Christian Science: The Continuity of Good Revealed
E. Howard Hooper, C.S.B., 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:
"To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings." What a comforting, inspiring, joyous message is this which Christian Science brings, as stated in the Preface to its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science (Pref., p. vii). Renewed hope, encouragement, and spiritualization of thought are expressed by these words, lifting mortals up and out of the darkness of despair, fear, sorrow, limitation, and lack.
Christian Science offers to all a message of joyous hope and assurance in the continuity, the eternality, and unchanging nature of God, the creator of all that is true or real. It turns thought away from materiality to the contemplation of spiritual ideas which reveal the permanency of all that really exists. It unfolds the true concept of man and the universe as that which reflects God, divine Mind, and is therefore indestructible and eternal.
No Fluctuation in Truth
There is, however, evidence on every hand of the world's belief in the material fluctuation and destruction of what it considers real. We see this manifested in changes of climate, business conditions, health, and in many other ways. Philosophy and false views of theology have perpetuated the belief in change and decay and have regarded these as part of man's experience. On the other hand, Christian Science declares that because God is infinite good, the same yesterday, today, and forever, these changes are not ordained of Him and so are not in harmony with His laws. The Psalmist realized the continuous and unchanging nature of good when he said (Ps. 90:1, 2): "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. . . . Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." And the Apostle James declared (James ), "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
The great Master, Christ Jesus, was constantly proclaiming the unchanging love of God and the ever-presence of the Christ, or Truth. On one occasion he said, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). To abide constantly in the understanding of God as infinite Love is to know no fear, friction, loss, or limitation. It is to be ever conscious of God's willingness and ability to heal and deliver mortals from every discordant condition, no matter how trivial or serious it may seem to be. What joy and comfort it is to know that man is never beyond God's protecting care! What peace is ours when we realize that His love is boundless, ceaseless, and unchanging! So Christian Science reveals the truth that because man is God's spiritual idea, the perfect reflection of God, stabilized in divine consciousness, he is forever in his rightful place, joyously performing the functions of divine Mind. Christian Science teaches us how to prove that because God is ever-present Life, man is not subject to change and decay; neither can his health be impaired, for he is directly under the control of omnipotent Love, which forever blesses all its ideas. Thus he manifests the eternal continuity of harmony, strength, and joyous activity.
A Helpful Illustration
How comforting and reassuring it is to spiritually understand and know that we can never go where God's love does not surround us; that we can never be where God's love is not ready and waiting to enfold, to lead, to protect and guide us. But we must become aware of the presence of this divine Love, which is God; then we shall radiate it, and all about us will be benefited thereby.
This is illustrated in the following story, which may be familiar to you, of the house with the golden windows. It is a story of a little boy who lived far up on the western slope of a hill that rose above a wide valley. He was an imaginative little boy, and was thinking about a great many things other than those boys are accustomed to think about. He observed, that every afternoon, when the long rays of the setting sun shone level across the wide valley, the windows of a large house standing on the eastern hill, boldly outlined against the sky, all at once became illumined, shining like burnished gold. The strange phenomenon appealed greatly to his youthful imagination. What a wonderful house it must be! How beautiful it must be inside! How rich the people who occupy it must be to have golden windows! Oh, how he would like to see the inside of it! And so, inspired by his vision, he set out very early one morning to make his way across the valley to visit that house - the house with the golden windows. He knew it was a long journey, but it was longer than he thought. He struggled through the thickets and brambles, over brooks and through tangled swamps. The sun was set when he finally reached the goal of his desire. And alas! the house did not have golden windows at all, but instead windows of plain glass. Timidly knocking he asked the inhabitants of the house if that were not the house with the golden windows. They said they didn't know it was, but wouldn't he come in? "Tomorrow morning," they assured him, "we shall show you a house that does have golden windows." Wearied, he remained with them for the night, but was up at the break of day. As the sun arose, they took him out of doors, and looking away over the valley to the west, he saw his own home, and wonder upon wonder, its windows, illumined by the rays of the rising sun, were like shining gold. "I never knew that our house had golden windows," he said; "no one ever told me."
How true it is that the house or consciousness of each of us has in reality golden windows. All our houses may be illumined by the light of living Love, the transforming light that never dims, that has no shadows. As you look into your consciousness (your house), you will find that not only may your own thoughts be illumined by the light of living Love, bringing to them the radiance of burnished gold, but by recognizing the divine presence of God, eternal good, you will be able to reflect that same transforming light to all with whom you come in contact.
Maintaining a Right Attitude
The joyous, satisfying results which may be achieved through a steadfast, loving, positive attitude toward what appears to be a trying and distressing situation are illustrated in the following instance, which occurred some years ago in the plant of a large steel corporation with which I was associated. The company, employing at that time about two thousand men, was forced to shut down operations because of a strike which had been called as the result of certain labor disputes. Vicious and erroneous statements intended to complicate and confuse the issue, and to injure the company's reputation and destroy its business, were circulated among its customers.
The president of the corporation, a student of Christian Science, turned daily to the Bible and to the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, as well as to our Leader's other writings, for divine guidance, encouragement, and support. During the dark and trying days which followed the calling of the strike, he faithfully held to the truth of being, realizing that he could love those who were trying to do him and his company harm because they were in truth the children of God, and the evil which seemed to be finding expression through them was without power to harm or to destroy one iota of good. He reminded himself of the fact that the company's product was of a constructive nature, that it was for the safety and benefit of mankind, and therefore the business was, to quote the Scriptures, "under the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1). Steadfastly he refused to permit any of us who were loyal representatives of the company to answer in kind or to retaliate in any way. He admonished and encouraged us to think and to speak kindly of those who seemed to be the company's enemies, assuring all that out of the experience would come a blessing.
In due course the difficulty was solved in a manner most satisfactory to all concerned. Attempts to wean customers away to competing companies only resulted in strengthening the pleasant relationship between the firm and its customers, which in turn brought increased business to the company. When the president of the company was asked how it was possible to bring about this happy and mutually satisfactory solution to the problem, he replied, "We knew that the only power that could govern was God, who is Love, and that a loving attitude toward every problem would help to turn every adversity into a blessing."
In the spiritual, scientific understanding of the absolute perfection of God and His creation, including man, one learns the meaning of love and how to maintain a right attitude toward every individual or problem. This right attitude of thought brings into one's experience God's healing power.
These spiritual truths were demonstrated some months ago in the following experience of a young friend of mine who at the time was a student in the Christian Science Sunday School. While he was on an outing in the country with some of his young friends who were not Christian Scientists, the car in which this boy was a passenger was forced off the road and down a steep embankment. The car overturned several times, and this lad was thrown out, striking his head on a pile of rocks and rendering him unconscious, although the other occupants were unhurt. The boy remained in this condition for some time before aid could be obtained. When an examination was made by a medical doctor to whom the lad was taken by his non-Science companions, it was stated that the boy had suffered a severe fracture of his skull, and no hope was held for his recovery; thus medical treatment was not given.
When word of the accident finally reached his parents, the mother, who is an earnest student of Christian Science, telephoned a Christian Science practitioner and requested treatment for her son. The practitioner gave immediate help; that is, he turned in prayer to God, realizing the divine fact that this young man being the son of God was ever in God's loving care and therefore could not for a moment lose the consciousness of good or be separated from God, who is man's life. Within a short time the boy regained consciousness and soon thereafter experienced a complete healing. Thus he was enabled to continue his activities as a member of the high school swimming team, and upon graduating from high school the following year he successfully passed all the required rigid physical and mental tests and examinations for admission into the United States Naval Reserve.
By accepting as our sole starting point the fundamental, basic fact that man exists forever at the standpoint of perfection, we shall demonstrate in ever-increasing measure that God's true representative, man, is never the devil's dupe. With God as our supreme Friend, we need never surrender to any enemy. Victory is always on the side of Truth, not error. When one stands with God, eternal good, he withstands temptation.
Good Always Available
In Proverbs we read (), "He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." Here we have the assurance that good will always result when one seeks and follows the leading of divine wisdom in all his affairs. He who trusts in God to guide, govern, and protect him at all times and under all circumstances will experience joy, peace, and healing.
Such was the experience of the
centurion whose servant was "sick of the palsy, grievously tormented,"
and who, fully confident and expectant of the healing through spiritual power,
said to Jesus, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."
The Bible record states, "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled,
and said to them that followed. Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great
faith, no, not in
God's Law Understood
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines God on page 465 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in these words: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." She then asks, "Are these terms synonymous?" and answers: "They are. They refer to one absolute God. They are also intended to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity." And on page 140 of Science and Health she writes, "We shall obey and adore in proportion as we apprehend the divine nature and love Him understandingly, warring no more over the corporeality, but rejoicing in the affluence of our God." What joy is ours when we scientifically understand the power and presence of God! How we love to experience the continuity of good in our daily affairs, and what a glorious manifestation of dominion and freedom this experience brings!
It matters not how distressing may be the human sense of things, nor what harsh medical or material law (so called) may have been pronounced upon us. The calm, clear realization that God's law of infinite Love, which can only bless, is the only law that governs all will set us free. It makes no difference how real the error may seem to be that is binding us, or how long we may have indulged in some form of sentient pleasure such as the use of tobacco or liquor. The error is always unreal and can be thus proved, and so eliminated from our experience through the understanding of God. Jesus declared, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John ,32).
Christian Science teaches that every claim of materiality is a contradiction of God, Spirit, Mind, a denial of the continuity of good, and that this claim is false and unreal because it does not express the nature of God. This claim being false, the erroneous manifestation which results from the acceptance of such a claim is effectively and permanently destroyed by and through prayer - "an absolute faith that all things are possible to God" - to quote from Science and Health (p. 1). The healing which inevitably results from such prayer is proof that divine Mind, Spirit, Soul, is supreme, and that the good which reflects God cannot be impaired, lessened, or destroyed.
Thus prayer or treatment in Christian Science brings to human consciousness the understanding and demonstration of the true nature of God as eternally loving, pure, intelligent, healthy, active, omnipresent good, and man as His reflection. This scientific prayer, or realization of the ever-presence of infinite perfection, dispels the illusions of material sense, even as when one walks toward the light his shadow falls behind. So may all true Christians go forward with joy and confidence in the understanding of the eternality and continuity of good, undisturbed and undismayed by the outward, human sense of things. Through this scientific prayer Truth will ultimately triumph over every erroneous situation and condition, for such prayer affirms the all-power and ever-presence of God as good, reforming the sinner and healing the sick. This prayer constitutes humanity's salvation and redemption from evil of every sort.
Proof of Divine Guidance
The Biblical record of the deliverance
of the children of
This experience of the children of
The children of Israel frequently
doubted God's ability, power, and willingness to deliver them, and Moses was
therefore compelled to give proof after proof of the omnipotence of God,
endeavoring to assure his people that "the Lord's hand is not shortened
that it cannot save" (Isa. 59:1). Notwithstanding the fact that God's
ability to deliver them had been proved time and again, the children of
Many today are sometimes tempted,
as were the children of
Daily Study Essential
Through the daily study of the Bible - the King James Version - and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy (and this includes the Lesson-Sermons in the Christian Science Quarterly) the student of Christian Science finds that which he needs to illumine and to guide his thinking in every situation that may present itself. When error seems to confront him in the guise of sickness, fear, lack, unemployment, or any other discordant condition, he is equipped to reject as real the testimony of the physical senses. He lifts his thought above the mist of confusion to God, divine Love, which ceaselessly supplies him with sufficient strength, inspiration, and courage to destroy the error and to prove the boundless abundance of Mind and its infinite resources. Man, who the Bible declares is made in the image and likeness of God, is forever manifesting and expressing the qualities and attributes of God. He is ever at one with the Father, and the constant realization of this fact is a sure protection to him who knows that divine Love is the only presence and power. Then he will reflect and utilize these spiritual qualities with which man is endowed by his heavenly Father and which alone preserve, save, and redeem. Truly did the Psalmist perceive this when he wrote (Ps. 91:1), "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
Jesus and the Christ
Christian Science shows forth the divine fact that God is ceaselessly and eternally revealing Himself as divine Principle, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind, and this revelation or manifestation is the incorporeal Christ, which Mrs. Eddy defines in our textbook (Science and Health, p, 583) as "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." Thus Christian Science reveals Christ, not as a person, but as the divine manifestation of God's nature appearing throughout all time and made manifest in healing and redemption. The highest human concept of the Christ was expressed by Jesus. In all that he said, thought, or did, he showed forth the nature of the Christ. Thus he earned and won the unique distinction or title of "Jesus the Christ" or "Christ Jesus" - "The God-crowned or the divinely royal man," as Mrs. Eddy puts it in Science and Health (p. 313).
While Christian Science makes a distinction between the human, corporeal Jesus, Mary's son, and the incorporeal Christ or God's divine nature and manifestation, they are eternally inseparable. Science and Health states (p. 25), "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus." Thus it may be said that Christ is the saving aspect of God which comes to human consciousness here and now to heal, save, and redeem mortals from the carnal mind - that element of thought which St. Paul says is "enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7).
This revelation constitutes humanity's salvation, which is an individual, joyous experience by which each one demonstrates for himself the eternal, unchanging continuity of good, the changeless nature of the incorporeal Christ. Thus the Christ demonstrates salvation by revealing the true nature of each individual to be the beloved child of God, made in His image and likeness, having dominion over all the earth, as the first chapter of the book of Genesis assures us.
This was proved in the following experience. An infant, when but a few months old, gave evidence of physical deformity. The baby was not growing nor developing from her waist to her feet, neither could she move or straighten her legs, and manifested much suffering and pain. No medical diagnosis or treatment was employed, since the parents were earnest, sincere students of Christian Science. They had proved its healing efficacy on many occasions, and realizing that this distressing condition of their daughter was abnormal and needed immediate attention, they again turned in understanding prayer to God, confident that the situation could and would be healed through the ministrations of Christian Science. A Christian Science practitioner was engaged and treatment given. The parents were encouraged to look away from the material sense testimony and to strive to see and know the child as God's spiritual, perfect idea, complete, harmonious, free now and always.
While the healing was not immediate, there was continued improvement from the time treatment was begun. Within the year all evidence of the erroneous condition had disappeared, and the child could move about in a natural, harmonious manner. Although she did not walk until the age of two years, when she did walk, she was erect, strong, and healthy, with no evidence of ever having had any illness or deformity. She has grown to be an active young woman, interested in and participating vigorously in various sports and athletics. She is today an earnest, joyous student of Christian Science, grateful for this proof of God's healing power. I am happy to say that I can vouch for this healing, for I personally witnessed it.
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy is known as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Both of these terms are significant. Her being called Discoverer points to the fact that she believed, and her followers agree, that Christian Science is not a new thing, but that it is the discovery of the great divine Principle or Truth which has always existed and which, indeed, will always exist. Her being called the Founder refers particularly to the second purpose of her lifework, namely, the establishment of the Christian Science organization.
It has been rightly said that Mrs. Eddy is the greatest woman religionist of all time. Surely, then, all thinking people should have some acquaintance with the facts concerning her life. So much has been said about Mrs. Eddy which is not true that I feel I should point out that an appreciation of her life and works is not to be gained by a cursory perusal of the first statement one may find about her, even if such a statement is carefully written and carries reference to other publications. Mrs. Eddy wrote an autobiography entitled "Retrospection and Introspection."
This is a small volume and may well be considered by anyone seeking the facts regarding her life. This book, as well as several authorized biographies of Mary Baker Eddy, may be read or obtained at all Christian Science Reading Rooms, to which the public is invited, and is available at most public libraries.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian
Science came as the result of an instantaneous healing through prayer and
complete reliance upon God, following a serious fall on the ice in
As she progressed in her study of the Bible, and particularly the words and works of Christ Jesus, and endeavored to put her discovery into such form as would make it available to the world, she wrote a number of short articles, some of which she copied and gave to her students; but it was not until the year 1875 - nine years after the fall at Lynn - that the first edition of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," was published.
Mrs. Eddy, through her spiritual understanding of God, was enabled to take three important steps, any one of which would entitle her to the right to be accepted as a great woman: namely, (1) the writing of the Christian Science textbook; (2) the organization of a church which has encircled the world; and (3) the establishment, at the age of eighty-seven years, of an international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, which has done so much for clean journalism that it has been spoken of as the contribution of Christian Science to the cause of education. While Mrs. Eddy's greatness is now being broadly recognized, it is sometimes said that Christian Scientists worship Mrs. Eddy. This is not true, nor would it be in accord with her wishes or her teaching. Christian Scientists love and deeply reverence Mrs. Eddy for her life of loving, courageous, unselfish service in behalf of mankind and for what her spiritual revelation of the practical truths of the Bible and of Jesus' teachings has done in healing and regenerating humanity.
Mrs. Eddy constantly turned the thought of her followers away from personality to divine Principle, God, as the source of all good. On one occasion she said, "Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 120). And in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (p. 34) she wrote, ". . . follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ."
As in the case of Moses, whose spiritual intuition and not human, physical personality led the children of Israel out from under the bondage of the Egyptians so, too, did this same impersonal leadership of the incorporeal Christ find expression in the miracles or signs performed by Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. The remarkable healings accomplished by Mrs. Eddy during her lifetime are accounted for through the same Christ-power.
It is generally agreed that leadership is needed today to solve the complex problems of human existence, whether they be manifested in business, social, political, national, or international affairs. It is also agreed that that which leads must always precede and thus map out the path to higher ideals. Such leadership must be based upon spiritual ideas emanating from God, divine Mind. This being the case, we must conclude that any leadership proceeding from personality or material sense is apt to be misleading, for such leadership is devoid of divine guidance and security. On the other hand, leadership which is imbued with spirituality, purity, love, honesty, unselfishness, and faithful devotion and obedience to the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3), culminates in harmony, freedom, and dominion. Such leadership characterizes the life and works of Mary Baker Eddy and inspires her followers to accept her as their Leader, for in so doing they follow, as did she, the impersonal Christ, Truth.
Today this type of spiritual leadership finds expression through the God-inspired writings of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, enabling mankind to understand and make practical the teachings of Christ Jesus and to avail itself here and now of the eternality and continuity of good which is God's great gift to mankind - to you and to me.
Thus as one is led by the inspired teachings of Christian Science to abandon troubled beliefs of existence for spiritual understanding of the universe and the man of God's creating, human thought is lifted above the finite sense of matter and physicality. One's thought becomes spiritualized as the continuity of good is realized and demonstrated in human affairs. Then those who lean "on the sustaining infinite" prove that each day is indeed "big with blessings" (Science and Health, Pref., p. vii).
In closing, may I share with you this inspiring statement of Mrs. Eddy's from her book ''Pulpit and Press" (p. 4), which assures us of the eternality and continuity of good: "Who lives in good, lives also in God, - lives in all Life, through all space. His is an individual kingdom, his diadem a crown of crowns. His existence is deathless, forever unfolding its eternal Principle."
[Published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, Oct. 14, 1954.]