Christian Science: What It Is and What It Does
By Edward H. Hammond, C.S.D.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The nineteenth century, now rapidly drawing to its close, has brought forth marvelous discoveries and inventions. Their practical application has astonished mankind. Their use has revolutionized old methods and antiquated ways, and given a new impetus to modern civilization. Now amidst these teeming wonders appears a more marvelous discovery which truly has been called wonderful.
Its application has drawn to it the attention of the world, while its results have been far-reaching, deep, and astonishing. It is a discovery which will be found to transcend all others. It is one which outmeasures and outweighs all others beyond comparison. It is not a discovery in the material or physical realm, but is a purely mental or metaphysical discovery. It transcends the natural. It passes all material boundaries. Its home is above, yet in its manifestations it touches all things below.
We allude to Christian Science. It is indeed a science, the science of Truth, a science not human but divine, the Science of God.
In the "Standard Dictionary" we find Christian Science correctly defined as follows: —
"Christian Science is a system of moral and religious instruction founded upon principles formulated by Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy (1866), and combined with a method of treating diseases mentally. As presented in Mrs. Eddy's Science and Health, Christian Science is based on teachings of Scripture which it interprets, giving the Christ Principle and rule in Divine Metaphysics which heals the sick and sinner. It explains all cause and effect as mental, and shows the scientific relation of man to God."
It will be seen by this definition that the scope of Christian Science is vast indeed, that it covers the entire range of human thought as it addresses itself to the solution of all the problems of human existence affecting our life, our health, our happiness, and our futurity. It will be impossible within the limits of a single lecture to give more than an outline of the underlying ideas of Christian Science and what is accomplished through them.
Before proceeding to give this general view, we wish to say a few words respecting this work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," to which allusion has been made, and its author, Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy.
This book, the standard text-book of Christian Science, was published by its author in the year 1875, nine years after her discovery of Christian Science. It is now in its 171st edition of one thousand copies each, while the demand for it throughout the world continues unabated. It contains the statement and explanation of the entire subject. Its author, Mrs. Eddy, is a New England woman of wonderful spiritual insight, with a heart glowing in its love for God and humanity. From the highest ideal standpoint — ideal, yet eminently practical — she works with unselfish devotion and untiring energy in the great cause of uplifting mankind to a knowledge of their higher selves and to a true understanding of God.
To obtain an outline view of Christian Science, let us turn to the pages of this book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." We find it stated therein that
"GOD IS THE PRINCIPLE OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE."
The Christian Science view of God is taken from the Holy Scripture. It looks to the Bible, the Word of God, for those statements which reveal Him.
Its revelation regarding Deity is this: That God is Spirit as Jesus the Christ asserts; that Spirit is Divine Intelligence, Immortal Life, Eternal Love, ruling His universe in Harmony and Perfection; the alone Self-existent Mind or Being — Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent; that Spirit, God, is unknown to the five personal or corporeal senses of the natural man, as God is without material parts or bodily form, yet being Mind, the immensity of His Presence extends everywhere without limitations. Thus God, Divine Mind, is recognized as All-in-all, yet this Mind Divine and Omnipresent is not to be regarded as sifted through or commingled with matter, as Divine Intelligence knows no presence save His own and that of His spiritual Ideas. Divine Mind dwells not in matter, neither does Divine Mind recognize matter. Christian Science recognizes but one God: Spirit, not matter.
"Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord."
Matter to God is unknown, as the Scriptures declare "Flesh and blood [matter] shall not inherit [enter] the Kingdom of God."
For matter to be recognized by God would be for Him to recognize something beside Himself, a power opposed to Himself, whereas the Infinite One being all there can be nothing outside "His infinite self-containment" (Science and Health, p. 512), and Immensity.
Matter and its so-called laws are but the beliefs of mortal or carnal men.
Christian Science also declares God, — Divine Principle, — to be the same "yesterday, to-day, and forever," unchangeable, immutable. No better word than Principle has been found to describe the unchangeable nature of Deity who is one Life, one Truth, one Love, Eternal Law. Spirit, God, is declared to be Good; not a mixture of Good and evil, but Good alone; for Good being Principle, knows no evil. "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good. The utterance of Jesus was, as recorded by Matthew: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit." "The immortal never produces the mortal, and Good cannot result in evil" (Science and Health, p. 173).
Hence Christian Science teaches that the Divine Mind is in the consciousness of Divine Good alone, and has no sense or knowledge of evil. "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity."
Christian Science also discovers that the realm of causes is Divine Mind, hence causation is mental, spiritual, not physical; that in the Infinite Understanding dwells that causation referred to in the Gospel of St. John: "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life."
The true idea of God, it will thus be seen, emphasizes the perfection of Deity. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
That same Jesus who uttered these words also said, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."
By Father is understood Creative Principle. "God is Love." Love expresses itself in man and the spiritual universe. In that universe man, sustained by his Maker, "lives, and moves, and has his being," as the apostle Paul maintains. Christian Science gives the same idea in the statement: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, or 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; hence, man is spiritual and not material" (Science and Health, p. 464).
To this statement nature, or the perceptions of the natural man, give the lie. Is nature to be believed? Is this understanding of the carnal man to be accepted?
Are the phenomena before his senses to be regarded as true? "I have swept the heavens with my telescope, and found no God," said an astronomer. "I have looked into the minutest forms of matter, but life I cannot find," was the sum-total of Agassiz' laborious investigations. Nature conceals God. The natural mind is forever veiled from beholding Him, says Christian Science. Nature tells the natural man: —
Life is in matter, when life or this appearance of life ends in death. Intelligence is in brain, when brain-matter is non-intelligent. Good of all kinds is found in matter, when its so-called good ends in pain, in grief, and disappointment, and death.
Ignorant that the testimony of his senses is false, ignorant that what he calls matter is but "in belief, a subjective state" (Science and Health, p. 2), of this same natural mind, he becomes the victim of his own ignorance without hope and without God.
Christian Science is engaged in a warfare to dethrone this essence of falsity, this arch-deceiver, this corrupter of mankind. It says life and intelligence, sensation and good, are found in the God-mind and the outcome of the God-mind, spiritual man, and abide nowhere else; that this world of nature must be viewed from the standpoint of Truth and seen in its proper place, and not usurp the place of the Creator and seemingly shut out His presence and power and thus befool humanity.
"Judge not," said Jesus, the great demonstrator over the belief of matter, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous [true] judgment." "Let God be true but every man a liar."
One great misconception regarding God, says Christian Science, found among Christian people, is looking upon the Divine Being through the human sense of things and clothing Him with human characteristics; whereas, God is not human, but Divine.
"Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee."
And as the prophet Isaiah makes record: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
The suffering saint upon his bed of sickness who believes God is afflicting him for good is indulging in a human thought of error in his conception of God. Did his knowledge rise higher he would see it was the mind of the flesh (carnal mind) which was tormenting him, and that the immortal Mind, God, was his remedy and relief.
The perception of the Divine character is gained, not through this mind, but through spiritual understanding, which all men possess, but which requires to be brought out and made manifest to them. It is the teaching of Christian Science that it is this carnal mind with its errors and sin which shuts out from human beings the perception of Deity, and that in proportion to its destruction do we gain a view of the Truth, a knowledge of God. This is what is meant by Jesus when he said to Nicodemus, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again," i.e., born into a new understanding of God and himself through the destruction or obliteration of this deceiving mind.
No higher work has Christian Science before it to-day than to give to mankind the true conception of Deity, to enthrone in every mind the true idea of Divinity; for this correct idea is the basis of all genuine reform.
Christian Science searches the Word of God to find the origin of man. It finds that record in the book of Genesis. It finds that origin in Spirit, in Divine Intelligence. In the first chapter of this book it reads: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
Through our knowledge of the character of God obtained through Christian Science we learn what is meant by the "image and likeness" here spoken of. Image is defined as that which resembles something, as a child is the image of its mother; likeness is defined as the state or quality of being like, similarity, similitude. Therefore, man being the image and likeness of God, Divine Intelligence, man possesses those qualities of mind which his maker possesses. He possesses those qualities through transmission. This transmission is called in Christian Science reflection; that is, God reflects upon His created being, man, the inherent qualities of Himself. But the human being, governed by his human mind, knowing no other, is in utter ignorance of this sublime truth. Hence the necessity man is under to know himself aright. Otherwise, he is but a higher kind of animal.
Jesus declared that "That which is born of the flesh [the fleshly mind] is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
By reason and revelation it is seen that like begets like. Spirit, Divine Mind, must beget a being similar to Himself; whereas physical man is matter, and matter is the opposite of Mind. One is invisible, the other is visible.
Spirit cannot beget matter, for there is nothing in Spirit out of which matter can be made. Matter is not transmitted by Spirit. Spirit is not projected into dust and afterwards ejected. A tree cannot produce an animal. "A serpent never begets a bird, nor does a lion bring forth a lamb" (Science and Health).
Man is therefore like, not unlike, his Maker; being spiritual, intelligent, immortal, reflecting love and power, and is therefore good and perfect. Thus man has impressed upon his mind the perfect and undying qualities of his Creator. These qualities are never effaced, but remain forever permanent. This is the real man, the ideal man. This is God's man. This the man whom Jesus came to reveal.
Nothing is more monstrous than to imagine Spirit producing matter or a physical body. Elias Hicks, the Friend, had sufficient spiritual discernment to note the fact that Spirit does not produce matter. He said: "By the analogy of reason spirit cannot beget a material body, because the thing begotten must be of the same nature with its father. Spirit cannot beget anything but spirit; it cannot beget flesh and blood."
Thus we see man is a mental being; physique does not enter in any way into "the image and likeness." This is the man whom God pronounces good in the Mosaic account of creation.
It should be understood, however, that Christian Science does not teach that man is the equal of his Maker. Man is not God, but the child of God. Man is not God, but Godlike. Man goes on in everlasting progress as an immortal being, but never can he become the equal of the Being who gives him life and intelligence.
It is this man divinely created, good and perfect, who is given "dominion over all the earth." Dominion, not subjection, is his birthright. He rules all things, acknowledging no superior save his Creator.
HATH GOD'S MAN YET APPEARED?
It is said Christian Science sets up too high an ideal for man: no one can possibly reach it. The answer is: Christian Science discovers; it does not create. God is the Creator. It interprets the Bible from the standpoint of Jesus. It sees that the standard of man set by carnal or mortal man is wholly erroneous. It sees that man does not begin from dust and rise upward until he reaches Deity's presence. That man's concept of himself is wrong. That man should regard himself as proceeding from the highest Mind, not the lowest. That he should hold the concept of himself as does the artist when he paints an ideal picture, or as the sculptor when he works upon his model. Each holds in thought the highest concept possible to him, and then endeavors to work that concept out in a perfect picture or in a perfect model of beauty.
To begin right is to end right. To begin wrong is to end wrong. An error in a mathematical calculation in the beginning carries that error to the final result.
Christian Science begins right, begins with the only absolutely true and real Mind. It never forgets its definition of the Mind, which is Deity. It constantly and consistently holds to that definition. Its logic is invincible. It includes a correct Principle, God, and an expression of that Principle in man and the spiritual universe. It starts with God, perfect Mind, and perfect man. It holds man to this true thought of himself and his Maker.
Mortal or carnal man starts wrong. He begins his so-called life through observing matter and his matter-body. That which starts from the perception of matter starts wrong, boldly affirms Christian Science. This man is constantly accepting the statements of his environment, and sin and disease and death are ever with him and ever surrounding him. He is constantly accepting false models in mind and constantly failing even in his best efforts.
Christian Science views the material man as the exact opposite of the spiritual man; the one being governed by Spirit, Immortal Mind; the other by matter, or mortal or human mind. In origin, mortal man is of the earth earthy; he is of few days and full of trouble. True happiness he never knows, and his highest aspirations for good but end sooner or later in hopeless despair. Christian Science views this being as "physically mortal but individually immortal" (Unity of Good, p. 47). It views him as a dreamer amidst a dream of matter. It comes to him and says with tenderness mingled with wisdom, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." It comes to awaken him to the consciousness of his true being, to arouse him from his deadened sense in material life to a sense of his real life in God, and thus to find his individuality in spirit and not in material selfhood. It repeats the words of Jesus, "The Kingdom of God is within you." Seek ye it. Heaven is not made in Christian Science a place to be reached through death, but a state of mind to be reached up to and sought after now. Into how many minds to-day has Christian Science come with its pure ideas and given them health and happiness, and such a sense of heavenly joy as they never before believed themselves capable of reaching while sojourning upon the earth. "Be ye transformed," says St. Paul, "by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." Christian Science transforms or forms the man anew by renewing the mind from its core (which is in God perpetually), casting off that which is sinful and useless and presenting man to himself as a higher and nobler being and continuing this process until the man truly becomes a son of God.
THE UNREALITY OF MATTER.
Christian Science denies the reality of matter. Perhaps nothing has aroused more controversy and perhaps nothing in Christian Science is more misunderstood. As an absolute fact in Divine Science, matter is unreal, for God is All and His Allness precludes the possibility of there being any other presence or power. The human senses deny this, but affirm the Allness of Matter and its manifestations. Here is the cardinal point of difference between the metaphysical system of Christian Science and all others: By denying the reality of matter it demonstrates the Allness of God and His immortal creations. By denying the reality of matter we deny all the conditions of matter which include disease and sin, imperfection and death. The reality of these existences is denied because they are not found in God, and He is supreme, omnipotent. Is there any proof of this statement? The proof begins in this, — that in making that denial in Christian Science we take our first step toward the successful extinction of sickness and disease. Jesus never acknowledged the claims of matter as real. He healed all manner of diseases, destroyed sin, walked the waves, stilled the tempest, raised the dead, — all not in obedience to laws of matter, but through disregarding them. The walls through which He passed as He suddenly appeared to his disciples as they sat at meat were no obstacle to him. His standard of reality was not one of matter, but of immortal Mind. All this he did because of his understanding of the unreality of what we call matter and the absolute reality of Divine Mind and its laws.
Says Paul, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." We cannot spiritually discern disease, sin, or matter, as they disappear in the ratio of our spiritual advancement. Herein is seen the proof of the statement, for in Christian Science everything is susceptible of being proved. All the cures wrought by Christian Science are upon the basis of the unreality of matter. "Prove all things," says the Scripture. The cures wrought by Christian Science could never have been produced had they admitted the reality of that which they sought to destroy. Disease is an unreality to spiritual man's sense. When it is destroyed, it shows its unreality. Had it been real, or of God's creating, no Scientist could have destroyed it, for what God makes man cannot destroy.
Jesus understood law — the laws of the invisible world of Mind as they governed the world of matter. Substance to Jesus was Divine Mind. Laws of gravitation, adhesion and cohesion, as they are called, were met and overcome by the higher law of immortal mind. Through Christian Science we discover that what has been called miracles is but phenomena not understood; that it is not something unnatural or supernatural, but that it is "divinely natural" (Science and Health, p. 349); that the law of Truth strips it of all mystery by showing that it is the power inherent in immortal man, derived from his Maker, to destroy the adverse so-called forces of matter or mortal mind by the higher law of spiritual life.
Man is capable, as he comes into the understanding of his true nature, which is spiritual, of knowing these laws, utilizing them, and thus rising superior "to material resistance." Jesus plainly declared that the works which he did his disciples and all his followers should do, and even greater works than these; but man must be found having the Mind of the Christ to repeat these wonders.
The Christian Science mother who last evening cured effectually the croup in her three-year-old child, illustrated the ever-present law of Spirit. Small though the demonstration was, its underlying basis was the same as that upon which Jesus relied when he raised Lazarus from the dead, and Peter relied upon the same when he healed the cripple at the gate called Beautiful.
IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CHRISTIAN?
We are told by the opponents of Christian Science that it is not Christianity. Let us examine the charge. What is Christianity? The answer must be: The doctrines and teachings of Jesus Christ. Do Christian Scientists accept his doctrines and his teachings?
The answer is, they accept nothing more and nothing less.
What is the doctrine of Jesus as regards God?
The Master said: "The Lord our God is One Lord;" "God is Spirit;" "God is our Father;" "The Father hath life in Himself;" "God is Good;" "God is Perfect."
Christian Science accepts these words of the Master. It understands that the truth which Jesus taught as regards God was that God is Divine Mind, Infinite Understanding, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, a Being who is ever-present Mind, all-powerful, all-good.
It acknowledges Jesus the Christ as the Son of God, as he declares. It sees in him a duality of natures. Jesus the human and Christ the divine; the one the son of Mary, the other the Son of God. It sees in him one who knew his divine origin and voiced the Truth. It acknowledges him as the mediator between the human and the divine, the "Way-shower" for all time, the way, the truth, and the life. That no man can come to the Father (Spirit) save by the way and in the way he (Jesus) pointed out and illustrated by his own pure life. Jesus said of himself, "My Father is greater than I." "I can of mine own self do nothing." What I see the Father do, I do. "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what 1 should speak." As Jesus views himself, so Christian Science views him. Is this a departure from Christianity?
It sees in Jesus one who, knowing his divine origin, obeyed his Father so closely, so lovingly, so perfectly, that there was delegated to him the wonderful power of a Godlike being. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," as he says in Matthew, — given, bestowed, because of his true sonship.
That he taught his followers the nature of God, — Spirit, — the nature of themselves, their capabilities, and their God-derived powers, is evident from his teachings, and that in following him they would find out "what manner of spirit" they were of. Is this antagonistic to Christianity?
Christian Science teaches the omnipotence of Good since "God is Good." It teaches that man as the offspring of God — Good — has power to dominate, control, destroy, all that seems to oppose itself to this Good, that the command "Overcome evil with Good" was a command coupled with no restrictions, that evil, sin, sickness, and death were to be met by the heaven-derived power reflected from God upon the mind of man, and that through this power man was to be saved from his would-be destroyers. That this saving power is the Christ-Truth. Can this be contrary to enlightened Christianity?
But Christian Science does differ from popular Christianity in teaching the healing of sickness as well as sin, through divine, not human, means. It teaches the healing power of Truth as Jesus taught. "Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free."
Christian Science discovers that the carnal mind or the natural mind is where sickness and disease originate, that its manifestation is afterwards upon the body, that disease and pain is thought externalized upon the matter body, that as we embrace the whole body in thought a mental remedy is really the only adequate remedy. Now the carnal mind is not born in Truth, for as Paul says, "The carnal mind is enmity against God," hence the carnal mind is error, and as the Truth is brought to bear upon this carnal mind it begins to destroy its errors and sins, in other words, to heal it of its enmities and diseases. Herein is the secret of the Christ healing. Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy made this profound discovery years ago.
The account of this discovery is one of deep interest. Meeting with an injury pronounced fatal by her physicians, she turned in her extremity to God. In her own words she says, "On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew, 9:2 [where it is recorded that Jesus healed the man sick with palsy]. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I arose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24).
For some three years after this remarkable recovery, Mrs. Eddy sought to find the underlying meaning of the cure. Gradually the truth was revealed to her, and we shall find recorded in the book we have mentioned, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the full results of this revelation.
The Bible was her only text-book of study. She named this revelation of Truth Christian Science.
IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SCIENTIFIC?
If Science means knowledge, exact and true, then Christian Science is scientific, for it is the knowledge obtained from God or Divine Intelligence. Jesus is recognized by Christian Scientists as the most scientific man who ever lived. He understood the truth relating to the spiritual universe. He knew the laws which governed that truth, He placed the divine Mind above the human because of that simple yet profound law observed everywhere of the higher governing the lower, the greater governing the less. Jesus knew the immortal Mind should and must govern the mortal or natural mind in order to bring out perfection. The proof to-day that Christian Science is scientific is seen in disease healed, sin destroyed, and happiness attained, when all other expedients have failed.
Jesus preached the Gospel and healed the sick. He sent his disciples forth on this mission. They were told, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;" "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;" "Heal the sick."
That these solemn commands were not simply for his immediate followers is shown in the seventeenth chapter of John, where the Master says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me [understand me] through their word."
Jesus left no definite rule by which the healing could be clearly understood, but it has been discovered in this age, and made known so that it may be learned and put into practice.
Christian Science teaches that it is the duty of every Christian to-day to heal the sick as well as preach the gospel; that there is no longer the excuse of ignorance of the method, for it has been discovered. The text-book of Christian Science contains it. The cultivated spiritual understanding will do the work, for that cultivated spiritual understanding will register its nearness to the mind of Christ. Christian Science has proved this: That man governed by his Maker heals the sick to-day as he has in all ages.
Thus Christian Science teaches the primitive truths of the Christian religion, and the healing follows. He who will read the history of the Christian Church in its earliest years will find the healing was maintained until the third or fourth centuries, when it gradually disappeared. Human thought and human policy ruled out the pure and simple ideas which relied upon a spiritual God, and the spirit being quenched the power to heal was lost in the individual.
Christian Science calls attention to this fact: that since the time when the healing was lost, systems of theology have been governed by systems of medicine. (Science and Health, p. 39.)
Christian Science comes with other blessings which it brings to restore the lost element of healing; it comes to restore the undivided garment of Christ; to give to a waiting world a full and complete Christianity.
MEANS MORE THAN HEALING SICKNESS.
It means vastly more than healing. This is but an effect of one great cause. Its more emphatic purpose is in healing sin, spiritualizing consciousness, bringing man to a knowledge of his infinite capabilities and thus ushering him into the kingdom of heaven, while he lives upon the earth. In seeking to do this it bears no enmity against established institutions. It has no enmity against the church. It honors it for what it has done in the past, but it seeks to purify it of errors into which it has unconsciously fallen. Neither does it bear enmity against the medical profession.
It denies, however, that there is any science whatever in their present methods of healing the sick. If there were, then their remedies would heal systematically, and there would be no failures whatever. Dr. Mason Good, a learned professor in London, says: "The effects of medicine on the human system are in the highest degree uncertain."
Says Dr. Chapman, professor of the Practice of Physic in the University of Pennsylvania: "To harmonize the contrarieties of medical practice is indeed a task as impracticable as to arrange the fleeting vapors around us. . . . Dark and perplexed, our devious career resembles the groping of Homer's Cyclops around his cave."
Christian Science comes with higher and clearer -methods, recognizing Divine Mind as the great power to -destroy disease as well as sin. We declare it, under right and fair conditions of practice, by one who understands it and lives it in daily life, to be to-day the most effectual method both for preventing and curing sickness and disease.
Christian Science shows all causes to be mental. For man to think and to feel is to exist. Consciousness is mental, not physical. All we know of the visible universe is what mind tells us. Christian Science finds underlying causes. Every sensation we have, every act we perform, every effort put forth, is the offspring of thought. Consequently, Christian Science studies Mind, not matter.
Corrupt thought produces corrupt effects. Matter thought always more or less produces erroneous or evil effects. Matter thought is the thought atmosphere about mortal man. It is acting constantly. Because it cannot be seen, mankind will deny this; but mankind has yet to learn this so-called material fact, and learning it they will find it clears up a vast amount of mystery concerning material causes.
Christian Science says disease is always of mental origin. That it is an image of thought externalized upon the body. It is more than mere imagination, it is a solid conviction in the mind of the physical man, manifested on the body. Disease originates in mind, unconsciously to ourselves. It may be asked, how can this be possible? I was sick, and never thought about it until I was suddenly prostrated. The answer is: The mortal mind of each individual extends beyond its range of consciousness; we are not aware of what may be going on outside the range of immediate consciousness; but we know this, that a process of "latent thinking" is there going on. Christian Science proves disease to be mental by destroying it through mental treatment.
It is recorded that Jesus, after healing a man who had an infirmity of many years' standing, said to him: "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."
All disease, says Christian Science, is the product of sin, or of some form of false thinking. Hate, malice, lust, envy, worry, hypocrisy, are the thought-germs of disease. If not arrested and destroyed, sooner or later they will make any man sick. So will the beliefs of the carnal mind which give power to matter and its so-called laws. The remote cause of disease, that which to-day makes possible those disturbances of the animal economy called pain, sickness, and disease, is the conscious and unconscious belief in a life and intelligence and power apart from God, a universal belief in matter and its admitted power. Herein is seen the blighting effects of materialism.
In corroboration of the statement that corrupt thought produces corrupt effects, let me call your attention to the experiments but recently made by Prof. Elmer Gates of the psychological laboratory at Chevy Chase near Washington. The apparatus used in one instance was a series of tubes which were immersed in a freezing mixture. "In them the breath of the individual experimented upon is collected, condensed, and analyzed."
By continued experiment Dr. Gates has discovered that the secretion of nutrient products in the blood is increased under the stimulus of pleasurable emotions, while the secretion of poisonous qualities is increased under the stimulus of evil emotions.
"Roughly speaking," Dr. Gates said, "you are doing yourself a harm when you yield yourself to evil or the baser emotions."
Christian Science having found the cause of disease, discovers its cure. Disease being evil, is met with the divine medicine which is Good. Disease being error, is met with Truth. This is the truth which Jesus spoke of to his believers, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
God's medicine is the medicine for mankind, and that medicine comes through Mind, not matter; it comes from above, not below. The greater governs the lesser? Then let us acknowledge God's right to govern us through the Christ Mind within us.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE THE OPPOSITE OF HYPNOTISM.
It has been said by those unfriendly to Christian Science that while by this method the sick have been healed, it has been through what is called the "law of suggestion," that it is by a subtle kind of mesmerism or hypnotism that the healing effect is produced. Christian Science is not a method of thought transference, it is not the action of one mind upon another producing mental and physical effects. "A tree is known by its fruits." What are the effects of Christian Science thought and healing? It has been observed universally that it quickens the moral and spiritual nature, casts off disease, and produces happier and better men and women. It makes the study of the Word of God a delight; it brings into the minds of people a perception of God as a loving Father, it impresses the mind with the thought that God is not a far-off presence, but is ever near, one to whom we can look at all times, for "under his wings" do we trust. Does hypnotism or the law of suggestion produce such effects?
Does it Christianize humanity and make it love to possess the same Mind which was in Christ Jesus? Does it produce such effects upon, the human character? who has ever seen it? Hypnotism or mesmerism is the base counterfeit of Christian Science healing. Its effects are never permanent in healing disease. It is one belief casting out another, and the last state of the man is worse than the first. It is alluded to by Jesus in Matthew, where he says, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
We knew a man some seventeen years ago who, wearied with life's battles, disappointments, and sorrows, saw little or nothing in human existence worth living for, well-nigh hopeless, and with a sense of God and His Providence so dim that from it he extracted no balm of consolation. The Comforter was not to be found. Amidst despair and bitterness the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" was placed in his hands. He read, but only partially comprehended, yet the book held him to its pages, and he continued to read. He felt the book was no ordinary production. As he continued to read, there came a moment when he was filled with a profound conviction that this book was more than a human production, it was inspiration. He sought out the author, and as he listened to the explanation of the infinite themes dwelt upon in the book, a new sense of life and joy and peace came to him, ill health vanished, and once again the man had a purpose and life had for him an object.
He learned then and there the truth of Jesus' words, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh [fleshly mind] profiteth nothing." From that day to this his health of mind and body has been superb. He learned the law of heavenly health through his enlightened spiritual understanding. His wife, an invalid for years, suffering with chronic hip disease, pronounced incurable by all physicians who were called to attend her, was healed within three months from the time she heard of Christian Science, and with that healing came the light into her mind which has made her to this day a consecrated Christian. Are these the effects of hypnotism or the law of mental suggestion?
Christian Science is neither mesmerism, hypnotism, nor mind over mind. It is the action of that Truth, whose fountain is God, upon the human mind, the seat of disease, casting out its errors and sins.
Neither is Christian Science faith cure. While we have the highest respect for all who sincerely believe in this cure, we see wherein its mistake lies, for it lacks that understanding which Jesus said we should possess. Nor does Christian Science hold any fellowship with spiritualism. The phenomena of spiritualism are of the earth mind (carnal mind) and are most deceptive. The Scriptures warn us against it.
Christian Science is not Pantheism. It acknowledges but one God, — Spirit, Divine Mind. Nor by asserting that God is Divine Principle does it imply blind force ever acting under inexorable law. But it means the Eternal Intelligent Mind whose highest quality is Love, flooding its created beings with the radiance of Truth, and Harmony, and Good, which never varies or changes, but is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Blind force is seen in nature, in the earthquake, in storm, in the ferocity of beasts, and in the wickedness of mortal man. These are not the manifestations of the Divine Mind, for that sends forth only emanations of its perfect self. Human apprehension will find this true as it realizes the meaning of Jesus' words, "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you."
All great religious movements require leaders. Christian Science has one in its Discoverer, Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy.
With singleness of purpose, energy, and courage, and a wonderful spiritual insight, she has gone on, directed by Divine Love, to establish in this age Christian Science. She is not an "ecclesiastical monopolist," for such a thing is impossible in Christian Science. What says she of herself? "To-day, though rejoicing in some progress, she finds herself still a willing disciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of Christ" (Science and Health, Preface, p. ix).
Christian Scientists have faith in her wise and loving leadership — a faith justified by years of success — and neither unjust criticism nor foolish persecution can turn them from this well-placed confidence. It has been said her followers exalt her personality. This is a mistake. Those who accept her pure teachings have indeed feelings of gratitude and love for the human individuality through whom they came, but to call this "hero worship" is to insult common intelligence and misinterpret genuine gratitude.
A beautiful tribute to Mrs. Eddy may be found in "Rays of Light from all Nations:" —
"Her character is an exalted one; her life consecrated to God and humanity. She has no desire or purpose apart from her great mission, and those who know her intimately are more and more deeply impressed with the depth of her religious nature and the singleness of her devotion to God and His Word. She communes constantly with Him, and moves not but in obedience to His will."
QUESTIONS FOR THE THOUGHTFUL.
Has Christianity, as we have received it, brought out all the capabilities inherent in it? Has sin been eradicated from the world? Have the teachings of the Christ been fully understood? Have the miracles been rationally explained? Is medicine a science? Are the healing methods of to-day a success? Is the general health what it should be? Is happiness and content diffused universally? Christian Science says, No, a thousand times No.
Christian Science loves humanity, and it shows its love by dealing honestly and compassionately with all. It loves the Church for all the good it has brought to the world. It respects the medical profession for their well-meant efforts to alleviate the sufferings of mortals. But while it recognizes honest motives, it cannot be blind to the errors and mistakes of institutions or individuals, nor hesitate to put forth earnest efforts to correct them.
In Hosea (Chapter 4) we read: "The Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land."
Standing before the portals of the twentieth century. Christian Science asks these questions: Will mankind still longer accept the guidance of human knowledge, or will it accept the teachings of Divine knowledge? Will it accept physical science or metaphysical science? Before answering these questions, let us ask what has human knowledge done for man? From a superficial standpoint, it would be said, everything.
The good which human knowledge has done is seen in all the comforts and conveniences of our physical life, in good government, in protection to life and property, and in many ways peculiar to our complex civilization. Yet two things stand out prominently before us to-day which human knowledge and human effort have not yet given us. They are these: True happiness and good health for the individual man. Will human knowledge and human power ever bring it?
Christian Science says it never can, for the reason that true happiness and health flow from the highest and best qualities in the mind of man; that man must be governed by his Maker in order to possess them. "To promote our perfection," says Sir William Hamilton, "is to promote our happiness."
Health is wholeness; a whole man, a complete man, a holy man. Happiness flows from completeness, from perfection. In a true Christianity with its healing methods is found "character in harmonious wholeness." Man is found governed by the Mind of his Creator. This was the Mind of Christ.
Is there still hope in human knowledge entertained by some? Let me call their attention to an article on Agnosticism published in the Fortnightly Review, where one with the foresight of a prophet, remarked: "We have seen enough to make it tolerably certain that after a few more centuries the number of first-rate discoveries in natural science must constantly lessen . . . Unless some insight is gained into the psychical side of things, some communication realized with intelligence outside of our own, some light upon a more than corporeal descent and destiny of man, it would seem that the agnostics of the future will gaze hopelessly on a gloomy and unnavigable sea." The writer sees what Christian Science foresees as a certainty, that the human mind will meet barriers beyond which it cannot pass; that the investigation of things from the outlook of the physical senses and human reason will meet with inevitable limitations, and that these limitations will be found insurmountable: as the answer of Job came from the Lord, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed."
In the direction of so-called material progress no remedies have yet been found to heal sickness and effectually establish health; no remedies to cure evil; no remedies for the broken hearted, the sin-sick, and world-weary. No panacea, no balm in Gilead, no medicine for the famishing mind of man, no knowledge adequate to meet man's dire necessities and needs.
Progress, says Christian Science, is not along the line of materialism or matter. Progress is in the opposite direction. True progress is spiritual, toward the spiritual universe and God. Progress is found where the highest mind leads the way; where the light of truth and love is found; where remedies adequate to meet man's sore needs are obtained through Divine knowledge.
Where shall we find this knowledge? In what definite shape and form will it come to us? The answer of Christian Science is: You will find it in that book, hoary with age, the Scriptures. But it must be interpreted, not by the human mind, which will not be able with its finite perceptions to grasp its meaning, but by the spiritual mind which is able to discern divine knowledge and goodness. What makes the Bible to-day the most misunderstood book in existence is the attempt of the human mind to fathom it. Hence we have hundreds of sects, but only one Christianity. This age has brought an interpreter in that book we have before alluded to, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This is the volume which expounds and elucidates the truths of the Bible. It is indeed the Key to the Scriptures. It unlocks the door, and we find revealed a new world. We find revealed the greatness and goodness of God, the grandeur of man, and the glory of the heavenly world about him. It is not a commentary, it is a revelation. It does not take the place of the Bible, it explains it. The two go hand in hand. It will point out to you through the pages of the Word the divine and everlasting remedy, simple and sure, for disease and sin, and reveal the simple yet profound laws upon which our immortal happiness is built. We shall then begin to know something of the liberty of the sons of God, and its first manifestation will be in greater happiness and better health. And as our journey continues we shall reach up to higher and higher ranges of thought and feeling, as Truth and Love lead the way, and begin to build the house of our mind upon that eternal rock which never can be shaken. We shall know more and more the meaning of the teachings of divine knowledge, and shall find that human knowledge was but for a day, and contains nothing of permanent and lasting value, while the knowledge of God is the knowledge of eternity and is forever satisfying, substantial, perfect.
The vast amount of good this book has done in healing disease and eradicating sin and inspiring human beings with a genuine love for all that is good, in leading their minds toward God and thereby enabling them to live higher and nobler lives, is incalculable. Its loving ministry continues, and will continue as the years roll on. Do you wonder that gratitude goes out from thousands of hearts to its author? Do you wonder they love her name and delight to honor her? Do you wonder they thank God that such a revelation of health and happiness has come to them, when in so many instances their outlook was utterly hopeless? While human gratitude and the sense of right exist, will the name of Mary Baker Eddy be respected, honored, and loved.
[Published in The Christian Science Journal, October, 1899.]