Investigate! Christian Science
Meets the Challenge of Sin, Sickness, and Limitations
Ella H. Hay, C.S., of Indianapolis, IN
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
To investigate means to study, search, scrutinize, and examine with patient inquiry and attention to details. Highly rated is the pupil who questions and widens his experience by investigation of what is worthwhile in human affairs.
Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, invites investigation. Mrs. Eddy thoroughly investigated Scripture seeking explanation of the spiritual healings therein related. Her faithful search led to the discovery of Christian Science. For more than eighty-five years this discovery has won the respect of many men and women of varying creeds and philosophies because of its noteworthy success in reforming the sinning, healing the sick, and pointing the way of purposeful living to those burdened with limitations and confusion. Impressed by its fruits, many have investigated this religion and have become its adherents.
The first chapter of Genesis supports that basic contention of Christian Science that God is good and hence His universe including man is wholly good. We read (Genesis 1:31), "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." This statement implies the unreality of matter since matter includes elements of decay, disintegration, and insubstantiality, none of which are good.
Christian Science clarifies the nature of God showing Him to be Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Love. In the light of these names for God, all of which are either stated or implied in the Bible, we find God to be understandable, a well known God. The apostle, Paul, saw an altar in Athens with the inscription: "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." In his sermon on Mars' Hill he explained the nature of God as Spirit (Acts 17:27-28), "not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being."
Further investigation of Christian Science shows that man is not material and expendable, nor subject to material so-called laws.
Let no one permit ignorance to rob him of Christian Science and its practical help. One may be well-educated but still ignorant of the spiritual strength available through investigation of Christian Science. Will Rogers said, "We are all ignorant but not about the same thing." Ability to repeat the Bible from beginning to end does not ensure understanding its truths and how to use them in meeting the challenge of discord. A vegetable, a cake or a loaf of bread must be tasted to be known. Let each one taste of Christian Science, study the letter, imbibe the spirit, and work to advance its healing and awakening mission among men. Then he will be fitted to meet the challenge of sin, sickness, and limitations.
Investigation Requires Effort
It is sometimes objected that investigation of Christian Science requires too much effort. In any worthwhile achievement study and practice are requisite.
The great discovery of the wholly spiritual nature of God, divine Principle demonstrable in daily experience, was revealed to Mrs. Eddy through her prayerful investigation of the Bible. Of equal importance was her discovery, brought to light through searching investigation, of the unreality of evil and its secret ways of dominating the thoughts of men. She denounced evil — animal magnetism, mesmerism, hypnotism, depraved will — which, if feared or accorded power, beclouds the good in human consciousness and promotes the purposes of evil.
The grandeur and value of Mrs. Eddy's work is recognized by her followers and by many who have not as yet thoroughly investigated her great discovery. She has performed a service of inestimable value to mankind through explaining clearly the way to prove the unreality of evil as she did — to stand in the wisdom and strength of divine Mind to meet the challenge of sin, disease, and limitations.
A young man sitting beside me on a long air journey remarked, "Not interested in religion now. Later. I'll take one which requires no work."
"What is your profession?" I asked.
"And you gained proficiency without work?"
After a brief discussion he agreed that what is of value has a price.
The price of salvation, of being saved from sin, disease, death, and all inharrnony, is learning how to apply what we have learned through investigating Christian Science, and how to pray as this Science teaches. True prayer is humble, positive, constructive knowing the truth. It is expressing the true meaning of love by seeing our neighbor and ourselves as children of God.
Mrs. Eddy was once asked why if Christian Science is the religion of Jesus is it not more simple so that all can understand. Her reply was (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 53), "The teachings of Jesus were simple; and yet he found it difficult to make the rulers understand, because of their great lack of spirituality."
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, was an investigator. He came to Jesus by night, possibly through reticence at being seen of his people. Jesus told him he must be born again. Lacking spiritual discernment the ruler asked (John 3:4), "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus said (John 3:6), "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Jesus spoke of new birth, spiritual regeneration. The ruler believed man to be material; but his investigation bore fruit. He became a follower of the Master.
Lack Overcome Through Spiritual Understanding
Supply is not a matter of money but rather a matter of gaining spiritual concepts of all that appears needful in daily experience. Money, being a medium of exchange, is a useful symbol indicating release from beliefs of limited supply for daily needs. Some people always appear to have more money and others less; but really rich men are those who have learned the nature of substance as taught in Christian Science.
One who identifies his real selfhood as idea, God's likeness, discerns an abundance of spiritual ideas. These constitute substance. Among these ideas are true concepts of home, church, companionship, and business. The real home is spiritual, the expression of divine Love, and not a material structure based on sense testimony. Recognition of the spiritual nature of home directs thought and effort along spiritual lines enabling the seeker to feel the presence of Christ, Truth, revealing the wisdom that directs the details of the management of the home and forwards spiritual desires and standards.
The real Church is founded upon the rock, Christ. The understanding of this concept operates to advance scientific Christianity and blesses all. In the Church man companions with spiritual ideas. The devotion of effort in discerning and using true concepts, God's thoughts, results in satisfying spiritual activity.
True business is God's business and is the unobstructed activity of spiritual power. This divine activity is expressed in the affairs of men through accepting Christ, the true idea of God, and presenting Christ to mankind through words fitly spoken or written and through purified lives. High ideals of brotherly love and of service are evidence of the real business expressed in daily affairs.
Fear of lack delays the recognition of spiritual abundance. Man reflects the wholeness of the Father. Can the reflection of a tree in a placid lake be less than a perfect reflection? The concept of man as God's own likeness wakens men to their heritage of abundance. Great numbers of honest investigators of Christian Science are proving this fact.
Our Master gave what I understand to be the perfect rule for meeting human needs through spiritual discernment. He said (Matthew 6:33), "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Certainly he meant for us to understand and use the treasures of Scripture, to have no fear and to trust in Him who feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies. Identification of our real selfhood with divine Principle, as its idea, is manifested in abundance of all good.
Physical Healing Through Christian Science
A woman entered the office of a Christian Science practitioner, pointed to a large goiter and said, "I want to get rid of this."
Said the practitioner, "Christ heals today as in the day of the Master. Accept this fact! Investigate Christian Science! You will be healed!"
Returned the woman, "How can Christ heal me? He is not here."
The practitioner explained that Christian Science does not accept the terms Jesus and Christ as synonymous. Christ is the way; Jesus the Way-shower; Christ the divine message to human consciousness; Jesus the rnessenger. The practitioner read to the woman the definition of Christ (Science and Health, p. 583), "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error."
"Christ is always here," continued the practitioner. "We need to open our thought and accept the healing truth, accept full salvation, the standard of our Master." He then invited the woman to obtain a Christian Science textbook and investigate, reading the book from beginning to end.
The woman borrowed a copy of Science and Health and began reading at once. Far into the night she continued, so absorbing did she find the contents. When retiring she forgot to examine the goiter as before. The following morning it was gone.
Her business associates were amazed at what they supposed was prompt recovery from a surgical operation. She told them she had been healed through Christian Science.
How was this healing brought about so naturally? By the method of Christ Jesus, seeing man as spiritual, and as whole and free, not discordant. The practitioner, praying for spiritual discernment, saw that the woman needed release from obstructive beliefs of pride, fear, rebellion, and the acceptance of matter as real and substantial rather than from a physical condition. Vehemently he insisted that in her true selfhood the woman was untouched by deforming beliefs, that she was idea, the image of God. His reasoning was humble, sincere, confident, rising to heights of divine logic and based on the fact that divine Mind governs. The woman's sincerity and readiness to investigate enhanced her receptivity to truth, and she was healed.
Healing of physical disease through Christian Science does more than restore comfort and normal action to the body; it regenerates, giving the investigator a way of life, to him more precious than rubies.
Spiritual Power versus Atomic Energy
Oliver Lodge said on the eve of the discovery of the secrets of atomic energy that with the advance of the discovery enough power would be found in a handful of mud to lift the sunken German fleet from the North Sea. He said, "I pray God that this generation may not make this discovery because we are not fit for it."
What a pronouncement on the generation! What a challenge to investigate Christian Science and learn how to utilize divine power in meeting the challenge of the destructive possibilities of atomic energy!
As Mrs. Eddy's discovery reveals, real power is spiritual not material. Spiritual power is made practical through discernment of the spiritual nature of God and man, acceptance of Christ, as the motive power of thought and act, and utilization of spiritual ideas in the minutiae of daily living. Power is not lodged in matter to be released either for good or for evil. Mrs. Eddy writes (ibid., p. 228), "Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God."
The good made possible through research in the realm of atomic energy typifies the might of Mind, the power of divine Principle which makes and governs all. The evil possibilities in the use of atomic energy are the very opposite of the creative power of the universe. Physicists who are devoting time and effort discovering constructive uses for atomic energy are not wasting time but are serving mankind in forwarding men's control over their environment.
Can atomic energy bring peace to the troubled heart? Assurance of eternal life to the weary? Can it purify the sinning? It promises to prolong the pulsations of the heart, but what about the affections? Will they be strengthened and enriched? Material power promises great progress in elimination of time and space, but will it transfer criminal tendencies from vice to brotherly love? Material power promises to lighten the skies making daylight ever here; but can it lighten the path out of mental darkness and confusion for the world and establish peace among men, nations, and planets? God, infinite Mind, is the only power.
We need to build on the basis of spiritual supremacy, on the perfection of God and man. Materiality is never good or substantial. It is not good expressed in slave labor or drudgery, and not really good, although a better belief, when invention eliminates a measure of drudgery. How do men use the hours released through material invention? Let us make them of real value building spiritually, investigating and practicing Christian Science.
Divine Mind knows neither time nor space. Eternity is now, not added periods of time, but in consecration of thought demonstrating the grandeur of Mind as the source of intelligence, Spirit as substance, and Love, as the Principle of power. The release of atomic energy can neither hasten nor delay the great attainment, namely consciousness of heaven, harmony, here and now.
Investigation of Christian Science helps the student to feel the touch of eternity, not as endless periods or time nor in a distant intriguing place, but in the glorious now of Soul, the realm of poise and peace where hearts are at rest and in spiritual living are satisfied.
Christian Science Reveals True Selfhood
Investigation of Christian Science shows that a false sense of God and of our real selfhood is the basis of sin. Man, made in God's likeness, is sinless and pure. Christ Jesus said (Matthew 5:8), "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Inspiration from study of this beatitude contributed to a healing of impaired vision in the experience of an investigator of Christian Science.
The student reasoned prayerfully that seeing God was seeing good, hence having good sight. He consistently rejected discordant views of himself and others knowing such thoughts unworthy and unreal because unlike the nature of God.
One knowing himself as the real man and expressing his divine sonship cannot lose sight. Impaired vision is a facet of the belief that man is material and his faculties temporal. The faculties of Soul, the only real faculties, are indestructible. When the student of Christian Science realizes his sonship with God, the belief of man as material and impaired in any way is made to yield to the truth that man is perfect, the image of God. In the case of the man mentioned perfect vision was restored after glasses had been worn for thirty years.
Our real selfhood is sinless; a false sense of self sins by believing man to be separate from God. One meaning of the word sin is miss. In ancient Greece when an archer missed the mark it was called sin. Sinlessness is establishment of real selfhood on the mark of spiritual perfection.
A false sense of self as material is the basis of materialism and popularity. The humble Nazarene sought no popularity. His one experience with it, a path strewn with palms as he entered Jerusalem, prefaced the crucifixion.
Praise and flattery, products of a false sense of self, are (Job 14:1) "of few days, and full of trouble." God anoints and appoints, rewarding faithful service with the opportunity to serve more faithfully. One who, through investigation of Christian Science, recognizes his real selfhood permits no thought of personal aggrandizement to cloud his spiritual vision.
A right sense of giving is important in overcoming a false sense of self. The spirit of the giving characterizes the gift. A missionary returning home from the South Seas was brought a beautiful shell by a native. He expressed delight at the gift and the unselfishness shown in walking so far to bring it. Said the native, "Long walk part of gift."
Long, unselfed walks have world benefactors taken to bestow gifts on mankind. From Pilate's court to the scene of the Master's crucifixion. A long walk! A great gift! A long walk Mrs. Eddy had in discovering and founding Christian Science, providing for the permanency of the movement. Truly a great gift from a consecrated woman as investigation and practice of this religion proves. The time is past when her gift is looked upon as an accidental discovery resulting from her remarkable physical healing through prayer. It is recognized by inestimable numbers as a great discovery by a truly great woman who discerned nearly a century ago the Science of Christianity which Jesus practiced, the Science which reveals that man is spiritual not material, and that there actually is no matter.
Moreover, Mrs. Eddy discovered that there is no mortal mind, the progenitor of matter, and that all is divine Mind and Mind's expression. Mortal mind is a belief of a mind conscious of both good and evil; but God is Mind. This mortal so-called mind seeks to establish its claim to entity through semi-metaphysical systems, mesmerism, hypnotism, and other systems acting like soothing syrups, which lull men into a false sense of security and delay the investigation of divine Science, the real source of security.
Christian Science makes clear the fact that spiritual ignorance is centered both in matter and in semi-metaphysical systems which can afford no real help in meeting the challenge of sin, disease, and death. Investigation of Christian Science shows that these systems do not advance scientific Christianity but foster apathy on the subject of spiritual healing as practiced by Christ Jesus.
Christian Scientists love Mrs. Eddy, follow her example, and are deeply grateful to her for her faithful adherence to good in following the leading of Christ and giving Christian Science to the world. They continue the long walk of their Leader, knocking but not pushing at the door of human hearts, encouraging all to investigate Christian Science and learn how to meet the challenge of sin. sickness. and limitations.
Christian Science Effective in Maintaining High Standards
Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 470): "The standard of perfection was originally God and man. Has God taken down His own standard, and has man fallen?" Eve, a material type, found no basis for the standard of perfection. Jesus, abundantly expressing the divine nature, or the Christ, upheld the perfect standard. In his Sermon on the Mount he sets forth standards for human thought and action when consciousness is held in close communion with the divine Mind. This sermon summarizes the subject of spiritual standards (Matthew 5:48), "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Low standards of behavior in morals, ethics, respect for law in home, school, and community — these are the challenge of materiality, met through investigation and practice of Christian Science.
Holding to true concepts of children, one can aid them in maintaining high standards of morals, ethics, and achievement. Mrs. Eddy gives a twofold definition which reads in part (ibid., p. 582): "CHILDREN. The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love. Sensual and mortal beliefs; counterfeits of creation, whose better originals are God's thoughts, not in embryo, but in maturity."
Jesus rebuked the material concept of parenthood when he said to the father of the boy the disciples had failed to heal (Matthew 17:17): "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?" The father saw the counterfeit. His only son. Jesus saw the real child, born of God.
Juvenile delinquency is widely discussed and feared at this period. We need to reject evil, seeing it as unreal because unlike God, and magnify good. Let us claim good, pray for juvenile decency, on the basis of man's eternal unity with God, and reject the seeming power of juvenile delinquency. There is much decency expressed among our young.
Mrs. Eddy recognized the attacks materiality continued to make upon spiritual standards. She provided in the Manual of The Mother Church for the Christian Science Sunday School and the Christian Science College Organizations, both of which are proving powerful in rousing young people to claim and prove their inherent purity as children of God and to maintain high standards of morals, ethics, and unselfed service to their fellow men.
Most parents take the child's academic education seriously and insist on faithful attendance and study. Are they equally serious about spiritual education? Christian Science insists that the real child, God's image, cannot be robbed of his heritage of health, purity, chastity, and happiness.
Overdoing warning, nagging, and talks on high standards stems from fear that the child will ignore these standards. Good example together with confident knowing that the real child has by inheritance the standard of goodness and cannot be touched by imperfection ensures progress in working out the standard of perfect God and perfect man.
The real child, born of Spirit, not of flesh, is spiritually conceived, endowed, and sustained by God. Recognition of his heritage of purity defends the young person from temptations of popularity gained through use of material indulgence such as tobacco, alcohol and sensuality.
A child fashioned a clay bird with a broken wing. Said the mother. "God made all perfect. He would not make a broken wing."
Returned the child, "I made the bird; God didn't, and I made it with a broken wing." So long as one believes he is a creator his creation will be like him, imperfect and vulnerable to error. God creates and governs man, as Christian Science teaches.
A veteran school teacher found greater difficulty each year impressing the children with the rightness of abstaining from alcohol and tobacco. When these subjects were approached as planned in the course of study many children ridiculed the teaching saying that their parents used intoxicants, and they would when old enough.
The teacher had learned through investigation of Christian Science that to heal any situation one must begin with perfect God and perfect man. She insisted mentally that an earthly parent is not a standard bearer; Christ, the true idea of God, is the only standard. She held firmly to the perfection of God and His universe, including man.
No attempt was made to inject spiritual comments. Thereafter no one in her class ridiculed the high standards upheld. The standard of Christ Jesus was perfection. Perfect God, and a perfect universe including man is the standard of Christian Science.
Christian Science Reveals Life Abundant and Eternal
One who investigates Christian Science gains a satisfying sense of life, not in matter, but spiritual, eternal, harmonious, complete. God is Life; death is an imposter, never actually occurring since God is All.
Christ Jesus who early identified himself as an investigator of true ideas said (John 17:3), "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." At the age of twelve when found in the temple with the wise men, asking and answering questions he said (Luke 2:49), "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Like Jesus, our business is to know the truth and when we do this we overcome beliefs elemental in death.
The challenge of death is met through understanding God, divine Life. Jesus met this challenge daily as he went about his Father's business; so must we. Through investigation one puts off elements of death such as greed, self-centeredness, envy, fear, and allegiance to matter. Affection, honesty, joy, alertness — these indicate progress in laying hold on eternal life.
Investigation of Christian Science shows that man is neither young nor old. Mrs. Eddy tells of a young woman disappointed in love who watched daily for her lover. At the age of seventy-four having for many years been unconscious of time, she seemed no older. The author concludes the account of this experience saying (Science and Health, p. 245): "Impossibilities never occur. One instance like the foregoing proves it possible to be young at seventy-four."
It is proved in many instances that neither age nor youth is barrier to accomplishment. Mozart composed a symphony at the age of eight. Handel at 70 composed his greatest oratorio; Holmes at 79 wrote "Over the Teacups"; John Quincy Adams at 79 was back in the House of Representatives; Herbert Hoover at 85 wrote a great book; Winston Churchill nearing ninety displayed results of clear thinking and use of talents in writing and painting; Mary Baker Eddy in her eighty-seventh year established a great newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. Many others have evidenced noteworthy success in overcoming limitations of time, an element of death.
Christ Jesus gave example of triumph over death. Let us emulate him and experience resurrection from false beliefs, which will eventually lead to the ascension of thought above matter.
Of Enoch it was said that he walked with God and was not, evidence of translation without the change called death. Elijah also appears to have been translated. Our demonstrations over death and its elements will advance in the proportion that we discern the wholly spiritual nature of God, divine Life, and of man, fully expressing His divine nature.
Flexibility of thought marks progress in meeting the challenge of death. Investigation of Christian Science shows that such elements of disintegration as quick temper, irritability, fear, and acquiescence with material so-called laws are overcome by the insistence, based on spiritual findings resulting from investigation, that each one has the individual right of harmonious life untouched by beliefs of time, chance, or change.
Like the oyster we can make pearls out of our irritations. Let us emphasize spiritual growth, exercising moral and spiritual qualities such as gentleness, affection, honesty, unselfed love, and purity. With emphasis on growth in grace we can say as did the child who, when asked what she wanted most, replied, "I just want to grow and grow forever."
Peace Forwarded by Christian Science
Great is the longing of mankind for peace! The investigation of Christian Science finds that the belief of many minds, accompanying false concepts of God and man, fosters strife. Recognition of one Mind, God, promotes peace.
Let us watch for peace and rejoice at signs of peace, wholeheartedly as at signs of spring. We may seem lost in a maze of discordant reports, but always there is a landmark pointing to peaceful solutions. A shepherd, lost, walked many miles before spotting a landmark. When he found one he fell on his knees, in gratitude. Let us be grateful at every evidence of peaceful solutions whether of small or great import.
In our rapidly changing experience we need constantly to refer in thought to the basic facts of Christian Science, perfect God, perfect man, His likeness, and ever-present Christ, Truth. Stabilization of thought, through Christliness, enables the investigator to reject prevalent beliefs of instability.
Shall we ever have peaceful solution of world problems? Yes, when men accept the Science of Christianity and discern spiritual truth instead of accepting sense testimony. Assurance of permanent peace may appear problematic but as one said, "The difficult takes time; the impossible a little longer."
An example of the value of persistent effort is seen in a recent test by the General Electric Company. A large steel ball weighing one thousand pounds was suspended from the ceiling with a tiny cork swinging against it steadily. In about a half hour, the ball, a million times the weight of the cork, began to swing. Let no one believe that his consecrated enlightened prayer for peace is fruitless.
Let us grasp every opportunity to acquaint ourselves with God and find peace, never believing that evil is power. The thoughts we think during conscious hours and those we claim as ours whether asleep or awake determine our individual peace and the measure of blessing given to mankind. Accord power to God, not to matter; and overcome spiritual ignorance with enlightenment gained through investigation of Christian Science.
Spiritual strength gained through spiritual investigation is adequate to meet the challenge of inharmony. Through reason, revelation, and demonstration the investigator learns that the "government shall be upon his shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6), upon the shoulder of Christ, Truth. On this base he plants thought and meets the challenge of discord.
Said the Psalmist (11:1), "Flee as a bird to your mountain." One morning when driving at high speed along a highway I noticed a flock of birds in the middle of the road. Death appeared imminent for them. Were they injured? No. They used their natural ability and rose above danger.
Understanding man's indissoluble unity with God, we can rise above evil. Christian Science, understood and practiced, equips one to overcome sin, sickness, death, finding safety, not in ignoring error but in rising above it.
Great inspiration, strength, and satisfaction await one who persistently investigates Truth. On the mountaintop of spiritual inspiration are angel messages lighting his efforts to bless mankind. Rising above a false sense of self he finds peace, accepts Christ, the true idea of God, blends his thoughts with divine Principle, looks to divine Mind for supply, and to boundless Love for triumphant progress in meeting the challenge of sin, sickness, and limitations.
[Delivered Aug. 10, 1961, in Rochester, New York, and published in The Marcellus (New York) Observer, Aug. 17, 1961.]