Christian Science: The Power of Good

 

Paul A. Harsch, C.S.B., of Toledo, Ohio

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of Eleventh Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, Logan Boulevard and Mozart Street, Sunday afternoon, February 6, by Paul A. Harsch, C.S.B., of Toledo, Ohio, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: The Power of Good." Mr. Harsch spoke substantially as follows:

 

Ours is an age of mental activity. Mind is being recognized as in the ascendancy. The age of physical force is fast vanishing. Materiality is on the wane and social, political and economic upheavals are the signs following. Occasionally these disturbances have been revolutionary in their effect and in the last quarter century have followed each other with such frequency as to challenge attention. Trying to accommodate itself to these rapidly changing conditions humanity is sometimes bewildered. Before it has become accustomed to one change another quite as disturbing demands attention.

As a whole, civilization from the beginning has been satisfied with its so-called accomplishments and culture. Rarely has it welcomed the pioneer whose message demanded a renunciation of established theories and dogma, and it is content if only its material interests be undisturbed. Indifference, procrastination and open resistance have  often  seemingly checked the development of right mental activity, but its momentum now is well nigh irresistible and it is sweeping on swiftly, silently, but as surely as the tides in their ebb and flow.

Students of world affairs generally concede the fundamental correctness of this conclusion but call attention to the fact that the awakening often seems to come as slowly in the individual consciousness as of old. Is it not a rebuke to human apathy to recall that twenty centuries have come and gone since the most stupendous event of the ages took place, that event which changed the whole course of human affairs? That is to say, nearly two thousand years have chiseled their record of human effort with its failures as well as its achievements, upon the corridors of time, since the birth of Jesus. Still all are not fully awake. Many are yet deeply asleep.

Endeavoring to correct this human tendency to mental lethargy and sluggishness, Paul said in his epistle to the Ephesians, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light". He was not speaking of physical sleep but of mental deadness with all its paralyzing effects.

 

Mental Awakening Illustrated

A personal experience may illustrate the almost universal resistance to the mental call which Christian Science is making to this age in its presentation of the power of God, good, even though it comes with such clear and ringing notes. Nearly twenty-five years ago I was seriously ill. The difficulty was a so-called chronic one and apparently deep-seated. It had refused to yield to medical treatment. Eminent and skilled members of the medical profession had been appealed to. One of them was a close and valued friend. None had helped me. At this point and as a last resort, help was sought in Christian Science and healing followed. But I was not awakened from my mental torpor. My newly gained physical freedom to go on with my life and work as in the days before satisfied me.

Six months passed and a very precious member of my family was healed instantaneously by Christian Science treatment, of a difficulty which, a physician who had previously attended the case said would require an immediate operation. This healing brought me to the point of going to the Christian Science church occasionally, but still no genuine awakening took place. Then our small son was delivered from an alarming condition quickly and perfectly. I was grateful but my interest in Christian Science was still more or less casual.

Then finally came another crisis. I had invested substantial sums, along with others, in a commercial venture. All that we possessed in a material sense was involved and it seemed about to be swept away. There would be great loss to creditors and stock-holders. The business at this juncture was placed entirely in my hands. The responsibility seemed to be wholly mine. At last I awoke! The struggle began. For days and months I sought to gain, by earnest effort, an understanding of the power of God, good, whom I knew by this time to be the only Mind, hoping to apply this knowledge to the problem which seemed about to overwhelm me.

Again and again the business seemed at the point of complete annihilation. It appeared that each tomorrow would be the end, but tomorrow always brought a respite. Now it was a tiny glimpse of God's goodness that saved the day by lifting courage high enough to weather the storm, then the comforting assurance, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," restored my soul. Then slowly, day by day and against tremendous odds as it seemed, I awoke more and more to the facts of real being and my relationship to them.

As the awakening came, my confidence in the power and presence of God as infinite good became stronger. The business itself grew accordingly. Light began to filter in through tiny chinks. Hope became more buoyant. Wrong thoughts were corrected. Fear dispelled. Assets which at one time had seemed of doubtful value increased substantially in actual worth and were sold, and finally the business was successfully liquidated. Creditors were paid, stockholders received their money and my own capital investment was returned in full.

This experience proved to me in a most convincing way that God is ever present to aid man, that is, to guide, to counsel and correct him; that He is indeed good and that this quality of goodness as a divine attribute possesses power to destroy every phase of lack, limitation and insufficiency.

My early religious training had inculcated a right sense of regularly bringing tithes into God's storehouse. Therefore and almost from the first, my consciousness had been awake to the necessity of giving freely if I wished to receive freely. The long held theory of "one tenth for the Lord the balance for material needs" was clearly a fraud on mankind because of its limiting sense. The door through which one gave was the door through which one's needs would be supplied, that is, if it was one tenth open to give it was still one tenth open to receive, no more, no less, and if one was able to keep this door ajar widely enough an adequate return was assured.

 

Good Defined

In the text book of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, its author, thus defines Good. "God; Spirit; omnipotence; omnipresence; omniaction," (Pg. 587) and it is proposed to present the subject of Christian Science here from the standpoint just illustrated, that is, of good and its power: - power inherent in it, constantly being manifested by it, and inevitably lifting mankind upward and onward to God.

 

Desirability of Good

Deep seated in the heart of every one of us there dwells a desire to know more about good, a yearning to attain to the secret place of the Most High, to that point of understanding whereby good may be brought more largely and more specifically into daily experience and there retained and used.

In the Scriptural statement, "And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good," the word good is used in a definitive or qualifying sense, but the Hebrew word so translated in this instance is quite as frequently employed as a noun. It possessed, to the writers of Biblical times, and to the translators of a later day, certain qualities which expressed beauty, gladness, welfare, and in this sense was used in hundreds of instances. When Jesus asked, "Why callest thou me good"? he immediately answered his own question by the statement, "None is good, save one, that is, God," and thereby directed the thought of his hearers away from a sense of good resident in person or matter and towards the one source of all good, God.

From whatever view-point the individual may approach the contemplation of good, and be his desire for it great or small, it is nevertheless a fact that everyone is seeking, with some measure of earnestness, that which to his sense stands for good. Not one but desires to hear and learn something which he may interpret in terms of tangible good. Good, to some, may mean a larger measure of health, relief from pain, freedom from the bondage of some unfortunate habit, release from the demon of lack and limitation, the destruction of some form of fear, - fear of persons, conditions, or even of climate. To all peoples and from the earliest days, good and the conditions or objects which it represents, have very properly been understood to be an outcome of Deity. But this belief was always accompanied by another not so reassuring. Was it not believed that the same God on occasion sent pestilence, famine, war, discord and misery, everything in short that was not good? Or, if he was not directly responsible for these things was He not supposed to permit them to be? There appeared to be two powers. Thus it came about that good as a quality of God seemed offset by an opposite and terrifying characteristic called by various names.

This thought of an evil power equal to, and sometimes apparently superior to good, has seemed to have been so bred into the very fiber of the race that the true sense of God has been woefully distorted. Theology has perpetuated this fallacy and many of the myths and superstitions of the race have had their foundation in it. Voltaire the arch-skeptic, said, "If there were no God we should have to invent one" and a modern writer adds, "That is what we have been doing since the beginning of time, creating God in our own image." Christian Science based on the teaching of Christ Jesus that God alone is good discards the possibility of reality in evil and accepts the omnipotence and omnipresence of good alone. It teaches that since this is sound logic the sequence must be that there is no division or separation of power in God's universe which must be entirely and infinitely good. Therefore evil does not exist as a reality or as a power.

 

Infinity of God

Since then, in the universe of Spirit, there is no thing or power to withstand God, or to divide authority with Him, or express any sense of being apart from Him, we surely must agree that He alone includes all good. Likewise, God's presence in His universe has been continuous, that is, without interruption from the beginning, manifested without break or change. With these premises accepted we find ourselves contemplating a universe completely filled with God, good, who is and ever has existed exclusively and alone and who exercises absolute power and authority throughout the entire compass of His creation. Nor is this all, the conclusion just stated has always and forever been the fact and it leads to the comforting assurance, that there is no evil thing, influence, or power now existing, nor has there ever been in reality, such a power to harm, injure, kill or destroy a single one of God's children.

 

Joyousness of Good

Whittier reminds us, "That all of good the past hath had remains to make our own time glad" and this dominant note of gladness always accompanies the refrain of good. To illustrate; Life, Christian Science teaches, is God, good. Admittedly it is good to express Life in a full, free and vigorous way and to do so is a joyous thing. Could it be possible to imagine a condition more joyous than to be free forever from all sense of weariness; to be absolutely devoid of anxiety; of every thought of sickness and disease; to have no consciousness of a life that must terminate sometime; to dwell consciously in the presence of Life which is all good? Would not this be heaven, eternal joy?

To take from life all of its joy has always been the effort of that arch enemy of mankind, mortal mind or the carnal mind as Scripture puts it. Mrs. Eddy aptly and graphically calls this mortal mind animal magnetism, and devotes a brief but vigorous and marvelous chapter in her text book to it. This claim of evil power has been known variously throughout the ages. By Jesus it was called a murderer in these words, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the Truth, because there is no Truth in him." It is this false, untruthful and evil sense which ceaselessly endeavors to rob mankind of the joy of knowing, trusting and expressing an infinitely good God, in whom is life eternal. Evil, however, invariably fails to accomplish its purpose in the case of those who are applying the knowledge of ever present good, God, as gained in Christian Science - good ready to protect and guard its own unfolding sense.

A simple illustration may help to show this more clearly. The clouds which conceal some noble and towering mountain peak from our gaze when we have gone to view it, do not convince us by their false testimony, that the mountain itself has been removed. We still believe it to be in its accustomed place, though several days may pass before its beauties are revealed. In the meantime we have experienced no fear that it has been removed, no anxiety about it or doubt as to its presence and reappearance, yet all the time were we to believe our eyes, no mountain would be there. In this manner animal magnetism uses first one and then another of the physical senses to delude, deceive and destroy.

In this connection it is well to remember that God's children who reflect and express Him continuously, constitute the only real creation. As the Bible assures us "Now are we the sons of God." We may, therefore safely start from this fourfold premise: First, We are children of God. Second, God being Spirit, we, His children, are spiritual. Third, Being spiritual we partake only of the qualities of Spirit and therefore are in reality, neither material nor mortal and consequently not subject to sin or disease. Fourth, God, good, being omnipotent and causing His children to reflect His power - we can successfully resist all evil.

 

 

The Road to Health

Now herein is seen the power of good, viz.: that every statement and every conclusion based upon it, or emanating from it, leads only to health, happiness, genuine success, permanent peace, longevity, and above all, usefulness. This is sufficient reason for holding to this basic fact so persistently that our consciousness is constantly filled with good so that neither thoughts of disease, misery, failure, discord or even death itself, can find entrance. With such thoughts denied admission it follows in a perfect sequence that none of these claims to an evil power can express themselves in the bodily experience of one depending resolutely on the power of ever-present good, God.

 

Availability of Good

The instant availability of good is a continual source of joy and thankfulness. With out-stretched arms, the omnipresent, omnipotent Father-Mother Love, to use the exquisite name Mrs. Eddy gives us for God, is always at hand to meet every human need. No experience, however extraordinary may be the demand, however terrifying the fear, but this good God is ready and waiting to protect and deliver.

For example, Daniel in the den of lions saw only the power of God, good and was safe, while those who sought his destruction believed the lions had power. Impelled by envy, hate, and malice, they were unable to see anything else, and they reaped the result of their own thinking when they themselves were cast to the beasts.

Again what cause for joy and gratitude arises from the power and presence of good, as expressed by divine intelligence, God, to cause His children to walk in the path of health and holiness, thus preserving and defending them. Contrariwise the so-called human mind following its own inclinations and desires always brings, sooner or later, disaster and destruction. Greed and avarice, ambition, appetite, self-will, pride and passion unrestrained may for a moment claim to be power and may appear to yield satisfaction and pleasure, but the evil fruit of these unlicensed, because unGodlike, qualities is soon harvested. Many a stubborn disease has been completely healed when one or more of the qualities just enumerated has yielded to the silent health producing ministration of divine intelligent Mind, good.

Elijah illustrates the power of divine Mind, infinite good, to rescue from persecution, to preserve from harm and to advance in spiritual understanding. "How long halt ye between two opinions?" he demanded of Israel's hosts, assembled on the heights of Carmel. But they "answered him not a word." He offered the priests of Baal a supreme test. They accepted his challenge but failed, as evil always must fail, when confronted with divine good, omnipotent God. When Elijah turned to God in these words "Hear me, O Lord, Hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God" . . . "Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice" . . . "and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, the Lord, He is the God; The Lord, He is the God."

Had not Elijah's zeal demanded "an eye for an eye" and the slaughter of Baal's prophets - four hundred and fifty of them, - he might have been spared the hurried flight into the wilderness and the forty days of fasting before the journey to Horeb. But even Elijah needed a purifying experience and we find him in a sheltering cave in the fastnesses of the mountains watching the elements in their wild raging and seeking in the wind, the earthquake and the fire to find some explanation.

Thus in retrospect, Elijah again faces the winds of false doctrine. Beating and crashing about him they seem to rend and tear the very foundation stones of material beliefs, but, they can neither touch reality nor the spiritual facts of the universe at a single point. Still in retrospect he feels the shock of ingratitude and heartlessness. Driven from home and his normal activities by those whom he had faithfully served and his very life sought by them, he is forced by divine Love, good itself, to realize that no dependence can be placed on persons, be they kings or commoners.

Still looking backward, he must have seen that his own fiery zeal had also availed nothing for it was but self-will and this phase of his recent experience had been entirely without divine sanction. In fact it was worse than useless for it was destructive and had no element of divine Love, good, in it. His sense of good as resident in himself, in other words, in matter, must have been destroyed and he was made ready, patiently and silently to wait for the voice of God, and to let the divine will which is always good, always loving, always tender and compassionate, prevail. Thus cleansed and purified by the experience he had not long to wait, and though the voice was still and small he had no difficulty in discerning its message.

Few individual experiences today may be as dramatic as that of Elijah, but every experience, great or small, means growth in Christian character and grace, as pride, prejudice, doctrinal beliefs, man-made laws, reliance on false, so-called gods, and various forms of fear are forced to yield up their dominion. When these have been driven out, there may be heard - but not until then - the still, small voice, comforting, assuring, directing. Christian Scientists today everywhere are convinced of this and are listening for the voice of their good God, convinced that in every hour of need, He does direct them as faithfully and certainly as in those older days.

 

The Voice of God

To illustrate I am going to risk another personal narrative. In the fall of 1918 while in the south of France, my work having been prosecuted energetically, and having reached a point about ten hours from my destination ahead of schedule, it seemed a justifiable plan to remain over night in a comfortable hotel rather than to proceed at once on a crowded train amidst considerable discomfort. Going to my room I sat down with the Bible. Opening it at random my eye fell on this passage in Jeremiah, "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words." I was struck by the positiveness of the language and pondered over it for some minutes. It projected itself so completely into my consciousness that further consecutive reading seemed impossible. I went out and walked about the streets with the words ringing in my ears. I returned and taking up the book again saw this time only these words - "Arise and go." There was still time to make the night train. I caught it and by doing so reached my destination in time to make an arrangement that brought me home several weeks earlier than had been planned. These weeks were critical ones in the work in which I was engaged at home, and my absence would have been serious, though I had no possible means of knowing this at the time. To some this may seem a trivial matter, but I assure you my friends, it was to me a very convincing poof that God does speak to us today as he did in the days of Elijah.

 

Desire for Good

Now primarily, the desire for good, - for the guidance and control of all intelligent Mind, God, must exceed all other desires. The seeker for divine good must be able to say with David, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." Such desire is prayer: A prayer that is always answered. There are no exceptions.

On the first page of the first chapter of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy, its author, declares that "desire is prayer" and that "no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds." This was the prayer of Elijah answered by the "still voice," this the prayer of Nehemiah answered by the restoration of Jerusalem, this the prayer of Jesus before the tomb of Lazarus, and this, my friends, the prayer of thousands of Christian Scientists today. A prayer that is being daily answered by the healing of every sort of sin, disease and discord.

In the opening paragraph of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, that prayer - "is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a spiritual understanding of him, an unselfed love." Thus prayer implies first a desire for good, a desire to be and do good. Next, faith in an available and ever responsive God and in His infinitely good power; a spiritual appreciation or comprehension of Him without which faith and desire are lacking an essential quality. There remains this in addition, that all prayer to be genuine, should have the quality of thankfulness or gratitude. Said Jesus, "Father I thank thee" and then he proved death to be powerless and performed many other marvelous works.

Thankfulness may almost be said to be the keystone in the structure of a Christian Science prayer. It is a matter for rejoicing that in thousands of Christian Science churches and from unnumbered lips on the occasion of every testimonial meeting there may be heard the words "I am grateful." What a natural thing it is to be grateful. Is it a cup of cold water or the hospitality of a friend? We are thankful and freely say so. Unless our manners have been most sadly neglected we lose no opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude for the least courtesy. The slightest contact of individuals or groups when this simple law of gentility, to give it no finer word, is applied, invariably leaves a glow of goodness and sweetness in its wake.

Nothing should be more natural then or more spontaneous than the giving of thanks to the source of all good, God. It is so obvious that "if we live and move and have our being" in God that not the slightest act or incident of our daily lives but depends upon or proceeds from that infinitely good source. Life, activity, that is, the ordered functioning of every part of God's creation, being itself, - full of joy and beauty - all are but expressions of divine Principle, divine Mind, God, good. The primal and eternal fact, that existence is dependent alone on God who is good and therefore neither can nor does express in all its eternal and infinite existence anything but good, this, I say, demands gratitude and when the demand is joyously conceded and spontaneously expressed the glow of healing is experienced. Sin and disease alike yield to this prayer.

The prayer which begins with a paean of thanks to an eternally good Father-Mother God, that there neither is nor can be in reality such a thing as disease in His infinitely good universe; the prayer which continues with thankfulness, that evil by whatever name or nature it may present itself to consciousness, has neither intelligence nor power and which concludes with rejoicing because an infinitely good God orders His universe in such perfection, is certain to have its perfect answer. This prayer of faith and spiritual understanding, this conscious desire for a larger sense of good, contains within itself the seed of universal salvation.

The world is seeking as never before for good. Prayer, petition to a power outside of and presumably superior to itself, always has been the medium through which mankind has sought to attain those things it could not by physical effort or humanly mental acuteness obtain for itself. A widely read literary and non-religious magazine in a recent issue published a contribution on prayer which made such an instantaneous appeal that the issue was quickly exhausted. Hundreds of requests for reprints were received. The article was published in book form and widely sold at a large price. The editor claims the article to have been the most generally appreciated of any recent offering in his publication. This seems a striking commentary on the world-eagerness today for a living, vital form of prayer, some means by which God can be effectively reached.

 

Saving Power of Good

With the clear and correct understanding of prayer which constitutes so large a part of the mental equipment of every Christian Scientist he is enabled to bring a larger measure of good into his own experience and that of others. Indeed it is in this way precisely, that his salvation is attained. Scriptural injunctions to work out our own salvation are numerous. The Christian Science textbook quotes these with approbation and insists upon the necessity of working out our own salvation in the way Jesus taught.

It may be pertinent therefore to ask what salvation is and of what it consists? In many, if not in all Christian churches, salvation is defined as "liberation from the bondage and results of sin." Let us then consider it from but one of many possible viewpoints, that from which we are discussing the question of Christian Science, namely, the power of good to save, to deliver, from sin and its bondage.

As has been heretofore frequently stated God, good, neither can nor does divide or share His power. Were He to do so He would no longer be God. Consequently good must be acknowledged as all power for one to be saved from evil or sin. The universal understanding of salvation as it is taught in Christian Science would mean the redemption of the race.

To experience salvation from the results of so-called sin whether in the form of sickness, disease, discord, lack, misery, fear, unhappiness, loneliness, it must be utterly abandoned - forsaken. Its false pleasures discarded. It must be seen that it produces no satisfaction and consequently is wholly undesirable. A realization of the powerlessness of sin to produce anything having even the semblance of good must precede the rejection of the belief of its power to produce any form of evil.

 

Healing by the Christ Method

Freed from the fear of sin and from its indulgence by this process of right thinking, and living, the slave of evil finds the glow of hope and health taking possession of his entire being. His outlook upon life changes and his hope of ultimate salvation from every form of aggressive evil is enhanced. To illustrate: Jesus frequently pointed out this method of salvation, indicating to many a disease-ridden sufferer of his day that it was the destruction and forgiveness of sin which resulted in healing; he thus proved himself the true Wayshower.

Ever great in simplicity, profound in logic, clear and concise in statement were the words of the Master. To the impotent sufferer at the pool of Bethesda, who for thirty-eight years had been seeking release from an unnatural physical condition, Jesus said: "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee": To the one suffering with palsy, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee": to him who was let down through the tiling of the roof, these comforting words, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee": to a gathering of the Jews one day, "Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin." And it was of Christ Jesus who did and said these things that John testified, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

It was said of Christ Jesus that he "taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes." No doubt existed as to whether his authority extended to teaching alone. All realized that he practiced authoritatively! They knew, either through their own observation or the testimony of others, that his command was sufficient to check the elements in their wild raging; that it was adequate to heal the sick and suffering and that it was able to unloose the hold of the last enemy itself.

Wherein lay this power, this ability to command, this supreme authority? These were the questions the Jews of his day asked each other as they sat puzzled upon their housetops in the soft Syrian nights, gazing into the starry skies perplexed and wondering.

Many times during the interval between the days of Christ Jesus and our own era have these same puzzling queries presented themselves to suffering and sin-sick humanity. What has become of "Christ-opathy" questioned a God-fearing English Doctor who had become discouraged over the failure of the many "pathies" of his day?

Writing, nearly one hundred years ago, Dr. Wilkinson of The Royal College of Surgeons, said, "After all our systems of health, public and private, there is one means remaining which we should be guilty of much base error as well as historical neglect if we did not dare to bring forth. We allude to the healing powers exerted by Christ and His apostles, and by Him bequeathed to the race of man.

As we read the gospels we see how the Divine Man was the Great Physician; how He went about healing all manner of sickness and diseases among the people; and how as many as touched the hem of His garment were made whole everyone. He also commanded His followers to do the like, and founded cure as the grand evidence of the Christian religion. His proofs of His mission were sound bodies - God's saving health among all people - the deaf hearing; the dumb speaking; lepers cleansed; the dead raised; those who were before blind now they see - if the age of miracles is gone, it is because the age of Christianity is gone. The age of mathematics would be past if no man cultivated them. Let then this mode and manner of healing be fairly experimented." Should success meet with the effort he added, "there will be no need of missionaries anymore, but mankind . . . will bless their privilege and their Master's name. All other pathies will give way to Christ-opathy."

Sixty years ago the world's hunger and its quest for a practical answer to this ever recurring question was rewarded. A new voice was heard speaking with authority, as did the Master of old. The voice dared to question the established order of things medical, theological and scientific. It denied the reality of matter and its multiplicity of manifestations and again it was not the voice of the scribe or the Pharisee. It was the voice of Mary Baker Eddy speaking in a new-old tongue, declaring anew the power of God, good. It was the revelation of the healing Christ coming once more to mankind as had been promised of old. And, as of old, few heeded the call at once. The thought of the world was much as in Paul's day, and recalls his words to the Corinthians, "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." Those who heard this voice first were the humble and meek, the uncultured and unlearned. Such as these are often the first to grasp the meaning of Jesus' words, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." In any event those who were thus listening eagerly and humbly for the voice, heard it, and because they heard, it was not long before some in their turn were saying to the sick and the sinning, and with at least a measure of the same authority as Jesus, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk."

 

Authority of Good

This confident message of good is the message of Christian Science. It is the message of Jesus repeated again. It comes with the same degree of authority and force that accompanied its presentation to the consciousness of men from the very beginning of recorded history. It is the message of the Christ. Truth has always been available, but it has not always been used. From the dawn of history till now, however, there have been innumerable instances of its potent application.

 

The Greatest Book in the World

The Bible records the power of good and its availability at all times by everyone and under widely varying conditions. Neither age, sex, nor social position, can alter or affect the operation of the mighty power and authority of God, good. What a storehouse of inspiration is the Bible! "The greatest Book in the world" it has been called. Thomas Huxley once said of the King James Bible, that is, our commonly used authorized version, "for three centuries this book has been woven into all that is noblest and best in English History . . . it is written in the noblest and purest English . . . and it abounds in exquisite beauties of literary form." Thomas Jefferson speaking more particularly of his own compilation of portions of the New Testament, gave this as his opinion: "A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen: it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of Jesus."

This is the book that Mrs. Eddy loved as no other book. From earliest childhood she studied it, pondered its precepts and guided her life by its rules and standards. For three years after her discovery of Christian Science, which occurred in 1866, she lived constantly with her Bible, seeking through its inspired pages to find the Science of the Christ healing which had come into her experience. It was her only textbook and she describes this quest as most joyous, uplifting and beautiful. This was a logical result of her training and environment as well as her own natural inclination.

We may recall that Mary Baker's New England home of a century ago was largely regulated by austere and rigid rules: rules that had their origin in the stern and unrelenting theology of the time. The doctrine of the Scotch Covenanters left little room for aught but work and worship. Mary Baker's childhood was influenced strongly by an atmosphere that still retained much of the quality of her Scotch ancestors of that earlier day. A gifted and spiritual mother brought into this life however a tender love, that modified its austerity and brightened it. Her early years were spent at home. Her mother and an unusually gifted and scholarly brother supervised her studies in which she was most proficient. Later she was graduated from an excellent private school and quickly developed marked literary ability.

Through those busy years she was being prepared in countless ways for the stupendous work that was to be hers in later life. Many of her close associates were men and women of deep learning and great religious intuition. Her whole tendency was along these lines and it was not strange that she should have been led in due time to the great discovery of Christian Science.

 

 

A Labor of Love

After this discovery, that is from 1866 to 1910, Mrs. Eddy's life was one of unremitting labor - a labor of unselfish love - a labor to establish the Science she discovered and loved. Throughout her long and busy life she never spared herself. Her love and devotion were invincible. The result of this devotion to God, good, and His power is seen today in the rapid growth of Christian Science through the world. The appeal of Christian Science is universal, as the appeal of good always must be, its influence upon those who embrace and practice its teachings is always beneficial and its well organized plan for extension and for redemptive work among all mankind is freely acknowledged as one of Mrs. Eddy's outstanding accomplishments.

The universality of good is illustrated by the entire Christian Science movement, broad and yet so varied in its phases that none seeking good through its channels need be disappointed. By means of a simple but complete and perfectly operating group of activities provided by Mrs. Eddy, this Christly movement proceeds on its redemptive way.

Through Mrs. Eddy's writings, the helpful and constructive Christian Science publications, Christian Science lectures, the services of The Mother Church in Boston, and services in hundreds of branch churches, as, well as Sunday Schools with ever enlarging enrollments, the gospel of good is being brought to a world made ready in some degree for it. These activities all of them, are symbolical of various forms of good always at hand to meet each and every need of humanity. May we not then sum up the whole subject of good and its power, as revealed by Christian Science, in this way: God is. God is good. God is omniscient good. God is omnipresent good. God is omnipotent good. This my friends is the refrain of this entire discussion, with this additional thought, that "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Our joyous purpose then should be to search and seek, more earnestly than before, for a larger faith, a deeper humility, a clearer insight into good, that we may express in daily thought and deed more of that goodness that is of God alone. We have seen in succession something of good, something of its operation, its divine qualities, its healing and redemptive power. We have seen that God's purposes are always expressed and manifested in a good way, and that to worship, adore and demonstrate the power of such a God should be our highest, and surely, our constant aim.

May we not then in closing, use these words of the Psalmist:

 

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands,     

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

 

[From a Chicago area newspaper clipping, date unknown.]

 

 

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