Christian Science: A Positive Faith
John J. Flinn, C.S., of Evanston, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
To those healed through the writings and teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, or through the understanding and demonstration of her students — to those healed, as was I, when everything else had failed, when even the last faint glimmer of material hope had fled — Christian Science is not mere pleasing abstraction, attractive philosophy, or beautiful idealism, but, rather, an immense fact, something wonderfully near and real; something serviceable, available, within one's reach, always dependable in times of uncertainty and trouble, and never more so than in moments of greatest need.
I am going to assume that those present who are not of the faith we profess, are here, nevertheless, with the good purpose of learning, in so far as I may be able to present so great a subject in so brief a space of time, why I and tens of thousands like me, in all parts of the globe, have accepted this faith. I am going to assume that non-Scientists are here with the worthy purpose of learning to what extent all that they have heard, disparaging, or commendatory, of Christian Science, be it much or little, — all that they have heard of its Discoverer and Founder, of its tenets, its doctrines, its demonstrations, of the character and intelligence of its membership, is true or false.
This is unquestionably a trying age, an age that is putting to the test the integrity of human morality, the stability of human progress. The very best in men and in women is summoned, as never before in modern times, to rally to the protection and preservation of the good achieved through centuries of earnest and decades of enlightened effort.
Christian Science, which never bends to reaction, nor stoops to pessimism, is not fearful regarding the ultimate outcome of any contest between truth and error, between good and evil, for it knows that God reigns; but, being practical, neither is it oblivious of, nor indifferent to, the obligations which present or passing conditions involve.
A Time of Unusual Obligations
We are living in a time when obligations of an unusual nature must be dealt with; in a time which calls for the putting aside of narrow, petty, parochial views, that we may fix our attention upon those things which lie within the range of an enlarged vision; we are living in an epoch when not to think positively, broadly, deeply, and above all, scientifically and spiritually, is not to think adequately or rightly of the problems confronting humanity today.
There is so much popular discontent, so much distrust, so much dissatisfaction, so much disturbance of thought, nationally and internationally — so much of rebellious sentiment and expression in quarters where one might naturally look for orderliness and conservatism; and, more important and more startling than all of these, there is so strong a tendency toward insubordination, lawlessness, immorality, and crime, that the need of a strong current of counteracting influence, flowing outward from a spiritual source, is felt deeply by all intelligent observers.
It is seen very clearly not only that this influence, to be effective, must be spiritual, but also that it must come through channels other than those through which religious instruction has been flowing, and, apparently, flowing aimlessly, during many generations. Leading clerics of the orthodox school in Europe and America have reached the point of confessing that what they denominate as the "Church" has lost its hold upon the masses, and much of their effort is now directed toward regaining, if possible, the confidence which they concede has been lost. It is frankly admitted in the orthodox pulpit, that the "Church," so called, has practically failed in these latter days to cope with problems of greatest concern to the human race. It is openly asserted by theological dignitaries that the "Church," as administered to-day, has proved to be powerless in the matter of stemming the tide of irreverence, irreligion, agnosticism, infidelity and atheism.
No Concession to Error
Now, to confess that evil is more powerful than good, that morality cannot measure strength with immorality, that virtue must give before vice, — that Truth is, or can be, crushed by error, — considered even aside from religion, and as a purely ethical proposition — is to assume that civilization, as developed through two thousand years of Christianity, is a failure, and that the human race is reverting to paganism and barbarity. Viewed from a religious standpoint, such a proposition is preposterous and unthinkable, since it involves the presumption that there is a power greater than God, good, in the universe, — a power more potent than omnipotence.
Christian Science makes no concession to error in any of its phases, forms, or manifestations. It does not admit the reality of evil. It recognizes no power in the universe but God, good. In the midst of doubt, anxiety, alarm, fear, want of confidence in church or pulpit leadership, Christian Science holds steadfastly to the conviction, that since man is God's child, the reflection and image and likeness of God, he cannot be separated from his creator, deprived of his spiritual inheritance by any human belief, used as a football by chance, subjected to material mutation, or rendered helpless in the presence of sin, sickness, discord, disease, or death.
Christian Science is not at all a blind belief. It is not a theological experiment, not a conjectural creed. It is not based upon legend, tradition, superstition, or fear of future punishment; it is a demonstrable faith that proves with mathematical clearness and certainty, to capable and honest investigators, its claim as a Science. Christian Science is an understanding of infinite intelligence, and of man's relationship to the Supreme Being, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent divine Mind. It is an apprehension and understanding of God which admits of no limitation, question, nor doubt with regard to His all-seeing wisdom, His all-inclusive power, His all-embracing Love. It is living the conviction that God made everything that was made; that He made everything good; that all of His creations reflect Him, and, therefore, that nothing unlike Him, infinite good, can be real. It is an absolute acknowledgment and a positive assertion, supported by living truth, that the God of the Bible — our God — governs and controls the universe and all that it contains, visible and invisible, including man, and that there is none other beside Him.
A Neglected or Ignored Duty
It is always difficult, sometimes impossible, to follow the arguments of those good Christian people who feel it to be their duty to attack Christian Science, or to follow the reasoning upon which their arguments are based. The remarkable thing is that so few of them, in view of all that they are learning in these times regarding the failure of orthodox doctrines and teachings to meet the present and urgent needs of the people, are able to see that the healing of the sick, suffering, and sorrowful, no matter how long neglected or unemployed, is one of the most important functions of the Christian religion, and that there can be no human reservations, restrictions, nor limitations when man is leaning upon the power and mercy and love of God. These good people profess unquestioning allegiance to the New Testament and absolute loyalty to the words and works of Christ Jesus, yet they find fault with Christian Science because it brings these words and works down to the twentieth century, makes them as actual and as useful to the men, women, and children of our day, as they were to men, women, and children in the time of the Galilean Prophet.
Truth admits of no conditional expression nor acceptance. That which is almost, or nearly, or partly true, is not true. Christian Science is truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Here it takes its stand. It abhors loose thinking, loose reasoning, and loose talking; it is in as little need of patronizing commendation as it is of patronizing apology. Inasmuch as it is based upon divine Principle, nothing short of admission of its absolute truth will satisfy. This is why it is so frequently called upon to correct well-meaning but mistaken remarks by those who think they are speaking kindly of it.
Take, for instance, statements of many doctors of divinity and many doctors of medicine, than whom, as a rule, there are no more conscientious men in the world. It is no uncommon thing to have them concede a great deal to Christian Science. Some of them go so far as to admit openly that Christian Science has real merit; others, that its right to recognition as a protective and healing agency has been established; others recall instances, occurring among their friends, even in their own families, where Christian Science has brought about physical, mental, moral and spiritual results of a remarkable nature; still others advise certain of their patients, whose cases have resisted medical treatment, to "try Christian Science." There are pastors of orthodox churches and practitioners of medicine, not a thousand miles from here, who frankly tell those sitting under them in church, and those who visit them for advice, that what people need is more Christian Science in their daily lives. Yet, nearly always, these acknowledgments are made, and these endorsements are voiced, with some qualifications. Christian Science is all right, they say, when it does not go too far. They would not like to be caught saying that mathematical science is all right when its practice is not carried to excess.
Uncompromisingly for the Truth
Four thousand years of materialistic training in the medical calling might account somewhat for the stubbornness with which doctors cling to materia medica; but two thousand years of training in Christianity, the Founder of which never used a drug in healing, should have been sufficient, one would think, to have weaned the clergy from the pharmacopoeia and dependence upon the prescription tablet. It is a deplorable fact that ministers of the orthodox churches, ordained to practice the Christian faith, stop far short of doing so, in that they neglect or ignore the injunction of the Master to his disciples and to all who should follow in his footsteps to heal the sick; and it is even more deplorable, that, failing in the observance and performance of a plain duty themselves, they question and attempt to belittle, the demonstrations of those who, through full observance of the commands of Christ Jesus, actually repeat in very large and growing measure his marvelous works.
In undertaking to divine and thereby to evade, a great and a sacred duty, these ministers have reserved to themselves care of the sinners, while relegating to the doctors responsibility for the care of the sick. Is it necessary to dwell in any detail upon the results of this peculiar arrangement?
In dealing with recognized so-called physical laws, or with what are called physical phenomena, neither doctors of divinity nor doctors of medicine hesitate to accept the scientific truth. That is, they do no question the law of gravitation, the law that controls the diurnal revolution of the earth, the law that regulates the orderly motion of the planets, or the basic laws that determine the rise and fall of the tides. They accept unqualifiedly the law of mathematics. How much less should they question, or attempt to limit, the operation of divine Principle, which predicts the omnipotence of the Maker of all law!
Ministers of the gospel, in particular, should be more careful in any criticism which they may pass upon Christian Science, since Christian Scientists are simply putting into practice what all the orthodox Christian churches have been openly professing, preaching, and teaching through the centuries — the ability and willingness of God to help those who put all their trust in Him. Christian Science means trust — unlimited, absolute trust in God.
Christian Science a Positive Faith
Christian Science is a positive, and, in its attitude toward scholastic theology, a radical faith. As its Discoverer and Founder never deviated from Principle to win the favor or to avoid the censure of those bound up with other religious doctrines, neither do her loyal students and followers make concession of any kind either to popular or so-called scholarly beliefs in the reality of matter. They stand firmly, immovably, upon "the scientific statement of being," found in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 468).
Now, Christian Science is true from the first to the last word of this fundamental declaration, from the first to the last word of our textbook. Let it be borne in upon the thought of every one present that there is no room nor place for compromise here. If Christian Science be not in absolute line with one invariable, immutable Principle at all points, then, to use the words of Paul, "is our preaching vain," and, moreover, to paraphrase slightly the language of that great apostle, we who have accepted Christian Science are the most hopeless and most miserable of people. To go further, if further it would seem possible to go, if Christian Science is not altogether true, if the healing power of the Christ be not present yesterday, to-day, and forever — if the Christ be not risen — if spiritual regeneration be not within the reach of suffering humanity to-day, through a higher understanding of divine law, then, we who have been proclaiming our healing in Christian Science from the very housetops — we who feel that we have been restored in Christian Science to health, peace, and happiness — are either duped by the greatest of all illusions, or we are false witnesses. But we who have been healed in Christian Science — we who have been healed slowly or healed instantaneously, but in either case, healed permanently — and we who have practiced Christian Science in the healing of others — who have seen in our own and in the lives of those about us, unmistakable manifestations of the Immanuel, or God with us — know from experience, observation, and demonstration, that when the Principle of Christian Science is intelligently, honestly, and scientifically employed, it never fails; it cannot fail.
There can be no questioning the logic of Mrs. Eddy's propositions in Science and Health that the impossible never happens, and that "whatever blesses one, blesses all" (Science and Health, p. 206). Most of us have learned in our own experience that Truth manifested radiates beyond the bounds of our vision, even beyond the bounds of our imagination. Our reasoning faculties teach us, even if our spiritual intuition be dull, that if Christian Science heals in one instance through the intelligent application of divine Principle, no limitations can be placed upon its healing power. The operation of Principle can indeed be applied to every human need — to government, politics, business, economics, labor, sociology, education; when properly applied, Principle must, as it does, perform marvels of healing in general as well as in individual cases.
Here would seem to be a proper place to touch upon the unwarranted and gratuitous insinuation that Christian Science is neither Christian nor scientific. The man who first said this, was apparently more concerned about the fashioning of what he thought might prove a clever and a catchy epigram than about expressing the truth. The saying was picked up, and is still repeated here and there, by persons wholly without knowledge of the facts, but from first to last it has impressed only the unthinking and prejudiced. Let us see. The term Christian Science was employed by Mary Baker Eddy to designate the scientific system of divine healing which she discovered and founded. Nothing could be more appropriate, logical, or justifiable than the choosing of this name, since from almost the very beginning of her studies in divine metaphysics she held it to be basic that "all Science is divine" (Science and Health, p. 126), a position which is supported to-day by growing numbers of the world's best thinkers. Again and again not only in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," but in all of her other writings, does Mary Baker Eddy take occasion to pay humble, deep, and loving tribute to Christ Jesus. The Manual of The Mother Church, written by Mrs. Eddy, which embodies rules and by-laws for the government of the Christian Science organization, is imperative in demanding of those appointed to speak in behalf of Christian Science that they shall always speak reverently of Christ Jesus. It seems incredible that any one even slightly acquainted with the doctrines of Christian Science should fail to see that they are in absolute accord with the fundamentals of Christianity.
Bridging a Theological Chasm
With the keenness and the clearness of spiritual vision which mark all the thinking and speaking and writing of Mary Baker Eddy, she is able to differentiate between the man, Jesus, and the Christ, the divine idea; and thus, to the satisfaction of Jew and Gentile alike, she has permanently bridged for millions, a theological chasm that had for centuries yawned menacingly before the eyes of confused and bewildered humanity. Thus has she enabled her followers, Jews and Gentiles alike, as she has written in the tenets of Christian Science (Science and Health, p. 497), to "acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God," to "acknowledge His Son, one Christ," and to subscribe understandingly and whole-heartedly to those declarations of the Christian Science faith which fix Christ Jesus indelibly in the thought of all who accept and strive to follow her teachings, as the Wayshower, the Redeemer, the Savior of humanity.
There is still existent in some quarters a certain amount of irritation because Christian Scientists, to use a common phrase, "make so much of Mrs. Eddy." This allegation will have to be admitted. Christian Scientists do make much, very much, of Mrs. Eddy; but a simple reason for it should be sufficient for anybody who will give the loving relationship between Scientists and their revered Leader, a little careful consideration. Christian Scientists make so much of Mrs. Eddy because she has been the means of making so much of them, because through her has come to them a new hope, a new and better understanding of God, a new and better understanding of their relation to God, and to each other — because her teachings have opened up to them a new conception and a new incentive in life — because her discovery, her writings, and the influence that has gone out to the world through her students and their pupils have made great numbers of them new men and women.
As Ancient as the Ancient of Days
The Principle of Christian Science, be it understood, is nothing new. It has never been claimed by Mrs. Eddy or by any of her recognized students to be new, but, on the contrary, to be as ancient as the Ancient of days. It has existed through the eternities. It has been known to certain of God's people throughout all ages, and it was known more clearly, and practiced more widely and successfully, by Jesus and his disciples than by any that had preceded them, or by any that followed them, down to the time that the divine light of revelation shone into the consciousness of a woman wearied of scholastic theology and sophistry, in a modest New England home.
Apparently lost for centuries, the Science whereby this Principle could be put into operation as a tangible, practical, usable, workable agency, for the benefit of humanity here and now, was rediscovered by Mary Baker Eddy. This is her claim to our gratitude, our affection, our reverence. Her great task, the greatest that woman has ever been called upon to perform, was to proclaim and demonstrate, convincingly to a doubting world, her marvelous revelation. In her own simple but beautiful language, she tells us when and how each of her steps was taken. She left nothing to mere assertion,. She proved every declaration which she set down in writing. This she was enabled to do through the spiritual illumination of the Scriptures which preceded, accompanied, and followed her own remarkable healing, and through her entire dependence upon the Bible thenceforth for instruction and direction.
Just as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science places the Bible first at all times; just as she looks to it and clings to it at all times for inspiration and for strength; just as she has given it first place in the services of the church which she instituted and established, so do all of her loyal followers solemnly subscribe to the tenets she has given that church, the very first of which reads: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health, p. 497). It is entirely within reasonable bounds to say that in no other class or denomination of professed religionists is the Bible esteemed more highly or studied more regularly, closely, earnestly, or intelligently, than it is among Christian Scientists. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, is an exposition of the Bible, a "Key to the Scriptures," and as such, it has already unlocked for millions, and it shall unlock for countless millions to come, inexhaustible treasures of spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Truth Spurned by Orthodoxy
Christian and orthodox in her environment through childhood, girlhood, and young womanhood; Christian and orthodox in research and thought throughout her long years of study to fit herself for the work to which she had been called, Mrs. Eddy was moved by no impulse to overturn the faith of her Puritan ancestors, but rather, to buttress it with the supports which it lacked and which, she intuitively felt, were obtainable through a higher and holier understanding of the Scriptures.
It was her fond and cherished hope that the established Protestant churches, at least, might be led to investigate intelligently her discovery, and to accept the proofs which she was prepared to offer in support of the philosophy to which this discovery inevitably pointed; and it was only when her advances were rejected, and even spurned, in quarters where they should have been welcomed, that she had recourse to another vehicle for the dissemination of the truth that had been revealed to her.
If Mary Baker Eddy had not achieved in other ways the highest human recognition that can be according a woman; if cold convention or a studied and nurtured prejudice would deny her the exalted place she has won in the world as the greatest of the reformers since the Nazarene, the liberal and enlightened thought of mankind would, nevertheless, inevitably award her a place in the temple of fame for the service she has rendered the cause of religious freedom.
The Christian Science Manual alone will stand as a perpetual monument to the inspired wisdom of Mary Baker Eddy. Only recently has it impelled one of the most remarkable legal decisions in support of religious immunity from civil interference, ever handed down by a court of supreme jurisdiction in the United States or in any other country.
It has taken centuries to bring about the separation of Church and State, even in the degree to which this divorcement is at present recognized and enforced. The Manual of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, written by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, is destined to become a model for legislation in all countries desirous of protecting religion from state regulation or political meddling.
Testimony at First Hand
Lawyers, I believe, will agree with me that there is nothing in the line of testimony that goes further with court or with jury than that which comes freely and at first hand. It was this testimony that gave strength to the preaching of the Apostle Paul — that down to our time gives so much weight to his epistles. Christian Scientists do not feel hurt nor offended when the right of their revered Leader to so much recognition and gratitude is questioned, for they attribute such criticism to lack of understanding of the facts. They would rather, indeed, come into personal contact with the vigorous, robust, outspoken, honest doubter, than with one who is overready to accept superficially everything that is offered, without looking for proof, and without proper consideration or investigation.
The more questions an honest and earnest inquirer asks in Christian Science, the more proof he demands; the more determined he is to "find out for himself," the more promising convert and better church member and worker he becomes eventually. Christian Science is never attacked by those who have studied it intelligently, open-mindedly, and thoroughly; it is assailed only by those who take a casual and prejudiced glance at it, who read Science and Health as they would an ordinary book, running through it as they would through a volume prepared for popular entertainment, and not for serious and careful study. In a word, Christian Science is invariably attacked by those who do not understand what it teaches, what it aims to do for humanity, nor what it accomplishes. it is safe to say, on the other hand, that an overwhelming majority of those who accept Christian Science, are persons who are prepared to give a reason for the faith and the hope that is in them. They are persons who have taken nothing on hearsay, who have not been unduly swayed by the influence of others; who do not conjecture, who do not surmise, who do not guess; who do not merely believe; but who have won understanding from experience and demonstration, and who have become convinced, beyond a doubt, that they know.
Paul knew. He had had personal experience with the regenerative power of Spirit. He drew and convinced great audiences everywhere because he was able to give testimony at first hand — because he could speak out of the fullness of personal, actual, human experience; because he could tell of a mental change that, with the quickness of a lightning flash, transformed his character and enabled him to put off forever the "old man with his deeds." There are tens of thousands of Pauls in our day throughout the world — tens of thousands of persons, that is, who have been turned, often with the quickness of a lightning flash, through Christian Science, from wrong to right thinking, healed of sick and sinning beliefs, released from pernicious tendencies, relieved of slavish habits, liberated from bondage, and restored to the liberty which belongs to all of God's children: and these are ever ready and willing to give direct testimony to the healing power of Life, Truth, and Love, as demonstrated in Christian Science, and to offer heartfelt gratitude to Mary Baker Eddy, who led them by her teachings from darkness into light.
The Paramount Mission of Christian Science
It must never be forgotten that Christian Science is engaged first and last, and all the time, in the task of restoring to the world the Word and continuing the works of Christ Jesus: that its highest mission and its greatest joy is to labor unceasingly for the bringing back of primitive Christianity in all its purity, simplicity, and grandeur, and to reestablish, in a world sorely in need of it, that assurance of present-day salvation from error and its consequences, which the Master promised to all who would keep his commandments. He came with healing in his thought, with healing in his heart — and he went about everywhere doing good, yet sorrowing in his labor of love over the ignorance and perversity of men. Now, as in his day, the Word through Christian Science, is healing all manner of disease and all manner of discord, yet Christian Scientists know that, as in Jesus' day, the healing of physical ailments is a means, rather than an end.
Because of the stiffness of their necks and the rebelliousness of their will, in our times as was the case twenty centuries ago, the great majority of human beings must be impressed by some tangible evidence, suitable to their understanding, of the all-important part which spiritual law plays in regulating their lives, their affairs, occupations, and circumstances; in determining the success of their careers, in solving their minor as well as their major problems. Only thus are they brought to recognition of the ever-presence of God, and to a realization of the fact, that the paramount mission of Christian Science is not the healing of sickness and disease, but the destruction of ignorance, fear, and sin, which lie at the root of all human sorrow and suffering.
Christian Scientists make no stronger pretensions of belief in the Bible than do other professed Christians, but Christian Scientists go further than belief: they trust and strive to understand. And according to the measure of their understanding do they make practical application of Bible truths and achieve demonstration. Here is where the great difference lies. One might believe in mathematics fervently, devotedly, indefinitely, without ever getting further than belief. Mere belief would never solve a problem in figures. One must take chalk, or pencil, or pen in hand, and work the problem out in accordance with the rule of the science, if anything worth while is to be accomplished. Christian Scientists prove the truths of the Bible by understanding and demonstration as they go along, and bring realization of its prophecies and promises into their everyday experience.
Those Who Hunger and Thirst
It cannot be denied that Christian Science holds universal attention today. So-called skeptics and infidels, no less than orthodox Christians, are keenly interested in its doctrines and its demonstrations. The throngs of non-Scientists which everywhere flock to Christian Science lectures, to Christian Science testimonial meetings, and to Christian Science services, afford ample proof of this deep and widespread interest. All classes of people see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears something of its accomplishments for the good of humanity and the glory of God, and are seeking to learn more about it. And who should hinder them in this seeking, since wisdom, the understanding of man's true relationship to omnipotence, is to be desired beyond all else that may be sought or attained in this world?
"Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?" asks Job. And he replies: "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven. . . . And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil is understanding." "Wisdom is the principal thing," said Solomon in his proverbs, "therefore get wisdom: and with all they getting get understanding."
To obtain an understanding of Christian Science is to obtain an understanding of the one ever present and supreme power in the universe, reverently named God, a term which in Christian Science embraces all that is good, and to obtain at the same time an understanding of man's relationship to this infinite Being. Those who are really earnest in the desire to know God, come in the right frame of thought, if they come to Christian Science as little children, trustful and hopeful, receptive of and eager for light, and determined to profit by it.
It is all-important that a right beginning shall be made. To begin rightly is to provide one's self with a copy of the Bible and of the Christian Science textbook, to study both zealously and religiously, and to put their teachings into practice as fast as an understanding of them is gained. All of Christian Science is contained in these two inspired volumes.
To study the Bible and Science and Health, intelligently and profitably, demands of the student constant recourse to prayer, as prayer is understood in Christian Science. It is a fact, strange as it may appear to those of other religious denominations, that through Christian Science many thousands of earnest and devout Christian people have been instructed for the first time how to obtain results from prayer. When we learn how to pray as Christian Science teaches, in that same hour we also learn how to help and heal ourselves and how to bring comfort, peace, and healing to others.
The Way of Healing and Salvation
Whether we seek understanding or healing in Christian Science, and it should be remembered that understanding is possible only through the healing of ignorance, self-opinion, and prejudice, we must come in simplicity, trustfulness, and confidence: we should have arrived at a decision to go the full length, to cut all bridges behind us: we should be ready to turn our backs on envy, jealousy, hate, superstition, fear — evil-thinking, evil-speaking, evil-doing. There must be no more doubting, shifting, hesitation. Nothing short of unconditional surrender will open the door that leads from captivity to freedom. The wavering, undecided, and unready should blame themselves only if indulgence in these proclivities hinders the work of the teacher or the practitioner, defers healing, or sometimes entirely prevents it.
Christian Scientists have come to know, and measurably to understand, God, through the teachings and works of Christ Jesus, the Wayshower, and through the revelation which Mary Baker Eddy has given the world — a revelation which, among other things has reestablished in the consciousness not only of her students and followers, but of vast numbers who may not as yet be included denominationally among these, the first conviction that Jesus did not demonstrate the divine power to heal for any select number or for a limited period of time. We have his prophecy and promise: "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."
Mrs. Eddy looked forward implicitly likewise to the opportunities which would come to her followers for the accomplishment of greater demonstrations than any that were crowning their efforts in the first half century of Mind-healing which her discovery had brought about. She has plainly stated (Science and Health, p. 348), "I have never supposed the world would immediately witness the full fruitage of Christian Science." She wished to be known only as one who had planted and watered His vineyard, leaving to the years to come, and to growth in spiritual understanding, the gathering of greater harvests than she had been privileged to see.
Man's Right to Peace and Happiness
For ages men have been engaged in a continuous effort to get more out of life, to obtain a larger measure of freedom, and to find in the possession of both, that ease, comfort, contentment, and peace, which make up the sum of human happiness. But the prizes sought have been elusive. They have lost their value even with seeming attainment, for the struggle to capture them has, in the main, been carried along on the theory that happiness is something material, and therefore, something to be pursued by pampering the material senses and turning loose upon the chase the sensual desires.
Not the objective, not the thing they sought, but the method and purpose behind the seeking, have been wrong. Prosperity and happiness are conditions to which we all should aspire, if only we strive for them with right motives and in the right way. To yearn for those things which make for the greater completeness of human existence, has been sanctioned and legitimized from the very beginning. God's promises to His children have always been represented as in answer to the desire, or prayer, for a higher understanding of Him — that is, for a higher understanding and appreciation of Life in its full and true meaning.
Christian Science teaches that lack, limitation, poverty, are among the errors to be overcome by apprehension and understanding of the truth that divine Love is the source, and only source, of supply. Christian Science teaches that poverty and unhappiness are abnormal, due to wrong thinking and to wrong living. Christian Science teaches that prosperity and happiness are desirable, and that they are attainable, when rightly, that is, when spiritually, sought.
It is the desire for the spiritual peace and harmony which constitute real prosperity and happiness that has led advanced thinkers of all times to be discontented with conditions as they have found them. There is sometimes a vast difference between contentment and happiness. To be content with less than justice, would be acquiescence in injustice; to be content with less than right, would mean acceptance of wrong; to be content with anything less than freedom, would mean complacent agreement in some form of slavery. Some of the greatest revolutions of modern times have been justified on the ground of man's inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — an assertion of elemental human privilege which all the world receives today in the light of a self-evident truth.
Two thousand years ago man's right to life, in all its fullness, was proclaimed by Christ Jesus in presence of the persecuting Pharisees, in that beautiful figure of speech wherein he describes himself as a Shepherd devoted to the protection and welfare of his flock. "I am come," he said, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Again, he told those who were striving to harass and embarrass him, how, by knowing the truth, they might secure real freedom. In almost his first utterance in the presence of the rabbis, he read from the prophet Esaias, the marvelous passage predicting the coming of the Messiah (Luke 4:18).
In the first psalm is laid down the basis upon which man may attain blessedness, which is but another name for contentment, prosperity, and happiness. And Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has written in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Christian Science textbook, as the purpose of her departure from the old theology, an inspiring and an impelling desire to liberate the body, by emancipating the thoughts of men. (Science and Health, pp. 226-227).
Those Who Rightly Seek Shall Find
Multitudes have come into Christian Science, seeking and finding health; seeking and finding a larger share in the refinements and comforts of life; seeking and finding domestic tranquility; business success; financial ease; multitudes will continue to come into Christian Science in the hope of gaining the mental freedom, the contentment and peace they have sought elsewhere in vain, and, if their purpose be honest, they shall not be disappointed. But the vast majority advance in Christian Science because they have, in progressing step by step, made every other consideration secondary to that of rising in spiritual understanding and working out their own salvation. In no other way than by accepting the many invitations of Christ to come unto him, to bring our burdens and our problems to him, to ask of the Father, in his name, believing, anything we need — not something we simply want — may divine assistance be obtained along the way to salvation. To gain healing or salvation, we must be ready and willing to abandon self — self-satisfaction, self-righteousness, self-justification. Self is the principal obstacle to our progress in Christian Science. Self would block the way. We must get rid of self — but how? By realizing that we are nothing of ourselves, because infinite Mind is All-in-all — by throwing up our hands in complete and humble surrender, and declaring, with all the sincerity, earnestness and devotion we can command, "Not my will, but thine, be done." When this point is reached, and we are trusting divine Love, not partly, but wholly; not conditionally but absolutely, the point of healing is also reached, and salvation to crown the healing is come. For then the glory of God shines into the heart of man.
An Active, Virile, Forceful Religion
There is nothing in Christian Science that partakes of the puerile, the weak or the effeminate, as any of these terms may be offensively used; but there is everything that is vibrant with action, vigor, and force. Christian Scientists, as a class, are noted for a high order of intelligence, for clearness of perception, for resourcefulness in business or profession, for earnestness in the performance of their tasks, for cheerfulness in their labor, for happiness in their play.
Christian Science is abreast with the advanced thought of the age upon all questions of vital interest to humanity. It is pronouncedly and uncompromisingly for the maintenance of law and order. It is for the upholding and rigid enforcement of liquor prohibition. It is heart and hand with education, since it prays and works constantly for the elimination of all ignorance. It favors and fosters all that makes for refinement, true culture, purity of the spoken and the written word, courtesy, kindliness — everything that is beautiful and edifying in art — everything that tends to improve public taste, public life, and public morals.
Through its healings and teachings, Christian Science has already elevated the thought and, consequently, the character of vast numbers of people in all parts of the globe, and every one of these, if he be doing his part, is spreading the truth, expressing his gratitude, not by intruding his faith upon others, not by engaging in acrimonious controversy, nor by indulging in useless and fruitless argument, but by living that faith and letting his light shine.
Through the reflection of Life, Truth, and Love, among Christian Scientists, the omnipotent power of God is being more widely recognized among thoughtful people now than ever before, and there is coming into the consciousness of the nations, slowly but surely, a sense of reverence for the spiritual which will eventually unify the thought as well as the interests of men.
Rich in Blessed Consolations
Christian Science is rich in blessed consolations for the struggling heart, and generous in the granting of them, and one of the most beneficent of these is the assurance that where there is an honest desire for understanding and healing, and a genuine willingness to be taught and lifted out of trouble, help is always at hand. Those who seek understanding and help in Christian Science, sincerely and confidently, do not fail to find it. Nobody need pause halting at the door, fearing to enter lest he be thought beneath consideration, or beyond hope or help. Since God is Love, and God is omnipotent, nothing that is good can be impossible.
Never has there been a time in all history when men and women were in greater need than now of that clearness of sight, that steadiness of purpose, that strength of character — that probity, perspicacity, and unshakable moral stamina — which are imparted through spiritual discernment and spiritual understanding in Christian Science. It is the mission and purpose of our faith to bring the kingdom of God to earth, by dispelling the illusion that materialism and sensuality can satisfy the legitimate human desire for contentment, peace, prosperity and happiness. The wreckage all about us of hopes, longings, desires, ambitions, based upon the attainment of worldly success, for its own sake, should constitute an impressive warning to men and women of all classes and in all walks of society, in this day and generation.
Wrong Thinking and its Remedy
Wrong thinking is at the bottom not only of individual troubles and sorrows and sufferings, but it is the cause of all the harrowing evils that beset the family, the community, the nation, and the world at large. Christian Science offers right thinking as a corrective — as an obtainable, feasible, and, in fact, as the only possible remedy for this stupendous evil.
If the thoughts of humanity were in harmony with the divine Mind, with the Commandments, with the Beatitudes, with the Prophets, with the teachings of Christ Jesus and his disciples, with the Principle of Christian Science, as revealed through and expounded and taught by Mary Baker Eddy, the world would be speedily freed from ferment, confusion, and tumult. Christian Science corrects, exalts, and strengthens the thought of the individual; the thought of the community, the nation, and the world will be straightened, elevated, and strengthened proportionately with the increase in the number of individuals who shall claim and win their natural inheritance of spiritual light and understanding, and who engage in the work of spreading the truth of being among their fellows.
Christian Science has helped many hundreds of thousands of sick and sinning, sorrowing and suffering, disappointed, discouraged and despairing men and women to obtain their first glimpse of salvation, to get their first experience of heaven on earth; to realize fully for the first time that God is All-in-all, that He is Life, Truth, and Love, that He is an ever-present help in trouble, their strong deliverer, their sure salvation. In Christian Science they learn more certainly than in any other way, because they learn it through their own demonstration; that while infinite Mind is righteous and exacting, infinite Love is tender, considerate, compassionate, and merciful; that God, good, is ever ready, has ever been ready to hear the sigh and to wipe away the tears of the truly penitent, to soothe the hearts of those who, wearied of material falsities and disappointments, turn to the spiritual for rest, peace, and contentment.
The Praying of the Scientist
The Christian Scientist, if he be faithful, prays without ceasing; but he prays not to a God made in man's image and likeness, but to infinite Mind, infinite Truth, infinite Life, infinite Love — to the Being who lacks nothing in wisdom — to the One who knows without being told what is best for His children, and who has already provided for them out of the amplitude of His inexhaustible store, everything they need. The Christian Scientist prays constantly for light and understanding, for the Mind to be in him which was also in Christ Jesus. He prays, if he be true to his faith, that he may be a good man, a good friend, a good citizen: and, with all his praying, uttered or unexpressed, he prays that righteousness, justice, harmony, and tranquility shall dwell in the consciousness of men throughout all the earth.
The Greatest of These is Love
Christian Science is essentially a religion of faith, hope, love, these three. To the Christian Scientists the greatest of these is love, because it comprehends all — that love, which "doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; . . . beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" — that love which from our very beginning in this new-old faith prompts and urges us to strive constantly, and enables us to strive successfully, against every suggestion of error, against every suggestion of evil, against every personal resentment, every personal dislike — against every unjust, uncharitable, unworthy estimate of those with whom we come in contact — until we are brought to a clearer conception of our place in the divine plan. to a fuller realization of our responsibility to God, to our neighbor, and to ourselves.
Work for us there is in plenty —
Every one must do his part;
Faith is barren, cheap and empty
If not rooted in the heart.
What though thoughts of self beset us,
What though error would restrain?
Freely we receive, then let us
Freely share with all our gain.
Counting as of little matter
Whom our thoughts may touch today.
'Tis our Christly part to scatter
Seeds of love along our way.