Christian Science: Its Verdict of Acquittal

 

George Channing, C.S.B., of San Francisco, California

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

In a remarkable book entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and ordained by her as a textbook of her religion, there is an allegory wherein mortal man (a kind of man living in the belief that he can die) is on trial for his life.  He is accused of having contracted liver complaint.  Personal Sense, or the sense of existing as a material person, is in his thought and is suggesting to him that, because mortal man has violated laws of physical health by sitting up too long and too often with a sick friend until exhaustion has brought on liver complaint, he must now pay the penalty by dying.

In the language of the allegory Personal Sense, - symbolizing the false sense of existing as a material person, is described as the plaintiff, or complaining witness.  The attorney for Personal Sense is False Belief, symbolizing belief in the reality of man and the universe not spiritual or Godlike.  The presiding officer of the court is Judge Medicine. Jurors are drawn from the realm of physical notions based on belief that life is limited, that is, unlike God who is unlimited, immortal.  They are named as Mortal Minds, Materia Medica, Anatomy, Physiology, Hypnotism, Envy, Greed and Ingratitude. Testimony is given by such witnesses as Health-laws, Coated Tongue, Sallow Skin, Nerve, Mortality and Death.  Each asserts, in effect, that he has seen evidence that the defendant had in fact violated laws of physical health and that he had as a consequence been stricken with liver complaint which has brought him to the point where he cannot escape death.

 

 

Death Verdict Falsely Ordered

Christian Science apparently comes to the defendant's thought but is ruled out by Judge Medicine as irrational and unchristian.  The Judge explains to the Jury that the laws of nature render disease a legal killer of anyone who contracts it.  In his charge he makes it clear that the case presented by Personal Sense through his attorney, False Belief, is the only evidence to be considered.  He orders what amounts to, a directed verdict, and the Jury obediently complies and declares mortal man to be guilty of liver complaint in the first degree.

Whereupon Judge Medicine adds his further condemnation of mortal man as guilty of benevolence in the first degree in that he tried too long and too often to do good to his sick friend, thus contracting the disease which now requires that he be sentenced to be tortured by it until dead.  Apparently unaware of the irony of his words the Judge makes the solemn pronouncement: "May God have mercy on your soul."

While Scholastic Theology is being summoned to prepare the sense of life for death, without the slightest realization that Life is God and cannot die, a great stir is heard in the prison yard, a so-called place symbolizing consciousness of mortality which, in supposition, binds him who accepts it.  Christ, Truth, the Spirit of Life and the Friend of Mortal Man, is appearing.  Christian Science has come again to the defendant's thought and this time it finds him receptive in his moment of defeat and desperation, despite the previous ruling of Judge Medicine that Christian Science was not admissible.  Christian Science is now bringing the Christ, and many in the prison yard are impelled to cry out: "The law of Christ supersedes our laws; let us follow Christ."

 

Christian Science Appears

After some insistence on fairness and truth in the court, Christian Science obtains permission to displace False Belief and to appear as Counsel for Mortal Man versus Personal Sense.  A new trial is granted on appeal from the Court of Error to the Court of Spirit where Christian Science eloquently and successfully pleads the fact that there can be no penalty for doing good.  The unselfish ministering of the defendant to his sick friend was "love fulfilling the law," the new attorney explains, and he makes it clear that mortal man in embodying and expressing unselfed love was, to that extent, not mortal man at all, for love is of God and God is immortal.  Therefore man, expressing unselfed spiritual love, is not under the jurisdiction of laws of physical health, but under the law of divine Spirit which decrees that the man who embodies God's qualities, such as wisdom, purity, spiritual understanding, spiritual power, love, health, holiness, is forever reflecting inexhaustible being.

The plea that Judge Medicine had lacked jurisdiction in the lower court of error is urgently presented.  The Bible, the basic Book of law, is then quoted to show the obligations and privileges of the real man - the man who embodies and expresses God's qualities.  And Christian Science buttresses his case by showing that every witness in the lower Court of Error, including the complainant, Personal Sense, had testified to illusions and called them facts.  They had testified regarding a supposititious man who embodies qualities of limited life, whereas such a man does not in fact exist, since the only Life is God, and God is unlimited.  Christian Science makes the significant statement that the best detectives (spiritual perception and awareness) are employed whenever and wherever the true man is reported to have encountered disease and the finding always is that disease was never there.  Christian Science then demands that Personal Sense, the accuser in the lower Court of Error, be arrested and bound.

 

Prisoner Set Free

The Jury of Spiritual Senses agree swiftly on a verdict of Not Guilty, and the echo of that verdict resounds throughout the prison yard.  The prisoner is free.  He is also strong and his looks are lovely with health.  He is the beneficiary of the truth available to every member of the human race - the Truth by which disease is healed spiritually.  Truth is the Christ with which Jesus was endowed.  It has now appeared, as Jesus promised, as the Comforter leading into all Truth.  This Comforter Mrs. Eddy has said, is divine Science.

The Christianly scientific method of healing the sick, portrayed in this allegory, may be described as that of arguing the facts of Spirit against the falsehoods of material sense. This is a form of prayer.  Whenever spiritual truth is argued thoroughly against material sense, material sense, which includes sickness, gives way to the consciousness of health and harmony.  An innumerable host of men and women have used this method, as instructed in Christian Science, and have found release from sicknesses of every description.  I am impelled to mention here one such healing which came to a woman I know.  She was afflicted with a tumor.  It was uncommonly large and her body seemed at least twice its normal size.  She like Mortal Man in the allegory, had disobeyed so-called laws of physical health, in that she had come to the point of exhaustion through worry, fear of waning substance, terror in the face of threatened impoverishment.  This

woman had owned many, many acres of fertile land in the San Joaquin Valley in California.  But, in the so-called economic depression of 1929, her financial resources had seemed completely choked off.  She couldn't even pay her taxes.  That was when false states of mind seemed to appear in her consciousness, and the tumor seemed to accompany them.  Personal Sense was suggesting that man is a material person without material substance.  False Belief, the belief that materiality is real, was arguing for Personal Sense.  Although she was a Christian Scientist, she agreed, under what seemed to be pressure of circumstances, that she was on trial under material laws.

 

Woman Healed of Tumor

But, after a time, under earnest prayer, the Christ, presented by Christian Science, the Friend of Mortal Man, appeared more and more vividly to her consciousness.  The agreement that she was on trial under laws of materiality was shown to be without substance.  The understanding that the laws of divine Spirit alone applied to man took control of her thought.  The facts of Spirit were argued against all false presentments of evil.  Substance was seen to be spiritual, eternal, incapable of decay.  Freedom and dominion were felt and known as reality.  All of a sudden the tumor was gone.  The woman awoke free.  Her normal appearance was restored.  She has since devoted her life, which is now full of the evidences of true substance, to the purposes of good, as she interprets the instruction of Christian Science.

In this instance, as in the case of Mortal Man in the allegory, healing was accomplished by arguing the facts of Spirit against false-beliefs in behalf of the patient whose underlying motive is to do good.  But how about the case when the underlying motive is to do harm and penalty is being encountered?  The answer is that such a patient in such a case can also establish innocence and win acquittal.  The textbook states and implies that beneficent fact in many places.  It shows that such a person can find healing by forsaking the desire as well as the seeming ability to do harm, in a word, by forsaking sin, which may be described as the conscious acceptance of and belief in a so-called mind other than the divine Mind, God.  On page 40 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: "Science removes the penalty only by first removing the sin which incurs the penalty."

 

Right Thinking Ends Penalty

If therefore one is incurring the penalty for wrong doing, the answer is to cease wrong doing.  Let mortal mind disappear through lack of witness, through absence of its false qualities of hate, fear, jealousy and the like, and let the divine Mind be enthroned through the presence of its qualities in consciousness.  So doing, mortal man is removed from the jurisdiction of material, so-called laws which decree penalty for disobedience and yet are not really capable of being obeyed.  Mortal man is thus presented as the human in whose consciousness some divine qualities are being progressively revealed, thus placing him in like measure under the jurisdiction of the divine Mind, God.  Let us state the crux of the matter this way; In the degree that mortal mind ceases to seem to be the mind of mortal man that so-called man disappears, that is, yields to the presence of spiritual man, manifesting health and wholeness.  Christian Science presenting the Christ advocates the rights of mortal man against material personal sense and wins a verdict of acquittal because material personal sense is exposed by Christian Science as an illusion. When this exposure is accomplished man can only be adjudged not guilty of mortal belief and of the seeming effects of such belief.

This verdict of acquittal, available to everyone who employs Christian Science as counsel and follows its directions, is not won by fencing with words, by merely saying, "I am the Son of God and therefore innocent."  It is won by proving one's sonship with God, by regeneration of thought, by purging individual consciousness of finite beliefs, such as the belief that fear is inevitable, that malice and deceit have power, that individual destiny includes ultimate defeat, all of which are based upon the false notion that everything, especially everything good, must come to an end.

 

Christ Purges Thought

This purging of thought is accomplished by the Christ.  Christian Science demonstrates Christ in the human sense of life and illumines the Christ as the right idea of God, the idea which perfect Mind conceives and forms as its offspring.  When Christ, the consciousness of divine Mind, is accepted and utilized by an individual, that individual thereby proves himself to be the son of God.  The Son of God is innocent.  He is not guilty of entertaining a single notion that could possibly be manifest as suffering, sickness, disease, failure, frustration, death or annihilation.  Specifically, any individual can, with the Christ, prove as did the man with liver complaint, that he is not guilty of the particular belief that seems manifest as impairment in the immediate instance.

The burden of guilt is unbearably heavy upon mortal consciousness.  That is why it is important to employ the Christ to nullify the claim that consciousness of mortality is the real consciousness of man.  Mortal mind is inescapably punished by the weight of its load of guilt.  The guilt of mortal mind is in its claim to be.  In asserting its seeming presence through hypnotic modes and moods it is a lying sense.

Immortal sense alone is real, and immortal sense is the consciousness of man.  Immortal sense is innocent of accepting any mortal notion.  It asserts only truth - the reality of God and of the man and universe God made.  And being innocent, it is without a burden, without suffering in any degree, for burden and suffering belong only to guilt.  Those who bring themselves to the point of partaking of the liberating power of this spiritual perception understand, in some degree at least, the compassionate invitation of the Christ: (Matt. 11:28) "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - rest in the spiritual activity of joyous obedience to God.

 

Principle a Word for God

Principle is a word for God which Mrs. Eddy has listed among the major synonyms for Deity.  It means origin or cause in its widest sense - cause including but distinguished from effect.  The correctness of such a word as Principle for Deity is striking and vivid when it is realized, as the Bible puts it, that "God spake and it was done."  Deity creates out of His own infinite self-existence and self-containment.

As has been indicated in the allegory of the trial of mortal man for liver complaint, there are other synonyms for God than divine Mind and divine Principle.  Divine Life is one of them.  Life is conscious Principle causing the living man and the living universe to live. That which Life causes to live is the expression or reflection of Life.  This reflection is man and the universe of right ideas, expressing the nature of the divine source of being.

Spirit is a synonym for God.  It was in the Court of divine Spirit that mortal man was set free from liver complaint and from the penalty, death.  Through the realization of man's freedom mortal man gave way to the man to whom disease never came.  Spirit, as the Bible implies, is the "Judge of all the earth" (Gen. 18:25), and shall he not do right?

Spirit, Principle, Life and Mind - these four together with the three others, Truth, Love, and Soul, constitute the seven major synonyms Mrs. Eddy has employed to round out for human comprehension the completeness and all-inclusiveness of God.  Truth is a word for Deity, because Truth is reality, that which is and the source of that which is.  Love is a name for God, because Love, in its perfection, conceives in terms of perfection and permits no impaired or limited man to be.

And Soul, like the other synonyms, includes all that Deity is.  When God is viewed as Soul, He is seen as the source of all the real senses.  Soul emphasizes the reality of all sensitivity to good and the consequent unreality of all seeming sensitivity to evil, or mortal sense.  Soul's senses, all of which are reflected by man, see spiritual loveliness and beauty and nothing to the contrary.  They include spiritual symmetry, charm and art. They impart true rhythm and melody - harmony and perfect adjustment.  They reveal the fragrance of unfolding Life and divine goodness.  

 

Real Man Is Innocent

God, thus described and understood, could conceive man only as embodying and including the infinite qualities which bear witness to God's nature.  Man, in truth, is therefore innocent, as the Psalmist puts it, "of the great transgression," - innocent of sin or, in other words, of accepting a finite mind as his and thus violating the first commandment which requires that there shall be no acceptance of any other gods but God, no recognition of any mind but the infinite.  Innocence gives the power we need.  It was the spiritual innocence of Daniel in the lion's den that saved him from attack by the beasts.  Questioned by the king as to why he had not been torn to pieces during the full night in the den, Daniel replied, as the Scripture records it (Dan. 6:22), "For as much as before him (my God) innocency was found in me."

The effort to recognize true innocent selfhood is effective prayer, the prayer that is always answered.  Whatever form it may take, whether asserting and realizing the spiritual facts of man's existence, whether appealing to God for understanding, it is the bridge over which thought travels from supposititious mortal sense to the reality of immortal sense.  It is the right effort which the Almighty sustains and brings to fruition, the intense and pure desire to know one's self in the image and likeness of his Maker, the desire that opens one's eyes to reality.

Such a priceless boon as this discovery which Mrs. Eddy founded or established in the consciousness of humanity deserves to be protected in purity of statement and practice. And Mrs. Eddy has provided this protection by organizing and establishing her church, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.  She gave it responsibilities and privileges designed to ensure a clear and correct interpretation of her religion to humankind by continuing authority constituted as such.

 

Mrs. Eddy Wrote Manual

She wrote the Manual of The Mother Church, setting forth in adequate and divinely inspired regulations the required activities of all members, officials, and officers of the Church.  Interpretation and implementation of the provisions of this Manual was assigned to The Christian Science Board of Directors, a board of five consecrated Christian Scientists which has the responsibility of speaking with authoritative voice as to the government and control of the movement under the Church Manual.

In the Church Manual provision is made for establishing branches of The Mother Church so that the Mother may indeed be mother, and the children, the branches, may make the Mother's beneficence felt wherever the children are.  In addition to providing for church services focused upon the purity and power of divine ideas and in no way exploiting human opinions, the Manual establishes The Christian Science Publishing Society.  This Society not only issues periodicals elucidating the religion but also publishes The Christian Science Monitor, a great daily newspaper, which, because of its penetrating insight and high ideals of reporting and interpreting the news of the world, enjoys the respect and confidence of responsible men and women everywhere.  Exemplifying right attitudes in the field of unfolding human events, the Monitor is, in that aspect, a remarkably efficient public relations representative of the Christian Science Church.

 

Committee on Publication

But, in addition to this, Mrs. Eddy has also provided for a public relations representative whose duty it is to correct impositions on the public regarding Christian Science, and injustices done Mrs. Eddy or members of the Church in the daily press.  (See Manual p. 47.)  This public relations representative is the Committee on Publication constituted in the office of the Manager of Committees on Publication in Boston, Massachusetts, and in that of a one-person Committee in every state in the United States, except California (where there are two), and in every political subdivision in other countries, comparable to a state in the Union, where Christian Scientists reside.

This remarkable achievement in establishing The Mother Church, its activities and its branches, as a bulwark for Truth on the human scene, as well as that other remarkable achievement, the discovery of the reality of good and of the method by which the unreality of evil can be proved, was the natural outcome of Mrs. Eddy's unfolding spiritual thought.  Born Mary Baker in 1821 in a little township known as Bow in the State of New Hampshire, she grew up in a thoroughly religious household where mother and father and grandmother taught and exemplified the wisdom of putting God first. Saddled with frailty, she sought strength.  Years of quest, of advancing, then retracing her steps, then advancing again, were richly rewarded.  At last, in 1866, she felt the hand of God upon her, blessing her as His messenger to this age.

 

Christian Science Discovered

That year 1866 was the year of her discovery of Christian Science simultaneously with her own healing by prayer of the effects of an accidental fall which had been expected by some to prove fatal.  She was restored to complete health by reading the narrative in the Bible of a spiritual healing accomplished by Christ Jesus and receiving into her understanding the revelation God gave her of the spiritual method Christ Jesus employed.  From that moment there was no thought or act of Mrs. Eddy's life that was not centered on God and on her purpose to make the availability of God's love and power evident and manifest to men.  Thus, as the Bible says of Christ Jesus (Luke 2:52) she "increased in wisdom and stature; and in favor with God and man."  Christ Jesus she humbly accepted as the great Example.  To the human scene Jesus had come, even as Mrs. Eddy came nineteen centuries later, without human prestige or material endowment. But, as he was endowed with the Christ, "the power of God unto salvation,'' so Mrs. Eddy was vouchsafed perception of the Comforter by which everyone who desires it truly is led into the understanding of all that Jesus knew and did and of how he knew it, and how he did it.

Jesus is the example, Mrs. Eddy is the leader of all who follow her in the utilization of the Comforter, or divine Science, which presents the full nature and activity of the Christ, the right idea of God and of the man who, innocent of finiteness, expresses God.  Christ Jesus accomplished his mission because he was innocent and had the power of innocence. Mrs. Eddy accomplished hers because she used the Christ to make herself innocent of finite thought, and progressively grew into awareness of complete separateness from a limited false sense of life.

 

Life Is Deathless

Christ Jesus supplied the evidence that the Life of man is deathless.  Mrs. Eddy supplied the instruction which enables each and every individual to understand and utilize the spiritual method by which the evidence of man's deathless life is made manifest.  Christ Jesus did not show men any exclusive power of his.  He showed men their power when endowed with the Christ.  Mrs. Eddy did not show men any exclusive understanding of hers.  She showed men their understanding when employing the Comforter.  Christ Jesus illustrated the power of the Christ.  Mrs. Eddy illustrated the efficacy of knowing the Comforter.

The animus of Jesus' healing was in what he saw and heard, what, in other words, his senses were aware of as reality.  His senses were the reflection of the spiritual senses of Soul, and through them and by them he beheld all things in their true light.  Things in their true light are not seen or felt or heard by the so-called senses of mortal mind.  Hence, the importance of displacing the seeming senses of mortal mind with the real senses of immortal Mind.  Right where mortal mind with its supposititious finite senses, sees and feels disease, the divine Mind with its infinite senses sees and feels health.  Right where mortal mind seems to see and feel lack and malice and fear and death, immortal Mind sees and feels abundance and love, unafraidness and life.  The seeing and feeling of mortal mind is illusion; the seeing and feeling of immortal Mind is real.

God made man, as revealed in that remarkable first chapter of Genesis, by conceiving him as that which expresses God.  He endowed that man with ability to see and to hear and to feel and to know spiritual reality through utilization of divine Spirit as his Mind.  In the second chapter of Genesis, following the first three verses, a purported record is given of the hypnotic appearance of a kind of man of whom error demands that mind shall see and feel through matter.  With this demand it is impossible to comply except in the illusion of finite mind's dream.

 

Christ Exposes Finite Sense

The work of the Christ is to expose finite mind as a dreamer and its supposititious existence as its dream.  As this exposure is accomplished in the consciousness of any individual, that individual, in the words of the Revelator, sees "a new heaven and a new earth."  He sees wholeness where incompleteness had seemed to be, achievement where failure had seemed to be, love where hate had seemed to be, life where death had seemed to be.  The pronouncement of the Revelator (Revelation 21:1); "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea" is not an abstraction nor a description of things to come.  He had not passed, as Mrs. Eddy puts it, the transitional stage in human experience called death, but he already saw a new heaven and a new earth.  Emphatically, Mrs. Eddy makes her point for the comfort of you and me right now.  Hear her words (Science and Health, p. 573): "The Revelator was on our plane of existence, while yet beholding what the eye cannot see, - that which is invisible to the uninspired thought.  The testimony of Holy Writ sustains the fact in Science, that the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material."

 

God Is "Ever With Men"

Then she proceeds to point out the Revelator's perception of the truth that God is not in some distant realm beyond the grave but is "ever with men."  And she adds: "Thus man was no longer regarded as a miserable sinner, but as the blessed child of God."  She could not have said more plainly that his innocence is established through spiritual perception. The verdict of acquittal of the sin of entertaining finite sense is accompanied by the vanishing of everything that would obstruct progress in recognizing man's dominion through eternal alignment with God.  And the Discoverer of Christian Science then assures us: "This is Scriptural authority for concluding that such a recognition of being is, and has been possible to men in this present state of existence, - that we can become conscious here and now, of the cessation of death, sorrow and pain."  No assurance is more needed or more valuable to you and me than this that Christian Science brings to men.  It ends all fear, and the affliction, disease, desperation, and confusion that accompany fear.  To live life that is unimpressed by death, sorrow, pain, is to discover one's self in the heaven that God made, to reach eternity without aid of the grave but through the perception of spiritual life.  Knowledge of the possibility of this achievement here and now establishes in us a spiritual boldness, before which error flees like the coward it is.  But error is no coward before the frightened mentality that is unpersuaded of truth.  Unchallenged, it swells up and inflates its supposititious self for egotistic self-inspection.  It finds itself in the fearful mentality and it struts its spurious presence because it is unopposed.

 

Error Never Present

Of course, error never in fact finds itself in you and me, but it will claim to do so if mortal mind is being permitted to masquerade as our mind.  It will claim to know exactly where the suggestion that life is material and finite can make its most persuasive appeal to each one of us.  In other words, it finds, or seems to find, the weakest spot in our armor, where our fears can be magnified and our confidence shaken in the reality of good.  And the weak spot is betrayed wherever and whenever we believe in material instead of spiritual weapons against evil.

If, for instance, one is entertaining the notion that he has power to destroy something or somebody, the suggestion that somebody or something has power to destroy him will, in supposition, find lodgment in his thought and terrorize him with spurious evidence of its reality.  If one is entertaining the notion that the infliction of impairment and pain is a weapon of conquest over others, then he will, in supposition, be a prey to the suggestion that he himself can be afflicted with impairment and pain and be vanquished thereby.  If one is entertaining the notion that he can attain his purposes, good or bad, by deceit and falsehood, he will find himself a victim of that which would attain its purposes by deceiving him.  More than pithy statement is in the epigram, (Matt. 26:52), "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."  The remedy is to utilize the Christ, the right idea of God, to cast out of consciousness any attraction to evil.  If such attraction remains undiscovered and unbanished, it presents itself as the point of our susceptibility to evil.

 

Finding the Spiritual Idea

But through it also, by the grace of God and the instruction of Christian Science, the Christ reveals our spiritual strength.  The way to discover the spiritual idea which serves as the Christ is to find the opposite of the false notion.  Spiritual truth is the opposite of the material fable.  Christ Jesus read mortal mind for the purpose of accomplishing his healing work, and we, endowed with the Christ, must read it too.  Know where the weakness seems to be and then, by reversal, find our strength in Spirit.  Vividly, Mrs. Eddy has indicated this method by pointing out that, "The greatest wrong is but the supposititious opposite of the highest right." (Science and Health, 368:1-2.)  For instance, if mortal sense seems to declare that you will lose your health, know at once that spiritual sense is true as to the unimpairable nature of your healthfulness or spiritual wholeness.  If mortal sense seems to say you are afraid you will lose your employment, realize that the strong point in your spiritual armor is your anchored knowledge that you are forever employed by your divine source, or Principle, to make His presence manifest.  If mortal sense seems to say you are afraid of failure, realize at once that your strong point in spiritual truth is your understanding of your unthwartable achievement in presenting yourself as the son of God.  Thus, you prove your innocence of fear, your guiltlessness of the notion that health or employment can be lost, that achievement can be denied you, and the verdict of acquittal will accordingly be pronounced in your favor. Your spiritual unafraidness will be attested in improved human experience.

 

The Promise Is Spiritual

There is no promise in Christian Science that matter shall be made pleasurable, that finite life shall be rendered desirable.  The promise is that the illusion of material life will be exposed and punctured by truth to the point of its complete deflation, and spiritual living and blessedness will be brought to view as our divine and eternal heritage. Accompanying this exposure of the illusion of material life is joy without measure.  The happy awareness of strength to do God's will, of power to walk unscathed through the illusory besetments of evil, of capacity to know reality and to be unimpressed by unreality, - the happy awareness of our endowment with unsullied talents supplied by divine Love - this is the reward we win.  Progress toward the winning of it is always attested by dominion over the triad of finite mistakes, sin, disease, and death.  Penalties for being mortal are not visited upon that which is immortal.

None of this is mere theory, none of it charming abstraction.  It is as practical as living and being.  Your innocence and mine of any real acceptance of finite life is a present fact. It needs only to be demonstrated.  A quarter of a century ago I served as Christian Science worker in a large penitentiary.  I was privileged to witness then and have witnessed through the years the liberation which came to a prisoner who had been found guilty and sentenced, but who sincerely employed Christian Science to find acquittal before God and men.

Whether the man was guilty in the eyes of the law of the land I do not know.  The charge against him was one usually regarded as especially offensive and deserving of long and severe punishment.  But this man through his own efforts steadily increased his genuine perception of the meaning of Christian Science.  With unhurried patience he worked to bring himself mentally and spiritually to the point where the committal of such an act as he had been accused of would be impossible for him, because it was foreign to his nature.

 

Released From Penitentiary

He was released.  He went to a community far away from the penitentiary, obtained employment and, by skill and devotion to the ideal of serving the purposes of good, was consistently promoted.  His pardon came.  He was absolved of any stigma of having been convicted of crime.  Today he is a respected citizen, an ardent and thoroughly proved church worker of many years standing, acquitted of any charge that false appetite belongs to him, and free in respect of that old accusation, free of any penalty which comes to the guilty.

That man accepted, as I plead with you and me to accept, the one method by which proof can be established that Christian Science is indeed Counsel for our defense.  The man studied the textbook and applied its teachings in his life.  He tested Christian Science honestly by first spiritualizing thought and then witnessing the result.  Christian Science is not subject to argument.  A debate on its efficacy will get us nowhere.  Mrs. Eddy has forbidden debating it.  She knew that fencing with words does not regenerate thought. The classic observation of Alexander Pope is forever true: "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

 

Christian Science Applied

The great throng of men and women who constitute the ranks of Christian Scientists today were not drawn to it by argument.  They joined because they applied it, and the results of the application left no room for doubt of its truth and power.  Many had even refused to apply it until every other available method of release from desperation and despair had been tried without success.  Then they cast aside Judge Medicine's whimsical notion that Christian Science is irrational and unchristian.  They aligned thought with the God whom Christian Science reveals, and became aware of the rapturous presence of divine Love, God, in their lives, "who," as the Psalmist says (Psalms 103:3), "forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases."

Who are the followers of God and His Christ?  Who are the pure in heart?  They are those who before the Supreme Court of Spirit have been tried and acquitted of the charge of sin, disease and death.  They are those who are progressively passing the test set up by the Chief Justice of the Court and, in accord with the Christ, argued and established by Christian Science, the advocate of Truth and Friend of Mortal Man, (Matt 7:20): "By their fruits ye shall know them."

 

[From a newspaper clipping (location and date unknown) found pasted in a 1954 issue of The Christian Science Quarterly.]

 

 

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