Its Healing Influence in Business and the Home
Richard J. Davis, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, 11321 Prairie Avenue, Friday evening, April 25, 1930, by Richard J. Davis, CS., of Chicago, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: Its Healing Influence in Business and the Home." Mr. Davis spoke substantially as follows:
These lectures, which are arranged to meet the need of men and women everywhere, are a concrete example of the universal appeal of Christian Science and its practical application in every department of human endeavor. This great audience is made up of active, busy people who have left their offices and homes and are gathered here with the hope that they may take back with them something which will better enable them to meet and handle the problems and harassments that come into their everyday experience. This is indeed a hopeful sign - an indication that men are seeking a closer and more practical contact with God. And why not? Should it be thought strange that intelligent men and women are turning from outgrown ideas of religion, with special days of service, to the concept of an omnipresent, ever-available God, and a religion to be lived every day of the week, and every hour of the day?
In 1866 a gentle New England woman lay upon her bed, suffering with a severe ailment which was the result of an accident. A devout Christian, educated and reared by her parents according to the best traditions of that day, this woman, Mary Baker Eddy, had through her whole life been seeking a more satisfactory understanding of God, a God available to her own human needs and those of her fellowmen. Experiment in medicine and other healing methods had led her step by step away from matter to a consecrated study of the Bible and the spiritual healings of Jesus and his disciples. At this point in her experience, alone and helpless, and nearing what her physician, what friends and relatives thought to be her death, she turned unreservedly from medicine to God, from matter to Mind. She sent from the room those who were with her and opened her Bible to the account in Matthew of the healing of the palsied man by Jesus. In that hour of extremity she experienced a spiritual revelation which raised her up a well woman. She dressed herself and walked into the next room, to the consternation and amazement of her friends. Face to face with God, the sense of pain and suffering faded away. She recognized her true heritage as a child of God and was free.
Fortunately for the world this was the beginning, not the end of a great experience, for she immediately commenced to study and ponder the spiritual law underlying her recovery. By this act this loving woman has made God available to all mankind through Christian Science. Thousands are today grateful for her life of service and in the future millions will rise up and call her blessed. Turning after her own healing to the Bible in her search for the law which made that healing possible, Mrs. Eddy saw that there must be an absolute Principle back of the life and works of Christ Jesus. She felt that there was a spiritual connection between her own recovery and the healings wrought by the Master, and her conclusions were arrived at and based solely on the Scriptures. Her study resulted in the discovery of what she termed "the Christ Science or the divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love" (Science and Health, p. 107). She declared that these laws, the law of Life, the law of Truth, the law of Love, could be clearly understood by men and that when understood they could be applied specifically to the myriad problems of the race.
At this point there may be those here who will say, "You ask me to accept Christian Science on the basis of the Bible. How can I do that? The discussions and debates of today and the radical differences in opinion even in churches of older faith than yours have unsettled my thought. How do you or I know that the Bible can be accepted as true?" Christian Science does not ask you to accept a single statement about the Bible or any thing else which does not coincide with correct reason or that you cannot fully test by demonstration. Realizing this, Mrs. Eddy herself tested her discovery for years before she gave it to the world.
Not long ago a young man came to me, a Japanese. He was born in the Orient and educated there. His parents and all his family are Buddhists and he had been reared in that belief. Naturally he knew little or nothing of the Bible or of Christianity, and the occidental ideas of God and of Christ Jesus were unknown to him. Like millions of other people the problems of life were forcing him to seek a solution and in his extremity Christian Science was presented. This man, a thinker, commenced the study of Christian Science solely from the standpoint of reason. There could be no other approach because of his utter unfamiliarity with and lack of faith in the Bible. Little by little he found that reason and revelation were being reconciled and followed by test or demonstration. In the line of reason a flood of light was thrown on the Bible and the life, works, and words of Jesus. This man, all his life a Buddhist, trained in modes of thinking entirely remote from our own, has accepted Christian Science and realizes that Mrs. Eddy has correctly and scientifically based her discovery on the Bible. The teachings of that book have been shown to him to be absolutely reasonable, logical, and demonstrable.
It is to be here noted that Mary Baker Eddy says she discovered Christian Science. She did not invent or originate it. In the same way that Lief Ericsson may be said to have discovered America, so she discovered or brought to light a Principle that has existed through all ages, an ever-operative divine law, indicating the harmony, Science, and continuity of being. It was the promised Comforter or Christ, the spiritual idea of God, and this Comforter or truth of being so illumined her consciousness with light that the divine facts of being came as a complete revelation, which she transcribed in the book known as "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science. Study of this book is revealing to all mankind "the Comforter which leadeth into all truth" (Science and Health, p. 127).
Down through the ages the law of God has always been available but there have been few who discerned enough of the truth to demonstrate it in human experience. Occasionally at various periods in history there have appeared great prophets and seers - Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and others. These men approximated Truth sufficiently to uplift the thought of their people, and by practical proof demonstrate to an almost always doubting thought, an available God. Confucius, Socrates, and Plato also represent periods when men were reaching out for a clearer concept of God through philosophy, but the actual Science or law of being, the relation of God to man, they but dimly discerned.
At the outset may I remind you that Christian Science is a science, the Science of being, the Science of actual existence, which enables everyone to gain a demonstrable understanding of the laws and rules of all true living. It, therefore, makes its appeal to your reason and thoughtful consideration. In order that you may get out of this Science the real blessings which are there for you, the demand is made that you shall think, think carefully and accurately and regard it as a subject to be studied rather than perused. No one would think merely of perusing the science of astronomy if he expected to gain a practical understanding of it, and this is equally true of Christian Science.
In the study of this Science you will find that its teaching regarding God is clear, logical and reasonable. You will find that it coincides, perhaps, with much that you have unconsciously felt true. You will find that the teaching of Christian Science regarding man and his true relation to God is satisfying and hopeful, and that this Science provides certain rules which must be followed if the Science is to be correctly and scientifically applied. Speaking out of an experience of many years, I can say to you that any man or woman who will set himself to the earnest study of Christian Science, giving strict attention to the rules laid down for its application, cannot fail to succeed. He will get out of it infinite blessings, prosperity, and peace.
All successful demonstration of Christian Science is based upon a correct concept of what we understand to be God as divine Principle. Christian Science declares that since there can be but one universe - even as the word "universe" indicates - so that universe can have but one cause. This universe, even as we cognize it humanly, gives evidence of being infinite, immeasurable, as having no limit or boundary. Reason tells us, too, that this infinite, immeasurable universe proclaims the existence of an intelligent cause or noumenon. It is also evident and reasonable that since all we cognize manifests intelligence, it must in its very nature be the phenomenon, or effect, of an intelligent and self-existent first great Cause which we in Christian Science call God, or Mind. God is, therefore, the one infinite, eternal Mind. In line with reason, we also see that this one self-existent Cause or Mind must be the Life of all being, that God is infinite, eternal Life. Being eternal and infinite, God is in His very nature, all-inclusive, and Christian Science declares that God is, as stated in the Bible, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
It is important to note here that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, turned wholly to the Scriptures in her search for a better understanding of God, and that, therefore, the definition of God as stated in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Christian Science textbook (p. 587), finds its sanction in the Bible. In her definition she declares Him to be; "The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence."
It is possible to analyze and prove by logic and reason the truth of every term in this definition of God, but this is, of course, not practical in the short space of time allotted to a lecture. Let us consider a moment the teaching of Christian Science that God is Mind, the one infinite, intelligent Cause of the universe. How does this Mind reveal itself? How is it evidenced? In thoughts or ideas, as infinite as the Mind conceiving them. Viewed even on a human plane, all that we cognize - all of which we are conscious - is the product or result, primarily, of some kind of thinking. This great building, everything dealing with its plan, construction, and development, - all the ingenuity, invention, and art manifested, the intelligent work of many men, - all this and much that is not visible, is the product solely of human thought. In the great buildings about us, these too, the product of thought, are thousands of people, conscious, intelligent, thinking persons, all manifesting thought or ideas. The big office buildings are fairly throbbing with the life, action, and thought that constitute what we call business. Indeed, is not all that means business or commerce, the result or effect thereof? There could be no business without thought or ideas.
Is anyone originating all this himself? Can anyone think for a moment that he is himself the cause and creator of thought, of invention, business, skill, art, and science? And is it conceivable that the immeasurable nature of thought, infinitely and continuously manifested in man, finds its origin in brain matter, a pulpy mass within a cranium? Christian Science declares that since there is but one Mind or Cause, that all true thought necessarily finds its origin there, and only there, - that all is divine Mind and its infinite ideas or manifestations, and that man, declared in the first chapter of Genesis to be the image and likeness of God, must be the mental image or likeness of Mind. Indeed, the Icelandic translation of Genesis puts it in just that way: "And God said, Let us make man after our mind and our likeness; and God shaped man after His mind, after God's mind shaped He him; and He shaped them male and female."
Can we conceive of a universe without order, precision, or law, a universe devoid of thought or ideas? When thinking ceases does not consciousness also cease? What becomes of a man without Mind and ideas? A nonentity or nonexistence. As a man thinketh, so is he, and Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health, on page 109, "Christian Science reveals incontrovertibly that Mind is All-in-all, that the only realities are the divine Mind and idea."
Is it conceivable, then, that an imperfect thought could emanate from the one all-perfect Mind? No, reason tells us that this cannot be. Cause being perfect, so is effect. Logically therefore, man is understood in Christian Science to be wholly spiritual, the exact and perfect image or reflection of perfect Mind.
This teaching of Christian Science regarding the true nature of man, according as it does exactly with the spiritual account of creation in Genesis, opens the way for every man and woman to understand and demonstrate his real identity as a child or son of God. We are enabled to perceive, in a measure, why Jesus declared himself to be the Christ, or Son of God; why and how he could claim the intelligence and understanding to do works which he said were possible to every man. The healing works of Jesus, his redemption of sinners, the demonstration of abundant supply where lack seemed very evident, enabling him to feed the multitude, his raising of the dead, - all this was the result of spiritual thought, of what he knew of the truth of real being. It was his understanding of God as the only Mind that enabled Christ Jesus to prove his sonship with God. And it was their understanding of the Mind which was also in Christ Jesus that enabled Peter, Paul, and many others to prove by their works that same sonship with God. Are you using the understanding of God as the only Mind in your business and in the home? Are you learning to think with a larger measure of power, capacity, and vision, because you understand that these characteristics belong to man as the image of Mind? On page 128 of the Christian Science textbook Mrs. Eddy writes: "The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity. The human mind, imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose. A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity." His native air! Your native air, right today, is one of vision, capacity, and intelligence, if you will just claim what belongs to you, your heritage as a child of God. Our wakening to this truth is not unlike that of a man who has gone all his life in poverty, while all the while a great inheritance awaited him in the bank. Why didn't he draw upon it before? Simply because he was in ignorance. He did not know enough. He did not know it was there, that it was his to claim. Christian Science shows us what we have inherited. It reveals our immeasurable legacy. It declares that we may every day, yes, every hour, make our rightful demand on the bank of infinite Love, Mind, for intelligence to carry on our business, for capacity and capability to fill our positions in a better way, and to manifest progress, the legitimate result of work well done. There is never a time when the bank of infinite Love will refuse payment. You can write out a check on that bank at any time and it will never be protested. Moreover, the bank of infinite Love never closes its doors. It is open for the "Father's business" at all hours. Your check will never come back marked "not sufficient funds." There is always enough, because the resources of the bank of infinite Love are infinite, its capital and funds immeasurable. Our interest or returns are the blessings that are poured out in such abundance that there is not room enough to receive them.
What is a failure? What has happened to the thinking of a man who fails, and why has he failed? The loving message of salvation from the belief and fear of failure is one of the most glorious blessings that exists for everyone in Christian Science. We recognize that the world is filled with men and women carrying within their hearts the consciousness or fear that they have not succeeded. Possibly they have started out well enough, but somewhere on the road they have run into difficulties. They have reached a point where they say within themselves: "I can't. I don't know how. I am afraid. I am discouraged. I can't succeed. I am a failure." It is a well-known fact that no man ever accomplished anything worth while until he admitted his innate capacity to do it. Every great man must have claimed his ability before he could put it to the test. He knew he possessed the power to accomplish. Many men seem to succeed through personal determination and perseverance, but we recognize that what the world calls success is often not real success but the result of human will and false ambition, which sooner or later break down. Christian Science shows us how failure may be scientifically and spiritually overcome. It gives us a reason for the hope that is in us. It does not tell a man or woman suffering with the sense of failure: "Just say 'I can; I can succeed; I am a success,' " or something like that. That is not the process of Christian Science at all. Instead, it explains the true nature of God and His creation. Failure could never originate in or emanate from the divine Mind. God never made a failure, could not make a failure, never knew a failure, because His universe, including man, is a complete success, finished and very good. It shows man how he may legitimately assert his dominion over the belief of failure, how he may separate it from his thinking and claim infinite success, infinite opportunity, and infinite capacity - the natural attributes of God's man.
Christian Science points out too, that men often fail because they are weighted down with a great sense of personal responsibility. It is their business. They must tend it. They must watch it weekdays, Sundays, and holidays or it will get away from them. But where is God in all this? Is there no application of spiritual thinking in business? In the case of the man carrying on his business solely through the efforts of human will and with the consciousness that he alone is personally responsible, one can easily imagine a time when he would find himself in fear and wholly unsustained. But the man who turns daily and unreservedly to divine Mind, the source of all intelligence, this man will not fail or fear, for he has learned to declare as did Jesus, "I can of mine own self do nothing. . . . The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Christian Science declares that we may legitimately cast our burdens on the Lord. Can we conceive that the All-mighty, the all-loving God is unable or unwilling to carry them? "For that he is strong in power, not one faileth."
Are you afraid to declare, "I am a son of God"? Are you afraid to establish your relationship with your creator, the Father-Mother God? Are you afraid to think with the Mind that was in Christ Jesus, with the Mind that knows all things? And if you are not thinking with this Mind, upon what are you relying for your intelligence and thinking capacity? Christian Science shows us how to be spiritual thinkers. It shows us that since Mind is infinite and man is the image or reflection of that Mind, there is no limit or bound to one's ability to think, that we can now claim as ours, infinite intelligence, infinite wisdom, infinite understanding. Do you believe it to be presumptuous to claim that you reflect infinite intelligence? Are you doubtful lest there be not enough of Mind to go around? My friends, you need have no fear on that score! The very immeasurable character of Mind indicates its unlimited nature. You may claim all there is and there will still be enough for the rest of us, - all this because Mind is one and infinite.
No Pharaoh of Egypt held the children of Israel in greater bondage than today is exacted of humanity by the taskmaster fear. Men are afraid to eat, and afraid not to eat. If business is good, they are afraid it will be bad, and if it is bad they are afraid it will be worse; afraid if the weather is hot, afraid if it is cold. Indeed, fear is usually present in some form at all occasions. What is this tyrant, fear? Is it real and God-provided? Has the all-loving creator of the universe put into the heart of man these thoughts of timidity, apprehension, and misgiving? No, not one of them. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The world is coming to see how available are the teachings of Christian Science that God is Love and the only Mind governing man. Now this understanding enables us to recognize and cast out fear. It shows us that fear comes into thought primarily as a temptation to acknowledge and bow down before a power other than the one God. We are asked to admit the existence of an evil entity which has the ability to incapacitate, terrify, and destroy the children of God. Spiritual reason tells us that all this is not the product of an infinitely good God, and indeed God would not be infinite, if evil and its offspring, fear, are self-constituted and eternal realities.
Discouraged and disheartened in the struggle with life's problems, it would seem as though one's ability to cope with difficulties and to resist them had so weakened, that at the very first onslaught of the enemy he gave up without an effort. We are told in the Scriptures that if we resist the devil, evil, he will flee from us, and Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science has shown the world how to stand courageously and resist evil and fear. On page 393 of Science and Health she says, "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man." Christian Science, in its teaching that all is Mind and its infinite manifestation, shows us that fear always makes its appearance as our thinking, as some kind of thought. It claims to be part of our own thinking, our consciousness. The realization that all true thoughts have their origin in God enables us to separate these fear thoughts from ourselves and from the divine Mind, to see them only as illusions, as false beliefs without basis or cause in Truth. This perception that fear and erroneous beliefs are not real nor of God, gives man courage and power to meet and resist all difficulties. We learn how to study and scrutinize the guests seeking admission to our mental homes and to bar the door when fear and its companion beliefs, timidity, anxiety, and worry present themselves. Fear is no part of the divine Mind or Mind's creation. It has no cause in God and God never made it. It is therefore without law or Principle.
In Christian Science everything in the realm of wrong thinking, false belief, fear, and disease is termed error; in other words, erroneous thought. The way of deliverance from error for everyone is a way of correct and right thinking. There is no other. We all possess the power to think divinely, to have spiritual and holy thoughts, whether we have exercised that power or not. That even children may think themselves out of error is illustrated in the method used by a small boy I know in California. Compelled by a serious physical condition to remain in bed, this little fellow lay earnestly trying in his childlike way to get rid of the trouble. Suddenly he stood up in the center of the bed, and pointing his finger said, "Error, you move on. You can't park here." He could not have expressed it more exactly. For is it not the nature of evil and wrong thinking to do just that thing, park in our consciousness? And, like some people's cars, it breaks the law and should be told to move on.
In Christian Science, we do not "send" Truth or true thoughts to other people. Truth's very nature is omnipresence. The notion of sending thoughts from one person to another is only a species of suggestion. Truth cannot be suggested. It just is. Therefore, how inspiring it is to realize that when we see that man is free, well, awake, and alive, this is an omnipresent fact, and the very presence of this right thought eliminates and dissipates the belief that man is sick, fettered, or asleep.
The practical application of Christian Science and its great blessing was demonstrated in our family many years ago when it delivered my father from bondage to drink. He had tried all kinds of cures to free him from the habit but not one of them helped in any degree, but with his healing in Christian Science, however, not only was his life regenerated but this blessed Truth became the one potent influence in the lives of every member of our family and has governed us ever since. You can therefore understand the gratitude which I give to God for revealing this blessed Truth to our revered Leader, Mrs. Eddy.
Those who would set aside the Constitutional Amendment in regard to prohibition are forever claiming that their individual liberties are taken away, but let me ask anyone, Who has less liberty than the man or woman who is a slave to drink? Spiritual thinking gives man true liberty and the power to act rightly and conversely frees him from his degrading slavery to evil habits and wrong thinking of every kind.
There is nothing in the teaching of Christian Science that recommends, excuses, or advocates the use of intoxicating liquors. The Christian Science church stands squarely with and gives its whole-hearted support to the Constitution of our country and to those who are dutifully upholding it. We believe that the Prohibition Amendment is not only a good law but is a great moral and spiritual force operating for the welfare of the nation, and that it came about as the result of better thinking on the part of a great majority of our people. Because it is a force for good operating in human experience it cannot be separated from the progress and unfoldment of our nation.
No better illustration of the humanitarian motive pervading Christian Science can be found than the establishment by Mrs. Eddy of the great international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, designed, as she said, "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353). A newspaper writer from girlhood, Mrs. Eddy keenly appreciated the potency of journalism and its effect upon the thinking of the world. We often hear the term "power of the press" but to what extent have we analyzed it to see just what that means - power of the press? To what extent have we seen that what is known as human consciousness is largely constructed, framed, or built up through what we read in the newspaper? We think, whether we realize it or not, largely in terms of the printed page. Indeed it is said that we are a newspaper-governed people. Much that we think or talk about through the day finds its origin or first expression in the newspaper. Consider for a moment! Every morning here in this city thousands of you get up and stream out into the streets and buy a newspaper. And then what? Each one commences to fill his consciousness with thoughts of crime, disaster, scandal, accident, disease, and death - not very good mental food with which to begin the work of a day. Not long ago a professor in Bradford College, England, made the statement that five-sixths of the thinking done by the civilized world was furnished it by the newspapers.
Now Mrs. Eddy, great woman that she was, looking below the surface of things, saw the tremendous power of the printed page, the communication of ideas to human consciousness through that medium. She recognized, too, the part that the press plays in all this, and conceived the idea of a newspaper reflecting the spirit of truth, of honesty, integrity, and righteousness in business affairs, in government, in the home, in education, in art, in every department of life, in fact. The Monitor today is acknowledged by many of the great men of the time to be the criterion for all newspapers. It is a wayshower in journalism. Its practical influence upon human affairs cannot be estimated, and only love for mankind inspired its inception and is its governing purpose.
Discontent and restlessness are states of thought frequently met with today. We find men and women dissatisfied with one another, their homes, their families, and their positions. They want a change, and a change they surely need, a change of thought, of thinking, and not necessarily of position. Christian Science declares that there is no condition, however unbearable, discordant, or inharmonious, that may not be adjusted by right thinking.
Not long ago a man came to see a Christian Science practitioner. He was a salesman for a well-known car. He had a fair drawing account, but he was not selling many cars. He was dissatisfied, querulous, and full of fear. He found much to criticize in the automobile industry in general and in his own company in particular; his was altogether a most unhappy state of mind. He ought to have more money; he knew he was worth it; and why didn't he sell more cars? As the practitioner came to understand the situation, he began to see something. This man was demanding that Christian Science help him to sell more automobiles. It was as if he were expecting that Spirit, divine Mind, could be called upon to operate in his behalf in the sale of material motor cars. Now do you suppose for an instant that that state of thought was prepared for what in Christian Science we call a demonstration, a proof of God's infinite power and law? Not at all. What this man really needed was a change in thought, a change in his own thinking. What he actually needed was a healing of criticism, irritability, incompetency, and incapacity. In that state of mind he was not giving his company the value of his drawing account. In other words, he was not establishing for himself and proving by his right mental attitude that God had already endowed him with intelligence, wisdom, and capability and that these qualities had to be put into action by him, to be proved in "good works." When he grasped that what he needed was a change in his mental attitude, he naturally demonstrated a greater measure of success.
The correct understanding of Christian Science never permits one to ignore the human problem. The absolute truth about God and the real man must always be intelligently applied to the relative condition, right where human beings seem to be having difficulties. For example, business men and women who are salesmen can, through their study of Christian Science, destroy the fears, worries, and discouragements that knock at the door of human consciousness. In quiet reflection and prayer they can maintain the true facts about themselves, - that they do reflect intelligence, efficiency, and all the other qualities that go to make up a successful business man or woman. But these qualities of thought must be put into action, in wise human footsteps. Mrs. Eddy, in her textbook, Science and Health (p. 253), says, "The divine demand, 'Be ye therefore perfect,' is scientific, and the human footsteps leading to perfection are indispensable."
For the benefit of those who are just beginning to look into Christian Science, or who perhaps are wholly unacquainted with the subject, it might be well to say here that Christian Science does not teach that one who is having trouble as a salesman, or another who is not succeeding with dictation or stenography, can go to a Christian Science practitioner and with a few treatments be miraculously metamorphosed, the one into a business success, or the other into an expert stenographer. What Christian Science does do, however, is to cause an adjustment in their thinking. It is thought that has to be changed, and this is sometimes not accomplished in a moment, - particularly where the individual concerned has been habitually thinking failure, fear, lack, or limitation. It is a gradual process of spiritual and mental redemption. The man who has been laboring under the belief of incompetency, incapacity, or inability, sees in Christian Science that these characteristics are not the divine heritage of the sons of God, - that they never originated in the divine Mind, and, therefore, may be legitimately denied and eliminated from his thinking. He learns to see that what man does possess divinely are the mental qualities of alertness, inspiration, spontaneity, keenness, and initiative, and claiming these as his own, he begins to lose his fear and is, therefore, able to face the work of the day with confidence and courage. He sees why he may legitimately say, "I perceive now why I am not working alone and helpless. I understand now where the source of my power and capacity lies. It all comes from God, my Father-Mother, God. I know "I can of mine own self do nothing.' It is not I that do it; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the work."
There is another side to this question of lack, poverty, bad business and its fear, the effect on our health. Many a man becomes ill, has a nervous collapse or other physical troubles, as a result of his incorrect thinking about supply and substance. How important, then, that he change his thinking, and find that true spiritual concepts concerning both his business and his health have their origin in God, that the same divine Love which cares for one, sustains the other.
Christian Scientists are sometimes called optimists, no doubt because they are, as a rule, a happy and cheerful lot of people who look on the bright side of life, but the basis for this appearance of happiness goes much deeper than a mere effort to be cheerful, a kind of Pollyanna attitude. It finds its basis in true scientific thinking, in the possession of a satisfactory concept of God and man, in having proved that God is the only true source of supply to His children, and that "no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
One can readily see that the man or woman turning in this way to God has opened the door of his understanding to the demonstration of limitless unfoldment and opportunity. No task is too great, no undertaking too big, for the man who has learned that divine Mind is the source of his strength and capacity. The very first words of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health (p. vii), are in line with this: "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings." What words of comfort and encouragement! We are not working and struggling alone, - we are leaning on the sustaining infinite love of God. As one of our hymns so beautifully puts it:
How gentle God's commands!
How kind His precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord,
And trust His constant care.
Beneath His watchful eye
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears creation up
Shall guard His children well.
His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I'll drop my burden at His feet,
And bear a song away.
(Christian Science Hymnal, p. 100.)
One of the saddest phases of human life, a condition with which almost everyone has to contend, either in himself or in others, is the quality of envy, jealousy, and rivalry. There is no more unhappy state of thought than that of the man or woman who is disturbed over the prosperity or success of a co-worker. It rankles in the heart, is the source of bitter mental suffering, and, in the light of Christian Science, is often the basis of physical disease, and torment as well.
The teachings of Christian Science show us how to analyze envy and jealousy correctly, how to root it out of our own consciousness, and how to disarm its effect, if it is manifested by others. What is the envious man doing? Is he not contemplating in bitterness the success of others, while at the same time in a state of mental denial of his own capacity and opportunities?
Opportunity is infinite, unlimited. Success is infinite, unlimited. Each one of God's children may turn directly to God, the Giver of all good, and receive in abundance whatever is necessary for his individual prosperity and achievement, and at the same time, his brother is not denied the same privilege. Mrs. Eddy has beautifully expressed, in her textbook, Science and Health, this infinite and loving bounty of God, where she says, "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals" (p. 13), and again where she states that ''whatever blesses one blesses all" (p. 206). The very nature of divine Love is to bless, - to bless all impartially and without favor. As men and women come to see this, they will be at rest and at peace with themselves and with others; they will recognize that God, in infinite tenderness and consideration, has provided enough of success, opportunity, and progress for all, - that no one is denied. They will learn to rejoice in the prosperity of their brother in the same measure as if it had come to them.
Do you recall the story of the prodigal son in the New Testament? After years of dissipation and evil living, this boy returned and was welcomed with out-stretched arms by his father, a father who immediately prepared every good thing for the repentant son. And then at that moment of rejoicing envy reared its head. The older son came in, full of bitterness, anger, and hate because of the love that was being bestowed on a lost brother. And do you recall that wonderful answer of the father to his complaint, "Son, thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine"? Some day we are all going to learn the full meaning of that glorious truth, that we are ever with God and that all God has, is ours today, in infinite measure. The rivalries and vain ambition for commercial supremacy and domination will fade away. Men will strive, but this strife will be the earnest endeavor to establish the true spirit of Christ, in every department of human endeavor. Then they will prove that the brotherhood of man can be practically and universally demonstrated.