Christian Science: The Science of True Selfhood
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of
The lecturer was introduced by Willard E. Johnson, First Reader of the church, who said:
Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, Oakland, is always happy to open its doors for a Christian Science lecture and we bid you a most cordial welcome this evening to listen to a lecture entitled: "Christian Science: The Science of True Selfhood."
The first twelve words in our text book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", by Mary Baker Eddy, are these: "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings." The unfoldment of this statement was the beginning of my search for the true selfhood of man and I am most grateful to say that the search was not in vain.
Through the reading of our textbook, I completely overcame the habit of smoking in which I had indulged for more than fifteen years. With this healing many other false claims quickly vanished, never to return.
Today mankind is in great need of
this wonderful healing truth, and Mrs. Eddy, our revered Leader, has provided a
way for this enlightenment, through the Board of Lectureship of The Mother
Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows;
Many centuries ago David, the Psalmist of Israel, propounded a question that always has faced mankind, a vital question that is facing you and me today. Upon our correct answer to it depends not only the successful solution of every problem claiming presence in our human experience, but also our very salvation.
The question appears simple, and yet it is profound: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" David does not ask merely; "What is man?" He asks us to consider what is the man whom God knows, of whom He is regardful, to whom He has given complete dominion. Obviously, the man whom God knows must be one's true selfhood. My friends, have you ever fully faced this question? Have you asked yourself, "What am I? What is my purpose? What is my destiny? What is my relationship to God? What is He doing for me?" Or are you like a friend of mine with whom I was once discussing such questions, who declared, "Oh, I never think about such things. They frighten me." You may know that she was not a Christian Scientist.
If you have fairly faced these questions, have you arrived at truly satisfactory answers? Someone might ask, What is a satisfactory answer? A reply to this would be, An answer that satisfies one. This would be so, if one were not to be content with anything short of the right answer, which is subject to definite proof; but mortals have a tendency to be satisfied with what they want to believe, rather than insisting on that which is demonstrably true. I once had a friend who had worked out his own philosophy in answer to these questions. It had no basis in the Bible or any place else, but it satisfied him, as it was what he wanted to believe. Consequently, whenever one of these questions would be under discussion, he would immediately excuse himself from the group rather than hear anything that might discredit his philosophy. Such an attitude does not help one work out the problems of human experience, and it is positively harmful, in that it lulls one into a sense of indifference to these vital questions, and into a false sense of security.
The Example of the Master
The divine demand, "Work out your own salvation," confronts each of us today, and the method prescribed and used by the Master is as available and as effective now as when he told his followers, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The truth about what? The truth about one's self − the Science of true selfhood. And from what is this truth to free us? Jesus did not say that to know the truth would free us merely in some particular respect, such as from sin, but that it would make us free − free in every respect − which means freedom not only from sin, but also from sickness, disease, death, lack, old age, unemployment, unhappiness, inharmony, and imperfection of every kind. And he proved this liberating power of Truth in his own ministry by healing all types of disease, destroying sin, feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes, raising the dead, and finally overcoming death and the grave for himself.
Enoch and Elijah, glimpsing the true sense of life, had been translated without passing through the process called death, but Jesus allowed mortals to try to kill him, to do so to their satisfaction, and to place his body in a sealed grave. Yet he never submitted to death, never was separated from the human state of consciousness until his ascension; but in this state of consciousness he overcame both death and the grave through his understanding of his true selfhood − the Christ. According to his statement, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you," Christ Jesus expected us to follow him. This means that it is possible to do so. Jesus marked out the way, and Christian Science shows us how to follow the Wayshower.
The works of the Master are of as vital importance to us today as they were to his immediate disciples, because they are the proofs of the Science of true selfhood, and are inseparable from it. They are the unquestionable evidence that one has arrived at the right answers − hence the only satisfactory answers − to these basic questions which we have been considering. And, my friends, these right answers are as available today as in Jesus' time through the revelation of the spiritual meaning of his words and works, which Mary Baker Eddy has given to this age, and which she denominated Christian Science. Earnest students of this Science the world over are daily proving that it reveals the correct answers to these, and to all other questions, and their correctness is established by the same unquestionable evidence − the healing of sin, sickness, disease, unemployment, lack; and, in some instances, the overcoming of death itself. Why should one be afraid, or be satisfied with some improvable philosophy, when such satisfactory answers may be had?
Spiritual Versus Material Evidence
And why has mankind been so slow in arriving at these right, demonstrable answers? Mainly because it has been looking in the wrong direction. In its search for the answer to the question, "What is man?" it has neglected to seek the man of whom God is mindful. It has been mesmerized into focusing attention almost entirely on what the material senses declare man to be, namely, a material being, separated from God, who is born, grows to maturity, declines in age, dies, and goes back to dust, and during his brief span of existence is subject to sin, disease, lack, unemployment − to all evil. Surely, this material sense evidence is not a satisfactory answer to "What is man? What am I?"
Fortunately there is other evidence regarding man, evidence quite contrary to the foregoing, evidence derived from spiritual sense, and which is subject to positive proof. The primary source of this evidence is the Bible, which declares man to be made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, to know the truth about man it is necessary to have a correct understanding of the true nature of God, and this also is to be found in the inspired word of the Scriptures. Christian Science is based on, elucidates, and amplifies the spiritual evidence contained in the Bible.
To arrive at an intelligent answer to the question, "What is man?" it is evident that we must accept either the evidence of spiritual sense or that of material sense as to man's true selfhood, and then follow this evidence to its logical conclusion. For since these two sets of evidence are exactly opposite, if one is true, the other must be false; hence, we must accept one or the other in its entirety. But this is what mortals generally fail to do. Although they usually accept the evidence of the physical senses as true, their innate sense of man's immortality leads them to refuse to admit the untenable conclusion of this evidence, namely, that man returns to dust, nothingness. Faced with this dilemma, they endeavor to compromise by accepting both sets of evidence as partly true. They claim material evidence to be true until the body is placed in the ground, then they reverse their position and accept the spiritual evidence of man's immortality as a spiritually mental being. Such conflicting admissions deny the verity of both sets of evidence and leave one in an impossible position; for if one cannot rely on either spiritual sense or material sense to tell him the whole truth about man, how can he be sure about anything?
Now let us untangle this mixed evidence and face the question squarely. If we are to accept man as being what the material senses declare him to be, then we must be willing to accept this material sense evidence in its entirety, which includes man's return to dust, or nothingness, thus denying our own immortality. On the other hand, if we are to reject this untenable conclusion, we must reject the material sense evidence as a whole, for this evidence must be either entirely true, or wholly false. And what does the Bible say on this subject? In Isaiah we find this powerful exhortation: "Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Could the prophet have repudiated this material sense evidence more thoroughly?
Also, in considering the evidence of spiritual sense, if it is ever true that man is immortal as a spiritually mental being, the image and likeness of God, then this must be the eternal fact regarding him. In short, he must always be a spiritually mental being. Hence this is the truth about him at the very moment that the material senses are claiming him to be material and mortal.
I do not believe that the concept of man's destiny as dust or nothingness, is a satisfactory answer to anyone, and we have seen that if this is not true, the balance of the material evidence must also be false. Since there is nothing to be gained from considering that which is false, other than to recognize its falsity, let us devote the time at our disposal to considering the spiritual evidence about God and man as set forth by the Scriptures and Christian Science.
False Concepts of God
The tendency of mankind, generally speaking, has been to accept the Biblical statement that man is made in the image and likeness of God, then to assume that a human being is that likeness, and to conclude that God must be like a human being − in other words, that He is corporeal, outlined, circumscribed, and usually localized in a far-distant place, called heaven. This concept of God as being human-like leads one to believe that He is partial, subject to change, caprice, wrath, and that He employs evil as well as good. In fact, when a seeming catastrophe is so great that it cannot be attributed to any mortal agency, it is common practice solemnly to pronounce it an "act of God." How could anyone with such a concept of God be expected to love Him, to trust Him, and to look to Him for the solution of present-day problems?
Surely, the Master had in thought no such concept of God when he acknowledged and affirmed the great First Commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." For it is inconceivable that man's salvation should depend on his loving that which is not lovable. And it is likewise incongruous that a God who is Love, as John declares Him to be, could either include, know, or dispense evil; for this would mean either that evil exists with the consent of Love, or that Love is powerless to destroy it. The first hypothesis is contrary to the nature of Love; the second denies the omnipotence of God, hence both must be false.
The Final Revelation of the True Nature of God
In her search for the true nature of God, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, went to the inspired word of the Scriptures. After being raised from what was thought to be her deathbed through the spiritual illumination gained while reading the account of Jesus' healing of the palsied man, Mrs. Eddy devoted her entire time and thought for a period of three years to this search. Through this consecrated study and an extraordinary spiritual perception that had been unfolding in her consciousness since early childhood, the Scriptures were illumined, and their spiritual signification was revealed to her.
This final revelation of the true nature of God and His creation, Mrs. Eddy reduced to human comprehension and set it forth in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in such a way that all may read and understand, thus fulfilling the prophecy contained in the tenth chapter of St. John's Revelation concerning the appearance of this final revelation in the form of "a little book open." In accordance with the divine command, "Go and take the little book. . . . Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey," many thousands have prayerfully studied this textbook, and have found it indeed "sweet as honey"; for through this study they have been healed − healed of all types of physical diseases, moral ailments, financial lack, and so on.
The Master foresaw and prophesied this final revelation of the truth of being, which should bring his great work to completion, as the coming of the Comforter, which "shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." That Christian Science is the Comforter, hundreds of thousands have proved for themselves, and every sincere seeker for Truth may do likewise.
As the revelator of Truth in this age, Mrs. Eddy has given us a wonderful concept of God, a concept that is in perfect accord with inspired Scripture, which satisfies the reason, and the verity of which may be demonstrated in individual experience. On page 587 of Science and Health, we read: "GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Surely, this is a God whom we can love with all our heart, in which we can trust and to whom we can go for the solution of any problem, be it great or small. And, my friends, if you have any doubt as to this being a right concept of God, try making it the basis of your thinking, and in the degree that you do so, you will gain unquestionable evidence that it is correct.
Man − the Image of Divine Mind
With this concept of God as the basis of our thinking, let us consider what man, the image and likeness of God, must be. An image and likeness, being the perfect reflection of its original, must be exactly like it in quality; hence man, in the image and likeness of God, perfectly reflects every quality of divine Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. For instance, as the image of perfect Mind, he reflects infinite intelligence, understanding, wisdom, ability, capability, capacity, and so on. He knows exactly as God knows, for he derives his every thought from God, divine Mind. Consequently, all of his thoughts must be good, spiritual, true, healthy, harmonious, pure, and perfect, for divine Mind is not conscious of the false beliefs about man presented by material evidence. Therefore, the real man, reflecting this divine consciousness, does not know or believe them. Since there is, in reality, no other mind nor man, these false beliefs have no believer. Their claim to have one is merely a part of the false belief and is to be handled as such.
When error, or evil, is reduced to an impersonal lie − a false belief about man − and this false belief is seen to have no believer, we have effectively handled it. We have reduced it to nothing, for what can be less than a false belief without a believer?
This concept of man in the likeness of divine Mind is, of course, quite contrary to the evidence of the material senses, which declares man to have a finite, limited mind of his own, located in a material brain, and capable of thinking evil as well as good. But we have seen that this material evidence must be false. As one rejects this belief of a finite, limited mind apart from God, and claims the Mind which is God, and its perfect qualities and ideas, wrong thoughts are ruled out of individual human consciousness and replaced with right, or spiritual ideas.
Thought and Body
Someone may be thinking at this point. That is all very well, but I do not need to improve my mind; it is my body that is causing my trouble. My friend, you may be interested to know that some of the leading physicians in this country are now recognizing that many physical difficulties are directly traceable to the human mind − to wrong thinking, such as fear, worry, envy, jealousy, anger, hatred, and the like. While this is a comparatively recent discovery on their part, it indicates that they are coming, step by step, to the conclusion reached by Mrs. Eddy over seventy years ago, that all discord, be it physical, moral, financial, or pertaining to human relationships, is the direct result of wrong thinking, and therefore, is to be corrected by changing one's thoughts. So you will find it profitable to examine your thinking, my friend, and to test your thoughts to see whether or not they may be traced back to a good God, to divine Mind.
God's thoughts, or ideas, express Him, and so are Godlike. Whatever does not express divine Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love is not of God and so has no cause, no existence, no power, no reality. It has no presence in divine consciousness which, in our true being, you and I individually reflect − and there is no other real consciousness. The understanding that there is, in reality, no error in consciousness is the law of annihilation to the claim of error to presence in individual human consciousness. And when error's claim to presence in one's consciousness is destroyed, its claim to manifestation in his experience as disease, lack, inharmony, and so forth, vanishes. In brief, we remove the discordant effect from individual experience by dealing with and destroying its suppositional cause − the belief of wrong thinking claiming presence in individual human consciousness.
Man − the Likeness of Spirit
Christ Jesus declared God to be our Father and to be Spirit; and the offspring of Spirit must be spiritual, not material. Therefore, in reality man is a spiritually mental being. Individual man does not possess a portion of Spirit, but individually reflects infinite Spirit, or true substance. He is spiritually substantial, reflecting the perfection, completeness, sufficiency, harmony, and indestructibility of Spirit. Consequently, man's substance is never finite or limited, is never subject to exhaustion, disease, breakage, or destruction. It can be neither increased nor decreased; hence it is never subject to growth or depletion, but is eternally perfect and complete. The realization of this truth and the recognition that there is no matter to grow, hence no growth of matter, destroyed the claim of an abnormal growth on the side of the head in a case that came to my attention, the healing taking place in a comparatively short time. This evidence as to man's being spiritually substantial is also quite contrary to material sense evidence, which declares man to be material, possessing a certain amount of substance-matter. No one questions that this appears to be the case, but we have seen that if man's substance were matter, man's destiny would be dust, nothingness. And, is it not strange how earnestly mortals argue for this false evidence and its untenable conclusion! In Christian Science, matter is seen to be only a false mental concept, a false sense of substance, an illusion.
Nothing is more important on the student's part than the recognition of the fundamental fact that, since Spirit, good, is real, its opposite, matter, evil, must be unreal. One cannot maintain that both Spirit and matter are substance and expect to demonstrate Christian Science. This means that we have to deny reality or substance to matter, whether it claims to be good or evil, for if we admit that matter is real enough to be good, to give pleasure or satisfaction, by this very act we admit that matter is real enough to be evil, to cause pain and suffering. And if it seems difficult to deny matter's claim to reality, we may find it helpful to remind ourselves of the inevitable destiny of everything material − dust or nothingness; and we cannot accept the material evidence as true and real without accepting its conclusion.
Man − the Image of Soul
Man in the image of God does not possess a personal, finite soul, but individually reflects infinite Soul. His Soul, being God, cannot sin, suffer, be lost, or die, but is sinless and eternal, wholly free from the mortal belief of sin and its penalty, death. The recognition of the unreality of sin and its claim to be man does not mean that Christian Scientists ignore the claims of sin, or evil, or that it is possible to indulge these claims without penalty; for sin brings its own penalty, just as a mistake in a multiplication problem brings a wrong answer. To get rid of the wrong answer, one must correct the mistake; and likewise to remove the penalty for sin, the belief of sin must be destroyed.
In Christian Science, man is freed from sin or evil by exposing its unreality, by seeing that it is no part of God or of His image and likeness. This involves repentance, reformation, and spiritualization of thought. The material, sinful sense is replaced by spiritual sense, by spiritual consciousness. In Soul, infinite, divine consciousness, and in its individualized manifestation, man, there is no sense of sin or of penalty.
As the likeness of Soul, individual man is an individual spiritual consciousness, expressing or embodying all right ideas. The embodiment of spiritual ideas, included and governed by divine Principle, is the only real body. So we see that the real man does not possess nor dwell in a material body; is not dependent on it nor governed by it. Even as a human being, man's consciousness is not in a material body, but this so-called material body is a mental concept included in human consciousness. This is why the human body may be healed by correcting one's thinking. If this body were something separate and apart from mind, it could not be affected in one way or another by thought. But since one's so-called material body is merely his concept of himself, his thinking about himself, to improve this thinking through spiritualization of thought must necessarily improve his body. Consequently there is no possibility of thought being corrected without improving the body.
Man − the Expression of Life
Man, reflecting the qualities of perfect Life, must be immortal, healthy, harmonious, pure, and sinless. His Life, being God, is without beginning and without end; hence he is not born, he does not go through a process of growth and development, nor one of decay and dissolution, and he does not die. He is coexistent and coeternal with his Maker. And in proportion to our understanding of these qualities of our true selfhood, we are able to overcome the mortal beliefs of sickness, sin, disease, old age, and death.
A case that came to my attention during the World War illustrates the effectiveness of this Science of man's true selfhood. A young officer was suddenly taken ill with influenza and double pneumonia, only having time to wire his family to obtain a practitioner for the case before being sent to the camp hospital. He was immediately placed in a ward set aside for hopeless cases, and his family was notified that if they wished to see him again, alive, they must come at once. When he told those in charge that he did not wish to take medicine, as he was under Christian Science treatment, they replied that this would be all right, as there was nothing medicine could do for him. On two different occasions the army doctors stated that he could not live for more than an hour longer, and ordered screens placed around his bed. A member of his family who was present kept the practitioner informed, and the crisis was promptly met each time. The complete healing required several weeks, but at the end of this time this officer was discharged in perfect health.
This case was watched with considerable amazement by the army doctors, who thought it was nothing less than a miracle that this man survived. They were not quite willing to give Christian Science full credit for the healing, although no other treatment had been used, so they attributed this officer's recovery, in part, to his good luck. But luck, or chance, does not enter into Christian Science healing, which is the certain result of the operation of spiritual law.
The belief of luck, or chance, is completely rejected by Christian Science, which reveals that what man is, what he has, and what he does is determined by spiritual law, not by luck; and this truth, understood, frees one from this pernicious belief and its evil effects. God's law for man is perfect health, eternal life, unlimited usefulness, success, abundance − infinite good. And Christian Science teaches us to claim this glorious heritage now as the sons of God. Since this is God's law for man, luck, or chance, does not give it to him, nor can it take it from him. Its claim to do so is utterly false, and it is important to be alert to this claim and to recognize its falsity. Where God's law is actively operating there is no chance or luck − and His law is omnipresent.
Man − the Likeness of Love
As the image and likeness of divine Love, man has by reflection all of Love's qualities and attributes. Therefore, whatever is unlovely, unloving, and unlovable in reality is no part of man's true selfhood, but exists merely as a false sense of man, an impersonal lie. From this we see how it is possible really to love one's neighbor as oneself; for we are able to separate that which is unlovable from man, to recognize its falsity, and thus to reduce it to nothing. As we know our brother as the image and likeness of Love, we are really loving him, and thus fulfilling the Master's second commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Only to the extent that we know our brother as the image of Love are we really loving ourselves. Is it not inspiring to realize that whatever does not trace back to Love is no part of man, that it is baseless, causeless, substanceless, and powerless? And as we realize this fact about any unlovely belief, we destroy its claim to presence, identity, and influence.
The Answer of Spiritual Evidence
From this brief consideration of spiritual evidence we have seen that man is altogether spiritual; that he is healthy, holy, harmonious, immortal; that he knows as God knows, and therefore he is intelligent, understanding, wise, and capable; that he is the embodiment of spiritual ideas, pure and sinless; and that he is lovely, loving, and lovable. The consideration of the other synonyms for God along these same lines will throw further light on man's true selfhood. My friends, this is the satisfactory answer to "What is man? What am I?" for it may be proved in our individual experience.
Knowing man as the image and likeness of God enables us to understand our true relationship to God, for we have seen that an image and likeness is the perfect expression of its original. Since an expression or reflection cannot be separated from that which it expresses, man must be, and is, inseparable from God, eternally at-one with his Father-Mother.
From this spiritual evidence we see that man's purpose as idea, image, is to express God, to manifest His presence, power, and glory. He is God's perfect witness or representative, and as such he is supplied moment by moment with all that he needs to express God perfectly. So we see that man is always employed, ever about his Father's business, ever necessary to the Father's business; for Mind's business is to express itself, and man is this perfect expression.
And I am sure it is becoming clearer to you what God is doing for you. He is maintaining you eternally in His likeness, and as such you have, by reflection, all that God is. Could the Father do more for His beloved son? We never have to ask God to do more for us, we need only to recognize what He is doing − and claim it.
And what is man's destiny? Can it be other than to experience the continuous unfolding of the infinite good that is his right now? Man in the likeness of God cannot have more good than he now has, for all good is his now, by reflection. Nor can he ever have less, for if he were to be separated from, or lose, one iota of good, he would cease to be God's image. Man's destiny is beautifully expressed by Mrs. Eddy in the following passage in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 82): "Man is the offspring and idea of the Supreme Being, whose law is perfect and infinite. In obedience to this law, man is forever unfolding the endless beatitudes of Being; for he is the image and likeness of infinite Life, Truth, and Love."
Purpose and Mode of Prayer
Since Christian Science reveals that God is perfect, and that He maintains man eternally at the standpoint of perfection, what is the function of prayer, or treatment? Obviously it is not to change God's will or His perfect creation. However, mortals are not conscious of this perfect creation, but are accepting a crude, ignorant, material sense of it, and are suffering from this wrong thinking. Their thinking about man, about themselves, needs to be corrected. They need to know man as God knows him; the false material beliefs need to be replaced with right, spiritual ideas. The purpose, therefore, of prayer in Christian Science is to bring our thinking into adjustment with Principle, divine Mind. This is accomplished not by pleading with God, but by silently affirming the spiritual fact for the case − that which God knows − with the prayerful desire to realize it, and by denying the material evidence as false.
This form of prayer is the same as that used by the Master, which is beautifully described on page 476 and 477 of Science and Health: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick."
These spiritual ideas coming to the human consciousness to heal and save are from God. The unfoldment of true selfhood to the human consciousness is the Christ, and brings with it complete salvation − perfect freedom from whatever is unlike God. The Master had such a clear understanding of his true selfhood as the image of God, the Christ, and manifested it to such an extent in thought and action, that he expected the true nature of God, which the Christ expresses, to be evident to his disciples. On one occasion he said, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" Jesus' other sayings plainly indicate that he was not claiming to be the Father. However, he knew that he was manifesting so clearly the Christ, his true selfhood, the image and likeness of the Father, that his disciples should have been able to know God by knowing His reflection.
Since man in reality is spiritually perfect now, whatever denies his present perfection is merely a false belief about him; and the spiritual understanding of man's true selfhood is all that is ever needed to destroy this lie, whether its manifestation in individual human experience seems to be disease, lack, or unemployment. And it is important to recognize that we only have to deal with error and correct it in the now. We must be alert never to give error a past, a present, or a future. The Scriptures tell us that "God requireth that which is past." In other words, only that which reflects God has existed, exists now, or ever will exist. Sometimes a problem claims to be the result of a past error, and as long as one admits error's claim to exist in the past, he is accepting its claim to produce an effect in the present.
The Solution of World Problems
It is particularly important to bear this point in thought when knowing the truth about world affairs. Most of the present-day problems claim root in past wrongs, such as past wars, unjust treaties of peace, old rivalries, and the like. In our effort to think rightly about present-day affairs, we must wipe out these claims of error to a past. We also need to do this in our individual experiences, and in our church work.
The world has long seemed faced with wars and threats of wars. Whereas every human effort to avert these phases of error and to establish peace is praiseworthy, the fact remains that human efforts at best have not made much progress toward any permanent solution. Here Christian Science offers the perfect remedy − the understanding of man's true selfhood as the son of God. As we realize that all men have one Father, the hatred based on the belief of nationality and race will be wiped out, and the universal brotherhood of man will become apparent. And in doing this we are loving our neighbor as ourselves.
As we know that in reality individual man in every case is the image and likeness of God and as such possesses all good by reflection, we see the falsity of the claim that man is divided into classes, such as the "haves" and "have nots." Hence there is no "have not" man and no "have not" nation. We all belong to the "haves," and in reality there is no man who can be made even to believe that he is a "have not." Since in God's universe there are no such classes of men or of nations, error cannot use any belief of such a false classification to cause strife or conflict. And, my friends, the realization of this truth daily on our part will accomplish much toward bringing about real peace, for, as we read in Science and Health (p. 559), "The 'still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound."
Sometimes a student of Christian Science is heard to say, "I can heal discordant physical conditions readily, but when it comes to overcoming financial lack, I have no success." This is often due to the student's failure to recognize the claim of lack as being wholly mental. He is ensnared into accepting error's aggressive suggestion that the need is material and that, therefore, some form of matter, usually money, is necessary to meet it. Now as long as one admits that he does not have that which is needed, he is believing
in lack or poverty as a fact. No wonder it continues to be manifested in his experience!
Therefore one's first step in handling this claim is vigorously to reverse this aggressive suggestion that he does not have that with which to meet the need, and to replace this with the joyful, grateful recognition that he has all that is necessary right now, and the ability to draw on it, to use it. For he has the spiritual understanding of his true selfhood as the son of God, and this understanding, utilized, is all that is needed to wipe out the belief of lack. This understanding does not produce the material supply to meet the need, but the realization of man's present spiritual perfection, completeness, sufficiency, and debtlessness destroys the belief of lack claiming presence in individual human consciousness and when this false belief is wiped out of one's consciousness it can have no manifestation in his experience, and there is nothing to deny his normal state of abundance.
The Discoverer and Founder
My friends, if you had an invaluable heritage of which you were ignorant, and someone devoted much of his life to discovering this, establishing your true identity, and making available to you the laws and rules by which you could claim your heritage, would you not be unceasingly grateful to such a one, love him, and cherish him as a very dear friend? To do less would be rank ingratitude, would it not? It is thus that I like to think of Mary Baker Eddy, who not only discovered our true identity as the sons of God and the glorious heritage that is truly ours, but who devoted some forty-five years of her life to the great work of making this discovery available to us, protecting it for us, and stating the rules and laws of the Science of true selfhood − Christian Science − in such a practical way that each of us, if he is willing to make the sincere effort, may understand them, utilize and demonstrate them, and lay hold of his God-given heritage − eternal perfection as the son of God.
Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy. They revere her for her purity and spirituality of thought that made her the revelator of Truth in this age. They are grateful to her for her faithfulness and her willingness to endure hardships, persecution, and calumny in order to make this revelation available to all mankind. They love her because she loved them and all mankind so much. They regard her as their Leader because the final revelation of Truth is so completely set forth in her writings that the student may go to them for guidance on every question that arises in his individual experience.
The Christian Science Answer
The concept of true selfhood as something apart from material sense evidence, as something that now exists in its eternal perfection, as something that may be scientifically brought out or demonstrated here and now in accordance with given rules, bringing with it the solution for every problem in human experience, is revealed to mankind by Christian Science alone. As we strive daily to increase our understanding of this Science of true selfhood, and to demonstrate it in daily life, we shall come into the realization of man's present spiritual perfection and thus fulfill the Master's injunction, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
My friends, I feel confident that from our brief discussion of these all-important questions, What am I? What is my purpose? What is my destiny? What is my relationship to God? What is he doing for me? you have found that the Christian Science answers are based on Scripture, and that they are demonstrable and therefore truly satisfying. And better still, you may make them your own and prove them in your individual experience, for this Science of true selfhood is available to everyone who will approach it with an open thought and strive daily to understand it and live it better.
On page 76 of Science and Health we read, "The sinless joy, − the perfect harmony and immortality of Life, possessing unlimited divine beauty and goodness without a single bodily pleasure or pain, − constitutes the only veritable, indestructible man, whose being is spiritual." This, my friends, is your true selfhood − the Christian Science answer to that age-old question, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"
[Published in The Oakland (California) Tribune, June 17, 1940.]