Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (4)
Dr. Walton Hubbard, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
All Christians agree that they must look to God to be saved from sin, but many of them believe that matter can save them from sickness. Gradually through the continued healing of sickness by the application of Christian Science the fact that we may look to God for healing from sickness as well as from sin is being recognized. Christian Science is healing all manner of disease, functional, organic, and so-called incurable, and demonstrating that God's law is available for every need. Of course there are some who refuse to believe, even in the face of absolute proof, that Christian Science heals what are known as organic diseases, or that it heals anything.
An interesting case of this kind came within my own observation. A surgeon had diagnosed the case of a certain woman to be a serious organic disease and one from which physicians maintain recovery is impossible except through an operation. The operation was performed and the diagnosis thus further confirmed, but a cure did not result. After the lapse of more than a year the surgeon proposed to operate again in the rather forlorn hope that what was not accomplished through the first operation might be brought about by the second. The woman consented and all the necessary hospital arrangements were made. At this juncture someone told her husband about Christian Science and he consulted a practitioner regarding her case, and much to their surprise she was very quickly healed. Within three weeks she was completely well, and every evidence of organic difficulty had disappeared.
About this time the husband met the surgeon on the street. The doctor immediately inquired why the patient had not been sent to the hospital. The man replied that they had changed their thought about it and no longer intended to have the operation. The surgeon insisted on a reason for this change, to which the husband, not wanting to offend the doctor, simply replied that his wife was better. The doctor said, "Better? Why, she can't get better," and then sensing that there was something strange about it, he asked, "What have you been doing?" The man said, "Well, doctor, we have been having Christian Science treatment. " The doctor exclaimed, "Christian Science! Why, Christian Science can't heal her!" to which the man smilingly replied, "Oh, I know it, doctor, but my wife is well."
To those who will receive it Christian Science offers abundant evidence of its ability to heal.
Although little more than fifty years have elapsed since Christian Science was given to the world its teachings have encircled the globe and its healing truth has come as a priceless gift to thousands who have gained health and happiness through its administrations. The number of its adherents has increased with phenomenal rapidity. Each year added Christian Science organizations come into being and Christian Science services are held in more and more remote corners of the earth.
The question might very naturally be asked, What is Christian Science that it should so engage the attention of thinking people throughout the world and what may we reasonably hope to get from its study? Why does it heal and what can it do for you and me?
Its Discoverer and Founder
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the author of its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has defined Christian Science in her book Rudimental Divine Science as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." Mrs. Eddy denied the truth of any belief that could not stand the simple test of conforming to the spiritual fact that God, or good, is the only presence and power. One who had begun the study of her writings remarked, "It is impossible to argue against what Mrs. Eddy has written because she just goes back to God and stays there." It was this characteristic of going back to God and staying there that resulted in the revelation of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy was the youngest of six children, the daughter of Mark and Abigail Baker. Her father was a very religious man and her mother an unusually spiritual woman. From her early childhood Mrs. Eddy was both religious and studious. In Retrospection and Introspection (p. 10) she writes, "At ten years of age I was as familiar with Lindley Murray's Grammar as with the Westminster Catechism, and the latter I had to repeat every Sunday."
She was admitted to membership in the Congregational Church, the church of her parents, when she was twelve, although she declined to subscribe to the doctrine of predestination, thus offering evidence that even as a child she was doing her own thinking about God. Later on we find her writing poetry and prose, contributing to various New England publications, and investigating material systems of healing in her search for truth. From childhood she was always searching for a knowledge of God, believing it to be the real remedy for humanity's ills. For twenty years prior to her discovery she had been trying to find a mental cause for all physical effects, until at last she saw that all causation was divine Mind.
It is probable that the series of sorrows and disappointments that marked her life from early womanhood until her great discovery may have served to make her search more diligently for an understanding of God. Perhaps she may have voiced something of her own experience when she wrote, on page 322 of Science and Health, "The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love. Then we begin to learn Life in divine Science."
As students of Christian Science we find that through its teachings we are brought nearer and nearer to God and we recognize how close to God Mrs. Eddy must have been to have thus revealed Him to us. We are grateful to her not only for having made clear the mission and teachings of Him who "spake as never man spake," but for her loving patience and unfaltering persistence in presenting this truth to an unexpectant and incredulous world.
Christian and Scientific
Mrs. Eddy named her discovery Christian Science, a name which is eminently fitting since the rules which she laid down for the application of God's law have been amply proved. The test of the accuracy of the rule is always to be found in the result following its application. Jesus, the Christ, from whom Christianity takes its name, came teaching that the kingdom of God is at hand and wherever he went sin, sickness and death were destroyed. Mrs. Eddy contends that Jesus' works were the inevitable result of the operation of the Science of God which he taught. He understood God and taught what he understood. That Christian Science is Science can be proved by anyone who applies the law according to its rules, and that it is Christian is apparent to thousands who have found that through its study the teachings of the Master are revealed to them in clearer and deeper spiritual significance. We inevitably interpret that which we read according to our viewpoint. Students of Christian Science find that as they gain Mrs. Eddy's viewpoint through the study of her writings the teachings of the Master take on new and wonderful spiritual signification with healing from sickness as well as sin the inevitable result of this spiritual understanding.
Current religious belief declares God to be omnipotent and omniscient, but it also admits the presence and power of evil. It accepts a belief in God's all-presence and all-power because such an admission is divinely logical and repeatedly asserted throughout the Bible. But it also admits belief in another presence and power. Thus it first asserts that there is but one power and then maintains that there are two. It is impossible to appropriate the truth which heals while believing in such contradictions.
Perfect God and Perfect Man
Starting out with the assertion of the allness of God Mrs. Eddy denies the evidence of the material senses. She denies not only the presence and power of evil but insists that matter has no reality or substance because it is unlike Spirit, God.
Mrs. Eddy's insistence on the unreality of matter does not mean that she expected that it could be demonstrated at once. But diseased conditions are such obvious departures from the perfection of God's creation that their unreality is recognized and thus destroyed. The good and beautiful in matter point to that which is really good and beautiful and permanent in Spirit.
Mrs. Eddy declares on page 468 of the Christian Science textbook, '"All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all" and insists that the material man and the material universe are expressions of beliefs that are the supposititious opposites of or counterfeits of the creations of Spirit. Jesus defined God as Spirit to the Samaritan woman when he said, "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Since God is Spirit, His creations must be spiritual. Webster defines spirit as mind. Then infinite Spirit is divine Mind and the creations or offspring of Spirit, God, are the ideas or thoughts of infinite Mind, never outside of its ever-presence, and never ceasing for an instant to be the direct effect or activity of it. Thus in divine logic man is seen to be the perfect idea, the activity, the reflection, the manifestation of infinite Mind, manifesting the sinlessness of infinite good, and the deathlessness of infinite Life, however contrary this may seem to human sense and experience. It is in such reasoning that Mrs. Eddy goes back to God and refusing to temporize with that which is contrary to His nature denies the evidence of material sense that declares sin, sickness and death to be real.
Man Manifests Life and Love
The universe of Spirit reflects the activity of infinite Mind. It is the expression of infinite Mind's ideas, and there is no room for aught but God and His thoughts if God is omnipresent. Since man is the reflection, the manifestation, of God's thought he is God's image and likeness partaking of His health and holiness, and manifesting the fullness of His love.
The Bible states that God is Life. But we are not recognizing that God is Life when we believe that the image and likeness of infinite Life suffers and dies. The image of eternal Life cannot die.
The Bible declares that God is Love. But we are not recognizing that God is Love when we believe that God sends or permits sin, sickness, and death, or that there is room for these hateful things where all space is filled with ever-present Love. Mortals are reasonably like their parents. It is logical then to insist that immortals, God's children, are like their Father-Mother Love and so altogether lovely, lovable and loving, and devoid of the unloveliness of sin, sickness and death.
We are not recognizing that God is Love when we ascribe to Him less love and compassion toward His children than the most ordinary human parent manifests. It is impossible really to appreciate that God is Love while believing that He punishes His children by inflicting upon them trials and sicknesses of such a nature as would be sufficient reason for condemning a human parent could it be shown that he had devised such tortures for his children's correction.
All Christians declare that God is Love and that there is none beside Him. But we are not understanding that God is Love when we believe that God sends or permits sin and sickness. Our highest sense of a mother's brooding solicitous care for her child reflects in it but a limited degree the maternal care and protection of divine Love. Jesus taught that God is Love and proved his oneness with Love in all that he said and did. When he said to the adulterous woman, "Neither do I condemn thee, Go and sin no more," he showed that this consciousness of divine Love destroys and thus forgives sin. And when in answer to the leper's cry, "Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean," he made him clean, he proved that this same consciousness of Love heals sickness. In the midst of the agony, on the cross his consciousness of divine Love made him so forgetful of self and so tenderly solicitous of others that he commended his mother to the keeping of John. The healing of sickness as well as sin was the operation of his consciousness of divine Love. As we attain this consciousness of Love it inevitably operates as it did with him and heals sickness and sin by destroying them.
Material Man Unreal
It is evident in Christian Science that the creations of Spirit, Mind, are spiritual and mental, and man is seen to be the image and likeness of divine Mind, expressing only God's thoughts in all His ways. Yet opposed to this logical conclusion is the testimony of the material senses that matter is real and that man is material, possessing a material body which is endowed with the ability to think and to act. Christian Science shows clearly that material man is not what he seems to human sense and that the beliefs which constitute his only claim to reality are readily changed through the operation of God's law. Material reasoning maintains that those things which we see about us are different forms of what is termed matter, and that this matter is substance and that it is real. Christian Science teaches that the material man and the material universe are expressions of beliefs or thoughts which are the opposites of or counterfeits of true ideas, the creations of Mind. In order to have a term by which all these material beliefs may be spoken of Mrs. Eddy has named them mortal mind. The beliefs known as laws of matter, the beliefs expressed in a material universe, the beliefs known as sickness and death are all included in this term. Material philosophy after many years of opposition to Mrs. Eddy's contention is now admitting that matter is but an expression of thought, a manifestation of material beliefs which it calls natural law but which Mrs. Eddy terms mortal mind.
Matter is therefore a mental manifestation, a state of mortal mind. Since the human body is classified as matter, it too is but a state of mortal mind, of material belief. Because it is believed that we see the material body and that it manifests sensation, that it sees, hears, tastes, smells and feels, does not make it any the less mental, nor alter the fact that it is simply a state of mortal mind. Mrs. Eddy has said, "You embrace your body in your thought." (Science and Health, p. 208:30.) That the body is mental and included in the human mind rather than distinct from it is seen when we remember that different emotions are made manifest in increased heart beats or in blanching of the face. It indicates that the body is a state of mortal mind and included in it when characteristics of greed or of generosity, of love or of hate, are so often plainly written on the features. Sickness of body then is but a state of mind, although human sense calls it a state of matter, for the human mind and body are one. The healing of all manner of what are known as functional and organic diseases through destroying these beliefs by the application of Christian Science proves the truth of this statement.
Sin, Sickness and Death Unreal
The logical argument that sin, sickness and death have no reality may at the outset be difficult to accept. No claim is made that these experiences do not seem real to human sense and experience, and mortals get rid of the belief in the reality of matter and its conditions only by degrees, and only to the degree that they recognize the reality of Spirit and things spiritual.
The innumerable instances of the destruction of sickness and sin through the recognition of the reality of the health and holiness of Spirit offer convincing proof of the unreality of these errors. But what shall we say of death? The Bible declares death to be an enemy and the last one to be destroyed. Jesus destroyed death through his understanding of infinite Life. It is possible that during the present material age no very great demonstration will be made over death, but this does not alter the fact that death is unreal for all that is real is of God, who is infinite Life.
Contradictory Material Beliefs
It may help us to see that death is not immutable but a belief subject to destruction, and that so-called material existence is a false sense of life, to know that surgeons have been able to successfully transplant from one person to another certain parts of the human anatomy although there was an interval of time when the part transferred was not connected with either body and hence according to any human definition must have been dead. Medical writers have maintained that every part of the human body might be transplanted if only the surgeon could perfect his technique, his method of doing it, although it is evident that the part which is believed to live when incorporated in another body is to human sense dead during the transfer. A writer in a medical journal, recognizing this contradiction, pictures the possibility of a person meeting some fatal accident which resulted in what the world calls death. He points out that if surgical procedure had been sufficiently perfected (although it never can be) every part of this person's body might be made to live in the bodies of other persons needing such parts. He then makes the query that if every part of the dead man's body is alive or has within it the potentialities of life did the so-called dead man die and if so what died?
A part of the body that is believed to be as dead as ever matter is dead, is said to live when human belief thinks it can live. When through added spiritual growth we shall understand more fully the reality of infinite eternal Life we shall strip death of its claim to reality and destroy it. In the meantime we are grateful for the many evidences of the efficacy of Christian Science in the destruction of all manner of discordant conditions.
Christian Science Safe
The changing of the human belief from sickness to health is all that is needed to bring about a stale of health, just as the changing of the human belief from sin to sinlessness is all that is needed to bring about a state of holiness. How may we best bring about this changed mental condition? Experience has shown that the material senses are constantly offering false testimony as to the nature and character of man, and this false testimony comes with great insistence. A recognition of the spiritual facts of being as taught in Christian Science is absolutely essential to detect this deception. Any so-called mental method of healing which undertakes through mental manipulation to substitute a human belief of health for a human belief of sickness is thus leaving assumed power to matter or material sense untouched. Reliance on Christian Science, the law of God, as taught by Jesus and explained in the Christian Science textbook is the only way by which we really destroy these errors. Recognizing what we really are in Truth, destroys that which we believed ourselves to be.
Suggestive Treatment Dangerous
Those who are suffering from discordant and diseased conditions may not see the difference between spiritual healing and the various mental methods which are advocated from time to time. They may see no harm in undertaking to alleviate their ailments by applying suggestive or mesmeric or other non-spiritual means if only they can hope to get rid of the discordant conditions from which they are suffering. The use of suggestion in healing is based on the belief that the repeated assertion that one is well or that one is better or that one is in a desired mental condition has power to bring these things to pass. The person undertaking to get healing by such means is of necessity insisting that each mental declaration that he is well is endued with power to make him so, and he fails to consider that if he succeeds in building up this conviction he will at the same time have become convinced that admissions of sickness also have power to make him sick. The human mind is much more prone to dwell upon its discordant conditions than it is to insist that being is harmonious. It is obviously an exceedingly dangerous thing to endue our wrong thoughts with additional power to harm us and the person employing such means is not really healed, but on the contrary is more susceptible to disease than before, because he has built up a larger belief in the power of his own thought to harm him.
When Jesus healed one brought to him suffering from the evils of blindness and dumbness the Pharisees claimed that he had destroyed these evils by the power of evil, but Jesus pointed out the impossibility of bringing about real health by the use of that which claimed to have the power to make sick, when he said, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself cannot stand," and then insisted that if on the contrary he destroyed evil by the power of God this same power was available to them also. To the extent that we recognize the omnipotence of God or good we see the powerlessness of the human mind to injure or bless us, to make sick or to restore us to health. The growth of spiritual understanding inevitably results in a diminishing belief in the power of human thought to affect us. Not only does Christian Science offer protection and safety to be found in no other way, but through its study the way of salvation becomes increasingly plain, the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures is unfolded.
Increased Spiritual Unfoldment
At the public mid-week testimonial meetings held by the Christian Science organizations throughout the world, thousands testify to the healing of all manner of diseases, functional and organic, and so-called incurable. It is a significant fact that a large majority of those who have been healed declare that while they are deeply grateful for the physical healing they are more grateful for the spiritual understanding that has come to them through the study of Christian Science, because it has unfolded the Bible in a most wonderful way. It is evident that a great revelation must have come to them that they consider it of more importance to them than the relief from the painful and distressing disease. No doubt the majority of them entertained what might be considered the usual views regarding prayer, salvation, and other fundamentals of religion, yet they have found the teachings of Christian Science on all these points to be more logical and satisfying, and moreover of overwhelming importance to them. It can be said with absolute assurance that Christian Science never changes a religious belief that is dear to the heart except as it leaves something much more comforting and satisfying in its place.
Prayer and Salvation
Thus the prayer of the Christian Scientist is based on the spiritual fact that man is perfect and harmonious because he is God's image and likeness. Prayer in Christian Science is not supplication, begging God to do something, but rather it is realization, the realization of the real man's perfection as the child of God. The humble, fervent effort of a grateful heart to be conscious of sonship with God has brought health and harmony to thousands.
The ordinary concept of salvation is that it is the saving of an individual from the power and penalty of sin whereby after death man enters into the kingdom of God. Christian Science teaches that salvation is not a divine state to be attained only at some future time but a present consciousness of unity with God whereby we are now saved from sickness and sin through their destruction, and correspondingly enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus declared the kingdom of God to be at hand. He also declared it to be a state of consciousness when he said, "the kingdom of God is within you." And to Nicodemus he pointed out that the wonderful works which Nicodemus had seen were the natural outcome of being born again, of coming into a spiritual consciousness of God's power, the kingdom of Heaven. The Christian Scientist therefore daily appropriates salvation to the extent that he has been "born of the Spirit," to that extent that he has entered into the spiritual consciousness of his true being and has cleansed himself of materiality. He gets his salvation in advance of those who are waiting for a future reward, with constant evidence that it is the way of God's appointing and will ultimately save to the uttermost.
The divine idea, the divine image and likeness which comes to human consciousness, is thus seen to be essential to salvation. It is spoken of in the Old Testament as the Messiah, a Hebrew word meaning God with us, and in the New Testament as the Christ, a Greek word which means anointed. The Christ is divine and those who are thus divinely anointed prove that God is with them by destroying sickness and sin. Mrs. Eddy defines the Christ in the Christian Science textbook as "the divine manifestation of God which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." (Science and Health, p. 583:10) She further asserts that Jesus "was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure" (Science and Health, p. 30), but she writes, "Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, — the reflection of God, — has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love." (p. 333) Paul declares that the spiritual rock which followed the children of Israel was the Christ, and the New Testament refers in a number of instances to Old Testament records of the presence of the Christ. Jesus himself referred to David's consciousness of the Christ when the Jews said that Christ was the son of David, by asking them why David calls the Christ his "Lord" if he were his son.
Jesus fully demonstrated his divine nature, the Christ which animated him, by his destruction of sin, sickness and death, and for this we can never be too grateful to him. Paul enjoins us to have that mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus, and the central theme of Christianity is that we should accept Christ as our Saviour.
This is what Christian Scientists are undertaking to do, — to appropriate the Christ as Jesus did, and to prove that the Christ is the Saviour, saving us today as it did in Jesus' time from evil of every nature.
On page 51 of the Christian Science textbook Mrs. Eddy says in speaking of Jesus' demonstration of the Christ, "His consummate example was for the salvation of us all, but only through doing the works which he did and taught others to do," a statement that is in accord with Jesus' own words, "He that believeth on me the works that I do shall he do also."
Christian Science insists that because God is perfect, His man is perfect, and that whatever fails to measure up to this divine standard is not true. A realization of man's perfection based on this standard heals our present sicknesses and discords and in so doing offers positive assurance of final salvation from all that is unlike God. Mystery and contradiction are stripped from our religious theories as they are brought into conformity with the spiritual fact of the perfection of God and His man, replacing blind belief about things spiritual with demonstrable truth.
Some of those who seek healing through Christian Science do not avail themselves of all the channels open to them. Study of the Christian Science textbook and the Bible are essential. After reading the Christian Science weekly Lesson Sermon during the week and thus appropriating its truths as well as we can ourselves, its presentation by the Readers at the church services almost invariably brings additional unfoldment which may be just what is needed to bring about healing.
The Church Manual provides that the silent prayer offered by the church members during the services "shall be offered for the congregations collectively, and exclusively." It is important to the one seeking healing that he should be included in this prayer of healing collectively offered by the church membership for his benefit. The entire atmosphere of the church service is one of helpful hopeful healing, and every part of the service is designed to heal those who attend.
The Wednesday evening services are also very helpful to those seeking healing, including as they do testimonies of Christian Science healing. These services not only offer evidence to those unfamiliar with it of the ability Christian Science to heal, but the testimonies are helpful and essential to Christian Scientists. The human mind is prone to discouragement even when healing is taking place, if the healing is slow or there are temporary aggravations and seeming setbacks. Testimonies of healing related at the Wednesday evening services offer overwhelming evidence of the efficacy of God's law, fill us with renewed courage and hope, and the recognition and conviction that Christian Science does heal. The Christ, Truth, coming to human consciousness always heals, and healing comes not only through Christian Science treatment, but through reading the textbook. Thousands have been healed, by simply reading the textbook, even cases that were at the very brink of the grave. And healing is brought about through reading articles appearing in the Christian Science periodicals, the Journal, the Sentinel and Der Herold. Many healings occur at the lectures and at the Sunday and Wednesday services.
The Christian Science Monitor
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science established a daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. The reading of this paper is an important factor in maintaining health. The world insists in presenting its worst side through every available channel so that sickness, sin and disaster are so constantly presented that mortals look for them and expect them. The daily reading of that which is good and constructive going on in the world as presented in The Christian Science Monitor cleanses human thought. The desire for good news becomes natural and habitual, making our thought much more impervious to the entrance of thoughts of disease and discord. Those who pray with the Psalmist, "Create in me a clean heart O Lord and renew a right spirit within me," are measurably helped by the habitual reading of The Christian Science Monitor.
Mrs. Eddy's Purpose
It will thus be seen that Mrs. Eddy's purpose in all that she did was to bring the largest measure of healing to all who seek it.
When material remedies and methods fail to heal from sickness, or when sorrow and trouble seem unbearable, when there is no answer to our human longing for health and peace and joy, may we remember that Christian Science declares and demonstrates that the Christ heals today as of yore and that it only awaits our acceptance. "Behold I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."