a composite of these various theories, needing correction and denial, he will have taken a second needful step heavenward. He will then find himself engaged in the practice of Christian Science, of living what he professes, denouncing and overcoming the erroneous thinking of the past and of the present. As the "old man" is put off, characteristics of the "new man" are evidenced in improved mental, moral, and physical conditions. These improved conditions are transitional waymarks to the kingdom of heaven here and now.
The True Nature of God
The essential nature of Deity is that of omnipotent, ever present Love. No other word so clearly conveys the thought of gentleness, tenderness, compassion, and loving sympathy. It is this understanding of God that heals and saves. In order to understand the profound meaning of the word "love," a man must himself learn to love. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love," and, "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death," are pertinent Scriptural statements. When divine Love permeates the human affections it enables one to be unselfish, kind, and considerate.
If the infant could express its inmost thought, it would lisp, God is Love. Ask the older child what he learned at the Christian Science Sunday School and he will say, God is Love. Ask his parents, who have read the first chapter in the Christian Science textbook, what they have learned about God, and they will reply, God is Love. Ask the man who has been saved from a drunkard's grave by Christian Science what he knows about God, and he too will join in the glad refrain, God is Love.
It may be easy to talk of divine Love, to admonish our brother to love more, but the real test of sincerity lies with ourselves. Do we love? Are we unselfish? Are we living a Christlike life? A well-known Christian Scientist was once asked to give a short talk on Love to a small gathering of Christian Science students. He proceeded at once to enumerate some of the opposite qualities to Love, such as fear, malice, envy, dishonesty, greed, and selfishness, and to show how imperative it was to overcome these qualities — making it clear that when these were obliterated in individual consciousness, the meaning of divine Love would be self-defined. At the conclusion of his talk, a holy silence pervaded the room, and there was many a tear-filled eye. All had learned their lesson. Young and old had glimpsed the meaning of the word "love."
To know that God is unchangeable divine Love is to be conscious of the kingdom of heaven here and now. No greater message could come to benighted humanity than this, that God is Love. Why has old theology not associated divine Love with the healing of disease? Christian Science has come with healing in its wings, and it is this fact that separates Christian Science from all religions that rule out Christian healing as an essential element of Christ's Christianity.
Divine Love the Only Power
Do professing Christians stop to think what a wonderful thing is God's healing power? Since divine Love is all-power, why should any one doubt God's willingness or ability to heal here and now? Study Christian Science, do what it tells you to do, and all such doubt will be forever removed.
If every Christian minister in our land would be sufficiently humble and loving to take Mrs. Eddy at her word, and be willing to accept on trust what he does not understand of the letter of Christian Science, he would be in a position to comply with the Scriptural admonition, "Try the spirits whether they are of God." One thing is certain, the mental attitude of "I do not believe it" would forever debar him from proving the truth of Christian Science. If he desires to understand the spiritual fact that divine Love is all-powerful, he must be willing to set aside his material beliefs concerning this spiritual fact and to accept the fact as being true. So doing he would necessarily arrive at the following conclusions: If God is Love, and God is omnipotent, then Love is all power; if divine Love is all power, there is no other power, presence, or influence termed evil; if anger, hate, revenge, malice, and kindred qualities are not of God, they never originated in divine Love, and must be ruled out of thought if we would prove the all-power of good; if God made all that is made and called it good, evil never came from God and must be transitory or unreal. This line of reasoning accepted on faith and believed, and then applied to everyday problems, would result in marvelous demonstrations of control over human conditions encountered in the realm of material belief.
There is not a doctor of medicine who could not prove the healing efficacy of divine Love to his complete satisfaction, if he too would humble his pride of learning sufficiently to give the same patient consideration to the study of Science and Health as he would to a textbook on medical practice. Many reputable physicians have done this very thing, and so thoroughly convinced themselves, as well as others, that divine Love is the only healing power, that they have abandoned medical practice altogether and have taken up the practice of Christian Science. Well-known physicians, who have renounced their material practice and become successful Christian Science practitioners, have told of their complete conversion to the Christian Science point of view in their practice, declaring that after the light of Truth dawned upon them, they were no longer tempted to secure a physical diagnosis of disease in order successfully to treat a case in Christian Science. In short, the whole material fabric of materia medica, with all of its boasted knowledge of medicine and disease, had dropped out of their lives as a phantom or a dream. They had proved that there is but one power in the universe, and that is divine Love.
There is not a lawyer who could not prove the corrective power of divine Love if he would exercise the same diligence and persistence in mastering the teachings of Science and Health as he would in studying his Blackstone. Many able judges and jurists have accepted and proved Mrs. Eddy's contention, that divine Love is the only power, and therefore the only lawmaker. The moment a lawyer learns that divine Love is the only power here and now, he begins the real practice of law, and finds himself far more ably equipped to mete out human justice, kindness, and consideration, and to settle numerous legal problems outside as well as in the courtroom. Christian Science should and does make a strong appeal to the student of law in that it deals with and defines law from the highest spiritual standpoint.
When the great Master declared, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," did he not deny all supposed power in evil? Could he have thought or acted from any other standpoint and succeeded in glorifying the Father? If he had once admitted that evil is a power, could he have said to the seventy disciples, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you"?
God Is Mind
When the apostle admonishes, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," was he thinking of a mind separate and apart from God? Was the Mind that governed Christ Jesus anything less than the Mind which is God? Was it an inhabitant of the brain and subject to chance and change? In its use of the term "Mind," Christian Science means the one infinite, supreme, unchanging intelligence of the universe, that Mind which is wholly good, including no thought of evil.
Those who attempt to influence others through human will-power, mesmerism, or hypnotism, with no understanding of the one divine Mind, are not utilizing the power of divine Mind. They are simply reasoning from the standpoint of the physical senses, and are not divinely impelled. One who is thinking wrong — thinking sickness, sin, and death, and believing that they are real and God-given — is not making use of the power of divine Mind.
To use spiritual power, one must learn to reflect the real, divine Mind. If power were one's own, it could be absorbed and controlled; but in Christian Science, divine Mind can only be reflected, expressed in terms of intelligence and love, not transmitted. The light of the sun is not lost but expressed in reflection. The control of one so-called human mind over another so-called human mind is not spiritual control, since all real control belongs to the one divine Mind. God or Mind controls all of His own ideas. They are all perfectly obedient to the divine Principle that created them. Whoever catches a glimpse of the unity existing between God and His ideas catches a glimpse of heaven here and now. The only power that is or can be reflected is the power of divine Mind, and Mind is divine Love. Human hate has no power. No one could use the power of Love with which to express hate. Then why fear the wrong thought of another? He alone reflects real power who learns to love here and now. This is practical Christian Science.
God is Life
When Christian Science tells us that there is but one Life, and that this Life is eternal, that it is forever unchangeable, there are some who take issue with such statements. Jesus once told his hearers that he came "that they might have life" and "have it more abundantly." Those who are ready and willing to gain a more abundant sense of Life, and to see it apart from matter, as neither organic nor structural, but as infinite and indivisible, will rejoice to learn that God is Life.
A realizing sense of what Life is plays a most conspicuous part in the daily practice of Christian Science, so numerous are the calls for help from those who are weighed down with the thought of fear. Examine this thought of fear and it will be found to be the fear of death, the fear of losing life. The right idea of Life destroys all fear of and belief in death.
Because Christian Science comes with a message of life and love, revealing a God of truth, of whom it is written, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity," should it be shunned by Christian people as unsound doctrine? Because Christian Science reveals the kingdom of heaven as an ever present, ever active consciousness of good and of good only, here and now, should it not be received with open arms if we really desire to live and to love? He that loveth not, knoweth not the meaning of the word "life," for Life is God.
Only One Spirit
The average believer readily accepts the statement that Spirit is God, but at the same time he admits the existence of many spirits, some good and some evil, thereby exposing his lack of spiritual understanding. Since Spirit is God, and is infinite, there is only one Spirit.
The Christian world owes much to Mrs. Eddy for exposing the erroneous foundations of spiritualism. She was never connected with this cult, nor could any one who understands Christian Science ever become a spiritualist. Christian Science and spiritualism have nothing in common. To understand that God is infinite Spirit disposes of this subject in a most practical way, by healing so-called mysterious diseases, often resulting from belief in spirits many. With such unmistakable proof, one can speak with positive conviction, at the same time having the utmost charity and consideration for those who hold to spiritualistic views. When a spiritualist accepts Christian Science he will believe in one God, one Spirit, and one Life, and that one incorporeal.
In using the word "Spirit," as well as several other terms, as synonyms for Deity, Christian Science bids us ponder and study them from the standpoint of spirituality, if we would know God aright and be able to prove His all-power, presence, and influence here and now in the overcoming of all that is unlike good. In Science and Health (p. 492), there is an open secret which the student of psychology will do well to recall at all times, if he would succeed in finding the kingdom of heaven at hand. It is this: "For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence." The study of modern psychology as taught in the schools of learning will not accomplish this all-important task; Christian Science stands before the world to-day as the one true Science of Soul or Spirit, and the student of genuine metaphysics must be willing to make this humble admission before he can demonstrate the healing and saving power of divine Love.
The Christian delights to think and to talk about God, but does he always include in his thought the spiritual relationship existing between God and His spiritual ideas? Christian Science tells us that "God is not separate from the wisdom He bestows" (Science and Health, p. 6). This certainly means that where wisdom is actually expressed, there God is, for wisdom without God would not be wisdom. Nor would God be God without the attribute of wisdom. God, in other words, has no existence apart from His manifestation or reflection. No quality or attribute of God could exist apart from God, because they are one and inseparable.
Could one think of the sun as separate and apart from the rays of light which express the nature of the sun? Could the rays exist without the sun, or could the sun exist without its rays? The moment the attempt is made to separate the sun from its rays, the result is darkness. Any attempt to separate God and that which emanates from God, must result in mental darkness. To illustrate further: The attributes of God are not one state of consciousness and God another. Health, holiness, and purity apart from God are inconceivable. Health without any recognition of God would not be health at all. God, then, is the source of the health, holiness, and purity of man. Man apart from God, then, is nothing. Man, as the image and likeness of God, is absolutely dependent upon God for his existence. He could not exist without God, and God could not exist without His idea, man. Who could conceive of an unexpressed God, or of a lifeless Life?
It is well that we ponder this subject so as to ascertain whether we are living as close to divine Love as we should and can, for heaven is not experienced until we actually express or manifest the oneness of God and His idea. Mere theorizing or believing that God is Love does not of itself bring us into touch with God; it does not bring into human experience the fact of our divine relationship, but leaves us helpless wanderers in "this present evil world."
The life and mission of the great Savior of men stand out in bold relief to the student of Christian Science. They mean more to him than ever before, because of his acquired ability through the study of Christian Science to practice Christian healing. Mrs. Eddy expresses her concept of Jesus as follows (Science and Health, p. 51): "He was inspired by God, by Truth and Love, in all that he said and did." Is this not in full accord with the statement in John 3:34: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him"? There are numerous illuminating statements throughout Mrs. Eddy's writings which prove her profound estimate of Jesus' Godlike character. She recognized the distinction between his seeming corporeality inherited from the virgin mother, and his real or spiritual manhood, which was the Christ.
Christian Scientists lay stress upon the fact that the mission of Christ Jesus was to heal the sick as well as to save the sinner. God's forgiveness of sin includes the healing of sickness as well as the destruction of sin. The mission of the Savior was in no sense incomplete. It was to bring a full salvation from the consequences of belief in evil. His divine nature, that is, the Christ, was constantly working through the humanity of Jesus to heal and to save. It found its highest expression in these words of the Master, "I and my Father are one."
When our orthodox friends are persuaded that Christian Scientists recognize in Jesus something more than the corporeal concept of him, which disappeared in the ascension, that they also recognize his spiritual selfhood as inseparable from the Christ, they can no longer accuse Christian Scientists of denying the divinity of the Christ. If there is a religious activity to-day that is doing everything possible to establish Christ's divinity it is Christian Science.
Christ Jesus was the great Wayshower. He said, "I am the way," and Christian Scientists, above all other Christians, realize their need of spiritual regeneration if they would be found following in the way. They realize that they cannot merely believe themselves into the kingdom of heaven, but that they must earn their way, by getting rid of every seeming obstacle in their path — every wrong thought, belief, theory, and opinion that would deny the oneness of God and His idea. We must become pure enough in thought to think the thoughts that Jesus did and to do the works that he did if we would find our way "out of darkness into his marvellous light."
One of the most helpful thoughts given to us in Christian Science is that Jesus was the connecting life-link between the real and the unreal. This makes clear to us the statement of the apostle that "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." What was this mediatorial service on the part of the Master? Was it not his complete subjection of the human to the divine? He said, "I can of mine own self do nothing." It is only as we follow Jesus' example, overcoming belief and faith in a selfhood apart from God, that we can succeed in any line of righteous human endeavor.
Christian Science in Business
The business man of to-day will find in Jesus' teachings a remedy for all his troubles. It is comprised in this one declaration of the Master, "Not my will, but thine, be done." The subjugation of the human will means the overcoming of all that is selfish and demoralizing, — of all fear, greed, avarice, deception, dishonesty, chance, and inefficiency. Business is just as much in need of applied righteousness as a sick mind or body, and the sooner humanity awakens to this fact, the sooner will the business world be a credit to the cause of Truth on earth.
All business transactions reside in the atmosphere of thought. If the business man is seeking first the kingdom of God, making the spiritual of first consideration, his right thinking will be followed by satisfying results. If business comes first and God second in his thinking, his wrong thinking will be followed by failure, and disappointment. Why should not an honest business man be a law unto himself in his business? He has but the one God to worship.
A moral and spiritual awakening on the part of the business world is what is needed to bring about useful and helpful relations between capital and labor, and to establish the cause of temperance throughout the world. God's plan for his children is already a fixed fact, and if humanity will seek to understand this fact as eagerly and as persistently as it digs into old mother earth for her hidden treasures, its externalization in human affairs will be more speedily seen and acknowledged.
Mrs. Eddy and Her Textbook
It is a well-authenticated fact that Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. No one familiar with her life and writings could or would attempt to deprive her of her high honors. Her life-work stands before the world today as a striking example of what could be and was accomplished by one lone, brave woman, who had the courage to leave all for Christ. A more unselfish or loving character never lived. She was indeed, to repeat the words of Longfellow, "a noble type of good heroic womanhood."
Study the life of Mary Baker Eddy and you will learn the meaning of the word "good." In her discovery of Christian Science she was enabled to grasp Jesus' explanation of matter, contrary to that of modern science and philosophy, and this made it possible for her to bring out the practical demonstration of good, which no other Christian follower had been able to do since the third century, A.D. For this achievement alone the Christian world owes Mrs. Eddy a debt of endless gratitude.
If you would become acquainted with this grand Christian woman, whose nobility of character and keenness of spiritual discernment lifted her thought into higher spiritual realms, we would commend the prayerful study of her wonderful book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." As an inspired and duly authorized textbook of Christian Science, it is calculated to lift the thought of the student to the plane of practical demonstration. This mental height is not reached through studying books by other authors, claiming to make Christian Science "easier to understand." There are books to read and there are books that must be studied. Science and Health belongs exclusively to the latter class. Something more than a simple perusal of this book is required of its students. It contains definite rules and laws which have to be obeyed in daily human living before one can read one's title clear to the spiritual kingdom here and now. This book, in connection with the Bible, is worthy of careful, persistent, and prayerful study, and is receiving it from countless thousands of Christian Scientists throughout the world.
Christian Science Healing
There are grateful hearts in every part of the world who look up to Mrs. Eddy with joy and thanksgiving for the healing that has come to them through her revelation of Truth to this age. Such healing was not brought about by believing that God sends disease and suffering upon His child for some wise purpose, but by knowing that evil is not a part of God's perfect creation, that all belief in evil is an intolerable mistake, and that Christ Jesus came to correct it, not by admitting evil to be real and on a plane of equality with good, but by knowing the opposite fact of being, that good is supreme and the only reality. His was a correct, or scientific, mental perspective.
One great drawback to spiritual progress is mankind's unwillingness to let go of evil, because of the belief that it is as real as good and that God permits it to exist. Is not this belief equivalent to saying that a mistake is real, and that it cannot be rectified? What becomes of a mistake of any kind after it is corrected? What becomes of a thought of hate after it is corrected by divine Love? A thought of sickness is a mistake, contrary to law and order, and there is just one way of correcting it, and that is by knowing the truth about health, that health is a condition of divine Mind, not a condition of matter.
Because the physical senses testify to the power and presence of evil, this false testimony does not make evil a fact. Because they testify that man is sick, this false testimony does not make him so, any more than the ocular evidence that two parallel tracks meeting at a point in the distance makes their apparent coming together a fact. The appearance of sky and treetops meeting on the horizon does not make them touch each other. How are these and many other ocular illusions to be explained? Certainly not by calling them true or real, but by knowing that they are not true and therefore not real. The man is not really sick; the parallel rails do not come together; sky and treetops do not meet. "Judge not according to the appearance," the Master said.
Had Jesus admitted that man is sick, or that there is a power capable of making him sick, he could not have fulfilled his mission of healing. It was his knowledge or understanding of the reality and allness of good, of Life, Truth, and Love, that gave him power to heal both disease and sin. He did not even have to visit or to see his patient in order to heal him. Neither time nor distance influenced his healing prayer.
How does such practice compare with ordinary medical practice which admits complete inability to do anything for the patient until the doctor can be personally present? The Christian Science practitioner, though miles away, upon being made acquainted with conditions, is equipped for giving immediate aid to the so-called sufferer. Help is rendered in Science oftentimes long before a medical doctor could reach the bedside of the patient. Fear is the foundation of all sickness, and fear can he destroyed instantly by realizing the ever-presence of divine Love.
The only scientific treatment ever given by the Master or by any of his followers was "God with us," and this is the only treatment known to Christian Scientists. Which is more humane, kind, sympathetic, and in every helpful to the patient, the practice that is dependent upon time and material law so-called, the practice that is powerless to save human life and oftentimes even to alleviate human suffering, the practice that says to the patient, "I know you are sick and there is nothing I can do for you, you should have called me sooner, but now there is no hope; you have an incurable disease;" or the practice that instantly knows the truth about man, enabling it to say to the patient, whether present or absent, "Man is not sick, he is not under any so-called law of matter, because God is the only lawmaker; man lives in God and cannot die," — the practice that brings immediate cessation of pain and fear and mental anguish, and comforts and encourages the patient to trust in ever present Life, — the practice that leaves with the patient a sweet benediction of peace and assurance that all is well because "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth"? "Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
The life of a consecrated student of Christian Science is one of unceasing prayer. This does not mean that he is constantly on bended knee imploring God to do something for him that He has already done. God has already created man in His own image and likeness, and when mortals awaken to know this great spiritual fact, they experience healing. Admitting that we are sick, and then asking God to heal us, betrays a state of consciousness that is devoid of spiritual understanding and that does not reach the ear of the Infinite. An honest, sincere acknowledgment of man's oneness with his Maker, silently or audibly expressed, is consistent prayer, and if we are living what we profess, such prayer is always answered. The honest, unselfish effort to be Christlike is prayer. The prayer that forgets self in serving God and humanity is known to God and will be rewarded by Him. Importuning God to send us material blessings is not the mission of true prayer. The highest prayer, the prayer of spiritual understanding, is the honest expression of gratitude for knowing that we are now in the kingdom of heaven.
In the Christian Science Hymnal (p. 91) we find this helpful hymn: —
"Pray'r is the heart's sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Pray'r is the simplest form of speech,
That infant lips can try;
Pray'r the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.
Pray'r is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air:
His watchword overcometh death —
He enters heav'n with pray'r."
[Delivered May 3, 1923, in Phillips Brooks House under the auspices of the Christian Science Society at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in The Cambridge Tribune, May 5, 1923. The title was supplied from other copies of the lecture.]