Christian Science: The Science of Changeless Being
Emma-Louise Garrett, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
The Acme of Scientific Research
Humanity's deepest need is for a scientific understanding and application of deific power to its problems. This deeply realized need has prepared the thought of mankind to accept the scientific sense of life as revealed in Christian Science and thus to tread in the footsteps of the Master, Christ Jesus.
Although our great Master explored the way for us and blazed out new paths, it remained for Mary Baker Eddy to discover the Science of Truth. Her discovery, as set forth in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," makes available to the world a scientific method which is general and wide enough to be applied to every field and phase of human experience. Though this truth has been discovered and determined unmistakably for all time, the demonstrable understanding which Jesus demanded and predicted in the words, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), is a goal which each must win for himself.
A Christian Scientist is engaged in the great work of demonstrating the truth and the Science which are so necessary to the salvation of the world. The scientific method by which this is attained constitutes research, a search directed to the discernment of Truth. Mary Baker Eddy, the world's most daring and intrepid research worker since Christ Jesus, has given us a coherent report of her researches, of which both the process and the results appear in her authorized published writings. Herein we find that the result of this research was discovery, which is the understanding of everything from the standpoint of one indivisible, all-inclusive perfection - the divine Mind and its reflection, man and the universe.
If the students, then, of the Science of Christianity are to become working Christian Scientists - not hearers but doers of the word - they must acquire a knowledge of the scientific process as taught in Christian Science. For truly, my friends, in the words of Mrs. Eddy, "The ultimate of scientific research and attainment in divine Science is not an argument; it is not merely saying, but doing, the Word - demonstrating Truth . . ." (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 116).
The greatest values in research do
not come to one who is ruled by pride or mad ambition. Research requires that
humility of spirit which actuated the great Teacher, Christ Jesus. He proved
for all time that the fundamentals of the scientific process are neither difficult, complicated, nor mysterious, but simple and
readily understood by children. Did he not call a little child unto him,
"set him in the midst of them," and say, "Whosoever . . . shall
humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of
heaven" (Matt. 18:2, 4), and, "Whosoever shall not receive the
In our own age we are privileged in the degree of worthiness and spirituality to participate in the wondrous triumphs of a type of humility unique in the annals of history. This was well defined in the lifework of Mrs. Eddy. She herself has said, "Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany p. 120).
Mrs. Eddy endeavored to have us understand Truth as she understood it. Her life and work proved that only through humility do we acquire the spiritual understanding of the promises of the Bible, and that only humility can usher in the dawn of the Science that reveals the spiritual facts of Life. She ever guides the human mind far from self to the Mind eternal, where we individually can find Christian Science for ourselves. The harp strings of the mind would have been untruly touched if her own glory was all that they recorded. Jesus said, "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John ).
In her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 4) the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science says, "All Science is Christian Science, the Science of the Mind that is God, and of the universe as His idea, and their relation to each other." Christian Science relates especially to Science as applied to humanity. The human experience is where it needs to operate. It is eminently a practical Science, and therefore it is necessary for those who practice it to act and think scientifically.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science wrote in her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 369), "Metaphysics, not physics, enables us to stand erect on sublime heights, surveying the immeasurable universe of Mind, peering into the cause which governs all effects, while we are strong in the unity of God and man." It has taken the world more than three quarters of a century to glimpse the truth of these profound words.
Not long ago the brilliant young president of one of the large universities in this country championed the thesis that metaphysics is the most important subject for all students entering upon a college or university education and urged that it be made a required basic freshman subject and that the rest of the curriculum be radically changed to conform to the new basis. His is a voice crying in the wilderness, heralding that new day which Mrs. Eddy proclaimed almost a century ago - the day when physics will have yielded to metaphysics and divine Mind's dominion is seen and acknowledged.
The greatest contribution to the history of human culture is Mrs. Eddy's solution of the problem of causation.
The existence of an infinitely good causation and power and an infinitely bad causation and power is obviously untenable. Spirit and matter cannot both be primarily causative. Such dualism is scientifically inconceivable. The attempt of materialism to locate causation in matter fails to solve the riddle of the centuries. Yet the explanation has existed all the time, in the pages of the Bible, for those with eyes to see. The true concept as indicated in the Bible cannot be more clearly expressed than has been done by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 170), "Spiritual causation is the one question to be considered, for more than all others spiritual causation relates to human progress."
Through her search of the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy gained the scientific certainty that there is an indestructible relationship between the phenomena of the universe and the noumenon which caused them to exist. That which asserts this invariable relationship may be termed a law of correlation. The existence of one correlate implies directly that of another. One without the other is impossible. In other words, there could be no being or existence without God, the cause, and man, the effect; they must exist simultaneously.
Neither God nor man could be without the other. The exclusion of one would mean the inevitable exclusion of the other. Therefore God, the only cause, never could have existed first, even in point of time. Consequently, cause - the entire cause or causation, if you will - is the aggregate of creator and creation.
Cause is always underived, primary, and in that sense cause is the greater - God greater than man. Did not Jesus refer to this when he said, "My Father is greater than I" (John ), at the same time realizing the oneness of being when he said, "I and my Father are one" (John )? Mind includes noumenon and phenomenon because Mind must include within itself that which it implies, namely, idea. Thus Mind is its own great cause and effect.
Instinctively the human race has sought to penetrate the so-called mystery of this relationship; and through Mrs. Eddy's scientific research it has been made possible in this age for humankind truly to understand God, "whom to know aright is Life eternal" (Science and Health, Pref., p. vii). A knowledge of Christian Science enables us to enter this realm or kingdom of spiritually mental relationship. Herein lie all the phases of activity called revelation, inspiration, discovery - in other words, all Science. Moreover, herein lie the ability and power to subdue material conditions.
This intelligent relationship of God and man, including the real selfhood of each one of us, appears through the understanding of divine Mind in the infinite purity of its unfolding - the Mind which is forever unfolding within the limitlessness of its own omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. This primal power is conscious only of its own ideas, which evidence its indivisibility and completeness. In other words, Mind is forever knowing the purity of its own Being, forever being wholly itself - being its own self-sufficiency, its own government, its own law, its own power.
Law and power - the substance of government - are correlated terms. The existence of law implies directly that of power. One without the other is impossible. Law and power are indivisible. Through this fixed law and power Christian Science healing becomes operative. The availability and effectiveness of law are made manifest in its power over sin, sickness, and death. Thus it is that Mind governs, sustains, and prospers its own idea.
Mind's idea is the evidence of Mind. Idea is not the witness of idea. Effect has no effect - cause only can have effect. Without cause there is no effect. Without Mind there is no idea, no expression. Idea must identify its Principle, since idea is the only proof this Principle has of being or functioning. Mind without its reflection would not be aware of itself. It would be without manifestation or being - hence, no Mind.
So in Science we start our reasoning from cause, not from effect. In other words, we deal primarily with cause. In this way we give up mortality and demonstrate the oneness of Mind and idea.
Throughout all ages humankind has endeavored to find a solution to its problems through what it has termed prayer. But many conscientious persons have turned from mere petitionary prayer as an emotional will-o'-the-wisp. In Christian Science, prayer is the spiritual understanding or scientific thinking based upon a fixed and eternal Principle, entirely apart from conjecture - an understanding that is the very presence, the very activity, of God, Mind. This understanding can come to us only as it came to Mrs. Eddy - a discovery through scientific prayer. Her discovery is ours only as we make it ours.
We cannot understand Christian Science for another any more than we can understand mathematics for another. Since prayer awaken thought to the realities that are, it is the rock upon which every Christian Scientist must build his structure. All must therefore grow into the spiritual understanding of prayer. Prayer that merely asks for an answer - as a petition - may have its own peculiar value, but it has no power to reveal facts. The guiding impulse of such prayer is mere faith, belief, or emotion, which ultimates in a so-called religion.
Truth cannot be guessed or conjectured; for the guiding impulse of speculation is doubt, which finds its highest expression in human philosophy. One who guesses at an answer is placing his confidence in something other than Truth; whereas, the scientific method of procedure finds its highest expression in Science, in Truth itself, and its guiding impulse is none other than its own inherent truthfulness. Truth is its own impulsion. It is absolute, and any attempt to take a midway position in acknowledging the facts of reality results in failure. The scientific procedure results in demonstration, which is the most exalted form of prayer and the ultimate of scientific research.
The word demonstration should be better understood. Its highest meaning is none too high to be applicable to Science. In its fundamental signification it is not bringing to pass something which we desire, although something which we desire may come to pass through demonstration. Herein we see the difference between the actual meaning of the word and that often attached to it.
The truth of being, understood and utilized in Christian Science, appears humanly as the filling of the human need; in reality, it is the action of Truth dispelling false belief with the revelation or manifestation of that which divinely is. In other words, it is our spiritual self appearing. This self, though apprehended humanly in a form tangible to the physical senses, is wholly spiritual. Its appearing is demonstration, and demonstration is divine.
Demonstration is always Truth itself consciously individualized; and if not so understood, Christian healing will again be lost. Demonstration is the evidence of God's allness. It is therefore spiritual, not material. Its unerring impetus is not person but Principle.
Demonstration does not relate primarily to visible things, nor even to that which in customary phraseology we call improved beliefs or conditions. We cannot demonstrate anything that does not exist as a fact. A material sense of health and happiness, all normal things that seem desirable, when appearing as the result of Christian Science work, are not the actual demonstration, but they are essentially incidental thereto.
In Science we do not demonstrate material things. Any attempt on our part to do so clouds our understanding and, instead of aiding, retards the success of our work in Science. We can only demonstrate infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation. There is nothing else to demonstrate. Whether the human need appears to be health, wealth, or happiness, these are already at hand, and they are ours.
The actual demonstration is that of oneness with infinity. When the word demonstration is associated with material things, the spiritual facts are obscured rather than sustained. The facts of eternal Being are not humanly visible, but they are natural to reality, and they are apprehensible and provable. Science is so vast and so inexorably one with infinite Mind, divine Principle, that it is obscured by anything that tends to materialize it.
Mind demonstrates itself, and this demonstration is the eternal operation of divine Principle.
The Science of Christianity makes arresting appeal to man's inherent recognition that there is a great First Cause, and that man has a relationship thereto which is necessarily sacred and divine. The inherent capacity to understand God and man's relationship to Him is the heritage of every individual, without exception. The blessings which flow from this spiritual understanding are priceless, changeless, and inexhaustible.
Uncounted thousands who have turned to Christian Science find both organic and functional disease as well as other difficulties disappearing from their experience. There is no mystery about this. Through this spiritually scientific method of thinking - in other words, intelligent, effectual prayer - they have learned to tap the great reservoir of good, the very essence of their being.
Spiritual understanding is the substance of this prayer. It is the great need of the hour. It is the primal, practical, and ultimate factor necessary in order to deal successfully with those suggestions which seem to project themselves as domestic inharmony, business complexities, wars, and the forecasting of war among nations. It was from his abiding consciousness of God's allness, oneness, that the Master commanded every situation.
Throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and throughout Mrs. Eddy's writings we find the all-pervading theme of the allness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil - in short, "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation" (Science and Health, p. 468). In "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 357) we read, " 'There is no matter' is not only the axiom of true Christian Science, but it is the only basis upon which this Science can be demonstrated." God's allness being axiomatic, it is an essential prerequisite for all clear, correct thinking. No other basis for a rational approach can or ever will be found - for the very good reason that there can be no antecedent to original cause.
Let us digress for a moment to look at the word heal. To heal according to Webster, means to restore to original purity and integrity. The oneness of God and man, cause and effect, bases man's purity and integrity. Wholeness means nothing lacking or wanting in integrity or purity. Therefore there never was an instant when God was without His entire or complete manifestation or when there was no complete and full reflection.
Jesus saw man's inviolate spiritual innocence and truthfulness. This correct view unveiled man's original purity and integrity where, for instance, to spiritual ignorance ten lepers or a withered hand appeared. In his command, "Stretch forth thy hand" (Luke ), Jesus was saying in substance, "Employ your native capacity." Obviously, Jesus did not unwither a matter hand. But he did see man's purity and integrity so clearly that the misconception was swept away. Humanly interpreted, this awakening is physical healing.
Demonstrations of restoration to man's original status occurring today through Christian Science are not unlike those recorded in the Scriptures. Many natural scientists are now admitting that thought is fundamental; and nearly all express it in the words, "consciousness is fundamental." But the consciousness which is really fundamental is not that which material scientists refer to. It is not human but divine, yet it is actually our consciousness. It is our native and real being. By claiming it, the human consciousness is step by step redeemed. This signifies not only that a human being is becoming a better human being, but, properly understood, it means that the finite or material is being displaced by the infinite or spiritual. Redemption, therefore, is not mortal mind becoming better; it is not a really sick or sinful man being remade; it is Truth appearing and error disappearing.
Christian Science practice, then is expressed in the words Truth appearing and error disappearing. The seeming realm of error is the lie called mortal mind. If we handle error objectively, we can hardly avoid making something of matter; whereas true Christian Science practice, as no doubt most of you very well know, deals not with matter but with beliefs exclusively.
It is the human being that is to be healed. The so-called human consciousness undergoes redemption. Neither God nor the real man needs to be redeemed or saved or healed. The understanding of God supplanting a blind belief in God begins its healing and redemptive work by enlightening human consciousness, but the enlightenment from the very outset is not human but divine.
As an illustration of this, the experience of a young woman who had been blind for more than three years may be of interest. Through a friend she heard of a practitioner whom she later called. At the time she telephoned, the practitioner was reading on page 174 of "Miscellaneous Writings," included in Mrs. Eddy's Prose Works. The practitioner continued to read to this one starting with line 10, which reads, "Let us open our affections to the Principle that moves all in harmony, - from the falling of a sparrow to the rolling of a world."
The practitioner said: "Then Mrs. Eddy goes on with this query - she is asking herself just as you must ask yourself - 'What is the kingdom of heaven?' And she gives this answer, 'The abode of Spirit, the realm of the real. No matter is there, no night is there - nothing that maketh or worketh a lie.'
"Then she asks herself again, 'Is this kingdom afar off? No: it is ever-present here.' " Continuing on in "Unity of Good" (p. 37) the practitioner read: "Our Master said, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Then God and heaven, or Life, are present, and death is not the real stepping-stone to Life and happiness. They are now and here; and a change in human consciousness, from sin to holiness, would reveal this wonder of being. Because God is ever present, no boundary of time can separate us from Him and the heaven of His presence; and because God is Life, all Life is eternal."
The practitioner then heard these words coming over the telephone: "They are now and here; and a change in human consciousness . . . would reveal this wonder of being." From that time on the young woman's consciousness seemed to go through a renewing and regenerating process conforming to and keeping pace with true consciousness, which she knew to be God. Gratefully she recalled Mrs. Eddy's words (Science and Health, p. 425), "Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in matter has been conquered." The intelligent declaration of the spiritual facts of being so clarified her vision that a limited or perverted aspect of being faded away and her eyes resumed their normal and unclouded condition. Through this experience it became clear that what appears as the healing of the body is in reality the redemption, or the transformation, if you will, of consciousness.
Christian Science is the redeemer of consciousness. What consciousness? Clearly the answer is human consciousness. Healing, then, has to do with, but is not attributable to, human consciousness. Everything which tends to save or redeem has its origin in divine Mind. It could not be and is not associated with so-called human thinking. The spiritual, idea, or Christ, which emanates from God, comes to the consciousness of mankind with its message of deliverance from all that is ungodlike. Its inherent power to deliver from all the evils of materiality lies in its demonstrable truthfulness, its intrinsic freedom. The spiritual idea of Life and man has never been incarnate in, and so does not need to be redeemed from, the flesh. Human consciousness, however, must be redeemed from the mysticism of materiality, and its redeemer is the Christ-Science. Is it not clear, then, my friends, that Mind is ever conscious of its supremacy, expressing itself in infinite variety and freshness, ever maintaining the foreverness of Being?
Mind cannot and does not go outside itself for the acquiring of that which it needs to fulfill its purpose. It holds within itself the infinite resources of being and the power of manifesting them. Man, one with Mind, is forever unfolding within Mind the limitless possibilities of Mind. Thus Christian Science establishes man's native integrity and purity - the true individuality of each one of us. Man is God's concept of Himself, and this concept abides in conscious perfection. Man's oneness with God constitutes his heritage, a oneness which can never be severed. Would we but awaken to this mighty truth and identify our true selfhood, we would see that in all the realm of good there is no need of healing. For such awakening brings whatever healing appears to human sense to be needed.
The Miracle of Perfect Friendship
It is through scientific prayer that every phase of human life is purified and uplifted. In the shifting drama of world events, who has not yearned for a changeless standard for one of mankind's most prized experiences - a true and abiding friendship, not only between individuals but among nations?
Would friendships wither and die if it were more clearly understood that true friendship is based on divine Principle, Love, and is not a product of mere personal attachment? Such friendship is the result of a certain operative divine law. Mrs. Eddy classifies friendship among miracles. It is divinely natural, but it must be learned humanly.
If our thought reflects the unerring activity of divine Principle, our friends are neither self-elected, self-appointed, nor personally chosen, but come to us through the direct operation of the divine law of spiritual community and association, through the order of Spirit's law of like's attraction of like. As individual natures perceive God's ideas, they find in their mutual love for these ideas their unity and love for each other. True friendship, then, is not humanly evolved or acquired, but is a matter of unfoldment. It must therefore be progressive, expanding as we more and more fully express divine ideas.
As our thoughts assume a purer
outlook and we recognize life as spiritual, we enjoy deeper and closer
friendships. No mortal sense can know the experience of the higher friendships
which are formed through communion with God. Such enduring friendships are the
blessings added to us through seeking first the
Turning to God in scientific prayer, we envision loving-kindness and understanding—the basis of true friendship - which recognizes no youth or age, no nationality or social status, no heredity or environment, no time or circumstance. These friendships declare the eternal relationship of Mind's ideas and are therefore the evidence of wholeness and oneness which Love is forever demanding.
The Science of Christianity is the redeemer of consciousness, and we take part in this process because we are primarily seeking not our friends, not ourselves, not even the real man, but seeking the unfolding of the real God and finding in that unfoldment ourselves. Thus we discover our own, draw them to us, and demonstrate here on earth the miracle of perfect friendship. Is it not clear, then, that to understand another is one of heaven's richest blessings, and to be understood by another is perhaps Love's most satisfying gift?
"Christian Science teaches us to rise from sentimental affection which admires friends and hates enemies, into brotherly love which is just and kind to all and unable to cherish any enmity." So writes Mrs. Eddy in her book "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 41). Today the world's problems and fears may appear economic, political, national, or international. These difficulties are traceable to humanity's misconcept of the inviolate oneness of God and man.
The brotherhood of man actively expresses the one infinite divine Principle, Love, while human relationships are premised upon erroneous personal sense, attempting to break up the perfect harmony of true being. The complications of human relationships will be met with greater success as humanity learns to turn to the major premise of God's allness and oneness, which excludes evil and brings to light the omnipresence and omnipotence of God. Friendly relations between individuals and nations are in direct ratio to the understanding of this changeless oneness of God and man. As the great law of spiritual cause and effect is learned and understood individually, we truly find ourselves and come consciously into scientific relationship with God and with one another. The oneness of God includes the essential oneness of man under the law of brotherhood.
Peace will crown our efforts when the scientific basis of brotherhood is universally acknowledged and lived.
True Education Is Salvation
Occasionally we hear it said that Christian Scientists do not place any value on learning, that they discourage the acquisition of knowledge; but this is a mistake which should not be allowed to mislead any, either within or without our ranks. Mrs. Eddy always encouraged the right cultivation of the mental faculties, all that tends to give a true education; and none knew better than did she that this cannot be gained without persistent effort.
The mental alertness and activity which are needed in the intellectual realm are no less needed in the moral and spiritual. The Christian Scientist knows better than to believe that he can gain all needed knowledge by some occult process, for nowhere in any of Mrs. Eddy's writings is any warrant found for such an opinion. Christian Science diverges widely from all forms of superstition and ever points to law and order, including scientific method.
Orderly mental activity not only makes all work easier, but it brings better results therefrom. It is simply astonishing how much more work and how much better work can be done by the trained thinker than by the untrained, other things being equal. This shows that greater harmony must prevail where right mental activity prevails.
More than half of the discords in the world spring from the belief that work is so hard, when right knowledge would make it easy, to say nothing of the gain in refinement and courtesy which distinguish the scholar and thinker. He who starts with Principle and thinks and works scientifically and diligently has a sure reward in health, harmony, and success.
Christian Scientists are committed to a very great and splendid enterprise. They are called not only to go forth to war against all unrighteousness of thought, all materiality of sense, but to represent to man the true values pertaining to every field and quest of human culture, to prove for all that the one adequate guide in the darkness of this world's doubt and insincerity is the star of divine Truth.
Love is the guiding star of Christian Science, the truth that is Science, itself; and Christian Science is today, by its teachings and practice, its methods and results, showing and illumining the pathway along which lies the knowledge of all scientific truth and which all human endeavor and research must follow and is even now following.
Christian Scientists recognize the transitional journey from human knowledge to divine wisdom. Christian Scientists, on account of their understanding, are privileged to excel in intelligence and in accurate information about legitimate human affairs.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science was not only a profound thinker, but she was versatile and of broad culture. She was the master, not the victim, of human knowledge. She held in balance the values of the intellectual life and the imperative necessity for spiritual thinking and living. She appreciated and loved beauty. There are pages in her prose works which rise to the height of poetry. The Christian Scientist, with spiritual truth unfolding daily, thereby sees a loveliness in nature and has an enjoyment in beauty surpassing what he had before experienced. Every department of human learning save those which create and display fear, sin, disease, and death may be pursued and interpreted to one's profit in spiritual growth.
In the Christian Science textbook we read (p. 95), "We welcome the increase of knowledge and the end of error, because even human invention must have its day, and we want that day to be succeeded by Christian Science, by divine reality." This passage expresses appreciation of all honest human endeavor. And Mrs. Eddy's familiarity with history and literature and her awareness of current events show application of her words just quoted.
Among the many incidental services which Christian Science is bestowing on humanity is this, that it is steadily raising up a great race of exact thinkers. Education in Christian Science is a spiritual revaluation of human life. Its task is to reorient the individual to enable him to take a richer and more significant view of his experience, to place him above and not within the system of his beliefs. Christian Science is the education that enables its possessor to judge what is worth knowing and doing.
True education, not as a process but as a state of pure enlightenment, is in Mind alone and must be demonstrated therefrom. Existing in Mind, it must be governed by God, divine Principle. One steeped in materialism is not truly educated. Education should never be ascribed except to God.
Divine Mind alone unfolds man's activity, and nothing can break the continuity of its steady unfoldment, for nothing exists apart from divine Mind and its ideas. These ideas, one with Mind, are forever unfolding within Mind its endless possibilities. Mind is the irresistible I AM, which ever expresses itself in the perfection and glory of man and the universe.
True education is salvation. The eternal facts of being are made plain to this age through the truly scientific education as revealed in Christian Science. In the words of Mrs. Eddy: "The elements of earth beat in vain against the immortal parapets of this Science. Erect and eternal, it will go on with the ages, go down the dim posterns of time unharmed, and on every battle-field rise higher in the estimation of thinkers and in the hearts of Christians" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 383).
[Published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, March 13, 1952.]