Christian Science: The Religion of Fulfillment (1)
Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B., of Louisville, Kentucky
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
It was an audience which completely filled the commodious Lyceum, which Judge Samuel W. Greene. C.S.B., of Louisville, Ky., a member of the board of lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ Scientist, in Boston, Mass., faced Tuesday night after Mrs. Charles M. Howe had fittingly introduced him, and to which audience he delivered a masterly discourse in full as follows:
A familiar hymn has been paraphrased as follows:
"I love to tell the story of Life and Truth and Love,
It stills the voice of error and turns my thoughts above.
I love to tell the story and prove that it is true.
By healing sin and sickness as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story, 'twill be my theme in glory.
To tell the new-old story of Life and Truth and Love "
Christian Science is indeed the new-old story of Life and Truth and Love. It is the simple, sweet story as it was taught and proved and practised by Jesus of Nazareth nineteen hundred years ago. It embraces just the same thought, that through the understanding of the ever-present love and power of God humanity is healed not only of sin but of all the results of sin, sickness, sorrow, unhappiness, death.
The Discoverer and Founder
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, like many of us, suffered, and found no relief from material means; so she turned to God's word with the hope and desire to be healed of sickness, sorrow, lack and loneliness. As she contemplated this wonderful unfoldment of divine Love and power as they were taught by Jesus of Nazareth, as she read of the healings of sick men and women, there came to her peace, freedom, healing, just as Jesus had promised: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." She realized that what had come to her was not supernatural, not an unnatural development or result, but the perfectly natural result of the operation of God's law. Her great desire after that was to lay hold upon the understanding of this spiritual law that she might be able to help others to gain this freedom which had come to her.
Devoting herself for several years almost exclusively to the study of God's word, there came to her a more perfect vision of the ever-present, omnipotent power of God dwelling among men and available for human need. She discerned, and points out to us in her writings, that always when men have understood God they have been able to accomplish the so-called impossible or unusual things. To verify this, we have only to study the history of Moses. Therein we see that through the right understanding of God, Moses was able not only to heal people through spiritual means but he was able to accomplish other wonderful things. He negotiated the freedom of a nation unlawfully enslaved, without the expenditure of money and without an exhibition of the power of arms. He equipped and maintained this people when newly freed, governed and led them wisely for a long period of years, finding their every supply in the knowledge that from God is all good.
In the lives of Elijah and Elisha we see not only that ability to heal all manner of sickness, to even raise the dead, but that those prophets were consulted frequently by the kings and rulers of their time upon questions of state and government because of their better understanding of God. In the lives of Daniel and his three associates we see through their right understanding of God not only the power to withstand the lions den and the fiery furnace, but that which attracted the attention of a heathen king, causing him to recognize in these men, who were virtually slaves in his kingdom, a power that none of his wise men or advisers possessed.
Jesus the Christ
In Jesus' life Mrs. Eddy saw, as we can see, a fuller and more complete understanding of God and God's power than any other one had possessed. It seemed a perfectly natural thing to the Master that he should speak and disease be healed, devils cast out and the dead raised. He did not claim, however, that it was through any great power of his own. He did not claim that he lived and moved in a so-called miraculous period of the word's history as some so-called orthodox thinkers would have us believe. He said, very simply and modestly: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth. these also doeth the Son likewise." Also he said: "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me", giving us a rule of conduct which if followed will work wonders in our development. If we think, see, and do always the thing that is in accord with the will of the heavenly Father, how splendid will be our work. It will then be a perfectly natural development in our lives to see all these things coming to pass of which Jesus spoke when he said: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also."
Christian Science is bringing to the world the right understanding of God which will enable men and women to see that they have power through this understanding to overcome lack, sorrow, disease, sin, and death.
Mrs. Eddy saw in these statements of the Master: "Before Abraham was, I am", and "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world", a vision of the eternal Christ or Truth, as she speaks of him. Jesus expressed, manifested, reflected more of the Christ than any other one who has ever lived. He was therefore called Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus, and it was through the understanding of this Truth, this God-idea ever-present among men, that he was able to do his wonderful works. Likewise it is in this understanding, through a knowledge of this Truth, that we shall be able to overcome, as Jesus said: "all the power of the enemy," so that nothing shall by any means hurt us.
As this great vision came to Mrs. Eddy she was eager to give it to the world, but she wisely saw that the world would not be ready to listen to a message so different from its accustomed religious teaching until it had proof of its power. Consequently she first taught by healing, inviting those who were afflicted to come and be healed, and her first patients and students were largely the so-called incurables for whom material remedies offered no hope. They were healed by her teaching and practice not only physically but spiritually and mentally, they heard this message gladly, went out and told their friends and brought them to hear the good news. Gradually Mrs. Eddy saw by the results of her own work that the application of this divine Principle was unfailing; that always when it was rightly applied and rightly received there was healing. Then she divined that the world's consciousness was ready generally to hear and to receive this message of Truth, this demonstrable unfoldment of God as omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, as she expresses it in the textbook.
Accordingly she wrote what had been revealed to her and called it "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", commonly known as the Christian Science Text-book, and gave this volume to all mankind. She gave the message generously and freely to all who were willing to accept, that every man might be able with this book, this Key to the Scriptures, to sit down in the quiet of his own home and read and study and find out the truth about God.
One of the wonderful things about the text-book is that you do not have to accept anybody's word for the statement that it does give the correct interpretation of the Bible and the correct unfolding of the truth about God. You can read and study and then put it into practise in your own life, and see whether or not it meets the demand which Jesus made when he said: "A tree is known by its fruits."
This text-book, founded absolutely upon the Bible, has served to tear down for men and women the curtain or veil or mystery, misunderstanding, superstition, and fear that has shut them out from the right concept of God, and has revealed God to be God who is understandable and lovable. This is why men and women are grateful to Mrs. Eddy.
The Mother Church and its Government
When Mrs. Eddy saw the great task facing her of furnishing some avenue through which would flow with authority during the unfolding centuries this revelation of Truth that had come to her inspired vision, that it might go forth to the waiting world with all of its virility and strength unadulterated and uncontaminated, she founded The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. This as she says, was "designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Manual, p. 17). To a sincere thinker however orthodox there is nothing in those foundation-stones of the Christian Science movement which can offend.
Mrs. Eddy saw that the early Christian Church had been split into conflicting sects through following after mere human opinions, and she desired that this movement should go forth undivided. Accordingly as there appeared the need, she wrote rules of government or by-laws, now compiled in a volume known as the Manual of the Mother Church, to serve as lights along the way, to lead and guide impersonally this movement through the centuries.
She understood that these by-laws were applicable to all men under all conditions, and wrote: "Of this I am sure, that each Rule and By-law in this Manual will increase the spirituality of him who obeys it, invigorate his capacity to heal the sick, to comfort such as mourn, and to awaken the sinner" (Miscellany, p. 230).
She foresaw that the time would never come in human experience when the Church and its adherents would not need this inspired guidance, so she wrote of the Manual: "Notwithstanding the sacrilegious moth of time, eternity awaits our Church Manual, which will maintain its rank as in the past, amid ministries aggressive and active, and will stand when those have passed to rest" (Miscellany, p. 230).
Loyal Christian Scientists everywhere are grateful for this further revelation of their Leader, and are conscious that they are finding in the study of these Rules of government, these By-laws, together with the Bible, the Christian Science text-book and the other writings of their Leader, that God is indeed revealed to be Life, Love, Truth, Soul, Mind, Spirit, Principle.
Perhaps the term Principle as used for God in Christian Science has more than any other word aroused an unusual inquiry in the average orthodox thought, for men have thought of God generally as just a great superman, a power to be feared rather than understood and loved, sitting upon a throne, waiting to judge men, and sending both good and evil. The world needs to get away from this view of God. It needs a larger concept of God, which is embraced in the use of the term Principle.
In an eastern city after a lecture a woman came to me in seeming mental distress and said: "I want to know how your God can be everywhere at the same time." I was grateful then for the thought of God being Principle, as it afforded a ready answer to her inquiry. In considering the principle of mathematics manifest in addition, subtraction, multiplication, it is easy to see that this principle can be everywhere at the same time. The millions of Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, can all have the multiplication table at the same time with all of its power and facility, without interfering in the slightest particular with its use anywhere else in the universe, always with one proviso, — that they do understand the multiplication table and apply it.
In a far larger sense God being divine Principle, infinite, unfailing, is everywhere present, able to solve man's every problem provided man understands Him and the availability and application of His power.
Was not this the thought of the Psalmist when he sang: "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Psalms 139).
There is no problem, no condition, that can come to us but God's power is ever available for its satisfactory solution.
Continuing this same thought of the multiplication table, ask a schoolboy how long he thinks eight times eight have been sixty-four and ten times ten one hundred. Doubtless his answer will be "always". How long he thinks it will remain so? Answer — "always". And that is correct. As idea of Principle does not change, so the multiplication table, as idea of the principle of mathematics can never change. Principle does not change nor does its idea or image. Likewise divine Principle is eternal, inviolable, unchanging, always operating. Principle is not moved by the breath of praise or flattery, or by entreaty or threat. In the thought of God being Principle, Christian Scientists have gotten away from the old belief that God interferes in the affairs of men because they are asking Him to do this, that, or some other thing, or that God causes the unnatural or supernatural to be happening in the lives and affairs of men. It teaches that God's work is already perfect and complete. Indeed the Bible says that "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."
The mission of scientific Christianity is to reveal the perfectness and completeness of God's work, to enable us to overcome in our own lives and experiences everything and every thought that is unlike God and His creation. Does not this thought bring us back to that rule of conduct which Jesus gave, that we should do always the thing that is in accord with the Father's will?
Someone asks: "What has this to do with the healing of my sick body, or sick business, or sick home, or sick city? These are the practical problems that concern us today. Christian Science does furnish the solution for everyone of them. However serious your particular problem may seem to you, however significant and burdensome, or however long you may have had it, it is not necessary that God should do any specific or individual thing in your life to solve your problem. Too long we have been seeking God in a purely material way, much as we have sought a friend for a favor or a banker for a loan, crying out in our ignorance, our distress, with the hope that God would manifest Himself in some supernatural or miraculous way. Then we begin to think there is no power in prayer because we do not see this unusual or unnatural manifestation. Jesus condemned this style of prayer when he said: "The heathen think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for our Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him."
Our prayers are answered in the realization that Love is always meeting our needs. The truth of this comes to me in a homely illustration from my boyhood. In childhood I lived on a farm in Kentucky, and I remember that in the springtime we always wanted tomato plants to set out in the garden about the middle or latter part of April. Accordingly in February father would sow tomato seeds in a box in the house, and then when the sun came out he took the box out of the house and put it on the porch in the sunshine, with a glass over it, and as the sun's rays beat upon the glass they warmed the ground, the seeds broke open, and the tender plants stuck their heads through the ground, and as they were carried into the sun day after day they grew, until presently they were large enough to put out in the garden.
Now the sun was not shining for our box alone; it came down to warm the whole earth and to bring again the miracle of springtime and growth, and when we took our box out into the sunshine we saw growth and life manifested.
Likewise with every human problem. Because of evil, hatred, jealousy, injustice, envy, or secret sin, our consciousness is darkened and we have a problem, which we call disease, lack, sorrow, or death. We need to bring the darkened consciousness into the sunlight of God's truth and love, then the darkness is dispelled and the trouble disappears as mist before the morning sun.
But you may say: "I have tried but I cannot bring my problem out of the dark." There is a way provided. The Bible and the Christian Science text-book help you to understand divine Principle whereby you can bring this problem out of the dark. If you will read the last chapter in the text-book you will find many testimonials from men and women from widely separated sections of the country, testifying to how through the study of this truth they have been able to bring their problems to the light and find their solution.
If it should seem to be beyond your present ability to demonstrate, there are Christian Science practitioners, consecrating all their time and thought to this work, and they are ever ready, when the problem is too heavy to be borne, to help us to bring it to the light, to that right understanding of God, to that realization, as Mrs. Eddy expresses it, of man's at-one-ment with God.
It is often asked, how do Christian Scientists pray? In the opening chapter of the text-book, entitled "Prayer", Mrs. Eddy says: "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love." (Science and Health, p. 1:1-4). Is not this understanding of prayer reconcilable with Paul's injunction that we pray without ceasing? Can not we always under all circumstances have this absolute faith that all things are possible to God, and the further assurance that in the spiritual understanding of His ever-presence man is safe? Then the thought of unselfish love, do we not find this in accord with the Master's prayer "Thy will Oh God, not mine be done"? and in his saying: "It is more blessed to give than to receive"? As we think of our prayers are they not generally petitions for self, failing to realize that the larger part of prayer is giving?
I was interested in this practical point in a testimony of which I heard recently. A man went to a Christian Science practitioner and said: "I need help this morning; I cannot get my breath"; and the practitioner said "In your own statement is the key to your difficulty. You are always trying to get something. This morning it is breath. If you had your breath you doubtless would be wondering where you could get orders in your business, and if you had them your desire would probably be to get more. If you had all you wanted you would then be wondering where you could get some material pleasure or recreation. But I have never heard you asking for help to know how you can give anything. If you will learn to give you will not have so much difficulty in getting."
Realizing his selfishness, the man began to see what he could give to help the world and the men and women around him. As he learned to give, he found that he did get his breath, and his business also increased, proving the truth of Jesus' statement: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
The world needs much giving. You ask: What can I give? You can give more consideration, patience, love, thoughtfulness, justice, unselfishness, joy, tenderness and when we bring these treasures to God's storehouse we shall find that we have already received abundantly more than we have brought.
Do we stop to consider the attitude of mind that is ordinarily brought to God in prayer? In our limited thought of prayer have we not prayed much like the little girl of whom I read who knelt at mother's knee and prayed for father, mother, brother and little sister, and finally wound up by saying: "And, Oh Lord, please make Rome the Capital of Turkey," Her mother had never heard a prayer like that. She said: "Why, daughter, what in the world do you mean by praying like that?" The child answered: "Oh Mother, He must answer that prayer or I am ruined, because that is the way I wrote it down today on my examination paper." The little girl was not thinking about all the inconvenience it might have brought to Italy and Turkey by changing their capitals, but only of her examination marks.
We have cried out to God to do this or that, without ever stopping to consider whether it would help anyone else or not, and so we can understand why our prayers have not been answered. We can see why men have been driven from the church because they have thought there is no answer to prayer, they have not known how to pray. If you go to a blackboard to work out a problem in mathematics you will not stand facing the board and cry out to the principle of mathematics: "Tell me how to solve this problem." If you do, it will never be solved. You study to understand the principle involved and then to obey the rule, and with this understanding and obedience you are able to solve your problem correctly.
All of us are called to stand before the great Principle of all being to solve our human problems, and we shall only solve them correctly and happily and finally as we get the right understanding of God to be divine Principle, and apply that understanding in their solution.
After all, it resolves itself into one great problem, and that is to know the nothingness of matter or material existence which is summed up in what is known in Christian Science to be the scientific statement of being: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual" (S. & II., p. 468).
Did not Jesus enunciate this basic truth when he said to the woman at the well in Samaria: "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth"; bringing home to the world's consciousness the absolute opposite of the belief in material existence. To know God to be Spirit and man to be spiritual is the need of the ages, and this is the thought that Christian Science brings to the world today. If a man would understand God aright, he must understand God to be Spirit; if he would understand man aright and know man's power and possibility in his right relation to God, it must be through knowing spiritual man. This is the message of Christian Science.
John, the beloved, writes: "By Him were all things made, and without Him was not anything made that was made." If this be true, the things we call pain, lack, sorrow and death are untrue, because God never made them. He could not have made them; He could not have been the author of anything so unlike goodness as the pains, aches, and imperfections of our human beliefs.
Someone said: "Well, where do these beliefs originate?" They are illusions, delusions, false beliefs; they are the result of our wrong thinking, our ignorance of God, our belief in the false testimony of what we call the physical senses. We have laid great store by the testimony of the senses, — sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, yet we have only to test a few results to see how unreliable and how untrue this sense testimony really is. Take the sense of sight, for instance. You can probably find every day a number of instances, if you look for them, where it is proven unreliable. I read only recently the story of a man who was shown a locomotive for the first time. As he looked carefully at the great machine, its movement upon the tracks, his final question was: "But what will happen to the locomotive when it goes far down the tracks and the rails come closer and closer together?" He had failed to take into account that delusion which seems in the distance to draw rails to a point. The delusion of the sun seeming to move from East to West is always with us. So we can go on multiplying these instances. Not only are you and I deceived, but the so-called physical scientists, the medical men, are deceived by this false testimony of the senses. Whenever a doctor makes a diagnosis and very wisely and solemnly pronounces that you have an incurable disease, he is founding that diagnosis largely upon the testimony of the physical senses, which testimony is untrue.
I read recently of a report published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" and written by Dr. Richard C. Cabot of Boston, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, in which he stated that in a study of three thousand autopsies it developed that only fifty-three per cent of the diagnoses were correct. In other words, nearly one half of the time the doctors had made an incorrect diagnosis.
This shows that we need never be unhappy about these grave diagnoses, for they are unreliable and misleading. When you analyze sense testimony it is easy to see how it is unreal. You cannot see God with the sense of sight; you cannot hear God with the sense of hearing; you cannot apprehend Spirit with any of these physical senses. None of the realities come through the physical senses. As Paul says: "The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
We must turn from this material or physical sense testimony to the apprehension of spiritual things. We must begin to know and understand that there is a spiritual law, the supreme law of the universe. We must bring our thinking into harmony, into consonance with this spiritual law. Someone asks: "But what do you mean? How do you apprehend spiritually?" One of the simplest thoughts that came to me of God being Spirit and God being all-good in the beginning of my study of Christian Science was when I looked upon the suffering of a babe. I thought, if God is good surely He would not send suffering into the life of a child. The child has done nothing for which he should suffer; he knows nothing of the so-called laws of health that we have been taught to observe, and I deny that there can be an evil come to this child from God, who is good. If we take some simple thought like this and at every opportunity deny the possibility of anything so unloving as God's sending evil into the life of a child, then affirm that which is true, we shall find our thought improving, through right thinking and knowing, until with this spiritualized consciousness, we can see that the child is not the recipient of evil from the hand of God, but that it is reflecting only good, that it is the manifestation of Spirit, not matter. Likewise in this larger view we can see that man is spiritual, not material, and that God is the great governor of the universe, sending good, and only good and unceasingly: then we begin to know that all good is ours and we prepare ourselves to receive that good and understand that there is no truth in the belief of evil or devil, of which we hear so much. In the eighth chapter of John, 44th verse, we read that Jesus when speaking of this devil or Satan said "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it."
That great bug-bear, that bogy of the ages we must get away from, by realizing that God is all. Did you ever stop to realize that when you make a reality of this devil or Satan you are violating the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"? In our so-called orthodox beliefs we have sometimes paid more attention to scaring men through a belief in this so-called devil than we have to helping them through loving and understanding God.
To progress in our spiritual understanding we need to be more childlike and simple, with more confidence in God. We are too material, too intellectual, or too formal in our seeking. When the question was asked of Jesus who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, he did not take any of the great lawyers, or merchants, or physicians, or business men of the time, and point to one of them as the great one in the kingdom, but he took the simplest, purest example that he could find, a little child, and set him in the midst and said: "He that humbleth himself as this little child shall be greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
We need more of this child-like understanding of God. I love to think of some of the instances of child-like faith and understanding that have come to my attention. In a western city recently I heard of a little girl, six years old, who attended the Christian Science Sunday-school for a year and was much interested. Presently she had a spell of sickness, and the parents, not being Christian Scientists, called in a doctor. It was a severe illness and no cure was effected by the doctors. They finally said that she could never be well as she had curvature of the spine. After the doctors had given her up she asked her mother if she might see her Christian Science Sunday-school teacher. Upon the occasion of the teacher's visit, when she saw the little bent figure sitting in the bed, the first thought that came to her was, "God makes crooked things straight," and involuntarily she repeated this. The child looked up with great wonderment and asked, "Where does it say that?" The teacher pointed out to her the 16th verse of the 42nd chapter of Isaiah, where it is found. The mother states that the little girl kept the Bible by her in the bed and studied the verse until it seemed to become a part of her own thought, and she would say to her mother day after day, "Don't feel too sorry for me, you know God makes the crooked things straight, and He will heal me." Then she could say to her playmates as they would come in to see her: "You need not feel badly about me, because I am not going to be this way long; God makes the crooked things straight and He will make me well." With her simple faith and trust in God, this baby girl was back in the Sunday-school in a few weeks, perfectly healed and straight, for God does make the crooked things straight.
Was not this the faith of which Jesus thought when he said: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them"? We need more of this prayer of confidence, of understanding, of victory, of achievement. We need less whining and moaning and wailing. We need to do as Mrs. Eddy says in the text-book: "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man" (S. & H., p. 393). There is no condition of lack, discord, imperfection, that can come to your life or business but that you can rise above it. It is not true. God sends good, not evil, and there is no other power that can send evil into our lives, and we need to rise in this child-like strength and confidence in God and know that victory is ours. Was not this the example Jesus gave us as he stood before the tomb of his well-beloved friend? He did not pray asking God that this man be healed, but his words are: "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. And I knew that Thou hearest me always:" and then he called, "Lazarus, come forth."
This is the faith we need, this is the prayer we need today. No matter if you are out of a job, or your business seems to be on the verge of bankruptcy; if you will purge your consciousness of every evil, unjust, envious, un-God-like thought, look to the Father and say, as the Master said, "I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me, and that Thou dost always hear me", you can know that even in this hour your problem is solved.
The power of God is omnipresent, omnipotent. Let us quit trusting in a material power. Let us stop fearing the physical sense-testimony, let us look to God, approach Him with the right thought, the right understanding, and know that in Him is healing, is victory, is salvation, is life; for the Master said: "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent."
Someone asks: "Well, what shall I do?" "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." That is what you need to do. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind", and "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." That is what you need to do. "How shall I love God?" you say. Love your fellow-man. It is said in the Bible that the man who says he loves God and does not love his fellow-man is a liar. How can he love God whom he hath not seen if he does not love his fellow-man?
Let us change our thought towards the world. Let us understand that man is spiritual. Let us begin, as the text-book says, to rise above the physical sense, to replace the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas. Christian Science teaches that true creation is not moulding forms out of matter, but it is the unfoldment of spiritual ideas. It teaches that men and women are thoughts of God, are spiritual ideas. Suppose you and I should think of our fellow beings not as so many selfish, unhappy, diseased, miserable people, but see them as God's ideas, how wonderful it would be.
Suppose parents and teachers should begin to see the children not as diseased, impatient, or unhappy, but should see them as spiritual thoughts, the expression of God's goodness, God's love, the reflection of divine intelligence. The children would quickly respond to this thought. Jesus, you will remember, said: "Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." Let us begin to see the children right. I heard this beautiful story of a boy four years old who had never walked or talked. At birth the doctors had said he was an idiot. The parents had tried all material remedies without avail, and finally Christian Science was recommended to them. It was pointed out that the child should be seen as the reflection of divine intelligence. They were willing to try anything, accordingly called a Christian Science practitioner and began with this assistance to see the child aright, as God's gift to them. I read a letter from the mother written at that time in which she said that every day she thanked God for the perfect gift of Love, although to sense testimony her child was a sickly babe. In a few months that child was perfectly healed, was in a kindergarten, running, jumping, laughing, talking, learning. I read recently a letter from the father and mother written three years later, in which they say; "Our boy at seven is the hardiest, sturdiest, strongest boy in all his class."
If the truth revealed in Christian Science will heal one, it will heal millions. It is the understanding of divine Principle, the eternal law of God. It has always been in the world. It will always be among men to be understood and applied. Shall we hesitate longer to understand that God is Spirit and man is spiritual, and to apply that understanding in our lives?
Instead of seeing so much cheating, lying, stealing, disease, we need to see that men and women are God's ideas, expressions of God's goodness and God's love, reflecting good, existing to bless one another and all the world. In so seeing, how much more happiness we would get out of our lives and be able to give to the world.
Truth, God, understood and applied in our lives, heals sin, sickness, lack, sorrow, every unhappy condition. Someone asks: "How did all this evil begin? You say God did not send sin to us?" "No." "You say there is no devil?" "No." "How did I ever begin to think wrong?" For centuries the world has been steeped in material thinking, learning, living. It has gotten away from God, from Spirit, until rarely have we thought on Him. Suppose a book were written in the Chinese language, that we had never studied, and we should open it to read. We would not know a letter, word, or a line on the written page. Can we blame anybody for our ignorance? Can we blame God? Did he make us ignorant of the Chinese language? No. Did the devil? No. Did man? No. We have studied other languages, perhaps Latin, French, English, to the exclusion of the Chinese, therefore we are not able to read it; we are ignorant of it. Likewise are we ignorant of spiritual things because we have not studied spiritual things. We have violated and disobeyed the command of God: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." We have been seeking first the other things, wealth, power, position. How can we expect to do well, to be well, to be happy, to be saved, when we wilfully, knowingly, day after day and year after year violate God's command? Let us begin as children to think more and to learn more of the things of God and His kingdom. Let us not fear to begin simply, to learn and to put into practise in childlike simplicity the commands of God. There is rich reward in the fulfillment of God's promises as we learn to obey.
The value of childlike thinking and living is voiced in this quotation from Mrs. Eddy's "Miscellaneous Writings", (p. 110:4-12):
"Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!"
[Delivered Dec. 19, 1922, at the Lyceum in St. Joseph, Missouri, and published in The St. Joseph Observer, Dec. 23, 1922. The title of the lecture was supplied from another copy.]