Christian Science: A Study of the Law of Manís Being

 

Judge Frederick C. Hill, C.S., of Clinton, Illinois

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

"Christian Science: A Study of the Law of Man's Being" was the subject of the lecture given by Judge Frederick C. Hill, C.S., of Clinton, Illinois., Sunday afternoon at Irvington Masonic Temple under the auspices of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. Judge Hill is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. He was introduced by Robert I. Marsh. Judge Hill's lecture follows in full:

 

There is a substantial conviction in the thoughts of normal individuals that it is right to be healthy and to be happy; and human endeavor is very largely directed toward the attainment of these desirable ends.

The basic foundation upon which government rests is the fact that mankind is endowed with the right of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These fundamentals have been designated and named "man's unalienable rights;" and civil law has decreed that the enjoyment of these rights shall not be limited, abridged, or denied, without due process of law.

A survey of the conditions surrounding mankind will disclose the fact that many individuals are sick and unhappy; others are struggling with poverty and lack; large numbers are not enjoying liberty of mind or body. It will be discovered that great masses are not successfully engaged in the pursuit of happiness. The amazing fact is the discovery that these individuals have not been deprived of their natural, sacred rights through "due process of law." These distressing penalties are self-imposed through erroneous thinking; and they have utterly failed to discover that obedience to the fundamental order of right thinking will establish and insure the enjoyment of these rights.

In this discussion it is our purpose to direct attention to the fact that there is a fundamental law of man's being, and that the study and application of the teachings of Christian Science furnish abundant proof of that law.

The fact that man has a conscious existence, separate from his bodily form, is evidenced by the declaration of Moses to the children of Israel, "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." And this fact was further affirmed by Christ Jesus, when in the hour of his temptation he said, "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." It may be rightly assumed that the "word of God" is the law of God; and further, that man's true being unfolds in exact proportion to his knowledge of, and conformity to, this law.

 

Law Defined - Its Source

It will be helpful to ascertain the nature and character of law from the human point of view, as it has been defined to be a governing rule of conduct prescribed by supreme power, commanding that which is right, and prohibiting that which is wrong.

It is a significant fact that almost all writers and commentators on law and procedure revert to the divine law as revealed in the Scriptures to discover the foundation for the civil and common laws of our times. In a series of lectures written in 1765 Sir William Blackstone, an eminent writer and authority on law and procedure, said: "The creator has expressed Himself through the eternal immutable laws of good, - to which the creator Himself, in all His dispensations, conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover;" "God is a creator of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; and man, His creature, should want no other prompter to inquire after and pursue the rule of right;" "For He has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter (happiness) cannot be attained but by observing the former (justice); and, if the former (justice) be punctually obeyed it cannot but induce the latter (happiness)." This eminent authority states very clearly in his writings that God's laws are made known to man through revelation and discovery;

furthermore, that divine laws are full and complete in themselves, and sufficient, when discovered, to insure man's complete happiness so long as he will "pursue the rule of right."

 

Christian Science: Authority

In the light of the statements just quoted it must be admitted that mankind is not the author or creator of basic, fundamental law. It is our duty to discover basic law and to translate its divine precepts into human forms and expressions so that it can be intelligently applied and thereby insure our alienable right to enjoy happiness and success.

It is indeed quite imperative to clearly discern the nature of absolute law. And it will prove helpful to understand that there is a clear and definite distinction between basic law, which expresses God's good government, and human codes, as well as the so-called mortal laws which are supposed to produce human disease, discords, and disaster.

In the consideration of Christian Science as unfolding divine law, intelligence and good judgment demand authoritative information regarding any subject before forming opinions and conclusions. It will be in keeping with the demands of common sense and good taste for us to derive our information from unimpeachable sources where facts supplant opinions and distorted beliefs.

That Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science is now generally accepted and conceded. From childhood she was deeply religious and was an efficient and progressive student of the Bible. Through an earnest study and research of the Scriptures she proved that perfect trust and confidence in God's laws are followed by fixed and absolute results.She furthermore proved that God governs His universe, including man, through infinite intelligence; and that infinite intelligence constitutes and embraces absolute law. She likewise proved that absolute law is immutable (unchangeable), and that it can be understood and intelligently applied; and when understood, and accordingly applied, absolute law sets aside and nullifies the false beliefs oft designated and termed "natural" or "human" law.

During her investigation and research an injury, caused by an accident, led her to apply these absolute, immutable laws to her then apparently helpless condition; and through her understanding and the intelligent application of these laws she was healed. Through this experience she had proved for herself that God's laws are immutable, available, and operative. She discovered the "divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love" (Science and Health, p. 107), and she named that discovery Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy was a great woman. Her greatness is supported by three major achievements:

First: After she had passed the meridian line of life, she became the author of a book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which challenged the attention of the reading public throughout the world.

Second: In 1879, she organized a church "to commemorate the words and works of our Master, a Mind-healing church, without a creed, to be called the Church of Christ, Scientist, the first such church ever organized" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 44). At this time this church has approximately twenty-five hundred branch church organizations encircling the globe.

Third: In 1908, she established The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper, which, from the standpoint of clean journalism, is regarded by many as the standard of perfection in the newspaper world.

These achievements are legitimate authority for our resorting to her writings in determining every controverted issue regarding this Science. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 107), she says, "In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science."

Furthermore, in her book, "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1), she asks this question, "How would you define Christian Science?" She then answers the question thus: "As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."

Let me now call attention to this fact. Her declarations and definitions are squarely in line with statements and facts and conclusions so ably set forth in 1765 by the eminent Sir William Blackstone, who wrote his commentaries on the laws of England one hundred years before Mrs. Eddy made her discovery of the "divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love." Their statements and logic agree in substance and in fact. They agree that the basic law is divine - God's law. They further agree that God's divine law is revealed through the Scriptures and must be discovered therein; and they are in exact accord with the fact that divine law is sufficient under all circumstances and conditions to meet the human needs of mankind. The learned Blackstone confined his investigations and writings to the civil laws of men and nations; whereas, Mrs. Eddy, through her writings, has applied divine laws from a spiritual, or metaphysical, basis, unfolding the divine plan of perfection and harmony in all things.

 

The Challenge

When Christian Science was given to the world by Mrs. Eddy, it at once challenged the attention of two classes of individuals, the material scientists and the clergy.

The material scientists at once took issue with her denial of the reality of matter, for they had discovered her statement in Science and Health (p. 468), "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter." After some discussion of the subject it was dismissed on the ground that there was no science involved in her discovery. But what is the spectacle we now observe? Behold, the material scientists of today declare that separate and apart from states and stages of consciousness there is no matter - a reversal of their position of fifty years ago, and a claim by them to a new discovery. This claim of the materialists did not escape the attention of a shrewd newspaper writer, who very tersely said: "Boys, you haven't made a discovery. Mary Baker Eddy discovered that fact and she told it to the world fifty years ago."

The clergy also objected to Christian Science. Their contention was that it was not Christian in character; and as to its science, the material scientists had passed upon that claim and had found it wanting. What do we observe today? Many of our religious leaders openly acknowledge the practical efficacy of Christian Science and commend its religious teachings. Perhaps no one has contributed more credible testimony in support of Christian Science than one Dr. Lyman P. Powell, of New York City, who is not a Christian Scientist, but who, as a clergyman, an author, a public lecturer, and a former president of Hobart College, gave to the reading public in 1930 a new biography of Mary Baker Eddy. His estimate of Christian Science is briefly stated thus: "Jesus brought the undistinguished and the handicapped good news, 'The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.' . . , Rarely have the sick, the sinful, and the dying heard any good news other than the good tidings which Jesus brought of a heavenly Father who cares for every one of us. . . . Christian Science proclaims itself a bearer of the same good news. Christian Scientists could not keep it to themselves if they would and would not if they could; for many of them have experienced in their own persons transformations similar to those of apostolic experience. . . . There is a challenge here which Christian Science offers to the world, and no longer can it be evaded."

 

Transformation and Healing

The healing of human ills through Christian Science furnishes the most convincing proof that the power of the same divine Mind which was so fully demonstrated by Christ Jesus has not lessened or abated in the least and is available here and now.

No thinking person will assume that Christian Scientists fail to recognize the commands or precepts of Jesus, or that the teachings of Mrs. Eddy supersede in the slightest degree his teachings or doctrines. I submit the following section from the Manual of The Mother Church (p. 17) to show that Mrs. Eddy had no such intention. The section is as follows; "At a meeting of the Christian Scientist Association, April 19, 1879, on motion of Mrs. Eddy, it was voted - To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing."

Every person before becoming a member of any Christian Science church or society must subscribe to six religious tenets. The basis of the Christian Science faith is summed up in the last, or sixth tenet, as follows: "And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure" (Science and Health, p. 497).

Christian Scientists are striving to express the Christ-spirit at all times. They are striving to emulate the healing works of Jesus. They are striving to get the same vision of the Christ that saved the human Jesus in the dark hours of his earthly career from the belief of death and the grave. They are confidently expecting in the fullness of time to be rewarded by having that wonderful vision expressed by Paul, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

The realities and beauties of creation are continually unfolding to the Christian Scientist. The real man of God's creation, expressing His goodness is a fact - a reality. How many calendar years may elapse before mankind generally will appreciate and accept the fact that man partakes of the essence of God's goodness here and now can not be definitely ascertained. One by one mortals catch glimpses of the unfolding of divine Principle, and they become conscious of God's law and order operating here, now, and everywhere.

 

The Creator - His Creation

In endeavoring to discover and to apply the law of man's being, there must be an appreciation of God in His true sense, and of man as His reflection. To this end Christian Science teaches a clear distinction between a mortal or material sense of God and His true nature.

In the Christian Science textbook (p. 465) God is defined thus: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." Hence, there must be an appreciation of the fact that creation, as God's idea, is continually appearing, before Christian Science can be thoroughly understood as the immutable, divine law of God. When so apprehended, perfection and harmony will be observed as inseparably interwoven in every part thereof.

The Scriptural account of creation, as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, reveals a spiritual unfoldment, and closes with the signal and significant statement, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Herein the basic truth is stated clearly and distinctly: that God made all, and made it very good. Since He made everything "very good," so it follows that "good" is the essence of every creative act, because God is good; hence, that which is not good was not created. This vision of God's creation will appear to the earnest thinker, and it will dispel the fear and mystification due to a material sense of things. In the fullness of time St. John's statement will become fully apparent, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

The glorious spiritual facts of creation are provable to the sincere and earnest follower of Christian Science.

 

The Modus

A few observations may serve as helpful waymarks to indicate the modus in the right direction.

God's completeness must be assumed and acknowledged as the standard of perfection at all times. He must be understood as divine Mind, or Spirit, and must be regarded as the source of all that really exists. This recognition of God will liberate and will enlarge the individual's capacity to understand and express indefinite Mind. The individual is thinking rightly to the extent that he holds his thoughts in line with the divine order. This right mental action is affirmative proof that the spiritual man is unfolding as the image of good in his consciousness.

I suspect that from the early dawn of time all mortals have been concerned and confused regarding the advent of sin and disease in the experiences of mankind. By applying the Scriptural account in Genesis to this state of mind, the confusion should be dispelled. For we certainly will all agree that sin and disease are not states or stages of good; and not being "good," were never created. But how are they to be accounted for? The wisdom of Solomon has given us a rational key to the solution. Speaking of mortal mind he said, "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he."

There is an accepted rule that like produces like. Now Solomon's statement will justify the conclusion that, in the absence of restraining influences, sinful thoughts will result in overt sinful acts. His saying also established the fact that the material body of the man is not the offender, the culprit. The body is only the convenient avenue or channel for expressing the behests of the sinful and depraved mortal mind. Mortal mind is always the offender that deserves punishment. A significant fact worthy of our note at this time is, that our courts of justice mete out punishment to offenders only after the proof has shown affirmatively that a defendant has first formed a well-defined intention to do wrong and has thereafter acted upon that intention.

 

An Illustration

An illustration at this point will help to fix the force of the argument that the material body of a man is merely the avenue or channel, and is not the culprit.

An efficient young boy, a page in a banking institution, was left in charge of a large sum of money. Assuring himself that no one was near him, and that the avenues of escape were favorably open, he advanced to the center of the cage, put forth his hand, and was in the act of taking a package of bank bills, when in a firm and decisive voice he affirmed, "I am not a thief." There was no action of protest from his body, and without delay his hand was withdrawn, and his arm assumed its normal position. That circumstance affords convincing proof that the mental action holds absolute control over the body. You may ask, Was this young boy a Christian Scientist? No. He had never heard of Christian Science. He did, however, hear "a still small voice" which told him he was honest. Furthermore, in the face of that temptation he was prompted to put into operation a well-known Christian Science practice. He denied and reversed the error (temptation), and affirmed and applied the truth (that he was not a thief). Will it be assumed by any thinking person that when tempted to become what he was not, divine law did not intervene? The divine law of ever present good was operating then and there, and it healed that young boy instantly from the dreadful disease of believing he could be a thief. This instance serves to establish the fact that the basic nature of man is good.

 

Unwholesome Influences

The same application of Christian Science will assure freedom and liberty to the one who is sick as well as to one who is in prison. In fact, the individual who is sick is imprisoned and held by sick beliefs, and needs to be liberated. Sickness and disease are manifestations of sick or diseased thinking on the part of someone. Of course, we do not want to be understood as saying that the sick one has deliberately been guilty of unwholesome thoughts. He may have been off his guard and may have been agreeing to the erroneous predictions and conclusions of others, thereby becoming an innocent victim of wrong thinking.

A great mistake is made by assuming that thinking has little or nothing to do with producing results. The opposite is the truth. When human thought is sustained by right motives and guided into spiritual lines of thinking, thus reflecting divine Mind, Spirit, harmony is the inevitable result. Spiritual thinking is evidenced in better general conditions, and increased health and happiness are sure results.

It is gratifying to note that since the advent of Christian Science as an organized religious movement there is coming to the front a greater recognition of real values and a more persistent demand for right thinking. It is encouraging when such men as Dr. Stewart Paton, M.D., of New York City, will even hint at the value of right thinking in

combating disease. I submit a paragraph from a lecture, as reported, delivered by him in Princeton University. He said: "The campaign to find out more about our minds and to apply the knowledge we already have is the only rational basis from which the fight against physical disease can be conducted successfully. The fight against physical disease would have been far more effective had the members of the medical profession devoted more time and attention to the cultivation of the art of forming good mental habits and observing the essentials of clear thinking. Peace, prosperity, and the progress of civilization are literally waiting for the physician to recognize not only that the sound body is essential for the sound mind, but that to know and understand the organization of mind is the first step toward the securing a really sound body" (Reported in Harper's Magazine, January, 1924, p. 165).

I am sure all will agree that these sentiments are noble and inspiring and are evidence that divine law and order is unfolding in human consciousness. Another tangible evidence of this unfolding is found in the fact that war has been outlawed and abolished among nations through legal procedure, and peace, prosperity, and progress of civilization enhanced thereby, through right thinking. This progress is the evidence that the "law of God, the law of good," is operating continually and drawing humanity up to the higher levels of thought and action.

As it is essential to understand the nature of God, so it is an imperative necessity to understand the spiritual nature of man, as distinguished from the material structure of the body. A simple illustration may serve the purpose of fixing the fact that the body is merely the servant of the conscious, mental individual, and does his bidding.

 

Amplification

I am the owner of a fountain pen. To distinguish that pen from others of like nature and kind, it has inscribed thereon my name and address. In my possession, and directed by the normal action of thought, it will express me. It will subscribe my signature in a natural, and in a normal manner. However, when my thinking becomes agitated and disturbed, the pen at once reflects and expresses the disturbance. Furthermore, the same pen in the hands of one who is controlled by erroneous thinking will express the thoughts of the forger. The name and address of its owner is not a guaranty of its action. It is the nature and quality of the thinking back of the fountain pen that determines the record it produces.

In this amplification the human body may be likened to an enlarged fountain pen. As thinking has inscribed a name and address on the pen, so through a long series of mental processes, certain identifications are objectified on the body. As the pen made a record of a directing thought, so the body is continually making a record of the thinking of the individual. The fountain pen is mine to use, but it is not I. Your human body is yours, and yours to use, but it is not you. The "you" is the mental, spiritual man, outside of the human form; and capable at all times of directing that body so as to present a harmonious record.

 

Conclusion

The facts, the logic, and the arguments advanced may not be accepted by all. Some may ask, "Do you believe that erroneous thinking produces disease, and that right thinking heals?" There is no room for doubt or argument. The fact remains as stated. Through the process of right thinking, hundreds, thousands, and hundreds of thousands of reputable people from every country of the civilized world are gladly testifying to the healing of the body through the transformation and regeneration as taught and applied in Christian Science.

The real purpose of this lecture is to emphasize the fact that God is; and that man lives and has his being through the intelligent operation of law and order. In proportion as every individual habitually struggles to know and to understand God and to be obedient to His laws, that struggle and that obedience will bring into human experience the highest degree of human liberty. It will heal the sick and will reform the sinner. It will promote a full understanding of man's "unalienable rights" and enable everyone who will follow obediently to enjoy the highest degree of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It will bring into human consciousness, as a vital living reality, man's immortality so profoundly expressed in the following poem entitled

 

"The Last Judgment":

When the vast sun shall veil its golden light;

Deep in the gloom of everlasting night;

When wild destructive flames shall wrap the skies;

When ruin triumphs and when matter dies,

Men shall alone the wreck of worlds survive.

Mid falling spheres immortal man shall live.

Anonymous.

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, date unknown.]

 

 

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