Christian Science: The Religion of Progress
Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois, a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Religion of Progress" last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.
The lecturer was introduced by Florence S. Middaugh, C.S., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
We are told in the gospel of Luke
that, after Jesus' resurrection on the third day from his crucifixion, he
joined two of his disciples as they walked to the
If you have come here tonight with an open mind and an attitude of receptivity, I am sure your heart will burn within you as you listen to these spiritual truths explained to you.
These same Scriptures have been opened to us by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and many a heart has burned within with hope and gratitude as the precious treasures of the Bible have been unlocked. Today thousands of Christian Scientists all over the world are making practical, in their daily life and work, the teachings of Jesus and the prophets. We are indeed eager to share with you the revealed truth that has so greatly blessed us.
It was her desire to share that inspired Mary Baker Eddy, our beloved Leader, to establish, among the many activities of The Mother Church, The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, that its members might go out into all the world and preach this gospel of salvation.
The speaker this evening needs no introduction to many of you, for besides being a member of this Board he has served three years as First Reader on this rostrum.
The subject of his lecture is "Christian Science: The Religion of Progress."
It is my very great pleasure to
introduce to you Judge Samuel W. Greene of
Judge Greene spoke substantially as follows:
The history of humanity through the ages has been an unceasing struggle for better conditions. Only the unthinking fail to progress. Each state of improved thought has a wider horizon, a larger outlook, a higher vision. Mortal man without vision, without hope, without incentive, gradually degrades, and becomes an object of pity.
Thus is indicated the tragedy of human belief - fallen man.
Mary Baker Eddy
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has given to the world a new hope, a brighter vision, founded upon spiritual understanding and progress, rather than upon material belief and limitation.
Her own personal experience up to the discovery of Christian Science was one of struggle for health, for supply, for happiness - even for existence. Seeing the failure of one material remedy after another to bring peace and satisfaction to struggling mortals, she finally abandoned all efforts to secure relief on a material basis and turned unreservedly to God.
Study of the Bible convinced her that the characters of both Old and New Testaments had looked naturally to God for relief from every untoward condition, as opposed to the view prevailing around her, that any manifestation of God's power in healing disease or solving a human problem would be miraculous and supernatural. Once her thought had caught the vision that the power of God is always available for man, her progress was rapid.
Investigating the incidents of relief so plentifully chronicled in the Bible, she saw that the changes in health and in fortune came not through the application of the approved material medicines and remedies, but through faith and steadfast dependence on God. She saw how the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles healed the sick and raised the dead without once resorting to material means. Her natural deduction then was, Why not be healed after the method employed by Bible healers?
About the time that Mrs. Eddy's thought turned more definitely and wholly toward God for healing, she experienced a severe fall that seriously crippled her and confined her to bed. The injury seemed so dangerous that the attending physician doubted if she would recover. Lying in her bed, she took the Bible and turned to some of Jesus' healings as a model for her effort.
Her attention was attracted by the healing of the man sick of the palsy. She saw clearly that Jesus appealed to the sick man's thought. He first cheered the invalid by telling him that his sins were forgiven. We may believe that Jesus saw in the man's thinking a desire to turn away from his sins and sinful thinking, and in this right desire there was the basis for forgiveness. Then Jesus called on the man to arise and take up his bed and go to his own house, and the man obeyed, and was of course healed.
With this inspiring example of healing, Mrs. Eddy turned her thought toward God and claimed, as best she could then see, the presence and effect of God's power to bless and heal mortals. With great joy, and to the amazement of her family and friends, she found herself immediately improved in health and strength, and was able to arise from bed and join the family in ordinary home life.
The Bible and the Textbook
This incident and its happy result increased her interest in Biblical study and interpretation, and made her zealous in her endeavor to interpret God's law and power for the benefit of all mankind. Naturally, she wrote concerning these new mental excursions into the divine realities. In following the Scriptural method of healing she saw that the Bible requires spiritual interpretation to be properly helpful and healing. This new or spiritual interpretation, she saw, must be consistent with a proper interpretation of God, and man in God's image and likeness. The generally accepted view of God as being the creator of both good and evil, or as being aware of both good and evil as equal realities, Mrs. Eddy perceived as being contrary to the nature of God and the teachings of the Bible. These early writings of Mrs. Eddy, among which was "The Science of Man," copyrighted in 1870, became the basis of her most important publication, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," also known as the Christian Science textbook. This volume has been subjected to the most ruthless as well as intelligent criticism from the advocates of medicine, theology, and science, and has effectively stood the test. It is more popular today than ever before, and is more widely read and studied than perhaps any other book with the exception of the Holy Bible.
Mrs. Eddy frequently revised the book, as she had no hesitancy in changing the text in ways that would better serve to make her meaning clearer to the reader. She counseled her followers always to use the latest edition of the textbook.
In her effort to properly interpret God to humanity, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science boldly disputes the apparent inconsistencies inherent in the common interpretations of Deity, and discerns Him to be wholly good. All the synonyms for God used in Christian Science are readily understood, as this fundamental concept of God is accepted - God is Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. These various designations of Deity may be in part startling to the average Bible student, and the newness or strangeness of Christian Science to the beginner is apparent when he attempts to apply this spiritual concept of Deity in all its logical sequences in his daily living. For instance, the whole human family fears. Fear seems to be almost instinctive, and yet it is obviously inconsistent with the concept of God being wholly good. Humanity believes in pain, but how can there be pain in the creation of Love? Mortals believe in death, but how can death ever occur or exist in the realm of Life? And so, with each imperfect or inharmonious concept of life, it is at once found to be inconsistent with the true apprehension of God. Christian Science continually reminds us that it is necessary to have always in consciousness the proper concept of God. Since God is infinite, we can never exhaust the subject. There is always more to be known about God than we have known, and always more to be proved concerning God than we have proved.
Paul makes this demand for constant thinking of God by saying: "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing." If a man be always holding in thought the omnipotent and omnipresent goodness and love of God, then he would of necessity be rejoicing. To pray always is of course to have in thought the allness and goodness of God. There will then be no expectation of accident, of sickness, or of harm. Whatever suggestion of discord or inharmony may come to the human consciousness, that suggestion is repudiated and rendered void of effect by that consciousness which is filled with God. Thus God does become to the Christian Scientist all that is so tenderly voiced in the immortal twenty-third Psalm. This Psalm is especially treasured by Christian Scientists because of its spiritual interpretation as given by Mrs. Eddy in the textbook, where she has substituted the word "Love" for Deity. Therein we read that divine Love is our shepherd, that Love makes us to lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters, that Love prepares the table before us in the presence of our enemies, that Love anoints our head with oil; and finally that we shall dwell in the consciousness of Love forever.
Humanity has apparently labored through the centuries under the delusion that man fell from his high estate as God's child or likeness, and that this fall was so real that his salvation ultimately depends upon some miraculous or supernatural intervention of Deity in his behalf.
So, Jesus' mission has been largely misinterpreted, and the general belief has been that man's salvation must come through the vicarious sacrifice of the Saviour. In other words, that Jesus gave up his life that man might have eternal life, whereas the crucifixion and the resurrection illustrated and demonstrated Jesus' teaching that the power of God understood and relied upon does overcome the mortal belief of disease and death. The common belief about the crucifixion is obviously superstitious, and inconsistent with reason; and is the result of failure to understand man's creation as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. The Bible record is that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Then it is added that man was to have dominion.
Consistent with this account, man is then spiritual, in the likeness of Spirit. Man is idea, in the likeness of Mind. Man is the expression of health and life, in the likeness of Life. Man is not up and down, but has constant dominion even in the image and likeness of Principle. This is the concept of man that Jesus brought, and taught to humanity. He taught that men gain freedom in knowing and in living the truth, and that men need never see death if they keep Jesus' sayings. Indeed, he counsels his followers to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect. He promised that they could do all the works that he did, and even greater ones. In his final instructions he commands his students to go into all the world and teach his doctrines and to heal the sick and the sinning. Thus Christian Science shows that salvation for mankind is offered through Jesus, but through his life and his work rather than through his death. Indeed, it shows that Jesus' crowning demonstration in his resurrection was over the claim and belief of death, revealing the perfect, eternal life of man in God's image.
Christian Science teaches that man has never fallen, but that a mist, or error, has seemed to shut from view the real man - God's child - and has provided an unreal or false concept of man that is material, and that lives and moves and has his being not in God, but in matter. This false view of man is responsible for all discord, sin, disease, poverty, hate, and death.
The purpose and promise of Christian Science is to bring dominion or salvation to mankind, or, to put it in another way, is to reveal to humanity man as he really is, and thereby destroy the false beliefs and fears of human consciousness. It is following Paul's teaching to put off or destroy in belief the old man of matter, and to put on or to understand the real man who is spiritual. What, then, is the procedure followed in Christian Science?
All persons will agree that if there has never been aught but the one wholly good God, and His perfect man, there is nothing real to be altered in the process of healing the sick and the sinner, but that the purpose of treatment is to reveal the real man. In other words, the whole process is mental, not material. Since Christian Science teaches that Jesus showed the way of salvation, it is necessary to look to his teaching for guidance. He said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Obviously, then, to see the truth or know the truth we need to dispel or destroy the erroneous or untrue. In aviation, the presence of fog or mist is always dangerous and a problem to the aviator. When such fogs do come in the path of the navigator, he usually tries to rise above the mist where the view is clear, and progress forward is safe.
In Christian Science treatment, it is necessary to dispel and destroy the fog or mist, or erroneous belief, surrounding the patient by lifting his thought above it. If he believes himself to be material, and suffering from some inflammation or disorder of matter, then such belief needs to be destroyed by denial, as well as by affirmation of Truth. If man is really spiritual, then he is not material, and such a false assumption, in every case, needs to be disputed, denied, and destroyed, and the truth gained. The Christian Science textbook says, "Denial of the claims of matter is a great step towards the joys of Spirit, towards human freedom and the final triumph over the body" (Science and Health, p. 242). In nearly every case of illness there is fear on the part of the patient and his friends. Surely, all can see the necessity of disputing and destroying the fear and its causes. If God is wholly good and man is His child, then surely we may believe and understand that no evil can come to God's child, or has come, and there is no reason for fear. On this subject the textbook says: "Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients. If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed." (Science and Health, p. 411) As we study the healings done by Jesus we are impressed with Jesus' confidence and composure. Of course, such a state of mind is easily understandable when we are relying wholly upon God. In Christian Science treatment, to be successful we must rely wholly upon God, and not at all upon matter. In a number of the healings recorded in the Gospels, Jesus definitely denies and disputes the beliefs of sickness held by the patient and his friends. In other cases, where it is recorded that he proclaimed the patient to be well, as in the case of the withered hand, there is, of course, the implication of a denial of the sense-testimony, followed by the positive statement, "Stretch forth thy hand." In every treatment there is the need, then, for the positive declarations, and consequent understanding that man is spiritual, is the child of God, is whole, is well. It is to be understood, of course, that there is no special virtue or healing power in the mere words of denial of sickness or in the affirmations of health, but the desired result comes with a change of consciousness, and is brought about in the improved mind of the patient.
When the patient has sufficiently understood God to expect of Him only good, and understands enough of the nature of the spiritual man to know that he cannot be ill, he should be well on the way to recovery from his illness.
Sometimes an inquirer asks, If Christian Science is true and the practitioner does the proper denying and affirming, or gives the proper treatment, why is there not healing in every case? It is to be understood always that there must be an absolute faith in God's power and availability and a losing of the belief in the reality of material man.
Raising of Jairus' Daughter
The healings performed by Jesus are so clearly the result of his understanding of God, and his absolute faith in God's power, that it is a delight to study them from this standpoint. The incident of his raising the little maid from death is worthy of study as a model treatment.
It will be remembered that the child's father came to Jesus with word that the child was at the point of death, and asked his assistance. As Jesus accompanied the father, a messenger came with the news that the child was dead, and he need not trouble the Master with coming to the house. Jesus, however, never hesitated; he simply calmed the father and bade him have no fear, but simply to believe, or have faith, and the child would be made whole. Upon arrival at the home, Jesus found the household weeping and wailing over the child's death. He attempted to comfort them by assurances that all was well. He denied that she was dead. The mourners, however, were without faith in him, and laughed him to scorn. Jesus then put all of them out, and took into the child's room her father and mother and three of his disciples. Then he affirmed, or declared, the fact of life, by taking the child by the hand, and saying, "Maid, arise." Thereupon she rose up, perfectly well. Such is truly the manner of Christian Science treatment, to deny the seeming material condition, and to realize and declare that which is in accord with God's plan and God's law.
In this case of healing, and also in the case of the raising from the dead of the widow's son at Nain, and the raising of Lazarus at Bethany, how interesting it is to consider Jesus' calmness and confidence! How differently he acted in each case from the customary conduct of people on such occasions! Humanity has always associated fear and grief and excitement with the scenes of death, but Jesus' actions invited no such emotions. He calmed the fear always, and prepared the thought for life. At the grave of Lazarus, the healing prayer began: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." Then he called, "Lazarus, come forth," and the man came from the grave alive. Surely, this manifestation of life came about as the result of Jesus' perfect understanding and realization that God is ever present Life, and that man can never be separated from that Life.
Another interesting healing by the Master is of the lunatic boy, in which case the disciples had tried but had been unable to heal the boy, and the father appealed to Jesus. Here Jesus commented on the lack of faith that had been manifested and called upon the father for more faith. He said to the father; "It thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Upon the father's assurance that he did believe, and desired to be healed of his unbelief; Jesus rebuked the false sense that bound the boy, and commanded the evil spirit to come out of him, and to enter no more into him. It was in connection with this case that Jesus said to the disciples: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Surely, such a faith as this is needed today, if healing is to be successful, and such is the teaching of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy writes in the textbook (Science and Health, p. 1), "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." Such was the faith of the healers following Jesus' time, as is clearly shown in the recorded healings of the New Testament.
Peter and John, on their way to the temple, saw the cripple at the temple gate begging, but instead of giving him alms, they had faith that he could be healed, and Peter said to him, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." Suiting his action to his words, Peter took the cripple by the hand and lifted him up, and immediately he was healed, and entered into the temple, "walking, and leaping, and praising God."
In like faith "was the healing of Aeneas. Peter in his visitations came upon Aeneas, who had been sick of the palsy and bedfast for eight years. Please note Peter's faith in the healing power of God as taught by Jesus when he said "Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee
whole: arise, and make thy bed." Please also observe the patient's faith, for the record says that he arose immediately. Suppose Aeneas had hesitated to get up, but had begun to exclaim, "I am too sick or too weak, or too far gone;" is there any doubt that he would have remained ill? Peter had faith that God's man is always well and is not really bound by the false belief of palsy, and he so declared to the patient. Then the patient was inspired and he had faith to arise, and he was healed. Again, there is no thought of a man being the healer, but, "Jesus Christ maketh thee whole." Let us all be aware that every healing is the power of God made manifest, recognized, claimed, by patient and practitioner.
In the healing of the man at Lystra of lameness from birth, Paul exhibited the same sort of confidence and faith. The record says that as Paul looked at the man, he perceived
that the cripple had faith to be healed and he said to him in a loud voice, "Stand upright on thy feet." Then the man leaped and walked.
As we consider these instances of healing, it is not strange that the inquiring mind of Mrs. Eddy, backed by a great human need, embraced the faith necessary to be healed. Indeed, only a doubting mind can turn away from these recorded healings, and refuse to see that they illustrate and demonstrate in a practical way the great truths that Jesus labored to give to mankind.
As Christian Scientists, attempting humbly but confidently to follow in the Master's footsteps in doing the things he commanded his followers to do, we are encouraged and we are grateful for all the signs that attest that we have to some degree discerned the way taught by him.
Healing of Sin
The healing and forsaking of sin always comes as the result of a consistent adherence to the teaching of Christian Science. Sin is the belief in some power apart from God. For instance, one may believe that indulgence in some material appetite gives pleasure. This is imputing power to matter, and is sin. Or one may believe that wealth or supply is in matter and become covetous concerning another's possessions. This is sin and if not corrected will lead to dishonesty, robbery, or some other phase of evil. One may believe that life is in matter and thus seek to destroy his supposed enemy by committing murder. A Christian Scientist is taught to watch his thought, that it entertain no false beliefs concerning what man is, or what man can possess, or of what man's supply consists. Salvation from sin, then, is the result of our coming to understand what is real in life, and to be so occupied in seeking that real, and in proving it to others, that the unreal, or selfish and sinful, is forsaken and thereby forgiven.
Healing In Business
In a consideration of the subject of healing, one is conscious that there are many people throughout the world who are suffering from the pains and sorrows of widespread poverty and lack, and whose condition is perhaps as miserable as though they suffered with so-called disease of the body. Any religion, then, that is to have a universal appeal, must be able to grapple successfully with this ever present problem.
Diseased business, poverty, unemployment, and privation are surely not the good gifts of the good God. Then they are unrealities which should be destroyed through right thinking and living. In the Bible are set forth situations and conditions that are illustrative of the world's unrest and lack at present; and an understanding of these Bible situations will throw a helpful light on the solution of present-day problems.
Consider the condition of the
Israelites in bondage in
The Bible shows how Moses turned the thought of the Israelites toward God, and gave them enough understanding of God so that they could trust Him for deliverance. Then conditions changed rapidly. The thought of the Egyptians also changed under the influence of this light that came through Moses. Presently the Egyptians agreed that the Israelites might go out from Egypt to seek God under better conditions, and the record says that the Egyptians gave presents to the Israelites as they went out, which clearly indicated a better feeling between the two peoples.
Christian Science is bringing today to labor and capitalist alike that understanding of God and man which, when apprehended and put into practice in daily life, will enable all men to rise above the mists of hate and doubt and fear and will bring to modern business life the vision splendid of the "Golden Rule" in actual operation in everyday life.
Jesus' teachings are admittedly the proper standard for all phases of human activity. If we may expect to heal disease and sin through the same methods that Jesus used, we may likewise hope to bring about to modern business the same unselfish thought that will destroy ignorance, hatred, misunderstanding, envy, greed, and dishonesty; and will usher in intelligence, love, confidence, cooperation, honesty, and justice.
If we do believe in the promise of the inspired writer that "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," is it too much to believe that spiritual light can come to employer and workman alike, and thereby bring them into that happy state of mutual respect and understanding that will largely solve the modern industrial relations?
Healing of physical disease has become so common among Christian Scientists through spiritual means as to cause little surprise even to the outsider. Shall it be admitted that the problems of business are more difficult to heal, or shall it be thought that they are beyond the power of God - and cannot be solved by infinite Mind?
Undoubtedly the first need is that employer, workman, and customer shall approach business with an unselfish thought. We need to manifest the Christlike quality of giving. Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
There are hopeful signs in modern
business that some such spirit of giving is being entertained. Some employers
and owners are conducting their business so as to make a general distribution
of profits among all those in the organization. I have in mind a successful
manufacturer in the
There is the need for a proper state of mind in the individual everywhere. Just as there is an effort in the world generally to bring what is called religious instruction to the individual, so today Christian Science understood and put into practice in daily business life will bring to the individual the consciousness that his business life is as much in need of right, constructive thinking as is his health or his spiritual welfare. Christian Science shows that business life is not something to be kept apart from mankind's highest and noblest and best thinking, but rightly needs and demands the most unselfish endeavor. It is not difficult to see that as men go about their business unselfishly, seeking to be fair, just, loyal, patient, and loving, such thoughts and such conduct will bring about a similar state of mind in those with whom they deal. Thus, great waves of helpful thinking will be added to the business situation, and the leaven will gradually have the effect of producing changes throughout the whole of the business world.
These are many instances known to Christian Scientists where the businessman, in some emergency in his business, has turned away from the customary material remedies available, and has trusted his business to God, and has had happy results.
Nothing can stay the forward steady movement of Principle in the affairs of men, and whether or not we so pray, all must come to know that God's will must be done in earth as in heaven. Christian Science teaches that man is free, that man has God-given dominion. Who will dare to oppose God's edict? Mankind must be lifted up to see that Love does govern, that right must prevail. The prophet says, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Are we, at all, being obedient to this gracious command? Is each of us contributing his tithe to the great cause of freeing mankind from the shackles of modern slavery? All need to see that business, when properly conducted with consecration, unselfishness, and love, affords all business people the opportunity of serving God and one's fellowman just as truly as in the so-called sacred callings and professions. The student of the Bible will search Jesus' teachings in vain to find any intimation or instructions that some of the people were to be unselfish, loving, kind, and help to establish the kingdom of God, while others were to go into a so-called business to cheat, to rob, to enslave. If it be true that the aim of the average businessman is to accumulate material wealth, then the world has indeed fallen upon evil days. The ideal business is that business where all are cooperating for the benefit of everyone concerned, and such a business is not difficult to visualize. What can be more attractive to human thought, or more interesting to evolve, than a business activity where every endeavor is made with, a view to blessing someone?
Instead of men competing, then, to see who could accumulate the most money, there would be the heartiest endeavor to see who could be the means of blessing and benefiting the greatest number of people. But the argument is sometimes offered that unless there is an immense monetary reward, human endeavor would slacken, and earthly affairs would show no progress. In the light of Jesus' work, and of Paul's and of other Christian workers, can anyone believe such would be the result?
When we come to study the great careers of mankind, and mark the lives that have counted most in human history, they have not been those who were seeking material rewards. They have been, generally, persons with a great vision of service to their fellow men.
Call to the Individual
If the present age has really exalted material wealth, and has bowed to the gods of mammon, then is there not great need that the true God should be exalted? Do not the existing conditions cry out for the re-establishment of the Christ in the thoughts and lives of mankind?
Is there not the necessity that
spiritual progress should become the main purpose of mankind? Surely the world
has seen and tried a multitude of material theories and philosophies, some of
which have been helpful, but none of which has lifted mankind above the
recurring mistakes and failures of the ages. Is there not need today for the
clarion call of the great Teacher, "Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature"? The individual
consciousness must be reached and uplifted and transformed. The individual must
see that he is in the struggle, and that he must do his part. No man is exempt
in this great warfare against evil beliefs. The great English admiral rallied
his men with, "
If the way seems hard, let us not despair, but rather recall with new hope these words from the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: "But let us work more earnestly in His vineyard, and according to the model on the mount, bearing the cross meekly along the rugged way, into the wilderness, up the steep ascent, on to heaven, making our words golden rays in the sunlight of our deeds; and 'these signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover' " (Christian Healing, p. 19).
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 4, 1935.]