Christian Science: The Light on Our Path

 

Cecil F. Denton, C.S., of New York, New York

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:

It is now generally known that Christian Scientists love and study the Bible. It is also well known that the Bible, together with the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, is the sole source of the weekly Lesson-Sermon studied by students of Christian Science and read from the desk on Sunday in Christian Science churches throughout the world. The very first tenet of our church, as founded by Mrs. Eddy, reads, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health, p. 497). Did not the Psalmist declare, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path?" (Ps. 119:105)

What is this light that shines in the darkness of material belief? Is it not the spiritual idea of God, the ever-present Christ, guiding mankind into the realization of joy and health, of peace and security?

 

The Light of the World

The Gospel according to St. John quotes Jesus as saying to the Pharisees, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). Would you not think those listeners would welcome such an assurance of true guidance to men, the assurance that there always would be a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path? But these Pharisees were so blinded by their own dogmatic debating that they could not discern the Christ which Jesus manifested.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy declares (p. 332): "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual, − yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death." And she adds, "Jesus demonstrated Christ; he proved that Christ is the divine idea of God − the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth."

When Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20), he was referring to the "divine idea of God," or Christ, which is the Saviour to mankind, not just in his age but throughout all time. The man Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary; "the Christ," our textbook tells us (p. 333), "is without beginning of years or end of days." It was the mission of the Master to demonstrate this saving Christ, and because he so did, he proved himself the Messiah.

 

Christ Jesus Our Ensample

It is sometimes said by those who have not carefully investigated the teachings of Christian Science that our religion minimizes the importance of the man Jesus. You will note that I said this criticism is voiced by those who have not thoroughly investigated the teachings of Christian Science, for any thorough seeker of the truth would soon ascertain the homage we render the Master. In fact, one of the By-Laws of the Manual of The Mother Church, in referring to Christ Jesus, states, "He who dated the Christian era is the Ensample in Christian Science" (Manual, p. 41). And elsewhere Mrs. Eddy also declares: "His history is emphatic in our hearts, and it lives more because of his spiritual than his physical healing. His example is, to Christian Scientists, what the models of the masters in music and painting are to artists" (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 3).

Christ Jesus was truly "the light of the world," because through his personal ministry he demonstrated the omnipotence of God and the impotence of evil; he vanquished all limitations of time and space; he healed the sick, redeemed the sinner, and raised the dead; he proved that hate and fear are powerless before divine Love. And he assured us that his followers should do the works that he did and even greater works. He could say this, and did say it, because he knew that all the darkness of error is simply the supposititious absence of Truth, which flees before the light of the Christ − the consciousness of Truth. This divine influence, this ever-present Christ, is indeed "the light," as John says, that "shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5).

Evil does not comprehend good, but it gives way to the light of Truth; hatred does not comprehend Love, but it melts before the light of Love; dishonesty does not comprehend rectitude and fair play, but inevitably it yields to the law of justice and divine Principle.

 

The Way of Salvation

What greater salvation for mankind could there be − yes, what greater salvation is there for mankind − than walking triumphantly in the enlightened way of the Master? My friend, does the path for you seem dark? Has joy fled? Are you smarting from the wounds received in "the house of [thy] friends"? (Zech. 13:6) Does some trait of disposition seem ineradicable in its tenacity? Then be of good cheer, for the assurance which Christian Science brings of complete salvation here and now will be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. You will see that regardless of the circumstance which to your suffering sense presents a problem, your peace, your health, and your security are already established in the spiritual reality of true being. When you repent, that is, when you change your thought from a material and negative basis to the radiant realization of man's dominion as exemplified by Christ Jesus, you find that whatsoever had hitherto limited and enslaved you has vanished for lack of witness.

Ezekiel points the way of salvation when he writes, "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye" (Ezek. 18:32). Does not this passage find a corollary in Mrs. Eddy's statement from Science and Health (p. 316), "The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship"?

In recognizing the divine sonship, in this turning from a material to a spiritual sense of existence, we disavow all that claims to harass the human experience. To all forms of error we say, and mean it, as did Christ Jesus, "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Matt. 16:23). In following in the footsteps of the Master, we find that salvation is not delayed until some future time, but becomes a present reality, even as the Glossary of Science and Health declares when it defines salvation as "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed" (p. 593).

 

"O the Love divine that plucks us

From the human agony!

O the Master's glory won thus,

Doth it dawn on you and me?

"And the bliss of blotted-out sin

And the working hitherto −

Shall we share it − do we walk in

Patient faith the way thereto?"

(Message to The Mother Church for 1901 by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 35.)

 

"A Lady With a Lamp"

It may be rightly said that no one since the advent of Christ Jesus has labored so patiently and so persistently to make available to mankind a working knowledge of God and His Christ as did the divinely inspired Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. From early childhood Mary Baker Eddy had known both dark and bright hours. And as the years advanced, those dark hours were marked by sickness and poverty, by pain and persecution. But through all these vicissitudes, Mrs. Eddy never lost her faith in God, never lost her acceptance of the Psalmist's assurance that the Word of God would be a lamp unto her feet and a light unto her path. She knew, however, that faith alone would never solve her problems. So through wide and varied experience and unremitting searching of the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy sought an understanding of God's Word. In speaking of the cumulative effect of these experiences, Mrs. Eddy has said:

"As these pungent lessons became clearer, they grew sterner. Previously the cloud of mortal mind seemed to have a silver lining: but now it was not even fringed with light. Matter was no longer spanned with its rainbow of promise. The world was dark. The oncoming hours were indicated by no floral dial. The senses could not prophesy sunrise or starlight.

"Thus it was," Mrs. Eddy recalls, "when the moment arrived of the heart's bridal to more spiritual existence. When the door opened, I was waiting and watching; and, lo, the bridegroom came! The character of the Christ was illuminated by the midnight torches of Spirit. My heart knew its Redeemer" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 23).

 

Mrs. Eddy Shared Her Discovery

And so that your heart and mine also might know their Redeemer, Mrs. Eddy labored to give her discovery of the Christly scientific way of release from bondage to material limitations to the whole world. She first put into practice this revelation of Truth by healing the sick and redeeming the sinner in the same way that Jesus and his disciples had brought salvation to mankind. Mrs. Eddy then wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Christian Science textbook, which is just that − a textbook wherein and whereby we find her discovery reduced to a system so exact in its Science and so simple in its presentation that even children can grasp the statements of Truth therein and make them practicable in their daily activities.

To illumine the path of life more glowingly, Mrs. Eddy established The Mother Church with its world-wide branches and activities. Mrs. Eddy established The Christian Science Publishing Society;

The Christian Science Monitor, which is truly an International daily newspaper; weekly and monthly periodicals; and the quarterly periodical containing the Bible Lesson-Sermons. These Lesson-Sermons Christian Scientists study gratefully, for in this study they gain new light on the Scriptures and fresh inspiration to solve the problems encountered in daily living. The scope of Mrs. Eddy's work unquestionably entitles her to the appellations Discoverer, Founder, and Leader. Those for whom Christian Science has erased the darkness of material beliefs know how truly the words of her great contemporary, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, apply to the Discoverer of Christian Science;

 

"A Lady with a Lamp shall stand

In the great history of the land,

A noble type of good,

Heroic womanhood."

 

The Search for God

Throughout all time mankind has longed for the peace and security which an understanding of God alone can bring; but they have not always known just how or where this realization might come. In his search for God, Job cried out, "Oh that I knew where I might find him" (Job 23:3). He, too, was looking for a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path, and he found these in a life so freed of selfishness, fear, and self-pity that in place of the darkness of human suffering he found the radiant realization of God's ever-presence and infinite goodness. Therefore he could declare, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5); that is, now mine eye seeth the tangible evidence of God's goodness and power.

In referring to this statement, Mrs. Eddy has declared: "Mortals will echo Job's thought, when the supposed pain and pleasure of matter cease to predominate. They will then drop the false estimate of life and happiness, of joy and sorrow, and attain the bliss of loving unselfishly, working patiently, and conquering all that is unlike God" (Science and Health, p. 262). Then she adds significantly, "Starting from a higher standpoint, one rises spontaneously, even as light emits light without effort; for 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' "

 

Starting From a Higher Standpoint

What is it to start from "a higher standpoint"? Is it not to base one's thinking and acting on the premise that God, good, alone is power? Is it not to recognize the falsity of evil's boast to be and to act? Is it not to acknowledge that the man of God's creating is "unfallen, upright, pure, and free," as Science and Health declares him to be (p. 171)? There is no limitation of time or space in this "starting from a higher standpoint," and it has nothing to do with the human beliefs of material origin, temperament, or heredity; but it has everything to do with a correct concept of man.

It was Alexander Pope who said that "the proper study of mankind is man." And Charles Lamb rendered a variation, "The proper study of man is himself." In a metaphysical sense, Mr. Lamb is right. Christian Science, however, declares further that the proper study of man is God, his creator. In fact, it must be admitted that all the ills of the world − social, economic, and political, as well as one's own discords and disappointments − stem from ignorance of God and man, His image and likeness. To know God, therefore, is to know man, and we know both through the revelation of Christian Science.

 

"Truth's prism and praise"

Science and Health declares (p. 558): "To mortal sense Science seems at first obscure, abstract, and dark; but a bright promise crowns its brow. When understood, it is Truth's prism and praise. When you look it fairly in the face, you can heal by its means, and it has for you a light above the sun, for God is the light thereof." "

In the laboratory of physical science the prism used in studies of light reveals the narrow beam of white light to be composed of seven primary colors. In the study of Deity, Christian Science − "Truth's prism and praise" − reveals the completeness of God through a number of primary synonyms which Mrs. Eddy tells us are "intended to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity" (Science and Health, p. 465). Four of these synonyms − namely, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love − Mrs. Eddy discovered in the Bible as names for God, The other three − Principle, Soul, and Mind − she found implied in the Scriptures, and these conform to both reason and revelation.

 

The Light of Spirit

The light of infinite Spirit reveals man's life controlled by divine law and not by matter. All that claims to govern man, whether it is a belief in fortune, good or bad, or a nervous system, good or bad, or hereditary characteristics, good or bad, is seen in the light of Christian Science to be a misconception of true being into which matter enters not at all.

The word of Spirit is indeed a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, for through spiritual mindedness we walk untrammeled through every circumstance which confronts us. We know the right thing to do at the right time. Paul said, "To be spiritually minded is life and peace'' (Rom. 8:6), and so it is, for the man to whom the ideas of Spirit are real and enduring is unmoved by the friction and frustration of material seeking and planning. To him intuition, therefore, is not something reserved for the feminine mind, but is unerring response to spiritual guidance.

When Jesus told the woman at the well at Sychar (John 4:24, Revised Version) that God is Spirit, he was defining not only the incorporeal nature of God, but he was also establishing the fact that man is governed by spiritual law. Jesus' own life and deeds testified to the fact that because man is the image and likeness of God, he is the image and likeness of Spirit. Therefore, all the inspiration and divine energy which characterize infinite Spirit are also true of man as His image and likeness. Energy is not in matter: it emanates from Spirit and animates man without depletion or exhaustion.

This spiritual animation is a source of attraction in the highest sense of the word. It is productive of good and for good. How significantly does Portia observe to Nerissa in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice":

 

"That light we see is burning in my hall.

How far that little candle throws his beams!

So shines a good deed in a naughty world."

 

True! And so shines a life animated by the light of Spirit. One is not only profited in the present of such a life, but is happy and inspired.

When Jesus reminded his disciples that they were the light of the world (Matt. 5:14), he surely must have intended to convey that so long as they expressed the Christ, Truth, which they had learned under his patient teaching, so long as they retained the spiritual-mindedness of Christ Jesus, would their influence for good be irresistibly felt among men. But, oh, the tragedy of those who once having walked in the light have allowed their zeal to become dimmed through apathy or compromise with matter. Hence the significance of Paul's, earnest admonition to the Romans to "maintain the spiritual glow" (Rom. 12:11, Moffatt's translation).

 

The Light of Life

We sometimes speak of life in terms of the material sense of the here or hereafter. This concept is simply in terms of material evaluations of what we see about us or of what we ourselves experience. Thus life may suggest only frustration or monotony, as a contemporary poet has expressed it in the lines,

 

"And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

There's this little street and this little house."

(Edna St. Vincent Millay)

 

In the face of disappointment and defeat, one has been heard to say, "Well, that's life." But it is not life, my friends, unless it is good; it is not life unless it is stable; it is not life unless it is harmonious; it is not life unless it is radiant with joy.

What is it, then, you ask, if it is not life? It is ignorance of real Life, of Life divine. It is ignorance of God and His Christ, whom to know aright is life eternal. A Christianly scientific understanding of true Life releases us from the restrictions of material living and replaces disease with normalcy, poverty with needful supply, monotony with spontaneity and inspiration, and failure with accomplishment.

Life demands that we think big − that we think only those thoughts which are vital and constructive. Perhaps you know a person as I do who is given to saving things. This dear lady I have in mind was particularly fond of saving pieces of string; and being a very systematic person, she had her collection properly labeled. That is, one box she designated for pieces of string suitable to wrap a package four inches by six inches; another for a package eight inches by twelve inches; and she had those designated for cartons of varying sizes. One box, however, was labeled, "pieces of string too small to use." How often are you and I guilty of holding on to thoughts which are "too small to use" − the petty resentments and criticisms which have no place in God and therefore have no place in the life of the real man,

Divine Life understood, therefore, replaces a false sense of life with its limited concepts. Life understood establishes the conviction of the eternal goodness of being, into which no separation, no grief, no misunderstanding can possibly enter. True consciousness holds no dread of the future but rejoices in ever-present good. One therefore can go forth each day in the happy realization that each hour is under God's control and is filled with His love. In the Glossary of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy gives the spiritual definition of "day" in part as "the irradiance of Life" and says further: "The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded. This unfolding is God's day, and 'there shall be no night there' " (p. 584).

 

The Light of Truth

A much-loved hymn assures us that "the beam of Truth displaces the darkness of the night" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 2). This is a fact, because the nature of Truth is to exclude everything unlike itself. Since Truth is that which is true, its opposite, error, is that which is untrue and therefore unreal.

It is the light of Truth which reveals to human consciousness man's innate integrity, his completeness, his wholeness, his individuality. And this understanding enables the individual to maintain both his moral and physical wholeness. Mortal mind's attack upon one's character or health is rendered impotent by the understanding that divine Truth alone governs and controls man and gives him enduring identity. This understanding is the forever coming of Christ − yea, it is the never leaving of Christ in human consciousness. Said the Psalmist, "As for me, I will walk in mine integrity" (Ps. 26:11).

 

The Light of Truth Brings Healing

Obviously that which is true is also that which is logical. And that which is true appeals to reason, eliminating misconceptions and making way for healing. The truth of this statement was made clear to a young mother who had known literally nothing of the teachings of Christian Science. Her little daughter had been ill with what the doctors had diagnosed as pernicious anemia. Finally, when it was said that nothing further medically could be done for the child, Christian Science was brought to the mother's attention. She listened patiently to a practitioner's explanation of the goodness of God and the power of His Christ. Finally he recounted to the mother the incident in which Christ Jesus at the marriage in Cana turned the water into wine (John 2:1-11). The practitioner then asked her if she did not see that the same Christ-power which performed what has been designated as Jesus' first miracle could replace the abnormal condition in her child's body with a normal one. The mother saw the correctness of the reasoning and gladly consented to the child's having Christian Science treatment. The word of Truth became to that mother a lamp unto her feet and a light unto her path, routing her fear and grief, and her newly found faith saw fulfillment in the child's complete recovery. Indeed, she learned the actuality of the Psalmist's statement, "Mercy and truth are met together" (Ps. 85:10).

 

The Light of Love

The Apostle Paul knew through experience how the light of Truth penetrates the darkness of material resistance and reveals the great heart of divine Love. He who wrote to the Corinthians (II Cor. 13:8), "We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth," also declared, "For 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" (Rom. 8:38,39).

How unforgettably Paul learned that the tender and compassionate love which characterized Jesus' ministry was the consistent expression of divine Love. In referring to this statement of the apostle's, Mrs. Eddy has said: "This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man − governed by God, his perfect Principle − is sinless and eternal" (Science and Health, p. 304).

 

Love Not an Abstraction

In the light of Christian Science, Love is not an abstraction. Christian Science reveals God as both Father and Mother, self-contained and self-complete creator, who brings forth man and who holds man forever in completeness and in the activity of selfless service. Since divine Love is another name for creator, all men must be brethren. Have we not all one Father-Mother God?

The realization of divine Love's ever-presence eliminates fear. The Apostle John reminds us that "there is no fear in love" (I John 4:18). Nor is there any anxiety in Love, nor dread, nor friction, nor self-pity or remorse, for Love knows only its own harmonious nature and being.

Sometimes we hear it said, "I wish I were more loving." If it is true that the wish is father to the deed, then the answer to that desire is simply to be more loving. We may not always see the opportunity to express our love in specific deeds, but we can always think of others in terms of spiritual perfection and love. True love just loves, seeking no human approval, asking nothing in return. Love sends forth no unkind criticism and barbs none. Because love is truly humble, it is moved by neither the world's flattery nor its censure. Love is unmoved in the face of adversity or opposition or hatred; therefore love is always the victor and never the vanquished. Indeed, as our hymn says, "Love is the royal way" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 179).

 

A Place of Calm

Physicists tell us that in cyclones, no matter how tempestuous they may be, there is always one spot which is so calm that a feather can be sustained there in perfect poise. My friends, let love be your place of calm, and then regardless of the irritations or pressure of the world, you will find your poise and your joy in loving.

 

"Then, brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother,

For where love dwells, the peace of God is there:

To worship rightly is to love each other;

Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer."

(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 217)

 

The Light of Divine Principle

When Isaiah declared that "precept must be upon precept . . . line upon line" (Isa. 28:10), he was indicating the orderliness of activity, which we learn in Christian Science is the expression of God as divine Principle. Christian Scientists are deeply grateful to Mrs. Eddy for this enriching revelation of God as the source of all action, of law and order, and their enforcement. In fact, God as divine Principle is all that creator is − God as cause and man His effect. This reveals man's unity with God and explains Jesus' statement, "I and my Father are one" − one in being and yet distinct.

The more closely we adhere to the realization of the true man's oneness with God, the more consistently we demonstrate the guidance of divine Principle in our lives. For example, the businessman, whether he be among those "that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters" (Ps. 107:23), or whether he be an executive, a salesman, or a merchant − regardless of his pursuit, so long as he adheres to what he knows is honest, to what is just, to what is serviceable, and to what is good, he is expressing divine Principle, and he will therefore bring out in his experience the fruitage of such adherence in terms of usefulness and success. The light of divine Principle reveals the fact that all God's ideas dwell together to bless each other and all are mutually co-operative. Therefore supply does meet demand, unfair competition becomes obsolete, and all are blessed.

 

Principle Guides Men and Nations

"God is the lawmaker," declares Science and Health, "but He is not the author of barbarous codes" (p. 381). God's law, or the law of divine Principle, is a loving law; it governs men and nations in equity. When adhered to, it settles all disputes on the basis of the golden rule. Principle reveals the universality and omniaction of divine justice and replaces avarice with contentment, revenge with love, and disunity with unity. In prophesying the union of Israel and Judah, Ezekiel records God as saying, "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all . . . so shall they be my people, and I will be their God" (Ezek. 37:22,23).

Ultimately all nations must know but one God, one divine Principle, and all that oppresses and harasses and intimidates − yea, all that does not pattern the divine − must give way to the everlasting reign of the Christ, of Principle. Then, as Isaiah declared, "The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water" (Isa. 35:7).

 

Principle and Ethics

What we term ethics and conscience, whether in the affairs of nations, in business, in church activities, or in our individual lives, are simply our subscription to the operation of divine Principle in our conscious experience. Hence the Christian Science practitioner is scrupulous in his keeping in sacred confidence all that is divulged to him in the relationship of practitioner and patient. And all those who have named the name of Christ are grateful for increasing light upon how to choose between right and wrong; in short, how to discern that which is consistent with divine Principle and practice. As Paul says of this influence for good, "God, who is rich in mercy . . . hath quickened us together with Christ" (Eph. 2:4,5).

 

The Light of Soul

The quickening together with Christ − this oneness with divine Principle − is spiritual sense or Soul-sense. It is the consciousness of true being, without beginning or end, the consciousness of spiritual perfection and harmony. Throughout the ages mankind has thought of soul as an indwelling spirit, declaring one moment that soul sins and dies, then again that soul is immortal. Christian Science clarifies the point through the revelation that Soul is God, and therefore Soul is not in man but is reflected by man.

Our textbook declares (p. 247), "Immortality, exempt from age or decay, has a glory of its own, − the radiance of Soul." Soul or God, therefore, radiates the beauty of holiness, the joy and bliss of Spirit, the omniaction of Life and its own color and harmony. Surely one cannot see a magnificent sunset or hear a moving symphony without being conscious of "the radiance of Soul."

Science and Health tells us that "God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men" (p. 550). It is the function of God or Soul to preserve life. Your true individuality and identity are expressions of Soul and are therefore immortal. One's individuality is always poised in Soul and is therefore distinct and distinctive as spiritual entity. My friend, honor your true individuality. We should never try to be like somebody else, but rather we need only to bring out our own individual expression of Soul. Thus we eliminate envy or jealousy of another's attainments or talents, for the light of Soul reveals to each one his peculiar abilities, usefulness, and charm which are his Soul-filled individuality.

 

Man's Spiritual Faculties

Christ Jesus was the greatest individualist the world has ever known. He defied creed and dogma and consistently exercised Soul-sense in place of material sense. He healed all manner of diseases and gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. The Master did all this and more through the realization that man's faculties are spiritual and not material. Sight, hearing, and their coordination and preservation, he knew to be determined by God alone and to be eternally free of impairment or blemish.

The word of Soul is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, for through spiritual sense you come to know your true being. This understanding brings health and a right sense of affluence; it annuls the frictions of material sense and reveals man's serenity unshaken. In a letter to a branch church, Mrs. Eddy once wrote, "Into His haven of Soul there enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition which guides you safely home" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 152).

 

The Light of Divine Mind

Just as the Bible indicates that God is Soul, so the Scriptures reveal that God is Mind. Paul said, "He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:27). And the Psalmist declared, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Ps. 119:130).

Obviously the source of wisdom or spiritual understanding must be divine Mind. And because there is but one God, there is but one Mind. This is one of the cardinal points in the teaching of Christian Science and one of the most imperative to understand. In fact, our textbook makes this arresting statement, ". . . if mortals claimed no other Mind and accepted no other, sin would be unknown" (Science and Health, p. 469). All the world's distress, it may be said, comes from the failure to acknowledge God as the only Mind.

He to whom the word of divine Mind becomes a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path walks in the understanding of spiritual dominion. He learns to distinguish between the false concepts of the carnal mind and the ideas of the divine Mind. Therefore he eliminates wasted motion and lost energy. He learns, also, that application to daily assignments is the natural expression of Mind's activity. Therefore he does not fear the outcome of any project but rests in the conviction that what divine Mind directs him to do carries with the assignment every right idea needful to its successful completion.

 

Man Reflects Divine Intelligence           

Divine Mind replaces ignorance and fear with wisdom and confidence. Do you recall that when the Lord sent Moses unto Pharaoh, Moses was fearful that he could not fulfill his mission, for he was slow of speech? The Lord assured Moses, however, that He would teach him what to say, but still Moses doubted his ability. Therefore the Lord gave Moses the wisdom and confidence he needed in terms he could understand, that is He sent Aaron with him to be his spokesman. Moses had not yet grown sufficiently in understanding to realize the true man's oneness with divine Mind wherein is infinite knowing and expression. How pertinently Mrs. Eddy has written, "Through the transparency of Science we learn this, and receive it: learn that man can fulfill the Scriptures in every instance; that if he open his mouth it shall be filled − not by reason of the schools, or learning, but by the natural ability, that reflection already has bestowed on him, to give utterance to Truth" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 183).

 

The Medicine of Mind

Because Mind is all-knowing, the light of divine Mind reveals to us whatever we need to know for the solution of any problem, financial, moral, or physical. The mention of physical problems brings to thought an incident which I observed. I overheard two girls of high school age talking in front of a Christian Science church. Upon reading the inscription on the cornerstone, one turned to her friend and asked, "What church is that?" Her friend replied, "Oh, don't you know, they're the people who don't believe in taking medicine!" What the girl should have said is that Christian Scientists do not believe in taking material medicine, for Science and Health states plainly (p. 142) that "God being All-in-all, He made medicine; but that medicine was Mind." And the textbook adds: "Truth is God's remedy for error of every kind, and Truth destroys only what is untrue. Hence the fact that, today, as yesterday, Christ casts out evils and heals the sick."

 

Prayer and Healing

Walking in the light of Mind means walking in the path of enlightened consciousness, and like the logic of Truth, enlightened consciousness, or understanding prayer, makes the way for healing.

A case in point is that of a student of Christian Science who, upon spending several hours at a seaside resort, discovered he had acquired what was said to be a severe case of sunburn. The condition was also characterized by a general over-all illness. The young man knew that his remedy lay in spiritualized consciousness. He therefore sought a Christian Science Reading Room, where he pondered the truths be had known from childhood. He gained much inspiration from the study of the Bible and our Leader's writings, and he found his attention particularly arrested by a statement Mrs. Eddy makes in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902. After declaring that "it is wise . . . to square accounts with each passing hour," Mrs. Eddy adds, "Then thy gain outlives the sun, for the sun shines but to show man the beauty of holiness and the wealth of love" (p. 17). He pondered that statement until he saw clearly that if it is true in the light of Christian Science that "the sun shines but to show man the beauty of holiness and the wealth of love," then the fact is that the sun has a constructive office and not a destructive one. With the acceptance into consciousness of this illumination of the truth about creation and man, the student experienced an instantaneous healing and left the Reading Room completely free in every respect.

From the foregoing you can clearly see that prayer in Christian Science, or Christian Science treatment, is not some "hocus-pocus," some conjuring up of magic words to fit this situation or that, or playing upon words. In fact, Mrs. Eddy has said, "Christian Science is at length learned to be no miserable piece of ideal legerdemain, by which we poor mortals expect to live and die, but a deep-drawn breath fresh from God, by whom and in whom man lives, moves and has deathless being" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 195).

Paul said, "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also" (I Cor. 14:15). And that is just what the Christian Scientist does when he prays or gives what is known as a Christian Science treatment. He prays with the spirit, that is, he embodies in his daily living and thought those qualities of the Christ, Truth, which characterized Jesus' ministry − those qualities of love, compassion, honesty, purity, and fearlessness which in their consistent Godlikeness make it possible to follow the Scriptural injunction to "pray without ceasing" (I Thess. 5:17).

To pray with the spirit is of first importance, but one must also pray with the understanding. He must bring to each case his understanding of the truth about God and man. That is the reason for studying the Scriptures in the light of Christian Science, for in this study we learn that God never created sin, disease, or death, for He could not possibly create anything unlike Himself. Therefore that which is unlike God, divine Truth, must be untrue and unreal.

Some of the medical faculty now agree that at least seventy-five per cent of all diseases are attributable to mental causes. Christian Science, on the other hand, recognizes that all disease is mental, but by that is not meant that disease is mere imagination. Contrary to some opinions, Christian Science treatment does not consist of saying, "Oh, you are not sick; you just think you are." But Christian Science does recognize that wherever there appears to be a discordant condition, it is because a false concept of God's perfect creation, including man, has been temporarily accepted into consciousness. Our textbook declares, "Disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed" (Science and Health, p. 411). Christian Science annuls this false sense by employing the law of God, good, which destroys discord.

To pray with the spirit and with the understanding, therefore, is to keep thought so at one with God that those whose receptive hearts are seeking the truth will find their Redeemer. In the chapter on Christian Science Practice in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy makes this pertinent declaration: "By the truthful arguments you employ, and especially by the spirit of Truth and Love which you entertain, you will heal the sick" (Science and Health, p. 418).

 

 

 

Conclusion

Early in this lecture we said that throughout all time mankind has longed for the peace and security which an understanding of God alone can bring. Those of us who have found through Christian Science that the Word of God is indeed a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path are mindful that the Christ, Truth, is ever present to guide and heal. This spiritual illumination is "the restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12), the peace be still to all the doubts and fears that would obscure our perception of the radiance of Soul and the wisdom of Mind. This spiritual understanding makes possible a ready response to Isaiah's cry (Isa. 2:5), "O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." Yes, my friends,

 

"Walk in the light, and thou shalt see

Thy path, though thorny, bright;

For God by grace shall dwell with thee,

And God Himself is Light."

(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 367)

 

[Nov. 23, 1948]

 

 

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