The Revelation of Man's God-Given Dominion and Freedom
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of Louisville, Kentucky
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The history of mankind is replete with accounts of their struggles to overcome bondage and limitation of various kinds, for the desire for freedom has always been inherent in men and has inspired some of their greatest efforts and noblest achievements. And it is natural that men should have this love of freedom, since it is man's God-given heritage. In the first-chapter of Genesis we read, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . . over all the earth." Full dominion, complete freedom, is the Father's gift to His beloved son.
While men have naturally loved and desired freedom, they have not generally realized its true source nor the way to attain it. However, throughout Christian history there have been spiritually-minded men and women who have discerned that it is God's will for man to be free and who have been able to prove this grand truth by overcoming the severest sort of limitation and bondage through spiritual means alone.
Both the Old and New Testaments contain inspiring accounts of outstanding demonstrations of man's freedom and dominion, such as the freeing of the children of Israel from slavery to the Pharaohs of Egypt, Daniel's deliverance unharmed from the lions' den, the three Hebrew captives' proof of their dominion over the fiery furnace, Christ Jesus' overcoming of death and the grave, and the apostles' escape from prison. In fact, all the great works of the prophets and of the Master and his disciples, which have generally been looked upon as miracles, but which Christian Science reveals as natural results of the operation of spiritual law, may be regarded as demonstrations of man's God-given dominion and freedom. And all were accomplished through spiritual understanding. As Paul declared, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Freedom Available to All
In this age, thousands of people the world over are rejoicing that through the spiritual-mindedness of a New England gentlewoman, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, they also have been able to attain the spiritual understanding with which to prove for themselves that the "Spirit of the Lord" is as present now as in Biblical times; and that it is able to liberate mortals, from slavery to the material senses and from the dens and furnaces of sin, sickness, disease, death, limitation, unhappiness, and all the evils that are claiming to hold humanity in bondage.
Just as the "angel of the Lord" came to Peter when he lay in prison, bound with chains, and awakened him, lifted him up, and led him to freedom, so this "angel of the Lord" — Christian Science — comes to suffering humanity in their prisons of fear, awakens them to their true selfhood, lifts their thought above material sense evidence, breaks the chains of wrong thinking, and leads them to freedom. Thus they are able to say with Paul, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Freedom the Result of Right Thinking
The Master told those who accepted and understood his teaching: "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." What a glorious promise! And it applies to his followers throughout all time. But let us also remember to keep the condition clearly in thought, since the fulfillment of the promise depends upon our complying with the condition. Christian Science is in perfect accord with this wonderful statement, as it not only teaches that freedom is the result of right or spiritual thinking, but it also makes it clear that all discord is the result of wrong thinking.
Unfortunately, the true meaning of Jesus' statement has not been understood by most men. Consequently they have believed that in order to enjoy a greater measure of freedom they must overcome something material, such as germs, adverse material conditions, limiting circumstances or laws, evil persons or things. And in order to accomplish this, they have resorted to material means and methods, such as drugs, and force, and when these have failed, they have regarded themselves as the hopeless victims of whatever was claiming to hold them in bondage. Is not all of this the exact opposite of the teaching of the Master?
Jesus the Exemplar
Is there anyone better qualified to instruct mortals how to attain freedom than Christ Jesus? Certainly no one has so thoroughly demonstrated man's God-given dominion and freedom as did he, and he did this for our guidance, that we might follow his glorious example and do likewise. He overcame diseases of all types, usually healing them instantaneously. He freed men from sin, overcame lack and the limitations of gravity and distance, silenced the storm, and raised the dead. He conclusively proved the insubstantiality of matter when he entered the room, "the doors being shut."
When the Master overcame death and the grave for himself and rose above the perception of the material senses in what is called the ascension, he proved man's full dominion over and complete freedom from every phase of materiality and evil. And he accomplished all of this through spiritual thinking, through his understanding of the true nature of God and man. Could he have given more positive proof that this is the true way to freedom?
Christ Jesus understood and taught the great spiritual facts of real being. Often these were plainly stated, but at other times he taught by parables and works, and the spiritual truths which these contain, as well as his direct teaching, must be discerned through spiritual sense, rather than through the human intellect. We can thank God that each individual has spiritual sense, and that therefore he can grasp the spiritual truth with which to work out his own salvation; hence all can be, must be, saved. In his real being, each one has spiritual sense without measure, but humanly speaking, we seem to have it in widely varying degrees, although we may increase it daily through conscientious study and prayer.
As a result of this variation in mankind's ability to grasp spiritual truth, there have been, and still are, many conflicting opinions as to the correct interpretation of what Jesus taught. But Jesus did not leave his teaching at the mercy of human opinion, for he provided his followers throughout all time with a definite standard by which to test the correctness of their understanding, when he said, "He that believeth on me" — that is, he who understands my teaching — "the works that I do shall he do also."
In the measure that one correctly understands the Master's teaching, he must do the works that he did, for the works are inseparable from spiritual understanding and constitute its proof. This is why healing is an essential element of Christianity, an element that is being restored to it by Christian Science. Christian healing indicates that thought is being spiritualized, that spiritual sense and spiritual understanding are being increased, and that the regeneration is taking place to which Jesus referred when he told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." On page 150 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy states that "the mission of Christian Science now, as in the time of its earlier demonstration, is not primarily one of physical healing." Referring to the physical healings, she adds, "But these signs are only to demonstrate its divine origin, — to attest the reality of the higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world."
There is little doubt but that most people take up the study of Christian Science for physical healing — often as a last resort. This was true in my own case. When a boy of fifteen, I suddenly became totally deaf in one ear and practically so in the other, due to the eardrums being injured by abscesses. Although quite prejudiced toward what I thought Christian Science to be, I turned to it for healing after a specialist had informed me that even an operation would not help me. Ten days after beginning the study of Science and Health and requesting treatment from a Christian Science practitioner, the hearing suddenly returned; and subsequent examination showed the eardrums to be in perfect condition.
There is common belief that healing through spiritual means was a special dispensation to Christ Jesus and his immediate disciples, and that it ceased with them. But according to authentic historical accounts, the early Christians continued to prove their understanding of Jesus' teachings by healing the sick as well as the sinning, and by often raising the dead, for nearly three hundred years following his ministry. Then the Christian church became temporarily powerful, materiality crept in, and the spiritual sense of the Master's words and works was lost, and with it was lost the power to heal.
The Discoverer and Founder
It was this spiritual meaning of Christ Jesus' words and works that Mary Baker Eddy discovered in the year 1866, when she was apparently at the point of death as the result of an injury. Deeply religious from early childhood, it was natural for her to turn to God in her hour of need. While some friends, who had come to see her for what they believed to be the last time, were waiting in an adjoining room, Mrs. Eddy opened her Bible to the account of Jesus' healing of the palsied man, and as she read it her consciousness was so flooded with the revelation of Truth that she was immediately healed. She arose, dressed herself, and joined her friends, much to their consternation and amazement.
For twenty years prior to this experience, Mrs. Eddy had believed that all physical effects must trace back to a mental cause, and her healing made her certain of it. Referring to this in her brief autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," she writes (p. 24), "I gained the scientific certainty that all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon." Relating her next steps, she continues: "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.
"The Bible was my textbook. It answered my questions as to how I was healed; but the Scriptures had to me a new meaning, a new tongue. Their spiritual signification appeared; and I apprehended for the first time, in their spiritual meaning, Jesus' teaching and demonstration, and the Principle and rule of spiritual Science and metaphysical healing, — in a word, Christian Science."
Mrs. Eddy thoroughly tested her discovery according to the Master's standard, proving it by many remarkable healings before giving it to the world. Then in 1875, having reduced this divine revelation to a system that could be comprehended by the thought of this age, she made it available to all mankind through the great work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
But this by no means completed Mrs. Eddy's mission. In addition to writing several shorter works, she taught this Science to several thousand students, enabling them to heal successfully; and she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, and its vitally important periodicals: The Christian Science Journal, published each month, the foreign-language Heralds, the Christian Science Sentinel, published each week, and that great dally newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. In order to accomplish these great works, which have blessed and are blessing untold thousands, Mrs. Eddy endured the severest sort of hardships, persecution, and calumny, but her great love for God and humanity enabled her to triumph over them all.
Since a right concept of the messenger is essential to a correct understanding of the message, the individual who is just beginning the study of Christian Science will find it helpful to read Mrs. Eddy's autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," and one or all of her authorized biographies, which may be obtained in any Christian Science Reading Room. And if any student of Christian Science feels discouraged, or if he is listening to error's subtle argument, "What's the use?" may I recommend that he reread one of these biographies. As he again considers the obstacles with which Mrs. Eddy had to contend when she was the only Christian Scientist in the world, and the wonderful way in which they were overcome through her understanding of the Christ, Truth, I am sure that he will gain fresh courage and strength to press on to victory.
The Master said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." By the fruits of her great works, measured in hundreds and thousands of healings and regenerated lives, the world is coming to recognize Mary Baker Eddy as the Discoverer and Founder of the greatest religious movement since the days of the Galilean Prophet.
Knowing God Aright
The spiritual illumination, which Mrs. Eddy's writings throw upon the words and works of Christ Jesus and the other inspired writings of the Bible, enables the sincere seeker to understand the spiritual truth about God and man which they contain, and to demonstrate this in his own experience through overcoming sin, sickness, and other phases of mortal discord. Since wrong thinking, which produces apparent discord, is due to ignorance of God, and since right or spiritual thinking, which frees mortals from inharmony of every kind, is based on a correct understanding of Him, nothing can be of greater importance to you and to me — to all mankind — than to know God aright.
There seem to be many widely divergent views as to the true nature of Deity, and each of these has its adherents among good people who sincerely feel that they are knowing Him aright. But it is quite apparent that all of these contradictory concepts cannot be true. There is but one God; hence there can be only one correct understanding of Him.
All Christians agree that the truth about God is to be found in the Bible, but since many passages of Scripture seem to attribute to Him that which is utterly contradictory to His nature as defined by other passages, a correct interpretation, a key, is needed to give men the true meaning of the Bible and to clear up these seeming contradictions. And this is what "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" does, as its name implies. It provides the spiritual interpretation of the Bible, which reveals its spiritual meaning, the spiritual truth which is applicable to the healing of all types of error. And the Bible of which I am speaking is the King James Version, used by most Protestant churches. Christian Scientists do not have a new Bible, but they find that Science and Health makes the Bible a new book to them; and they study these two textbooks daily with the assistance of the Lesson-Sermon, contained in the Christian Science Quarterly.
The Christian Science definition of God is not only in complete accord with inspired Scripture, but it also satisfies the reason and is subject to proof, which establishes its correctness beyond cavil. On page 465 of Science and Health, in answer to the question "What is God?" we read, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." These terms are synonymous, and referring to them in the following paragraph. Mrs. Eddy writes. "They refer to one absolute God. They are also intended to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity."
Knowing God by such terms is not new. Four of them — Spirit, Truth, Life, and Love — are used in this way in the Bible, and the others are clearly implied. However, one does not have to blindly believe this Christianly scientific definition, he has only to make it his starting point, the basis of his thinking, and in the degree that he does so, the results will prove to his complete satisfaction that he is knowing God aright.
Throughout the ages the tendency of mankind has been to limit the All-in-all. Mortals, in the error of their belief, have reversed the Scriptures and have conceived God as like a human being, as outlined and circumscribed, as changeable and partial, as knowing and employing evil, and so on, although all such beliefs are quite contrary to His nature as revealed by the inspired word of the Bible. Is it any wonder that they have failed to recognize Him as their "refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble"?
Seven Synonyms for God
God is infinite, one, but each of the seven synonyms — Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love — enables us to consider His nature from a different aspect and thus to gain an understanding of His oneness — His wholeness. Consequently these terms are of the greatest importance and merit the thoughtful consideration of both the beginner and the more experienced student. They free us from the false, limited, finite concepts of God and enable us to understand Him as infinite and incorporeal, as omnipresent and ever available.
Every Christian believes God to be all-knowing; that is, infinitely intelligent. It is evident that a finite, limited mind cannot be infinitely intelligent, and it is equally clear that infinite Mind cannot be outlined, limited, or circumscribed, but must be incorporeal, filling all space — must be All-in-all. Infinite Mind can be possessed by nothing but itself, so it follows that Mind is God. And since Mind, God, is infinite, there is but one Mind and its infinite ideas, all of which are perfect, for a perfect Mind cannot create an imperfect idea. Hence any belief in imperfection has no place in infinite Mind, in true consciousness, and this spiritual fact gives us dominion over such beliefs.
Christ Jesus taught: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." To know God as Spirit frees us from the belief in matter and its supposititious effects — sin, sickness, and death. Christian Science reveals Spirit as true substance, and since Spirit is infinite it is the only substance, indivisible and indestructible. Therefore, only that which is spiritual is really substantial, and whatever is real reflects the substance of Spirit. Since matter is the opposite of Spirit, which is real and substantial, matter must be unreal and insubstantial, a false sense of substance — an illusion. Consequently, whatever claims to be in or of matter must likewise be untrue and unreal — substanceless. Sin, disease, and death are not spiritual but claim origin, existence, and manifestation in matter; and by this very claim they are doomed to nothingness.
A case that came to my attention some time ago illustrates the effectiveness of the truths we have, just considered. A bone became lodged in the throat of a student of Christian Science, causing considerable discomfort. When the claim was not met after several hours, the student examined his thought more closely and perceived that he was listening somewhat to the subtle suggestion that there was something material that needed to be removed. He then vigorously affirmed the allness of Spirit, realizing that Spirit is the infinite and only substance, in which there is no discordant, irritating, or obstructive element. In a few minutes he noticed that the claim had entirely disappeared, although he had had no sense of swallowing the bone, nor did it come out through the mouth.
Many people are suffering today from the belief that they possess a personal, finite soul, which has sinned and, therefore, has been condemned to everlasting punishment, although the sin has long since been repented of and forsaken. Christian Science destroys such bondage by revealing God as infinite Soul, which man has by reflection. This Soul is never in a material body, never sins, is never lost, and never dies. It is material sense that sins, and this false sense is to be put off and replaced by spiritual sense. And when the sense of sin is destroyed, there is nothing to cause suffering, for sin punishes itself. Soul is infinite, divine consciousness, in which there is no sense of sin or suffering.
The Bible teaches that God is the only cause or creator, that He governs His creation, and that "in him we live, and move, and have our being." The term Principle, as used by Mrs. Eddy, embraces this concept of God as the only cause, including and governing its every effect. The understanding of God as Principle gives us a standard by which we may test everything that comes to our consciousness claiming to be true and real. Whatever does not trace back to Principle has no cause, no existence, no intelligence, no presence, no power nor influence. It has no activity and no person, place, nor thing through which to act as subject or object. This enables us to see it as impersonal error and to turn to Principle for the right idea with which to correct it. Then it has no power over us, but we have dominion over it, for we are able to reduce it to nothing.
And what freedom is made possible to us through knowing God as infinite Life — the only Life, without beginning and without end! This enables us to understand that birth, growth, underdevelopment or overdevelopment, age. decay, discord, dissolution, sin, disease, and death are no part of real being, since all being is of God. Hence, they have no real existence, and their claim to exist, being false, baseless, and powerless, is destroyed by spiritually understanding this truth.
As we understand God to be Truth, we are able, to prove man's dominion over and freedom from whatever is unlike God. Since God is infinite Truth, everything true or real must emanate from Him, and He does not create His unlikeness. Therefore, whatever is unlike Him is untrue and unreal. And since God is good, only that which is good is true and real. Hence all evil is untrue, unreal, and exists only as belief, as illusion or error. These truths do not lead Christian Scientists to ignore the claims of evil, but rather enable them to recognize the falsity of these claims, which are then replaced with spiritual ideas, and so nothingized.
Perhaps nothing brings such comfort to the human heart as the understanding that God is infinite Love, for to realize the allness of Love destroys fear, envy, jealousy, and hate, which seem to be the root of so much of humanity's suffering. In his first epistle, John declares, "God is love," and "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." What a wonderful change would take place in this world if all fear were to be cast out! A large percentage of mankind's troubles result from fear of sin, sickness, death, unemployment, loss, lack, old age, limitation, imposition, injustice, competition, domination, war, and the like; and the removal of the fear brings freedom from its evil effects. And this freedom is available to each one now through understanding God as divine Love.
Love is the essential Principle of the universe, eternally giving to its creation, always blessing all of its ideas. Since all that really exists must reflect or express Love, there is nothing to fear. The very fact we seem to be afraid of something established its unreality, for it proves that it is not of Love, God, and so has no cause, no existence, no intelligence, no identity and no power nor law to support it. And when we understand this about whatever claims to frighten us, we have dominion over it and are free from fear.
The Truth About Man
We have considered briefly the seven synonyms for God, and we have seen how understanding Him by these terms frees us from false concepts of Him and gives us dominion over the erroneous beliefs based on such concepts. Now let us see how this understanding of the true nature of God enables us to know the true nature of man — the truth that is able to liberate us from every form of human bondage.
If this material sense of man as sinning, sick, limited in every respect, were true, to know this could not possibly help him. As a matter of fact, this is just what mortals have been doing for centuries, but it has not set them free and never will. Yet the Master said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Since the understanding of the truth about man sets us free from the claims of error, the truth must be that we are free now, that we always have been and always shall be free, and that this sense of ourselves as material and in bondage to this or that form of error is false, a mistaken concept of man, which the true idea corrects.
Christian Science reveals man as the object of God's love, perfect in every respect. Could God possibly express more love for man than to create him in His own image and likeness? For as the image of God, man has, by reflection, all that God is. The Father could give nothing more to His beloved son than this. And being omnipotent Love, it follows that God maintains man eternally in His likeness, for to do less would be contrary to the nature of Love.
A correct understanding of the term "image and likeness" removes all possibility of conceiving of man as material, fallen, sinning, sick — as less perfect than God or unlike Him in any respect. And a correct understanding of the term is essential to the successful practice of Christian Science.
An image and likeness, being the perfect reflection of its original, must be exactly like it in quality; hence man, God's image, perfectly reflects every quality of Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. For example, as the likeness of Mind, he reflects infinite intelligence; as the image of Spirit, he is altogether spiritual; as the reflection of Soul, he is sinless and immortal; in the likeness of Principle, he reflects the one government; as the perfect expression of Life, he is healthy, holy, and harmonious; as the image of Truth, his perfection is immutable; and as the reflection of Love, he is altogether lovely, loving, and lovable.
The real man is the perfect and full expression of God's being; and as such, he is inseparable from Him, just as the rays of the sun reflect the sun and are inseparable from it. The sun cannot exist without its rays, for without them it would cease to be the sun; nor can the rays exist without the sun. In like manner, God and man are inseparable and coexist as Father and son, cause and effect, Principle and idea — each being essential to the other.
Referring to the ideas constituting the real and perfect creation, Mrs. Eddy writes, "These ideas range from the infinitesimal to infinity, and the highest ideas are the sons and daughters of God" (ibid., p. 503). As the highest idea of God, man includes or embodies all right ideas. God perfectly controls man and all the ideas which man includes and man reflects the dominion of Mind.
Man in the image and likeness of God is your true individuality and mine — the true individuality of everyone — and we want to keep this clearly in thought as we discuss the true nature of man. What we are discerning to be true about God's image and likeness is the truth about each of us right now. We do not have two selfhoods, one material and imperfect and the other spiritual and perfect. We have only the one — our true individuality as the image of God — and whatever is unlike this real man exists merely as a false sense of man, a counterfeit mentality.
Individual man, God's likeness, is an individual spiritual consciousness, ever at one with and reflecting the divine Mind; therefore man is conscious as God is conscious, he knows as God knows. Since God knows only His own ideas, which are good, spiritual, healthy, harmonious, perfect, and immortal, that is all that individual man can really know or experience.
So we see that the real man's consciousness is free from all carnal thinking — from all beliefs in matter, sin, sickness, death, limitation, and the like; for these beliefs have no place in spiritual consciousness, but exist only as phenomena of a supposititious mortal mind. Since all error is nothing, to be conscious of error is to be conscious of nothing, which is no consciousness or unconsciousness. Thus there really can be no error in consciousness. As we understand that there is but one consciousness, which is reflected in individual consciousness — your true selfhood and mine — and that whatever does not reflect God has no place in this consciousness, we destroy the claims of error to presence in individual human consciousness and so prove man's God-given dominion over such claims.
Recognize this free consciousness as rightfully yours, my friends. Know that only His ideas are present in real consciousness. And these ideas are available and applicable in every need.
The practical results of this kind of thinking are illustrated by the experience of a young friend of mine. He was given charge of a building project, and one of the men with whom he had to work very closely had the reputation of being impossible to get along with, and of possessing many disagreeable traits that need not be enumerated. When all of this was first voiced to the young man, he refused to accept it as true and insisted that no such concept of man could have place in true consciousness. He endeavored to realize that, in his real being, he could only know man as God knows him, since he reflected God's knowing; and that God knows every one of His ideas as expressing the qualities of divine Love.
The first two or three conferences seemed to indicate that this man's reputation was well deserved, but my friend did not retreat from his stand. He continued to insist upon the absolute truth about man in the image of Love as being the present fact, and from this standpoint he denied the evidence of the material senses. Then, after one or two more conferences, there was a sudden and complete change. Kindness, consideration, good will, and cooperation replaced the unlovely beliefs that had been claiming presence, and this association proved to be most pleasant and helpful.
Freedom God's Will for Man
Divine Mind being infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, unrestricted in any respect, is absolutely free; and man, the perfect expression of this Mind, manifests its unlimited freedom, intelligence, understanding, ability, and so on. Since man's freedom and dominion are of God, they must be good and cannot result in evil either to himself or to his fellow man. In reality, man is free to express God, good; he is not free to express evil. He is free to reflect Life; he is not free to sin or to be sick. He is free to reflect God's knowing; he is not free to think error or to listen to it. He is free to reflect Love; he is not free to express fear or hate. And in the degree that we understand that it is God's will for man to be free, we can demonstrate it in our own lives. Whatever might claim to deny or limit our ability to do this is not of God and has no power nor law to support it. Our present opportunity is to prove that "man is free 'to enter into the holiest,' — the realm of God" (ibid., p. 481).
The spiritual fact that it is God's will for man to be free, when understood, enables one to overcome various forms of slavery to the material senses, such as bondage to false appetites for alcohol and tobacco. Slavery being the complete denial of man's dominion, the overcoming of whatever claims to enslave is of utmost importance to our demonstration of freedom. It is essential to be consistent in our practice of Christian Science; hence we must strive just as diligently to overcome the forms of slavery that claim to give pleasure as we do to destroy those that claim to cause suffering. We cannot willingly yield to the one without limiting our ability to overcome the other.
The Bible and Christian Science teach men to resist evil, but it must be resisted on a Christianly scientific basis and not through human will. Let us remember that God's will is not human will, and when we make God's will our will, we are not using human will. In short, when we realize that it is God's will for man to be free from false appetites or any other form of slavery, and base our refusal to indulge these claims on this understanding, we have the omnipotence of God to support us in our stand for freedom. Therefore, to stop drinking or smoking on this basis is not using human will, but is scientific resistance to evil and breaks the claim of bondage.
Since freedom is the result of right thinking, of knowing as divine Mind knows, it is evident that its demonstration is individual. Furthermore, one's well-being is in proportion to his demonstration of freedom. This truth exposes the falsity of some of the present-day panaceas which are based on the theory that the welfare of the many is to be attained by sacrificing or usurping the freedom and rights of the individual. Any plan based on such a false assumption cannot long succeed or result in good. It is a subtle argument of error, which would deprive men, if possible, of their most cherished rights. And it is important that all who love freedom and cherish human rights be alert to protect them from the aggressive attacks of such erroneous phases of mortal thought through realizing the government of divine Principle as universal and omnipotent, for under this government man's God-given dominion and freedom are forever intact.
We have seen how the understanding of the truth about God and man operates to liberate mankind from all the erroneous beliefs claiming presence in human experience. It was Jesus' clear understanding of the true nature of man as the son of God, the Christ, that enabled him to do his wonderful works. He was the great demonstrator of the son of God, proving his true selfhood, the Christ, by overcoming every argument of error that claimed man to be unlike God. And since, in reality man in God's image is the true selfhood of everyone, Christ Jesus was the Way-shower, marking out the way for each one to work out his own salvation.
As the truth about man in God's likeness unfolds in individual human consciousness, as one comes to understand his true selfhood and what pertains to it, he is freed from the false material sense of self and the discords and limitations which seem to constitute it and this is salvation. Thus, in Christian Science, we are being saved day by day. The Christ, the unfoldment of the real man to the human consciousness, brings full salvation — complete freedom from sickness, as well as from sin.
Perhaps someone is thinking at this point, Admitting that the Christ Truth is available to all now and that it is adequate to meet every need, how am I to avail myself of it and make it operative in my individual experience? This, my friend, is accomplished by gaining an understanding of the truth and by using this understanding in prayer. This understanding may be acquired by studying the Bible, Science and Health, and Mrs. Eddy's other writings, and the authorized literature; and by attending the Sunday church services, the Wednesday meetings, and the authorized lectures. The more one opens his thought to these agencies, the greater will be his growth in spiritual understanding and the more abundant will be the manifestation of good in his experience.
Prayer is the utilization of this understanding and is based on the present perfection of God and His idea, man. Prayer is not only knowing man as God knows him, it is also striving to be this man. It is an affair of living, not merely a matter of a method or of words. In Christian Science treatment, the spiritual fact pertaining to the case is silently affirmed with the humble, prayerful desire to realize it; and the material evidence is denied. The moment we realize the spiritual fact, the true idea replaces the false belief, and we have healing. In brief, prayer is the adjusting of our thought to Principle, whereby we know man as Principle knows him, as spiritual instead of material, as harmonious instead of discordant, as healthy instead of sick, as free instead of in bondage.
My friends, this Christ, Truth, which "shall make you free," is available to you today through the teachings of Christian Science. If you will accept it, strive daily to increase your understanding of it, use it in everything you attempt, be it great or small, and live it to the best of your ability, you will come into your priceless heritage as the son of God — perfect freedom and dominion.
May I leave with you Mrs. Eddy's loving invitation to share the blessings of her great work (ibid., p. 227): "Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right."
[Delivered Dec. 1, 1938, at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, New York City, and published in The Brooklyn (New York) Eagle, Dec. 3, 1938.]