Christian Science: The Way of Health and Security
Ella H. Hay, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
If tomorrow's headlines should carry news of a discovery which, when properly used, would ensure health and security for you and your loved ones, what would you do about it? Would you not strive to learn more about the discovery and how to use it? Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, is designated by her as "The Great Discovery" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24). When properly applied it ensures health and security.
Christ Jesus, who best knew spiritual values, said (Matt. 13:45, 46), "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Who would not surrender fear and disease for the demonstrable understanding of God and man's relationship to Him afforded through Christian Science? Thinkers all over the world have found this religion to be the "pearl of great price," the way of health and security.
Christian Science Is Based On the Bible
What gives the Bible value to us, gives it power to comfort and heal, to make us better men, women, and children, to overcome limitations, and to stabilize civilization, is the central theme often obscured but recurring with renewed emphasis: human struggle for spiritual light and understanding. Through the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the mist of obscurity is forever lifted from the sacred pages of Scripture and the Bible is made practical in daily living.
The ability to know God and
demonstrate the divine nature is from within, our God-given heritage. Christ
Jesus said (Luke ), "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo
there! for, behold, the
Through Christian Science we learn to look within for harmony, peace, security, and success. There is a story of the gods, jealous of mortals, conniving to steal their ability and hide it. But where? In the ocean? No, the mortals would go down and get it. At the end of the earth? No, they would find wings to fly there. Then where? In themselves, where they would never look for it.
Christian Science, enlightening the sacred pages of the Scriptures, teaches how to look within for evidence of divine sonship. Man, made in God's likeness, has inherent ability to think and act wisely, intelligently, with poise and strength. He has spiritual discernment, vision, and understanding, which ensure health, security, and peace. Mankind will achieve world peace proportionably as each individual holds a daily conference with himself, seeing man as God's reflection and obeying the well-known, sometime undusted Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Christian Science Acknowledges the Perfection of God and Man
Mortals gravitate towards perfection through the recognition and conviction that harmony is real and inharmony unreal. Continual contemplation of existence as material, having beginning and ending, delays progress. God, Life, is eternal. Existence is too often likened to a straight line on which the traveler begins rather propitiously but soon is found hurrying along to learn enough to earn enough to secure an uncertain end. A travesty on Life, God! A rainbow seen from considerable altitude is a circle, not an arc. Life viewed spiritually from the mountaintop of spiritual observation, without obstructing mental or physical horizons, is unending. From the assumption that life is temporal spring discordant conditions - sickness, grief, lack of companionship, insufficiency, disease, insecurity. All these inharmonies are healed, proved unreal, through the understanding of God and man revealed in Christian Science.
The Bible (King James Version) states (Gen. 1:27), "God created man in his own image." Man represents the great I AM, changeless, eternal existence.
Mrs. Eddy's definition of God is (Science and Health, p. 587), "The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Man in His likeness is alert, intelligent, healthy, secure. Christian Science shows man not to be a mortal, with beginning and ending, but the expression of infinite Mind, eternal Life. The deathless, limitless nature of man precludes the possibility of inharmony, limitation, fear, and disease. There is value in beginning each day with prayer and gratitude, recognition and conviction of the presence and power of God and the harmony of man. Having established perfection in thought, we hold the Father's hand throughout the day, convinced that the real man, our true selfhood, walk with kindness, patience, and charity, for God is Love. He expresses alertness, patience, and order, for God is Mind; he manifests integrity and honor, for God is Truth; he discerns good, for God is Soul; he is pure in thought and action, for God is Spirit; he is poised and unemotional, for God is Principle; he is joyous, energetic, and unwearied, for God is Life. Earnestly claiming man's heritage of perfection as God's expression, witness, manifestation, representation, and reflection, and humbly using Godlike qualities we prove the kingdom of heaven within and progressively experience health and security.
Christian Science Is Simple
Christian Science is simple, easily understood and demonstrated. Only the thought educated away from spontaneity, spiritual receptivity, and expectancy of good, which characterize the child thought, finds this religion difficult to understand. Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 53); "Its seeming abstraction is the mystery of godliness, and godliness is simple to the godly; but to the unspiritual, the ungodly, it is dark and difficult. The carnal mind cannot discern spiritual things."
Children readily demonstrate Christian Science. A relative in the home of a Christian Scientist had an unsightly growth removed by a surgeon. It promptly reappeared, and the verdict was given that it would continue to do so. The relative made an appointment for a second removal; then, in despair, he asked the young lad in the home to give him a Christian Science treatment. Said the boy, "Don't worry; you really don't see that thing and neither do I, and I know God doesn't." The healing was prompt and complete. The patient forgot the appointment with the surgeon until several days later, when he discovered that the growth was gone. It did not reappear.
Simple faith and expectancy of good characterize the child thought. The healing just related was not the result of blind faith. The child's treatment was brief but scientific. "Don't worry; God is here," he said, rejecting fear on the basis of God's presence. He claimed spiritual discernment for himself and the patient, thus rejecting sense testimony. "You really don't see that thing and neither do I." Recognition and conviction of the perfection of God completed the unlabored effort and illustrated the fact that the burden of proof of God's power to heal and save is upon the shoulder of the Christ, or Truth, and not upon personal effort or intellectual wrestlings. Thought imbued with absolute faith, spiritual understanding, and unselfed love expresses the Christ-consciousness, which heals, freeing from sin, limitation, and insecurity.
Salvation through the Christ, Truth
Salvation is defined in Science and Health (p. 593) as "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed." This definition makes clear the teaching of Christian Science on the subject of salvation and answers the objection sometimes made that Christian Science emphasizes only the healing of sickness and disease and ignores salvation from sin.
Christian Science teaches that sinful, disordered thinking - such as self-will, self-righteousness, self-love, self-justification, fear, and sensuality - stems from ignorance of God and of man's true selfhood as His child. The operation of the Christ, Truth, in human consciousness displaces sick, sinful, fearful beliefs with healthy spiritual concepts and heals sick minds and bodies.
What is Christ? A clear answer to this question is essential to the understanding of Christian Science. Christ is the ideal of God, the spirit of Truth, inseparable from the Father. Through the activity of the Christ in human consciousness mortality is put off, and spiritual, immortal concepts are put on. Thus is the Scripture fulfilled (I Cor. ), "Death is swallowed up in victory."
Recently a young woman entered a Christian Science Reading Room located in the heart of a business section of a city and said to the attendant: "I have been reading the topic of the Bible Lesson-Sermon displayed in your window each day for many months. I like it. But Christian Science does not accept baptism and the Eucharist." On page 35 of Science and Health we read: "Our baptism is a purification from all error . . . Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, 'which cometh down from heaven,' is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers."
Christian Science does not eliminate baptism, sacrament, and salvation, but rather explains them in their spiritual import: Jesus, as he himself said, did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill. Baptism, spiritually understood, rebukes sensuality and purifies thought and action. The sacrament points to the sacrifice of materiality and liberates thought from beliefs of life, substance, and intelligence in matter.
Christian Science Reveals the Way of Freedom from Insecurity
Foremost among the phases of insecurity that harass men are lack of health and supply and fear of impairment of faculties and usefulness. Do we fear disease? Christian Science teaches that man is diseaseless, inexhaustible, whole. Christian Science reveals that disease is illusion, with no more basis in Truth than a myth in which gods appear to control men and the elements. Man is not a suffering mortal, but he is immortal. Health is restored through putting off mortal concepts - fear, dishonesty, self-will, self-righteousness - and accepting the Christ into consciousness with its healing and regeneration.
Man is never impaired, nor do his faculties wither. Faculties of Mind are not measured by time. Sight, hearing, usefulness, clear thinking are eternal, never lost or impaired. The usefulness and freedom of the real man are independent of matter and its so-called laws. Man in God's image is not injured or old. He is whole; his sight is spiritual and perfect; his hearing is faultless; his ability to move and act unimpaired; his perfection is unimpeachable. True Godlikeness is true manliness, permanent and continually expressed.
Abundance is characteristic of our heavenly Father. Man has all good by reflection. The tendency to localize supply and so delay demonstration was rebuked by Christ Jesus. His disciples suggested sending the five thousand to a neighboring village for food. Jesus said (Matt. ), "They need not depart; give ye them to eat." He never based reasoning on matter and its so-called laws. He well knew that the evidence of supply was slight - five loaves and a few fishes - but he understood Spirit to be substance. His clear view of the naturalness of plenty dispelled the evidence of lack for the multitude, and it does the same for us when we follow his way.
Angels Lead the Way
The Bible is replete with instances and promises of guidance and protection. It has been said that there are something like twenty thousand such promises. The promises are in the Bible because they are tried and true. Angels figure prominently in these promises. Who would not have angels accompany him on his daily round to guide, counsel, and protect? Mrs. Eddy defines angels (Science and Health, p. 581), "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality."
In Psalm twenty-three are promises of green pastures and still waters, and the assurance regarding God, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." Which enemies? Fear, doubt, limitation, greed, sensuality, pride, dishonesty, apathy. And the table prepared? Angel thoughts from God! We are spiritually fed in the recognition and conviction that man is His likeness, having dominion, and not dominated by evil, whether appearing as sin, disease, delayed healing, broken home, misplacement or unplacement.
Our thought must rise, reach upward and outward, to become aware of the angel message meeting thought where it is, to comfort, heal and protect. These messages never leave us in doubt as to the step to take in meeting the human need.
Angel messages bade Paul and Silas to rejoice that dark night in the inner prison when they lay bound and well guarded. An earthquake shook the prison and loosed them and other prisoners as well. The disciples and prisoners held within themselves as their divine heritage seeds of freedom, and the songs of praise and gratitude operated to propagate and increase the seed. Healings through Christian Science waken great numbers, loosing them from beliefs of life, substance, and intelligence in matter, and rousing them to accept the Christ, Truth, with its healing and regeneration. I know a family in which thirty relatives were so aroused by the healing of one, of what had been diagnosed as incurable disease, as to become earnest students of Christian Science. A Christian Science Sentinel found in a newly acquired home had roused the one sadly in need of help, and through the help of a Christian Science practitioner she had been healed.
An angel found Peter in prison and bade him (Acts 12:7), "Arise up quickly." We can rise quickly out of despair, discouragement, fear, sin, and disease. Peter rose, and the angel went before him. The gate of the city opened of its own accord. Now as then Love clears the way, freeing men from beliefs which would hold them helpless and hopeless.
Gratitude Essential in Healing
Gratitude, recognition of good, opens thought to the conviction that health and security are natural and normal and results in healing. In many instances healings have been hastened by persistent expressions of gratitude. A child's healing of mastoid illustrates this point. The condition appeared serious, and parents and child, students of Christian Science, prayed for spiritual light to break the spell of suffering.
To the mother's thought came clearly the question, "Are, you grateful?" She repeated the question aloud.
The child's eyes filled with tears. "There is nothing to be grateful for," he said.
Again the mother's thought was lifted in prayer. "Come down where his thought is," said the still small voice, "as did the good Samaritan."
She said to the child, "What about your new puppy?"
Light came to the child's eyes. "Yes, I am grateful for her."
Then followed a period of thanksgiving for simple blessings of daily life. Then the child said: "David was boss over the giant because he knew God was with him. I am boss over mortal mind because God is here, and He helps me." Shortly after his expression of conscious dominion there was evidence of mental surgery, and the child slept. The healing was complete.
Christian Science Ameliorates Human Relationships
Unhappy human relationships are evidence of disordered thinking. Here Christian Science proves to be the "pearl of great price," restoring healthy and secure relationships through bringing the Christ, Truth, to bear upon the problems and salving them.
The belief of many minds engenders strife in the home, the office, between employer and employees, and even in the churches. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 469), "The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the ONLY Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind - called DEVIL or evil - is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence, or reality."
Exterminator is a strong word. We may expect prompt and readily recognized results in improved relationships from the use of the exterminator - the truth that God is the only Mind.
At Peniel, Jacob, the striver for good, wrestled with the belief of minds many and won a great victory. He was on his way home after having given long years of service to his uncle, Laban. Jacob feared his brother Esau whom he had wronged. As he went his way the angels of God went with him, and Jacob prayed for deliverance. In the language of Scripture (Gen. 32:24), "There wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." We may be wrestling with the belief of minds many expressed in strife, misunderstanding, irritations. To the striver for good comes the breaking of the day, the influx of spiritual light that gives promise of a night far spent and a day at hand, the revelation of the all-inclusiveness of one Mind, God. As the result of his struggle he lost the false sense of his brother and could say to him (Gen. 33:10), "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me." Complete reconciliation of the brothers makes a happy ending to the story.
A Christian Scientist estranged from her husband, apparently through no fault of her own, worked earnestly claiming the presence and power of one Mind and confidently expecting the extermination of error. She saw that self-will, self-righteousness, self-justification, and self-love are tools of evil, engendering misunderstandings. Like Jacob she held to the truth until an angel message bade her go to the loved one and admit her own lack of understanding of Christian Science in having permitted this rift to continue. At the door of her apartment she met him coming to make amends. He was not a Christian Scientist but had been led that day to attend a lecture on Christian Science in which the speaker had pointed out the lesson of the prodigal son, the folly of sin and the welcome of the father for the prodigal. During the lecture the man had also been healed of a physical problem. He recognized the healing as the result of changed thinking and became a student of Christian Science.
In solving problems of human relationship the student of Christian Science does not intrude on another's thought but clears his own, insisting that his fellowman in his real selfhood is, like himself, the child of God. Such seeing is spiritual discernment, good sight, which disentangles the web of varied backgrounds and cultures, races and creeds, expressed in prejudice and beliefs of inferiority and superiority.
Little Jimmie gave a simple illustration of the operation of right thinking in solving a problem of human relationship. Having witnessed the sudden halting of an impending fist fight between her son and a playmate, the mother asked Jimmie why he had suddenly rolled down his sleeves and walked away. Replied the young Christian Scientist, "I just remembered that the fellow who said the bad words wasn't really Ned, and the one that wanted to give him a smack wasn't really me, so why bother about it."
Ignorance of our true selfhood as children of God engenders strife, misunderstanding, and insecurity while spiritual understanding fosters healthy ideals, security in the home, in the world of business, and among men and nations. One right thinker in the home, the office, or the factory has in many instances permanently quieted troubled waters. What cannot armies of right thinkers do for a troubled world!
Christian Science Reveals the Good Shepherd
In the imagery of Scripture we find the care of God for his children likened to the shepherding of a good shepherd (Ps. 23:2): "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." Also (Ps. 100:3), "We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." In a chapter in Science and Health entitled Glossary we find sheep defined (p. 594); "Innocence; inoffensiveness; those who follow their leader."
It was natural to find shepherds in a pastural land, the setting of the Old Testament. It is noteworthy that Abel, Moses, Jacob, David, and others were keepers of sheep. One meaning of keep is to preserve. Hence in its spiritual significance a keeper of sheep is one who preserves innocence and inoffensiveness and follows the leading of good.
Moses kept the flock of his father
in-law. During years of watchfulness, treasuring good and following its
leading, he learned needed lessons in patience, forbearance, and stability. The
strong and poised Moses who led the children of
Christ Jesus, the good shepherd, followed the leading of good. His strict obedience to the law of God was offensive to the ungodly, the unspiritual, and brought upon him the hatred of the age; but his treasuring of purity and inoffensiveness points the way to the healing of the nations and gives assurance of health and security to those who follow him through doing the works which he did.
Mary Baker Eddy, a Keeper of Sheep
A one sentence description of Mary Baker Eddy might be, "She treasured purity, innocence, and inoffensiveness and followed the leading of good." It is important to understand and appreciate Mrs. Eddy in order to understand her teachings. She was a thinker and searcher for knowledge from childhood. She was reared in a religious atmosphere, and prayer occupied many of her moments. Her father prayed long prayers with his family around him before starting the work of the day, and Mary's day ended with quiet talks and prayers with her mother, who has been described as saintly. One of Mrs. Eddy's favorite quotations taught by her mother was, "Count that day lost whose setting sun finds no good done'' (A Child's Life of Mary Baker Eddy, by Ella H. Hay, p. 3).
Her early grasp of mental causation was evidenced in an answer given to a teacher who asked the group what would remain of an orange if the skin, pulp, and juice were consumed. Mary replied "The THOUGHT of the orange" (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, by Irving C. Tomlinson, p. 20). However, spiritual causation, not materially mental causation, occupied her thought even from early years.
Mrs. Eddy's investigating nature led her during her early womanhood to study homeopathy, and she treated a number of patients. In one instance, fearing the continued use of a drug, she gave unmedicated pellets and effected a cure. Thus she proved to her own satisfaction that the mentality of the patient appeared to give power to the medicine (Science and Health, p. 156). However, such experience did not lead her to use or advocate the use of so-called mind-cure, but rather led her more earnestly to seek the rule of Christian healing which she was convinced lay behind the healings of Christ Jesus and his early followers.
Her discovery of the rule through
Christian Science was immanent. The age was ready for it. The discovery was as
inevitable as the discovery of the telephone, the steamboat, and the airplane,
and Mrs. Eddy was as inevitably the one to make the discovery through experience
and inspiration as were
The many healings she performed give proof of good shepherding. Because Mrs. Eddy was pure enough to receive divine inspiration and courageous enough to stand by her discovery in the face of ridicule and unbelief, we have Christian Science today - the way of health and security.
Discipline of Thought Essential
Man, made in God's likeness, was not condemned to till the soil, in other words to struggle for dominion over false beliefs of life, substance, and intelligence. His birthright is not subjection but dominion. Mankind, enveloped in the mist or mystification arising from a false concept of God and man, must till the ground, that is lift thought spiritually upward, putting off mortality and putting on immortality. Discipline of thought is the prerequisite of health and security.
Says the prophet (Isa. 59:1,2), "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." Sensuality, fear, self-will, self-righteousness, and self-justification hide the true nature of God and man. Through discipline of thought we rouse ourselves and others from sin and ignorance.
To discipline thought is not laborious; it is an educational process and a joyous one. Mrs. Eddy writes (Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 2), "The song of Christian Science is, 'Work – work – work - watch and pray.' " We note that Mrs. Eddy speaks of work as a song, and a song connotes joy, resilience, and spontaneity.
Holding thought to the good and true promotes health and security. No one can do the work for us, although others can encourage and help immeasurably, pointing out the way if we seem lost in the mist of materialism. Such is the work of the Christian Science practitioner.
The story of the Little Red Hen illustrates the need of work. In company with the fox and goose she went out to find a fortune. A worker she was, but not so her companions. When asked to help with cultivation, reaping, grinding, and baking they consistently refused. "Not I," said the fox; "Not I," said 'the goose; "Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did. The others were willing to eat the loaf, but well the worker knew that we reap only as we sow. Apathy and indifference till their own soil, which is barren and fruitless. Alertness, joyous action and intelligent service lift thought spiritually upward and ensure progress.
Christ Jesus said (Matt. ), "Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Through Christian Science we are helped to say nay to temptation, whether of sin, sickness, poor business, inferiority, or failure, and with vigor to say yea to health, happiness, prosperity, friendship, and success. A helpful reminder is the adage, "Treasure your thought moments that they may become joy hours and success years."
In the process of lifting thought above matter and its so-called laws the Christian Scientist does not ignore error, but rather sees it as a false belief, a counterfeit of the truth, places the truth where the error appears to be and sticks to the truth till the evidence changes and error no longer even appears to be a reality. Three R's prominent in the disciplining process are reject, replace, and rejoice. Reject discord, assured that harmony is real and natural; replace erroneous beliefs with truth; rejoice in the great fact that divine Love is always victor. It is a joy to stand porter! We do not stand alone. The angels of His presence stand by to comfort, guard, and sustain.
Prayer Ensures Health and Security
Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 15): "To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error." "The heart of prayer"! What a beautiful description of spiritual communion with divine Truth, Life, and Love, which forwards conscious at-one-ment with God and ensures health and security!
An objection is sometimes made that Christian Science confuses the seeker who has previously sought to reach God solely through the prayer of petition. Continued study of the chapter on Prayer in Science and Health removes this objection. The purpose of prayer is to lift thought above sin, sensuality, and fear to conscious communion with God. Petition for spiritual gifts - humility, grace, obedience, steadfastness, and spiritual strength - is answered when it is realized that God has already given them to man without limit.
In healing the sick, Christian Scientists use a prayer of affirmation. Steadfast, persistent affirmation of the reality of good and the nothingness and unreality of evil destroys the illusions of sin, disease, and death and brings to light man's normal state of health, sinlessness, and harmony. Recognition of the harmony and eternality of man, created in God's likeness, destroys any painful sense of inharmony as having real presence or power. Acknowledgment of the presence and power of God operates to silence sense testimony with its boasts of sensation in matter. Protestations of truth operate to lift human consciousness above material beliefs of life, substance, and intelligence in matter to the demonstration of divine Principle, Love, thus following the way of the Master. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 12), "It is neither Science nor Truth, which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." Christian Scientists are protestants. They protest or affirm the reality and allness of good. They protest against the reality of evil in all its forms, ignorance, idolatry, fear, disease, limitations, and sin. Through sincere protests of Truth - of man's unity with the divine principle, Love - they keep the Christ active in consciousness. Conviction may be characterized as the amen to prayer. The Bible states (Heb. 11:6), "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Absolute conviction in the practice of Christian Science constitutes its effectiveness and ensures health and security.
Through prayer, watching, and working the new or spiritual birth is forwarded. The new birth implies consciousness of enduring health and security. It is not attained at one bound. The way is narrow. The attainment calls for full-time employment of thought - moments - moments used in deciding FOR Spirit and the beneficent government of divine Love, and AGAINST material so-called laws. Healings and evidences of protection accompany the traveler all the way. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 521); "The harmony and immortality of man are intact. We should look away from the opposite supposition that man is created materially, and turn our gaze to the spiritual record of creation, to that which should be engraved on the understanding and heart 'with the point of a diamond' and the pen of an angel." In this way is Christian Science proved to be the way of health and security.
[Published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, Feb. 2, 1956.]