Christian Science: The Science of Right Living (2)
Prof. Hermann S. Hering, C.S.B., of Concord, New Hampshire
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Since Christian Science, as discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, is being so generally recognized as an instrument for good it will be interesting to know what this Science teaches regarding the unrest, evil and suffering so prevalent in the world today and to hear what solution it has to offer for them. We are deeply concerned to discover the cause of this untoward condition and to learn if possible of an adequate remedy for it, as well as to find what part each one of us plays in the situation, to what degree we are responsible for it, and to what extent we can aid in alleviating and healing it.
At the outset it should be recognized that the world is an aggregation of individuals, hence world conditions are but the composite product of the lives and mentalities of its people, and of their habits of thought their ethics, their ambitions and their resultant conduct.
Thus the character of human living is an essential factor in the world's condition and it follows that this can be improved only as the lives of its people are improved. It is this phase of the question to which we shall give especial attention by analyzing the Science of right living, together with the Principle and law involved, in order to see how these may be demonstrated in human activities.
Recipe in the Bible
It is evident that all which really is has Principle, basis, cause, law, and that right living involves obedience to Principle, government by motives based upon truth, justice, equity. Since God made all that was made and pronounced it good, it follows that obedience God, Principle, means obedience to good. It is also evident that in order to do right we must know what right is, and this cannot be known without knowing what God or good is, therefore, in order to obey Principle, one must know God even as Jesus and his disciples knew Him.
St. Paul writes: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." — (Rom. 8:2)
The Bible contains many clear and definite statements of the healing law of the gospel in its relation to every form of evil thinking and living.
Have you ever thought what this world would be with all its sin, sorrow, suffering and sickness removed? And have you ever realized that an understanding of the teachings of Christ Jesus, with strict adherence thereto, would bring about this heavenly condition? This should be evident to all Bible students.
When looking, therefore, for a solution of the world's problem, need one look further than to an understanding of the teachings of the Master? Did he not set a standard of right living upon a divine basis which he declared he made it possible for all to follow? Did he not heal all manner of evil and disease through divine power and did he not teach his followers to do the same thing? It is not evident then that Christian living involves not merely right ethical or moral conditions, but right physical and mental conditions as well; health, harmony and wholesomeness in every direction?
Christian Living Includes Healing
We thus see that Christian healing is undoubtedly an essential element in Christian living. From the inception of Christianity, however, only a few have accepted fully our Master's teachings, caught their spirit and manifested this Christ spirit in healing works, notably the early Christians who, during the first three centuries of the Christian era, did such marvelous healing, and led such self-sacrificing and consecrated lives, until the time when Christianity was engulfed in formalism and its vital spirit was quenched. One reason why so many do not believe in Christian healing is because it is difficult for the human mind to see and admit that a mere mental effort, such as prayer, faith and right thinking, can bring about a physical change. Yet this is what our Master's teachings and his practice involve.
It is evident that Christ Jesus considered this healing work an indispensable factor of his ministry; indeed he made it a test of Christian discipleship, for he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall do also;" a statement which clearly means that he who is a Christian will be able to heal spiritually. Moreover, he made no distinction between the healing of sin and of disease. He said, for example, to the impotent man whom he had healed of a serious physical condition, "Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you," unmistakably implying that the disease had been due to sin, and definitely stating that continued indulgence in sin will result in a worse form of disease.
Healing Understood Spiritually
Since, therefore, Christian healing is such an integral element of our Master's Christianity and is thus essential to the demonstration of Christian living, it is important to understand it. The Bible says that spiritual things must be spiritually discerned, and since Christian healing is accomplished spiritually, no other means being used, it is evident that it can be explained, understood and demonstrated only spiritually, that is, from a spiritual basis. Physical science and medical science cannot possibly explain the healing work done by Christ Jesus and by his immediate followers, nor by Christian Scientists today, for these opposite methods have nothing whatever in common.
Since all have been educated to look at things materially, and since it is impossible to understand Jesus's teachings and works from that basis it is evident that a new point of view must be obtained, one, that is to say, apart from the physical, and therefore in the realm of the Christianly metaphysical or spiritually mental, for it is evident that his healing work was all accomplished mentally.
In gaining this new viewpoint it may be necessary to engage in a line of thought to which some have not been accustomed. Therefore I must ask such to be patient and indulgent while this new viewpoint is considered.
It is not, of course, the purpose here to attempt to prove that healing was accomplished by Jesus and by his disciples or that it is accomplished today by Christian Scientists, since this fact is already well established. The endeavor will be to explain away some of the difficulties involved in accepting it and to show the possibility of healing the world's miseries through spiritual means.
Nature of Human Existence
First it is necessary to make a brief analysis of the nature of so-called human existence in order to gain some understanding of what constitutes human consciousness, that we may learn what it is that mortals seem to be, what the world appears to be in which they seem to live, and what the conditions are to be overcome, for then, and then only, can be seen what is involved in Christian healing and in the demonstration of the Science of right living.
A moment's thought will show us that mortals are conscious of existence mentally and only so. for everything that enters into their life, all activities and experiences, enters it mentally through some action of thought, for do they not think what they see, hear, feel, smell or taste? We are conscious only of mental impressions presenting themselves as mental concepts which are accepted as existence. Thus it is seen that human existence is wholly mental.
From this it follows that the condition and state of human existence is largely due to that of human consciousness. This conclusion, moreover, cannot be avoided when we consider existing differences in personal characteristics, in educational bias, environment, association and experience and see what a widely varying sense of existence these differences produce in different individuals. For example, two persons may live in a home, — one may think it very beautiful and comfortable, and wish to remain in it, while the other is unhappy and wishes to move away from it, — the same home. In every-day experience we learn that no two members of any group of persons, if asked their impression of any incident appealing to the material senses, will give similar accounts. Each one can give only his own mental impression.
Human Existence Relative
Indeed, it is a demonstrable fact that no two persons see the same object exactly alike. The lenses of people's eyes are all said to be slightly different, which results in different images being thrown upon their retinas; and more especially the quality of the perceptive faculties is very different. Each person always sees only his own concept. In other words, we experience mental impressions, the character of which is largely due to that of our own mentality, and these impressions are accepted as human existence. Therefore, what is called the material universe is for each one of us but a material concept of the universe, an individual impression of it, the way it appears through the five physical senses. And as it is never exactly the same with any two persons, obviously this material sense of the universe is not absolute but is relative, variable, impressionistic.
Prof. Einstein, in his theory of relativity, has proved through mathematical computation and physical experimentation, that material existence is relative, that the mass, or quantity of substance, of an object, for example, is dependent upon its velocity, that the universe is conceptual, and that we see all things from our own point of view, our own "frame of reference," as it is called mathematically. He claims, moreover, to have proved that time and space are purely relative, which means that they have no absolute existence. It is true that many agreements have been made in education, — a yardstick, for example, is an accepted measure of length, — but the yardstick seems very different to a child from what it does to an adult.
Physical Sense Testimony False
Since the five physical senses play so important a part in the formation of so-called physical sense of existence, it is necessary to analyze them in order to determine whether they can be depended upon. In the case of sight, for example, if one looks at a straight railway track, the rails seem to converge, but this appearance is not true, for they are parallel. A large house seen in the distance appears to be a small house, but this again is not true. Such examples prove that the sense of sight testifies falsely and requires corrections and explanations before intelligent concepts can be formed.
So also in the case of hearing, echoes and sounds in the distance are deceptive until they are explained and corrected. In the same way it is well known how often we have been and how easily we can be deceived through the other senses, the senses of touch, taste and smell.
Now if a business man has five employees whose daily reports he cannot accept without making many corrections and allowances, will he have implicit confidence in these employees in every other respect? Certainly not, for we know how hard it is ever to believe a person again who has misled us once. Then is it sensible or logical to have such implicit confidence in the testimony of the five physical senses when it is known that they testify falsely all the time? Should we not rather be eager for further corrections that we may not be deceived by them at all?
It is very important to see that the five physical senses cannot perceive truth; consequently, anything that is true. For example, suppose two persons to be looking at a mathematical computation, one understands mathematics, and the other does not. Would they both see the truth involved by simply looking at the physical figures with their physical eyes? Certainly not, for mathematical truth can be seen only through mathematical understanding, and those who do not have this understanding cannot see this truth, no matter how long they may look at the figures.
For the same reason, the five physical senses cannot perceive absolute Truth. They cannot, in other words, see God, Spirit, Mind, Soul, Love, — they certainly cannot see Principle, for Truth can be seen only through the understanding, spiritual understanding, — a faculty entirely apart from physical sense. If, therefore, the five physical senses cannot see Truth, it follows conclusively that what they do see is not true.
Mental Nature of Existence
Those who have studied physics and chemistry, have been taught that any material object may through mechanical, chemical and electrical processes, be reduced to a mere form of energy, — to infinitesimal units of electrical force vibrating with great velocity. Since then a material object is an aggregation of units of force, nothing else having entered into its composition, it must be simply force, Mrs. Eddy writes in her text-book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, (page 484), "Physical force and mortal mind are one." Therefore, any material object is wholly mental.
Those who have studied psychology and philosophy know that the only evidence of the existence of a material object is a mental concept. Thus so-called material consciousness experiences various mental impressions appearing as objectified mental concepts and these constitute what is known as material existence, there being no other evidence of this existence whatsoever. Thus we see that not only is such existence wholly mental, but also that everything that enters into it is mental and even that matter itself is but a mental phenomenon.
It is very important to recognize this mental nature of mortal existence, for otherwise it is impossible to understand the teachings of Christ Jesus, and especially his healing work.
In the initial step thus far taken no reference has been made to the teachings of Christian Science, except the one brief quotation which has been introduced from Mrs. Eddy's textbook. I have simply called your attention to, or reviewed, if you please, what is common knowledge, that is, what everybody knows or can know by going to school, by reading and by thinking along the lines pointed out. It is true that I have correlated this knowledge in perhaps an unusual way, but this has been done for the purpose of showing the mental nature of material existence, which any one can convince himself of through simple human reasoning based upon common knowledge.
Appreciating the difficulty involved and realizing that Christian healing is an essential element of our Master's Christianity and is vital to the demonstration of Christian living, an endeavor should be made to understand this particular point a little more clearly. Therefore, a few of what seem to be points of greatest difficulty will now be considered, and some of the teachings of Christian Science introduced.
Matter Not Substance
First, the universal belief in matter as substance, which hinders the apprehension of the unsubstantial nature of matter as taught in Christian Science, and which makes it so difficult for many to accept Christian Science. This difficulty causes many to say that Christian Science may be very helpful for mental or nervous diseases, but cannot possibly be successful in organic or structural diseases, a position in which, of course, they are wrong.
Now what is substance supposed to be? It is that of which things are made, that which gives them their being, their body, their structure, and so on, and that which prevents them from being destroyed. The dictionaries define substance as that which is substantial, that which has real, lasting, perpetual existence; that which is actual and not illusory, from which it follows that real substance must be that which is indestructible and permanent. Does matter come up to these specifications and requirements? Is it not a fact that all material things can be destroyed, and if let alone, will they not naturally decay and disintegrate? Does this not prove that matter is not substance, since it has no lasting, perpetual existence?
It was shown a moment ago that an apparently substantial material object could be reduced to a form of energy; though even this, it should be remembered, is mainly a theory. Then is such a material object actual or illusory? If the physical scientists themselves do not know what a physical object is, and they certainly do not, may we not doubt their theories regarding it? Then if matter is not substance, what is? Is there anything that is indestructible and eternal? Yes, Truth. Take, by way of analogy, the mathematical idea that two and two make four. This is mathematically a true idea with real, lasting existence. Therefore, this idea is substantive, for the fact that two and two make four cannot be destroyed. It is also evident that truth is that which makes things what they are, gives them their being and prevents their being destroyed. Thus it is seen that truth is substance, and therefore wholly mental, and that eternal, indestructible, real substance, is divine Truth, the divine actuality, the infinite Being. Mrs. Eddy teaches that Truth is Spirit and that this divine Spirit, which is infinite, indestructible, eternal, is real substance, the substance of which God made all "that was made," is, in fact, that which constitutes all real being. It is this infinite, indestructible, divine substance of Spirit, Truth, which is counterfeited by the finite concept called matter, but which exists entirely apart from matter.
Appearance Not Real
Another point of difficulty lies in the finite, dimensional appearance of things which certainly makes them seem very real. Let us look at this also from a mathematical angle. Take, for example, the mathematical idea or quantity, seven. There is but one seven, and all may have that one by knowing it. This seven can be used just as much as may be needed or desired and it will not wear out, neither can any one be deprived of the use of it. It is everywhere and one cannot go anywhere in the universe and not find seven, showing that it is a universal and omnipresent idea; it is wholly mental; it has its own individuality and identity, because it cannot be confused with anything else; it is indestructible as idea; no element of time or space is involved in it for it does not take any time for seven times one to make seven, and we can remain in one place and know all there is in mathematics, a fact which illustrates the great verity that all there is of truth is present everywhere, this being a fundamental characteristic of infinity in which there is neither space nor time, since the finite is no part of the infinite.
This mental idea, seven, is represented to finite sense by means of a finite line, which is called a figure seven and which is learned as a seven. Obviously this is not seven at all, but a representation a counterfeit, an imitation seven, a mere symbol, — imperfect and unstable, which gives no correct concept of the quantitative mathematical value everywhere present. Furthermore, whatever may be done to the numeral, will not affect the idea, for even if the numeral is destroyed, it can be reproduced. Now there is very nearly the same relationship between the finite, material concepts of the physical universe and the infinite, spiritual ideas of God's universe as there is between the figure seven and the idea seven.
Mrs. Eddy has been much maligned because she has called attention to this great fact. Yet we know that if we look at a man through a piece of bent glass we shall see a deformed man. and if we do not know any better, we shall think he is a deformed man; whereas, if we get a look at the man apart from the glass we shall see that he is a normal man. That is precisely what Mrs. Eddy has done for us. She has shown us God as He is, also the real man and the real universe, so that we can understand that the finite, distorted concepts obtained through the five physical senses are not real.
Attention must here be called to the fact that mathematics, the human concept of the science of numbers, is not spiritual. It is here used simply as a stepping stone from the concrete to the abstract, to make it easier for some to reach the metaphysical.
Matter Not Life
Still another point of difficulty is the belief, or claim, which merely means the demand made upon us for belief, that there is life in matter and that life depends upon matter. Let us examine the question for a few moments. It is a fact that one of the fundamental characteristics of real life is continuity of existence. In the light of our analysis, can this be predicated of matter? Does it not appear that all material things begin, live for a span, die, decay, disintegrate? Is not this indeed the recognized routine of material living? But is this really living at all? Obviously it is not.
If matter had life, would it not sustain itself? Then since all that is material dies, decays, disintegrates, does this not prove that matter has no life? If matter cannot sustain itself, how can it sustain us? When we eat matter food, do we eat life? Do we not eat what is dead? Then can we get life from its opposite, death? Can we get light from its opposite, darkness? Is it sensible then, for it certainly is not logical, for us to depend upon matter for life when it has no life to give us? Are we not leaning upon a broken reed when we do so? The chemical action which results from the eating of material food, and which produces a certain electrical activity called physical life, is really not life at all, since it has no continuity of existence. Then if matter is not life, what is?
God Is Life
The Bible declares, and frequently implies, that God is our life. In the Bible it is also stated that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," (Mat. 4:4), and Jesus said that he came "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," (John 10:10). Now what is that life? Since God is, He is Truth and continues to be. What God creates is, is true and continues to be. Therefore, truth is continuity of being, and it follows that Truth is Life, and Life is Truth. Consequently real Life is divine Truth, the great I AM, immortal, infinite, conscious being, God.
The Bible teaches further that God is the Creator; therefore He is Principle for Principle is basis, foundation, cause, origin. Principle is that which is, that which manifests itself as idea, the basis of all law and right action. Therefore Principle is absolute self-existent, dependent solely upon itself, independent of all else, unaffected by any modifying conditions or influences. Since God is Life, Life is Principle, and is absolute, depending solely upon itself, upon its own immortal being, independent of all else and, unaffected by matter or by any condition, state or belief of matter.
Even as mathematical truth is not affected by anything which may be done to the figures, so the real life of man cannot be disturbed by what may be done to its material appearing or symbol. Life is therefore neither in matter, nor of matter. It is God's very being and nothing else.
The Bible declares through St. John that "God is Love," therefore real Life is divine Love, and thus we see that there is but one infinite, eternal, divine Life which is indestructible Truth, absolute Principle, immortal Love.
Real Life Bases Right Living
Now which would we rather have if we were given the choice? The unsatisfactory, uncertain, mortal belief of life, or the perfect, divine, immortal Life? We really are given that choice, and we should never lose sight of this fact, for whether we believe it or not, God made man in His image and likeness, therefore man reflects the divine Life, and we have only to awaken to this truth to experience the blessings it involves.
How then can we do this? Once more reasoning by analogy from mathematics, we know when we think rightly of the multiplication table, that is to say, when we become conscious of its truth, then we know it; we reflect it and it is ours by reflection; we have it because we know it. Similarly, when we think rightly of God, then we become conscious of divine truth, then we know divine Life, we reflect it, it is ours by reflection; we have it because we know it. What said Jesus, — "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Therefore, according to Jesus, knowing God is real living, and since Mrs. Eddy has made it possible for all to know God aright and to know rightly His Son, Christ Jesus, we can begin here and now to have in us the spirit of Life which was in Christ Jesus, as St. Paul declares, a state of consciousness which is indeed needed so badly today.
What a great change would take place if all were to begin to reflect that divine Life and to live in obedience to Principle, instead of believing that there is life in matter and depending upon it! Would it not make a great change in the whole world if all would just begin to have that Life and to live it? Would it not eventually solve all the world's problems?
The Science of right living is, therefore, based fundamentally upon the knowing of what real Life is and on the living of that Life. There is no other way of demonstrating Christian living. Mrs. Eddy has made it possible for all to begin to do this and Christian Scientists testify gratefully to the fact that they have begun to know that Life and have already experienced great blessings therefrom, and they are rejoicing at its infinite possibilities.
The knowing of what real Life is has a very marked healing effect to which attention should here be called. Suppose, for example, a man were on a sick bed, having been given up by many physicians, pronounced incurable, and with no further material remedies available, hopeless, helpless, despairing, gazing perhaps into the dark, dismal cavern of an uncertain beyond. Suppose now that some one were to bring to that man a glimpse of his real life, telling him of this one infinite, eternal, divine Life which is Truth, Principle, Spirit, Love, the Life which is the life of man and which matter cannot possibly take away from him. Might not that man begin to listen and as he listens would he not turn away from belief in material dying to belief in spiritual living? Would not his eyes brighten as a consequence, the color return to his cheeks, activity be resumed and the man be healed? Thousands have been healed in just that way, many of them while reading Mrs. Eddy's text-book, wherein she makes this point so very plain.
Healing A Mental Process
It was shown a moment ago, that human existence is wholly mental and that the conditions of this existence depend largely upon the condition of consciousness.
Does it not follow then that with a change of consciousness, will come a change in the condition of existence? The body is just as mental as the rest of human existence, and fear, anger and other strong emotions produce very decided and apparent effects upon it. A mortal's selfhood, his consciousness of being, is obviously mental. Therefore, his body, which is the embodiment and externalization of his mentality, is mental.
Discordant conditions of the body are therefore due to discordant conditions of human sense, and it can be readily seen that, if the light of the Christ truth is brought to bear upon the dark, despairing consciousness of a sick, sinning, dying mortal, it will illumine it, brighten it with the divine light and tint it with the divine hues — a spiritual change which will be manifested as harmony of body as well as of mind.
Having thus come to see that so-called human existence and all that it includes is really humanly mental, one can begin to grasp the logic of the conclusion that all true healing of both evil and disease must be a mental process.
According to the Scriptural accounts, the healing wrought by the Master and his disciples was accomplished through mental or spiritual means alone, that is through some action of right thought. Christian Science healing is brought about in the same way. In both, the healing Principle and law are recognized as mental, and we will therefore consider briefly the nature of divine Mind and of true Mind action.
Christian Science teaches that Mind is much more than mere human thought or limited consciousness since it includes the cause and manifestation of all true existence. Real Mind, infinite consciousness, is the divine Being, which expresses true ideas and constitutes all reality; the intelligence and creative Principle, and substance of the universe; the omnipresent good; the basis of all manifestation and right thought, the absolute Truth. Real thinking is therefore the activity of real Mind.
Since the human sense of mind is finite and is externalized as material discord, it is manifestly evil, and it is necessary to make a clear distinction between the Mind which is Truth and wholly good, and the consciousness which claims to embrace both truth and error, good and evil, between that which is actually real and that which only seems to be so. To become conscious of a sense appearance, furnishes no evidence of the reality of the appearance, as is illustrated by the vision of a mirage.
Truth is fundamentally infinite in quality, in quantity, in presence and in power. Therefore, all that is real and true is indestructible, everywhere, and eternally perfect. Human sense concepts resulting from matter and mortal belief involve limitation, uncertainty, discord, and death. This illustrates the difference between the actual and the seeming.
Again, the infinite is not an aggregation of the finite, it is not composed of finite quantities. Infinity can never be reached by adding together dimensional particles. The result obtained by such a process is always finite. Neither can the infinite be divided into finite particles, or be expressed in finite quantities, for the infinite is the direct opposite of the finite and since reality is infinite, the finite must be unreal.
It is possible then to distinguish between real Mind, which is infinite, immortal, spiritual and which expresses itself in perfect, indestructible, harmonious ideas, and the so-called mortal mind which includes the belief in matter, evil, limitation, disease and death. This latter therefore is not real Mind, but is a false concept of mind, and hence its suppositional activity is not real thinking.
Real and Unreal Creation
The first chapter of Genesis gives an account of the creation in which God made all that was made and pronounced it "very good." The second chapter gives an entirely different account of creation based upon finite dust, a creation which is the result, as is stated therein, of the rising of a mist and which is the exact opposite in every particular of the creation presented in this first record. As it is evident that both of these accounts cannot be true, and since the first describes the complete, perfect, divine creation, it follows that the second must be false because if the original creation was complete there could be no place for a second one.
The Bible relates that Adam fell into a deep sleep, but it does not say that he ever awakened and Mrs. Eddy calls this second record the Adam-dream, and mortals the Adam dreamers. This second record is based upon the belief that there is substance, truth and life in matter, a belief which, in our analysis, has been shown to be impossible.
St. Paul called this material sense of existence the "carnal mind" and he says that it "is enmity against God," or, in other words, God's opposite, His absence. Does not this show that infinite God never created it, since He could not create His unlikeness, His enemy, His absence? Good cannot create its opposite, or absence, evil. Therefore, the beliefs of the carnal mind have neither place, presence, nor power; any more than has the schoolboy's erroneous belief that two times two make five, which is simply a false concept, having no existence.
Mrs. Eddy calls it mortal mind because of the very evident mortal nature of everything included in it, and in order to distinguish it from the immortal, perfect, divine Mind.
It follows then that the real universe is the expression or manifestation of the infinite, divine Mind and partakes of the spiritual nature and quality of this Mind. The real, divinely created man, the image and likeness of God as he is defined in the first chapter of Genesis, is the expression of Mind, Spirit, Life and Love, whom God pronounced good and to whom He gave dominion over the earth. Mortal man, defined in the second chapter of Genesis as created out of the dust of the ground, is but a human corporeal concept of the mortal or carnal so-called mind.
Mrs. Eddy did not reach her conclusion regarding the unreality of matter and the false nature of material existence, through human reasoning, as we attempted to do in the beginning of our analysis. This knowledge came to her through revelation. She saw that because there is one infinity of Spirit there is no place for its counterfeit, matter, even though a false sense may attempt to claim otherwise. Since there is one infinity of good, there is no place for its reversal, evil. Because there is one infinite, divine Mind, — one infinite divine Life, — there can be no opposite.
This divine actuality is the scientific, spiritual basis on which all Christian Science healing is demonstrated, and upon which Mrs. Eddy established her Church and her Cause. The Scriptures, spiritually understood, reveal this truth, but Mrs. Eddy first stated it in scientific and metaphysical terms which, when understood, make it possible for anyone to begin to demonstrate it.
Consequently a very sharp line must be drawn between what God made and what He did not make, between the infinite, divine actuality and the finite, human seeming; in other words, between the real and the unreal. Unless this differentiation is clearly made, thought is not spiritual, for Spirit is Truth, and we cannot think spiritually unless we know Truth.
Healing a Corrective Process
Thus it is seen that Christian Science healing is fundamentally a corrective process wherein the falsity of discordant material conditions becomes evident from the basis of absolute Truth. It involves knowing divine Truth, recognizing human error and applying Truth to the error. It is evident that if divine Truth comes into consciousness, a change will be brought about, right concepts will be established in the place of wrong concepts, and harmony will be externalized. Knowing that sin is not real and that God's man has no sinful appetites and is not the slave of passion nor the victim of vice, but that man is the idea of God, reflecting divine Love and governed by divine Principle, — this heals the sinner.
It is helpful to know that error has no location, a fact which may be illustrated by recognizing that two and two do not make five anywhere. Also that we can never know error; — we can never know, for instance, that two and two make five; we can only believe that they do. We can know only Truth. If therefore we become conscious of Truth, the error naturally disappears.
It should be clearly understood that although Christian Science denies matter by revealing its unreality, it does not destroy the sense of existence. The denial of matter does not produce a blank, for matter cannot be effectually denied until the substance of Spirit begins to be apprehended.
How Truth Heals
It is often asked how and why Truth heals, that is, why healing follows the thinking of Truth, and especially how it heals others to whom it is declared and about whom it is known, since in Christian Science healing there is no transfer of mortal thought through mental suggestion or hypnotism.
Now by its very nature Truth is individual, since it has its own distinctive, complete, indivisible character which identifies it. Therefore it can express only itself, its own nature and character, namely, that which is true and truthful. Truth being infinite Principle, it is power and expresses itself with power, and since there is no power in error, error cannot resist the power of Truth. It is because of this essential quality and property of truth, by which it always expresses itself and identifies itself, manifesting its own being in truthfulness, that a mathematical truth corrects any mathematical error to which the truth is applied.
In a similar way, a metaphysical or spiritual truth applied to a human error corrects that error because of the self-expressing property of Truth, whereby it always identities itself when it is brought into action and by this essential property of self-identification, it corrects error and establishes what is true and harmonious. A Christian Science treatment, or the scientific application of divine Principle, consists fundamentally of the clear knowing of the nature of God and of the real man, and the consequent perception of the unreality of matter and evil. It involves an analysis of that which is to be healed, an intelligent discernment of the mental causes of the trouble, and a correct application of the antidoting divine Truth which corrects and removes these supposed causes. It is not, therefore, a mere repetition of words, but it is a scientific mental process, the reflection of divine Love, through spiritual knowing which demonstrates the healing.
Dental of Matter Essential
It is an obvious fact that no one can be sick, miserable, sinning or dying were it not for the belief in matter. Hence, the great need of awakening from this illusion in order to be freed from the false bondage. Mrs. Eddy requires the First Readers in all Christian Science churches and societies to read from her text-book at each Sunday service her scientific statement of being which includes a declaration of the unreality of matter; a requirement which constitutes a very timely reminder and one which should be kept in mind always.
In one of my later interviews with Mrs. Eddy, she emphasized strongly the need of recognizing the mesmeric nature of matter. This has moved me to include an analysis of the subject in all my lectures, and in calling your attention emphatically to this subject, I feel that I am carrying out her wishes. We need to see that this belief in matter is the veil of the flesh which hides spiritual reality, and which must be rent before spiritual truth can be rightly seen and spiritual healing demonstrated.
It can now be seen that all aches and pains and misery are really not material at all but are merely false mental phenomena which have their seeming existence in the human consciousness, as Mrs. Eddy calls it. Hence it is in this consciousness that they must be healed through knowing the truth. Anyone can begin here and now to think what is right, true and good, and thus to neutralize the wrong. Mrs. Eddy has revealed absolute Truth and good. It is, therefore, possible at any time to detect what is not true and not good by comparing it with her divine standard. Then the truth can be applied to the error, to neutralize it and cast it out, and thereby gradually will be accomplished what St. Paul indicates when he says, "put off the old man with his deeds," which means the Adam-man the dust-man, the man typifying the false belief that there is life, truth, intelligence and substance in matter. Then, and not until then, can be put on the "new man," the real man, the Christ man, the man created in the image and likeness of God, by knowing the truth about this man. Thus we can begin here and now, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, as St. Paul puts it, that is, by the renewing of our human consciousness.
When a man seems to be "down and out" he is as though he were in a deep, dark hole. If we speak to him and tell him how beautiful it is above we may catch his ear but unless we appeal to him in a way that reaches his human sense he is likely to remain in a hopeless state of mind, not believing that he can ever get out. What that man needs is a ladder which will reach down to his grasp, that is, something which he can get hold of and by means of which he can climb out. This saving power is the Christ, the divine Truth coming to the human consciousness through Christian Science, with which anyone can begin to work out his salvation, his deliverance from evil.
This human consciousness according to belief includes a sense of materiality and evil as well as of spirituality and good. It includes a sense of both right and wrong, both truth and error. It conceives of matter, of discord, of death, and yet can begin to perceive Spirit, harmony, Life. It is the consciousness of the every-day man wherein he feels that he may be healed by the Christ Truth; the consciousness wherein reformation and regeneration take place and to which Jesus appealed in his healing and teaching. Here it is that salvation is to be worked out; here that good can be brought to bear upon evil to destroy it; here that Truth can meet error and correct it. It is the consciousness which can begin to know God. Thus the Christ awakens us from the Adam dream.
Concerning this consciousness, Mrs. Eddy writes: " . . . the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material." (Science and Health, page 573).
She also writes: " . . . sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us,' — a divine influence ever present in human consciousness . . . " (Science and Health, page xi).
Think of it! A divine influence always present within, which makes it possible to be healed and saved, by having the Christ, Truth, come to consciousness and there develop spiritual understanding, through right knowing and right living.
Mary Baker Eddy
Is it any wonder that Christian Scientists love Mrs. Eddy as they do and are so grateful to her, not only for her great discovery but because she has made it possible for them to begin to demonstrate its truth, to begin to understand Jesus' teachings and to experience his promises? Her uplifted human consciousness was so closely allied to God through simple goodness, that she was enabled to perceive the divine idea, — the nature of spiritual being, — and this vision of perfect God, perfect man, perfect being, made her the discoverer of this hitherto unknown Science underlying all true existence. Her one great objective through many years was to know God, to find the infinite source of good, to understand the true nature of being, that healing might come to burden-bearing humanity. Her singlemindness, untempted by the world, undismayed by the weakness of the flesh undaunted by the enmity of evil, held her true to her ideal, and brought her to the longed-for goal, the demonstrable working understanding of the Christ-method, with unmistakable signs following.
The marvel of these modern times is not the phenomenal rapidity and variety of material development, but the spiritual appearing to the transparent thought of one pure-minded woman, of the Christ, Truth, revealing the universe of infinite Mind and its ever-present reflection.
Christian Scientists recognize Mrs. Eddy as the discoverer and founder of Christian Science because of her preparedness and because they have been able to demonstrate the truth of her teachings. This latter fact is a very important point, because any one can prove it is truth for himself. When a school boy proves that ten times ten is one hundred he virtually proves that a thousand times a thousand is a million although this latter quantity may be beyond his mental grasp. So Christian Scientists in demonstrating simple fundamentals prove the truth of Mrs. Eddy's entire revelation. In what an unfortunate position then is a person who declares that the teachings of Christian Science are not true, when he himself could prove that they are true, if he only would.
Because Mrs. Eddy has revealed the wonders of infinite Truth, Christian Scientists recognize the fact that she must have understood divine Mind, God, in a transcendent degree, and thence was far more capable than any one else of declaring what should be done with her Church and her Cause. They are eager, therefore, to know what she teaches and advises in order that they may benefited by the wisdom of her superior spiritual understanding, an understanding so far above their own.
Her Writings Her Interpreter
They are seeking the revelation as the revelator has given it knowing that their safety lies in doing this. They study Mrs. Eddy's writings very thoroughly, and more carefully than ever before, in order to make sure, by securing an interpretation of them directly from her own words, that they are really gaining a correct understanding of them and are thereby avoiding the great danger of misinterpretation by some uninspired human thought. Mrs Eddy needs no interpreter other than her own words.
In pursuing this study, Christian Scientists use very largely her two concordances, books which contain nearly all the words in her writings. If they wish to know what Mrs. Eddy's thought is regarding any question, or if they are seeking light upon a problem of their own, upon some disputed point or upon some religious teachings, they look up in these concordances the words involved, read and ponder the use which Mrs. Eddy makes of these words in all her books, carefully study the meanings with which she uses them, and make accurate differentiation between the human and divine; then they invariably receive a scientific, spiritual thought which will be a satisfying one to them if they are honest, if they are really seeking the revelation.
Do we not see then, why Christian Science is truly the Science of right living? It involves the knowing of Truth which is the Principle of right living, the recognition of the deceptive character of matter and evil, the cause of wrong living, and the operation of the divine healing law, the law of divine Principle, which makes the healing of all evil tendency possible. Thus is established moral and physical health, thus is inculcated a true love for God, for His Christ, and for man, and thus is bestowed the blessing resulting from Christian living.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there by any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8).
By thus reflecting divine Truth and Love, we have begun to heal ourselves, to help others and to benefit the whole world.
[Delivered April 11, 1922 "at the auditorium" under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Mount Vernon, New York, and published in The Daily Argus of Mount Vernon, April 12, 1922.]