Christian Science: The Revelation of Abundant Life
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, Massachusetts, a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Revelation of Abundant Life," last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.
The lecturer was introduced by Gordon V. Comer, C.S.B., First Reader of The Mother Church, who said:
There are many men and women who believe that some progress is being made in the search for a fuller and a more harmonious sense of life. Some of them give all the praise to human ingenuity. Others, however, who have learned something of God's goodness and of His law of Love which is eternally operating for the benefit of all, know that we are beginning to witness in the solving of human problems the application of this divine law of Love. Unquestionably, as more men and women turn their thoughts to God and strive for understanding to enable them to apply this divine law to the solving of problems, they shall find a far more abundant sense of life expressed, individually and collectively.
The lecture which we shall hear tonight has to do with this subject. It is entitled: "Christian Science: The Revelation of Abundant Life."
It is the purpose of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, of which our lecturer tonight is a member, to explain various aspects of Christian Science, something of the truths about God and man, and the true import of these truths.
It is a great joy for me to welcome you all tonight on behalf of The Mother Church, and to introduce to you one who really needs no introduction, for he is probably known to almost everyone who is present - Mr. John Randall Dunn of this city.
Mr. Dunn spoke substantially as follows:
One of the most beautiful invitations ever extended to troubled humanity is to be found in these gracious words of the great Teacher of Nazareth; "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And in another place the Master briefly sums up the purpose of his ministry thus: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." This, then, is the invitation of Christian Science: Come to the light of the Christ, Truth, and learn of life, real life, life more abundant and joyous and free than you have ever known before.
Many people, however, seem deterred from following this beacon of Truth, because today, as of yore, to use the Bible expression, men love darkness rather than light; they are afraid to break away from what they term the common sense of a purely material view of existence and to launch out into the hitherto unknown and untried waters of spiritual sense. If they but knew of the good and freedom and more abundant life that awaits every adventurous thought who is willing to break tryst with superstition and material limitation, and honestly seek the light of spiritual truth, how eagerly and joyously would they turn to the study of the Science of Christianity!
The objections to Christian Science are many and varied: that it is neither Christian nor scientific (that is ever the most venerable and stupid objection of all, as even a superficial reading of the textbook would reveal); that it cannot heal the sick or reform the sinner, although thousands of people each Wednesday evening in Christian Science churches are testifying that it has done so. And lately a brand-new objection has been raised. A woman said to a student of Christian Science, "You people do not believe in God, do you?" at which her daughter intervened, and said: "Oh, no, mother, you are mistaken. Christian Scientists are the people who believe in God more than they ought to!"
Then there are the objections to the revered Leader of the Christian Science movement, Mary Baker Eddy. Without doubt, the members of our family were deterred from turning whole-heartedly to this truth in an hour of great need, because of the many unlovely criticisms of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the hateful statements about her which one heard a generation ago, and alas! still hears, although that white-haired gentlewoman has been gone from our sight nearly five and twenty years. What poison is deadlier than innuendo, half truths, or cruel and unjust misconceptions, which, through perverting thought about the Discoverer, keeps mortals from investigating a discovery the mission of which is only to heal and bless?
History records that earth's truly great have ever been the target for the shafts of envy and hate. Even the pure, gentle Nazarene did not escape. Malicious whisperings in his day poured forth the suggestion that he was a worshiper of Beelzebub - in other words, a practicer of black art, and that his character was not above reproach. Possibly some thousands of persons sorely needing the healing of sin, sickness and sorrow, which Jesus could have bestowed by a touch or a word, were kept from the blessing by the suggestions referred to. Doubtless, a multitude of persons in our very midst are excluding themselves from the joy of Christian Science because they have allowed their thinking to be biased by warped estimates of, and unchristian suggestions about, Mrs. Eddy. As for some of the so-called biographies of Mrs. Eddy, a pertinent question might be put: What historic or authentic value would be attached to a life of Christ Jesus, written by some of the scribes and Pharisees, to whom the Master had just referred as "a generation of vipers"? Or would you expect to find a true estimate of Jesus' life and ministry written, say, by Paul before his conversion, or by Judas before his repentance?
I once heard in one evening from a husband and wife, who had known Mrs. Eddy, two diametrically opposite views of her nature. The wife considered her the most spiritually-minded, loving Christian woman she had ever known; the husband did not concur. In fact, his estimate was not at all kindly. Further inquiry into the matter brought forth the fact that Mrs. Eddy had been forced to rebuke the husband on more than one occasion for his willfulness, lack of teachableness, and a stubbornness which precluded the receiving and understanding of spiritual precepts. And the human mind, ever rebelling against correction, thus turned on its rebuker. Had Mrs. Eddy actually been the unlovely, unchristian mortal her detractors would have mankind believe, she would stand today as the most extraordinary anomaly in history - as one who gives the lie to the law that a "corrupt tree" cannot "bring forth good fruit." Here was a Christian woman, seeking throughout a lifetime the restoration of Christian healing, who not only healed herself and lengthened her earthly pilgrimage to the span of ninety years, but had the most remarkable healings with others; wrote a book which has turned multitudes to the Bible and to mental, moral, and physical regeneration, and who founded a church "designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." (Manual of The Mother Church. p. 17). Thus the ancient test of all character, all effort, and all achievement still stands: by their fruits ye shall know them. And by the righteous fruitage of clearly stated and correctly applied Christian Science shall Mrs. Eddy be known; and for all time, when submitted to this test, shall her life and character emerge without spot or blemish.
The question may be raised, Why should such a storm of opposition to Christian Science have arisen, if its teachings are truly beneficent and Christlike? Because possibly more than any other Christian organization since the days of the humble Nazarene and his consecrated, earnest followers, the Church of Christ, Scientist, is going to the root of mankind's troubles and is exposing sin in the human consciousness. The master Christian once said that he had not come to earth to bring peace, but a sword; in other words, he would not cry, Peace, peace, when there was no peace. He showed clearly that before one could expect to have a well body he must strive for wholesome, honest, clean thinking. "Whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him," he said; "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts;" and he added "these evil things . . . defile the man." And Christian Science demands of its followers, and of all those who would be healed, an earnest, prayerful turning into consciousness of the searchlight of Truth, that everything unlike good may be uncovered and cast out. Naturally, what is termed the "carnal," fleshly mind does not relish this disturbing of its peace, and like the so-called evil spirits in Jesus' day, calls out to the Christ, Truth, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee?" But the man or woman suffering from so-called incurable disease or wearied with the buffeting, disappointments, the sorrows and tragedies of this material world, will be wise to welcome into his mental home this healing, saving light which can make him "every whit whole" - whole in body, and regenerated in thinking and living.
No impartial, unbiased investigator can read the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which Mrs. Eddy has given us, and which can be secured at any Christian Science Reading Room or Public Library, without shortly arriving at two definite conclusions: first, that none but a sincere lover of God and follower of Christ Jesus could have penned such a book, and secondly, that to be a consistent Christian Scientist one must watch his thinking and strive for genuine Christianity. An unnumbered host of students has found healing and release from practically every known disorder simply through the persistent and consecrated individual study of the Christian Science textbook. What joy it is to a student of Christian Science to see on a train, or a steamship, a fellow-passenger quietly and unobtrusively reading Science and Health! One knows that there is a brother-pilgrim who is learning the Christ-way; and what light and joy invariably illumines his face when one whispers, "I read that little book too"! I shall never forget the glad surprise I experienced when crossing the Pacific some years ago, and on entering the captain's cabin at his invitation, I saw on his desk the Christian Science textbook. "Do you read that book?" I inquired. "Do I read it?" he replied. "Why, I should never want to take a vessel out of port without that little book on it!" Then he proceeded to tell of experiences he had had when with some problem to face he would read Science and Health until the light of Truth would uncover the cause of the difficulty and bring the answer. Happy day, when the captains of all ships, the engineers of all trains, and the heads of all industries shall companion with this messenger of truth and good, and thus more genuinely insure the safety and well-being of those who trust themselves to their care and guidance! Students of Christian Science find a joy and inspiration, nay, more - necessary spiritual food in the daily study of the Lesson-Sermons found in the Christian Science Quarterly, which consist of selections from the Bible and correlative passages from Science and Health. A most beautiful picture can be seen any day in any one of the Christian Science Reading Rooms in our large cities. During the noon hour, especially, one may see there many busy men and women improving precious moments in the taking of spiritual refreshment - reading the Lesson-Sermon or other Christian Science literature. Would they come there day after day were they not being fed and strengthened and comforted?
Then there is another companion which the alert truth-seeker will not overlook - an international daily newspaper, which brings him all the wholesome, constructive news of the world; and being wholesome and constructive, it is just as fresh and readable and acceptable when it is read four or five weeks after its publication as on the day when it was sent forth. The Christian Science Monitor thus becomes the great international friend, which is helping men and nations better to understand each other. A man, not a Christian Scientist, once made this remark: "I should so like your newspaper if it were not called The Christian Science Monitor; why not just Monitor?" A monitor, according to a dictionary definition, is that which warns, reminds, advises, or instructs. Whether one likes the idea or not, it was Christian Science, the spiritual understanding of Christianity, that inspired and made possible the ideal of uplifting, constructive journalism. It is therefore Christian Science which warns mankind of the "foe in ambush" (Science and Health, p. 571), gives wholesome reminders and advice for the orderly conduct of men and nations, and brings to mankind instruction which is good, uplifting, and consequently healing. One of the most encouraging sights I have ever seen was one hundred or more prisoners sitting about a prison yard, all reading The Christian Science Monitor. In many penal institutions the Monitor, because of its cleanness, is the only newspaper admitted within the walls. While only a short article on Christian Science appears in each issue of the paper, one is sure that only that which is wholesome and truly uplifting is going forth into consciousness, and thus is opening the doors of thought for that more abundant sense of life which the Master promised.
What is Life? In the Christian Science textbook (p. 468), in her well-known "scientific statement of being," Mrs. Eddy tells us that "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all." On this same page she defines Life as follows: "Life is divine Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit," and again, in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 185) she tells us that "Life is the spontaneity of Love, inseparable from Love." How opposed is all this to popular human belief! How little is known of real spiritual life by the average mortal! Here is a person, for instance, experiencing what he calls a "thrill" from the taste of liquor or sensualism. "Ah!" says he, "this is the life." Is it? If material sensation is real life, what becomes of life when the transient, fleeting, seemingly pleasurable picture has flown, and is replaced by a sense of pain or discord or unhappiness? Here is another mortal who tells us that his life is devoted to an undying hate of a certain enemy: that his one aim in life is to have revenge upon his enemy. Is that life? What says the Scripture? "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." Paul sums up the matter succinctly in these words: "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Therefore, Christian Science teaches us that we do not begin to live until we begin to love; we do not know true life until we express Principle, until we reflect the all-knowing Mind, the harmonious consciousness which is Soul, the ever present, all-powerful good which is Spirit. No more should one say "my life is empty," or "my life is ruined," or "my life is without hope." Is God - Mind, Love, good-empty, ruined, or without hope? Has man a life apart from God? No more should one sing dolefully, "Fast to its close ebbs out life's little day"; but as one opens the door of his thinking to God, there dawns the light of ever unfolding, never ending Love and Life and good.
The master Christian distinctly defines true life in these words: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." And in John's epistle it is written, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." What does it mean to know Christ Jesus, or, as John puts it, to have "the Son of God"? Christian Science here unlocks the Scriptures and reveals a treasure of spiritual understanding which has been hidden from material sense for centuries. Instead of turning to the personality of the human Jesus, instead of resorting to that mysticism which in some unexplainable manner is bringing the corporeal Saviour into our hearts, Christian Science shows us that the Christ is the saving truth about God and man, "the spiritual idea of son-ship" (Science and Health, p. 331), which Jesus taught and exemplified. So, when we know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, we are bringing into our thinking the true understanding of God as the only Mind, Love, and Life, and of man as the perfect expression or reflection; in other words, in gaining this spiritual idea of being, we have "the Son of God" and are beginning to taste life. Christ Jesus came to a world which knew not the Father nor man's relationship to Him, and consequently knew not real life; and the truth he taught, for which he was maligned and eventually crucified, is the Christ - the living, vitalizing, saving idea of harmonious being. So, when one attempts the solution of a problem in Christian Science, like a mathematician turning to his perfect, changeless rule of numbers, we have a perfect, changeless Principle of being - the first great Cause which is Mind, ever present, all-powerful good and Love, and an effect which is the reflection or expression of this harmonious cause.
Let us, for example, apply this Principle to a case of illness. Here is a person who is confronted with a sense of pain, weakness, and depletion; he accepts as the fact of his existence every miserable argument raised by the material senses. In such darkness he most assuredly hath not "the Son of God" - "the spiritual idea of sonship," or connection with the great cause which is Life and harmonious Being itself. Now let him turn to the Christ, the Truth which Jesus taught. Let him measure every thought by this yardstick of spiritual thinking. Did God, good, create disease and laws of disease? Certainly not! Then this sense which reports such discord is the counterfeit and not the real. What is the real? In other words, what is the truth about the situation? Man, the real selfhood, is now at the standpoint of perfect reflection, of perfect harmonious life. As one clings to this Christ, Truth, as one strives to let the Christ and not the material sense testimony govern his thinking, the sense of weakness will be replaced by a consciousness of strength, pain will lessen and ultimately disappear, and a taste of life - real, spiritual knowing - will be experienced. A most comprehensive outline of a Christian Science treatment, or the coming to the human consciousness of the healing Christ-idea, is to be found in this remarkable paragraph from Science and Health (p. 495): "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious - as Life eternally is - can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony." "But," may interpose someone, "can anyone hope to heal organic disease just by his own thinking?" Indeed not. The saving, healing idea, originates not in one's own human thinking. It is, as has been said, the coming to the human consciousness of the Christ, the truth about God and man, which is Immanuel, or "God with us." The power of this redemptive idea may well be illustrated in the following incident. While Christian Science treatment was not asked for, the healing followed the impersonal knowing of the truth by a consecrated student of Christian Science, and illustrated what Mrs. Eddy has stated in "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 9): "The spiritual power of a scientific, right thought, without a direct effort, . . . has oftentimes healed inveterate diseases."
In a school in England where the Scriptures are taught daily for 30 minutes a teacher endeavored to give the children the Biblical concept of God as Life and Love. In the class was a lad of six, little John, who was taken very ill, and after a few days his mother came to the teacher in great distress, stating that she was on the way to the hospital to see the child, who was desperately ill with diphtheria and measles, and was given by the doctors just a day to live. The mother naturally was heartbroken, but seemed led to stop by the school and tell the teacher. As she was leaving, the teacher took her hands and tenderly told her that there was One greater than any doctor, and if she would only rely on Him she would find help. As the teacher returned to her classroom, the windows were opened - it was a warm spring morning - and the sound of bird songs was wafted in. On her desk was a vase of flowers. Turning to the class she said, "Look at these flowers, children; who is giving them life?" "God," was the response. "Then," said the teacher, "let us all say, 'Thank you, Love, for giving the little flowers their life.'" Listening to the birds she said, "Who is giving the birds their life?" And there was a happy shout, "Love"; and again they thanked God for giving the birds their life and were reminded that Life, God, was unceasing, and could never be taken away. Then she asked the children to think of little John and to remember who was giving him life, and they answered so gayly, as if there never could have been any doubt. So the teacher said, "Every time we think of John we shall just know that God is giving His child life unceasing, and say, 'Thank You, God!'" The following morning came a message from a relative of the boy that the doctors were surprised to find him alive but that there was no hope. As fear tried to overwhelm the teacher she turned to the class and again the children expressed gratitude for the life which was given the flowers, the birds, and to little John, and the fear vanished. On her way home, the Christ, the true concept of being, kept singing into her consciousness that God's unerring deathless law of good and love was holding His children in everlasting harmony, where medical laws or human fears could not penetrate. Three days later the mother bounded into the classroom with the joyous tidings that she had just left little John sitting up in bed with color in his cheeks, able to talk and eat, and that the doctors and nurses said that a miracle had happened.
Later the doctor came to the school to report on the case, and said that never in all his experience had he come across such a remarkable healing, and that he could not understand it. A few days later, who should come running into the school but little John himself, carrying a bunch of flowers. He rushed up to the teacher, threw his arms about her, although previous to this experience he had seemed a most undemonstrative child. The Christ, the living, breathing consciousness of the Love which is Life had saved little John! Ah, says someone, but What about all the little Johns and the big Johns who have not been saved or healed? The textbook gives us the one answer: "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony" (Science and Health, p. 390).
In the great schoolroom of human life the stupendous lessons of real being are not learned in a day. When some of our fellow-students go from our sight, let us not think of them as having gone into defeat. Mrs. Eddy speaks of this experience (Miscellany, p. 290) as a "momentary mist" through which the spiritually-minded must ever quickly awaken to behold the dawn – true realization of life that is harmonious and deathless. We do not see the schoolrooms to which our fellows have gone, but they must be very near us in loving thought. Separations do not exist in true Love or in the realm of Mind. What, for instance, could separate the numbers three and four in the numeration table? When we awaken to a true sense of life, we shall see that God's ideas have ever been inseparable, deathless, and that the Father and Mother of all holds "man forever in the rhythmic round of unfolding bliss, as a living witness to and perpetual idea of inexhaustible good" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 83).
So, let the scholars in "earth's preparatory school" (Science and Health, p. 486) take heart. As this is a marvelous age in which to be living from the standpoint of material inventions, so much more wonderful is the revelation of spiritual truth in this day. Human thought would indeed be startled if there could be published a record of all the healings of disease and the solvings of every conceivable human problem that are taking place today through the operation of the Christ-idea in human consciousness. The so-called last enemy, death, will be overcome more universally when mortals learn to grapple with what might be called the "first enemies," self-love, self-will, self-pity, self-importance, and so on. What an unlovely family of "selfs" it is, and when one self appears how it tries to bring with it some of its unhappy brothers and sisters! Since to be carnally-minded is death, we are taking a definite step out of this carnal thralldom whenever we strive for spiritual-mindedness, whenever the human self is repudiated, and the Christ, the spiritual idea of son-ship, is welcomed in. This glorious work is going on. Each day's setting sun finds more truth in human consciousness and less selfishness. Each day in the great universal schoolroom one sees lessons better learned and Principle more enthroned. The troublous days through which we have passed, and are still in, are teaching many needed lessons. Men and nations are learning, through great tribulation, that they cannot live to themselves. This is a great human family, in which are endlessly entwined the relations of brother man to brother man. Selfishness, self-seeking, greed, and domination simply have no place in this plan. Men and women are learning of their interdependence - that capital needs labor and labor needs capital; that employer needs employees and the employees their employers; not the feudalistic idea of master and slave, but intelligent coworkers in the world's workshop, where
"Brother clasps the hand of brother,
Stepping fearless through the night."
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 351.)
Very fine, may echo some pessimist. But on one side are men unemployed, and on the other are still to be found unprincipled, greedy employers. Why not face facts? Yes, why not face facts! If mortals would but learn to do just that! First of all, let the unemployed man or woman face a few facts - spiritual facts. Is it a fact that the numeral two, for instance, could fall from the numeration table and become useless or unemployed? Certainly not. It is eternally employed being just two, and expressing an idea of arithmetic. Now the spiritual fact is that man, God's man, the real selfhood, cannot fall from his real estate of activity and reflection. It he should do so, what would become of the Principle which he reflects and expresses? If God's man is unemployed, useless and idle, it would be because his creator was so. But let us face the facts. Stop declaring that man is unemployed. Strive to realize his eternal employment, activity as Mind's expression. Let us begin with some realization of the fact that man is the intelligent idea of infinite Mind, which is expressed in man, even as arithmetic is expressed in numbers; therefore, man has his activity, his purpose, this day. He is not alone. Infinite intelligence is working with him and using him. "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Of course, the first step in realizing man's true employment and purpose is to silence the hindering, obstructing arguments of self-pity, self-depreciation, bitterness, and the like, and clear the decks of thought for the wholesome facts of man's real relationship to God. Facing the facts thus, wonderful things have happened and are happening today. Those seemingly unemployed have suddenly entered a great employment. They have become employed watching their thinking, striving for right ideas, and busily following the leadings that come. They lose that haunting sense of fear, for they have allied themselves to that great Father-Mother who has promised never to forsake His children. They are on the alert to be helpful to family, neighbors, and friends. Is it any wonder that such activity is bound to lead to what the world calls jobs and the finding of one's proper niche? A man who was a student of Christian Science found himself without that which the world calls employment, and because of conditions for which he was not responsible. Soon he awakened to the fact, to use his words, that while he was not responsible for these conditions, he was responsible for what he made of the conditions. In one of her shorter writings, "Unity of Good" (p. 8), Mrs. Eddy tells us that "everything is as real as you make it, and no more so. What you see, hear, feel, is a mode of consciousness, and can have no other reality than the sense you entertain of it." So, instead of regarding the situation as a calamity our friend used it as an opportunity to go higher. First of all, he stopped declaring that he was not employed, and earnestly began to employ his time wisely. A generous portion of this was spent in Christian Science Reading Rooms gaining more spiritual understanding, more real substance. After about three months work along this line, the result of this spiritual employment began to be manifested. He felt the leading to seek out a certain friend, who, in turn, was led to advise him to apply to a former employer. Before this could be done, however, he had a great battle with a false sense of pride. When this was conquered he did apply to the former employer and was immediately given a position. About a week previous to this he had spent some time endeavoring to realize the truth of Mrs. Eddy's statement in Science and Health (p. 494), "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." He saw that there would be undoubtedly quite a difference between one's human needs and his human wants or desires. He then made up a list of the actual needs of himself and family and arrived at a necessary weekly sum. When the question of salary was discussed with the former employer he was offered exactly this amount of money. Truly, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need."
Let the employer now face a few facts: What is his aim in life? The accumulation of a vast sum of money for himself and his loved ones? Is this life? What says Christ Jesus to this? "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Truly man lives only as he serves. The executive who has at heart not only the conduct of an honorable business but the welfare of his humblest employee is serving, is living in the truest sense of the word. His concern is not how little he may pay his helpers, but how much. Do you say this is Utopian? It is Christian. Do you say it is impossible of fulfillment? While you are speaking someone proceeds to prove that it can be done. It is being done again and again where one finds earnest students of Christian Science. Those who name the name of Christian Science and are not manifesting to friend, neighbor, or employee this Love which is Life, are still in darkness. The business world today needs, as never before, the Love that is Principle and the Principle that is Love. Without it one simply builds on sand. Selfishness, hate, bitterness get one nowhere - unless it is a little deeper in error than one was before.
"Is the heart, a living power?
Self-entwined its strength sinks low;
It can only live in loving,
And, by serving, love will grow."
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 360.)
The prophet Daniel must have recognized this when he found himself cast into a den of lions. He had dared to stand for Principle, and this was his reward! The king had apparently been his friend, but yielding to the pressure of his courtiers, had signed the decree which brought about Daniel's incarceration. Did ever a man seem to have greater justification for hate or resentment or revenge? Yet Daniel for many years had been learning to live, because he had learned love and obedience to Principle. In that long night in the den he must have realized that his life was indeed the reflection of Love, for he kept out suggestions of fear, hate, and bitterness, and the beasts did not touch him. Material sense testimony argued that Daniel was in the midst of carnivorous beasts; but he, "understanding the control which Love held over all. . . " (Science and Health, p. 514), was undismayed and unafraid, and this Christly consciousness protected him, and proved the so-called ferocious animals to be harmless. So loving was his thought, so free from resentment, that when the king looked anxiously down into the den the following morning, Daniel greeted him with that tender and reverent salutation, "O king, live for ever!" Are lions' dens a thing of the past? Do not many of us again and again face the lions of fear, of lack, disease, pain, appetite, envy, and hate? Rest assured that their mouths are indeed shut in the presence of a reflection of Love, which is the only life.
A sweet little tale was related some time ago in The Christian Science Monitor. It seems that a teacher in one of the lower grades in a California school was endeavoring to impress upon the memory of the children a lesson in physiology. She asked them to repeat the statement, "My heart is my life." One little girl refused to make the statement, declaring that God was her life. The teacher remonstrated, but the child remained firm in her declaration. The teacher, mistaking the child's attitude for one of insubordination, requested her to remain after school and write the statement several times. The little girl complied, but after completing the prescribed task added, "But I know it is not true, for God is my life." Then remembering what she had learned in Sunday school about Daniel's experience in the lions' den, his freedom from injustice and resentment and the blessing he pronounced upon the king, she followed his example, and wrote across the page, "O teacher, live for ever!" The teacher was puzzled by the child's strange demeanor. Several weeks later she was a passenger in one of two cars that collided. There flashed into her memory the words of the child, "God is my life." The feeling of protection she experienced gave her some slight understanding of the reason for such great faith, and she emerged unharmed, and returned to give thanks for the lesson she had learned out of the mouth of a babe (The Christian Science Monitor, May 15, 1933).
"God is my life!" A noted doctor once made the statement that this declaration had saved many a person on the operating table about to go under the surgeon's knife. If Love, good, spiritual knowing, is life, why do mortals vainly seek it in Spirit's opposite, namely, material sense? Someone may say: "But I am getting so much satisfaction from my life. Smoking, drinking, the senses give me pleasurable sensation. Would you take these from me and make my life a blank?" Hear a parable: A hermit, whose life had been spent on the desert, knew no blossoming thing except the cactus and a few desert flowers. "Could anything be more fragrant and satisfying than my cactus?" said he to a traveler. "Have you ever seen an orange blossom?" asked the other. "Ah, no, and I don't care to either," returned the hermit. "Nothing could give me greater joy than my cactus." And so saying he stooped to caress the spiny plant, but cried out from the pain inflicted by the thorns. Christian Science brings for every cactus a fruit-blossom, for every supposed material pleasure, a sense of spiritual joy and real satisfaction hitherto unknown. Said a young student of Christian Science recently: "I wish I might adequately express the downright joy and peace I am experiencing since Christian Science has taken from me the tantalizing, gnawing, persistent desire for liquor and tobacco that made my days and nights moments of ceaseless bondage. I really never knew real joy in my tobacco or liquor days!"
The so-called pleasures of material sense are laden with nettles. Clasp them and they are agents of pain, of hollow disappointment. The ever-present Christ is saying today as of yore, "Come unto me, . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls." You will find in the consciousness of your real life a sense of dominion, of courage, of joy and satisfaction you have never known before. There are no blanks, no vacuums, in God's kingdom! In the words of Isaiah, the Christ is bringing to the human consciousness "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."
Christian Scientists do not proselyte. They should never unduly urge the man or woman apparently content with his or her religion or school of medicine to come out from it while he believes that it is meeting his need, or healing, strengthening, and satisfying him; but for the man, woman, or child buffeted by the waves of illness or adversity, of heartbreak, of fear, finding no surcease from material methods; to the one who is eager for light and deliverance and regeneration, a new day is dawning. To such we would say, Lose no time in making the acquaintance of the Christian Science textbook. To use the words of St. John, "Take the little book . . . and eat it up"; make it and the Holy Scriptures it unlocks your guide and guardian. A loving welcome awaits every seeker after Truth at the Christian Science Reading Rooms and our churches. A new land unfolds before you in the daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, the weekly Sentinel, the monthly Journal, with their messages of good and healing. Life, real life, life more abundant, is at the threshold. Strive for the Mind of Christ, that Mind which is Love, and then claim the blessing and dominion which is rightfully yours. As says the hymn (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 59),
"Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize."
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."