Christian Science: The Fulfillment of Scriptural Promises
Salem Andrew Hart, C.S., of Cleveland, Ohio
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
When the seventy disciples, whom Jesus had sent forth on a mission of healing, returned with rejoicing, the Bible tells us that he said to them: "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). This promise, or assurance, of spiritual power to heal is beautifully set forth in the following correlative passage on page 55 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: "The promises will be fulfilled. The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing."
Webster defines the word "promise" as that which causes, or gives ground for, hope, expectation, or assurance. Now, I feel sure that we will all agree that the promises made in the Bible are true, and were made for all time; so have we not the right to expect the fulfillment of these promises? Christian Science answers this question in the affirmative, and is fulfilling the promise of health and long life to the afflicted; of deliverance and forgiveness to the sinning; of comfort and protection to the sorrowful; of peace and plenty to those in want and woe; of wisdom and strength to the humble and obedient. It fulfills God's promise found in Isaiah: "And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not, I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16). So, if there be any here tonight seeking a solution for the problem of grief and separation; if there be any who are sick or in want; if there be any who are struggling with misfortune or sin; if, perchance, there be any who for the first time have crossed the threshold of Christian Science, we have for you a joyous message of Love, of deliverance, of comfort, and happiness.
Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). The truth about what? Why, the truth of being as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis — the truth about God and man, the truth which Mrs. Eddy discovered and brought to light in her study of the Bible.
On page 19 of the Christian Science textbook, we find these words: "Jesus urged the commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' which may be rendered: Thou shalt have no belief of Life as mortal; thou shalt not know evil, for there is one Life, — even God, good." Christ Jesus was the son of God that is infinite good, who made all things good, and hath done no evil. Therefore, Christian Science teaches that God has ordained no law of sin or disease for you — no discomfort of any kind. It is sometimes asked, What is God's law? Christian Science answers, His law is the law of Life, Truth and Love, the law of health, of perfection, of infinite good. This ever-present law is ever operative, and is an ever-present help that is the healer of disease. Therefore, all we need to do is to stop being afraid, to correct our thinking to trust in God, and know that when man has no law to govern him other than God's law, the law of health and Life, he is God-governed, hence perfect. The Bible tells us that God gave man dominion, and that means that we should be master of our surroundings, our environments, our business, our thinking. Christian Science declares that to know God aright, we must know Him as infinite good, as Life, Truth, and Love, Spirit, Soul, infinite Mind, Principle, intelligence, substance. We must understand Him to be the only power, the only presence, All-in-all. Therefore, if God is All-in-all, then He is all there is.
Many are under the impression today that Christian Scientists are cold, indifferent, and unsympathetic regarding the belief of sickness and suffering, and charge us with doing nothing to afford relief to those who are struggling with such beliefs. This is because it is difficult for a person thinking in terms of matter to comprehend how healing can be done without drugs, manipulation, or material means.
Christian Science does not approve of or recognize the use of material remedies or material means of any sort as an agency of healing; on the contrary, it adopts the purely spiritual teaching and practice of the blessed Master, and only by intelligent and absolute reliance on God, "Who," as the Psalmist declares, "forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases," is true healing made possible, and is man rescued from the false beliefs of sin and disease. Christian Science treatment is not a system of denials; it is not the hypnotic influence of one human mind upon another; nor is it suggestion or mesmerism, as is sometimes ignorantly stated. To the accusation that he cast out devils by Beelzebub, Jesus replied, "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?" (Matthew 12:27.) Error cannot correct error; no more can the human mind uninstructed in spiritual law grasp the import of spiritual healing, nor the means by which it is bought about.
The Christian Science practitioner never attempts to heal matter, never regards person as a patient. He knows instantly that a patient is an erring sense of mind, recognizes that causation is mental, and endeavors to reveal to the patient the Science or truth of being; and when this truth is revealed to the consciousness of the sufferer, he is healed.
Thousands of men and women have been healed of sickness and sin through reading the Christian Science textbook alone, as evidenced by testimonials which will be found in the last chapter, "Fruitage," and also by those given at our Wednesday evening testimonial services, proving that the revelation of Truth contained in those pages opens the door of human understanding, brings to human consciousness man's true relationship to God, and permanent healing, unlabored and joyous, follows as a natural consequence. This understanding of God impels man to learn His will and do it. Thus governed, man learns that it is God who "healeth all thy diseases" and is an ever-present help in trouble. Christian Scientists are learning to trust this God and rely on His promises. They are proving that He does answer the righteous prayer of the sick and sinning.
Jesus attached so much importance to the right concept of prayer that he gave us the greatest of all prayers, known as the Lord's Prayer. The first chapter in the Christian Science textbook is on prayer, and in this chapter Mrs. Eddy sets forth clearly and concisely what constitutes true prayer and what the purpose of prayer must be, all of which is in exact accord with the teachings of Jesus. Christian Science treatment is prayer which delivers men from the false beliefs of sin and sickness, and is the means of gaining the perfect understanding of God and His reflection, man. On page 16 of the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy writes, "Only as we rise above all material sensousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick." And then follows the Lord's Prayer with its spiritual interpretation, the reading of which has healed thousands instantaneously. The fervency and tenderness of the Lord's Prayer as revealed in the spiritual interpretation quiets fears, removes malice, envy, hatred, and jealousy, stills the tempests of mad ambition.
In June, 1924, it was my privilege to attend the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland, where I witnessed a practical demonstration of the foregoing statement. Each session of the convention was opened with prayer, and the privilege of opening the fourth session was granted to the Christian Scientists. On Thursday afternoon, after a stormy and confused session, recess was taken for one hour for conferences, the convention being called to order again at 4:00 p.m. It was a seething mass of humanity numbering 12,000 people. The delegates were hot and tired from long and tedious labor trying to unite on a candidate for Vice-President. It seemed impossible for the chairman to restore order, and, almost in despair, he asked the Christian Scientist present who was acting as chaplain to invoke the divine blessing. Stepping to the front of the rostrum, he raised his hands and requested all to arise and unite in a few moments of silent prayer, to be followed by the audible repetition of the Lord's Prayer, repeated in unison. In an instant you could have heard a pin drop, the peace and quiet was so marked during the silent prayer; and then followed the reverent, audible repetition of the Lord's Prayer, all present responding in perfect unison. The inspiration and confidence that came to those leaders was beautiful to behold. Several expressed themselves as impressed with the thought of its being the most effectual prayer of the convention. A minister in the audience said it seemed as though the gates of heaven had opened to receive the vast audience into the presence of the Almighty. It is needless to say that the convention quietly and quickly resumed deliberations and soon nominated a candidate for Vice-President. The effects of this experience were far-reaching, as reports show that large assemblies in other cities, listening in on the radio, stood in silence during the silent prayer, and many participated in the audible repetition. It was an experience never to be forgotten, for it again proved the power of true prayer, fulfilling the promise of Scripture so beautifully set forth in the 15th chapter of John, 7th verse: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
The following lines in the Christian Science Hymnal express the Christian Science thought of what constitutes true prayer:
"Pray'r is the heart's sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Pray'r is the simplest form of speech,
That infant lips can try;
Pray'r the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.
Pray'r is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air;
His watchword overcometh death —
He enters heav'n with pray'r."
Friends, Christian Science shows that Scriptural promises were ample and far-reaching, and were not made for a limited time only, as is sometimes believed, but for all time. It also shows that these promises are not a hollow mockery, but are based upon absolute spiritual law and power, available to every phase of daily experience. Christian Science teaches the Science of Christianity or the Christ, Truth, which heals and saves. It breaks the day dream of life and sensation in matter. It declares God aright and furnishes a key to the Scriptures which dispels mystery and makes plain the word of God to man. It reveals the only true God who is Love, unchangeable, ever-present, and impartial, whom to know aright brings permanent peace and happiness. Let us ponder the words of Mrs. Eddy on page 13 of the Christian Science textbook: "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters'." The assurance of the fulfillment of God's promises is appropriately and expressively set forth in the following verse taken from one of our hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal:
"Our God is Love, unchanging Love,
And can we ask for more?
Our prayer is vain that asks increase;
'Twas infinite before.
Ask not the Lord with breath of praise
For more than we accept;
The open fount is free to all,
God's promises are kept." (Hymn 191)
[Published in the Erie County (New York) Independent, Oct. 6, 1927. A few words omitted in the second paragraph under the heading "Spiritual Healing" have been supplied from another synopsis of the lecture and numerous evident typographical errors have been removed. Since this lecture was posted, a longer version has been found and thus this copy is no longer in the index.]