Christian Science: The Religion of Fulfillment (2)
Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Christian Science: The Religion of Fulfillment" was the subject of the lecture given by Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois, member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, last Saturday evening, at the Murat Theatre under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis. Miss Ruth Sulgrove introduced the lecturer.
The lecture follows in full:
Christian Science offers today the most comprehensive, the most startling and yet the simplest, sanest program for human thought and action of which the world has heard since the days of Jesus of Nazareth and the early Christian teachers. The promise made through Christian Science as stated by its discoverer and founder, Mrs. Eddy, is "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health, p. 494). Christian Science is the unfolding to human consciousness of divine love and its practical application to the healing of all human discords. Christian Science is first of all a religion, notwithstanding some of its uninformed critics have not so believed. It is the religion of Christ Jesus come again to the world to heal the sick and the sinning by the same principle and law.
Christian Science in its healing ministry is not a patent cure-all, nor is it blind faith cure. It is not the action of will power, nor is it the action of the human mind. On the contrary, it teaches that the human mind must yield to the divine Mind, to that Mind which was also in Christ Jesus. In proportion that Christian Science is understood, the life and words of Christ Jesus become practicable for all ages and all people.
Christian Science comes to the sick, the sorrowing, the sin-burdened, the dissatisfied, the discouraged, offering them a scientific explanation of the comforting words of Jesus, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and of another wonderful promise of the Master, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
It might be asked why one would say that Christian Science comes offering these assurances. Any one of us may say, I have read and known them always, but have they been realized in our experience? Have we made these and other Biblical promises of any practical import in our lives?
Christian Science comes teaching in the very words of Jesus of old that the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is at hand - is here, is now, within us, around us, and about us. Through the practice and understanding of this teaching of Jesus, men and women in constantly increasing numbers are healed of all manner of sickness and sin, and their lives are made brighter, better, and more satisfying. The theory that eternal life and happiness are to be had beyond the grave only, has always been a depressing element in religion. Christian Science shows that men do not have to wait for death or a final judgment day, before realizing and experiencing the joy of the fulfillment of God's promises. The Bible from beginning to end is filled with the most splendid promises for us as God's children, and unless we may believe that these promises are meant for the here and now, even for today, as St. Paul said, "We are of all men most miserable;" for otherwise, we are without God and a saving religion in this life.
What the world is wanting - is seeking - is a religion that comes to the sick and tells them how to be well; that comes to the discouraged and despondent and lifts them out of the slough of despair and despond into the richness, into the fullness, into the joy, of a closer walk with God. Christian Science supplies this need, through the spiritual interpretation of the Bible and the consequent spiritual understanding of God; and enables the world to find the rest and the peace that are promised by the Master.
Jesus taught and proved the possibility of solving all of life's problems here and now. He overcame all the man-made laws of disease by healing all manner of sickness. He overcame the laws of lack and want by providing food in abundance for the thousands in a desert place, and by finding tax money in the mouth of a fish. He overcame the law of gravity by walking upon the stormy wave. He overcame the law of space and time by entering into the boat in the midst of the sea, and immediately it was at the other side. He overcame the law of death by restoring to life those who had died, and in his own case reappeared to his wondering disciples after three days in the tomb.
One of the last things he said to his disciples was, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." Also perhaps in the last conversation he had with the eleven disciples, in perhaps the last hour of his human existence, he said, "These signs shall follow them that believe;
In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." With these and other positive promises made by Jesus we must believe in the present possibilities of healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing all these wonderful works if we do believe in him, that is, understand him and his teachings, which is the correct interpretation of the Greek word translated by our word "believe" in the new version.
In the light of the fruits of Christian Science during the last half-century, does it not seem strange that the world should have waited so long since the time of the early Christian era for someone, to appear and call attention to the promises of the Bible and the possibility of their practical fulfillment in our human experience? Even more strange, is it not, that when Mrs. Eddy, a sweet, gentle, pure-minded woman did appear and began to heal the sick and to perform many of these wonderful works, and meekly and lovingly call the world's attention to her demonstration as being at least in part a fulfillment of Biblical promise, that she should have been subjected to persecution at the hands of Jesus' professed followers?
Ignoring, however, the persecution, the lack of sympathy and interest manifested by the world in her discovery during the early years, Mrs. Eddy never wavered in her task, but patiently and earnestly studied the Bible, that she might find the positive rule for the solution of this problem of Mind-healing which had been so graciously and wonderfully revealed to her through her own instantaneous healing from what the doctors had pronounced an incurable physical condition. The result of her studies she has since given to the world in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," commonly called Science and Health, which was published in 1875.
In this book there is a chapter devoted to Genesis, and another to the Apocalypse, or Revelation of St. John, wherein is set forth the spiritual correct interpretation of the Bible, thus justifying that part of the title, "Key to the Scriptures." The last chapter of the book called "Fruitage" is a series of wonderful testimonies from men and women from widely separated localities, testifying to having been healed of blindness, deafness, rheumatism,
Bright's disease, tumor, dyspepsia, cancer, tuberculosis, fever, colds, and nearly every known disease, simply by reading this book, Science and Health. The book itself needs to be read, for therein is unfolded with marvelous simplicity and power the theory of healing and salvation as taught by Jesus of Nazareth. One of the practical tributes to the book is seen in the fact that it is to be found in public libraries all over the civilized world.
Contrary to some critics of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy never intended that the textbook should take the place of the Bible, but it is to be studied and read in connection with the Bible. It was meant to be just what its name implies, a "Key to the Scriptures," and a textbook on Christian Science. Within the pages of the book itself Mrs. Eddy says, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health, p. 497). Again she says (ibid, p. 110), "In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook."
As the years have come and gone during these more than fifty years since Mrs. Eddy's discovery, an ever widening circle has been covered by Christian Science, and an every increasing host of its adherents, men and women, are daily bearing witness to its healing and saving power, and rendering their tribute of praise and thanksgiving to its revered Discoverer and Founder. There is, however, nothing of worship or deification in the attitude of Christian Scientists toward Mrs. Eddy, but rather the natural spontaneous expression of gratitude, which one might expect from persons whose lives have been uplifted and are uplifted by the power of her inspired teaching.
It is possible that up to the time of her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy never thought of becoming a great religious teacher or leader, and yet no other of the world's great leaders ever lived to see such a substantial and extensive growth and organization result from his own teaching. Such results, however, are to be expected always when work is done as was Mrs. Eddy's work. The presence of God was not a mere theory to her, but an actual fact on which she relied in establishing the Christian Science movement as well as in all other things.
Early in the practical operation of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy saw that the then existing churches were not ready for Christian Science. Accordingly she established the Christian Science Church, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. From time to time, as occasion demanded, and as she was divinely led, she wrote the By-laws now comprising the Manual of The Mother Church for the government of The Mother Church members and for the organization of branch churches and societies and the government of their members. That the Manual is the work of inspiration is attested by the fact that its provisions have been broad enough to cover every question that has arisen in this rapidly growing world-wide organization. Mrs. Eddy ever looked to the Manual in making decisions and she said of it, "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" (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 230). Loyal Christian Scientists have always been grateful for the Manual and are ever attempting to follow obediently its provisions, thus meriting this tribute from their Leader, "Among the manifold soft chimes that will fill the haunted chambers of memory, this is the sweetest: 'Thou hast been faithful!' " (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 343.)
Christian Science has revealed the correct concept of God. It has courageously and reverently asked the question, "What is God?" and has given the answer that is satisfying to thinking men and thinking women: God is Love, Life, Truth, Soul, Mind, Spirit, Principle. Perhaps the term Principle as used for God has more than any other aroused the opposition of the critics of Christian Science. They contend that to speak of God as Principle takes away His personality, robs Him of His fatherhood, tenderness, and other so-called human attributes. Christian Scientists believe that it is time for the world to get away from the idea of an anthropomorphic or man-made God, a sort of superman. The textbook says, "Human philosophy has made God man-like, Christian Science makes man Godlike" (Science and Health, p. 269).
Principle is eternal, without beginning or end, is perfect, immovable, inviolable, unerring, ever active. Principle cannot be moved by the breath of praise or flattery, or by entreaty, or by threat. In the thought of God as Principle, Christian Scientists have abandoned the idea that God interferes in the affairs of men at the behest of this one or that one, or that He interferes with His own laws, causing the unnatural or supernatural to be happening in the affairs of men. Christian Science shows that God's creation is already perfect, complete; consequently the true mission of scientific Christianity is to reveal this fact to us and then to show us how to overcome in our own lives and experiences every thing and even thought that is unlike God and His creation.
As a practical illustration, let us suppose a man to be sick, and that he desires the help of God, and turns to Christian Science to be made well. Since God's work is already done, there is no specific or individual action required of God that this man's condition should be made right. The Bible says that God looked upon His work, and that it was very good. The treatment or prayer of the Christian Science practitioner is a clear, positive knowing and understanding that God has made all and made all good. God created man in His own image and likeness, and as a necessary result of the law of creation, man in God's image and likeness must be Godlike. He must reflect the Godlike qualities, joy, peace, harmony, dominion, freedom, power. God, being good, has not created, and from the very nature of goodness could not have created, any fevers, pains, or aches of any kind; and since God is the only power, no other power has created them, and man cannot have them, because they do not really exist.
To persons accustomed to the use of material remedies in case of illness such a system, of course, only briefly and inadequately outlined by me, might not at first be considered scientific or beneficial; yet the actual experience of anyone who will test it according to the Principle and rule of Christian Science will prove that it is both scientific and beneficial.
But, says a friend, "Why try to say I am not and cannot be sick when I know I have this pain?" No one can be found who will have more loving consideration for those suffering from disease and pain than a Christian Scientist. Christian Science is not an admonition to bear suffering patiently nor to endure it stoically, but is, on the contrary, a scientific system by which disease and suffering are to be overcome. It shows any person who will earnestly study and practice it that the evidence of the human senses is all there is to any suffering, and if this evidence be changed or overcome, the disease and suffering disappear.
Have you ever observed how the physical senses are so easily and commonly deceived? There is not a day, nor perhaps an hour, but what we are the victims of some false testimony of the senses. The schoolboy crosses the first two fingers of his hand, closes his eye, and has his crossed fingers rubbed over a marble, and the sense of touch will indicate to him two or three marbles instead of one. Stand in the car-track and follow the rail with the eye and the sense of sight will tell you that presently the rails come together, but it is not true. Or, sit in the railroad train that is standing and look out of the window at a moving train on an adjacent track and every sense tells you that you and your train are moving, and practically your only escape from this delusion is to look away from the moving train and see things as they really are. In exactly the same way when the human senses speak to us of sickness, sorrow, and separation, we should look away from the things of sense to God, and see Him as He really is; see and know the real man as he is in God's image and likeness, and we shall come to know that the real man cannot be sick nor discordant. In this connection, one may see how much of good can be accomplished and how much of sickness and evil destroyed by a process of correct thinking and knowing.
For instance, if you stood at your front window and saw a man with a club in his hand approaching the house, and knew from current report that this man would, if permitted to enter the house, maltreat its occupants, would you sit down and, without resistance, suffer the man's assault? Not at all, you would bar the doors and windows, and resist to the limit of your strength. Yet you doubtless permit all sorts of unhealthy diseased thoughts to enter your consciousness, daily and hourly, with little or no resistance, perhaps not aware that you have a sure defense. To illustrate: almost daily, one hears discussions and declarations of disease, lack, envy, greed, and other undesirable states of mind and body. More frequently than otherwise, the listeners to these discussions, instead of discounting or denying their reality, admit them into consciousness as real and true; and thus are implanted seeds that produce far more distress and suffering in their fruition than would result from the assault of the man with the club.
A notable instance of suffering and destruction resulting from this mental attitude is witnessed in the lives of children. There is a common belief entertained by a majority of doctors and laymen that all children must be the victims of certain so-called children's contagious diseases. Many excellent mothers, in most respects, are never happy and satisfied with their children until each child has experienced every one of these children's diseases, lest forsooth the child might contract the disease in adult years with more pernicious effects.
What a cruel and unnatural belief that our God who is Love would make a specialty of afflicting and destroying helpless and innocent children! How much more natural and helpful it is to know and understand that God who is the author of good is never the author of evil.
Thus we need to bar the door of our consciousness against the admission of all such harmful thoughts of disease and evil. Likewise we need to know when the human consciousness becomes spiritualized through right thinking and knowing and man is revealed to be the manifestation of Spirit not matter, the divine Mind is reflected, and man is governed by God. Mrs. Eddy says, "God will heal the sick through man, whenever man is governed by God" (Science and Health, p. 495). As the light of this healing truth is carried into that consciousness darkened by fear and ignorance, it banishes all sense of error, even sickness, as well as sin, and illumines that consciousness with light and love. In speaking of Jesus' treatment of the sick during his earthly ministry, the Christian Science textbook says, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" (Science and Health, pp. 476 and 477).
God, an infinite, eternal power, is always present in the world to heal the world of all its sickness and to solve all its problems. He comes not to Christian Scientists alone, but to all who approach Him through a spiritual understanding of His infinite power. It is the mission of Christian Science to help men and women to come into the relation or understanding in which they may recognize, to use a scientific expression, their at-one-ment with God. When a man's consciousness reaches that state of understanding he will be healed of any sickness, and whatever his problem, it will be solved.
In many Christian Science meetings, at the regular church services and lectures, men and women do come to a realization and understanding that this power of God is present in their lives and they are healed.
This brings me to a discussion of what man is, and of his relation to God. In the book of Genesis are found two distinct and dissimilar accounts of man's creation. Until I studied the subject of Christian Science, I never saw the distinction between these two accounts of creation, yet they are quite unlike.
In the first chapter of Genesis the record runs, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Christian Science teaches that this is the correct account of man's creation. It sets forth the spiritual man. When Christian Science says that man cannot be sick, nor suffer, nor sin, nor die, reference is made to this real man, this God-created spiritual man; or, to use a scientific term, this God-idea.
Christian Science teaches that creation is not the molding of forms out of matter, but is the unfolding of spiritual ideas; that men and women are ideas of God, of infinite Mind. It is fine mental and spiritual growth to dwell in the consciousness of one's spiritual being, and one is led thereby to see the force and truth of Mrs. Eddy's statement on page 14 of Science and Health: "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual - neither in nor of matter - and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well."
Other systems of religious instruction have likewise taught the perfection of spiritual man, but they have not made their teaching practical. They have generally assumed that man must first die and be resurrected and then be invested with his spiritual nature. They have scarcely dared to hope that this life could be other than the generally accepted "vale of tears." Christian Science shows that the truth concerning spiritual man is scientific truth, and through Christian Science may be understood, and become operative in behalf of humanity. It teaches that the presence of God in our lives is not and should not be a vague or far-off, uncertain thing, but a living, throbbing, vital presence on which man may and should rely in all circumstances, and under all conditions.
This will be a wonderful world when more men and women realize their God-given heritage and possession. There will be less envying, hating, judging, killing, and more of what Paul calls "the fruit of the spirit," love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, for man is the reflection of God's goodness, of God's love, indeed of all the qualities of God; and it is only in the perfect reflection that God is expressed in the world. Was not this spiritual man what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect"?
Now let us consider the other account of creation. In the second chapter of Genesis, the record runs, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." And then how woman was created, how God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and from his side He took a rib, and of the rib woman was made. Ever since that concept of man created from the dust, he has been the victim of sin, sickness, sorrow, and death. The historical part of the Old Testament is filled with an account of the sin, failures, destruction of this man of the dust. Earth's secular history today and for generations has been largely an account of the disappointments and disasters of this man of the dust. Has not the world been recently convulsed with its greatest tragedy all because of the false aims, hopes, and ambitions of this man of the dust?
Woman through the centuries has been regarded as an inferior creature, often a slave, all because of this false theory, that man is of dust, and woman of his rib. It is only as Truth is enlightening the world that woman is achieving her rightful place as man's coequal; and it will only be as the truth covers the earth, even as the waters cover the sea, that the world will come to know and understand the "male and female" of God's creation as revealed in the first chapter of Genesis.
With these two pictures before us, man of the earth, earthy, bowed beneath the weight of human misery and woe, and man in God's image and likeness, reflecting the Godlike, the spiritual, the perfect, why do we hesitate to proclaim ourselves and our race of the true type with God-given power and dominion over every living thing; for God has ordained this power and dominion in the first chapter of Genesis, the twenty-eighth verse. Is it not too in harmony with the promise of Jesus quoted in the beginning of this lecture, "Behold I give unto you power over all the power of the enemy"? Does it not occur to you that when Jesus came to his earthly ministry and found man sick, sinning, sorrowing, and dying, he remembered this early ordinance of God and reenacted it in those stirring words, calling the world to action on a basis of spiritual power with a new promise; and then proceeded to demonstrate by so-called miracles, step by step, man's power and ability to overcome all the power of the enemy?
What is the enemy over which Jesus says we have power? Paul says: "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life, and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God." The enemy is, therefore, the carnal or fleshly mind, or, as Mrs. Eddy calls it in Science and Health, the "mortal mind," as opposed to the divine Mind.
Mortal mind, as it is understood and used in Christian Science, is not an entity, but is rather the absence of the reflection of the divine Mind. It is, in other words, a state of ignorance, and when it is the only mind that a human being has or knows anything about, it subjects him to every ill to which the flesh is heir, and this subjection is not decreased but is rather increased by what is ordinarily called education, unless this education be carried on with an understanding of the truth about God as revealed in Christian Science. For instance, the man who knows most and is the best educated on the subject of so-called symptoms of disease, is soonest the victim of some disease; or, the man who is best informed on the subject of human anatomy is oftenest finding something wrong with his anatomy. Was not this thought in the mind of the wise man, king of Jerusalem, when he wrote a long time ago, "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow"?
Mortal mind is full of fear, doubt, anxiety, envy, hatred, malice, and what not of all this evil brood. It is no wonder that man governed by mortal mind is sick. Every so-called disease is some phase of mortal mind, fear, ignorance, or sin. Jesus early in his ministry told his disciples that they had power over this enemy, and this is easily understood, for everyone can see that in proportion as he becomes enlightened, he has power over ignorance, especially when he perceives that this ignorance has constituted his own mentality. This is what Jesus meant when he said at another time, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
As Christian Scientists, it is our mission, our constant effort and prayer, to have always in us that Mind which was also in Christ Jesus. As Mrs. Eddy says "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (Science and Health, p. 261). Is not this perhaps what the prophet of old had in mind when he said of God, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity"?
This brings me to a discussion of the unreality of evil, for which teaching Christian Science has sometimes been criticized. What a wonderful world this would be if it could be rid of evil - and it can be. Evil is only in our consciousness, and if we can understand that it is unreal we shall be rid of it. All will agree that God is good and that He has all power; and being good and having all power, we must, to be logical, conclude that God has made all things good and consequently has not created any evil. Then you ask, Where did evil originate? Someone may say it started with Satan, or devil, but surely God in His infinite goodness could never have conceived or created a monster of evil.
But you say, What will you do with the Satan or devil of the Bible? Hear what Jesus says of him: "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." In these simple, emphatic words, Jesus at once and forever wiped out the lie about devil that has been responsible for all the sickness, fear, doubt, sorrow, and sin that have come to the world.
Is it not the life of which we read in the beginning which said to Eve, God has not told you the truth? You have but to eat of the other fruit and you will become as God? Does it not come to us today in words like this, God is too big, too universal, too much concerned with other things, to be conscious of the individual, and you cannot be healed by Him? And does it not say, What you need is to perfect yourself in material knowledge and learning and you will become as a god and heal yourself and solve your problems? It is all untrue. If we may not look to God for help in every human problem, we need not look to man.
Someone asks if the unreality of evil means that man is not to suffer for what we call evil deeds. His answer is plain. "God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Evil is unreal, but we come to an understanding of this as the result of thought and demonstration. One does not learn mathematics by beginning with trigonometry and calculus, but by learning that one and one are two; two and two are four, and by working his way up through arithmetic, algebra, and other branches to higher mathematics, so with all science and so with Christian Science. One's understanding comes with careful study and demonstration. Would you know what is meant by demonstrating or proving the unreality of evil? One can prove the unreality, the nothingness, of evil by proving the all-ness of God. Let us begin simply - we all believe that God is good and that God is Love. Let us go forth tomorrow with the thought of God's goodness and love in all things. Let us see nothing, say nothing, do nothing, believe nothing, that is unlike goodness of Love. Do you hear a man cough? Do not turn instantly and fix cold or influenza or any other disease upon him. That would be unlike goodness and Love. Know that God never made a cough, therefore it is unreal, and does not belong to man.
Do you see a man limping there on crutches? Do not fix lameness on him. That would be unlike goodness or Love. Lameness is no part of God's creation; therefore it does not
belong to God's man and should not bind him. Do you suppose Peter and John, when they approached the temple and saw lying at the gate the man, a cripple from his mother's womb, began to think of weak muscles and undeveloped bones and structures? No, they saw nothing unlike goodness and Love. They saw God's man, and said to him, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk," and he was instantly made whole.
In Science and Health (p. 123) we read, "Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas."
Let us try this plan in our destruction of evil. We may begin on the members of the household by seeing them as thoughts; thoughts of God, expressions of His goodness and His love, existing to bless the home and all mankind. Contrariwise, let us not see them as selfish, impatient, intolerant, and all such evil thoughts or beliefs will be banished from the home. Then home will become the abiding-place of love, goodness, and harmony.
Maybe you are a teacher: then go forth to your school seeing the children not as disobedient, rude, mischievous, or unintelligent. Shall we not rather see them as thoughts of God, expressions of God's goodness, Love, and reflecting the intelligence of the divine Mind? You have no right to limit a child's intelligence when God has not. You can see how these uplifting thoughts will change your entire outlook and will make a new school - one that will bless you, the children, and all mankind.
Perhaps some of you are workers in other lines - clerks or proprietors of stores. It does not make any difference in working God's way about one's rank, whether he be clerk or proprietor. The proper business or work for him in either instance is to prove God and His allness. Then do not see the business as so many clerks to be handled, or as a cruel boss to be dealt with, or as so much material to be shown to customers, then put on the shelves day after day. Resolve all the business into thoughts of God, expressions of God's goodness, God's love, existing to bless clerks, proprietors, customers, and all mankind. To wait on customers is added opportunity day after day to show forth the goodness and love of God, whose reflection you are. It thus means opportunity to bless each customer and should mean great joy to you and to them.
In every store will be found old stock, worn, out of date; get it down, resolve it into a thought of God's goodness and love existing to bless mankind. It will meet someone's need who has not money enough for prevalent prices. Let divine Mind direct you in disposing of it, and it will bless someone - it has its right place, and through this process, that place can be found.
Christian Science is trying to teach men that for every human need they should look to God, to the spiritual and not the material. There is nothing in all God's creation to fear, for God is All-in-all, and one cannot fear God, or good.
Why is man's first thought, "Wherewithal shall I be clothed and housed and fed?" Has man so soon forgotten that Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"? In that connection Jesus had just been talking about clothes and food. Should it be thought a strange thing that God does give good things to the children of His love? Jesus told us, in effect, that much more than our earthly father does the heavenly Father know how to give good gifts to them that ask Him. One may ask if Jesus' promise means, that to take up the study in earnest of Christian Science, would result in health, happiness, and prosperity. The answer is found in the lives of the great host of men and women the world around who have sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and whose business has prospered and whose lives are filled with health, harmony, love, and gladness. It is but a verification of what the apostle said, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
It has sometimes been asked if Christian Science teaches that sin is forgiven. It does. Sin is forgiven when its nothingness is understood and the sinner no longer indulges therein. To pray for forgiveness, and to continue in sin, does not raise a man to any new state of consciousness or well-being. It is like praying to an idol; it does not accomplish anything. But to know and understand that the illusions called sin are unreal, and confer no sweetness or power, is to rise above sin and destroy it, consequently, to find forgiveness.
Let us consider an instance in the life of the Master. On the occasion when the scribes and Pharisees brought before him a woman taken in adultery, they were seeking the destruction of the woman, and meaning, at the same time, to involve the Master in a conflict with Jewish law. They assured him that the woman was guilty, and that the law commanded that such as she should be stoned, but that they desired to know what he had to say. The record states that he stooped and with his finger wrote on the ground. Is it not possible that in that moment the Master turned his gaze away from the group that he might pray, that he might see each one of that group as God's idea, an expression of God's goodness and God's love? He did not want to see self-righteous condemning scribes and Pharisees, nor did he wish to see an impure, sinful woman, but he did want to see each one as a child of God, expressing Godlike qualities.
From the result, we may judge whether or not the Master's treatment, or prayer, was effective; the men, one by one, went out and left the woman alone. The Master, then looking upon her, asked where were her accusers, and being informed that there were none, he answered, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Thus Jesus taught that his mission was not to condemn, but to save the world. As followers of him, are men more apt now to condemn or to seek to save? Is not our way to group men in our thoughts and to label them - one group with a certain disease, another group with some disease, then one group guilty of this crime, and another group guilty of some other crime - in other words, condemning them to disease and sin when God has not?
Let us rather be followers of the Master and try to save our fellowmen by knowing and understanding that they are God's children, and as such, neither sick nor sinful.
Jesus, the Christ
Christian Science has been assailed because of its teachings concerning Jesus, and it has been denied a place among so-called orthodox religions because it teaches that Jesus was not God. When we remember the difficulty that Jesus had in making even his disciples understand who and what he was, it is not strange that the Christian Science teaching on this subject has been misunderstood. Perhaps few of the immediate followers of Jesus saw the distinction between the human Jesus and the Christ, but Christian Science has made this distinction clear.
The man Jesus was human, born of Mary, and his life covered but a brief span of years; but the Christ, which was not a name so much as the divine title of Jesus, expressing his godlike nature, is eternal, and is ever inseparable from God. Jesus, in referring to himself as the Christ, said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life;" "Before Abraham was, I am;" and again, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." The Christ is now and always has been present in the world to be discerned by men. Through the ages, there have been men like Moses, Joseph, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, and others who discerned and expressed a large measure of this Christ, Truth, and were able to perform many wonderful works.
Jesus of Nazareth came to earth to be the Way-shower, or, as Paul says, the "mediator between God and men." He came to show men their power to overcome in this life sin, disease, and death. He possessed more of the divine nature that any other person who has ever lived, and he was therefore called Jesus, the Christ, or Christ Jesus.
The Christ can no more be confined to an individual than can God, or divine Principle, or Love, but comes even as the spirit of Love into the lives of men, as they rightly seek him and desire him. It is true that Jesus said, "I and my Father are one," but this expression is not at all inconsistent with Jesus' other statements concerning himself. He was one with the Father, as it is explained in the Christian Science textbook (p. 361), "one in quality, not in quantity," even "as a drop of water is with the ocean," but it is not the ocean, or "a ray of light" is "one with the sun," but it is not the sun; so is every man and woman as an idea of God one with the Father; else how could Paul have been correct when he said, "For in him we live, and move, and have our being"? When Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," it was not to the human Jesus he was asking us to come, but to the Christ, Truth, that redeems and saves. To those of us who have but touched the hem of his garment, have but caught even a faint glimpse of this Christ that heals sin, sickness, sorrow, and death, has come the fulfillment of Jesus' promise, "And I will give you rest."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 25, 1929.]