The Operation of Divine Power in Human Affairs
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Christian Science: The Operation of Divine Power in Human Affairs," was the subject of the Christian Science lecture given Monday night by Miss Lucia C. Coulson, C.S., of London, England, under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis, in the church edifice, Twelfth and Delaware streets. Miss Coulson is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. She was introduced by Miss Anna L. Wadman. The lecture follows in full:
We live in a scientific age. It is its custom to analyze and dissect, and then to arrange and systematize, whatever subject it takes up. Even such things as sport or cooking are reduced to a system, and almost to a science, today. Yet the one element which underlies all we do or say, the causative factor of all our experience, has been left unexplained, without system or science.† I refer to our thinking. I propose that we should consider today the nature and character of thought, its relation to our environment, and itís bearing on our lives from the standpoint of Christian Science.
To many people thought seems a shadowy kind of thing, intangible, carried on in a desultory and almost involuntary manner. Thoughts seem to come and go in a haphazard sort of way, and, indeed, people seem at times to be at the mercy of unhappy, impure, or evil thoughts; whereas the very object of man's existence is to express his God-given dominion.
As a matter of fact, thought is the most vital and potent thing that exists, and every experience is simply the outline or shadow of a thought. As you think so you will experience; just that, neither more nor less. "We sow a field to lilies and only lilies grow." By this I do not mean that every thought is specifically outlined, but that fearful, morbid material thinking manifests itself in discordant conditions.
As you walk across a meadow or along the sands in the sunlight you are accompanied by your shadow. As you move, it moves, and what you do, it does. If you go slowly with stooping shoulders and head bent, it does the same; whereas if you fly along as a child will do, with arms outstretched and head thrown back, your shadow will dance along beside you, and remember, it always accompanies you. In the same way your experiences are thought shadows and you can never change the shadow, - never, until you change the thought that casts it.
"Man thinks in secret and it comes to pass;
Environment is but his looking-glass."
When Mary Baker Eddy discovered that Mind is substance and named it that, she discovered a marvelous thing for she discovered or uncovered the nature of all cause and effect, of which mankind had been largely ignorant before. She gave us the Science of Mind as fully set forth in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
By the word "Mind" Mrs. Eddy did not mean the mind of mortals, the so-called human mind with all its limitations, its changing and distorted thought-shadows. She was speaking of the divine Mind, infinite Mind, every manifestation or experience of which is divine. What then, it may be asked, has this perfect Mind to do with our very imperfect universe and our discordant thinking? Just this: that as we discover that this Mind is not far away or inaccessible, but that, on the contrary, it is available and ever present, that it is Mind or intelligence at hand, to be applied to all our problems, then a great hope rises in us that perhaps in this discovery may lie the salvation of the race, and we are willing to listen to Mrs. Eddy's further statement that divine Mind is the only Mind, which we call God, and that the human mind is but an illusion - a counterfeit of the divine. Concerning this counterfeit Mrs. Eddy writes, "That which sins, suffers, and dies, I named mortal mind" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 26).
What is the value of a counterfeit coin or the counterfeit, let us say, of a hundred dollar bill? Really it has no value, but the man who owns it may not know this. Indeed, so long as he is deceived by it he values it, and may even fight for it. The one thing he needs, however, is to learn its true nature and he should be grateful to have this uncovered, more especially if the one who enlightens him will give him a genuine bill in exchange.
Now those of us who have witnessed, either in our own lives or the lives of others, the countless woes of human experience - its disappointments, its heavy burdens, the sore injustice that is meted out to individuals and classes and nations day after day, year after year - should gladly turn to investigate anything that promises a remedy for human misery and offers something better in its stead. We should be willing to investigate the statement that finite, mortal mind is a counterfeit of the divine. Let us then examine a little the nature and character of this mind. The term "mortal mind," the death mind, proclaims its nature. Whatever it includes is born only to die, and takes for food that which it has first killed. If you were to ask of any of its offspring what they knew that was certain of their future experience they would most probably reply, "Only this, that sooner or later I shall die." It operates entirely by or through suggestion, and the nature of suggestion is that which is changeable and temporary; something which is put out to be accepted or rejected at will, but which has no fixed character. That is why its thinking is so desultory, so at the mercy of moods, swayed first by one emotion and then another. This suggestion may be likened to propaganda, which is recognized today as about the most formidable weapon that can be employed, although it is entirely mental. Mortal mind's favorite form of propaganda is disease. It suggests first the fear of it, then the picture of it, and then the feeling. That is where we are caught, so to speak. When we feel something we are apt immediately to succumb, to believe that some sickness is developing in our body, before the operation of which we are helpless, instead of turning on it, declaring our independence of such propaganda, recognizing its mental nature, and replacing every one of its suggestions with opposite thoughts - with true ideas. Most people are supremely ignorant as to how much they are influenced by suggestion. They are inclined to regard themselves as independent thinkers while quite the opposite may be the case. For example: have you ever noticed that when anyone yawns someone else generally follows suit? Sometimes in a train or streetcar one man's yawning will start a number of others yawning. Why is this? They are not just copying a grimace, they are responding to a suggestion or catching a thought. I was once staying in a house where the elder son, a boy of about twenty-two, fell when playing tennis and broke his arm. A doctor was sent for at once to set it, and certified that it was broken, but meanwhile the boy, being a student of Christian Science asked a lady who was a practitioner, to give him Christian Science treatment. She did so, and continued the treatment for three days. The following Wednesday evening, three days from the time of the accident, the young man came to the Christian Science testimony meeting with his arm out of the sling, and apparently perfectly whole and strong. He gave his testimony, saying how the doctor had seen and set the arm, but that through Christian Science treatment all pain, weakness, and inflammation had been overcome, and he was able to use his arm and even drive his car. Well, it so happened that the reporter of a London newspaper had come to that meeting to get copy for his paper and possibly ridicule Christian Science.† This testimony impressed him so much that he spoke to the young man afterwards, and the next morning one of the London papers had a detailed account of the accident and the healing of the arm as given in the testimony. That same evening the boy who had met with the accident came to my room to have a talk, and his arm was pressed close against his chest. He began by saying that he had been very foolish. He had used his arm too soon, he ought never to have driven his car, there was a great deal of pain and weakness in the arm now, and he felt terribly depressed. "In fact," I said to him, "you feel that, perhaps, Christian Science never healed your arm at all." "That is exactly what I do feel," he replied. "Will you give me some help?" I said that I would, and the next day after dinner he came up to me, waving his arm above his head and saying that it was perfectly well now, and thanking me for the treatment. I replied:† "I never treated your arm at all. The arm had been healed. I simply knew that you could not be made to think other people's thoughts." I asked him if he realized that the majority of the people who read that paper with the account of his testimony would exclaim, "I don't believe Christian Science healed it at all!" I also asked him if some of the men at the office where he worked had not said it was very foolish of him to use his arm so soon and that he would suffer for it later? "They all said so," was his reply. "Well, then," I continued, "don't you see you were simply accepting all these suggestions?"
This being so, we see the great need of protecting our thinking, of learning to distinguish between true knowing and mere suggestion. There is only one way by which we can do this effectively and that is the way Christian Science has revealed. It is to discover the divine Mind to be available and accessible, to let this immortal Mind replace mortal mind, thereby replacing mortal thoughts with immortal thoughts.
In order that we may see how this will operate on our behalf, and since we have discussed somewhat the nature and character of mortal mind, let us see something of the nature and character of immortal Mind.† In the first place, it is, as its name announces, eternal. It is Life that does not know death. All that it includes partakes of this Life, and can never die; it feeds its offspring with pure, invigorating thoughts, and it cannot suggest - it knows; and that which Mind knows, eternally is, and cannot be changed. Its perfect thoughts are facts, not shadows; they bless all equally, and as we entertain them, as we think God's thoughts, our experiences and our problems, mental or physical, are proportionately improved and transformed, for they begin to shadow forth the harmony and dominion of our changed thinking.
To continue, however, with our comparison: mortal mind is finite; everything to do with it is limited and circumscribed; it all has a beginning and an ending. Can you think of a single material pleasure that if continued long enough does not become irksome?†† Drunkenness is a good example of this. Its short-lived pleasure is followed by hours or days of discomfort and degradation.
The nature of immortal Mind, the divine Mind, is infinity. Everything it cognizes is without beginning and without end. All the good which is its nature is without limit and without bounds.† To finite consciousness, everything appears in terms of finity, of matter; to infinite consciousness, everything must partake of the nature of infinity, of Spirit. Now if we will lift ourselves out of the belief of finity, of limitation, and into the consciousness of infinity, great things will come to pass; for in this one change of attitude is to be found the solution of all human problems. However transcendental this may sound, bear with me a few minutes while I give you some illustrations of my meaning. For example: how could jealousy continue for a moment if it were confidently affirmed and realized that all good of every description is without limit and without bounds and belongs equally to all? Again, in a universe where everything partakes of the nature of infinity, how could greed or poverty find a foothold? Inaction, congestion, consumption, and other claims of disease could not exist where substance and activity are found to be infinite, hence spiritual. Where there is no beginning and no ending, time ceases, and with it age. "Yes," someone will exclaim here, "all that may perhaps be true of the spiritual universe, but what has it to do with ours? All this is easily enough said, but Truth must be demonstrated." Aye, "there's the rub"! for demonstration means the denial of sense-testimony; and why, it will be asked, should we deny the testimony of our senses? For the very good reason, my friends, that we are perpetually called upon to do this, and that other so-called material sciences demand this as well as Christian Science. It must be certain to us all that our outward appraisal of that which our senses cognize is very faulty. The child is as certain of the stillness of the earth as he is of his ability to walk upon it, but physical science shows that his senses are at fault, for the earth is in motion. The kitten seeing its reflection in the mirror with sometimes startling results. Its senses have deceived it. When driving once, through a small town in South Africa, during hot, dry weather, I saw pools of shining water ahead which washed against the sides of the carts wending their way through it. On exclaiming that there must have been rain, I was told there was not water there; it was a mirage. And when the place was reached it was found to be just as dry as all the rest of the road. The appearance had been altogether deceptive. In like manner, Christian Science contends that it is our outlook which is at fault; that the universe is not finite; that man is not finite nor subject to finity, but that it is our concept of both which is finite and which misrepresents what we behold.
Now here let us remember that Christian Science, as its name implies, is not only scientific, but it is also Christian, and adheres strictly to the teaching and example of Jesus the Christ, the master Metaphysician, as Mrs. Eddy has called him. Is there, then, any justification in his life for this reversal of sense-testimony? It is to be found all through his ministry. It started with his first demonstration of divine power at the wedding in Cana where, on hearing that they needed more wine, he told the servants to fill six water-pots with water. When they had done so, he ordered them to draw out the water and bear it to the governor of the feast. How absurd that must have seemed! Had the servants regarded the sense-testimony they would have disregarded his command, but they obeyed, and the water became wine. Then came the feeding of the five thousand. They were in the wilderness, with the hungry multitude before them, and no way of obtaining food, yet Jesus said to the disciples, "Give ye them to eat." They began to reason with him, saying they had only five loaves and two small fishes, and what good was that? But he replied, "Bring them hither to me," and when he looked away from the sense-testimony up to heaven, the loaves and fishes were multiplied. Again, at the bedside of Jairus' daughter, faced with the evidence of death, he denied the sense-testimony and changed it. "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth," he declared; and all their scornful laughter could not move him. Gazing steadfastly into the reality of Life, he told the child to arise, and she obeyed. Finally, when one day the Pharisees questioned his mission and referred to his youth, he made that tremendous statement, "Before Abraham was, I am," thereby proclaiming the infinity of his being.
Now in all these instances the interesting point is that the denial of the sense-testimony was followed by a change of evidence. The water was changed into wine; there was an abundant supply of food; the maid was restored to life and health, proving the Christ to be what Mrs. Eddy in her great book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," has defined as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (p. 583). For the wonder and beauty of spiritual truth is that, as we perceive it even faintly, as we correct our finite concept of man and the universe with the divine truth of their infinite nature, as we think and speak from the standpoint of absolute truth, something happens - our human conditions, our physical and mental problems, begin to change and to approximate in some measure the spiritual facts of harmony and dominion we are affirming. That is what we call demonstration.
This change of outlook, this "translation of man and the universe back into Spirit" (Science and Health, p. 209), does not take place in a moment. It is a gradual process, and involves the disappearance of mortal mind and the appearance of immortal Mind. This transitional stage is sometimes spoken of as human consciousness - not that this means another mind, for there is only one Mind, but it signifies an improved state of human thought. To illustrate; if a light from outside shines into a darkened room, the total darkness is succeeded by a sort of twilight in which many previously unseen objects begin to appear and take form. Bring the full light into the room and the twilight makes place for the illumination which fills every corner and shows up everything as it is. Now the twilight is just the lessening of the darkness, the dawning of the light, so to speak, yet we sometimes speak of the deepening or the brightening of the twilight as though it were an entity, and so it can be seen how truly Mrs. Eddy describes the process of enlightenment when she says, "Spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth" (Science and Health, p. 95). There is, of course, however, no material simile that can be a perfect illustration of spiritual truth.
And now we come to the last stage of the comparison we have been making between mortal mind, so called, and immortal Mind. Here we discover the essential nature or character of the divine Mind to be Love - impartial, universal, inexhaustible - and the leading characteristic of mortal mind to be condemnation. The first fruit of the disobedience of this "carnal mind," which is "enmity against God," was condemnation; man condemned to till the soil, woman condemned to suffer; and it has gone on condemning and being condemned ever since. It has a system of penalties for everything good or bad - a penalty if you sin or if you do well; for one of its chief convictions is that you will suffer for doing good. Too often we attempt to lay the penalty at God's door. I remember, as a child, my old nurse's saying of a little companion who was always obedient: "Oh, she is so good! She will die young. God will take her!" Then there are those poor victims of false desire, who are condemned from the outset, until Christian Science tells them that the law of God destroys all other so-called laws, and that their true selfhood has no dangerous inheritances, no weakness, no cravings, but is innocent of all but good.
There is little or nothing that escapes the condemnation of mortal mind, and this habit of condemnation has frequently no connection with reason. It will find a victim and vent itself upon it. In past days harmless old women were hunted down and drowned as witches. In our modern times it works, as we have seen, through that form of suggestion called propaganda, which gathers force as a rolling snowball gathers size. Such propaganda may be started against persons, communities, churches, or nations, and the most kindly and well-meaning people will accept it as true, little knowing that it consists almost entirely of suggestion. I have seen this happen. I know a gentle, innocent woman who would not have willingly harmed a fly. She was unwise in speech and so caused offense, and such a campaign of innuendo and misrepresentation was started against her that finally she was made to appear a dangerous and contemptible character, and she was obliged to leave the place where she was living. The habit of condemnation had found a victim. O that every one of us might weigh carefully every slighting or hateful word that is spoken against our brother! What if in some instance we should be deceived into thinking too well of one who does not merit it? We and they shall survive that mistake, for we could not think too well of the real man whom it is our business to see always, and who alone is our brother.
The story of Jacob and Esau, centuries old, gives food for reflection today. Jacob was on his way home, and he heard that Esau with a bodyguard of four hundred men was coming to meet him. Now Jacob had robbed and cheated and defrauded Esau. First of all, he took advantage of Esau's hunger to tempt him with a mess of pottage, so that he sold his birthright. Then, through a cunning device, he robbed him of his father's blessing, and so became himself a wanderer; and now he was on his way back, having grown rich and prosperous, and how he must have dreaded the reception he would get from Esau! He even feared violence, as we read, he "was greatly afraid and distressed," and, no doubt, conscious of his past wrong-doing, he may have feared the penalty God would mete out to him. So, the night before he was to meet his brother he could not sleep. He was alone, and we are told that a man wrestled with him. Mrs. Eddy interprets this in the Christian Science textbook, as "wrestling with error" (Science and Health, p. 308). Surely he was struggling with his false concept of his brother and of himself, struggling with fear of him and with remorse. All night he fought, until at last the day dawned, and with it he saw a wonderful thing, of which he tells us later. He was ready now to meet his brother, for all his thought of him was changed. So he and Rachel and Leah and all their children passed over Peniel, and when Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. Then Jacob bowed himself before his brother, but Esau "ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept." Then Esau asked him, "What meanest thou by all this drove which I met?" and Jacob said, "These are to find grace in the sight of my lord;" and Esau said, "I have enough, my brother; keep that thou has unto thyself." Then Jacob could no longer restrain himself, but melted by the love of Esau and awed by the completeness of the demonstration, he told his brother of the wonderful vision that had come to him in the watches of the night: "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me."
If you have been badly wronged or if we ourselves have wronged another, have we fought all night with the false concept of our brother? Have we struggled until we saw his face as the face of God? For that is the only face that we should see in everyone, whoever it may be, and that face is always pleased with us and we with it. As we look around us and see sect condemning sect and nation condemning nation, we realize the desperate need of a more compassionate tolerance. If we could discern the sum total of condemnation under which this poor world of ours is laboring, we would not wish to add a straw to the burden. We would do our bit to lighten it. What a weight of depression, what heaviness of body, what oppressive weather, might all be lifted if the habit of condemnation were to stop! If only humanity would help to lift this load from the face of the earth it would be able to perceive the blessing God waits to pour out upon all mankind, and would hear Him call, Awake from your dream of sin, disease, and death and see My will for you - joy and freedom and bliss unutterable from everlasting, for there is no curse and the only weight is the weight of glory.
God, then, does not know condemnation; no matter what mistakes we may have made, God's attitude is never one of condemnation. In the light of His countenance the mistake, whether of sin or suffering, is obliterated, for it is Love that first uncovers to our consciousness and then destroys all error. What, then, is the attitude of divine Love toward humanity? It is the attitude of divine motherhood. Christian Science has taught us to pray, "Our Father-Mother God." (See Science and Health, p. 16.) What does the addition of that one word do for us? What human simile can we find to explain it? Think of a hen sheltering its chickens under its wings, of the mother-bird hovering above its nest, or warming its nestlings beneath its feathers, of the human mother cradling her babe on her breast. Such is the attitude of God toward us; such is the brooding Love which seeks to shelter and protect, to comfort and embrace all creation. How the human mother waits with untiring patience for the unfoldment and development of her child; how she guides and supports its first steps, lets it cling to her hand, follows it with her counsel, and fences it about with her care! Even so the Mother-Love of God will keep us safe in the midst of manifold dangers and will not let us wander beyond its protecting care. To gain this aspect of God is to be less afraid; it is to gain a sense of safety which we never knew before. You remember, Moses turned aside in the wilderness to see why the bush which burned was not consumed, and as he stood there wondering, God called to him "from the midst of the bush," and so the wonder was explained. God was in the midst, and where God, Love, is, there can be no destruction. Where God is, there is preservation always, always!† The bush might burn and burn, but without harm, without destruction. We can remember this when we seem to be in danger: we can declare and understand that the presence of God is there with us, and with the same result. We shall be preserved. If you come to think of it, no one could be in much worse plight than to be burning, and yet the presence of God in the midst was preservation. This was illustrated when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood unharmed in the midst of the burning, fiery furnace, for there was a presence with them like unto the Son of God - the God-idea. Then if your body should be burning with a fever, realize the presence of God and the fever cannot harm or destroy. Take consumption, which is really a form of destruction (for the word "consume" means "to destroy; to use up"); how could that continue in the face of the realization that God is there "in the midst"? Remember, the bush burned but was not consumed. But how can I be sure, says one, that, God is there? Because you are: that is, your spiritual selfhood is inseparable from God. It is a fact that where man is, God is. Why? Because you can't have a reflection without its original, and the man is God's reflection. God is Mind; therefore, as you think God's thoughts you spiritually resemble God. Thinking in accord with Principle, knowing as God knows, spiritual man is the reflection of Mind and so is immortal. If you catch sight of a reflection you may be sure that that which casts the reflection is close at hand. Therefore, man carries his protection with him, so to speak. As we think of this and make it a habit to affirm constantly the preserving presence of Love with us, shall find - I have found - that in a moment of danger that unseen presence becomes more tangible, more substantial than the fear, or the danger which caused the fear. And that consciousness constitutes deliverance.
In this absolute reliance upon God, and man's relationship to God, is to be found the basis of Christian Science treatment.† Therefore it is wholly spiritual in its method. It is prayer - the prayer of affirmation as well as petition, the prayer of faith and also of scientific understanding. Christian Scientists have been accused of prejudice in refusing to work with doctors in healing the sick, and it has been said that were they to do so, their understanding in the eyes of the world would be much improved. I believe that there is no body of people who have greater respect for the conscientious and self-sacrificing devotion of the majority of the medical profession than Christian Scientists, but the doctors are looking to material means and human skill for aid, while the whole contention of Christian Science is that we have a divine Principle and rule to apply in the healing of disease, and that the presence of God is the healer. If people are walking in two opposite directions, they do not meet.
Now let us see how this utilization of the facts of immortal Mind will work to solve the problem of supply. The propaganda of mortal mind is very active along this line. It starts a fear in some direction, fear of stoppage, or of shortage, which spreads like wildfire. One of its favorite suggestions is that there is not enough to meet the need of all, and so someone must go to the wall. Turning our gaze from the finite to the infinite is what helps us here. We must find out what supply consists of, and we must see God as its source. God being infinite Mind, His possessions are entirely mental or spiritual. It is certain, then, that God does not own an ounce of matter. He has no use for it and does not know it; yet He is the source of all wealth and is affluence itself. Of what, then, do His riches consist? They consist altogether of thoughts, of ideas. Man is himself the compound idea of God, and his dwelling place is in Mind. Existing, as idea in this infinite Mind, man has immediate access to all that Mind contains. It would be an impossibility for Mind to withhold its thoughts from its own ideas, for the reason that Mind does not erect barriers or boundaries, since its nature is infinity and its character is oneness. All the limitless thoughts, then, the countless spiritual ideas which throng the realm of Mind, are at the beck and call of man, so to speak. As he needs them, he receives or appropriates them, and they are equally the property of all. Spiritual man, then, expresses spontaneous, perpetual, infinite supply, consisting of unlimited, right ideas. Whatever possesses the nature of infinity instantly precludes greed or shortage.
All this is exactly and metaphysically true; but how does it help us when we seem to be in need of food, raiment, a home, a business, or the wherewithal to pay our debts? When scientifically applied, it gives us the practical solution of all these problems, because it is a law of metaphysics that thought externalizes itself; and so it is our mistaken thinking that is affecting our supply, and a change of thought will bring a different manifestation.†† In the first place, we must claim these right ideas which constitute the riches of God and man in His likeness, and the most important thing of all is for every man, every one of us, to gain the right idea of himself in order that he may value himself correctly. It is certain that every man, as God's reflection, is valuable, unspeakably valuable, and has all that he needs for every occasion, every emergency, every accomplishment. Right here in the thought of how valuable man is, lies the solution of many a problem of lack.† Self-depreciation takes many and subtle forms. Often a boastful, aggressive manner may be assumed to cover a dogging sense of inferiority. Sometimes an individual, who feels himself worthy of success and who rates himself highly, has deep down the feeling that he will never make good, that success will not come his way. Whatever the argument, it is always the result of regarding one's self as a mortal, subject to mortal limitations. If those who are unsuccessful would take time daily to dwell upon the right idea of man, the right idea of themselves, and then realize the value of this idea, the value of what they
have to give to the world, this realization would work wonders, Man "is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" (Science and Health, p. 475). Think of that! Everything you need, everything you can rightfully desire, you reflect, as an idea of God, and manifest in your experience, as you claim your sonship. Not only does man include all these ideas but he individualizes them all; which means that every individual has something to give, to express, that no one else can give or express in just the same way. How valuable, then, you are! These limitless ideas, which are yours, include, of course, the right idea of opportunity, and so there is infinite, measureless opportunity for all, and you can never lack the opportunity to give and express that individual something which is your contribution to the sum total of usefulness. Dwelling with such thoughts as these gives us true self-assurance, the assurance of true selfhood. We become assured that God, the divine Mind, is our Father, that we are, therefore, the sons of Mind, heirs of infinity, each one spiritually, individually precious; for since Mind's model is infinite, its sons and daughters are essentially individual and are necessary, valuable to the Mind which formed them.
And what if the trouble is purely mental, the anguish of loss, of heartache, of loneliness; is there comfort and compensation and healing for these? Indeed there is, for sooner or later we must learn to love, not to return love, or to love a few, or to be loved, but to love as God loves, as the sun shines, and, when we do this we shall be satisfied. To love should be the climax of our endeavors as it is the highest goal we can attain; and yet how seldom people labor to love! That should come spontaneously, say they; but this is not our attitude towards other lesser problems, mental or physical. If we should have to deal with a case of measles that seems obstinate, or a case of intemperance that does not yield, we put forth every effort, and work and pray until progress is made. Yet how constantly people will say of a fellow-worker or an acquaintance, "That sort of person never did appeal to me," or, "I don't wish to have anything to do with him;" "After what I have heard of them, the less seen of them the better." In the case of a so-called enemy, the language is even rougher. Yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to love our enemies.
I remember as a young student I felt I was so wanting in this direction, and was so anxious to become less critical, that I asked a Christian Scientist whose counsel I valued highly the best way to improve. "I can't make myself love those whom I dislike," I said. "Perhaps, not," was his reply, "but you can make yourself act as though you loved them, make yourself do little services for them, such as you would do for your dearest friends, and," he added, with serving love will grow." I determined to do this, and also to reverse every critical thought as it arose. I remember the first time I put this into practice. I was at a small gathering where there was a man who seemed the embodiment of egotism. He was laying down his opinion right and left, monopolizing the conversation, and his manner was intensely arrogant. Instantly I found myself criticizing and disliking him; but this time I remembered my resolution. I said to myself, I will replace my concept of this person with the true conception of God's man, and will reverse my own thought of these aggressive qualities. So I began to think how selfless man is! How gentle, how teachable: "the humble servant of the restful Mind," as Science and Health says (p. 119). I became so absorbed in my contemplation of the true man that I forgot the man in front of me, and when, a few minutes later, I became aware of what was going on around me again, something had taken place which seemed to me wonderful. The man who had been so aggressive was completely silent, and there was a different look upon his face, the look of one who had been rebuked, but who was grateful for it.
I have tried this method many times since, and it has helped me to become kinder in my estimate of others. We shall find that it will make us happier; our world will become more beautiful. For love is bliss. It is altogether different from the human affection which likes some and dislikes others. That state of mind which fancies that it can both love and hate does not know the true meaning of the word "love." God is Love. Then the image of Love is "reflected in love" (Science and Health, p. 17), and Love loves not occasionally nor selectively, but it gives out love as the sun gives out light. It does not demand a worthy object on which to shine - it blesses equally all with whom it comes in contact, whether the just or the unjust. I remember a Christian Science practitioner, who was called to visit the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, as she had some work for him to do, once telling me that before this invitation came he had been striving for many weeks to increase his love for God and man. "But," he continued, "when I came into Mrs. Eddy's presence and looked into her eyes, I saw how large was her storehouse and how very small my own. I saw that for her the world was not divided up into good sheep and bad sheep, but that she loved all equally." And yet the propaganda manufactured against this woman exceeded all limits. Her discovery was first stigmatized as ridiculous, unchristian, and unscientific. Then it was declared to be all stolen by her from others. This was inconsistent, to say the least, and this inconsistency was rebuked by the Rev. Dr. Lyman Pierson Powell in the "Cambridge History of American Literature," where he says, "As a whole the system described in Science and Health is hers, and nothing that can ever happen will make it less than hers." There are few accusations that were not brought against her. Finally, she was said to be dead, and when she continued to appear in public, it was asserted that the lady who went out driving daily was a dummy dressed up to represent Mrs. Eddy and to deceive the public. After that, she was reported to be insane, but a company of distinguished lawyers and doctors who interviewed her ended that lie.
Among such a maze of suggestion, which is still going on, how can we find out the true character of this famous and venerable woman? By discovering the contents of her mind, the thoughts of her heart. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," and in Mary Baker Eddy's Works are to be found her justification. Let those who want to know her true character read her books, whether they agree or disagree, and in them they will find an index to her nature which no amount of propaganda can undo. They will find in them one burning desire, one steadfast purpose, namely, to help and heal humanity. They will find a trust in God, a radical reliance on Truth, and a faith in the right which are unconquerable; they will find an absolute absorption in the things of Spirit to the exclusion of every worldly consideration, and in all these volumes they will find not one word of bitterness or condemnation of any single individual or religion.
It has been asked, How did she gain her power, her influence? How did she attract such an enormous following and win their devotion? Once more, the answer lies in her works. It was because she wrote a book that heals the sick, reforms the sinner, and causes even unbelievers to know and love God. I had no God when I first read the Christian Science textbook; but it taught me first to understand the Bible, and then to love God. By her fruits do we know her.
The only thing she desired, my friends, was to heal others as she had healed herself. The only thing she asked was to relieve, as far as she might, the sufferings of her race. The only thing she worked for was to make the earth happier and healthier and holier. Her great heart yearned over the troubles of a world, as though they were her own, and no matter what was said or done against her, it could not stop her loving. Because she loved, she lived - lived through years of trial and responsibility, till at the age of eighty-nine she was still the head of the church she founded, the active Leader of her Movement. Her writings, remain with us to lead her followers still, and as she said of her Cause, so we can say of her, her name "will go on with the ages;" it will "go down the dim posterns of time unharmed, and on every battlefield rise higher in the estimation of thinkers and in the hearts of Christians" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 383).
In the words of Matthew Arnold's tribute to his father:
But thou wouldst not alone
Be saved, . . . alone
Conquer and come to thy goal,
Leaving the rest in the wild. . . .
Still thou turnedst, and still
Beckonedst the trembler, and still
Gavest the weary thy hand. . . .
Therefore to thee it was given
Many to save with thyself,
And, at the end of thy day,
O faithful [Leader], to come,
Bringing thy sheep in thy hand.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, November 21, 1930.]