Christian Science: The Science of Salvation

 

John W. Doorly, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

What salvation is and how it is to be attained are questions that are forever struggling in the human breast. The ordinary mortal, however, does not even seem to have decided what he needs to be saved from or for what kind of a salvation he hopes. In some indefinite way he believes that there is a place which is popularly termed heaven and which he hopes some day to reach, but what heaven is, or how he is going to attain it, he has very little idea. How much of a result could one expect if he employed as little intelligent effort as this in his business or any other activity of life? Is a man's salvation of as little importance that he can afford to give less time and thought to it than he gives to almost anything else in life? Or has the majority of mankind seen so little proof of salvation through spiritual means that it has ceased to believe in such salvation as a reality or even as a practical possibility? Has it therefore decided not to waste any more time on so unprofitable a subject but just to go on hoping blindly for the best to happen in some extraordinary way?

 

Salvation as Explained by Christian Science

What on the other hand is the salvation which Christian Science offers? Christian Science is saving men from sin of every kind, from disease, from hate, from poverty, from death and indeed from every ill "to which flesh is heir." This salvation, moreover, is not something to be attained at some future time and in some inexplicable way, but it is something that can be experienced and enjoyed here and now. Are you in bondage to sin, to hate, to sorrow, to disease, to disaster of any kind? Christian Science says that it is possible for you to be rid of these things at once. Are you overwhelmed by some so-called incurable disease that is destroying your happiness or the happiness of some member of your family? Christian Science declares that God never made that disease and that you do not therefore have to submit to it any longer. Are you laboring under deep sorrow? Christian Science says that there is infinite comfort for you in the understanding of Love's ever-presence and that this understanding will entirely obliterate from your thought that sense of sorrow. Are you a failure in life, in your business, or in your profession? Christian Science declares that failure is no part of God's law and that it can and should be overcome by an understanding of divine law. In fact Christian Science insists that every condition that is unlike God and that claims to bind man through sin, disease, or death, is wholly abnormal and can and should be destroyed through the correct understanding of God and of God's law.

 

The Attainment of Present Salvation

How then is this salvation to be attained and is it the salvation which the Scriptures teach? Christian Science states emphatically that such salvation can only be attained by understanding what God is, what true existence is, the falsity of mortal existence and its inability to satisfy man's highest longings. This understanding must be used practically in daily life. Let us see then briefly what Christian Science teaches about God, about true existence and about mortal existence and then we will, I am sure, be able to see how the teachings of the Scriptures coincide with these conclusions.

 

What Christian Science Teaches About God

Christian Science teaches that God is Spirit as the Scriptures state, but it then goes on to explain that Spirit is divine Mind, and immediately, this definition of God gives us a more intelligent sense of Him. We have all known that God is Spirit but it needed the revelation of Christian Science to show us that Spirit is not some indefinite, indescribable and far off abstraction, but that Spirit is infinitely definite and intelligent and always available to man as divine Mind. Can anyone think of anything more intelligent, more definite and more scientific in its operations than Mind? Christian Science also acknowledges but one God or cause, and therefore but one Mind. If mankind considers God to be some great personality located in some place, it will be difficult to see how such a personality can be ever present and can direct His whole universe intelligently, and humanity will be compelled to resort to the superstitious beliefs of the ages to support such theory. When, however, it is perceived that God is infinite divine Mind, His ever-presence and His intelligent direction of His universe will be naturally appreciated.

Christian Science likewise teaches that this divine Mind is Life, Truth and Love, and that He is also divine Principle, that He is invariable, and is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. Thus Christian Science declares one infinite cause or divine Principle whom we call God or good, who is ever-present divine Mind and is also infinite Life, Truth and Love.

 

What True Existence Is

Now how many differing effects can be obtained from one infinite cause or divine Principle, who is forever the same? Christian Science declares unswervingly that from such a cause there can be but one effect which is infinitely like that cause; consequently, it teaches that true existence must forever be the expression or effect of infinite Mind or Spirit, of infinite good and of infinite Life, Truth and Love. Therefore true existence must be forever mental or spiritual, since it is the effect of infinite Mind or Spirit; it must be infinitely good because it is the effect of infinite good; and it must always express Life, Truth and Love because it is the expression of Life, Truth and Love. No amount of human reason, based on the testimony of the physical senses can shake the fact that since God is the infinite creator, then creation or true existence must be infinitely like Him and must therefore be wholly mental or spiritual and wholly good. Also that it must always express the nature of Life, Truth and Love. Of course such a conclusion demands faith or spiritual understanding, in opposition to the testimony of the human or physical sense. It demands faith in one ever-present God, the only creator. But is not this reliance on spiritual understanding and not on the testimony of our physical senses the basis of all Christian teaching? Right here is where the so-called wisdom of the centuries and the Christianity of Christ Jesus parted company. Knowing that God is infinite divine Mind, Jesus concluded that spiritual understanding or right knowing must be the expression of this one Mind and was therefore as certain and intelligent as God Himself. He therefore relied wholly on his spiritual conclusions, or on what he understood in spite of the testimony of his physical senses, in fact he reasoned logically from the basis that God or Mind was the only cause and creator and he therefore looked not at the things which are material and which are seen by the physical senses, but at the things which are spiritual or mental and which are not seen, but are understood. The wisdom of the ages, on the other hand, has always judged from the testimony of the physical senses forgetting that these so-called senses are humanly developed and accept only what they believe and not what is true.

 

The Nature of Mortal Existence

So also Christian Science reasoning from the basis of a perfect God or Mind and a perfect creation or existence, wholly good and wholly mental or spiritual, declares that mortal existence is no more real from the divine standpoint, than is the dream we entertain at night, although this existence seems real to mortals even as the dream does to the dreamer. Christian Science teaches that this suppositional existence, mortality, is only the false sense that there is an opposite to infinite Spirit or Mind. This false sense is what the Scriptures describe as the carnal mind and what Jesus described as "a liar and the father of it." This liar, or lying sense, the carnal mind, declares that finite matter, the opposite of infinite Spirit, has life, substance and intelligence, when the fact is that infinite Spirit is the only Life, substance or intelligence. When, however, it is seen that the whole of material existence, or the flesh, is only a false belief in a suppositional creator, the carnal mind or evil, and a supposed creation, called mortality, or is in fact a lie, then we begin to comprehend clearly how the truth about God and His creation, being ever-present and therefore omnipotent and operating with infinite intelligence, can destroy such a lie or false mental condition as mortality.

 

Salvation Divinely Mental

In fact Christian Science teaches that salvation is divinely and scientifically mental and saves from the carnal mind or from mortality, and since God is divine Mind and is infinite cause, this must necessarily be so. This salvation is as fixed and sure as God Himself, as exact, simple and scientific as the mathematical table and yet as deeply spiritual and as exalted as God's eternal law must ever be. To obtain such salvation can one persistently believe that sin, disease and death are real and that matter or mortality is substance, and then hope to be free from mortality and its pains? He cannot! He must remember every minute of his existence that happiness, health, harmony, all that is worth having, is of God, and is therefore spiritual or divinely mental and can only be obtained through a right mental condition or through spiritual understanding. This consciousness of true being would inevitably free the mortal from every discordant material condition or from every false mental condition, and slowly but surely the mortal who adopts this habit of acquainting himself with God on all occasions, will find himself living, moving and having his being in God or abiding in the one Mind which is Life, Truth and Love. Sin, disease, and death, poverty and disaster, have no place in this Mind. In fact he comes out of the carnal mind or mortality with all its delusive pains and pleasures into the freedom and harmony of the divine Mind with its eternal joys, and he does this simply and naturally through spiritual understanding, or through a right mental condition.

 

Salvation as Taught by the Scriptures

The Scriptures are a progressive record of how the Truth, or the spiritual fact about God and about existence, was revealed to men who refused to accept the testimony of their physical senses as reliable, but persistently relied on their spiritual understanding of God and of existence, or to men who thought divinely and not humanly. These revelations culminated in the experiences of Christ Jesus and his followers who were so clearly conscious of the divine facts of being that they proved every material or mortal condition to be wholly an illusion of the physical senses having neither reality nor power.

 

The True Nature of the Bible

In our consideration of certain facts of the Bible to substantiate the teachings of Christian Science, it would be well for us to comprehend clearly what the Bible is, for there has undoubtedly been more superstition and ignorance connected with the study of the Bible than of any other book in the world. Christian Scientists regard the Bible as invaluable to a correct understanding of God and of salvation, and in fact the first tenet of the Christian Science Church states that "As adherents of Truth we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." (Science and Health, p. 497). We recognize however that the Bible is an Eastern book written in an Eastern manner with multitudes of parables and a great deal of symbolism and metaphor, through which the Easterner always spoke. The Bible records how certain men, belonging to the Hebrew race more especially, became conscious of the eternal and unalterable facts about God and about existence. These progressive views of God are intermingled with the historical record of the Hebrew races, in which not only is the correct nature of God recorded, but in which the idolatrous tendencies and constant falling away from God by the peoples of those periods are also related. Christian Scientists in no way accept any such superstition as that every word in the Bible was specifically commanded by God, but they recognize that the Bible does record the truth about God and about existence as this truth was revealed to various men in various ages.

 

Progressive Revelation of the Scriptures

In the first chapter of Genesis the record begins of the truth about God and about existence, as it was revealed to some spiritually minded man. The first chapter of Genesis is usually erroneously supposed to relate how God created the material heaven and earth, but upon close examination it will be found that this first chapter of Genesis and the first five verses of the second chapter really relate how the eternal facts of being, which never began and could never end were revealed to some spiritually minded man by 7 progressively clearer views which he described as seven days. This record is followed by a second and different account of creation, beginning at the sixth verse of the second chapter of Genesis in which the Lord God, not God as is declared in the first record, but the Jewish tribal Jehovah, the Lord God, is supposed to have created man from the dust of the ground and to have breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This second account of creation is preceded by the statement that "There were up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground." (Gen. 2:6) Christian Science declares that this mist is the mist of ignorant human belief or of the carnal mind, in which mist or mystification God is always misunderstood and regarded mysteriously and His creation or spiritual being is erroneously supposed to be mortal, material and finite. The Book of Genesis also records the constant degeneration of this material race of man, or this Adam man, who was the result of the mist of mortal sense. This Adam race, in the person of Cain, eventually became the murderer of his fellow man.

It is related however that Enoch walked with God or dwelt in the understanding of the one Mind, that Mind which is Spirit, and "he was not" (Gen. 5:24), that is, he rose above mortal existence and disappeared to mortal sense, or from the carnal mind's belief, into the glorious freedom of the divine Mind. But still the evil beliefs of mortals, or their evil thinking, increased until these beliefs in evil eventually flooded mortals or brought destruction upon them. Noah, who was a just and upright man, had perceived something of the true nature of God as Spirit or Mind and the inevitable self-destruction of evil, and this spiritual understanding impelled him to prepare an ark for the salvation of himself and his improved sense of existence from this flood of evil beliefs. Later the Scriptures record the appearing to Abraham, who dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, of the truth about God and about existence, and this vision impelled Abraham to come out of the material and idolatrous tendencies of the Chaldees and to seek a less material atmosphere in which his understanding of Truth could be developed. Indeed Abraham became so certain of the continuity and indestructibility of true existence that he realized that if even the material Isaac, his most valued mortal possession, were sacrificed, that his understanding of the spiritual man, which had brought forth Isaac, would persist eternally and would perpetuate itself in human experience to the salvation of mankind.

The truth of spiritual being was still further developed through Jacob, who under Rebecca's instruction, had perceived that the birthright to spiritual things was of more value than any material possession. In spite of the tribulations he encountered, as a result of seeking a spiritual blessing through questionable means, Jacob's sense of the reality of spiritual being still grew until he at length wrestled with and overcame the belief in the mortal. He then realized his eternal heritage or true being as Israel or a Prince of God. Indeed Jacob perceived that the same spiritual fact about God and about man, or the Truth which had begun to develop itself through Enoch, through Noah, through Abraham and then through his own enlightened sense would eventually manifest itself in a yet clearer way "until Shiloh come" (Gen. 49:10), and that from his seed or from his appreciation of the Truth there would arise the Messiah or Christ. Jacob and his sons had begun to realize to some extent that the utilization of their understanding of God and of true being would free them from every mortal discord, and would bring them into the promised land, which was at that time their highest sense of harmony. Owing, however, to their lack of spiritual enlightenment and their unwillingness or inability to think as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph had thought, the Israelites were again subjected to the hard and bitter experiences of mortality and were in bondage to the Egyptians until Moses arose. It had been revealed to Moses at Mount Horeb that even if the bush burned yet it was not destroyed (Ex. 3:2). That is, he had seen that the trying experiences of mortality, however severe, could never destroy the spiritual idea or true sense of being which was manifesting itself to men. He therefore began to put his understanding of God and of God's law into practical experience, and so delivered his fellow men from the hard bondage caused by their material thinking. When led by wisdom to come back and handle the serpent or the belief in evil as a power, Moses proved that; when handled with Truth, evil, or the serpent, becomes harmless and that indeed its overcoming is a staff to lean upon. He also proved that leprosy or any other diseased condition of mortal thought when properly dealt with will disappear into its native nothingness. In fact he proved that a correct understanding of God will destroy both sin and disease. Moses reduced his understanding of God to a form or system of right thinking by which his fellow men could govern their thinking and consequently their acts, and this system was known as the Law or Commandments. It was really the first systematic attempt to show men that, to attain health, holiness, and happiness, the place to begin is in their thinking. During many years Moses also demonstrated to the Israelites his ability to overcome sin, lack, disease, hunger and every untoward experience through his understanding of God and of divine law.

After Moses many spiritually minded men arose who were able to subordinate mortal experience by their spiritual understanding. Joshua overthrew Jericho by a wholly mental process. Elijah raised the widow's son at Zarephath (I Kings 17:22) and he also divided the Jordan and passed through it (II Kings 2:8). Elisha used his understanding of God to cure Naaman of his leprosy (II Kings 5:14), and he broke the so-called law of gravity by making the axe-head swim (II Kings 6:6). He raised the Shunamite's son from the dead (II Kings 4), increased the widow's oil (II Kings 4), healed from the deadly pottage (II Kings 4:35), and in many ways proved conclusively that the understanding of spiritual law would make free from the painful experiences of mortality. Daniel proved that mortal beliefs of hate, malice and ferocity, whether operating as lions or as men, could be cowed and overcome by the spiritually minded (Daniel 6:22). The three Hebrew young men proved unfailingly that even fire itself could not harm those dwelling in the one Mind (Daniel 3:26), thus continuing to prove what Moses had discerned at the burning bush.

 

Christ Jesus' Utilization of Divine Law

At last this understanding of God's true nature and of existence as spiritual and perfect, manifested itself in the birth of Christ Jesus. Because of his freedom from mortality, and his constant communion with that one Mind which is Life, Truth and Love, Jesus was able to perceive and to prove to perfection that "the flesh profiteth nothing" because "it is the Spirit that quickeneth," (John 6:63). Christ Jesus demonstrated for all time that spiritual understanding is sufficient for man's health, for his food, for his life, and to overcome all that claims to operate against his harmony as the son of God. He revealed to His followers an infallible rule, which he called "The Truth" that would deliver them from all evil thinking or from the carnal mind and its effect, mortality. When they failed to demonstrate this rule he informed them that it was because of their lack of faith or of spiritual understanding, that is a lack of a right mental condition. He further told them that if they had this right mental condition they would be able to say to the mountains or to the largest material objects (Mark 11:23) "Be thou removed" and they would obey. At last to prove to mankind the infallibility of spiritual understanding and its infinite ability to overcome mortality or the carnal mind, he allowed men to crucify his material body, and then by his spiritual understanding he raised it from the grave, thus proving conclusively the utter inability of any material conditions to bind one who dwells persistently in the consciousness of infinite Spirit or Mind. Christ Jesus spent thirty years preparing to prove to mankind that since God is Mind or Spirit, true existence must be divinely mental or spiritual and could only be attained through spiritual understanding or a right mental condition. He taught his followers that the kingdom of heaven is within us or within our thought, and is the absolute understanding of spiritual reality or of true existence to be attained here and now. He also taught them the only hell is the false human belief that there is a power called matter or the carnal mind opposed to the one infinite power, Spirit or divine Mind. He clearly explained to them that "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6), and in many ways he showed them the impossibility of any connection between matter and Spirit, i. e., between the carnal mind and the divine Mind.

Jesus walked on the waters, thus disproving the so-called law of gravity; he healed the sick, thus shattering the idolatrous human belief that disease is a reality or any part of God's creation. When he fed the multitudes he replaced the human belief of lack or hunger with the spiritual fact of infinite substance, thus illustrating again the ever-presence of that divine law through which Moses had fed the Children of Israel and Elisha had increased the widow's oil. Christ Jesus raised the dead through his understanding that God is infinite, ever-present Life, and he pointed out to his followers that God is a God of the living and not of the dead, and he finally declared, "Whoever liveth and believeth in me" (i.e., the spiritual fact which I teach and have demonstrated) "shall never die" (John 11:26).

Jesus regarded matter or material existence simply as a mistaken human belief to be overcome at all times and under all circumstances by the understanding of God's law or of spiritual existence. In many cases he dispersed so-called matter and made it disappear, when it claimed to manifest itself as a tempest, as closed doors, or even as his own body. All these things proved conclusively Christ Jesus' complete dominion over every material condition or over every false mental condition, i. e., over the physical senses and their false testimony. Above all he taught those who were willing to learn, exactly how these things were accomplished, and promises them that if they were faithful to his instructions that they would do even greater works. He knew that the truth about God and about existence which had enabled Enoch to ascend and had forced Abraham to come out from Ur of the Chaldees, which had caused Jacob to prove the continuity and indestructibility of spiritual being, which had enabled Moses to guide the Children of Israel out of many trying experiences and had impelled the prophets to foretell the appearing of the Messiah who would prove that the spiritual man was the real man, he knew that this same truth of spiritual being, or God's eternal law, would become clearer to men because of his complete demonstration of it. He also knew that this divine fact about God and about existence or this "Spirit of Truth" as it was apprehended more universally would perform even greater works than it had done through him. In fact Christ Jesus proved completely to mankind the infinite ability of good thinking or of spiritual understanding to overcome every material or mortal mind condition. Mankind, however, dwelling in a great measure in the mesmerism of material sense, refused to accept these teachings because they exposed the nothingness of mortal existence, which to them seemed to be the only reality. They eventually tried, by crucifying his material body, to destroy the spiritual idea which he presented. They have perhaps done even worse by continuing to regard his material body, rather than his spirituality, as the Saviour of mankind, thus worshiping his material body and neglecting his command to be spiritually minded.

 

The Disciples' Demonstration of Divine Law

With the disappearance of the material body of Jesus, after his complete victory over mortality, the disciples were enabled to perceive spiritual being and God's true nature as Spirit and Mind. Indeed as Mrs. Eddy has written, "His resurrection was also their resurrection" (Science and Health, 34:20). Jesus' disciples then proceeded to perform the healing and redeeming work which he had declared that anyone who understood his teachings or his revelation of what God is, should do. As his followers turned from matter to Spirit the understanding of spiritual being came to them so clearly that it was manifested in an overwhelming manner as the descent of the Holy Ghost and many signs and wonders were wrought by his followers. Peter and John healed the lame man at the Gate Beautiful (Acts 3). Stephen, it is recorded, "did great wonders and miracles among the people" (Acts 6). Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ, and "unclean spirits crying with loud voices, came out of many that were possessed with them; and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed" (Acts 8:7). Peter healed Aeneas who had been kept in bed for eight years with the palsy (Acts 9). He also raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9). Paul, who was not a disciple of our Lord's, likewise gained the correct understanding of God and of existence as spiritual and perfect, and he realized fully that this understanding would make free from the mortal or false sense of existence. He declared that "The natural (or material) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him (I Cor. 2:14). Paul healed the impotent man at Lystra who had been a cripple from birth (Acts 14). He raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20), and performed many other wonderful works. He finally declared fearlessly, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8), and in his great longing to be free from the material body he cried, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24), or from this material body which is death, death to the understanding of man's spiritual reality. His answer to this question is given in the next chapter, the 8th chapter of Romans, where he says, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit (i.e. the divine Mind) do mortify the deeds of the body, (i.e. of the carnal mind) ye shall live" (Romans 8:13).

The truth about God and about His creation, spiritual existence, continued to grow in human consciousness until in the year A.D. 96, St. John perceived it so clearly on the island of Patmos that the material sense of heaven and earth passed away to his resurrected thought and he saw a new heaven and a new earth. As Mrs. Eddy points out, this is proof positive that "the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material." (Science and Health, 573:6).

 

God Forever Revealing Himself to Men

Had God ceased then to reveal Himself to humanity after the period recorded in the Scriptures? How could God ever cease to reveal Himself to humanity since He is infinite in nature? Thoughtful people realize that God has continued to reveal Himself to man after the period recorded in the Scriptures just as He did before and that every step of progress in human thought, whether it be liberation from the bondage of slavery, of disease, of sin, of man's injustice to man, or of limitation of any kind, has been simply the result of this progressive revelation of God to men. It is recorded that the early Christians continued to heal the sick, to raise the dead, and to perform many wonderful works through their spiritual understanding for about 250 years after the ministry of Christ Jesus. When, however, the Emperor Constantine became a convert to Christianity and Christianity became popular, then the spirituality which had accomplished these works began to disappear and creed and dogma began to usurp the place of spiritual understanding. It no longer mattered whether a man understood God aright, so that he could prove his understanding in daily life by overcoming sin and disease, as long as he believed in a doctrine. In fact the understanding of God was no longer considered necessary for a lay man but his thinking began to be done for him by the priest. The quick and certain healing of all manner of disease, through spiritual understanding as Christ Jesus and his followers had taught it, began to be separated from the Gospel of Christianity and salvation ceased to be a practical thing of to-day delivering from sin, disease and death, but became something indefinite to be hoped for after death. The very thought of overcoming death here as Jesus and his followers had done, became almost blasphemous. Material existence, and all the pains accruing from it, again began to be looked upon as God's creation and as a natural part of divine law; and death instead of being regarded as an enemy to be overcome was considered to be the friend of man. Those who should have brought life to mankind and to have brought it abundantly, were busy putting to death others who did not accept their particular doctrine. In time it became a crime to read the Scriptures.

 

Historical Progress in the Understanding of God

But in spite of darkness and ecclesiastical despotism, that same spiritual idea or the truth of being which had manifested itself to Enoch, to Abraham, to Jacob, to Joseph, to Moses, to Elisha and to the Prophets and which had burst forth into full light in the life of Christ Jesus was still working silently unseen by the physical senses, and here and there appeared men and women who were spiritually minded enough to perceive its workings. The longing for individual freedom and for man's inalienable right to know God and to be free from the bondage of mortality and despotism of all kinds, was repeatedly breaking forth in such men as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther and John Wesley. Eventually that same spiritual vision which had driven Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, that discernment of the eternal law of God that true being is spiritual and perfect and that the consciousness of this fact is with power to overcome evil of every kind, began to manifest itself again in the thoughts of men. This same vision drove the Pilgrim Fathers to seek a land where they could worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, even as it had driven Abraham to seek the promised land. In the year 1620 the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and in the year 1866 the Spirit of Truth which Christ Jesus promised should come to humanity as a universal truth to guide men into all righteousness, manifested itself to one of their descendants, a pure and exalted New England woman. To those who realize that Truth's appearing is dependent alone on spirituality, it is not surprising that Christian Science or the "Spirit of Truth" was fully revealed to a woman or to that state of consciousness which expresses the highest type of selflessness and humility if even it does not express the most worldly wisdom. Nor will it surprise thinking people that this appearing has taken place in that new land where tradition and superstition have walked less openly hand in hand.

 

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

Mrs. Eddy during her whole life had shown marked spiritual proclivities and had been searching for years to understand God and His immutable law. When the truth about God and about existence appeared to her she was instantaneously raised from what seemed likely to be her death bed. This incident, however, did not satisfy Mrs. Eddy for she wanted to know how she was healed, as she writes in her book, Science and Health, page 109, "I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration."

Since then Mrs. Eddy's discovery, which she named Christian Science, has been demonstrated in some measure by millions of people. It has delivered these people from sin, from disease and in some cases from death, and has thus proved that the understanding of God's law, that is of spiritual existence, is as potent to-day as it was in the time of Abraham or of Christ Jesus.

 

Christian Science The Final Appearing of Truth

The revelation of Christian Science came to Mrs. Eddy according to God's immutable law which says that "the pure in heart ... shall see God" (Matt. 5:8), just as the Truth came to Abraham or to Christ Jesus for the same reason. God, the Scriptures inform us, is no respecter of persons and He revealed Himself to Mrs. Eddy because she dwelt in that one Mind which is Life, Truth and Love and perceived the divine nature. Through her discovery we are better enabled to understand God's nature, to cease our material thinking and to put on the "mind which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). Thus we are enabled to come out of mortality or out of the carnal mind into the spiritual freedom of the sons of God, living, moving and having our being in that one Mind which is God. While we dwell in this one Mind through spiritual understanding, our thinking must necessarily be intelligent, it must be divinely scientific and it must be irresistible to mortality or to evil of any kind. Christian Science is therefore the full appearing in the fulness of time as Christ Jesus promised of that which appeared in varying degrees to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to the Prophets, to Christ Jesus himself and to all spiritually minded men and women throughout history, and that which appeared was the exact knowledge of God and of true existence. There is no honest man or woman who will study the Christian Science text book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" together with the Bible who will not be able to prove these things for himself.

 

The Practical Demonstration of Christian Science

How then are we going to start to prove these things? When one begins to be vitally interested in Christian Science the first thing he does if he really wants to understand it so that he can prove it for himself in his daily life is to study the Bible and the Christian Science textbook "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. As he studies these books intelligently he finds that they teach one God or power, divine Mind, or Spirit, the only creator and one true existence, spiritual being.

As he begins to understand these facts he is standing exactly where the Revelator stood in the first chapter of Genesis when he declared, "And God said, Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3), that is, he too is beginning to receive some light or spiritual discernment about God and about existence. As it becomes clear to him that God, the only power, is infinite Mind or Spirit, he begins to have less faith in matter. As he perceives that God is infinite Life, the necessity for dying or the desire to do so and even the fear of death, begin to grow fainter in his thought. As he understands that God is infinite good, he begins to recognize the utter powerlessness of evil either to tempt him or to harm him and he therefore begins to overcome it in the only place where he can ever overcome it, that is in his thinking. As his understanding grows that God is infinite Love, he naturally ceases to believe in hate or fear, and as he grasps the fact that God is infinite Truth he begins to give up the belief that any lie, such as sin, disease or death could have reality or presence in fact. The man who is perceiving these facts about God and is using them constantly in his daily life is then praying without ceasing. He is coming out of the mortal belief in a power opposed to God, or out of hell, and he is coming into atonement or at-one-ment, that is into true communion with the one Mind, God, and he is doing this through a right attitude. He will soon begin to prove in his daily life that because God is divine Mind and is infinite power, therefore his right mental attitude expresses and reflects God's power. This beginner will persistently resist in his thought the carnal mind's lie that God's man has ever fallen, that he is mortal, sick or sinning. Mortality and its penalties, sin, disease and death will consequently have less and less effect upon him for to affect him, mortality must first enter his thought. When poverty or distress seek to overwhelm him, he will remember the promise to every prodigal returning home from the carnal mind, to his Father the divine Mind, "Son ... all that I have is thine." (Luke 15:31).

As God's eternal nature and the true man's spiritual estate is unfolded to him, as a result of his first gleam of light, he will then behold the seven days of creation as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis and he too will have his evenings and his mornings, that is, he will have at times an evening or peaceful sense of Truth, and at times a morning or progressive sense.

He will then attain those things which constitute spiritual reality, the seven qualities of thought as given by Mrs. Eddy on page 116 of her textbook, "Science and Health," i.e., "wisdom, purity, spiritual understanding, spiritual power, love, health, holiness." At first the light which he has perceived will manifest itself as true wisdom, that is, as the desire for what really matters. Later he will gain true purity or the ability to separate the false and material from the true or spiritual. Then he will gain spiritual understanding and he will be enabled to resurrect himself to some extent from mortal beliefs. His further growth will develop spiritual power and he will have such dominion over mortal beliefs that they will not even be able to enter his thought to be overcome. Further progress will unfold the spiritual sense of what Love really is and he too will be glad as a result of that understanding to lay down his life or to give up the mortal sense of life, as his proof of Christ Jesus' saying, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) As he does this, however, he will be taking up his true life, spiritual and perfect as the Son of God and he will thus attain real health or harmony both for himself and for his fellow men, for he will be enabled to heal the sick and cleanse the lepers because of his selflessness or true love and his freedom from mortality. Finally he will gain the consciousness of what constitutes true holiness or wholeness as God's expression, as an idea of that one Mind which is Life, Truth and Love. He will then be able to say in some small measure with his Saviour, "The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me" (John 14:30).

As these great facts of being are unfolded to one in daily life, "old things are passed away" (II Cor. 5:17), and our reliance on things upon which we formerly relied begins to be looked upon as ridiculous and superstitious. No longer does such an one rely on inanimate or non-intelligent drugs, which frequently fail, or make drug fiends of people, to heal his diseases, but rather he utilizes the divine law and power of that Mind which is infinite intelligence, to free him. No longer does he steal or deal dishonestly in business to attain wealth, for he knows that such a procedure will really bind or impoverish him with sin, but he realizes his unfailing unity with the Giver of all good and in this way he attains here, in human experience, a provable understanding of what substance is. This understanding banishes poverty or lack under all circumstances. This beginner loses his fears and his worries in his knowledge that "perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18). He abides constantly "in the secret place of the most high" or in the consciousness of the one Mind and of his unity with that Mind and no plague can come nigh his dwelling. As a citizen he begins to see the necessity for doing his duty by his fellow men fearlessly and honestly and he is ever striving to rise above national distinctions by realizing that we are all one in Christ and that the universal brotherhood of the sons of God is the only divine basis. The mental attitude of such an one is fully described by Mrs. Eddy who has written, "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious as Life eternally is can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony" (Science and Health, p. 495).

[Let us consider the present catastrophe which is afflicting mankind and which we call the war. Well, someone says, how is the war going to be affected by prayer? Let us look at it. You will agree with me, I am sure, that the cause of this war is mad ambition and human will. Now are mad ambition and human will mental or material? They are mental of course, and are both effects of the one evil, the so-called carnal mind. They are also closely allied to that other pernicious effect of the carnal mind, called mesmerism or hypnotism.

[How, then, are we going to deal with these effects of the carnal mind, mad ambition, human will, and mesmerism, and thus with their result, the war? We can only deal with them by understanding, and living in daily life, the divine fact that there is and can be but one infinite Mind, God, who is all-presence and all-power. We must also realize that the understanding of the divine fact, that there is but one Mind, God, has infinite power to annul and to reverse any lie of a so-called carnal mind, whether that lie be mad ambition, human will, mesmerism, war, or any other evil. Furthermore, had humanity really understood and lived the fact that God, or good, is the only Mind, these evils, mad ambition, human will, and mesmerism, which from a human standpoint have caused the war, and which, from the same standpoint, are still perpetuating it, would never have had either the influence or the power to have manifested themselves in a war, for they would have been controlled and overcome by spiritual understanding before they had developed into this material catastrophe.

[However, what humanity has not enough spiritual understanding to overcome, it must meet and destroy with its highest human ideals. Because of humanity's present self-sacrifice and its willingness to give up its dearest material possessions in order that its spiritual ideals may live, the teachings of Christ Jesus will undoubtedly become clearer in human experience, and it will be seen that war is a totally unnecessary evil, and that individuals and nations can only bless themselves by blessing each other, and not by laying plans for each other's destruction.

[Because of the coming together at the present time of the English speaking races, as a result of their unity of ideals, much is being done to make war an impossibility and to bring all men together in the unity of the ideals of Christ Jesus.

[Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, once prophetically wrote in a poem, entitled; "The United States to Great Britain" (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 337-338):

 

"'For Anglo-Israel, lo!

Is marching under orders;

His hand averts the blow.'"

 

[Eventually it must be seen that all evil, be it war, sin, disease, or death, can only be overcome through having more of the Mind which was in Christ Jesus, that is through gaining more spiritual understanding, for spiritual understanding alone can prove the carnal mind and its evil effects to be powerless at all times and under all circumstances.]

The day is surely approaching when men of all nations and creeds will no longer waste their time and be be-fooled by the suggestions of that one evil, the so-called carnal mind, into seeking health, happiness or holiness through material means, but when all men will seek to know God aright, and in that understanding of God and of His divine law, spiritual existence, sin, disease, death, war and all mortality will pass away into their native nothingness, into utter darkness before the light of Christ or of spiritual understanding.

This is the message which Christian Science is to-day bringing to suffering humanity, a message infinitely tender, yet irresistible in its declaration of God's ever-presence and all-power. A message as scientific as God's immutable law must ever be and as far-reaching in its effects as infinite Mind alone could be. By those listening for such a message the call again is heard "The spirit and the bride say, Come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). As we accept this eternal call which Christian Science is to-day repeating we too will be enabled to say with Mrs. Eddy:

 

"And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea

I see Christ walk,

And come to me, and tenderly,

Divinely talk."

 

"From tired joy and grief afar,

And nearer Thee,

Father, where Thine own children are,

I love to be."

(Poems, p. 12)

 

[1929. The portion of the lecture in brackets regarding World War I comes from a copy of the lecture published in Turner's Public Spirit of Ayer, Massachusetts, July 6, 1918.]

 

 

HOME PAGE INDEX OF LECTURES