Christian Science: Some Rudimental Applications
Prof. Hermann S. Hering, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"The eternal verities can be comprehended." So declared Professor Hermann S. Hering in a lecture Monday evening at Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Albemarle Road and E. 21st St., Flatbush. Professor Hering, C.S.B., is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.
For many years he had an intimate acquaintance with Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and was able to present very interesting facts concerning an extraordinary personality. The lecture in full follows:
It is generally understood that Christian Science is concerned with healing, and many admit that it has done remarkable work in physical, mental, and moral restoration and that it has also been the source of happiness and blessedness to many. The Discoverer of this Science, Mary Baker Eddy, calls it the "divine metaphysical healing," "the Science of Christian healing," "the divine Science of Christianity." To many persons it no longer seems incongruous to use the term "Science" in connection with Christianity, or any religious question. The dictionaries define "science" as coming from the Latin root "scientia," which means "knowing," and so the fundamental or root meaning is "knowledge." Consequently, if there is any religious truth or spiritual truth, then there must be the knowing of it. The dictionaries elaborate this term "science," stating that it means exact knowledge, demonstrable knowledge.
While the statement that divine Mind-healing is scientific may not yet be recognized by all as true, still it is correct to use the term "Science" in connection with Mind-healing, because divine truth or knowledge has been found to be capable of proof, of demonstration. Mrs. Eddy was the original demonstrator of this Science, and it is being demonstrated by her followers.
The Science of Mind-healing means, in substance, the exact, systematized, demonstrable knowledge of the spiritual facts and laws involved in the healing of physical, mental, and moral disease through the operation of the law of divine Mind, together with an understanding of what constitutes material existence, wherein disease seems to have its development and activity. Thus may divine Truth be known and intelligently applied, and discordant conditions thereby remedied.
Association With Mrs. Eddy
I have had the privilege of being acquainted with Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and for a time was closely associated with her and with many of her students, as well as with members of her household. I consider this intimate acquaintance with Mrs. Eddy's life and work, together with much instruction received during interviews with her, to have been a most sacred privilege.
It became very evident to me that Mrs. Eddy was not only a master metaphysician, but also a woman of unique, of rarest characteristics — that she was a genuine Christian, having not only the highest, purest sense of God but also the deepest affection for mankind; a Christian warrior with undaunted courage, wielding in her pioneer work the sword of Spirit, and fighting the good fight of Truth against error, while at the same time, as a sweet, gentle, highly cultured, and very loving woman, showing the tenderest solicitude for the welfare of her followers, and even of those who persecuted her "for righteousness sake."
While in her presence I felt that I was with the truest of all friends, with a veritable mother in Israel, an expounder of "the deep things of God," a dependable counselor, a wise mentor, a marvelous discerner of the thoughts and intents of the human mind, which always made me feel while with her as transparent as a pane of glass. She was an accomplished housekeeper, not only directing the details of a great movement, but incidentally those of an involved household. She was also a perfect mental housekeeper, in the realm of physical and moral conditions, and in the purification and Christianization of character, practicing and advocating faithful metaphysical house cleaning — the removal of all that does not come from God.
It interested me deeply to observe how Mrs. Eddy talked with God and listened for His answer. I well knew her beautiful hymn,
"I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray,
written when she was made pastor of her church, but I had never realized her conscious closeness to God, her feeling that she could talk with Him, could ask for and find inspiration and guidance. No one on earth had so clear and scientific a sense of God's incorporeality as infinite Mind, as Love; but there was nevertheless that human nearness and appeal, as from a little child to a parent, due to her wondrous humility — her wholesouled, continuous obedience to Jesus' example when he prayed, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
I was also interested to observe how closely she endeavored to follow, not only the teaching, but also the life of Jesus; for she told me how it helped her, when she had an important decision to make, to wonder what Jesus would have done under such circumstances. Although realizing her great responsibility as the divinely ordained Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and Leader of this great movement, she had a simple childlike feeling and attitude, when asking for divine guidance. Her humility and selflessness were far beyond what would seem to be humanly possible.
God Now Knowable
The most important of Mrs. Eddy's teachings is that concerning the true nature of God, for through this teaching God is now knowable.
The defective human concept of the one and only God has gradually improved through an ever ascending apprehension of what God really is. This concept has advanced from the primitive belief in many gods, both good and evil, to Abraham's recognition of one invisible God; thence to Jesus' teaching of God as Father; later, to St. John's concept of God as Love; and finally to the God revealed to Mrs. Eddy as infinite Truth, the Father-Mother God — the Truth which Jesus promised through the Comforter, through divine Science.
Some people fancy that humanity is not thinking of God as much as formerly. This may be true with a few; but, on the other hand, many now have a higher, clearer sense of God, in accordance with an enlightened interpretation of the Bible.
The omnific nature of God, divine Mind, as well as the true character of His Son Christ Jesus, of man, and of the universe, can now be learned through a study of the Christian Science textbook, entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which was written by Mrs. Eddy. Herein will be found full and satisfying explanations of these deep questions. The verity, simplicity, and grandeur of these subjects will grow upon the thought of every reader and student who is earnestly seeking Truth, and is measurably unhampered by those material misconceptions which hinder the expansion of human thought toward spiritual reality.
It must be quite evident that one who wishes to understand or practice this Science of the Christ-healing must acquire a reasonable amount of knowledge of spiritual truth. This means that his thought must turn away from materialism and reach out toward divinity, toward a spiritualized consciousness, because God is Spirit and can be known only spiritually.
In order to make substantial progress in this spiritual growth, and in order to avail ourselves effectively of the opportunities offered by Christian Science in this direction, the following three essential points are quite necessary. First, attitude; second, study; third, application.
The attitude of our thought towards Christian Science, towards its teachings, towards its demonstration is of prime importance to our progress. Without an honest recognition, firstly, of what Christian Science is; secondly, through whom it came; and thirdly of its mission and redemptive power, we are not looking in the right direction to find and perceive the revealed God and His Christ. The correct attitude turns us to the full light of revelation; and honesty of heart will enable us to reflect the light.
It is evident that we cannot progress or become successful in any subject, occupation or purpose in life without proper study. Therefore, a faithful, thorough study of Christian Science is essential in order to acquire an understanding of its teachings. Occasional reading of the textbook and Mrs. Eddy's other writings, a mere perusal of the weekly "Bible Lessons," as given in the Christian Science Quarterly, and a scanning of the Christian Science periodicals is not sufficient in Christian Science any more than in any other subject.
In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes in answer to the question, "How can I progress most rapidly in the understanding of Christian Science?" "Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit" (p. 495). She also refers to the Christian Science weekly Bible Lesson as "a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends" (Manual, p. 31). It has accordingly become a custom and habit for earnest students to study the weekly Bible Lesson each day, in whole or in part. This indicates some appreciation of the benefit to be derived from acquaintance with these Lessons.
The subjects of these Bible Lessons were selected by Mrs. Eddy and cover in a comprehensive way the Christian Science teaching on the fundamental features of this Science.
These subjects begin with God, followed by several of the synonymous names for God, including Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Soul, Mind. These Lessons also deal with other important teaching relating to Man; Christ Jesus; Sacrament; Substance; Matter; Reality; Unreality; Are Sin, Disease, and Dealt Real?; Is the Universe, including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force? In addition to these there are several Lessons dealing with more doctrinal questions, as Doctrine of Atonement; Probation after Death; Everlasting Punishment; Adam and Fallen Man; Mortals and Immortals; Soul and Body; Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced; God the Only Cause and Creator; God the Preserver of Man. There is also one lesson devoted to Christian Science as a subject by itself, and one prepared especially for the Thanksgiving Day service.
This list of subjects covers six months study. And is repeated for the remaining six months of the year. Year after year students of Christian Science study these lessons. So inexhaustible is this Science, that the lessons never become hackneyed nor does one's interest wane nor one's store of understanding fail to increase. The infinite nature of Truth is seen in the ever new light upon old and much studied subjects. Each repetition of a Lesson brings a higher and clearer grasp of the teaching presented.
Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." It is the knowing of the truth that gives one spiritual freedom — salvation from all error. This knowing includes understanding, and understanding makes possible that imbibing of the spirit to which Mrs. Eddy refers, and which is attained only through genuine study, coupled with prayer.
In all walks of life it is the universal experience that the achievement of success in any direction requires application and much practice. We cannot become proficient in any line without this. In order that we may increase our understanding of Christian Science and experience its blessings, there is great necessity for an intelligent, scientific and persistent application of the teachings. Thereby we gain an understanding of the modus operandi of Christian Science healing. The application of the truth, as revealed in Science and Health, is of vital importance, not only for our immediate welfare, but especially for our spiritual progress.
If we cultivate a mental attitude towards Christian Science, and towards existence, that will bring us in line with divine truth, if we study this truth and apply it constantly in our daily lives, then we shall become "transformed through the renewing of [the] mind," as St. Paul puts it, and then, when confronted with error, we shall find ourselves able to overcome it quickly.
Exactness of Christian Science
Throughout her writings Mrs. Eddy, teaches the fact that Christian Science is an exact Science, and that, in order to be demonstrated, it needs exactness of thought and correctness of application. Very few of us have been educated or trained to think accurately, analytically and logically; consequently, the general thinking regarding religious matters has not been very orderly. In mathematics we know that it is essential to think correctly, to apply the rules exactly, and to work out each problem without regard to any human opinion. This process is even more important in the Science of Christianity, which requires absolute exactness in analysis and application.
Christian Science, being the revelation of Truth, being exact Science, its truth can be definitely known, deductions can be definitely made, conclusions can be definitely drawn, and the rule of truth can then be correctly applied. Christian Science teaching defines what is absolutely real and what is absolutely unreal; so there need be no difficulty in making the differentiation.
Not only does Christian Science reveal the nature of the divine Mind, but it also discloses the nature of the so-called human mind. Thereby human thinking can be analyzed and we can distinguish what in it is real and what in it is unreal.
One of the most important points in the study and application of Christian Science is to realize the clearness, the exactness, the logic of its teachings, and it is of vital importance to our success, in order to obtain right results, that we apply the teachings with the same accuracy as is necessary in mathematics. Mental slovenliness and inexactness, moral laxity and indifference, misapprehension and perversion have no place in the application of Christian Science.
The Language of Spirit
In the Christian Science textbook, page 349, under the caption "Language inadequate," Mrs. Eddy refers to the difficulty she experienced in adequately expressing the spiritual truths of her discovery through the medium of the English language. To meet this great need she developed the meanings of the English words that express most nearly the thought she wished to convey, so that they would indicate in a degree the language of Spirit which had come to her thought. She usually took a word whose root meaning or etymological meaning conveyed the fundamental thought or the meaning which was the best starting-point for this development. Then, by means of equivalent phrases, sentences and illustrations, she associated with this word the spiritual sense it was necessary to express.
While the words themselves, as generally understood, did not at any time convey that spiritual meaning, yet those who became more spiritually-minded, enough so to perceive a higher meaning through a sense of Soul, or spiritual discernment, could, in a greater or less degree, catch the spiritual sense behind the words, and thus begin to understand the language of Spirit, the language of reality. In connection with this, see Science and Health (p. 481).
The spiritual meaning of words, as Mrs. Eddy uses them in her writings, is also the metaphysical and scientific meaning. This can now be grasped by any sincere thinker who is looking for the truth and turning to God, and who, in addition, will look up the words in the two Concordances to Mrs. Eddy's works and then carefully read and ponder in the textbook the sentences in which such words are used. A special endeavor should be made to note carefully how Mrs. Eddy uses words, in order to understand exactly the meaning with which she uses them.
This meaning can be perceived only through the spiritual vision, or perception, which the heart inspires in an earnest seeker. While we can study the etymological meanings of words in the dictionaries, and thereby see why Mrs. Eddy uses those words, we can get their scientific and practical meaning only by seeing how she was divinely led to use them. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.
In addition to revealing the underlying spiritual meaning of words, Mrs. Eddy introduced a system of capitalization which is of immense value. Using, among others, the word "Mind" as a synonym for God, this word, as used in Christian Science, is always spelled with a capital "M" when it means God; and with a small "m" when it means the mortal, human mind. This is a great aid in reading Mrs. Eddy's writings, for it enables us to distinguish between the Mind which is God, and the counterfeit carnal mind.
Before Mrs. Eddy presented Christian Science to the world, the word "mind" had only its dictionary meaning, namely: understanding, reason, intellect, memory, sentiment, conscious thought. The world had understood it merely as a quality or property.
When it was revealed to Mrs. Eddy that God is infinite Mind she discerned that word to mean infinite consciousness, infinite intelligence, infinite understanding. In Christian Science, the definition of Mind as God has developed into infinite Allness, including every nature and essential quality of God — omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience.
In like manner, she elevated the terms spirit, soul, principle, life, truth and love. The capitalization of these terms when used as synonyms for God illustrates the way in which Mrs. Eddy has developed the original spiritual meaning of words, so as to express divine Truth. As, through prayerful and studious reading of Mrs. Eddy's writings, one grasps the spiritual meaning of these words, the definition of God will grow upon thought, and give one an ever increasing understanding of His real being.
Thoughtful students of Mrs. Eddy's works can find in many portions of her writings a sort of method, as it might be called, of using words both in corroboration and in contrast.
One of the clearest examples of this method is found in the seven lines designated as "the scientific statement of being," given in Science and Health on page 468. Here Mrs. Eddy so effectively contrasts matter and Spirit, the unreal and the real, that the spiritual nature of man is clearly seen. Another instance is found on page 466 of the textbook where Mrs. Eddy contrasts opposite terms in a way that causes them to stand out with wonderful clearness and with healing value. Mrs. Eddy always emphasizes the clear distinction between whatever comes from God as the one cause and which, therefore, is real; and what seems to be God's opposite and which, therefore, is unreal.
Spiritual truth is not always quickly grasped by human beings who are healed in Christian Science, and who are beginning to study it. This difficulty is largely due to what are called hereditary tendencies and the influence of environment and education. In order to apprehend spiritual truth; to catch the spirit of Mrs. Eddy's teachings, there is required not only a very sincere desire and prayer, but also a studious effort to clarify thought, in order to remove some of the impinged material beliefs resulting from the bias of material education.
While these human agencies are of themselves no part of spiritual understanding, yet experience has shown that they are beneficial. There is power in the word in the degree that it declares Truth. "For the word of God (Truth) is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." This does not mean the printed word which reaches the eye, nor the spoken word which reaches the ear; it means the spiritual truth of the expressed thought which reaches understanding.
Christian Science, with its "Key to the Scriptures," enables us to grasp, appreciate, and in a degree to understand, all the teachings of the Bible. This it does by giving us a spiritual sense of the terms used and of the ideas which the Bible teaching is intended to convey.
One very practical and immediately effective application of the teaching of Christian Science is found through Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of the 23d Psalm, given in Science and Health, page 577. Here she uses the word "Love" for words meaning "the Lord." This is well worth reading and studying.
Again, by applying this plan of word substitution to the 27th Psalm, verse one, we receive a wonderful enlightenment that at once penetrates the mist of materiality and dispels a personal sense of God. It then reads: Divine Love is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Divine Love is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Applying further this method of Mrs. Eddy's to impersonalize the sense of "the Lord" we shall find it a great help to take the definition of God as given on page 465 of the same book. "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." Substituting, in these Psalms and other verses in the Bible, for "the Lord," any of the seven synonyms or names for God is very helpful, especially when one adds the very essential qualifying terms, "incorporeal," "divine," "supreme," "infinite."
The question of a seeming relationship between what we call our material universe and the spiritual universe has puzzled many. It is impossible, outside of Christian Science, to account for two universes which directly contradict each other, namely, the first and second records of creation, and difficult to identify ourselves with the spiritual universe and the real man. Perhaps some illustrations or analogies may be helpful: Take the mathematical value two, for example. This is a mathematical idea which exists everywhere — there is no place where there is not the idea two; it is mathematically permanent, indestructible, unchanging; everyone can use it and it never wears out; there is no envy or jealousy over it; the mathematical rule back of it sustains it and maintains its value.
This idea, however, is invisible to the physical senses and known only through mathematical sense; but in order to bring this value or idea to the cognizance of the corporeal senses, it is presented by means of a finite line called a figure two. Evidently this numeral is not the idea two and does not contain its value. Should the numeral be destroyed, the idea two would in no way be affected, so proving that its existence is in its truth, and not in the visible numeral. The mathematical value is, therefore, the idea back of the figure, which the figure merely indicates, and which is seen and discerned only through mathematical understanding. The physical eyes do not see the idea two.
In the case of the spiritual universe and the material impression of it, it is necessary to recognize that the physically unseen spiritual universe is the true idea, and that the material is but a false conception of it, a counterfeit or misrepresentation. The substance and value of the real universe are spiritual not material. The apparent physical universe, and the actual spiritual universe, appear on entirely different planes of thought, the former being akin to a dream state, as it were, while the latter alone is divinely true.
There is actually no relationship between Spirit and matter, between the real and the unreal. The seeming relationship is that of association, such as exists between a genuine ten-dollar bill and its counterfeit; and also that of impression, as when an object seems blue while looking at it through blue glass.
Physicists look for reality in what is called the material universe and the testimony of the physical senses. Changing their belief in regard to the nature of matter in accordance with recent discoveries does not change their belief that there exists a so-called material universe. Although some physicists are venturing to assert the unreality of matter, yet this is only in theory, for it is impossible intelligently to assert the unreality or nothingness of matter without an understanding of the reality or somethingness of Spirit, the divine actuality — which understanding they of course do not yet possess. To be sure, some of them have a vague philosophical belief in a possible invisible first cause or immaterial existence, but they have nothing substantive to take the place of sense testimony, or of what they call the external world.
The insubstantial, supposititious, impressionistic nature of matter and of material objects can perhaps be seen through an illustration drawn from the following simple and practical application of one of the Einstein formulae: If we move a brick, for example it will become smaller in the direction in which it is moved as its velocity increases, In other words, the brick actually becomes thinner and thinner, the faster it moves, and when moved, theoretically, at the velocity of light or approximately 186,000 miles per second, the dimension of the brick, in the direction in which it is moved, becomes zero, how much matter is there left of the object? Thus we see that velocity is one of the dimensions or factors which determine the size of an object. This proved theory shows that matter is not a fixed substance, but is variable and phenomenal; and in Christian Science it is found to be unreal.
Here is an important point: Denying matter scientifically, knowing its unreality according to Christian Science, does not destroy our present sense of existence. This denial thins, or rends, the material veil that hides Spirit, lets more light into consciousness, and thus illumines everything with a spiritual hue, which is the hue of harmony. Mrs. Eddy considers this of great importance. Hence she writes: "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual — neither in nor of matter — and the body will then utter no complaints" (Science and Health, page 14). All of this emphasizes the great need of unseeing matter and its products, and realizing that spiritual existence is the real existence and is entirely independent of matter.
How then are we to estimate this material existence, which seemingly is so very real? Mrs. Eddy teaches us that it is a counterfeit or dream state and must be seen as such in order to experience harmony. But how about the power that it seems to have? We have just seen that matter is not substance, and if it is a counterfeit, how can it seem to have so much power?
It is evident that a counterfeit bill has no intrinsic value of its own; but so long as it is believed to be genuine it seems to have the value of the genuine bill which it counterfeits. In other words, it gets its transitory seeming value or purchasing power from the genuine bill. Just as soon as the counterfeit is recognized as a counterfeit, its value and power disappear. This applies to counterfeits of any sort, showing that the temporary value of the counterfeit, or its power, is always stolen from the genuine article which it counterfeits.
In an analogous way, a vivid dream may impress consciousness as entirely real in incident and powerful in action. But where do the dream incidents and actions come from? A moment's thought will show us that these were in the waking experience which were counterfeited by the dream.
Christian Science teaches that material existence itself is akin to a dream condition. It does not express real, spiritual being. Mrs. Eddy calls it the Adam-dream. The fundamental teaching of Christian Science is that since God is All-in-all, then all that is real is the infinite Mind and its infinite expression. Consequently, the material sense of existence which Mrs. Eddy calls mortal mind, and which St. Paul calls the carnal mind — the state of thought which believes in the reality of matter, material phenomena, evil and so forth — is unreal; it is a false sense, a dream.
Continuing our analogy, we will see that, manifestly, since mortal existence is only a dream experience, it can have no power, substance, intelligence, nor reality. Just as in the case of the counterfeit bill, where the seeming value of the bill is in the genuine bill which it counterfeits, and as the seeming power and substance of a dream is obtained from the material existence which it counterfeits, so the apparent power, substance, intelligence and action of material living is only in the real spiritual universe which it counterfeits.
This latter fact has been recently corroborated through the mathematical discoveries and demonstrations of eminent physicists who have stated that there is neither cause nor effect in electrons, in elementary matter, nor in material existence, causation being something outside, or beyond, materiality.
Beginners in Christian Science who are taught the unreality of matter and material living, are often puzzled when they begin to take in the fact that matter is unreal and then try to figure out why it seems to have such power.
Those who can comprehend the revealed spiritual reality instantly, without human reasoning, do not need any analogies or aids to reason. But others who have a rather strong belief and conviction, of the reality of matter may find it a help to see that, even from a human standpoint, Mrs. Eddy's teachings of the dream nature of mortal existence are logical and demonstrable.
The mental chemistry of Christian Science is very interesting. According to the dictionaries, the term "chemistry" means the science that treats of the composition of substances and of the transformations which they undergo.
Mrs. Eddy's references to mental and moral chemistry evidently pertain to the mental composition of things and the transformations which take place therein. Since existence is mental and things are thoughts, there must be — in mortal thought — a mental chemistry of disease and a moral chemistry of sin, which concern the composition of these beliefs and also bring about changes.
Mrs. Eddy's use of the word "chemicalization" as defined in the textbook, page 401, would seem to refer to the fermentation and transformation which take place when one thought changes another, just as when an alkali destroys an acid, thereby resulting in purified and simplified conditions. Putting soda into sour milk produces a decided foaming, while the sour, or acid, elements are being destroyed.
Analogously, when a strong moral thought of right is applied to an evil, sinful thought or habit which the sufferer may or may not desire to be rid of, there is often a mental disturbance, an aggravation or change of the condition itself, a resistance to the healing, a reaction against the healer or against the truth.
It is sometimes puzzling to beginners to see how it is possible to change a nature, a physical structure, a condition, or a quality, through mental means; namely, through spiritual prayer, as the Bible teaches. The removal of abnormal conditions, structural, organic, or functional, has so frequently resulted from the study and application of Christian Science that there is no longer any question as to whether or not these so-called natural changes can be brought about through divinely mental means. In partial explanation of this we can see that since all discord is error, because it is outside the realm of divine Truth, the healing comes about when a thought of truth touches a thought of error in human consciousness. Also that when divine Truth is brought to bear upon an evil trait of character, a temperamental condition, a disease or some indulged wrongdoing, a change is brought about and right conditions are established through "the alchemy of Spirit," to use Mrs. Eddy's words (Science and Health, p. 422).
She also uses the term "leaven" when referring to the uplifting and transforming effect of truth upon the human consciousness, and refers to Jesus' parable of the leaven which a woman hid in three measures of meal — this leaven being spiritual Truth operating through the spiritual chemistry of divine Mind and its action. A careful study of the term "leaven" in Mrs. Eddy's writings will be found most enlightening.
While we are talking about chemistry, we might with profit discuss some chemical substances that have been the seeming cause of perhaps the greatest amount of sin, disease and death produced in the world.
It is held that these chemical materials affect the body injuriously, dull the moral sense, arouse the animal nature and predispose towards disease through weakening of the tissues.
Mrs. Eddy enumerates some of these poisonous elements and the depraved appetite for them at the bottom of page 406 of the textbook. These appetites are evidently called depraved because they demand stimulants, not foods, and the desire for these is due to the conscious or unconscious craving for the stimulating effect.
The alcoholic evil is a very serious one and needs to be looked squarely in the face for what it is. Otherwise mankind must find itself being detrimentally influenced by the mentality that wishes them to indulge in it, or that lacks courage to handle this question effectually. One has to be only partially observant to see plainly the effect of the use of alcohol upon the minds and morals or mortals, and to find clear evidence that the indulgence in alcohol is a monstrous evil.
Mrs. Eddy handles this throughout as a moral question, instead of handling it on the basis of economics or policy. A study of her writings discloses the fact that Christian Science heals this appetite and its effects. This shows conclusively that this sin is healed only through the moral and spiritual influence of divine Science. It will be helpful to read what she says about it in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 65), "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 212), and "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 297).
Mrs. Eddy writes in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 288): "Whatever intoxicates a man, stultifies and causes him to degenerate physically and morally. Strong drink is unquestionably an evil, and evil cannot be used temperately; its slightest use is abuse; hence the only temperance is total abstinence."
Christian Scientists are blessed with a degree of spiritual understanding that enables them to recognize evil as evil and to destroy the desire for it, on the basis of the Christ, Truth, as Mrs. Eddy plainly teaches, and which she has made possible of proof.
"Absent From the Body"
We are told in the Bible "to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." Mrs. Eddy often refers to this admonition in her writings, making it applicable to the workaday world. A study of these references is very helpful.
Being "present with the Lord" means to be present with God, therefore, present with Truth and Love in consciousness. It means having the consciousness of divine Mind, which naturally is outside the material body.
It is most profitable to see that we do not live in matter nor in a matter body. This is readily grasped when we realize that our existence, as we have already seen, is our consciousness, and that our consciousness therefore includes everything that we are conscious of. Humanly, it includes our awareness and knowledge of physical existence, of the universe and everything in it. If we doubt this let us think what existence would be without a universe! It is manifest that this vast consciousness cannot be confined in a matter body — there simply would not be room for it. This shows that we really live in Mind and not in matter, in thought, not in material things. St. Paul says, "For in him (God) we live, and move, and have our being." When we are thus absent from the body, from the sense of limitation and confinement, thought expands and consciousness can reach out to infinity.
One practical effect of being absent from the body is illustrated by the following: If we twist tightly a chain or rope, it becomes tense and knotted. Then, if we release it, it resumes its normal condition. So with the matter body; when it is held in fear, in the bondage of laws of matter, laws of physiology, pathology, fatalism, etc., it is thereby twisted and distorted. The organs cease to function properly and the faculties are impaired, resulting in morbific conditions and often in calamity. If we then become absent from the body, by knowing that we live, move, and have our being in Mind instead of in matter, that we are governed by the law of God, the law of good, instead of evil, the strain is taken off the body and it has a chance to become normal, which it does.
When St. Paul tells us to be absent from the body he means absent mentally from a sense of a corporeal structure, and present with the consciousness of divine Mind, present as a spiritual idea of God, embodying the ideas of Soul. This Truth illumines consciousness and externalizes harmony.
The Psalmist says, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." The earth is evidently the dwelling place of man — seemingly, the material earth for material man; actually, the spiritual earth for spiritual man. In reality, there is but one universe, because the material is only the counterfeit, or false appearance, of the spiritual. Since man includes all right ideas, there can be no lack of any kind in him, because all that he is belongs to God — man being God's expression. The human sense of lack is necessarily a dream condition and not a reality.
It is a great help to see, from this Scriptural statement, that all ownership is vested in God and that we are but His stewards, or trustees. However, we possess all good by reflection. We are told that the earth was made for man's use, and that he was given dominion over it, which means that man, in his real being, has all that he needs.
For example: Consider the fact that there is but one two, or one of anything. We can all have that two, or any other value or idea, and can use it whenever we need to; it never wears out and is always ready for us; we have only to know it in order for it to appear. Just so the real man has all by reflection, and possesses every idea as he knows it and needs it.
Surely, God is mindful of His own, provides all necessities, and takes care of every contingency; His is the law of salvation from discord and lack. Can we not trust God's law to adjust everything and thus make it possible for all to be governed by God, the infinite Mind? The difficulty is that we seem to interfere with our consciousness of God's reality and government by thrusting in mortal fears and doubts, by believing that we own material things and that these are endangered or limited. When we realize that we are but stewards, we can then pray for the necessary wisdom to rightfully look after everything that is entrusted to us.
The human sense of source, supply, and need implies limited space, a time element, and a sense of lack, which calls for a transfer of something to meet that lack. Seeing that infinity is omnipresence, there can be no place where the substance of Truth is not; and consequently there can be no lack. Because man is the expression of God, he expresses infinite substance; hence, he already has all that he needs, by reflection. God is not only the source but also the omnipresent supply, and man does not have to go elsewhere to obtain it, or fill a supposed vacuum; so man is really a harmonious being.
Jesus said, ''The kingdom of God is within you," from which it follows that there can be no discord in man — neither in consciousness, in structure, in activity, in functioning, in supply, nor in resourcefulness. Right where the discordant condition seems to be there is actually the kingdom of heaven, which proves the inharmony to be an illusion.
Mrs. Eddy strongly emphasizes the spiritual fact that man is already perfect and immortal. (See Science and Health, p. 428.) This, together with her oft-repeated statement that man is the expression of God, enables us to see that in reality man is the present reflection of God, that he expresses nothing but God, and that he is therefore not in any way the product of the past. It is profitable to see that time is just as unreal as matter; and it is marvelous what harmonizing effect this truth has upon the human consciousness.
St. John writes, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." This verifies Mrs. Eddy's teaching just referred to. He goes on to say that this fact "doth not yet appear," is not yet manifested, but when God "shall appear," be manifested, "we shall be like him," be like God, "for we shall see him as he is," understand Him as He really is — reflect Him. Then St. John goes on to tell us the result of knowing God aright, by showing us the scientific, metaphysical healing truth that "every man that hath this hope in him," in God, "purifieth himself, even as he (God) is pure." That is, through well-grounded expectancy to know God aright, one will become conscious of his God-bestowed spiritual purity, because God is the essence of purity.
This knowing that man is the present reflection of God naturally heals the evils of so-called heredity, and also the seeming effect of past experiences. I know a case of a serious accident, the effects of which disappeared in three days, when dealt with on this scientific basis.
Truly can we appreciate the Psalmist's statement, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." When we see what true satisfaction is, we can understand that we shall be truly satisfied with the consciousness of divine truth when we awake to that consciousness.
Any thoughtful student, or careful reader, of Mrs. Eddy's writings must be strongly impressed by her teaching in regard to the nature of Love — its divinity and its human expression; he must also see how essential this is to a Christian Scientist, that he may understand, appreciate, and live the teachings, and how vital is the reflection of divine Love in successful healing work.
Mrs. Eddy uses the word "Love" with a capital when it stands as a synonym for God, and when the word God can be used in its placed With a small letter it refers properly to the reflection of divine Love. This differentiation enlarges our grasp of the meaning of the term, and enables us to apply the loving nature of God more naturally, and more correctly.
In his gospel, St. John says, emphatically, that "God is love," and I must confess that I never could grasp the meaning of that phrase, because I construed the statement as meaning human love, and I thought God was more than the human view of love, which the statement seemed to convey to my sense at that time; but in her textbook, page 465, Mrs. Eddy gives the seven cardinal terms for God with their several wonderful qualities, which satisfied me.
For example: In answer to the question, "What is God?" which, by the way, is the beginning of class instruction in Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy defines God as Love and says that this word is synonymous with the other terms or names for God, which she gives. This term "Love" not only expresses God's nature as infinite goodness but also the wholeness of God, and consequently includes all there is of God. Love is, therefore, divine Mind, infinite Spirit, incorporeal Soul, supreme Principle, immortal Life, eternal Truth. Love includes and expresses the entire nature of God, and is the nature of Deity which is most difficult to realize, and since Love conveys the most important and potent healing thought, it is very necessary that we obtain a clear realization of Love, that we actually feel its presence, and companion with it.
It is evident, then, that we need to clear our thought and rise to the consciousness of this pure love. If at any time we notice that it is difficult to do this, it will be helpful for us to think of all the attributes or qualities of Love and then rest there, allowing them to lift our thought toward divine, infinite Love, which they invariably do.
To be divine, love must be unselfish, selfless, and self-sacrificing. It must be immaterial, impartial, immutable. It must be constant, firm, indestructible. It must be pure. Mrs. Eddy's inspired article on "Love" in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 249) contains a most practical elucidation of this subject and is well worth careful study.
St. Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans, "All things work together for good to them that love God." Mrs. Eddy quotes this passage several limes and refers to its teaching frequently. She often quoted these words in her letters. And usually followed St. Paul's statement, "to them that love God," with an equivalent statement, "to them that love good." Is it not important for us, then, to be able to love God aright — to love good, and thus to have all our experiences work together for our good? Christian Science enables us to do this.
The little prayer of Mrs. Eddy's in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 400), ever assures a daily harvest from divine Love:
"Father-Mother good, lovingly Thee I seek —
In the way Thou hast —
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee."
[Published in The Brooklyn (New York) Daily Eagle, April 19, 1933. The title was supplied from another copy of the same lecture.]