Christian Science: Its Revelation of the Unknown God
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
John Randall Dunn, C.S.B., of Boston, Mass., lectured on "Christian Science: Its Revelation of the Unknown God" Monday night in Murat Theater under the auspices of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis. Mr. Dunn, who is a member of the Board of Lectureshhip of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., was introduced by Mrs. Hazel Smith. His lecture follows substantially as it was given:
Fifty-three years after the birth of Jesus, history records a dramatic episode. Into the very center of Greek culture, up unto Areopagus, came a stranger, a Jew named Paul, of Tarsus, and boldly addressed the materially - minded philosophers thus: "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." Then simply and lucidly he endeavored to lift their conception of God from the material and idolatrous to the understanding that the Father of all is Mind, Spirit, in whom man lives and moves and has his being.
There is little record of the reception of his revolutionary message save that "some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter." But it is noteworthy that among the few who glimpsed the truth he taught was a woman. At the breaking of fresh heavenly light and inspiration, is not the spiritualized woman-thought generally found awaiting the dawn? Fifty-three years before, another woman had caught a glorious vision of spiritual truth, and had brought forth a son who was destined to become the Wayshower out of all error. Eighteen centuries later another woman who had been waiting and watching for spiritual light appeared on a latter-day Mars Hill with a message even more revolutionary than that of the stranger from Tarsus. Not only did she amplify his teaching as to the spiritual nature of the great First Cause, but she boldly proclaimed that since God is Mind, Spirit, all-powerful and ever-present good, creation must be spiritual and not material; that man therefore is a spiritual and not a material being, and has dominion over sickness as well as over sin.
When Christ Jesus stood before him in the judgment hall, Pontius Pilate, glimpsing somewhat of the majesty behind the crown of thorns and the purple robe, exclaimed, "Behold the man!" Today, at the judgment seat of human opinion, may not the finger of history be pointed to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, with the salutation, "Behold the woman!" Behold the spiritualized woman-thought crowned with the stars and the moon under her feet; the spiritual consciousness which has loosed the seven seals of error and opened wide the book of Truth with its message of present-day healing and salvation for the whole human family. Christian Scientists do not deify their Leader, nor "worship" her, as one frequently hears from those who fancy themselves her opponents; but they do love her and thank God for the consecration and selflessness which made possible her great work for mankind, and they do not question her place in Biblical prophecy. Six hundred years before Jesus, the prophet Jeremiah envisioned the dawning of greater spiritual light through the spiritualized woman-thought, when he said, "The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man." A dictionary definition of the word "compass" gives this: To grasp with the mind. Jeremiah foresaw that in the fullness of time a woman would grasp the truth about God, man, and the universe - that truth for which the ages had longed - the truth which would bring freedom and deliverance for the human family. The age in which we live has witnessed the fulfillment of that prophecy.
Mary Baker Eddy has written that God had been graciously preparing her during many years for the great spiritual work which lay before her; and this becomes apparent when one reads of her childhood and sees the unmistakable evidences of an extraordinary spiritual-mindedness. The venerable minister, the Reverend Enoch Corser, who tutored Mrs. Eddy at one period of her childhood, is credited with this appraisal of his little pupil: "Bright, good, and pure, aye brilliant! I never before had a pupil with such breadth and independence of thought. She has some great future, mark that. She is an intellectual and spiritual genius" (The Life of Mary Baker Eddy, by Sibyl Wilbur, p. 33). It is not surprising, therefore, to find this child-thought blossomed into a womanhood of rare spiritual-mindedness, and prepared to found and lead a mighty spiritual movement. In 1866, when Mrs. Eddy was nearing her half-century milestone, she had an experience which was destined to change the whole course, not only of her own human life, but the lives of unnumbered thousands of mortals as well. In an hour of dire extremity and apparently beyond all human aid, she looked away from matter to Spirit, and experienced an unquestioned Christian healing. Without doubt, many devout people before and after Mrs. Eddy's healing have been delivered from pain and disease through a blind but unwavering faith in God; but who save she ever devoted years of unselfed, tireless effort after a healing, to find a rule or law underlying the seeming miracle ?
Mrs. Eddy became convinced that her cure through spiritual means was not due to a miraculous intervention of Deity; that it indicated the operation of an unknown spiritual law; that Christ Jesus therefore was not a worker of miracles, but an exponent and demonstrator of this law, and that the understanding of spiritual law would bring Christian healing today, as in the Master's time. In proof of this she proceeded to have some truly remarkable healing experiences with others. Some of these healings are recorded in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which was published in 1875; in fact, before writing her book, Mrs. Eddy had in large measure demonstrated the truths set forth in this volume, through her healing experiences. Every forward-looking person, everyone who is truly searching for and receptive to truth, should read and study this wonderful book. If it is not convenient at the moment to purchase it, Science and Health may be borrowed from a public library, or from a Christian Science Reading Room. For one to refuse to open the covers of this book, and glimpse its marvelous message to humanity, is like a man deliberately closing his eyes to the glory of a sunrise, averring that he is quite satisfied with darkness!
Hear the opening statement of Science and Health (Pref., p. 7): "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings." Yes, this very day, this very hour, holds blessing and good for him who strives to know God, to lean on His care, and lay hold on His beneficent laws. If the question is asked the average individual, Do you believe in God? the answer is generally in the affirmative, although it may be difficult to put in words just what the conception of the heavenly Father is. Many draw a material picture of the creator, seeing Him as a mighty protective Being, with the form of a human man. Others may visualize God as nature, as material force or energy. Hear, then, the nineteenth-century apostle of Christ declaring the demonstrable truth about the God whom mortals have ignorantly worshiped (ibid., p. 330): "God is what the Scriptures declare Him to be, - Life, Truth, Love. Spirit is divine Principle, and divine Principle is Love, and Love is Mind, and Mind is not both good and bad, for God is Mind; therefore there is in reality one Mind only, because there is one God."
Now man, the Scriptures aver, is the image and likeness of God. Therefore man, the real man, the real selfhood of each of us, must be like Mind, Spirit, good; in other words, he is to be found in the mental, the spiritual realm. If one speaks of the manhood or womanhood of certain individuals, he does not refer necessarily to physicality, but to some aspects of their natures or thinking which show forth true manliness or womanliness. So one's true selfhood is discernible in the reflection or expression of God who is Mind and Love and good.
Yes, says some honest doubter; but how do you know that there is such a God? When one says, I express intelligence, he proves that there is such a thing as mind; and like begets like. Therefore that which causes intelligence must be intelligent; in other words, the great First Cause is Mind. What proof is there, that God is Love? When one expresses or reflects unselfed love or good, he proves that there is such a thing as love. If love exists as an effect, the First Cause must be the "one altogether lovely," or infinite Love itself. When one says, I live or exist, he proves that the Father and Mother of all must be Life. The great Thomas Edison is credited with saying that the most remarkable invention in the world is a blade of grass. Certainly the simplest bud or blossom hints the existence of a mighty underlying Mind of intelligence and Life.
So the moment the Christian Scientist begins to discover God, he discovers also man, who is necessary to his Maker as His expression. Of what avail would be the sun without rays, or a mind without thoughts, or a principle of arithmetic without number? There must be a sun and sunbeams, mind and ideas, principle and the expression thereof, for completeness, for right activity. When one has declared the truth about God and man, and has seen the specter of disease or injustice or discord banished and harmony enthroned, he can with conviction exclaim with Job, "I know that my redeemer liveth"!
The Christian Scientists's prayer is a sacred, intimate communing with the Giver of all good, a reaching-out to divine Love, not through doubtful importunity, but through the precious realization of His nearness and the omniaction of His law. Not to the unknown, but to the known Father does he turn - to that "Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." A beautiful instance of intelligent communion with the facts about God and man is seen in the following experience, narrated in the Christian Science Sentinel.
An Englishman, a student of Christian Science, found himself on a raft in the middle of the Atlantic with ten of his shipmates, after their vessel had been torpedoed and sunk. They had neither food nor water. The following morning only five men were alive, the others having succumbed to exposure during the night. The Scientist was turning to his heavenly Father with all his heart and strength and understanding. He knew that the law of God, not luck or chance, could save him, and to this law he clung. By the second morning, he was alone on the raft, all of his companions having passed on. In a temporary agony of fear he called out, in Biblical language, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Instantly these angel-thoughts came to him: "I have not forsaken thee!" and, "Fear not, for I am with thee." And then he felt confident that he would be rescued. Covering himself from the spray, he began pondering the definition of God given in the Christian Science textbook, dwelling on these synonymous terms: Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. (See Science and Health, p. 465.) Next he thought of man as the expression of this infinitely good God. When he had finished this righteous prayer, he looked up and saw a steamer approaching. He was soon picked up, and within a week was home in England, and shortly thereafter was expressing gratitude for his deliverance at a Christian Science testimony meeting.
Here is a pertinent question: Did God love that Christian Scientist more than his shipmates? Certainly not. But the Scientist was the only one of that number who had learned to know and love God, and intelligently lay hold on His power and law. The Scriptures tell us that God is with us when we are with Him. Can one get a certain radio program if he is not tuned in to the station sending forth the broadcast? Can one expect to solve a problem in arithmetic if he intentionally or unintelligently turns from the fixed rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division?
Since time began, multitudes of mortals have shut themselves out from the love of God, and from His promises of protection and healing, because of their fear, ignorance, or self-will. If one's thoughts are filled with fear, let him not be surprised if he misses the calm, powerful assurance of omnipotent good that all is well with the children of God. If one departs from the law of Love, and hopes to solve his problems of sickness or lack or any other discord, he is making a sad mistake. The heart that is unloving or self-willed, bitter or resentful, is a non-conductor of spiritual truth and love. God's law is simply not given a chance to enter with its healing currents of good.
One is reminded here of the sparkling observation of the writer who said: "Why talk about the failure of Christianity, when it has so seldom been tried?" How surely, how quickly, is one's heart made ready for heavenly healing messages when he with childlike humility prays with the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Now when one asks for the healing prayers of Christian Science, let him not be surprised nor disappointed if the practitioner does not care to discuss at great length the discordant physical symptoms of the case. Bear in mind that this treatment is metaphysical, and not physical; hence the Scientist goes at once to the mental realm and begins to uncover and cast out the fears, the false laws, and the wrong thinking which are responsible for the physical discord or distress. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 493): "Disease is an experience of so-called mortal mind. It is fear made manifest on the body." If one is looking at a distressing motion picture, and desires to correct it, would he attempt to do something to the screen? Certainly not. Time and attention would be given to the changing or removal of the film producing the picture. Obviously, then, the human mind is in need of doctoring, since it is sending forth the fearing pictures which in turn seem to be externalized in pain, inflammation, and disease.
How is the demon, fear, to be exterminated? By suggestion, or hypnotizing the victim into believing that he is not afraid? By a resort to intoxicants, either to dull the sensibilities or inflame a false sense of courage? Christian Scientists go happily to the Bible to find the one great and perfect remedy for fear. They find it in one of John's matchless epistles. Here it is: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." What is this love? Why, the love of God, the understanding of God; the realization that this Love divine is all-power, is light which can know or tolerate no opposite, no darkness. Take no one's word for this; prove for yourself this very hour that fear is outrageous, lawless, never belonging to man, and never part of the Father's plan for His children; that it can be routed and permanently nullified by flooding one's consciousness with the glorious light of Love - the understanding of man's eternal safety and indestructibility as God's spiritual idea.
During the first World War, a soldier who saw much action in France, and who always carried about with him the vest-pocket edition of Science and Health, said that he and some of his Scientist friends always referred to the textbook as "The Fear Chaser." Whenever possible, and especially when there seemed to be impending danger or disaster, out would come the little book, and eagerly would its inspired pages be scanned for a message of God's goodness and man's exemption from fear and harm. Many were the quick healings at the time of the great influenza scare, because the intelligent Christian Scientist was able instantly to put his finger on and deal with the cause of the mischief - the germ fear.
Much is heard these days of crusades against such diseases as infantile paralysis. The Science of Christianity is carrying the battle to the realm of fearing thought, and is having noticeable success. Again and again one hears a mother tell of the appearance of terrifying symptoms of the seemingly dread disease with her child, and then seeing the whole unlovely picture fade from view in the presence of calm, confident, triumphant communion with God and His Christ. And is not the Christ the healing truth which Jesus taught? Therefore, when one bravely declares the truth about God and man in the very face of seeming disease or disaster, the same Christ-consciousness which silenced the storms in Jesus' day is saying, "Peace, be still!" And he should expect, as in that day, a great calm.
On billboards, in newspapers and magazines, one is importuned these days to fight such diseases as cancer. Christian Science accepts this challenge, and is making definite war against all disease, including cancer, by carrying the battle to the mental realm. Strange, is it not that the vast material research into the cause and cure of disease should have failed to reveal the fact that the real enemies are what Mrs. Eddy calls "the mental microbes of sin and . . . diseased thought-germs" (ibid., p. 164), which are to be found not with the test tube and microscope, but in the fearing, darkened human thought. Is it to be wondered at that unlovely, terrifying diseases should continue to appear on the screen of human experience, when such fearing, unlovely concepts are entertained in thought? The Christian Science periodicals abound in testimonials of the banishing of practically every disease known to mortals through metaphysical or spiritually mental treatment.
The happy thing about a healing in Christian Science is the wiping out not only of the picture of the disease, but of disagreeable traits of character, of the self-love and self-will, which our Leader calls "the adamant of error, . . . which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death" (ibid., p. 242). A notable example of Christ-healing is recorded in the thirty-second chapter of Genesis. It will be recalled that Jacob, the son of Isaac and the brother of Esau, had not been an exemplary citizen; in fact, he deceived his father, and deliberately stole his brother's blessing. Science and Health names duplicity and sensualism as two of his characteristics. Finally, the Bible states, "Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." Who was the man with whom Jacob wrestled? Who but Jacob himself - the false sense of self which was responsible for all his shortcomings! How error which is not dealt with and destroyed does return to one! Yes, Jacob finally had to wrestle with Jacob; and Mrs. Eddy, in a remarkable commentary on this struggle, states that "an angel, a message from Truth and Love, appeared to him and smote the sinew, or strength, of his error, till he saw its unreality" (ibid., p. 308). If one turns back to the Biblical account, one finds no mention of an angel. What was the angel? Whence came it? In another place in the textbook our Leader gives us the answer (p. 574); "The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares." With the breaking of healing, saving light, Jacob saw the wrestling experience as an angel, and he resolved not to let it go until it had definitely blessed him.
So complete was the work of regeneration, so surely were the errors and unlovely characteristics of Jacob eliminated, that he was given the new name of Israel, which in Hebrew means "having the power of a prince." If one has been having a severe wrestling experience with sickness or some other form of discord, let him not regard it as a calamity, and spend precious moments vainly asking, "Why?" Let the experience become an angel, which will leave one higher than it found him. Let him say with Jacob, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me"!
Then can the Scientist lay rightful claim to the title, a child of Israel, because he has wrestled and prevailed. Many times, however, the newcomer to Science finds himself not so keen for the wrestling with every form of bondage. One student said that his physical difficulties were always speedily overcome, because they were unwanted; but he did not find himself making headway in the overcoming of a desire for liquor and tobacco, because he believed the indulgence in them to be necessary for his happiness. Finally, he said, the cigarette habit became positively an obsession with him; and while in a way wanting freedom, he did not want it wholeheartedly. And so he hugged the tatters of unlovely bondage to him. Intermittently he would ask help from a Christian Science practitioner.
One day the Scientist said to him, "Decide today, now, which you want: God or cigarettes.'' He replied that he wanted God; and taking his stand courageously for Truth and Principle, all desire for tobacco dropped from him as a cast-off garment, and he was free. Next the desire for and belief of pleasure in intoxicating liquor left him, and he now testifies to a sense of freedom, of peace of mind and domination never known before. His first step in this healing experience, therefore, was the gaining of the moral courage to take a definite stand for Principle. Next, he must cling to the fundamental teaching of Christian Science that real pleasure and satisfaction belong to God, Soul, harmonious spiritual consciousness, and are therefore not to be found in the realm of material sense, or sensation.
Only those cling to the so-called appetites of the senses who have not tasted the real joy, the genuine satisfaction, known by the man or woman who learns to reflect God. Let no one fear that the study of this Science will take some good or real pleasure from him. On the contrary, learning of man's dominion and freedom as a child of God brings into human experience a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven, harmony, and peace of mind not to be found in the realm of purely material sensation.
Business men and women who are students of Christian Science testify to the fact that success in business is not impaired when one forsakes tobacco and liquor as a means of gaining the favor and patronage of his fellows. Rather is mankind secretly or openly coming to admire and respect one who is not in bondage to appetite, who is proud of it, and therefore dares to be different.
True business, as the name indicates, is the state of being busy; and the moment one glimpses his real selfhood as the expression of Mind he discovers the reason for his existence, and his real business. Could there be such a thing as an inactive and unbusy ray of light? Activity, or true busy-ness, invariably and inevitably accompanies the outpouring of the sun's rays. The ray's business is to shine, and it shines because it is the very expression of the sun itself. Now then it is discovered that man is necessary to his Maker, that without man Mind would be unexpressed, one sees how impossible it is in divine Science for the real man to be inactive or unemployed.
A beautiful theory, someone may say; but how does this affect my problem? I seem unable to find my work and supply. What can I do about it? Christian Science replies, in the words of Scripture, "Arise and shine"! Just as the truth about God and man silences and then banishes the fear of disease, and lifts men out of the clutches of false appetite, just so will the trusting, persistent affirmation and realization of man's oneness with Mind ultimate in the solving of the problems of supply and right activity. The intelligent worker in Science does not say therefore that he knows he will find his right place some day; rather does he thank his Father that he is in his right place now, as God's reflection.
The real job is to reflect, and a reflection is always expressing, giving. When someone says bitterly or sadly, "I can't get anything to do," the cause of the trouble is plain. Note the cheer, the courage, the success of the man or woman who has discovered that the business of a ray is to give and not get!
The textbook gives this definite statement of God's law (p. 494): "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." If the human need seems not to be met, there is not enough love shining forth. It is all very simple; in fact, it is so simple that millions of distracted, self-centered, self-pitying mortals miss it altogether. Try this glorious busyness of reflecting Love. Real Love, the divine energy, is always giving, always blessing; and Christ Jesus indicates that when our thinking is lifted from the earth into spiritual consciousness, we draw all good to us. The man or woman seeking first the understanding of Love, praying for more love and denying condemnation, despair, self-pity, fear and injustice, places himself squarely under the law of Love, and is certain to find his human needs met.
The great Master gave to all mankind the picture of a successful man - man exercising his dominion over every untoward circumstance and condition. But never did he, for the fraction of a second, allow himself or others to think that he did the mighty works by himself, through his own power or human will. Plainly he stated, and truly exemplified, the fact that he lived and worked because he reflected God. He said: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." And again, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."
There is the grand partnership into which every man, woman, and child may enter, the moment he begins to study Christian Science. Young people in school or college clothed with this precious understanding stand up to their studies and examinations without fear and confusion, knowing that Mind worketh hitherto, and then they work - reflect His intelligence.
Mothers confronted with heavy home responsibilities learn through reflecting Truth and Love to drop the burdens at His feet "and bear a song away." Many students of Science in the business world are learning to pause frequently in the midst of the rush and roar of the day's machinery to commune with the divine Mind. How often are vexing problems cleared up when for possibly only a few seconds thought is turned to the glorious truth that Mind is, Principle is, and man is His expression!
How unspeakably grateful becomes the ever-increasing army of right thinkers for this practical, redemptive Truth. In fact, gratitude goes hand in hand with reflection; for gratitude means acknowledgment of good or favors received. Can one truly become cognizant of the stupendous fact that man exists as the reflection or expression of all-powerful Mind, of the all-conquering Truth and ineffable Love, without experiencing flood-tides of thanksgiving?
Those engaged in Christian Science healing work invariably can cite many instances of the lifting of the mist of ill-health, heartache, and other distressing problems, when the sufferer, gaining a glimpse of the truth of being and man's relationship to the Father, finds his thought flooded with the sunlight of gratitude. A beautiful example of this is found in the following experience: A woman in dire physical distress, called a Christian Science practitioner to her side. The picture which greeted the Scientist was most alarming. To the material senses the so-called "last enemy" seemed near.
In response to the patient's fearing cry to do something to check the error which seemed to be carrying her off, the Scientist found himself mesmerized temporarily by the ugly picture, and striving to heal it. But the truth soon came to the rescue, and with calmness and confidence he said to his patient: "Let us thank God that His man, His image, is not in need of healing!
Let us thank Him that this wretched picture is not the truth about man. Thank Him that it is not happening in His harmonious kingdom, and is therefore only a mortal dream. Thank Him that we are awake!" Within a minute or two the woman was able to join in this song of thanksgiving, and like mist lifting before the morning sunshine, the dark visions of the fearing experience soon faded away, and she was free.
No teaching is more revolutionary, more thought-arresting, or productive of good and blessing for mankind, than Mrs. Eddy's bold insistence that since God, good, is all-powerful, evil, good's absence, is no power; in other words, lawless, unreal. In the textbook she writes (p. 92): "We should blush to call that real which is only a mistake. The foundation of evil is laid on a belief in something besides God."
Not merely intellectual acceptance of this truth or repetition of certain stock phrases enables one to banish sickness, sin, lack, and their unlovely train of errors. It is the Christ, Truth, which brings awakening from the cruel dreams of the carnal mind; and this consciousness dawns on human thought when one turns with childlike trust to Mind, to Love and Principle; when one becomes so conscious of God's goodness and nearness and omnipotence that he says spontaneously: "Father, I thank Thee that it is well with Thy creation! I thank Thee that this material seeming is not happening, not taking place in real being!"
Again let us say, take no one's word for this. Try this very hour taking more of this wonderful medicine of gratitude and see how the dream-shadows of unreality disappear. A little child was once asked by his mother, who was in great pain, to give her some help in Christian Science. He was silent a few moments, gravely nodding his head. Then the little face lighted in a smile, and the mother found herself free. Asked later to tell what he had thought during his silent prayer, he replied: "Why, I just said, 'God, is my mummie sick?' And God said, 'No!' And I said, 'Thank you. God!” A perfect example of true healing prayer, this.
The statement may be made by some earnest inquirer that while the theory and logic of Christian Science appeal to him, he finds it difficult to demonstrate its truths in his experience. But says the textbook (p. 462), "There is nothing difficult nor toilsome in this task, when the way is pointed out; but self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize, as they usually do in every department of life."
Let these four steppingstones have a brief analysis; first, self-denial. This does not necessarily involve just the denial of some cherished desire or thing, although the consistent student will be found ever striving for temperance and the curbing of appetites. Scientific self-denial is the repudiation of a limited, discordant material sense of self, and a constant turning to the joyous realization that man, the real man, is the very expression of harmonious, painless, deathless Being itself. Therefore one does not see a sick self to be healed, but radiant wholeness to be revealed. Scientific self-denial consists not in giving up something real and pleasurable, but in finding that which brings genuine satisfaction and abiding happiness. One of the hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal brings this message:
"Be true and list the voice within,
Be true unto thy high ideal,
Thy perfect self that knows no sin,
That self that is the only real."
The next step, sincerity. The textbook tells us that "we never need to despair of an honest heart" (p. 8). The honest seeker after Truth may sometimes find himself on a detour, but never on a path leading away from Principle. A dictionary definition of "sincere" is, "pure; unmixed." The student whose thought is honest and sincere adheres to the pure teachings of the God-inspired Leader of the Christian Science movement.
His unfolding vision of the truth she teaches is unmixed with human theories of materia medica and hygiene. Hypocrisy was an error of the carnal mind which elicited strong rebukes from Christ Jesus. There is no possible pleasure in being a hypocrite, and the honest, sincere thought is in no danger of being touched with such error.
The next step, Christianity. Well may one pause before this much-abused, often-used, and little-understood word. How the world needs Christian Scientists at this troublous hour! It needs men, women, and children striving not only for the letter and rule of Science, but for the Master's love when he was able to separate error from the Magadalen; for the gentleness manifested in his love for little children; for his patience, when he with unflagging forbearance watched over the halting spiritual footsteps of his disciples; for his moral courage, when he drove the moneychangers from the temple; and for his infinite compassion and unselfed love, when on the cross he looked down on his detractors and would-be assassins, and said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Let the student of this great truth watch well that his understanding of the letter of Science does not outstrip the Christianity he is demonstrating. As the Apostle Paul says, "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing." There is no sadder sight on earth than a man or woman with heart devoid of love and compassion, naming the name of Christianity, and giving the voice to pious metaphysical truths.
The last step, persistence. Have you ever seen the mighty salmon jumping waterfalls, in its effort to swim upstream to the spawning grounds? These remarkable fish will leap into the air, only to be washed downstream by the relentless torrent. Sometimes they are hurled against jagged rocks, and are bruised and battered; but again and again they dash and leap into the very teeth of the cataract, until finally their persistence and bravery are rewarded, and on they go undaunted to their destination.
What lessons humankind could learn from this extraordinary persistence! What rewards for him who challenges despair, and carries on resolutely and hopefully in spite of obstacles and difficulties! Now, to hope is to trust confidently that good will come; therefore hope is never despairing, never forlorn. It must ever be at the standpoint of good. These beautiful lines express the scientific conception of hope:
"It is no day-dream of a dim 'Perhaps,'
Nor castle-building reverie which saps
The endeavor of the present. It is not
Some indistinct desire that my lot
Shall somehow shape itself to different mold
At my mere whim, which, like a tale that's told,
Lives but an empty moment.
None of these
Is Hope, sister of Faith. It is the certainties
That victory's wreath already rims my brow,
And God's good gifts are given, here and now!"
Warwick James Price.
With gratitude, and an ever-increasing expectancy of good, the Christian Scientist, fixing his gaze on the harmonious, spiritual facts of being, again and again sees the enemies called sickness, pain, appetite, and lack put to flight. Sometimes the battle is quickly won, and again patience, fortitude, and persistence are the reinforcements needed before the smoke of conflict lifts. And Christian Scientists are making definite headway in their warfare with the so-called last enemy, death.
In thousands of instances the "grim reaper," as it is called, has been halted or vanquished, when one refuses to consent to its argument and exclaims with the Psalmist, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." A veritable multitude of students of Science can testify to the fact that at least their understanding of Truth is enabling them to see the sting of death lifted from their experience. They have learned that there can be no such thing as defeat in Truth, and that a Christian soldier who goes from our sight, clinging to the facts about God and man, must be aroused and awakened to what Mrs. Eddy calls "a rich blessing of disbelief in death, and a higher realization of heaven" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 297).
The consciousness, therefore, that man has not been annihilated, but is "living, loving, acting, enjoying" (ibid., p. 139), brings a peace and comforting to the human heart which is healing balm indeed. One student told of the speedy silencing of thoughts of grief, when she would rebuke the error thus: "You are nothing but a claim of selfishness! You would make me weep and mourn and believe in separation, when all God's children are deathless and inseparable ideas in Mind!" Resolutely turning from sense-testimony with a whispered, "Father, I thank Thee!" angels would come and minister unto her; in other words, a priceless consciousness of man's indestructible oneness with God and His ideas would pierce the gloom, silence the heartache, and confirm the promise of a much-loved hymn that "earth has no sorrow that Love cannot cure."
How unspeakably grateful for some understanding of Truth is the student of Christian Science in these stirring days of world upheaval! He sees in the present conflict not a struggle between jealous, selfish, or greedy nations, but the inevitable uncovering and bringing to the surface for destruction of the errors of the carnal mind. The Master predicted a tremendous stirring of the muddy riverbed of human thought, through the second coming of the Christ, Truth. Who can deny that in these days humanity is witnessing the reappearing of the healing truth which Christ Jesus taught? Can it be called just a coincidence that since Mrs. Eddy's discovery in 1866 of the truth about God and man the thought of the world has experienced the most amazing overturning and unfoldment?
In a little over half a century, astounding inventions and new thoughts have brought freedom from limitation and bondage undreamed of by our ancestors; and slowly but surely the idea of Christian brotherhood, of the free Christian way of life, and of the dignity and rights of the individual, has been dawning on the darkened, selfish thought of mortals. The upheaval, or "chemicalization," as Mrs. Eddy denominates the purifying action of Truth, may, in the language of Scripture, cause men's hearts to fail them for fear; yet the promise of the Bible and Science and Health is that he who stands with his hand in the Father's will emerge from the fiery ordeal untouched, and without even "the smell of fire" on him; will come forth with dross consumed and gold refined.
Centuries ago, Christian knights set out upon a crusade to wrest from infidel hands the Holy City, Jerusalem. How much nobler, more far-reaching is the crusade upon which right-thinking, freedom-loving men and women are embarked today! The pagan and infidel enemy today insolently prates about a "new order"; but there is nothing new about it. It is all very, very old. It is the carnal mind's age-old creed of brute force, racial superiorities, intolerance, submergence of man's individual rights and freedom, and subservience of man to the state. In a word, it is the creed of anti-Christ - everything that is anti-Christian.
To human sense, it may be said that today mad dogs seem to be at large, and must be captured and subdued; and this not only for the safety of the democratic nations, but for the very peoples who have bred and unleashed the ferocious beasts. However, the capturing and chaining of the dangerous animals is not the goal of the present-day crusade.
Next must come the healing of the madness, the distemper, in order that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and the Christian ideal of justice, freedom, and brotherhood, may have access to and an abiding place in the affections and lives of all mankind. And where does this healing start? Let each man, woman, and child answer, In my own thinking. Is there war in my thinking? Is there selfishness and domination there? Is divine Love being enthroned?
A great privilege is before the human family today; and it is the priceless privilege of enlistment in the Christian crusade of liberation. In uniform or civilian clothes, in defense work or other needful activity, everyone should feel the call to service at this pregnant hour. Not everyone can shoulder a musket, operate the controls of an airplane, or sail a ship, but all can serve in some capacity and all can pray.
The Christian Scientist has faith in his prayers. He believes the Scriptural statement that "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man [a right-thinking man] availeth much." He remembers the accounts in the Bible of those devout, trusting people who prayed, who looked for deliverance to a power apart from matter, and who declared with the Psalmist, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do unto me?"
The Lord, omnipotent Mind, is with them who are with Principle, and it is the sacred duty and privilege of everyone who is beginning to understand God as Principle to hold up the hands of those who are standing against aggression and tyranny. Let consecrated moments be spent daily declaring the power and presence of the one Mind. Giving of money and material service, while commendable and most necessary, is not enough. Our public servants, our defense workers, and our armed forces need the prayers of those who are beginning to know God. They need protection against the subtle suggestions and hypnotic propaganda of those agencies which would befuddle and separate the forces of democracy.
In her message to The Mother Church, written in the year of the Spanish-American War, the inspired Leader sent her followers a call to arms which may well be heeded today. She wrote: "Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her victory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness" (Christian Science versus Pantheism, p. 14).
Christian Science, bringing to human consciousness an understanding of the unknown God whom mortals have ignorantly worshiped, calls its followers to a practical demonstration of the fact that God is. God as Mind is demonstrated when harmony is seen among brethren, when oneness of Mind is shown forth in family, business, and church life; God as Spirit is manifested as one leans less and less on matter, and daily, hourly, proves that good is all-power; God as Soul is demonstrated when false appetites and pain withdraw before that spiritual consciousness which is peaceful, painless, serene, and satisfied.
When one stands squarely for honesty, law, and order, God as Principle is brought into human affairs. When one thinks less of life as material existence, and knows that man lives only as he loves, and serves and has dominion over limitation and discord, God as Life is manifested.
When one expresses truthfulness, harmony, and spiritual light, and banishes as unreal every unlovely suggestion of inharmony and disease, God is proved to be Truth; and when man loves, and only as he loves, can it be demonstrated that God is Love. "But how can I love someone utterly unlovely?" may be asked. Christian Science answers that real love is that which impersonalises error, that which looks beyond the unhappy, unlovely pictures drawn by the carnal mind, and strives to see the beautiful, lovable creation of a beautiful, lovable creator.
Earth's problems will be solved, and the kingdom of heaven, harmony, will appear, when this practical understanding of God is enshrined in men's hearts. This is the great work before each individual. In a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal this question is asked:
"What can we do to work God's work,
To prosper and increase
The brotherhood of all mankind,
The reign of the Prince of Peace ?
What can we do to hasten the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea?"
And in the following verse comes the answer:
"March we forth in the strength of God
With the banner of Christ unfurled,
That the light of the glorious Gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight, with sorrow and sin,
To set their captives free,
That the earth may be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Nov. 6, 1942.]