How Christian Science Can Help You
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Pick up a newspaper on almost any day of the week or tune in a radio or television newscast, and you are quite likely to read or hear news items that sound something like this (Luke 21:25, 26): "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth."
News stories like this are not unusual these days. What is unusual about this one is that it was written about nineteen centuries ago by Luke. He was reporting what Christ Jesus said to his disciples a few days before the crucifixion. The Master was pointing out to his disciples how wars are caused by greed and by strife for material things.
Today mortals are just as disturbed by wars and rumors of wars as they were in the Master's day. Today, as then, many are fearful because of the acts and threats of aggression by one nation against another nation. But we do not need to be afraid. The Master's admonition to his disciples (Matt. 24:6), "Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled," is just as true for us today as when it was first spoken.
Christ Jesus taught his followers not to ignore evil, including the evils which cause wars. He taught that the unfailing remedy for the aggressive evils which lead to wars is the spiritual understanding that God is the supreme All-in-all. The Master quoted the Scriptures to support his teaching. He said (Mark , 30), "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."
The First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3), is the most important rule ever to dawn within human consciousness because it gets at the root causes of strife, aggression, and sickness. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this statement (p. 340), "The First Commandment is my favorite text. It demonstrates Christian Science." Then Mrs. Eddy explains why the First Commandment demonstrates Christian Science. She says, "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, − whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."
One God is Basic
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Eight short words. The longest is only six letters. Yet packed into this First Commandment is the basic spiritual truth which casts into oblivion every lying suggestion that there is or can be more than one God; that there is or can be a power apart from God, able to nullify God's intelligence and presence, and create in such a supposed vacuum an opposite state of existence, a state where good is temporary, where wars rage, and where disease afflicts. Mrs. Eddy wrote (Science and Health, p. 340), "The divine Principle of the First Commandment bases the Science of being, by which man demonstrates health, holiness, and life eternal."
The divine Principle of the First Commandment which "bases the Science of being" is that God, Love, is the only power and presence, the supreme All-in-all. This divine Principle of the First Commandment also bases the nine other commandments of the Ten which God gave mankind. Each one of these nine commandments, in its own distinctive way, amplifies the spiritual logic and practical application of the First Commandment. God's commandments are not laws of restriction. They are unerring guides to redemption and freedom for everybody.
For example, the second commandment (Ex. 20:4, 5), "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" − this commandment makes it clear that God does not need some kind of a graven image such as a drug, or some kind of a food fad, to heal us.
If God required matter in any form to heal, then His second command of the Ten would read something like this: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image except a potion or a pill containing a drug. Then, when you are sick, you must bow down and take this material medicine, because a drug is greater than I am.
In the spiritual account of creation − the account set forth in the first chapter of the Holy Bible − it is recorded that God gave man the earth's abundance for food. He did not give it to man for medicine (See Gen. 1:29,30). There is no mention that God gave man drugs for healing because God knew that His work was perfect, and would always remain so. Giving medicinal power to plant, animal, or mineral extracts or compounds to make and keep man healthy − this notion started with primitive superstitious peoples. It never started with God.
Is it reasonable to believe that if God needed any kind of material remedy to heal, He would have withheld it from Christ Jesus? God's medicine is Truth, not a graven image of mortal superstition such as a pill or a drug. The only medicine sanctioned by Christian Science is God's Christ, Truth, that God, good, is supreme − a supremacy proclaimed in the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," and amplified in the second and third commandments, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," and (Ex. 20:7), "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."
Spiritual Man Has Perfect Body
One way to take the name of God in vain, that is one kind of a wrong concept of God, is to believe that God is a glorified mortal with a physical body. God no more requires matter to give identity to either Himself or to His reflected image and likeness, spiritual man, than He requires a drug to heal. But God's man always has had, and always will have a perfect God-fashioned and God-sustained body. But this perfect body is not an identity made up of such material elements as brain, blood, and bones. Reason and logic tell us that God expresses Himself only in that which He reflects, such as wisdom, beauty, joy, health, and right activity.
To the five physical senses our identity appears to consist of a matter body in which we seem to be confined. But the fact that we include in our consciousness the world about us, the sun, the moon, and the stars, proves that we are not confined to a material body.
Christian Science shows that man's God-given identity is incorporeal, that is, not fleshly. That is why a Christian Science treatment is not aimed at making more or better matter. A Christian Science treatment consists of so clearly seeing the spiritual, incorporeal nature of God, and man's consequent perfect selfhood as God's reflected image and likeness, that the fleshly beliefs about ourselves and our bodies or identities fade away for the want of a believer. I do not mean that you will fade away. I mean that the sickness, and the lack, and the inharmony will fade away. And you will be healed.
What appears to human sense to be a physical healing in Christian Science is, in fact, the effect of the spiritual redemption of thought, a spiritual rebirth. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). This spiritual redemption of thought can never be accomplished or speeded up by a drug or a surgeon's knife. The only true healer is the Christ, the Truth, which flows from God, revealing what God and man really are. This revelation from God destroys the lies about God and man which we have been accepting as true, and the physical body, the objectified state of mortal thought, is healed.
That is why the third commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," is so useful in the practice of Christian Science. God's third commandment is God's constant reminder to us that He is Spirit and infinite, with no element of matter or finiteness about Him. Our understanding of this fact supports our efforts to demonstrate man's perfect identity as the reflection of God, regardless of how aggressively the five physical senses may push forward the lie that both man and God are material and imperfect.
Worship God Every Day
How better can we put into practice the deep spiritual meaning of the First Commandment and its amplification in the second and third, than by putting into practice each day of the week the fourth commandment (Ex. 20:8), "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy"?
When we keep each day Sabbathlike by following God's guidance given in the first three commandments, we find that our days consist less and less of the passage of time and more and more are periods of spiritual ascension. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 509), "The periods of spiritual ascension are the days and seasons of Mind's creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness − yea, the divine nature − appear in man and the universe never to disappear."
Days of spiritual ascension are days in which we rise so high in the spiritual understanding of God and man that the lie that man, God's image and likeness, can be separated from God is no longer believed. In the proportion that the lie of separation is no longer real to us, we can demonstrate more and more what it is like to be at one with our Maker − demonstrate that the "beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness," which constitute our real selfhood, are God's expression of His own "beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness."
This right sense of day − that it is not a passage of time, but a period of unfolding good − makes it possible for us to so successfully apply God's first three commandments that fear, sickness, lack, and a gnawing sense of insecurity will find no lodging place in our thought, and from that vantage point objectify themselves in our bodies and experiences.
Fifth Through the Tenth Commandments
The fifth through the tenth commandments are God's detailed instructions in how to make and keep each day so Sabbathlike that the basic First Commandment, and its amplification in the second and third commandments, will always be as vital and practical to us as God intended them to be.
Now then, what is the first instruction in making and keeping our days Sabbathlike? It is the fifth commandment of the Ten (Ex. ), "Honour thy father and thy mother," which has as its promise, "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." This commandment makes it clear that our love for those around us and our demonstration of longevity, including health, go hand in hand. How can this be? Because, as the Bible declares, and Christian Science explains, God is both Love and Life. Therefore to demonstrate longevity we must watch that we love.
To love means much more than to like somebody or something. To love means that we deny, whenever there is need for denial, that evil can be either person, place, or thing, regardless of how aggressively evil, through its various manifestations, may seek to offend us. But true love does not stop with the denial of evil. To love means that we follow through in our denial of evil and affirm the reality and power of good, that we see past the evil as nothing and unreal, to the perfect man of God's creating. Such love brings health and longevity not only to ourselves, but also to those upon whom our thoughts rest.
In what better place could we lay such groundwork for longevity than right in our own homes, honoring each other, and then let that kind of love grow to include all mankind − let it expand to become more and more the reflection of the Love which is so infinite that it is the Life which is eternal? It is in this way − loving both those who are afar as well as those who are near − that we make and keep our homes the center though not the boundary of our own demonstration of the Love which is Life.
When we love all mankind and not just a few select persons, it is natural for the young and the adult alike to follow God's guidance given in the sixth commandment (Ex. 20:13), "Thou shalt not kill"; the seventh (v. 14), "Thou shalt not commit adultery"; and the eighth (v. 15), "Thou shalt not steal." These guiding rules of God are necessary. They lead us into paths where there is no temptation to our young people to lapse into delinquency, or for parents to have cause for divorce. The child will have been taught through parental love, and that love backed up by parental example, how to follow God's guidance given us in the Ten Commandments, and thus keep out of the alleys of waywardness.
Just as the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments guide us in keeping our acts towards others a practical expression of our love for God, the ninth and tenth commandments alert us to the necessity to watch our words about and thoughts of others. Of the ninth commandment (Ex. ), "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour," Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 67), " 'Thou shalt not bear false witness;' that is, thou shalt not utter a lie, either mentally or audibly, nor cause it to be thought."
To bear true witness in thought, word, and act to what the man of God really is, is the best way to help another overcome his shortcomings.
If we accept another's shortcomings as real, and then make matters worse by criticizing him for his shortcomings, we are bearing false witness. Malicious criticism is like a millstone around our own necks. It bogs us down in our own attempts to demonstrate well-being for ourselves. Christian Science reveals that since the body is but thought made manifest, any error which we accept as real for another finds expression in our face, body, and life. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote (2:1), "For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself."
If we should ignore the spiritual guidance set forth in the tenth commandment (Ex. ), "Thou shalt not covet," we would be saying, in effect, I am not the son of God. Therefore I do not have the bounty which God bestows on man. All I can do is wish for that which belongs to someone else. When such mental swaddling clothes bind our thought, God's limitless good for everyone can never find outward expression in our own life. These mental swaddling clothes must be stripped away by the Christ, Truth. Then God's ever-present riches of supply, health, and companionship will be just as available for us as they are for anyone else.
We need never covet another's good. We need only to recognize that our own God-reflected selfhood already is complete, already is God's expression of all His goodness. Christian Science, the Science of the truth of God, helps us to understand and to demonstrate this fact of our completeness.
The way in which Christian Science unlocks and makes practical the healing guidance of the Ten Commandments is only one example of how Christian Science makes practical the healing Christ, Truth, found in the inspired Word of God throughout the whole Bible. In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy states (p. 406), "The Bible contains the recipe for all healing."
Mrs. Eddy ordained the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" to be the pastor of the more than three thousand Christian Science churches and societies throughout the world. The first tenet of the Christian Science church is (ibid., p. 497), "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life."
Christian Science in the Space Age
Will God's healing guidance, found in the inspired Word of the Bible, such as in the Ten Commandments, be as useful to man out in space as it is here on earth? When the astronaut stands on the surface of the moon or on the control deck of his space ship cruising millions of miles out from earth, will he see about him evidence of the fact that God is the supreme and only power, as the First Commandment sets forth? When the space traveler looks upon the ordered procession of the stars can he believe that God is a puny god, one of many gods, one whose order can be turned into disorder?
Let a Presbyterian churchgoer answer these questions for us. He is well qualified to do so. He is the first American to orbit the earth. His name is John Glenn. He says in an article (John Glenn, "Why I Know There Is a God," The Reader's Digest, July, 1962, p. 38): "Now what is the point I am making? It is the orderliness of the whole universe about us − from the smallest atomic structures to the most enormous thing we can imagine: galaxies millions of light-years across, all traveling in prescribed orbits in relation to one another.
"Could this have just happened? Was it an accident that a bunch of flotsam and jetsam suddenly started making these orbits of its own accord? I can't believe that. It was a definite Plan. This one big thing in space shows me there is a God. Some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there."
In their orderly courses even the galaxies of stars respond to God's order and law. And so does every organ of the human body respond to the supreme commands of God. God is the only governor there is; and the orderly stars and an orderly body hint the supreme order of God's supreme government. Referring to God as divine, infinite Mind, Mrs. Eddy has written (The People's Idea of God, p. 8), "Mind, that governs the universe, governs every action of the body as directly as it moves a planet and controls the muscles of the arm."
Then why is it that sometimes people get sick, sometimes are poor, sometimes disheartened, and afraid? Aren't God's laws big enough to go around? They are. God's laws are not only powerful enough to hold the galaxies of heavenly bodies in their precise orbits, but God's laws are big enough to embrace every individual on earth. The only trouble is that we sometimes disregard God's laws. We become lawbreakers. The Bible tells us (I John 5:3): "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." In other words, God does not indulge our mistakes, but through His Christ, Truth, corrects our shortcomings. The point is, are we willing to accept His truths? Christian Science helps us do so by explaining God to us. Then understanding Him, we can intelligently follow His guidance.
This love of God, expressed in His support of each one of us, is never limited or absent. If things are not going right we should ask ourselves questions like these: Am I forgetting God's First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"? Am I believing that God needs some kind of graven image of matter to heal me? Do I have vain ideas about God, such as that He is a big mortal knowing good and evil instead of being what He is, incorporeal Life, Truth, and Love, the creating and supporting Father-Mother of the whole universe? Am I keeping every day a Sabbath day by loving all mankind; that is, am I seeing past the shackles mortals impose upon themselves to the great spiritual fact of being − the fact that the real man, the spiritual man, is the perfect and limitless son of the perfect and limitless God? Do my actions and my words prove that my thoughts are godly thoughts?
If we are honestly keeping God's commands we will reap the rewards of spiritual healing. Our love for God which we prove in our love for our fellow man − such love is not a puny personal love. It is the majestic reflected evidence of God who is Love; and God expresses His love by holding you and me in perfect, ordered being, just as He holds the stars in their orbits. In that perfection, in that order, there can be no error of sickness, no sorrow, no pain. That is the way God heals us, not by punishing us, but by flooding our consciousness with the Christ, Truth, of being. Then we stop believing in lies about God and ourselves, and we are healed. Redemption, not punishment, is God's plan for you and me, whether we reside on earth, on the moon, or on a planet of some distant star. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 146), "Divine Science derives its sanction from the Bible, and the divine origin of Science is demonstrated through the holy influence of Truth in healing sickness and sin. This healing power of Truth must have been far anterior to the period in which Jesus lived. It is as ancient as 'the Ancient of days.' It lives through all Life, and extends throughout all space."
God's healing Christ, Truth, brought by the Bible and made practical by Christian Science, belongs in this Space Age. The Christ heals throughout all space. Man must have it on this planet, or on any other habitable planet, wherever it may be.
Treatment Based on Bible
I should like to tell you of a Christian Science healing in which the inspired Word of the Bible was the basis of the practitioner's treatment. While in his office one day a business executive, a Christian Scientist, was suddenly stricken with a heart attack. His body was partially paralyzed and he was unable to speak coherently. He was taken to his home, and at his request his wife called a Christian Science practitioner who lived in a distant city. The wife asked the practitioner to give her husband Christian Science treatment.
The practitioner recalled the Master's words (Matt. ), "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The practitioner saw clearly that since God is always perfect, He does not cast Himself down. Therefore man, God's image and likeness, could never be cast down. The practitioner knew that the businessman never could be cast down by office politics, envy, or jealousy. The practitioner declared that the man was continually upheld in his honest work, since God, and not envy or jealousy, is the only power.
The practitioner continued his treatment. He maintained that the Christ, Truth, is fully able to wipe out all false mortal beliefs relating to heart attacks, including the belief that because heart attacks are so widely believed in they must be true. The practitioner declared that the world-wide acceptance of any lie, and specifically lies concerning heart attacks, could never make heart attacks real or known to God. The practitioner followed through in his reasoning by declaring that since the patient's only Mind is God, the business executive could not and did not believe in heart attacks, or any of their attendant beliefs such as pain, or delay in healing.
Within a short time the pain stopped. In a few days the man was up and about the house, and continued to improve under Christian Science treatment. Before long he was healed. During the whole experience the man, supported by the Christ, Truth, as the practitioner's treatment declared, was not afraid. By putting and keeping God first, as the First Commandment reveals, the man was able to keep his days Sabbathlike, free of fear, the prime cause and ingredient of all disease, pain, disorder, and delay in healing.
Christian Science metaphysical treatment and Christian Science prayer are one and the same thing. The Christian Scientist's prayer is much more than a verbal petition to God asking for help. Christian Science shows that our prayers, in order to be effective, must include the recognition of the infinite goodness and supremacy of God, and the consequent nothingness of evil. Since God's goodness is infinite, our prayers must have a bigness about them. Just to pray for our own body, home, and personal affairs is not enough. Our prayers should embrace the whole world in the recognition of God's all-embracing love.
Mary Baker Eddy
Mrs. Eddy knew that the power of divine Mind, God, to heal was not personal with Jesus − or with herself, or with Christian Science practitioners. Mrs. Eddy understood the Master's teaching that the healing power can come only from God, our loving Father-Mother. This healing power, flowing from God, constitutes God's Messiah.
The Christ, the Son of God, enabled Jesus, the human son of the Virgin Mary, to heal. Today the Christ, the spiritual idea of God and man which Christ Jesus exemplified and practiced, enables students of Christian Science to demonstrate man's perfect, God-fashioned being.
Mary Baker Eddy knew that she discovered Christian Science, the Science of healing through prayer after the manner in which Christ Jesus prayed and healed. But Mrs. Eddy never claimed that she originated Christian Science. She knew that the healing laws of God and the rules for their application can come only from God. Therefore Christian Science has always existed, and will always continue to exist because God has always existed and will always continue to exist. It needed only the pure perception of one who had risen high enough spiritually to discover this healing Science of God, and to make it available to mankind. Mrs. Eddy was the one who did rise high enough spiritually. For her great work mankind owes her a deep debt of gratitude.
Mrs. Eddy wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" to record her discovery, and to explain Christian Science and how to use it. Mrs. Eddy, Christian Science which she discovered and founded, and her textbook have had, and still do have, many imitators and detractors. How can we tell Mrs. Eddy's original and genuine Christian Science from its imitators and their imitations? Genuine Christian Science attributes all intelligence, life, and power to God. It denies the reality, power, life, and intelligence of matter and evil.
Mrs. Eddy had no fears of detractors of either herself or of Christian Science. She knew that in the Master's day the healing Christ, Truth, was not eclipsed in spite of the gathering and onslaught of evil's forces against it. And neither will Christian Science ever be eclipsed. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 341), "The facts are so absolute and numerous in support of Christian Science, that misrepresentation and denunciation cannot overthrow it." Christian Science will abide forever, just as the Master said it would. He said (John ,17), "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth."
How Christian Science Helps Mankind
Christian Science, the ever-abiding Comforter, helps anyone who turns to it. How does it do this? By unlocking and making practical the inspired and healing Word of the Bible. For example, as I have endeavored to bring out in this lecture, Christian Science reveals the deep spiritual meaning of the Ten Commandments. It shows how they interlace, each supporting the other in guiding us out of the web of lies which lure us into wars, strife, sickness, and want.
The divine Principle of the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," bases the whole Science of being by which mankind is saved. The second and third commandments amplify and make more specific the spiritual meaning of the First Commandment. The second commandment shows us that God's medicine is divine intelligence, the Christ, Truth, which needs no graven image of matter to heal. The third commandment shows us that God is not an enlarged mortal, but is infinite power, Life, and Truth. Therefore our identity is perfect and eternal, God's individualized glory. The fourth commandment, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy," shows us the value of putting into practice each day of the week all that the first three commandments reveal of God's supremacy and power, and of man's perfectibility.
The remaining six commandments are God's instructions to help us to keep each day Sabbathlike, "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." These instructions are based upon the First Commandment, love for God. They impress upon us that we must make our love for God more than a thing of words. We must make our love for God practical by keeping each day holy. To do this we must love our fellow man as ourselves. And we must begin that love for our fellow man right in our own homes, and then let that love expand to include our thoughts of others and our acts.
The Christly method of healing through understanding and applying the inspired Word of God, such as in the Ten Commandments, should be sought above any other method of healing ever practiced by mankind. Why? Because such healing is the ultimate method, God's method. It was the method used by the Master. It is the method which Christian Science makes available to us here and now, enabling us to heal ourselves and others, and to overcome the root causes of war.
Anyone can be healed. No one is excluded. The health and well-being imparted by God through His Comforter, divine Science, constitute heaven on earth for everybody.
This spiritual understanding of God, brought to you and me by Christian Science, is like a benediction − a benediction which rests like a halo on each unfolding day, keeping each day Sabbathlike, crowning each hour with "beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness," which never disappear. Truly the Psalmist has written (91:1), "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."