Christian Science: The Religion of Good
Ella W. Hoag, C.S.D.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
We are here this evening to see if we cannot find something more of good, something that will help us in our everyday life among men: something that will show us how to be kinder, better, happier, healthier today and tomorrow and all the days; something that will enable us to become more useful citizens, more considerate neighbors, more agreeable companions. It is safe to say that in all the world there is no one who does not in his heart of hearts desire a keener, clearer knowledge of how to attain these desirable things, and there is no one here who does not feel a need along these lines. Were we completely satisfied we would not have come to see if there is yet something new which we may learn.
Christian Science Based on God as Good
That the entire teaching of Christian Science is baaed upon one infinite God, who is all-good, is a fact that today should need no ratification, since in the more than fifty years of its place among men, the name and nature of God have been thus clearly defined, and the effects from such precept and practice have been evidenced in untold ways, as resulting in blessing to mankind. Christian Science has reformed its thousands and has healed its tens of thousands. It has instructed the ignorant and has strengthened the weak in faith. It has established its hundreds of churches and societies, and its reading rooms are oases in the desert of a mammon-fed universe. Its periodicals, blessing and enlightening all who are so fortunate as to read them, are distributed in unlimited number. All this has been done and is continuing to be done by the Christian Science movement, because of its entire reliance on and faith in a God who is absolute good.
In these days of enlightened thinking no one can be satisfied to accept any concept of God which does not present Him as infinitely perfect, as altogether lovely, as being fundamentally all that is eternal, unchangeable, reliable, including every possible attribute of all that can be really desirable. To completely define God to the human consciousness as the alone and all-satisfying, will take more words than any language can furnish. Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has simplified such definition in a very remarkable way in her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 13), where she says: "Define good as God, and you will find that good is omnipotence, has all-power; it fills all space, being omnipresent, hence, there is neither place nor power left for evil."
God Not Responsible for Evil
So long as people have believed in God they have believed that the elements of good have belonged to Him, but they have for the most part failed to see that evil can have no place in Him, since He is infinite good. Instead, down through the ages has come also the belief that evil is a part of His plan, until there has been attached to Him the responsibility, in a more or less direct way, for all the many forms of evil which appear manifested to the human consciousness. Many Christian people would be shocked were they asked to assent to this, but are they not accepting just this teaching when they attempt to give evil a power by attaching it to God, by calling it "good in the making," or when they in any way admit that evil has ever been, or can become, a factor in or of good?
All men desire good, but in order to have good govern in their lives they must understand the nature of good. To understand the nature of good, they must understand God, the source of all good. Learning to understand God, good, there must follow the purpose to be true to good, and this involves the willingness to renounce all that is unlike good. Christian Science comes to show men how to take both of these important steps. It defines God and opens the message of the Bible that the entire purpose of God, good, may be revealed. Jesus taught that the same fountain cannot send forth both sweet waters and bitter. Therefore, since God is infinite good it is impossible for Him to countenance or to use an opposite to good in any way. Then how can He be responsible for such an opposite?
Good and evil must ever be contraries, and no intelligent method of conquering evil can be found unless they are so regarded. If we have evil in the premise, we must inevitably find it in the conclusion. The world is crying out to be delivered from evil, and yet how slow it is to be willing to acknowledge that good alone can be its vanquisher. No perfect conclusion can ever be gained except from a perfect premise, and it is only as we learn to start with a perfect God who is all good, that we can begin to discern with clearness that the things which are unlike good are but beliefs because they are untrue to this premise. Then a correct understanding of what God is, must be the first step in learning to understand the false nature of the opposite of good, namely, evil.
Christian Science Honors God, Good
From the beginning, Christian Science exalts good, honors good, acknowledges it as the power of God. It also recognizes that since good is of God, it must always be divine in character, must be like to God. It therefore cannot contain within itself anything contrary to, or opposed to, God in any particular. The world will never get rid of evil until it has seen the true nature of evil, until it has seen evil as evil, – until it has seen it as a suppositional opposite of God, good, – therefore, as being unlike good and as being directly defiant of good in its every form of ignorance, poverty, sickness, as well as in its myriad forms of sin. Evil must be seen as the belief in an evil cause, or a cause apart from God, and so rejected for the base usurper that it is of the power and presence of God, good.
Jesus never covered evil. He called it by its own name, whether it appeared as sickness or as sin, denouncing it in the strongest terms he could use, as a foul conspiracy against the rights of both God and man. He never said that God sends sickness or sin for a wise purpose, as a necessary discipline, or as a factor for good in any direction; he never said that it was the outcome of God, good, in any least way; but on the contrary he uncovered evil in all its detestableness and falsity, showing it to be a direct opposite of God, and that indulgence, even in a belief in it, only brings evil as a result. In his practice he never failed to prove its powerlessness by overcoming it with his understanding of the all-power of good.
What we admit as power is, at the moment, the god to whom we bow down. If we believe that evil is power, then we fear it and become its slave, its devotee. Just so long as power is accredited to evil, in that degree will good be unrecognized by the consciousness thus governed: but when we know that good alone has power, because it alone belongs to the one God, then we begin to find all the forces of the one God at hand to lead us constantly forward to victories over evil.
Jesus' Definition of Evil
At one time Jesus defined all evil as the liar and its lies, and then went on to say, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And what could free from the lie but Truth? The only possible way a lie can deceive is by presenting itself in the garment of Truth, – by insisting on itself as true and real. Its most potent method of deception is to call itself an agent for good, claiming to have the name and nature of good. Now what but the understanding of Truth can strip off this disguise? Indeed, it is only the knowing of Truth which can show a lie to be a lie and so divest it of its supposed power. The moment a lie is seen as a lie it has lost all power to deceive in any way.
And how is this to be brought about? Would one ever go into a dark room expecting by the blindness the darkness occasions to find the things which needed to be cleaned out? The light must always be let in before the accumulated dust or dirt can be removed. So we should not study darkness or evil to get rid of evil. The light of Truth must be let in, and then one can see clearly the false nature of evil and its undesirability. So when we learn to know God, good, we have the light which shows us all the claims of evil and is able to give to us the necessary understanding and power to rebuke and to overcome with good all that is unlike good, because thus only can we acknowledge and honor God as the only authority and power.
It has often been said of Christian Science that when it teaches that evil is not real (because it does not belong to the creation of God, who, as recorded in Genesis, "saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good"), that Christian Science covers evil, – but just the opposite is true, for it lets in the sunshine of Truth and thus reveals the truth about evil just as clearly as it does the truth about good, showing evil to be evil, exposing its every subtle claim and thus proving its entire falsity and powerlessness.
Therefore, when one begins to be conscious that he walks in the presence of infinite good, – when this light of good first streams into the heart of man, – the first effect inevitably produced is the uncovering of that which is unlike good. The second effect is that the evil thus revealed is rebuked through its own undesirability, and the third effect must necessarily be the elimination of all such evil. Then behold a better man! This is the constant process that Christian Science is effecting in the heart of the one who is endeavoring to live according to its teaching. Judge for yourselves whether you think such effect can be less than a blessing to the entire human family, whether it can be other than the effect of God, good.
Evil Thinking the Denial of God, Good
All evil thinking is unquestionably a denial of God, good. Paul said: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Then, if one think good he will inevitably reap good. If he think holiness and health he will win the heavenly nature of such thinking, because it is under God's law of righteousness and must bring forth fruit after its kind.
On the other hand, if one thinks evil he will reap evil. If sin is thought, there will be a harvest of sins; if we think fear and sickness, we will reap disease in the same proportion. The practice of educating anyone into all sorts of repulsive, fearful thinking in regard to the supposed causes and forms of sickness, until the universe must seem to be filled with all that is awful and terrifying, is certainly sowing that which is liable to bring forth fruit after its own fearful kind, in accordance with the Bible statement, that as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he." Why? Because it is yielding to and admitting that evil is a power and reality, that a lie is true, and so it will apparently have the power given to it by such a belief, so long as the belief is held in the consciousness thus entertaining it.
Then because evil thinking is a denial of God, good, it is contrary to His law, and if indulged will result in the disaster which comes from disobedience to that law. Conversely, the acknowledgment that all good thinking is of God immediately invests such good thinking with the power of God and brings blessing in its train.
Entire Teaching of Jesus a Protest Against Evil Thinking
Jesus told his disciples at one time that the evil thoughts which come out of the heart of man are what defile the man. His entire teaching was a protest against evil thinking along every line, and he was always turning the thoughts of those to whom he preached to the value of right thinking. Now a lie must always be wrong thinking, evil thinking; and good thinking, on the contrary, must be true or right thinking. Would it be at all helpful to teach mathematics by a method which constantly called attention to all the mistakes which might be made in its name? Then why imagine that one can teach holiness and health by contemplation of the sins and sicknesses which deny the presence and power of God, good?
Men have already recognized the importance of keeping sinful concepts out of thought. What tender, loving mother does not send up a heartfelt prayer to God that her child shall be kept unspotted from the world? That as he grows towards manhood he shall ever increase in the understanding of all that is true and wise and pure and noble and good, in order that he may be a blessing to all with whom he may associate. As the years move on, does she not strive to surround him with every safeguard against contamination from evil influence? In all this the world has acknowledged the wisdom of protecting consciousness from association with what it has called sinful thinking, since it has come to see that sinful acts result from sinful thinking.
But is it as clearly seen that the thoughts of fear and disease in all their forms are as false and opposed to God, and so should be as zealously guarded against? That if one is to be kept true to God, good, in all his ways, one's prayer should be as earnest that he may be untouched, not only by sin, but by every sort of evil, sickness included? One can never get rid of sickness by dwelling mentally with sickness, honoring it, bowing down to it as a power; and certainly not so long as one believes that it in any way has anything to do with God, good, or has His authority back of it.
Thinking of Sickness, Evil Thinking
We are now inevitably forced to the conclusion that since thinking of sickness is contrary to God and His law, such thinking is evil thinking and should be repudiated. Suppose a man has indulged in dishonest thinking all his life and as a consequence has expressed dishonesty in his acts, – has stolen whatever he could lay his hand upon, in the vain belief that thereby he has been gaining something. Suppose one day he awakens to see that there is no satisfaction in dishonesty and determines to change his course and be an honest man. Does he think at all of his hand? Does he not understand perfectly that having an honest mind he must perforce have an honest hand? That his hand is absolutely powerless to steal unless he first thinks stealing? That his hand is, in other words, powerless to do anything but express his thinking or his thought?
Then what about the thought of sickness? Cannot true thinking, that is, the thinking of good, which has the power of God back of it, control as purely in the one case as in the other? Can the hand say, "I will be a sick hand," any more than it can say of itself, "I will be a sinful hand and express sin"? Will not reason inform us that it cannot? The action is as certainly due to a mental cause in the one case as in the other. Then should not the mental atmosphere be kept as free from thoughts of sickness as from thoughts of sin? Are not both thoughts of evil, and so contrary to God, good? Surely, yes! If one is wise will he not insist as positively that his thoughts be kept unsullied from the contaminating influence of thoughts of sickness as from those of sin, in order that all his thinking may be true to our perfect God, who is all good?
Shall we not therefore look upon thoughts of disease, sickness, fear, lack, ignorance, as enemies which should be repulsed and overcome as positively as should all thoughts of sin? How can evil thoughts be overcome except by thoughts of good? Paul said, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," and was it not this Christ-mind which proved Jesus' complete dominion over all forms of sickness as well as of sin? And did he not say that the works he did we should do also, if we would abide in him; that is, follow his teaching and example? We should remember, as Mrs. Eddy tells us in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 252), that "good thoughts are potent; evil thoughts are impotent, and they should appear thus."
The Healing Ministry of Christian Science
All the world desires healing from its sins and from its sicknesses as well. Christian Science from the beginning has been and is healing in its ministrations. In its advocacy of holy, healthful thinking it lifts consciousness away from evil to the contemplation of good alone, and so reveals its reformatory, healing work. Its method is so simple that a child is often its clear demonstrator. Indeed, it is the obedient, childlike thought that always grasps most quickly the simplicity of method which shows how to think with God, good, and refuses to entertain any thought of sin or sickness, imperfection or evil, in any direction.
If we begin with the wonderful truth that a thing must be thought before it can appear, and that since God, good, is the infinite Thinker of good, it is readily seen that to think with God, good, is to ally oneself with omnipotence, that is, with the power and law of good. Therefore, when we think good thoughts, thoughts of purity, holiness, intelligence, wisdom, harmony, unselfishness, health, we have the power of God with us, for as Paul has said, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
It is well to remember that neither sickness nor sin has any intelligence to attach itself to us, or to make laws for itself or us. It is our God-given right to stick to the truth which makes free and to thus reject every evil belief. Our own experience has shown us that a change of thought from fear to hope, and from hate to lovingkindness, has many a time changed our entire aspect of life. Then why not refuse a thought of disease just as earnestly because we know it is wrong and contrary to God and His laws, since He creates only health, harmony, holiness, wholeness, and then insist on dwelling in thought with Him and His laws? If we follow this simple rule we will certainly find that we have taken a step in a larger understanding of our God-given dominion over all evil. The psalmist wrote, "The law of the Lord is perfect," and Mrs. Eddy defines Christian Science as "the law of God, the law of good" (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1).
Jesus always worked from this standpoint. He said positively, "I can of mine own self do nothing," "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." So all the power he expressed was the power of good, which was God manifest. His work was absolutely in obedience to God's law and in fulfillment of that law, which is always good. Are we not to follow in his footsteps by clinging steadfastly to good under all circumstances, refusing every least temptation to admit or to acknowledge a power in aught unlike to good? When we too are thus governed by God, even in a small degree, through thinking His good thoughts, will we not begin to find the same God-given authority to banish that which is unlike to good?
Christian Science a Whole Salvation
Christian Science brings a whole salvation. The Christian world has looked to God, Spirit, and His Christ to save it individually and collectively from sin, but it has turned to material methods to save it from sickness. Christian Science shows that all the difficulties in the world are the result of ignorance of God. Since God is infinite good, a knowledge of Him must be the way to find good, and therefore it is the way out of every evil; conversely, ignorance of Him must be responsible for all evil. Jesus said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent;" and he proved it by healing both sickness and sin. His entire life work was a protest against all belief in evil as a power, presence, or law. He always annulled evil's every claim. He taught that good alone belongs to God and that the understanding and practice of good is the complete savior from all evil. His every act was an object lesson whereby he proved that to think with God, good, is to understand the power of good and the futility and powerlessness of evil. Jesus never encouraged anyone to search into evil beliefs or practices in any direction in order thereby to understand evil or to learn thus to avoid evil. On the contrary, he always taught that evil can only be overcome by the understanding and practice of good. He lifted faith into absolute reliance on God, good.
Christian Science the Gospel of Good Will
Christian Science is here proclaiming again the glad gospel of peace on earth, good will to men. It is here calling upon men to awaken to know one infinite, perfect God, who is all good, that they may prove each his own God-given dominion over every least lie of evil. People rarely come to Christian Science until they have so suffered from their beliefs in evil and their consequences that they look longingly for release. Then they reach up and out to find the God who is all-good; and through Christian Science they do find Him, who is alone able through His infinite goodness to show them how they have been deceived by the lie and how to come to know the truth that makes them free.
When understood in the light of Christian Science, the teaching and life of Christ Jesus are seen as an endeavor to help all men to know that good is and always will be the available remedy for all evil. Jesus healed the sick, cleansed the leper, raised the dead, cast out devils, by his understanding of the supremacy of good over evil. Because he saw evil as the false claim to a power and presence, defying and resisting God, he proved its claim to be false and powerless. Christian Science, following in Jesus' footsteps, is doing the same works that he did.
Christ Jesus, The Perfect Demonstrator of Christian Science
Christ Jesus was the perfect demonstrator of Christian Science. He proved in every instance that to know good meant the ability to prove the falsity, powerlessness, of evil. It is axiomatic that two things cannot occupy the same place at the same time. One cannot have his consciousness filled with good and express evil; it is impossible to understand health and express sickness, just as it is impossible to dwell with holiness and at the same time manifest sin.
For centuries men have considered themselves something apart from God and have believed that they are independent workers with a personal power to be good or bad as they may see fit. Jesus' entire demonstration refuted this, since he insisted constantly that he could do nothing of himself; that God alone was responsible for his righteous acts. In spite of all the good he demonstrated, the world has misunderstood somewhat his mission, attributing the power he expressed to his personal ability, although he himself gave God all the glory for all the wonders of his work. He said positively, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God." He endeavored to lift every one's thought to see the Christhood, the divinity which he proved by always overcoming the human through the divine. In accordance with this teaching, Christian Science proclaims the universality of the Christ.
Christ Jesus was perpetually refusing to know himself as less or more than the son of God, and the Bible tells us that all men are the sons of God of whom he is the elder brother. When men follow him sufficiently to reject all that is unlike to good and prove their unity with good in the same way which he taught and demonstrated, they will realize how Christ Jesus is their Wayshower to the understanding and demonstration of the Christ.
The Bible is full of marvelous statements of Truth which are all good. Dwell with these statements and find their life-giving power as you assimilate and use them. They are the law of God and must produce harmony, holiness, health; for has not God promised that His word shall not return unto Him void? When we are dwelling with God's thoughts we are dwelling with Him, and they are His law operating in our consciousness to the expulsion of all that is unlike to Him, – unlike to infinite good.
Abraham, the Friend of God
A man once lived named Abraham, who walked this earth as we walk it today. This man was called "the Friend of God." Is there anyone here who would not be delighted to merit such distinction? May we not each one strive for it? Christian Science tells us plainly that he who loves and understands good, loves God. Then he who always stands for this good, works for its establishment among men, clings to it in spite of all the opposition of evil beliefs and practices, lives in obedience to its behests, – surely he is the friend of good, and does not that mean that he is the friend of God? Every thought of absolute good is God revealing Himself to men and it has the power of God for good as an essential element. Then will not salvation from evil appear to us as we make use of these revelations?
Love of God, Good, a Necessity for Demonstration
It takes courage and much love of God, good, to refuse to be deceived by evil and its lies. To love God supremely means much; but He demands our whole heart, and we can only come into our true inheritance as we give it to Him. Man will certainly learn to trust God when he learns to know Him as all-good. The ordinary teaching of the schools had presented God to be so far from trustworthy that it is scarcely strange that the world feels it wants to avoid His will rather than to seek it. On the other hand, Paul tells us that the will of God is "good, and acceptable, and perfect," and Jesus proved it so.
Therefore, when Christian Science reiterates that, as John says, "God is love," and we see that He therefore cannot send any evil or sin of any kind upon man, we begin to long to know this wonderful God, – this God who is all-good, who is the only giver, and who has only good to give. Then it becomes a joy to obey the prophet's admonition to "acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." As we let all the wonders of His glorious presence unfold through His spiritual, mental revelations of good as Christian Science unfolds them, we see that communion with Him is to dwell in the conscious presence of all that is grand, and mighty, and intelligent, and glorious.
All good must be possible to God, and to learn to know God must certainly be to learn to know good. To think of good must be to think of God, to think with good must be to think with God, to think with God must be to express the power of God in the destruction of the evil beliefs which would seem to oppose Him. Mortal man may fancy he can get along without God. He may fancy he can be an independent author, and thinker, and actor, but some day he will wake up to the fact that all his fancied independence has only landed him in a dilemma. Every evil thought he has indulged will finally betray its paltry ignorance, and every good thought he has ever had, every thought of intelligence, wisdom, originality, beauty, grandeur, along any line, has really been God working in him.
In other words, men must waken to give God all the glory; to give Him the glory for every least understanding of good they may express. They must learn that "in him we live, and move, and have our being." Learning thus to stay with Him in all our thoughts and affairs, we shall find our every act ennobled, our every endeavor purified and perfected, and we shall thereby radiate good to all with whom we come in contact.
One of our poets has said:
"Where God is known, all men are friends,
For truth is sown where God is known.
Love reigns alone, And dolor ends;
Where God is known, all men are friends."
Bible Teaching in Regard to Good and Evil
The Bible teaching does not in any single instance give us less than this idea of a perfect God, nor does it ever magnify evil into a power, but depicts it as a lying claim which must be detected and rejected. As early in human history as the days in the garden of Eden, God forbade men to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His condemnation of such practice runs all through the blessed Scriptures. The sons of men have supposed this tree was destroyed with the garden of Eden, – at least, there has never been any satisfactory explanation of what had become of it unless it had disappeared at that time. However, Christian Science unfolds the astonishing fact that Adam and Eve were not the only unfortunate ones who have partaken of its fruits. Indeed, the entire human race seems to have done little else than eat of it, since the results of suffering and death, which God predicted in the days of Adam, as the consequences of such indulgence, are still so strongly in evidence. Then shall we not thank God that through Christian Science He has opened our eyes to this fact, and that even at this late day we may cease from such disobedience to God and begin to eat only of the tree of life?
The Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Two Textbooks of Christian Science
The entire Christian world accepts the Bible as the word of God and believes in a general way, as Paul said, that ''all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." But the question is, How much of its teaching has the world been able to make practical, and how many have found it the way to perfection? How many of its blessed promises have Christians been able to claim in present fulfillment of health and holiness?
These are questions that repeat themselves to every honest Christian heart, and it was because of the unsatisfactory answers and the longing to see the way out of sin and sickness as Christ Jesus pointed it, that the day came when a continual cry went out from the human consciousness for more light, – for more light to follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus through understanding his life work more fully. Then God gave to the world through Mary Baker Eddy, the one whom He had been graciously preparing to receive it, a "Key to the Scriptures" in the form of the textbook of Christian Science, the book Science and Health. This book has so illumined the pages of the Bible that it has come to be the inseparable companion of the Bible to every Christian Scientist.
The first tenet of the Christian Science faith is as follows: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." This shows conclusively that all Christian Scientists are most earnest Bible students, and no one in the world loves its sacred pages more devotedly. When the illumination which Science and Health affords is accepted, the Bible can be studied from a standpoint of understanding which makes it indeed as the psalmist said, "A lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
The Bible contains the history of God's people, the people who remained true to Him in spite of the surrounding idolatrous beliefs in all sorts of other gods, other powers. Viewed from this standpoint, all their varied experiences depicted in the Bible may be seen as mental struggles between good and evil, between right and wrong in the human consciousness, and not one of them but contains its valuable lesson for the seeker after good. As we awaken to the fact that the only way out of any evil is through the understanding of good, we turn to this blessed book as an illuminating guide, and it becomes precious beyond words to tell, portraying as it does the marvelous victories of good over evil.
Science and Health the Exponent of Prayer
After all that has been said, it should hardly seem necessary to state that Christian Science attaches the utmost importance to prayer. The first chapter in Science and Health is given to this subject. This chapter unfolds the absolute necessity of seeking all good through most earnest prayer and emphasizes Paul's instruction to pray without ceasing. Its first sentence is as follows (p. 1): "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, – a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love." And it closes with the Lord's Prayer, that most precious of bequests from Christ Jesus. All that true prayer means may be revealed to the student of this chapter in overflowing measure. Does not the fact that the prayer of Christian Science receives its answer in the healing of both sickness and sin prove that the understanding of prayer which it teaches receives the seal of God's approval? Study it for yourselves, dear friends, and see.
Since those who love the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" are turned to a more appreciative and consecrated study of the Bible; since Science and Health acknowledges only one God and that the All-good; since it shows Christ Jesus as a Wayshower, to be followed in every act of life; since it wakens every student of its pages to the undesirable and deceptive nature of sin and all evil; since in addition to all this it heals its thousands, comforts the sorrowing, strengthens the weak, instructs the ignorant, – is it not a book to be sought, and for which to thank God?
From cover to cover it stands for God and His laws, and every student of it must become a more devoted adherent of good, no matter how limited his demonstration of its teachings. No one can even read it without becoming holier, happier, healthier; and in proportion to the assimilation and practice of its precepts, he will grow continually into a larger "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." It is God's gift to this age. How many will receive it with thanksgiving and reap of its rich fruitage of good?
Mary Baker Eddy
And what of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures"? Words are indeed too poor to portray this wonderful woman, who, in her great faith in God as infinite good, was able to find anew the path which Jesus marked out for others; who was enabled to so open the way again that hundreds of thousands are today walking in it with some measure, at least, of the assurance which comes from victorious understanding of the alone power of good, and the consequent powerlessness of evil. A favorite quotation of hers is,
"Great not like Caesar, stained with blood, But only great as I am good;"
and in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 (p. 14) she says: "I suggest [this) as a motto for every Christian Scientist, – a living and life-giving spiritual shield against the powers of darkness;" and she further adds, "The only genuine success possible for any Christian – and the only success I have ever achieved – has been accomplished on this solid basis."
She was ever modest and gracious and strong, "faithful to rebuke, ready to forgive" (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 18). She walked always closely in the Master's footsteps, living her precious life of self-abnegation and consequent portrayal of divine goodness. She once said that after the light of Christian Science came to her, she never entered upon any experience that she did not go to Jesus' life for guidance and find exactly what he had done under similar circumstances, thus proving the truth of Paul's statement that Jesus was "in all points tempted like as we are," and establishing herself as his humble follower.
We must ever stand in awe, but at the same time with tenderest gratitude, for her marvelous obedience to God. How otherwise could she have scaled the mountains of endeavor in her lone ascent, walking patiently, steadfastly on, no matter how rugged the path or how difficult the climbing, until she had established under God's guidance a cause which will inevitably be seen to have been founded for God's glorification, and for the redemption of mankind. She is honored and appreciated in ever increasing ratio as the world advances in the experiences which show more and more clearly the gigantic nature of her achievements.
Already thousands are thanking God for her wisdom and patient perseverance in establishing the movement of Christian Science, whereby such countless blessings have accrued to them. That Christian Scientists love her goes without saying. Through her faultless teaching and her great example she is ever leading them into a closer walk with God. Those who are endeavoring to live in obedience to her teaching are finding therein the fulfillment of Jesus' promise that the Comforter should come, who would lead into all truth, and bring all things which he had said to remembrance; and their feet, each day, are being more firmly planted on the rock, Christ, – the spiritual consciousness of being.
To all men, Christian Science says: Come and enjoy the unnumbered blessings which the acceptance of God's revelation of Christian Science will unfold to you. Come away from the weary struggle with the belief in evil as a real power, to the fathomless beauty and blissful consciousness of the all-power and all-presence of good. You will find divine Love becoming, as Mrs. Eddy has said (Science and Health, p. 239), "nearer, dearer, and more real" to you; and losing your faith in evil you will learn to know a new and demonstrable faith in God, the all-good.
It would be difficult to find, in closing, a more helpful word than that which Mrs. Eddy gave at one time to Christian Scientists, but which must belong equally to each one of us as a seeker after good. I will read from her book, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p.210):
What Our Leader Says
"Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.
"The self-seeking pride of the evil thinker injures him when he would harm others. Goodness involuntarily resists evil. The evil thinker is the proud talker and doer. The right thinker abides under the shadow of the Almighty. His thoughts can only reflect peace, good will towards men, health, and holiness."