Its Answer to Manís Need in the Atomic Age
Mary Wellington Gale, C.S.B., of San Francisco, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Man's real need in the atomic age
is to acknowledge and apply the power of the Christ, Truth, Mary Wellington
Gale, C.S.B., of
Speaking to a noontime audience in the Shubert Theatre, Mrs. Gale stressed the importance of understanding the spiritual meaning of the Lord's Prayer, which she described as being applicable to every human need.
A member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, she spoke under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, on the subject "Christian Science: Its Answer to Man's Need in the Atomic Age."
In his introduction, Arnold H. Exo, C.S.B., First Reader of The Mother Church, declared: "Seldom has mankind so needed divine help and guidance to eradicate the causes of war and to establish lasting peace. And mankind needs to learn how to keep their discoveries servants, never allowing them to become masters."
Mrs. Gale spoke substantially as follows:
We are living in an age of immense power. In less than a century, men have conquered the air. Through development of the telescope, they have brought the moon within thirty miles of the earth. Through similar inventions, they can now hear the inaudible and see the infinitesimal. They have unleashed the power of the atom, and have recently discovered that they can reduce the phenomena of nature to a mathematical equation!
In accepting a mathematical description of nature, the physical scientists have come close to the borderline which separates physics from metaphysics. A few of them have stepped over the line, and have frankly acknowledged the mental nature of physical phenomena. Describing the development of this new theory, Lincoln Barnett has written (The Universe and Dr. Einstein, p. 11),". . . gradually philosophers and scientists arrived at the startling conclusion that since every object is simply the sum of its qualities, and since qualities exist only in the mind, the whole objective universe of matter and energy, atoms and stars, does not exist except as a construction of the consciousness."
Three-quarters of a century before this concept of matter was formulated by the physicists, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in
the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 86); "Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees. It feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts." Again, referring to Christian Science, she wrote (ibid. p. 114), "Science shows that what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind."
Mrs. Eddy grasped the fact, which is being substantiated today by the researches of material science, of the mental nature of all external phenomena. But she did something more than merely observe the ephemeral nature of matter. She took into account the data which had accumulated and been preserved in the manuscripts which make up the Holy Bible. Here she found case histories bearing out what she was discerning of the mental nature of physical life. But they also testified to the presence of a wholly different order of experience, an experience in which the accepted laws of nature were superseded by a manifestation of a higher law. These case histories, she came to see, were used to document a system of metaphysics set forth in different terms in the different ages compassed by the Bible, but identical in meaning and effect. Each case history involved phenomena which the human mind had come to accept as supernatural because these phenomena did not conform to what was conceived of as law.
Mrs. Eddy saw the thread of consistency which bound the so-called miracles of the Bible together. She saw the unmistakable operation of cause and effect in incidents occurring over a period of centuries. For the most part, the Old Testament writers ascribed to a being whom they called the Lord God both the effects of good and of evil in the experiences of their people. Externalizations of evil they attributed to the anger of the Lord: externalizations of good to His approbation. Regardless of their interpretations, which were superseded by the theology of Jesus, the law which governed these experiences was there to be discerned.
Christ Jesus' teaching regarding the nature of evil is presented in the parable of the tares and the wheat, which is given in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. I shall read his explanation of this parable from the King James Version of the Bible, which is used in Christian Science churches in the English-speaking countries (Matt. 13:37-39): "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."
The teaching of Christian Science with respect to the nature of evil is summed up in this parable, when it is spiritually understood, for the theology of Christian Science is in accord with the theology of Jesus. On the inspired Word of the Bible and especially on Jesus' words and works, Mrs. Eddy based her religion.
Students of Christian Science are aided in their understanding of the Bible by her inclusion in their textbook, Science and Health, of a Glossary giving the metaphysical interpretation of Biblical terms. Her definitions of the words "devil" and "angels" will serve to illustrate this, and show the metaphysical significance of the parable of the tares and the wheat. "Devil'' she defines in part as follows (p. 584); "devil. Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor mind; the opposite of Truth; a belief in sin, sickness, and death; animal magnetism or hypnotism."
In this definition, Mrs. Eddy is showing that evil is to be accounted for neither as the creation of a personal God, nor a personal devil, but as a false suggestive sense mentally†† entertained. The remedy for this false sense is found in her definition of "angels" (ibid.; p. 581); "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect: the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality."
Christ Attests Influence for Good
Looking out upon the world today, no one can doubt the need of the understanding of some force which will counteract the "evil, sensuality, and mortality" which flaunt themselves on every side. Not only the educator and religionist, but the practical businessman and the physical scientist also are conscious of this need. The threat of destruction by nuclear warfare is secondary to the threat of the breakdown of the moral conscience of mankind which would permit such a holocaust. The counteracting influence of "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality," is the need of man in the atomic age.
But how, one may ask, is this influence to be found, that it may be brought to bear upon the affairs of men? The writers of the older Scriptures discerned this divine influence and described it. The drama of Job puts these words into the mouth of Elihu (Job 32:7, 8);
"I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them† understanding."† The book† of Jeremiah states (31:33), "After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts."
The hope of the world lies in the presence of this divine influence in the consciousness of every human being. No matter how confused or bemused he may be, no one exists in whom this spiritual spark cannot be found, and it is an eternal flame, "which lighteth every †man† that cometh into the world," to use the words of the Gospel (John 1:9).
Mrs. Eddy has identified this divine influence as the Christ. In Science and Health she writes (p. 332), "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness." This divine message has been heard by men and women of spiritual sensitivity throughout the ages. Jesus so identified his thinking with the Christ that he won the title of Christ Jesus, or Jesus the Christ, and was recognized as the Messiah or Saviour, whose coming had been prophesied in the Bible. The angels of God's presence, defined by Mrs. Eddy as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality," so filled the Master's consciousness that "evil, sensuality, and mortality" disappeared in the presence of his pure thought. This is the inescapable effect of the operation of the Christ in human consciousness. Christ, Truth, counteracts its opposite.
The opposite of the Christ, or Truth, in its silent influence for good, is the claim of an evil attraction, named in Christian Science animal magnetism or hypnotism. As "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect," are welcomed into thought, the opposite attraction of the false suggestive sense called animal magnetism disappears. This is exemplified in countless instances of healing through Christian Science, including the tobacco and liquor habits and serious cases of drug addiction.
I myself have seen healings of these afflictive conditions. A young man who became addicted to drink in his college days was healed in Christian Science after struggling unsuccessfully for several years to free himself. After his healing, he used to come to tell me of incidents bearing on the subject of Christian Science, which he thought would interest me. One of these did interest me very much, and I should like to tell it to you.
He had been lunching with some friends from the financial district, and conversation had centered on a man they all knew who had recently succumbed to alcoholism. One of the group remarked, "I have known every alcoholic on the street for a period of twenty years and you [indicating my friend] and So-and-so are the only ones who have pulled yourselves out." My friend then told me that he had recently seen "So-and-so" ushering at a Christian Science lecture!
The religion of Christian Science is based largely on the acceptance of the full ministry of Jesus. The Master not only preached the gospel, he healed the sick and sinning and raised the dead in demonstration of the power of the Christ. Moreover, he told his followers that they should go and do likewise. As recorded by John, he said (John ), "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." The Church of Christ, Scientist, The Mother Church with its' branches, is dedicated to the restoration of the spiritual healing of primitive Christianity.
Mrs. Eddy was able to reinstate this healing and repeat the works of Jesus because she perceived that he was demonstrating a divine Principle in his healing work. When he referred to God as ". . .my Father, and your Father; . . . my God, and your God" (John ), he was showing the universality and eternality of the creative Principle which the less illumined thought of the older Scriptures had conceived of as a personal and often as a tribal God.
Jesus did not give the name Principle to Deity. This term was to be revealed to a generation whose need for such a designation was occasioned by the advance of† physical science. Mrs. Eddy tells us in Science and Health (p. 494). "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." No greater proof could be given of Love's meeting of the human need than the revelation of God as divine Principle! The understanding of this term for Deity removes the element of chance from the affairs of men. It reveals the possibility of equality of opportunity and advantage. It sweeps aside the baneful concept of the "have-nots" and the "haves," and opens up to all mankind the glorious liberty of men under the government of God.
Divine Principle as understood in Christian Science is not a static Principle. In this Science, God is accepted as infinite divine Life, and Truth, and Love, as Spirit, Soul, and Mind. These terms are intrinsically active in their connotations. God as divine Principle is more than is seen in the mathematical equation, although the equations of mathematics express the undeviating nature of the operation of God's law. God is the very life of man, the source of the intelligence which man reflects, the substance of any truth which man discerns, the fountainhead of all the real affection that has ever been expressed by man.
This active Principle, when understood and utilized, results in the healings which are experienced in Christian Science. These cures are the natural and inescapable effect of the operation of the Christ in human consciousness. They are the result of entertaining the angels defined by Mrs. Eddy as "God's thoughts passing to man." These angel thoughts entertained by mankind can change the course of human history. Christian Science shows us how to entertain these thoughts of God which were demonstrated by the Master in every phase of human life. Jesus proved the power of the Christ, Truth, over every material condition.
A cure which I witnessed illustrates the method of Christian Science healing. It was the case of a little girl who lost the use of her legs. Her parents were not Christian Scientists, and she was taken to a hospital. However, the doctors were not able to arrive at a decision as to what was causing her difficulty in walking. She begged so persistently to be taken home that she was released from the hospital, and her mother asked for treatment from a Christian Science practitioner, as nothing was being done by the doctors pending her return to the hospital for further observation.
The mother was asked by the
practitioner to study the Lesson-Sermon which is published in the Christian
Science Quarterly and read each Sunday at the services of all Churches of
Christ, Scientist, throughout the world. These Lesson-Sermons consist of
quotations from the Bible and correlative citations from Science and Health.
This young mother had been studying for several days when her attention was
arrested by the description of one of the healings of Jesus which was cited in
the lesson of that week. It was the healing of the impotent man at the pool of
In pondering the healing of the impotent man, the mother noted that a demand was made upon him by Jesus. He was told by the Master, "Take up thy bed, and walk" (verse 8). It came to her that the practitioner's prayers corresponded to the prayer of Jesus. She saw that it was for her, who had the care of the child, to translate the demand of the Master, "Take up thy bed, and walk," into terms that the child would understand.
The little girl had wanted a dog, and just before she was taken ill had selected a beautiful collie at a kennel nearby. His delivery was awaiting her recovery. Following the inspiration she had received in her study, the mother dressed the child, placed her in her car, and drove to the kennel. Then she opened the door of the car beside which the child was sitting, and said to her: "Your dog is here. Go and get it!" The child, who had been unable to walk when she was placed in the car, quickly climbed out of her seat and went to claim her dog!
A proved truth can be demonstrated
by others. After Lindbergh flew the
As the Lindbergh flight encouraged people to go forward to demonstrate dominion in the air, so we can be encouraged by Jesus' demonstration of the Christ to claim the divine influence ever present in human consciousness and its availability in the affairs of men. We, too, have spiritual talents given us by God to be used unselfishly for those around us and for the world. We can be encouraged by the example of Christ Jesus to seek and find these talents which are the spiritual heritage of everyone and which Christian Science brings to light.
Christian Science heals through prayer. The prayer of a Christian Scientist is, first, a turning to God to receive His angel thoughts which counteract what needs to be corrected in the human consciousness. Sometimes such a reaching out to God will result in immediate healing.
Sometimes, however, there is more to be accomplished than a single glimpse of Truth can bring about. Here the Christian Scientist is fortified by the understanding of prayer as it is set forth by Mrs. Eddy in her famous chapter in Science and Health. In the chapter on Prayer we are shown not only how to turn to God to receive the impartations of Truth, we are also instructed as to how to make Truth practical in our daily life.
Christian Science is saying to mankind: "Health is here.
Supply is here. Joy is here. Come and get it!" Where material things
appear to be, there is a kingdom of harmony, a kingdom of love. The Bible tells
us that John beheld this kingdom as a present reality while still on earth and
in the flesh. In the Apocalypse we read of his saying (Rev. 21:1), "And I
saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were
passed away." John was a prisoner on
The absolute perfection of the
In Science and Health (pp. 16, 17), Mrs. Eddy gives the spiritual interpretation of this prayer which she tells us meets all human needs. Let us trace the seven steps of the Lord's Prayer, with their application to the human need as it is interpreted by Mrs. Eddy.
"Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious."
In our textbook, Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 332), "Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation," So, as the, very first step in prayer, we are to lift our thought to this loving, all-sustaining power, which is the only creator, and acknowledge "His tender relationship to His spiritual creation." We are to reach out to our creator in joyous affirmation of His perfection and completeness. It is natural that we should rejoice in this completeness, and so we exclaim,
"Hallowed be Thy name.
As we acknowledge and affirm God's self-completeness, the Father-Mother allness of the divine, infinite Mind, we are acknowledging and affirming our own self-completeness as Mind's reflection or idea. We are also acknowledging our "tender relationship" to all Mind's ideas, and thus are entering into that unity of consciousness which is described in the Bible (Job 38:7); "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Our first step in the Lord's Prayer places us in the company of those who rejoice in the spiritual self-completeness which is the nature of Deity, and is reflected impartially and universally by all.
"Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom' is come; Thou art ever-present."
Love is ever present. Truth is ever present. Life is ever present. Mind, Spirit, Soul are ever present. What happens to hate where Love is? What happens to error where Truth is? What happens to death where Life is? To matter where Spirit is? To ignorance where Mind is? To sorrow in the presence of the radiance of Soul? These opposites of good are counteracted by the infinite Principle which is ever present.
How is this ever-presence expressed? Principle is expressed through law. So God's ever-presence is manifested through the operation of His all-pervading self-enforcing law, which governs every individual idea in the universe of Spirit with impartial, universal love. As we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we are affirming the presence of God's law and its power to counteract every so-called law of matter. Every claim of matter to life, substance, or intelligence, to pleasure or to pain, is destroyed through the ever-presence of divine Principle acting through its self-enforcing law. Our second step in the Lord's Prayer is the affirmation of the law of God, present and acting as a power to counteract every so-called law of matter.
"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,
Enable us to know, - as in. heaven, so on earth, - God is omnipotent, supreme."
The third step in the Lord's Prayer leads to the recognition of the presence of God's law, or the working out of His will on earth as it is in heaven. We pray to understand that God's will is law to the human situation. Mrs. Eddy tells us in Science and Health (p. 505), "Spirit imparts the understanding which uplifts consciousness and leads into all truth." As this truth is imparted to us through the operation of divine law, we can affirm, "God is omnipotent, supreme." The third step in our prayer is a joyous affirmation of the operation of God's law right here on earth, enforcing His will, which brings life and truth and love to all mankind.
"Give us this day our daily bread;
Give us grace for today; feed the famished affections."
The fourth step in the Lord's prayer is a very important one. It is a reaching out to God for a realization of His love, that our affections may be purified and we may have the grace of God with which to meet our daily needs. God's grace is the gift of divine Love forever unfolding to the human consciousness. As we receive this influx of divine Love, it will be ours to impart, as Christ Jesus imparted it. The fourth step in our prayer is to reach out for such a realization of God's love that we may see all consciousness permeated with this divine affection.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And Love is reflected in love."
"Love is reflected in love" only as we receive it through God's grace, and when received, it acts spontaneously. As the universal love of God permeates our consciousness, we realize our own perfection as God's spiritual ideas. We see that our debts are forgiven by the Love in whose sight we were never less than Love's own image. One whose debts are thus forgiven, forgives the debts of others as naturally as the sun sends forth its light! When we have fulfilled the fifth step in the Lord's Prayer, our thought has been lifted to the altitude where "Love is reflected in love."
"And† lead† us† not† into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
And God leadeth, us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death."
In the sixth step in our prayer, we are led to see that sin, disease, and death are nothing but a temptation to believe in a power opposed to God, and that no such power exists. God's allness is unopposed! Nothing really exists except illimitable divinity! This is the sixth step in the Lord's Prayer, in which it is seen that "God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death."
"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All."
The seventh step in the Lord's Prayer leads us into the Sabbath rest of spiritual consciousness, where we rejoice in the understanding that "God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All"!
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 18, 1958; also published in The Tampa Independent, April, 1961.]