Christian Science:

Its Stabilizing Influence in a Changing World

 

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

 

The only way to find stability in today's world is through the "spiritual balance" of love, said a Christian Science lecturer in Boston Oct. 22.

"The farther the physicists penetrate outer space and the greater their accomplishments, the more urgent becomes the need of mankind to find that divine Love is the only motivating force - that God is Love, and God is All."

Mrs. Mary Wellington Gale, C.S.B., of San Francisco, Calif., was the speaker. A large noon-hour audience heard the lecture in the John Hancock Hall. The title was "Christian Science: Its Stabilizing Influence in a Changing World," and it was sponsored by The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Gale put special emphasis on understanding God as "undeviating divine Principle,'' as well as Love.

"Life takes on new meaning when you understand its Principle to be Love," she said. It provides the "stabilizing element" needed in human affairs.

You then "realize that the love of God is impartial and unchanging; that His qualities are to be expressed not more by one than by all; that His truth is equally available for all to know and understand."

Mrs. Gale was introduced to the audience by Gordon F. Campbell, First Reader of The Mother Church.

 

Power of Principle Discovered

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

A few years ago, after a lecture which I gave in New York City, a young man waited to speak to me. After introducing himself, he told me that he was a nuclear physicist. He said that he had no religion and felt the need of spiritual balance. From what he had heard he believed that Christian Science could give it to him. He told me that he intended to make a study of Christian Science.

This young man belonged to the class of physical scientists responsible for unloosing the greatest physical force ever evolved by the ingenuity of men - that of nuclear energy. He had attended a Christian Science lecture, and there he had learned of another kind of force, the moral and spiritual power which has impelled all of the real advance ever made by mankind. This knowledge the young physicist welcomed as a stabilizing element which he needed in his life.

The physicist is not the only one who needs the stabilizing influence of Christian Science today, and it is available to all. I am sure that there are many in this audience who could testify, as I can, to the stabilizing effect of Christian Science in their lives.

In thinking of what I should say in this lecture, I was led to look back over my own life which has been shaped by the study and application of Christian Science since my college days.

It was then that I first came in contact with this religion and learned of the word "Principle" as a synonym for God. The understanding of this term for Deity changed the course of my life. It profoundly affected my religious beliefs, for my concept of Deity had been of a personal God. As a child I was led to look for God's approval of my good behavior, and to fear His disapproval of my bad behavior; much in the way that I sought approval or feared the disapproval of my parents.

I learned from the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, of God as divine Principle, knowing no more of error than the principle of mathematics knows of mathematical mistakes, and able, impersonally, to correct the erroneous beliefs of sickness and sin, as the mistakes of mathematics are corrected by the principle of mathematics. I purchased this book through the College Bookstore, not realizing that there was a Christian Science Reading Room where I could buy this precious volume and the other writings of Mrs. Eddy which were of such interest and value to me later on.

 

Doctrine of Predestination Rejected

The discovery of Christian Science came about through Mrs. Eddy's healing when she was supposedly facing death from an accident. Turning to her Bible for comfort in her extremity, she read of Jesus' healing of the palsied man in the ninth chapter of Matthew (verses 2 to 8). In this healing she perceived the operation of the divine Principle which she was later to reveal to humanity as the source of all true law.

In Mrs. Eddy's day, one of the effects of the advance of material science was to undermine religion. This produced the period of the agnostics whose overthrow of religious concepts in the name of law led to the denial of God. Mrs. Eddy saw that all true law is vested in the supreme intelligence that governed Jesus' life, and that this divine intelligence is the only reality of existence. Thus she could state in Science and Health (p. 468): "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all."

What was it that led Mrs. Eddy to the conviction that God is All, when the reasonings of the agnostics led them to the conclusion that God did not exist? The stirrings of disbelief in the religious concepts of her day are evidenced in her history as a child. In her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," she tells of her rebellion at the doctrine of predestination, saying (p. 13) that she was unwilling to be saved, if her brothers and sisters were to be numbered among those who were doomed to perpetual banishment from God.

Mrs. Eddy's rebellion was not like that of the agnostics, on the basis of reason from the premise of sense perception. Her rejection of the theology of her day was impelled by unselfed love. At the age of twelve she did not want to be saved if her brothers and sisters were doomed to be banished from God.

Now, as in the time of the discovery of Christian Science, the advance of material science is stirring human thought to find the true theology taught and practiced by Christ Jesus. The farther the physicists penetrate outer space, the greater the dominion achieved on the basis of their accomplishments, the more urgent becomes the need of mankind to find that divine Love is the only motivating force - that God is Love, and God is All.

We read in Science and Health (p. 275): "The starting point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, - that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle." Let us examine the syllogism stated by Mrs. Eddy in the words, "God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle," in order that we may see the light that Christian Science sheds upon the nature of Deity, through the understanding of God as Principle.

 

Jesus Conformed to Law of Being

Comparing the word as it is used in mathematics with its use in Christian Science, we see that though it connotes the undeviating nature of law, there is an element of will included in the term when it is applied to Deity which does not inhere in the principle of mathematics. There is no motivating power in the principle of mathematics. It is a static principle.

The divine Principle is an active Principle. It is Life, and Truth, and Love, Spirit, Soul and Mind. These synonymous terms combine as one, as they are understood in Christian Science (see The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 225).

True, we learn that under Principle there are laws and rules that we must obey. But they are laws of Love. The Ten Commandments are laws of Love. They guide us in the expression of Love. The rules laid down in our textbook are laws of Love. They make practical the Science of Love.

Mrs. Eddy tells us in Science and Health (p. 283): "Principle is absolute. It admits of no error, but rests upon understanding.'' The absoluteness of Principle is the most loving thing about it. What could be more kind, more tenderly considerate of our welfare than not to permit us to err? And it rests upon understanding - God's understanding of His infinite perfection, and of man's ability to express this perfection. We learn in Christian Science that it is the will of God that we express God's perfection.

The understanding of God as Principle is a stabilizing influence in one's experience. One's life takes on new meaning, as one understands its Principle to be Love.

Many a family relationship has been saved from discord and disruption through the teaching of Christian Science that "God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle" (ibid., p. 275). It is not only a stabilizing element in the marriage relationship, but it is also of great assistance in the relationships of parents with their children. Often a child who has rebelled against parental authority has been healed in Christian Science through being shown that true obedience is obedience to Principle, and that this Principle is Love. As parent and child bring their thought into harmony with divine Principle, friction is eliminated, and freedom attained for everyone concerned.

The Christian Science Sunday School is a stabilizing influence in the lives of the young people who attend it. Learning, as they do in their formative years, of God as divine Principle, the Sunday School pupils come to know and trust God. They develop patience, and the love of law and of kindness. Out of all this grows a sense of balance which makes them able to keep their footing when they go out into the world. When they have reached the required age, church membership offers them another avenue for experiencing the stabilizing and protecting influence of Christian Science. It also offers opportunities for  service through which to express the idealism which characterizes most young people.

Christian Science presents an attainable idealism because it teaches its followers that the truth which was manifested in Christ Jesus' life is the truth about all men, and therefore can be demonstrated as the truth about themselves. Jesus referred to God as "my Father and your Father" (John 20;17), showing the universal nature of  the Christ or Truth which he expressed.

The distinction between the Christ which saves, and the human demonstrator of Christ,   Truth, lovingly known as the "Saviour," is clearly set forth in Science and Health. The Master's title of "Christ Jesus" is shown to be a recognition of his conformity to the law of spiritual being which embraces every individual of God's creating.

As we reach out to God in prayer, we receive the revelation of true selfhood, which was exemplified for us by the Master, and this vision of man's true self serves to stabilize and strengthen us as we go forward in our human lives. The light which Christian Science throws upon the subject of prayer is one of its greatest contributions to humanity. Upon Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the possibilities of prayer, her system of spiritual healing is based.

One of the world's greatest physical scientists, the late Dr. Charles Steinmetz, was once asked what line of research would see the greatest ultimate development. He replied:

"The greatest discoveries will be made along spiritual lines. Some day people will learn that material things do not bring happiness, and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories to the study of God, and prayer. When that day comes, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has in the last four." (From the Pacific Woodman, issue of August, 1959, p. 9.)

The aim of material science is man's control over matter, but this science conceives of man as made up of the same material elements which he is seeking to control. Belief in the reality and power of matter has developed hand in hand with the belief of the despotic nature of this mortal man, until we are confronted today by a world system which claims the ability to take possession of the human race through the use of nuclear power.

 

Healing Shows Divine Control

But over against this claim we have, in Christian Science, a system of thought which over a period of nearly a century has been exhibiting proof of the superiority of spiritual over physical power. In The Christian Science Journal published monthly, and the Christian Science Sentinel published weekly, are testimonies of spiritual healing, some of which parallel those recorded in the Bible.

These healings comprise one of the most important bodies of fact before the world today. Evidence of spiritual power and law is contained therein and made available thereby for the solution of the problems which face the human race in the present era of released physical and mental power.

Christian Science, which brings forth this evidence, reduces matter to its common denominator, mortal mind, and shows mankind how to control it through cultivating the qualities of God which gave Jesus his ascendancy over matter.

The Discoverer and Founder of this Science writes in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 199): "We learn somewhat of the qualities of the divine Mind through the human Jesus. The power of his transcendent goodness is manifest in the control it gave him over the qualities opposed to Spirit which mortals name matter." She continues, "The marvelous healing-power of goodness is the outflowing life of Christianity, and it characterized and dated the Christian era."

The marvelous healing power of goodness characterizes the practice of Christian Science healing.

The importance of spiritual healing as practiced in Christian Science lies not only in the fact that it alleviates suffering and cures disease, but especially because its results are attained through its regenerative effect upon the human consciousness. This does not mean that cures are brought about only through the healing of sin. Human lives are warped not only by the grosser errors characterized as sinful, but also through ignorance of God, and through fear.

When one understands God to be an undeviating divine Principle which is Love, and that this Love is instantly available through prayer, one is at a point of receptivity which is necessary in order to receive the answer to one's prayers. In Christian Science, prayer may be no more than a deep and heartfelt yearning for a better and purer life. That such prayer is answered we have abundant proof.

When this regenerative process has been set in motion one advances to the point where one is ready to take issue with the errors of human life, and engage in the prayer of affirmation and denial which is employed in the practice of Christian Science.

 

Time for Joyous Affirmation

Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 15): "In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness." The joyous affirmation of God's allness occupies a large portion of the Christian Scientist's day. Words may not be needed to voice this affirmation, although as the basis for one's own declarations, they may be found in abundant measure in the Bible and in the writings of Mrs. Eddy. They are also to be found in the hymns which have been gathered together in the Christian Science Hymnal from the songs of worship of many countries and adapted to the revelation of Christian Science.

I know a young woman who was roused by the words of one of our hymns to claim her freedom when on the verge of unconsciousness from a virulent attack of influenza. She had been left alone in her apartment, and was finding it difficult to breathe. She tried to reach for the telephone to call the practitioner who was working for her, but could not raise her hand from the bed. As she was about to lose consciousness, the words from one of the hymns in our Hymnal (No. 284) came clearly to her thought,

 

"Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,

The Christian's native air:

His watchword, overcoming death:

He enters heaven with prayer."

 

A wave of joy swept over her with a sudden upsurge of strength. As Mrs. Eddy writes of her own healing (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 169), "The uplifting of spirit was the upbuilding of the body." This young woman was able to return to business the next day, with no trace of depletion from her illness and with deep gratitude for this proof of God's allness.

Besides numerous accounts of the healing of disease, the Bible contains many instances of prayer which brought deliverance in times of national emergency or public disaster.

In my own experience, there have been convincing proofs of the efficacy of prayer as it is understood in Christian Science.

I should like to share with you an experience which my husband and I had one summer while camping in the California mountains. We found ourselves confronted with a forest fire which threatened extensive devastation. We worked mentally very earnestly for a day and a half, but the fire continued to grow in intensity. As we prayerfully sought higher guidance, it came to my husband that he must offer his services to the ranger in charge of the fire crew. I volunteered the use of our car and my services in driving it, and together we were sent out at twilight to drive a car full of young boys to a section to be protected for the night.

 

A Fire 'That Just Stopped Burning'

As we drove along the mountain road, through country apparently secure from the conflagration, suddenly there appeared simultaneously at a dozen spots quick bursts of smoke. These were followed almost instantly by tongues of flame, and soon the whole hillside was ablaze. Instantly the metaphysical diagnosis of the situation came to our thought. The seemingly destructive physical forces were reduced to their proper classification in mortal mind, and the claim that this false mind with its bestiality and hate, its passion and fear could usurp the divine Mind's government of the universe, was seen to be an utter impossibility.

Although the warden had that evening predicted that it would take several days to get the fire in hand and reserve forces were being called in, by the next morning it had died down as though it had been quenched by invisible floods. As one man said of the section his crew had been holding, "It just stopped burning."

Just so, the fires of hate, and greed, and fear, wherever they are aflame in the thoughts of men and nations, must eventually be quenched by the flood-tides of Truth and Love, before which all error will forever lose its semblance of reality.

Today, in facing a world problem in which the claims of evil are both subtle and persistent, Christian Scientists are finding themselves strengthened and encouraged by their individual demonstrations of the power of Truth and Love. Like David, they can say (I Samuel 17:37); "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." They are learning to be more diligent in their use of the arguments of Truth and they will continue to employ them in the unflagging patience of reflected Love. They know that they can trustingly rest their work on what is unfolded to them through their communion with the one Mind, as they seek through the avenues of Christian Science the revelation of the truth that is applicable to the special need of each day.

Prayer for the world is a special joy and privilege of the Christian Scientist, as well as a duty placed upon him in the Church Manuel (Article VIII, Section 4). Today, mankind needs the prayers of the people of every nation in order to counteract the threat which the discovery of nuclear power has launched in the world. The moral and spiritual force which inheres in the aspirations of the people of the world is needed to put down the upsurge of materialism which has characterized the twentieth century.

 

Christian Science Re-Forms Thinking

As long ago as the end of last century our Leader discerned this tendency. Let me read what she writes about it in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 237):

"This period is not essentially one of conscience: few feel and live now as when this nation began, and our forefathers' prayers blended with the murmuring winds of their forest home. This is a period of doubt, inquiry, speculation, selfishness; of divided interests, marvellous good, and mysterious evil. But sin can only work out its own destruction; and reform does and must push on the growth of mankind."

Christian Science is the great reformer of the thinking of mankind. It brings the stabilizing influence of the Principle which is Love into the thinking of its adherents. The presence of love in the affairs of men and nations is the great need of the world today.

Leading religionists, statesmen, and educators agree that the most important issue before humanity is the maintenance of peace by the nations of the world. It is also agreed that the recipe for peace on earth lies in the good will towards men which is the basis of Christ Jesus' interpretation of the First Commandment. This good will needs to be cultivated at every level of human society in order to impel and empower governmental action in the countries whose governments are subject to the will of the people.

Our international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, which is widely read in many parts of the free world, is dedicated to the promotion of the good will towards men that will bring about peace on earth - the peace the Master said he "left" with his followers. As recorded by John, he said (14:27): "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you."

In the Manual of The Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy has provided directives for her followers, which place them in a position to fulfill the commandments of Jesus, which will bring about peace on earth.

In Article VIII of the Manual we are given "A Rule for Motives and Acts" (see Article VIII, Section 1). This Article is entitled "Discipline" and the rules therein show us how to discipline our thinking, feeling, and acting to bring them in line with the teaching of Jesus. As we do so, we experience the peace of individual salvation - the peace which the Master demonstrated as the goal of every human life. We do not have to achieve the ascension to experience this peace. It can be ours right here on earth as we live according to Jesus' commandments, loving God and loving our neighbor.

 

At-one-ment With God Is Supply

An area of human thinking in which there is great need of the stabilizing influence of Christian Science is that which has to do with the concept of supply. Economists agree that if the threat of war could be lifted from mankind, and the inventive genius of the world be put to the uses of peace, there would be abundant provision for all parts of the globe.

To the Christian Scientist, the meeting of his daily needs is a joyous opportunity to experience, more of his at-one-ment with God. This he does as he cultivates the qualities of God. The moral and spiritual power which inheres in the expression of these qualities was illustrated in the life of Jesus, who could invoke the presence of supply, whether it entailed the feeding of multitudes, the finding of money in the fish's mouth, or the turning of water into wine. The love-impelled life of Christ Jesus gave the example for the meeting of the needs of mankind.

As we see God as the source of all good, forever imparting good to His creation, what we seem to need is manifested in our experience, sometimes to an extent which is far beyond our highest expectations.

A young man of my acquaintance who was trying to live what he understood of Christian Science in his business as well as in his family relationships, was led to point out to his employer the possibility of coordinating the work in the department in which he was employed, and this coordination resulted in the loss of his job. It was seen that the position which he held was the one which could be eliminated in the suggested reorganization.

Talking the situation over with a Christian Science practitioner, he was shown that no loss could occur through his unselfed and principled action. This young man had a wife and two small children. He had lost time from business through service in the Army and had been unable to accumulate much of a reserve fund upon which to draw.

He was shown by the practitioner that his spiritual selfhood was his capital, for the spiritual self reflects God, the source of infinite supply. Holding to this truth, and going about the task of finding new employment without fear or a sense of injustice, this young man attracted the attention of his employer who suggested that he continue to serve his company until he found another position.

However, no new position was available, and the time arrived when the young man felt that he should no longer take advantage of this offer. At this point his employer called him in one day, and asked if he had ever thought of going into business for himself. This had been the young man's ambition, but he had seen no way of attaining it.

 

Christ Calls Across Centuries

His employer told him that he had been looking for an opportunity to invest, and suggested that the young man find a business in which he would like to engage, and told him that the necessary capital would be available. While steps were being taken to find such a business, an adjustment came about in a firm in which the young man had formerly been employed. He was able to take his place in this firm without the proffered aid, and in demonstration of the fact that his spiritual qualities, which had stood in the face of recession and financial reverses, constituted his true worth.

Both Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy demonstrated true capital in their love-motivated lives. The Master fed the multitudes. The bread of Truth which Mrs. Eddy has broken for mankind is a bread that is transforming and regenerating humanity.

A love-motivated world economy can be achieved only by a human society whose members are governed by Divine Principle, Love. Today the world seems far from the achievement of such a society. Yet above the clamor of rivalry and hate, above the grasping for place and power, the vaunting of sensualism, and the threats of war, can be heard the call of the Christ growing ever more insistent as the aggressiveness of evil mounts on earth.

Throughout the centuries there have been those who have heard the call of the Christ, and translated it for the people of their time. In Bible history the nature of God as Love was defined by Abraham, whose prayers for those who were caught in the corrupt city of Sodom brought about the deliverance of the ones who were ready to come away from the city.

In the time of Abraham, God was believed to be a God of wrath and vengeance. The righteous were thought to suffer with the wicked when the wrath of God was aroused.   But Abraham glimpsed the love of God which is expressed as a divine influence in the human consciousness. This divine Love has the power to counteract evil and bring about the reform which, as we have quoted from "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 237), "does and must push on the growth of mankind." The Bible story of the escape of Lot and his wife from the destruction of Sodom is of special interest to us as we look out upon the world today. (See Genesis 18:20-33; 19:1-3, 12-16, 29.)

Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 96): "This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace." She continues, "During this final conflict, wicked minds will endeavor to find means by which to accomplish more evil; but those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check. They will aid in the ejection of error. They will maintain law and order, and cheerfully await the certainty of ultimate perfection."

Mrs. Eddy has brought to the world the purifying concept of the motherhood of God. Through her revelation we are led to see all mankind as members of a common family, bound by ties of love to one great Father-Mother God. The Church of Christ, Scientist, is designed to spread this concept to the farthest corners of the globe. Its members in branch churches, wherever they are located, are missionaries carrying this message of love to mankind.

As we see how everything in modern life has been speeded up through the inventions of physical science, may we not expect a speeding up of the regenerative process which will produce a world society capable of living in international amity, and cultivating the ways of peace?

We learn in Christian Science that "time" is not a factor in spiritual healing. In this Science, the thought of "time" is replaced by "eternity."

Mrs. Eddy's definition of "year" in the Glossary of Science and Health, gives us the measure of time and of eternity according to the calculus of Christian Science. It reads (p. 598): "Year. A solar measurement of time; mortality; space for repentance." She further states, "One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity."

Jesus had just thirty-three years on earth. Within the framework of this solar measurement of time he gave a complete demonstration of the capacity of the human consciousness to rise above the limitations of mortality. Through the practice of Christian Science the limitations of mortality are being lifted for thousands of people throughout the world today. Every Christian Science healing is a proof, to some measure, of man's freedom as the child of God.

Many years ago when my husband and I were engaged in the practice of Christian Science in a small town in California, I was asked one day to work for the children of a Scotch gardener. There was a little girl, who was very ill with a congestive cold, and a boy who was subject to tantrums of ungovernable temper. The gardener's wife had passed on and the children, as he put it, "had no mother."

 

Time Is Not a Factor in Healing

It was proved that time is not a factor in a Christian Science healing when in less than half an hour, the father phoned to say that the little girl was sleeping quietly and breathing freely and the little boy was playing happily on the floor beside her bed. The realization of the continuous presence and power of God's love had brought about an instantaneous healing. These healings are a frequent occurrence in the practice of Christian Science.

The world needs today, more than ever before, the demonstration of God's love. We can realize the love of God for the whole world, as quickly as it was done for these children, and can include all mankind in its application. No "iron curtain" drawn around a nation can keep His love from getting through, and no "cold war" can keep its warmth from being felt.

Think what it would mean if just this group assembled here today were to dedicate themselves to the task of realizing the universal love of God for the people of the world, during the year that is before us! It would mean heaven on earth for every moment that we were doing it, and a foretaste of eternity for each one! Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, as I have already quoted (p. 598): "One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity."

 

[The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 23, 1963, under the headline "Spiritual Balance Brings Stability Into Human Affairs".]

 

 

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