Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (1)
Edward H. Hammond, C.S.D., of Baltimore Maryland
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Paul the Apostle centuries ago called upon his hearers to awake from a condition of mind which he called sleep, that they might clearly see the wonderful meaning of the truths he preached to them.
So there comes to this age that which has been named Christian Science. It comes to awaken mankind from a condition of mind into which materialism has carried them, that they view anew that Christianity which Jesus taught and demonstrated. It comes to present to them today a Christianity full of magnificent results and fraught with unlimited possibilities.
Let us say here that Christian Science has for its primary object not simply healing the body, but the healing of sin and sorrow and the salvation of men from all the evils of this life.
Origin of Christian Science
Mary Baker Eddy is the discoverer and also the founder of Christian Science. From her earliest years she manifested a remarkable spiritual development. She was born in the State of New Hampshire of Puritan parents, but the stern theology of that name found no place in her mind. Her religion was the religion of love. Her hope and desire. was to learn of God and his ways through the Master's teachings. She grew to womanhood deeply interested in all that makes for the well-being of man, interested in all the progressive movements of the day. Here let me say that Mrs. Eddy was never a convert to spiritualism, but after investigating the subject she abandoned it as a delusion, "explaining its phenomena in a manner differing from the belief of Spiritualists." — (C.S. Historical Facts.)
Sometime during the year 1866, while living in Massachusetts, she met with a severe accident. A physician called in by her friends gave no hope of recovery. As she lay upon her bed her Bible was brought her at her request and placed by her side. She opened it and read of the healing of the man "sick of palsy" by Jesus. As she read, a sense of spiritual illumination came to her and with it a sense of being healed. She arose from her bed a well woman.
With that experience came an understanding which revealed to her God as divine Life, an experience she had never known before.
Being of a logical cast of mind, as well as spiritually endowed, she sought to know the spiritual laws which governed this phenomenon of healing. To this end she absented herself from the world three years. Her earnest search was rewarded by the discovery of that early healing which Jesus demonstrated and the disciples imitated. She found it was a science and gave to it its name — Christian Science. After this remarkable healing further years were spent by Mrs. Eddy in careful elaboration of these ideas. The result of this patient and loving labor is to be found in the pages of her volume, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
And here we must bear witness to the unselfish labors of the discoverer of Christian Science. Her labors did not end with giving to the world that remarkable volume with its holy message of truth. She organized The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1878, whose cornerstone was apostolic healing. She felt it her duty to God and to humanity to make known the Christ, Truth, through her church, and also by personal teaching. Her experience was similar to that of the Master, the seeds of Truth fell in some cases upon stony places or among thorns, and in others upon good ground, which brought forth fruit, glorious signs following. Called to higher usefulness, she established herself in Boston, obtaining in 1881 from the Massachusetts legislature the charter for a metaphysical college called the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, of which she became president. At this institution she continued to teach students. Envy and hate in many forms dogged her footsteps. Her motives and purposes were misinterpreted or cruelly maligned. Her fate was the fate of all genuine reformers.
Mrs. Eddy remained at the head of the college until 1880, when she withdrew from active participation in its work. Since then she has resided in Concord, N.H., where, as the executive head of this great movement of Christian Science, she continues to act under God's guidance as its efficient and wise leader. We have known Mrs. Eddy for years, and a higher and nobler Christian worker we have never met. Her Christianity is of that type that abhors sin wherever it appears, and in whom it may appear, and yet her charity and forbearance are never failing.
Tenets of Christian Science
The religious beliefs of Christian Scientists, or, to speak more correctly, its "important points" or tenets, are herewith given. They were written by Mrs. Eddy, and will be found in the volume "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.
2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God; — we acknowledge one Christ — His Son Christ Jesus; the Holy Ghost or the divine Comforter; and man His divine image and likeness.
3. We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin, and in the understanding that evil and sin are unreal, hence not eternal. But the love of sin is punished, so long as it lasts.
4. We acknowledge Christ's atonement as the evidence a divine and efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Jesus Christ the Wayshower.
5. We acknowledge that man is saved through Christ — through divine Truth, Life and Love, as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in the healing of the sick and the overcoming of sin and death. Also, that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection were designed to elevate human faith and understanding to the spiritual perception of the eternal existence of the good and the real in man.
6. We solemnly promise to strive, watch and pray for that Mind to be us which was also in Christ Jesus; to love one another; and to be meek, merciful, just, and pure.
MARY BAKER G. EDDY.
The Bible Was Her Textbook
In the elucidation of these ideas of Christian Science Mrs. Eddy says the Bible was "my only text-book," In that divine treasury of knowledge all truth was found. Its inspiration was fully acknowledged. Behind the letter was seen the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures.
Christian Science views the infinite Being as Jesus viewed him — Spirit, divine Mind, incorporeal Being, the tender Father of men, whose highest name is Love and whose goodness is seen in countless manifestations toward his created beings. It teaches but one Christ, represented on earth by Christ Jesus, the Saviour of mankind, the Wayshower, leading them out of sin, disease and death to holiness, health and life. How groundless, then, the assertion that Christian Scientists do not acknowledge the Christ. "There was," says Mrs. Eddy, "is, and never can be but one God and one Christ and one Jesus of Nazareth." No followers of Christ aim more earnestly to bring out in their consciousness the some mind which was in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Ghost is recognized as the Christ, Comforter, as named in John xiv.: "Whom the Father will send in my name," "that he may abide with you forever," and the grand understanding that man, true man, is created in the image and likeness of his Father, God.
The third tenet speaks of sin. The hideous nature of sin is most clearly seen in Christian Science. It is seen to blast happiness, to cause crime, to produce all manner of ills, including disease, and to shut out from human consciousness all sense of the holy presence of God.
Forgiveness of Sin
Christian Science sees God's forgiveness of sin most unmistakably manifested in the sweeping out of sin from consciousness through sincere repentance and the action of the Holy Spirit. That the pardon extended toward sin means its extirpation.
With the question of atonement the fourth tenet deals, teaching that "the atonement of Christ reconciles man to God, not God to man," and that infinite Love shows man the way through Christ Jesus whereby, as man forsakes his natural bent toward sin and error, fixing his mind on the Christ, Truth, he finds the atonement or the at-one-mentt and learns the lesson which the one Mind (God) teaches of being at one, as Christ Jesus was with the Fattier. This point is well illustrated by an extract from the text-book, "Science end Health," p. 21.
"If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, 'I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,' because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love."
Salvation from Sin and Sickness
The fifth tenet in its opening sentence expressly deals with the salvation of men, "that man is saved through Christ." Christian Science recognizes no other means or method by which man can be saved — delivered from sin, disease and death.
It will thus be seen that the meaning of the word salvation has a far broader signification in Christian Science than has hitherto been given it. Mankind need to be saved, not only from sin, but from the countless forms of evil and error known as sickness and disease. The Christian Scientist resists every temptation to be sick, as well as every temptation to sin.
The last tenet epitomizes all a Christian's duties. Can it be said a religion, or a view of Christianity which embodies such ideas, is not Christian? Which ministers to the sinner and the sick, which lifts burdens from the one and gives health to the other, which plants happiness in the place of gloom, and joy in the place of sorrow?
The secret of the growth of Christian Science is in its increase of spirituality over and above other forms of Christianity. And in nothing else (says the discoverer) will it be found to differ from our present Christianity.
In that increase of spirituality there is nothing that savors of oriental mysticism of ancient growth, spiritualism or theosophy but a discernment of the mind of Christ from the standpoint of spiritual truth. The pure thought of woman, earnest, trusting, loving, holy, chastened by suffering, touched by the Spirit, and thus illumined by the light of life, saw the Christ-mind, and it revealed to her consciousness the healing power of God. It saw in that healing power sin disappear before holy thought; it saw grief destroyed by heavenly joy; hate disappear before love, and discord vanish before the sense of harmony. It saw that the same power which destroyed sin and sorrow destroyed sickness and disease also. Herein lay the discovery of the Christ healing by Mary Baker Eddy. No precise or definite rule of healing was laid down by Jesus which has come down to us through the Scriptures. Therefore, it was necessary that it should be discovered and made known.
Woman, the Discoverer
Was it strange that a woman was the discoverer and not a man? Friends, it would have been strange, indeed, had a woman not discovered it. Has not the woman-thought for ages yearned to know more of God? Has it not been the guardian angel of our homes for generations? Has not woman, as sister, wife, mother, been the repository of all that was highest, sweetest and purest since time began? In this hour woman's adoring, aspiring, pure nature has met its fulfilment in the benediction of the Christ.
What the world needs today is more of this Christ-thought; Christian Science proclaims in trumpet tones that Christ Jesus taught nothing but what can be learned and can be practiced today. We read in that greatest of all sermons — the Sermon on the Mount — "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." In those words Jesus furnishes the true and lasting remedy for hate, for malice and for revenge. The true medicine was there prescribed by the Master. Thus it was found that the remedy for hate was love; for evil, good; for revenge, forgiveness. Was the remedy which Jesus used for such evils ever known to fail?
Let us take one step farther. As God is acknowledged omnipotent, and as his omnipotence extends over all things, we have only to acknowledge his way over the physical realm, as well as over the mental. This is a hard point to some religious people, and to many who call themselves scientific. God, in their estimation, is excluded from his own universe. The laws of matter are final, inexorable, immutable. But to the Christian Scientist God is supreme over all, and nothing can usurp that supremacy. The Christian Scientist also clearly sees that there are laws governing the spiritual universe; that as man learns these laws and comes into intelligent and loving obedience to them there comes to him the power to overcome or destroy, as Jesus did, that which God did not make. God did not make, and is in no way responsible for, sin, disease or death.
To think that omnipotence sends such evils upon human beings is indeed disheartening to the sufferer. It may be classed among popular fallacies now rapidly disappearing before the enlightened thought of Christian Science. It is the law of sin and error that it must suffer till that sin or error dies. Even Jesus suffered, not from the "wrath of God," but from the sinful mentality of others.
Christian Science comes today bringing a most effective curative method. It sees only blind belief and superstition in the present healing methods of the sick. It sees the only power material medicine and material means has is the faith reposed in it. It sees such faith acting consciously, unconsciously. The effect of material medicine varies with individuals. "I have administered the same remedy in cases that seemed identical with entirely opposite results," says a distinguished physician. Christian Science finds its explanation explained by the varying states of mind of the patient. The medicine which Jesus used was not uncertain. The medicine he administered was truth, and its practice was Christian.
The origin of disease has baffled the most astute inquirers among physiologists and medical men. The so-called violations of the laws of health do not explain it. Said a physician of reputation: "Of the nature and origin of disease we know nothing." That physician acknowledged that while we might possibly trace such origin to bacteria and microbes, the question at once arose what made these minute bodies? Baffled at the outset, the honest acknowledgment was made, "We do not know."
Christian Science finds the human mind to be the seat of disease. Its origin is mental. It is plain how the emotions affect the body. How fear pales the cheek or flushes it, makes the muscles abnormally strong or weak, retards the circulation of fluids or accelerates. How joy has been to known to kill and grief to prostrate. Also, the involuntary action of the body, such as the pulsations of the heart, etc., are carried on by the operation of the mind. Every form of sickness or sensation of the body obtains in mind first, then photographed upon the body. It is not imaginary; it is real to the sick outside of Christian Science. The inference is plain. Mind troubles require mind remedies of the highest mental or spiritual order.
The grosser sins of humanity, such as debauchery, liquor intoxication, sensuality, are prolific in suffering and disease. So of anger, not cast out, but solidifying into hate; revenge, selfishness, cruelty, etc. Anxiety of mind, worry, fear, remorse, all tend in the same direction. Inherited fear and inherited thoughts of evil, superstitious beliefs, also the errors and fears of all kind.
Cure of Disease
Christian Science, finding in the human mind the cause of humanity's troubles, finds its cure. That cure is found in just the opposite state of mind, the Christ-mind. The qualities of the Christ-mind are enumerated by Paul, as "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Galatians.) Also included in these was knowledge, intelligence divinely bestowed.
Here, then, is our remedy for sin, and sickness — the Christ-mind.
Christian Science relies not upon mere assertion, but upon proofs brought out, since Truth is demonstrable. When questioned by John the Baptist as to whether he were the Christ or not, he fell not back upon the doctrines he taught, convincing though they might be, but upon the works he wrought in casting out evils and healing the sick. "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached unto them. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matthew xi.)
Will you, dear friends, be offended in these later centuries, amidst all the the subtleties of a refined materialism, if once again the voice of Christ speaks to you, telling you the grand, sweet story of the gospel? Telling you the story which you say you knew before, of man's immortality, of God's goodness and of Christ Jesus' lofty example? Telling you, too, of things which you will say you knew not before, the interpretation of the Bible from a high and holy point of vision, giving you a spiritual view of God and man and the universe and also telling you of the healing of sin and sickness made as practical today as in the days of yore? Will you be offended if you hear the utterance of things old to God, but new to you? Will you be offended because neglected truths of Christianity, long smothered under human interpretations, are revived, emphasized and made serviceable today for humanity's use? Will you be offended because God's wondrous love found a channel of thought through which to pour a knowledge of the truth to a waiting world, a world needing it so sorely? Will you be offended because a patient, holy, pure-minded woman has brought these messages of Truth and Love to you and to me still asserts their truth and still defends them, still continues so unselfishly to live them and to keep them as pure as when they came from Christ Jesus' mind so long ago? Will you not rather welcome this glory of the arisen Christ?
Jesus told his followers, "the works that I do ye shall do also:" "preach the gospel, heal the sick."
Because the Scientist may not reproduce the highest of Jesus' demonstrations, shall he refuse to take the first steps commanded by his Master? Should the worker in primary arithmetic be censured because unable to solve an example in the integral calculus?
Bible and Science and Health
One word concerning the book we have spoken of — ''Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Let it be clearly understood that the claim is not made that it supplants the Bible. It explains it. It shows that Christianity is a life to live; that forms and ceremonies, ritualistic worship, is but the letter of Christianity, and not its spirit.
It is not easy to tabulate the vast number thus healed by Christian Science, but competent judges estimate that in America and Europe it rises above a million cases. Its text-book is being sent everywhere to meet a constant demand.
Since giving Christian Science to the world it has been the constant and consistent aim of its discoverer and founder, Mrs. Eddy, to keep it "pure and undefiled." Consequently, the Bible and its copy-righted book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," are the only text-books used in Christian Science practice, although Scientists use and distribute the other authorized writings.
"Posterity will have the right to demand," says Mrs. Eddy, "that Christian Science be stated and demonstrated is its godliness and grandeur; that however little be taught or learned that little shall be right. Let there be milk for babes, but let not the milk be adulterated." (Ret. and Intro.)
Our American humorist, Mark Twain, seems troubled that a money payment is expected for Christian Science literature. Why the Christian Science Publishing Society should not in common with the great publishing houses of the leading denominations receive a just consideration for its publications is difficult for an impartial judge to see. In justice to it we will say here that vast quantities of its literature are gratuitously distributed each year in the shape of papers, tracts, etc., through its various reading rooms.
That a price is asked for its standard publications is conceded, but no complaint has yet come from those who have made purchases, as they testify gladly to the incalculable good they have received from such works in the shape of better health, happier minds and a greater love for God.
Says Mr. W. D. McCrackan, publication committee in New York city, in the North American Review; "if Christian Scientists as a body choose to endorse the sale of the Christian Science text-book, as the best possible means of bringing health and happiness to those who are searching for these blessings, and if the author of this text-book thereby receives compensation, which is used in turn in such manner as she deems best for the needs of the denomination, why should any one complain? Mrs. Eddy receives no salary as Pastor Emeritus of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, nor as recognized leader of the Christian Science movement all over the world. If the income derived from the sale of her books is ample, the list of her constant gifts is a large one too; but is generally known only to those who receive the gifts, or whose business it is to know them. The pamphlet entitled, 'Christian Science History,' published in 1899, showed that Mrs. Eddy had expended large sums annually in charities, according to a statement furnished by her bookkeeper and taken verbatim from her books. This statement was made necessary by repeated public misrepresentations of Mrs. Eddy's private affairs."
Man in Christian Science
Christian Science comes to this age asserting the dignity, the greatness and the goodness of man. It comes to awaken man to himself. It comes to tell him how great his Father has made him. It comes to point out to him his hidden qualities of mind and heart. It comes to tell him with himself, within those hidden qualities of mind and heart, lie everything to make him great and everything to make him good. It comes to tell him that nothing transcends his greatness and goodness save God himself, who made him so.
It comes to point to him whom the world's highest and best thought has called Master, the Wayshower, as the one individual to model his lifework after, and thus to find the Mind of Christ.
[1903. Indeed Mr. Hammond knew Mrs. Eddy, as he states, having taken primary and normal class from her, having served in her household in the 1880s, and having been appointed by her to serve as a lecturer. The item referred to as "C.S. Historical Facts" was a book by Alfred Farlow entitled Christian Science: Historical Facts, published by the Puritan Press in Boston in 1902. Its purpose was "To answer certain queries" with items "compiled from newspaper articles which have recently appeared." W. D. McCrackan's article "Mrs. Eddy's Relation to Christian Science," published in The North American Review of March 1903, was reprinted in The Christian Science Journal of April 1903.]