Christian Science: Manís Divine Destiny Revealed
Mary C. Holloway, C.S. of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
We have come together this evening because all of us want to know more about God and His goodness. The inspiration of the ages keeps whispering in our hearts some version of what the sage-poet voiced: "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace" (Job ).
Therefore, discussion of Christian Science properly begins with God. Christian Science sings His praise in mighty psalms of ascending inspiration and understanding; it glorifies and magnifies Him as All-in-all; it adoringly imputes to Him infinity and all reality as Spirit, Soul, Mind, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love, thus proving the unreality of anything which would deny His allness and divine goodness.
God's oneness and allness include that which He creates. The creation must, therefore, express the nature of the great creator, for they are one in essence, even though creator and creation are distinct as cause and effect. God's children forever possess by reflection all the glorious attributes of God, living, moving, and having their being in what Paul refers to as "the glorious liberty of the children of God." They are always at one with God, at home with Him in His kingdom; so God need not come to them.
What, then, of mortals? The great apostle epitomized the deep and poignant longing of mankind to know God, good, and to identify itself with Him − to find and be the man of God's creating. He uttered the comforting promise, "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. ).
The Things of God Are Perfect Effects of Perfect Cause
Now speaking to those among you who are our specially honored guests − those who know nothing, or very little, about Christian Science − you may feel you have a right to question the premise and conclusion of an infinite, only-good cause and its only-good creation, and the fact that there is none else, for all the evidence of your five physical senses is telling you differently. You are seeing evidence, even, that denies the existence of any cause at all. Certainly it denies a cause or creator of order, and beauty, and good only. The chaos and confusion of the material world today do deny such a creator. In your individual experience, perhaps you are seeing such evidences as physical illness, lack, discouragement, sin, that appear to flow from a mixture of good and evil causes; and worse, these ills may sometimes seem to flow from no cause whatever.
The demand to be shown perfect cause and perfect effect is your legitimate part of the lecture, and the function of the lecture itself is to show the things of God to you and thereby enlighten, bless, and heal you.
The Things of God and the Creature
We must not assume that everyone present understands the clear distinction Paul made in his statement between that which he refers to as "the creature itself," namely mankind, and the divinely created "children of God" whose glorious liberty even the creature may aspire to. Until I studied Christian Science I did not know there was such a distinction. Only in Christian Science, of all religious denominations, is this distinction clearly set forth between mankind and man made in the image and likeness of God. Indeed, a clear understanding of that distinction demonstrates this Science, which demonstration is based on the supremacy of Spirit and spirituality over matter and materiality. Spirit's supremacy is the foundation stone whereon we build proof of divine Science in our human experience.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has made abundantly plain in her teachings the great difference between that kind of man who is formed of dust − the Adamic dream-delusion of life in matter − and the true or real man of God's creating. The real man is described in the first chapter of Genesis as his creator's crowning achievement in an ascending unfoldment of spiritual creation, wherein man reflects God as His image and likeness and expresses complete dominion over all the earth. Moreover, God set the seal of His eternal approval on His spiritual creation, including man, declaring it finished and "very good" (Gen. 1:31).
There is no relationship between the man of God's creating and the mortal − man formed of dust in the Adam-dream, as described in the second chapter of Genesis − except such as may be found between substance and its shadow. The shadow might indicate the presence of its substance, but always the shadow is swallowed up when light is at its apex above the substance.
In the noontide zenith of spiritual enlightenment, the mortal is swallowed up, and the substance of the children of God shines forth, for they are endowed with all the glorious things of God which are freely given to them throughout eternity.
These "things" are the priceless verities, the harmony, joy, and bliss of spiritual ideas which originate in God and which man embodies. They find expression in human experience as health, right activity, substance, and character. They find expression in peace beyond understanding; in glorious capacities for goodness like unto the divine; in courage, refinement, and nobility; in that wisdom which enables and impels men to judge righteously with the compassion that ends wars and establishes the brotherhood of man; and in purity which unites discernment and understanding and enables the individual to see the very face of God and to companion with Him!
The things of God are the ideas and qualities that could have their origin only in God because they are wholly spiritual, hence unrelated to matter in any form. We learn to recognize them by the blessings they bring. Once one begins to identify himself with these priceless verities, he also begins to feel the peace, harmony, and inspiration of their presence and would never willingly be without them in increasing measure. These things of God, some of which I hope we may touch and handle reverently here together, express the beauty of His wholeness. They are forever ours, by divine decree, to reflect. As we do reflect them, we are healed of the deflections, the distractions or delusions, which hold mankind in bondage.
A little girl about three years old, the child of some friends of ours, found and ate a quantity of lye. A member of my family answered the parents frantic call for help. The child's throat was almost closed. A short while later she was free and playing happily. No slightest trace of ill remained.
What had happened to set aside the dreaded effect of the caustic on the baby's body? Why, the things of God had been demonstrated as laws of omnipotent Love, and these laws had set aside the belief in destructive material laws of chemistry and so forth. Thus a spiritual understanding of God and His man was in a degree established where before had been a shadow of ignorance and fear.
Mary Baker Eddy and the Things of God
When Mrs. Eddy gained the first clue to what became her great discovery, Christian Science, she saw that it would bring the light of spiritual realities or spiritual ideas so clearly to human consciousness that it would dissolve the false beliefs about man's origin and nature and show men how to identify themselves with good only.
Mrs. Eddy had already recognized all causation as mental, and she was herself healed, instantaneously, as the result of a sudden influx of spiritual light into her consciousness. Nevertheless, even though she clearly saw that the healing must have happened according to a fixed law, she knew she must search out this law and prove conclusively how it operates.
Concerning this she writes (Retrospection and Introspection, pp. 24,25): "I then withdrew from society about three years, − to ponder my mission, to search the Scriptures, to find the Science of Mind that should take the things of God and show them to the creature, and reveal the great curative Principle, − Deity."
"To find the Science of Mind"! To discover provable, exact knowledge of God and His laws, which should take the priceless verities of spiritual being and reveal them to humanity so that mortality should be swallowed up in immortality! So that matter should first bow to spiritual law, then disappear before the allness of Spirit! Was not this a mission of marvelous portent? Only in the Bible could Mrs. Eddy have found that for which she searched, and her prayerful pondering brought forth, through divine revelation, that which she sought. The history of Christian Science unmistakably declares the success of her mission, which was to reveal the presence of the Comforter to mankind.
The role of metaphysical pioneer,
which came to Mrs. Eddy and which she fearlessly accepted, was rugged beyond
anything others could know. Humanly she was of Puritan descent, born of pioneering
Her remarkable intellectual abilities made a study of the Scriptures − as was common practice among New Englanders of her time − a joy to her, for she accepted literally the promises of relief and salvation from bodily suffering as well as deliverance from sin. As she began to perceive the mental nature of all causation, she turned more and more to a search of the Scriptures for a provable understanding of God and His man and their relationship. Finally there came to her that which she sought − unmistakable proof of the perfection and infinity of God, the perfection of His creation and therefore of her own identity, and our individual spiritual perfection and unity with that perfect God.
Mrs. Eddy saw with wonder and reverence the implication of her great discovery. She saw, for instance, that in this Science of Mind or Spirit, no loss could possibly come to the individual invoking laws operating to enthrone God. Instead, he who invokes the laws of Christian Science must receive the spiritual good and infinite blessing with which Mind replaces matter and its attendant legion of evils.
When the light of full realization broke through the clouds of human sense and she understood her mission, she said simply: "God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing" (Science and Health, p. 107). There had come to light a new vision of God's perfect universe, peopled with the perfect children of His creating. Mrs. Eddy accepted faithfully the charge to share her revelation with all mankind. How well she succeeded in this glorious God-directed mission is attested by the magnitude of her movement and the healing and regeneration wrought in the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have proved the teachings of Christian Science and accepted it as the way of life. These individuals are obedient to Mrs. Eddy's command not to worship her personality, but to follow her only so far as she follows Christ. They recognize her place in history as Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the true nature of her mission, thus protecting and imparting her revelation in its original purity and power.
The Things of God and Spiritual Law
After finding the actual laws of divine healing which were revealed to her during that historic search, Mrs. Eddy carefully tested and proved the healing system of Christian Science before she wrote her great textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." No document in human language has ever taken so many of the things of God and shown them to humanity, with healing signs following, as has this book.
Christian Scientists are today seeing unmistakable evidence that matter is yielding to Spirit. The matter world, including all belief in so-called matter science, matter theology, matter medicine, and their related theories, is rapidly changing to give place to the spiritual realities which matter formations only counterfeit.
It is interesting to note that the second chapter of Genesis does not contain the words "create" or "created" or "creation" after the fourth verse. In the allegory or story of the Adam-dream and its effects, the word "formed" is used to describe the shaping of a kind of man from the dust of the ground. This word "formed," as used here, is the Hebrew word "yatsar" which has the primary meaning, "to be pressed, to be narrow, to be distressed, to be straitened or in straits through squeezing into shape, form, or frame"† (Strong, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary). According to Webster, to be "in straits" is to be restricted, hampered, or straitened by fetters, as in a strait jacket. No wonder Adam is an object-lesson, as used in Christian Science practice, to illustrate that which misrepresents real man! The man called Adam was but a figment of the imagination − mortal, carnal mind − distressed, limited as though confined in a strait jacket.
Nevertheless, how wrong − disheartening, even − it would be for anyone to tell you these things if there were not a Science of divine Mind! This Science must include rules and laws which are as exact and certain in operation and proof as are those of mathematics, to justify one in making statements about the things of God. Indeed, this Science must include the solution of your individual problem to justify a hearing. How impatient was Job before the interminable reasoning of his friends! He wanted proof of God's presence and power. Much of the evidence before your five physical senses denies the presence of an infinitely good cause and its infinitely good and perfect effect. The chaos and confusion in the material world today deny such a creator. Before your eyes are all the evidences of physical illness, lack, discouragement, sin, that point to matter as causation. But the God who is Principle, or the perfect cause and Lawgiver, must be the God who is Love. And Love alone is the lawgiver to the children of God.
To many beginning the study of Christian Science, it is an exalting experience to find God in a new light as divine Principle, the great Lawgiver whose love is always in perfect agreement with His immaculate justice and truth. Under His laws humankind are assured of tenderest mercy with exact justice. His laws never punish or destroy aught but sin. When the light of God's law comes to a human being, how tenderly he finds himself drawn upward and identified with that which is innocent of transgression and already enjoying liberty, and how gladly he forsakes the error. In Christian Science, the sin which imposes punishment is always destroyed by Truth with the punishment, for both are false beliefs about God and man.
Mrs. Eddy's writings contain many laws which we may apply in each step of human experience with healing effect. Here is a simple instance:
A few years ago a dear friend came a long distance to visit us. At evening we went to church, for it was Wednesday. He stood and told in simple words his great gratitude for provable laws he was daily finding in Mrs. Eddy's writings with which to govern his human behavior. He cited as an example lines from one of Mrs. Eddy's beautiful poems entitled "Love" (Poems, p. 6):
"The arrow that doth wound the dove
Darts not from those who watch and love."
I had been troubled about relapse into a besetting habit of critical thinking which I had struggled to be rid of. Now came the healing balm of peace for me, and for many others that evening, through the law of Love indicated in those lines of the poem. I had only to love − and I knew I could love − and to watch my motive and keep it loving; then actual law would stay the arrow's flight of baneful thought or word! How this law has helped me in the years since, when tempted to indulge in wounding criticism, malice, and so forth!
These experiences are beautiful to Christian Scientists, bringing confirmation of the operation of established laws of God, laws through which man is naturally and constantly blessed with every good thing.† Christian Science teaches us how to avail ourselves of these laws of God. The simplest truth, understood and embodied as one's thought, acts powerfully as divine law in every situation, for it becomes a law to it.
The Things of God and Christ Jesus
In any discussion of the things of God and their effect upon mankind, the word "law" has profound importance and meaning. All greatly inspired men and women in human history have become transparencies for God's expression of His own law.
Moses gave God's law to those at Sinai in terms of their need and ability to respond to the Ten Commandments. The Psalmist wrote grandly, compellingly, of God's majestic operations in behalf of His own creation through His omnipotent law and its effects upon the dream of mortality. We are given promises of tremendous import in the Psalmist's exhortations to obedience of these laws. But Christ Jesus set forth the final proof of all those laws, presenting their significance in the Beatitudes and showing their operation in human experience as the effect of supreme love for God and man.
Christian Science makes it possible fully to understand the wondrous significance of Jesus' career in demonstrating and proving the Christ, and shows us how his example may be used by each of us in our own step-by-step growth in this Science. Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 332), "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness." Jesus aligned himself wholly with that divine influence and acknowledged no other reality. Hence his role as Wayshower. He worked with exact Science and law, but gave human expression to purest love, tenderness, and strength.
The Things of God and the Comforter
When Christ Jesus foretold that God would send the Comforter, he stated plainly that there would first come a readiness to receive the Comforter through mankind's spiritual growth in progressive humanity. The shadows of materiality shorten and lessen as humanity is embraced in divinity.
What joy comes with the knowledge that humanity must have reached a fitness to receive the Comforter, or Christian Science could never have been given to the world! Christian Scientists are able to trace in the marvelous inventions of this age signs following the mental liberation which indicate divine laws at work in human consciousness. The chaos and confusion in the material world would put before the five physical senses evidence to deny the existence of a wholly good God and His wholly good creation.
Today the matter beliefs of time and space and other material limitations are crumbling so rapidly that human thought cannot keep pace with the change. It cries out that disaster is upon us! But the inspired thought looks up and out with rejoicing, knowing that the Science of God, good, is at work in humanity's behalf, destroying the most cherished and revered beliefs about the reality and power of matter and evil. Christian Scientists have no reason to fear the atomic age. Nearly a hundred years ago, Mrs. Eddy was calmly and fearlessly facing the truth about atomic force, and she gave the world that truth which has brought from under cover the counterfeit beliefs about it. The Comforter has come to give us good instead of evil, spiritual sense in place of material sense, so that we may prayerfully appreciate and rejoice in the omnipotence of our God and His constant, tender consideration and care of us.
Sometimes worldly-minded persons question derisively the kind of comforting the world is receiving through the breaking up of material beliefs. But the Comforter is not here to comfort the material senses. Far from it! The Comforter is here to bring peace to the longing heart of humanity which is willing to look away from matter into the deep realities of spiritual sense for its sustenance and satisfaction. Jesus warned his followers of chaotic conditions which would frighten the materially-minded so that men's hearts would fail because of that fear; but he said the spiritually-minded should look up and rejoice for those same signs of imminent spiritual redemption. (See Luke 21:26,28).
The things of God are His loving laws in operation in humanity's behalf. They are merciless in their effect upon the falsities of evil, just as light is merciless in its effect upon darkness. Would you ask it to be otherwise? No; rather would we sing with the sweet Psalmist, "O how love I thy law!" (Ps. 119:97.) Mary Baker Eddy's life was such a song.
The Things of God and True Prayer
Mary Baker Eddy knew that human beings must know God and progressively grow Godward if they are spiritually to understand the truth which will make them free as beneficiaries under God's good and perfect will toward His children. Human beings must grow in grace in order to demonstrate the ultimate perfection as the children of God, although the perfection and liberty of the children of God is in fact a present reality.
Mrs. Eddy wrote (Science and Health, p. 4), "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds."
In Christian Science, she gave the world a new, demonstrable concept of prayer. Mankind practices this prayer in proving God's presence as an ever-present help in human affairs. One may pray ceaselessly wherever he is, throughout any activity in which he may be engaged − even if he finds himself on the battlefield. This prayer is thought uplifted to the recognition of spiritual good, and desire attuned to the pure motive of expressing good. It is the mental activity which affirms and appreciates God's goodness and allness and the nature of man's being as God's image and likeness. This prayer is identification of oneself with good, the embodiment of good, the spiritual understanding of good which impels and inspires the individual to reach the pinnacle of his own true nature in obedience to the two great commandments given by the master Christian, Christ Jesus: to love God, good, supremely, and to love another as oneself. And this prayer heals all the ills of mankind. It heals because it brings the light of spiritual understanding whereby man's true selfhood appears. Recognition of this true identity and the demonstration of his heritage of all good constitutes salvation for the individual.
Although Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated the gospel of God's love which mercifully heals sin, sickness, and death, thus affording complete salvation, he promised a further revelation which would come when humanity had grown to a fitness to receive it. This final revelation, the Comforter, would guide the receptive thought into all truth.
Christian Science, providing proof of its teachings, leaves no doubt that it is this Comforter, for it opens the great chart of life, the Holy Scriptures, and sets forth the spiritual truth therein which is applicable to solve all the problems that beset humanity. Christian Scientists love the Bible. Through daily study of the King James Version of the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, they find themselves able progressively to realize present salvation. Mrs. Eddy has defined "salvation" (Science and Health, p. 593) as "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed." This salvation leaves nothing to be desired, and it is acquired here and now in the degree that one identifies himself as God's perfect child and demonstrates this true status.
The Things of God and True Healing
This healing by spiritual means alone through Christian Science or the Science of Mind, spiritually understood and applied, supplies mankind with the only genuine, lasting cure for its error. This healing system asks no slightest support or cooperation from any material or materially mental means, for all such are postulated on belief in the reality of matter. When one seeks healing in Christian Science, he learns to forsake the belief that man is material, either in mind or body. Success depends upon this.
When you begin to accept and grasp this new concept of your spiritual selfhood, it brings the things of God − His ideas − into play in your experience. Their effect is to revolutionize your life for the better. The things of God help and heal, inspire and uplift, enlarge and expand our present sense of good.
Think you that one who has even begun to demonstrate these "things of God" as actual Science, with clear-cut, positive proofs of their effectiveness in his daily life, would be tempted to turn backward to material things, to outgrown methods of the flesh and outgrown positions?
A friend of mine, a Christian Scientist, had wondered about this.
She lives alone, and the subtle arguments of "what would I do under this or that circumstance?" may have tempted her to believe she could be tested beyond her present ability to stand. Under God's law, one is never placed in circumstances where the things of God are not present to meet the need. God's law is clearly presented in Paul's statement (I Cor. 10:13): "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." My friend proved this law, and was healed forever of this fear. God speed the day when we shall all see beforehand why there is nothing to fear.
The experience of this friend illustrates that it is always possible to do this, if one desires it keenly and sees the necessity for it. She reaped a rich reward for her faithfulness in being obedient to the degree of spiritual understanding she had previously already gained. Her experience has been published in one of the Christian Science periodicals, but it may be helpful to relate it.
Crossing a busy street one evening in a large city, she was struck by a car whose driver apparently lost control of it. Her body was thrown with great force, landing so that her head and shoulder struck the pavement. As she struggled not to lose consciousness, her first thought was compassion for the driver of the car, who came to her declaring over and over his regret for what had happened and begging her to lie still until he could get help. She asked him to help her to rise, but in his fright he refused, as did bystanders who saw there were broken bones. She then grasped his hand with her uninjured one, and pulled herself up. He assisted her to a waste-paper container on the sidewalk and ran through a nearby hotel door to telephone a report to the police. My friend was praying for help of the kind she knew was needed − help in Christian Science. Strangers on the sidewalk, who had not seen the accident, assisted her to a chair in the hotel lobby, so the arrival of the driver and a police officer found her off the street and in the chair.
She asked them to telephone her sister, but the telephone was not answered. The policeman said that because of visible broken bones, she must be taken to a hospital immediately for emergency treatment, after which she could be removed to a hospital of her own choice and have her own doctor. At this point she stated she was a Christian Scientist and requested them to dial another number which had flashed clearly into her thought. It was the number of a Christian Science practitioner and friend. Her helpers, including the house physician who had appeared by that time, were kind enough to dial the number and help her to the phone a step or so away. Although the practitioner herself was out of town, this call brought to her side immediately a couple who until that moment were only slightly known to her. Thus her simple prayer, "Father, help me," was effective all through the experience. She learned afterwards that the policeman yielded her into the care of the couple, thinking the gentleman was a doctor, though no one intended to give that impression. When she was safe in the home of her new friends, a practitioner began work immediately.
The practitioner's clear thought immediately discerned her need to be reassured that she had done right in refusing hospitalization and surgery, and he assured her that God would supply her whole need. This satisfied her, and the next morning she was able to go to her own home, where her sister came to give any needed help. A broken collarbone and a broken shoulder were perfectly set, with no material assistance of any kind. Thinking to steady the arm's position in bed the first night, her sister placed some adhesive on it, and to their astonishment, it simply came off. So they left the arm alone and soon realized the bones were perfectly set.
My friend had a splendid business position and recognized a latent fear that she might be replaced by someone else. So she studied references on place and placement in Mrs. Eddy's writings. A week and a half after the accident, she was back at work.
The severe head injury was slower to yield than the broken bones. Under pressure by those friends who knew the circumstances, she had permitted action to be taken against the driver of the car, though it was not in accord with her understanding of Christian Science, which was to maintain the unreality and impossibility of accident in God's kingdom. When she decided to freely forgive the man and see him as God's perfect child, the dizziness and tendency to "black out" were gone. She said it was as though with this decision a heavy load had rolled off, and the pressure at the back of her head ceased and never returned.
Do you think she would not go to a doctor because of fear? No. One fears only to break faith with that which he knows and has proved to be true: that his real self is the spiritual embodiment of right ideas, unseen and untouched by the doctor's apparatus and equipment, discerned only by spiritual sense. Healing comes to the human body when necessary by our holding fast to this truth in faithful realization that we have not two bodies, one spiritual and one physical, but one only, and that one spiritual. Nothing short of absolute adherence to this spiritual truth will correct the wrong appearing in the human body, which at best is only a false concept. Inviting a physician to take a look at your body just builds up the false view which eventually must be corrected. The things of God are never physical. Hence the call of inspiration: "Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed" (Jer. ).
Christian Science reveals your true selfhood to be God's image and likeness, and shows you the things of God which belong to you as heir to the whole of good by divine reflection. But you, too, must participate in this healing activity by opening your consciousness to that which must be seen and heard with the spiritual senses, rather than with the five physical senses.
How necessary, if we are to accept as provable verities the inspired statements of Scripture about the perfection of God and man, that there be a Science of the Word of God! There must be a Science whose laws are as specific as the laws of mathematics, a Science which fulfills the glorious promises of one good God and one good creation. The promises include the whole of good for each one of us, if we read the Scriptures in the light of spiritual understanding. In this light we find our true selfhood, which is fully identified with God, even as the sunbeam is identified with the sun. Here we are rooted and grounded in eternal Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle − in the glorious Almighty God, whose expression and emanation is perfect man, your real selfhood and mine.
You and I have touched and handled during this hour of reasoning together a few of the marvelous things of God, which, when seen, understood, and practiced, must lead us on and up to the very throne of His kingdom, even to the complete consciousness of our eternal at-one-ment with Him, wherein "all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17), and sin and sorrow and pain are forever at an end. This is indeed the glorious liberty of the sons of God, or man's divine destiny revealed and fulfilled.
[April 15, 1952.]