Christian Science Reveals a New View of Man

 

William Milford Correll, C.S.B., of Cleveland, Ohio

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Man controls his destiny only by understanding "the nature of God," said William Milford Correll, C.S.B., at a Christian Science lecture in Boston March 23.

As the nature of God becomes clearer to us, the reason for our existence will become clearer, he told an audience in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The basic purpose of man is to express God.

It is divine Love that defines your being and unfolds the true individuality of man, Mr. Correll declared.

A glimpse of this higher selfhood opens the way for the individual to bring out the qualities of God in his life. As God becomes known to you, your own sense of individuality becomes clearer, your actions more direct, and your life takes on meaning.

This is "being born again," he said.

The concept of man as a miserable sinner, formed of the dust of the ground, would act as a millstone around the necks of those who accept it. But the idea of man as the child of God, the offspring of Spirit, has just the opposite, liberating effect.It causes sin to drop away and leaves the individual free from slavery to bad habits.

This is the process of regeneration. It is the individual's response to Christ.

It is laying off the old man and putting on the new."

Mr. Correll is a teacher and practitioner of Christian Science in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship.He was introduced to the audience by Gordon F. Campbell, First Reader of The Mother Church.

Title of the lecture was Christian Science Reveals a New View of Man.

 

Man Is Not Matter Ė He Is Godís Likeness

The following is a full text of the lecture.

I think that we would all agree that these are challenging times in which we live. Many of the accepted standards of thought and conduct are being radically changed. In the face of this realignment of experience I think that it is quite fitting for us to examine the basic premises of our existence.

I should like to pose a series of questions to you and then see if in the course of our reasoning together, we can find the answers. The questions are as follows: Who are you? Where did you come from? What is your purpose and destiny, that is, why do you exist?

The answers to these questions are very important to each of us, for they indicate our knowledge of God and man; they relate directly to our sense of fulfillment, health, and well-being; and finally, they determine our actions in human society and our attitude toward our fellowmen.

It is of great moment to know one's self, and we shall see that this self-knowledge leads to self-control, and indeed to salvation from sin and mortality, the final goal of all the earnest, prayerful efforts of mankind.In Christian Science we learn that God alone creates and governs man and that real self-control is God's harmonious government of man brought to light through prayer.

When you behold the rhythm and order of the celestial universe, when you look at the exquisite beauty and color of a flower, hear the innocent laughter of children, and feel†† the warmth and joy of friendly companionship, you might well feel that you have glimpsed your true heritage as the son of God, good.

The Psalmist evidently took in such a view, for he wrote (Ps. 8:3,4,6), "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man that thou art mindful of him? . . . Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet."

But, on the other hand, if you look down toward the earth and see the mortality of all earthly things, the labor and poverty of mortal experience, the sin, sickness, and death, you might conclude that man is a clod, a mortal, a creation of the dust of the ground. This lower viewpoint is also portrayed in the Bible, as in Job (14:1), "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." Which estimate of man do you accept as true?

In the record of spiritual creation in the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible clearly states that man is made in the image and likeness of God. And Christian Science very logically teaches that it is only as we understand the nature of God that we can begin to comprehend man in His likeness.This Science is firmly based on the spiritual truths of Life as brought forth in the Holy Scriptures.

Here we find that God is infinite good, pure Spirit, the one great cause and creator of all real being.We can begin to know God as divine Love, the Father and Mother of man. We can know Him as all-powerful Life and eternal Truth.This omnipotent and omnipresent God must be perfect, everlasting, infinite.

The true man, then, must reflect this divine nature. He must be spiritual, perfect, sinless and whole.This is far different from the mortal, material concept of man made from the dust of the ground and often considered as a miserable sinner.

In the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes as follows (p. 259); "The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, - thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying.The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, - perfect God and perfect man, - as the basis of thought and demonstration."

Christian Science teaches that each one of us has that spiritual individuality, which is the perfect likeness of God, as his true identity. And the working out of one's salvation is the process of realizing this perfect man as one's own true selfhood and demonstrating it in individual experience.This activity shows forth the practical, healing effect of the Christ, Truth, in daily living.

Uprightness Is Provable Fact of Existence

For example, in the healing of sin there is need to restore one's self-respect, and this is done by lifting one's perception and gaining the higher concept of God and man.A glimpse of this higher selfhood opens the way for the individual to bring out the qualities of God in his life. This is the process of regeneration.It is the individual's response to the spirit of Truth, or Christ, and the identification of his thought and life with God.

In Romans (8:16) we read: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

Through repentance and quickened spiritual sense one can prove the fact that he is upright, whole and free, because that is the way God made him.

Take for instance, the story of the prodigal son as related in Jesus' teaching. This younger son had been given the portion of his father's substance that was his and had wasted it in riotous living. Then, as the story goes on (Luke 15:14), "there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want."It states that at the depths of his suffering (Luke 15:17), "when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" Then you know that he returned to his father's house and that a wonderful reception was waiting for him. His father said (Luke 15:23, 24), "Let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."

Mrs. Eddy states in the textbook (p. 316), "The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship."

This is our theme for this lecture - the correct view of man as the child of God and the self-knowledge and self-control that come through the recognition of God and man as Father and son, as cause and effect. The awakening to this true view and relationship is the coming of Christ to individual consciousness, and the coming of the Christ brings the healing of sickness and sorrow, sin and poverty, loneliness and discord.

Here it might be well to explain briefly the distinction between Jesus and the Christ as it is understood in Christian Science. Christ is the divine nature of God expressed in man and Jesus was the highest human expression of this divine nature.The Christ is not limited to any period of time, for it is the ever-present idea of man's sonship with God, which Jesus exemplified perfectly. Today this Christly nature expressed in man gives practical proof of healing in terms of better health, better morals, and increasing freedom from lack and limitation.

There are many instances in the Bible where individuals have glimpsed the coming of the Christ and have found their relationship to God. When Moses was called to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he responded in terms of a limited, material sense of himself. He said (Ex. 3:11), "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" He was evidently thinking of himself as a mortal, having limited intelligence, limited ability, and as quite inadequate for the task.

Then as he prayed over the message, the true nature of God as the one Ego was revealed. God spoke to him saying (Ex. 3:14), "I AM THAT I AM." Thus it was revealed that God is the Mind, or Soul, of man.

In this conscious communion with God, Moses discovered his own unlimited capacities as God's image or reflection.He found the Ego, or Father, to be a continual presence with him, teaching him and leading him on to a higher, more Christly sense of being.

You may recall other characters of the Bible - Jacob in his struggle to overcome the false sense of selfhood, and Paul on the road to Damascus when the Christ appeared to him.

Our textbook tells us (p. 333): "Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, - the reflection of God, - has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth.Abraham,†† Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love."

Surely the highest embodiment of the Christ was plainly evident in Jesus, who was able to demonstrate the power of God perfectly in healing all manner of sickness and sin.

Let me draw your attention to a remarkable instance of transformation in the present era.†† Picture with me a modest New England woman beset by misfortune and chronic ill health, separated from her loved ones and without visible means of support. In spite of her deeply religious nature and hunger for spiritual things, her lot had been one of suffering and sorrow, lack and deprivation, for much of the first half of her human life.

Then look with me again some years later, and we see an altogether different picture - a woman of radiant energy, realizing God's abundant goodness, loved and revered by thousands who have been healed and regenerated through her work.Her accomplishments have been stupendous.She has written a textbook of profound import, founded a religion, established a church, taught thousands of pupils, preached sermons, edited periodicals, and established an international daily newspaper.

All of this was done in a period when women were not accepted in positions of leadership and when the opposition to this new discovery was intense and deeply entrenched.

 

True Manhood Comes From the Father

Now what brought about this immense change in the life of Mary Baker Eddy? It was the coming of Christ. Through her deep trials and spiritual research, through her experience of being healed of the effects of an accident through spiritual means alone, she began to discern the real nature of man in the image and likeness of God. She saw that this real man is sinless and hence not bound by any law of suffering. The great Principle of Jesus' healing works became apparent.

She says of this experience (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 27), "The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life, a fresh universe - old to God, but new to His 'little one.' " This new world is the spiritual sense of being which dawns on consciousness as the true nature of God and man is discerned.

Many Christians emphasize the fact that in order to be saved one must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Such a confession, understood spiritually, recognizes the eternal relationship of God to man which applies to all His children. This relationship is intact and continues throughout all time - for the Christ, the true idea of sonship, is not limited to time, to person, or to location.

In an incident in the Bible Philip required such a confession of the eunuch (Acts 8:37).†† Speaking of this, Mrs. Eddy has said in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 77), "Philip's requirement was, that he should not only acknowledge the incarnation, - God made manifest through man, - but even the eternal unity of man and God, as the divine Principle and spiritual idea." She adds, "This is the Father's great Love that He hath bestowed upon us, and it holds man in endless Life and one eternal round of harmonious being."

God is the creator of man, and man is the child of God, the offspring of Spirit. All that we can truly know about man must come from God, Spirit, the source of man's being. There is nothing to be learned from matter, for matter is Spirit's opposite. And yet how zealous the search that goes on in looking into matter for the answer to this question: "What is man'"'

Mortal mind searches for knowledge of man by dissecting the material body, by watching its symptoms, by putting it under the microscope and the X-ray. Mortal mind pampers, fears, and bows down to the body. Following the theory of heredity, biologists define the characteristics of human individuality in terms of genes. The material genes transmitted from the material parents are said to be the determining factors in one's appearance, in one's health, and even in his success or failure in life.

But how does Christian Science answer this question: "Where did you come from?" Jesus answered this simply and precisely. He said (John 16:28), "I came forth from the Father." All true manhood and womanhood come from God, divine Mind, and each one of us can echo Jesus' words, "I came forth from the Father."

What determines your nature and characteristics? What outlines your destiny or success? It is God, Spirit, alone that creates and governs man. It is divine Truth that determines your nature, characteristics, and identity. It is divine Love that defines your being, outlines your activity, and unfolds the true individuality of man. Learning the truth about heredity - that man is the child of God - is being born again in His likeness. It is laying off the old man and putting on the new.The Christ, as the true idea of God, must come to each one of us as his own divine nature.

This fact that man is the child of God, of the lineage of divine Love, when recognized as the truth of our being, has a marked effect upon our thought about ourselves. This in turn determines how we act or express ourselves. Self-knowledge results in self-control.

The Bible tells us (I John 3:9), "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

The right sense of cause, source, origin, has everything to do with the right idea of effect, manifestation, or man. What you are determines what you do. Have you ever heard someone justify his wrong actions by saying, "Well, that's the way I am"? How important for this individual to understand what he really is!

Jesus knew his divine nature and impulsion. He said (John 9:4), "I must work the works of him that sent me." And he showed us that what he did we can do also.

The concept of man as a miserable sinner, formed of the dust of the ground, would act as a millstone around the necks of those who accept it. But the idea of man as the child of God, the offspring of Spirit, has just the opposite liberating effect. It causes sin to drop away and leaves the individual free from slavery to bad habits.

 

Self-Knowledge Made Practical in Healing

We are not under any law of condemnation, for there is no such law in reality, and hence we are not under any necessity to play out the part of a suffering, sinning mortal.Christian Science has come to awaken us to this true view of man and to enable us to prove this freedom in daily experience.

Now how does self-knowledge become practical to us? Let me tell you of an instance of healing to illustrate (Sentinel, May 20, 1961, p. 870).

A man was troubled with a chronic pulmonary condition which had caused him to be in and out of hospitals for a number of years. Finally he was without hope, without funds, and even without friends. It was then that he first listened to a radio broadcast in the series, "How Christian Science Heals." The healing related was of a condition similar to his own. This inspired him to attend a Christian Science church service and a lecture that was given in the same church. He was impressed with the facts of God and man which were presented. The revelation of God as divine Love filled him with hope and expectancy.

He turned away from the material methods and began the earnest study of this Science and soon sought the help of a Christian Science practitioner. He began to understand something of the nature of man made in God's image and likeness. His true spiritual identity became clearer to him as he considered this passage from the textbook (p. 63):

"In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry.His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being."

He was completely healed and in a short time was able to return to work. A physical examination required for his job confirmed his healing.

Man is made up of the qualities of God. You can discern and reflect the qualities of Love, Truth, Life, Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and thus begin to define through your own life man in God's image.

This reminds me of an incident in Sunday School. A teacher saw one of her small pupils engaged with a pad and pencil."Jimmy,'' she said, "what are you doing?" "Drawing a picture of God." "But, my dear, you canít do that," the teacher admonished "nobody knows how God looks." "Well," smiled the boy serenely, "they will when I get finished!"

Mrs. Eddy has written (Message for 1901, p. 1), "As Christian Scientists you seek to define God to your own consciousness by feeling and applying the nature and practical possibilities of divine Love."

As God becomes known to you, your own sense of individuality becomes clearer, your actions more direct, and your life takes on meaning.Here is the development of character, the discipline of thinking out from the standpoint that God is your source.†† This is the "seed remaining in you," your heritage as the son of God.

As Mind's ideas we have all the immortal elements of manhood such as purity, continuity, indestructibility, goodness, wholeness, wisdom, harmony, love. Then as we live these qualities and know ourselves to be the spiritual ideas of God, the product of His wisdom, the object of His care, the expression of His law, we echo the Psalmist's self-recognition (139:14), "I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

With this proper recognition of man we gain some measure of self respect. Experience shows that self-respect tends to protect us from evil, while its opposite, self-depreciation, ††is the open door to evil.Self-depreciation must be conquered to accomplish healing. It indicates mortal mind's view or concept of man and of course includes all the elements of mortality.

But can anyone ever depreciate man, the perfect child of the heavenly Father?If one is engaged in self-depreciation or self-pity, it is very obvious that his own thought-model is wrong.Man is never a victim of circumstance. We should never cast ourselves in such a role or play the martyr.

Man is the well-beloved of the Father, and no perversion of mortal thought can ever change that fact or cloud the blessings which God, good, has given to His beloved child. If we want the blessings, we must know ourselves as the children of God.

Take, for example, the experience related in the Bible of the man at the pool of Bethesda.The fifth chapter of John tells that this man was one of many who were gathered around the pool waiting for the troubling of the waters, for it was superstitiously thought that the first one to step in after the troubling of the water would be healed of his disease. But this man was impotent and unable to move, and every time the situation was favorable, another stepped down before him. One can imagine the self-pity, frustration and resentment that must have been in his thought at what he considered to be his fate.

Are there not many who have the experience of seeing others step in before them and, in belief, deprive them of a blessing? But is this possible in the Science of being? No, emphatically not! Jesus, in healing this man, lifted his thought away from the superstition of material remedy to the real source of all healing, divine Mind, which is unlimited and subject neither to chance nor to personal sense. There are no favorites in God's sight.His love is abundantly manifest to all His children.

It is very important to understand the impartial nature of divine Love.It is as all-embracing as the sunshine.Many fears, injustices, and inequities are related to a limited personal sense of existence, of supply, of capacity. If we gain the true sense of man as the reflection of God, we shall prove that we have one indestructible Life, one infinite source of supply, one infinite Mind, or intelligence, which provides each one of us with unfailing harmony, health, capacity, supply. God, good, is ever present, and man is the immortal evidence of His presence.

 

Awareness of Divine Identity Armed Jesus

When we realize through prayer that the kingdom of heaven is actually within man, within true consciousness, then we shall begin to demonstrate this fact in our daily experience through self-knowledge, the knowledge of who and what we really are. The command in the Bible (Deut. 1:8), "Go in and possess the land," takes on additional meaning when we see that the land to be possessed is a true sense of selfhood as the idea of God.

In "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy says (p. 185): "Self-renunciation of all that constitutes a so-called material man, and the acknowledgment and achievement of his spiritual identity as the child of God, is Science that opens the very flood-gates of heaven;

whence good flows into every avenue of being, cleansing mortals of all uncleanness,†† destroying all suffering, and demonstrating the true image and likeness."

Jesus demonstrated this way of salvation.He was keenly aware of his sonship with God. He almost invariably referred to God as his Father.This sonship was his divine identity and Jesus' conscious possession of it armed him against the attacks of evil. He consistently overcame evil with good, returned blessing for cursing, and brought healing and regeneration to mankind, thus demonstrating the divine nature which animated him. It was his obedience to the will of God that determined Jesus' actions, outlined his identity and guided his ministry.

There is just one God, one divine Mind, and the specific reason for man's existence is to express that Mind.So the will of God literally constitutes true manhood, and obedience to the will of God constitutes self-control.

But in supposition we have an opposite to God's will which is called in the Bible (John 1:13) "the will of the flesh."

This will of the flesh, in belief, constitutes the fleshly mortal, outlines his identity and dictates his tastes, habits, and inclinations.It should be apparent that the will of the flesh, parading as a creator, and expressed in pride, anger, lust, jealousy, causes the troubles and sufferings of mortals. Many of the restless frustrations of human experience stem from this false or mortal sense of will. It is only through the subduing of this will on the basis of its falsity that we can conquer the claims of the flesh including sin, sickness, and death.

A simple instance of healing and control came into the experience of a young Christian Scientist when he was involved with a group of acquaintances in a plan for social entertainment. Some members of the group were willfully determined to include drinking and some of the things that go with it.

 

Consciousness of Mindís Control Applied

In a few moments apart from the others the Christian Scientist sought the aid of divine Mind to solve the seeming conflict. He began to refresh his thought about his true identity as God's image and likeness. He saw that above all human relations was his supreme obligation to divine Truth and Love and that he must cling to that obligation first and fulfill it. He prayerfully sought to destroy the beliefs of false attraction and the mesmerism of educated material customs.

When he returned to the group, new and improved plans had been proposed, more genuine joy and harmony were expressed, and the evening was spent in harmless entertainment.

It was clear to him that this was not a case of domination through human will, but it was the control of the divine Mind brought to light through prayer. How grateful he was to know that he could demonstrate self-control and not be helplessly entangled in mortal mind.

Speaking of wrong influences, the disciple John has encouragingly written (I John 4:4), "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

Jesus met and overcame the various forms of the false mortal will externalized as sickness, sin, fear, and malice.He destroyed these errors on the basis of the one Mind, or Spirit. His clear understanding of the allness of the one Mind and the omnipotence of the divine will resolved the foundations of these errors into their basic nothingness. He knew that there is no other Mind but God.His vivid perception of man as the spiritual image and likeness of God, forever one with the Father, liberated those whom he healed from the claims of matter or mortal will.

Humility is the great antidote for this fleshly will. When we see something of the frailty of mortal hopes, the inadequacy of material pleasures, and the illusiveness of happiness in matter, we will begin to recognize that the belief of life and intelligence in matter is unreal.This belief of selfhood in matter is the essence of error and is to be denied and destroyed through Science. Right here is where the struggle occurs and the battle between the fleshly sense and Spirit is fought.

It is pertinent that Jesus' struggle in the garden of Gethsemane, at the threshold of his greatest demonstration, centered on overcoming the murderous human will with the divine. If it was the crux of his problem then, can we doubt for a moment that it is an important element in the solving of all mortal difficulties?

In "Unity of Good" Mrs. Eddy says (p. 39), "The lust of the flesh and the pride of physical life must be quenched in the divine essence, - that omnipotent Love which annihilates hate, that Life which knows no death."

Today the claims of sin and of corporeal sense are being increasingly accented in material thought.How do we keep free from the enslaving enticements of wrong thought and the persistently aggressive theories of disease?All the temptations of evil relate to a false sense of selfhood. It is by giving up this false selfhood that we deprive error of any object or manifestation.

We are assured by Christian Science (Message for 1901, p. 11) that the Christ, as Jesus' true selfhood, never suffered. And it is equally true that our own true selfhood in Christ never suffers. Jesus provided the way out of suffering by laying down the mortal sense of man for the divine idea.

Impersonalize this false self - see it as a lie about man - and you find it is nothing but mortal mind, the belief of life and intelligence in matter. This is the false ego, the liar and the father of it, and this is what needs to be destroyed. Where is it destroyed? Right in your own thinking.

We are admonished to deny self, take up the cross, and follow in Jesus' footsteps. The human consciousness needs to be renovated - made free - of all that pertains to the false sense of man, the self-will, the self-love and the self-justification. It is necessary to prayerfully reject the beliefs of sin and disease with a clear knowledge of their unreality because they are not to be found in God or in God's man.This burning of the tares - to use Jesus' parable - is a continuing operation until the utter nothingness of error is understood. Have you ever made a bonfire of trash, fired it, and then left it to burn, thinking that all would be destroyed? Then later you may have come back and stirred the ashes and have found much that remained intact. It is this undestroyed remainder that needs to be fired again and again until nothing is left. Jesus said (John 14:30), "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." Can we say this? When we can we shall be free of the errors of human life.

Let us remember that statement quoted earlier (Science and Health, p. 316). "The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship."

It might be well for us to take stock of how much time and attention is given to the mortal selfhood during a single day and how much time and attention is given to the spiritual selfhood during the same period. In this way we can see if we are losing sight of mortal selfhood and gaining a clearer sense of real man.

 

Many Healings Pave Way to Perfection

For instance, how much time do we spend in humble prayer washing ourselves free from the impurities of worldliness? Do we clothe our idea of man in the robes of righteousness, peace and purity? Do we feed our consciousness with the bread of heaven and the wine of inspiration? Do we refresh our thinking with prayer at various intervals during the day? Just how much time and effort is given to this spiritualization of thought and life?

Certainly if we are to lose sight of mortal selfhood and find Christ we must have an ever-increasing balance on the side of Spirit.

The grand necessity is to know more about God. This results in true self-knowledge. Mrs. Eddy tells us (Unity of Good, p. 6), "Sooner or later the whole human race will learn that, in proportion as the spotless selfhood of God is understood, human nature will be renovated, and man will receive a higher selfhood, derived from God, and the redemption of mortals from sin, sickness, and death be established on everlasting foundations."

All the harmony of God's law, the power and activity of Truth, the loveliness of Love, the beauty and grandeur of Soul, the rhythm of Spirit are expressed in man. We can see this man as the highest idea of God, and the dawning of this true idea of sonship is the coming of the Christ. When this idea occupies thought completely, then the mortal sense of existence will be swallowed up in immortality.

But there are many intermediate steps, many healings, many redemptions along the way. It is necessary to learn this process of yielding the human to the divine in every way in our daily experience, even in the smallest details. We need to silence the material senses, relinquish human outlining and destroy false beliefs.

The Christ, as the true idea, is present in every situation to heal the sick and redeem the sinner. There is always a way out. Jesus' compassionate ministry was to illustrate the ever-presence of the Christ, for he said (Matt. 28:20), "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

I once heard a testimony of a man who had a personal sense of hatred to overcome. His antagonist seemed to present an insurmountable barrier to his freedom of mind and body.

He told his problem to a Christian Science practitioner and in the course of their discussion he was instructed to hold to this phrase from one of Mrs. Eddy's poems - "Thou gentle beam of living Love" - whenever he thought of his so-called antagonist. He agreed to correct his own thinking about man and from then on whenever he met this individual or thought of him he clung faithfully to that idea, "Thou gentle beam of living Love."

Of course it was not long until the mesmerism of hatred was broken and he was free both in mind and body, and he had gained a friend.

 

Father-Mother Love Portrayed in Bible

What can we say about our purpose and destiny? It is the basic purpose of man to express God. This is his reason for being. As the nature of God becomes clearer to us, the reason for our existence will become clearer.

The Bible portrays this divine nature in various ways. The idea of God as Father-Mother includes the care and love for His children. The idea of God as shepherd includes comforting his flock, seeking out the lost sheep, and guiding and guarding the little ones. The idea of God as the great healer of all thy diseases is clearly set forth. The idea of God as the supplier of all good included feeding the multitude, providing water and manna for the Israelites, and caring for the widow of Zarephath.

All these expressions define the nature of God and give us a clear insight into the nature of man.

Jesus defined the will of God as the will of Life, the will of Love, the will of Truth. He came to heal, to save, to redeem, to uplift the downtrodden. He said (John 10:10), "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." As our example, Jesus came to prove that the ever-present Christ is the divine nature, the spiritual selfhood, of every man. The Christ is here. The spiritual idea of man's sonship with God is available to all - and it heals.

Now how does this apply to you and to me individually?The Bible says (John 1:12,13), "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." As many as receive this spiritual idea of sonship with God may prove the power of God to heal and to save. They may experience all the blessings that a loving Father bestows on His children.

Is this coming of Christ some spectacular event? No, it is a quiet affair. This is a subjective experience.It comes in the innermost precincts of sacred prayer. Consider how it came to Moses, to Jacob, and to the prodigal son. In the words of a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal (No. 221);

 

"The Christ, eternal manhood,

As God's own Son beloved,

A tender ever-presence

Within each heart is proved."

 

The coming of the Christ is naturally accompanied by healing and regeneration, by an awakening joy and gratitude for the goodness of God. For with this sense of sonship comes the fact that man is the heir of God and joint heir with Christ and a clear perception that all that the Father has is ours.

Now let us see if we have answered the questions that were posed at the beginning of the lecture. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why do you exist?

A clear sense that man is the child of God establishes one's spiritual status, his self-respect, his health and well-being on everlasting foundations.

The great fact that man comes forth from the Father as Deity's self-expression rightly defines man as the compound of all the qualities of God, the activity of divine Principle, the expression of Love.

The purpose of man's being is to manifest the nature of God, to express the wisdom, purity and holiness of true being.

And as the what, where, and why of our being become clearer to us, we are manifesting the self-knowledge that leads to self-control and hence to salvation, or oneness with our divine source.

This whole subject is cogently summarized in the passage from I John (3:1-3) which is a regular part of our Sunday service. It is significant that Mrs. Eddy included this as a prominent part of our worship:

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, March 24, 1964.]

 

 

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