Christian Science: The Promised Comforter

 

John Randall Dunn, C.S.B., of Boston, Massachusetts

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God." Thus sang the prophet Isaiah over twenty-six hundred years ago; and devout men and women and children through all the centuries have turned to these words for inspiration and sustaining. Is there in our language a more beautiful, restful, and satisfying word than "comforter"? And was there ever a time in human history when mankind was more in need of true comforting than at this disturbed moment? There is no doubt but that we are living in a troublous hour. If you do not think it troublous consult the headlines of the average daily newspaper.    Nothing seems worthy of notice but crime waves, scandal, unrest at home and abroad, and a seemingly endless record of discord. The human family, despite its marvelous material achievement and so-called civilization, seems plunged into a maelstrom of mental ferment.  It needs comforting, it needs help, it needs light. But where is the comforter? Is it to be found in material systems and schemes? As soon endeavor to cure a child's fear of ghosts with mud-baths as to heal the troubled heart of humanity with a man-made material program of salvation. The race is demanding that practical comforting and solving of its problems which can be found only in a system which goes to the heart and the thinking of mortals. One of the world's foremost electrical engineers, the late Charles P. Steinmetz, was asked some time ago what line of research he thought would see the greatest development during the next fifty years.  After careful thought he replied: "I think the greatest discovery will be made along spiritual lines. . . . Some day people will learn that material things do not bring happiness and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer, and the spiritual forces which as yet have hardly been guessed at."  (From Forbes Magazine.)

 

Promise of the Comforter

Nineteen centuries ago the man of Nazareth proclaimed that his teachings would heal sick, sinning and burdened mortals; and he demonstrated the truth of this claim in solving instantly every discordant problem presented to him. Beholding the utter materialism and skepticism of the age, however, and realizing its inability to grasp the full import and truth of his message, the Master made this significant statement: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." Then in another place he calls this Spirit of truth the Comforter, which is to abide with men forever. This word "comforter" is, in the Greek, "parakletos," meaning "one called alongside to help." So the promise of Christ Jesus was that in the fullness of time the Spirit of truth, the understanding of his mighty mission and the divine Principle which he taught, would be found at the side of sick and sinning humanity comforting and saving.  

 

The Coming of the Comforter 

Have you ever experienced with a motor car what is commonly called "engine trouble" and found yourself apparently helpless in the presence thereof, because of your ignorance of the mechanism involved?  In this plight possibly you have endeavored to hail a passer-by and solicit his aid, only to find him equally as ignorant and helpless, albeit sympathetic. Another passing motorist is appealed to; but he, too, proves to be a sympathizer and not a helper or practical comforter.  Finally there comes to your rescue one possessing a scientific knowledge of an automobile engine - one who is able instantly to place his finger on the trouble and to correct it.  Here indeed is a comforter in the truest sense of the word; for the true helper will not be the sentimentalist governed by guess-work, but the man or woman possessing a workable, scientific understanding of the law involved.

By the wayside, today as yesterday, one sees men and women and children sitting hopelessly or helplessly beside their unsolved problems. A large portion of the human family, it would seem, is experiencing "engine trouble" - trouble with sick bodies, sick thoughts, sick businesses. Again and again would-be helpers appear, only to prove not practical comforters but kindly sympathizers, and at best only temporary repairers. Searching for the trouble in body instead of in the thinking, they can no more reach the basic error and overcome it than one can hope to correct an engine difficulty by examining the tires. Then comes a comforter, a practical comforter, a healing comforter; and it is called Christian Science, or the Science of Christianity, and those who have felt the Christlike touch of its healing ministry know beyond a doubt that this is indeed that "Spirit of truth" of Biblical prophecy. And this glorious message was given to humanity - by an eminent divine? By a world-famous medical specialist? By a learned inventor, or by a material philosopher? No, it came from the pen of a hitherto unknown Christian woman.

 

Mrs. Eddy's Preparation

In the year 1866, in a little New England town, Mary Baker Eddy lay upon what was supposed to be her deathbed, sadly in need of the Comforter. Her earthly experience had been a sorrowful one; all that a wife and mother hold dear had been swept from her; family and friends had misunderstood and forsaken her; frailty and semi-invalidism had been close companions. Yet throughout all these vicissitudes a deep spiritual sense and an earnest search for the "Spirit of truth" to comfort and save, never left her. As a child, she was known to disappear from the family fireside on a cold evening to seek out some of the young animals on the farm and "comfort" them.  Again it is told of her, that when a child of twelve she became quite ill through pondering the awful doctrines, taught by the theologians of that day - doctrines of a merciless Jehovah and of an everlasting punishment.  In fact, she was so ill that the family physician was summoned, and pronounced her stricken with fever. Then came the Comforter to this extraordinary child. Her mother, a beautiful Christian, a spiritually-minded woman, tenderly turned the thought of her little one to the love of God, and bade her rest therein. The child prayed, as she was wont to do, and to use her words: "A soft glow of ineffable joy came over me. The fever was gone, and I arose and dressed myself, in a normal condition of health" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 13).

 

Revelation and Healing

Having had this glimpse into the thinking and the nature of this spiritually-minded child, it should not be wondered at that, when in later years she found herself seemingly stricken unto death, her thought should turn to divine aid. She called for her Bible and opened it to one of the marvelous healings of Christ Jesus. As she pondered the wonder of the Master's works, and longed for the "healing of the seamless dress," the revelation came to her that "all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever-present" (Science and Health, p. 108). Again, she speaks of this revelation as the coming to her consciousness of "the divine law of Life and Love."

As a falling apple is said to have led Sir Isaac Newton to the discovery of what the world calls the law of gravitation, so this experience was destined to prove the "falling apple" by which Mrs. Eddy discovered the great fact, so important to humanity and to Christendom, that Christ Jesus was not a wonder worker, but a teacher and demonstrator of fundamental spiritual law, and that it was the operation of this great law of spiritual harmony which had healed the sick in Jesus' day and could repeat the wonder in ours. Her consciousness became so flooded with this great light that to her own amazement, and that of her friends, she found herself suddenly restored to strength and normality. Had Mrs. Eddy seen in this experience only another instance of faith-healing, or the mysterious performance of a miracle, she would have been on the plane of thought of those Christians who, through blind faith, emotional ecstasy, or prayers at shrines, have for centuries witnessed many cures, and the Science which Jesus taught and practiced would have remained hidden.

 

Honoring the Discoverer

The world has only begun to appreciate the worth and wonder of Mrs. Eddy's discovery, and of her great work for mankind. Today people hail and immortalize inventors, material scientists, and the sturdy pioneers in the realm of chemistry and mechanics. They are grateful beyond measure for the material marvels of the day, and for the selfless toil and devotion of those men and women who have brought them to light. But what shall be said of the restoration to sick and suffering humanity of that "Spirit of truth," that law of harmony - the Comforter - which is destined to usher in the kingdom of heaven on earth? And what shall be said of the woman discoverer of that law, the Science of Christianity?  Shall she not in time be accorded her rightful place among God's chosen messengers?  Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy, or give her, as many seem to suppose, undue human adulation; they do insist, however, that she should be justly honored as are other discoverers and scientists, and they know that the day is not distant when her discovery of that spiritual law which is indeed for the healing of the nations, shall be regarded as the most vital and tremendous happening in the world of religion since the days of Christ Jesus.

 

The Monument Is Still There!

In Jesus' time, the enemies of Christianity vainly sought to hamper, and if possible to destroy, the Master's influence and teachings by attacking his personality. Think of it! That pure and unselfed man was called a winebibber and a glutton! Today the latter-day foes of a healing Christianity pursue the same tactics. Failing in their efforts to halt the glorious advancing Cause of Christian Science, they turn their attention to a malicious attack upon our Leader.  Among other things, Mrs. Eddy's ideas were not original with her, say they, and therefore her movement must be fraudulent. One is reminded here of the call made upon the President of the United States a few years ago by some newspaper men, in the course of which they attempted to draw out the President on the subject of some attacks which were then being made on the character and private life of George Washington.  The President heard them through, walked quietly to the window of the executive offices, and thoughtfully gazed out across the park to the great Washington Monument. Returning, he remarked quietly, "Well, I see the monument is still there."   Above the smoke of contumely, hate, and misunderstanding, there arises serenely the monument of Mrs. Eddy's great life-work, in thousands upon thousands of regenerated lives, in untold cases of physical healing, in a mighty spiritual movement which is destined to spiritualize and revolutionize the thinking of men and nations.  Writes Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 110), "No human pen nor tongue taught me the Science contained in this book, SCIENCE AND HEALTH; and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it." Yes, the monument is still there!

 

The Christian Science Textbook

After Mrs. Eddy's healing and her discovery that this mighty work had been brought about by the operation of a hitherto unknown spiritual law, her great problem was to find someone who would listen to her message. When, however, she began to have remarkable healing experiences with others, her fame spread, and it was soon revealed to her that a statement as to the demonstrable law of God which heals and saves should be committed to a textbook. And so it was that her wonderful book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," came to be written. May I say to you here that those who approach this book willing to be taught, and truly hungry for Truth, experience little difficulty with the digestion thereof?  I have known men and women to hurl this volume across the room, stirred to the depths by its revolutionary message, only later on to pick it up again humbly and hungrily, and find an answer to their problems and healing for their bodily illnesses. Of course, it will be recognized that in the brief time allotted for a lecture, it is quite out of the question to go deeply into the vast subject of Christian Science, or more than skim the surface of its textbook. However, if any who read or hear

this message are led to take this book and read it prayerfully, with the teachableness of the child-thought, our time will have been well spent, for before the earnest and systematic student will open a vista of spiritual unfoldment and glorious overcoming little dreamed of.

 

Everyone Believes in God

After one has read a few paragraphs of Science and Health he may say, "In order to accept this teaching, I see that one must be a believer in God." Indeed he must; and may I make here a seemingly bold statement? There is no thinking being on this planet who does not believe in God! To begin with, does any person in the full possession of his reasoning faculties dare to assert that there can be such a thing as an effect without a cause? Even humanly speaking, things do not "just happen." Does a house, for instance, "just happen"? Certainly not. It finds its cause in the thinking of the architect and the builder.

 

Scientific Definitions of God

Now, the Christian Science textbook very quickly parts company with the superstitious and material teachings of the past, as to the nature and character of the one infinite cause of man and the universe whom we call God. On the first page we find Mrs. Eddy referring to Him as the divine Mind, on the second page as intelligence, wisdom, Truth, and Love, and on the third page as divine Principle. Can you imagine an individual in his right senses asserting that there is no such thing in the world as intelligence? If he has seen no evidence thereof in his own thinking, he must have seen it in that of others. Now, if one admits that there is such a thing as mind or intelligence, whence came it?  From a cause which is mental or intelligent, of course. Everyone knows the old saying "Like begets like." An intelligent effect must have an intelligent cause. Will not everyone also admit that there is such a thing as unselfed, compassionate love? If so, whence came it? Did it "just happen," or is it another indication that the great Principle or cause of all must be the One "altogether lovely" and loving? I assume that practically every inhabitant of the world has also at one time or another seen some evidence in his own thinking, or in that of his fellows, of that which is termed good, justice, Truth, or Principle. Can he then say that he does not believe in God? Christian Science tells us that God is Truth and Principle and good, and that justice is one of His attributes; all of which is either stated or implied throughout Holy Writ. In fact, the definitions of God which Mrs. Eddy gives us are not her inventions. They were stated centuries before her by the prophets and Christ Jesus, and have been rescued for us from the debris of hundreds of years of dogma and human conceptions.

 

Man in God's Image

On the third page of Science and Health, having led the thought of the student to a scientific apprehension of the true God, Mrs. Eddy makes this statement, "The Divine Being must be reflected by man." Here we have the basic teaching of the Scriptures and the Science and law of all true being. As will be remembered, the very first statement about man in the Old Testament is that famous declaration in the first chapter of Genesis that he was made in the image and after the likeness of God. All these years, mortals, in ignorance as to the nature of the one true God have consequently been in ignorance as to the true image of that God. This has led to the fatal error of attempting to conceive of the Almighty in their own mortal image and likeness. One sees almost humorous evidences of this in the art galleries of Europe, where are hung the works of many of the old masters. On these old canvases God is invariably portrayed as either a benign or austere elderly man, adorned with luxuriant beard; in fact, it seemed impossible to one of those old artists to conceive of the Supreme Being without a beard. And why? For no reason in the world but that they wore beards, and did not God look like them?   

 

Reasoning from Cause to Effect

Christian Science calls mankind to a complete reversal of this method of reasoning from effect to cause. It reasons from perfect cause to perfect effect, bidding them first of all seek the understanding of the one true God, and then find the real man in His image. If God is Mind, Spirit, then man, to reflect Him, must be a mental or spiritual creation. If God is Truth, his image must express Truth. If God is Love and Principle, His reflection, man, must express the harmony, goodness, and law of his Creator.

 

"The Vail That Is Spread over All Nations"

"But," says someone, "this may all be true of one's spiritual selfhood. What of the material being, the material body? Is this the reflection of God?" Far from it, teaches Christian Science. And did not the apostle Paul state that one must be "absent from the body" if one would be "present with the Lord"? In other words, one must turn from the material sense of existence to the realization that true being is essentially spiritual. In the book of Genesis man does not appear to be cumbered with a material body until the Adam, material sense of things, comes on the scene. Isaiah refers to this material sense as "the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations." And what is the "vail" but ignorance? And what is ignorance but mesmerism - the mesmerism of animality, the very opposite of spiritual understanding?  It therefore comes not from the divine Mind, from intelligence, but from ignorance of God and His law. In a word, it is mesmerism.

 

Fallacy of Mesmeric Suggestion

Years ago many of you may have seen public exhibitions of mesmerism or hypnotism. Happily these occur very infrequently these days. The subject yielded his mentality to the hypnotizer, and within a few minutes seemed completely under his control. The mesmerist would then suggest all sorts of ridiculous things: that the subject was an American Indian, for instance; and immediately the hypnotized one would proceed to indulge in a war dance, emitting wild yells, to the great amusement of the audience. Then, with a few snaps of his fingers and a sharp command or two, the hypnotizer would bring the subject to his senses. Now, while the mesmeric suggestion held sway in that man's thought, without doubt he believed himself to be an Indian. He probably saw an Indian's body, covered with war-paint; yet the onlooking audience saw it not, for the only place an Indian existed was in a false mesmeric sense. Christian Science thus accounts for this sad, suffering, material sense of things, in which the whole human family appears to find itself. Because of this "vail" of ignorance - ignorance of God and ignorance of His spiritual creation - mortals have been mesmerized into believing that man was anything but God's image and likeness. Instead of comprehending the nature of the one true God, and striving to see man as the perfect expression of that God, mankind has literally wallowed in the mesmeric suggestions of animality, of suffering, and limitation, and complete deliverance therefrom has been believed possible only through death.

 

Christian Science the Remedy for Mesmerism

Christian Science, by many, is believed to be but a form of mesmerism, hypnotism, or mental suggestion. From what has been said, however, it will be seen that the opposite of that conception is the truth. Christian Science is the one and only remedy on earth for the mesmerism of materiality and the hypnotic suggestions of the carnal mind. Instead of mesmerizing or hypnotizing a man into the belief that he is well, the Spirit of truth dispels the "vail," or mesmerism, which says that man is sick.

 

But Where Did It Come From?

"But," says someone, "granting that this material sense of things is a mistake, or mesmerism, as you call it, where did it come from?" It came from the very same place that all ignorance comes from, nothingness. Ignorance is not a positive factor in either the human or the divine economy; it is essentially negative. It is not the presence of something, but the absence. Can you trace the origin of an absence? Suppose a child is sent into a dark room with instructions to turn on a light. Then imagine, if you can, the child calling out, "Mother, I cannot turn on the light until I can discover where this darkness comes from!" Thus down the centuries have mortals been kept in ignorance of the truth of being because they were striving vainly to account for the origin of the Adam, material concept of man, which is the opposite, or the absence if you please, of the real man in God's image and likeness. A little lad, who was a pupil in the Christian Science Sunday School, and who was proving to be a very good Bible scholar, once invited his father to ask him some questions about the Scriptures. The father soon propounded this: "How old was Adam when he died?" The child thought deeply for a moment or two and then said, very earnestly, "I'll tell you, daddy, the less you and I know about Adam the better off we will be!'' In a word, therefore, this is the message that the Christian Scientist may well give to those earnest folk who insist that deliverance for the human family lies along the path of materialism. Go to the man or woman bowed low with the problems of appetite, animality, or seemingly hopeless disease. Try to lift him up or heal him by preaching the theory that he is but an aggregation of material cells, that he is a resident in and governed by matter, and that his origin is in brute force; or try to bring comfort and healing by reciting this verse, reminiscent of the doleful and hopeless theology of a generation ago: "Hail, ye sighing sons of sorrow! View with me the autumnal gloom. See your fate - alas, tomorrow, Dead perchance within the tomb!"

What a bungling comforter has the human, material sense of things ever been! Now Christian Science, the scientific Comforter, proclaims joyously that man is not a sighing son of sorrow, nor is he cursed as Adam's progeny. He is not material, nor evolved from jellyfish or apes. He is as spiritual as his Creator, and is governed by the emancipating, omni-active law of Mind.

 

Discussion of Sickness

Relatively few persons are aware of the seemingly overwhelming number of erroneous opinions, and sick and sinning suggestions, constantly being broadcast into human consciousness, until their eyes are opened thereto in the study of Christian Science. In fact, one of the first things one begins to notice after commencing this study, is the extraordinary discussion of sickness, unpleasantness, and discord in general, that abounds in the conversation of mortals. Take from the average mortal the privilege of talking about the aches and pains of himself and others, and he would be threatened with dumbness. You have heard possibly of the reply a wife once made to an inquiry about her husband's health. "Well," she said, "lately he has been enjoying very poor health; but today, he complains of feeling better!" Now because mortals are brought up in the mental atmosphere of expectancy of sickness and trouble, they accept without protest what physicians and hygienists are pleased to call medical and health laws. At a certain age, a child must expect this or that ailment; adults, at different periods in their experience, are to look for this infirmity or that disease; and so it goes. If these be laws, who is their author? Certainly not that heavenly Father who the Bible declares is of "purer eyes than to behold evil," and from whom proceeds every good and perfect gift. Are they not products of that "vail" cast over the nations - that ignorance of God which ever claims to obscure and mesmerize?  Christian Science therefore takes the stand that these accepted medical opinions and fears do not constitute law, and that they can be annulled, one and all, by the glorious, strengthening, health-giving law of God, good. In fact, a Christian Science treatment has well been called enforcement of law and the consequent annulling of every so-called law of materiality and disease.

 

"Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me"

Christ Jesus was always interpreting God's law to those enmeshed in the lawlessness of mortal belief. A notable example of this was at the tomb of Lazarus. It was four days after Lazarus' death, and family and friends were held in the mesmerism that he was past all resuscitating. Disregarding all known laws of medicine or physiology, setting aside as powerless the fears and skepticism of the people, the Master spoke the word that raised Lazarus. The Bible states that he "lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." Before a single word of petition, the Master thanked God that He had heard him. In other words, so certain was Christ Jesus of the goodness of God, and the present perfectibility and operation of His law, that he knew that the discordant picture before him was only mesmerism; in fact, it was not really happening in God's beautiful kingdom. Therefore his prayer, instead of petition became a song of thanksgiving, a glorious realization of man's wholeness and freedom now.

 

Christian Science Treatment

The Christian Scientist in his treatment feels perfectly safe in following Christ Jesus' method of enforcing God's law; therefore his first step is to "lift up his eyes" - in other words, to lift both his thought and his gaze from the contemplation of the unhappy picture of disease or sin which seems to be before him, vigorously declaring that because of the goodness of God, such picture must be lawless and unreal. A little lad who had never known anything but Christian Science met with quite a severe accident; in fact, a stick of wood had penetrated the child's throat, and, as may well be imagined, the picture was a terrifying one. The mother, in a momentary agony of fear, asked the child to open his mouth and let her see the extent of the injury. Resolutely the little lad closed his lips, and backed away, saying, "Please don't look, mother; because if you believe it you can't heal it, and if you don't believe it, you can heal it!" Certainly, out of the mouths of babes hath God perfected praise! Inspired by her child's clear recognition of the truth, the mother was able to "look away from the body into Truth and  Love," as the textbook says (p. 261); and it was only the matter of a few hours until the discordant mesmerism had been banished and harmony restored.

 

Christian Science Does Not Ignore Evil

Here someone may ask, "In the case just cited, did not the mother ignore the evil?" Certainly not! The Christian Scientist does not say to the sick man, "Oh, just forget that you are sick!" Suppose a child in school makes a glaringly incorrect statement. Does the teacher bid the "pupil forget it"? Not until the error has been corrected and the truth put in its place. So this is the first step in intelligent prayer or communion with our heavenly Father, which is but another name for the enforcement of law. Like the great Teacher, the Christian Scientist strives to lift up his eyes to the glorious harmony of being, and utterly repudiate everything evil, discordant, and lawless. Then he is ready to say with the Master, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." I witnessed a beautiful example of this Christian prayer not long ago. I was talking with a venerable woman, considerably past the four-score mark in years, and she, endeavoring to answer a question, found that her thought had become a blank. Did she give way to this error, and bewail the fact that her memory was going? Not she! She stamped her foot, and said vigorously, "There can be no loss in the divine Mind! I reflect intelligence now and forever!" Then, as the normal mental action was manifested, she said humbly and reverently, "Thank you, divine Love!" A perfect example of healing, Christian communion, this. Is it not apparent that a failure to measure up to this simple standard of prayer given us by Christ Jesus is responsible for many seemingly slow or deferred answers to our appeals?

 

Successful Christian Science Treatment    

Christian Science treatment is never the repetition of certain stock phrases; hence no formula can be given in so many words, for the solving of problems of sickness and sin. It involves the lifting up of human consciousness, on the part of practitioner and patient, and the pouring in of gratitude and praise to God for "His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" For successful healing work, therefore, it is not only essential that the patient endeavor to open his heart to the healthful currents of love and gratitude, but that the practitioner should be striving to be an exemplary Christian.

You will find that the alert and consecrated practitioner will indulge in frequent mental stock-takings before beginning treatment for another. He will not start declaring that God is Love until he has striven to wipe out of his own thinking resentment and irritation. He cannot deny another's selfishness, while his own sense of self-will and self-love remains undenied, else his treatment becomes "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." Every earnest worker in the vineyard of Christian healing must ponder many times the beautiful words of A. E. Hamilton which Mrs. Eddy quotes in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 95):

" 'Ask God to give thee skill

In comfort's art:

That thou may'st consecrated be

And set apart

Unto a life of sympathy.

For heavy is the weight of ill

In every heart;

And comforters are needed much

Of Christlike touch.' "

 

Problem of Unemployment

Was there ever a time when skillful comforters, practical helpers, and those able to solve humanity's problems were more needed? Consider for a moment the economic situation. Alarming statistics are being published as to the large number of unemployed in practically every country on the globe; but if the truth were known, the number of those actually unemployed is far greater than that specified by the statisticians. A dictionary definition of "unemployed" is given as "not put to use or turned to account." Could there be a better description of the mentalities of literally millions of mortals than this? Instead of fulfilling man's birthright and true purpose of thinking rightly, and being employed in the glorious activity of spiritual knowing, they unfortunately exemplify the case of the man in Gilbert's famous verse, who said that he always voted at his party's call and never thought of thinking for himself at all!

 

True Employment

Now the first step in the solution of the problem of unemployment, or uncongenial and unprofitable occupation, is to begin with one's own thinking, and see that it is employed - put to use - in spiritual knowing. It will be noticed that here the word "knowing" was used, and not the word "thinking." Our Master did not say, If you think about the truth, it will make you free. His definite command was to "know" the truth. And again he said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." "But how may I know Him?" is the despairing cry of humanity.   First by being introduced to Him, second by trusting Him, and lastly by proving His actuality and law in demonstration.

 

Faith the First Step

Among his first lessons the child in school is introduced by his teacher to numbers.   Laboriously he learns their names, and soon in childish scrawl is able to draw a few figures. One day on returning from school his mother asks, "What did my little boy learn today?" Promptly he replies, parrot-like, "One plus one equals two." "How do you know it does?" queries the mother.  "Because the teacher said so," confidently and promptly replies the child. There is not the slightest doubt about it. His faith in the teacher's knowledge and guidance is without a flaw. But one day he is playing with some toys, and places one block upon another block. Gradually it dawns upon him that this is what is meant by "One and one are two." At that moment blind faith disappears, and a ray of understanding enters his thought, followed by an ability intelligently to use the principle and solve problems.

 

Faith Becoming Understanding

To-day, to the children of men in the great school of human experience, comes the Teacher, the promised Comforter. It finds them struggling along, vainly striving to solve their problems, without the slightest understanding of law or Principle. Gently it leads their thought to the recognition of God as the infinitely good intelligence or Mind which governs in perfect harmony man and the universe. At first such a glorious conception of cause and effect seems almost too good to be true; but let us accept it on faith at the outset. And what heartening evidences have we to strengthen our faith! Not only is there the great mass of Scriptural testimony as to the healing and saving efficacy of spiritual truth, but the ever-increasing army of present-day witnesses, who report that this new-found understanding of God is enabling them to conquer sin, sickness, lack, and wretchedness, and to gain at least a taste of heaven here and now. The Comforter then bids us accept the loving invitation found on the very first page of the Preface of Science and Health, and lean "on the sustaining infinite." Now, to lean means to rest for support and comfort. Christian Science asks us to take God at His word and practically lean, rest for support and comfort, on Him. This means that if one is confronted with a problem of lack, he will begin as a little child to trust that loving Father and Mother of the universe to care for him as he would trust a tender earthly parent. And again and again with the silencing of the mesmerism of fear, self-will, self-pity, or human outlining, there comes to the human consciousness just the idea to meet the need. Therefore, with the problem of unemployment one needs first to see that his thought is employed gaining trust in the great Giver of all good, and, secondly, that he is opening the door of his heart for the admission of God's gifts.

 

Doing One's Part

Can you expect the morning sun to flood your home with its gift of radiance, if you are not doing your part and opening wide your shutters or drawing aside your curtains? Do you not at least have to give the sun a chance to enter? Cannot you eliminate a few "gets" and acquire more "gives"? Without a doubt, multitudes of mortals are stumbling about in the mist and darkness of lack and unhappiness because they have not learned this simple but vital lesson. Have you not seen men and women complaining about their lack of work, or health, or supply, and deliberately doing everything in their power to shut from their experience the very blessings sought? They are not giving to their Father an atom of faith or trust or thanksgiving. They are not giving to their loved ones even the semblance of a brave smile. They are so engrossed in their own misery that they are not giving to their less fortunate brethren so much as a prayerful thought; and when they seek a prospective employer and ask for a post, do they give him the promising mental picture of one who would prove an asset? Far from it! Written in heart and on facial expression is this: I am a sighing man of sorrow, and not worth my salt! Then they depart, rail at society in general, and complain that everyone and everything are against them.

 

Man Is in His Position Now

Let no one leave this place today under the mesmerism of unemployment. The real man is eternally employed, reflecting his Maker. Claim this heritage, and thank God that it is the truth. Be not dismayed by the unlovely traits of thought which the operation of divine law may uncover in your thinking. But as each argument of self-will, or self-pity, or dishonesty, or mental laziness is brought to the surface, like the huckster separating good potatoes from bad, say cheerily, "Out you go!" And then say Truth and law and good, "In I come."

That which one calls a job or position must be externalized if one steadfastly thanks the Father that man is in his real position now, and each moment throughout all eternity is about his Father's business. Said the little lad selling newspapers: "Don't call me a newsboy. I am a man in business!" Don't be a sighing son of sorrow. Be man, God's man, the son of the infinite.

 

Claiming One's Dominion

If the argument of bondage to tobacco or liquor is cheating you out of your heritage of freshness and freedom, in the name of Truth, claim your dominion! Thank the Father that He has given His children the joy of spiritual satisfaction, and that real and abiding pleasure is not to be found in material sense.  One learns in Science to say "No!" to disease and pain. Should not one be even more vigorous with his protests when error would trap him into the indulgence of that which really does not satisfy? The world over, these days, one sees mortals desperately engaged in the uncertain business of seeking pleasure, satisfaction, or some "thrill" in the realm of material sensation.  And what is the result? Sang the old Persian bard:

"The worldly hope men set their hearts upon

Turns ashes, or it prospers; and anon

Like snow upon the desert's dusty face -

Lighting a little hour or two, is gone."

 

The Joyousness of Christian Science

Now the Comforter would not be a comforter if joy and happiness followed not in its wake. Christian Scientists are becoming more and more known as a joyous people. Many for the first time in their lives are learning to laugh. Turning from the continual contemplation of their bodies, and lifting their thought above material sense, they are finding a joy and satisfaction and freedom hitherto unknown. Truly it is a joyous business to be man, God's man! Even when confronted with the argument of sorrow and separation, the Christian Scientist is learning to claim his joy; for do not mourning and grieving belong to that "vail" cast over the nations? As the "vail" is lifted, as a clearer, truer glimpse of God and man is made possible, one sees not death and separation and sorrow, but all of God's children together, and joyous and free, held in the glorious bonds of everlasting Life and Love. In the presence of such realization one can exclaim with the apostle,  "O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?" Surely, "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound"!

 

The Fallacy of Discouragement

Someone may say: "But I have been trying so long to master my problem and have not yet succeeded. I am far from joyous. How can I keep out discouragement?" Those who have played baseball or cricket know what it means to have a bad inning; but is the game necessarily ruined thereby? By no means! Shortly there comes another opportunity, another inning, and with fresh courage and renewed enthusiasm the tide can yet be turned to victory. Says a familiar verse:

"Every day is a fresh beginning,

Every day is the world made new,

You who are weary of sorrow and sinning

Here is a beautiful thought for you!"

 

Each morning, therefore, in this great adventure in which the human family finds itself engaged, one has a fresh inning. Attack your problems as though you had never seen them before. Fill your thought with every heartening memory of past victories. Read the encouraging testimonies in the Christian Science Sentinel each week and in The Christian Science Journal each month. Thank God for each glorious proving of the availability of His law, and know that the good which one has experienced all may experience.

 

"Rejoice in the Lord alway"

Fill your mental home daily with the wholesome chronicles of good to be found in our great newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, and rejoice that we are privileged to be living in this glorious hour of sifting and unfoldment. And last, but not least, like the great demonstrator of God's law, lift up your eyes from the material seeming, and thank the Father that He has heard you. Thank Him that His child is eternally held in His perfect law, and now must be whole and free. Man is not forsaken and comfortless. As says the much-loved hymn (Hymnal, No. 241);

 

"Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,

Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure;

Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,

Earth has no sorrow that Love cannot cure."

 

Therefore, "Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people," saith your God.

 

[Delivered April 26, 1930 at Fourteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Sunnyside Avenue and North Paulina Street, Chicago, Illinois, under its auspices, and published in a Chicago newspaper, name and date unknown.]

 

 

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