Christian Science: The Way to True Security
Will B. Davis, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
In this age the human concept of security has been undergoing a radical and revolutionary change. Over the centuries matter in various forms has been regarded as the basis of true security; but in these times ultra-conservative financial investments, material fortresses which were considered impregnable, and the most modern material weapons have been proved to be unreliable and flimsy sources of lasting peace and security for mankind.
Where, then, are we to look for sure protection from disaster and lack? That no material invention will produce a satisfactory answer becomes increasingly evident as eminent material scientists work feverishly to learn more and more about matter. Divine Love, our Father-Mother God, has revealed the solution for human problems to this troubled world, and matter-minded humanity is gradually becoming aware of this fact.
The discovery of Christian Science in 1866 has made available to all mankind the sure and the only possible basis for security; and step by step material scientists are discovering in their way some of the truths which divine Love revealed to Mary Baker Eddy.
Let me read what Mrs. Eddy refers to as her "first plank in the platform of Christian Science." It is "the scientific statement of being" from page 468 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and is as follows: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
When this radical teaching was first presented, it was ridiculed by most materialists, but eventually it will be accepted by everyone; and that that day is approaching is indicated by the statements which have been made by prominent physical scientists. In a recent book entitled "The Universe and Dr. Einstein" the author, Lincoln Barnett, makes the following statement: "Thus gradually philosophers and scientists arrived at the startling conclusion that since every object is simply the sum of its qualities, and since qualities exist only in the mind, the whole objective universe of matter and energy, atoms and stars, does not exist except as a construction of the consciousness, an edifice of conventional symbols shaped by the senses of man."
Explains Today's Major Problem
How grateful we must be that the modern physical scientist is now approaching some of the conclusions which Christian Science has been teaching for three quarters of a century; but the final solution of our problems, individual and collective, cannot come until we acknowledge God, Spirit, divine Mind, as the only true substance and the source of true security. Let us accept the fact that "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation," and then we shall realize that we are looking in the wrong direction when we seek security merely by accumulating material possessions, gold, or atomic bombs. Everyone must learn eventually the futility of laying up treasures "where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal" (Matt. 6:19). An awakening from a false sense of security is the major human problem of today.
There is nothing new about this problem. It has been evident throughout all human history. The Psalmist was giving the answer to mankind thousands of years ago when he wrote (91:1-4): "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
We are confronted, then, with the question of understanding this truth which is a sure "shield and buckler" — of learning how to dwell "in the secret place of the most High." In other words, how may we so spiritualize our human thinking that we may gain a sure deliverance from "the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence" — from what seem to be tumultuous and terrifying conditions? Those who have learned through the teachings of Christian Science that this is possible under every conceivable human circumstance are quite naturally profoundly grateful to the Discoverer of this Science. Mrs. Eddy spent most of the first half of her human life in searching for the way to true security, and she unselfishly devoted the last half of her fruitful earthly experience to so clearly elucidating and establishing what she had discovered that anyone may learn to utilize this practical system of regeneration and healing.
Finds Answer in Bible
It was to the inspired writers of the Bible that Mrs. Eddy turned for enlightenment. She knew that the ancient prophets and Jesus, our Way-shower, healed conditions that no material remedy or human power could cure. For years she had been sure that Jesus must have used fixed rules for healing which, if discovered, would be available today. Her long search was finally rewarded when Mrs. Eddy was able to heal herself. There was no question about the seriousness of her condition. She had had a serious injury as the result of an accident, and a physician had issued the verdict that nothing could be done to save her life. As she studied one of the healings of Jesus, she was able to rise immediately from what seemed to be her deathbed. This instantaneous healing in her own experience convinced Mrs. Eddy that it is possible to heal without resorting to medication or surgery, and soon she learned that she could heal others also solely through an understanding of God's all-power.
Divine Love had revealed to Mrs. Eddy's receptive thought the truth in regard to God and the real, spiritual man made in His image and likeness; and those who have studied the Christian Science textbook, and have to some degree at least successfully practiced what it teaches, have become convinced that here may be found the final answer for freedom and security from human bondage.
Only a few high lights of the vast subject can be discussed in a short lecture, but I shall be happy if what is said here leads the beginners in this audience to a thorough perusal of Mrs. Eddy's writings. I can assure you that before you have progressed very far in the understanding of the subject, you will be helped and healed. In this connection, we find this statement in Science and Health (p. 449): "A grain of Christian Science does wonders for mortals, so omnipotent is Truth;" however, Mrs. Eddy adds, "but more of Christian Science must be gained in order to continue in well doing."
Why is it so important to maintain an uplifted state of consciousness through our study of Christian Science? The obvious answer is that our state of thought determines the harmony, happiness, healthfulness, and success of our present-day human experience. Our correct understanding of God's omnipresent goodness and all-power determines what we accept as real and what we reject as illegitimate and unreal. We are consistent in our study of Christian Science; we keep at it persistently, because the consciousness which is Christlike, which expresses Soul, the divine Mind, does not respond to erroneous suggestions of evil, sin, sickness, and disaster. To Christ Jesus came those who needed to be healed of blindness, deafness, paralysis, palsy, pain, leprosy, and death. Had he entertained the belief that these evils which came to him in the guise of many persons, were present in God's kingdom, he would have believed in a kingdom divided against itself. He did not break the First Commandment by accepting as true a creative power opposed to God, a power which could produce sickness and other inharmony. He manifested the Christ so constantly that the erroneous suggestions coming to him in the guise of individuals were viewed as having no beginning, no continuity, no reality.
It made no difference to Jesus whether the claim to reality was blindness from birth, incapacity for thirty-eight years, or some discord which seemed less serious. He was able to heal multitudes and all manner of sickness and disease because he knew that the man of God's creating could never be separated from God, his divine Principle, and therefore could not be sick or manifest inharmony of any sort.
Reasoning from Cause to Effect
My friends, all of us have the privilege and opportunity of knowing God as the only creator. Our at-one-ment with our Father-Mother God needs to be affirmed and maintained through our ever-growing ability to see good everywhere. If we are accepting discord as true in the affairs of the nations, in the experience of a co-worker in business or in church, or in the guise of a sick relative, we are believing in a creation which God never made. To preserve our own harmony, we must learn to unsee mortal mind manifestations of evil, however they present themselves.
To unsee discord does not mean merely to turn away from the picture the false senses are presenting. It means that we are literally forced, under some circumstances, to reason as we are taught in Christian Science. Our reasoning is from cause to effect and never from effect to cause. The usual method of diagnosis is to begin with effect, and for centuries members of the medical profession have endeavored to learn the cause of diseases by thorough examinations of the anatomy involved. More recently they have come to realize the mental nature of diseases that had been considered wholly physical. Fear, hate, selfishness, frustration, resentment, and the like are being called the cause of such diseases as heart trouble, stomach trouble, common cold, cancer, arthritis, and tuberculosis. From a human standpoint this seems true, but Christian Science teaches us how to eliminate physical inharmony of every name and nature by learning to begin our reasoning with an understanding of God, the one perfect Mind or Cause.
The Christian Science method is clearly stated in these words from page 467 of Science and Health: "Reasoning from cause to effect in the Science of Mind, we begin with Mind, which must be understood through the idea which expresses it and cannot be learned from its opposite, matter." Let us accept the statement in Genesis that God made all that was made and made it good and that man was made in His likeness. Let us reason that this perfect divine Mind contains no resentment, hate, or fear and know the obvious fact that the real man could not be influenced by a non-existent, carnal, counterfeit mind. Through such reasoning, through knowing that the man of God's creating has no fearful or hateful mind which could recognize or manifest sickness, what we call a healing will come about through prayer as taught in Christian Science. For true security, we must obey the Scriptural command "Acquaint now thyself with him: and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21). When we allow ourselves to say that a friend is dishonest in his business dealings, he hates his partner, he is resentful about the other fellow's success — no wonder he has stomach trouble, or some other ailment — we are not starting with God as the only cause.
Someone in the audience may be saying, "But my trouble is so serious that I must start by trying to uncover my erroneous state of thought in order to correct it with affirmations of truth." Here let us recall that Mrs. Eddy says, "Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine" (Science and Health, p. 542). If an uncovering is necessary, we can expect confidently that divine Love will always bring to light all that we need to know.
Mrs. Eddy has written in the Preface of 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." Here we are told plainly that the operation of divine Principle is the source of all healing. We learn to know and to love the law of God more fully each day; and this increasing awareness of divine Love's ever-presence excludes the so-called error in human thought, and we see harmony expressed in our own affairs, in our environment, and in the experience of those who ask us to help them.
Learns Christ Never Left
When "sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness," this is the coming of the Christ. It was the manifestation of the Christ which made healings instantaneous in Jesus' time. His disciples and other followers learned how to let in this light of spiritual understanding, and this same healing Christ is available to us today.
Many years ago a friend of mine was to have an operation to relieve a growth in her breast which had been pronounced incurable. She was informed that she must be "built up" for the operation, as she was very weak and ill. Someone spoke to her of Christian Science and lent her a copy of Science and Health. She told me that after reading this book for about two hours, she caught a glimpse of the fact that the Christ which Jesus expressed was here today. When her husband returned, she announced that she had been healed because she had learned that the healing Christ had never left and was still available. She learned also that if God is good, as Christian Science teaches, that He had not given her a physical trouble, so there need be no fear. The next day she began using her arm, which had become useless as the result of her condition, and she said that she immediately lost all interest in the trouble. She turned to the study of Christian Science as her major vocation, and as the years have unfolded she has become a practitioner and a teacher of Christian Science.
I have been asked, Are all healings through Christian Science treatment instantaneous? We wish they were. We are all striving for quicker healings; but the awakening, or healing, seems to take time in some cases. Mrs. Eddy tells us that some people yield slowly to the touch of Truth, and she adds that few yield without a struggle. When progress seems slow, one is apt to be tempted with discouragement, and sometimes this presents itself after the reading of a testimony of an instantaneous healing or after hearing someone give such a testimony at a Wednesday meeting. The question may come to thought, Why am I not healed when I have tried so hard and worked so long? Obviously, such a state of thought needs to be corrected, for it is the very opposite of the scientific healing prayer, the Christ-consciousness, which brings complete freedom. Does not the question, Why? affirm that the discord has had a real and a long history?
Were it not for the fact that there are innumerable instantaneous healings through Christian Science, and particularly for the fact that Mrs. Eddy's first healing came instantaneously, we might not be having the advantage of utilizing the blessings of Christian Science. Her condition had been pronounced fatal, and yet she immediately recovered from this discord and thus had the proof for which she had been searching. It seems evident that this particular healing had to be instantaneous, otherwise, how would Mrs. Eddy have gained the conviction that the healing Christ is still available for solving human problems?
The fact that so many healings in Christian Science occur instantaneously does not mean that we do not receive great good from some of the victories that come only after a long struggle.
There is another interesting point here. The beginner in Christian Science who may be healed very quickly is sometimes healed largely through the work of a Christian Science practitioner. Such a healing, however, does not mean that the patient needs to do nothing further. To maintain our gain, we must continue in welldoing.
We learn to rejoice in the other fellow's healing as the evidence of divine Love's constant care. When we see others expressing happiness, health, and freedom, we do not allow envy to tempt us; but rather by acknowledging as God-given the good we see around us we gain a positive assurance that harmony is real and inharmony an illusive dream.
Declares Discouragement Unnecessary
It is easy to let discouragement come in at times — easy, but not necessary — and the best way to eliminate discouragement is to acknowledge God, divine Principle as the only source. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 254 of Science and Health: "Imperfect mortals grasp the ultimate of spiritual perfection slowly; but to begin aright and to continue the strife of demonstrating the great problem of being is doing much." Even attending this lecture is a beginning, and to continue our sincere effort, our Leader tells us, "is doing much." We learn to begin again and again; but Mrs. Eddy indicates that this continuing may not always be easy, for she refers to the "strife of demonstrating the great problem of being." As we progress in our study, the conviction grows that the victory can always be won.
It is not unusual, when it has seemed necessary to wrestle long over a problem, for the healing to come suddenly and often right in the darkest hour. In this connection, it is interesting to think of breaking up a rock by pounding it with a heavy sledge hammer. A dozen or more blows seem to make no apparent change, but finally the rock is shattered. We realize that it was not the last blow or the first, but that all were required to finish the job. And so it is with every clear, scientific thought in connection with any human problem. It has its effect always even though there is no visible change, and no matter how obstructive or incurable a difficulty may appear to be, the victory will come through Christian Science treatment, which maintains the radical stand that God is the only creator and that there is no power which can produce or maintain discord.
That all power is derived from God was the major premise of the teachings of Christ Jesus. He never taught his followers to look to him or to any material source for help or supply. The purpose of his earthly mission was to show that individual salvation and permanent security may be obtained by acknowledging God as the source of all good. It was the God-power, or Christ, which he expressed that enabled him to overcome all material obstacles for himself and for others. On page 26 of our textbook Mrs. Eddy declares, "This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him. . . . His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man."
Denounces Godless Philosophy
In these times there has developed a materialistic philosophy which denies God as the giver of all good and substitutes a central human government to which all are to look for their livelihood and even for their health. While such a material, Godless philosophy may seem to succeed for a time, a denial of the presence and power of God could never be the basis of permanent success, and it is actually a fatal mistake.
In her address which she delivered in Chicago in 1888, Mrs. Eddy emphasized the fact that the real man could never lose his individuality as a child of God. This address is found in "Miscellaneous Writings," beginning on page 98, and I recommend its study to all of you, because a clear understanding of the eternal individuality of man in God's likeness will do much to alleviate the suffering and turmoil coming from the teaching which denies individual freedom and self-government. In speaking of Christ Jesus in this Chicago address, Mrs. Eddy said (p. 104): "His unseen individuality, so superior to that which was seen, was not subject to the temptations of the flesh, to laws material, to death, or the grave. Formed and governed by God, this individuality was safe in the substance of Soul, the substance of Spirit, — yea, the substance of God, the one inclusive good."
Thus we see that spiritual man will always be the expression of Soul, or divine consciousness, and could never lose his at-one-ment with God. Man's individuality is maintained eternally.
Every time there is a healing through Christian Science the individuality and the true identity of man have been proved once again. No political or religious organization, no human power, can change God's divine arrangement. The real man made in God's likeness is indissolubly united to His creative Principle and, therefore, man's identity and true individuality are as permanent as Mind, which has no beginning and no end.
Each day Christian Scientists study the Lesson-Sermon from the Bible and Science and Health which is read in all of our churches the following Sunday. Twice each year the subject of our Lesson-Sermon is "Doctrine of Atonement," and the truths brought out in this Lesson explain clearly man's inseparability from divine Love and Life. When Jesus raised himself from what seemed to be death, he proved that his individual eternal being could not be separated from eternal Life. When Jesus healed blindness, deafness, and the withered hand, he proved the spiritual fact that the man of God's creating could not possibly be separated from God, even momentarily.
Each time we study the Lesson, "Doctrine of Atonement," we learn a little more thoroughly that the very basis of a Christian Science treatment is the realization that man is at one with his Father. Jesus proved that his understanding of man's relationship to God could heal all manner of physical inharmony, but his final triumph over the belief of death for himself, after he had proved, through raising others from the dead, that man cannot possibly be separated from God, or Life, was of course the highest proof he could have given us. But we need to realize that this only demonstrated again what he had proved on innumerable occasions — that is, that man expresses God, divine Life, wholly and always; that man expresses right activity and the consciousness of good because man is the image and likeness of Soul and could never lose his sense of at-one-ment.
Prayer in Christian Science includes an understanding of man's relationship to God, an acknowledgment that man has never been separated from God. It is the realization that God sends only good to His children and right activity.
So let us realize that every healing in Christian Science which is gained by affirming man's at-one-ment with the perfect Father-Mother God denies the teachings of the carnal mind and thus performs a liberating service for all mankind by upholding man's eternal individuality and true identity.
Gives Remedy for Fear
An atheist is defined as one who does not believe there is a God. But it is safe to say that any thinking person who views the beauties of nature and the orderliness of the universe will soon lose his atheistic tendencies. Then he may become an agnostic — that is, he may feel that there must be a God or Supreme Being, but that God cannot be defined or known. When one takes up the study of Christian Science, the explanation of God will found to be in accordance with the Bible and so logical and understandable that there no longer remains the slightest doubt about God's ever-present love and goodness.
In order to explain God more accurately, Mrs. Eddy uses various synonymous terms. Each of these brings us a broader, fuller understanding that God is the only cause and creator and that the good He is giving to His children is inexhaustible.
For example, when we think of God as Spirit, we realize that no material force could withstand the almighty power of infinite Spirit. As the very opposite of matter, Spirit is found to be the only true substance and therefore the source of lasting security. When we think of God as the only law that governs, enforces, and creates, we use the term Principle. Adding to this the understanding that God is Love, we realize that there could be no hate, injustice, or dishonesty in Principle, for Principle is Love. Divine Love is the giver and is constantly imparting unlimited good.
People so often rob themselves of present happiness through thoughts of fear and uncertainty about the future. Such a feeling of doubt and insecurity is due solely to a faulty concept of the inexhaustible nature of divine Love. Sometimes human fathers and mothers are tempted to assume a false sense of responsibility as far as the future of their children is concerned. Forgetting that all of God's children inherit unlimited good from Him, there may be a feeling that it is necessary to accumulate large material resources for the future benefit of our families. Nothing is more beneficial for our children than to allow them the privilege of proving for themselves the adequacy of divine Love's supply. We may inadvertently deprive others of their true birthright by feeling that their supply must come through a limited material source. Supply will always be adequate, for Life, which is God, is unending. Love's giving never ceases, and, being the image of Mind, spiritual man always will be intelligently capable of receiving the good Love bestows.
Why, then, should we allow ourselves to entertain the thought that old age, inability, or sickness could deprive us of God's everlasting goodness? Man, God's image and likeness, expresses eternal freshness and vigor. We should therefore expect to manifest constant progress.
On Mars' Hill in Athens, Paul declared, "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; . . . in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:25, 28). How reassuring is Paul's conviction that the divine plan does not include shortage or inflation, but an unvarying, never-ending flow of good. So let us refuse to waste our time wondering about food, clothing, housing, or transportation problems of tomorrow. "The people of his pasture," relying on Him, are adequately fed. Our Father-Mother God supplies every need; not always what human will has outlined, but everything needful and good is ever at hand.
Gains Success and Security
I am reminded of a man I know well who had greatly benefited from the teachings of Christian Science. He turned to this Science as a young man for physical healing after other means had failed, and over the years he had received unmistakable proof that lack, sickness. and sorrow yield to a correct understanding of the law of God. After he had received class instruction in Christian Science, he knew that he wanted more than anything else to become a Christian Science practitioner and help others as he had been helped. He therefore began conducting his affairs so that he would be ready for this step when the time came. Without depriving his family, he was able to save a considerable sum of money which he invested in what were considered to be safe investment securities; and then one day he had the positive conviction that the time had come to resign his lucrative business connection and enter the full-time practice of Christian Science. His resignation was to take effect in six months, but before that time had elapsed, a depression which had started only two years before seemed to become much more serious, and the market value of his securities went very low. The eldest of his three children was about to enter college. He could have turned back, but he was sure his decision had been divinely inspired, and he had learned that divine Love supplies every need for those who are serving God. This was proved to be true in his experience, for all that was needed for educational purposes and daily supplies was sufficient always.
Several years later it was found that most of the financial investments which had been made were satisfactory after all. When we look to divine Love for guidance in important human decisions, we do not make mistakes and we prove that necessities are always adequately supplied.
When we begin to allow the divine plan of good to unfold in our consciousness and have implicit confidence in God's willingness and ability to supply all His ideas with good, we have thereby brought into our experience that which is sound, imperishable, secure, and real. Thus it becomes evident that the mental freedom, which is true security, precedes the outward manifestation of abundance.
Let us gain a more fearless sense and a willingness to accept and utilize the bountiful resources of Love which are being supplied in such unlimited profusion — in "good measure, pressed down, and skaken together, and running over."
"I shall not want"
At this point may I read a version of the twenty-third Psalm which is much loved by Christian Scientists. It is on page 578 of Science and Health, and as an introduction to it, Mrs. Eddy writes: "In the following Psalm one word shows, though faintly, the light which Christian Science throws on the Scriptures by substituting for the corporeal sense, the incorporeal or spiritual sense of Deity: —
"[Divine Love] is my shepherd; I shall not want.
"[Love] maketh me to lie down in green pastures: [Love] leadeth me beside the still waters.
"[Love] restoreth my soul [spiritual sense]: [Love] leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [Love] is with me; [Love's] rod and [Love's] staff they comfort me.
"[Love] prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: [Love] anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [Love] for ever."
Almost all the discords of human living seem to come to us in the guise of wants. But here it says, "[Divine Love] is my shepherd; I shall not want." We seem to need better health, more wealth, more harmony abroad, at home, or in church, more comfort, more peace, or more intelligence. And how glorious it is to know that divine Love is our Shepherd; that the infinite Giver is imparting to us everything we need every moment.
There may seem to be an indifference or apathy, however, which prevents us from accepting all the good divine Love is so constantly giving. But we are told in this Psalm that Love "maketh" us — forces us, actually — to accept the peace and harmony, the "green pastures" and the "still waters." In fact, the guidance of divine Love constantly leads us by restoring our spiritual sense or divine consciousness, awakening us to the spiritual fact that the man of God's creating is the image and likeness of Soul, divine consciousness.
There is no injustice, no dishonesty, no greed, no fear in God's spiritual kingdom. We may seem to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." We may seem to encounter stoppage, stagnation — the belief of death — in various guises as we go along in this human experience, but whether it comes as a broken friendship, stagnant supply, ill-health, or bondage in any other guise, we could not fear evil because God never made evil, and only Love is with us. Only Love supports our footsteps. "[Love's] rod and [Love's] staff they comfort me."
There may seem to be discords of one kind or another which are enemies to health. harmony, and happiness. But the intelligence, the wisdom, and the love have been given to us by our heavenly Father to heal and to eliminate all the illusions of mortal mind. We have spiritual inspiration; we are anointed with the oil of divine Love's enlightenment. We have more abundance of good than we can ever accept. "My cup runneth over."
Does good ever stop? No. It is eternal and infinite. It is impossible to lose the divine consciousness — that consciousness which is always at hand, that consciousness which is the expression of Soul, of Life eternal, and therefore never stops. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [Love] for ever."
[Delivered May 27, 1951, under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Detroit, Michigan, and published in The Grosse Point News, June 7, 1951.]