Christian Science: The Revelation of God's Presence and Power

 

John W. Doorly, C.S.B., of London, England

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

In her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has made a simple and profound statement which, when understood and practiced, will undoubtedly change the future history of mankind. This statement is as follows: "Christianity is the basis of true healing. Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power" (Science and Health, p. 192). How men and women have longed to receive the divine power, how the world as a whole has waited for the day when it could understand and appreciate God's ever-presence and infinite power. Indeed all human hope and aspiration has been buoyed up by this expectation. Hitherto, however, human thought has been crippled by the belief that, although this understanding was possible, it was nevertheless highly improbable. Why men should have allowed such negative reasoning to influence them seems extraordinary, especially when we remember the long line of men and women who, throughout the ages, have proved that God's presence and power is available to humanity when sought for and found in the right way. Moreover, everything that is good in human customs and society is based on the experiences of such men and women; and their experiences are still in a measure the guiding stars of humanity to-day. For instance, what would be the condition of society to-day, what would be the standard of men and of nations, without the examples, the attainments, of Abraham, of Jacob, of Moses, of the Prophets, of Christ Jesus, of his disciples, and of numberless men and women who in later years understood and demonstrated somewhat of God's presence and power? It is safe to say that all which is stable and fundamental to our lives is the outcome of such characters and their communion with God. These individuals received "directly the divine power" (Science and Health, p. 192). Humanity acknowledges this much but fails to see by what process they received it; nor does it appreciate the fact that this same process and this same access to God are available to every one in every age.

What, then, is the real reason for the world's failure to appreciate the availability of God's presence and power to every man in every age? Christian Science declares that the failure is wholly due to the world's false faith in things material; to its constant adherence to material theories, which are solely the outcome of human reason. This determination to think, and to live, on a material basis has not only hidden from mankind God's presence and power, but it has made men the slaves of sin, disease, accident, poverty, war and even of death. Also the world's general false belief that material thinking and material living are a practical and normal state of thought and existence, has led men to conclude that sin, disease, and death are also normal and inevitable conditions.

Christian Science makes the most vigorous protest against such conclusions. It declares that both material thinking and material experience are temporary and abnormal conditions, and that sin, disease, and death are the outcome of humanity's willingness to think and act from a material, or false, basis. In fact, Christian Science unreservedly takes its stand against the materialistic systems of this world and declares in the most positive manner that humanity, in order that it may be healed of sin, disease, and death, must first learn to think on a Christian or spiritual basis. Hence the deep significance of Mrs. Eddy's statement that "Christianity is the basis of true healing" (Science and Health, p. 192). It is well to remember that when Christian Scientists use the word "healing" they use it in a broad sense and frequently mean, not only deliverance from disease, but also from sin, poverty, death; in short, from all that is unlike God. In fact, they mean salvation from materialism and all its disastrous results.

 

Present-Day Systems

Christian Scientists recognize that when, in obedience to the teachings of Christ Jesus, they take upon themselves the obligation of disproving and denouncing materialism and its systems of thought, systems accepted by the great majority of men, they must be willing to give a reason for the hope that is in them. They must also be willing and able to prove that these material systems which their fellow-men regard as all-important, are not really conducive to the welfare of humanity. It is therefore in this spirit of helpfulness, and not in any spirit of criticism or condemnation, that I am going to draw your attention to a few facts in connection with the present-day systems of science, theology, and medicine. Since these three systems develop and govern ordinary human reasoning, it is evident that if their premises are not to be relied upon, then human thought, which is molded by them, must be far from accurate in its conclusions.

 

Material Science

As everyone knows, so-called material science to-day plays a large part in ordinary material experience and in everyday human thinking. Unlimited time is devoted to its development, and mortals, as a whole, give credence to its conclusions. Naturally, one would expect that a system such as this, which has existed for centuries, and to the furtherance and support of which neither energy nor effort of any kind has been withheld, would have arrived at some pretty stable knowledge calculated to lead mankind out of bondage. And yet what do we find as to the conclusions of so-called material science after its vast expenditure of time, funds, energy, and effort of every kind? In reply to this query let me draw your attention to the conclusion of a well-known writer on material science, Mr. J. W. N. Sullivan. These conclusions were published in that much respected London newspaper, the Sunday Observer, on the date of November 22, 1925. Mr. Sullivan's article is headed "The New Outlook of Science," and some of his conclusions are as follows:

"It has been apparent," he says, "for some little time past that the latest advances in science have made a radically new outlook on the universe inevitable. While the ordinary man has been becoming more and more familiar with the old scientific outlook, the men of science themselves have been engaged in destroying it." He continues: "We are veritably at the dawn of a new age: the materialistic philosophy which has weighed so heavily upon the human spirit since the days of Newton can no longer look to science for its chief support. We now know the limitations of science, and these limitations have been revealed to us by science itself . . ." Referring to an article by Professor Eddington in a new volume of essays entitled, "Science, Religion, and Reality," Mr. Sullivan continues: "We may say briefly that Professor Eddington has shown that the science of physics, the basic science, and the one that has provided the other sciences with their ideals, is concerned only with the form of phenomena, and not with their content. Of the intrinsic nature of matter, for instance, science knows nothing, and never can know anything. . . . We reach the at first paradoxical conclusion that physics is concerned with nothing whatever but readings on measuring instruments. All that physics has to say about the properties of matter is really a record of the relations that are found to exist between readings on various instruments. Of what matter is, science tells us nothing." Mr. Sullivan continues: "Let us consider, for instance, the old problem as to whether our minds are the product of our brains. Old-fashioned materialism said yes, and this answer was supposed to tell us something important. For our brains are made of matter, and it was supposed that everybody knew what matter was. But now we realize that the answer tells us nothing at all. . . . For all we know matter itself may be mental. . . . The fact is that matter has been, by relativity theory, analyzed away into something that seems just as different from matter as thought itself. For instance, matter can be mathematically derived from what are called 'potentials.' It is not necessary to know what potentials are. The interesting thing is that they can be derived from other things, viz., 'point-events.' Neither is it necessary to know what 'point-events' are. All we need know is that they can be derived from 'matter.' So that the analysis comes back to its starting-point. It is like the dictionary definition of violin as a small violoncello, and violoncello as a large violin. The science of physics forms a closed system simply by this extraordinary device of circular definition. . . . Another bugbear that many artists and religious people have found so depressing, the 'iron laws' of Nature, also acquires an entirely new status as the result of recent scientific work. It can be shown that these laws are the results of the mind's own action. . . . They are not something imposed on an independently existing universe from without. Indeed, not only the laws of Nature, but space and time and the material universe itself, are constructions of the human mind. . . . Thus the existence of the universe becomes primarily a psychological problem." Mr. Sullivan closes as follows: "These conclusions, although some of them may have occurred to philosophers and mystics in the past, are now the results of the severest science and are, therefore, of extraordinary importance. They leave the field free, as it were, for religion and philosophy. To an altogether unsuspected extent the universe we live in is a creation of our own minds. The nature of it is forever outside scientific investigation. If we are ever to know anything of that nature it must be through something like religious experience."

In order further to substantiate these views it would be quite easy to cite the opinions of many other thinking men and women, who are likewise not Christian Scientists. Indeed it is hard to read a newspaper or magazine these days without running across the trend of human thought in this direction. What, then, is happening in the realm of so-called material science? Simply this: Humanity is realizing that in dealing with material conditions it is dealing wholly with speculative theories and with a suppositional material universe which mortals have constituted for themselves out of their own material thinking, a universe which has no basic spiritual reality, because it is only a false mortal sense of the true universe, God's spiritual universe. As one considers the past efforts of so-called material science to explain mortal existence the Christian is reminded of the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."

 

Present-Day Theology

The next system of human thought to which I would call your attention is the prevailing mode of theological thought. In dealing with this subject I propose to be very brief, because in discussing religious matters it is so easy to be misunderstood and also to wound some one's susceptibilities, and this is the last thing that any Christian Scientist would desire to do. As Christian Scientists we feel as do others that we have the right to disagree with what we consider to be erroneous in any system of human thought, but it is our desire to do this in the most Christ-like way, and always for the purpose of helping and not harming. I may remind you that others have never been hesitant about pointing out what they consider to be the mistakes of Christian Science, and we have never objected to this when it has been done honestly and with the desire to help. At the same time we are always careful to correct the many mistaken views of Christian Science which are offered to the public. The fact is that Christian Science, as the divine Science of God and His universe, admits of no mistakes, because it is the absolute spiritual Science of God and His Christ. It is true, however, that Christian Scientists have by no means yet attained to the perfect understanding or demonstration of this Science.

In considering theological thought of to-day outside of Christian Science, it is evident that there are "minds many." It is impossible to conform to the many contradictory views which are held and taught as to God, His Christ, and religion in general. If, however, one should question a million Christian Scientists as to the nature of God, they would all give practically the same answer and there would be the same uniformity on all questions relating to religious matters; and in all cases these answers would show strict adherence to the Scriptures. It would, I am sure, be possible to gauge the whole trend and value of theological thought to-day by asking all religionists to consider, not to what particular creed they subscribe, but how far each is able to prove Christ Jesus' command: "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." On this test Christian Scientists are willing to stand and to be judged.

As a matter of fact, it is becoming more and more evident that Christianity is not losing its hold on men; far from it. But religious bodies who teach a certain creed or doctrine, and yet cannot demonstrate Jesus' teachings in the overcoming of sin and disease, are, without doubt, rapidly losing their hold on mankind. Honest religious thinkers everywhere are asking themselves why the gospel of Christ has become so much a theory instead of carrying with it the ability to understand and to prove God's presence and power. Christian Science says to such thinkers that "whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power" (Science and Health, p. 192). It therefore calls upon them to stop thinking of self and the interests of self, to stop believing in a material self-hood apart from God, to give up their material theories and their pernicious beliefs in a power apart from God. It likewise calls upon them to understand God and spiritual law, to show love for God and man, to be willing to sacrifice self-interests for the good of mankind; to understand and obey the commandments, to love and practice the Beatitudes, and to express what Paul terms the "fruit of the Spirit," namely, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." In fact, Christian Science is calling on all men to love God and spiritual things supremely and by means of spiritual thinking to control in a practical way every detail of so-called material existence. The hope and experience of the Christian Scientist in this matter are well expressed in the well-known words (Christian Science Hymnal p. 132):

 

O, my people! journeying onward,

You of Christ's great brotherhood,

Heed the lessons which He gives you,

Written in His blessed word.

Strong and clear and full of meaning:

Come, if you would follow Me,

Down among the poor and lowly;

Here your Christian work must be.

This the path which you must follow,

This the way the Saviour trod;

And He teaches this will lead you

Into peace and up to God.

'Tis in deeds we serve the Master,

Words are idle, empty prayer;

All our Christian life a pretense,

If the deeds are wanting there.

If you will but heed this lesson,

Which the blessed Saviour gave,

Going out into the by-ways

Seeking those He came to save,

Telling them the wondrous story,

With an earnest heart of love,

Yours will be a glorious harvest

Gathered for the fold above.

 

Christian Science reminds us that the poor and lowly are not necessarily the impoverished. They are the sinner, the suffering sick man, the heart-weary, the egotist, the failures in life, those overburdened with cares, also the materialist, whether he be in cottage or in castle, and the sickest and poorest man on earth is the materialist who has put aside God and his Christ for the husks of materiality. Is the religionist of to-day content to go on believing in a God who permits both good and evil? In a material universe in which sin, disease, hate, war, and death seem to be normal? Is he, likewise, content to pay the price of such beliefs by suffering from these calamities, when, through the teachings of Christian Science, he can learn to overcome them? The spiritual way, Christian Science teaches, always has been, always is, and always must be the only way of deliverance from evil of every kind, and sooner or later all religionists will acknowledge and demonstrate this fact. The constant flux and change in present-day religious thought indicates that men are inevitably reaching this conclusion, and before long it will clearly be seen and acknowledged by thinkers everywhere that it is the teaching of Christian Science which has forced these conclusions. If religious bodies are going to help and retain the respect of mankind, then they must put aside outworn theories and begin to preach Christ "with signs following." Such preaching is not only Christian, it is divinely scientific.

 

Healing Through Drugs

The next system of thought we have to consider is the healing of disease through drugs, or what is known as "materia medica." As we are about to consider the subject of material medicine, I should like to draw your attention to a statement of Mrs. Eddy's, which statement many Christian Scientists regard as nothing more nor less than a prophecy of the time when our fellow-men and women who have labored long and faithfully in the systems of material medicine will come to work with us and to give the same self-sacrifice in demonstrating the spiritual teachings of Christ through spiritual thinking and living. Mrs. Eddy's statement reads as follows: "We further recommend that Materia Medica adopt Christian Science and that Health-laws, Mesmerism, Hypnotism, Oriental Witchcraft, and Esoteric Magic be publicly executed at the hands of our sheriff, Progress" (Science and Health, p. 441). As in the case of material science I do not propose to tell you what we Christian Scientists feel about the medical system, but I should like to present to you certain well-known facts in connection with this system, facts presented by those who are not Christian Scientists but are themselves adherents of material medicine.

In a magazine called "Truth" which is published in London there is an article in the issue of December 23, 1925, entitled, "The Failure of Modern Medicine." The author starts by quoting the following statement made by a well-known medical man, Sir Arbuthnot Lane, "By no means can we cure any chronic disease." The writer then continues as follows: "A similar statement to the above was made last year by Sir James Mackenzie when he wrote that it was difficult to perceive the progress made in the cure of disease during his forty-five years of service. Ample support is afforded to these views by the experiences of our sick friends who are to be found visiting specialist after specialist, buoyed up with an ever-elusive hope that they are going to be cured by the latest treatment proposed. I am of course not referring to those petty and fleeting illnesses which partake of the nature of temporary indisposition rather than chronic disease. But consider your acquaintances who suffer from chronic bronchitis, rheumatism, indigestion, insomnia, constipation, or whatever it may be, and take notes of their progress in these comparatively simple types of disease. Certainly they have palliation of their symptoms, but they lead a see-saw existence in which the downs are often more prolonged than the ups. . . ."

The writer continues: "The curious point is that this failure is well known to doctors, but is not generally appreciated by the laity, except the sick. It was the famous Osler who wrote: 'Of the action of drugs we know little, though we put them into bodies the action of which we know less.' And Skoda: 'We can diagnose disease, describe it, and get a grasp of it; but we dare not expect by any means to cure it.' Professor Sollmann, of the American Medical Association, wrote: 'A generation ago therapeutics was an art, promising to develop into a science. At present it cannot be classed as an art nor as a science, it can only be classed as a confusion.' Sir Almroth Wright declared: 'We must admit we have been pracising quackery,' and Sir Frederick Treves: 'I look forward to the time when people will leave off the extraordinary habit of taking medicine when they are sick.' Medical men have arrived at a stage that may be called 'therapeutic nihilism,' which means that not only do they disbelieve in the curative power of medicine but they know that the medicines they prescribe frequently do more harm than good. In fact, when they prescribe, they do not know what is going to happen." And again: "The general public has great faith in drugs because medicines are able to palliate their pains, though they know not in what cost in cell damage. Moreover as children, most of us were brought up with a belief in the miraculous virtues of medicine. But the fact is that every medicine in the pharmacopoeia is poisonous by nature, because the nature of drugs is to upset the normal functions of a healthy being. All of these drugs can produce some illness, such as cold in the head, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, indigestion, ulcer in the stomach, appendicitis, nephritis, cystitis, neuralgia, neuritis, rheumatism, apoplexy, epilepsy, headache, delirium, brain fever in fact, every imaginable disorder; even grave diseases like tuberculosis and cancer. Some people may say that this may be true, but only when administered in too large doses. But it can definitely be proved by experiment that these illnesses can be caused by drugs in doses recommended in the British Pharmacopoeia.

 

The Teachings of Christian Science About God

Having pointed out, in some small measure, the advancing present-day view with regard to material systems of thought, I now propose to explain the basis of the teachings of Christian Science about God, about His Christ, and about God's universe, the spiritual universe.

The Christian Scientist starts all reasoning from the fundamental fact that there is one infinite cause, God. He admits no other or secondary cause. He declares "The Lord our God is one Lord." He also knows that this one and only cause, God, is infinitely available to His creation and that He is infinitely understandable. The Christian Scientist absolutely refutes the suggestion that God is far off, that He is a mystical being, or even that He is difficult to know. Christian Science does teach that God, as a whole, can never be included in any one's thought, because He is infinite and infinity can never be included in anything. Mrs. Eddy has written (Science and Health, p. 517): "Even eternity can never reveal the whole of God, since there is no limit to infinitude or to its reflections." Christian Science teaches therefore that God's nature must and can be understood, and that through this spiritual understanding of His nature we are knowing God aright. The correctness of this teaching can be overwhelmingly substantiated from the Scriptures. The Christian Scientist, consequently, is not engaged in the attempt to cognize some far-off mystical being through his physical senses, for he knows that "no man hath seen God at any time." He is, however, engaged in ceaselessly striving for a practical, demonstrable understanding of God's true nature, of His ever-presence and infinite power, which will deliver from the mythology of materiality.

 

God As Divine Mind

Mrs. Eddy uses seven names or terms to express God and these names she declares to be synonymous. These names or terms are as follows: "Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (Science and Health, p. 465). To the ordinary religionist these terms may seem to be abstract, but to the Christian Scientist these terms have become the most definite and divinely tangible factors in his existence. When Mrs. Eddy gave these terms, or names, to express God, she also explained exactly what is meant by them, and in doing so she removed from students of Christian Science any sense of mysticism about God. For instance, Christian Science teaches that Mind or God is that which knows. It also teaches that Mind is intelligible, that it is one and all because it has no opposite. It declares that divine Mind creates, controls, governs, produces and regulates, also that it multiplies, subdivides and radiates. Mind, Christian Science teaches, is ever active, and is the source of all movement. It sustains and feeds; also it expresses itself through Science and has its own systems. Mind is that which is ever expressed through its own thoughts or ideas. Mind is likewise all-seeing, all-hearing, and all-knowing. Mind or God, Mrs. Eddy teaches, is the builder of its own thoughts or ideas and admits of no accident to those ideas. It imparts purity, she declares, and is the only medicine for mankind. It must be evident to every one that when the Christian Scientist begins to understand and to apply these facts about God or Mind, he can no longer regard Mind as something indefinite or abstract, for he is taught exactly what Mind is and what Mind does. He is also taught that Mind or God includes in Himself all intelligence, activity, and thought. Consequently, if one desires to express any of the characteristics of divine Mind, God, he can only do so in proportion as he is mentally at-one with God, or as he thinks correctly.

 

God is Spirit

The second term Mrs. Eddy uses for God is Spirit. Spirit, she teaches, is substance, is the real and eternal, and is positive. Christian Science declares that Spirit gives birth to and blesses its own ideas; it individualizes; it also feeds and clothes, and is the source of all supply to its own creation. Mrs. Eddy likewise speaks of the harmonies of Spirit, of the fruit of Spirit, of the language of Spirit, of the rhythm of Spirit, of the attraction of Spirit, and of the graces of Spirit. Spirit, she declares, baptizes, names and blesses; Spirit is manifested by "strength, presence, and power" (Science and Health, p. 512). Spirit is the great architect who plans His own universe. Could anything be more definite, more necessary, and more available to men than Spirit? If a man were impoverished and needed supply, then Spirit or God, who is Mind, and available to him through spiritual thinking, is his infinite supply. When men learn to seek their supply in this way they will then give up the desolating mortal belief that there is only so much substance and that if one man or one nation has it the others are thereby deprived. It is ignorance of God, Spirit, as infinite supply, which has engendered fear and greed and has thereby caused hate and war. Also if a man were suffering from materiality his recourse would be to a better understanding of God, Spirit.

It is well to notice that although Mrs. Eddy gives seven synonyms or terms for God and each one of these terms expresses God fully, yet it is also true that in the main she attributes to each synonym or term certain specific characteristics of the divine nature. There is nothing indefinite in Mrs. Eddy's teaching about God. It is exact and specific. In fact, it has been said that a proof of whether one really understood Christian Science would be the ability to place each specific synonym for God just as Mrs. Eddy has used it in the Christian Science textbook.

 

God As Soul

The third term that Christian Science applies to God is Soul. Soul, Christian Science teaches, is sinless and changeth not. If a man therefore desires to be free from sin he must acquaint himself with Soul or God, for Soul is sinless. Soul, Mrs. Eddy declares, rebukes material sense; it has attributes; it also has bliss, joy, and atmosphere. There is, according to Christian Science, neither growth, maturity, nor decay in Soul. Soul is immortal and always has its representative. It also confers freedom and is master of the material senses. Mrs. Eddy has written that "the Lord's Prayer is the prayer of Soul, not of material sense" (Science and Health, p. 14).

 

God As Principle

The fourth synonym, or term, for God is Principle. Of this synonym for God, Mrs. Eddy has written: "When understood, Principle is found to be the only term that fully conveys the ideas of God, one Mind, a perfect man, and divine Science" (No and Yes, p. 20). She has also said, when speaking of the synonyms for God, that "the divine Principle includes them all" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 225). Christian Science teaches that Principle and its idea are inseparable and are one; also that Principle can only be understood through its idea. Principle is absolute. It has rules and demands practice and proof. Principle is imperative and is demonstrable; it is also infinite and is eternally harmonious and perfect. Being infinite, it is never included in anything but includes all in itself. Christian Scientists are finding that as they understand more of God as divine Principle they are better able to demonstrate God's presence and power in reforming the sinner and overcoming evil and disease of every kind. When humanity perceives that God is Principle, it will cease trying to gain salvation through chance, intellectualism, or through some one else's suffering, and it will strive to work out its own salvation with fear and trembling and through a correct understanding of God, the divine Principle of all real being.

 

God As Life

The fifth synonym for God is Life. Life, Christian Science teaches, is deathless; it is immortal, permanent, eternal, ever present, self-sustained, and self-existent. Life is God, universal good, the one and only Being. It is inorganic, incorporeal, and indestructible. Being inorganic and infinite, Life has no starting-point and has nothing to do with organization and time. Life expresses itself in existence and is always manifested. How wondrously this necessity for gaining a true sense of Life as God, or good, is expressed by Jesus in the seventeenth chapter of John: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom though has sent." In her book, "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 189), Mrs. Eddy has written: "For man to know Life as it is, namely God, the eternal good, gives him not merely a sense of existence, but an accompanying consciousness of spiritual power that subordinates matter and destroys sin, disease, and death." Think what it will mean to our world when men learn to understand and demonstrate the all-power and ever-presence of God, infinite Life. Life is the synonym for God that expresses most clearly His nature as Father.

 

God As Truth

The sixth synonym for God is Truth. It is interesting to note that Mrs. Eddy uses this term for God far more frequently throughout her writings than any other term. The reason for this is easy to see. Truth is the synonym for God which is applied most frequently to the Son of God or to God made manifest, as St. John writes, "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Mrs. Eddy has expressed the same thing when she speaks constantly of "Christ, Truth." Also she defines Christ in her textbook (Science and Health, p. 583) as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." Truth, then, is the characteristic of God which seems to be the most intelligible to mortals in the destruction of error. Consequently, a knowledge of God as Truth is vastly important to us. Truth, Christian Science teaches, heals disease and destroys pain; it uncovers, exposes, denounces, controls, and destroys error. It instructs, transforms, regenerates, recuperates, and makes free. Truth arraigns error and is a destroying fire; it also subdues and quenches error, and bruises the head of the serpent, evil. Truth, Mrs. Eddy writes, is the great deliverer. Truth has a standard, it awakens, makes a new creature, removes ignorance, and handles contagion. It is the universal panacea and furnishes the key to the kingdom of heaven. Christian Science teaches of the sanctuary of Truth, also the might and permanence of Truth, the majesty of Truth and the leaven of Truth. Truth is affluent, and is a refuge. It is affirmative and knocks at the door of humanity's thought. Truth is, in fact, the Messiah. When men learn to dwell in Truth through spiritual thinking and so learn to reflect and understand God's nature, then disease and evil will pass naturally and easily out of their thinking, and consequently out of their experiences. Until we gain this understanding we have little practical knowledge of the Christianity which "is the basis of true healing" (Science and Health, p. 192).

 

God As Love

The last synonym for God is Love. No word in human language has been more misunderstood than this word love. Christian Science is showing men clearly that Love is God and that true love has nothing to do with physical sense and material sensation, but always operates in opposition to these. No more profound words were ever given than when John declared: "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." Consequently, the man who understands and demonstrates love is understanding and demonstrating God's presence and power. What, then, does Christian Science teach us as to God, divine Love? Christian Science teaches that Love casts out fear, which is the root of all human ill, and that Love destroys hate. It anoints, imparts, chastens, and purifies. Love is efficacious, inexhaustible, unselfish, and is the liberator. It is wise and knows no warfare. It always attracts and ministers; it also tries and purifies us. Mrs. Eddy has written of divine Love as follows (Science and Health, p. 454): "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way." And again she writes (Science and Health, p. 517): "In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity." How, then, could we hope to understand God and existence without a proper understanding of Love? When men understand God as Love they will naturally perceive that He is not only the Father of His creation, but He is also the Mother, because He is All. Love, Christian Science says, is inexhaustible and confers healing power. It is always expressed; it also protects and propagates. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 113): "The vital part, the heart and Soul of Christian Science, is Love." What glorious things are destined to come to pass in this world of ours when we begin to understand universal divine Love, the ever present, ever available God. Before this understanding fear, hate, jealousy, envy, dishonesty, greed, lust, disease, poverty, accident, war, and even death must flee away. Then will be realized that blessed promise for which all men long and which has been so beautifully expressed in the well-known words of America's beloved Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier (Christian Science Hymnal, p. 201),

 

"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."

 

Can any thinking man really continue to deceive himself into believing that God is not real to the Christian Scientist? that God is less near and dear to him, because he regards God as divine Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love? If so, then that individual must ask himself what he thinks of Jesus who declared that "God is Spirit" and of John who taught that "God is love." When Mrs. Eddy first announced to the world that God is divine Mind, infinitely individual and forever available to men, the world scoffed at her. To-day if you will consult Young's Analytical Concordance, which is regarded as a pinnacle of theological information, you will find that on page viii of the Preface the following words occur: "Spirit is used of God Himself, or the Divine Mind." Not many years hence all Christians will speak of God as the divine Mind, for the superstitious, mythological sense of God as some great important corporeal person in some far-off place is beginning to be discarded by thinking people. Men are now beginning to know God as divine, ever present Life, Truth, and Love, the one and only Mind, the divine Principle of all being.

 

God's Man

Christian Science teaches that because God is the one and only cause, then man and the universe must be the effect of this cause, and must consequently fully represent this cause. In fact, man and the universe must be like divine Mind. They must therefore be divinely mental; that is to say, they must exist as ideas or thoughts of the divine Mind, God; also they must be conscious and intelligent. They must likewise express all the characteristics which Christian Science has attributed to divine Mind. In like manner, man and the universe must be the likeness of infinite Spirit and so must be infinitely spiritual. Also they must be individualized, since Spirit always individualizes. They must likewise be substantial and they must express infinite strength, presence, and power. They must indeed express all the characteristics we have attributed to Spirit, God. As the effect of infinite Soul, man and the universe must be sinless, for Soul is sinless. Also they must be immortal and they must express the joy and bliss of Soul. They must express and reflect all the characteristics attributed to Soul. Because the divine Principle, Life, Truth, and Love is their cause and creator, then man and the universe must express the characteristics possessed by Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. As the ideas of divine Principle they must therefore be forever included in, and inseparable from Principle, God; and they must in a degree be as perfect as Principle is perfect. As the effect of infinite Life, man and the universe must be deathless: they must be inorganic and incorporeal and yet permanent, eternal, and indestructible. Since they proceed from infinite Truth, man and the universe must reflect the nature of Truth. They must therefore express the eternal healing, saving, and redeeming power of God, for Truth must ever be a perpetual law of annihilation to any belief of evil. In fact, they must express the nature of the sons of God. Because God is Love, and is the only cause, then man and the universe, as the effect of divine Love, must manifest Love. They consequently can never know fear or hate. They must always express the tender Motherhood of God, which is made manifest in inexhaustible Love and which always carries with it infinite healing power.

 

The Coming of the Christ

Could any thinking man feel regret when he discovers that the poor sick, sinning, and dying mortal is not his true being, but is only a temporal falsity, or a false mortal sense of the true man? Could he fail to rejoice when he finds that his true being is God's own likeness, wholly spiritual or divinely mental, infinitely individual, forever conscious and intelligent, always expressing the divine perfection and harmony and manifesting eternally God's nature, presence, and power? To one who realizes somewhat of the nature of God and the real man there can only come the first faint whisper of that sweet command, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." This individual now understands that the divine perfection is the only true state of being, that it is the normal and natural state of being. Through this understanding he at once begins to give glory to God. He also begins to deny and overthrow the testimony of the physical senses and of material reasoning which tell him that man is mortal, sick, sinning, and dying. Then he gains some small sense of what Mrs. Eddy meant when she wrote (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 17): "And, before the flames have died away on this mount of revelation, like the patriarch of old, you take off your shoes lay aside your material appendages, human opinions and doctrines, give up your more material religion with its rites and ceremonies, put off your materia medica and hygiene as worse than useless to sit at the feet of Jesus." The result of this understanding will be that the individual will gain enough of the Mind of Christ to heal and save himself and others from materialism and its effects sin, disease, and death.

My friends, earthly systems are failing. Creed and dogma and materialistic human reasoning are passing away, the reliance on things material is proving to be indeed a broken reed, and as was foretold the Christ is appearing to the individual human consciousness through Christian Science, or the spirit of Truth. This is the promised Comforter that is destined to sweep away from human experience sin, disease, war, and even death. Are you content to withhold from this divine appearing your mental support? If you do, you but deprive yourself of the richest blessing mankind has ever known. Christian Science does not need your support but you do need the tender ministrations of Christian Science. Humanity needs them and will have them, for it is written that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

 

Prayer

The spiritual understanding of God and of God's creation and the desire and effort practically to apply this understanding to every detail of mortal thought and experience, constitutes true prayer. Such prayer is irresistible because it is the appearing of God's own nature to men. When a Christian Scientist thinks spiritually and as the result of that spiritual thinking manifests some degree of true consciousness, true intelligence, and spiritual power, he is in some small measure manifesting God's nature. Moreover, it is his duty and his privilege to manifest the divine nature because man is in reality God's own likeness. As an individual constantly strives in his daily life to think spiritually and to put this thinking into practice he then begins to pray the only prayer that truly counts. Such prayer is constant and consistent, or as Paul terms it, "without ceasing." The world cannot realize too soon that the Christian understanding of God, and of spiritual reality, and the practical application of this understanding in the daily Christian life constitutes true prayer. Such prayer is divinely scientific and is intelligent beyond mere words, for it reflects divine intelligence. The Christian Scientist knows that he does not reform the sinner or heal the sick merely through that momentary prayer which he prays when called upon for help. It is the constancy and persistence of his Christlike thinking and living which enables him to receive "directly the divine power" (Science and Health, p. 192). Let me give you a simple but convincing instance of prayer. A small child, who is a Christian Scientist, was asked to help her mother who had been suffering a great deal. The child at once commenced to pray, and in a short while her mother was very much improved. When the mother was feeling better she said to the child, "When you prayed what did you think?" The child replied, "Well, Mummy, I said to God, 'Is anything wrong with Mummy?' and God said 'No,' so of course I knew there could not be anything wrong with you." This child's pure faith had refused to accept the testimony of human thinking, but had risen to the exalted consciousness of the perfect God and His perfect man as she had been taught to do in Christian Science. In fact, that child had in a Christian and divinely scientific manner, utilized the eternal facts of God and man. The result was her mother's deliverance from false material sense, and from the pain which was the outcome of that false thinking. This simple process of true prayer is humanity's only way of salvation from evil of every kind. To any one who doubts this process I would say "Try it." When you return to your homes, if there is sin there, or sorrow, or pain, or trouble of any kind, and you are asked to alleviate them, then begin to pray in this manner. Put aside your mortal thinking about God and man, and begin to think divinely. Also realize that spiritual thinking manifests God's own nature, power, and presence. Become conscious of ever-present Life, Truth, and Love, the one and only divine Mind, the Principle of all being and of man in His likeness. Realize that such thinking does destroy sin, disease, and inharmony of every kind for it is Emmanuel, or God with us. I do not say that you will always get your answer at once, but if you do not, continue to think rightly about God and about man as God's likeness, spiritual and perfect. Above all do not forget to bring this newly found understanding into your daily life. Eventually, if you are faithful, you will get your result. Then you will have started on your journey as a practical Christian who only needs God and His Christ for his healing, his salvation from all evil, and eventually for his triumph over death. The process which takes place in an individual's thought is the same process that will eventually take possession of the universal thought, and so deliver all men everywhere from all that is unlike God.

 

Christ Jesus

Let me say to you that no body of people on earth hold a higher estimate of Christ Jesus than Christian Scientists. We know that his way is the only way. It is true that we do not believe that the human Jesus is God. We know that, as he himself declared, he is the Son of God. The Christian Scientist's love for Christ Jesus is beyond any words, for is it not the life and work of Jesus which led to discovery of this Science and which has enabled him to come out of bondage to sin and disease and to see those he loves dearly freed from these ills? It might truly be said of the honest Christian Scientist that his chief aim and endeavor in life is to know more of Jesus and of his teaching, which is revealing God's presence and power. Thus he learns that "Christianity is the basis of true healing" (Science and Health, p. 192).

Mrs. Eddy has stated that "Jesus demonstrated Christ" (Science and Health, p. 332). Christian Scientists recognize that this is the supreme value of Jesus' mission. He demonstrated Christ. He proved the spiritual man, God's idea, to be the only man, and he demonstrated this in every phase of human experience. Because of his spiritual understanding of God and of the true man, Jesus was enabled to disprove and to cast out of human thought every suggestion of mortality, of sin, disease, or death, as being real. Moreover, he specifically taught that all men should, through correct understanding of God and of the spiritual man, perform the same works. His mission was, in fact, not only to reveal Christ, but it was also to demonstrate Christ in every detail of human existence. This he did to perfection. No one who understands and appreciates Jesus' mission and his fulfillment of that mission can ever be satisfied to be a merely nominal follower of Jesus. Christian Scientists recognize clearly that the promise of Jesus, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," is not merely a promise but is also an unmistakable demand on his followers. They realize that slowly but surely the world is beginning to see and to appreciate that the spiritual understanding of God and of His Christ is the only way of deliverance from evil of any kind. As this demonstration of Christ is made manifest there will be a truer appreciation of Christ Jesus and of his overwhelming sacrifice for the salvation of men. Until the works are performed in some degree, by healing the sick, reforming the sinner, and raising the dead, Christianity has not fully grasped the deep significance of Jesus' mission. His life and work were a complete proof that "whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power" (Science and Health, p. 192).

 

Mary Baker Eddy

One word more. It is sometimes misrepresented that we Christian Scientists make too much of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. Let me say to you that it would be impossible for us to make too much of Mrs. Eddy. The salvation of every member of the human race depends on the honest recognition of the truth taught by Mrs. Eddy as God's messenger. She never demanded of her followers any human praise. Her mental status was too high to be influenced by such praise. She knew, however, that if men were to be redeemed by Christian Science they would, in common justice, have to recognize through whom Christian Science had been brought to them. Those who knew Mrs. Eddy well, found that she was pure and tender, wonderfully unselfish, always thinking and laboring on behalf of mankind. Strength and poise she had in abundance, but, above all, her outstanding characteristic was her wonderful faith in God. Mrs. Eddy not only discovered Christian Science but she established it in human consciousness as a practical working system which has delivered numberless men and women from every phase of evil. The sinner, the drunkard, the drug fiend, the licentious man, the sick, the consumptive, the cancer victim, and even the leper have looked up to God and called her "blessed." There may be those who would seek to rob her of her work and thus rob humanity of its salvation. Their effort, however, is doomed to failure. Day by day there is an irresistible impulse impelling countless men and women to enter the ranks of Christian Science and there find a practical religion, revealing to them the true God and His Christ. It is also impelling them to love each other, to be tender and true, to be pure and strong, to live for mankind and to let the peace of God dwell in them richly. This mighty army of men and women is marching forth to the support of Mrs. Eddy's life-work and they are marching forward "with signs following." What Mrs. Eddy really demanded of Christian Scientists is made clear in her own statement (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 206): "Beloved students, you have entered the path. Press patiently on; God is good, and good is the reward of all who diligently seek God. Your growth will be rapid, if you love good supremely, and understand and obey the Way-shower, who, going before you, has scaled the steep ascent of Christian Science, stands upon the mount of holiness, the dwelling-place of our God, and bathes in the baptismal font of eternal Love.

"As you journey, and betimes sigh for rest 'beside the still waters,' ponder this lesson of love. Learn its purpose; and in hope and faith, where heart meets heart reciprocally blest, drink with me the living waters of the spirit of my life-purpose, to impress humanity with the genuine recognition of practical, operative Christian Science."

 

[1928.]

 

 

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