Christian Science: The Solution of the World’s Problems
John Randall Dunn, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was
delivered last night at First Church of Christ, Scientist, before a large and
attentive audience. Mr. Dunn, who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of
The Mother Church - The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
You have noticed many times, without doubt, a certain inscription over exits from buildings and cars which reads: "This Way Out." Often have I wished that I might write below this the words "Christian Science," for every student of this great subject realizes more and more that the understanding and practical application of the Science of Christianity affords the only definite way out of the many problems which confront and perplex humanity today.
Nineteen centuries ago the great Teacher of Nazareth pointed the way out of human discords, and rightfully has ever been called "The Wayshower." But have mortals really accepted Jesus as the practical Wayshower out of aught but sin? Have they looked on him as the greatest healer of disease that the world has ever known? Have they realized that on the shores of the Galilean lake were given scientific rules which, when put into operation, would solve here and now the knotty problems of human existence, of capital and labor, of supply and demand, problems of men and of nations? In a word, have mortals been turning naturally to the teachings of Jesus to find present-day salvation from evil?
If a bit of personal reminiscence is permissible, I would say that our family, though conscientious church-goers always, never supposed their sense of Christianity capable of supplanting their quinine and calomel in a case of sickness. Such a thought would have been labeled speedily as far-fetched and not common sense. Quite unconsciously, I am sure, we exemplified the sentiment of the man who said that religion was an excellent thing if not carried too far, and was not allowed to interfere with the practical affairs of life! But because we did not carry our religion far enough and allow it to permeate the innermost details of daily experience, we encountered seemingly unsolvable problems of sickness, of lack, and other forms of inharmony. It was not an uncommon sight to see a member of our family return from church, go promptly to bed, and call for some strong medicine to enable her to overcome a severe headache caused by overwrought emotions. We knew not in those days that emotionalism was the product of the carnal mind, and not of the divine Mind, and that the simple, sweet message of Christ Jesus should heal headaches and still the turbulent emotions. In fact, the good news brought by Christian Science to a suffering world is that a scientific understanding of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth can begin this very day to untangle our snarls and find answers to our many human problems; that Christianity must not only save men from a future hell, but from a present hell - the hell of sickness, lack, fear, hate, and all its unlovely etceteras; that heaven, the reign of harmony, is possible in ever-increasing degree here and now.
Let us consider for a moment one of the many examples given us in the Scriptures of Jesus' simple, and yet to our sense marvelous handling of a problem of sickness. Take one of his early healings as recorded in Luke's gospel. He is besought to help the mother of Simon's wife, who is seemingly gravely ill. Apparently the Master makes no inquiries as to the symptoms, does not ask for the cause of the malady, nor does he desire to take her temperature or feel her pulse. Let us see what happened as recorded by Luke. "And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them." There was no period of convalescence, no gradual abating of the fever, nor slow recovery of strength, and the great Healer did not caution her about her diet and warn her not to eat too much. "Immediately she arose and ministered unto them"! In the records of its four thousand years medicine cannot find such an astounding cure of fever wrought through any of its material methods. And yet Christ Jesus did not one material thing. He rebuked the fever - the fever, please notice, and not the woman. Now a word is only the audible expression of a thought; hence that which brought about this remarkable healing was wholly mental - in other words, it was something which the Master thought or understood.
This mighty understanding we see rebuking unclean spirits, healing epilepsy and all manner of disease; we see it stilling storms; enable Jesus to walk on the water, to feed the multitude, and even to raise the dead. Perhaps the saddest and most grievous error which scholastic theology makes is the relegating of these demonstrations of Jesus' control over evil and materiality to the realm of the miraculous. Theology excuses its failure to do these works on the ground that Jesus was God, and his acts therefore superhuman; notwithstanding the fact that the Master plainly said that of himself he could do nothing, that it was the Father dwelling in him that did the works, and that those who truly believed on him (understood him) would be able to do the things that he did and even greater things. Therefore the all-important question before Christian people today is, Can we as professed followers of the Master do the works which he did? Can we think his thoughts today, and begin to solve our problems by his method? What was it that Jesus thought, or understood when he rebuked fevers, stilled storms, overcame lack, and subdued materiality?
These questions began to form themselves in the thought of Mary Baker Eddy at an early age. She was a deeply religious child, and has written that she would listen with joy to the assurance of her spiritually minded mother that God was able to raise her up from sickness (Science and Health, p. 359). And she not only had proofs of this with herself, but on one occasion when a mere slip of a girl she subdued an insane man. It seems that an escaped lunatic rushed into the schoolyard where the little Mary Baker was playing. The man was violent, brandishing above his head a club. The children fled in terror - all but Mary Baker. She walked quietly up to him and took his hand. Instantly his manner changed. The arm with the club dropped to his side, and he walked with her quietly to the gate. In later years, but before the light of Christian Science had streamed in its fullness upon her thought, a woman brought her child to Mrs. Eddy, laid it on her knees, and begged her to ask God to cure its blindness. "Mrs. Eddy has stated that she lifted her thought to God and returned the child to its mother, assuring her that God is able to keep His children. The mother looked at the child's eyes and they were healed." (The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Sibyl Wilbur, p. 70.)
It can be seen plainly that the idea of Christian healing had been budding throughout Mrs. Eddy's earthly experience, and therefore it was perfectly natural years after, when she found herself near the gates of death, again to turn her thoughts towards spiritual aid. She called for the Bible and opened to the ninth chapter of Matthew. As she read the story of the healing of the man sick of the palsy, the great truth for which she had been searching all her life, began to dawn upon her thought. She began to touch the hem of the garment of the healing Christ, and to glimpse the answer to the age-old question, "What is truth?" In that glorious moment, and in the months and years of consecrated searching and praying that followed, there was unfolded to Mrs. Eddy Jesus method of healing, what Jesus must have thought and understood and practiced. In proof of this she not only found herself well, but with this understanding she was able to heal others. In fact, many of Mrs. Eddy's demonstrations of healing are as remarkable as those which are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Of such healings she speaks in her writings very briefly and modestly, but we find that cancer, consumption, hip disease, insanity, the morphine and opium habits, and many other forms of sin and sickness all went down speedily before her realization of the might and glory of the Word of God.
Then she set about sharing with the world her discovery, and in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and in what are called her shorter writings, we find revealed the Science by which Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets unquestionably did their mighty works. The best Christian Science lecture that could possibly be delivered would consist simply in reading to you from these inspired books; but the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings should be studied, pondered, and prayed over rather than given only the hasty consideration possible in the few moments allotted for this lecture. If any who listen to this message are led to become sincere students of these God-inspired writings, our time today will have been well spent; for the man, woman, or child who is willing to study Mrs. Eddy's works and begin to put into practice the truths he learns therein, stands indeed at the threshold of a new life. In Science and Health (p. 224) we read: "A higher and more practical Christianity, demonstrating justice and meeting the needs of mortals in sickness and in health, stands at the door of this age, knocking for admission. Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh in the quiet of meekness, as he came of old to the patriarch at noonday?"
On the flyleaf of the textbook Mrs. Eddy has quoted these familiar words of Christ Jesus, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Here is the rule left by the master Metaphysician for the solving of every problem of human experience. All these years it has stood, and all these years have mortals looked on it and then passed it by, uttering again Pilate's plaint, But what is truth? If therefore this Christian Science textbook unlocks that great treasure-house of spiritual understanding, the Bible, and reveals the answer to this question "What is truth?" is it not well called "the Key to the Scriptures?"
Webster defines the word "truth" as the "real state of things; fact; reality; actual being or nature." Now in order to find the "real state of things" and man's "actual being or nature" Mrs. Eddy very properly leads thought to the contemplation of the opening chapter of the Bible. The chapter in the Christian Science textbook entitled "Genesis" contains without doubt the most remarkable spiritual interpretation of Scripture extant. It emphasizes the fact that in the first and second chapters of Genesis are to be found two separate and distinct records of creation; the first dealing with the spiritual, real creation of God, and the second setting forth an allegory illustrative of a material conception of God and man. On the facts of being set forth in the first chapter, however, the Christian Scientist takes his stand.
What a glorious picture of creation is drawn in this opening chapter of the Old Testament! No evil is here, no fear, no sickness, sin, nor death, but as each object of God's handiwork appears we read that "God saw that it was good." How could it be otherwise when the very name of the creator, God, means in the Saxon, good! Now Jesus has taught us that God is Spirit, the opposite of the material, and Science and Health amplifies this with the statement that Spirit must be Mind, the all-knowing intelligence. So in the first chapter of Genesis we find that the creator, infinite Mind or Spirit, which is infinitely good, is creating man and the universe like Himself. The great first cause, being good the effect must be good. We read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth. . . . And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
"But," may interpose someone at this point, "does not this refer to the Adam-man mentioned in the next chapter?" Let the Scriptures answer this query. We read that Adam was formed of the dust of the ground, was material, and became a living (material) soul, apparently capable of knowing good and evil; whereas the man of the first chapter is not material, but mental, spiritual, for he is made in the likeness of God, Spirit, Mind, and has been given dominion over all things. These two records of creation are as far apart as the poles.
There is to be found in the second chapter of Genesis a simple statement that apparently has been overlooked by theologians and Bible scholars all these years, a statement, however, of vast import, for it tells us in a few words all we need to know about Adam and materiality, The verse reads: ''But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."
And then with the coming of a mist appeared material man, capable of sinning, being sick and dying. In Science and Health (p. 523) Mrs. Eddy describes this mist as "mystification," the opposite of understanding. So, while the man of the first chapter of Genesis proceeds from God, the all-knowing Mind, the Adam-man comes with mystification, and is formed of dust. Soon we read that a deep sleep falls upon Adam, and here is another point that many have overlooked: There is no mention of the fact that Adam never awakened! So in the textbook (p. 306) Mrs. Eddy refers to material sense as the “Adam-dream” in which all mankind seems to be enmeshed, and from which it needs to be awakened.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, the distinction between God's man and the material concept is clearly drawn, where we read, “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." A little child had listened to the reading of that verse, and it had impressed him greatly. Shortly after he found his grandmother had taken to her bed, and seemed to be quite ill. The little fellow appeared perplexed for a time, but finally went to the bed and said gravely, "Grandmother, don't you know that God made you upright? He did not make you up wrong!" This then is the glorious truth that mortals are learning in Christian Science: that mankind need only turn from the mist - the evidence of the material senses - to the great spiritual facts of being as stated in the first chapter of Genesis, to find the truth which maketh free. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 171): "Through discernment of the spiritual opposite of materiality, even the way through Christ, Truth, man will reopen with the key of divine Science the gates of Paradise which human beliefs have closed, and will find himself unfallen, upright, pure, and free, not needing to consult almanacs for the probabilities either of his life or of the weather, not needing to study brainology to learn how much of a man he is."
Here the question may be raised, "If you insist that the truth about man is that he is spiritual and not material, where does this material or Adam-sense of things come from?" When Christian Science states that material sense is only another name for the Adam-dream, it says all that there is to be said on the subject. One does not analyze a dream, one merely awakens out of it; and when one is thoroughly awake, he pursues his dream-phantom no further. The question as to the seeming origin of evil can be answered therefore only by spiritual awakening and growth in understanding. When one has a clear-cut proof of healing in Christian Science; when some picture of discord which has seemed so real and powerful has turned into nothingness before the blaze of Truth, then and not until then will this question be satisfactorily answered. Along this line an almost humorous passage of Scripture is to be found in the Book of Job. You remember that there was a day when the sons of God were supposed to present themselves before the Lord, and the record states that Satan came also among them. Then the Lord says to Satan. "Whence comest thou?" Hear the illuminating response, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it"! Here evil betrays its emptiness and powerlessness. It has no law, no source, no reason for existing, no object. It is as Jesus said in his ringing denunciation, "A murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in [it]."
Here then is the Christian Scientist's warrant for denominating evil a lie, a fraudulent sense, and never the product of a loving and all-wise Father. This does not mean, however, that the intelligent Christian Scientist airily waves evil to one side, and says, "Oh, there is no sin, so why worry about it?" He is taught to handle the serpent of sin by bringing it out from its hiding place, seeing that it confers no satisfaction, and then turning from it with loathing, if not with tears of repentance. In no one thing does Christian Science prove itself more divine than in its combined sternness and compassion in its treatment of sin. We read in the textbook. "Expose and denounce the claims of evil and disease in all their forms, but realize no reality in them" (p: 447). Ah, there is the task difficult to the average mortal, accustomed as he is to according power and reality to evil, and condemnation to the sinner rather than the sin. Yet nothing short of this can be termed true Christian healing of sin.
An Example of Jesus' Healing of Sin
Take for example Jesus' healing of the woman "taken in adultery. The self-righteous scribes and Pharisees endeavor to secure from the Master endorsement of their hard rule of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But he stoops and writes on the ground, making no reply. Finally, in response to their insistent demands for an expression of his views, he says very simply, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." And again he leans forward and with his finger traces words in the sand. Tradition has it that Jesus wrote the secret sins of the accusers, and they one by one stole quietly away when their evil doings were uncovered. Is it not comforting to note, at this point, that the Master wrote these sins in sand instead of chiseling them in a rock? Then the Scripture tells us that he lifted up himself and saw none but the woman, and then delivered that message of compassion and healing that has rung down the centuries, "Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more." What did Jesus see when he "lifted up himself"? Certainly not a sinning, weak, imperfect daughter of Adam, but the sinless, spotless image of God which had just seemed hidden by the Adam-mist, and his recognition of the truth of being dispelled the false picture and set the captive free. Having discerned in the woman's thought true repentance and turning from sin, the Master unsaw the evil; in other words, he separated man from evil, and thus took away its seeming power.
Let me cite here a case of healing of sin, thoroughly authenticated, which shows how this understanding of Christian Science enables one practically to lift the burden of sin and condemnation from his brother-man, and set him free. A few years ago, when Christian Scientists began holding services in a certain large State prison, there was confined in that prison one of the most desperate and feared convicts in the State. We shall call him John Henry, as his own name might be remembered by many. He became so ungovernable in the prison and attempted so many escapes, that it became necessary to place him in solitary confinement where he remained a number of years. The two Christian Scientists who acted as readers at the prison services heard of this prisoner and asked permission of the captain of the guard to see him. This was freely granted, and the Scientists, accompanied by the captain, went into the dungeon. There sat John Henry, looking more like a savage beast than a human being. The Scientists looking past the Adam-appearance, and endeavoring to know the only man there was, was the expression of good, addressed him kindly and added, "You have a friend here in the captain." John Henry did not raise his eyes. "I have not a friend in the world!" he muttered bitterly. "Ah, but you have," replied one of the Scientists, "and I can prove it to you. The captain is your friend, we are your friends, because we want to help you." A friend! That magic word brought probably the first touch of love that starved and hardened heart had known for years, and tears came into John Henry's eyes. The Scientists, being good metaphysical gardeners, knew that the seed of Truth had been planted, so they departed, leaving some Christian Science literature for him to read.
Almost immediately the guards about the prison began to notice a wonderful change in John Henry's thought. The following Sunday he was allowed to come to the Christian Science service held in the prison. There he heard read from the Bible and Science and Health healing statements about God and man, with never a word of condemnation for the sinner, but only condemnation for the sin. He heard that glorious declaration of the Apostle John, read at the close of every Christian Science Sunday service, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God"! The Adam-mist began fading away and the child of God began to appear. Within six months this desperate criminal had been transformed into one of the most trusted men in the prison.
I had the privilege sometime after of lecturing in this institution, and was talking to the men about the parable of the Prodigal Son. After describing the Prodigal's plight, when "he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him," I said to my audience, "Men, where was that man?" A clear strong voice answered me "In hell!" It was the voice of John Henry. He knew all about it, for he had been there. But there was triumph and joy in John Henry's voice, for he had found through Christian Science his way out of hell. The prodigal had come back to the Father's home. The walls of the institution were not prison walls to him! His prison-house had been sin and ignorance, and Truth had brought him forth from this dungeon long since. So today he is still serving his sentence, and is in the eyes of men still a convict; but one of the freest, most joyous sons of the King I have ever met is this same John Henry! He now is able to do healing work for his fellow-inmates, and is showing many of them their way out of bondage, out of the belief that there is any real satisfaction in sin. After all, what more is there to sin? Mrs. Eddy writes in "Miscellaneous 'Writings" (p. 90), "The power of sin is the pleasure in sin. Take away this pleasure, and you remove all reality from its power."
Let us now consider the application of the truth of being, as revealed in Christian Science, to a case of sickness. In the first place, the Scientist does not ask to see the patient's tongue, but to discern what is in his thought. He has learned in the textbook that "fear, ignorance or sin" is the cause of all disease (Science and Health, p. 411), so he goes at once to the root of the difficulty. The material physician becomes greatly concerned over the presence of this germ or of that infection; but does he see the germs of fear, of despair, of heartache, or condemnation that are the actual cause of the discord? As for surgery, only the sword of Spirit, the Word of God, can truly remove the poison-cells of hate and fear from the human consciousness. Thus it is that the man healed in Christian Science is not only improved materially, but is inevitably lifted higher spiritually.
The following case of healing-came under my observation some time ago, and illustrates how the spiritual idea of being comes like an angel visitant to the sufferer and awakens him to the glorious realization of his freedom as the child of God.
A woman had been battling for some days with a condition which physicians might have called intermittent fever. She seemed quite ill, but she and her husband were Christian Scientists and were bravely fighting it out along spiritual lines, and resorting to no material remedies. The fever would come and go, come and go, and just when they felt the ill was conquered, back it would seem to come with increased violence. Both husband and wife were clinging to the truth of being, and endeavoring to speak to the disease “as one having authority,” but there was something lacking. They repeated words, but the realization of the truth of their statements was wanting, and discouragement threatened to overwhelm them. One day, after a rather encouraging morning, the husband came home to find the wife again prostrated, her cheeks aflame with the fever and crying as though her heart would break. "Oh," she said, "I don't believe I shall ever be healed!" The husband sat beside her for a few moments, and then a light broke in upon his thought. "I know what is needed in this family," he declared. "We have been saying words, only words! We have been making these great statements about God and man, and have not thanked God that they are true. What we need here is more of the medicine of gratitude!" "I do not see anything to be grateful for," said the wife, still weeping. "Then," said the husband, "suppose we begin counting the blessings which have come to us since we have known Christian Science." Proof after proof of God's care and protection was cited, but no sound came from the bed. "Now," continued the husband, "Let us thank God for the healings we know others have had." A voice from the bed joined him in this, for it was easy to remember other people's healings. "And now we come to our greatest cause for gratitude," said the husband. "Let us thank God, as did Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, that the Father has heard us. Let us thank Him that we are whole and free now, no matter what the material senses are reporting. Thank Him that the law of good is the only law governing us, and that this picture which has seemed so real is only a part of the Adam-dream. Let us thank Him that this error is really not going on. Thank Him that we are awake!" By this time the wife was working with him, and after possibly fifteen minutes he put his hand on the brow that had been so hot. It was moist. The eyes were bright. The fever had gone, never to return. Gratitude, therefore, may be said to be the sign that one truly has reached the realization of the truth which he declares.
Let us now consider the case of a man "financially sick," or who may be said to have "a sick business." Can this spiritual understanding of creation help him? Even so. Possibly every business man will agree that a higher, happier, and more hopeful view of things would work wonders in the business world. No realm is more susceptible to mental influences than the so-called business world. Superstition, fear, doubt, and panic find easy access thereto, and if not checked and nullified by the action of Truth, these may work much mischief with the individual, the community, or the nation. Should it be thought unreasonable that the Word of God, the reflection of infinite Mind, which in Jesus' time stilled storms and raised the dead, should be able in our day to quiet fear, restore confidence, bring about harmony in an organization, and promote and bring to success a righteous business venture? Christ Jesus once said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." The reason for the failure of many a business man lies in the fact that instead of being lifted up from the earth, as the son of the King should be, he is wearing still the livery of Adam, and carrying about an atmosphere of gloom and fear and limitation that repels rather than attracts his brother-man.
Have you ever read in the Bible the story of the poverty-stricken widow who, as creditors were about to take her sons to be bondmen, appealed to Elisha for help? You will recall that the prophet meets her appeal in quite an unexpected and unusual manner. He says, "What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?" She replies that she has nothing save a pot of oil. He then tells her to secure as many vessels as she can, go into her house, shut the door, and begin pouring out the oil. She is obedient, and in the great manifestation of abundance that follows, every vessel is filled. Here may be seen an instance of the marvelous light which the study of Christian Science throws upon the Scriptures. We learn in Christian Science that "house" may be likened to one's consciousness, while “oil” typifies “consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration" (Science and Health, p. 592). Therefore when we are confronted with the argument of lack, hard times, fear, loss, and so on, and we turn to Christian Science for relief, the first message is, Look within! What have we in our mental homes? The first temptation is to say bitterly, "Nothing!" Ah, but have we not a little oil that we can begin pouring? Can not we pour forth a little more charity to our business associates, a little more gentleness in the home, a little more prayer and consecration to the heavenly Father? To our amazement we find that the difficulty was not from without at all; it was within. Some one has aptly said, "The hole through which you give is the hole through which you get." If we have provided no outlet for the streams of love and gratitude, how then can one expect a great inflow of good? The Scripture gives us a definite law on this subject. It says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, . . . and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, If I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
One often hears a business man who is a Christian Scientist sigh to get away from material business, as he calls it, and give all his time to holier work. It is well to remind each other that whatever enterprise is meeting one of the world's legitimate needs may truly be denominated "the Father's business," be such work the making of shoes, or the healing of the sick. Was there ever a time when the Science of Christianity was more needed in the marts of trade than today? Have men and women practicing Christian Science in business ever been more necessary? Were there ever such opportunities for healing hate and greed, for stilling fear, for promoting healthy, loving relations between employer and employee, as exist today? What a joyous business is the Father's business! Divine Mind is the manager, the counselor, the unfailing source of supply. Man is not engaged in making a living. His living is already made, for God is his Life, ever-present, full, and free. Just as a ray of light may be said to be in the business of expressing the sun, so man's purpose is the eternal glorifying and expressing of good. This can not mean a settling into a supine inactivity, but a rousing to the greatest activity one has ever known - an activity devoid of fear, and joyous in service. This may involve a frequent consultation with the Head of the firm, a listening for His voice, and a clinging to His hand; and how burdens roll from the shoulders of the business man who thus keeps in close touch with the great Employer! A little Australian lad, out for a walk with his mother, was attacked by a rather savage dog. In fact the dog's jaws closed about the lad's leg. Instead of screaming the little fellow said calmly, addressing the animal, "What do you think you are doing?" Instantly the dog released the leg and slunk way. The child raised a beaming face to his mother. "Mummie," he said, "isn't it great not to be afraid of dogs." And the man or woman in business, clinging to the hand of Love divine, and leaning on the arm of omnipotence, can say again and again, "Dear Father, isn't it great not to be afraid any more!" When men and nations learn the lesson of seeking and relying on the one Mind, when employers learn it, when the humblest employee learns it, may we not expect to see the solving of the problems of the individual, the state, yes, the world?
Thinking men of every shade of creed and politics agree that in a quickening of the world's religious or spiritual sense lies the salvation of the perplexed and war-weary human family. And there they stop. And there Christian Science begins, for it alone offers that practical salvation which begins with the individual's thinking, and in renovating and spiritualizing this is destined to save both men and nations. Right thinking, therefore, is the remedy; and when you have a right-thinking individual or a right-thinking nation, you find health and harmony and peace.
"But," may say some one at this point. "I know of a case that Christian Science did not save. How do you account for that?" The textbook gives the answer very very simply and directly. It says: "If you fail to succeed in any case, it is because you have not demonstrated the life of Christ, Truth, more in your own life - because you have not obeyed the rule and proved the Principle of divine Science" (p. 149). Christian Scientists admit with regret, but not discouragement, their failure to measure up to the Christ-ideal in all cases. However, they are overwhelmingly grateful for the progress already made, and ask mankind to be patient while they strive for that Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus." Possibly this is a good reason why those under Christian Science treatment are called "patients;" the sufferers are asked to be patient while their practitioners strive for that reflection of infinite Love which will melt away the mist of mortal belief, and reveal the harmonious man of God's creating.
"Then the patient has no responsibility, no particular work to do?" may ask some inquirer. Indeed he has! Suppose a ship has gone on the rocks several hundred feet from shore, and a survivor clings to a masthead of the submerged vessel, calling for help. Then suppose a rope is thrown to him by one on the land eager to rescue him. The man on the wreck apparently takes hold of the rope, but pull as he may the friend on shore cannot budge him. Soon he discovers that while the man has one hand on the rope with the other he is clutching the mast. The rescuer calls out, "Let go that wreck! Put both hands on the rope, and I can pull you in!" Rather reluctantly the other obeys. But soon again there is trouble. The rope slips from his hands, and with difficulty he regains it. This time it appears that he is trying to carry ashore some cherished possession - a bundle of valuable garments - and in his eagerness to cling to it he loses the rope. "Drop everything and hold to the rope if you would be saved!" shouts the rescuer. Again, reluctantly he obeys, and soon is brought safely to land. To his great joy he finds in the home of his rescuer better garments than those he was compelled to give up. Here unquestionably is food for thought. Let those under Christian Science treatment ask themselves: Am I clinging to the wreck? Are both hands on the rope of spiritual understanding, or have I one hand on the belief that this or that medicine or operation may save me? Have I cast from me the entangling mental garments of self-pity, self-love, and self-will? Am I trying to take with me into the kingdom of heaven some cherished opinions, some preconceived notions of which I have been rather proud, or some material indulgence? Be not afraid to rid yourselves of these unlovely hindrances to progress, for divine Love has more beautiful mental garments awaiting you than you dream of. If the patient prays for humility, receptivity, and teachableness, and the practitioner strives for the Mind of Christ, then may they say in the language of Paul, "Who can be against us?"
Picture, it you will, a life-saver heroically battling with the waves in the effort to pull ashore a shipwrecked man or woman. Then imagine, if you can, others standing on the shore, and instead of encouraging the rescuer and assisting in the grand work of rescue, jeering and taunting the rescuer, criticizing his methods and predicting disaster. A rather unthinkable picture, is it not? And yet this very thing happens in thousands of instances daily when some earnest Christian Scientist attempts the work of rescue for a shipwrecked brother or sister. Material medicine scoffs, old theology hurls its anathema, the worldly minded sneer and shrug their shoulders; and, in spite of all this the sick and sinning and heart-broken are being rescued in ever-increasing numbers. What glorious quick healing work may we expect to see with increased consecration on the part of practitioner and patient, and a lessened hatred and intolerance with the onlooking brethren not of our fold. So the Christian Science life-saver refuses to be dismayed or discouraged. He is grateful that he is doing as well as he is and prays for understanding and grace to do better work in the future. Dare he even admit that those who have passed from our sight, battling to the last moment as good Christian warriors, have gone down in defeat? Never! Mrs. Eddy says of such soldiers, that they have gained "a rich blessing of disbelief in death and a higher realization of heaven" (Miscellany p. 297). So fear not, and despair not, whether you are the rescuer or the one being rescued!
"Oft there comes a gentle whisper o'er me stealing,
When my trials or my burdens seem too great,
Like the sweet-voiced bells of evening, softly pealing,
It is saving to my spirit, "Only wait!'
"When I cannot understand my Father's leading,
And it seems to be but hard and cruel fate;
Still I hear that gentle whisper, ever pleading;
God is faithful, God is working; only wait!'
"When the promise seems to linger, long delaying,
And I tremble lest perhaps it comes too late -
Then I hear the gentle whisper ever saying;
‘Though it tarry, it is coming; only wait!’
"Oh, how little soon will seem our hardest sorrow,
And how trifling is our present brief estate!
Could we see it in the light of Love’s tomorrow,
Oh, how easy it would be for us to wait!"
This is not a plea to postpone our deliverance to a future heaven, but to strengthen faith to lay hold on spiritual blessings here and now, and courageously and unfalteringly to keep on demanding man's birthright of dominion until it is made manifest. Do Christian Scientists demand the joy and good that are their God-given heritage? Many seem to think that joy is like a capricious butterfly which may or may not flutter in upon them:
whereas joyousness is part and parcel of man's real nature, and mortals must learn to claim it as vigorously as they demand freedom from pain and sin. The joyless Christian Scientist still wanders in the mist and in the maze of the Adam-dream.
The Psalmist sings, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." And unnumbered thousands of earth's dreamers, redeemed from the long night of materialism, are thanking God for His unspeakable gift, the Science of Christianity, and are hearing in the bright morning hours of spiritual revelation its gracious message to man:
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room,
And heav'n and nature sing."
(Hymn 64, Christian Science Hymnal)
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, April 15, 1924.]