Christian Science: The Understanding of Love
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
given under the auspices of Sixteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago,
in the church edifice,
Mr. Dunn was introduced by Mrs. Grace D. Paul as follows:
"It is indeed a pleasure to have the privilege of welcoming such a splendid audience to this lecture on Christian Science. It is probable that each one here has come seeking for something. There may be those who are attending a Christian Science lecture for the first time, hoping to obtain some information about this great movement that is encircling the world, healing hundreds and thousands. Doubtless there are those here who are seeking relief from sickness or sorrow, and still many others who, for perhaps some time, have been earnest students of Christian Science, but who are eager to know more of its teachings, that they may be better able to solve life's problems, and more lovingly reach out their hands in help to others.
"Each one has come seeking according to his own needs. And for such what promises do the Scriptures hold? From Jeremiah: ‘And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.’ And from Matthew: ‘Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
“‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’
"That hungry humanity today
may be helped in its search for greater understanding of God, The Mother
Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: The Understanding of Love." Mr. Dunn spoke substantially as follows:
Let me say at the outset that the purpose of a Christian Science lecturer is not to attack another's religion; nor does a student of Christian Science ever wish to force his views
upon his neighbor, But, assuming that your presence here to-day indicates a desire on your part to give this great subject an impartial hearing, I am happy to assure you that my pleasant task is merely to tell you the truth about Christian Science - the truth about its Discoverer, its promise, its methods, and its accomplishments, and thereby to remove some of the popular misconceptions of its teachings which are abroad in the land today.
We hear, even at this enlightened moment the most extraordinary statements about Christian Science. Just recently a man told me that he understands that Christian Science teaches a man in financial trouble to "imagine he has a million dollars," and his worries will be over! Then, too, there is the widely proclaimed fallacy that the Christian Scientist does absolutely nothing for a sick man, and in addition to such negligence, makes matters worse by bidding the sufferer to imagine himself well, and he will be well. One hardly need say to a body of thinking men and women that such concepts are absolutely erroneous, and sound as absurd to the student of Christian Science as to the outsider. It will probably be of interest to many to know that possibly no word occurs less frequently in the Christian Science literature, or in the conversation of the informed student of this Science, than the word "imagine." In the Christian Science textbook we find that it appears only five times. A Christian Scientist is more concerned with the little word "know" for he learns that it is only that which he knows that does things: in fact, that which he knows of truth, according to the Scriptures, is that which will make him free.
The word "know" is, in the Latin, scio, and bases our word "science." Now the words "Christian Science" can mean only this: demonstrable, provable, Christian, or spiritual knowledge. Thus the student of Christian Science takes the stand that Jesus' teachings are not mystical, and should not be capable of hundreds of different interpretations; that they are based upon changeless law, and are as provable as propositions in mathematics.
I wish that all who have felt disturbed over the Christian Scientist's concept of the words and works of the Saviour might read that wonderful chapter in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," entitled, "Atonement and Eucharist." These pages breathe a spirit of the most tender and reverent love for and appreciation of Christ Jesus. To quote one of the statements in this chapter, "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus." (page 25) I can think of no writings aside from the Scriptures which set forth higher ideals and incite to holier Christian living than this remarkable chapter.
The difficulty, of course, in dealing with most objections to Christian Science is that the objectors have seldom if ever read the textbook, Science and Health, or other authorized literature. Consequently their fund of information upon the actual teachings of this system is as doubtful as was the man's who said he knew that the story of Robinson Crusoe was in the Bible, but was not sure whether it was in the Old or the New Testament. Others read Christian Science literature determined to find therein unchristian and unorthodox sentiments, and emerge from their unhappy tasks with a few statements carefully detached from the contexts which prove to their complete satisfaction that Christian Science is the work of Satan.
Our critics then turn their attention to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, if indeed they have not begun their criticism with objection to her. Are not the calumny, the abuse, and criticism that are hurled at this Christian gentlewoman surprising? Gentlewoman she was; Christian gentlewoman she remained during all the splendid ninety years of her loving, forgiving, helping pilgrimage. Christian woman must she have been to turn, through her writings, an army of men and women and children, to the earnest study of the Bible to find there the panacea for all the ills of earth. One cannot help wondering at the world's slow reception of her message, at the world's reluctance to ascribe honor to the woman who found the way to Life. To illustrate: Suppose that an emigrant party on the hot plains has exhausted its supply of water, and weakened, sick, and disheartened, feels that further journeying is futile. Suppose that one of its number, a woman, disappears from the party and bravely starts towards some distant hills. Some time afterwards she returns with strong step and clear eye and says joyfully, "I've found water - water! Up in those hills is a stream clear as crystal, and flowing abundantly. Come, all of you, come and see!" Can you imagine one of that parched, thirsty number saying, "Well, I'd be more inclined to believe it if a man, instead of a woman, had found it!" or, "How do we know that you have found water? You just imagine you have seen it," or, again, "If you did find water, certainly someone else told you where it was!" No, we could not imagine such a reception of the message that the woman delivered. What can be easily pictured is that enfeebled company eagerly, trustfully, and gratefully following that woman to the newly found waters. Yet when Mary Baker Eddy, after years of retirement, searching of the Scriptures, and submitting her discovery to the most practical tests, sent forth to the hungering and thirsting sons of men her work, Science and Health, containing the joyous message that earth's sufferers need only ascend the mount of spiritual understanding to find the waters of Truth which heal sickness and sin and sorrow; behold the unreasonable, the senseless opposition of many who possibly are sadly in need of healing themselves, and who allow such opposition to cheat them out of the blessings which would surely be theirs, if they too would only climb the hill and drink.
And how sorely does earth need
today the message of Christian Science! As a French writer has clearly put it,
"The ceaseless unrest of this weary world is the unvoiced cry for
God." "Is there no balm in
"But," says some one, "have we not had nearly nineteen hundred years of Christianity, and are not the great problems of being still far from solution?" The only answer to such a query is a definite, No! We have not had nineteen centuries of Jesus' Christianity. Far from it! It is a far cry indeed from the practical, regenerating healing work of Jesus to the inert, unfruitful concept of Christianity that most of us have had. Think you that this world would have been rocked by the convulsions of a great war, swept by the terrors of an epidemic, or held in the clutches of a great unrest, had Christians all these years healed the sick, preached heaven at hand, loved as Jesus loved, and cast out demons as he commanded. We suffer today, not because of an inadequate Christianity, but from sheer lack of Christianity.
Jesus Christ, walking into the synagogue
Then what happened? A mischievous teaching seemed to gain a foothold, a teaching quite attractive to the human mind, for it was a much simpler matter to consider oneself a Christian under the new regime than the old. This teaching found expression in the clothing of Christianity, in the theatrical robes of pomp, ritual, and mysticism, and in the substitution of ceremonial worship of the personality of Jesus for the simple doing of the works that he commanded, and the thinking of the thoughts that he commanded. Of course the human mind liked this new concept the better, for it was certainly easier to worship Jesus than to attempt to follow him in the doing of his mighty works. So we find that Christianity became very popular. In fact, it was quite the thing to be a Christian - provided, of course, one was the kind of Christian that the majority of believers thought that one should be. But when this material sense, this spiritual deadness, crept in the front door of the Christian Church, the vitalizing healing religion of Jesus seemed to go out the back door. Centuries after came the reformers, the Wycliffes, the Luthers, the Calvins, the Wesleys, all striving for what? To preach something new? No, to bring back the old; to get back to the Principle and to restore the message of Jesus in all its beauty and simplicity.
And now in our time comes another reformer, and this time a woman, who insists that Christianity to be real Christianity must re-establish the healing, redemptive work of Jesus, of his apostles, and of the early Christians. She insists that the sacred designation "Christian" can be claimed only by the disciple who strives to do the works of the great Exemplar. Far too lightly has that holy name been bandied about all these years. Men and even nations have been designated as "Christian" with little thought of the real meaning of the term. You have heard without doubt of the shipwrecked traveler who was under the impression that the island upon which he found himself was inhabited by cannibals. For a long time he ventured from his hiding place only at night, fearing the savages. But one day, crouching in his retreat, he was terrified to hear the tread of approaching feet and the sound of angry human voices. He had just concluded that he might as well give himself up speedily and end the misery, when close to him passed a white man and woman, the two violently quarreling in unmistakable Anglo-Saxon. Overcome by emotion, the traveler sank to his knees, exclaiming, "Thank heaven, they're Christians!"
What was the Master's definition of a Christian? Can words be plainer than these: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." Then he leaves no doubt as to the nature of the "fruit," when he says (as recorded in the sixteenth chapter of Mark), "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." One of the most pitiable sights these days, when the human heart is crying as never before for relief and healing, is the so-called Christian man or woman trying to explain away such mighty statements as these. Recently I picked up a paper in which was voiced the opinion that the statement of Jesus in Mark relative to "signs following," should not be dwelt upon unduly, as considerable doubt has been expressed by many Bible scholars as to the authenticity of the passage and that it might have been added by a later copyist, and so forth. Granting that this contention is true, what can the critics of Christian Science do with this famous statement from the fourteenth chapter of John's gospel, the genuineness of which has never been questioned, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." No, try as we may, explain as we may, still stands the unchanging test of discipleship. It is not, "What is your belief?" but, "What is the fruitage? What are your works?" and, "Have you learned to love?" For once again does the great Teacher leave us with no doubt as to the nature of a Christian. He says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
"How Can We Know the Way?"
There certainly must be few Christian believers, indeed, who in these times of turmoil, discord, and distress do not long to know how to solve humanity's problems, how to bind up the wounded and comfort the sorrowing, as did Jesus and his disciples. And should we not rejoice at the appearing in our age of a volume called a "Key to the Scriptures," and rejoice to find that such a volume indeed unlocks that great gateway of truth, the Bible, and reveals the path which leads to healing and peace - the path missed so many centuries because men had eyes which saw not!
Of course, it is impossible in the few moments allotted for this lecture to give a comprehensive resume of this remarkable book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The importance of the work may be brought forcibly to our thought, however, when we realize that the last hundred pages are given over to statements of many who have gained their freedom from sin, suffering, and all manner of discord simply through their reading and study of the book. Possibly the chapter to which a sufferer most eagerly turns is that entitled, "Christian Science Practice," for in it Mrs. Eddy sets forth, simply and directly, the steps to be taken in the healing of the sick and the reforming of the sinner. Let us briefly glance at these inspired pages.
Mrs. Eddy begins the chapter with a remarkable pen-picture of the consistent Christian Scientist. If a seeker after Truth has any doubt as to the qualifications of a practitioner, let him read the first pages of this chapter and then see if the one to whom he has applied for help measures up to this standard. Mrs. Eddy indicates that the Christian Scientist who will be able to heal the sick is the one who has first cast moral evils out of himself, for "heal he cannot," she writes, "while his own spiritual barrenness debars him from giving drink to the thirsty, . . . yea, while mental penury chills his faith and understanding"'(p. 366).
We sometimes hear it said that Christian Scientists lack sympathy and human affection in their relations with the sufferers of earth. Listen to these definite instructions from the pen of their Leader: "If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted. If we would heal by the Spirit, we must not hide the talent of spiritual healing under the napkin of its form, nor bury the morale of Christian Science in the grave-clothes of its letter. The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love" (Science and Health, pp. 366, 367). Therefore, if you seek treatment in Christian Science and encounter a person calling himself a Christian Science practitioner and then discover that this person is not learning the lessons of humility, of tenderness and compassion; if you find that he unlovingly criticizes his neighbor, is a gossiper or talebearer; if you find that his thought seems mercenary and that he is not loyally upholding and abiding by the Manual of The Mother Church, don’t stay for the treatment! Such a person is not even touching the hem of the garment of the healing Christ. Mrs. Eddy writes elsewhere in the same book (p. 235), "Better suffer a doctor infected with smallpox to attend you than to be treated mentally by one who does not obey the requirements of divine Science." The Christian Science movement is not a restful place for the spiritual pretender. The question, "But should not just such persons who are seeking healing find healing?" may be asked. Sooner or later "suffering or Science" (Science and Health, p. 296) will surely lead them to the recognition and practice of genuine Christian Science, when hypocrisy must yield to sincerity and high-sounding words to loving Christian deeds.
Farther along in this chapter on Christian Science practice, we find an illuminating portion under the subhead, "Mental Treatment Illustrated." And this is one of the first statements to be seen here: "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, 'Be not afraid!'" (p. 410.) As usual, Mrs. Eddy goes to the root of humanity's troubles at the outset, for is it not generally conceded that mankind's greatest devil, its most persistent tormentor, is fear? Now the discovery that the basic error of mortality is fear, and the removal of that fear, are two separate and distinct propositions. Nothing is sadder than the spectacle of a man telling another not to be afraid, and not being able to show him why he should not be afraid. Mortals are more and more asking the question, "How can I escape from the prison-house of sickness, of discord? I am willing to admit that fear put me here, but how am I to overcome fear?"
Mrs. Eddy goes to the Bible to find the medicine for fear, and writes as follows: "The Apostle John says: 'There is no fear in Love, but perfect Love casteth out fear. . . . He that feareth is not made perfect in Love.' Here is a definite and inspired proclamation of Christian Science" (Science and Health, p. 410). Now it is self-evident that the word "Love" used here must be closely allied in meaning to the word "know," or "understand." Can one love that which he does not know or understand? Have not we all heard such statements as this: "You will surely love him, when you begin to see and know him as he really is'." So the love that casts out fear must include an understanding or knowledge of something. But an understanding of what? It cannot be an understanding of anything material, for sometimes those most learned in material medicine or hygiene, or the so-called material sciences, are the greatest victims of fear. Again, the love that overcomes fear cannot be that commonly designated as human affection, for may not a mother's great love for her child, for instance, be literally impregnated with fear? The same may be said of all merely human knowledge. It must be the love and understanding of that which is infinitely above materiality - the understanding of God and man's relation to Him - that casts out fear and heals the sick.
From first to last the Christian Science textbook turns mortals from a finite, material sense of God to the beautiful, comforting realization that the Great First Cause must be and is Love itself, Love infinitely good, and eternally giving, giving to His creation. Some persons become disturbed when they find that Mrs. Eddy speaks of God, Love, as divine Principle. "That settles it!" they exclaim. "I shall have nothing to do with a system that refers to the Almighty as a 'principle'."
The interesting point to be considered here is that Mrs. Eddy does not call God "a principle," but "divine Principle," capitalizing the written or printed word, and between the two words is a vast difference in meaning. You will find that dictionaries define the word "principle" as "the source or cause from which a thing proceeds, a power which acts continuously or uniformly." What, therefore, could accord more glory to the Father than the appellation "divine Principle," the divine source and cause of all real being - that Giver of all good and love "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning?" When men begin to comprehend the harmonious, beneficent nature of the divine Principle, Love, they will cease to attribute to God the suffering of material existence. The sons of men are not suffering and dying because of a vengeful God: they suffer and die because of their ignorance of that divine Love, that divine Principle or cause, whose law is Life and unfolding harmony.
Sadly indeed have mortals been victimized all these centuries by their unhappy conceptions of a God who is the author of both good and evil. A case in point is that of the pious farmer who accepted every untoward circumstance in his life as a visitation of God. When sorrows and sickness came to his home, he tried to bow humbly to what he called “God's will.” When his house burned down, again it was the Lord's will. His son embezzled and was sent to prison. It was the hand of God. Finally, the family deserting him, and the mortgage on his farm being foreclosed, the farmer went to the county almshouse. Here he assisted with the work, and one day, while ploughing in the field, a violent electrical storm arose and lightning struck his plough-share, throwing him into a hedge of brambles, tearing his clothes and wounding him physically and mentally. When the storm had passed he gathered himself together, looked reproachfully heavenward and said, "Lord, this is just getting to be ridiculous."
What a blessing to the whole human family would be that understanding of the goodness of God which would enable us to rebuke the wretched discords of material sense as Jesus rebuked them, and to see in them not the hand of a tender Father-Mother Love, but the experiences that attend ignorance of that Love and law. Many of us have heard at funerals the seemingly solemn pronouncement of Scripture: "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord," and have completely missed, in a material interpretation thereof, the grand spiritual message contained in these words. Seeing God as infinite good and Love, we realize that He gives only life, harmony, and joy, and spiritual understanding of this truth takes away evil and sorrow and discord.
In his effort to cast out fear and heal the sick, therefore, the Christian Scientist starts with the divine Principle, infinitely good, who is Spirit and Love. As the Apostle John states: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Man, states the first chapter of Genesis, is made in the image and after the likeness of this good and loving creator. As the Christian Science textbook puts it, man is therefore the reflection of God. Can a reflection be unlike that which it reflects? Can a man stand before a mirror laughing and behold his reflection weeping? Can a child hold a rose before the mirror and see in the reflection a vegetable? Certainly not. All that a reflection is or can be is the exact image of that which is before the mirror. So the man of the first chapter of Genesis is the image or reflection of Spirit. He cannot be material, for God is not material. He must be spiritual. Christ Jesus clearly brings out the thought of reflection when he states as recorded in the Gospel of John, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, those also doeth the son likewise." If we, therefore, would see the man of God's creating, we must seek him in the spiritual realm. If one would seek the image and likeness of Love, one will see it only in that which knows Love, reflects Love, and expresses Love.
At this point, the question may be asked, "Do you mean, then, that God did not create this material man that we know through the senses ? Christian Science means just that, and the Apostle Paul meant just that when he said in his famous epistle to the Romans, "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God." Our Master must have meant just that when he said, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." From the beginning to the end the Bible's central theme is the overcoming of the flesh and all materiality through the power of Spirit. It might be well to point out the fact that material man does not appear until, in the second chapter of Genesis, a mist seems to go up from the earth; and what is this mist but a material sense which seems to shut out the beautiful harmonious creation of Spirit?
Mrs. Eddy in the Christian Science
textbook refers to the material sense of things as a mirage - as that which
seemeth to be, but in reality is not. Traveling over the great desert of
We have now reached in our analysis that point which may be regarded as possibly the greatest statement in the Christian Science textbook, a statement fraught with tremendous possibilities for the race. Mrs. Eddy shows that Jesus did not look through a glass darkly, did not let his gaze rest upon this material Adam-sense of things. When confronted with a picture of sinning, maimed, sick, and imperfect humanity, he put the glasses of material sense far from him, and to quote the textbook, "beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" (pp. 476, 477), Have we not in this passage the clearest explanation of that understanding, that love which will cast out fear?
What can the statement, "Love thy neighbour as thyself," mean but that we must gain the correct spiritual view of our neighbor - see our neighbor, as we strive to see ourselves, as the spiritual image of God described in the first chapter of Genesis. When we gain "this correct view of man," when we realize that the true selfhood of man and his neighbor is spiritual, not material, this love, this understanding, begins to destroy ignorance and fear, and thus wipes out sickness and sin, destroys misunderstandings, hate, and all manner of discord.
During the great influenza epidemic, when doctors frankly admitted their inability to cope with the malady, those who relied on Christian Science treatment were, in a vast majority of instances, safely carried through. And why? Because fear - fear of disease, and fear of death, universal fear and mesmerism - was the real name of the so-called influenza germ, and only spiritual understanding, "the correct view," could destroy that fear - the understanding of God who is divine Principle, Love, and man, eternally at one with his Maker, reflecting deathless Life and harmonious law. A little child who had been allowed to attend the Christian Science Sunday School had been battling for hours with the symptoms of influenza. Finally he asked his mother to read to him the story of Daniel in the lions' den. When she concluded with the well known words, "So no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God," the child sat up in bed and said earnestly, "Mother, the God of Daniel is my God, and nothing can hurt me." In no time the fear of sickness was gone and the child dropped into a peaceful slumber and awakened whole and free. Perfect love had cast out fear.
Let us consider for a moment the problem of intemperance. Mrs. Eddy was a staunch prohibitionist. Loyal Christian Scientists unite with clean minded citizens in upholding the cause of temperance in every land. What would be thought of a man or woman professing to be a Christian Scientist, and therefore a believer in law, deliberately violating a nation's laws, or attempting to undermine them? Such a picture is unthinkable. But there will be no need for prohibition laws when every citizen is a Christian Scientist. Why? The Christian Scientist does not indulge in intoxicants for the simple reason that he has learned that there is no real pleasure or satisfaction in such indulgences. Many turn to so-called stimulants because they crave a feeling of well-being, supposed to follow in the wake of strong drink. The Christian Scientist has found a more excellent method. He strives to partake of the wine of inspiration, rather than the wine of fermentation, and through the knowing of that Love "divinely near" (Poems, page 6), eternally satisfying, strengthening, and upholding man, he gains a sense of peace and satisfaction and well-being never experienced before.
Christian Science, therefore, is not engaged in taking joy from mortals, it is in the glorious business of giving to mankind real joy and lasting satisfaction - that joy which the Master said no man should take from us.
A man who had been an inveterate smoker for fifty-seven years, and was healed in Christian Science, said, "Think of all the joy I missed during my tobacco years."
The understanding of Christian Science brings to the business man and woman fresh courage, inspiration, and intelligence. It will probably be conceded by all thinking persons that the kingdom of heaven on earth would not be far distant if the elements of hate, greed, suspicion, and jealousy could be eliminated from the business world. And whenever you find the understanding of Christian Science brought into business, there you may know that these errors are surely being eliminated. The Christian Scientist in business strives to recognize first of all that he is not working for material personality, but for divine Principle, Love. To be sure, he renders to "Caesar the things that are Caesar's." In other words, he strives to obey orders and to give intelligent service to his human superiors. His burden is made light, however, in the realization that, in truth, he is serving divine Principle, and that a just and loving God governs, protects, and rewards his children.
Let us take, for example, a situation in some busy offices. Many of the employees are disgruntled, dissatisfied, and envious. The superior officers are criticized as tyrants. The workers feel they are not being justly compensated. Dwelling merely in the mirage of material sense, they are unhappy, hopeless, and rebellious, and, in many cases, sick because of this disturbing mental attitude. Another worker in this office is a student of Christian Science; possibly he too feels that injustice is in the saddle. His thoughts, however, must be lifted above the evidence of the material senses. You will find him striving to realize that divine Principle, Love, is his employer and paymaster, and that there is no power nor reality in that which would withhold from man his righteous due. He refuses to see his brother man as a withholder or tyrant, when the image of God must be the very expression or outpouring of Love itself. And many times the righteous thinking of just one individual in an office or organization lifts the sense of injustice and hate not only from himself, but from all his brethren.
I knew a man once who owed another a large sum of money, and who, apparently, was endeavoring to avoid payment thereof. The feeling was not a happy one between the two men. The creditor constantly regarded the other as an ungrateful withholder, whilst the debtor could see in the creditor only a grasping mercenary thought. Things went from bad to worse for some time until Christian Science came to the rescue of the creditor. He then realized that he had been dwelling only in the mirage of material sense testimony, and had been seeing his brother as a withholder. Gradually it dawned upon him that man cannot withhold if he is the very expression of Love itself. With this realization, all bitterness dropped away, and the very day following the lifting of this mist, and without any further demand upon his debtor, he received a kind letter from him enclosing a check in full payment of his account. How prone have mortals been to bind their brother man with the chains of limitation, hate, and wrong thinking, and then complain because the brother seems bound. An understanding of Love takes off the fetters which false belief has forged, and man appears as the image of his Maker - the joyous expression of harmony and of law.
No student of Christian Science claims to be able to do all of the great works of Christ Jesus. He realizes that he has enrolled himself in the great schoolroom of Spirit, and that today he is only in the A B C's of spiritual demonstration. If he is not able to walk on the water and raise the dead, as did the great Teacher, he is grateful that he is at least making some progress, for he is certainly healthier, happier, and better morally than he was before beginning his study, and as years go by he finds that he understands better how to bring the healing message to his neighbor.
Never should he allow the argument of discouragement to obtain lodgment in his mental home, for it is as futile to speak of failure in connection with the Science of Christianity, as with the science of numbers. There is not, there never can be, a failure with the divine Principle of being. Suppose we have two water glasses of equal height and capacity. Fill one with water, the other with quicksilver. Then begin to pour the quicksilver into the water. What will happen? Every drop of quicksilver that goes into the other glass displaces an equal volume of water. It never fails. When you have completely transferred the quicksilver into the other receptacle you will find that the water has all been eliminated. Now, call the glass of water the human thinking, and let the quicksilver represent spiritual sense. Every time a spiritual idea, a correct view of being is poured into the human consciousness, a corresponding amount of wrong thinking, fear, ignorance, and sin goes out. That always happens. It never fails to happen.
The textbook tells us that "the way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love" (Science and Health, p. 201).
The trouble with many of us is that we forget that this understanding makes us virtually the master of every circumstance, and so many times we cease pouring. And of course when the pouring in of the quicksilver of truth is stopped, the water of material belief remains undisturbed. Let us, therefore, realize the certain and never failing effect of the truth of being and keep on pouring! Then surely shall we witness the fulfillment of Malachi's beautiful promise that divine Love will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing, "that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
There is no record in history, so
far as we know, of the death of the Apostle John. Certain it is that "he
whom Jesus loved," who caught the spiritual sense of the Master's message
as did none other of Jesus' students, rose above the argument of age and
decrepitude, and walked with men long after the rest of the disciples had gone
from human sight. A well-known tradition has it that the beloved Apostle was
once taken to a small gathering of Christians, who were eager to see and hear
one who had been with Jesus. They pressed him to tell them some of the wonderful
things the great Teacher had said. A sacred hush fell on them all, and after a
Oh, how sadly do earth's children need this lesson today! Certainly Jesus was not commending that so-called love which is only sentimental emotionalism, or that "sickly charity" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 211) which Mrs. Eddy describes as supplying "criminals with bouquets," but that Love divine, which looking through the Adam-mist and dispersing it, sees only the man of God's creating and separates all evil from him, thus destroying inharmony, sickness, and sin. If we thus strive to love and bless mankind, we may know that truly we are in the Master's business, for he taught, in the language of one of our hymns, that
"Not by the harsh or scornful word
Should we our brother seek to gain;
Not by the prison or the sword,
The shackle or the clanking chain.
"But from our hearts must ever flow
A love that will his wrong outweigh;
Our lips must only blessings know,
And wrath and sins shall die away."
The Good Book tells us that though we speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not Love, we are become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; though we have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though we have all faith, so that we could remove mountains and have not Love, we are nothing; and though we bestow all our goods to feed the poor, and though we give our bodies to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth us nothing!
Love suffereth long, and is kind; it envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. Love never faileth - Love never faileth!