Christian Science: The Kingdom of God Within Us

 

A. Hervey-Bathurst, C.S.B., of London, England

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

A. Hervey-Bathurst, C.S.B., of London, England, a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Kingdom of God Within Us," last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.

The lecturer was introduced by Lucia C. Coulson, C.S.B., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:

Friends:

On behalf of The Mother Church I welcome you to this lecture on Christian Science, entitled "Christian Science: The Kingdom of God Within Us."

We read in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, that "Heaven represents harmony" (p. 560:10), and further on it is stated that the Principle of heavenly harmony is Love. Then if we want to be in heaven - and most people would admit that that is a desirable place to dwell in - we need only to learn to love. The remedy for all the distressful conditions with which the world is beset at present, is so simple as to be overlooked. Love does not erect barriers, or impose penalties, or struggle for supremacy. It lives to share and to bless. If the nations would practice even in a small measure the love which Christians profess, their present policies and their whole attitude towards each other would be reversed, bringing a reversal of results, or of outward conditions, bringing to light the prosperity which is so close at hand, if we will only begin individually, nationally, and internationally, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. For fundamentally the present situation is not economic, but moral, and rests upon moral and spiritual values.

Christian Science enables us to discern and to demonstrate, and so make practical the Love that is God, and I am certain that everyone who listens to this lecture will leave with a better understanding of how to help himself, his neighbor, and his world.

It now gives me great pleasure to introduce to you Mr. A. Hervey-Bathurst, of London, England, a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mr. Bathurst.

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

It is inspiring to see how many people today are turning to Christian Science, for they are beginning to see that the "carnal," or so-called mortal mind, is not reliable - is not satisfying. On the other hand, one hears on all sides expressions of gratitude for the fact that Christian Science is meeting the need of men and women in connection with health, business, and an unlimited variety of problems.

We have not come together this evening merely to talk about what Christian Science has revealed. We are here to recognize, realize, and therefore demonstrate, the omnipresence and omnipotence of good, or God, which divine fact Christian Science has revealed and proved to be demonstrable.

I believe that every intelligent person will agree that Spirit, or God, is omnipresent. That being true, is it not logical to say that, since omnipresence and omnipotence mean the only presence and the only power, there can be no space or place for any other power but God, good? This fact we shall recognize, realize, and therefore demonstrate, this evening, in the exact proportion that we are willing to let it be because it is.

In connection with the study and practice of Christian Science, I should like to emphasize two words of importance, namely, receptivity and activity. By receptivity is meant the willingness to accept what is obviously true, or, if you will, to let it be because it is. By activity is meant the determination to cling steadfastly to what your reason has told you is true. Perhaps someone hearing of Christian Science for the first time may be wondering how it can be possible to discern or demonstrate the omnipresence of God. It is possible through spiritual discernment, which every man, woman, and child possesses in a measure. Where spiritual discernment is, neither ignorance nor intellectualism can constitute a hindrance or stumbling-block.

Christian Science is simple, and there is no better way of indicating its simplicity than by reminding you of how it was discovered.

 

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy, that noble, spiritually-minded New England woman, is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," this book and the Bible constituting our two textbooks.

The discovery of Christian Science occurred in this manner. Mrs. Eddy was suffering from a serious accident, from which the physicians believed she would not recover. Mrs. Eddy had, however, always been a devoted student of the Bible, and so one day during this illness she turned to her Bible, as she was accustomed to do, and read in the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel that beautiful account of the healing of the man sick of the palsy.

Let us visualize that scene. The man suffering from the palsy was carried in and laid at the Master's feet. You recall how the Master said to him with what must have been such compassion, such love, and at the same time such authority and power, "Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." I should like to point out that that man did not hesitate or doubt. He did not say to the Master that he had been suffering a long time and couldn't possibly think of walking without being first healed. No! He surely demonstrated that receptivity already referred to, and obeyed promptly, with the results we know so well.

Tonight we are going to see how we, too, can demonstrate our God-given heritage of freedom and dominion over all the earth, that is, over all material conditions. We are going to see how we, too, can take up those beds of sickness which seem to hold us; and not only beds of sickness, but beds of other descriptions - whether of lack, unemployment, sorrow, domestic troubles, or fear. We are going to see how we, too, can take up those beds and go into our own house - into the conscious realization, therefore demonstration, of that which is, namely, the omnipresence and omnipotence of good, or God.

When Mrs. Eddy read the Masterís statement already quoted she, too, discerned what the Master really meant, and she arose immediately from her sick bed. Referring to this experience, Mrs. Eddy writes in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 24), "My immediate recovery from the effects of an injury caused by an accident, an injury that neither medicine nor surgery could reach, was the falling apple that led me to the discovery how to be well myself, and how to make others so." Here I should like to draw attention to the fact that, just as in the case of the man sick of the palsy so in Mrs. Eddy's case, there was no question of time or convalescence. The man sick of the palsy obeyed, without hesitation, the spoken word of the Master. Mrs. Eddy also obeyed immediately. In other words, she discerned the spiritual meaning of what the Master said. Therefore, those glorious healing statements of the Master, recorded in the New Testament, as Mrs. Eddy proved, are just as vital, just as available, just as potent, for you and me and all mankind today as if the Master himself were voicing them to us in person. This thought surely brings home to us the nearness, the practicability, of Christianity; and then when we realize that Mrs. Eddy has given to us the scientific rules whereby to prove, or demonstrate, what the Master taught, with what clarity the simplicity of Christian Science stands out!

So, then, Mrs. Eddy's discovery has established once and for all the fact that the sick can be healed today in the way Jesus and his disciples taught and practiced.

Not long ago I was talking with one who had known Mrs. Eddy personally, and it was more than inspiring to be told of her almost indescribable spirituality, or spiritual discernment, and with this was coupled the great love for mankind and the compassion which she expressed. It was explained to me, also, what a wonderful privilege it was to hear Mrs. Eddy expound the Scriptures, revealing to her household the depth of the meaning which she discerned, and made clear. When necessary, also, Mrs. Eddy spoke with wonderful power and authority, and was able to voice the truth in a way which would unfailingly silence any argument to the contrary. At the same time, Mrs. Eddy possessed an abundant sense of humor, which frequently lifted from those around her any sense there might have been of an overbearing responsibility.

Is it surprising that Christian Scientists are grateful, beyond words, to that great and good woman who stood as one woman alone, unflinchingly loyal to God, and determined to allow nothing to prevent her from giving to the world the inspiring message, or revelation, which she had received?††††††

As, however, Mrs. Eddy writes in "Rudimental Divine Science," (p. 21); "Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle-call to thought and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness."

This evening we are going to see how this healing is within the reach of, or can be practiced by, every man, woman, and child willing to accept it. Did not Jesus say in that clear, simple, yet powerful language of his, "Ye shall know the truth," and then continued, "and the truth shall make you free"? Is any man or woman free who is fettered by fear, shackled by sickness, or limited by lack, or submerged in sorrow? Then what is the remedy? To know the truth.

I would ask you, What is it that tells us of discord of any description? Surely not spiritual discernment. It is the five physical senses, which are cognizant only of unintelligent matter. Then what is the truth about all that we see, hear, feel, taste, or smell? And what is the truth about all those discordant conditions which we see around us? And how does evil seem to be so persistent?

Once more, let us turn to the teaching of the Master. You will recall how one day he was speaking to the public, or the multitudes, and not addressing merely a select few, or his disciples, and said to them, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." How can we seek the kingdom of God except in thought? And surely the kingdom of God is the place where good, or God, is supreme - all. Is not that to recognize or demonstrate the omnipotence or omnipresence of God, good?

In order, however, to recognize or demonstrate the omnipresence of God, we have to be willing to silence the arguments or suggestions of the five physical senses. We are here this evening for that very purpose, that is, to learn to think rightly, to reason correctly from cause to effect; in other words, to give God the honor and glory we say is due to His holy name, or really to acknowledge Him as the one and only cause or creator - not just as a beautiful theory, but as a divine fact. Therefore, I am going to ask you to follow carefully a simple, logical, and, therefore, demonstrable line of reasoning which I want to present to you.

There is a well-known axiom which no one can ever deny or refute; namely, that like invariably produces like. Therefore, if we take the five physical senses, cognizant only of matter, as a basis from which to argue, or if we accept what they suggest to us as true, we must be materialists, and to us there can be no God. Again, if we believe that there is a great First Cause or creator, God, or Spirit, and at the same time accept the testimony of those physical or material senses as real, we are admitting that the great First or only Cause, God, Spirit, is conscious of, and therefore includes, evil, sickness, disaster, sin, death - which is impossible. Why? For the simple reason that if the great First Cause, God, or Spirit, knew, and therefore included, both good and evil, both life and death, it would be a house divided against itself, or at war within itself, and therefore self-destructive, and not creative, or the creator. We see, therefore, how every man is deceiving himself and the truth is not in him, to the extent that he accepts the testimony of the physical senses with regard to the material universe, including mortal man, as being real or true. By real or true is meant being part of the creation of the one and only Cause or creator, God.

Let us put it this way: we all agree that there is a First Cause. The very fact that we exist proves it, and people, generally speaking, agree that the First Cause, or creator, is what is termed God, or Spirit. Then, since like produces like, this infinite First Cause, Spirit, cannot, does not, include its very opposite, matter, so that we arrive at the inevitable conclusion - startling as it may sound at the moment - that there is no matter in the creation which is spiritual; and that is the only creation, in spite of the suggestions of the physical senses to the contrary.

God, it is generally agreed, is in heaven, and we admit that God is infinite, without beginning and without end; therefore God, or good, is everywhere, and surely "here" is included in everywhere. In fact, it matters not where you may be, you are always somewhere; and since Spirit, God, is omnipresent, you can never get away from the omnipresence of good, which is a divine fact, and needs only to be recognized. So then, the kingdom of God is not afar off, - it is exactly where we are. Then arises the question, Where are we? It does not matter where our physical body may be; we are and we are only where we are thinking. Jesus indicated that in that glorious statement of his, "The kingdom of God is within you."

The Master never said we have to go somewhere in order to experience the kingdom of heaven. He told the multitudes to seek first the kingdom of God, and they could only seek it where they were. We are going to see how we can only seek and find, or demonstrate, the omnipresence of God or the kingdom of God, where we are thinking; that is, in the sacred secret chamber of our own thinking.

In Revelation, John writes how he saw "a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away." Did John see this new heaven and earth with the physical senses? No; but he did discern them through spiritual discernment; that is, because of his ability or willingness to think rightly or know the truth. It was through this knowledge of the truth that his concept of heaven and earth was so improved. In our case also, therefore, the remedy for any discordant condition is not to do something, but to know the truth, or to improve our concept of what really is.

 

Man

Here arises the question, What is man? As stated in the first chapter of Genesis, verses 26 and 27, man was made in the image and likeness of God. That man is the exact reflection of his Father-Mother God. The term God has, however, been all too feebly understood. Let us see what Mrs. Eddy writes about God on page 587 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "God. The great I AM: the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." This God is the one and only Cause or creator, and made all that was made, as the Bible states. Since, therefore, there is but one Cause or creator, there can be only one effect or creation. Consequently, we are not dealing with a material creation which has to be transformed into a spiritual creation, but we are gradually gaining an improved concept of that perfect, spiritual creation which always has been, is, and ever will be the only creation. That is why the word concept is so important - that concept which we are rapidly improving.

Since God's creation, which is perfect, is the only creation, it follows logically that if we believe in any discordant condition or situation, it does not mean that it is true; it is due to our ignorant or erroneous concept of the one Cause and creator and the one effect or creation.

In regard to man: while people generally accept the Bible definition of man as the image and likeness of God, they frequently apparently believe that man is a separate entity, entirely independent of God. Man is no more separated from God than the reflection of yourself before the mirror is independent of you. Suppose, then, that you stand before a mirror and pick up a book; does not your reflection pick up that book at the same moment and in exactly the same manner as you do? What is true about your reflection in connection with you is equally true with regard to man in his relation to God. What joy, therefore, how comforting it is, and what assurance it gives us, and how it removes that false sense of personal responsibility when we realize that we are not and never can be separated from God! Suppose, then, someone is faced with a problem. It is immaterial whether it be physical, financial, business, political, national, or an international problem, the remedy is always the same. Is it not to know the truth? Is it not to be willing to refuse to accept the testimony of those misleading physical senses, and to be willing to realize and, if necessary, affirm the omnipresence and the omnipotence of God, good? When you stood before the mirror and picked up that book, did not your reflection pick up the book in exactly the same manner and at the same moment? Man is the reflection of God, and what is true about man is equally true about you now in your real spiritual selfhood, or identity.

Does God know a problem? That would be unthinkable. Consequently, in the exact proportion that we are willing to cling steadfastly to the facts of being which we now discern, namely, the truth about God and man, we find the problem solved, or, better still, we see that in reality there never was a problem.

What we are now discerning is being demonstrated by many students of Christian Science in very beautiful ways.

We have got to the point where we can now see and say that the belief in the material creation, including mortal man, is a false or mistaken belief, or a false concept of the real or true. Then, with even a slight understanding of Christian Science, we see that because Truth is infinite, ever present, and always will be, that erroneous or limited concept is late, and not only late, but too late, because the truth is already established. Since error is too late, it can never interfere with or harm us, and that is why we need never be afraid of error. It becomes clear, therefore, that if we suffer, it is not due to error or evil doing something, but is entirely the result of our own false belief or erroneous concept of the one and only perfect creator and creation. Thus we see how we control the situation, because man has dominion over all the earth. In the first epistle of John we read, "Now are we the sons of God;" and that statement is as true today, and has all the power and force that it had when John first made it. And we are here this evening to recognize and demonstrate our true nature or divine sonship, which is a divine fact, as it always has been.

Having seen that the belief in a material creation is a mistaken or erroneous belief or concept, let us consider what man really is - or the truth about man. The general belief is that body is material; yet we say that man is the image and likeness of God, Spirit. The material body is surely the result of a belief in a material creation. If, however, we continue to be logical, we see, as we reason correctly, that is, from cause to effect, that nothing material emanates from the one and only Cause, which is Spirit; therefore, the material body, just like the material creation, is not part of God's perfect spiritual creation, but is the effect of one's erroneous concept of the spiritual or real creation. Do not think, however, that Christian Science annihilates or destroys man's individual being or identity; on the contrary, it reveals the truth about man's real identity or individuality. The trouble is that our concept of man is wrong.

What is man? What is environment? Surely the effect of the thoughts one entertains, or, in Bible language, "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Therefore it follows that as our concept of man in his relation to God improves, it must be expressed or have expression, and that expression is us, or constitutes our identity or individuality. This the Master demonstrated in a beautiful manner, for was he not always able to do what was necessary and be where he needed to be, irrespective of time or space; and did not the Master say, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father"? As our concept of man's identity and true individuality improves, it will certainly be expressed. Then surely that expression must be us, or will reveal our true nature and selfhood.

Man is the reflection of his Father-Mother, God, but that does not mean that man is here reflecting a God somewhere else, that God in whom we live and in whom we move, and in whom we have our being. How wonderfully Christian Science does away with that limited concept of a God somewhere else! How glorious to discern through Christian Science the unity, the inseparability, or at-one-ment of God and man! What freedom, what joy, what authority and power we experience, or are able to demonstrate, to the extent that we are willing to let this divine fact about man in his relation to God be, because it is! "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" - free, that is, from all the limited, erroneous concepts of God, man, and the universe.

The healing through Christian Science is the natural result of this improved concept of man in his relation to God, or of his identity and true individuality.

At this point, it might be asked, how can man, who is always the image and likeness of God, be healed? The answer is, man is never healed, because if man could be healed, the same could also apply to God, of whom man is the image and likeness, or reflection, and that would be impossible. Then someone might ask. What is healed? The reply is, the mistaken belief that man can be ill or subject to any discordant condition is healed, and is being healed all the time through Christian Science.

Mrs. Eddy shows us in Science and Health why and how to keep all discordant conditions or beliefs, whether of a physical or any other description, in the realm of belief. Now we begin to see how sickness is not physical, because man is not physical, and, therefore, existence itself is not physical. What a glorious sense of freedom and dominion we gain through this scientific understanding of the nature of God, and man in his relation to God!

 

Government

Christian Science reveals the fact that God, good, is omnipotent. It follows, therefore, that God, good, is the only power, or the only government. This divine fact, revealed by Christian Science, is demonstrable.

Then think what glorious changes will take place as this fact becomes more widely understood and demonstrated. In the political world, in international affairs, how encouraging it is to see more and more men and women in official positions determined to demonstrate the government of good, or God; that is, the omnipotence of God. I do not think it is possible for you or for me to foretell the changes that will take place or to foresee in detail the glorious blessings that will accrue to mankind as the fact that good, or God, as the only government is more widely demonstrated.

With this steadily growing army of clear scientific thinkers, as all students of Christian Science are, will not the belief in evil be less readily accepted? And then surely the universal brotherhood of man will be more and more a demonstrated fact and less and less of a beautiful theory, which so many people still believe can never become practical.

Yet as we look out over the world, whether through the columns of the press, or as we travel, do we not see how the wail of men, dissatisfied, distrustful, and fearful, still goes up? They can see no farther and cognize no more than those misleading physical senses suggest to them. Nevertheless, regardless of the machinations of man, Truth, ever operative, clear, and irresistible, is gradually compelling mankind to awake from the dream in which man distrusts man and nation distrusts nation - from the dream in which their fearful, ceaseless struggles, so often after purely selfish aims, lead them nowhere or to disaster.

Meanwhile, the demonstrated Science of Christ, or Christian Science, is showing the way, and, furthermore, is ceaselessly operating with its peaceful, unopposable power in human consciousness, and will continue to operate until "he come whose right it is."

Thus, with the searchlight of Christian Science, we are able to detect, or discern, the more subtle phases or claims of the so-called "carnal," or mortal mind, whether operating under the guise of a government, an individual, or an institution. Then since the omnipotence of good, or God, is a divine fact, anything which is operating, or claiming to operate, in opposition to good is recognized, and proved to be powerless.

It will have become clear to you now, I am sure, how the keynote of Christian Science is right thinking or watching; in other words, knowing the truth which frees us from the belief in evil. By, right thinking, however, is not meant merely thinking thoughts or projecting thoughts, which has nothing to do with Christian Science. By right thinking is meant the spontaneous expression of one's conscious recognition or understanding of the truth. That is surely being what man is, the reflection or expression of God and all that God is. As we put into practice this right thinking or watching, we witness wonderful results, because we recognize or know the truth, and truth is power, whereas error is impotence and cannot stand. That is why the recognition of evil or error in whatever form it may present itself constitutes its destruction or healing.

Suppose, therefore, one reads the daily newspapers, or listens to announcements or reports of error on the radio, or some erroneous suggestion presents itself to one mentally, and one recognizes or admits the power of right thinking, or the knowledge of the truth, one becomes a world worker, for, as Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 559); "The 'still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound."

What a privilege to know that in proportion to our willingness to think rightly and to know the truth with regard to everything that presents itself to us, we are doing far more than we perhaps realize, not only to help individuals but to bring about the stabilization of the world, and so the healing of the nations.

We see that the Christian Scientist is learning not only to accept the truth as to the omnipresence and omnipotence of God as a theory, but he is learning to demonstrate, or prove, it to be a divine fact.

It might sound strange to some of you, perhaps, to be told that the world today is not entirely free from every desire to stir up discord, strife, and even war - all for some ulterior purpose. Do these sinister forebodings of evil disturb the Christian Scientist? No; not if he is watching, and he knows that the desire to accomplish evil, or the belief in the ability so to do, is proved to be powerless in the presence of the recognition, therefore demonstration, of the unalterable, ever-operative, and irresistible power, presence, and government of God, or good. It is most interesting to look out over the world and take that worldwide view which Christian Science gives us. If we do so, we notice a general reaching out for something new, for improved conditions. In some instances, the pendulum has certainly swung too far in the wrong direction, and one might well ask, as do so many, What does it all mean and where will it all end? Every individual, every nation, today is looking for the solution of some problem or other, including unemployment and financial troubles; that is, every nation is looking for salvation from what appears to be the presence, activity, or power of evil. This salvation from the thralldom of error or evil can only be found as the omnipotence of God, or good, is recognized and demonstrated. Mrs. Eddy has made this possible through Christian Science.

 

Infinite Life

We have referred to the omnipresence of God, and God is Life; so that Life is omnipresent, and therefore infinite, and can never end. Just as in God there is no weakness, no sickness, no finality, so there is none in Life. We see, then, how not only sin and sickness, but also death, the opposite of Life, must be destroyed. Christian Science lifts the veil of mystery from all those questions with which mankind has struggled for so long. Christian Science shows that the future, or hereafter, is not shrouded in mystery. Surely there is no hereafter. What is the future, and when will it come? Does it ever come? God is Life, and in Life there is no death. So, just as darkness is dispelled by the light, so death is destroyed by the understanding of Life.

Suppose we look at the Old Testament for a moment and study Enoch's experience, for he "walked with God: and he was not," as we read in the Bible. Thus we see how Enoch knew enough of God, or Life, to enable him so to improve his concept of man, the reflection of Life, that those with a less spiritual concept of man, the expression of Life, could no longer see Enoch. May I ask you to study that passage, and as you do so ask yourself, What did Enoch do with his material body, or concept of body, on that occasion? Did he take it with him, or did he leave it behind?

Jesus demonstrated the unreality of death, first of all in the case of others, and then ultimately in his own experience. You will recall also, with what authority Jesus summoned forth Lazarus from that cave upon which the stone lay. The stones of the belief in a life separate from or independent of God are becoming lighter, and, thanks to Christian Science, are in some cases being removed altogether.

We need to be logical, scientific, active thinkers, and to be willing to accept the whole of the Master's teaching, even if we have not as yet demonstrated it completely. The Master revealed the truth, and whether we accept it or reject it, Truth remains as it has been all through the ages, and the day is surely coming when the divine fact that Life is infinite will not only be understood, but demonstrated.

Permit me to emphasize once more the fact that Christian Science is preeminently simple. It is as simple as primitive Christianity. The way is clear, and you need only be willing to think logically, truly, or scientifically; in other words, to know the truth, in order to practice Christian Science.

 

"Why search the future and the past?

Why do ye look with tearful eyes

And seek far off for paradise?

Before your feet Life's pearl is cast."

(Hymnal, No. 391)

 

In conclusion, let me read these few words from Science and Health (p. 174): "The thunder of Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount are pursuing and will overtake the ages, rebuking in their course all error and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven on earth. Truth is revealed. It needs only to be practised."

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 12, 1934.]

 

 

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