Christian Science: The Science of Enlightenment

 

Arthur P. DeCamp, C.S.B., of St. Louis, Missouri

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Mankind has a sense of needing many things — such as food, clothing, shelter, education, amusement — and, for the purpose of providing these, gainful occupation is desired. This sense of things is often expressed concretely as a need for money, or for more money. Many people are convinced that the possession of an adequate supply of money would give them a sense of entire satisfaction. They believe that such a condition of their private exchequers would open the door to most of life’s necessities and joys. There would, however, be a wide divergence of opinion as to the amount needed to satisfy. A little child would be pleased with the possession of a few pennies; an old ditty tells of a man quite content with fifteen dollars in an inside pocket on a Saturday night; one possessing millions might feel that only more millions would give sense of full security.

The paramount need, as it would seem to others, is freedom from pain, weakness, or sickness, for themselves or for their loved ones. Then there are those who feel that happiness is dependent on social joys, the possession of devoted friends and their approval, and that if these things are lacking, life is but a drab affair. To many individuals, business activity, the hope that it may prove to be successful, and the experience called success, constitute their chief interest in life. It seems to many that if they could only find peace, and "surcease of sorrow," they would ask for nothing more. And there are some who above all things else desire to gain more goodness, more self-abnegation, more love for others, even for those called enemies.

 

Mankind’s One Need

These spiritual desires indicate progress toward the understanding of humanity’s one real need. What is the only and all-embracing need of mankind? It is to be spiritually enlightened; it is to gain spiritual knowledge and to learn to know the truth that makes free; it is to learn to love spiritually and unselfishly. This enlightenment, this knowledge, this learning to know the truth that delivers from all human ills — this learning to love — is the "one thing . . . needful" spoken of by Christ Jesus. Someone may ask:  "Do you mean to say that I do not really need food, clothing, and home? Can you possibly intend to indicate that I do not right now need a job and some money? Are not the needs for good health, understanding friends, business success, more pressing and definite actualities?" Answering these questions it may be said that real human progress begins when one sees even dimly that his primary need is for growth in spiritual understanding and unselfed love rather than for material things. Back of the sense of material and personal needs is the deeper and more fundamental necessity of learning to know the facts of being as they eternally exist, and to know one’s own true spiritual individuality and the possibilities of its development in human experience.

 

Christian Science Gives Practical Aid

The question then arises, How may one learn the eternal facts of being? How is demonstrable spiritual enlightenment to be gained? From cover to cover the Bible answers this question and shows the meaning of life and how real living is to be attained. To a great extent, however, humanity has read the Scriptures through a veil of materiality, and because of failure to grasp the practical spiritual import of Biblical teachings has not found their satisfying and provable answers to its questions. In the present age a woman, an American woman, a consecrated Christian woman, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of the Christian system of teaching and healing known as Christian Science, has furnished the spiritual key by which the treasure house of Holy Writ has been opened for the practical benefit of mankind. Christian Science, based wholly on the Bible, teaches us the harmonious spiritual truth, the scientific truth, concerning ourselves, and shows us how to demonstrate its teachings here and now. It gives definite and practical instruction, obedience to which replaces sickness with health for ourselves and others, delivers from sinful tendencies, and overcomes poverty with a proper sense of supply.

When the seeking and the resultant finding of spiritual truth crowns human desire and endeavor, seeming human necessities are supplied in consequence of such seeking and finding. For instance, if a man who seems to greatly need what we call material employment is becoming acquainted with the great spiritual fact that man in his true nature has but one work to do and that is to manifest the divine Mind — to reflect divine Love and is learning to keep busy at that work, seeing it to be his only real job, this spiritual discernment and activity will so strengthen human character and purify and enrich human thought that his growth and development will be manifest in all his contacts with others, so that a demand for his services in some fitting employment will follow naturally. If an individual has seemed to lack initiative in his work, such mental alertness will develop greater resourcefulness and teach him "diligence, promptness, and perseverance" (Science and Health, p. 514). It will bring him progressively into accord with the universal activity of the one Mind, the one God. In consequence of such development men and women have found that their broadened viewpoint and freedom from fear have disclosed opportunities for useful service unknown in their previous experiences.

 

Jesus the Model

No model of right mental activity is so serviceable and inspiring as that of Christ Jesus of Nazareth. A close study of his glorious career shows that his teaching and accompanying proofs of the truth of his teaching were based upon the absoluteness of Spirit, the divine Mind, infinite good, which we name God. His life and works are likened in the Scriptures to light shining in darkness. In the latter part of the fourth chapter of Matthew's Gospel it is said that as a result of Jesus' wonderful preaching, teaching, and healing he was followed by great multitudes. And in the beginning of the fifth chapter occurs this passage, "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth and taught them saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Jesus' Sermon on the Mount Mrs. Eddy characterizes as the essence of Christian Science (Science and Health, p. 271). To view the teachings of this deathless sermon through the lens of Christian Science gives fadeless spiritual enlightenment to humanity.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit" — blessed are they who are rich toward God. This is the keynote to all that Jesus teaches. It is the foundation of all Biblical instruction. It is the basis of Christian Science teaching and of the proofs that this teaching is true and practical. The "poor in spirit" are those who are learning to know the utter poverty, the insubstantiality, of what is called matter. The nothingness of matter is seen in proportion as the allness of divine Spirit or Mind is becoming understood. Theirs indeed "is the kingdom of heaven," the kingdom of harmony. The world has supposed that blessed are the rich in matter; it has virtually believed that we "live, and move, and have our being" materially. Mrs. Eddy has rendered a stupendous service to mankind by showing that the Biblical premise that "we live, and move, and have our being" in divine Spirit, or Mind, is a statement of absolute Science capable of unending proof in the overcoming of all human ills. In other words, existence must be reckoned spiritually rather than physically. This first of Jesus' declarations named Beatitudes is fundamental to the statements which follow, and in this it is like the first of Moses' declarations called Commandments, the other nine being based on the first. Indeed the first of the Beatitudes and the first of the Commandments are designed to teach the same foundational truth, namely, the infinity, the allness and all-inclusiveness of the divine Mind. Mary Baker Eddy, on page 468 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," gives concrete utterance to this same truth when she states that "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation." She furnishes a background for the reception of the right understanding of this fundamental declaration when she makes the preceding statement, "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter." These two pronouncements are included in a paragraph which Mrs. Eddy designates as "the scientific statement of being." The understanding of this "scientific statement of being" is bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth. It is the basis of the innumerable instances of healing, reformation, and restoration which are being brought to mankind day by day through Christian Science.

 

Light and Darkness

In his teaching and in his wonderful works, which always accompanied his teaching, Jesus continually ascended the mountain of spiritual understanding and power. He presented the spiritual or incorporeal idea of Life. This spiritual idea is the forever Christ. The Christ-idea has come anew in this age in Christian Science and again its teaching is accompanied by proofs of healing, else it would not be Science. The light which shone in darkness, and which has never waned, was the light of Christ which Jesus revealed, the conscious oneness with God, the divine Mind, of whom he spoke as his "Father," and of whom he said that he was "our Father." Thus did Jesus indicate that oneness with Truth and Love is the reality of our individual being. The darkness was a false sense, or a belief that man can be separated from God — that one can actually be conscious of something outside of Truth, the infinite All. One may sit in a dark room and be fully aware of the darkness, knowing that with the turn of a switch the room will be flooded with electric light. But mortals are in the dark mentally without knowing that they are in the dark. If only we and all mankind were always keenly aware of mental darkness and the way in which it may be dispelled that indeed would be a great step of human progress. We are mentally darkened when the so-called pleasures and pains of the material sense seem real and actual. When fear, or sin, or sickness, or a sense of lack or of impending disaster seems real to human thought we are much in the dark. Mental discord, often appearing as physical discord is always a sign of mental darkness. Christian Science is teaching humanity practically to draw a clear line of distinction between the things of Truth and the falsities of error or materiality. It shows us not only that erroneous thinking is darkness, but how to turn on the light and how to "walk in the light."

 

The Light of Reason

On page 1 of her book "Rudimental Divine Science" Mrs. Eddy speaks of Christian Science as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." Material sense, so called, does not disclose universal harmony. This fundamental of being can be understood only through spiritual sense, so "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Spiritual light is the light of reason. Some people have believed that when the "Age of Reason" would come to humanity the teachings of the Bible and the example of Christ Jesus would be superseded or be put aside as being of little use. Through the spiritual understanding of the Scriptures, and pre-eminently through a clearer knowledge of the life and works of the Nazarene brought to mankind through the teaching and practice of Christian Science, the real "Age of Reason" is being established in the earth. Through this teaching individuals are learning to base their reasoning on "the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." This Principle is God, the divine Spirit or Mind, and its rule is spiritual law. "Reason, rightly directed," Mrs. Eddy writes on page 494 of Science and Health, "serves to correct the errors of corporeal sense;" and on page 492 is found this illuminating statement, "For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence." Our efforts at reasoning are not rightly directed when we accept the testimony of the material sense as factual, and attempt to reach correct conclusions from the basis of such alleged facts. We have pursued this futile course because we have been unaware of real or spiritual existence — because we have been ignorant of the fundamental fact of the unity and harmony of all real being.

To material sense it has seemed to be entirely reasonable to be fearful, to be discouraged, or to be sick. Right reasoning demonstrates the unreality and unreasonableness of such thought-conditions — sickness as well as fear being proved to be only a state of abnormal thought. These abnormal thoughts yield to reason and disappear from human experience, taking with them the sense of fear, discouragement, and sickness. Material sense believes that matter is substance and that there is something wrong with it, something the matter with matter, whereas Mind is the only substance. It sometimes says there is not enough of matter, not enough of food, of clothing, or of money. At other times it seems there is too much of matter, too much production of the necessities of human life to make the production profitable — too much food, too many clothes, too much money for the good of the individual or the nation.

When we believe that matter in some form constitutes our wealth and that it is the basis for harmonious living, it oftentimes seems to be disappearing matter, as when stocks go down, or when investments become unprofitable or valueless. We reason rightly only when we see that all that we possess of true value is what we know of divine Truth. When in one's thought matter seems to constitute one's individuality, one's identity or body, we sometimes think of that matter as sick matter or aged matter, declining or dying matter. In other words, to material sense existence is wholly material or corporeal. Christian Science gives clear and definite instructions for right reasoning whereby we utterly repudiate sense testimony. We learn to do this with a sense of confidence and of power because we see that spiritual evidence alone is true and the basis for rational living, and because experience proves that this process of scientific reasoning delivers humanity from fear, discouragement, sickness and all material discords. Jesus furnished the basis for right reasoning when he declared "It is the spirit that quickeneth:  the flesh profiteth nothing." The Psalmist reasoned simply from the same basis of spiritual actuality and rose above the sense of material dependence when he sang. "The Lord is my shepherd:  I shall not want."

 

Divine Love Meeting Human Need

Mrs. Eddy sets forth the same great truth briefly in a much loved sentence when she writes on page 494 of Science and Health, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need."  The help which comes to humanity from divine Love operates not from without one's own thinking but through spiritual receptivity within one's own thinking. The great need of humanity is to learn to love divinely. Human needs are met by divine Love only as human hearts and thoughts are open to the entrance of divine Love and as this Love is permitted to govern our feeling and our thinking. When we let Love divine operate within our thinking, when we see that this divine Mind is the only real consciousness, and continually endeavor to reject any other sense of consciousness, then courage, strength, and purity take the place of fear, weakness, and impurity in our thoughts. Through this process of true self-helpfulness we appropriate the infinite resources of Soul, and as a result find ourselves naturally and easily able to provide seeming human necessities. Sickness, unhappiness, and sin also fade out of thought and experience in proportion as we manifest a sense of conscious oneness with the divine Mind, divine Love. Thus we learn of the kingdom of heaven which is ever at hand, which is truly "within." The "kingdom of heaven" Mrs. Eddy defines on page 590 of Science and Health as "the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme." Humanity is learning through experience that the so-called kingdom of this world is no kingdom at all. Dependence on material things and human personalities for health, for happiness, for sustenance, is proved to be futile, whereas the things of Mind, the ideas of Spirit, alone are truly dependable and indestructibly substantial.

 

Ascending Thought

Jesus went up into a mountain. Ascending thought, spiritual ascendancy, spiritual supremacy, the Christ-idea or the Christ-ideal of Life, is the only way of salvation in what is called the here or in what is called the hereafter. It is the only way of safety and true progress. It is the only way of peace. It is the way of spiritual enlightenment. Mankind greatly needs to practically avail itself of spiritual truth. The failure of materiality to sustain the race in health, happiness, and prosperity is becoming more and more apparent. In this time of great need the teachings of Christian Science are found fully equal to the situation. It has thrown a new light on the theology and practice of Christ Jesus. Indeed it gives a right understanding of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Its theology and its practice are one because it is the right understanding of God which heals sickness as well as sin. Its primary object is to heal sin and to show mortals how to overcome erroneous thinking. Bodily healing follows naturally. Many people have been brought up to think of God as a manlike person off in a place called heaven. The average religionist has thought of God as a corporeal personality, and in consequence of this error the belief of corporeality has clouded humanity's concept of creation and of individual being.

When through Christian Science one glimpses the meaning of incorporeality in creator and creation and begins to grasp the incorporeal idea — the Christ-idea of Life — the way of freedom from sin and sickness appears. It is not difficult to think of one's true self as incorporeal when one is convinced that the creator is Spirit or Mind, and that creation therefore must be spiritually mental. As one dwells in this thought, he learns that what seems to be corporeal individuality is only an erroneous concept of the true man, a false image. Thus he gains dominion over the so-called physical body. When one declares with understanding that, since the creator is Mind, creation must be wholly mental, and that consequently in reality he is no more corporeal than is the creative Mind, he overcomes the errors of corporeal sense. In this simple way one easily overcomes a sense of weariness after what seems to have been a hard day's work, and finds himself able to undertake further activities without any sense of overexertion. Blessed indeed "are the poor in spirit." Blessed are they who know as real no life nor substance but spiritual Truth. The recognition that man exists as the offspring of the divine Mind, the infinite Spirit, perfect Love, inseparable from his creator, annuls so-called material causation and material laws. These false beliefs regarding causation and law, until they are intelligently denied, seem to bring sin and sickness into human experience. This true recognition and denial is the process by which spiritual healing is accomplished. This is not a process of changing sick matter into well matter. What one calls his material body is essentially a state of thought, a material belief concerning man. In the process of spiritual healing, this discordant belief is replaced by the true, harmonious idea of man; the so-called material mind yields to this truth, and what is called a better physical condition results.

 

Self-Knowledge and Repentance

In Jesus' further declarations, or Beatitudes, following the first, he indicates the unfolding steps by which the individual becomes a full-rounded Christian. The first of these steps is self-knowledge. One must become acquainted with the human self which one supposes is his identity, and at least begin to squarely face the errors to be found there before he can go higher. "Blessed are they that mourn:  for they shall be comforted." Blessed indeed is he who kneels at the "mourner's bench" of self-examination and repentance. When differences arise between ourselves and other individuals, some of us are instinctively inclined to conclude that we are right and the others are wrong, but this cannot be called a heavenly instinct. If one declares, either audibly or mentally, with stubborn instance, "I know I am right," that should be a sign of something wrong in his own attitude. If one's thought is true and unselfish it will in time justify itself. And when on occasion we see errors in our own thoughts and lives, do we sometimes make excuses and declare within ourselves that we are no worse than other people?

Mrs. Eddy states on page 254 of Science and Health, "The human self must be evangelized." In order that this be done one must acquaint himself with himself. Every individual is continually becoming acquainted with other individuals, and often readily forms fair concepts of their general or more apparent mental qualities, but many people have never really met face to face the individual each one calls "myself." Some people are inclined, when the curtain is drawn and they get even a glimpse of self-love and self-will, to indulge in an orgy of self-condemnation. That is not really repentance, and rarely leads to the reformation which follows true repentance. One should calmly examine the state of thought called "myself," and determine to eliminate all within it which falls short of selfless manhood. This is the way of true progress and overcoming. Blessed indeed "are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." There is comfort indeed when the nothingness of material selfhood is seen, and the errors of self-will, self-love, self-righteousness are being overcome. Only by such overcoming does one begin to learn the way of meekness.

 

Meekness

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." And what is meekness? Many have thought of it as weakness, whereas it is the only might. It is the progressive demonstration of man's oneness with the Mind, the Love, the Life, in which is all true being. There may be many struggles with self-love and self-will, but if one will steadfastly cling to the truth of man's oneness with divine Mind and be obedient to the leadings of that Mind, he cannot fail to go forward and demonstrate the might and majesty of his true selfhood. It is said that the meek "shall inherit the earth." The earth which meekness inherits cannot be matter; it must be the understanding of spiritual substance. He who is learning through unselfed love to dwell in the heaven of spiritual consciousness is seeing the utter futility of matter's promises, and is not deceived by its seeming allurements. In her definition of "earth" found on page 585 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states, "To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea." The meek in heart inherit this compound or spiritual idea of God, which includes all right ideas. They are learning that in divine Mind are to be found all true, enduring, useful ideas, and that there exists the right idea concerning every human condition, which when rightly applied will correct, adjust, or heal that condition. This is indeed a royal inheritance.

As an instance of the beneficent use of this inheritance: a man out of work through the failure of his employers, and who was about to lose his home through foreclosure, came for counsel to an acquaintance who was a student of Christian Science. The latter recognized his caller as an expert sign painter and sign writer, who for a long period had had very little work at his trade. He knew instantly that all the man needed was a right idea. He greatly desired to help him in his trouble, and as they conversed he prayed — he reached out to divine Mind to find the needed right idea. In a flash it came to him, and he asked the sign painter if as he went through the town he had not seen that many of the signs over the stores and in the windows were old, worn, lacking in beauty, which he because of his expert knowledge could greatly improve. He recommended that he carefully observe such instances of need and that he prepare and without urgent solicitation offer sketches designed to meet each case, calling later for a decision. The man was amazed that one who knew nothing of sign painting should have thought of an idea which had not come to him. He followed the recommendation and soon had more work than he could do himself, and gave work to another sign painter out of a job.

I know a young man whose experiences in a very simple manner illustrate the growth of meekness in the human heart. When the United States entered the world war he enlisted in the Marines, and just before that time he had become somewhat acquainted with the teachings of Christian Science, and in the course of his enlisted service made the effort to apply this teaching. On an occasion when suffering severely as the seeming result of an accident, he discovered that his thought was full of hatred for the chief officer of his company, and saw that this sense of resentment and hatred must be overcome; and when it was overcome he quickly recovered from a physical condition which had been diagnosed as extremely serious, probably fatal.

Later, when news came of the signing of the Armistice, this young man, who had enlisted only for the duration of the war, felt that he should be immediately discharged. He wrote to a friend who had from time to time counseled him in regard to applying the teachings of Christian Science. He was very desirous of returning immediately to civilian life and getting a job, and needed some advice as to how this was to be accomplished. The gist of the reply received was this, "You can reflect just as much love right where you are as you can anywhere." His military training had accustomed him to implicit and prompt obedience. Very naturally then he began to mold his thoughts and actions to the injunction which he had sought and which had been given him, "You can reflect just as much love right where you are as you can anywhere." He had been very desirous of leaving the service and finding a job in the business world. Now he had a job at which he could work continually. To reflect love became his only business. He tried to help everybody who needed help, and in doing so found a happiness he had never before experienced. He lost all sense of anxiety as to when he would be discharged. He had nothing to do with that. His business was to reflect love. Finally just two days before the ship was to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific for an extended stay, an order was posted stating that a corporal and fourteen men were to be sent to headquarters for immediate discharge. His name headed the list. He had made no further request for discharge. He had done nothing but work continually at his job of reflecting love. It was not long before he was back "on the road" selling shoes.

That young man has risen from the ranks until today all of his time is given to the service of his fellow men in the daily work of a devoted Christian Science practitioner. There is no higher service. That blessed office could never have been opened for many thousands of men and women who now fill it, but for the consecrated leadership of Mrs. Eddy. As the unselfed love which we name meekness proceeds to do its redemptive work in the human heart, there develops a great desire to progress along all lines of helpfulness to humanity.

 

Hungering and Thirsting After Righteousness

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." The word "righteousness" has been interpreted as "right wiseness" or probably better as "right wayness." Meekness strives to find the right way, the best way of doing all things. This striving becomes one's meat and drink. We can imagine the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, after setting her first glimpse of the truth of spiritual being, and growing in understanding of its power to lift humanity out of sickness and sin and fear, as losing all thought of desiring material food and drink when searching for the right way of giving to humanity her great discovery. First of all she was obliged to separate truth and error in her own thought, and then to find words in which she could convey the right concept of what is real and what is unreal to others. In this redemptive work for mankind she was obliged to toil ceaselessly in writing her great textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and subsequently she labored untiringly to clarify its language. Then came the necessity of establishing a college for teaching Christian Science. She gave much time to instructing students in their work. She established the denominational periodicals. She founded a church whose ministrations cover the earth. Every Christian Scientist who keeps himself alert and awake is continually seeking, as one who is athirst for drink and hungry for food, to find the right way of helping others. He must learn the clear line of distinction between Truth and error, between what is real and what is unreal, enabling him to cast out evil of every nature for himself and others. He must go below the surface of human thought and discern the error which is making another's life discordant, in order to cast it out.

There is the right way to conduct one's self as a church member in regard to the public service of his church. It is the custom of the Christian Scientist to give daily study to the weekly Lesson-Sermon. He ponders much of this exalting influence, and the practical value of its teachings in overcoming evil of every nature. The temptation may come to him that having become imbued with the spiritual power of the Lesson-Sermon there would be no necessity that he join with the other members in assembling together at the time of the public church services; but, on the contrary, he finds great joy in attending these services, not so much to get further inspiration, but to give it out. The alert Christian Scientist rarely finds it necessary to absent himself from the public services of his church. One who is hungering and thirsting after "right wayness" will continually find higher and better ways in which to advance his own growth in helpful contacts with others. Truly his life shall be "filled" with happiness and usefulness.

 

"Blessed Are the Merciful"

As the individual strives steadfastly to learn the right way of unselfish service, he learns the meaning of compassion. "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." To be compassionate is to be merciful. Literally compassion means to "suffer together." How may one suffer with another who seems to be in anguish, and yet be helpful to the individual in distress? It is quite possible for one to be tenderly sympathetic with another's seeming suffering without making that suffering real to one's self. True compassion unites tender love with spiritual understanding and power, and overcomes suffering on the basis of its unreality, its nothingness. This compassionate intelligence understands the truth of being which casts out error. A friend or inquirer may seem to be suffering deeply from a sense of pain, or unhappiness, or fear of the future. The thought which has learned to overcome these discordant conditions through spiritual understanding and power is able to understand the sufferer's problems and sympathize with him, and yet be continually conscious that these errors are not to be found in the divine presence, which is omnipresence. A seeker for help may seem to be suffering from a condition called hereditary disease, or from an evil disposition said to be inherited, or from domestic inharmony, or from the condition called business depression, or because of unemployment. One helps the seeker and helps himself, and so obtains mercy, by knowing in another's behalf the truth of being, and the harmony and the unity of all true being. He knows that the only law of heredity is that by which man eternally manifests the divine Mind. Thus the exercise of compassionate love for others, which is accompanied by a sense of spiritual understanding and spiritual power, enables one to obtain mercy for himself; that is to say, the effort to reach a sense of real being in behalf of another and to aid in solving another's problems enables one to solve his own problems.

There is a phase of unwitting unmercifulness through which we are sometimes led astray. A college student noticed that many of his fellows were suffering from an ailment which apparently was prevalent. His own immunity he concluded was due to his knowledge of Christian Science. To his great surprise he awakened next morning suffering from the same ailment. The light dawned on him when he saw that he had been accepting disease as being real for others while tacitly expecting its unreality to be manifest in his own experience. When he corrected his thought and saw that he could not consistently hold to the unreality of disease for himself while believing it to be real in the experience of others, and declared within himself that no such thing could be found anywhere in true being, he was instantly healed.

 

"The Pure in Heart"

The continued effort in behalf of others inevitably purified one's affections, and so leads to the progressive demonstration of that gem of the Beatitudes. "Blessed are the pure in heart:  for they shall see God." Unselfish love, spiritualized affection, rising above personal sense, becomes better and better acquainted with Deity itself, whose name is divine Love. In this way do the pure in heart see God and thus do they learn to actually have divine Love to be their only God. Purity of heart is purity of mind. Spiritual affection develops spiritual rationality. In proportion as one learns to love spiritually he will naturally and inevitably learn to reason from the basis of the one Spirit, the divine Mind, and to see that there can be but one Mind only. Through this development of right mental activity the nothingness and powerlessness of so-called mortal mind is recognized and its seeming power overcome. The Apostle Paul through the spiritual purity of his reasoning processes saw clearly that "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Through spiritual reasoning, through purity of heart, he was able to lift human consciousness into the "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," which goes beyond any necessity for reasoning because it knows and feels God's protection as a little child is absolutely and unquestioningly certain of its mother's love and care. Such peace in the human heart transmits itself spontaneously to other human hearts.

 

Peacemakers

So, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The concept of peace held by many people would be in effect stagnation, whereas perfect peace is the highest state of spontaneous mental action. Spontaneity is defined as "continuous effortless activity." Can any words better describe the actions of a child? Then how natural it is to say of those in whose hearts the "peace of God" is fixed and who give forth this peace to others without being conscious that they are doing it, how natural and fitting to say of such "peacemakers" that "they shall be called the children of God." Jesus said in another place, "Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (pp. 323, 324), "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea."

 

Persecution

When this point has been reached in the consideration of the Beatitudes — the "Blessings," a child once called them — some one may feel that to gain the peace which passes understanding, and to learn the joy of childlike trust, would be the final step in the making of a Christian. The master Christian, however, added one more most necessary step, that of learning to rejoice in persecution. It was inevitable that the undertaking to give to humanity the corrective and revolutionary system of Christian theology and healing named Christian Science would be resisted by the old order. Throughout human history reforms have met with opposition from well-meaning people. If the generally accepted systems of theology and medicine had been flawless, if they had been doing for the race all that the Bible teaches that its healing religion should do for the everlasting benefit of humanity, there would have been no necessity for the coming of the system founded by Mrs. Eddy. Christian Science came to the world when it was most needed, not to tear down the Christian religion, but to build it up supremely in human esteem. The resistance and persecution which greeted its first appearance have lessened considerably and are fading out as the clarity and practicality of Christian Science teaching and the grandeur of its achievements are slowly obtaining general recognition. When the motives of the persecutors are analyzed it is seen that as of old they spring from ignorance and unreasoning prejudice. Such persecution illustrates the irrepressible conflict between error and truth, materialism versus spirituality. If this teaching had met with no opposition, such indifference would have indicated that it had no worth-while message and method for the salvation of mankind. The wide extent and severity of the resistance and persecution which have followed the promulgation of this Science of God and man are proof that it must needs have come and that it has rightly come, and that such opposition is therefore a cause for great rejoicing. Such rejoicing takes away the sting of persecution. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:  for great is your reward in heaven:  for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

 

"Seeing the Multitudes"

"Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain." We must see the multitudes. No individual nor any nation can afford not to take a world view and a brotherly view of humanity. If there ever was such a time, that time has passed when individual or nation can hope to succeed with the doctrine. "You must first look out for number one." Selfish materialism in the attitude of individuals and nations is proving an utter failure. Centuries ago the Apostle Paul wrote, "None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself," and today the whole world is feeling the effects of neglect of that truth in individual and in national affairs.

"Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain." Exalted thought, spiritual understanding — the eternal Christ-idea of Life — is the only hope of our race. The affections of individuals and of nations must be enriched and spiritualized. "Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science," Mrs. Eddy writes on page 266 of "Science and Health." Her life was a life of service to universal humanity. It had no other meaning. She wrote of her outlook when beginning to take her first steps to give to others the benefit of her discovery of spiritual healing (Science and Health, pp. 226, 227): "I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them rather than Mind. The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who today, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong believer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged." Like her Master, Mrs. Eddy ascended the mountain of spiritual truth. In her own experiences material efforts to heal had failed, and through faith and love she was able to take the upward-climbing steps until she discovered the method of Christian healing as existing wholly above matter in the realm of divine Mind.

 

The Science of Healing

"And when he was set, his disciples came unto him:  and he opened his mouth, and taught them." It was because Jesus taught from the basis of fixed, demonstrable Principle that disciples came to him. His teachings are as practical, as unchanging, as demonstrable, and as universally available today as when they were uttered. Mrs. Eddy discovered their scientific aspect and has written that "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe" (Science and Heath, p. 313). It was the immutability of Jesus' teaching and their demonstrable quality which caused disciples to come to him in the first century. It is the same scientific quality found in the Christ-truth as taught in the name of Christian Science in the twentieth century which has drawn its adherents. If Christian Science as discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy had not satisfied reason, lifted up the hearts hungering for peace, and healed the sick, it would have made no headway. If this system were not the spontaneous utterance of eternal Truth, it would have made no impression in the earth. It is the same Christ-light illuminating human lives, teaching the right knowledge of God and man and the availability of that knowledge to restore peace and health to all mankind.

When Jesus finished his discourse it is written that "when he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him." The light of his spiritual understanding he brought to humble listeners, and healed their sorrows, their sicknesses, and their sins. Likewise has Christian Science brought spiritual enlightenment, the understanding of the Christ-idea to receptive hearts and lives. There is no other possible reason for its growth in human acceptance and for the fact that increasing multitudes are gratefully and joyfully following this teaching. In this twentieth-century phenomenon the prophecy of Isaiah is again fulfilled: "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."

 

[Delivered Jan. 1, 1934, at Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Albemarle Road and E. 21st St., Brooklyn, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan. 2, 1934.]

 

 

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