Judge Joseph R. Clarkson, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Es-Judge Clarkson of Omaha, spoke at the Rhode Opera House, Monday evening, September 18, 1899, on the subject of Christian Science. The house was well filled with a representative audience, and the speaker had the undivided attention of his hearers throughout the address. He was introduced by James Cavanagh, Esq., attorney-at-law, and spoke as follows: —
There is an all pervading inquietude among mortals. They seem linked with disease, misery, restlessness, dissatisfaction, inconstancy, a feverish agitation over trivialities, a despairing uncertainty of action, a vague, indefinite purpose to do some indefinable thing, the execution of which they know not how to undertake.
They are inharmony incarnate.
They cry for something better, — for peace, for rest, for content, for health, for happiness.
They grope blindly for the desirable.
They clutch only the unsatisfying.
What can they do? What can they do?
If one is in the shade and wants the sunlight, he must step out into it.
If one is in the heat of the sun and wants the cool and shade of the house, he must betake himself inside.
If one wants the seclusion and quiet of the woods, he must go to the woods.
If one wants the ocean breeze, he will find it at or near the ocean.
If a mariner wants the benefit of the trade-wind, he must put his vessel in the path of the wind, not lie off a hundred or two miles, and expect the wind to come to him.
If one wants peace, rest, content, health, and happiness, he must seek their source.
If one wants something different from his usual experience, and is shown the way to something different, he must not demur because in his quest for the different he encounters a fundamental difference between what he has had and what he seeks; what he had, and what he gains. Jesus said, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
For thousands of years men have striven to be well, whole, have unavailingly sought happiness. Hither and thither they have wandered in search of what they have not found. Every conceivable material fount has been tapped in the vain hope that its waters would prove a panacea for fleshly ills.
Scarce a material product of the earth but that has been brought into requisition to furnish its supposed furtherance of the desired end — the health and happiness of mortals. With what effect? Have material means made mortals well? Have material expedients resulted in the production of happiness? Have material methods banished disease, sin, misery, death?
Are not mortals born through suffering; do they not soon learn to sin and to love sin; are they not diseased, unhappy, tormented, racked, worried, fretted, and annoyed: do they not die — all pretty much as they did thousands of years ago, and that, too, despite never-ending struggles to bring about a different order of existence? Has not the time come for a trial, at least, of different remedies, spiritual remedies, remedies which God has always prescribed, and which, past all doubt, in the waning years of this century, He once more has brought conspicuously to the notice of the human race?
Christian Scientists say and prove that God, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Holy Comforter, is not a remote possibility, a locality, a corporeality, a something to be sought in doubt and despondency ever keeping tantalizingly just beyond reach, never affording a satisfying assurance that the "Kingdom of God is within you." God is here, now, to be had, to be enjoyed, to be obeyed, to be worshiped, to be loved with all one's heart and soul and strength. So long as men refuse to obey specific instructions as to how they may find God; so long as men persist in disbelieving the positive, clear, oft-repeated promises of God's helpful presence to those who do His will; so long as men remain stubborn in the belief that they, better than God, know what is good for them; just so long men must not expect to know God, must not expect His helping hand. If Jesus was God's son, — and Christianity is based upon the fact that he was, — if Christ is, always has been, and always will be, God's son, — and Christianity is based on Christ's eternal sonship, — if credence is to be given to the Bible, — and if the Bible is not God's word Christendom has not yet found that word; then Christ Jesus was on this earth of ours for a purpose. What was that purpose? Was it not, as the Bible teaches, to save, to destroy, and to fulfil? Save whom? Mankind. Destroy what? Sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Fulfil what? The law, — God's commands. Save a few thousand mortals, who, through Jesus' or his disciples' personal presence could be reached and moved? No! Mankind, all mortals, the world, in all places, at all times, under all conditions. Save from what? From themselves, — from bondage to the flesh, from sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Save, how? By destroying self, — freeing from the flesh, annihilating sickness, sin, suffering, and death, — casting out devils, evils.
What the means by which such destruction could be wrought? God's word, God's law, its acceptance and observance. Jesus was not here to waste time or words. To teach and practise, mainly practise, God's word was his mission. How tirelessly, lovingly, practically, and effectively he worked! The sick were healed. The sinning cleansed, reformed. The dying stayed. The dead raised. At his word human misery ceased. How did he explain his power? Not as his, but as the Father's who sent him. He claimed to utter no word, to do no deed save as he was moved and empowered by the Father. To him who did as God decreed, the Saviour promised God's abiding love and presence. "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him," was the Master's assurance. To all the burdened he said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden. and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He warned against prayers which were mere word-mongering. He condemned such righteousness as that of the Pharisees, who reveled in all ritual, and loved in their devotions to be heard and seen of men. He taught that God was Love, Spirit, Truth, and should be worshiped as such. Should be prayed to in secret. Should be obeyed. Should be loved. Should be placed before all other gods. Should be preferred to the world. He summarized God's commandments in two: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Then added, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Jesus was no deceiver. He did not, for the sake of gaining favor with men, make promises which could not be fulfilled. He was not a timeserver. He sought not his own glory, his own preferment. He taught, toiled, endured, and suffered, to the sole end that men might be turned to God, might seek and find His way; might learn that Spirit was, and is, and ever will be. supreme. He knew God. He knew mankind. He was the mediator, the intercessor, between God and mortals. He knew that sickness, sin, and death, as the works of the devil — evil — must be destroyed. How? Through God and God alone. Mankind must turn to God for help before God's help would be given. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," Jesus knew as the Father's imperative command. How could men be made to understand this? Their knowledge was founded upon their physical senses. Through physical sense appeal must be made to human understanding. An unaccountable, transcendent, present power must be made manifest to them. They must recognize it as unlike and superior to any other power they had hitherto known. Then they would be told that it was God; that God could and would save them from themselves, from their conception of existence, show them Himself — Life eternal, — and that man was with Him in peace and joy. They would believe what Jesus said because he had shown them what God could do. They, then, might for themselves seek God; might heed and practise what Jesus taught. Mere talking, he felt, would be of little avail. Making the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, cleansing the lepers, healing the sick, would be the incontestable physical proof that God is ever at work for good. This proof given, seen, and felt, men would want to know more of God. Persistence in seeking God meant finding. Finding meant salvation from every human ill, — the consummation prayed. Christianity without healing the sick is not the Christianity Jesus preached, practised, and, with most tender, most loving benediction, left to mankind. His standard for the genuine Christian was the ability to do wonders, not alone to talk. Preceding, following, and accompanying his preaching to the multitudes were signs and wonders, mostly by way of healing the sick, which proved the truth of his words and made converts to Christianity. Before the Sermon on the Mount, he healed the sick. After the Sermon on the Mount he healed the sick. By his healing he attracted his auditors. After they had listened with profoundest interest to that concise, incisive condensation of all that can be said on the subject-matter of a righteous life, he, with them, descended from the mountain, and healed their sick who came to him, thus demonstrating that his sermon was founded on practical, though spiritual, Truth, — that the man of righteous life, the man who walked with God, who accredited God with all perfection, was empowered to destroy evil as it existed among men, because evil was contrary to an ever-present God, — the universal Good.
Nor did he maintain that he alone could demonstrate God's power and presence, nor did he or his disciples so teach. When he sent forth the twelve, this was his command: "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." When he sent out the seventy, after other instruction, he gave them this, "And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
After the resurrection, in his last talks with the disciples, these were his statements and injunctions: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Again, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; . . . and these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
At another time when addressing the disciples he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." As he once prayed for them he included in his prayer all that should believe in him through their word. This was his language: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me." It is stated by St. John, referring to those who accepted and understood Jesus' teachings, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
The disciples certainly understood that their preaching must be emphasized by demonstration of God's power and presence; that they must confirm the word with signs and wonders following.
Because signs and wonders attended them, after them, as after Jesus, the people flocked. They were persecuted, as he had been, because of miracles performed. Following upon the healing of the man lame from his mother's womb, when exception to Peter's and John's healing and preaching had been taken by the chief priests and elders, and the announcement made that, though a notable miracle had been done, nevertheless such work should proceed no further, this prayer was offered by the Christians: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus." In the building up of the early Christian Church, the main inciting cause, which fairly impelled to an adoption of the faith, was the performance of miracles, marvels, signs, and wonders, by those who professed to be exponents of the new religion. Granted, you say, that Jesus and his immediate disciples could heal the sick, raise the dead, they were specially endowed; such dispensation of power ended with them. It is not so. According to Acts, besides the disciples, "Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." Barnabas and Paul healed the sick, and performed miracles, and Paul raised the dead. A few hours' examination of history relating to the growth and salient features of the Christian faith will reveal the fact that for more than two hundred years after Jesus the Christians continued healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing other miracles, and that those manifestations of the living, attending grace and power of the Spirit only ceased when Christians ceased to be such Christians as were worthy in the sight of God to be His representatives, when they ceased to be such Christians as put their trust in God instead of men and men's modes of healing, saving, and worship. Nowhere in any of Jesus' utterances can there be found a limitation to a favored few of the power to show that Spirit lives and reigns and is supreme over all evil. Wherever it is promised that God will reveal Himself through men, all those who do His will, who have and keep His commandments, are to be His reflectors.
At the time I began to investigate Christian Science, for twenty-five years I had done no reading in the Bible, and, if I ever had noticed it, had forgotten that any special significance was, in the gospel narratives, attached to the healing of the sick. I thus approached the study of the Bible untrammeled by the customary, traditional interpretation placed upon it, virtually free from prejudice against the position taken by the Christian Scientists. I was for the first time entering upon a careful study of what the great book contained. I had, for something like a month, been reading in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the text-book of Christian Scientists, by Mary Baker G. Eddy, who is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and had gathered from that wondrous book a clue to the Bible's meaning.
Fortified with her strength, illumined with her light, trustful with her trust, obedient with her obedience, inspired with her inspiration, I read and pondered the Bible's word. With what result? This. It became my settled conviction that, if the Bible were intended for the instruction and guidance of men, and if, as Jesus stated, his words were not to pass away, the Bible meant what Mrs. Eddy declared it to mean; namely, that men to-day, tomorrow, for all time, have and will have, to help and guide them in all the affairs of life; to relieve them from all sin, disease, and woe, a living, present, all-powerful, all-wise God, whose sole sentiment towards His children is infinite Divine love: to know whom aright is, as Jesus said, life eternal, and to know whom aright is the only problem the solution of which is worth mankind's unceasing effort. This conclusion reached, and healing in many ways having come, I became a Christian Scientist, who is no more, no less, than one who from his heart of hearts. by his thought, his acts, and his life, endeavors to do as Jesus taught, and as the Scriptures, illumined by the light Science and Health throws upon them, teach us this day. Mrs. Eddy is our leader. We look upon her great book as a key to a deep, spiritual meaning in the Bible. We claim that a careful study of the Bible and her book and a strict following of the instructions they contain enable us to do wonders towards freeing ourselves and others from sickness, sin, fear, or death, and all other human woe, and bring us into closer communion with God.
Proofs that this claim is made good abound on every hand, and are to be found in the actual personal experiences of men, women, and children, some of whom you and I know, with whom one may talk, and from whom one may learn of what Christian Science has done for them.
Christian Science makes stronger, healthier, more unselfish, more honest, more contented, holier, purer, happier people. Through Christian Science there have been, as well as can be estimated, more than a million cases of healing from sickness. In the majority of these cases relief by other means had failed. In a vast number of the cases, perhaps the majority, physicians had abandoned or classed the sufferers as incurables. In thousands upon thousands of cases, bad habits, depraved tastes, sins of thought and deed have been eradicated; worry and anxiety have been banished, and poverty has been overcome. In instances where death has visited those who had begun to realize its nothingness and powerlessness, for both the dying and bereaved, it has been largely, sometimes almost entirely, shorn of its terrors and sorrow; and to a large number of the great army who march after the Christian Science banners there has been born a keener consciousness of the joys of spiritual existence, a positive certainty of "God with us" and to stay with us, and the resultant peace "which passeth all understanding."
In the opinion of those best qualified to judge, there is no disease in the long, horrific, and most elastic list of human ailments, no disease which adds to the pages of the mortuary calendar, not a known disease, which Christian Science cannot meet, arrest, and destroy.
Instantaneous healing of acute complaints is frequently brought to pass. Practically instantaneous healing of chronic diseases, which for years have defied a cure through material means, is no rare occurrence. Persons who, time after time, have been under the surgeon's knife, with nothing towards an actual cure effected, with the necessity of another operation filling them with dread, have, as a finality, in utter desperation, despondingly turned to Christian Science, and been effectually and permanently healed.
Speaking from personal experience, especially where one has been but a brief time in the field work, that experience must necessarily limit the actual knowledge of what Christian Science can do. Were I to be asked for an opinion based upon all that I have learned of Science, — from reading and listening to the testimonies of those who have been healed, from talking with practitioners touching their experiences, from noting the radical changes in appearance and deportment of people who have been under treatment, from the knowledge I have been able to acquire of the Principle, which is the Scriptural power in Science, from confidence in such, and other kinds of evidence which are ordinarily relied upon in forming opinions, from evidence above and beyond any that can be furnished by men, I should say that there is no disease, suffering, or sin, which Christian Science cannot, at this day, heal. By that, I do not mean that in every individual case resort to Christian Science for relief is followed by healing. Some Scientists, more than others, are advanced in the understanding of the Principle — the God — that heals. Some patients, more than others, are ready to receive the word, the spiritual idea, the Christ. Given a clear understanding on the part of the healer, supplemented by a consistent Christian life; a willingness to receive and a faithful fulfilment of what is required of him, on the part of the patient, and healing must result. If a musician's pupil, in the first few days, does not equal in proficiency his master; if the equality come not in years, would music be to blame? Would it any the less be the perfect principle of perfect harmony, though not attainable and demonstrable at once by all? If the pupil were slow in comprehension, unskilful in execution, lax in practice, vague in understanding, you would not visit upon music and the master's head the pupil's failure to progress. Are not problems in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and the higher mathematics progressive tests of one's understanding of the mathematical principle, and does each failure in the wee child thought to properly add, subtract, multiply, or divide, detract from the exactness of mathematics as a principle?
A principle's best, not poorest exponent, illustrates what that principle is and does. The Master in Christian spiritual healing was Jesus. You will remember that the disciples closest to him sometimes failed. They were human, but they improved.
An indifferent, listless, combative, disobedient attitude towards the means of instruction or enlightenment is not calculated to speed the would-be learner on his way.
Christian Scientists claim that in destroying sickness, sin, suffering, and death Jesus made it clear that they did not originate in God, because, as God's representative on earth, to do His will and to show men how to do His will, he would have made no attempt to remove or destroy creations of God. He would have known that what God had made was perfect and good, and that if God had made sin, sickness, suffering, and death, they were good, eternal, and not to be effaced from human consciousness. As he was here to enlighten concerning the Father in Heaven, he would have known and so instructed men, that any puny human efforts to escape from or mitigate inflictions visited by God upon mankind would be not only futile, but in rebellion to God's wish and, therefore, from any point of view, to be renounced.
He would have taught calm submission to inevitable evil and shown how, by such submission, God could be won, but he would not have told them that God was Life, if God was the author of death; that they were to be perfect as their Father in heaven was perfect, if, in the same breath, he had to tell them that that Father rained upon them all imperfections; he would not have given them to understand that to achieve God's love would be peace and rest for men, if he also had to tell them that that Love dealt in every horror, every cruelty, every torture, every agony for which flesh seemed the natural target.
Christian Scientists contend that God must be perfect,must be absolute Good; that He is, as the Scriptures state, Life, Truth, Spirit, Love, the All, the Nothing Besides. That whatever is unlike God cannot have its source in God, cannot be sustained or fostered by Him, and must owe its seeming existence and actuality to some mortal misconception, which misconception must be righted through an understanding that God is the only Life, the only Intelligence, the only Soul, the only Power, the only Presence, is unmixed Good, is not the creator of evil in any form, and does not sanction evil; that men in striving to overcome evil are striving to do what God wants them to do, what He has taught and is teaching them to do, and what He gives all of us the power to do, if we will make Him, — Spirit, the all-Powerful, the all-Present, the all-Loving, the all-Wise, — our means of saving grace, instead of ascribing to drugs, medicines, material means, — human methods, — any power to heal and save. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" is His commandment. "I am all." "Beside me there is no God." "Beside me there is no Saviour," are His assertions. All Christendom professes a belief in the premises on which Christian Scientists stand. All Christendom, aside from Christian Scientists, does not recognize the conclusions which must inevitably follow from those premises, does not make action according to those conclusions the rule for human conduct, and does not obey Jesus' injunctions to those who are to be his followers. Where will you find the avowed Christian who does not say that God is all-powerful, all-wise, all-present, that He is Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love; that "in Him we live, and move, and have our being;" that God is Good, essential Good; that there is but one God and He is the Supreme Intelligence; that He is all-in-all; that He is our Father which is in heaven; that, "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made;" that He "saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good"? From those premises what are the unavoidable conclusions? Are they not these? If God is all-present, then He fills all space, and there is nothing outside of God. He is infinitely expansive and infinitely inclusive. If evil exists as a reality, then it must be in God, in Good, which is an impossibility. If there is but one God, and He is Spirit, Intelligence, and Love, and is All, then there is actually nothing but Love, Spirit, Mind. If God is all-present and all-powerful, and is All, then nowhere is there any real power but the power of God. If God is Life, and is All, then All is Life. If God is Spirit and is All, then All is Spirit. If God is Mind and is All, then All is Mind. If God is Love and is All, then All is Love. If God made all things and made them good, then He did not make sickness, sin, evil of any kind, or death. Life cannot make death. Good cannot make evil. Spirit cannot make matter. Love cannot make hate, malice, envy, jealousy, and selfishness.
If God did not make sickness, sin, suffering, evil, and death, then they do not actually exist, because He made all things that were made. What then are they? Christian Scientists say, false creations of a false, mortal, material intelligence which arrogates to itself a power that God does not possess, — mortal conceptions of life and intelligence in matter, — falsities not countenanced by God, because, as before said, Jesus' mission was to destroy them as works of the devil, — evil, — and to show men how to destroy them.
Christian Scientists ask, If God is the author and the maintainer of sin, sickness, misery, and death, how can men ever hope to be rid of them, how can men by their frantic, though feeble struggles, their shallow human ingenuity, thwart the design of the eternal Almighty that these evils shall be?
If God created such evils would He point the way to extinguish them, and should we read, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions;" and, "I will take sickness away from the midst of thee"? To repeat, Scientists say that God, Love, never made evil; that men have woven about themselves a network of evil, and that with God's help, but only with God's help, they can free themselves from its envelopment. Our claim is that the full unfoldment of Christian Science means entire freedom from sin, sickness, suffering of all kinds, and death; because such ultimate means the salvation of men after the mode indicated by Jesus when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." We think it is no more audacious for Scientists to state that in their Leader they recognize an instrument of God, than it is in other denominations to state that in their ministers they recognize God's servants. We think it is no more unreasonable that in the nineteenth century God should have His instruments upon this earth, among men, than that, at other times, before and after the time of Jesus, He had such instruments. We maintain that mankind, when Jesus left the earth, did not cease to have the comfort and aid of God's presence; and on earth, among men, God works through men. We think it is no more audacious for Christian Scientists to claim that Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of Biblical texts sheds light upon their meaning, than it is for orthodox ministers and their congregations to claim that orthodox sermons serve the same purpose. Christian Scientists believe, have a right to believe, have every reason to believe, and call upon outsiders carefully to examine into the grounds of such belief, that one marked difference between Mrs. Eddy's written and verbal expositions of the Bible, and the written and verbal expositions of other expounders, is to be found in results.
Christian Science church congregations are made up almost entirely of those who through Christian Science have been healed of some sickness and sin, or so greatly benefited as to expect a full relief in time. You can no more convince such people that they have not found the way to God, than you can convince the mother that she knows no love for "the babe smiling in her face." You can no more keep the earnest Scientist from the study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's works, from attendance at his church and from worshiping his God at all times, in all places, under all circumstances, than you can dam Niagara's torrent with a match. What does it mean? It would seem to denote that Christian Scientists are deriving more actual benefit from the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's sermons than the various sects appear to derive from the Bible and their sermons. It would seem as if the lives which Christian Scientists through God, the Bible, Mrs. Eddy's teachings and example, and their own efforts, are enabled to lead, have in them more of heaven and harmony than have the lives of other seekers after God, who have adopted other systems. The fact is, Christian Scientists have acquaintance with hints of the Life, which is God, and what is more, know that they have. Such hints are so unspeakably sweet, so indescribably beautiful, so inexpressibly satisfying, peace-bringing, and restful, so healing in their divine influence, that the Scientist to whom one such hint has come, is willing and glad to study, toil, endure, deny, give up all for God, for months at a time, in hope and expectation that the heavenly experience will re-occur, in the mean while, strong in the certainty that God is working with him, because daily, almost hourly, he sees and feels the unmistakable expression of God's dear presence, sees with his physical eyes the changes wrought in himself and other human beings, and feels with his spiritual sense the kingdom of God within him.
Then, too, the hints betoken what the full realization will be — eternal, limitless, supernal harmony — man in unity with his God.
Christian Science is a knowledge of God and man, of real existence, of real Being. It is a graduation from blind belief, conjecture, and even pure, transporting faith, into an understanding, however feeble, a realization, however faint, of the Supreme Being — Spirit — and His spiritual creations. It is a renewal of the Christianity taught and practised by Jesus; taught and practised by his disciples; taught and practised by their followers until Church and State became united, and dogma, creed, and doctrine largely took the place of simple, saintly, consecrated lives and obedience to God's, not men's, commands. In its ultimate it means for us what the Apostle Paul writes in the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians, that "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
This knowledge of God and man is to be had, to a limited degree, almost at once, and any one to whom even such limited knowledge has come, can to some extent, at least, heal the sick, alleviate suffering, and help the sinner. As such knowledge increases and there attend upon its possessor a proportionate self-abnegation, an earnest striving after holy things, a sincere, constant yearning to know and do God's will, and a firm observance of that will when known, there comes more and more the ability to perform what seem wonders in healing the sick and sinful, restoring the dying, and transforming the human character.
How is such knowledge to be acquired? Deal with Christian Science as you would with any subject to which you were desirous of according fair treatment and from which you believed benefit was to be obtained. Search for it as strenuously as men strive for gold, for position, for fame, for anything they deem worthy of possession. If you do this, the probability is that in a time incredibly short you will be getting such returns for your devotion as will make of you another champion of the Christian Science cause, and, as a champion, a convert-winner.
In the search for Science one has to aid him by way of literature, Mrs. Eddy's works, especially "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;" Lesson-Sermons prepared from the Bible and her book; a monthly journal and a weekly paper, and pamphlets, all published at Boston. Besides the literature, there is the opportunity to hear lectures, to attend Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings, to frequent reading rooms conducted in connection with the associations and churches, and to talk with those who are known to be Scientists.
At this day no valid excuse can be given for not knowing what Christian Science is, hence no valid excuse can be given for abusing it for what it is not. Christian Science practice, in its perfection, is a never-ending prayer to God that the human nature may be supplanted by the Divine, that evil may give place to Good — God. It is an application to men's daily needs of the saving, sustaining, healing, regenerating, and spiritualizing Principle, — the Father in Heaven, the Life, the Spirit, the Truth, — of whom Jesus discoursed and whose power, presence, and love he manifested.
We love Mrs. Eddy, and know of no reason why we should not. She is an unselfish, a loving and lovable, a sweet, good, pure, and gentle woman, who, as we believe, has been called to God's work, and has done, and is doing, more actual good to humanity than has done, or is doing, any other woman, or any man now with us. We defend her and her God-like work from unjust attack, from envious belittlement, from outrageous falsehood, and know of no reason why we should not.
We do not worship Mrs. Eddy. We do worship the God — the divine Principle, the Soul, the Immortal Mind, the Omnipresent Love, the Eternal Spirit, the Christ-Truth, — that she so wondrously re-presents. We know, assert, and are prepared with proofs to maintain, that such marvelously good results have followed and now attend the movement inaugurated and continued by her as have never before been equaled except in the time of Jesus, the apostles, and the early Christians, and we believe, yes, more than believe, we feel in every fiber of our being that what she has done, and what she does, seal her as one who dwells "in the secret place of the Most High" and abides "under the shadow of the Almighty."
For years after her discovery, in 1866, she could scarcely be said to have a following, so few were they who understood with her. After the publication of Science and Health, which was in 1875, and when people began to study its pages, realizing therefrom such benefits as marked it no ordinary book, converts to the new movement multiplied. In 1891, the book's editions of a thousand copies each, numbered sixty-one. Since 1891 more than one hundred additional editions have been exhausted. As there has been a constantly increasing and accelerating demand for the book, so has there been a constant, accelerating accretion to the Christian Science ranks. Conservative estimates place the number of active church and association members at upwards of three hundred thousand; the number of those vitally interested in and identified with the movement at about a million. The authentic cases of healing under Christian Science practice number far over a million, nearer to two million, and not a day passes but that to thousands of applicants for relief by Christian Science methods there comes a healing so sweet, so strange, so awesome, that it is felt to be the action of God, and many of the healed prepare, at once, to swell the Christian Science throng. There are more than five hundred of our churches and associations in this country and Europe.
There are Christian Science healers in all parts of the United States, in Great Britain, France, Germany, China, and the Sandwich and Bahama Islands. The mighty aggregate, Christianized thought represented by the Scientists of to-day, is the result of one lone woman's work, that work prosecuted in spite of the world's hatred; in spite of the world's inflexible opposition and relentless, merciless persecution; in spite of the world's ridicule and defamation; in face of all kinds of barriers by the world thrown in the way. Does it not look as if to her applied the Psalmist's words: "His truth shall be thy shield and buckler"?
Christian Scientists are in some respects a peculiar people; they believe more in what is done than in what is promised. They deal in no mystery. They ask that there be given to their methods the closest scrutiny, the most searching investigation. They ask no belief until opportunity to test their maintenance has been afforded. If, after a fair trial, their claims are not made good, then, they say, it is early enough to denounce their system.
They are not working for themselves alone. They know what they have and enjoy to the full what they have, but they want their neighbors to have and enjoy with them. To those who are well satisfied with the health, happiness, peace, and joy, that thus far in this earthly existence have been theirs, Christian Science has, at this stage, little, perhaps, to offer.
It is to the sufferers it tenders comfort and peace, — to the sin-sick, the weary of earth's turmoil, the diseased, the hopelessly heavy laden, the hungry and thirsty, whose hunger and thirst are not appeased by earthly food and drink. To the seekers after righteousness, wholeness, soundness, the searchers for that kingdom of heaven which Jesus said was at hand, Christian Science gives the absolute assurance that the heavenly kingdom is here, at the present moment, not will be to-morrow, or next month, or next year, but now, and its doors will open to those who knock after the manner of God's ordering.
When Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," he knew what he was saying and meant what he said, and he was talking to men on this earth. No better way to ask, no better way to seek, no better way to knock, can be found, than as Mrs. Eddy advises in her "Miscellaneous Writings," "Remember God in all thy ways and thou shalt find the Truth that breaks the dream of sense, letting the harmony of Science that declares Him come in with healing, and peace, and perfect love."
[Delivered Sept. 18, 1899, at Kenosha, Wisconsin, and published in The Christian Science Journal, January, 1900.]