Christian Science: The Law of Liberty

 

Adair Hickman, C.S.B., of New York, New York

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Liberation from the bondage of materialism ‒ from turmoil, fear, cruelty, and suffering ‒ can be gained scientifically by learning and applying the Science of Christianity, Adair Hickman, C.S.B., of New York City told a Boston audience today. "The one means of coping successfully" with the materialism of the age ‒ and thus solving the world's problems ‒ lies in recourse to the laws of God, to the "scientific, demonstrable Christianity" which Jesus taught and applied, he declared.

That scientific Christianity can be utilized today ‒ with sure results in practical situations ‒ is being abundantly proved by Christian Science demonstrations, said Mr. Hickman, who is a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship. He spoke in the Colonial Theater under auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. His topic was "Christian Science: The Law of Liberty."

He told of several healings accomplished by Christian Science, including that of a friend who for more than 20 years had been an invalid ‒ "bound by the beliefs of disease, suffering, fear, despair, and age." This woman, he said, was completely healed in a few weeks by Christian Science ‒ a "complete transformation in that one whom I had never before seen well or carefree."

He described such healings as "irrefutable proofs" that God's law of good has lost "none of its efficacy to heal since the time Jesus demonstrated it and taught his disciples how to apply it." The lecturer was introduced by Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:

It gives me much pleasure to welcome you this noon on behalf of The Mother Church to hear a lecture entitled: "Christian Science: The Law of Liberty." This lecture will be printed in full in today's issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

The human mind is inclined to conceive of liberty as freedom from restraint, as being free to do as one pleases. But in Christian Science we learn that liberty is the result of divine law and is gained in the degree that we understand this law and are obedient to it, as will be explained in this lecture.

Our speaker is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. I am happy to present Adair Hickman of New York City.

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

Many earnest thinkers and spiritually ‒ minded observers are aware of the great lessening of moral vigor among men and nations today. It is generally conceded that the paramount need of mankind is liberation from the bondage of material thinking and living, but the means of supplying the spiritual corrective is little understood. Into this present-day moral laxity, fear, confusion, and turmoil, Christian Science comes offering proof by demonstration that the scientific, demonstrable Christianity taught and applied by Christ Jesus is the one means of coping successfully with the material thought in this or any age.

Christian Science shows that in proportion to our willingness to leave the false theories of material thinking for the certainties of spiritual understanding is the advance into the actuality of life ‒ or true freedom ‒ accomplished.

 

Law of divine Perfection Demonstrated

Almost two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul declared, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).

Subsequent history shows that mankind's freedom has been won in the degree that the concept of God's true spiritual nature has been more and more clearly perceived and mankind has given up the belief in a selfhood apart from God, Mind, and has sought an answer to the question, "What is the law of liberty?" ‒ that perfect law of which James wrote when he said, "Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, . . . shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25).

This perfect law, or law of divine perfection, is being demonstrated in this age as Christian Science. Indeed, its Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, has defined Christian Science in her book "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1), "As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."

This Science operates as the all-governing law of God from the basis of the omnipotence and infinite goodness of God. It teaches that the entire solution of the problem of being is embraced in the understanding of this law of God, of good. It demonstrates the divine Principle and rule through spiritual instruction set forth in its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy.

Like every so-called physical science, knowledge of divine Science is acquired by studying its textbook, obeying its teachings, and demonstrating its laws, through which is made appreciable to human consciousness God's bounty of spiritual ideas. In this way mankind learns to manifest and utilize divine Mind's infinite resources.

If anyone doubts that there is a God, he has only to live in obedience to the laws of Spirit, Mind, which Christian Science reveals, and refuse to yield to the pretentious control of the wholly materialistic theories and claims of the carnal mind. To the extent that one does this, he will have conclusive proof that God, good, is supreme, the only actual presence and power.

By obeying the laws of divine perfection, or true spiritual being, and applying them to all the injustices, restrictions, and afflictions of mortal existence, students of this Science are proving step by step the falsity of the Adam-dream, or the deceptive nature of all material sense evidence. They are dispelling the illusive claims of material sense manifested as sin, suffering, fear, and poverty, and are realizing more and more of that liberty and dominion which are the birthright of the sons of God.

 

Supreme Being Constantly Available

Through revelation Mrs. Eddy reached the unalterable conclusion that spiritual causation is the law governing all that actually exists. She wrote in her textbook (p. 127): "If God, the All-in-all, be the creator of the spiritualuniverse,including man, then everything entitled to a classification as truth, or Science, must be comprised in a knowledge or understanding of God, for there can be nothing beyond illimitable divinity."

This "illimitable divinity" or infinite self-existence is defined in Science and Health (p. 465) as ". . . Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." As one prayerfully and humbly contemplates these synonymous terms for God, he becomes aware that the Supreme Being is understandable, ever-present, and constantly available to man. He learns that the idea of what God is, is God with him. He sees that divine Mind, infinite spiritual consciousness, is the basic fact of all things, and that divine Mind could not exist without its expression, idea, or manifestation, which is man and the universe.

The belief in a carnal mind, which Paul tells us "is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7), is the source of all conflict, cruelty, destruction, selfishness, lack, sin, and suffering. It is the belief in, and response to, the carnal will, which leads mortals to hate, greed, jealousy, domination, and to the worship of mammon instead of God, Spirit.

The Discoverer of this Science saw that salvation can come only through understanding fully and obeying faithfully the first and fundamental command or law, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3), no other mind than the divine Mind.

Only to the degree that we gain a correct knowledge of what God is, can we possibly know what Life is and means, and gain the right understanding of what man is.

A great desire of the human race is to know what man is. Everyone yearns to understand his origin, substance, the purpose and law of his being. Christian Science accepts the spiritual record of man's creation in God's image and likeness described in the first chapter of Genesis and in the first five verses of the second. It shows that since God is Spirit, Mind, and man is His image and likeness, man must be recognized and understood in terms of Spirit or Mind.

As one begins to comprehend the divine Mind through the ideas which express it, it is seen that the real man has now full dominion as the reflection of infinite intelligence.

Some years ago there appeared in The Christian Science Monitor a photograph of a mirage. This extraordinary picture, taken in Switzerland, clearly showed the outline and form of mountains, clouds, and a lake which seemed, to have substance, but which existed only as an atmospheric illusion.

From this unusual phenomenon one may draw a significant lesson of the fallibility of all material sense evidence, since here is the proof that one can photograph an unreality. Notwithstanding it can be seen with the physical eye and frequently shows forms, landscapes, buildings, and so forth, everyone knows that a mirage is actually unreal. It is nothing seeming to be something. If you go to the location where a mirage seems to be, you will not find the objects it depicts.

 

Science Proves Nothingness of Disease

In the light of Christian Science, the foregoing example explains to a degree the X-rayed pictures of disease as well as the unreliable testimony of all material sense.

Even though one may look at a picture of what seems to be a disease, this Science shows and proves that it does not actually exist. In the light of spiritual understanding, disease has no more reality than had the mirage photographed in Switzerland.

Each time a healing results through the operation of spiritual law, it is conclusively proved that the mist called disease was not God-created and hence did not actually exist.

In an allegory in Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 439), "We send our best detectives to whatever locality is reported to be haunted by Disease, but on visiting the spot, they learn that Disease was never there."

The explanation of all material sense evidence is found in the following statement from the textbook (p. 86): "Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees."

Even material scientists are discerning something of the truth of Spirit, as is seen from the following statement by J. S. Haldane, the distinguished English physicist, in his book, "The Sciences and Philosophy" (p. 189): "The apparent evil and imperfection of the universe are no longer interpreted as evil, but only as imperfect apprehension."

The fallacy or mist, called mortal mind and matter, which is the source of all mortal discord, sin, sickness, and death, disappears in proportion as the spiritual fact or the truth about God and man is scientifically discerned.

Christian Science enables us to hold steadfastly to and thereby prove the divine realities of being, which are based on the changeless foundation of Spirit or Mind.

In her work "Unity of Good" Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 54): "To say there is a false claim called sickness, is to admit all there is of sickness; for it is nothing but a false claim. . . . If the claim be present to the thought, then disease becomes as tangible as any reality."

The proof of this statement was brought vividly to my attention in the experience of a man who was not a Christian Scientist, although his wife was a member of the church. This man had suffered for a long time from asthmatic attacks. He was firmly convinced that these attacks were brought on at certain periods by the pollen of flowers.

 

Man Is Godís Idea and Reflection

Owing to many valuable civic services which he had rendered the community in which he lived, the time came when his friends in much gratitude tendered him a large reception. The hall was beautifully decorated with plants and flowers. After standing in the reception line for some time, it became evident that he was experiencing a sense of congestion and breathing with great difficulty. He said to his wife, "The heavy aroma of the flowers is almost more than I can bear."

Shortly thereafter, his obvious discomfort necessitated his leaving the reception. His wife, however, remained until the end of the festivities.

Standing near and admiring a large bowl of chrysanthemums, she reached over and touched some of the blossoms, only to find that they were artificial. She later discovered that all of the flowers in the reception hall were artificial.

Upon returning to her home and finding her husband in even greater distress, she said to him: "Your suffering could not possibly have been caused by the flowers, since they were all artificial. You are suffering from a false belief, your conviction and fear that the flowers would inevitably produce this distress."

Is it not evident that the disease in this case was only in the realm of false belief? This experience explains clearly the nature of all that is called disease.

We see that man comes to know himself only as he learns the true nature of God, Spirit, his divine Principle, and recognizes himself as God's idea or reflection. In this realization we discard the mortal, material concept of man as false and put on the true concept of man's real nature and heritage as the son of God. This is clearly what Paul meant when he said, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17).

The proof that health is a condition of Mind and not of matter is shown in the following experience.

A friend of mine had been an invalid for many years, bound by the beliefs of disease, suffering fear, despair, and age, so that she had come to feel that life held no interest for her, indeed, was hardly worth living.

Shortly after my own healing in Christian Science, and knowing of her unfortunate condition, I was led to send her a copy of the Christian Science textbook with the assurance that the truth contained therein would heal her if she would study it. She at once began reading the book, deriving much comfort and peace from the explanations of the true nature of God and man revealed therein. In a few weeks she had gained from this study sufficient understanding of God as Life, Truth, and Love to heal her completely of all her afflictions. For more than twenty years she had been held in bondage by false material beliefs, manifested as disease. In just a few weeks of the study of Science and Health, which had brought spiritual enlightenment, she was set completely free. This unspeakable blessing had been brought about simply by studying and assimilating the truths in the Christian Science textbook. I can scarcely express the joy and thankfulness which I felt when I saw the complete transformation in that one whom I had never before seen well or carefree.

 

Textbook Brings Rich Fruitage of Healing

Introducing the chapter on "Fruitage" with which this textbook closes, there is found this statement (p. 600): "Thousands of letters could be presented in testimony of the healing efficacy of Christian Science and particularly concerning the vast number of people who have been reformed and healed through the perusal or study of this book."

The experience which I have just related is one of these thousands. Is it any wonder that expressions of deepest gratitude to God pour forth at our Wednesday evening testimony meetings from those who have proved Him to be ever-present Life, Truth, and Love, through the application of the teaching set forth in the Christian Science textbook?

Too high an estimate cannot be placed on this textbook, which reveals the divine Principle of Christian healing and furnishes a "Key to the Scriptures" through its spiritual interpretation of those sacred records of revealed Truth and mankind's search after God.

With†† scientific†† certainty Christ Jesus demonstrated every statement he made as to the reality of ever-present good and the utter falsity of all that would oppose its unceasing activity ‒ all evil, sin, sickness, and death.

Thus he made evident that his religion was Science, the correct knowledge of God, and the operation of the spiritual law of good. This divinely scientific method of overcoming all of evil's pretension to intelligence and power was the way of the great Exemplar. The demand upon us today is to follow this scientific procedure established by the master Christian.

Since God is infinite good, evil in all of its phases is unreal, and therefore it must be disproved by us as Jesus disproved it. He healed all manner of disease, such as dropsy, leprosy, blindness, deafness, dumbness, insanity, palsy, as well as sin. He overcame every material law of limitation. He fed the multitudes, stilled the tempest, and raised the dead.

Our great need is to understand and demonstrate the one divine Mind as all-presence and power and to prove the revealed Christ, Truth, potent and adequate to meet every human need and solve every problem.

Jesus met and mastered the same phases of mortal consciousness that we encounter today. He "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebr. 4:15). His way of spiritual understanding, or true thinking, is the way of deliverance for all mankind. Jesus constantly healed disease in defiance of all supposed material law as he was avowedly about his Father's business. Indeed, he pointed to these works as proof of his Messiahship. The Master's healing works or example in the demonstration of spiritual reality gave to the world the remedy for all error, sin, disease, and death,

 

To Know This Truth Shall Make You Free

His demonstration of the Science or truth of being shows that the spiritual fact or truth about anything serves to redeem us from believing error with its discords and changes its false evidence. All that ever can save us from the perverted illusions of the carnal mind is the fact of divine Mind's allness. To know this truth, the Master declared, "shall make you free." The divine consciousness or Truth that operated as the Mind of Christ Jesus is available to us all in Christian Science.

The divine healing power was lost to the church after the first two and a half centuries following the Master's ascension. Still there was always a remnant of those who earnestly longed and sought to know the one God and His Christ.

It had been prophesied by Micah centuries before the advent of Christ Jesus that one would come forth who was to be "ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting; Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth" (Mic. 5:2,3).

John in his Revelation envisioned the spiritual idea typified as a woman who was to reveal the incorporeal Christ or Truth.

Finally has come the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to his followers, the advent of the "Spirit of truth," the divine, universal Comforter, who would guide us "into all truth" (John 16:13). To Mrs. Eddy it was clearly revealed that the second coming of the Christ referred to in the Scriptures was the advent to human sense of the incorporeal Truth, made apparent as Christian Science, through which she saw must come the ultimate healing of all mortal woe, sin, suffering.

This Science of spiritual causation reveals the unity of religion and Science. It shows that the divine Principle upon which Jesus based his demonstration was that of spiritual perfection. This was clearly his idealism expressed in all his works.

His complete understanding of the real or true creation enabled Jesus to maintain a constant awareness of the changeless perfection of all being and to demonstrate it in dispelling such phases of mesmerism which appeared as deformity, blindness, all sickness, sin, and death.

While Christian Scientists hold a deeply reverent sense of the man Jesus, they realize that to gain that freedom which the Master promised would come to those who continue in his word or teachings they must advance beyond personality to the understanding of spiritual being which he exemplified in his demonstration of the Christ, Truth. It was to the extent that Jesus' immediate followers grasped this understanding that they were enabled to heal the sick, to redeem the sinning, and even to raise the dead. In this way we, too, may gain the proof of our sonship or the real man's unity with God, the Principle of all true being.

Not until this Science had been tested by Mrs. Eddy in a broad and practical way through uncounted instances of spiritual healing did she offer to the world the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."

Those healing works were the irrefutable proofs that God's law of good had lost none of its efficacy to heal since the time Jesus demonstrated it and taught his disciples how to apply it. The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, together with its branches throughout the world, was established upon these proofs of spiritual healing.

In order clearly to understand this revelation one must also recognize and appreciate the place of its revelator and rightly appraise her great achievement in discovering Christian Science and establishing the Cause.

Deep spirituality together with self-renunciation and love for God and man alone enabled her to receive and present this Science which has reinstated primitive Christianity with its spiritual healing. Her great unselfed love supplied Mrs. Eddy with the incentive, wisdom, and courage required to give this truth to a world steeped in materialism and dogma.

At the time of the publication of her textbook its author stood courageously before the world, facing the colossal claims of materialism in all of its accepted forms, but she held her ground with precept and proof of this divine Principle, the oneness of God, Mind.

This scientific Christianity, which our Master practiced in healing, has appeared as the Comforter or spiritual enlightenment in its full effulgence to a world filled with ruthless conflict, suffering, and fear. This understanding of Spirit's supremacy is pointing the way of freedom and deliverance to all mankind.

How deep is the world's need for wisdom at this time, for leaders of men to be wise through inspiration and spiritual understanding!

In all the vainglory of their many material discoveries mankind's great need is to realize the practicality and tangibility of Spirit or Mind. This alone will enable them to look above and beyond conflicting human opinions and the evidence of the corporeal senses. In short, the present need of mankind is to learn the meaning of righteous prayer as Mrs. Eddy has defined it in "No and Yes" where she says (p. 39), "Prayer can neither change God, nor bring His designs into mortal modes; but it can and does change our modes and our false sense of Life, Love, and Truth, uplifting us to Him. Such prayer humiliates, purifies, and quickens activity, in the direction that is unerring."

She also tells us in the textbook (p.12) that Jesus' prayers "were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, ‒ of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love."

 

Jesus Acknowledged but One Mind

Jesus acknowledged but one Mind and cause. He realized that in the divine allness there can be no affliction, sin, or limitation. In obedience to God's law of good he drew upon the presence and availability of infinite resource.

The Master did not petition God to be good. He did not ask Him to be Love or Truth. On the contrary, he acknowledged the fact that the divine, creative Principle of man and all that is real is omnipresent good, Truth, Life, Love. Such recognition and acknowledgement of true being ‒ that which already exists in spiritual perfection ‒ includes the answer to true prayer and meets every human need.

The experiences which result from such prayer, such scientific discoveries through proof of the divine nature, its power and goodness, are known in Christian Science as demonstrations. These demonstrations show that a greater knowledge has been gained of divine Principle and the unfailing operation of spiritual law.

That the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," as James tells us, is illustrated in the following experience of a young girl who applied to a Christian Science Sunday School for admission. At the close of the first session she remained to talk with the teacher about the possibility of receiving a healing of an unsightly skin disease that had caused much suffering and embarrassment. She was assured by the teacher, who was a Christian Science practitioner, that God's law of good was the law of health to His child; and the teacher agreed to treat her.

The following Friday, when they met, the patient was joyous to report a complete healing, and after expressing heartfelt gratitude, she said that what she now most desired was to have her own copy of the Christian Science textbook that she might learn how this healing was accomplished. She was, however, financially unable to purchase the book, but was assured by the teacher that God would meet that need as He had met her need of health.

A few days later the student related the following experience. She had long been subject to self-will and a very bad temper. On Monday following the girl's second visit to the Sunday School, her mother had requested her to go to a storage house to pay a bill which was due. In a state of deep rebellion she flatly refused to do this and left the room in anger. Suddenly she remembered the healing of her face, and the gratitude that welled up within her heart brought a sense of humility and love and a desire to be obedient. She returned to her mother and willingly agreed to do the errand.

When she arrived at the storage place, where she had been on previous occasions, the manager remarked: "What has happened to you? You do not look like the same girl." Whereupon she told him about her healing, and then she said that what she now most desired was to possess a copy of Science and Health in order to understand more of the healing Principle which is explained therein. The man replied: "Why, here on the shelf is a copy of that book. It has been there for a long time, and you may have it."

Thus we see that this girl's human need was met in proportion to her willingness to express obedience, gratitude, and love.

There have been those in every age who have said with the Psalmist, "I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15).

Now is the time to awaken in the likeness of God and to realize that satisfaction is attained through spiritually right thinking. In proportion as one becomes aware of his true selfhood, forever at one with God, does he find satisfaction.

As one learns to establish in his consciousness the fact of his coexistence with Life, Truth, and Love, he ceases to believe that he is at one with sin, disease, and death. Thus he learns that he not only will be saved, but is saved in the degree that he realizes his unity with God, good.

 

Christian Science Teaches Law of God

Christian Science teaches us that we can demonstrate only that which already exists in spiritual perfection and that time and the human mind are not factors in the healing work. Christian Science shows us that the verities of spiritual reality have always been and will forever be. Whatever was at any time unknown to God or Truth is not true now and will never be true. Therefore, our perception of Life's rich realities cannot be gained in any way but through spiritual understanding.

Today we see the age-old defiance of the human will, boasting itself as independent of the divine Mind, glorying in its claim to control and govern man's entire nature apart from God, in opposition to all that is spiritual and true.

In many quarters more and more intelligence is being accorded to material power. Owing to the release of atomic energy, many are convinced that matter is the only power and that the human race stands in jeopardy of being destroyed by the very force which material science has released.

However, a member of the Atomic Energy Commission has warned that "the nation must not be fooled by the 'myth of the atomic bomb' into forgetting that the strength of the United States is in its cherished ethical principles rather than military weapons alone."

Christian Science reverses the evidence of the material senses as the Master did. It attributes all power to the divine Mind. It shows that spiritual development and moral force constitute actual power. It defines God practically to human consciousness as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. It teaches that since Mind or God is all, all knowledge or truth must consist of a knowledge of God and is therefore divine and not human.

The laws of God, Spirit, cannot be based on any material premise†† whatsoever.†† Only through this understanding can the aggressive claims and strife of the carnal mind's arguments be met and the tempestuous elements of warring, material theories be silenced with the "peace, be still" of spiritual demonstration or Truth.

 

Jesus Pointed Way to Only True Security

This was Jesus' way of meeting all the attacks of the carnal mind upon the impregnable fortress of his true selfhood, the divine Christ or spiritual idea of God. In this scientific knowledge and demonstration is found the only true security. This is the one method by which reality is obtained. Man's native realm of Mind is boundless in opportunity, affluence, perpetual activity, and ever-increasing unfoldment and achievement. It is only the mist of mortal mind which claims to hide from us the real creation of infinite good which divine Mind has created and which this Mind everlastingly maintains in unchanging perfection.

Through the divine revelation of this Science mankind is learning to abandon its trust in the counterfeit and consistently to press forward in the understanding of the true creation of spiritual reality. Only as we learn to reason from the standpoint of divine Principle can we ever arrive at individual and universal freedom, namely, the understanding of the oneness and allness of God, and thus learn scientifically to establish our true identity and nature as His reflection. The standpoint of present freedom and spiritual perfection is the true standard which Christian Science has brought to light.

These promising and rallying words are found in the Christian Science textbook (p. 227): "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right."

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, May 19, 1950.]

 

 

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