Christian Science: Its Influence on Health and Character
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 First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Evanston, Illinois, in the church edifice, Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, Friday evening, August 14, by Richard J. Davis, C. S., of Chicago, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The speaker was introduced by Mrs. Amie Paddock, as follows:
"Friends: First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Evanston, again opens its doors to welcome you to a lecture on Christian Science.
"Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in her book, 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,' on page seven of the Preface, says, 'The time for thinkers has come.' We are all thinkers. It was thinking that brought us here tonight. Are we not happy to be living in the 'time for thinkers,' grateful for opportunities such as this whereby we may learn to improve our thinking?
"Keeping thought clear and receptive, we shall grasp at once the import of the message the speaker has so wisely prepared for us. Our lecturer this evening, Mr. Richard J. Davis, C.S., of Chicago, is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. He will speak on 'Christian Science: Its Influence on Health and Character.' "
"It gives me great pleasure to present to you Mr. Davis."
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
The world as a whole, or at least the civilized part of it, is becoming increasingly acquainted with the fact that the teachings of Christian Science are healing the physically sick. In the lifting up of the diseased and heavy-laden, the truth of its teaching is being widely demonstrated. But it is important to emphasize this fact: Christian Science is not merely a healing cult, a system of therapeutics to make men's bodies well and thereby enable them to go along in the same old material way. The fundamental purpose of Christian Science is the entire spiritual regeneration of human consciousness. It shows that there is an inseparable connection between physical healing and the regeneration of character; the two are absolutely conjoined. Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in her sermon entitled "The People's Idea of God" (p.7): "Scientific discovery and the inspiration of Truth have taught me that the health and character of man become more or less perfect as his mind-models are more or less spiritual." In other words, it is to spiritual thinking and true character building that we must look if we are to have true health and happiness. And, therefore, I am going to speak to you on the subject of Christian Science: Its Influence on Health and Character.
David said, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Logically, then, in order to wake in that likeness and be satisfied, we must first of all find out the true nature and character of God.
In discussing God from the standpoint of Christian Science, it may be well to state here that Mary Baker Eddy was from girlhood a deep and consecrated student of the Bible. Her early associates included some of the most spiritually-minded and noble men of her period, both philosophers and thinkers. She, herself, had been trained to ponder and meditate deeply on the things of God. She was a logical thinker, and the world today is admitting more and more that her teaching regarding God is logical and based on pure, spiritual reasoning.
First of all, let us ask ourselves: Is there a universe? Yes, we must admit one infinite, immeasurable universe or creation, so great and wonderful that our human sense of things can but faintly grasp or compass it. Has it a cause or a noumenon? Obviously, yes. The universe, even as we cognize it, indicates an unlimited, intelligent cause which we, in Christian Science, reverently understand to be Mind, or God, the infinite Mind and Creator of the universe.
The mistake of the ages has been the assumption that creation consisted of two diverse and wholly antagonistic elements, namely, mind and matter. And yet any clear thinker must acknowledge that like produces like, that if cause be mental, so is effect. In other words, infinite Mind, or God, cannot produce its opposite, unintelligent matter. The product of Mind is thought, or ideas, and Christian Science declares logically that the product of the divine Mind is a thought universe, an infinite universe of ideas. Clearly, then, Christian Science affirms that all, absolutely all, is Mind, that there is truly nothing but Mind and its infinite ideas or manifestation.
The character of infinite Mind cannot be circumscribed in any personal or bodily sense, and the logic of Christian Science recognizes no bodily or corporeal God. On the contrary, it declares that the nature of infinite Mind is clearly incorporeal, not bodily, in accord with the Scriptural declaration, "Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." This one infinite all-inclusive presence is the eternal I AM, or infinity of Being, and so the declaration to Israel still stands, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Thou shalt have no other power before Me, the one infinite all-power. Thou shalt have no other Mind before Me, the one infinite all-inclusive Mind. Thou shalt have no other Life before Me, the one infinite and omnipresent Life.
The one I AM, or infinity, must obviously be not only immeasurable Mind, but also infinite, omnipresent Spirit, the Soul of all being, divine Principle or law, Life or the one self-existence, Truth or reality, infinite Love. All these terms which describe the character and nature of God are synonymous and coincide one with the other. Taken together, they express the wholeness and oneness of Deity.
The nature of immeasurable Mind or Love may not be easily comprehended, but we know that infinite Love indicates that the character of God, as understood in Christian Science, is tender and gentle. Love must inevitably love its own offspring, or creation. The prophet Isaiah thus describes God: "I will mention the loving kindness of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses." In the consciousness of God as Love we gain the highest and most exalted idea of Deity.
If, then, God is Mind, Life, Truth, and Love, what must be the character of His creation, man? The Scriptures declare that God created man exactly like Himself, like Mind. The Icelandic translation of Genesis states 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." In other words, Christian Science declares that if God is Mind, man must be the divinely mental image of that Mind; if God is Life, man must be the very exemplification and manifestation of Life; if God is Love, man can image forth, and manifest, only Love.
Mrs. Eddy took a radical stand when she proclaimed that the only man there is is spiritual right now, but she based her statement on the declaration regarding man in the first chapter of Genesis, a perfectly logical conclusion, for in the light of pure reason, can the exact image of Mind be material, a matter man? Can Spirit evolve its opposite, matter? My friends, the first, and a most important step in salvation, may be said to be taken when you discern and are willing to declare, "Since God, who is certainly Spirit, created man in His own likeness, I am spiritual." In the light of present-day experience, with its suffering, disease, and death, even though the fact of man's spirituality be but faintly discerned and demonstrated, of what avail can it be to cling and hold on with determination to a supposition that man is material? Will conditions be bettered thereby? The fact is that if all is Mind and its infinite manifestation, and that Mind is the Life and action of all being, then man, being wholly spiritual, lives as the reflection of divine Mind - never as matter or material personality.
What then is the character of man? Is it physical? Is it a man's corporeal body that reveals his true nature? The dictionary defines character as that which a person really is, the mental and moral qualities belonging to an individual. Character, then, is thought, or thinking, made up wholly of mental qualities, and the true character of man is revealed in his thoughts. "As a man thinketh, so is he" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 166); and the Bible clearly indicates the connection between health and character building, where it says, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Taking men as a whole, they all appear to be more or less alike, in physical appearance. But without thought, or ideas, they would all be non-entities. When thought is revealed, however, the distinctive individuality or character of each man shines forth.
The teachings of Christian Science, therefore, render the world an inestimable service in bringing to light the true spiritual and mental nature of man as the image or idea of divine Mind. At once, the emphasis is taken away from physicality and placed where it belongs, in the realm of thought. And it is in the realm of thought that man finds his true likeness to God. We declare, therefore, that man is a spiritual being, reflecting or imaging forth ideas or thoughts that can have their origin only in God, the divine Mind.
The character of one man, Jesus the Christ, has stood out before men down through the ages as the ideal of what we truly should be. He has been called the great Exemplar, the Way-shower. It was to the life and character of this man that Mary Baker Eddy turned in the search which resulted in the discovery of Christian Science. She studied his character, his thoughts and works, and discerned that his words, if properly and scientifically understood were, as he himself declared, Spirit and Life to all mankind.
Jesus was the Way; that is, he showed us the way in which every man's character can be regenerated through spiritual and scientific thinking. But this does not in any sense imply that he walked the way for us, and that there is nothing for us to do. It is only as men adopt his spiritual standard of living and thinking that they approximate the true character of Christ Jesus. Obviously, it was not his physical body or personal appearance that made Jesus the Christ; it was what he thought. He thought divinely, and Christian Science declares that it is what we think that naturally registers our true spirituality.
Perhaps no quality in Jesus' character has been more commented upon than his tenderness and compassion for the sinner. His motives and acts in that respect were constantly misjudged and criticized. They called him "a friend of publicans and sinners." And this he truly was, in the highest spiritual sense. Not that he fraternized with their evil thoughts and deeds, but rather, that his heart went out to them in a loving desire to set the sinner free from bondage to his false beliefs. Jesus always separated the evil from the person. He never made a reality of sin or disease. On the contrary, he saw them as delusions, as erroneous conceptions of life which the spiritual understanding of God and man could dissipate. The Mind that was in Christ Jesus knew only a perfect God and a perfect creation. His healings, both of disease and sin, were based on his scientific knowledge that nothing can emanate from God but that which is immaculately pure and good. He understood fully the influence of carnal or material thinking on men's health and morals, and declared that as wrong thinking was abandoned, the health and character of men would correspondingly be improved and elevated.
When the Saviour healed the sick and raised the dead, it is recorded that he spoke as one having authority. No man speaks with authority unless he knows that he has behind him certain law and force which give him power and dominion. A mathematician expounds mathematical laws and speaks with authority because he knows that behind his statements lies the force and power of mathematical truth. Christ Jesus spoke with the authority and power of Almighty God. He recognized no other law or Principle as operative in the entire universe. He healed with assurance and confidence. His expectation was based upon the scientific knowledge that since disease is not a divine reality, it can be cast out and utterly destroyed. He was called the Master. Why? Because through spiritual understanding he had gained the mastery over sin, the mastery over disease, the mastery over death, and most of all, he had gained a mastery over a material sense of self.
May we not legitimately assume the same attitude of spiritual authority as did Jesus? He knew he was the Son of God, endowed with rightful dominion, and it is our great privilege to know the same truth for ourselves. The apostle John declared that divine authority and dominion of every man when he wrote, "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."
There are times that come to all of us when we are confronted with difficulties, when there is much that perplexes and possibly confuses. Maybe we are disturbed and unhappy over the unkind or unjust statements of a friend or relative. We may not see just where to turn, or how to think about it; but, my friends, there is one infallible test. Just stop a moment and say to yourself, How would Christ Jesus think about this? What would be his mental attitude in this situation? How would he handle it? Immediately you will find yourself adopting the Christ standard of thinking. If there has been anger or resentment before, there will be love now. If fear has been ruling thought, there will be courage and confidence. Christ Jesus gave us a standard of thinking to go by. The teachings of Christian Science show us what that standard is and how to measure up to it.
The unfolding understanding of Christian Science develops our ability to study character in the only right way. It shows us how we may examine ourselves, weigh and analyze thought, and then, by a process of separation and elimination, rid consciousness of every undesirable false concept. Paul said we must "put off the old man with his deeds" and "put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him;" and Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 254) makes a somewhat similar statement when she says: "The human self must be evangelized. This task God demands us to accept lovingly today, and to abandon so fast as practical the material, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual."
Now it is possible that at this point someone may be questioning: If Christian Science teaches that man is already spiritual, the divine image and likeness of God, why, then, the necessity for any work with one's character? If I am already perfect, why should there be any need of a process of salvation? Christian Science does not ignore the human problem as it seems to be. If we consider life as it appears to the human senses, the race, as a whole, is far from having reached a state anywhere nearly approaching perfection. We only need to ask ourselves: Am I absolutely happy and at peace with myself and the world? Am I completely satisfied and contented? Am I wholly well? The answer would indicate that no one has as yet attained that which everyone basically desires - heaven.
When an electrical engineer sets forth a newly discovered law operative in the field of electricity, to those who listen or look on, it can mean merely a statement of scientific fact. Their complete perception and realization of the truth governing the inventor's discovery cannot come until they themselves have taken, mentally, each step that the inventor had previously experienced in experimentation with the electrical law.
So when Christian Science declares that man is spiritual and perfect, this statement is based upon scientific fact. It is based upon logic and reason and is susceptible of proof. But the actual demonstration is attained only when each step in the perception and application of the spiritual law of Being is properly taken. The process of proving our spiritual sonship and identity with God is accomplished only as we hold firmly to that which spiritual reasoning tells us is the truth about man, and just as positively reject the erroneous or false concept of man.
Now a first step in spiritual regeneration is the recognition that there is something in one's character which needs correcting. This realization, coupled with an honest desire to rid one's thinking of every objectionable quality, is the simplest form of humble prayer, a desire to be right. Bad thought-habits have to be broken and interrupted. Unpleasant traits of character, idiosyncrasies, pet hobbies, that tend to keep active a false sense of man's selfhood, are to be taken firmly in hand and cast out.
It is related in the Gospel of Mark that the disciples of Jesus had failed to heal a child possessed with what the Bible terms a "devil," and what we, in Christian Science, understand to mean a disturbed and erroneous state of mind, possibly insanity. When the father brought the child to the Master, he was immediately healed. Later, the disciples earnestly questioned him as to why they had not been able to meet the situation. He replied, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." According to ritualistic custom this has been interpreted to mean that the devil, or evil, might be cast out by imploring God to heal, or by a process of denying oneself food or other material things. But Jesus did not implore or beg God to set aside the ordinary course of things in order to work a miracle. He once said, "I knew that thou hearest me always." He recognized that health is the only legitimate state of man, and that disease is wholly unnatural, and not at all according to God's law. The prayer of Jesus was a prayer of affirmation, - affirmation of that which is eternally true about God and man, - and his fasting was firm and courageous mental denial of that which the physical senses implied was true. Christian Scientists are grateful for this spiritual teaching regarding prayer and fasting. No matter where one may chance to be, in the home, in the street car, or in an office, it is always possible to "pray without ceasing," that is, to affirm God's allness, His over-presence and His omnipotence, and also to fast, daily and hourly, in our denial of all that is unlike God in ourselves and others.
No one makes any claim to have as yet demonstrated perfection, but it is something to have made a practical beginning in the attainment of spiritual dominion. There may come moments when the human sense of things would try to make you believe that you are making no progress, either in character growth or in the overcoming of sin or disease, but, my friends, keep on in this noble task of working out your salvation, knowing that "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." If discouragement rears its head and tries to talk to you, face it with patience, and be not dismayed. Patience is a wonderful quality and we all need more of it in our characters. Some years ago I read a definition of patience which, from the standpoint of Christian Science, was most helpful. It said: "Patience is a quality of divine Mind which enables me to look beyond the sense testimony and see the complete demonstration," - not to see with the material eyes, but with that divine sense which knows the spiritual facts of existence.
Human beings seem to be a mixture of both good and evil qualities which they are said to have acquired either by heredity or environment. They are possessed with dispositions, either good or bad, according to the characteristics that predominate. Christian Science drives home the fact that if man's true being is mental, it is in the realm of thought that correction must take place. This realization that all is not well within, and that there is something to be remedied, requires a certain courage, a willingness to look at what seems to be one's character squarely in the face and enter upon an earnest, prayerful process of self-examination. Mrs. Eddy expresses this in a very remarkable way in Science and Health (p.462): "Anatomy, when conceived of spiritually, is mental self-knowledge, and consists in the dissection of thoughts to discover their quality, quantity, and origin. Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question. This branch of study is indispensable to the excision of error."
If you were going to build or rebuild a house, what kind of materials would you select for its construction? Would you not provide a strong, firm foundation? Would you not demand that your timber be of the best quality and able to stand the strain? And your bricks - what kind of bricks would you have? Clean, firm, well-made ones. No broken or crumbling bricks would do. And so, my friends, we learn in Christian Science how to build or rebuild our human character with spiritual qualities. We may consciously select the best thoughts (character-bricks, if you like), to replace those that break and will not stand the storm. What are some spiritual character-bricks which we, by reflection, may incorporate in our spiritual structure? Love, joy, humility, purity, moral courage, - and there are many others, - and so with these we may rear that "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
In Christian Science, it is important, in character building, not to look with longing and regret at the old bricks which are being cast aside, but rather to look with anticipation and joy at the new. When one gives up some erroneous thought, it is because one has found something better to put in its place. But if we look about us, how far most human beings are from the attainment of that real joy to which they are entitled as the sons of God! Pursuit of material pleasure seems to consume a large part of their thinking. Many people believe that if they have a lot of money, houses, clothes, and automobiles, then they will be happy, that then their cup of joy will be filled to the brim, that then they will be satisfied and contented. But is this so? Will they be satisfied? Does materiality bring peace of mind? Not at all. Many of us know that some of the most wretched and miserable people on earth are among those who are what the world calls rich. What is the trouble? What they still lack is the one needful thing - a knowledge of God. Jesus said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [the needs of human life] shall be added unto you." Why did Jesus tell the rich young man to sell all that he had and give to the poor? Did he not see that it was materiality (material thinking) that was barring the young man's entrance into the kingdom of heaven? Why, dear friends, many of us have had experiences that show it is not being rich in matter that gives happiness, but being rich in good thoughts. And when we are rich in good thoughts we have that peace that passeth all understanding - that feeling which means contentment and satisfaction. Christian Scientists have discovered that this peace of mind is found by obtaining a better understanding of God.
As thought has progressed, the civilized world has abandoned its beliefs in physical devils, in evil spirits, and the concept that Satan is a kind of wicked man who has to be placated or feared, but there are still many remnants of superstitious thinking trailing along, right in this modern life of ours. One of these is the characteristic of despondency, the tendency to look on what is called "the dark side" of life. This is one of a number of the unwholesome offspring, or children of fear, sometimes called worry. Did you ever have the worry habit? Or have you got it now? No man is happy, or pleasant company, when he worries. Worry is an unkind artist that puts wrinkles in us, physically and mentally. Worry puts dark glasses on our mental outlook on life. Through worry's dark glasses everything becomes disturbed and upset. We anticipate and realize only disaster and trouble. Worry has been termed the "do-not-trust-God disease." What chance of success is there for one who gazes through these glasses? Disarmed by discouragement and fear, he is deprived of that fine quality, poise, the sign of courage and confidence. Consider "poise," a moment. He who has it manifests that fine mental balance that inspires confidence and faith, while the man who stands with worry's wrinkled brows fills those he meets with thoughts of foreboding and anxiety.
But someone may say: It is all very well to tell me to have a confident outlook, to smile and not to worry, but I am confronted by many difficulties, and life is a very serious matter with me. Besides, I have always worried; it is natural to me - my disposition. Christian Science says: "Then change your disposition. You do not have to keep unpleasant and hampering characteristics unless you want them." By establishing your identity as the image of divine Mind, Christian Science declares that worry, the "do-not-trust-God disease," is actually based on faith in the power of evil instead of good. It declares that worry has no basis in God, and being no part of God, naturally is no part of man, God's exact likeness. In his true being man possesses and reflects courage, confidence, and cheerfulness. The understanding of man's true selfhood as the son of God lifts thought into that atmosphere of freedom where every restricting and fettering fear falls away - worry, for which there is no real cause; fear of lack, when God is the infinite supply of the universe; fear of disease and death, when His loving promise is eternal Life. I am told that the Western cowboys and ranchmen, when they ride into town, do not always hitch their horses to a post but merely throw the lariat over the pony's neck and let it drag on the ground. The horse, under the impression that he is tied, stands perfectly quiet and never moves from the spot where his master leaves him. He is held only by his belief. So with us, all that needs changing is the thought that we are fettered, for we are already free.
Now, if Life is God, it has certainly no dark side, but only joy and anticipation of good. If analyzed, is not the disposition to have forebodings and fearful expectancy based on the belief that evil is real? And yet, if God is one, and infinitely good, is there any logical basis for the expectancy of evil? What can come to us from a good God but good? What shall we expect today? Good. What tomorrow? Good. Next week, next month, next year? Good, more good; good in infinite measure. We have all met the man who got out of bed the wrong way and said, "Well, I wonder what this day will bring forth?" Not a very joyful anticipation. Now Christian Science declares that the only day there is, is the day of Mind's unfoldment. Into that day can come nothing that maketh or worketh a lie. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it," said the Psalmist. Into this day can come only that which God has sent, more of peace, health, and happiness. This day can bring forth only divine opportunity, prosperity, and success, a greater unfoldment of the true Christ character in consciousness.
Few people realize their dreams and ambitions for success. This is due sometimes, of course, to the fact that their ideals are not based upon Principle or righteousness, but often it is brought about by some form of incapacity or inability. Providing his ideals are correct and his life and character noble and fine, there is no legitimate reason for any man, or woman, to fail. God does not fail, and therefore, neither can the real man. To be given a position, an opportunity to work, is one thing; to demonstrate the ability, and capacity to fill it, is quite another. But this, Christian Science declares, we may do. It makes no difference whether it be a housewife, a farmer, a teacher, or a business worker, the process of demonstration is exactly the same. What are some of the qualities of thinking that make for efficiency? Alertness, perseverance, orderliness, promptness, obedience, and many others. Every right attribute of capacity, capability, and success is inherently man's by reason of the fact that he is the reflection of divine Mind. God has endowed every one of His children with many talents, but like those mentioned in the Bible, they are buried when we say, "I am inefficient, I have no ability, 1 am not talented." All this is an unintelligent denial of that which is ours by divine right. Christian Science demands that we cast off self-depreciation, with its limiting and depressing effects, and that we have respect for ourselves and everyone else as the sons of God.
Christ Jesus was meek and humble, but he certainly knew his true greatness as a Son of God. It is that realization of our true identity as children of the Most High which enables us to walk the earth with courage and confidence, to take up our tasks with assurance, born of spiritual understanding, and then to complete them successfully.
In the Greek legend the story ran that the heavens and earth rested on the shoulders of an old man who stood bent nearly double with the weight. Have any of you ever suffered from the belief that you were Atlas? Personal responsibility, responsibility for our homes and our children, fearful responsibility for our bodies and our business! And all this while the Bible declares, "The government shall be upon his shoulder." As we progress in our study of Christian Science we learn to place the responsibility for maintaining and sustaining the universe where it belongs, with divine Mind, which governs all, according to its unvarying and unerring law. The divine plan and order of being is already established and goes on uninterrupted, even though personal sense would make us believe we have a responsibility in the matter.
Some time ago the following incident was related in a well-known credit magazine. For about eight years a man had owed a concern in the neighborhood five hundred dollars. Not hearing from him, they had long since written off the debt as a total loss. One day a check came in from the man with a letter saying that he had become interested in Christian Science and had decided to pay all his debts. This information was submitted to the magazine by a prominent credit man, without comment. But the story is eloquent. Through his study of Christian Science this man had awakened to the fact that there was something in his character which needed rectifying. He was rebuilding, and in place of dishonesty, thoughtlessness, and self-interest, he was demonstrating integrity, thoughtfulness, and consideration for others.
But someone may say: Yes, I am sure my thinking could be improved and my character made much better than it is; but what has that to do with my body? I am not in good health and what I need is physical healing. Now there is a definite relationship between our thoughts and what seem to be our bodies. A man may say, "But my stomach is upset and out of order." Not at all. Your material stomach is not intelligent. It does not think. It does not know anything about the situation. You have got to think for it. It is some kind of thought that is disordered and mirrored forth on the body. Therefore it is disordered thought that must be corrected.
It is also important for those who would be healed in Christian Science that attention be turned away from continuous contemplation of the material body and material symptoms, and from the idea that physical healing is the one thing to be desired. What the world needs - what we all need - is spiritual regeneration, a complete change in our thinking and attitude toward life, even if it takes some time to accomplish it. But be assured that just as certainly as consciousness embodies thoughts of love, tenderness, forgiveness, and generosity, and eliminates fear, hate, dishonesty, and resentment, the human body will reflect the good thought that is governing it.
When Christian Science declares that disease is unreal, some people are inclined to be resentful and not a little angry; and that, certainly, will not help the healing. Let me ask you in all seriousness: Do you want to be told that you have a real disease, that you are suffering and may shortly die? Do you want disease made real to you, fastened upon you? Why do you go to a doctor? To have disease removed, made unreal, and destroyed.
Christian Science declares that disease is unreal and bases its declaration on the scientific knowledge that sin and disease can have no place in an infinitely good God and a perfect creation. It asks you to turn away from sense testimony and physical symptoms to that which you can spiritually perceive - to throw the weight of your thinking into the scale of Truth. Try doing this and see. Begin right now to declare for yourself and the whole race: There is no disease, no law of disease, no law of suffering. Disease is unreal because it is no part of God, and therefore no part of man. "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth," and governs man and the universe in perfect harmony. Do you not believe that this is a healthier state of thinking than to keep thought riveted on disease or a so-called problem?
And that word "problem." People have too many problems. The very word itself may become an obstacle in healing because it builds up in thought the notion that one has many difficult things to face. And if we think of a situation as difficult, at once we have the fear that it may not be solved; thought becomes heavy and anxious in contemplation of it and we are disarmed in our struggle. At such a time, Christian Science shows us how we may avail ourselves of one of God's most glorious characteristics - the quality of joy. If joy is one of the attributes of divine Mind, then, by reflection, it is an inherent quality in man's true character. If joy is present in thought, you have a quality that makes for healing in any situation.
In the last fifteen or twenty years, various systems and books have appeared purporting to develop man's hidden powers, to give him personality and the ability to control or dominate situations in which he might happen to be interested. But Christian Science has nothing in common with any teaching emphasizing the development of the human will. No more forceful character ever lived than Jesus the Christ; no one ever made a more indelible impression on the life and thinking of the human race, and yet he said, "I came . . . , not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." And at another time, "Not my will, but thine, be done." Could anyone conceive of the Master teaching men and women how to develop their personality and will in order to achieve success? On the contrary, he entreated men to put personal ambition and self-interest aside in order to serve others. Christian Science teaches us how to recognize the subtle activity of the human will in one's character, how to analyze our strong desires for some particular thing or to achieve some special goal, and how to set aside cherished human hopes in order that the will of God may operate unhindered. It shows us how to let the will of God be done in our lives. It demands that we cease the endless material planning, wishing, and hoping, which never lead to the realization of God's purposes for us. It declares that God alone is master of our destiny and brings us only good. If we will put aside self-interest and let the will of God he done, there is no difficulty that may not be happily and properly solved.
As one of our hymns so beautifully puts it (Christian Science Hymnal, No.135):
Lord, my times are in Thy hand:
All my sanguine hopes have planned,
To Thy wisdom I resign,
And would mould my will to Thine.
Thou my daily task shalt give;
Day by day to Thee I live;
So shall added years fulfil
Not my own, my Father's will.
The impulse to dominate and run other people's affairs is the offspring of the human will. In fact, the disposition to tell others what to do, what they ought to do, or what they must do, crops out in the family life of nearly everyone. Why is it that someone always wants to be the head of the house, instead of letting God be the head? Why is it that the man or woman who starts out to put the whole house in order usually succeeds in setting the whole family in disorder? We have all heard the expression, "Oh, he has a will and a mind of his own." That is exactly the trouble. What is needed is the will and mind of God. Christian Science frees men from the desire to interfere obtrusively in the lives of others. It destroys the impulse to manipulate, either consciously or unconsciously, and impels men to let the will of God govern in the lives of everyone.
No person of modern times has suffered greater persecution, and misrepresentation of her life and motives, than Mrs. Eddy. Her character has been misjudged and maligned, but the fact remains that no woman has ever lived who has brought more joy, happiness, and spiritual freedom into the lives of men than Mary Baker Eddy. The leaven of her spiritual teaching is making itself felt in every activity of human endeavor. She has given the world the Science of Christianity, - wonderful in itself, - but more wonderful still, she proved the Principle of this Science in practical demonstration and provided definite rules and instruction, spiritual teaching, which, if properly followed, will enable every man, woman, and child to enjoy the unlimited blessings of this Truth. It was important to have the spiritual facts of Being, but more important that we know how to use them.
Those who knew the Leader of the Christian Science movement, personally, will tell you of her energy, her alertness, her patience, and her wise discernment. But would you like to know what was the outstanding characteristic of this great woman? It was Love - a great, tender, compassionate love of the race. She loved humanity, all of it; appreciated and comprehended its need, and was therefore willing to stand undisturbed and undismayed in the face of slander, hatred, and persecution, if by standing she could "undo the heavy burdens, and . . . let the oppressed go free." Love for God and man was the dominant note of Mrs. Eddy's character, and this, she says, must be the motive back of all healing, both physical and mental, in Christian Science.
There are authenticated records of healings accomplished by Mrs. Eddy which all indicate and prove that this spiritual work was brought about through her understanding of God as Love, and her love for God and the race.
May we not well stop and consider to what extent that same love for mankind which Mrs. Eddy manifested is entering our own thinking? Are we thinking of helping mankind as a whole, and does that impulse reflect itself in our daily lives? In her textbook she makes it very clear that true healing can be accomplished only through unselfed love. She indicates that there must be in the thought of those who heal, or who would be healed, tenderness and compassion, patience, and other Christlike qualities. On page 365 of Science and Health she writes: "If the Scientist reaches his patient through divine Love, the healing work will be accomplished at one visit, and the disease will vanish into its native nothingness like dew before the morning sunshine. If the Scientist has enough Christly affection to win his own pardon, and such commendation as the Magdalen gained from Jesus, then he is Christian enough to practice scientifically and deal with his patients compassionately; and the result will correspond with the spiritual intent."
Would you like to be happy? Would you like to heal the sick, - yourself and others? Then there must be love, an ever-expanding love of God, of good, a deep and tender love for mankind - not for one man, or a few, but for everyone. Let your love reach out and girdle the globe. Let your loving thought take in tender consideration all the sick, the sinning, and sorrowing of mankind. The great and noble characters of all times have been those who held in thought an unselfed purpose of service to the race. Christian Science teaches that every man and woman may attain the ideal of Christ manhood or character, in proportion as they demonstrate in their lives that the real man is the reflection of divine Love.
" 'Thou must be true thyself,
If thou the truth wouldst teach;
Thy soul must overflow, if thou
Another's soul wouldst reach;
It needs the overflow of heart,
To give the lips full speech.
" 'Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall the world's famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.' "
(Miscellaneous Writings, p. 338)
[Published in a Chicago newspaper (name and date unknown).]