Christian Science: Man's Eternal Birthright
John W. Doorly C.S.B. of Leeds, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science accepts Christ Jesus' command, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48), as a practical command and one which he well knew could be obeyed by all who would strive to obey it. Indeed Christian Science says that if Jesus had given such a command knowing that it could not be fulfilled, his action would have been inexplicable. It further teaches that not only did Jesus mean this command to be obeyed, but that this is a logical command and one that was fulfilled to some extent then and should be fulfilled now. Unfortunately the world's superstitious beliefs about God, the one creator, have caused it to regard Him as being perfect only in theory. Consequently man, who is the effect of this one and only cause, God, the world has regarded as being a poor mortal, liable to sin, disease, and death. Christian Science says that these are wrong views of God and of man, and that to attain true salvation we must come out of these mistaken theories and understand God as He really is. We must also understand man as God's perfect likeness. Then we will be able to recognize Jesus' command to be perfect, as based on Truth and law and therefore as divinely natural and demonstrable.
Let us consider then those two questions which the world needs to solve before it can be saved from evil. The two questions are: (1) What is God? (2) What is man?
God and Man
Christian Science teaches that "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life Truth, Love" (Science and Health, p. 465). What then must man, made in God's image and likeness, be? Undoubtedly he must be incorporeal and must also be the likeness of infinite Mind, of Spirit, of Soul, of Principle, of Life, of Truth, and of Love. "Where then," some one will say, "is this man for we have not seen or known him?" Christian Science teaches that this man who is the effect or the likeness of that one, infinite cause, God, and who is consequently the likeness of infinite Mind, of Spirit, of Soul, of Principle, of Life, of Truth, and of Love is the only man God ever made. It further declares that this man must be cognized as God Himself is cognized, that is, he must be understood, for he cannot be seen by the physical or human senses. Every one knows that you cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell God, through the five physical senses, but that you must understand or know God in spite of your physical senses. Just so Christian Science teaches that you cannot through the physical senses see, hear, touch, taste or smell God's likeness, the true man, your own true selfhood, and the true selfhood of every man, but that you can understand or know this man spiritually.
But says some one, "What is the advantage of knowing this man, the spiritual man, God's likeness, if even he does exist, and of what avail will this knowledge be to us here in human experience?" Christian Science replies that the correct understanding of this man, God's image, is all important: for the correct knowledge of God and of this man, in spite of the testimony of the physical senses, is the Truth which Christ Jesus came to teach and is therefore the only true way of salvation.
At this point let us see what we need to be saved from. Christian Science replies "From the mortal man and from mortality, from the material corporeality which we can, see, hear, touch, taste, and smell materially and which we have mistakenly regarded as God's man, but which is really the very opposite of the true man." Where then did this mortal come from and what is he, if not God's man? Christian Science teaches that this mortal man is simply a false sense of man, and that this false sense originated in the mist of a so-called mortal mind, i. e., in the mythological belief that God's man, made in God's image, has fallen to the level of a sick, sinning, and dying mortal. The Scriptures, however, declare, in direct opposition to this, that "whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it" (Eccl. 3:14), and Christian Scientists understand that this is a logical and scientific statement. They therefore refuse to countenance for one moment the belief that God's man, i.e., God's expression, has fallen from his high estate and become a poor mortal, but Christian Scientists understand that the whole theory of fallen man is based on mythology and superstition and that the mortal man is the result of this mythology or of this wrong thinking. Christian Science therefore teaches that the mortal man and mortal existence are based on wrong thinking about God and about His creation, spiritual being. In fact, Christian Science teaches that mortal existence is based on what the Scriptures describe as the carnal mind, or on a wrong mental condition. If then the mortal man and mortal existence are based on the so-called carnal mind, or on wrong thinking, what would be the logical way to get free from them? Would it not be to start by getting rid of the carnal mind or of the wrong thinking of which mortality is but a suppositional effect? And how is this to be done?
Mind Is God and Omnipotent
Right here is where Mrs. Eddy has blessed humanity abundantly by revealing to them that because God is divine Mind, therefore all right thinking, or spiritual understanding, is based on and emanates from this one Mind, God, and is consequently with power. Perhaps the most pregnant statement in Christ Jesus' teaching is: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Mrs. Eddy has stated this same thing when she declares that "Truth is affirmative, and confers harmony. All metaphysical logic is inspired by this simple rule of Truth." (Science and Health, p. 418). I would also like to call your attention to the way in which Christ Jesus connected true thinking, i. e., spiritual understanding, with divine realty or spiritual being. He had just made the statement that "the flesh profiteth nothing," for "it is the spirit that quickeneth" (John 6:33), when he went right on to explain what Spirit is by declaring, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John (6:63). Whatever is true is in and of God, Spirit, divine Mind, and therefore the truth we know is God or divine Mind with us.
Just lay hold on this fact, that because God is divine Mind or is that which knows and knows truly, therefore the truth we know is Immanuel or God with us. When you realize this, you will have touched the hem of Christ's robe. You will also have begun to realize how true happiness, true holiness, true health, and true life can be obtained and retained. The problem is therefore to see how we can begin practically to entertain true thoughts which originate in the divine Mind, God, or how we can begin to have that Mind which was also in Christ Jesus and which will deliver us from the so-called carnal mind and from its effect, mortality, with its material thinking, its sinful thoughts, its sick thoughts, and its death thoughts.
Scriptural Record of Mind's Availability
Before we see how we can use these teachings of Christian Science and of the Scriptures, suppose we go back and see how spiritually minded men and women before us have used these same teachings to deliver themselves and others from mortality and its pains, and how this understanding of God as divine Mind has appeared progressively in human thought until today we are seeing its complete revelation. About the first thing we learn in Christian Science is that all men and women, throughout the Scriptures and throughout history, who have accomplished anything through their understanding of God, have accomplished these things, not because God became partial to them and picked them out to do these things, but because they began to understand God aright and allowed that understanding to govern their lives. It is also true that this is equally possible to every man, since God has foreordained every man, not as a mortal but as His perfect expression, to be a witness of His glory. Those who did attain in human history, attained by working upon the correct understanding of God and man to overcome mortality, in just the same way that one would work upon the correct understanding of mathematics to solve a mathematical problem. In proportion to their spiritual understanding or their true thoughts and their willingness to govern their lives by this understanding, was their ability to lead themselves and others out of the illusions of mortality. Abraham, for instance, dwelt among the sun worshipers and moon worshipers of Chaldea when he first gained a glimpse of God's true nature as being far above such idolatry. His improved sense of God convinced Abraham that he must forthwith leave Ur of the Chaldees and its idolatry and go out to a place where he could develop his newly found understanding. He also realized that this activity would bless him and his abundantly.
It is recorded that when Abraham was ninety and nine years old God appeared to him; that is, he perceived more of God's true nature: since God is ever present and neither appears nor disappears. At this time Abraham expressed his understanding of God in the following words: "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Gen. 17:1). Abraham indeed perceived that his correct understanding of God as the almighty One, if used in his daily life, would make him perfect, or would deliver him from the mistaken sense that God's man is mortal and imperfect. This clearly indicated that Jesus' command to be perfect had been understood and used to some extent by Abraham two thousand years before the time of Christ Jesus.
The name Abraham, or "father of a multitude," itself represented a state of consciousness or a period of spiritual understanding in the scientific unfolding of God's true nature in human history. This is evident when we remember that Abraham's name was changed from Abram to Abraham only when his thoughts about God were changed and improved. In fact, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the prophets, Christ Jesus, his disciples, and Paul, all represented states of consciousness or different stages of the appearing of the truth about God and about man, and even their names indicated this. In many cases their names were changed as their understanding grew clearer. Jacob became Israel, Oshen became Joshua, Saul became Paul, Simon Barjona became Simon Peter, and so on.
When humanity recognizes that God is divine Mind, it will naturally perceive that all there is or ever has been to anyone that is worth taking account of, is his true mentality or his spiritual thinking, i. e., his true God-likeness. It will then naturally perceive that these men were all lights in human history, or, in the progress from the darkness of material thinking to the understanding of spiritual being, because of their right thinking or their spirituality. Men, when they perceive this fact, that true mentality, or spiritual thinking, constitutes a man's real individuality or his God-likeness, will then cease troubling about their mortal bodies or the material body of anyone, but they will strive to gain more of the divine Mind. Mankind has made a woeful and bitter mistake in regarding man as a material corporeality or as a conglomeration of mortal theories rather than as a divinely mental or spiritual being expressing the divine Mind, God.
Abraham's clear thinking about God, that He is ever present Life and is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, that He is ever available to all who understand Him and will use this understanding to govern and control their daily lives, was what made him less of a mortal and more of a real man than his predecessors.
This spiritual understanding, or this right mentality, as manifested by Abraham, was still further developed by Jacob. Jacob expressed his sense of God's nature in these words: "I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac" (Gen. 28:13). Jacob, in fact, realized that God was always the same God to any enlightened state of consciousness, be it Abraham, Isaac, or himself. "Jacob vowed a vow, saying, if God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, . . . then shall the Lord be my God" (Gen. 28: 20, 21). Evidently Jacob realized that his understanding of God, if correct, should be of some practical avail to him. Jacob was not bargaining with God to supply him with food and clothing, but he fully realized that if his understanding of God was correct, then that spiritual thinking would inevitably keep him from poverty and would bless him abundantly. Jacob's thinking manifested itself in that age in his twelve sons who were to form the twelve tribes of Israel. To anyone who has studied the history of the human race, it is of course evident that the twelve sons of Jacob represented twelve states of thought which at that time were influencing and forming human history. This will be quite clear to anyone who has studied Jacob's blessings to his sons in the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis where he describes their different states of thought and their consequent futures in history. Moses likewise did the same thing, as recorded in the thirty-third chapter of Deuteronomy.
The most striking character among Jacob's sons was undoubtedly Joseph. Joseph's evident spirituality or his understanding of God and man, i. e., his true thoughts, caused his brethren to hate him and to sell him into bondage in Egypt. Joseph's right thinking, however, on all occasions, and his refusal to yield himself a servant to the flesh, i. e., to wrong thinking, enabled him eventually to be the savior of his father and his brethren from destruction. In fact, Joseph saved for humanity the spiritual idea, or the correct understanding of God which was being manifested through Jacob and his sons, in that age. This understanding in its fuller appearing was destined eventually to save all men. Joseph was undoubtedly enabled to do this because of his spiritual understanding and his constant practice in daily life of this understanding. Jacob took the birthright from Reuben, his first-born, and gave it to Joseph and his heirs, because he realized that Joseph's clear sense of God would enable him to interpret God aright to men and thus to continue the development of truth in human history.
Both Jacob and Moses, in foretelling the futures of the children of Israel, indicated that Judah and Joseph were the two mentalities which represented the highest states of thought and from which the greatest blessings would consequently come to mankind. Jacob foretold that out of Judah there should arise Shiloh and this was of course fulfilled in Christ Jesus. In his blessings to Joseph, which blessings were passed on to Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob clearly pointed out that at some time the Joseph state of thought would be blessed and would bless mankind overwhelmingly. He pointedly connected these blessings, in the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis, with the woman state of consciousness, and so with what is happening to-day for the first time in human history, that is, the advent of woman's hour as well as of man's.
Moses and the Children of Israel
After Joseph, the next great figure in human progress was Moses. Moses, in making his choice not to live in ease in the courts of Egypt, but rather to help to guide the Israelites into the promised land, showed he realized that it was through the idealism of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph that humanity could be saved. He left Egypt for forty years and prepared himself for his mission in the house of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He was then enabled to understand God at Mount Horeb as "I am that I am." The word Horeb means desert and Mount Horeb expresses Moses' exalted state of thought when he was ready to come out of the desert of human beliefs and to understand God aright. In fact, it is only as each one of us is ready to come out of this same desert of mortal thinking, that we can really understand God and the spiritual man. Moses realized at Mount Horeb that God and true existence were both based on absolute law, and that the understand of this law, God's law for Himself and for His creation, would be the only way of salvation for men from mortality and its plagues.
Moses understood and lived this spiritual law to such effect that he was able to guide the children of Israel out of the idolatry of Egypt up to the promised land, where he expected that they would live according to this divine law. The children of Israel, however, because of their ignorance of God, or their wrong thinking, had to pass through many trials before they could enter the promised land. A close study of the wanderings of the children of Israel shows that the wilderness through which they really had to wander was the wilderness of mortal thought. Whenever the children of Israel forgot God's true nature and the necessity of cognizing that nature and living in accord with it, i. e., whenever their thoughts partook of the mortal and not of the divine, they brought suffering upon themselves. As soon, however, as they were willing to utilize their understanding of God and of spiritual being or to think aright, they were immediately delivered from hunger, from suffering, from disease, from war, from death, and from trouble of every kind. During these experiences their thoughts were being developed so that God's true nature and His divine law, the law of spiritual being, were being made manifest through them, for all time. As a matter of fact, all human law is to-day based on the vision which the Israelites gained of divine law.
Mrs. Eddy has written of the wanderings of the children of Israel:
"As the children of Israel were guided triumphantly through the Red Sea, the dark ebbing and flowing tides of human fear, — as they were led through the wilderness, walking wearily through the great desert of human hopes, and anticipating the promised joy, — so shall the spiritual idea guide all right desires in their passage from sense to Soul, from a material sense of existence to the spiritual, up to the glory prepared for them who love God. Stately Science pauses not, but moves before them, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, leading to divine heights.
"If we remember the beautiful description which Sir Walter Scott puts into the mouth of Rebecca the Jewess in the story of Ivanhoe, —
When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out of the land of bondage came,
Her fathers' God before her moved,
An awful guide, in smoke and flame, —
we may also offer the prayer which concludes the same hymn, —
And oh, when stoops on Judah's path
In shade and storm the frequent night,
Be Thou, longsuffering, slow to wrath,
A burning and a shining light!"
After the children of Israel reached the promised land, there arose many spiritually minded men and women through whose right thinking and living the truth could come to human thought. Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and many others, all added their quota of right thinking about God and about existence to bless mankind and to guide them out of mortality or out of a false sense of existence. Since God is divine Mind, what could these men have brought to humanity that could possibly help it, but more right mentality, i. e., more understand of God or more spiritual thinking and living. The right idea of God and of God's law was forever manifesting itself whenever thought was of such a nature as to permit this appearing. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a striking example of this, and of course John the Baptist himself.
The crowning example of that age came when the Virgin perceived that the mortal man was not God's man, but that the true man was the spiritual man, i. e., the divinely mental man. This man is forever at one with God and is perfect even as the Father is perfect. The result of the Virgin's vision, or her right thinking, in human experience was the man, Christ Jesus. He partook so much of the spiritual, or the divinely mental, and so little of the human, or the mortally mental, that he was enabled to prove completely that it was man's normal and natural right to be immortal and therefore to come out of mortality with its sin, disease, and death. Jesus taught men that the way of salvation is the Truth: i. e., the truth about God, whom he declared is Spirit, or divine Mind, and about true existence which is spiritual, or divinely mental. Jesus' whole life was given to proving this Truth in every way, by annulling the so-called laws and limitations of mortal existence in a still more striking manner than those before him had done, but upon the same basis. He saw clearly that humanity, because of its limited and mortal thinking, could not begin to accept the spiritual facts of being which he knew and could prove. In fact, he saw that if he tried to teach them the whole truth, that mortal existence is a falsity and that true being is spiritual or divinely mental, his teaching would be fore-doomed to failure. Even to his disciples he said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). He, however, made humanity a promise that the Spirit of Truth, the same Truth which had manifested itself through Enoch, through Noah, through Abraham, through Jacob, through Joseph, through Moses, through the prophets, and through his own mentality, would eventually be manifested fully and would guide men everywhere into all righteousness.
Why will men not recognize that Christ Jesus did not and could not teach even his disciples the full truth about God and about existence? Why will they not recognize that Jesus was speaking to an age which was so materially minded and so ignorant of God's true nature as Spirit, or divine Mind, that they had even supposed up to that time that God, who is Love, could be appeased by the wholesale slaughter of animals and birds, and by other superstitions? In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus was forced to recognize that even his disciples did not understand enough of the truth to enable them to help him in his time of need, and that they were not therefore ready to establish his teachings fully at that time. He then decided that he must accomplish that unparalleled demonstration of the cross which proved conclusively that right thinking, or spiritual understanding, does deliver from evil of every kind, even from death. This demonstration was his victory over the grave and was to be a waymark of spiritual power which could never be explained away. The mere fact that Christ Jesus allowed men to crucify his material body would mean no more to humanity than is meant by the sacrifice that millions of people have made when they were willing to give their lives for humanity. His life of constant right thinking, his unceasing willingness every minute of his life to give up mortality and his consequent victory over mortality, even over death and the grave, these mean everything to mankind.
Jesus has blessed mortals in no way more than by the fact that he taught them how to pray "with signs following," and he taught them in language which they could grasp and in a way which was adapted to their ability to understand God at that time. The prayer which he gave them is what we know as the Lord's Prayer. Jesus' own prayer for himself was, "Father . . . I knew that thou hearest me always" (John 11:42), i. e., his own prayer was an absolute understanding and acknowledgment of the divine Principle, God.
Paul's Demonstration of Divine Mind
After the ministry of Christ Jesus, St. Paul, who was not one of Christ Jesus' disciples, is perhaps the most striking example of what right thinking, i. e., the correct understanding of God and of man, will do to free men from the wrong thinking of the carnal mind. Speaking of the ability of spiritual understanding to deliver from evil of every kind, Paul says:
"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
"Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
"Women received their dead raised to life again." (Hebrews 11:32-35)
Up to this time the way of salvation had seemed to be mostly through the male portion of humanity, although there had been such striking instances of woman's spirituality as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Deborah, Hannah the mother of Samuel, the Virgin, Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene, and indeed many others. The activity of Truth through the thoughts of women in that age was probably little known because of the secondary position which the women of the East were forced to occupy. To students of the Scriptures, however, it is evident that there are many instances of the great spirituality of woman. Indeed it is evident that in most of the cases where men accomplished great things through their spirituality, their mothers before them had shown the same acquaintance with God. Eventually in the book of Revelation St. John began to show clearly what many of the prophets had hinted at, that humanity would be saved not only through the highest male qualities of thought, but also through the highest woman qualities as well. He therefore portrays salvation as a woman, in the twelfth chapter of Revelation.
Historical Record of Mind's Appearing
It is well for us to remember that all of these men and women through whom God was revealed had in some measure and in many striking instances proved practically the power of their right thinking and living by overcoming sin, disease, hunger, lack, death, and every vicissitude of mortal experience. In fact, they had broken, time and time again, every so-called mortal law, both for themselves and for others, and they had done this through their understanding of a higher and more natural law. Also, they had in some measure brought to mankind a better system of law and government and a clearer sense of man's duty to his fellow man. It is well, also, for us to remember that what we regard as God's promises to Abraham, to Jacob, to Joseph and his sons, to Judah, to Moses, or to any Scriptural character, were really prophetic utterances of spiritually minded men who discerned certain divine qualities of thought, and what these qualities of thought would do eternally throughout history. The fulfillment of these promises was not limited to any particular time or to any particular event, but they were infinite promises of what such thinking would accomplish eternally and throughout all human history. To doubt this would be to misunderstand the infinite and eternal nature of Truth. For instance, Abraham saw that his faith in God as the eternal Principle of being would not only bless his immediate descendants, but would bless all mankind throughout all time and would continue to appear and to reappear more distinctly in human thought throughout existence. Consequently the promises to these men are of more importance to human history to-day than they have ever been, and God's covenant with Abraham or with any Scriptural character is as good or even better to-day for those who will accept it than it has ever been. Mrs. Eddy has emphasized this fact when she states that "Christ's Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God" (Science and Health, p. 271)
After the ministry of Christ Jesus it is recorded that these same healing and redeeming works were accomplished for two hundred and fifty years through wholly spiritual means. The dead were raised, the sick were healed, and the sinning were reformed. Humanity has made a fatal mistake by looking upon the period recorded in the Bible and the revelation of God's true nature during that period as something quite different from what has happened since. This is not in accord with the precepts or the prophecies of the Scriptures, which clearly foretold that as time went on men would understand God more and more clearly and that this understanding would deliver from all evil. Isaiah foretold the time when "the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6,9). Jeremiah speaks of the time when "they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:34). Christ Jesus spoke of the time when the spirit of Truth would guide men into all righteousness, and St. John foretold the time when "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4). St. John likewise states why these things shall be no more when he says: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God" (Rev. 21:3).
Humanity will have to see that the right thinking of men and women, i. e., their spiritual understanding, from the time of Adam down to the present day, has continued to leaven human thought progressively and that the spiritual thinking of such men and women as Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Wesley, Julia Ward Howe, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale, and others, was just as much a part of the development of Truth in human thought as were the visions of Abraham, Jacob, or any other Scriptural character. The liberation of men from the bondage of slavery, the growth of democracy, the increasing stability of law and justice in human thought, the establishment of religious and political freedom, and the improvements in all human conditions, are proofs of the fact that the correct understanding of God and of existence has progressed since the Christian era, in spite of the carnal mind's efforts to bind men to material thinking and its penalties.
Divine Mind's Final Revelation
Moses, Christ Jesus, and all the spiritually minded men and women of whom we have been speaking, had foreseen and established the basis for these very things in the Commandments, in the Sermon on the Mount, and in all of their revelations. Humanity, however, has in a great measure failed to see that the healing of the sick, the feeding of the multitude, the raising of the dead, the walking on the water, and the establishment of better government and better human relationships among men and women are one and the same thing and are all dependent wholly on spiritual means, or on spiritual understanding. To-day, — the day of woman's hour as well as of man's, — we are living in an age when it is being recognized that not only is God the Father of all being, but that God is also the Mother of existence, and this fuller revelation of God's true nature is bringing into every phase of human experience a more spiritual sense of things. How could God have created man in His own image, male and female, unless God had been both Father and Mother? The result of this fuller understanding of God's true nature is that women are being given their rightful places in human affairs. Indeed it will not be long before it is universally recognized that not only the wisdom and strength of the male, but also the love and the deep spirituality of the woman as typified in the lives of such truly womanly men as Joseph, as Christ Jesus, and as St. John, must eventually save mankind from its troubles. The promises to Joseph, as well as to Judah, will then be fulfilled.
Christian Science therefore recognizes clearly that only as men and women throughout history have understood God's true nature or have entertained thoughts of Life, of Truth, and of Love, have they been enabled to rise scientifically above mortal existence and its pains, and to be free. Christian Science further teaches that this is the only way of permanent salvation from evil of any kind and that all other methods of dealing with sin, with disease, or with death, are only temporary human makeshifts. This is so because God is divine Mind and therefore the only way of salvation must be through true God-likeness, i. e., true Mind-likeness, through right thinking or spiritual understanding. This is practical salvation here and now as taught and demonstrated throughout the Scriptures and throughout history. This is the idealism of Christ Jesus which alone can save humanity from all of its troubles. This is the attainment of heaven or harmony here and now and within us, i. e., within our thought.
Practical Demonstration of Divine Mind
Let us see, then, how a man would use this idealism practically in daily life. It is necessary to remember that Christian Science regards every wrong condition as an effect of the so-called carnal mind and therefore as primarily a wrong mental condition or as sin. Consequently, to heal disease, the Christian Scientist has first to heal the wrong thinking which produced the disease. What difference is there between the man who is laboring under the delusion that God made him or permits him to be a sinner, and the man who believers that God made him or permits him to be a sick man? Both conditions are based on mistaken thinking, of sin, and both conditions have to be met and overcome with the truth, or with spiritual understanding. Wrong thinking, or the carnal mind, and its supposed effect, mortality, is all the sin that exists, is the only devil there is, and the only hell there is. This is because God is divine Mind, and therefore wrong thinking, or the carnal mind, is the suppositional opposite of that one Mind, God. Jesus, when he asked, "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" (Matt. 9:5), clearly indicated that the healing of sin and of disease were one and the same thing.
The Christian Scientist's Preparation and Practice
In healing disease the Christian Scientist does not have recourse to drugs, the potency of which in any case is doubtful and the effects of which are frequently worse than the disease, but he relies on the power of the divine Mind, God. Is he then to be considered fanatical and nonintelligent because he prefers to rely on the infinite power and intelligence of that Mind, God, rather than on human medical theories which have one effect at one time and a different effect at another time? Is the Christian Science practitioner, who has striven unceasingly, sometimes for fifteen or twenty years, to bring his thinking and his life into accord with God's law and with divine Science, less prepared and equipped to deal with disease than the physician who has spent six or seven years at a college learning about material healing methods and a material so-called science, the theories of which are constantly changing and being given up as obsolete?
The daily consecration of a Christian Scientist, and his constant striving to live above the human and in accord with the divine, is and forever has been the greatest healing influence in the world. It is this healing influence alone that can cleanse the leper and cause the lame man to leap with joy. Let us suppose, for instance, that a man has a criminal's countenance because he has a criminal's mentality, as is often the case. If that criminal's mentality or his wrong thinking disfigured and deformed his face, could it not likewise deform his liver or his lungs? And what would be the way to heal his liver or his lungs in such a case? Would it do any permanent good to that man to give him a dose of medicine or to perform a surgical operation on him? Would not his deformed mentality still be operating to deform his liver or his lungs? Also if wrong thinking can disfigure and deform a person's face, and we see it on every hand in daily life, could not such wrong mental conditions as fear and hate and ignorance of God deform and poison the bodies and organs of people? To deal with these conditions, then, should we not change the wrong thinking which produced them for right thinking, or for spiritual understanding, which is based on God, divine Mind, and which is therefore with power?
Again, as God is infinite Spirit, or divine Mind, and is the only Life and intelligence, is it not wrong thinking, or sin, to believe that life and intelligence are finite and material, and would not such thinking necessarily tend to make humanity suffer? The Christian Science movement is made up of men and women who have seen and felt the power of God demonstrated through right thinking, or spiritual understanding, when the physician's dose or the surgeon's knife has utterly failed to help them or when these things have played havoc with their lives and their bodies. They are not likely therefore to rely on drugs or surgery when they can prove that the word of God which only heals and never harms, is ever available and is with power.
Nothing is true prayer but the desire to understand God aright and the constant application of that understanding through right thinking and living to every human condition. Let us then examine Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of the Lord's Prayer in which she shows that the Lord's Prayer is really a sevenfold statement of God's true nature and of the practical availability in daily life of these facts about God. As you know, the number seven is used throughout the Scriptures to express perfection, and Jesus therefore gave to men the perfect prayer when he declared these seven essentially facts about God. This prayer Jesus lovingly and wisely clothed in language which his hearers of that age could understand. To-day, because of the progress in human thought, Mrs. Eddy has been able to explain what Jesus meant in clearer and more direct language. She writes of the Lord's Prayer: "Only as we rise above all material sensuousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick" (Science and Health, p. 16).
Here is Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of the Lord's Prayer in present day language, as found on page 16 of her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Our Father which art in heaven, Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious." This first statement in the Lord's Prayer is, as you will notice, simply a declaration that God is creator, both Father and Mother, of the universe and is eternally harmonious or perfect. "Hallowed be Thy name. Adorable One." Here is the statement, and the all important statement, that God is the infinite One and is adorable; is, indeed, the only one to be adored or worshiped. "Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present." Here we have the declaration of God's ever presence and of the fact that His kingdom or the reign of Spirit, i.e., of divine Mind, is also ever present. "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Enable us to know, — as in heaven, so on earth, — God is omnipotent, supreme." Enable us to know that Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, the only Father-Mother, the infinite One, is omnipotent as well as omnipresent and is omnipotent in human belief, or on earth, as well as in the realm of Spirit, or in heaven. "Give us this day our daily bread; Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections." Here is the recognition of the fact that divine Mind knows and provides for every need of His creation through spiritual understanding, or through the grace of divine Mind, which delivers from sin, disease, lack, death, and all evil; in fact, that He is omniscient as well as omnipresent and omnipotent. Jesus, speaking of man's daily needs or his daily bread, declared, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him" (Matthew 6:8), clearly indicating that what we needed to recognize was God's omniscience. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And Love is reflected in love." Here is a statement that divine Love or God must express itself and must express itself in its own true likeness; in fact, that since Love is the creator, man, the created, must be one in nature with divine Love. At this point the Lord's Prayer shows us what the first six statements about God will do for us in daily life. The six statements are that God is Father-Mother, that He is the infinite One, that He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient; also, that He expresses Himself and can only express Himself in His true likeness. Then the Prayer continues, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;" and Mrs. Eddy interprets this seventh statement: "And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death." Here is practically the same declaration which St. James made: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (James 1:13). On the other hand, the fact is brought out that God, Spirit, divine Mind, is the great deliverer of men from all evil. Indeed, the understanding and the utilization of the seven statements about God all lead up to this great point that such understanding does deliver from sin, from disease, and from death. The climax of the Lord's Prayer is a summary of the statements about God when it declares, "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." Mrs. Eddy interprets this in a grand sevenfold pean of praise to God when she says, "For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All." (Science and Health, p. 17). Only as we understand these seven divine facts about God and utilize them practically in our daily lives by overcoming evil of every kind will we truly appreciate the full import of the Lord's Prayer.
Christian Science, The Spirit of Truth
Christian Science is not a healing system that delivers only from disease, but Christian Science is the eternal truth about God and about existence, which is ever available to spiritually minded men and women throughout all ages, and which is today being manifested to humanity as a scientific demonstrable law, the law of the divine Mind, which operates through spiritual understanding to free from the so-called carnal mind and from every phase of evil. This is the little leaven of which Jesus spoke, that "a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened" (Matthew 13:33), and this leaven, divine Science, is to-day leavening material so-called science, theology, and medicine until it will be seen, that they are no longer human measures baaed on material theories, but divine systems operating through wholly spiritual law. Intelligent men and women have already recognized that the prevailing systems of science pertain only to material conditions and are not really therefore scientific in the highest sense; that the systems of theology of to-day are based on a varying sense of God and of man and are not therefore able to save mankind because they have no standard; that the prevailing systems of medicine not only do not heal, but that they have invented a long list of incurable diseases which bind men. To such men and women as will fearlessly face these facts, the Science of Christ, the medicine of Truth, and the theology of Spirit as taught and demonstrated in Christian Science will come with great promise, and they too will be glad to gain the understanding of these things and to prove them in their daily lives both for themselves and for their fellow men.
Christian Science and the War
Is it not clear to every one that the nation whose materialism is to-day causing the world to suffer so deeply was led into this evil course through a wholly material sense of science and of theology? To this nation, spiritual idealism, the supremacy of Spirit over matter, the honesty, the purity of motive, the selflessness which we English speaking people hold so dear, had become something abstract and vague. Matter and its so-called laws, material possessions, and material domination, had become the thing most to be desired. What has been the result? Pain and suffering both for themselves and for others. But should it seem strange to the English speaking people with their lofty idealism and to democratic France that Spirit, or divine Mind, the author of all true idealism, must inevitably be recognized "as supreme in the physical realm, so-called, as well as in the spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 427)? And if gross materialism produced this war through the wrong thinking or the false idealism of one nation will not spiritual idealism, or right thinking and living, alone meet and destroy this erroneous condition? To-day every man and woman belonging to the English speaking races should be consecrating their lives anew to the teachings of Christ Jesus, and this should be their supreme object in life, for God in His infinite wisdom has given to us abundantly the understanding that it is only through this spiritual idealism that humanity can be delivered from evil. This idealism is tersely described in Christ Jesus' words: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63), and Mrs. Eddy has blessed humanity and made it her debtor by revealing to us that Spirit is divine Mind and divine Mind is that which is manifested in human experience as right thinking, or spiritual understanding.
Mrs. Eddy's Mission
And what of the high-minded woman who discovered this Science and then labored long and faithfully to establish it? Was she called of God or of man? No fair-minded man or woman can to-day look upon the progress of Christian Science and the immense good it is accomplishing and doubt that its Discoverer and Founder was called of God. We are reaping the fruit of her many years of consecrated service, and the time is not far distant when humanity us a whole will call Mrs. Eddy blessed. Mrs. Eddy, however, never sought any praise or human recognition for herself. Her one desire was that men should understand, live, and prove the divine Science which God had revealed to her. The movement which she has established goes on unchecked in its phenomenal growth because of her divinely inspired directions for its continuance and support.
Students of the Scriptures will recognize in Mrs. Eddy's mission the logical fulfillment of God's promises throughout the ages. They will then realize that her mission was foreordained of God and is consequently irresistible. To such students, as they recognize that the children of Israel of this day are those who are willing and glad to leave the mortal sense of existence with all its troubles and failures, and to gain the divine sense, there will come the grateful recognition that Mary Baker Eddy is indeed a mother in Israel to humanity, for she has revealed to them the truth about God, about His Christ, and about God's perfect man. In conclusion may I draw your attention to Mrs. Eddy's statement on page 55 of her textbook:
"Truth's immortal idea is sweeping down the centuries, gathering beneath its wings the sick and sinning. My weary hope tries to realize that happy day, when man shall recognize the Science of Christ and love his neighbor as himself, — when he shall realize God's omnipotence and the healing power of the divine Love in what it has done and is doing for mankind. The promises will be fulfilled. The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing.
"In the words of St. John: 'He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.' This Comforter I understand to be Divine Science."