Christian Science: The Fulfillment of Prophecy and Promise
Richard J. Davis, C.S.B. of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
I think we all realize that one of the main reasons why religion has a place in the thought of mankind is the hope that it may be able to bring some measure of comfort and release from suffering and distress. It is their sorrows and difficulties which impel human beings to turn for relief to something outside of themselves. Religion, if it is to fulfill its function today, must very definitely present an adequate and completely satisfying solution to distraught humanity. If God is to have real meaning for us, then His omnipotence and omnipresence must be recognized as practically available, right where human beings seem to be. If religion is to fulfill its purpose, it is evident that it must present a God and an understanding of divinity that is reasonable and altogether satisfactory. That understanding of God must be able to touch and help you and me right where we seem at present to be.
There is a familiar hymn, the words of which so tenderly express the compassionate appeal of Christian Science:
"Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish,
Here health and peace are found, Life, Truth, and Love;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow but Love can remove.
"Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure;
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
Earth has no sorrow that Love cannot cure."
For many years, the teaching and practice of Christian Science have been bringing healing and consolation to thousands of sick and unhappy people. Every person who today is enjoying a better sense of health, happiness, and spiritual freedom because of Christian Science will tell you that he owes these benefits to the consecrated and devoted life of one woman, Mary Baker Eddy. I would not myself be here today were it not for the healing power and operation of divine law as revealed in Christian Science.
In the fifteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus, dwelling upon the paramount necessity of finding the kingdom of heaven or understanding of God, tells us of a woman who, having lost a valuable piece of silver, lit a candle, swept her house, and sought diligently until she found it. After which, she called in her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her in the recovery of that which had been lost. It was in this same manner that Mary Baker Eddy, realizing that the spirit and practical understanding of Jesus' life and works had for centuries been lost, lit her candle, devoted herself to a spiritual study of the Scriptures, swept her consciousness clean of outgrown and faulty theological concepts, and through spiritual inspiration discovered that precious thing, the lost element of spiritual healing.
The Comforter or Christ
Mrs. Eddy's study of the Bible confirmed her conclusion that Jesus' life and works, exemplified in his healings, were not miraculous nor supernatural, but that they indicated and revealed the existence of an operative divine Principle, active and appearing in all ages, practically available today in meeting the pressing needs of humanity. She perceived the tremendous significance to you and me of Jesus' promise when he said: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
She recognized that the promised Comforter was Divine Science, the Science of Christ, the divine idea of God, and that the Christ, when understood and demonstrated, would lead all mankind into a knowledge of the truth. She recalled, too, how Jesus had said that the Christ or Comforter, appearing impersonally as the spiritual idea of God, would instruct, teach, and also spiritually explain – "bring to remembrance" – what he had said when on earth. It is interesting to note that Jesus also said, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." In this statement, the Master was clearly explaining that the human, corporeal concept of the saving Christ must disappear before the Comforter could appear or be revealed.
This discovery and understanding of the ever-present Christ, or Comforter, Mrs. Eddy named Christian Science, and she set forth the laws and rules of its application in her textbook, which she titled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
Christian Science reveals God as the one self-existent, intelligent Cause, supreme Being or Mind. All true Science, therefore, must have its origin in that one infinite Mind. It should be noted, however, that Christian Science is the absolute truth of being, brought to bear upon the belief of human existence. It always touches humanity. The object of Christian Science is to prove the power and presence of God in human affairs. That is its purpose; that is why it was revealed.
Through her revelation and study of the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy saw that Jesus demonstrated, in his life and character, the correlation that exists between God and man, that inseparable unity indicated in his statement, "I and my Father are one." To those who could not understand, his healings and his mighty works were inexplicable and mysterious, but they nevertheless indicated that he possessed a scientific and spiritual knowledge of God, available to every man here and now.
Divine Science Is Absolute
On page 274, lines 23 to 25, of the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy writes, "Divine Science is absolute, and permits no half-way position in learning its Principle and rule – establishing it by demonstration." In numerous places in her writings, Mrs. Eddy refers to Christian Science as an absolute Science, and the teaching of Christian Science particularly lays its emphasis on the wholeness of Deity, one absolute God. Mrs. Eddy was extremely careful in her choice of words. When she says that Christian Science is absolute, she does not mean that it is transcendental in a philosophic sense. In fact, it is quite the contrary. The word "absolute" is not always clearly understood. It is often regarded as that which has no relation whatever to the human sense of things. When speaking of the absolute, people have thought of something more or less intangible and impractical, but this is not so.
As used in Christian Science, the word "absolute" conforms to the best dictionary definitions, and so, when referring to God as absolute, we mean that God is perfect, whole, complete, actual, real, pure, with no limits or restrictions, free from imperfection, free from error or variability. Christian Science, or the Science of Truth, could never be anything less than absolute, nor can God, in His infinite oneness and all-inclusive being, be other than perfect, supreme, without limitation, as the Scripture says, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
In her textbook, page 353, line 16, Mrs. Eddy declares that "perfection underlies reality." It, therefore, follows that only thinking or knowing from the basis of absolute perfection can be real or actual. Absolute knowing in Christian Science, then, is not an intellectual process; it is not humanly philosophic or abstract. It is spiritual. It is, indeed, the expression or unfoldment of spiritual ideas that have their origin in the one infinite Mind, which Christian Scientists reverently understand to be God. And what is most important of all, these spiritual ideas, unfolding and appearing to you and me, may be intelligently and practically applied to any and every human situation that needs healing and correction.
True ideas are always Christ-ideas that come, as Mrs. Eddy says in her definition of "Christ" (Science and Health, p. 583), "to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." When Christian Scientists say that they are endeavoring to maintain an absolute point of view in their thinking, it means that they are maintaining and establishing spiritually and mentally that which is real and actual as opposed to the relative, material, and unreal sense of things. In other words, they are endeavoring to think correctly, in line with that which alone is true. Absolute thinking or knowing, then, as understood in Christian Science, simply means knowing that is free from error or imperfection, unconditional and unqualified knowing of the truth. It follows, then, that knowing that which is true naturally operates to make the knower free from error or false belief of any kind. And Christian Science declares that consistent and unwavering knowing of the truth, the truth about God and man's relationship to Him, is what frees us from the afflictive beliefs of disease and sin.
Divine and Human Coincidence
A correct understanding of Christian Science never permits one to ignore the human problem. The absolute truth about God and His creation, man, must always be intelligently applied to the relative, the mortal or material condition, where human beings seem to be having difficulties. If divine power could not reach us here, the situation for mankind would indeed be hopeless. But Christian Science never loses sight of the human equation. No matter how absolute the spiritual fact, that truth may and must be applied or related to whatever appears as the error or erroneous belief in human consciousness. It is in this practical application that the Christ, or Saviour, becomes available in human experience. Herein we find the coincidence of the divine with the human. And yet it should be pointed out that while the divine and human seem to coincide, this does not concede nor imply permanent or actual reality to the human experience, but enables us, in effect, to know and to prove, as our textbook states (Science and Health, p. 17), "as in heaven, so on earth, – God is omnipotent, supreme."
Before the supremacy, omnipotence, and omnipresence of Spirit, the afflictive human sense of things eventually must and will disappear. Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy says in her Preface to Science and Health (p. xi): "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation."
Divine Facts of Being
What are some of the divine facts of being that Mrs. Eddy perceived through spiritual inspiration and revelation? First of all, she saw that causation is mental, that all true causation is traceable to one self-existent Mind. Through reason, too, she perceived that what is termed creation must fundamentally be mental and spiritual, the intelligent effect of an intelligent cause. She recognized that since we are conscious even humanly that there must be an infinite universe, this universe, in reality, must be the illimitable manifestation of illimitable Mind. Further elucidating and defining God, she declared Him to be the one incorporeal, divine Spirit, infinite Life, Truth, and Love, Soul, the divine Principle of all being. All these terms are synonymous. Taken together, they express the full nature and wholeness of God, or Divine Being.
Coexistence of God and Man
Divine Mind is not a metaphysical abstraction, and should not be so considered. We cannot have Mind without ideas, nor ideas without Mind. The two are inseparable, cause and effect; and effect is just as essential as cause. Christian Science declares that God and man coexist, that they exist forever as divine Mind and its infinite idea. Describing man, Mrs. Eddy says in her textbook (p. 475): "Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness; the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal; that which has no separate mind from God; that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker."
My friends, in any erroneous situation that may confront you humanly, the difficulty is always separation, the belief that God and man are separated. Men believe that they are separated from happiness, separated from health, separated from supply, separated from love. The remedy is oneness, the forever oneness of God and man. Just think what it means, then, to coexist with God! Christian Science explains the eternal coexistence, or oneness, of God and man. Christ Jesus demonstrated in every act that God and man coexist, that they exist, or have being, eternally together, as the word implies. The textbook says (p. 202), "The scientific unity which exists between God and man must be wrought out in life-practice, and God's will must be universally done." That is it – the life-practice of unity with God – therein lies the key to scientific demonstration!
Many people are willing to admit the perfection of God, but they are not so willing to admit the perfection of man; and yet the two are inseparable and logically related. If God is perfect, so must be His expression or manifestation, man; otherwise, one is brought to the illogical conclusion that God, although infinitely perfect, is the author of an imperfect creation. Ask yourself, "Am I the divine effect of a divine cause, or am I the material effect of a material cause?" There cannot be two infinite, self-existent causes. If there were two causes, what would that mean? Duality – two gods, one good and the other evil.
Spiritual Thinking Is Practical
Generally speaking, the world has regarded a spiritual point of view as more or less visionary and impractical. As a matter of fact, the only really practical viewpoint is the spiritual. What has material thinking done to prove itself useful and commendable? One only needs to look out upon the world today to behold everywhere the unhappy results of material thinking. Are the present world conditions which we are facing the result of spiritual thinking? Obviously not. Does that not sufficiently convince one that there is something radically wrong with human thought? If a materialistic point of view were right, it would bring right results.
The teaching of Christian Science shows us that we shall never be really practical, nor shall we be able to arrive at correct and successful conclusions, until we learn how to think from a divine basis. One does not depart from practicality by becoming spiritually-minded. We learn to understand in Christian Science that the power, presence, and love of God are not theoretical, but truly practical. The allness of God is not a merely beautiful theory. To be of value, it must be understood not only as an absolute but a usable fact. Neither the understanding of God nor the fundamental teaching of Christian Science is to be accepted from a relative point of view, nor can they be successfully applied from the point of view of partial or comparative truth. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 345 of the textbook, "When the omnipotence of God is preached and His absoluteness is set forth, Christian sermons will heal the sick." It should be noted, however, that this absoluteness must be declared and applied in destroying the specific illusions of the human or mortal mind.
In his epistle to the Romans Paul tells us: "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Now, in order to successfully apply the rules of Christian Science, we must be persuaded, we must have spiritual conviction and certainty, based on scientific understanding, as to just why "things present," or "things to come," or any belief of evil, cannot "separate us from the love of God."
Discernment of Man's True Selfhood
Through study we find that there are three steps essential to clear, scientific thinking and demonstration. First, the discernment of our real, spiritual selfhood, or identity, as God's reflection, or idea; second, our claiming it in the face of every argument or suggestion of error to the contrary; and third, the habitual maintenance of our spiritual being and the denial of anything unlike that being.
For your comfort and encouragement may I say that in demonstrating and proving the great truths of Christian Science we need to have both perseverance and patience. We need to be patient with ourselves and with others. The kingdom of heaven is not to be taken by storm. The demonstration of perfection is gradual. Having habitually thought of ourselves as material and as possessing material bodies which claim to be the source of both pleasure and pain, we do not immediately get rid of these wrong thoughts. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 242), "Denial of the claims of matter is a great step towards the joys of Spirit, towards human freedom and the final triumph over the body."
And so we come to understand that two important midway steps in healing involve a recognition of the erroneous belief that we have been, perhaps unconsciously, entertaining, and then its denial. No doubt many of you are aware how tenaciously an afflictive belief seems to hold on. We are even sometimes reluctant to give it up, and yet the way of deliverance lies in our willingness and readiness to reverse the argument of error. For example: if error argues, "I am discouraged," or "I am feeling ill," this aggressive suggestion of evil must be denied and reversed. "I am not discouraged, and I am not ill, because I know my true being as God's reflection."
It is obvious that no satisfactory demonstration of spiritual freedom is possible if we continue to think and act from the false and erroneous assumption that we are material. Centuries ago, Paul declared in effect the same thing when he said, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." We do not ignore the human problem and the apparent necessity of a step-by-step growth Spiritward, but the premise must be correct. As long as we continue to think that we live in matter that in itself is a basic admission that we are material and therefore subject to every belief of matter, with its train of disease, sin, and death. We cannot too positively and continuously claim our present true being. Referring to this very point, Mrs. Eddy says on page 554 of the textbook, "There is no such thing as mortality, nor are there properly any mortal beings, because being is immortal, like Deity, – or, rather, being and Deity are inseparable."
Since this is true, we have got to stop thinking of ourselves and others as material, and let our divine nature as God's image gradually appear and express itself. As a matter of fact, how can a material sense of being become spiritual? Perceiving man's true selfhood as idea, we refuse to identify ourselves with matter, with a matter body or a sinful and diseased concept of being. Man does not progress from the imperfect to the perfect. He exists at the standpoint of perfection. Perfection underlies the whole of being. Christian Science shows us that the only reason we suffer, is because we fail to measure up to the understanding of true being, and demonstrate it. Thinking of oneself as material puts one in the realm of personal sense and suffering. Learning to think of man as idea, as individual consciousness of good, will achieve just the opposite result.
At this point, someone may naturally question, "In claiming our true selfhood as God's image and expression, do we not take cognizance of the claims of sense, of evil propensities and disposition?" Yes. The claims of sense, of erroneous thinking, must be uncovered and recognized before they can be destroyed, or better still, eliminated from consciousness; but having been seen and denied, we learn to detach these false beliefs from our consciousness of both God and man. We see that they have no identification or reality, and are in no way associated with the perfection of God and His expression, man.
What Jesus Demonstrated
Christ Jesus illustrated, by his entire life, the coincidence of the divine with the human. He appeared as a human being, but his knowledge of divine facts, that which constituted his Christ-selfhood, existed entirely apart from the sense of a material body, even while he went about doing the ordinary things of life. He was able to heal the sick, raise the dead, and save the sinner, and in all of this he did not associate himself with the belief of matter. It was his absolute acknowledgment of the perfection of being that brought forth the evidence of healing and physical harmony. Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy says in "No and Yes" (p. 36): "Jesus' true and conscious being never left heaven for earth. It abode forever above, even while mortals believed it was here. . . . The real Christ was unconscious of matter, of sin, disease, and death, and was conscious only of God, of good, of eternal Life, and harmony. Hence the human Jesus had a resort to his higher self and relation to the Father, and there could find rest from unreal trials in the conscious reality and royalty of his being, – holding the mortal as unreal, and the divine as real."
Now, if Jesus evidenced the divine and human coincidence, may we not as well? Has your incorporeal, divine selfhood ever left heaven for earth? No. Just as did the Master, you and I can maintain and hold to our perfection of being, and at the same time apply that understanding to the multitudinous forms of erroneous belief that come before us to be denied and destroyed. On page 332 of Science and Health we read: "Into the real and ideal man the fleshly element cannot enter. Thus it is that Christ illustrates the coincidence, or spiritual agreement, between God and man in His image."
How and Why Jesus Healed
In the ninth chapter of John we have a striking illustration of how Jesus dealt scientifically with the beliefs of sin and heredity. Meeting on the road a man blind from birth, his disciples questioned the Master, apparently thinking that the man was being punished with blindness, because of sin, perhaps committed by his parents. In explanation, Jesus answered, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." Holding to the eternal and unfallen perfection of man as the reflection of God, he set aside as false and untrue the cruel belief of heredity and sinful transmission. He denied the belief of heredity. He refused to accept the false theological beliefs of suffering and penalty. He saw clearly that neither this man nor his parents were, in their true being, sinners. He forgave the belief of sin by detaching it from man and recognizing it only as an evil imposition of mortal mind. The so-called evidences of blindness, of sin and heredity, were alike unreal to him. Perfection alone was the fact, to Jesus, and on that basis he healed the blind man.
Again, let us consider the example of correct and affirmative knowing, as illustrated in the raising of Lazarus. Standing at the tomb of a man who, they said, had been dead for four days, he said, "Lazarus, come forth." And he came forth. Jesus spoke with authority. He walked the earth with dominion, but it was not a personal dominion nor an assumed authority. He said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." It was the dominion and authority of God which he reflected. He saw man as never born and never dying, unfallen, spiritual, and free – unfettered from every belief of the flesh. His realization of perfection set aside and annulled every belief or so-called law of birth, maturity, and decay, every mortal suggestion that man is conceived in sin, that he must sin, and therefore be punished with death. He saw the eternal and present perfection of man as the spiritual idea of Mind, the inseparability of man from God, who is his Life and the Life of all being.
Referring specifically to this striking evidence of the coincidence of the divine and human made practically available, Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 75): "Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died, not by an admission that his body had died and then lived again. Had Jesus believed that Lazarus had lived or died in his body, the Master would have stood on the same plane of belief as those who buried the body, and he could not have resuscitated it." Is it not clear, then, that if we continue to go on, as the world has done for centuries, believing that we are living, dying, and sinning in a material body, we shall postpone indefinitely our realization and acceptance of the spiritual fact which our Master so positively demonstrated, the present and eternal immortality of man?
Understanding and Demonstration of Substance
Faulty economic theories and inequitable distribution are generally regarded as contributing causes to the present tragic upheaval of nations. In the light of Christian Science, however, we see that the answer to humanity's sore need is the understanding of God as infinite substance, as the substance of all being. We need to ponder and meditate more deeply on the meaning of that great word "infinite," to appreciate more intelligently its significance. Is it not evident that the reason why human beings, the world over, are having so much difficulty regarding supply and the "making of a living," is that everything is viewed from the standpoint of finity, rather than infinity? Lack, poverty, and starvation are the inevitable products of finite thinking. The human or mortal mind is in its very nature limited. All of its concepts are limited and finite. Christian Science declares that God being infinite, man, His embodiment or expression, reflects God's infinite nature. It declares that man is conscious of illimitable, substantial ideas.
As we grow in understanding of God as infinite substance, we learn to look away from matter. We refuse to accept the picture or argument of limitation and lack, no matter how aggressive or extensive it may appear. We learn to think from the standpoint of infinity. Science shows us that substance, being inexhaustible Mind, is never static, never stagnant, never accumulated, but is ever unfolding, revealing itself in immeasurable, beneficent ideas. Divine substance is not something that starts and stops, that begins and ends. It is ever appearing, ever unfolding from an inexhaustible source. Then, is it not comforting and reassuring to realize that nothing can or will stop divine supply from unfolding?
The very fact that God is Love means that the substance of Love has eternal continuity. Does this sound to you like beautiful but impractical theory? It is not. It is the fact of being, and we are concerned solely with divine facts and their demonstrable proof. Infinite substance is the fact; lack is the fiction. Like disease, lack, poverty, or limitation of any kind is wholly a false mental presentation, and can be met in just the same way – by seeing its unreality. Lack is wholly a state of self and mass mesmerism. Everyone who accepts it is self-mesmerized. He is believing in material sense testimony, instead of knowing and abiding in the divine facts of omnipresent and infinite abundance.
We have such an excellent example of the divine and human coincidence, the knowing of divine facts, applied to the problem of lack, in Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. Here was a great multitude of hungry people to be fed. Jesus, questioning the disciples as to the amount of food on hand, received the reply, "Five loaves, and two fishes." They were accepting the testimony of the human senses; they were thinking finitely, from a material and limited point of view. If the Master had accepted their word, there would have been no feeding of that vast throng. But Jesus was knowing the truth; he was thinking from the standpoint of God, of infinite substance, and in so doing established and maintained so clearly the infinity of ideas as supply that to human sense there were basketsful left over – concrete evidence, humanly expressed, of the immeasurable, inexhaustible nature of true substance.
Meeting the Belief of Lack
In order to help others, as well as ourselves, we need to understand how intense and universal the belief of poverty and lack claims to be. We must have that loving compassion and breadth of vision that will lift the curse of poverty for all mankind. Fear and ignorance of God's infinite abundance are back of the animal instincts asserting themselves today in war and the predatory attacks of one nation upon another. Christian Science shows us that we must take cognizance of the world miasma of fear, and refuse to take in its contagion. It is the privilege of those who know the infinity of Love to save mankind from its fears. So, when a suggestion comes to you from a newspaper, a magazine, or the radio, that there is not enough, not enough rubber, not enough oil, not enough of any necessary thing, do not take it in. Refuse to be mesmerized. Say to yourself, at once: "I refuse to accept this as true. This is not my fear, nor anyone's fear of lack; it is the impersonal error of false belief. No one is afraid, and there is absolutely no basis for fear."
Christian Science develops, in the thought of those who are endeavoring to live it, a sincere desire to bring about the establishment of the brotherhood of man, and not to take that sublime idea as a beautiful but impractical theory. We recognize that it is self-interest, greed, avarice, and other forms of selfishness that express themselves in the maldistribution of an abundance that, even humanly, is able to supply everyone on this earth. Thinking from the standpoint of Love's infinity, is there such a thing as a "have-not"? No! As the children of God, we are all "have's," because we all have the infinity of Love's substance. And not only that, but we want everyone to have. Infinite Mind knows no law of partiality, and there is no such law, even if belief claims it to be so.
The Nature of Evil
The revelation of Christian Science not only brings to human apprehension a clear, logical understanding of God and man's scientific relationship to Him, but it also explains the nature of evil and how to dispose of it. Evil no longer remains a mystery. Reasoning from the basis of oneness – one God, one Mind, one self-existent Life, one Spirit – Mrs. Eddy recognized that evil, with its entire train of sin, disease, and death, could not logically have actual being or reality. She saw that the infinite perfection of being precluded the possibility of any evil or destructive element, and that the only basis for evil would be man's continued and utterly irrational belief in its reality and power. Christian Science, therefore, declares evil to be without cause or law. Since Mind is one and infinite good, evil cannot be conceded to be either Mind or the product of Mind. Evil, in its various phases and manifestations, is classified in Christian Science as animal magnetism, a general term for error, which was in use long before the discovery of Christian Science.
The Scriptures have typified evil, or animal magnetism, as a talking serpent. Taken even symbolically, the notion of a talking serpent is utterly illogical and unreasonable. Nevertheless, in its pretense to talk, it has, through the centuries, argued and continued its claim to be true and real to everyone who was open to its suggestions. Where does the argument as to evil's reality appear? In human consciousness, right where you and I seem to be thinking, and it is there that it must, with everyone, be faced and denied.
When the Master promised his disciples that in the name or with the power of Christ, Truth, they would cast out devils, evils, and, without harm, take up serpents, what did he mean? Surely his statement did not refer to personal devils or to actual poisonous vipers. Just as Christian Science teaches, he meant that the understanding of Truth would enable them to spiritually and mentally face the claim of malicious mind, the serpents of false belief, deny these beliefs, and prove their unreality.
Thinking from the standpoint of God's allness, you and I may today handle the serpents of hate, envy, and malice without fear and demonstrate their utter nothingness. It is certain that we cannot be conscious of the infinity of good and at the same time be afraid. And it is necessary to keep in mind that anything that appears to you and me in consciousness as evil is an argument or suggestion of duality, twoness, two opposite and contending powers – an unreasonable and unthinkable proposition, a denial of the first and great commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Blessing Our Enemies
If you and I are, as Christian Science teaches, reflections of divine Love, it follows that our every thought must be beneficent in its nature – a blessing to all. It is important at this hour, both for our health and safety, that we do not fail to have the right metaphysical approach to the world problem.
It is the earnest desire of every Christian Scientist to demonstrate the brotherhood of man and to hasten the day of universal peace and amity among nations. Aggressors on the rights of mankind must be met with courage and determination. It is our sincere desire, however, that all men shall be free, including our so-called enemies. We recognize that it is important that they be freed from the manipulation of the evil mentality and the wicked motives that have led them into aggression.
We have usually thought of enemies as persons, external or apart from ourselves, but Jesus said that a man's foes were those of his own household, meaning his mental household or consciousness. In order to have enemies, one must necessarily entertain a belief in haters – one must accept hate and malicious thinking as realities in his own consciousness. In her inspired article entitled "Love Your Enemies," Mrs. Eddy asks (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 8): "Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation? . . . Simply count your enemy to be that which denies, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect."
At the very time when mortal thinking was declaring that Christ Jesus was the victim of hate and malice, we find him saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." This was the conscious refusal on his part to believe in enemies. He refused to be identified with any such belief. Detaching and separating evil from his concept of God and man, Jesus held without wavering to the perfection of being. His illumined spiritual sense saw no enemies and knew none. Then, today, is it not our protection and safety to refuse to entertain enemy concepts – pictures of men, hostile and contending, capable of hating and injuring, of men endowed with the power or motive to do wrong?
Even in the midst of discord, it is our duty not to hate, but to so detach evil from man as to free him from his wicked beliefs. The real culprit is mortal mind – the belief that man has a mind or life apart from God. Since Jesus saw perfection, so must we. Enemies, and the fear of enemies, disappear in the face of that consciousness which knows only the infinity of Love. This realization, that Love is infinite and omnipresent, strikes right at the root of war. Indeed it is the cure for war. It denies and annuls every belief of dissension, division, and discord, and establishes the divine fact that all of God's ideas are now and forever united in the brotherhood of Love.