Christian Science: The Good News of the Kingdom

 

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: The Good News of the Kingdom," Monday evening at Cadle Tabernacle under auspices of Third Church of Christ, Scientist. Mr. Dunn, who has not lectured here since May, 1934, is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston Mass. He was introduced by Miss Helen Harney. Following is a substantial report of the lecture:

 

May I ask you to let your thought go back in human history nearly two thousands years, or, to be exact, to about the year 31 of the Christian era. An extraordinary thing was happening in Palestine, a country lying on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. A young Preacher had just finished a discourse which was destined to be known as the greatest sermon of all time - the Sermon on the Mount, as it has since been called. In this discourse he set forth, simply and directly, spiritual rules and laws for the attainment of health and happiness. Then, to the amazement of his hearers and of the inhabitants of the region in which he appeared, he proceeded to demonstrate the truth and practicability of these rules - in other words, to practice what he had just been preaching. Here, yesterday as today, was a sight unfamiliar to mortal eyes - an idealist practically demonstrating the truth of his idealism! First, this remarkable young Preacher healed a leper; then, without personally visiting the servant of a centurion, he spoke the word which restored him to health. Shortly after, he stilled a violent storm at sea, then healed a demoniac, then a palsied bedridden man, then a maiden who had passed on, then two blind men. In fact, the Bible sums up his activities following the Sermon on the Mount thus: "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."

 

The Gospel of the Kingdom

"The gospel of the kingdom"! The good news of what kingdom? Was this Preacher the ambassador of some earthly rival of the Roman Empire? No, in the chapter following that from which I have been quoting, Christ Jesus refers to this kingdom as "the kingdom of heaven;" and he instructs his students to proclaim that this kingdom is at hand. It will probably be conceded by religionist and non-religionist alike, that the term "heaven" has forever been associated with a state of being at once blissful and harmonious. That the kingdom of heaven referred to by the Master includes the promise of deliverance from all inharmony, is evidenced in Jesus' next injunction, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." That the kingdom cannot be defined geographically is proved in the great Teacher's later statement that the kingdom of God is within us - in other words, is mental, a state of consciousness. Therefore, the good news of the kingdom of heaven is, that mortals do not have to die to taste harmony of mind and body; that the Father's plan for His children includes peace of mind, freedom from fear and anguish, and dominion over sin and disease, here and now.

 

Has Christianity Preached Heaven at Hand?

In the light of this clear, definite teaching, how can one explain the failure of professing Christians to preach and to practice what might well be called one of the most important points of the Saviour's message - the ushering into human hearts of heaven, harmony, and the consequent healing of sickness as well as of sin? Like many other children reared in Christian homes, I received from loving parents and earnest Sunday school teachers what they considered, I am sure, sound Christian doctrine. But was I taught the glad tidings that I could taste heaven today if I followed the Master's rules? I was not. Heaven was a future state of bliss which might be attained in the afterlife, and again it might not. Christian healing? Yes, there was a brief mention of such a thing in a prayer we used to offer. It proceeded on this wise: that God, in His infinite wisdom, had seen fit to send the affliction to His child, and we earnestly implored Him to reconsider the matter and raise the sufferer to health; or else - and I can recall how I used to shudder over that awful "or else"! - take the sick one to his heavenly home. Of course, from one standpoint, this was a safe prayer to offer, for whatever seemed to happen, one might say that the prayer was answered. But do we find a warrant in Jesus' teachings and practice for such a prayer? When the leper besought him for healing, did the Master utter one "or else"? "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean," pleaded the afflicted one. Promptly came the joyous, unwavering assurance from one who knew the will of a good God for His children: "I will: be thou clean."

 

Mrs. Eddy's Love for the Christian Church

Now the broad-minded Christian must ever be mindful of the glimpses of Truth to be found in practically every creed, and he should be deeply grateful for them. How thankful, for instance, a Christian Scientist should be that from the Congregational fold there came a follower of Christ Jesus in the person of our beloved Leader, who was destined to weave into one seamless robe the truths taught by every Christian church, and, best of all, to restore to the garment of Christianity the lost element of Christ-healing.

Mary Baker Eddy, the revered Discoverer and Founder of the Science of Christianity, loved the Christian church. She has written (Message for 1901, p. 31): "Among the list of blessings infinite I count these dear: Devout orthodox parents; my early culture in the Congregational Church; the daily Bible reading and family prayer; my cradle hymn and the Lord's Prayer, repeated at night; my early association with distinguished Christian clergymen. . . . I became early a child of the Church, an eager lover and student of vital Christianity."

But this child was an independent thinker, ever a true Christian Protestant. This was manifested at the age of twelve, "when, at an examination of candidates for church membership, the child protested against the Calvinistic decree of predestination - the doctrine that some are saved whilst others are damned. One can but remember here another memorable instance when a child was found in the temple in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions!

While loving all the good in the Christian church, Mary Baker Eddy early began questioning the absence of the healing enjoined by Jesus. Why were not Christian people following the explicit commands of the Master to preach heaven at hand and to heal the sick? History shows that Christian healing was practiced long after the disciples and others who had known Jesus had passed from mortal view. And did not the Master say that those who believed on him were to do his works?

 

Mrs. Eddy's Healing Experience

The restoration of this vital part of the ministry of Christ Jesus thus became the motif of the mighty symphony of Mrs. Eddy's lifework. We find her seeking this spiritual healing throughout the years - investigating this method, discarding that. But the answer came definitely, in 1866, when apparently at death's door she turned to her Bible and opened to the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel. As she read and pondered the story of the healing of the man sick of the palsy, the spiritual truth which banished that man's sin and sickness raised her up from her sick-bed. Into a heart yearning for spiritual light, and prepared therefore by years of Christian prayer and living, began to dawn the rays of divine truth which are destined to put to flight the darkness of superficial, intellectual Christianity, and reveal Jesus' vital healing message - the kingdom of heavenly harmony among men.

 

What Did Mrs. Eddy Discover?

Now what did Mrs. Eddy discover that had not been known before? Let us turn to her words in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 24). Referring to her healing she writes: "That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence. I learned that mortal thought evolves a subjective state which it names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit." Then later she adds (p. 26): "In divine Science it is found that matter is a phase of error, and that neither one really exists, since God is Truth, and All-in-all. Christ's Sermon on the Mount, in its direct application to human needs, confirms this conclusion."

Philosophers down through the centuries have glimpsed the fact that what is termed matter is but externalized thought. Many religionists have wrestled with what seemed to them is the contradictory theory that a good God who is Spirit is responsible for a discordant material creation; but it remained for a spiritually-minded woman to announce boldly that since God is Mind, Spirit, omnipotent and omnipresent good, then that which is opposed to Spirit, good - that is, matter, evil, sickness, all discord - is unreal. While some incredulous thought mutters: "Nonsense!" Christian Science proves the proposition to be true by wiping out some picture of sin or sickness on this metaphysical basis.

 

Meaning of Words "Real" and "Unreal"

Since the First Cause is good, then everything proceeding from this Cause must be good - must be real, existent in Truth. What, then, can be said of that which is not good, that which is sick, sinful, discordant? Christian Science avers that being unlike good it is unreal, without cause, law, presence, or power. It is therefore the absence of the real, and can be dealt with only as you would deal with any absence - darkness, for instance. Is darkness something, or the absence of something? How do you get rid of it - by doing anything to it, by examining it, or endeavoring to find out where it came from? No, one just turns on the light. Many people appear to spend precious moments vainly seeking the origin of evil.

How could a good God, they ask, cause or even permit evil? If God made everything good, whence came the sickness, the sin? The moment the truth dawns on one that that which he is trying to trace is the absence of something, and not the presence of something, at that moment should his quest cease. You cannot find the origin of an absence. Can you trace the history of Jack and the Beanstalk, for instance? Certainly not, for you are dealing with a myth, that which has no truth or reality. Mrs. Eddy calmly and bravely sticks to her text, that all that seems to oppose God, good, is the myth of mortal material sense; that it is unreal, not happening, not taking place in Truth; and therefore it belongs not to God's kingdom and must disappear. Does not the master Christian confirm this when, first, he calls the devil (evil) a liar and the father of lies, and secondly, when in the Lord's Prayer he ascribes all power or reality to God, Spirit, in the immortal words, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever"?

 

Does the Scientist Ignore Evil?

Does this mean that the Christian Scientist ignores evil? The flippant charge has been made that students of Science airily assert that there is no reality in evil, and therefore they can indulge in it without evil effect. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this. Insisting on evil's powerlessness and the allness of God, good, Mrs. Eddy has shown humanity how everything unlike good may be wiped out of consciousness - may be utterly annihilated. The student therefore loses first his fear of or belief in the power of evil, then his love for it and the suffering which results from belief in it; and if this does not happen, he may know that he must gain a clearer understanding of this Christly teaching.

 

Judging Righteous Judgment

Here this question may be raised: Suppose someone is sick - "really sick," he says. He does not just imagine it. He feels the sickness; those around him see it. Does Christian Science teach that the sick man does not feel it nor his friends see it? By no means! The Christian Scientist agrees that the picture of sickness or discord may seem very real to the sick man and his friends; but to use the Master's phrase, one must "judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." In other words, just because a thing or situation appears to be real and true, it does not necessarily follow that it is true. I have stood on the deck of a ship and watched the sun apparently disappear in the sea, and yet I knew this really was not happening. Astronomical science had taught me a truth which was not borne out by sense-testimony. Just so, does the Science of Christianity bid us to rest not on the objects and pictures drawn purely by material sense, but to judge righteous judgment; in other words, to strive to lift thought to the reality of being, to creation as God sees it. And the reward of such righteous judging is evidenced in the healing of sickness and the banishing of sin.

Let it be said here that this teaching about the unreality of evil does not keep the Christian Scientist from being a law-abiding citizen. When the law requires the reporting to the local health authorities of what the world calls a communicable disease, Mrs. Eddy counsels her followers to conform thereto. If municipal or state ordinances require medical or surgical attention, Christian Scientists are enjoined to be law-abiding, reserving for themselves the right to look to God, omnipotent Truth, for the healing; in other words, to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

 

An Instance of Healing Prayer

An instance of Christian Science healing which came under my observation some time ago illustrates the value of "judging righteous judgment" - that is, relying on changeless spiritual law instead of material methods, in time of need. A woman, a student of Christian Science, was suddenly stricken with the distressing and alarming symptoms of what had been medically diagnosed, in a previous attack, as ptomaine poisoning. Just before a complete collapse, she managed to make known to her husband the seemingly desperate situation, and begged him to give her help in Christian Science. As he started to her side, his eye fell on a Bible on the table.

How natural it is for the Christian Scientist to turn to this sacred Book in moments of stress! Opening it a random, for a message of courage and light, he turned to a glorious statement about God's omnipotent care. Not a word passed between the two, but armed with the consciousness of the nearness and goodness of God, and the powerlessness, the unreality of anything opposed to Him, he sat by the sufferer judging righteous judgment - bearing witness to the spiritual truth of being, for possibly five minutes. Suddenly the silence was broken by the wife, who said simply, "Oh, thank God, it has lifted!" Within a few more minutes, she reported that there was not a trace of suffering, inharmony, or even soreness left. Righteous, understanding prayer had wrought what to the human mind would have been called a miraculously quick healing, but which to spiritual truth was divinely natural. The illustrious Dr. Alexis Carrel, in his latest book, "Man, the Unknown," unhesitatingly subscribes to the fact that prayer has healed a variety of diseases. Referring to such healing he states: "The only condition indispensable to the occurrence of the phenomenon is prayer. But there is no need for the patient himself to pray, or even to have any religious faith. It is sufficient that someone around him be in a state of prayer. Such facts are of profound significance. They show the reality of certain relations of still unknown nature, between psychological and organic processes. They prove the objective importance of the spiritual activities, which hygienists, physicians, educators and sociologists have almost neglected to study. They open to man a new world." (p. 149).

 

Basis of Christian Science Prayer

Let us here consider briefly the basis of the healing prayer of Christian Science. First, what is our concept of God? To whom or what are we praying? Do we have a picture of a human being before us - one who must be pleaded with or argued with, one who arbitrarily might be withholding good or justice from His children? If so, the very basis of our prayer is faulty. Christ Jesus taught us that God is Spirit, the opposite of the material; that He is a loving Father who is heaven; in other words, God who is everlastingly harmonious and the Giver only of good and harmony to His children. At no time does the Master indicate that this good God is the author of discord or disease. In fact, on one notable occasion he definitely states that a certain afflicted woman was bound by Satan, not by God; and what is Satan but ignorance of God - another absence!

 

Gaining Spiritual Sense of Man

Now how did this beneficent creator fashion man? As we have been laboring under a false apprehension as to the true nature of God all these years, is it not possible that we have also failed to see man as he is in Truth? In the first and second chapters of Genesis we find two separate and distinct accounts of the creation of man: in the first chapter appears the glorious record of a glorious creation - man, God's noblest work, made in His image and likeness and given dominion over all things; in the second chapter we find an unquestioned allegory, depicting a so-called man originating in dust; in fact, he is called Adam, which in the Hebrew denotes "the red color of the ground." He therefore typifies this material sense of creation, in which all mortals find themselves.  We have therefore two accounts to consider: one a spiritual creation, man, imaging his Maker and given dominion; and the other a material conception, formed of dust and at the mercy of sin, disease, and death. Christ Jesus referred to the true and the false thus: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." And he indicates that if one would enter the kingdom - if he would taste reality - he must be born again; he must gain a new and spiritual sense of creation. So if we will pray aright, our petitions must be patterned after the Master's "whose humble prayers," writes Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 12), "were deep and conscientious protests of Truth - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love."

 

Unenlightened Prayer Versus Spiritual Understanding

The following experience may be helpful in showing the difference between the prayers of one who knew at first only the material sense of God and man and his prayer after gaining some measure of spiritual understanding. This young man, knowing nothing of Christian Science, was earnestly striving to master his fear of the water, and to learn to swim. However, try as he might, he could never muster up enough courage to venture into deep water. But one day, quite unwittingly he got beyond his depth in the swimming tank to which he was accustomed to repair. When he realized his predicament, overwhelmed by fear, he began to sink. In desperation, this wild appeal came from his lips: "God help me!" And down he went. There was no spiritual understanding of a God of spiritual power, nor of a man in His image who had dominion. No, the only man he knew was the son of Adam, who had no dominion over fear, his body, or the water. Somehow, he managed to reach the side of the tank in safety, but God appeared to have little to do with the rescue. At all events, he did not think of God again until church time the following Sunday. Some years later, this young man found Christian Science, and mastering much fear he learned to swim. One day he set out to swim to an island in the bay, but misjudged the distance and found himself far out from the mainland, and apparently as far from his objective. In a moment there appeared the old terror, added to which was the conviction that a tragedy was impending. What was to be done? But Christian Science had been teaching him of a God who was ever-present, all-powerful good, and of man, His image, whose Life was "hid with Christ in God." Instantly, spontaneously, he found himself praying thus: "Father, I know that Thou art with me! I am Thy reflection and nothing can happen to me! Underneath me are the everlasting arms!" And then came a great calm, a lessening of the sea, and he was enabled to turn over on his back and literally rest in "the everlasting arms" - in the consciousness of man's unity with omnipotence. In a few minutes, refreshed and strengthened, with fear conquered, he struck out for the island, which he reached in safety, thanks to Christian Science.

 

Dealing With Fear

The healing prayer of Christian Science, therefore, is based on the understanding of the goodness, the perfection, of God, Spirit, Mind, and of man, the harmonious, spiritual expression of that Mind; and this understanding begins at once to annul fear, which is at the root of practically every human difficulty. Fear is synonymous with ignorance of God; therefore, fear is the absence of knowing - another absence. It is rather generally conceded by medical men and women these days, that fear is a bad thing for their patients. Consequently the average doctor will be found bidding a sufferer to avoid fear and worry. But what, short of the light of spiritual understanding, can dispel the darkness of fear? Can fear be banished from a burdened mind by massage, or medication, by surgery or hygiene? Can you calm the fearing heart by the simple admonition not to be afraid?

One is reminded here of the graphic word-picture that has been drawn of a man out on the limb of a tree, frantically calling for help. Below him, gazing expectantly upward, sits a ferocious looking wild beast, whilst another animal, of equally savage mien, is depicted climbing the tree. From a safe vantage point near by, a well-meaning friend calls out cheerily: "Don't be afraid! Keep your courage up! Maybe they won't harm you!" It is extremely doubtful that such assurance, however well intended, will annul the other's fear. Now appears on the scene another man, who says with authority: "Don't be afraid. Those animals are tame; they won't hurt you. Get down and walk right up to them!" The other obeys, finding to his joy that his fears have been occasioned by ignorance, and fled with the light of understanding.

 

Evil Powerless Before Omnipotent Good

Here someone may interpolate: “But my animals are really savage! They have already harmed me and are ready to attack again,” Some day mortals will learn, through Christian Science, that the so-called evils which assail them have, in the final analysis, only the power which mistaken belief gives them. It would be well for each individual to ask himself how much power and reality he is giving to evil. Do we not many times hug evil to us, argue for it, and love to talk about it, instead of striving to rise with man's God-given dominion and know its utter unreality and powerlessness? How mortals apparently revel in the discussion of sickness! One is reminded of the woman who was asked how her husband was getting on. "Well," she replied, dolefully, "he has been enjoying very poor health lately, but today he complains of feeling better!" Let us this moment begin shutting out the fears which have kept us out of the kingdom - out of the harmony - which is our God-given heritage. Be it remembered that man's privilege is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, as the Presbyterian catechism happily puts it.

 

Problem of Unemployment and Lack

Is your particular fear, at the moment, the suggestion of unemployment and lack? Does it seem to be bearing down on you, closing in on you, and arguing that there is no escape? What is the answer? Christian Science replies, Prayer, understanding, enlightened scientific prayer. It is not alone the first fearing cry of the stricken one, "God help me!" but the intimate, understanding communion with Deity which enables one to say, "Father, thank Thee that Thou art with me!" And in the presence of this communion with all-powerful good, fear and ignorance begin to lift, like an unlovely fog, and one can hear Truth's voice saying, "This is the way; walk ye in it." Ah, the thousands of people who can testify today to the efficacy of such prayer and communion! The man or woman who turns to the prayer of spiritual understanding has steered his craft into the safest harbor in the world. And the beautiful part of it all is, that the moment one truly and unreservedly turns to God, the divine Mind, at that moment his employment begins; at that moment he has found his job. What is it? It is glimpsing, first of all, what man is and why he is. Now, what is a mind, but that which has thoughts, ideas?

What do you call a mind without thoughts? A blank - no mind. Therefore, the infinite Mind, the source or Principle of all existence, must be expressed by thoughts, by ideas.  What is man?  Science teaches he is the idea, expression, or reflection of God; that he is necessary to God. What a stupendous thought! Without man, the Father would be a Mind unexpressed. So instantly one finds his purpose, his right work, his reason for existing: it is to glorify and reflect God, good, and to enjoy Him forever!

 

Mind Sustains His Ideas

This brings us to the next important step in spiritual unfoldment. If man is necessary to God, and God is the infinite Mind and Love, God must have intelligence enough and love enough to sustain, direct, and care for His ideas, and use them for His glory. Can it be that the infinitely good Mind and creator of the universe beholds His ideas inactive, poverty-stricken? Does He see them as misfits, or misplaced? No! "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good," says the Scripture. Then what is the next step for the distressed mortal? To pray that his eyes and his heart may be opened to spiritual truth; that he may know his true selfhood as the Father knows it, and may reflect in his thinking the love, truth, wisdom, and intelligence which constitute the divine Mind. Again, we may repeat, the human family needs prayer; needs to turn from human ways and means, and, with childlike reliance, lean on a power outside itself, as it never leaned before. A little child once ended her evening prayers thus: "Please God, do take care of Yourself; because if anything was to happen to You - whatever should we do?" Yes, we need just such simple, wholehearted reliance on infinite Love these troubled days; and when one begins to nullify fear, and selfishness and self-importance, and truly lean "on the sustaining infinite" (Science and Health, p. vii), wonderful things begin to happen; intelligent, clear thinking begins to be manifested; right, saving ideas come like angel visitants to point a way of escape or an intelligent thing to do, and divine Love is found meeting human needs in most beautiful and unexpected ways. Therefore, the cheering, strengthening message which Christian Science brings to the troubled business man, to the executive or to the humblest employee is that the government is not on his shoulders; that man is not in the fearsome business of making a living but rather reflecting the Life that is already made; that man is not alone - an isolated, solitary dynamo, generating his own intelligence, or failing therein - but eternally linked to and the expression of the one infinite Mind.

 

Man Is Not Alone

What an example of this harmonious joy-bringing unity between God and man does Christ Jesus ever present! Seldom do we find him speaking of himself; it is always himself and the Father. Once, a little wistfully perhaps, he prophesied that his friends and disciples would all be scattered and leave him alone; but quickly came this triumphal declaration, "Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me!" On another occasion he said: "I can of mine own self do nothing;" and "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Here, then is the secret of the Master's wonderful success. Here is the answer to your problems and mine. Are we going to our business, our work, our tasks today by ourselves? Is our job today just to "keep body and soul together" - as the popular saying has it - to work selfishly for our own good? Then be not surprised at the consequent fear, burden, friction, and weariness. Ours is the privilege today of taking God with us - of taking the consciousness of the Father's care with us when we go to business; and of returning at night safe in that care, unafraid and unwearied. An impossible ideal, you say? Try it! If you are an executive, take God, take this understanding of Principle with you today. Let Principle, justice, honesty, veto every unworthy, mean, dishonest, or shady business venture. You cannot lose in the long run. You lose only if you do not side with Principle. Take divine Love with you in your relationships with your employees. Yes, you are your brother's keeper! None of us can escape the responsibility and privilege of being the keeper of the right thought about the brother. Is divine Love, divine justice, fixing the compensation of your helpers? Is this Love being manifested through your reflection thereof to the humblest one in your employ? If so, behold the harmony of your organization, the enthusiastic teamwork of your fellows. If you are a subordinate worker are thoughts of God going each morning with you to business? Are you taking His hand and striving to realize that in truth He is your only master, and that in reflecting intelligence, brotherly love, alertness, right activity, you are working for Him? Are you staying close to God when confronted with the problem of a dictatorial human "boss," or unlovely and unloving fellow-employees? God - with - us means heaven, harmony, with us; justice with us, good with us, power and peace with us.

 

Walking With God Along the Way

Upon one point the intelligent people of the world seem to be in agreement: that humanity's difficulties today are mental, and not material. Is mankind's principal need food, clothing, fuel, money? This is certainly not the primal need. Their thinking needs changing; their thinking needs God - needs Principle, justice, unselfed love, a sense of better teamwork with the brother and more childlike reliance on the Father. No purely material scheme can meet the need. We hear these days much about this economic plan or that; and sometimes even Christian Scientists are tempted to believe that a certain human plan may prove to be the long-looked-for panacea which will usher in a material Utopia. But what about Christ Jesus' plan?  It is now nearly two thousand years old and has been proved successful by every demonstrator of the rule, down the centuries. It reads simply: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [all needful material things] shall be added unto you." There it is - the unchanging, glorious, simple yet profound rule for the solution of humanity's problems. Can we not begin this very hour consecrating anew our endeavors to apply this rule, both for our own good and that of our fellows? Do you say it is difficult? Possibly so at first; but this is only because the human sense of self has been so unaccustomed to yield up what the poet calls its "wavering will," and humbly and trustingly walk with the Father along the way (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 139).

 

"Come, walk with Love along the way,

Let childlike trust be yours today;

Uplift your thought, with courage go,

Give of your heart's rich overflow,

And peace shall crown your joy-filled day.

Come, walk with Love along the way."

 

Dealing With False Appetites

Immediate dividends are in evidence when we walk with divine Love along the way; but one needs to watch that these are not snatched from him by the subtle arguments of materialism, which would deceive the very elect. "Be a Christian Scientist by all means," comes the crafty suggestion, "but don't be narrow-minded! Why, what possible harm can there be in a mild indulgence in tobacco and liquor, for instance? Are there not greater evils to be dealt with than a cigarette or a cocktail?" Most assuredly; but the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science reminds us that if we would ever do the great works of the Master, "We must begin, . . . with the more simple demonstrations of control;" and, she adds, pertinently, "the sooner we begin the better" (Science and Health, p. 429). Without doubt, many people are failing to handle their graver problems of sickness, lack, or other inharmony, because they are not consistently grappling with and overcoming the "little foxes" of selfishness or material indulgence which nibble the vines of demonstration.

On all sides one sees, these days, the most alluring and cunningly contrived advertisements which, together with many moving pictures, present materialism and material indulgence as smart and thoroughly desirable and satisfying. But, in the language of Longfellow's poem, "Trust her not, she is fooling thee." Material sense, like a subtle spider, weaves about the unwary mortal a web of sensual pleasure so attractive and seemingly so innocent, that the mischief is done before one knows it. Then he awakens to find himself bound with a well-defined appetite for tobacco or the craving for strong drink or some other form of sensualism. No thinking being loves slavery or bondage. As a hymn has it, "God made all His creatures free; Life itself is liberty." Would it not be a welcome change to see on billboards, and in the pages of magazines, pictures of attractive young people, athletic, and with glow of health upon their cheeks, declining proffered liquor or tobacco with a happy "No, thank you! I want freedom and real satisfaction and sweet odors!"

 

Healing of Intemperance

Christian Science, proclaiming heaven, harmony, at hand, is without doubt the most profound influence for temperance and morality in human consciousness today. Innumerable cases of healing of the liquor, tobacco, and drug habits, and the lifting of thousands out of sensualism into the light of clean living and happiness, are the results of its Christly ministry. To be sure, there are so-called liquor and drug cures in materia medica, wherein the patients are denied all intoxicants and given a treatment to eliminate from their systems all trace of the stimulant; but if nothing has been done to the patient's thinking, if he has not been lifted higher mentally and spiritually, what assurance has one that the craving will not reappear? One is truly safe only when through spiritual education he can say and feel, "This suggestion, this craving, is unreal, for God never made it!"

Here some victim of false appetite may say: "I can see that if one could think along these spiritual lines, freedom might be attained; but I cannot control my thinking, and my power of resistance seems to be gone. What am I to do?" In the textbook Mrs. Eddy definitely states that if one is unable to bring about a healing through his own efforts, he should early call an experienced Christian Scientist to aid him. (See Science and Health, p. 420.) Learning the truth about God and His law, the patient gains spiritual strength to say "No!" to the temptations of the carnal mind - not through human will-power, but through the reflection of God-power. Slowly or quickly the patient learns to enter a vigorous denial to the argument that real pleasure or satisfaction is to be found in the realm of material sensation, because man, his real selfhood and the reflection of his Maker, is whole, complete, free, and satisfied now. Being a spiritual creation, man is not under any physiological law which says that a material system is demanding drugs or stimulants. The real man is not physique - a dweller in nerves or physical sensation. He is idea - God's idea. He reflects Soul, spiritual consciousness; and the understanding of this silences the argument of jangling nerves and the clamoring for stimulation or sedatives. "The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."

 

Why Are the Sick Not Healed Instantaneously?

The question is frequently raised, If Christian Science healing is similar to that practiced by Jesus and the early Christians, why are the sick not healed instantaneously, as they were of yore? In many instances they are. But one needs to bear in mind the fact that mortals have been very far away from spiritual healing these hundreds of years, and today finds us taking really our first steps in the new-old realm of spiritual understanding. We live in an age of great materialism, when atheism, skepticism, and material psychology and philosophy ridicule and would, if possible, supersede the simple faith and spiritual message of the Nazarene. The fact that spiritual healing is being accomplished in this material and sensual generation is cause for much gratitude and encouragement. The healing work done by Mrs. Eddy in the early days of the movement rivaled much of that recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. And she tells us in the textbook (p. 366) that '"If the Scientist reaches his patient through divine Love, the healing will be accomplished at one visit."  The Christian Scientist therefore bravely and frankly admits that his failure to bring out a case instantaneously is due to the fact that he does not know what the Master knew. He thanks God, however, for the progress already made and each day strives for a higher and holier consciousness. Our inspired Leader has written in Miscellaneous Writings, p. 40), "The Founder of Christian Science teaches her students that they must possess the spirit of Truth and Love, must gain the power over sin in themselves, or they cannot be instantaneous healers."

 

The Responsibility of the Patient

And is there not something to be said of the patient's responsibility in the healing work? Is the patient looking only for the "loaves and fishes" - for material betterment alone - or is he or she seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Many are the healings reported when a sufferer lifts thought above mortal ills and aches and sees in the experience what Mrs. Eddy calls a "bugle-call" to higher spiritual achievements. As spiritual truth dawns on human consciousness, that which is called healing takes place. It may be well here to point out the fact that Mrs. Eddy says, in the paragraph just quoted, that healing will follow if the practitioner reaches his patient with divine Love. Would it not seem, many times, that the patient is not making it easy for the practitioner to reach his thought? Frequently the Scientist approaches a mental home where his ministrations are needed, only to find the doors of thought barred by self-will or self-love, and the shades drawn by self-pity. And then he is frequently reproached because he has not been able instantly to bring in the healing light of Truth! Practically every worker in this Science can tell of many quick, joyous healings, when he has had the privilege of ministering to a consciousness where gratitude has run up the shades of self-pity and where unselfed love, childlike faith and expectation of good have taken down the bars of unlovely self. But even when the warfare seems long, never can the Christian soldier admit defeat!

 

There Is No Defeat

There is no such thing as failure in Truth. In all the history of the ages, has light ever failed to extinguish darkness?  Every day, therefore, when we turn on the light of Truth in the human consciousness, is progress being made; every day is the darkness of fear, hate, lust, disease, and hell itself being dispelled. One little candle in a dark night may not seem to amount to much; yet it will illumine one's own room, and, if set in a window, may prove a beacon to passers-by. One hundred candles will give an hundred candle-power ray, whilst a million candle-power may light the path for an army. Each individual's job, therefore, is joyfully to tend his own candle, keep it trimmed, burning bright and held aloft. Even if one's present sense of life seems to flicker out, the Christian warrior must instantly pick up his torch again and go bravely, trustingly on, undaunted and undefeated. Does not our Leader say of a Christian Scientist who has gone from our sight: "Evil has no power to harm, to hinder, or to destroy the real spiritual man. He is wiser today, healthier and happier, than yesterday. The mortal dream of life, substance, or mind in matter, has been lessened, and the reward of good and punishment of evil and the waking out of his Adam-dream of evil will end in harmony, - evil powerless, and God, good, omnipotent and infinite" (Miscellany, p. 296). We repeat, there is no defeat. And if no defeat, sorrow is baseless, and must yield as thought is lifted into the kingdom, into divine reality.

 

Conclusion

Humanity calls out as never before for solutions to its problems, for law and order, for peace and sanity. What can we do about it? We can pray. We have tried everything else. Why not try the prayer of Christian Science? The prayer that is for the healing of the nations is both petition and affirmation. It is first the petitioning of the hungry heart for more light, more love, more humility and receptivity; and then the rising to the glorious affirmation and realization that God, the divine Principle, Love, is All, and all that seems to oppose Him, - nothingness!

The world needs not for the solving of its problems, men with the wealth of a Croesus, the force of a Caesar, nor the genius of a Napoleon. It needs men and women who know how to pray, and thus to bring some measure of heaven, harmony, on earth. There's the key to the kingdom - it is prayer. And one of our well-loved hymns tells us that (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 284)

 

"Prayer is the simplest form of speech

That infant lips can try;

And prayer's sublimest strain doth reach

The Majesty on high.

"Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,

The Christian's native air:

His watchword, overcoming death:

He enters heaven with prayer."

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Dec. 18, 1936.]

 

 

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