The Law of Love Revealed and Demonstrated
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
Richard J. Davis, C.S., of Chicago, Ill., gave the final lecture of the local Christian Science lecture season Monday night at Cadle Tabernacle, under auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist. He spoke on the subject, "Christian Science: The Law of Love Revealed and Demonstrated."
Mr. Davis is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. Mrs. Flora M. Rauh introduced the speaker, whose lecture follows substantially as it was given:
In the book of Isaiah the prophet has written, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath appointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; . . . to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." This beautiful and comforting statement declares the promise and office of Christian Science. It expresses the love which prompts these lectures. It explains why I am here, and it voices the joy we take in speaking of our religion to those who do not know it or who have not yet experienced its blessings.
We are living in an era of scientific thinking, an age when the emphasis is being laid on science - material science of all kinds. We recognize that discoveries in the realm of the physical sciences are important. Progressive inventions are all helpful and encouraging, but, viewed from the standpoint of comparative values, have all the discoveries of the ages in the realm of matter brought to light any information, fact, or law that will bring comfort and real healing to the sick and suffering; that will make the crooked straight and the rough places plain; that will heal sick hearts? What discovery or scientific law can lift the sinner out of bondage to false appetites and destructive habits? Have all or any of the philosophers, thinkers, and scholars of centuries, sincere though their efforts may have been, contributed to the race a scientific law that will make sure and certain the one fundamental essential to human existence, namely, happiness, an understanding of heaven? Reviewing the situation for a moment, we see that practically all the research and the study of centuries has centered wholly in matter and in material thinking. In view of this, and certainly in view of the results, - that the race still has far to go morally, that disease has by no means been eradicated, and that poverty and financial distress are still much in evidence, - one may naturally inquire, If all these centuries of study in the realm of matter have failed to bring humanity health, happiness, and heaven, why not make a right about face and direct all our thought, effort, and investigation toward the realm of Spirit, toward the understanding of spiritual law?
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, did turn from matter, and with that compassionate impulse expressed in the verse which I have just quoted from Isaiah, earnestly sought the remedy for human ills in the realm of Spirit. Her search resulted in the discovery of what she termed Christian Science, - the Science of Truth, - the demonstrable understanding of God and His Christ. She proclaimed that the divine Principle of the universe is Love; that God, the cause and creator of all being is Love - universal, all-inclusive, and omnipotent. It is of this law, the law of Love, the understanding of which she grasped and then made practically applicable in human affairs, that I shall speak tonight.
There are those who, at this point, may reasonably be questioning: How do we know that God is Love? What do we mean by love and can we conceive of a principle as love? When John declared that God is Love he was certainly not expressing a mere metaphysical abstraction, nor was he endeavoring to formulate a concept of Deity based on sentiment or emotion. He was stating a spiritual fact. Even from a human standpoint, as we view the universe, the wonders of earth and sky, we are obliged to concede a certain evidence of law and order, and it is encouraging that in the last few months two eminent physical scientists, Sir James Jeans of Cambridge University, England, and Professor Arthur Compton of the University of Chicago, have declared that their investigations are leading inevitably to the conclusion that the universe is the result and expression of orderly thought. Pope said many years ago that "Order is heaven's first law," and there is plenty of evidence, if we look for it today, that a divine Principle or law governs the entire universe in uninterrupted harmony. The presence of an evil force in creation, or the premise that Principle, or God, is both good and evil would inevitably ultimate in the self-destruction of the universe. If that Principle is anything less than intelligent Love, are we not doomed to chaos and oblivion?
The Anglo-Saxon term for God is good, and if the sublime cause or law of creation be good, then must it not be exact, right, perfect, orderly, all-harmonious, capable of producing only a beneficent result? Rightness, or righteousness, expresses the very nature of divinity. The attributes of an altogether righteous Principle or law must inevitably be mercy, justice, wisdom, and exactness. Love in Christian Science is neither sweet nor bitter, neither hard nor soft, but is exact, just, and fair. These qualities are as truly loving as gentleness, tenderness, and other characteristics usually associated with Love.
The law of Love is not material, not physical, not tangible to the senses. It is wholly spiritual and mental, and though not discernible to human eyes, we know that it exists. The so-called law of gravitation remains unseen, but we see its effect. The rules and laws of mathematics are this moment operating in perfect harmony everywhere - in the United States, in Siberia, in Java, in the ends of the earth. How much more truly, then, may we say that the law of Love is active and operative, here and everywhere, right now. Man is not called upon to enforce the law of Love, for it is its own enforcement; but he does become conscious of its existence and experience the revelation, in his own consciousness of its action.
Can you conceive of this world without love, a loveless universe, an earth with love left out? Even the most barbarous savage will reveal in some action that love, the impulse to be kind, is basic in consciousness and there is no one who will not at length respond to its gentle and compelling influence. The atheist will tell you that there is no God, but he will not deny that something impels him to be kind to his neighbor and to love his own child. He may not have analyzed this impulse, but whether he realizes it or not, he is expressing what we in Christian Science understand to be the law of Love, the divine Principle of all existence. We recognize, therefore, that Love exists as thought, as Mind, and that the law of Love is consciously brought into action by right thinking. Today we see some faint manifestation of Love in man and rejoice; yet think what a world of peace and harmony there might be, if all about us we saw only the evidence of divine Love's impulsion!
There are, no doubt, here tonight people who have experienced much trouble, unhappiness, loss, and pain in their lives, and possibly some one of them may say: "How can I love God, a God who sends sorrow and suffering? How can God be Love, when I have had so much unhappiness? God does not appear very lovable to me." May it not be possible that we are unconsciously holding God responsible for a difficulty which lies with ourselves? Suppose one of us were to break a traffic or speed law with our car, and were to be arrested, fined, and punished. Could we very logically blame our trouble on the law or on the judge who fined us? Does the law itself know anything about the infraction or violation? Not at all. Both the judge and the law are quite impartial. Then where does our difficulty come from? Solely from our ignorance or our willful disobedience or lack of conformity to the law. Is it not clear, then, that in the same way what seems to us punishment, suffering, and pain, come not through the law of Love, but because our lives and our thinking are out of harmony with the law. The adjustment which needs to take place is not in the law, but in our own attitude toward the law. The law of Love, therefore, even though it seems to chastise, is truly loving, if out of the experience comes a happier and better life. All that is needed is that we shall cease struggling against the law of Love and come into unity with its tender action. Then shall we see God's great purpose fulfilled in our lives. The human sense struggles to work out its own destiny, even while divine Love waits to fulfill every aspiration soaring toward good.
The life-purpose of Christ Jesus was to reveal God's love for man and to demonstrate the inseparable unity that exists between Mind and its idea, between God and man. But the love reflected by the Master was by no means an expression of sentimentality. He perceived fully the nature of evil and sin, and recognized that love does not always consist in being easy or gentle. The man who took a whip to the money-changers in the temple and scathingly denounced the hypocrisies of the scribes and Pharisees was no weakling. He understood clearly the kind of wicked thinking with which he was dealing and used the only method which that type of mentality could understand. If his rebuke had been gentle, his enemies would have laughed at him, but evil could not stand before a denunciation such as this, a chastening that uncovered error and then cast it out. Jesus did the kindest thing he could have done, under the circumstances. He sternly compelled sin to be self seen and then destroyed. That was Love.
We are all more or less children in believing that discipline, whether from within or without, is not particularly pleasant. We resist and object to what the Bible calls "instruction in righteousness," and yet, whether it be a father who corrects his child or the effort on our part to discipline our own thinking, the purpose is the same - to teach conformity, obedience to Principle. Christian Science teaches us that in order to be scientifically happy we must learn to discipline ourselves and our thinking. And if ourselves, why not our children? Some people will tell you today that children should be allowed to express their own individuality and therefore should not be disciplined. This is due wholly to a false sense of what love really is. If we follow the rule that discipline is wrong we would soon have a race of undisciplined people. A proper sense of love on the part of a parent will not destroy the individuality of the child but will help him to replace the impulses of the human will with thinking based on Principle.
Jesus fully understood the law of Love. He lived it and applied it in every act. The Mind that was in Christ Jesus was naturally the consciousness of Love which he embodied and expressed. Who but the most loving of men would have endured the torture of crucifixion and the hatred of the world, except to prove by actual example the dominion of Love's law in human experience? He said, "The words [the ideas or thoughts] that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." These ideas constitute the Christ, the spiritual idea of God. That which comforts, heals, and releases from pain, sin, and death can be nothing less than Love and Christian Science declares the Comforter for each one of us today is this healing Christ, the idea of Love, which is asserting itself in the consciousness of mankind.
Jesus did not come to do impossible things, but possible ones. These works, he said, ye shall do and greater, if ye keep my commandments, and the commandments were summed up very simply in the injunction to love God and man. This obviously means to love both God and man understandingly - with a correct concept of what God and man really are.
The charge is often made that Christian Science is altogether too transcendental because it declares that all is Mind and its infinite ideas; because it declares man's
true identity as a divine idea in Mind; and yet I call to your attention the fact that the only things in the world which has any true tangibility and permanence is thought. The entire civilization, all the physicalities and personalities of the time of Christ Jesus have passed away, are gone and forgotten; and yet the thoughts of that great man remain as actual and alive today as they were in the first century. He declared the tangible and eternal nature of the Christ, or real man, when he said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words [my thoughts] shall not pass away."
The more one knows of God, the more he knows of the real man. We can only discern man, the real and spiritual man, as our understanding of God grows. The Christ, or spiritual idea of God, influenced and directed every motive and act of the human Jesus. As a man he was perpetually responsive to the call of the Christ, Truth. Describing this call of Christ at the door of consciousness we read in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." That same Christ, or true idea of God, can enter your life if you will but open the door and let it in. The Christ in your consciousness will govern every act of your being. It will make you a good man and a successful one, and if you accept it fully, it will glorify your being.
In order to find out exactly what man is like, we turn completely away from the usual human way of thinking. For example: If you ask someone whom he resembles he is likely to say, "Oh, people say I'm like my mother, and my sister Jane is like my father;" meaning, of course, that he and his sister resemble two other human beings called their father and mother. Yet all the teaching in the Bible is constantly endeavoring to point out to us that God alone is our Father, and that He created man exactly like Himself, like Mind, like Love, like Spirit, and this implies something quite different from what we have ordinarily supposed. Indeed Jesus said, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." And again, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me."
Now this did not mean to imply that we are to desert or ignore our mothers or fathers or our families, but it plainly indicates that sooner or later we are all called upon to give up that false sense of human relationship which often has in it so much of bondage and suffering, and to learn to establish our true individuality as children, or ideas of God. One of the most appealing aspects of Christian Science is its teaching of the motherhood of God. Clearly, infinite Love, the creator of the universe, can be no less Mother than Father and includes in perfection all the qualities ascribed by us to the highest concept of motherhood. Speaking of this Mrs. Eddy has written in her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 151): "God is our Father and our Mother, our Minister and the great Physician: He is man's only real relative on earth and in heaven. David sang, 'Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.' " Is not human experience full of heartaches and sorrows, arising from the false belief that we belong to some human beings or that we have created and possess some individuals whom we call our sons and daughters? In the realm of thought there is a distinction between possession and ownership. We all possess ideas by reflection, but we do not own them. So it may be said that while we possess the love and affection of our children, or of our wives or husbands, we do not own their individuality. Mind maintains the identity of each idea distinct and free through all eternity, and the individuality of one is never lost in another. John declared, "Now are we the sons of God," Mind, the sons of God alone. As a result of the false sense of parenthood and creation, mortals have reared a God like unto themselves, a man-like God, instead of worshiping, as the first chapter of Genesis teaches, a God who makes man like Himself.
Last year, while lecturing in a middle-western state, I was introduced by a fine-looking young married man whose father told me the following story: At the age of 14 this young man was a victim of epilepsy, hopelessly afflicted, so the doctors said. In fact, they had told the parents that the boy could not live long under the existing conditions. The mother was reading Christian Science, and had begun to grasp in a very simple way the true relationship which exists between God and man, but treatment had not been asked for the boy. One night when conditions were unusually bad the mother came downstairs to the father and said, "Now we have tried earnestly to do all we can to save our boy and yet conditions are becoming worse. Doctors say the case is hopeless and that he will die. Then there is just one thing we can do. If there is any power to save him at all it must be something greater than ourselves. We must give that boy back to God. After all, he is God's child. Let us both turn unreservedly to the divine power." My friends, in that hour, in that moment, that boy was healed, completely healed. The disease fell away from him like the ugly dream that it was, and his father told me that there was never again a return of the affliction. Now what had happened? Something had taken place in the thinking of that father and mother, and it was simply that they had let go completely in their own thought of their possessive and fearful sense of ownership. They had given up their belief of parenthood, of being personal creators, and, like Abraham, had placed their child on the altar of God. With fear and the false sense of personal responsibility removed, the law of Love naturally asserted itself and restored that boy to his normal and legitimate status as a child of God.
Christian Science points out that the love we have for those near us must be transformed and exalted, until it resembles more nearly the Father-Mother Love which God has for His children. If you have some loved one whom you are unconsciously holding in the tightened grasp of fear and anxiety, place him, like those parents, in the care of his Father-Mother God, and be not afraid. You will recall that when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Bible says: "He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: . . . Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." Christian Science shows us that sometimes, without our realizing it, we are binding some loved one, or someone perhaps who is not loved, with graveclothes - graveclothes of fear, graveclothes of poverty, graveclothes of disease. If such is the case, then, in the words of Jesus, Christian Science urges, "Loose him, and let him go."
You will find in the study of Christian Science that spiritual understanding greatly changes our concept of what love really is or should be. For example, it removes a false sense of personal responsibility for other people's problems. It is not always loving to work out another's salvation; indeed in the last analysis one never can. It is not love to make a "leaner" out of our fellow man. Who really wants to be a "leaner," to go through life on another's efforts? To do this is only to weaken one's own character. If a teacher always works out the problem, will a child learn to apply the principle of mathematics himself? A correct understanding of Love uncovers misdirected efforts to be kind, based on sentiment instead of reason, and enables philanthropy to be the expression of divine Principle, the law of Love.
Then there is the other side to this question of personal relationship. It sometimes happens that one is called upon to assume the care of someone else in the family, a manifest duty, accepted at first with loving willingness, and a desire to serve. Then, after a time possibly, unless the responsibility is placed where it belongs, with divine Mind, the care becomes a burden, and without our being aware of it, fear, weariness, and self-pity have supplanted love. The spirit of service has departed, and only an unhappy sense of duty remains. In the light of Truth we see that service, at the behest of Love, is always joyful and makes all burdens light.
If human relationship were based on the law of Love, it could not be shaken. But what do we see about us? Everywhere the evidences of discord, inharmony, broken families and homes. Something must happen in the thinking of human beings that will place friendship and relationship on a firmer footing. Human friendship is a broken reed on which to lean, if divine Love has not transformed it. To be lasting, it must be based on divine Principle. This may at first thought seem difficult to understand. We all love and reach out rather naturally for friendship, and perhaps take a certain satisfaction in the possession of friends and those we love; and yet human life brings many experiences that show us the mistake of personalizing happiness and placing too great dependence on person. Even those we greatly love may fail us, but divine Principle never. Christ Jesus understood and experienced the frailty of human relationship and constantly endeavored to have his followers see that in the measure that they placed God, and the love of good, before a human sense of possession they gained immeasurably, and did not even lose the love of friends and those near and dear to them. To Peter he said: "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."
Who among us does not know that the greatest sorrows of the human heart often come from those nearest us, and back of the sorrows, my friends, lie the diseases, the suffering, and the pain. Some doctors recognize this today, and earnestly endeavor to uncover the secret sorrow, the repressed fear or hate, which they themselves will tell us has engendered poison in the human body. But you cannot cut out sorrow and hate with the surgeon's knife. You cannot amputate fear. If fear, hate, worry, and grief, afflicting though they are, are the root causes for disease, then there is but one way to get rid of them - replace them with right thinking, thoughts of love, forbearance, and forgiveness. Mrs. Eddy has written on page 454 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science: "Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned. That evil or matter has neither intelligence nor power, is the doctrine of absolute Christian Science, and this is the great truth which strips all disguise from error."
But someone may say: "How can I get rid of my hurt and grief? I have been greatly injured and unjustly treated." We recognize that sometimes it seems like a most difficult thing to unsee hate or unkindness. Indeed, they seem very real, and yet Christian Science declares there is no difference, as far as what we see, between the evidence of a sick man or of a hating, unkind man. Neither one is a creation of God, divine Love. Each is the victim of a delusion, and the man who is being impelled to hate, to be unkind or unjust to his brother, is truly in a much more deplorable mental state than the one who seems to be sick, and needs that love which Christ Jesus expressed when he said of those who were crucifying him, "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."
Christian Science shows us that the way of deliverance, from both disease and hate, is the way of perfect, exact, and spiritual thinking. This was the way Jesus taught, and Mrs. Eddy has written in her textbook (Science and Health, p. 476): "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy."
When a man declares, "I want to be loving," he is virtually saying, "I do want to be the image, the reflection of divine Love," and what higher aim can anyone have than this! Keeping this ideal in mind, he begins to express those qualities in thought and character which are eventually manifest as spiritual power.
In Christian Science we see that everyone is entitled to immediate and effective release from bondage. Love knows no postponement, no delay. Does it take time to make four times four equal sixteen? No, the result is instantaneous. So we can know that the law of Love operates instantly and unfailingly to deliver us from the false beliefs, and misconceptions of life and body, that are trying to enslave us. Our work is to adjust our thinking, to bring it into harmony with the law. Christian Science declares that there is nothing wrong with the real man. The process of Christian Science treatment is not that of changing a sick man into a healthy one, or a diseased body into a well one. God's man is already well and free. It is our privilege to see and know it. Consistent knowing of the truth, and certain expectancy of its realization, will dispel the fog or mist of mortal thinking. As in a fog the landscape remains unchanged, even though it be for a time obscured, so, in Christian Science, the real man remains perfect, and has always been so through all eternity. Mrs. Eddy has written on page 242 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany": "You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal and understand that you are so. Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing towards it; it is at this point and must be practiced therefrom. Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration."
Have you ever stopped to consider that fear is nearly always for the future, the fear of impending trouble? Men are always afraid of something that possibly is going to happen. Many of you will recall the story of the very old man who told his assembled family that he had had many fears in his life, but most of them for things which never came to pass.
Fear comes to every one of us as a temptation to believe in evil as a real power, as an active force in creation. Theoretically, the majority of the people in this audience will say, "There is just one God, and that one is infinite and omnipotent." But in order to get rid of fear effectually, such a statement must be lifted out of the realm of theory and be recognized as fact in our thinking, and unswervingly held to. Christian Science does not meet the terror and apprehension of the sick and unfortunate with a cold abstract declaration, "Now, don't be afraid." There is a reason for the hope within us. In order to remove fear effectually, we need to know, in a measure at least, why we need not be afraid.
Is the Almighty, the omnipotent, confronted with another power called evil? If so, Almighty is a misnomer. Is infinite, omnipresent good sharing that presence with other powers, destructive in nature? If so, there is no infinite, no omnipresence. The allness and oneness of God precludes the existence of anything unlike Himself, unlike the infinite perfection. Love has no consciousness of anything unlike or outside its own harmonious being. Would you be afraid, could you be afraid, if you really knew that God is Love, right here and everywhere, and that you can not get out of His all-encircling presence? Could you be afraid if you knew that the law of Love to the universe is also the law to all that constitutes your life and being? This is what the Apostle John meant when he wrote, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." Who among us ever has a doubt or fear as to whether the earth will continue to turn on its axis? We do not give it a thought, but go to bed each night quite certain that tomorrow will arrive on schedule time with the rising of the sun. All the fear that has ever existed in human thought through all the ages has never affected in the slightest degree the orderly government of the universe. How certainly, then, may we rest in the assurance that the unseen, yet ever-operating, law of Love is wisely, tenderly governing all, and that there is nothing to fear.
While we recognize that sin brings its own punishment, Christian Science is not a religion of penalty. It holds for man no law of suffering, of punishment, or hell. What the race is in need of, is not condemnation but salvation. Spiritual reasoning is dispelling the outworn and outgrown theological beliefs that God is in some way concerned with the punishment of sin. It is not consistent with good reason to conceive of God as creating us sinners and then punishing us for the very thing He made us capable of being. This is no God of Love, infinite, divine Love, as we understand Him in Christian Science. This would be no God to be loved, revered, and honored, but rather one to be feared, hated, and despised.
Jesus who, better than any other man, embodied the divine purpose of Love, said, "The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Here, my friends, we have one of the most tender and appealing aspects of Deity, as revealed in the teaching of Christian Science. The only thing which divine Love can do is to save and bless. The law of Love can express itself only in salvation. Love is not condemning its own offspring. Condemnation, damnation, and penalty have no place in Love's plan. Infinite good has provided for its highest expression, man, only the forever unfolding beatitudes of good. For this reason, since divine Love is not condemning man, neither in Christian Science are we condemning our brother man. Christian Science is not engaged in condemning but in saving, healing, and redeeming, not a few or many, but the whole race.
But here someone may rather naturally be questioned: "But what about sin?" Do not human beings sin and should they not be punished?" The position which Christian Science takes toward sin is not always understood by those who adhere to the older theological teachings, probably because we declare that sin, as well as disease, is unreal. But it should be emphasized that we by no means condone or ignore sin because we declare its unreality. Like disease, it remains very real until its false nature and basis is recognized and demonstrated. The way to get rid of sin is not to ignore nor condone it, but to face it. The first step in the liberation must be an honest acknowledgment on the part of the sinner that he has been used by sinful thinking and wants to be healed. Is sin any part of God, good? Is it an expression of God's being? Then does it belong to the real man, the image of God? In all reason we cannot hold God responsible for sin. Then we cannot hold man, whom God created in His own likeness, responsible for it either. Sin, in Christian Science, is separated from both God and man and is recognized, like sickness, as a delusion, the false belief that man is material instead of spiritual, and that he finds pleasure and gratification in materiality. What man needs, then, is deliverance from the false belief that he is material, and that he finds happiness or satisfaction in matter or in evil in any form. Christian Science shows us that the only way to be free from sin is to recognize its impersonal nature, both for ourselves and others. Certainly no good can be accomplished by calling ourselves or anyone else miserable sinners. There is no use in telling a man that. He is very likely to say: "Oh yes, I know it, but that does not help the situation. Tell me something that will make me better, that will give me my freedom." Christian Science shows how to separate sinful thoughts from both God and man in His likeness. It enables us to see the false mental nature of evil and its temptation to make us believe that there can possibly be any real or true satisfaction in wrong thinking and living.
Sin always comes to us as our own thought, and subtly argues to us that we find pleasure and satisfaction in sin; or else it tries to make us afraid that because of heredity, environment or circumstance we are helpless victims and unable to resist it. But once we have gained the concept of our changeless spiritual selfhood as an idea of good, we are enabled to shut out the false selfhood apart from God. In a sermon which she delivered in 1895 Mrs. Eddy gave this helpful instruction, "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love" (Pulpit and Press, p. 3).
There never was a man who would hold on to evil if he knew what genuine happiness there was in being good. We are all seekers of heaven. The man who drinks believes he will find happiness and satisfaction in such indulgence. He is really seeking heaven, but he has gone in the wrong direction to find it. The man who steals believes that money will give him happiness and ease; he has gone in the wrong direction, for it will not give him peace of mind. The man who is selfish believes he will find satisfaction in the gratification of his personal desires; he has gone in the wrong direction, because happiness can only be found in self-forgetfulness. So we see that people with diseases of the body are not the only victims of a mortal sense of living, and like Christ Jesus, we can throw the mantle of compassion around those who are in slavery to some evil and material belief, which they would gladly forsake if they only knew the way. In Science and Health (p. 227), Mrs. Eddy has written this battle-cry of spiritual freedom: "Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin and death!' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the glorious liberty of the children of God, and be free! This is your divine right. The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being."
One of the things which seems to keep sin alive and to prevent mankind from gaining dominion over it, is the tendency to hold on to the false theological belief that God, who is infinite Love, has in some way provided a system of punishment, and that all our short-comings are checked up against us. We have all been told of the big book in which St. Peter is supposed to keep his records. A tremendous amount of bookkeeping if it were true! But the prophet Ezekiel had a very different vision. He saw that the only purpose of Love was to save, never to hold man under the burden of eternal damnation, and he wrote: "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed . . . and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live."
In the law of Love it is never too late, never too late to be good, never too late to be well, never too late to be happy, never too late to be God's beloved son. If you have cherished the belief that you are a castaway, cursed of God and condemned by man, now is the time to awaken and claim our heritage. Christian Science calls upon us to forget the past, with its mistakes and errors, and, like Paul, to reach forth unto those things which are before. It declares that there is no such thing as an unrepentent sinner, not one that may not be saved, no past however evil, which may not be retrieved. In Christian Science, we do not live in the past, but, in the eternal now of Love's unfoldment. Having discerned your true relationship to your creator, do you believe it sacrilegious to assert and claim your sonship? Having perceived your divine identity as an idea of good, can we condemn that? Mrs. Eddy has written in Science and Health (p. 340), "One infinite God, . . . annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."
Because of some sad conditions of birth or environment some individuals seem to have been deprived of the gentile amenities and ministrations of love. Through no fault of their own they have never been privileged to see or know much love or tenderness in their lives. Such an one may say: "How can I know love, when it has never entered my life. No one has ever really wanted me, and I certainly do not feel very near or close to my fellow man." In such a case, the understanding of Christian Science shows us how to recognize that we are children of no lesser parent than our Father-Mother God, and that divine Love has no unwanted children. God loves and wants every one of us, and His universe would not be complete without us. We may seem at times to be separated, cut off, and alone, but Love knows no separation from its idea. There is no such thing as a lonesome or solitary idea in the whole universe of God's creating. Lonesomeness is the aggressive and false suggestion of evil; that man is separated from God, separated from Love, and that there is not enough of Love to go around. It tries to make us believe that something is lacking: Is money left out? is happiness left out? is companionship left out? All this sense of longing and wanting expresses itself in a kind of restlessness, a desire to be moving, to be always on the go, always seeking, but never finding. False belief suggests that some material thing, person, or event will supply the need, the want, the desire. But it never does.
Lonesomeness tries to make men believe that some person is essential to our happiness. It induces us to lean on personality instead of on divine Principle. And then self-pity comes in and tries to make us sorry for ourselves, and tells us how miserable, neglected, and alone we are. How often, if we analyzed what is back of our lonesomeness, we find we are looking to others and depending on them to supply our happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction, instead of finding peace and contentment within ourselves. Christian Science shows us how to get along with ourselves, how to live with our own thoughts and this is truly a wonderful thing, the ability to meditate, to walk with God, to be alone with the thoughts of Mind. The Psalmist was not lonesome, but alone with God, which is quite another thing. He walked with God and, as he said, meditated upon good in the night-watches, and in that realization of his unity with God he wrote, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is thy sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."
Through the study of Christian Science we see that divine Love has never intended that we should be solitary, neglected, or lonely, but it does point out that the way of demonstration, the way of overcoming, is not the way of self-pity and self-commiseration. The law of Love lifts us above and beyond the unhappy contemplation of a lonesome self to the perception and revelation of spiritual joys, right at hand. When we reach that point of spiritual perception we cease the fruitless running around in the unhappy circles of self-interest, and recognize that each one has something wonderful and fine to accomplish. We see that life is too full of opportunities for serving God and our fellow man to take the time to consider even for a moment how lonesome we are.
One summer day, in the country, my attention was called to the activity of a little wren, who had her tiny house just outside our door. This particular day we found her struggling and tugging at a branch several times larger than herself. It seemed like a big task to bring the branch into the little house, but she kept at it valiantly. But here was the extraordinary thing. Every now and then she would stop, and dropping the branch, she would pour forth a joyous, happy little song, and then picking up the branch would go again at her task, until she finally accomplished the thing she had set out to do. Sometimes it seems as if we were called upon to wrestle with a problem a good deal bigger than ourselves. But it is never bigger than our ability or understanding with which to meet it. If we, like that little bird, can for a moment drop our burden and sing a song, a prayer of gratitude, we shall pick up the task with renewed faith that divine Love has given us the intelligence and wisdom to meet every situation and will press on toward its successful completion.
The law of Love, as understood in Christian Science, transforms our thinking and brings into our lives the positive note of joy. People, like music, reflect the dark or light tones of thought which constitute their mental make-up. Sometimes you will meet an individual for the first time, and immediately you catch in his voice a minor note, a plaintive note of unhappiness, or discontent. Are you singing your life in a major or minor key? Does your voice reflect the positive tone of joy, hopefulness, and spiritual faith, or does it give forth the minor note of sadness, fear, and despair? Christian Science shows us how to sing our lives on a major note, a positive key, affirmative of God's presence, power, and love. The chords of your life will have no dissonances, no inharmonies, if Love is there. As Isaiah wrote: "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
The very nature of God, divine Mind, is ceaseless activity. It never comes to a stop, never reaches a point where it is wearied or worn out. Mind is ever alert and awake. For that reason the real man, Mind's idea or reflection, is alert, awake, and alive, evidencing forever the desire to be active, to be about the business of Mind. The law of divine Love in Christian Science is therefore uncovering and destroying anything that seems like mental inertia or apathy. Laziness and mental indolence have no place in man's true being. Mrs. Eddy has written in Science and Health (p. 258), "God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis."
If we study some of the mental conditions that are obstructing humanity's progress today, particularly in the world of business and industry, it is observable that human beings, even if physically very active, are, for the most part, not very fond of work. Let us study the concept of work in the light of Christian Science. Let us see what it all means. Have you ever analyzed your own mental attitude toward work? Do you love to work? And do you love your job? Or are you working from necessity, from the standpoint that if you don't work you will starve? How many have to admit, if they are honest with themselves, that work really means to them something distasteful and disagreeable, more or less unworthy and menial, something they would gladly dispense with, if they could. And yet the most unhappy, discontented people on earth are those with nothing to do, those who have no fine, constructive aim in life. How many live, perhaps rather unconsciously, from the standpoint that they will work, and hard and unpleasant though it be now, are ever looking forward to a time, a position, or a situation where they will be, as we say in America, on Easy Street, where they can come to a stop, and retire, and settle down. And yet when that expected time arrives, who has found true happiness in doing nothing?
The teaching of Christian Science throws an entirely new light on what is called work. It shows us that what we have regarded as something unworthy, or unpleasant, is really an opportunity to demonstrate life, activity, and accomplishment. Christian Science ennobles work and lifts it into the realm of achievement and progressive unfoldment. Activity is life; inactivity is death. Work, therefore, as we understand it, is the creative expression of Mind and cannot and should not be dispensed with.
Some years ago a friend of mine made a very interesting analysis of and distinction between labor, work, and service. Labor, he said, quoting Webster, is toil with no end in view beyond mere subsistence. This concept he compared to Egyptian slavery, darkness, and ignorance. Work, he found, was labor for the accomplishment of something, activity with a plan - a better sense of things. But service, he said, is work for others, work transformed by love - loving one's neighbor as one's self, the fulfilling of the law of Love. In other words, labor plus intelligence equals work, work plus love equals service.
The leaven of the Christ, Truth, is working in every branch of human endeavor today, and the world of business is not escaping the transforming law of Love. In the last fifteen years books have been written and lectures have been presented on scientific business management and salesmanship, but unless the spirit of love for one's neighbor is reflected in the management, planning, and salesmanship, they are not truly scientific. If business action is not based on Principle it cannot stand, and businessmen are beginning to discover this today. There is no science back of a salesmanship which induces one's brother to buy an overcoat he does not want or cannot afford. The effort through high pressure salesmanship to induce a man with an income of a hundred dollars a week to spend one hundred and fifty will demoralize our entire financial and commercial structure, if intelligence, and, most of all, a sense of love for one's neighbor, does not awaken business men to see where such a shortsighted and selfish policy is leading.
Integrity, fairness, and justice go hand in hand with the practice of Christian Science. A Christian Science treatment will not aid a man, if I may use the expression, to "put something over" on the other fellow. Nor should one expect to be successful selling an unfair proposition or a dishonest article. The questions to be answered in one's own thought are these: Will what I have for sale benefit my fellow man? Am I rendering a service in presenting it to him, and last of all, am I charging him a fair and honest price? When these mental elements enter into business practice there is coincidence of the human with the divine, human action is conforming to Principle and will naturally bring successful results.
The law of Love, if we will let it operate in our lives, will heal and free nations, industries, and individuals alike, of selfishness. If by reflecting the consciousness of Love which prompts unselfish thinking, men are gradually finding how to justly apportion the rights of capital and labor so that each has its place and reward in the development of industry, can we not then say that the law of Love is scientific and applicable? When kindness and justice impel the leaders of business to bring about a more equitable distribution and production of this world's goods, shall we not have here a scientific operation of the law of Love? When Love is the only consciousness or conscious thinking of man, no decision can be made that will not take into consideration the interest of our fellow beings.
History reveals that nearly every war that was ever fought had behind it some economic cause, an effort on the part of one group of people on this fair earth to dominate financially and commercially some other of God's people. Is it not time, with the unfruitful example of centuries before us, that mankind began to change its thought and method and work out some degree of loving cooperation between nations, industries, and peoples, based on mutual trust and understanding? Shall we never learn by the lessons of the past?
We are discovering today that neither countries nor individuals are sufficient unto themselves. The time has gone when an individual can live a life within and wholly unto himself and expect to be happy and prosperous. The same must be said of nations. No nation can expect to survive that clings tenaciously to a selfish national sense, that sees only good in itself, and excludes the interest and prosperity of others. Something, my friends, has happened in human consciousness today and it is Love, - divine, universal Love, - which is declaring and sounding the complete brotherhood of man, of all of Mind's ideas. It is declaring that the welfare and happiness of one is indissolubly connected with the happiness of all. It is bringing about the unification of men and nations, economically, financially, and, most of all, spiritually. The unseen yet tremendously tangible law of Love is being brought to bear on every situation in human life today. Nothing can or will escape its transforming power, whether it be religion, finance, labor, or government. Before it the beliefs of class, caste, color, and racial division are melting.
The objection is sometimes made that because the practice of Christian Science brings healing to the sick and restores human beings to health and soundness, that Christian Scientists are forever thinking about their bodies in a kind of selfish way. This would imply that the purpose of Christian Science is to make people comfortable in matter. As a matter of fact, the reverse is exactly the truth. Christian Science is teaching us to forget our bodies, to look away from the physical and material, and to keep our thinking fixed on the things of Spirit. This, I think, you will admit is a very different attitude. It cannot be too strongly emphasized, that while physical healing holds an important place in our thinking it is always secondary to the healing of sin. The one aim of real Christian Scientists is to become better men and women. No matter what your attitude toward Christian Science may be, no matter what your concept of its teachings, I do not believe that there is any man or woman here but will respect the rights and motives of a body of people whose sincere object in life is to be more spiritually minded. I do not believe there is a fair-minded man or woman anywhere who, knowing this, would for one moment wish to attack our beliefs, our teaching, or the life and character of the revered Leader and Founder of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy's whole life was a demonstration of the law of Love, She lived the Science which she taught, and she instructed the members of her church to follow her only so far as she followed Christ. In her Manual of The Mother Church (p. 41), as one of the rules or by-laws which govern us, she gave us a prayer, which in itself epitomizes the law of Love, and which she asked each member of The Mother Church to pray daily: " 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!"