Christian Science: The Science That Eliminates Fear (Summary)
Evelyn F. Heywood, 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
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy pictures, by means of what she calls "an allegory," the experience of mortal man on trial for having committed liver-complaint. The prisoner, after many witnesses have been called, is adjudged "guilty" of disobeying the laws of health, and is condemned to die. And then, in that moment of dire expectation, there is a reprieve. In the words of the allegory (pp. 433, 434): "Ah! but Christ, Truth, the spirit of Life and the friend of Mortal Man, can open wide those prison doors and set the captive free."
The trial of the prisoner is begun anew but this time in another court, the Court of Spirit, and this time Christian Science is the counsel for the defense. The second trial results in a complete contradiction of the first and a reversal of the sentence of death to one of life. The prisoner is declared "Not guilty."
In this vivid and pictorial drama, Mrs. Eddy stages what has in some degree been experienced by many thousands of those who are today Christian Scientists. Often the severest sentences of disease, of overwork, of heredity, have been passed upon them, and the sentence of "guilty" from which there appeared no reprieve, been pronounced. And then the vision of a power transcending mortal verdicts has been glimpsed, an assurance gained that the captive can be set free, that Love and Life are available here and now, and that they mean health and salvation.
In "Retrospection and Introspection" Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 61): "Science saith to fear, 'You are the cause of all sickness; but you are a self-constituted falsity — your are darkness, nothingness. You are without 'hope, and without God in the world.' You do not exist, and have no right to exist, for 'perfect Love casteth out fear.'"
What is this Science? And why can it speak thus authoritatively? This Science is the law of God, and it gives man — you and me — as the reflection or ideal of God, the right to speak thus to fear. And we have this right because we are endowed, through divine sonship, with love, which proves fear to be nothingness.
During the height of the U-boat campaign, a young American sailor found himself on board a merchant ship which was torpedoed in mid-Atlantic. The crew of the ship was largely inexperienced, and there was a great deal of panic. For a time it seemed as if the men, owing to the way the ship had been struck, would be trapped below, unable to escape. Means were found whereby the hatchway could be hewn open, however, and they reached the open deck. In time this young man found himself on a raft with a large number of others. He had been in the Christian Science Sunday School, and he had faith in God.
The sinking of the ship had taken place very early in the morning. As this young sailor sat there on the raft and watched the dawn break, he realized that Christian Scientists would be awakening. They would be opening their Bibles and their Science and Healths — they would be praying to unsee evil, and to know that good is everywhere present. He found comfort and strength in that thought. And finally, after many hours, a ship came back from the convoy and rescued them.
Love Which Is Principle
"God," writes Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 275), "is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle." Why "therefore"? Because, my friends, without an understanding of Principle we do not really love; we do not understand love; we do not live love. What do we have, then, which, though it is without Principle, passes for love? We have human devotion which can be foolish, blind, self-willed; devotion which will sacrifice one for the sake of another — perhaps ourselves; we have love which is fearful, impulsive, prejudiced, proscriptive. A human mother's love for her child has been held up as the model of all loves. But how often it fails, despite its unselfishness, its noble motives, its intuitions and sacrifices. Unless based on Principle, such love may handicap the mother and the child. Many a child has had its youth overshadowed, its character stunted, its outlook restricted, its fears magnified, because of a mother's anxieties, or human will.
Mrs. Eddy has revealed to this age the motherhood of God, has taught mankind to think of God as Mother as well as Father. In the Glossary of the Christian Science textbook (p. 592), defining "Mother" she begins immediately with the word "God." I think we shall understand this better as we consider it in connection with another passage in her textbook where she states (p. 517): "The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love."